It was another great PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Assoc.) conference! I think I took more away from this one than any in the past.
As you can see from the picture, Debbie Macomber (The Inn at Rose Harbor) was there, one of the main speakers. What an inspiration! I loved hearing how she refused to give up her dream of being a writer in spite of difficult circumstances, and how her husband supported her. What I especially loved was her bold testimony of how God led her and encouraged her through prayer and scripture! It’s always exciting to watch God work in other’s lives!
Robert Dugoni (Murder One) was also there again. I love taking his classes on making your characters live. He is such a great teacher. Of course he claims it’s because he made all the mistakes there are to make in his first book, so he’s an authority on what not to do! He’s a funny guy.
Literary Agent, Donald Maass (Writing the Breakout Novel), was another main speaker. He had much to say on what makes for great fiction and was very encouraging about the future of publishing. I loved that because we are constantly bombarded with gloom and doom prophecies of fading bookstores in the onslaught of the electronic age.
Christina Katz (Writer Mama) gave me the kick in the pants I really needed. She’s one of those super caffeinated women who gets paid big bucks to make people do what they need to do to get and keep their careers up and running. She made me come up with a plan for putting what I’d learned into practice. And she made me write it down! She’s tough, but she is very good at what she does.
I did learn how far I’d come since last year, though. The only thing I’m not doing (yet) that was recommended is a newsletter. I even got new headshots at the conference. And I got a lot of ideas for my website—I also learned that I need to get my author website online, even if my book isn’t published yet!
With the help of my wonderful critique groups, Walla Walla Christian Writers and Christian Scribes, I had my one-page (pitch sheet), and first chapter of Watch God Work polished and ready to pitch. It was an interesting setup this year. No appointments, just speed pitching. Basically, all the agents and editors were in one room for several 90 min. sessions. Each attendee was guaranteed one session. We were allowed 3 min. to pitch our projects to as many agents or editors as we could get to, which depended on the waiting line.
I was able to get in 4 pitches, and the great news is that every one of the four agents asked to see more! Praise The Lord! I wasn’t sure I would get any takers because it is a blatantly Christian book, and this was not a Christian conference. But God is in control. He already has my agent picked out . . . I just have to find her. The agents also want to see Dream Chaser, my mystery, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.
So, my next step is to get an outline written, polish up the first fifty pages of Watch God Work, and get them sent off. After that, it’s up to The Lord. It’s His book, anyway.
I want to give a shout-out to my friends from the conference, Norma, such an inspiration, Sharon, who made the finals again with another of her short stories, and is coming to Walla Walla soon, Larry, a great friend and fellow mystery writer, and Elizabeth. It was so much fun to see you all again. And, to some of my new friends, Helen, Kathy, and L.M. I hope to see you all again next year!
And now, my friends, I’ve got some writing to do!
God’s grace and peace be yours,