Q and A with Carol Hamilton

Carol Hamilton is a nationally known professional speaker and a writer with more than 100 publishing credits. A member of the National Speakers Association and Toastmasters International, Carol teaches Professional Speaking for Writers at conferences.

Carol will be teaching “Public Speaking,” a continuous Thursday-through-Saturday workshop.

Q: Carol, what special memories does the Grove City College campus hold for you?

A: My husband and I met at Grove City College and were married on campus in Harbison Chapel.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A: In fourth grade my three closest friends and I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. We formed a singing group by that name and pretended to be the March sisters. I got to be Jo, the writer!

Q: Have you ever visited the home of a famous writer? Whose home and where?

A: Two years ago, my husband, daughter and her husband and five children, and I visited Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House series. I enjoyed seeing the various places in the house where she wrote. We also visited several of the other places described in her books. Some of the buildings and a farm had hands-on activities.  We rode in a Conestoga wagon pulled by two black Percherons to the schoolhouse where the teacher welcomed us into her classroom. Our grandchildren had a delightful time.

When our son lived in Boston we went to Louisa May Alcott’s home.

Q: What book are you currently reading for pleasure?

A: Firewall by DiAnn Mills

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why?

A: Otters, because they like to have fun!

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: I’m an ambivert—I’m an extrovert when I’m with people, but need quiet to recharge. My husband says I’m an extrovert, though.

Q: Can you share a story about your writing life?

A: I reveled in the days our children or their friends did something funny that I could add to a story. For instance, our son went through a phase where he put his clothes on backwards and did things backwards and called himself Backwards Benji.

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A: Take time to be alone to pray. Ask God for guidance. Thank and praise Him.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?

A: I have spent years studying and practicing professional speaking. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned to make speaking easier for fellow writers.

I also look forward to learning and the signature St. Davids laughter!

Thank you, Carol. Learn more about Carol Hamilton by visiting her website at http://www.carolhamilton.us/.

This Friday is the last day to register for this year’s conference! Don’t miss out on attending these awesome workshops. Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register! See you soon!

 

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Q and A with Michelle Medlock Adams

Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author with a successful freelance writing business. A popular conference teacher, Michelle has taught “Writing for Children” at Taylor University and the University of Wisconsin.

In addition to bringing the opening keynote message for the conference, she will be teaching “Writing for Children Bootcamp,” “The Guide to Ghostwriting—Helping Others Write Their Message,” “How to Write for Kids When You Don’t Have Any,” and “Taking Biblical Truth to the General Market.”

Q: Michelle, where are you from?

A: I was born and reared in Bedford, Indiana—the Hoosier State. My hometown is the Limestone Capital of the world, which is pretty cool, actually.  Buildings such as the Empire State Building and the Pentagon feature limestone from Bedford. Also, we have three astronauts from my home county, Lawrence County, Indiana: Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Charles “Charlie” Walker, and Kenneth “Kenny” Bowersox.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A: My favorite book as a child was The Secret Garden but I also loved all of the Nancy Drew mysteries.

Q:  Have you ever visited the home of a famous writer, and if so, whose was it? Would you recommend such a trip to others?

A: Well, let’s see…actually, I have! I stayed in the home of Eva Marie Everson this past February, and I would highly recommend that trip to Florida. She took me shopping, and we shared French pastries at Le Macaron. It was a great time…and I got to see her office where all the magic happens.

 Q: What are you currently reading for pleasure?

A: I am currently reading Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills. Also, I’m reading Roland Martin’s 101 Bass-Catching Secrets for pleasure.

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why?

A: I identify with my dachshund, Mollie, because she wanders from room to room throughout the day, searching for the streams of sunlight pouring into our home. She is constantly searching for the light, and so am I—both physically and spiritually. My favorite place to work is in our sunroom.

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: I took one of those personality tests and discovered that I am an extrovert with introverted tendencies. For example, I love being with people and I’m not shy at all, but I also need/crave time alone to unwind and recharge.

Q: Can you share a funny or embarrassing story about a day in your writing life?

A: I had just finished signing my latest children’s book, Memories of the Manger at ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) in Atlanta, so my sister and my mom and I decided to grab a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant. As we were awaiting our food, I kept noticing this large group of women at a table across the room because they were smiling and staring at us. Finally, one of the ladies approached our table and said, “I just wanted you to know that your book has changed my life….Would you sign it for me?” “Sure,” I said, smiling back at her. As I grabbed my Sharpie from my purse, I glanced down at the book—Believing God by Beth Moore. Oh no, I thought. I’ve been mistaken for Beth again! (That sometimes happens when I wear my hair up and I’m at an event where she is also speaking.) I quickly grabbed the copy of Memories of the Manger that I had with me and signed it for her and then said, “Beth’s books have changed my life, too,” and winked at her, handing both books back. Now if I could just sell as many books as Beth….

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A: My advice? Go into the writers’ conference with an open mind and heart. It’s great to go prepared with goals in mind, but if you aren’t able to meet with that one particular editor like you’d planned, or your manuscript doesn’t get the rave reviews you’d anticipated, relax and rest in Him. Trust that God has ordered your steps and that He has a plan for your writing. He may have several divine appointments lined up that you never saw coming.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?  

A: I am looking forward to meeting all of the wonderful writers who attend each year—I’ve heard so much about all of you! I can’t wait to make new friends and “hang out” with like-minded folks. You know, we writers are a strange bunch. We need each other because we “get” each other. Y’all are my tribe. Can’t wait!

Thank you, Michelle. Learn more about Michelle Medlock Adams by visiting her website at www.michellemedlockadams.com.

There is only a little over TWO more days to register with the Early Bird price! Don’t miss out on this special pricing and these awesome workshops. Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register! See you in June!

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Q and A with Lora Zill

Lora Zill, a teacher at Gannon University, is a speaker and widely published writer of poetry and nonfiction. She is a quilter and a stained-glass artist who also works with beach glass. Lora also plays the guitar and sings with her church’s worship team.

She will be teaching “Writing to Feel God’s Pleasure” and “Writing as Creative Expression.”

Q: Lora, tell us a little bit about your childhood.

A: I grew up in a town in Clearfield County, central Pennsylvania, just like Mayberry R.F.D.  The area was known for mining and my dad was in the coal business. I and my four younger sibs roamed the town and woods and swam and fished in the ponds and rode bikes over the abandoned mine fields. My mother warned us not to play in the sinkholes that dotted the landscape. I’ve lived in NW Pennsylvania for 40 years and love the area for its water. I’m surrounded by lakes, creeks, and rivers and have kayaked, canoed, tubed, or sailed most of them, including over 50 miles on the Allegheny River.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A: Like most every girl my age, I devoured Nancy Drew mysteries. But I also loved Jack London’s adventure stories and science fiction.

Q: What are you currently reading for pleasure?

A: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and God Help the Child by Toni Morrison.

Q: Have you ever visited the home of a famous writer? Would you recommend such a trip to others and why?

A: When I was in New Orleans I walked past William Faulkner’s home and rode by Anne Rice’s home. That’s as close as I’ve ever gotten. I recommend a trip to New Orleans for any reason!

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why? 

A: None, except I love cats and have named pets after literary figures, e.g. Pip in Great Expectations.

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: I’m definitely an extrovert, but I also need down time to recharge. Writing is hard because it’s a solitary pursuit and I get energy from hanging around other people.

Q: Can you share a story about the most embarrassing or funniest day in your writing life?

A: My most embarrassing (and funny) day happened here at St. Davids while I was still director. A toilet in HAL flushed before I expected it and I was so surprised I made some funny noises without thinking. A conferee washing her hands at the sink asked if I was OK. “I heard you moaning in there!” So I told everyone I had found a bidet. The keynoter even wanted to try it. The jokes went downhill from there.

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A: Realize you have a lot to learn and be open to receiving advice. Some humility is in order, too. Many conferees want to be published, but don’t want to submit to the often grueling and difficult process of learning how to write. You have to love the art and craft of writing more than you love yourself.  Begin growing your rhinoceros hide because you will need it to survive what can be a brutal business.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?

A: I really enjoy teaching, learning, and interacting with conferees. I encourage and enjoy class discussion and letting conferees explore and reflect on their writing/artistic process. My goal is to create an atmosphere where we can relax and have some fun playing with language and trying out new ideas.

Thank you, Lora. Learn more about Lora Zill by visiting her blog at https://thebluecollarartist.com/.

Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register!

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Q and A with Tonya Wilhelm

Tonya Wilhelm is an award-winning photographer and an expert in social media. She is the owner of Wilhelm Photography.

She will be teaching the one-day Saturday course, “Becoming a Social Media Maven.”

 

Q: Tonya, where do you live and what is unique about it?  

A: I live in the small town of Northumberland, Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River is visible from my home, and I can be found exploring its banks or crawling around fields with my camera and macro lens searching for the overlooked exotic creatures in my backyard to photograph.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A: Growing up, I read a lot of fantasy and adventure stories, but my favorite book was Alice in Wonderland. I was delighted when I learned that the author, Lewis Carroll, was also a photographer. Photography and writing go hand in hand for me. Both are a form of creative storytelling. Now I am working on my own historical fantasy novel. In the meantime, I find myself creating my own wonderlands in fine art photographs. In fact, one of my most popular images is of a fat, colorful Prometheus Silkmoth Caterpillar on a mushroom. I frequently receive comments about how it looks like a page from Alice in Wonderland come to life.

Q: Have you ever visited the home of a famous writer?

A: When I was growing up, my dad tried to ruin a lot of good vacations with educational excursions that a child would not be impressed with. But if we ever visited the home of a famous author, I do not remember it.

Q: What are you currently reading for pleasure?

A: I am catching up on popular young adult fiction stories that my kids have on their reading list. I am currently on book four in the Harry Potter series (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). Although I am chalking this up to responsible parenting, I would have easily read this for my own enjoyment.

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why?

A: I identify with an otter; at least I do now that I have been asked this question. Like the otter, I am self-motivated, get distracted by my desire to be social, and if I can choose any restful activity, you will find me on my paddle board in the river.

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: I don’t think I am naturally extroverted, but between the outgoing man I married and the nature of my business, I have forced myself to break out of my comfort zone. I crave my alone time, but my daily routine is a bustling mix of portrait photography, blogging, and social media hustling that require me to at least pretend to be extroverted.

Q: Can you share what a day in your writing life is like?

A: I approach a writing project the same way I create a fine art photography project. I start with a Pinterest vision board. Then I get paper and a pen. I sketch my photography ideas, and I handwrite my first draft. Both are disastrously messy looking, but I brainstorm more freely away from the computer.

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A: Soak it in. Whether you are trying to get to every class and event, or you need a retreat to finally get your thoughts in order and on paper, St. Davids provides an environment where you can be completely focused in your area of passion. I come home feeling accomplished. Every social interaction, class, and new goal set has me one step closer to realizing my potential to create.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?

A: The theme of St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference, “Created to Create,” captures the way I have felt God leading me my whole life. I am looking forward to being immersed in an environment that encourages and thrives on creating. There is such an incredible connection to be made with the kindred spirits found at St. Davids.

Last year, was my first year to have a published book at the conference. I had the unique opportunity to photo illustrate a charming book of historical nonfiction. My skills as a photographer were not the only reason that my book was snatched up by a publisher. The publisher took on my project based on my social media exposure. My experience in marketing my business online ultimately made the book a risk work taking on. I am very passionate about social media marketing to promote creative endeavors of all types. I am so excited to help others do the same in my workshop this year.

Thank you, Tonya. Learn more about Tonya and her photography business at htttp://www.wilhelmphotography.net/.

Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register!

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Q and A with Hana Haatainen-Caye

Hana Haatainen-Caye is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, blogger, and teacher in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

She will be teaching “Inspiring Others – The Chicken Soup Way,” “A Purpose-Driven Blog,” and “Fictional Characters Anonymous.” (“Fictional Characters” is limited to 12 participants – we currently only have 4 spots left – register now!)

Q: Hana, what can you share about where you live?    

A: I grew up in Lancaster County in Manheim, Pa., and moved to Pittsburgh on my own in 1977. I moved around the city for years and lived south (Dormont, Brookline, Mt. Lebanon), east (Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill), west (Imperial), and north (Brighton Heights, Ross Township). I settled down and have been living in Ross Township for almost 26 years.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A: I loved The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. I was all about the horses!

Q: Have you ever visited the home of a famous writer?

A: I spent a few days in Oxford, Mississippi, home of William Faulkner and heard the townsfolks’ stories about him.

Q: Can you name a book that you are currently reading for pleasure?

A: I just finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why?

A: I’m a bit of a bipolar writer in that sometimes I write inspirational stories yet other times my stories are quite dark. I once had a parrot that was quite moody in a surprising way, so I think I’m a bit like Morgan.

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: Others would describe me as an extrovert, but I’m definitely a mixture of both. I crave solitude and struggle with overload when I’m around people for a long period. I simply have to have alone time or I’m miserable.

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A: Offer the best of yourself to others. Do not be competitive or mistrust others when sharing your ideas. No one is there to steal ideas, but we all love hearing a good story as it’s formulating. Remember that we can all learn from each other.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?

A: Reconnecting with the writer within me. After a 13-year career as a full-time writer/editor/voice-over talent with my own company, in December I took a job outside of the home as the manager/COO of an in-home companion company (Dignity Home Care Professionals). Now, instead of trudging into my home office in my pajamas every day, I have to get up, get dressed, and head into my business office for long hours. My writer side is now in the backseat and I miss her. I look forward to seeing her again at St. Davids and discussing writerly stuff.

Thank you, Hana. Visit Hana’s blog at http://thegreengrandma.blogspot.com/.

Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register!

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Q and A with Lissa Halls Johnson

Lissa Halls Johnson is an author, editor, and speaker. She was formerly a book producer for Focus on the Family and has contributed to numerous periodicals.

She will be teaching “I Was Blind, But Now I See. Self-Editing: Illuminating and Fixing Common Mistakes” and “But I Thought I Was Showing! The Difference Between Show and Tell,” in addition to speaking at the St. Davids banquet on Saturday evening.

Q: Lissa, tell us something about your background.

A: I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles known as Eagle Rock. I couldn’t wait to get out of Los Angeles, so moved north as an adult. I lived in Northern California for many years until I migrated to Colorado. I loved Colorado, but God had other plans. Like moving us to Arkansas. Arkansas. We couldn’t believe God would do that to us. And then we fell in love with living in the country outside a small town in spite of ticks, chiggers, snakes, and tornadoes. But, our North Carolina daughter (who graduated from Grove City College) had a baby, and that was it. We now live on the East Coast to be near the grandbabies. Don’t ask about them. You’ll be sorry.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A: I LOVED A Wrinkle in Time. When I was nine, I closed it and decided that I wanted to grow up and be a writer just like her. I also loved King of the Wind, Black Stallion, and Misty of Chincoteague.

Q:  Have you ever visited the home of a famous writer, and if so, whose was it? Would you recommend such a trip to others?

A: Hah! I did many years ago. But I can’t remember who it was! So, I guess it wasn’t memorable enough to recommend.

Q: What book are you currently reading for pleasure?

A: My sister recommended a book I never would have picked up: Ready Player One. I really liked it (listened to it on audio). In print I just finished reading Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos. I’m trying to pick up something else, but keep setting the books aside, not sure what really hits the spot at this moment.

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why?

A: Right now I’d say a carousel horse. Up and down, up and down, around and around, always busy but never really getting anywhere. I’ve always loved the beauty of carousel horses—the flying manes, prancing hooves, fierce set to their face and eyes. And I will go out of my way to ride a carousel—even alone. But honestly, I want to get off this particular carousel and find my way back to the real road.

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: Introvert. But I was raised in an extroverted family, so I learned how to survive in that world. But put me in a large group of people where I don’t have a purpose, and all I want to do is sit in a corner and read. I find strength in being alone or with very few others at a time. I could be a hermit forever and have to force myself to be around people.

Q: Can you share a funny or embarrassing story about a day in your writing life?

A: Oh my! Which to choose! There are so many. Like when I was on the phone with an editor and had to excuse myself to capture some escaped horses and return them to their pasture. Or when I was busy with a deadline, and my two-year-old stood on the opposite side of my desk—which was a picture window facing our neighborhood cul-de-sac—and decided to do her booty-duty while standing there, and it was all smushed against the window. Or that my kids would sit at the foot of the printer, reading pages of my middle-grade book as they came spooling out one at a time.

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A: Take good notes. Listen well. Sit next to a faculty member or writer at a meal just to pick their brain and ask questions. It’s quite all right. Really. Speak with the teachers and find out which classes will best suit your needs.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?

A: Okay, so this might sound like I’m buttering you all up. But I love writers’ conferences because I love meeting, instructing, and encouraging writers. I love the idea of helping others so they can understand the process of writing better than I did when I started. I wish I had been able to take my classes back when I was a beginner. But I don’t do well at walking up to new people (introvert!) and introducing myself. So, if you want to talk with me, approach me. I will melt with gratitude that someone else took the initiative.

Thank you, Lissa. Learn more about Lissa Halls Johnson by visiting her website at http://www.lissahallsjohnson.com/.

Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register!

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Q and A with Jim Hart

 

Jim is a literary agent with the Hartline Agency, as well as a singer and songwriter with a long history of involvement in youth and music ministry. He will be teaching “Peace in the Literary Storm” and “Starting Strong,” as well as taking appointments.

 

Q: Where do you live and where did you grow up?

A: I’ve lived in Pittsburgh since 1978. Dad is a pastor and we lived in a number of states when I was growing up. Living in Colorado for a few years was pretty nice.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A:  The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Q:  Have you ever visited the home of anyone historically famous?

A:  I’ve been to Calamity Jane’s house when we lived in Sturgis, S.D.

Q: What are you currently reading for pleasure?

A: Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why?

A: A squirrel – short attention span.

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: I am a card-carrying Myers-Briggs INFP

Q: Can you tell about the hardest day in your writing life?

A:  The toughest day was when a single publisher rejected four of my client’s proposals in one e-mail.

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A:  Learn – soak it all in!  And then make an attainable action plan when returning home – follow through!

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?

A: I love talking with writers, their creativity is inspiring!

Thank you, Jim. Learn more about Jim Hart by visiting his agency’s website at http://hartlineagency.com/.

Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register!

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Q and A with Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning author and speaker, editor at Firefly Southern Fiction, president of Word Weavers International, and the director of the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

She will be teaching the continuing class “Foundation of Fiction through Film.” She will teach the workshop “First Page Critique” with Michelle Metlock Adams. Eva will also take appointments with authors.

Q: Eva, tell us something about your background.

A: I was born and reared in a small agricultural Southern town near the coast of Georgia. This, of course, is where the rich fodder for my Southern fiction comes from…

At 19 I moved across the state to Albany, Georgia … then met my husband. Years later we moved to Orlando where we’ve been ever since.

Q: What was one of your favorite books as a child?

A: As a little child, To Dance, To Dream, which was given to me by my aunt and grandmother to celebrate my love for dancing. At the age of about 14 I read Mr. & Mrs. Bo Jo Jones, which changed my life. I not only knew for sure I wanted to be a writer, I read that book more times than I can count.

Q: What are you currently reading for pleasure?

A: Since You’ve Been Gone, by Christa Allen

Q: What animal do you most identify with as a writer and why?

A: An ant. I carry a lot on my shoulders … and I rarely stop moving.

Q: Do you consider yourself an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between?

A: An introvert. Totally. Everything I do “on stage” is done painfully.

Q: Can you share a story about the hardest day in your writing life?

A: How about the day I got a call that I had two months to completely rewrite an 85,000-word novel, taking it from first-person POV to five third-person POVs … and 120,000 words?

I stared at the computer for about 24 hours before I could write the first word! LOL

Q: What advice would you give attendees to help them make the most of their time at a writers’ conference?

A: Sleep when you go home. Take advantage of every single minute.

Look for the God-meetings. You know, those times when God brings someone into your path who He intends will change your world. Also, look for those times when God brings you into someone’s path … you know, those He intends for you to change their world.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during your faculty stint at St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference this June?

A: I appreciate the close-knit group at St. Davids. There is a family-feel there. And I love my family! 🙂

Thank you, Eva Marie. Learn more about Eva Marie Everson by visiting her website at https://www.evamarieeversonauthor.com/.

Check out all our 2017 workshops and click here to register!

 

 

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St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference Offers Special Value

By Crystal Hayduk

“She can turn a dime into a dollar,” said my father, praising my mother’s ability to balance the household budget. Frugality runs in my family, a result of surviving the Irish Potato Famine, a hardscrabble existence, and eventual immigration to Pennsylvania. Even then, my ancestors practiced thrift on the farm as they strived to improve their financial lot. Their prudent use of resources got them through two world wars and the Great Depression.

Since my parents and grandparents lived the well-known mantra, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” economy is second-nature. I don’t like to spend money without assurance of the value of the goods and services I will receive. Value is one of the reasons I first chose to attend St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference, and the reason I choose to return.

Most people attend conferences to learn new things, and at St. Davids, full-time conferees get information from Wednesday evening through Sunday morning. You’ll be inspired by the keynote presentations of best-selling authors. On each full day, there is a general session (all about marketing at this year’s conference), along with three separate classes on a variety of topics related to the writing life and publication. You can choose from continuing courses or pick something different for each class. (See this year’s schedule at http://stdavidswriters.com/conference/schedule/.)

Of equal importance is networking. Conferees interact with faculty, agents, editors, and other writers whose experience ranges from beginner to advanced. During an entire conference, that’s networking during eleven meals, three late-night snacks, six breaks, and three extended break times or genre critique groups. (See this year’s currently scheduled faculty at http://stdavidswriters.com/conference/markets/.)

Now that you’ve committed to get out there and learn something new, you need to think about location. St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference is held on the scenic campus of Grove City College. Its beautiful landscaping and interesting architecture provide a relaxing, vacation feel. The small town of Grove City is in western Pennsylvania, roughly halfway between Pittsburgh and Erie, and only a short drive from either I-79 or I-80. (If you are a savvy outlet shopper and have some time to spare before or after the conference, Grove City Premium Outlets are only about five miles away. Sometimes I manage to do some birthday or Christmas shopping before heading home to Michigan – if the price is right, of course.)

There’s no need to be concerned about the additional cost of a hotel while attending St. Davids, because room and board are included for full-time conferees. Imagine moving into an air-conditioned apartment where you get your own bedroom retreat (although you will share a bathroom with one other person). Each apartment also has a spacious living area and kitchen for hanging out with your newfound friends.

Three cafeteria-style meals a day are provided in the Breen Student Union, with a variety of large and small tables to facilitate friendly discussion. If you still have energy past 9 p.m., you can enjoy snacks and more networking in the basement lounge of the apartment building each evening.

St. Davids offers on-site entertainment. There’s an open mic night on Thursday, so consider signing up to share a talent or a reading from your work. And there is a hilarious auction on Friday night that you won’t want to miss. Money raised at the auction funds conference scholarships for the following year, so it’s all for an excellent cause.

You’ll even have the opportunity to dress up for a special evening on Saturday when St. Davids hosts a delicious banquet in Rathburn Hall as part of the conferee awards ceremony. If you entered any of the free writing contests, you might be a winner.

Three and a half days of conference and networking, four nights of lodging, meals, and entertainment with friendly folk in a lovely location – all this and more for the incredible bargain of $535.

If you can’t spare that much time, or you live close enough to drive each day, see the registration page (http://stdavidswriters.com/conference/registration/) for alternate price points.

Come and see why author and speaker James Watkins dubbed the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference “the happiest conference on earth.”

I’ll see you in June!

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Crystal Hayduk is a freelance writer and part-time university instructor who currently serves as president of St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association. She and her husband, the Duke of DIY, live in a partially finished house in rural Southeast Michigan. Their daughters help them save money by clever consignment shopping and cutting the Duke’s hair.

Posted on by Sue Fairchild | Leave a comment

Stalled Submissions

by Audrey Stallsmith

My father once received a check for a poem that had been sent to a farming magazine over two years earlier. The check was tucked inside the issue of the magazine with the poem in it.

Dad, now 88 years old, doesn’t do e-mail, so I’d originally submitted three poems for him. That summer the magazine published one and paid him for it. Over the many seasons that elapsed afterward, we forgot about the other two. So, when the second check and its accompanying issue arrived, we experienced one of those pleasant surprises that sometimes come to writers—and almost make all the rejection worthwhile.

My father’s poem was about how goldenrod consumes abandoned farms. Upon thinking it over, I realized that the quarterly magazine would only have one issue a year in which they could publish autumn poems. So it’s no wonder it took a while.

I experienced a similar delay with an article of my own, which I sent to another magazine the same year I submitted Dad’s poems. Although the editor had requested the piece, I received no response, even after sending him an inquiring e-mail a few months later. Assuming that he hadn’t liked the article, I didn’t think much more about the matter, except to conclude that he was rude for not telling me so.

That editor called me, almost two years after I submitted the piece, to apologize for losing it. Having recently stumbled across it again, he wanted to publish it.

Before agreeing, I had to scramble to make sure that the event about which I’d written was still being held and that someone could supply more current photos of it. The article did eventually appear in the magazine—almost three years after its submission! It taught me that I might sometimes be too pessimistic about editors and the reasons for their silences.

Of course, not all of them are so poky. In an unusual burst of energy, I recently got my act together enough to submit seven different articles to as many different periodicals. I included a previously published one on guinea incubation which I considered a long shot for the magazine I’d selected. But, since sending it by e-mail wouldn’t cost me anything, what did I have to lose?

I received an acceptance the following day because the magazine just happened to be putting together a special poultry issue at the time. That proves the electronic age sometimes can expedite matters in fortuitous fashion. But not always! I also received three not-quite-as-prompt rejections, and am still waiting to hear from the other editors.

Does all this mean there’s still hope for the novels I submitted to publishing houses six or seven months ago? Perhaps. These incidents prove that, even in this fast-paced digital age, getting published still can take time. Sometimes plenty of it!

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Registrar for St. Davids, Audrey Stallsmith authored the Thyme Will Tell mystery series from WaterBrook Press, The Body They May Kill from Thomas Nelson, and e-books titled Love and Other Lunacies and Inklings of Truth. Her recent article in Writer’s Digest was reprinted in the magazine’s Novel Writing yearbook. You can also visit Audrey on her website here.

 

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