CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I’ve just returned from my first (and God willing, not my last) Mount Hermon Writers Conference. I promised to share a full report, and before I left, I envisioned that I would give you a day-by-day recap of what happened there. Now, as I sit before my computer, weary, yet brimming with inspiration, I find myself inadequate of describing Mount Hermon. My time there was not a necklace strung with events, but a jewel box overflowing with people who popped in and out of my days there.

First, I must tell you that my goal in going to Mount Hermon was not to land an agent or gain a contract (although that would have been nice), but to connect with people—fellow writers, famous authors, or just a lonely soul who needed encouragement. I hoped to merge online names with faces and real voices, and to glean insight and wisdom from those in the publishing industry. Most of all, I wanted God to orchestrate the outcome. As usual, God did not disappoint.

Here are a few of the Mount Hermon characters—some fellow conferees.

Myra Johnson. My critique partner and friend who traveled with me, shared my room, and showed me the ropes since she’d been to MH twice before. She also tolerated my quirks, prayed with me, and is the best friend a writer could have. (pic below with me and Camille)

Connie Turner. A lovely, funny, and brave lady who came to MH to see what direction God would have for her as she journeys through an unusual form of cancer. You can read more about her here.
As we filled out the forms on our arrival at MH, she quipped, “This is like going to Space Camp!” Indeed it was. They just didn’t let us man the space shuttle :-)

Denise and Dan Harmer. Cute, friendly couple whose joint writing venture is for Gen-X-ers. Our lives intersected frequently, and more than once I heard, “Hi Carla” ring out across the MH campus, followed by a wave from Denise and Dan. Oh man, I miss them already.

Camille Eide. A friend from the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers who is sprouting her writing wings. Something in the air at MH injected her with confidence as she gathered her nerve to make editor appointments. Guess what? She received two requests for proposals. Way to go, Camille.

Donald James Parker. Another writing friend from ECFL who I enjoyed meeting face to face. Camille, Don, Myra, and I met up often in Angie Hunt’s Sophisticated Novelist morning track.

Michelle Van Loon. Bubbly and living life on the edge. The first time I saw her she was in tears, taking in the beauty of Mount Hermon. It was a precursor of things to come. Michelle cried when she got the good news from her editorial review. She cried during the worship, and we both cried when we said good-bye. I love this gal from Chicago with the accent and attitude to go with it.

Susan Mackinnon. A quiet, engaging lady from British Colombia with a heart for sharing a story about healing in the midst of tragedy (A Tapestry of Grace). I am blessed to know Susan.

Suzie Austin. From Houston. Don’t you love that? A pastor’s wife and writer. Suzie prayed with me at breakfast one morning about an editor she thought would like my story. He did, and I will be sending him a proposal. Thank you, Suzie. PS: She looks way too young to have such spiritual wisdom.

Honestly, I could go on and on and on. I pretty much have. To others I met, my life is richer for having met you. Virginia Schneider, who confessed her fears to me. Hayley Cox, an adorable teen writer who loves fantasy. Ezekiel, a teen poet from LA who delighted us all and was the youngest recipient ever of the Mount Hermon Poetry Award. Sarah Sundin, whose heart beats with writing WW II historicals. Pam Halter, a children’s writer who I know from The Writer’s View 2.

My first goal in going to Mount Hermon exceeded all my expectations. If meeting these wonderful, writerly people was all that happened, it would have been enough. A great deal more transpired, though, and I will share some of that with you tomorrow . . . and more pictures!


Vicki said...

Sounds like a wonderful time! I've known several who've attended Mt. Hermon's and always return bubbling with joy! Nice to find your blog today.

Erica Vetsch said...

Love the report. You have a terrific way of keeping important things important. I look forward to reading more about your conference.

Myra Johnson said...

Lovely recap, Carla! It was a joy to share the experience with you! And I can attest that Carla did indeed meet, greet, and pray with just about everyone she encountered. Her sweet, caring, genuine personality won hearts all over Mount Hermon. (Just don't ask her to babysit if you happen to become ill during the conference--wink, wink!)