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.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


It’s hard not to feel the majesty of God at Mount Hermon. Ramrod straight redwoods stretch beyond the clouds. Branches laden with cherry blossoms reach out like welcoming arms. Daffodils and ferns spring at will from the spongy forest floor. There’s also a cross at the top of Mount Hermon (a 30 minute trek, I’m told), and I’m sure that would have been the ultimate place to experience God’s presence. And many of the athletically gifted made their way to the cross in the predawn of Palm Sunday. For me, I worshipped with the masses that morning, celebrating with more than four hundred others our oneness in Jesus—no matter what our individual creeds or denominational leanings. Amazing. Precious.

It’s easy to see why writers want to experience “The Mount.” It’s such a rich learning environment. I attended Angela Hunt’s continuing morning track—The Sophisticated Novelist. Impressive, huh? The amazing, warm and funny Angie really knows her stuff. I’m reading one of her novels now (Doesn’t She Look Natural?), and I can hear Angie’s voice in the words. She taught her famous “plot skeleton” and gave us homework assignments every night to apply to our works in progress. A very hands-on, beneficial series. Love that Angie!

One of the highlights was the much-touted “debate” between Nick Harrison, editor at Harvest House, and James Scott Bell, best-selling suspense author. Nick extolled the virtues of character-driven novels, while Jim insisted that it wasn’t a story until you had a plot. A lot of good-natured sparring. The winner? Hard to say. Kind of like “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Other workshops that I enjoyed were Andy McGuire’s “Surprised by Details” and Cindy Martinusen’s “Puzzle Method: The Out of Order Way to Write.” There were some very good panels from editors, agents, and an amazing session by Sue Brower of Zondervan about writing popular fiction. Some tips from Sue Brower: The marketplace is reader driven. Publishing is a business. There is a place for unique and innovative writing that gives the readers what they want. And last of all, a book that creates “buzz” is an editors dream.

For me: What I learned at Mount Hermon has brought me closer to my dream. I just want to write beautiful prose that gives readers hope in this sometimes crazy world. I’ve been privileged to have the inspiration and instruction. Now it’s time to get back at it—polishing my sentences, filling in those plot holes. And being thankful that I can do what I love so much.

1 comment:

Gina Conroy said...

Sounds like a wonderful time! Maybe next year!