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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015

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Sep 30, 2009
The most important thing I took away from the Maranatha Writer's Conference is that Christian writers are genuinely nice people. There was a sense of camaraderie and an almost tangible willingness to help. I expected to be "taught" by experts and instead I came away feeling like I'd been mentored by colleagues.

One quote from Ten Kluck particularly sticks in my mind, "As a freelance writer you eat what you kill." My family is full of hunters so maybe that's why this stuck with me. This isn't an industry or a time in history when people are going to pay you for producing an 'okay' piece of writing. The competition is fierce and the publishing opportunities are shrinking.

So why bother? I have a story to tell.
Sep 27, 2009
Last week was amazing. I had no idea what to expect at my first writer's conference. I chose Maranatha's conference for two reasons. It's Christian based and it's close to home. Close is relative, but a six hour drive isn't too bad. I met people from as far away as Ethiopia and as close as Lansing, Michigan.

Every morning began with praise songs and a Bible study. Every evening was a devotional for writers. In between was enough information and advice to sink a Great Lakes Freighter. We began at 8:00am and wrapped up about 9:00pm. We heard from some of the "big dogs" in the industry; authors, publishers, editors, agents and those who wore many hats.

While not part of my original plan, I did meet with an editor who expressed interest in my book idea. He gave me his business card and invited me to contact him when I have the manuscript written. You could have knocked me over with a feather. That was beyond my wildest expectation. While it's no commitment of any kind, I've heard receiving this type of invitation called "the golden arrow" in the industry. I'm excited, scared and more than a little determined.

The week ended with another high note as my personal essay, "Wool: The Dirty Little Secret" was chosen first place it's division of the writing contest. The judge for this contest was the editor of The Saturday Evening Post. Talk about an ego boost! But at the same time, it was a very humbling moment. This was the first writing contest I've ever entered and so... where do I go from here? This gives me a lot to live up to and, hopefully, will sustain me when the rejection slips crowd my mailbox.
Sep 21, 2009
I'm sitting under the awning of our camper listening to wet leaves slap against each other above me. The rain has moved out but everything is soggy and foggy. Birds are calling back and forth to each other, none of the pretty songbirds, only those more raucous voiced. It's an interesting start to an important day.

After years of "thinking" about writing fiction, today I'm taking my first serious step to accomplish it. I'm attending the Christian Writer's Conference in Muskegon, Michigan. While I've written and published many nonfiction, technical articles, I've always wanted to do something in the realm of fiction. Lots of things held me back, those normal things that we get caught up in; family, job, farm, etc. Last year we cut the sheep flock in half due to the collapse of the market for lambs. This year Jeff went off to college. The garden is nearly done and winter is approaching. Those things that held me back are moving aside.

I wish I could say, "The Lord is leading me to write." I wish I knew that. I seem to see His hand working only in hindsight. But He has paved the way. The fact that I got this week off work is amazing. Smack between two of our Memory Walks is not a week I imagined my boss would let me take off. But she didn't blink an eye over it. Conferences are costly and I knew paying for room and board wasn't possible, but a State Park is only three miles south of the conference center. This spring Michael kept saying he wanted to take a full week in the fall to go camping and golfing. He was able to get this week off as well. So here we are. Just for icing on the cake, I wrote for and received a partial scholarship to attend. Okay, Lord, I'm getting the picture.

Without doubt the most difficult step was telling people what I am doing. Why? Because I might fail. I might fall flat on my face with a boatload of witnesses. That's a scary place for me to be. That's what makes this a real step of faith for me. I guess that makes my favorite of the "Seven Deadlies"... pride. And maybe that's why I'm here today. To face that and get past it, if for nothing else.
Sep 18, 2009
Tomorrow is the 17th Annual Memory Walk for Alzheimer's in Alpena. I'll be there, walking in memory of Grandma Lewis, Great Grandma Dermyer and in honor of Dad.

Sunday we leave for Muskegon, MI, for a week spent at P. J. Hoffmaster State Park. It's been a couple of years since we've taken the camper out for a full week. Michael plans to golf every day and I'll be attending a Christian Writer's Conference.

Saturday the 26th we'll be working at the Memory Walk in Traverse City before heading back home.

I'll see you back here in about ten days. With any luck, you'll see some improvement in my posts after a week spent at the conference!
Sep 12, 2009

This is an issue I've read a good deal about on other blogs, forums and Internet sites. It's a serious question for a Christian writer. It needs to be thoughtfully and prayerfully considered.


A writer aiming to market through a Christian book publisher, should assume that profanity, steamy sexual content and gratuitus graphic violence will be unacceptable. After all, targeting these readers is akin to preaching to the choir. Don't get me wrong, choirs needs preaching as much as anyone. This type of book should not be marginalized for it's more gentle content.

However, not all Christians who write are aiming their books at a Christian publisher. They may want to reach the unreached. Does that mean their standards should change? Surprisingly, I think so.

I'm not talking about their personal standards, because those should be solidly based on the Word. However, when aiming a book at the secular market, one should be prepared to write to that market. Many people will find a book in Barnes and Noble who will never set foot inside a Family Christian Store. The message can be the same, but the language, content and/or genre need to be different to get published and reach this audience.

Sometimes we need to step outside our own comfort zones before the people we need to reach will notice us. It's a balancing act to do this without crossing the line, being in the world without being of the world. Food for thought. Fodder for prayer.
Sep 6, 2009

“Why is she walking like that?” Dance watched the shepherd hobble to the barn.

“I've seen her move like this before.” Nip tucked her front legs under her and collasped into a wooly heap in the shade of the old willow. “She looks like this after shearing in the spring and in the fall.”

“But we haven't been sheared,” Dance pointed out.

“Obviously.” Nip directed an annoyed glance at her daughter.

“So why is she walking like that?”

Nip asked, “Did you not smell the air yesterday?”

“Something smelled funny coming from the farmhouse. That's why we stayed out back, behind the pond.” Dance frowned. “I would rather have been here, under the willow where it's cooler and the breeze always blows.”

“That smell was paint.” Nip nodded sagely. “You haven't smelled it before, but I have. The shepherd uses paint to color things. It smells bad for a short time.”

“Is it the smell that makes her walk so funny and tilt to one side?”

“No, it's her muscles. When she shears us, she uses muscles that get stiff and sore. Putting on paint must do the same thing. That's what makes her move so funny.” Nip burped up a cud to chew.

Dance asked, “Then why does she put on the paint?”

Nip mumbled around her mouth full. “Perhaps the farmhouse needs paint as much as we need shearing.” She shrugged her shoulders a little, getting more comfortable and closed her eyes, ending the discussion.

Young Dance watched the shepherd as she hobbled back to the house from the barn. Humans are odd creatures, all in all.

Sep 3, 2009
I love the word 'genre.' It's fun to say and makes you sound educated and refined. But what does it mean?

Christian author Gilbert Morris boils it down to the bare bones. His definition of genre is, “kind of.” It's the kind of book, the kind of movie, or the kind of play.

When I think about the books I read, I find that I'm all over the map. I read romance, contemporary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, non-fiction, biographies, cookbooks, cereal boxes and junk mail.

Do you have a favorite genre? Leave me a comment and let me know what you're reading!