Jack Cavanaugh, novelist and longtime friend, published a short story on his blog last week. Rather than posting the whole thing, he drew a card from publishers in the 1800s: he published it in serial fashion--like Dickens and others--releasing a short portion of the story each day of the week.
That got me wondering about art of short fiction in the twenty-first century, so I asked Jack if he would join me for a short interview. He agreed. Enjoy.
Alton Gansky, Director
A little while back I wrote "Unleash Your Secret Copywriter" and announced a contest for best tagline/slogan and Scripture verse to capture the spirit of BRMCWC 2011. Quite a few of you joined in the fun. Some suggested just a slogan; others just a Scripture verse. Several of you did both. A few people gave not one tagline idea but a dozen at a time. What fun.
Less fun, is choosing a winner. There were so many good ideas that I've had trouble making up my mind. I sought advice from others and finally narrowed it down.
Drumroll please . . .
The slogan for Blue Ridge 2011 comes from Lindsay Banton: Write courageously.
The Scripture theme was submitted by Lori Stanley Roeleveld: "We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV)
The passage epitomizes the roll of the Christian writer. Our works comes from our faith; out labor is fueled by love for God and the people of the world; and we endure (persist) because of the hope we have in Jesus.
Congrats to Lindsay and Lori. Just as soon as I get their mailing addresses, I'll be sending an autographed book their way.
Thank you to everyone who participated. There were so many good ideas.
For many years, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference has enjoyed the presence of conferee Gina Holmes. In 2011, she will be on faculty (a second time I believe). I remember sitting with her and several other conferees at one of the "rocking" stations--a place with rocking chairs and view of the verdant terrain--and talking about novels. That was some years ago. She, along with some of the other folks in that rocking chair meeting, went on to start Novel Journey, one of the most successful and highly praised blog sites dedicated to writing. Successful as that was, publication remained just out of her grasp. That is, until May of this year when Tyndale House published Crossing Oceans. The novel quickly became a bestseller and starting attracting attention like a magnet draws iron filings.
Yesterday, I learned that Gina's book won an INSPY award. Here's a blurb about the book:
Crossing Oceans focuses on issues we must all face, such as life, death, relationships, and the choices we make when faced with our mortality. Through her protagonist, Genevieve “Jenny” Lucas, Holmes addresses these through Jenny’s final months of battling terminal cancer. Jenny makes difficult choices about her daughter’s future, and her own care and relationships. In the midst of this difficulty, Holmes places the message of faith very subtly throughout the narrative. She leaves her characters flawed and human, which makes them extremely relatable.
I consider Gina one of the many success stories coming out of BRMCWC. Congratulations, Gina. You deserve it.
In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded, Novel Journey—a literary blog named one of Writer’s Digests best websites for writers. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans, won an INSPY award for excellence in Christian fiction. To learn more about her, visit: www.ginaholmes.com or www.noveljourney.blogspot.com
10 Things You Can Do Now to Promote the Novel You Haven’t Even Sold Yet (Workshop)
When you’re constantly receiving rejection letters from publishers or agents, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is publicizing a novel you can’t even seem to sell, but if you wait until your book is releasing or even about to release, you’ve waited too long. Best-selling & award winning novelist, Gina Holmes will give you practical steps to put you in the best position to promote your work so that when the contract comes, you’re well ahead of the game.
The Making of a Best-Seller (Workshop)
As founder of Novel Journey, Gina Holmes has interviewed today’s mostacclaimed and best-selling authors and found common threads that not only helped her debut Crossing Oceans hit CBA and Amazon best-selling status and can help every author improve their odds of success.
Meet Caleb Breaky, new faculty member. 2011 will see the reintroduction of a BRMCWC track for teens. One of our instructors will be Caleb Breakey, a young man who turns teens into writing rock stars.
Caleb Jennings Breakey earned a degree in journalism at the age of 20 and has interviewed superstars like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and musicians Emerson Drive and Casting Crowns. He’s also been interviewed by the police (seven squad cars) after mistakenly being arrested as a suspected bank robber . . . on his honeymoon.
A graduate of the Christian Writers Guild’s Craftsman Course, Caleb was one of seven writers fortunate enough to sit at the feet of Left Behind author Jerry B. Jenkins for three days last summer. An avid reader, he’s been privileged to preview several of Ted Dekker’s ARCs, including his latest, Immanuel’s Veins, in which his review is printed.
Caleb’s website for Teen Writers, www.CalebBreakey.com, reaped 50,000 hits in its first 100 days of existence, and now Teen Writers are joining him in growing the site. They refer to themselves as “Breakians” and send Caleb heartfelt testimonials (http://www.CalebBreakey.com/about/).
The words Caleb longs to hear at the end of his life were penned hundreds of years before his birth: “But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land” (Numbers 14:24). Caleb is also a full-throttle believer in Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations (Alex and Brett Harris, founders of The Rebelution).
This is Caleb’s first time on the BRMCWC faculty. Connect with him at www.CalebBreakey.com, his interactive Facebook Fanpage (http://on.fb.me/aaGAdq), Twitter (http://bit.ly/be54Ne), or YouTube (http://bit.ly/aRY4lU).
Here is a little demonstration of the newest digital magazine to cause a buzz. I'll admit it: I'm impressed with what Sir Richard Branson and team have done. An amazing product and I'm sure there will be more to come. As content providers we need to be aware of these changes. What do you think? Is this the future?
A New Addition to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
We’re pleased to announce Edie Melson's as the new Assistant Director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. So many of you already know Edie Melson, but for those who don’t let us introduce you.
Edie is a freelance writer and editor with over 16 years experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, publishing over 700 articles in 2010. She also has a popular writing blog (www.thewriteconversation.blogspot.com) and is a frequent contributor to many others. As a sought after writing instructor, her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers all over the country. In keeping up with the leading edge of all things digital Edie has become known as one of the go-to experts on Twitter, Facebook, and social media for writers wanting to learn how to plug in.
Last year, in addition to being part of the faculty, Edie helped organize, facilitate and moderate the Yahoo Group and Facebook page for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and Southwest Christian Writers Studio. These additions allowed writers to begin their conference experience months before arriving in the mountains and continue the experience throughout the year.
Edie brings experience and passion to the conferences. Her addition will help BRMCWC and SWCWS go to the next level of training and encouraging writers.
Join us in welcoming Edie to the team—and stay tuned for even more exciting announcements to come!
On Monday I wrote about the joy I had at finding an old collection of stories while moving books from the garage into the house (a never ending task, it seems). The book is a collection of oft overlooked science fiction writer Henry Kuttner. Ray Bradbury wrote the introduction, and wrote it as only Bradbury can. In the introduction he discusses his early years with Kuttner:
At our first meeting I was seventeen, which means--in my case, anyway--I was so unsure of myself that I did a lot of running around, shouting, and speechifying to hide my confusions and private despairs. Kuttner put up with this for an inordinate number of years and then gave me the best piece of creative advice I ever got.
“Ray,” he said one day, “do me a favor?”
“What?” I asked.
“Shut up,” he said.
“I beg pardon?”
“You’re always running around, grabbing people’s elbows, pulling their lapels, shouting your ideas,” Kuttner replied. “You give away all your steam. No wonder you never finish your stories. You talk them all out. Shut up.”
And shut up I did.
Instead of giving my stories away free, by mouth, I began to write a story a week. Since that time I have never spoken about my ideas until, in their final form, they were on their way East via airmail.
Sometimes we fall so in love with our own stories that we can’t wait to share them. We talk them out instead of write them out. Such is not the way of writers. Our craft demands a closed mouth and busy fingers over keyboard.
Kuttner did Ray Bradbury a favor by being blunt. (Do notice that it took a few years before Kuttner decided to lay the truth on the line for Bradbury. His bluntness was reasoned and well considered.)
Perhaps we want reassurance that our ideas are interesting and compelling. Maybe, because writing is such a solitary affair, we hunger to share an idea before it is ripe. Could it be for some of us that we, like Ray Bradbury, are hiding our confusions and private despairs? Whatever the reason behind the compulsion, most writers learn what Bradbury learned: write it, then talk about it.
Alton Gansky is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina and the Southwest Christian Writers Studio in New Mexico. He is the author/co-author of 40 books and is founder of Gansky Communications. He lives in central California.