Stories from KY Christian Writers Conference

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I had a good time at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown last weekend. I don’t think it’s a big conference. I might not be a good judge of that since I’ve only been to it and ACFW last year. For sure, it’s not as big as ACFW. It is a helpful and inspiring conference. This is a photo of the teaching staff and this year’s co-directors. This was at the end and you can tell by everybody’s smiles that a. it’s over or b. we had fun. It’s definitely b. we had fun. Or maybe after two days of smiling, the lips were stuck in the upturned position.

I do think there were more writers there interested in non-fiction and devotional writing, but I had some writers show up for my classes. I tried to share some experience and hints with a couple of topics. “Dialogue – the Fizz in Fiction” and “Facts in Fiction – Using History in your Stories.” Not too many people were interested in the history one. I should have come up with a jazzier name for it. Say “Turning Truth into Lies.” “History – It’s Not for Wimps.” I have no idea how I would relate that to writing, but it might have caught the eye of potential participants. Actually, I thought my history in fiction class was probably the more interesting of the two, or maybe that was just me since I was talking about the history I’d used in my books.

I met a lot of interesting writers among the staff and the attendees. I gathered a few names for my mental future characters’ names file. One lady named Nellotie after her two grandmothers, Nell and Otie.  Then there was Mallonee. I love name tags. That’s because I do better with a visual aid in remembering names. Of course there were all the usual names too. Sues and Anns and Barbaras and Jackies. I met one woman who had twelve children. I told her she didn’t have time to write, but she said she did. She’s the one who matters most there. What I guess I was trying to say is that IF I had twelve kids I wouldn’t have time to write. I met a lady preacher who suffered some malady with a long name that made talking at first impossible and now several years later, very difficult. A preacher needs a voice. So she said she started writing to save her sanity. I know some writers, including me at times, who might tell her she was searching for sanity in all the wrong places. 🙂 But it seemed to be working for her. I met her husband too. He said he couldn’t hear and she couldn’t talk so they made a perfect pair. I got the feeling that was a much told joke.

Then there is Judy who is going through chemo – again. And yet she’s always ready to pray for you and whatever problems you might be having when some might think she’s got enough on her prayer plate. Plus she has a teenage son who called her last week to say, “Mom, I’m okay. I’m on the other side of the creek and the ambulance is on the way.” That’s what any mother of a teenager wants to hear!! He’s dropped a rock on his foot and all turned out well, but though Judy could see her son across the creek in their subdivision, she didn’t know how to drive to her son. But she found a way. Don’t moms always?

And I can’t not mention Barbara who went to church with a neighbor when she was nine and heard and heeded the call to salvation. When she got home, her mother asked her what happened to her, that there was a glow around her. I liked picturing her as a glowing nine year old. She grew up to be a preacher’s wife and to love writing.

Plus there was Michelle searching for a way to keep her Christian bookstore open. Praying for the Lord to give her the opportunity to continue to minister through her store. The electronic age coupled with the down economy is making it very hard on brick and mortar stores.

Last, but certainly not least, I was privileged to listen to Cecil Murphey speak three times. He was very animated while he spoke and very determined to tell the truth about writing. No mollycoddling. But at the same time he was encouraging. Maybe what he had to say was even more encouraging because he did straight out tell the truth. He has published 122 books – some under his name, some as a ghostwriter for other names. That is an astounding number of books. He knows how to do it and he likes sharing what he knows.

Thanks for coming over to hear my tidbit stories about the conference. Have you been to a writers conference? If so what made it good for you. The workshops? The fellow writers you were able to swap stories with? The one on one conversations with published authors or agents and editors? I definitely enjoy meeting more reading and writing friends.

 Talk to you again Sunday. I’ll be doing a book launch at the Corinth Christian Book Store in Frankfort tomorrow on Thursday, June 30 at 7 p.m. Would love to see you there if you’re in the area.