September 25, 2017

ACFW 2017 Conference Wrap-Up

I've been asked quite a few times what conference I went to this past weekend and what it was about. I'm glad you asked! ACFW stands for American Christian Fiction Writers and it is a national group of writers who write for the Christian market. They hold a conference once a year with many workshops and courses to learn about the craft of writing, as well has host pitch appointments with editors, agents, and mentors. I believe there was around 500 writers at the conference, and let me tell you, they were a bunch of beautiful souls willing to share their expertise and wisdom about the writing life. I went to the contest because I am writing historical romance and need to learn and connect with other writers.

Thursday was the early bird session, which I paid extra for because James Scott Bell was teaching for the whole day. He was totally worth it! His knowledge of the craft is immense and gave great tools for enriching your story.

Thursday evening I sat in on the Bethany House panel, with their editor/marketing team. It was fascinating to hear the behind the scenes action and what they are looking for in fiction. After that, I went to an agent panel where I learned what agents desire in a client, what to expect when you query, how to query, and on and on. It was terrific information that I needed as I am now seeking an agent.

Friday I went to Allen Arnold's course called Using Chaos As Your Canvas. Oh my, this course was beautiful. I took eight pages of notes while my heart burned within me. You know when the Spirit moves inside your soul, nudging you to pay attention because something is happening? That is what I felt like in this class. I would share more, but will save it for another blog post.

Friday night was spent with my lovely Alley Cats, co-writers at The Writers Alley blog. I was in on the start of this blog years ago and stepped back in this year. I love these spunky gals who make me laugh and encourage me on this writing journey.

Saturday was the day for classes. I took one on Setting, one on Writing in Layers, one on Indie publishing, and the last was an Agent's View on Traditional, Indie, and Hybrid Publishing. This last one was fascinating. I have never been opposed to indie publishing, but didn't have much knowledge about it and was concerned about the marketing aspect. This class had so much practical information and really spelled out the pros and cons of each. I went away really encouraged by all I learned.


Then there was the Gala. This is a dress-up affair with a delicious meal followed by an awards ceremony. Jerry B. Jenkins was given the Lifetime Achievement award. Awards for Agent of the Year, Editor of the Year and Mentor of the Year were given as well. Then the Genesis awards were given. This is the contest for unpublished authors (You submit a small portion of your manuscript for judging.) I was a finalist in the Historical Romance category. The Carol Awards are for published books. It felt like the Academy Awards and was so exciting!

I was so blessed by the conference. These writers are a gracious bunch, so willing to help each other and cheer each other on. I came away encouraged, motivated, and humbled by God's goodness.

Now, it is time to to plot the next story!


September 16, 2017

2017 ACFW Conference Mix & Mingle Blog Link-Up


Thank you Laurie Tomlinson for creating this blog link up so we can get to know each other before the 2017 ACFW conference!


Here’s how to play:
– Copy/paste the questions and fill out your own answers in a post on your own website and paste the URL to that specific post (not your homepage) using this handy link-up tool at Laurie Tomlinson's site.
Here are my answers!
Name: Sherrinda Ketchersid
Location: Irving, Texas (almost part of Dallas!)
What you write/tagline/trademark: I write clean + inspirational historical romance!
Place in the book world: One completed manuscript and about to start it's sequel. I'm entering many contests and am starting the query journey.
On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space: Bring them on. The bigger, the better.
Something VERY serious: How do you take your Starbucks? Cold brew coffee with lots of cream and no-calorie sweetener.
The unique talking points that will get you going for hours: Bible Journaling, lettering, time-travel romance, Scotland, and Netflix...currently Blacklist and Granchester.
Loved ones at home you’ll be missing: My sweet husband, though he will be joining me for the Gala!
Conference goals we can pray for? This is my first conference, and I am terrified of having to say my pitch. Still can't do it without stumbling around. So don't ask me! lol Actually, please do...I need the practice. 
Anything we can celebrate with you? I am a finalist in the 2017 ACFW Genesis historical category and the 2017 Lone Star inspiration category. 
One or two ways we can help you build your platform? You can sign up for my monthly newsletter by clicking here! You can follow me on twitter here and instagram here.
Now head back to Laurie's site to meet others who will be at the ACFW conference!


September 04, 2017

Preparing For A Writing Conference



I am going to the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference this month. It is being held at the Gaylord in Grapevine, Texas on September 21-23. I am so excited about this conference, because it is my first big conference and I am going to learn so much.

I already have business cards made and ready to hand out. Evidently, your business card is a great way to make connections and friends along the writing journey. Who knew?

Another item I need to prepare is a One Sheet. This is a one page sheet that includes a blurb about your book, rather like a back cover copy. It also includes a bio and picture. I believe I have the information ready, though I need to put it together in an engaging way.

Yesterday I finished the final edits on my manuscript. I cannot even begin to tell you how good that felt. The process came with a huge learning curve, yet I learned so much, and hopefully the skills I learned will help my next story.

Of course, in preparations for a conference you cannot forget about the all-important grooming for the event. I need a nice dress for the Gala, as well as some "business casual" clothes. I've lost 25 pounds in the last few months, so I really need to update my clothes! I wonder if I can tempt my daughter into shopping with me next weekend. She has a good eye and makes me pick things I wouldn't normally choose.

The most important thing to do in preparing for a conference is prayer. I'm praying daily the Lord will order my steps and my words so that His will is done in my life. For open - or closed - doors. For new opportunities. For the right path for me and my writing.

Can you think of anything I've missed? Please share!

August 14, 2017

Blogging Consistently and Eclectically

When you are writing with the hopes of publication, there is so much more to the dream than just putting words on a page. These days writers are expected to have an online presence before they are even published. It's a lot of pressure and takes up time that could be better spent writing, but if we are serious about publishing, we need to learn to go public.

I've had this blog for quite awhile and have been fairly consistent until the last couple of years. Now that I'm writing again, I need to blog more consistently. The thing is, I don't remember what made it so easy before.

Maybe it's because I just wrote what I was interested in, what I was doing at the time, or maybe I just did a book review. No pressure. Just me. Not what I thought people expected.

So I'm going to attempt to do that again. It will be an eclectic collection of posts, so if you are following me because of the summaries of John's excellent sermons that I post, then I apologize. Please feel free to unfollow me if you don't care for the new regimen. I promise it won't hurt my feelings!

Now....to think of something to blog about this week. ;)


July 13, 2017

Hallelujah: A Call to Praise

The last psalm in the Bible, Psalm 150, ends with one word.

Hallelujah

This word means 'God be praised'. It is a call to praise.

Through this psalm we can learn much about the praise of God.

PRAISE IS BEYOND US

Praise the Lord. (Hallelujah)
Praise God in his sanctuary;

    praise him in his mighty heavens.


Praise him for his acts of power;

    praise him for his surpassing greatness. (vs. 1-2)

Praise is other worldly. The psalm talks of God's sanctuary and His might heavens. There is praise there. It speaks of His surpassing greatness and His might acts of power. He is supreme.

He is a God who can do more than we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-22) He is beyond our scope of understanding, scope of knowledge, and scope of imagination.

He's a mysterious God, this otherworldly God of ours. He is deserving of our hallelujahs.

Activity: Look for the thing that is awesome to you. A sunrise, a flower, a mountain. Let it draw you into His presence.

PRAISE IS CREATIVE

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals. (vs. 3-6)

Just as the vast array of instruments listed here to praise the Lord, so is the body of Christ in its variety of gifts. We are all unique and bring a different facet of creativity to the body, His church.

God accepts each and every one's differences. He desires and loves your unique abilities. He delights in the special way you serve and glorify Him.

God delights in your unique hallelujahs.

Activity: Look for the creative ability God has given you to glorify Him. Can you sing? Draw? Count change? Organize? Encourage? Give a hug?

PRAISE IS SPIRIT-FILLED

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord. (vs 6)

The praise we lift to the Lord is spirit-filled because it is our breath that speaks of His glory and sings of His love.

You see, the word used for breath is Spirit. His Spirit. The two are interchangeable. When God breathed into Adam, it was with His very own Spirit. That very Spirit is the One inside of us.

We commit every breath to praising God and breathe Him out into the world.

The world needs your hallelujahs.

Activity: Breathe. Inhale, knowing we breathe in God. Exhale, knowing we share God with the world by who we are and what we do.

Hallelujah!

How are you praising the Lord today?


***Taken from John Ketchersid's sermon July 9, 2017***


July 05, 2017

People Watching At The 4th of July Fireworks Show

As an introvert at heart, I do not like crowds. But when I am in a situation where I am in the middle of a mass of people, I watch and listen. It is a great place for creative writers to use their imagination and make up stories. I took my camera with me and used my long lens to capture interesting people. Let's see who I found.

Now here's a closet superhero buff. He has hordes of comic books stuffed under the bed and in his closet. He secretly daydreams about being a caped superhero, saving pretty girls and making the world a better place.

Ah...here are two friends that are total opposites. The one on the right is a free spirit. She has some short shorts on with some wild socks and high tops. Her friend on the left is a bit more subdued. She wishes she could be more "out there", but just can't quite make it. She settles for a navy skirt with flowers and some denim high tops. Hey...at least she mixed the skirt and high tops!


Well....words aren't coming. Strange, I know. These friends like to stand out. I think they've tried mixing Halloween with Game of Thrones. The only thing I can think is....courage in numbers???
Okay, now I get it. The last girl has a bunch of flyers in her hand. After being handed one, I found out they are out advertising for the musical Pippin being shown at the Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch, Texas. Their shows are amazing!
Some people aren't very brave and settle for sticking a flag in their hat. This guy doesn't really care. He didn't want to be there anyway. See the tinge of gray? He is in the throes of mid-life crisis and just wants to do what he wants. 
  
This guy is ready for the sun to go down and get the fireworks going. Why must he sit in the heat just to save a seat close to the display? Ugh...the band is sooooo loud. 
 
This momma is tired. She has her cute bandana tied around her head, with her hair twisted around it. It was all she could manage with 3 little ones running circles around her.

This sweet lady loves the 4th! She even dyes her hair to match all her July 4th paraphernalia. If only she had some sparkly red earrings to go with her outfit. 

Dude!!!! Check me out. I got spirit. 
 
Ah, the sad lonely chair...all decked out by mom, and abandoned by the energetic 3 year that should be sitting there. 

Okay, no story here. I just want to say this band was amazing. They play cover songs and are incredible. They could sound like the original! All the music was upbeat and there were lots of people dancing. Just a great concert!
Check out Inside Out on Facebook.
 All I have left are a few fireworks. Farmers Branch puts on the best low-level fireworks show around.





Do you love to people-watch? Have you ever made up stories about the people you see?


June 29, 2017

Strength for the Journey

I spent a lot more time in my Bible today. Some days, well, you just need more. I am going through Psalms in my daily readings and was in Psalm 84. Verse 5 really resonated with me as I feel like I've been going through my days relying on my own strength. Ugh...that gets so tiring!

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey.   From the Voice 

When we rely on our own strength, our own path, our own abilities, we grow weary. It's hard to do it all alone. The thing is, we aren't created to do it all alone. God gave Adam a helper, Eve. He Himself walked with them each day. We were not meant to live in isolation.

We have godly people all around us who can carry the weight for us. They can pray you through, encourage you to lean not on your own understand, and love on you to bring you peace.

We have God and His strength to lean on. When we can remove the burden of isolation. We can push off the load of having to be strong in our own right. We can enjoy the journey and treasure every step of it!

Are you leaning on God's strength or taking it all on yourself?


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