Become a Writer In Residence

Do you dream of uninterrupted writing time, surrounded by nature’s beauty? Would you benefit from living and writing for several weeks among a community of artists?

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Why not apply for an Artist In Residence Program?

Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Artist in Residence Programs at the Headlands Marine Mammal and Nature Conservation Center in San Francisco. If chosen, you will be awarded a residency of four to ten weeks to devote to your craft. Residencies include housing, studio space, chef-prepared meals and much more.

Are you ready to learn more? You can visit the Headlands website for details about the AIR Programs and application process. If you’re interested, be sure to apply before the June 15 deadline. There is a $45 application processing fee.

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Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced a Writer in Residence program? Do you plan to apply? Why or why not? 

Putting Pen to Paper with Judi Braddy

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Judi Braddy, Presenter

Surely everyone’s mother said it: “Whatever’s worth doing is worth doing well.” This is especially true regarding the ministry of Christian writing. Since every biblical truth carries the weight of eternity, it is imperative that we make certain it is communicated accurately, clearly and with excellence.

Fact is, words put on paper—or computer—live longer than those simply spoken. (Some say internet postings may never be retracted—yikes!). Understanding the quality and far-reaching influence of our work, it’s apparent why sloppy, sappy writing should no longer be accepted just because it’s “Christian.”

The good news is that more care can be taken clarifying written words than spoken ones. One author defined writing as “refined thinking.” Indeed, if words are to be taken seriously and shared liberally, they must be crafted carefully.

Applying a few of Paul’s spiritually-specific admonitions to Timothy, this workshop will attempt to educate by sharing some basic tips and techniques to help Christian writers answer the following questions:

  • How Do I Know If I Have A Gift/Talent For Writing?
  • How Do I Develop That Talent?
  • What Are Some Basic “Nuts & Bolts”?
  • Where Do I Find Ideas For Stories?
  • How Hard Do I Really Want To Work At This?

Join us for Putting Pen to Paper

Saturday, May 16th, 9:30am to noon

At Oasis Christian Mission Center, 10255 Old Placerville Rd #1, Sacramento, CA 95827

This Get Inspired! Workshop is free for all Inspire members and only $15 for non-members!

Judi Braddy is an author, motivational speaker, licensed minister, wife, mom and (very young) grandma. The author of six books–Prodigal in the Parsonage; It All Comes Out in the Wash; True North;  Camp Gramma; Everyday Sabbath;  and, Simple Seasons–Judi has lived through scads of seasons and turned over a number of new leaves.  Basically she and King Solomon have come to the same conclusion—there is a time and season for everything.

She and husband, Jim, live in Elk Grove, California where he serves as a denominational executive. For more information about her writing and speaking, visit her witty website at www.judibraddy.com or email her at judibraddy@aol.com.

 

5 Lessons from the Creative Road

The Creative Road.

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We’ve probably all heard the famous Robert Frost quote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  The road less traveled, by its very nature can at times be a lonely road yet it is an adventure. Yet you and I have chosen this road for our own individual (read: warped) reasons. We skip happily along some days, and we sit and swat at the flies on other days.

I can say that I came late to this path in life, writing my first screenplay at the age of forty-nine, but I think that the creativity has always been there in one form or another. The lesson there: Never give up on your dreams. I caught my first wisp of the entertainment bug while in business school thirty years ago. Although I traveled the wide path for a while, the desire for this scenic byway was always there, ready to bloom when opportunity presented itself.  In my relatively short time along this wandering way, I have picked up a few gems of knowledge.

Lesson one:  Always be ready. Always be prepared and preparing at the same time. Learn all you can from those around you, keeping your dream alive as you move through the maze. You are never done learning and you are never “there.” Keep improving no matter how good you think you are. And don’t be afraid to teach to others what you have learned. They say that you know what you know when you teach what you know, or something like that. Being willing to give back will not only ingrain the information in your head, it will also gain you respect in the community, which is a commodity more valuable than gold in any market.

When I was first starting out, I read anything I could find… Screenplays, blogs, websites, books. I had to learn the lingo. I think the first time I was asked if my story was “High Concept” was when I discovered that deer-in-the-headlights is not a good answer. What’s a tag line or a log line and what is the difference? I have to admit, I still have no idea what a Best Boy does.  I’ll have to look that one up some day. I’m guessing that it is not the guy who goes to get the sandwiches.

Lesson two:  Talk the talk and walk the walk. I learned quickly that you had to have the lingo down to pitch a movie. The catch phrases that producers are looking for: high concept, grounded, four quadrant. Know what they want and how to communicate that you have what they want. And walk the walk. When you pitch or audition, you want to own the room. This takes practice, but it is an essential sales tool. Practice, don’t wing it, or you’ll never hold their attention long enough to make the deal. Ask anyone in sales, and they will agree. If you do it right, you will convince them that you have exactly what they want and that it was their idea all along.

Speaking of those mysterious god-like creatures that we call “Producers,” they are actually surprisingly human. So are agents and managers and everyone else in the industry. I have been truly blessed by the generosity of those in the industry willing to share their knowledge with me. They say that Hollywood is the only place on the planet where you can die from encouragement. That may be true, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t burst my bubble just yet.

Lesson Three:  Be yourself (unless you are a jerk, then you are probably better off being someone else.) People in the industry are interested in working with you, but they need to know who you really are in order to make that decision. Yes you need to have talent, but can you spend five years in the same room with that producer and not kill each other along the way. These are not people to be nervous around or afraid of. Be yourself, network, get to know them. If it’s a good fit, they will bring work to you. This also brings me to lesson four:

Lesson Four:  Get out of your cave. Many creatives are cave dwellers, especially writers. We like to spend our time in our own creative world. The preferred method of communication is email as it involves no real contact and doesn’t interrupt our creative “flow.” However, when you rely too much on email, you miss out on the real chance to make a connection with these people. When you pitch via email (which I have done) you miss out on the chance to see the producer’s reaction. You can’t counter their doubts or answer their questions. You have no idea what you are missing. Get out of your cave. We work in a visual industry, be visible.

One of the shocks I had to get over when I started was the time things take to get done. Everyone is busy and wants to be polite, but they don’t always have the time to respond. I come from an industry where if you didn’t answer an email within an hour, you were late.

Lesson Five:  The sands of time move slowly, Hollywood moves slower than that. Making movies takes time. The bigger the budget, the longer it is going to take to get a decision. This just makes sense. If you are going to put 100 million dollars on the table, you’d be darn careful to make sure you had it all right too. I have found that waiting months is not unusual. As long as the conversation is still open and they are still “looking” at it, that is good. That means they are lining up or trying to line up the various parts before they commit. This is a good thing. Of course if they just stop replying at all, move on. In the words of producer Pen Densham “Follow up is good. Stalking is bad.” Don’t be a stalker, if they don’t reply, move on.

Overall, my adventure is just beginning. Many of you have been down this path before me. I appreciate you blazing the way. Others are coming up behind me, following my lead and the lead of those around me. I hope each of you find my adventures helpful to you in some way. I look forward to meeting and working with many of you in the future. Best of luck in your adventure down this path. God bless and don’t forget to wave as you pass by.

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Do you currently write screenplays? Do you aspire to write screenplays? 

David HydeDavid M. Hyde is a screenwriter, screenwriting critique group facilitator and Board of Directors member for Inspire Christian Writers.  He has completed three screenplays, one of which was selected this year for the Sacramento International Film Festival, and two short scripts, one of which was first runner up in 2014 for the 168Film Write of Passage speed writing contest. He was also a quarter finalist in the Creative World Awards, 2014 screenwriting competition.

Becoming Known Part 3: Reciprocal Book Reviews

bookstore_bannerReaders have a million choices when it comes to what book to read—especially when they are shopping online. Honest book reviews are often what sells a book to a reader even more than the book’s description. Even if a book has been recommended to a reader, before they click the “buy” button, most readers still check the reviews to see what others have to say. But it’s hard to get people to review your book.

Other writers are in the same boat. They too need book reviews. If I knew a writing colleague would be posting an honest book review on my book, I am happy to post one for them. It takes a bit of time to read the book and a bit of effort to create a review that is helpful and honest, but the results are worth it: a review for your book and knowing that you’ve encouraged someone else.

Last month we chatted about how to use the technology on Amazon.com to post a book review. Beth Thompson also wrote a terrific article last month on how to create an effective review. You can refer to both articles to help your readers post reviews of your books. You can also refer to the articles when suggesting reciprocal book reviews to your writing colleagues.

One of the things I love about reciprocal book reviews is that it is one of those practical ways to follow the teachings of Jesus. He said:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12; see also Luke 6:31)

Even secular society quotes this maxim, calling it “The Golden Rule.” It’s golden because it is wisdom that is precious; how we should live our lives each day. Love your neighbor writer as yourself.

So if you want other writers to provide you with book reviews, offer book reviews to them. You both profit from doing so.

There’s an added benefit to this. When you post a review of someone else’s book and sign it with your writing name, you get your name in front of readers—perhaps even people who will one day be reading your books.

Send out review copies. Request reviews when the book is launched. If it is already launched, it’s still not too late. Reviews are always helpful.

Seek out writing colleagues. Maybe they have a book out. Maybe they’re still writing their first. But suggest a reciprocal book review. Ask for one from them and promise one to them.

Do unto others.

Do you write book reviews for fellow writers? If so, we’d love to see them! Post a link to a recent review in the comments. 

 carol_petersonCarol Peterson is a Christian woman who can’t stop writing about God, His great big, beautiful world and our place in it. Carol writes for women and children and blogs at: http://carolpetersonauthor.com

She writes to educate, entertain and inspire–children, their teachers and parents, other writers, and readers of all genres.

 

Inspire Authors to Launch 4 Books on Saturday April 25

This Saturday, April 25 we have three (three!!) Inspire authors launching four (four!!) new books in the Greater Sacramento Area. What a day of celebration it will be! I hope you’ll join us for the launches, which take place in two locations:

BecauseofGraceCryingintheMorgueFirst, we’ll celebrate the launch of Jane Daly’s Because of Grace and Mary A. Allen’s Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark.

Because of Grace: A Mother’s Journey from Grief to Hope

Every mother fears losing her child. When that horror became a devastating reality for author Jane Daly, everything she believed in became distorted. As she tried to come to grips with a life that would never be normal again, Jane found God’s presence leading her from the pain of loss to the peace that passes all understanding. Take a walk with Jane Daly through this story of sorrow and healing, and experience the touch of God that ultimately carried her from grief to hope.

Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark

Based on an inspiring true story, Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark is filled with deep emotional truths that speak to the heart of women. With real and sympathetic characters, the story weaves a picture of God’s tenacious love and the joy that could not be contained in his precious daughter.  Both titles will be launched at the Edgewood Clubhouse, 5700 Spyglass Lane, Citrus Heights CA. 

Stop by between 1-3pm to purchase signed books (or get your copies signed), visit with Jane Daly and Mary Allen and enjoy refreshments and giveaways.

Next we’ll gather at Face in a Book for the double-launch of Lara Van Hulzen’s new “Romances with a Twist of Faith.”

RememberMe gettome3Remember Me

Detective Ben Russo is in trouble. He just can’t remember why. When a car accident lands Ben in the hospital, he can’t recall anything about his life. What he does know is he’s enchanted by a tiny nurse named Tess, but can’t shake the feeling they’re both in danger. After being left at the altar, Tess Jansenn moves to a new town and starts over. When her ex-fiancé, Ben, shows up in the ER where she works with no memory of her, she must decide – tell Ben who he is or let him remember on his own. Can Tess forgive and forget what drove them apart, and when Ben remembers, will the consequences of his choices make it too late for love?

Get to Me

Aimee can identify a killer. Dane can keep her safe. But is he willing to face his past to do it? When Aimee Jansenn stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad she comes face to face with a killer. As the only witness to a crime, she falls into a deadly situation and is in need of police protection. Dane Scott has sworn off women. Until a fireball named Aimee enters his world. Telling himself they’re just friends, he vows to protect her. Can his heart follow suit or will she change his mind about love for good?

Lara’s launch will be at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., #113, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762 from 4 to 6pm. 

Lara will have a drawing for a special gift basket with copies of both books and some other fun goodies!

Self-Publish Like a Pro with Lara Van Hulzen

Most of us want to write books that makes a positive impression on our readers–maybe even a life-changing impression. In order to accomplish that, we need to ensure the books we write are published professionally, whether we publish through a traditional publisher or choose to self-publish. If you’ve ever considered self-publishing, you’ll want to learn how to self-publish like a pro.

I’m impressed with the way Inspire writer Lara Van Hulzen approaches self-publishing. Her books look and read like they’re traditionally published. So, I interviewed her about her self-publishing process to find out what she does. Here are the questions I asked her.

About Self-Publishing:

  • With so many publishing options, why did you choose the indie publishing route?
  • When did you decide to self-publish?
  • What was your first step?
  • Your book is very polished. Tell us about your editing process.
  • Did you do the formatting yourself or did you hire someone for that?
  • Your covers are gorgeous! How important is it to have a professionally-designed cover?
  • How did you find a great cover artist?
  • Your second book, Get to Me just released. What did you do differently with it?

About Marketing:

  • What steps are you taking to market your books? Are you working with a publicist or a launch team?
  • What have you learned about marketing since you started this publication journey?
  • You’ve received some great reviews on Amazon and other sites. What advice can you give writers seeking reviews of their self-published titles?
  • What has surprised you the most so far in your publishing journey?
  • Any last words of advice for writers who plan to self-publish?

RememberMegettome3If you’re in the Greater Sacramento area, be sure to stop by Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills on Saturday, April 25 from 4-6pm for a book launch and signing party.

You can find Lara at LaraMVanHulzen.com and sign up for her newsletter.

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What questions do you have for Lara? Leave them in the comments for a chance to win a copy of either Remember Me or Get to Me. We’ll draw a winner on Friday, April 24th.