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A Time to Endure

Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference, Day Three

The third day of the 2015 Conference required endurance. 

Susan May Warren teaching in a cold room.

I know I’m late with my summary of the third day of the conference, but I have two things I must mention. The morning coaching class taught by authors Susan May Warren, James Rubart and Jeff Gerke, was always insightful—but cold. The weather in the northwest has been hot and dry this summer and the management of the Jantzen Beach Red Lion hotel must have turned up the air conditioning in an attempt to cool the entire region.

One person said, “They don’t need to give us ice water, just tap water and in a few minutes we’ll have the ice.” Another person bought coffee for the entire class. Bless her, Lord.

So, now you know why Susan Warren is wrapped in a blanket as she teaches class.

The Cascade Awards Banquet

The Cascade Award banquet climaxed the third evening of the conference. As a finalist for the Cascade Award in published speculative fiction for A Time to Endure, tension grew in me with each passing minute. At my table as my own private support group were my critique partners Barbara Blakey, Carolyn Bickel, and Kristie Kandoll. Other award nominees at our table were Cheryl Secomb, for unpublished children’s fiction, Bethany Hayes for unpublished nonfiction, and Shari Carroll, for unpublished devotionals. Shari Carroll went home that night as a Cascade Award winner, the rest of us remained finalists.  

Ben Wolf and Kyle Pratt after the Cascade Awards banquet.

The other nominees for the published speculative fiction award were Gary Bray, author of The Republic of Texas 2022 and Ben Wolf, editor-in-chief of Splickety Publishing Group with his novel Blood for Blood. I’ve never met Bray and didn’t find him at the conference, but Ben Wolf is a friend and I’m glad he won the 2015 Cascade Award for published speculative fiction.

I’ll try again next year. And maybe Ben won’t!

Night Owl Critique

Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference, Day Two

The second day of the 2015 Conference ended with a critique session.

 

I started the day with the first session of a coaching class taught by authors Susan May Warren, James Rubart and Jeff Gerke. Today, in both small groups and the class as a whole, we discussed the building blocks of great fiction. In particular we covered the opening line and paragraph of our stories. The class will continue tomorrow and the next day.

Later I attended a class with Sheila Seifert, editor of Focusonthefamily.com. Her presentation on Developing Your Voice was interesting is an aspect of my writing that I need to work on. Next I attended Greg Johnson’s, Finding Readers: The Ultimate Key to Success. Greg is the founder of WordServe Literary Group. I’m a writer and would prefer not to market, but in the changing publishing world it is a growing part of my business day. I need to understand this aspect of the business.

Kyle Pratt helping critique manuscripts at Oregon Christian Writers conference

In the hotel ballroom for dinner, I sat with Harvest House publisher and senior editor Nick Harrison, author and editor Jeff Gerke and my critique partner Carolyn Bickel. We talked about the changing book market and how it affects companies like Harvest House.  I finished the day helping with critiques. I attended at least one critique group for many years and believe they are a vital part of the editing process for new and mid-list authors. So, when Julie Zander asked me to help, I was more than willing.