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Carol Award Winning Friends

I’m pleased to know three Carol Award winners this year. 

The Carol Awards are the American Christian Fiction Writers recognition for the best Christian fiction. This year the ACFW conference was held from September 17th through the 20th in Dallas, Texas. While I didn’t attend several people I know did, and received awards.

Nadine Brandes

Carol Eaton and Nadine Brandes at the 2015 ACFW Carol Awards.

A Time to Die, the first book by Nadine Brandes, came to my attention because of the praise it received from both readers and reviewers. I found the plot, pacing and characters to be superior to that of most speculative fiction and planned to watch her progress. I’ve also recommended the book several times. Earlier this year I joined an online critique group. Only after become part of the group did I discover that Nadine was one of the members. While I’ve never met her in person, I look forward to working with her.

I’m thrilled that Nadine Brandes won the 2015 Carol Award for speculative fiction for her novel, A Time to Die.

Carol Eaton

Carol Eaton is the moderator that brought me into the online critique group. When I joined I knew Nadine by reputation only, and Carol not at all. While I’ve never met her in person, after many emails and critiques, I feel I’ve gotten to know her. However, she never mentioned that any of her work might receive an award.

I’m very pleased to say that Carol Eaton has won the 2015 Carol Award for speculative fiction for her manuscript, Null.

Melanie Dobson

While I’ve met Melanie Dobson twice, I’ve never read anything by her. My wife has enjoyed reading several Dobson novels, but historical romance is not my usual read.  

Melanie Dobson winner of the 2015 ACFW Carol award for historical fiction

However, I’ve met her twice. Last year she presented at the Southwest Washington Writers Conference, which I helped organize and I spoke with her briefly. This year she presented again, but unfortunately brought a Mac to an all Microsoft facility. I was called upon to help, and together with Melanie we melded the two operating systems in time for her class.

I wish I had the opportunity to congratulate Melanie Dobson in person for winning the 2015 Carol Award for historical fiction for Chateau of Secrets. I’m sure I’ll be seeing the novel soon.

One of the nicest things about being a writer is the chance to meet such talented and creative people.

My Local Conference

The 2015 Southwest Washington Writers Conference is over.

Marketing expert Veronika Noize and Kyle Pratt at the 2015 Southwest Washington Writers Conference

Seattle has conferences for writers, and so does Portland, but until last year this area lacked that level of education and networking. The first year of the conference, I both presented and helped with the organization and operation. This year I just helped. While both conferences were a success, this year attendance rose and the operation ran smoother.

The morning of the conference we came in early to complete final preparations. Julie Zander soon discovered the main auditorium was locked. She got it open just in time for me to turn on the projector, computer, adjust the lights and test the microphone. I finished as the first few people walked in.  

Authors Kyle Pratt and Jennifer Shaw Wolf at the 2015 Southwest Washington Writers Conference

As with last year, we had both a Keynote address and a mini-keynote. Jane Kirkpatrick, author of more historical fiction books than I care to count, provided the keynote. She spoke on the skills a writer needs to develop and often needs to discover within. Scott Eagan gave the other keynote. As an agent, he spoke on what his profession could and could not do for a writer. He spoke well, but as a purely indie writer, I’m not looking for an agent.

This year attendees had their choice of twelve workshops on everything from writing poetry, to editing and marketing. Melanie Dobson spoke on putting romance into genre writing. Unfortunately she brought a Mac to an all Microsoft facility. Again, I was called upon, and together with Melanie we melded the two operating systems in time for her class.

Authors Lisa Burnette and Jane Kirkpatrick at the Southwest Washington Writers Conference

I attended the Writing for Young Adults and Story Structure classes by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. I think she did both presentations well, and I learned things in both. However, I looked forward to the class with Veronika Noize on Marketing. I missed it last year because our presentations were at the same time. I’m an author and have little interest in marketing, but as an indie writer, the responsibility falls on my shoulders. She had many good ideas which I look forward to trying over the next few months.

Both years the conference has been organized by a few members of the Southwest Washington Writers Guild. As I mentioned, I’ve been a part of both efforts. We’re already planning the event for next year and I’m looking forward to it.