Saturday, July 30, 2011

Write to Inspire Conference

American Christian Fiction Writers and Inspire Christian Writers are co-sponsoring "Write to Inspire" conference, August 26 and 27 at First Baptist Church in Elk Grove. You don't want to miss it.

The featured speaker is editor and agent Karen Ball who will lead the following sessions:

  • Editor, Friend or Foe?
  • What’s in an Agent?
  • Refine Your Craft
  • The Power of Storytelling (in Fiction and Nonfiction)
  • Taming Your Dragons
  • Write Your Passion
You can also pitch your project to Karen and participate in the writing contest. All the registration information is on the Inspire Christian Writers' website. I look forward to seeing you.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lake Almanor-Northern California’s Hidden Jewel

Lake Almanor, CA is our favorite hide-away. We camp in the Lassen National Campground on the west shore and enjoy exploring the surrounding area as well as fishing the lake, Feather River and Hat Creek. The picture is of John fishing at Hat Creek. In case you're wondering why this story is in Pathways to Publication, I wrote it as an exercise in writing travel articles.

Majestic pines, a view of the snow-capped Mt. Lassen and cobalt blue water of Lake Almanor show off one of God’s most magnificent masterpieces. My husband, John and I enjoy camping in the National Campground on the West Shore, near the quaint and friendly town of Chester, California.
Every day of our vacation is filled with lots to see and do. The mornings begin with walking my dog, Maggie, on the trail, which starts at Prattville (approximately two miles south), goes through camp, travels along the edge of the lake and ends halfway to Chester. Maggie and I walk only a small section of the trail, but we enjoy the tall pines and hear the sounds birds chirping, the pounding of woodpeckers and the barking of squirrels. We often see graceful deer families too. Then John and I head for the Coffee Station, an old auto service station that’s been turned into a coffee-house, complete with Wi-Fi and delicious pastries. I usually sink my teeth into a frosted cinnamon roll, with melted butter on top. To die for! Sometimes we feast on a full breakfast at the Kopper Kettle where the dining is always filled with hungry patrons.  
Treasure Hunting:
Our favorite thing to do in Chester is shop the Forget-Me-Not Thrift Store that benefits hospice in Plumas County. Upon entering, John always likes to ring the bell for service and most of the time the volunteer is at the counter. She winks at John and hollers,
“I like your hat,” says John. “How much?”
“Not for sale,” she smiles.
Sometimes we spend hours rummaging through other people’s give-aways in search of our treasure. We love being there more than anything else. The second best place is on the other side of town—Second-Hand Rose. It’s owned by an entrepreneur and her daughter. One time I found a Royal Albert teacup and saucer worth much more than what I paid for it. Another time I found a suede jacket in my size and favorite color (purple). Awesome!

John and I have fished Lake Almanor by trolling as well as anchoring. Once when we were in the middle of the lake, we turned off the motor and didn’t anchor. We drifted wherever the wind and current took us while reading our books or watching other boats. The recently rebuilt boat ramp at the National Campground is excellent (and free) for those interested in fishing or skiing.
I’m having fun learning to fish the Feather River and Hat Creek. Part of the Feather River runs through Chester by the library, another place we enjoy hanging out. Casting into the river is more fun for me than dragging bait up and down the lake. Every place along a stream where John and I fish is postcard picture perfect.

Sports Activities:
Besides walking or biking the trails at Lake Almanor, you can enjoy horseback riding, water skiing, jet skiing, canoeing and kayaking. John and I haven’t participated in these but one year the mile high bike trek around the lake inspired me to purchase a bike. The Bodfish Bicycle Shop, not far from the Coffee Station, hosted a refreshment stand so I had to check out the bikes and found the perfect one for me.

Mt. Lassen National Park:
Mt. Lassen draws lots of tourists and for good reason. In John’s earlier days he climbed to the top several times. The view of Lake Almanor is fantastic. For others like me, we can see amazing beauty while driving through the park or walking through the meadows or along Hat Creek. 

High mountain lakes (Echo, Silver, Butte and others) formed when Mt. Lassen erupted, and are great for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Night Life:
Most weekends during the summer, the restaurant at Plumas Pines Resort has live music and dancing. People come from up the lake and park their boats on the dock to dine on the terrace that overlooks the lake. John and I enjoy quiet dinners in camp, but I think sharing a steak on the lake would be kind of romantic. Maybe John will take me there this summer.

Our Favorite Hide-away:
Lake Almanor is our favorite hide-away, a place to read, write, explore or just kick back. It’s close to any place we want to be and it’s our home away from home. Most definitely, it’s Northern California’s hidden jewel.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Your Christmas Letter 2011

It's not too soon to start thinking about what you'll write in your Christmas letter. I suggest collecting the pictures and stories you want to use and putting them into a folder marked Christmas 2011. You'll be surprised how much easier this will make your work.

When December comes, you'll have events to attend, shopping and decorating to do. And if you are like me, you will be scrambling to get your letter done before Christmas. I have even missed the deadline and given my Yule Log a New Year's theme.

Remember our Christmas letters are one of the great opportunities we have to share the God's love with our families and friends. We can show our love by recognizing accomplishments or special memories made during the year.

Thank you, Lord,  for the families and friends You have given us. Help us to shine your love and light in their worlds. Amen.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ending Your Query

You've grabbed your editor's attention with a great opening and outlined your take on an area of interest for her readers. In the closing you must sell yourself. This is the part of the letter that is cousin to a resume. Tell what qualifies you to write the story whether it's life experience or writing clips. If you're a beginner, do not say you have not been published. Instead, describe your experience or research on the topic.

This is the place for experienced writers to say where you've been published and include clips with your letter. If you submit your query by e-mail, be sure to include links to your clips and/or your website.

Don't miss the opportunity to ask for the assignment. I usually end my queries with something like, "I appreciate your consideration of my story "Title," and I look forward to hearing from you. All that is left is a polite closure. I like to use "Blessings" for the Christian market and "Kind regards" for the general markets. Be sure to include your contact information in your signature.

If you haven't already done so, I hope you'll purchase your copy of Queries and Submissions by Thomas Clark.