"Write, write, write," he said. Ignore the wind and the waves and write.

Houston's books available from: Your local bookstore, all on-line bookstores or click here at: (Just Dust Publishers)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mt Hermon Christian Writer's Conference

I haven't written much about the conference I am attending at Mt Hermon in April because I have been working on writing for the conference. And now there are only two weeks before I hit the road for the Santa Cruz Mountains. Wow! I'm so excited!

I have probably spent more time writing and rewriting than I ever have in a thirty day period of time. It feels good to know I can do it. I've sent off two proposals for editors at the conference to consider for publication. Although, I have been warned repeatedly not to expect to sell anything at the conference (I am assured conference contacts and networking are as valuable)I am poised to publish Julia, one way or the other.

It's nice to believe in a work enough to make that statement. There are few other things in life of which I am as sure that Julia's time has come. Isn't that bold (and maybe foolish of me?)

I'm sure that one reason I feel this way is that I am ready to move on. Besides the sequel to Julia, which I am well into, I have a hankering to write screen plays. So, Julia needs to move over to the "finished" category.

Mt. Hermon is doing an excellent job of matching up buddies to help first time attenders (me) and assigning mentors. I am thrilled to say that Brandilyn Collins (mystery writer) is my and 7 other people's mentor. We will meet as a small group to critique each other's book in progress. What a great help this will be!

I'll update the blog from there with details of the conference in mid April. For now, I better return to my rewriting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Page of Julia

I'm submitting the first 250 words of my book, Julia, to this contest(cut from Brenda Drake's blog, http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/)

I've really enjoyed this proces. Thanks, Brenda!

Name: Shelley L. Houston
Title: Julia
Genre: Suspense/Relational Drama

Looking up from her cell phone, she saw racing toward her the highway guard rail and cavernous cliff beyond. Dropping the phone, Julia clinched the steering wheel with both hands and simultaneously stomped the brake as she wrenched the wheel to the left. The boxy Scion careened around the curve of the mountain pass and then righted in the lane, rocking slightly from side to side.

“Schnikies!” Julia's veins coursed with adrenalin. I wanted to get there before dark, but arriving in one piece is good, too. She laughed at herself and rotated the tension from her shoulders.

Glancing in the rear view mirror she checked to see if anyone had seen her. No one. Good. But she did see the sun hanging low over a sawtooth ridge of evergreens silhouetted against a blood orange sky. Wow. Literally awesome. She inserted Beethoven’s Fifth in the CD player to match the mood.

After Julia drove another five minutes, she caught a great view of Mt. Washington on her right. The mountain’s single tower jutted from massive rock shoulders. Only a few dirty patches remained of last year's snow. Summer had demanded its due.

Summers can do that. Her mind flashed to last year's tragic June when her mother’s obituary listed Julia as “sole survivor.” The phrase still echoed in her brain like a call from the bottom of a well. Would her own obituary report she had no survivors?

“That was then. This is now.” She chanted this as if reciting a mantra.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Tuesday Post

Time to update my blogging friends. I am committing to once a week blogging—on Tuesdays.

In the last month I have been spending large periods of time writing or related activities. In the last few weeks, at least eight hours a day. The motivation is conferences. Two in April, Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference and Orange County Christian Writer’s conference. All kinds of doubts and hopes fill my thoughts about these events. I will be as honest as I can about those and try to document the outcomes for the benefit of readers. I am realizing I really should have done research with other authors before committing to go. So, here are my “wonders.”

I am wondering:
1) Will the $1200+ for one and the $900+ for the other really be worth the contacts, networking, and counsel I will receive by participation? That is without an actual book contract. I am not counting on that, although, of course, that would be the highest outcome—or would it?

2) This is a hard one…I don’t know how to state it. Somehow there seems to be what I’m going to call a “Christian Publishing Culture.” I’m not well acquainted with it, but it seems a club of people prefer each other, I’ll say. Is it inbred or can new comers break in? More on this later.

3) Are there “on years” and “off years” for conferences that I should have known about before committing?

4) Most importantly to me, is this really what God has in mind for my writing? To pursue this Christian Publishing industry as my venue?

5) What to wear!? Shallow as it seems, I asked this question of a group of writer friends I have on Facebook. The answers were helpful—casual can mean jeans and nice shirt, but remember, you are meeting your potential boss/clients. One woman, who is a long time professional says she always wears a blazer.