The Oregon Christian Writers Conference is always a highlight of August for me.
This year I shared about my new book, Amazing Youth of WWII. It’s half finished now, and editors and agents begin to get interested at that point.
Some have asked to see the full proposal. Some want to wait until it’s complete. That will be another year. The research is very consuming. Here are some photos of my time there at the conference.
As I celebrate the fact that my book, Amazing Youth of WWII is about 50% complete, I want to tell you the story of one of the people who is featured. Chiune Sugihara is unique in that he was the Japanese consul in Kovno, Lithuania, and Japan sided with Germany in the war.
Sugihara struggled all night. Outside his window stood thousands of Jews who would be deported to concentration camps if forced to stay in Europe. Should he disobey orders from Tokyo and hand out transit visas to them. Sacrifice his career or his conscience? Which?
I’m excited to be in Jerusalem researching my upcoming book, Amazing Youth of WWII. I believe that today’s young people will be inspired as they read the stories of these youthful heroes in the past who did right regardless of the consequences to themselves.
While visiting my son an d his family in Japan, I was invited to Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) to read and share from my books. For two whole days, I visited classes from kindergarten to fifth grade. What fun we had! I read The Way We Do It In Japan to the younger children and read from The First Christmas In Origami to the older ones, answered their questions about writing and did some origami with them.
The parents of one little girl, pictured below, whose name was Geneva, rearranged their schedules to bring her to see me, though she didn’t attend CAJ. They had read and enjoyed The Way We Do It In Japan all of her short life. She was so very excited to get my other books, as well.
No More Excuses
The drive to Oregon Christian Writers one day conference from Portland to Salem was easy, but I forgot to get proper directions to the college where it was being held. Around and around I went. When I finally found the location, the correct parking lot, and right entrance, I was late. I grabbed my name tag at the registration desk and hurried toward the events hall.
“Lord,” I begged, “Show me why I’m here. I’ve attended so many of these sessions. I know the information. It’s practicing it that is difficult.”
I opened the door and stopped short. On the platform was a writer I had seen before who is challenged by cerebral palsy. Her speech is labored and difficult to understand. She can only type with two or three fingers, and yet she is called to write. And she does.
At this event she sat on her scooter beaming as someone else read her talk. She told of her struggles with discouragement and God’s continued assurances that He has called her. She rejoiced that He has now provided someone to type for her. And I stood and cried—deeply touched. There was no doubt. I knew why I was there. With her determination to write regardless of difficulties, who was I to be discouraged. You may visit her blog site: https://morethanlegs.wordpress.com/.
As if He needed to drive in the point, God spoke to me again through a friend who had a stroke a couple of years ago. Sue attends a Bible study that I also attend. She comes with a helper. Though she can walk, she walks so very slowly.
We had completed a series of studies, so there was an opportunity to share about how our lives were impacted. Sue stood and very slowly walked forward. We waited, some went for an extra cup of coffee as, with great effort, she made her way to the microphone. She shared about how the ladies have blessed her life. We blessed her? We are the ones blessed. I felt so humbled—as if I needed to sit at her feet and learn from her.
These two dear women taught me a new respect for those who struggle to do things I consider common place, like type a blog or walk across the floor. And as long as I can express myself, I have no excuse for not sharing God’s truth with a thirsty world.
In January members of my critique group, Royal Pendants, celebrated the publication of a new book with Carole Shelton, one of our members. We had helped her critique Cosmic Chaos from its conception. In fact she had us on the edge of our chairs from one session to the next anticipating the unfolding of a great story. Now it is a reality, and I bought a copy for my granddaughter, who highly recommends it.
At the Oregon Christian Writing Fall Meeting, Sat. I met a long term mentor, Stan Baldwin, a critiquing partner of years past, Roberta Hagland and two new writing friends, each with great promise. What a wonderful time to study and learn from each other.
Jayne Loseke, a young children’s writing friend
Jessica Smith, a new writer friend and Geneva.
Geneva and Stan Baldwin a mentor of hers
Genega and Roberta Hegland former critiquing partner
“Yes, I like these articles. Send them to my office,” said a magazine editor.
“I think this children’s story will work for our magazine,” said another.
“I like your, Hotline To Heaven proposal. I’d be willing to represent it,” commented one agent.
“Send me a full book proposal,” said another.”
How sweet such words are to an author’s ears. And the author was me at the 50th Oregon Christian Writer’s Summer Conference earlier this month. I had seven editor and agent meetings—all positive. Of course, no contracts were signed, and I can’t be sure of the final result, but the initial responses could hardly have been better. I’ve worked like a little beaver this last week since I returned. I sent in the articles and story. Now for the book proposals—two of them.
I’m very grateful for God’s amazing favor on this conference. The atmosphere was extremely welcoming, friendly. Editors, agents, writers, staff members were all on the same level—all working to see God glorified. What could be better?
About a year ago I submitted a story to an on line publication called Breathe Again Magazine. The story was about how my hair got burned off by my curling iron just before my daughter, Crystal’s wedding in Israel. Since I didn’t hear anything, I assumed it wouldn’t be published. Wrong. Earlier this month I received notice that they had published it. You can see this amusing story (it wasn’t amusing at the time) at www.breatheagainmagazine.org.
“You should join AWSA,” my friend and critiquing partner Yvonne Ortega told me sometime back.
“What’s that?” I asked.
I learned the acronym stood for Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. At first I wasn’t very interested, but I agreed to go over their requirements and mission. I discovered that AWSA is open to writers and speakers who have written at least two books and/or meet certain other criteria.
It is a group of very loving, encouraging writers and speakers. Along with other activities, they have a conference once a year which honors outstanding editors and publishers. Amazing speakers and workshops provide opportunities for members to grow in their craft and fellowship with each other.
Most of all AWSA supports writers and speakers in their efforts to grow in their Christian ministry. I’m glad to be part of such an organization.