I had thought I was done blogging about writing conferences, but had a conversation last week with one of my loyal blog readers, Camille Eide, who happens to be in my local critique group.
Camille is one of three finalists in a really great contest being run jointly by the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and a large publisher, Zondervan. The winner of this contest for unpublished writers will get a $10,000 contract from Zondervan. Pretty cool!
Anyway, Mount Hermon is running a very special deal now, and Camille told me all the details, and I thought it would be fun to do an interview with her about it. Here ’tis:
Randy: What do you write and how long have you been writing?
Camille: As far as fiction, I’m writing inspirational contemporary romance, or romantic drama. Think of a Nicholas Sparks love story with a strong faith inspiring theme. And maybe a happier ending. Love Worth Fire is the story of a bitter young widower whose second chance at love means marrying a dying woman. I’ve been writing all my life, but I began writing a novel and seeking publication two years ago.
Randy: You went to Mount Hermon last year after writing for about a year. Was that a good decision? What happened there?
Camille: It was a life-changing decision, one that confirmed my suspicions about being a writer. I blogged about it when I returned, including how I got to sit beside the sleeping Snowflake Guy on the plane ride home.
[Randy interrupts: Yes, on the plane home, I was Xtremely thrashed after too many nights staying up late talking to writers. I have never gone to bed before midnight at a conference, and it’s not unusual to see the clock strike 2. So after I read Camille’s chapters on the plane, I told her, “Get an agent,” and then promptly conked out.]
Camille bravely continues after Randy’s interruption: So I went to my first large scale writer’s conference hoping to sponge up all I could about the craft and connect with people in the industry. I did learn and connect, much more than I had hoped. And I got a huge boost to my writing career. My novel was not finished, so like a good newbie, I had no delusions about pitching it. But after getting back surprisingly good critiques, this burning knot formed in my gut (which I knew couldn’t have come from the excellent food they serve) and I knew I had to pray down some nerve, take advantage of the opportunity and talk to an editor, which I did.
The editor asked me to send the entire manuscript when it was finished. Which was cool. So I got a little cocky and approached a couple of others and they asked for it too. If not for those requests, I probably wouldn’t have had a conversation with Randy on the flight home that convinced me I needed to get my act together and get an agent. I would probably still be debating whether I should shred or flush the novel. Or both. But, as it turns out, I finished the thing and entered it in a publishing contest sponsored by Mount Hermon and Zondervan. My novel made it to the final three (winner of the publishing contract to be announced at 2009 Mt Hermon). And it landed me an agent. I’ve decided not to flush it.
Randy: Mount Hermon is giving a great deal right now. Tell us about it.
Camille: Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, coming up April 3-7 2009, has made a tremendous offer. If you have never been to this conference, and if you register to attend by April 1, and if you mention on your registration form that someone already registered (like me or someone else you know) invited you, you will receive $200 off the price of the conference!
The regular cost varies according to your room choice, it ranges from $845 and up, so minus $200 if you take them up on this offer and attend this 5-day conference for $645. This includes EVERYTHING: tuition, materials, accommodations, excellent food, snacks between sessions, and all the editor/agent appointments and high quality workshops, morning tracks and keynote evening sessions you would expect from a professional writer’s conference. The morning mentoring tracks are awesome too (10 students-to-1 teacher, intense daily critique sessions) but you need to sign up for those ahead and pay a little extra.
Check out the conference here: mounthermon.org
But even though it’s a professional conference, the atmosphere is casual, serene and inviting. Mt Hermon is a sprawling, secluded campground nestled into a gorgeous redwood forest and includes scenic hiking/running trails. The evening sessions are awesome, beginning with a sweet time of worship (I love it when hundreds of people from various places and backgrounds worship the Lord together . . . makes me think of what it will be like in heaven). The setting is beautiful, peaceful and inspiring! Of course, the company isn’t bad either. You’ll meet editors, agents and writers from every facet of the media. I made some great friends with whom I still keep in contact. It really is an awesome conference. I came away from it last year full, excited, changed and inspired.
If you sign up, I or the person you mention will get to share in the savings too. If you have never been to Mt Hermon and you register by APRIL 1 and give the name of the person who invited you, that person will also get $200 off our conference cost. I think this is a huge offer on their part, and certainly makes going to a high quality Christian writer’s conference more affordable for us all.
Are you up for it? I had the most amazing time last year. I hope you will consider going with such a huge discount being offered. It is well worth the price! Let me know if you decide to go on my invitation. I would love to see you there.
Randy sez: Thanks, Camille! I am already reviewing the manuscripts of the folks I’ll be mentoring at Mount Hermon and starting to get that “this is gonna be great, I can hardly wait” feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Folks, if any of you decide to take Mount Hermon up on this offer, remember to mention that Camille Eide sent you. Don’t tell them I sent you, because I’ll be a faculty member, so I am not paying any fees that Mount Hermon could refund. Whereas Camille is paying her way, and if you get a $200 discount through her referral, she’ll get one too. If you are already going to Mount Hermon and if you influence one of your friends to go who’s never been before, BOTH you AND your friend will get a $200 discount. This is a terrific deal.
Also, Mount Hermon, like many writing conferences, has a scholarship fund that can provide partial help to those in financial need.
You may be wondering if it isn’t too late to sign up. Nope. Every year at Mount Hermon, there’s at least one person who signed up for the conference THE DAY BEFORE IT STARTED, and I’ve seen it happen once or twice that somebody decided to go THE DAY OF THE CONFERENCE. At that late date, things are usually all full, but right now there are some openings. I hope to see some of my loyal blog readers there!
This year is an anniversary year for Mount Hermon, so they are planning to show some photos of events from years past. I have a gnawing suspicion that some photos from the infamous “Shaving Babbitt” scam which I ran six years ago may surface. However, if I can get my hush money payments in on time, maybe they won’t show those shots.