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 The winner of this contest for unpublished writers will get a $10,000 contract from Zondervan.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.
Richard Mabry says
As you already know, a lot of what’s good in my road to writing has happened because of contacts made and instruction received in association with Mount Hermon, including being in your mentoring group one year. What was that you were teaching? The snowball theorem? Anyway, congratulations to Camille and thanks to you for your continuing efforts to help aspiring writers.
Wish I could make it there this year–got a grandbaby due about then–but I’ll be there in 2010.
Judith Robl says
It has long been a desire of mine to get to Mount Hermon, but schedule, distance and finances keep conspiring against me.
My “consolation prize” this year is a three day mentoring retreat with a super editor (who shall remain nameless because I don’t have permission to mention).
I’m looking forward to having my non-fiction proposal whipped into shape for shopping by May 1. Whoopee!!!
Have a blast at Mt. Hermon. (I know that’s a repetitive redundancy.)
Andra M. says
That is so cool, Camille!
Thank you both for mentioning the deal and the cost of the conference. It sounds worthwhile on so many levels.
Unfortunately this year I can’t make it. I’ll definitely keep it in mind for next year, though.
Pam Halter says
I attended Mt. Hermon for the first time last year because of Cec Murphey’s generousity. I loved it! Can’t make it this year, but I’m hoping to get back again sometime. It was totally worth traveling all the way across the country (I live in NJ). Make sure you have good walking shoes. 😉
I hope you’ve got a pile of cash coming in from a new advance, Randy, because it’ll take a lot of shush money to keep the Shaving Babbit off the screen.
Cecelia Dowdy says
I’ve been hearing some great things about the Mount Hermon Conference for a long time! Sounds like something I’ll need to check out in the future!
Lori Benton says
I’ve taken Camille up on her offer and am very excited to be attending the Mt. Hermon conference for the first time. Thanks, Camille, and to the conference coordinators for this wonderful offer.
Lynn Rush says
Awesome interview. Camille, I wish you the best of luck in the contest and your writing. 🙂
Sheila Deeth says
There was a song we did in the (much-hated) music class at high school. It had a line “I wish I wish, but it’s all in vain…” and it’s running through my head. Sounds a great deal and I wish… But my novel did make it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon ABNA competition – mine and 499 others. So I’ll have to see if dreaming is any less fruitless than wishing.
Mary DeMuth says
Anyone on the fence about this conference should jump off the fence and go. It changed my (publishing) life. That’s where I met my agent, then started selling books. Go, go, go!
Tonya Root says
Oh, if only… 🙂 I know I can’t make it this year, but my husband and I are setting a goal to get me there next year!
Wow, what an offer! Only problem: its hard to find places for my 4 little kids to stay this close to the date. So no Mt Hermon for me this year 🙁
But I’m hoping to make it to the Oregon Christian Writer’s Summer Conference.
This is one conference on my list. It looks that I will be able to go next year.
Christina Berry says
Oooo … dare I go? What do you think, Randy? As a “published” author whose book isn’t out yet–but, SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT, is available for pre-order online or at your local bookstore–how I can rationalize attending?
I can’t say it’s to sell the book, nor do I have a product in hand. Would it be better to wait until next year?
I am new to the writing arena. I have been reading your blog and site for a few weeks. I am serious about the career and found you through the www.acfw.com website. Since I need a little more time to work on my novel, and since I live in the southwest, I am planning on attending the Christian Fiction Writers conference in Denver, CO in September. Is it too early to ask for insite into that conference. THANKS! PS – I look forward to the next ezine.
Camille Cannon Eide says
Thanks Randy, and all! I’m looking forward to this year. Mt Hermon is like none other. (That being a really good guess since it’s the only large scale conference I’ve been to.) So if you’re planning on going — Christina — you better not pass up a deal like this!
Morgan – I hope to go to OCW this summer too – I’ve only done the one day conferences. I need to meet Lisa Samson, my late night Lyrics-Wars buddy. 8-D
Someday I’m going to make it to one of these big conferences, as I keep hearing amazing things about them. However, right now, money and family keep me closer to home… though I’m looking forward to a conference in Calgary, Alberta at the end of this month (okay, it’s small, but it’s the chance to meet other writers and talk writing for two days. 🙂
Jessica Thomas says
Anyone got some extra change and want to sponsor my trip? 😉
I’m a newbie novel writer and have already set my sights on attending Mt. Hermon next year. I have what may be a silly question to all you seasoned conference attendees out there.
Is it at all acceptable or logical to bring a family along? Of course, I wouldn’t expect them to tag along with me to the conference events. But what if they share my hotel room and enjoy the sights while I’m busy learning & making connections? Or is it recommended to leave them behind and just stick to business?