We lost Wifi… (Listen for the collective gasp…) Thus this post is coming a little late. As you can see from the pictures on this page, I had a fantastic time at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

And I discovered I’ve been using the wrong Twitter hashtag the whole time… So if you’re on Twitter, it was #brmcwc. I left off the m. If you do pop over to Twitter, look me up. I’m @The_Book_Ninja.

So on to the purpose of this post. The last two days are like a gynormous blur. Between everything I learned in classes to meeting new people even up to the moment I checked out, my brain was full, my heart was racing, and my eyelids could barely stay open. Somehow I drove the 2 1/2 hours back home and made it safe enough to write this post.

Author of “Rooms”, Jim Rubart

As always, lunch and dinner each day with faculty members was a highlight. Besides the chance to pick their brains a little more and hear what they had to say to the other writers around their table, we got to learn more about them personally and just hang out. And I learned something about those we may view as “celebrities.” They’re people – just like us. The difference between these “celebrities” and the ones you see in the news was that these “celebrities” know they’re just people. They didn’t see themselves as above the rest of us. Wow. That’s a lesson I will keep near and dear to my heart as I grow in influence.

Here are a few things Jim Rubart taught us in his marketing workshop:

  1. “Love me, hate me, just don’t ignore me.” If you get 1-star and 5-star reviews on Amazon on your book, GOOD! That means there’s no mediocreness to your work. Controversy sells.
  2. To be successful, you have to risk insulting people. “The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” ~Roy Williams
  3. Whatever you do, ask yourself, “How can I do this in an unusual way?”

Nancy Rue, children’s/YA writer

Taking Nancy Rue‘s class, “Writing for 8-16-year-olds” was an absolute joy. We had a great time playing with toys (one of my stuffed sea turtles came to class the last day), learning about our characters, and getting down the basics and quite a bit of in-depth writing techniques and tips like why you shouldn’t have run-on sentences in young adult books because they won’t hold the kids’ attention long enough to get what you’re trying to say… yeah. I think I need a little work on that! 🙂

Here’s a few tidbits from my 3 days of class with Nancy:
  1. It’s important to remember what it feels like to be a kid. (Break out the legos & play-doh!)
  2. Love your characters enough to let them suffer. (Hard one!)
  3. Read as much good stuff in the age group you’re writing for as possible. Model it. Study it.

Vonda Skelton, author of the “Bitsy” series

Day 4 I attended a workshop with the vibrant children’s author Vonda Skelton. That gal has got some energy! I’m sad I only got to spend a few minutes with her in one class. We have so much in common and she is one of the most friendly people I have ever met. I’ll be using Nancy Rue’s advice and studying Vonda’s book, Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island for my upcoming YA fiction series.

Vonda is also one of those lifelong friend types. We’ve already been in contact via social media and email, and I can’t wait to see her again in June and pick up my signed copy of the Hilton Head book.

Diana Sharples

This post would not be complete without a small tribute to the roomie from Hot-Lanta, Diana Sharples. This up and coming YA author is smart, I tell you! And fun, too! We’ve officially branded her “Biker Chick” and I for one look forward to attending a book signing where she races up on her motorcycle. Her work will be published soon – we’re believing together for the perfect opportunity to come her way and she’s talking with editors now!

Special thanks to my other roomie, “Simply Sue” Falcone, who introduced me to this conference and helped me save money by inviting me to room with her.

Awesome Al Gansky – BRMCWC Director

Last but not least, a very very tired Kristen having breakfast the morning of Day 5. Al Gansky, director of all things awesome at the conference, and his lovely signing wife (she used sign language for almost every song we sang), sat at my table. You can see evidence in this photo of just how tired we all were. I gave Al the old “separate the salt & pepper” magic trick. Poor guy was too tired and I made him suffer a few minutes before giving him the answer.

This week was amazing, overwhelming, and all things awesome wrapped up in 4 1/2 busy days. A few great new developments are in the works because of it. Let’s just say Al hasn’t seen the last of me and neither has the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference!

Photo courtesy Shutterstock, PlusONE

Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy Laidig is the founder of The Book Ninja. She has authored over 40 books, started over 50 publishing companies, trained over 10,000 authors worldwide, has her black belt in karate, and eats way too much chocolate. She currently changes lives through her students… one published message at a time, manages her two retail stores Toy Box Gifts & Wonder® and Nerdvana Outpost in the heart of her newfound hometown, Chambersburg, PA, is in the start-up phase of at least three new businesses at any given time, and generally causes anyone reading this bio to be out of breath. On her “off” time (what’s that?) she brainstorms business ideas with her awesome husband, the great Public Domain Expert himself, Tony Laidig, and hangs out with her two ragdoll kitties. She’s even been known to sleep... occasionally.

One Comment

  • Jason says:

    The conference certainly is a wild ride. I’m still processing everything and thinking through the lessons learned.

    I’m glad you had such a wonderfully overwhelming time there. 🙂

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