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Tips from the Pros: Grace Fox

Dear Friends, Today, I want to invite you to visit me over at the Christian Authors Network, where I’ve posted an interview with author Grace Fox. Those of you interested in writing, speaking, and publishing will find some great tips here from this author/speaker/missionary, who is also my friend. She has lots of interesting titles including her most recent one, pictured here. Check Grace–and her books–out at her own website, For His glory,  ...

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On Writers and Rhino Skin

“Any writer who can be discouraged, should be.”—Harlan Coben As a little girl, I excelled in school. Even before I was old enough to earn A’s, I received E’s (for “Excellent.”) But there was one area in which I didn’t excel. Look at my second-grade class picture, and you’ll find me on the front row: cat’s-eye glasses, red cheeks, and clasped hands. I donned my first pair of glasses earlier that school year. But the red cheeks and clasped hands? Those appeared a few minutes before the photo shoot, when two of my classmates told me I pressed too hard when I colored. The problem (and subsequent sobs) came not because I thought I was a great artist, but because I wanted to do everything right. Hence the tears and red cheeks. Hence the soggy tissue stuffed between those clasped hands. Hence the consistent report- card comments: “Does not receive criticism well.” “Needs to work on responses to criticism.” My teachers could well have said, “Needs to develop rhino skin.” These ponderous mammals have skin more than ten times as thick as the human epidermis. We’re talking tough! So yes, I needed to develop thicker skin. I needed to understand that not everyone would like what I drew (or wrote). And I needed to gain the strength to persevere no matter what. Today, I believe that my tender heart is a God-given quality, part of what makes me a good writer and intercessor. But if I’m not careful, my sensitivity can also drag me down, leaving me stunned and silent after a negative review or trembling after a harsh conference critique. And, if I’m not careful, it can block my desire to improve my work. At the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, in a special Early Bird workshop on Wednesday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m., I’ll teach about “Rhino Skin: Why We Need It and How to Get It.” I’ll share how I moved from the tearful second-grader to the writer who has no more fear in giving or receiving critiques of her own. And I’ll teach how you can grow that tougher skin, too. Unless you’re a zoologist, you probably don’t care about the thickness of a rhino’s skin. But as a writer, you should care a lot about the thickness of your own. Join me (it’s not too late to register for the conference) and we’ll learn together. P.S. If you missed my tongue-in-cheek poem about Sam-I-Am and the CCWC, check it out...

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Sam-I-Am and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference

Dear Friends, Some of my earliest writing was poetry. It wasn’t good, but it rhymed. And working on the words helped me learn more about language, rhythm, and meter at a young age. Thanks to a supportive teacher, I was a published poet in the seventh grade and won a national writing award for my poetry that same year. So when I wanted to blog about the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in a fresh way (read last year’s “Top Ten Reasons NOT to Attend the CCWC”) , I went back to my old standby: verse. This won’t win any awards, but I hope it does convey at least a bit of the joy of the CCWC as well as the foolish excuses that keep people from attending. Enjoy–and I pray you will “meet me on the mountain” in a few more weeks! For His glory, Marti Sam-I-Am and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)   ©2015, Marti Pieper   That Sam-I-am He wants to go To a writers’ conference Don’t you know? Which should he choose? What will it be? He’s headed off to CCWC! In Colorado, So you say? 13th-16th Days of May? Sam-I-am, I Can’t come with you I’ve got too many Things to do. Oh sure, I like to write and all But share my words? That’s not my call. Now, Sam-I-am Don’t mess with me I will not come Just let me be. I’m sure the setting’s Gorgeous, yes. I’m sure the teaching’s Bound to bless. And agents, editors, Authors, too Are all prepared To meet with you. But Sam-I-am I don’t know how I can afford it. Tell me, now. Marlene says God Will make a way? Since she’s in charge, I’ll have to pray. And if I go I’ll learn so much And use my words The world to touch? Oh, Sam-I-am I just don’t know How I could come to Colorado. But yes, I long To see God do Great things in me, Great things in you. I want to write What others need. I want to offer Truth they’ll read. So Sam-I-am, I’ll go with you, To Estes Park The conference, too. We’ll listen, learn We’ll pray and praise, We’ll see God’s glory, Learn His ways. But one more question, Sam-I-am. Does the dining hall serve Green eggs and...

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Where’s Marti? Spring/Summer, 2015

Dear Friends, It’s been a while since I’ve posted a speaking schedule update. And although I don’t have a great number of items to add, I am serving on faculty at three fantastic writers’ conferences over the next three months and want to draw your attention to them. The first is the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, which takes place May 13 – 16, 2015 at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. I’ll help my friend and fellow author Ava Pennington run the appointment desk here along with teaching an Early Bird Workshop called “Rhino Skin: Why You Need It; How to Get It” and a new workshop on “Ethics for the Christian Writer.” I’ll also serve on a Saturday panel for Teens Write (this conference offers a wonderful one-day conference for teen writers, and I love connecting with them). In June, I won’t have to travel far to attend the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association’s conference in Orlando, Florida June 26 – 28 just before the opening of the International Christian Retail Show June 28 – July 1. For AWSA, I’ll help with the mentee orientation and also teach a mentee (new writer/speaker) class on “How to Get Published.” I look forward to this time of connecting with and learning from seasoned industry professionals as well as assisting others. Late July will find me traveling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference July 29 – August 1. Again, I’ll serve at the appointment desk alongside Ava, but I’m also excited about the opportunity to teach a continuing session called “Master the Memoir.” Over the past few years, I’ve grown in my love for both writing and teaching this genre, and I look forward to helping others learn to share their stories via the creative personal reflections memoir affords. Of course, I recommend any and all of these conferences; please check out the links for more information on each one, and watch for this Thursday’s post about the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, too. There is still time to register for each event, and I’d love see you at any or all. For His glory,  ...

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No More Chicken

Dear Friends, Many of you know that last week, I was buried in cinnamon rolls. Well, almost. I baked more than seventy dozen of them as a fundraiser for my daughters’ mission trips to Panama and Peru this summer. As college students, they have little extra time to fundraise, so my husband and I are doing what we can to help. You could say that missions runs in our family. That’s why I want to make sure to send you to “No More Chicken,” my article in this month’s issue of Book Fun Magazine (the link will open to the magazine cover; then just click on my photo or the article title to read. But there’s lots of other great stuff there, too!). If you’ve served with me a on a mission trip, you’ll see some photos and read some stories from places you recognize. I hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes glimpse. And even if you haven’t served with me, you’ll have the opportunity to see how God transformed me from a stay-home chicken to a go-anywhere-He-sends missionary. Have you serve in short- or long-term missions? I’d love to have your comments or prayer requests here or on other social media.   For His glory,  ...

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Prayer for Those Who Must Push Past Their Fears

I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. The fear that brings shadows to an otherwise-bright day. The self-doubt that keeps us from embracing a promising opportunity. The pain from the past that makes the future seem bleak. If you find yourself trapped by fear, if someone you love can’t seem to “just get over it,” if it’s taking you too long to do what you know you must do, then this prayer’s for you and the people you love: Father, today I lift up those who need to push past their fears. Whether they recognize it or not, fear has a choke-hold on their lives. It tightens its grip on their hopes and threatens to strangle their dreams. It’s ugly. It’s awful. And it’s wrong. You tell us in your word, Lord, that you have not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. So these we claim today as we cling always and only to you. We may have every earthly reason to fear. But we know that you are greater, greater than any inability, insufficiency, or lack. Stronger than any problem. Bigger than any battle. Deeper than any wound. Higher than any obstacle. Wider than any gap. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Come to us in our insufficiency, in our trembling, in our fear. Come to these who are weak and weary. Bring them all of your power and might. Bring them all of your grace and mercy. Bring them all of yourself. Bring them an overwhelming measure of faith, for faith counters fear. Bring them a perfect view of yourself so their faith becomes the sight that allows them to move forward. Thank you in advance for the courage you will bring, the mountains you will move, and the darkness you will cast out. Thank you for the victories that will be won, not because of this prayer, but because of your perfect faithfulness. It is in that faithfulness and in your name that we pray today. Amen.    Is there someone specific who needs this prayer? Feel free to let me know via a comment here or on other social media or through the “Contact” link at the top of the page. As always, it is my privilege to hold others before Him in...

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