Guest Blog from Promising Beginnings Contest Winner: Part One
I asked the winner of my Promising Beginnings contest, Rebecca Bruner to share her thoughts about winning the contest and some of her experiences at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, for which she won a full scholarship. Here’s “Part One” of her report.
I began working on the manuscript for A Wife of Valor: Your Strategic Importance in God’s Battle Plan back in December, 2012. The main premise of the book is that marriage is not just a nice human convention, but an essential element of God’s battle plan against the evil one. While Satan tempts couples to fight head-to-head against one another, God wants wives and husbands to learn to battle back-to-back against the real enemy, covering each other’s weaknesses with our unique areas of strength.
In January 2013, I heard agent Steve Laube speak at a mini-conference hosted by Christian Writers of the West (the Arizona chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers). He spoke a little about the upcoming Mount Hermon Writers Conference, explaining that it would be possible to pitch both fiction and non-fiction book proposals to agents and editors there. I knew I had too much work to do on my manuscript to have it ready in time for the 2013 conference, but I began dreaming and praying that God would make it possible for me to go to the 2014 conference. I also began inviting other writer friends to think about going along with me. Three members of my critique group decided to join the adventure. The four of us committed to pray together regularly about our preparations for the conference.
Several months later, I received word through my Christian Writers of the West group about Kathy Ide’s Promising Beginnings Contest. The first prize was a full scholarship to the Mount Hermon 2014 conference. I knew immediately that I had to enter. Kathy had placed no limit on how many entries a writer could submit (so long as the submissions were either unpublished or self-published). I wanted to maximize my odds of getting the scholarship, so I sent in three different entries: two were from fiction pieces that I had published independently and one was from my non-fiction work in progress.
As the weeks went by, I hoped and prayed that I would win. I knew there might be another writer out there whom God wanted at that conference, someone who would not be able to attend apart from winning the scholarship. Only God could make that call, so I had to leave the outcome in His hands, but I was sure hoping I’d receive the scholarship.
When I got word from Kathy Ide that my submission from A Wife of Valor was the top non-fiction entry, and the overall runner up in the contest, I was both encouraged and disappointed. I was happy to know that my work had done so well as compared with approximately 150 other submissions, but naturally a little disappointed that I hadn’t won the scholarship.
Kathy mentioned that partial scholarships might be available from other sources. I wrote back asking for more information. When Kathy responded, she told me that the first prize winner had conflicts that would prevent her from attending the conference. As a result, I would receive the scholarship. I was elated. It was such an incredible gift from God, and such a dream come true!
I am deeply grateful to Kathy for her incredible generosity. In addition, I thank God for the fellowship and prayer support of the friends who attended the conference along with me. I also want to thank Christian Writers of the West. If not for that wonderful group, I would never have become aware of either the Promising Beginnings Contest or the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I would encourage every Christian author who is serious about the craft and business of writing to join a group of like-minded people with whom they can share the journey.