The Phoenix Rattler Writing Contest

Rattler ImageAttention Writers!  The Phoenix Rattler is a writing contest sponsored by Christian Writers of the West, the Arizona Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. This year, we have some great final round judges lined up, all of whom are well know agents and editors.

The entry fee is just $25 and the contest is open for submissions from August 1 through August  31, 2017. For complete contest details go to http://www.christianwritersofthewest.com/contest-info.html

Posted in Writing | Leave a comment

The Phoenix Rattler Writing Contest

Rattler ImageAttention Writers!  The Phoenix Rattler is a writing contest sponsored by Christian Writers of the West, the Arizona Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. This year, we have some great final round judges lined up, all of whom are well know agents and editors.

The entry fee is just $25 and the contest is open for submissions from August 1 through August  31, 2017. For complete contest details go to http://www.christianwritersofthewest.com/contest-info.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SoCal Christian Writers Conference 2017

 I had a great time at the SoCal Christian Writers Conference. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Getting interviewed by Sharon Elliott about A Wife of Valor for HSCB.TV
  • Receiving a special study Bible as a gift for being the first person to register
  • Taking the advanced fiction writing course, taught by best-selling author Tosca Lee
  • Driving and rooming with my critique group buddies, Mo Dardinger and Crystal Acosta
  • Having great conversations with many new professional connections and friends

A Wife of Valor did not win the Excellence in Editing Award, but I was encouraged to have made it to the final round in the competition. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to go to this conference and learn from the amazing faculty and connect with other writers. This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my year.

#SoCalCWC17

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seizing Your Fathers’ Day

In honor of Fathers’ Day, I wanted to share this story about memories of my father, Jim Kelly. My advice to all you dads out there, and to all of you whose dads are still alive is this: Seize the day! Life is short. Don’t waste this precious opportunity to tell your fathers or your children how much they mean to you. Blessings, Rebecca Bruner

Everything He Needed to Say

It was early April and my young daughter and I were preparing to host a tea party in our backyard. I watched the early afternoon sunlight and dappled shade from our mulberry trees play over the emerald grass. This Saturday’s party will be perfect, I thought as I arranged pretty, purple Irises in baskets for our centerpieces.

The phone rang, shattering my carefree daydreams. It was Karen, my father’s wife, calling from Canada. “Becky, I don’t know how to tell you this,” she began. “Your father is dead.”

I sat speechless, unwilling to believe my ears.

“It was a heart attack,” Karen explained. Dad had gotten up that morning and gone through his regular routine, eating breakfast, spending time reading the Bible and then praying. “Today, he prayed mostly for the family,” she told me. After that, he had walked down the stairs to the basement and just collapsed. By the time medical help could be summoned, he was already dead.

I immediately made plans to travel to Canada for his funeral. Though my father had been absent throughout my childhood, in the few short years I had known him, this man had become dear to me and I wanted to honor his memory.

My mother and father had split up when I was too young to remember him, and I had had no contact with my father until I reached my early twenties. At that point in my life I was torn between wanting to reach out to him, and fear that he might not welcome a relationship with me. He had another wife and children. If I reappeared on the scene, wouldn’t it just complicate his life?

Most of my uncertainties were put to rest when he sent me a letter, inviting me and my husband to visit his farm in Saskatchewan, yet I remember my feelings of trepidation as we drove down the rutted, dirt road, past fields of flowering, golden canola, to their tiny Tudor-style farmhouse. How would this stranger who was my father receive me? What would his wife and two teenage daughters think of me?

We were welcomed in and sat down at the kitchen table. My dad grasped my hand between both of his, as though he never wanted to let it go. “O, Becky, it’s so good to see you!” he said, again and again, a broad grin beaming from his face. I looked around the table at Karen and the girls whose faces were alight with the same bright smiles, and felt all of my hesitations melt away in the warmth of their joy.

From that time on, my dad was faithful to call me regularly, just to say “hi,” and to tell me he loved me. We had a few more face to face visits over the years. In fact, the fall before his death, he and his wife had driven down to Arizona to stay with us. He came bearing gifts for my children that he had painstakingly handcrafted himself: a red and yellow biplane for my son and a wooden easel for my daughter. My kids treasured this special time with their grandma and grandpa from Canada. None of us even imagined that this would be the last time we would see him alive.

At Dad’s funeral, a friend of his made a statement about him that I thought was very profound. “I think Jim had said everything he needed to say,” the man told me, “so it was time for him to go home to Heaven.” In other words, he didn’t have a lot of unfinished business; he hadn’t left a lot of things unsaid.

I pondered the man’s words and realized that, from my point of view, I had to agree. Even though my dad’s death was so sudden and unexpected, and we had not really had a chance to say goodbye, I had no lingering doubts about his feelings for me. He had sought reconciliation with me. He had made a special effort to build relationships with my children, and he had been faithful to express his love for me again and again in the few years that we had.

Other people also bore witness to the fact that my dad had said what he needed to say to them, even when they didn’t want to hear it. After the funeral, my sisters’ band teacher from high school came by the house to offer his condolences. He mentioned that Dad had told him straightforwardly that he needed to get right with God. Even though the band teacher had made it clear to Dad that he “wasn’t buying,” Karen said he still went out of his way to seek Dad’s company at social gatherings, even when he was half-drunk, though he knew Dad didn’t approve.

My dad shot straight with people and they respected him for it, whether they liked the things he had to say or not. He did not allow the awkwardness of never having spoken to me as a child intimidate him into continued silence. Instead, he overcame that barrier in order to tell me again and again how much he loved me. Life is fragile. None of us knows which day will be our last, and that is why the life lesson my dad taught me is so important. Dad said everything he needed to say. I hope that when my life is through, the same can be said of me.

Rebecca D. Bruner © 2013 in My Fairy Godfather: Collected Short Stories

Originally appeared in the Life Lessons from Dads anthology from Write Integrity Press in 2012.

Posted in Fathering, Kids, Nonfiction | Tagged , | Leave a comment

SoCal Christian Writers Conference

This week, I’m headed to the first ever SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with mentors like Kathy Ide, Allen Arnold, and Jill Williamson. I’m also looking forward to hanging out with some of my critique group buddies, who will be traveling with me to the conference.

A Wife of ValorThe last evening, the winners of the Excellence in Editing Award will be announced. Since my book is a finalist in the contest, I will be participating in a special book signing. Am I excited? Oh, just a little!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Excellence in Editing Contest

When the finalists for the Excellence in Editing Award were announced several weeks ago, I was thrilled to learn that my book, A Wife of Valor: Your Strategic Importance in God’s Battle Plan, had made the list. Somehow, though, it didn’t fully sink in until this week, when I received the award sticker.

In this age of icon-driven computing, a picture is worth a thousand words. So here’s a peek at the official seal: 

As I affixed the seals to the covers of the books I will be taking to the SoCal Christian Writers Conference in two weeks, I thought, “This is it. This is really happening!”

I’m looking forward to the conference, and the book signing, and the final dinner when the award winners will be announced. I’m thrilled that I get to be a part of it all. Thank you, Christian Editors Network, for this amazing honor!

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Wife of Valor, Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Phoenix Rattler Writing Contest

Rattler ContestAttention Writers!  The Phoenix Rattler is a writing contest sponsored by Christian Writers of the West, the Arizona Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. This year, we have some great final round judges lined up, all of whom are well know agents and editors.

The entry fee is just $25 and the contest is open for submissions from August 1 through August  31, 2017. For complete contest details go to http://www.christianwritersofthewest.com/contest-info.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Phoenix Rattler Writing Contest

Rattler ContestAttention Writers!  The Phoenix Rattler is a writing contest sponsored by Christian Writers of the West, the Arizona Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. This year, we have some great final round judges lined up, all of whom are well know agents and editors.

The entry fee is just $25 and the contest is open for submissions from August 1 through August  31, 2017. For complete contest details go to http://www.christianwritersofthewest.com/contest-info.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sustainable Writing Workshop This Saturday, May 20

On Saturday, May 20,  from 1:00-3:00, I will be presenting a workshop entitled “Sustainable Writing: How to Pursue Your Passion Without Busting Your Budget” for Christian Writers of the West, the Arizona Chapter of  ACFW.

 The Sustainable Writing workshop focuses on the business side of writing for the fledgling author. If you love to write, but have questions about how to remain solvent while pursuing that passion, this workshop is for you!

In order for a writing business to succeed in the long term, it must be sustainable; it can’t consume more resources than it brings in. How do you achieve that goal? Through careful stewardship of the money available to you. Learn how to evaluate the difference between a beneficial business investment and a frivolous expense. Get tools for tracking your writing income and expenses so that you have an accurate picture of your bottom line.

Years before you can afford to quit your day job, you can have a sustainable writing career!

Posted in sustainable writing, Writing | Tagged | 2 Comments

Sustainable Writing: How is the Pre-Professional Writer Like a Garage Band?

Many young musicians out there dream of one day being discovered and making it big. Do they become legitimate musicians only after they are offered a recording contract? No. Any musician who is playing regularly, honing his skills, and gaining industry experience is a “real” musician, even if he isn’t getting paid yet.

The aspiring garage band will probably begin by doing free performances at local fairs and festivals. Eventually, the group might get hired to play local gigs where they will be paid a small amount to perform. Down the road, they may be given the opportunity to open a concert for a more famous band. Sooner or later, if they keep at it, they may be scouted by an agent and offered a recording contract. Or they may choose to publish their music independently.

Although they are not professional musicians until they get paid to play, the band members have been legitimate musicians all along. On their journey to stardom, they will have to invest in equipment, instruments, and probably music lessons.

Being a writer is much the same. You need to keep learning about writing as you hone your craft. You will need to make investments in your writing career, like taking college courses or attending conferences. The thing that makes you a “real” writer is not getting published, but writing.

You will probably see small successes, like published short stories or articles, long before you see big ones. That’s okay. The important thing is to keep your writing business sustainable. Otherwise, you could easily spend so much on writing that you can no longer afford to pursue your passion.

Like the garage band, an aspiring writer needs to develop an online presence. Without a website, the band won’t get any gigs. Potential fans won’t be able to find them when searching the internet.

An author website is your most important online asset because it is under your complete control (unlike social media platforms). You can tailor it to suit your needs. It provides the means for your audience and colleagues to contact you and to read your work.

While an author website is important, be realistic about how much you spend on it. An author who is just starting out needs a modest website that won’t cost an arm and a leg. A pre-professional writer can’t yet afford to hire a professional company that specializes in creating and maintaining author websites.

If you ask around, you can probably find a high school or college student who is interested in web design. Ask him or her to help you get started. Offer to pay only as much as you can afford.

The best rule of thumb for business expenses like a website is this: will it cost more money than it will bring in?

One final word of caution: remember that as an aspiring writer, you are a garage band. Beware of anybody who wants to take your money to make you feel like a rock star.

Posted in sustainable writing, Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments