By Del Duduit
There is still time to register for the inaugural Ohio Christian Writers Conference slated for this weekend just north of Cincinnati.
Angie and I are excited to attend and meet up with some of our friends and learn more about the Christian writing world.
I was introduced to this form of ministry this time last year when I met my friend Michelle. We had so much in common and instantly hit it off because we both were former sports writers. I asked her how to get started in this new arena.
She gave me orders, and I followed through. She told me to create a platform so I did. I had never had a Facebook page or any presence on social media. Now, I have a solid and growing following. In fact, last week’s blog about the Pastor’s Pantry Cooking School was re-tweeted to more than 800,000 people.
She advised me to put together some one-sheet examples of my work to show agents and publishers, and I produced. Now, she uses some of them as examples in her workshops. That’s cool!
She told me to attend a Christian writers conference, so I listened.
We attended the Asheville Christian Writers Conference and our lives changed for the better.
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Michelle, who has written a gazillion Christian children’s books, also introduced Angie and me to Cherrilynn – who has become a dear friend and colleague. I admire her positive attitude and treasure our friendship.
Cherrilynn asked me to be a guest blogger on Almost An Author (A3) and encourages me to improve every day. I consider her my personal writing coach and a person who has a sweet spirit.
She saw a quality in me and connected me with her literary agent, Cyle, who I met at the Florida Christian Writers Conference in February. The event in the Sunshine State will hold a special place in my heart, and Angie and I will go each year. That is where our journey officially started.
Cyle and I connected there, and he brought me on as one of his clients. The past nine months have been spectacular and a whirlwind. I have written three manuscripts with one in the editing phase. The plan is to have it on the shelves before Christmas. I am confident the other two will be under contract soon. Thank you, Cyle, for believing in me and our friendship.
God paved the way through Michelle for me to meet Cherrilynn, who introduced me to Cyle, and away we went.
We also met Rhonda with One Christian Voice, who we have partnered with through Southern Ohio Christian Voice. She is an amazing talent and a true friend.
Weeks after the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in May, I received a text message from Todd Starnes of Fox News, who attended as faculty. He read my blog about Father’s Day and asked if he could publish it on his website. WOW!
“You never have to ask, just know I will always say yes,” I responded with a laugh. What a fabulous honor. We stay in contact, and it’s good to have a friend in high places.
Doors continued to open, and I signed a contract to have an article published in a worldwide magazine in January. For that, I am thrilled and humbled as more opportunities come my way. And just a couple of weeks ago, I signed my first author’s agreement to have a manuscript published as a book. Thank you, Lord!
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 KJV
We are all one big happy family it seems. There is Cyle, Michelle, Edie, Bethany, David, Scott, Cody and Bethany, Beckie, Marcie, Rhonda, Cristel, Jake, Eva Marie, LaTan, Patty, Beth and Dee Dee, and on and on it goes. But of course, there’s Cherrilynn.
I hope this doesn’t embarrass her, but I have tremendous respect for her and the way she helped me. She is aware of some of my struggles and has been an inspiration to Angie and me. She has blessed our lives.
This experience of writing is sort of new to her too. Her life changed three years ago when she attended a Christian writers retreat in New England. She sought out writers on Facebook and became acquainted with A3 and Cyle, who operates the website.
“We have met for a reason and the Lord has something special in store for all of us.”
Her book, True Star Quality, is in the editing phase, and she is jubilant and thankful at the same time. She asked Angie to be a beta-reader for her book. Cherrilynn is gifted, and she had Angie hooked from the get-go with her personal accounts.
Today, A3 has partnered with Serious Writer Academy, and Cyle and Bethany are at the helm. Of course, Cherrilynn is a big part of the operation too.
She is excited to have her own gig as the host of Genre Chat where she interviews Christian writers and authors on genre-specific topics. I was humbled when she interviewed with me for about 30 minutes on sports writing. My genre chat will go live Nov. 29 at www.seriouswriter.com.
Now, she is an agent under Cyle and will host appointments at the OCWC. Three years have blown by, and Christ has been at the center of it all.
“It’s been led by the hand of God,” she told me with her New England accent. “We have met for a reason, and the Lord has something special in store for all of us.”
The Lord knew where Cherrilynn was three years ago when He started her glorious journey. It is not a coincidence we all have met. We help each other and frequently stay in touch. For instance, three weeks ago, Angie and I took a vacation to the Tampa/Clearwater area. We called Bethany who met us for dinner one evening with her family. What a sweet time.
This past summer, Cyle and two of his children, Cody and his wife Bethany, and Michelle and her family met Angie and me for a Reds-Cubs game in Cincinnati. We all had so much fun – even Michelle did even though the Cubs lost.
“God saw fit to put me in this circle of wonderful friends.”
But the point is we are all close friends who are on this ride together. I love my role as the newcomer and remain excited about the potential that awaits. I continue to learn from these experts, but I believe I have something to offer when the time is right.
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This weekend we will all meet again, as we will in Florida and of course, at Blue Ridge. For this trip, we are bringing a lady from our church who is interested in this ministry.
“It’s all about networking,” Cherrilynn said. “That is the main reason I am where I am today. God saw fit to put me in this circle of wonderful friends.”
She added she was thrilled Angie and I have been accepted into the fold. She always tells me to give Angie a big hug for her when we speak. Well, she can do that herself this weekend.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 KJV
You too can embark on a wonderful spirit-filled journey if God has directed you this way. Try to attend the OCWC, and see where the Lord will lead you.
Has someone inspired you? Have you met a person who changed your life? Give them roses while you can. Let me know your thoughts.
For more information on the OCWC go to their website here.