Posted in Conferences, Life Lessons from the Hive

Winners & Losers

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I’ve been to a few conferences in my time and they can be overwhelming with lots of people, new information, break-out sessions and not-so-homey accommodations. It’s the Best of Times and the Worst of Times — not because conferences are bad, but because it’s easy to get overloaded with more information than your brain can absorb in a few days. Like eating Thanksgiving dinner, you’re inspired and stuffed with good things, but too full to actually do anything for a while.

Suki and I just returned from a road trip to the Oregon Christian Writers Conference (OCW) in Portland, Oregon. The three-week driving trip out and back was intimidating enough, not to mention the idea of “hobnobbing” with elite Christian publishers, editors, agents and writers from all over the country.

My book, Life Lessons from the Hive, was a finalist in the non-fiction category in their Cascade Awards ceremony. And, before you ask — no, I did not win. (This is where I would put a sad-faced emoji, if I could.) Although I didn’t REALLY expect to win I was disappointed, but, paradoxically, I was also grateful and honored to be included in the top of the rankings. I later learned it was unusual for a first publication (and a self-published one at that) to even make it to the finalist round. I also learned that being a finalist in this prestigious contest is a “win” in itself.

Frankly, I’m glad there were winners and losers. When everybody gets an award for simply “showing up” it cheapens the honor of being a top contender and it eliminates the standard of excellence. Plus, it’s not how the Kingdom works. Let me explain.

The Kingdom door is open to anyone who wants to cross the threshold. Entering the Kingdom is like winning the lottery and being set for life, but when we get the “check” we’re not done. Walking through the salvation door into our new surroundings is simply the beginning of an adventure of ongoing growth and transformation that continues to the end of our days — and possibly beyond. But it doesn’t happen automatically. We have to work at it. And interestingly, in the end, God has an awards ceremony, too. (Revelation 22:12) After all, He’s clearly told us to run the race well in order to achieve the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

I’ve reviewed the judges evaluations of my book to learn from them. I want to develop my skill as a writer to be the best I can be. After all, I am an ambassador and I want to represent His Kingdom well.

While I didn’t win the contest, I received some good advice and encouragement from editors, publishers and agents, some of whom want to see my next book. To me, that’s progress.

My anxiety at being around so many professionals quickly dissolved the first day of the conference. I soon made new friends at the registration and booksellers tables and before I knew it, I was hanging out with Christ-following sisters and brothers who happened to be amazing writers, editors, publishers and agents.

I am working on my next book with a new determination and a rich reserve, thanks to the OCW. My confidence to step into new things has grown, so it looks like I’ll be attending more conferences in the future.

And, who knows? Next time I may be a winner!

Posted in Event Schedule

Schedule for May

 

 

Bees on comb

May is looking like it’s going to be a busy month for bees and for speaking engagements as well. ¬†Here’s a list of where I’m scheduled to speak so far this month:

Saturday, May 5 — 2018 Spring Gathering of Presbyterian Women of Middle Tennessee, First Presbyterian Church, 204 E Grundy St., Tullahoma.

Saturday, May 5 — Battle of the Books, Tullahoma Library, Tullahoma.

Tuesday, May 8 — United Methodist Women, First United Methodist Church, Shelbyville.

Wednesday, May 16 — Town and Country Garden Club, River Bend Country Club, Shelbyville.

I do have some openings the rest of the year if you’re looking for a speaker for your group meeting or special event. ¬†Please contact me by email: maryjanemiller@yahoo.com

Posted in Book

A Gift and a Favor

WhosCallingTheShots

If you haven’t had a chance to purchase my book yet, today’s your day. For a limited time Amazon is offering the Kindle Unlimited version of Life Lessons from the Hive for free. I don’t know how long the promotion will last so if you have Kindle Unlimited don’t miss this opportunity.

I would, however, like to ask you for a favor. Once you’ve read the book, would you please go to Amazon and write a review? It costs you nothing but a moment of your time and it will help me tremendously.

I know many of you are following me from countries around the world (over 30 nations!) so this is the perfect way for me to get the book into your hands. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!