Former Spy Dennis Brooke Ferrets Out Technology

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

A number of years ago, Dennis Brooke served as an Air Force missile officer. For four years he pulled duty sixty feet under the Montana prairie. He also spent a day in the skies as a spy.

“What was it like to be doing that job,” he asks, “when we thought the Cold War would last for decades to come or turn into a hot war any day?” It wasn’t until he stood on the Berlin Wall when it was coming down—just a few yards from Checkpoint Charlie—that he realized more fully why our military personnel serve their country.

Dennis has turned that experience into a topic for writing and speaking. Some of his other experiences-turned-topics include “Wooing Your Wife,” “Project Management,” and “Web 2.0.” His eclectic repertoire is revealed in the wide variety of publications he’s written for. “Until someone proves me wrong,” he says, “I’ll claim to be the only person to have been published in both Combat Crew and Focus on the Family magazines.”

DennisBrookePinablejpgWhile on the NCWA board, Dennis brought our organization into the digital age through a new database program for managing our membership and website, along with a cloud-based storage system that board members and key volunteers can access for necessary documents.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Dennis will co-lead three interactive sessions of a WriteCoach Lab especially designed for those who have questions about basic technology and also moderate a marketing panel of experts:

BYOD-Tech Essentials1) BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Tech Essentials (WriteCoach Lab, Friday, May 15, with Mindy Peltier) – Ever wonder how to make those graphic “thingies” you’re supposed to include in blog posts? Stumped trying to build an email list? Wish you knew how to use hashtags, make captions, or manage friends/followers? Nervous about uploading photos to “the cloud”? Recently changed from PC to Apple—or vice versa—and feel lost? At this BYOD Tech Essentials Lab, no question is too basic for experts Mindy Peltier and Dennis Brooke. And if they don’t know the answer, they’ll demonstrate how to search the Internet for solutions. Bring your own laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone, etc., to gain the most from these sessions.

Market Like the Pros Panel2) “Market Like the Pros” Panel (Workshop, Friday, May 15) – Dennis Brooke will moderate a panel composed of publishing experts Carolyn McCready, Grace Fox, and James L. Rubart. You’ll learn secrets for getting your labors of love the attention they deserve. The panel will address marketing for both traditional and indie writers. Bring your questions and be ready for concrete ideas and inspiration.

Want to hear the rest of Dennis’s spy adventure? One time as an Air Force officer, he went on an Army Intelligence RC-12 spy mission. “We flew up and down the East German border all day,” he recalls. “It was very boring until we came in to land, and one of the landing-gear indicator lights that show “gear is down and locked” failed to illuminate. Fortunately, it was just a burned-out bulb, and my one day as a spy didn’t end in a crash landing.”

These days, Dennis is much more interested in the publishing contract he recently signed for his novel The Last Apostle. The book will be released January 2016.

To get your questions answered concerning technology and marketing—and perhaps even spy missions—sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

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Llamas Jumpstarted Mindy Peltier’s Writing Career

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

When Mindy Peltier was sixteen, she got a job as reporter for the local newspaper. Her first assignment was to interview a farming couple whose livestock included two llamas.

“Two llamas and two friendly neighbors? How hard can this be?” she thought, even though she’d never actually written a journalism article before. She conducted the interview to the best of her ability and even risked getting spit upon when she snapped photos of the cantankerous creatures.

A few days after her editor published the story, a big-city daily picked up the article and reprinted it. That was when Mindy realized her writing career was off to a great start, thanks to a pair of exotic animals.

MindyPeltier2PinableA quarter of a century later, she had what many writers long for—the perfect writing alcove in her dream home. She was mother of six children and happily married to Scott. She wanted to stay put for the rest of her life.

Then Scott’s employers announced they were moving him and his family to Seattle. “I cried for a week,” Mindy recalls. After she got settled in her new home, she discovered that only four blocks away was where the Northwest Christian Writers Association met for monthly meetings.

“It was a powerful lesson that when the Lord says ‘no,’ it often means, ‘I have something better for you’,” she says.

In addition to being passionate about writing, Mindy also wants to conquer the digital world and encourage writers to overcome their fears of technology and social media. She teaches at area conferences about blogging and also directed NCWA’s WriteTech Conference in January.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Mindy will co-lead three interactive sessions of a WriteCoach Lab especially designed for those who have questions about basic technology:

BYOD-Tech EssentialsBYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Tech Essentials (Friday, May 15, with Dennis Brooke) – Ever wonder how to make those graphic “thingies” you’re supposed to include in blog posts? Stumped trying to build an email list? Wish you knew how to use hashtags, make captions, or manage friends/followers? Nervous about uploading photos to “the cloud”? Recently changed from PC to Apple—or vice versa—and feel lost? At this BYOD Tech Essentials Lab, no question is too basic for experts Mindy Peltier and Dennis Brooke. And if they don’t know the answer, they’ll demonstrate how to search the Internet for solutions. Bring your own laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone, etc., to gain the most from these sessions.

Mindy has served as NCWA’s secretary and resource coordinator and is now the president. She’s done a great job in all of these roles. She also assisted the former conference director, Judy Bodmer, in putting on the Renewal.

Now that Judy has stepped down due to health reasons and I’m the new director, I’ve discovered what an incredible assistant conference director Mindy is. She brings all the knowledge she gained when helping Judy, and she adds new ideas and creativity each time we talk. She spends many hours a week creating solutions so that everyone who attends the conference will have the most fun, productive, and memorable time possible.

Sometimes a teacher’s skill is reason enough to attend a class or workshop. At other times the main draw is the instructor’s care and concern for students.

With Mindy, you get both—in big doses.

So, to get your technology questions answered—or simply to interact with someone who cares deeply about helping writers succeed—sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

Caleb Breakey’s Golden Rule of Technology

Written by Ginger Kauffman, NCWA member and Conference volunteer

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My first meeting of NCWA last September was a little overwhelming. The location had changed since the one meeting I’d attended before so I got lost — really lost. I missed some of the preliminaries at the meeting and was unsure of protocol. But when I left I was sure of two things: I would keep coming back, and I would attend the technology conference that was announced.

On January 25, 2014,  I joined 60 other people for the first ever Christian Writer’s Coach Technology Conference. People came from all over the state of Washington to glean from those who are using technology creatively and effectively and to network with others on the journey.

Golden Rule 3

The keynote speaker, Caleb Breakey, author of Called to Stay and Dating Like Airplanes, had a lot to say about gold in his keynote presentation, “The Golden Rule of Technology.”

“Technology isn’t your gold,” he said. “It’s what takes down the walls around your gold. Content is your gold. What has God put on your heart, and who needs it most?”

Caleb encouraged us to invest in our writing. Read good writers, keep writing, go to classes and conferences.Build up your gold account by becoming a better writer

TweetBuild up your gold account by becoming a better writer.

Give away your gold, he told us. “People notice free gold!” When Caleb wanted to reach out to teen writers he created an online community where he could mentor them. Through his website he strove to refine teen writers into “rock stars who were humble enough to listen and fearless enough to speak.” It was one way he was able to give away his gold.

As for those walls around your gold, those problems that stand in the way of getting published, use technology to bring them down. He encouraged writers to have a presence on social media. Not every avenue of social media will be a good fit for a writer. Find what works for you. Look into blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, other venues. Study them, and try them out. Decide for yourself if it’s something you want to incorporate into your writing life. “Stay at it long enough to fail, long enough to understand how it works. You have to fail to succeed.”

You know those rejection letters that can rip at your heart? Caleb’s suggestion is to consider them gold. They give you experience and insight into what you can do differently next time. How’s that for a positive outlook?

TweetConsider rejection letters gold.  They give you experience and insight into what you can do differently.

Three Things words

As a dedicated writer who can spend up to 16 hours a day at his craft, it was clear that Caleb practices what he preaches. He takes online classes every week — free classes he comes across as well as paid classes that will help hone his writing and his online presence. He currently has over 50,000 likes on his Facebook page, and he’s figured out the algorithms on Google so that his writing doesn’t get lost on the last pages of a search.

But it’s not just the things we do that make us writers. It’s that plus the God Things that happen — Him putting us in the right place at the right time, for example. Caleb shared a couple of personal stories how he “happened” to be in just the right place to meet people who took an interest in him and his writing and have played a significant role in his career. As Christian writers, we, too, can expect God Things.

Caleb Breakey words

Thanks to Caleb Breakey for his upbeat keynote address and for each one who led a workshop session. The day offered us great ideas to incorporate into our writing life. Let’s do this again next year!

TweetYour content, what God put on your heart, is gold @CalebBreakey

TweetAs Christian writers we can expect God Things @CalebBreakey

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Ginger Kauffman from herGinger Kauffman has spent most of her life talking to people in her head. Now she’s letting her voice be heard on her blog, Three Minutes to Nine. She has written over 1,000 blog posts  about everyday life — telling family stories, encouraging through devotionals and hymns of the church, sharing good books and recipes, and introducing people who amaze her. She and her family live in Stanwood.