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.

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Save Time, Market Better with a “TweetSheet” Cheat Sheet

by Mindy Peltier, Director of WriteTech Conference 2015

Twitter is a great way to promote author events, such as book launches, book signings, book sales, and conferences. It’s free, fast, and far-reaching. Gone are the days of buying mailing lists or newspaper ads. To easily garner social-media support from your staff or launch team create a “TweetSheet”—a Word document that’s a cheat sheet of hyper-linked tweets.

Try saying that three times.

TweetTwitter is a free, fast, and far-reaching way to promote author events.

A TweetSheet is a Twitter Cheat Sheet used for an effective social media campaign.If you have a few hundred friends who have a few hundred friends who have a few hundred friends, the impact on social media can be tremendous. But, you need to make it easy for people to help you market through Twitter. If you ask them to tweet, they’ll want to, but not know what to say, what hashtags to use, or which handles to use.

A TweetSheet makes sure it takes around 5 seconds to promote.

TweetSheet developed for the Twitter campaign to promote the WriteTech conference in 2015.Northwest Christian Writers Association’s amazing Publicity Coordinator, Kim Vandel, created a two-page TweetSheet for promoting our WriteTech Conference through Twitter.

She wrote two suggested tweets for each conference workshop and included hashtags, Twitter handles, and a shortened link. We chose the hashtag #WriteTech2015 for our conference. NCWA’s Twitter handle, @NWCWriters, is used in each tweet, and since all of the workshop presenters are also on Twitter, each presenter’s handle was added to the tweet that promotes the workshop that particular individual is teaching.

To create a TweetSheet, start by writing in a Word document the text of your tweets. Include relevant hashtags and handles. Then you need to use two tools: one to shorten the URL of your website and one to make each tweet a clickable link.

SHORTEN THE URLS

The link to the WriteTech Conference on our website http://nwchristianwriters.org/page-1829379 uses too much real estate in Twitter, which allows only 140 characters per tweet. Bitly is one of the tools that can be used to shorten links for Twitter.

Bitly long pm

Cut and paste the URL into the appropriate box on Bitly.com and click Shorten.

bitly short pm

The shorter link is easily used by clicking Copy. Paste the link into your environment, whether it’s Twitter or your Word document.

yellow links pmTHE CLICK-TO-TWEET TOOL

When all your tweets are completed, you’re ready for the Click to Tweet tool that creates a shortened hyperlink of your entire tweet. Then, when you click on Click Here to Tweet, all the information below that line opens up in Twitter.

clicktotweet new pm

In the box at clicktotweet.com type or paste in your tweet text, shortened link, hashtags, and Twitter handle. Click Generate New Link.

clicktotweet two new pmThis shortened link now represents all the material you typed into the box above.

CREATE THE HYPERLINK

The final step is to hyperlink the words Click Here to Tweet with the shortened link you created.

clicktotweet three pm

When you click the words above Click Here to Tweet–go ahead and try it–a dialogue box in Twitter opens and your message is ready to be tweeted. Then click Tweet.

TweetSheets can help you promote conferences, monthly meetings, book launches, and book-signing parties. Whenever you invest time in creating a cheat sheet for Twitter, your social media campaign will produce results.

TweetCreate a TweetSheet, a Twitter cheat sheet, for an effective social media campaign.

 

 

TweetSheet header

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Learn to use Scrivener #writing software with @dennisbrooke. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Increase your #writing productivity with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Organize your #writing life with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Capture inspiration with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Turn waiting time into #writing time with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, gain a horde of raving readers on @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, learn how to boost book sales using @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Unleash the power of hashtags, lists, and more with @TreDigital. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, learn how to grow your @twitter platform in 15mins/day. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Build #author credibility with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, brand yourself with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Make the most of Track Changes and Document Sharing in MS Word. @EditorMWords #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Tips and tricks from @EditorMWords to maximize communication in MS Word. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Want to #indie publish? Learn about cover design, formatting, and more w/ @lynnettebonner. #WriteTech2015 @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Learn what you need to know before you #indie publish. @lynnettebonner #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, turn blog browsers into book buyers. @MindyJPeltier #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Blogging strategy for published and pre-published #authors w/ @MindyJPeltier. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Simple strategies to create a powerful @twitter profile. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Strategies to create a strong @twitter following. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, create a brand your readers will eat up. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, create a brand readers will share with the masses. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

Our Most Embarrassing Moments at a Writers Conference

Writers conferences are a great source of instruction, encouragement, and blessing to the writer, but they can also cause stress.  Writers know attending a conference can be crucial to their success.  They’re told that the agents and editors are the gatekeepers to publication and they usually have less than three minutes to get through the gate.

Shaking voices, trembling hands, and sweat-stained armpits prove writers are aware how  each encounter could fulfill or flounder publication dreams.

embarrassing moments

In the final countdown to the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal April 11-12, 2014,  with Davis Bunn, the proverbial butterflies have begun their migration to registrants.  To relieve pressure with laughter, NCWA members decided to share our worst conference experiences.

 

 

Ocieanna


Ocieanna Fleiss
– An editor from a prominent Christian publisher told me to not be afraid to write a @#$% first draft. LOL! At my first writers conference EVER! I about lost it and the very sweet, conservative older lady sitting next to me almost fell off her chair.

.

 

Roberta-Kehle

Roberta Kehle –  I used to  pick up our speakers at the airport, but often got lost going to the hotel, usually when they needed to go to the bathroom and were in misery.  Another time I was trying to get a Starbucks for an agent and had a minor parking lot mishap. They quit asking my pick-up help. Wonder why? Hmm, this might scare off attendees.

 

sonjaSonja Anderson – My most embarrassing moment related to a writing conference came after the conference. I had the opportunity to submit a manuscript to an agent and an editor from the annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in Seattle. After I wrote a query letter to the female editor from a fancy New York publishing house, I thought I’d save time and cut and paste the letter for the male agent from Chicago.

Big mistake! Imagine my great grief and embarrassment when I looked at the letter more carefully (after hitting “send,” of course, to the male agent ), and saw that I never removed the line about hoping that the rest of her PREGNANCY went well!
Needless to say, I never heard back from that agent. Sigh.

 

LynnetteLynnette Bonner – At an NCWA conference several years ago, I sat in on a pitch session with a big-name agent. She liked what she heard and requested that I send her a proposal after the conference. Later that same day she was chatting with Jim Rubart.

I needed to talk to Jim about something so I approached and was standing off to one side as they chatted. Jim turned to me and in his gregarious way said, “Hey! How’s your day gone? Did anyone request your stuff?”

And I replied that yeah, “Actually she requested that I send her a proposal.”

To which the agent jolted back and gasped, “I didn’t request a proposal from YOU!”

Jim did a double-take between the two of us as I said, “Well, actually you did.” She then apologized profusely and admitted she remembered me. Needless to say, I never sent her a proposal.

 

Mindy HeadshotMindy Peltier – After hearing how volunteering at a conference can impact your ability to get published, I arranged to meet two editors at the airport. They were from the two Christian publishers I dreamed of writing for some day.  I’d rehearsed a line I thought was clever and would prove my passion and need for writers conferences.

Feeling brave as I deftly merged into I-5 rush hour traffic,  I said, “Writers conferences have become counterproductive for me. I’m writing less…

One editor didn’t realize the airspace was meant to be a dramatic pause before my brilliant punch line.

He began defending conferences and instructed me on my need to attend and appreciate them.  I didn’t want to interrupt.  I merged into the carpool lane. The editor in the back seat added to the defense.

Shocked, I was convinced the misunderstanding had crash-dummied my  publication dreams.  I figured my name would be passed around the editors’ circle, along with the guy who tried to pitch his book at the urinal.  I couldn’t even finish my sentence.

The punch line he missed was “… because the more conferences I go to, the worse my writing becomes.

I was trying to cleverly reveal how conferences were impacting my writing life.  I was learning about writing, but on a larger scale, I was understanding how much more I needed to learn about writing and the publishing industry.

I’ve relived that agonizing moment over and over since then, and even in my dreams, I crash before the punch line.

Every year I attend and volunteer at several  writers conferences, and I’ve even taught at a few. But, they’re still counterproductive for me, because the more writers conferences I attend, the worse my writing becomes.


If an embarrassing moment at a writers conference occurs, don’t worry, it won’t affect your publication dreams.  All of the above writers were published after their  blunders.

Brush it off and move on, but only after you send the story to us.  We’d love to use in a blog post next year.

 

TweetEmbarrassing conference moments didn’t hinder chance of publication.

TweetNCWA writers expose most embarrassing conference moments.

What? I Need a Professional Author Headshot?

NCWA’s Mindy Peltier introduces photographer Taylor Rubart.

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Mindy PeltierI’d rather gut a fish or clean a bathroom than have my picture taken.

There’s something about having everything I don’t like about myself frozen in time that gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m usually on the “trigger” side of the camera, not the “cheese” side.

If you’re like me, when advised to get a professional headshot  to prove you’re serious about becoming a professional writer, you want to run and hide.

Besides, it takes money and time – two things most writers don’t have.  Most have a day job and a family, and write in the car, in doctor’s offices, and late at night while falling asleep on their keyboards.  And, they don’t get paid well for their writing.

Why is a professional headshot an important part of the writing equation?

  • It helps brand our image in social media. It’s suggested to use this on a business card, Facebook author pages, website, blogs, and one-sheets.
  • “A great headshot is key to presenting exactly the right image to the world, whatever you want that image to be,” says Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency. In other words, that picture of you at last summer’s picnic with your hubby cropped out isn’t going to kick it. It’s a great candid picture, but it’s not a professional shot.
  • Editors, agents, and publishers receive so many business cards, they can easily forgot you unless your professional headshot is on your card.

Like a kid, I dragged my feet on setting an appointment with a photographer. Then I heard some great news. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal is hosting Taylor Rubart Photography at their conference May 17-18 in Redmond to take author headshots.  I’ll already be at the conference,  I’ll  be dressed up,  have my hair combed, and  be in my “I’m a Real Writer” mood.  No more excuses.

Taylor RubartTaylor Rubart started seeing the world through a viewfinder when he received a two megapixel digital camera in the fifth grade.  Photography has remained a passion, although he’s upgraded to a Canon 60D.  He’s pursuing a major in Communications and a minor in Spanish at Western Washington University in Bellingham while building up his photography business.

Taylor’s vision for author headshots gives the extra push needed to make the appointment.  He’ll meet the writer, learn their genre, and where they’ll be using their photos.  The appropriate mood will be set with lighting and backdrops. If you write murder mystery, for example, you don’t want a bright smile.  Romance writers need to smile and have lightness in clothing and background.

He advises not to wear all black, all white or busy patterns.  He encourages to “wear something that makes you stand out, but makes people look at your face, not at what you’re wearing.”  For further tips on preparing for a quality photo shoot, check out Taylor’s website.

Taylor will take approximately 20-30 shots to ensure quality.  Each author will receive four fully edited headshots for $60. This is about a 50% savings from a studio shooting, where one author headshot could cost around $100. When I learned Taylor will edit the rosacea and the 6 ½ inch scar on my neck, that sealed the deal.  I don’t need to look like a model, just a little more like the real me.

Until Taylor lives his dream of being a destination wedding photographer, he’s excited about helping writers fulfill their dreams by shooting professional author headshots. (Click on link to see his examples.)  Taylor says, “I don’t just take pictures, I capture memories.”

No more excuses. He fits my budget, I don’t have to drive anywhere, and he promises to help me freeze myself in time with a professional photo I like.

How about you?  Are you ready to prove you’re serious about being a professional writer? No more excuses.

Walk-ins are welcome, but to assure a time slot, appointments can be made by contacting Taylor at taylor@taylorrubartphotography.com.

You can see more examples of his photography  at Taylor Rubart Photography on  Facebook.

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Mindy Peltier has blogged over a thousand posts about her life as a Christian homeschooling mom, grandma, thyroid-cancer patient, and writer at In the Write Moment. She serves on the board of directors for the Northwest Christian Writers Association and is a member of the Oregon Christian Writers. As you can see, she is still using a candid photo for her social media presence. Mindy has been a member of NCWA since 2008. You will find her online at:

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Ignite the Ordinary

The Northwest Christian Writers Association keynoted Deb Kalmbach for the November meeting. Summary by Mindy Peltier.

1The Call

Deb Kalmbach opened the envelope with anticipation. Her agent was circulating her book proposal of her best work yet. Instead of an offer she read,   “I’m not the right person for you. This is going to end our author/agent relationship.”

She questioned her call. How can I keep going? Is this what God wants me to do?

Deb told NCWA writers it’s easy to be driven to get an agent, a publisher, learn marketing trends and build a platform.  She urged to refocus on being used to transform lives, quoting novelist Tony Earley, “Writing would be useless unless you transform lives.”

Deb said, “You feel called. How might you help others by expressing the truth God has given you?”

She further challenged, “What if you DIDN’T write?  What if someone misses the unique message only YOU can share?”

Married to an alcoholic for 30 years, Deb published Because I Said Forever: Embracing Hope in a Not-So-Perfect Marriage.  A reader called and said the book changed her life and marriage.  “If only one person was changed, it was worth it,” said Deb.

“Use the abilities God has given you…

Put these abilities to work: throw yourself into your tasks.”

I Timothy 4:14-16  (TLB)

 By having God’s vision, your call will be clearer.

 2.  The Courage

Once confident of the call, fear can keep us from action. We must step out in God’s strength and pursue His purpose for our lives.

Deb said, “The committee in my head sounds like this. You think you can write? With the odds of getting published, you’d probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.”

Fear appears in many forms, but, “I cloak fear in procrastination,” she said.  “There’s something about sitting down to write that makes picking lint off the carpet sound better by comparison.”

Ralph Keyes in The Courage to Write said, “The key difference between writers who are paralyzed by fear and those who are merely terrified is that the latter come to terms with their anxieties.  They learn how to keep writing even as fear tries to yank their hand from the page.”

Deb  reminded  that we can’t do God’s kingdom work in our own strength. We faint at the  task before us. It seems impossible, but impossibility is God’s specialty.

“Be strong.  Take courage.

Don’t be intimidated…because your God is striding ahead of you. ”

Deuteronomy 31:6 (MSG)

3.  The Commitment

The commitment to write requires self-control and self-discipline.

How far are you willing to go to follow through on your commitment?  Andy Andrews  was turned down by 51  publishers so he self published 100,000 books. After selling  600,000 copies he was finally signed by a publisher.

Deb encouraged formulating  a personal  mission statement to keep your focus and to follow through.

She quoted Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still“Will you remove your shoes, draw close and receive your assignment?  Will you give the Lord permission to ignite your ordinary for His extraordinary?”

You’re a writer, make your move.

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Deb is the author of Because I Said Forever: Embracing Hope in a Not-So-Perfect Marriage (co-authored with Heather Kopp) and the author of a book for children, Corey’s Dad Drinks Too Much (under pen name Anne Courtney). She has been a contributor to many books, including The New Women’s Devotional Bible and Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace. She has written for Focus on the Family, Christian Parenting Today, and many other publications. Deb can be found on-line at: http://debkalmbach.com/

Mindy Peltier is mommy of six, gramma of 3 and a writer who hopes to sit still long enough to write a novel some day.  She has been a member of NCWA since 2008. Mindy blogs at Momma Mindy’s Moments