Friday, February 26, 2016

My Story (Part 4) by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson

After my incident with the unscrupulous agent (Part 1 of my story) and my aversion to Christian writers conferences and fledgling, self-publishing houses (Part 2 of my story), I realized I still had to keep writing (Part 3 of my story). I also decided to give one of those “Christian Writers Conferences” a try.

I sent my check, received my email confirmation, and remember feeling a knot in my stomach the size of a large millstone.

What do I do now? I thought. Surely there’s a “How To” Guide online somewhere…

The email spoke of setting up appointments with agents and editors, gave tips on how to present yourself well. It mentioned the dreaded “elevator pitch.” There were descriptions of workshops and general sessions. I had attended numerous secular conferences for various reasons before, so I knew how conferences worked, but how would “they” do it? What was appropriate and what wasn’t? Were you expected to be “over the top” enthusiastic about your own work, or should you be more reserved? The more I thought about it, the more I started to think I was in way over my head.

The big names which donned the docket didn’t help my nerves, either. Cec Murphey. Jeff Gerke. Nancy Rue. Angela Elwell Hunt. T. Davis Bunn. And, oh yea. Some guy named Jerry Jenkins.

No pressure.

As the days of the conference approached, I grew more excited and alarmed all at the same time. I was asking questions, trying to get as much of a handle on this conference thing as I could. I was a novice, but I didn’t want to appear to be one. Yet, as the conference date approached, I often thought the conference director was probably sitting at home, wondering if she should refund my money with no strings attached.

“Just give this guy his money back so he’ll stop asking all these questions.”

Yeah. I was that guy.

The day finally arrived, and I remember driving to the first-timers meeting at the beginning of the conference thinking to myself, “Okay, so don't get your hopes up, dude. The odds of you getting anyone interested in your story on the first shot are astronomical.” It was as if I was trying to fail ahead of time.

I know, I need help. Most writers do.

Little did I know what would happen next.I attended the first meal of the first day of my first Christian writers conference. Lunch. At the meals, I learned you can sit with agents and editors and other writers and get to know them. As people. As something other than agents or editors or writers. It was an enlightening experience. So enlightening, in fact, this became one of my favorite parts of the conference experience. Never mind the eating part (something I’ve been known to enjoy). It’s the camaraderie and networking. I got to know some great people I never would have known otherwise.

The experience was so great, I showed up the next morning for breakfast, all excited about sitting at the table of one person I wanted to get to know due to some previous conversations we had before the conference via email. I anxiously awaited for him to show up at “his table” (the one with his name tag on it), but he didn’t sit there. He had the nerve to sit somewhere else and ignore me entirely. I was getting a little bothered until a fellow conferee informed me that the conference faculty and other dignitaries didn’t have to sit at their “table” for breakfast. They could go where they wanted. Lunch and Supper were the “locked-in” meals. It was then I recalled why I was so nervous in the days and weeks leading up to the conference.

Stupid Newbie. You’re such a novice. You’re gonna look the part regardless of how hard you try to avoid it.

Despite the breakfast faux pas, there was one meal that transformed my entire conference outlook, and that meal will be served next month.

Moral of Part 4: The “experts” who teach at these conferences (although they will be the first ones to tell you they often get things wrong as often as they get it right) know the business. So, if you are a newbie, listen to them. Take the advice, sift it through your own personal system of discernment, and act on what you feel will honor God. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did.         

Something ominous lurks under the waters.

Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband's mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband's office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever...and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.

Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.

Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn's life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stand for.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years experience as an administrator at the high school level.

A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:  
Kevin’s Educational Blog:  
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson