2013 Year in Review

2013 was a BIG year for OKC Christian Fiction Writers! Our members made huge strides in their writing careers, and they did it while holding down day jobs, caring for families, and maintaining (semi) normal lives. That's something worth celebrating! 

Here’s our year in review:

In February...

In March...

In April...

In May...

In June...

In July...

In August...

In September...

In October...

  • Jessica Ferguson’s Christmas short story If You Believe released as part of Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas series published by Helping Hands Press.
  • The Gift of Christmas, Linda Goodnight’s reprint duo with Debbie Macomber released and landed on the USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times Best Seller lists. It has remained on the NYT list for 8 weeks and currently sits at #8.
  • Julie Jarnagin signed with agent Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.
  • Robin Patchen signed with agent Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Agency.

In November...

  • Jeremy Johnson participated in NaNoWriMo, adding 18,000 words to a new project.
  • Robin Patchen’s novella Faith House released.
  • Sharon Srock submitted The Women of Valley View: Samantha, book 4 in the Valley View series, to Harbourlight Books.
  • Terri Weldon’s debut novella Mistletoe Magic released with Pelican Book Group.

In December...

  • Jessica Ferguson’s novella The Last Daughter was released by Wild Rose Press.
  • Linda Goodnight’s Sugarplum Homecoming released from Love Inspired.
  • Regina Jennings’ novella An Unforeseen Match was released in the novella collection A Match Made in Texas from Bethany House Publishers.
  • Lacy Williams’ Return of the Cowboy Doctor released and received the honor of being a Romantic Times Top Pick, got a 4.5 starred review, and was named a finalist in the 2014 RT Reviewers' Choice Awards.

Additionally in 2013...

  • Janet Lee Barton signed a two book contract for more books in the Love Inspired Historical Boardinghouse Betrothals series, and she self-published her first ebooks.
  • Anita Breitling joined ACFW's Novel Track Writing and Editing groups. She participated during ten months and met her goals six times, receiving six badges of accomplishment. As a part of these two groups, she completed a novella and wrote nearly 60,000 words on her current manuscript.
  • Jessica Ferguson had her first experience with Blog Talk Radio.
  • Darlene Franklin set a personal record for "most ever" books published in a year and signed a 3-book contract with Heartsong Presents for Maple Notch Days.
  • Linda Goodnight signed a 4 book contemporary romance contract with Love Inspired and a 3 book contract with Harlequin for single title women's fiction.
  • Vickie McDonough sold Attack on AngelFire to Love Inspired Suspense and her Land Rush Dreams trilogy to Barbour Publishing.
  • Jeremy Johnson finished his manuscript Reflections and will start submitting it soon. He also wrote four short stories that he plans to self-publish in ebook format.

Way to go, OCFW! May 2014 be just as rich, full of the Lord's blessings.


November/December Meetings

OCFW will not have regular meetings in November or December. Please check back with us in January for a full line-up of amazing speakers and workshops.

The OKC Christian Fiction Writers wish you and yours a blessed and beautiful holiday season. Happy Writing! See you in 2014!


October Mini-Conference Featuring Karen Ball

Karen Ball
Instead of a regular chapter meeting this month, OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host our third annual mini-conference. You won't want to miss this event featuring Karen Ball! 

Join us Saturday, October 19 from 8:30am-4:15pm at Memorial Road Church of Christ at 2221 E Memorial Rd in Edmond. 

About Karen Ball:
After 30 years of working in publishing houses (Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group) as an executive editor, Karen is now a literary agent with the prestigious Steve Laube Literary Agency. She is also an author who loves writing stories that resonate with authenticity.

Karen will present 4 sessions:

Write Your Passion & the Spiritual Side of Writing
Whatever genre you write in, you can't do it without passion! So come explore what passion really is, what your passion is, what kills that passion, and practical ways you can nurture it.

How NOT to Get Rejected!
The editor loved your proposal and enthusiastically asked for the full manuscript. You sent it that same minute and counted the days until you heard back. Then you got a rejection. Why? In this session, Karen shares reasons requested full manuscripts get turned down and gives specific ways manuscripts fail to deliver. Don't let your manuscript be on the rejected pile.

Taming Fiction Dragons
They're out there, lurking in the shadows, just waiting to attack and derail your writing. By the time were done, you'll know not only the names of your personal writing dragons, but how to tame them! In this session, we'll explore solutions to the most common writing mistakes, including:

•    Voice
•    Show vs. Tell
•    Dialogue
•    and more!

Everything You Want to Know about Editors, Agents, and Publishing (Q&A)

Ask Karen, an agent, editor, and published writer with over 30 years experience in the publishing industry. Do you want to know what a day in the life of an agent looks like? Are you wondering what editors love best about their authors? Are you curious who really makes the buying decisions at a publishing house? Or maybe you have an entirely different question. Submit your question for Karen directly to ocfwchapter@gmail.com.

This event is open to the public, so please share with others who may be interested. Cost is $50 and requires registration. 

Click here to register.


Member Spotlight: Terri Weldon

Terri Weldon
OCFW welcomes Terri Weldon to our Member Spotlight today.

Terri Weldon claims her regular life is really pretty mundane. She refrains from saying dull! Terri and her sister, Cynthia, share a house in the OKC metro area. They’re the best of friends and enjoy a lot of the same things.

Terri likes working in her yard. She has more flowerbeds than a sane person needs. She also enjoys reading and shopping for shoes, a habit she really needs to break. She has three dogs - a lovable mutt and two adorable Westies. Terri volunteers as the church librarian at St. Matthew UMC. She loves it – she actually gets to shop for books and spend someone else’s money. Plus, she gets to introduce people to Christian fiction.

Terri is a member of ACFW and RWA. Her novel, A Cry In The Night, was the runner-up in the 2010 Genesis Contest in the Romantic Suspense category. In 2012 her novel, 96 Channing Street, was a semi-finalist in the Romantic Suspense category of the Genesis Contest.

 --- An Interview with Terri ---

What do you write? 
Primarily, I write romantic suspense. I absolutely love reading romantic suspense, so it seemed natural for me to write that genre. However, there are times I write contemporary romance. Probably because I grew up reading Harlequin romances.

How long have you been a member of OCFW?
I’ve been a member of OCFW since its inception. I still remember how happy I was to receive the original email from Lacy Williams informing me a chapter of ACFW was being established in Edmond. It’s an amazing group and I’ve grown and learned so much from the members.

What's you're favorite part of the writing process?
My favorite part of the writing process is when that first gem of an idea comes into my mind. For me, that usually happens in one of two ways. Either my villain will ask a question or my heroine or hero will be on the run.

Have you entered any contests?
Absolutely! There are some great contests out there. I’ve entered the Genesis, Golden Heart, Daphne, Finally A Bride, and a few others. The Genesis is one of my favorites. I love that it divides Christian fiction into genres. Very few contests do that.

What’s the most important piece of writing advice you’ve received?
There are two pieces of advice that have really helped me. One – quit making your heroines so mean! I still have to fight that. I think in attempting to make my heroines assertive, they come across as mean. I’m really hoping it’s not a reflection on me! Two – show your reader the emotion your character is feeling. I strive to do this. I’m not always successful, but I try.


We hope you've enjoyed getting to know Terri. Be sure to look for her upcoming Christmas novella, Mistletoe Magic, releasing in November 2013.


September Meeting

Lacy Williams
OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host multi-published author Lacy Williams on Saturday, September 21, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Williams' topic: Character Building Blocks. Just like a contractor can't build a house with only one type of material, a writer must use multiple layers to build engaging, realistic characters. Join us for an interactive workshop to discover how you can create or enhance characters for your next novel.

By day, Lacy Williams is a stay-at-home mom battling dirty diapers and dog-hair dust-bunnies. By night, she is an award-winning novelist. She loves dogs, chocolate ice cream, romantic movies, and her number-crunching husband. Lacy's latest book, Roping the Wrangler, was released August 1, 2013 with Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, email Erin Young at OCFWchapter@gmail.com.


Member Spotlight: Regina Jennings

Regina Jennings
We're happy to shine our OCFW member spotlight on Regina Jennings today.

Regina is a homeschooling mother of four from Oklahoma. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. Regina graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustangalong with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows.

--- An Interview with Regina ---

What do you write and why?
I write the type of book I like to read, so I can’t imagine writing anything besides historical romance. There are so many eras and cultures out there that I can’t limit the stories to the here and now. And my goal for historical romances is that they would have a compelling conflict, a humorous voice, historical accuracy and that they would be blatantly romantic.

What books do you have out?
The latest is Love in the Balance, which released in March of this yearSixty Acres and a Bride released in 2012.

What are you currently working on?
My third novel Caught in the Middle releases next spring, so it’s in the final stages of editing right now. I’m also looking over the galleys of a novella for the collection A Match Made in Texas which comes out this December.

As far as new projects, I’m wrapping up revisions on the first novel of a new series. The working title is War Torn Hearts and it’s set in the Missouri Ozarks at the end of the Civil War. It has an October deadline so it’s headed to critique partners soon.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I’m somewhere in between, possibly a pantser in denial. I like to have the major turning points plotted out before I get very far into the story (my editor appreciates that, too), but as I start writing I revise—sometimes turning the plot in a totally new direction. I reckon my final answer is that I always have a map showing me where I’m going, but I might switch maps mid-journey.

How long have you been a member of OCFW?
I joined OCFW in 2010 after finding the group online.

What has been the most helpful advice you've received as a writer?
The best advice I received was to join a writers’ group. Joining OKC Christian Fiction Writers changed my life. The meetings taught me so much, but even more importantly I met veterans who were willing to share their experience with a newbie. Through OCFW and the national group American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), I’ve found critique partners, fellowship and support for the original challenges that authors face.

What five things about you might surprise people?
I know how to belly dance.
I once rode a donkey through church.
I’ve literally driven from coast to coast.
Occasionally I help my dad work at the OKC National Stockyards. My task is to weigh pigs.
I’ve spent time in an Indian orphanage and a Mexican prison.


We hope you enjoyed getting to know Regina. You can connect with her on her websiteFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. Don't miss her novels Love in the Balance and Sixty Acres and a Bride

Click here to purchase.
Molly Lovelace dreams of being a society leader in 1879 Lockhart, Texas, but being smitten with handsome wrangler Bailey Garner doesn’t seem the quickest route. If only he would settle down so he could support a family.

Bailey imagines doing great things for God, but his greatest obstacle is Molly. As long as he thought they’d be married, he excused their stolen kisses, but when she keeps refusing, he vows to earn her love. In town, he tries his hand at several different trades, but everywhere he turns he runs into the mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont. No surprise that Molly’s always making calf eyes at the wealthy adventurer.

As pressure from Molly’s parents grows she is forced into a hasty decision. Had she weighed all her options and will she find love in the balance?


Click here to purchase.
With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to their Texas family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have just three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa falls in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. They welcome her vivacious spirit and try to help her navigate puzzling American customs. She can't help but stand out, though, and her beauty captures attention. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, Rosa must decide to what lengths she will go to save her future.


August Meeting

Sharon Srock
OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Sharon Srock on Saturday, August 17, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Ms. Srock will discuss the topic: Everything I needed to know about writing fiction, I learned from Star Trek - Basic writing truths buried in the episodes of a science fiction classic.

Sharon Srock went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cut her writer's teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sharon serves her local chapter in the role of treasurer. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri, both of which are currently available. The Women of Valley View: Pam will release in early 2014. You can connect with Sharon at www.sharonsrock.com.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, email Erin Young at OCFWchapter@gmail.com.


OK Authors Library Event

Join Christian fiction authors from across Oklahoma for an afternoon of information and inspiration. Come and bring a friend!

Saturday, July 27th at 2:00pm.
Northwest Library
5600 NW 122nd St.
Oklahoma City


July Meeting

Steven Hunt
OKC Christian Fiction Writers will host author Steven Hunt on Saturday, July 20. Mr. Hunt will be discussing: Realism in Fiction.

Fiction presents the reader with a make-believe story, wrapped in the illusion of reality. Reality breathes life into characters, settings, and plots, enticing the reader to become fully engaged in the story while cultivating the sought-after feeling of personally knowing the characters, becoming a witness to the actions and plot.

Steven Hunt has dedicated his life to helping others. A fifth generation Oklahoman, Steven often can be found assisting other Oklahomans as a career law enforcement officer. When he’s off duty, he helps writers develop the stories within them. His second novel, Chasing Christmas, displays that helpful attitude as the story unveils the transformation of a selfish person into a man who places others before himself while having to combat an evil force whose sole intent is to see him fail. Steven and his wife, Cindy, make their home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Their favorite pastimes include spending quality time with their children and spoiling their grandchildren.

You can learn more about Steven at his website www.stevenhuntbooks.com.

OCFW meets the third Saturday of the month at Mardel Christian Store, 3300 South Boulevard in Edmond. For more information, email Erin Young at OCFWchapter@gmail.com.


Writers with Guns

From left: Susan Crawford, Kathy Cohea, Tony Ball,
Regina Jennings, Mischelle Creager, Erin Taylor Young
Last month, OCFW members attended a firearms clinic with instructor Tony Ball. The writers learned about the function and purposes of several different types of firearms including shotguns, rifles and pistols. They were also allowed to shoot each gun and experience first-hand the numerous sensations of firing a weapon. From the smooth and steady pull of the trigger to the smell of gunpowder in the air, it was a day of invaluable hands-on research.

Erin Taylor Young said, “This clinic was a fabulous source of material--both in information and experience--for writing believable gun scenes. I'm totally going to use a twelve gauge shotgun in a future book--someone very unpredictable is going to have to fire that puppy and deal with a heck of a recoil.” 

And one member, who shall remain unnamed (but it rhymes with Bischelle Treager), received detailed information each time she began a question with the phrase, “If I were trying to kill somebody…” quickly followed with the disclaimer, “I WRITE SUSPENSE. IT’S FOR RESEARCH.”

Here are some photos from the day:

Tony teaching us the difference between a magazine and a clip.

Don't even mess with Regina, people.

Kathy, very happy to be learning how to shoot an assault rifle.

Tony showing Mischelle the correct finger placement before shooting.

Those little targets are hard to hit. At least, for some of us.

This video speaks for itself. Enjoy watching Erin's first shotgun experience.

Overall, we had way more fun than should be allowed, and gathered tons of information that will help us craft realistic scenes.

How about you? Have you done anything interesting for the sake of research?