It's Been a Great Year...

The other day I realised that it's been over a year since I restarted this blog. The thought surprised me slightly, as I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull it off. But posting has been regular - or at least semi-regular - throughout the last 12 months, and in fact there is no shortage of material to fill up these posts with news from our favourite genres.

One reason for this, I believe, is that there is such a lot happening in this arena. Look at the success of Marcher Lord Press, the increasing acceptance of "weird" stories by markets we would never have imagined possible, and all the great books that have come out in this year alone. Independent publishing ventures and high-quality e-zines continue to sprout and grow at amazing speeds, while the old guard keeps producing the fine stories we're used to.

I'm continually motivated to keep this up when I read the stats reports each week. We are getting lots of readers, and you're one of them - thanks very much for coming back! So what is it that keeps us on your blog list? Is there anything you'd like to see more of around here? Or something new you'd like us to try?

Also, does anyone have any idea how we could get more comment interaction happening? I realise news snippets don't usually warrant that kind of thing, so what could we maybe add to the mix?

If you are a writer or publisher of Christian spec-fic, you are most welcome to write a guest post on here at any time and make use of our large reader base. Just get in touch!


Announcing the Catholic Writers' Conference Online 2010


CONTACT: Karina Fabian Ann Margaret Lewis

E-mail: karina@fabianspace.com e-mail: annlewis@joesystems.com

For Immediate Release

Catholic Writers Conference Online Provides Practical Help

World Wide Web--This year's Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held February 26-March 5, 2010, will focus on the practical things the writer needs to succeed.

The conference is held via chats and forums at www.catholicwritersconference.com. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild, the online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels who register between October 1, 2009 and February 15, 2010.

"We've always concentrated on workshops and chats that teach the writer skills or provide information in the areas of crafting, publishing and marketing their works, but this year, we're adding critique workshops and some incredible opportunities to pitch to leading publishers," said organizer Karina Fabian.

This year, publishers hearing pitches include well known Catholic publishers like Pauline, large secular publishers like Thomas Nelson, and smaller presses like White Rose. Thus far, eleven pitch sessions are scheduled, running the gamut from Christian romance to Catholic theology.

In a new program, at least fifty attendees will have the opportunity to have pieces of their work critiqued by successful editors and writers. In addition, there will be forum-based workshops and chat room presentations covering topics from dialogue to freelancing to how Catholic fiction differs from Christian fiction.

"Even in good economic times, it's hard for writers to attend live conferences," said Fabian, "but this year, we think it's even more important to help careers by utilizing an online format. We're so grateful that our presenters are willing to share their time and talent."

Early registration is recommended. Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences. Non-Catholics may attend, as long as they respect Catholic beliefs and the conference's Catholic focus.

To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.


Guild Member Spotlight: Kat Heckenbach

Kat Heckenbach

When did you join the LGG? How did you make the connection?
Actually, I joined just a couple of weeks ago. I've been following the blog for a while and finally got some published short stories I wanted to announce, so I applied for membership.

What's the first thing you remember that happened in the Guild?
Well, I haven't really had much time for anything to happen. I do remember feeling completely technically-impaired trying to get hooked up on WebRing.

Tell us some good things that have transpired from belonging.
As I said, I've only just joined. But good things have transpired ever since finding LGG. Mainly, talking with some great writers/LGG members. I love feeling like I'm part of a community of misfits :). Just kidding. It is nice to know that others have the same appreciation for this genre that does seem a bit misunderstood.

What's your genre and subgenre? Why do you think that is?
My novels are YA fantasy--a little bit urban, a little bit traditional, with a slight Southern twang. I have short stories of the same genre/subgenre that are based on my books, but outside of that my writing tends to be dark fantasy/horror.
Why that is--not sure. I've just always loved fantasy novels and TV shows that had magic. I wanted to be Samantha from Bewitched, wanted to discover an enchanted forest, wished my house had a secret passage. Anything that opened a door to a "world beyond" fascinated me, and still does.

Do you like to read the same genre as you write? What other genres interest you? Favourite authors?
Yes, YA fantasy is at the top of my list, as is dark fantasy/horror. I'll read just about any genre if the story hooks me, though. Fave authors: JK Rowling, Cornelia Funke, Donita K. Paul, Bryan Davis, Steven James, Suzanne Collins, Stephen King, Madeline L'Engle, CS Lewis, Scott Westerfeld. The list, of course, goes on :).

Tell us about your published work, and where we can go to find out more.
I have stories published in the November 2009 issues of Mindflights ("The Artist") and Digital Dragon ("The Gift")--both are stories based on my novels.
One of my darker pieces ("Willing Blood") was selected Editor's Choice in The Absent Willow Review (Jul/Aug 2009) and I have another ("A Day Better Spent") coming out in TAWR in January 2010.
I've also published a couple of mainstream Christian stories--one in Christian Fiction Online Magazine and one in Einstein's Pocket Watch. My professional sales have all been personal experience stories, though.
A full list of all my published and soon-to-be-published stories can be found on my website, www.findingangel.com. Just click on the "Who's Putting Me in Print" tab.

What are you working on right now? How's progress?
I'm working on the second novel in my YA fantasy trilogy. (Yeah, trilogy--I know, that's just unheard of in fantasy :P.) I'm about half-way through the book, and it's coming in chunks. The first novel, Finding Angel, just poured out of me in about three months. But, of course, it needed gobs of editing. This one, Seeking Unseen, seems to be coming out more polished, but it's taking longer. I'm also in the middle of another short story based on a character in the books.

How has the LGG helped you in your work?
It's definitely helping to keep me motivated. Seeing other writers get published and getting to be a support to them has been fun. And in turn, feeling their support--words of praise and encouragement for my writing--has been invaluable.

What are your dreams for the future of Christian speculative fiction, and for yourself within that?
My dream would be for it to be taken more seriously by the publishing market, both Christian and secular. I'd like to see the lines blur a bit--I want to find Christian spec-fic in the secular sections of the bookstore more often.
As for me within that--I want to be seen as a Christian who writes speculative fiction that is read by both fans of Christian and secular writing. My books and stories tend not to address spiritual issues directly, but are more symbolic and allegorical, so I'm hoping my work can serve as a bridge. I actually have a writer friend who is using my short story "Willing Blood," which is what I've sort of been calling an allegorical horror, as a witnessing tool--I thought that was pretty cool.

Your best writing tip?
Learn the difference between writing "rules" and style. It's one thing to correct grammar, but quite another to change the tone of a passage. If someone has given you a suggestion that merely restates your writing in their style, it's not a suggestion you should follow.
What else are you up to that our readers would find interesting?
Hm, at the moment the only thing I can think of is that we're moving. That seems to be consuming most of my energy right now. Maybe also that I've begun drawing again--something I haven't done in years.

Something you reckon not many people know about you?
I can think of a lot of quirky things, but most people who know me already know them :). Maybe that I become completely obsessed with learning things I have an interest in. For example, my degree is in Biology and after reading the book The Case for a Creator I read every book by all the scientists Lee Strobel interviewed, and went through their bibliographies and read books they referred to--until I realized I spent two straight years reading nothing but books on the Creation/evolution debate. People at my church actually started asking me to lecture on it during Bible studies and such.
Or maybe you're looking for something like the fact that I write limericks to vent when I'm stressed, or that I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue?

Your website or social media profile?
or search "Kat Heckenbach" on Facebook