Alton Gansky and his “Alves” worked hard to make this year’s conference a wonderful experience for me.

I had the privilege this week to worship and learn with some fascinating people:

Ron Benrey — MIT Graduate-electrical engineering, Masters in Management, a Juris Doctor. Some say he was the Simon Cowell of the conference. I tend to agree–He tore apart my bungled pitch to him–and of course, made it better.

Christy award-winning novelist, Steven James taught us the Wisconsin Milk cheer(wacky) and told the story of Cinderella in spoonerisms(fun with a spiritual lesson worked in).

Former Miss South Carolina, Janet Roller led me and my fellow conferees to the feet of Jesus with beautiful songs of praise.

Attorney, former US Navy JAG officer,  author, Charlotte resident and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate,  Don Brown ate lunch with me and my co-horts(Donna and Claire) and shared with us how the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference helped him become published–I love to hear success stories.

Debut author, marketing and advertising consultant, Jim Rubart,shared his marketing expertise. See his debut novel trailer below:

Dr. Donn Taylor, English literature professor, mystery, suspense and poetry writer had time to talk with me about writing. I bought a copy of his Dust and Diamonds poetry book.(I already had his Rhapsody in Red novel–see my review here)

Literary agent, Jonathan Clements, wowed us with his improv skills and dance moves. Alas, I can’t seem to get him to see the value of my stories.

I talked with Cecil Stokes of Tentmakers Entertainment about my screenplay. He agreed to read it. I re-read it before sending it to him and now  I think it is the most ridiculous, sappiest of  stories–but it makes me laugh.

DiAnn Mills, novelist and finalist for this year’s Christy Awards, made me cry. No, she wasn’t like Simon Cowell, but had us do an exercise in her class that had me in tears–I never expected to cry. She wanted us to write about the worst thing that ever happened to us. Mine, of course, was going through the terrible time when my son started having his seizures. Strange thing is, I have never cried about it before–I’ve written about it and talked about it plenty, but never cried.

Acquisitions editor and speaker, James Watkins shared with us some entries from the Twitter Bible. You can read them HERE. I like this one:

Everybody in the whole cell block was dancin’ to the jail house rock. Paul and Silas

I give James two thumbs up–that’s good. I intend to purchase his book “Writing with Banana Peels” about writing with humor.

You can hear his talk here:

http://www.jameswatkins.com/10-CWG-03.mp3 (Listen to it if you have a dream you want to fulfill–I think we all do).

I shared a wonderful banquet meal with Marie A. Shull, M. Ed.–a self proclaimed ex-feminist. She told a funny story that happened during a sad time in her life–I had to use the cloth napkin to wipe away the tears from laughter.  I also sat with Joy Bazemore, Speaker and Author, who won an award that night and Debbie B Barwick, Biblical Teacher, author and speaker.

I met Sherry Carter, NASA engineer,  in 2007, the same year she won the overall award for her Bible study. She has a very humble spirit. Her Bible study sprung from the pain of losing friends when the space shuttle Columbia broke up in space. I believe she said she worked with these people for well over a year before their final flight.  Thursday at lunch she shared with us that the astronauts were able to choose the songs they woke to every morning. Rick Husbands, the commander, chose “God of Wonders”.  Her book, Storms of Life, comes out in August.

Reigning Mrs. North Carolina, and model,  Rachel Lee Carter, sat at my breakfast table one morning and shared with us her ministry. What a beautiful person–inside and out. She has  a ministry teaching young women how to dress modestly–I think if I were a teenager, I would certainly listen to what she has to say.

Karen Schurrer, editor at Bethany House Publishers, critiqued my book, Eve’s Apple. Although I didn’t get a book contract (the book is unfinished and needs work) she left me with some promising words  and an invitation to submit to her which will spur me to work harder.

And last but not least, I met Jerry Jenkins. His Left Behind series has sold 70 million copies(when you’ve sold that many, it is okay to round off the numbers). I enjoyed hearing of his experience working with Billy Graham. Sadly, he chose my book, Eve’s Apple, to critique in front of a room full of people. I managed to keep my face from turning red, I think.  He briefly went over some writing guidelines and one of them was that he doesn’t like it when people use the word “literally” when they mean “figuratively” (He also doesn’t like the quotations like I just used).

I close this blog entry with this:

I both literally and figuratively have had a mountaintop experience.

Now I’m through with name dropping.