The theme for the 2011 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference(aka Revival) was “Write Courageously”.

Our first keynote speaker, Retired Army Ranger and Chaplain Jeff Struecker, knows a little bit about courage.

He lived through the events portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down and told us of how he transitioned from Ranger to Chaplain because the other men in the operation began coming to him for counseling.

You see, he had something that the others didn’t have—peace in the knowledge that no matter what the outcome of the mission, he was going home—either to his wife or to his Father in Heaven. He knew.

Warning: There is violence in this video–the story cannot be told without it.

No violence in this video:

Check out Chaplain Struecker’s novels:

Other conference memories:

Praying a very specific prayer with Cecil Stokes.

Being taught and critiqued by script consultant, Dr. Linda Seger.

Edie Melson talking about her son gearing up for deployment.

Eva Marie Everson talking about her mother at last year’s conference(I didn’t cry until I was sharing her story with my husband after I got home).

Sharing a meal with Deborah Raney, Yvonne Lehman, Jim Watkins, Ramona Richards, Aaron Gansky, Nancy Lohr, and the many conferees who shared their personal stories.

Angela Hunt instructing us on how to use Scrivener.

Crying as Janet Roller led us in worship.

Laughing with keynote speaker, Jane Herlong.

Christy award finalist, Gina Holmes, offering to critique the first few pages of my manuscript.

Experiencing the Staff talent show (How could you forget?).

Pitching to Ramona Richards (my one sheet was very misleading— I didn’t realize the connotation it would have in other people’s eyes) –she gave me permission to submit it after I explained what I meant.

Pitching to Film Producer, Christy Lee Taylor—started out with my screenplay Poison Ivy Bride(bombed), then my full manuscript, Absalom’s Beauty(bombed), but my little humor story, Eve’s Apple, received a request for the treatment.

It takes courage to come to conference and put your ideas out there. Sometimes you’ll face rejection, but sometimes, you just might find success. But you have to go out there and do it. If I had one regret in my experience is that I did not seek out the opportunities to fellowship outside the cafeteria. I am an early-to-bed person(aka boring), so I miss out on what was called “the afterglow”.

Did I mention that Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference is the highlight of my year?

Thanks Alton Gansky and Edie Melson for a wonderful worshipful time!