I’m a Finalist!

I’m enjoying some good news I received this month. If you follow me on social media or receive newsletters from Oregon Christian Writers, you probably heard I’m a finalist in the Cascade Contest. The winner will be announced at the summer conference on August 22.

2018 Finalist

My entry, currently titled Memoir of a Living Doll, traces the roles dolls played in my growing up. I learned from Chatty Cathy, the pre-owned doll who arrived with marks and scrapes, to see the value of loving imperfect people. This translated later into becoming a foster parent. And Raggedy Ann, who wasn’t crafted for the purpose of merely adorning my bed. She taught me the importance of releasing the ones I love to fulfill their missions in life.

I’m still knitting, pulling out stitches, and reworking my story so I’m sure I’ll discover more surprises along the way. For now, I’m excited my concept and sample pages pleased the preliminary judges. Thank you, Cascade staff, volunteers, and OCW!

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Here’s a scene I’m working on:

It didn’t matter if Chatty Cathy couldn’t speak well. She didn’t have to tell me what happened to her before she came to my house. I wanted only to care for her and be a friend. However, over time Chatty’s fraying string became more resistant to my tugs. I feared it might break with the next pull, stealing her speech forever.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to say anything.” I laid my hand over her chest, feeling the ridges in the grill covering her voice box. “I’ll talk for you.”

I positioned Chatty’s legs and seated her on my hip, the way Mom carries Baby Sister. It had to be uncomfortable, but when I pulled her string again she didn’t complain.

Chatty never complained, but I understood about putting a smile on your face while still carrying hurts inside. And she didn’t always say the phrase I expected. Sometimes I couldn’t say what weighed in my heart, too.

“Te-te-tell me a story.”

“Here’s my brother’s favorite book.” I squeezed her close. “It’s called Go, Dog, Go. Let me tell you about the funny dogs.”

We both needed a good story. (end of excerpt)

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A few months ago one of my critique partners, Wanda Fisher, gave me her Betsy McCall doll to express her love and support. How thankful I am for the encouragement and reminder that Betsy also has a story to tell.

Hopefully, my book will help others tell their stories, too.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

I Write for You – John 21:14-19

It’s all about you. That may sound strange, but it’s true. As we come to the end of January I’m altering my blog a bit, all because of you.

At an Oregon Christian Writers conference a few years ago I attended a workshop led by magazine editor Ginger Kolbaba. She taught on writing articles for publication, and the remarkable takeaway I got was from her comment about rejecting submissions she felt might discourage or do harm to the readers she served. She seemed adamant about her responsibility to care for them.

I hadn’t thought of my writing carrying that much responsibility.

“This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs’ (John 21:14-15 NIV).

Jesus told Peter three times to feed his sheep, and twice he reminded Peter to be his follower. I think it’s a pretty strong commission since Jesus had recently suffered and died and risen from the dead. Anyone would be motivated to listen to someone who’d been dead!

It was like he was giving his disciples his final instructions. This is important, take care of my sheep. You must follow me.

I’m looking for better ways to serve my readers, a more effective way to love my neighbor as myself as a follower of Jesus, so I’m writing my memoir (see explanation on my About page). Since it’s important I give more attention to it, I’m changing my blogging schedule to once a month.

You’re invited to sign up for my newsletter to receive updates. I’ll keep you informed of the progress of my book and other writing ventures. There’s also a form at the top of this page if the link doesn’t work.

Let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. It’s my pleasure to serve you.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Why I Attend Writers Conferences – Hebrews 10:23-25

Here we are with the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference 2017 only a week away. This conference is the biggest event of my writing year, so let me attempt to explain why.

The down side

Conferences are expensive.

They’re time-consuming.

Being in a room full of strangers is taxing.

I may not measure up, my work will be rejected, or I’ll otherwise discover I’m the worst writer ever.

It’s an indulgence. I feel guilty about laying aside other responsibilities to immerse myself in something I enjoy so completely.

Why I go

  1. It’s a refresher course. I gain knowledge that helps me understand current changes in the publishing industry.
  2. It’s energizing on many levels. Encountering writers and industry professionals from all walks of life charges my creative batteries.
  3. It’s worth it. It just is. I haven’t met a writer who doesn’t want to improve. The benefits of rubbing shoulders with less-than and more-than seasoned writers are immeasurable. And I just said I’m not comfortable in crowds?
  4. It’s give and take. It’s amazing how much inspiration I receive as I’m helping other writers on their path.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV).

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

#amwriting #keepwriting #ocwsummerconf2017 #goodforme

How to Know if You are a Writer – Matthew 7:24-29

I was perched near the top of a tall building, under the Tower of Babel sign, trying to address the crowd. The problem was, only a few of my listeners understood what I was saying. The rest were raising a ruckus trying to find someone who spoke their language, making it impossible for anyone to hear me. My nightmare turned out just as it did in the Bible, my audience parting a hundred different ways.

I’m glad it was only a dream.

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Is writing for you?

The need to communicate with others is a basic need, but how do you know if writing is the best outlet for you?

The first thing I would ask, if you wonder about calling yourself a writer, is how important is it to you?

I have been writing consistently for more than forty years. Writing helps me think, or understand, my world. It helps me communicate better when I speak, because I’ve pre-processed my thoughts. I consider a tablet and pen two of the bare essentials of my existence, so I carry them with me always.

I would give up meals to write.

My husband Jerry is not devoted to writing. He likes to put his hunting and outdoor stories on paper once in a while, but he finds satisfaction when he is working in his shop crafting knives. Writing doesn’t feed his soul like it does mine. He’s happy to miss a meal when he has an almost-finished knife in his hands.

Ready to commit long-term?

Writing is hard work, but I make it a labor of love.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:25-29 NIV).

Do you think you can stick with it? Will you listen to wisdom and work on your skills to keep improving them? When storms or disappointments come, will you learn from your mistakes and correct them, even if it means digging up a poor foundation and starting over with a wiser game plan? Adversity isn’t fun, but it can help us become better communicators.

Keep building, keep writing, keep crafting

Jerry improves his craft by learning from successful knife makers and experimenting with new concepts as he works. When he lists his knives for sale online or displays them at knife shows, he keeps aware of the responses he receives so he can incorporate new ideas into his designs (see Jerry Davis Knives.com).

It’s much the same with my writing. I ask seasoned writers for tips on improving my craft, and use the feedback I receive from readers for the same purpose. I’ve found that attending Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) conferences, where I have opportunities to rub elbows with all kinds of writers, mentors, editors and agents, to be invaluable.

OCW editor Susan King in conference

If you’re interested in exploring this further, join us at the OCW spring conference in May (one day), or the four-day summer coaching conference in August. This link will take you to the website where you will find more information.

How am I doing? I welcome any feedback on my growing communication skills.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Packing my Bags – Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference 2013

Wrapped up and tied with a bow, today I finished the first draft of my historical romance set in 1945 as WWII is ending and a returning soldier abruptly plants a kiss on the first girl he meets.  She is seriously not impressed, but I’m hoping to impress, without kissing, of course, one of the editors, agents, critiquers or mentors that will be at the OCW Summer Conference in two days. If you’d like to check it out, there’s still time: OCW Summer Conference to join us.

With no forewarning I took the past two weeks off from posting my mini Bible studies. My parents and siblings enjoyed an unexpected trip to Texas to gather in remembrance of a dear aunt who passed away. A difficult, precious, sad and joyful time.

I’ll be resuming the mini Bible studies in the next week or two  when I have mostly filed away the information I’ve collected at the conference. Hope I find a place for it all!

Kathy Sheldon Davis