Tag Archives: writers conferences

Highlights ‘n’ lowlights in 2015



To say “2015 was a year of ups and downs” may invite an eye roll or two. After all, who ever had a year that cruised bump-free along a Texas straightaway (as Scott from Sapphire Secrets might say) ?

Go ahead and roll those eyes, ‘cuz I’m gonna say it: 2015 was a year of highs and lows for this author.

To wit:

  1. In March, I entered my story Paint the Storm into ACFW’s Genesis contest. I’ll never forget the astonishing phone call I got two months later telling me it made the semifinals in the Short Novel category. It was a completely unexpected blessing. (The teeter-totter makes its first liftoff!)
  2. In June, I waited with nail-biting impatience for the finalists to be named. Alas, my name wasn’t there. (Teeter-totter bites the dust with a bone-crunching thud.)
  3. In August, I attended a life-changing four-day summer conference. You can read all about it here, here, and here. On top of all that, an agent expressed interest in Sapphire Secrets. (Seesaw launches.)
  4. But then, the agent decided the manuscript wasn’t a good fit for her market, but at least she didn’t slam the door in my face. (Seesaw sags toward the ground.)
  5. In October, two wonderful things happened: I republished When Lyric Met Limerick with a new cover and edited content, and for the first time, truly felt like a published author. Shortly thereafter, my entry into the ACFW First Impressions contest (Sapphire Secrets) made finalist in its category! (Seesaw soars toward the sky.)
  6. But alack and alas, Sapphire Secrets didn’t win First Impressions. What’s that I hear? A seesaw slamming into concrete?


But now the seesaw is going back up. Real soon now, you’ll get to see the new cover for the much-hyped Sapphire Secrets, and even read it for yourself. At last.

And how was YOUR year? What good things are you expecting in this new year?




Writers Conference, Day 3

It’s 1983. Howard aspires to be the next Bruce Springsteen, and doesn’t mind bending a few rules to get there. Then he meets “Luna Tunes,” who sells limericks for a living. Sure, she’s cute, but who does that? And why is she with that goon Brian?

Before Howard can even get her number, he gets arrested for shoplifting a Jimi Hendrix tee. But he doesn’t know a jealous boyfriend awaits his release…

“When Lyric Met Limerick” is a light-hearted, fun romance that will make you smile.


The blurb above was my most valuable take-away from today’s conference. Second takeaway: I heard a heart-warming testimony from a fellow author who discovered a few years ago that God was all about grace, not rule-keeping. It’s sad how many of the unchurched think of Christianity as a bunch of rules that help us be better people. No, it’s God’s grace that makes us righteous in his sight.

If you are learning this for the first time, and you want to know more about how Christianity is not about rules, please email me at dawn@dawnvcahill.com. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Writers Conference, Day 1

A young woman learns her mother may have been murdered twenty years ago. And she’s the only one who can unlock the secret. If only she could remember…

What if you suspected you’d been lied to about your mother’s death…how far would you go to uncover the truth? 

The above pitch was my biggest takeaway from Day 1 of the 4-day conference. In the Boot Camp class, a best-selling fiction author sat down with me, read my synopsis for Sapphire Secrets, and knew immediately how to pitch it. This is why I spend hundreds of dollars to attend these things.

Second takeaway: The keynote speaker reminded us that we Christian writers don’t write to make money or be famous. We write as worship. And he also reminded us that trying to control outcomes is the opposite of faith. I plead guilty to that one. This is a world that sends the message, you can have whatever you want if you just work hard enough for it.

But that’s not faith. That isn’t resting in God and leaving outcomes in His hands. I so needed the reminder.

For those of you who’ve attended writers conferences: what is a memorable moment for you? Please share!

And check back tomorrow for the results of Day 2.