Without a doubt, the Covid-19 virus has changed a lot of things for me and many other authors. I started 2020 with a calendar containing 32 author/speaking events scheduled, and as of now most have been cancelled or postponed into 2021. One outdoor event that was still planned to go on was then called off due to rainstorms. Ah well. I'm learning to be more patient and flexible.
One event that did happen and I did attend was the 2020 Montrose Christian Writers' Conference, held in Montrose, Pennsylvania. For five days, writers gathered on the beautiful, serene campus of the Montrose Bible Conference grounds and studied much about all facets of writing - techniques of quality writing, editing, publishing, marketing, speaking, and more.
With faculty and conference staff, the gathering numbered about 75. I could not have been more satisfied about how the staff there made every effort to keep us safely socially distanced and took many precautions to enable the conference to happen with minimal risk of virus exposure.
I enjoyed reuniting with other author friends I'd made over the last several times I'd attended this conference and learning
from numerous award-winning published authors leading the seminars. Conversations (spread apart of course) around the meal tables enhanced the learning parts of the conference.
Every year, one of the highlights of the week is the Readers' Theater on the final night of the conference. The authors that choose to participate read a segment up to three minutes long of a current work in progress. I read a suspenseful portion of my ongoing fiction project, Redemption Rentals.
The story is about four unique vacation rental properties - a cozy cottage, a tiny house, a beautiful stained glass church, and a romantic tree house - and the guests that come to stay in them. Angels work in cahoots with the local Christians to help each protagonist, and of course, the territorial demons do everything they can to thwart the good work. In every case, the travelers come away with more than they bargained for.
As in previous conference Readers' Theater nights, I received good feedback from my author peers and enjoyed hearing portions from their unique and varied works-in-progress. I left the event chock full of lecture notes, encouragement, and new things to consider in my writing.
This weekend and next I'll be doing author signings for my book Twisted: Mindful Pretzel Consumption at the retail store of my family's pretzel business, Tom Sturgis Pretzels in Reading, Pennsylvania. It's a featured location of the Berks County Best Kept Secrets Tour. I'm always game to get out and meet new people and have new experiences. I'm thankful that at least a few of my scheduled events will go on.
Even if I'll have to wear a mask.