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Yet Another Book Baby Dropping Soon

Yet Another Book Baby Dropping Soon

by Mindy Obenhaus

There are lots of celebrations on tap for the Obi family this month. One grandson has a birthday, as well as our youngest daughter. Later this month, we'll be welcoming a new grandbaby AND I'll have a new book baby to boot. 

Book three in my Hope Crossing series, Loving the Rancher's Children, releases May 23rd. If you've read one or both of the other two books in the series, you'll not only have an opportunity to catch up with some familiar characters from the first two books, but you'll also get to know Jake Walker and Alli Krenek who've been mentioned in the previous books. No worries if you haven't ready either of the other books, though. Any of them can be read as a stand-alone. 

Growing up on adjoining ranches, Jake and Alli were the best of friends, always trying to outdo each other. But just when it seemed their friendship was blossoming into something more, Jake broke Alli's heart. And they've barely spoken since. Something that was easy to do when Alli lived in Austin. But now she's back in Hope Crossing and Jake is a widowed father of two in need of a nanny. A position Alli would jump on if Jake weren't the children's father. But between her soft spot for kids and God's nudging, Alli soon changes her mind. 

Yet Another Book Baby Dropping Soon

Have you ever encountered someone you once knew and tried to fit them into the mold of who they were only to find out they'd changed? I don't know about you, but I'm not the same person I was at eighteen. I've had a lot of life experiences between then and now and they've shaped who I am today.

As a writer, I loved watching Jake and Alli discover who the other person had become. To see their preconceived notions flipped upside down. And I hope you will, too. You can preorder your copy at any of these fine retailers: Amazon, ChristianBook.com, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Target

But today we're celebrating, so I'm giving away a signed copy of Loving the Rancher's Children, along with a $20 Amazon gift card (U.S. mailing addresses only, please). Simply leave a comment to be entered, however, if you comment as Anonymous, please include a name so everyone will know which Anonymous actually won. Then be sure to check the Weekend Edition Saturday to find out if you're a winner.

Yet Another Book Baby Dropping Soon

Best-selling author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com


Book Series Proposals

Book Series Proposals

by Mindy Obenhaus

Each time I write a post, I ask myself where I’m at in my writing. What am I working on? Since I just turned a new series proposal, I thought I’d revisit my process for doing that because if you’re like I was, you hear of people proposing a book series, yet have no idea what that actually looks like. It can seem like an overwhelming task. So, I’m going to pull back the veil on my proposal process which, as you’ve probably figured out, can be different for everyone. Yet while the process may be different, the elements of the proposal remain the same.

Back when I first started writing, my goal was to get published. Of course, that didn’t happen overnight. I had a lot of learning to do first. About the craft and the business—which seems to be ever-changing. Nine years later, I realized my dream of becoming a published author. And a year or so after that, it was time for me to propose a book series.

“No problem,” I thought, clueless as to what a multi-book proposal might entail.

Off I went to work on the first story. Synopsis and first three chapters, just like the other books. I’ve got this.

Book Series Proposals

But wait, how are these books going to be connected? Friends? Family? Location?

Once that was settled, it dawned on me that I should also consider things such as what time of year each story would take place and how weather might play a role. If I have drenching rains in one story and a wildfire due to dry conditions in a later story, a reasonable amount of time would have to pass between those two stories to make that fire believable.

After I wrapped my brain around those things, I was ready to write. Since I tend to be a linear writer, I write the first three chapters and synopsis on the first story before moving on to the short synopses of the other books in the series, though you might prefer to write the other outlines simultaneously. Whatever works best for you.

Thanks to my annoying detail-oriented tendencies, I soon found myself wondering how long those subsequent synopses should be. Are we talking back-cover copy type blurbs or something longer?

You might want to check with your agent or editor, but I say whatever it takes to give the editor a succinct idea of each story, while still giving them enough information to know if the story is going to work. A brief synopsis that includes these key elements—

  • Main character names, occupations and ages.
  • Goal, motivation and conflict for the main characters.
  • What’s at stake? (AKA what happens if the characters don’t achieve their goals?)
  • In a romance, what brings the hero and heroine together?
  • And what keeps them apart?

Yes, this can take a little time because you kinda need to get a feel for the characters, get to know them a little bit. At least I do. Blame it on the detail-oriented thing.

Once all of the synopses are complete, it’s time to assemble the proposal. Again, it’s always good to check with your agent or editor to see if there’s a particular format they prefer. I usually start with a cover page that has the working title of the first story, the working title for the series, my name and contact information and my agent’s name and contact info. 

The next page has my series working title at the top, followed by each of the proposed books and their brief synopsis. For the first book, I just state that the synopsis and first three chapters are attached.

Lastly, I add the synopsis and first three chapters of the first story in the series.

Developing a series is process that shouldn’t be rushed. The more you know, the clearer your vision will be to your editor and the more likely they will be to buy your proposal. And that’s what we want, right?

Speaking of series, the third installment of my Hope Crossing series, Loving the Rancher's Children, is set to release next month. But if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win an advance copy. (US mailing addresses only, please)

Book Series Proposals


Book Series Proposals

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

Falling in Love with Your Next Book

Falling in Love with Your Next Book

 by Mindy Obenhaus

So here I am at the beginning of a new story. And I'm realizing the process is a lot like dating. C'mon, let me show you what I mean.

The Initial Meeting -

Your eyes meet, and you both feel it. That spark. You strike up a conversation, and your heart is all aflutter. Could this be the one? 

Yes, each and every book starts with a spark of an idea. It could be a premise or a character. Whatever the case, you're intrigued. And the possibilities seem endless. But before you can commit to writing the story, you need more information.

Getting to Know You -

You meet for coffee, go on a few dates, text/talk often. Learning a little bit more about one other with each conversation.

As with any good relationship, you have to get to know one another. Perhaps there's an element to your story that you don't know much about. Do your research to find out if it will work for what you have in mind. 

You also need to get to know your characters. What do they do for a living? Where are they from? What is their family like? Do they have siblings? What are their likes and dislikes? What do they want out of life (aka, goal), why (motivation) and what stands in their way (conflict)? 

Taking Things to the Next Level -

Things are clicking. But before you commit to a relationship, you want to know more about them. Their hopes and dreams. Do they want kids? 

It takes time to dig deeper and find out what makes your characters tick. The more you know, the more layered your characters become. And those layers not only enrich a story, they can often drive it. What is their greatest dream? Their greatest fear? And don't forget to channel your inner four-year-old by perpetually asking "Why?"

Make or Break?

So, the relationship seems to be clicking. But are you just comfortable with each other or do you see it becoming a committed relationship?

If a story isn't working or seems to fall flat, then it might be time to move on. Go back to the drawing board. Though things might not be a total wash. In this story I'm working on, I had the right characters, but I was trying to fit them into a story that was all wrong for them. There was no conflict. So, I came up with a completely different plot where the conflict was organic and not forced. And now the sparks are really flying. 

New story love can be exhilarating. We're infatuated with the characters and the story. But infatuation doesn't necessarily lead to a happily ever after. Get to know both your story and your characters before taking the plunge so you have all the elements to carry you on to that happily ever after.

I'm giving away a copy of Easter on the Ranch, a 2-in-1 with the first book in my Rocky Mountain Heroes series, Their Ranch Reunion, and Jessica Keller's The Rancher's Legacy. Simply leave a comment to be entered. (US mailing addresses, please)


Falling in Love with Your Next Book

Spring and second chances

The Rancher's Legacy by Jessica Keller

Returning home isn’t part of Rhett Jarrett’s plan—until he inherits the family ranch from his father. Running it won’t be easy with his ranch assistant and childhood friend, Macy Howell, challenging all his decisions. But a long-buried family secret might help Rhett begin to see things Macy’s way…and allow them to find love—and a home—together at last.

Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus

Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she’ll have to share ownership of the home she’s inherited with her first love, Andrew Stephens. Now a successful businessman, he’s standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B and B. Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly’s too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. Should he leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly’s heart?


Falling in Love with Your Next Book

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com  

Recharging the Writer

 

Recharging the Writer

by Mindy Obenhaus

I can’t help chuckling when I watch a movie in which the hero or heroine is a writer. Oh sure, they might show them battling writer’s block, but most of the time the writer is embarking on/in the midst of a book tour or being hounded by his/her agent/publisher for their next project. What they rarely show is the reality of being an author. The hours of research, laboring over a scene, trying to juggle writing time, promotion and marketing, family, work and other commitments. If a writer isn’t careful, it’s easy to get burned out.

That’s why it’s important for writers to take time to recharge so they can be at optimum performance. How do they do that?

Read Writing Books – When I first started writing, I bought loads of craft books. Some I read cover to cover, while others had me feeling overwhelmed. Now, having published several books, I find that revisiting those craft books sparks my creativity and reinvigorates me. It awakens that passion that can fade, making writing feel more like a have-to than a want-to.

Recharging the Writer

Get Creative – Writers are creative by nature. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be writing. But sometimes our creative side needs to be fed with other things. Do you like to cook/bake? Take some time to have fun in the kitchen. Maybe you’re a crafter. Start a new project. Explore your creativity beyond writing, nurture it and it will carry over into your writing.

Retreat – Writing can be a lonely endeavor. And nobody understands that better than other writers. So why not escape with one or more of your writing buddies? Maybe you want the time to just write. Perhaps you need help with your plot. There’s just something about being with like-minded people that fills your creative well and leaves you with a renewed passion.

Now it’s your turn. Writers, what are some of your favorite ways to recharge? Even if you’re not a writer, you can get burned out. How do you refresh yourself so you can tackle whatever lies ahead? Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Easter on the Ranch, a 2-in-1 with the first book in my Rocky Mountain Heroes series, Their Ranch Reunion and Jessica Keller’s The Rancher’s Legacy that releases later this month.


Recharging the Writer
Spring and second chances

The Rancher's Legacy by Jessica Keller

Returning home isn’t part of Rhett Jarrett’s plan—until he inherits the family ranch from his father. Running it won’t be easy with his ranch assistant and childhood friend, Macy Howell, challenging all his decisions. But a long-buried family secret might help Rhett begin to see things Macy’s way…and allow them to find love—and a home—together at last.

Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus

Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she’ll have to share ownership of the home she’s inherited with her first love, Andrew Stephens. Now a successful businessman, he’s standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B and B. Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly’s too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. Should he leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly’s heart?

Recharging the Writer

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com  

Goals, Resolutions and One Word

Goals, Resolutions and One Word

by Mindy Obenhaus

Originally posted in January 2019 
Ready or not, a new year has arrived. And like a new calendar waiting to be filled, January presents us with a blank slate. A new beginning. But like any journey, it’s best approached with a sense of direction. As a compass points our way, we, too, need something to guide us through the coming year. A reference that keeps us moving forward instead of allowing speed bumps and unexpected detours to determine our course.
Goals, Resolutions and One Word

How do we do this? 

Goals – Goals are specific. Maybe you want to lose ten pounds, get a better paying job or get your book published. Whatever your goal may be, you must take action in order reach it. If you want to lose weight, diet and exercise will play a key role. A better job typically doesn’t just fall into your lap. You need to actively seek that new position, perhaps improving your skills along the way. And even if publication doesn’t happen for years, you still need to keep writing and learning.

Determine your goal, then make a list of steps that will help you reach it.

Resolutions – People used to ask me, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” To which I usually replied, “I don’t make resolutions, because I don’t make promises I can’t keep.”

For several years now, I have made it a practice to go to the gym on a regular basis. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that the gym gets more crowded on January 2nd. Seems everyone and their brother resolves to eat healthier and get fit. The second thing I’ve noticed, though, is that by March, most of those people are gone and we’re back to the same sweaty faces we saw the previous year.

A resolution is a promise, typically made to oneself. Yet while we may resolve to lose ten pounds, that doesn’t mean it’s magically going to happen. As with a goal, a resolution requires action to become a reality.

What steps do you need to take to fulfill your resolution?

One Word – This has become increasingly popular in the past few years, particularly among Christians. Prayerfully choosing a single word to be your focus for an entire year is really about attitude.
Goals, Resolutions and One Word
In 2018, my word was grateful. No matter what life threw at me, good or bad, approaching it with gratitude changed my perspective. This year, PEACE is my word. Something I'm still trying to wrap my brain around, but I have 363 more days to better understand.

You can learn more about your One Word at myoneword.org.

Whether you choose only one of these tools or pair them together, you can feel more confident marching into 2019 with a sense of direction. Even if you wander off the path, the right focus can put you back on track.

Fast-forward to 2023 - You know, it's kind of amazing to stop and think about everything that has happened since I posted this four years ago. Our world has gone through some changes. But many of us still approach a new year with some sort of direction in mind. So let's talk about it. 

Do you run headlong into each new year or do you approach January with a goal, resolution, one word or something else? 
Goals, Resolutions and One Word

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com  

The Wonder of Christmas

 

The Wonder of Christmas
by Mindy Obenhaus

Have you ever seen the look in child's eyes when they stare at a Christmas tree? It's an expression filled with awe and anticipation. And that is exactly how we should feel during this season of Advent. In awe of the fact that Jesus stepped down from heaven and came to earth as a helpless baby--not in splendor, but in the squaller of stable--to save the world. And in anticipation of His second coming and the joy of the holiday season.

Some people say Christmas has become too commercial. And while that may be true, Who else do you know whose birthday is a month-long event filled with special songs heralding their birth, twinkling lights...

The Wonder of Christmas

And treats that make an appearance only this time of year?

The Wonder of Christmas

I understand that Christmas can be overwhelming for many. I mean, we already have a gazillion demands weighing us down. And then along comes Christmas adding to that ever-growing to-do list. If that's where you are, then stop and take a deep breath. If Christmas is about those things you have to do, then don't do them. Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." He is the reason for the season, so it only seems right that He should be the driving force behind whatever you do during it.

The wonder of Christmas should live inside us all year long. But come December, it can no longer be contained and spills over into this most wonderful time of the year. A season filled with sights, sounds and smells that bring us comfort and joy.

Here's one of my favorite holiday recipes. One that even those who don't cook can appreciate.
The Wonder of Christmas

Christmas Scent is comprised of an orange, a lemon, four cinnamon sticks, three bay leaves, and a good handful (approximately ¼ cup) of whole cloves. For gift giving, the ingredients can be placed in a cellophane bag and tied with a pretty ribbon adorned with the Christmas Scent label with instructions on the other side. The instructions read:

Cut lemon and orange into quarters; combine fruit, spices, and one quart of water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer as long as desired.  (Add more water, as needed.)  Any leftover mixture can be covered and refrigerated for several days to be reused.

Oh, and did I happen to mention I have a new book on store shelves now?

The Wonder of Christmas

Can a property dispute… Turn into a holiday blessing?
When single mom Annalise Grant inherits a fledgling Christmas tree farm in Texas, she vows to do whatever it takes to make it a success. But when neighbor Hawkins Prescott claims some of her trees are on his property, the only option is a partnership. As Christmas draws closer, Annalise and Hawkins find themselves growing closer as well. Could a family by Christmas become part of the deal?

Available at these online retailers


HOWEVER, in the spirit of the season, I'm giving away a signed copy to one commenter (US mailing addresses only, please). Simply leave a comment to be entered!

Keeping Your Head Above Water - A Reminder

 Keeping Your Head Above Water - A Reminder


by Mindy Obenhaus

I originally posted this two years ago, almost to the day. As with every post I share, I try to think about where I'm at in my writing, and lo and behold, it seems not much has changed in two years. So I'm reposting this because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who could use the reminder.

Life can be overwhelming. There are days/weeks/months when it seems the hurrier we go, the behinder we get. Some days you feel as though you’re barely keeping your head above water. Still, you press on, going through the motions, treading water like there’s no tomorrow because if you don’t, you might go under. Frustration turns to panic, and you grow weary from the struggle because no matter how hard you try, you’re not making any progress.

Let’s face it, our schedules are busy. We are multifaceted people who wear many hats—child, spouse, parent, employee, caregiver, chauffeur, and the list goes on. We have families to take care of, to-do lists a mile long, deadlines to meet. Throw in all of the uncertainty this year has piled on and it’s no wonder we find ourselves struggling to stay afloat.

I don’t know about you, but in times like that, I’m often my own worst enemy. I become so focused on the struggle that I forget I have other options. That instead of merely trying to keep my head above water and drifting with the tide, I can choose to be purposeful.

How?

Float – I know this seems counterproductive when you’re busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger but hear me out. When someone is in danger of drowning, floating gives them an opportunity to catch their breath, conserve energy and consider their options. But first they have to stop flailing.

We can’t shrug our duties, but in the midst of the chaos, we can pause to reevaluate. Waiting at a stoplight? Talk to God and ask Him to show you if everything on your to-do list is imperative or are some things simply desires. The Bible encourages us to “be still and know.” Sometimes we don’t know because we refuse to be still. Yet that stillness is where we renew our strength. That doesn’t mean you have to carve out a big chunk of time. Simply keep the conversation going. God is always there.

Keeping Your Head Above Water - A Reminder

Once we’ve had time to catch our breath, we’re ready to…

Swim – Unlike treading water, swimming means progress. But it helps to know where we’re going. That we’re headed in the right direction. So, we want to…

  • Be deliberate – Make a list, then contemplate the most efficient way to tackle that list. And don’t forget to cross things off as you complete them. Nothing energizes me more than seeing that I’m actually making progress.
  • Be realistic – Know your limitations. Just because you have the time doesn’t mean you’ll have the energy to bake those six dozen cookies for the church bake sale. Remember, it’s okay to say no.
  • Be flexible – You know what they say about the best laid plans. It’s better to expect the unexpected and be pleasantly surprised than to be blindsided. Building flexibility into your plans helps reduce your stress level should those unexpected things pop.
  • Be prayerful – God is our strength when we are weak. He’s the calm in the midst of our storm. Whatever task you’re facing, you’re not alone. Call on Him and He will answer.

As we head into what is, typically, the busiest time of the year, this post serves as much to encourage me as it does you. Unless you’re using it as a means of exercise, treading water involves expending a lot of energy for little to no gain. And the older I get, the more determined I am to work smarter, not harder. I don’t want to get nowhere fast. I want to move forward prayerfully and purposefully, savoring all God has in store along the journey.

Do you ever feel as though you’re treading water in the sea of life? What helps you stay on task without overextending yourself?

Keeping Your Head Above Water - A Reminder

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com  

All Those Moving Parts

 

All Those Moving Parts

by Mindy Obenhaus

I just turned in the proposal for book four in my current series, Hope Crossing, and let me tell you, there were a lot of things I had to keep track of. The hero, the heroine, a K-9 companion, two grandmas, previous/secondary characters, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, maybe not that last one, but it is a Christmas book, so you never know.

Yes, there are a lot of moving parts to every story. Those details you need to keep track of so that your heroine doesn’t start out with blond hair and blue eyes and then have brown hair and brown eyes by the end of the story. But when you’re doing a series, it’s not just about those characters. You have to consider all the ones who came before them. And, if the current characters have been in other books prior, you need to stay consistent with not only their physical appearance, but what the reader already knows about them.

Here are a few things you need to mindful of when writing a series –

Backstory – It goes without saying that you need to know the backstory of the person/persons your story is about, but what about secondary characters, particularly those who might have been in a previous book? How are secondary characters connected to the main characters? What’s happened to them since the last time the reader saw them in another book? Have they married or had a baby? None of these need to be lengthy, just snippets so the reader understands the relationship to the main characters and either satisfy the reader’s curiosity if they’ve read the previous books (readers want to know what's happened with those characters they've connected with) or make them curious enough that they want to go back and read about the other characters.

Timing – How much time has passed between the ending of the previous story and the opening of the current story? Not between release dates, but the stories themselves. Does the current book pick up where the last one left off or is it months later? This also plays into the ages of the characters, as well as seasons and changes in the lives of previous characters.

All Those Moving Parts

People – Whether they are main characters or secondary characters, keep the physical appearance consistent, unless there’s a specific reason for a change. What role do they play in the main character’s life? What’s their connection? Or, if they’re a secondary character who’s going to have their own story later, what can you hint at? The heroine in the proposal I just sent off has a cameo in my upcoming Christmas book. I was able to create a connection between her and the heroine in my upcoming release that I was then able to use in my current WIP.

Setting –Are there any landmarks, businesses or other places people frequent? Make sure your descriptions of them are consistent, though they can be tweaked based on a character’s perception. How does the landscape change with the seasons? If there’s a flood in one story, don’t have a drought in the next unless there’s been a reasonable passage of time.

Book series are a great way to build readership. If they like one, they’re apt to pick up the next. If they read one out of order, they may decide to start at the beginning so they can fit all the pieces together. However, there are a lot of moving parts that the author has to keep track of. Some use spreadsheets while others use a document or even a notebook. And then there are those who find themselves pulling up previous manuscripts to check their facts (raising hand but contemplating a spreadsheet 😉). Whatever works for best you.

Readers, have you ever read a series that had inconsistencies? Writers, how do you keep facts straight on your stories? Leave a comment for an opportunity to win a signed copy of my latest release, The Cowgirl’s Redemption OR a copy of Her Holiday Lawman a 2-in-1 rerelease with Ruthy’s The Lawman’s Yuletide Baby and my The Deputy’s Holiday Family. US mailing addresses only, please.

All Those Moving Parts


All Those Moving Parts

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

Post-Conference Evaluation

 by Mindy Obenhaus

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference in St. Louis. Something we haven't been able to do since 2019, so there was a whole lot of this going on.

Post-Conference Evaluation

Writers' conferences can be exhilarating and uplifting. They can rejuvenate your writing. But they can also be overwhelming. With so much information packed into just a few days, one can come home wondering what to do and where to start implementing all that you've learned. So here are a few tips for wading into those post-conference waters.

Rest - This is number one not only because you've been put through the paces physically, running from one workshop to the next, but because it's important for your mind. While you sleep, your mind processes all of that information you took in so when you finally review your notes, your recall will be better.

Break it down - Instead of reviewing your notes as a whole, focus on the workshops you attended one by one. Otherwise, they'll all blend together. By recalling individual sessions, you're apt to trigger even more recollections. Questions someone asked that you failed to write down (I'm the worst at notetaking). Comments from the presenter that weren't on the PowerPoint. 

Try out what you learned - Once you've reviewed the sessions you attended, contemplate how you can apply your new knowledge to your writing/publication process. Strategize each one by asking where it might fit or how you can best utilize them and then test them out.

Be realistic - I've been to a lot of writers' conferences over the last sixteen years and heard many stellar ideas. Ideas other people raved about. Yet didn't work for me. Everyone has to find their own writing process. What works for someone else might boost your productivity, or it might styme you. And no writer wants to feel stymied. So don't beat yourself up, simply set those notes aside and move on.

Writers' conferences can be beneficial no matter where you are in your writing career. We never stop learning. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a workshop to find well-known, multi-published, best-selling authors among the students. Yet we all learn differently. So gather all the information you can, evaluate it, try it, then take what works for you and set aside the rest. Because we're always evolving, always moving forward, pressing on to that which God has called us to. 

Post-Conference Evaluation

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

The Cowgirl's Redemption Launch Party


Today marks the release of not only a new book, but the first book in a new series. The Cowgirl's Redemption is our first visit to the tiny rural Texas community of Hope Crossing and introduces us to many of its residents. So, grab yourself a cupcake and some chocolate while I tell you a little bit about this story.


The Cowgirl's Redemption revolves around the homecoming of Gloriana Prescott, a prodigal daughter and former bad girl whose life is being transformed by her new-found faith. Yet while she longs to prove she's changed, those she's hurt aren't necessarily willing to give her a second chance.

I don't know about you, but I can relate to those people. I recently found myself in a situation where I was confronted with someone who'd once caused me a lot of grief. And, of course, I still thought of that person as the same one I'd once known, instead of who they were today. Yet as we talked, God let me see that person through a different lens. One that allowed me to show them some grace.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? 

This story has it all. A spunky yet tender-hearted heroine, a fun-loving teen who's into barrel racing, a wounded rancher hero, a long-held secret and even a rodeo! Not to mention glimpses of characters whose stories are yet to come.

In honor of this special day, I'm giving away THREE copies of The Cowgirl's Redemption (US mailing addresses only, please). Simply leave a comment to be entered. And don't forget to check the Weekend Edition on Saturday to see if you're a winner.

Here's the back cover copy:

She came home to make things right. Will she be given a second chance?

Gloriana Prescott has returned to her Texas hometown to make amends—even if the townsfolk she left behind aren’t ready to forgive. But when her mother’s ranch manager, Justin Broussard, is tasked with saving the struggling rodeo so his teen daughter can compete, Gloriana sees a chance to prove she’s really changed. But can she prove to Justin, and the town, that she’s trustworthy? 

And if you'd like to read the first chapter, you can do that here.

Oh, and let's not forget about the book trailer. 


Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

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