Cuenca Countdown

Here in the Owens household, the “Cuenca Countdown” has begun. From the date of this posting June 28, 2016, we are at nineteen days.

At this moment, the plans are still a bit sketchy. I’m teaching a Novel Writing class. I’m speaking at several different functions and meetings. My part in some of these will be brief. Brief is good. Especially for one who has never worked with a translator. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Fiction panel KCWCThis past weekend, I sat on a fiction panel at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. That’s me in purple. I learned two things. How to be brief, and how to pass the microphone to someone with more experience. I’m a quick-study at these things.

It was a great honor to sit on the stage with some of my favorite people.

One thing I am really looking forward to while in Cuenca–spending time with friends who have given their life to missions. Among them–Bill McDonald, and Jeremy and Tiffany Riggs. I’m sure you’ll hear more about them later. I hope to stay current on my blogging. I will be posting to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, so you can find our updates there.

alpaca-984891_1280It won’t be all work and no play. There is a little sight-seeing sandwiched in between the engagements. Shopping in the marketplace, visiting ancient ruins,ecuador-1102787_1280sampling food and excellent coffees.

Oh, just a few of the things we’ll do. But most of all, I look forward to getting to know the people of Cuenca, enjoying the views, and learning about life at eight thousand feet above sea level. In a place where there are no mosquitoes. I so look forward to that!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll write these dates on your calendar and pray for our team while we’re in Ecuador. July 16 – July 26 Owens2Ecuador Mission Trip.

Bob & Betty Owens, Todd Owens, April Teeter

We are so thankful for all of the readers and special friends who are supporting us in this effort through prayers, thoughts, and donations. We pray all your time and gifts will be multiplied back to you abundantly.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.–2 Corinthians 9:8

The Owens to Ecuador Team

Stay tuned for more information about the mission next week!



A Novice at a Writers Conference

You barely know what you’re doing. Walking up to the front desk or table, you sign in. Newby WriterSomeone hands you a few things you’re too nervous to look at, including a name badge that you promptly drop.

You’ve just arrived at your first writers conference and you haven’t a clue what comes next.

Following the drone of voices, you find yourself in a room filled with excited people. Many of them smile at you and introduce themselves. Business cards exchange hands. This will happen often during the conference, so keep yours handy.

After whatever opening ceremonies your conference offers, the keynote speaker is introduced. He or she encourages and challenges you. Sometimes they make you laugh. Often, they share their horror stories about how they got their start. Bungling, novice writers, swimming against the current. Somehow making it through all the jumble. It’s hard, hard work! But it’s worth it. Every excruciating moment of it, they tell you.

And you believe it.

mourning-360500_1280After the keynote, there are classes. You’ve chosen several that looked promising. By the end of the day, your head may explode. What? Did you really think it would be easy? There is so much to this thing! You’d never even heard about deep POV, or showing versus telling.

And as the day draws to a close, you realize…you’ve been doing it all wrong. Now you’ll have to go home and get out your work-in-progress, examine it for all the problems you didn’t know you had. But maybe not tonight. Tonight you’re tired, and tomorrow is another day of conference. Like the true novice you are, you have scheduled interviews with an agent and an editor.

And now, you know the truth. You’re not ready.

So after a sleepless night, you return to the writers conference. A fluttering tummy accompanies you. You force a few sips of coffee down and check your phone forty-five times to make sure you’re not late for your interview.

a4b6d-interrogationThe agent sits across from you, waiting. You’re so nervous, you drop your one-sheet and stumble over your words. It’s not the perfect interview you’d envisioned when you signed up for this thing. In fact, it seems a bit like an interrogation. But somehow, you make it through.

She smiles sweetly as she lets you down easy. Your writing shows promise, but needs work.

The interview with the editor is easier, because now you know. Your work is not ready, so why not use these few minutes to get to know this editor? Ask questions. Find out what it will take to get where you want to go.

If they tell you to abandon your dreams–find another way to express yourself because you clearly don’t have what it takes to get published–ignore them. Because that’s what writers do. We ignore the naysayers and keep plodding on, learning and filling our heads with writer-ly things. We swallow our disappointments, pull ourselves up and start over. Over and over again.

10610671_10204984726037483_7958217533026572582_nBy the end of the conference, you realize how much you still need to learn. But you’re stuffed full of hope and encouragement. You’ve made friends and connections. You have a fistful of business cards so you can connect on Facebook and Twitter. You now know how to connect on Facebook and Twitter.

The writers conference can provide you with all that and more. It’s an investment in your future. Continuing education.

If you were playing a video game, you’ve just received a key that will get you to the next level.

There’s a writers conference out there calling your name. You may need to save some cash to go, but it’ll be worth every penny. I’m going to two this year. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky (June 23-25), and the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Nashville, Tennessee (August 25-28).  I’ve linked them for you, so you can check them out.

Have you attended a conference recently, or in the past? What was your favorite part? My favorite memory is of a connection I made with a published writer who encouraged me to stick with it. Don’t give up. She made me feel that I had a purpose. I’m forever grateful.

If you were looking for news about our upcoming mission trip to Cuenca, Ecuador — I’ve delayed the post until Tuesday, June 28 so I can give you the most up-to-date news possible. There’s a lot happening! 🙂

Annabelle’s Ruth – Grace Award Winner

Just in case you didn’t hear the news, Annabelle’s Ruth won a Grace Award!

Click here to see the announcement on the Grace Awards website.

I am humbled and proud at the same time. Is that even possible? Well, when you’re a writer, it’s a huge blessing to know someone actually likes your stories. Writing is hard work. You never know how it’s going to be received.

Along with Annabelle’s Ruth, which won in the General Fiction/Women’s Fiction category, five other books won their categories. I’ve read a couple of these, and they’re excellent. I’m humbled to be mentioned alongside them. Congratulations to all the winners!

(Click the title to read about the books)

51KUaSnb2cL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_BRIDGE OF FAITH by Catherine West – Romance/Historical Romance

41cywFsPezL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_TRIAL BY TWELVE by Heather Day Gilbert – Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense

518t7jxgg1L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_STORMING by K.M. Weiland – Speculative Fiction


Saving Eric front cover

SAVING ERIC by Joan Deneve – Action Adventure/Western/Historic Epic Fiction

51htPiby5tL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_TO GET TO YOU by Joanne Bischoff – Young Adult




reading-925589_1280So if you’re looking for a good read this summer, these are a good place to start. And you can order Annabelle’s Ruth by clicking the bookcover over there ⇒ ⇒ (in the side margin). And don’t forget my latest release, Carlotta’s Legacy, Book 2 Legacy Series. Now Available on Kindle! Both books are only $4.99 each on Kindle.

NEXT UP – Stop back by next Tuesday for an update on our mission trip to Cuenca, Ecuador. There are some exciting things in the works for this trip. I can’t wait to tell you about it…

Writing: Old Style

Are you a writer? Then you’ve known great moments of joy and dark moments of despair.

writing-1209121_1280What is it about writing that is so therapeutic? In ages past, folks spent hours physically writing with pen and ink. They wrote letters to family or long, illustrious entries in their journals. I imagine much of this was done in order to process life. If you look at their letters and journal entries–especially the more ancient ones–you’ll note the writing itself was like an art form.

Our handwriting today–not so much. My early training taught me better than my present skills. Sometimes, I can barely make out the items on my grocery list.

I blame it on non-use.

post-box-1207723_1280Do you still write letters? When I was growing up, we received an almost weekly letter from my grandpa in California. Now, remember, this was in the days prior to free long distance. They had to pay per minute to talk (scandalous, I know!).

Grandpa would write about his favorite baseball team–the Dodgers. Or he’d tell us about the latest brawl on the roller derby. As years passed, he talked about his experiences volunteering at a local hospital in L.A., where he met Betty White. This was a big day for Grandpa. Somewhere, there’s a picture of the two of them together. I’m not sure who ended up with that one.

Ancient word processing device
Ancient word processing device

By writing, those who don’t have computers can keep up with their loved ones, just as they did in ancient times. In the Old West, the Pony Express carried those letters, sometimes at great personal risk. Now we complain if the mailman is half an hour late on his route. We’re so accustomed to “instant send” we just don’t understand why it takes a week to received a snail post via regular mail.

post-403145_1280In my latest release, Carlotta’s Legacy, Rebecca Lewis must communicate “across the pond” by letter. It took weeks, rather than days. They could pay extra for airmail, but the letter had to travel across the ocean first, and that was by boat. So if they had an emergency, Rebecca would need to send a telegram. Though limited by word count, this was the quickest way to send an important message.

So consider yourself blessed. We can send an email or Facebook message from wherever we are to someone on the other side of the world, and receive an answer within seconds (or minutes)–longer if they don’t have WIFI in their homes. Still much quicker than a letter or a telegram.

Maybe too fast! Be careful out there…

Carlotta's Legacy(1)