Sunday, January 10, 2016

Does Your Story Have Structure? Does It Need It? (Hint: Yes!)

Characters, plot, and setting are the foundation for a good story, but if you don't know how to structure your novel it could still fall flat. Don't let that happen to you!

Award-winning novelist K.M. Weiland knows what makes a good story work. In her own words:

Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. There are universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will help you to not only perfectly time your story’s major events, but will also provide you with an unerring standard to use in evaluating your novel’s pacing and progression.

On Wednesday, February 3, K.M. Weiland will talk story structure with the Great Lakes Chapter. Join us online at 7 p.m. (EST) to learn about:

* Unleashing your unique and personal vision for your story.
* Identifying common structural weaknesses.
* Eliminating saggy middles by discovering your “centerpiece.”
* When to include conflict.
* How to discover the questions you don’t want readers asking about your plot—and then how to get them to ask the right questions.

The cost to attend is $12 for GLC members and $17 for everyone else. Space is limited, so please contact me at karin(at)karinbeery(dot)com to check availability and reserve your spot.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 2015 Newsletter: New Year, New Board, New Format

Only a few hours left...

and it will be a new year! Usually that doesn't mean much, but for the Great Lakes Chapter of ACFW, the new year signifies new changes. Here's what we have to look forward to in 2016:

2016 Board Members

When the clock strikes twelve the carriage becomes a pumpkin and our board takes on a new look. Your 2016 board is:

President - Karin Beery (3rd year)Vice President - Ron Estrada (2nd year)Secretary - Deb Gardner Allard (1st year)Treasurer - Pegg Thomas (4th - and final - year)

Please keep the board in your prayers as we try to lead the Great Lakes Chapter according to ACFW's guidelines and as the Lord leads.

2016 Event Calendar

In 2016 we're moving most of our meetings to the internet. Using we'll be hosting speakers from across the country. To help cover the cost of paying our speakers and using an package with more features, each online event will be $12 for members (who will have the first opportunity to register) and $17 for non-members.  Next year's calendar includes:

Feb. 3, 7 p.m. EST – “Story Structure” with K.M. WeilandApril 6, 7 p.m. EST – “Historical Research” with Jocelyn GreenAug. 4, 7 p.m. EST – “Book Marketing Overview” with Misty BellerOct. 6, 7 p.m. EST – “Indie Publishing” with Hallee BridgemanDec. 6, 7 p.m. EST – “Brainstorming Strategies for Writing Nightmares” with Michelle Lim

- See more at:

Writer's Retreat: Writing, Writing, and More Writing!

Forget the laundry, cleaning, and telemarketers - get away for the weekend to write as many words as you possibly can! 

Join us May 6-8, 2016 at Treetops Resort in Gaylord - your room and meals are included, so all you need to worry about is your manuscript. 

Standard guest rooms rates: $262.30 per person based on single occupancy or $164.00 per person based on double occupancy.Deluxe room (only one available!): $306.70 per person based on single occupancy or $186.20 per person based on double occupancy.

Call (866) 348-5249, option 3 to reserve your room now!

The Moral Premise

Our one in-person meeting will feature the highly-acclaimed Stanley Williams The Moral Premise. Cost is $40 for members and $60 for non-members (includes lunch).

Join us Sat. Jun. 4, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Doherty Hotel, 604 N. McEwan Street, Clare, Michigan(Space is limited, so reserve your space early!)

What About You?

We'd love to see more members get involved and participate this year, whether that means sending us your writing news or submitting a writing post for our blog. If there's something you'd like to see us doing that isn't happening right now, please send me a note and let me know!

I hope you've had a great 2015, and here's looking forward to an even better 2016!

Sincerely,Karin BeeryPresident,

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ready for the New Year!

I still have some gifts to buy and a meal to plan, but the decorations are up and I'm ready for Christmas! Personally things are coming together nicely.

Professionally, however, I'm already into 2016. We're trying to stay ahead of things in the Great Lakes Chapter, so I spent some time today updating our website - please take a few minutes to check it out. I'd like to point out a few things to you:

1. Member News - we have an entire page dedicated to sharing updates and information. We'd love to give you another outlet to brag about your contracts, book release dates, finished manuscripts, weddings - if it's news to you, it's news to us! Please send me your info so I can share it with the world!

2. Writing Tips - did you know that we have a page where you can share your writing tips? If you've published your tips online (blog, magazine, etc.) and you'd like to share them with our members and visitors, send me a link and we'll help spread the word!

3. Pics - nothing in our bylaws or procedures says our pictures have to be GLC conferences only. Did you climb your first mountain this summer? Get married? Have a book signing? Send up your photos and we'll help share your joy!

We'd love for everyone in our chapter to see their name on our site, so please keep sharing your news, tips, and pictures with us - let's see what everyone is up to in 2016!

Have a blessed Christmas and a safe New Year!

Karin Beery

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October 2015 Newsletter: Celebrating Autumn and NaNoWriMo

Yeah, I know. It's November. I'm a bit behind. Know why? Because it's NaNoWriMo time! And, being a good writer, I'm already a day late and three cups of coffee short. So when Karin emailed me and asked if I'd done the October newsletter yet (she only asks questions she already knows the answer to), I did a Homer facepalm and promised to get it out before Christmas. So here it is! And, by the way, it's NaNo month. It's a magical time of year. Even if you don't participate, it's our month. The time to celebrate being an author, even if you're not one who completes 50,000 words in a month.

Chapter News

We have a full ballot! After some double checking, Pegg Thomas has one more year available to serve as treasurer and Deb Gardner Allard has graciously volunteered to serve as our secretary. Unless anyone else would like to throw their name into the ring, here is the ballot for our 2016 officers:
President - Karin Beery (3rd term)
Vice President - Ron Estrada (2nd term)
Secretary - Deb Gardner Allard (1st term)
Treasurer - Pegg Thomas (4th term)
Please keep the board in your prayers!
If you're interested in serving, please contact Karin at ASAP. Thanks!
2016 changes: Though we've had good attendance at our events this past year, attendees were pretty evenly split between members and non-members. The board wants to make sure we're reaching as many members as we can, so we're making a big switch next year: five of our six meetings will be online. Our hope is two-fold - that more members will be able to participate and that we'll be able to present a wider variety of speakers and topics.  
2016 calendar: Our 2016 event calendar has been finalized, and I'm so excited to share the new line up with you! Please mark your calendars now, as you won't want to miss these amazing classes: 
February - Wednesday, Feb. 3 - K.M. Weiland, "Story Structure"
April - Wednesday, April 6 - Jocelyn Green, "Getting the Research Right"
May 6-8 - Writing Retreat @ Treetops Resort, Gaylord
June - Saturday, June 4 - Stanley Williams present "The Moral Premise" at the Doherty Hotel in Clare, MI. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., includes lunchAugust - Thursday, Aug. 4 - Misty Beller, "Book Marketing Overview"
August 25-28 - National Conference in Nashville, TN
October - Thursday, Oct. 6 - Hallee Bridgeman, "Indie Publishing"
December - Tuesday, Dec. 6 - Michelle Lim, "Brainstorming Strategies for Writing Nightmares"

Member News

Do you have any news to share? A new release? Signed with an agent? Let Ron know so he can add your announcement to the newsletter. email him

Upcoming Events

Our December meeting will be held online. Ron Estrada will talk about podcasting, Blab, and how an author can make use of all the new social media available to us. As Ron is starting a new job in November that will have him traveling quite a bit, he needs to find out when he'll have an opening in his schedule. So stay tuned to the website and the Facebook page for updates! 

As always, if you have any news you'd like to share, please let Ron Estrada know - send your blurb to him at

May you have an amazing November - praying God's guidance for your work, family, and writing. Write on!

Karin Beery
ACFW-GLC President

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pegg's Lies & Love Inspired

Does that look colorful to you? I'm pretty sure Pegg Thomas promised us all beautiful fall colors our October Meet & Eat. This looks like ...


That's right - I drove through a snow storm (including passing two snow plows) on my way to Gaylord to listen to Pegg Thomas and Christine Johnson talk about Conflict, Consequences, and Conclusions and writing for Love Inspired.

We had a great turnout for Saturday's event, including several non-members who received their first introduction to ACFW and the GLC. Our speakers were also pretty awesome!

Pegg got the day started with her discussion about Conflict, Consequences, and Conclusions, with a specific emphasis on what those things mean to Christian fiction. She walked us through the different kinds of conflict, the necessity of consequences, and how to write a satisfying conclusion.

Christine Johnson followed with some great info on what it means to write for Love Inspired - including how to use it as a stepping stone for your career and some insider secrets about word counts and how they effect your published book.

I don't know about everyone else, but I had a great time meeting new people and learning new things. Thank you Pegg and Christine for your time!

Our next event will be online in December. Join us the first week (exact time and day TBA) for Ron Estrada talking about writing for youth and Teen Writers Publish!

*Full disclosure - the snow had melted by the time we left and it really was very colorful on beautiful on the way home.

**Thanks to Kurt Kolka for letting us use some of his pictures!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Meet & Eat - Conflict & Love Inspired!

Join the Great Lakes Chapter of the
American Christian Fiction Writers
for our October Meet & Eat


Conflict, Consequences, and Conclusions

Northern Michigan writer Pegg Thomas will share her tips for grabbing your reader’s attention – with conflict, consequence, and conclusions!


Writing for Love Inspired

With eight books published under the Love Inspired banner, Christine Johnson knows what it takes to write for the popular line, and she’s sharing her secrets!


Saturday, October 17, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
University Center at Gaylord, Room U-111/U-11280 Livingston Blvd.Gaylord, MI 49735-9387
$25* for ACFW-GLC member$35* for non-members
 *Cost includes lunch. Advanced registration is required. Please contact Karin Beery at with questions or to make reservations.

ACFW ( is a professional organization devoted to the craft of Christian Fiction. ACFW's mission is to advance Christian fiction by inspiring writers to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry.

Friday, October 2, 2015

September 2015 Newsletter: Conference, Officers Needed, and the Year Ahead

Wow. September. If you're like me, this is your favorite time to live in Michigan. Seriously, can you beat it? Some of you are still coming off of your conference high. When you've reached Earth, be sure to send me your announcements. Did you land an agent? Sign a contract? Publish your indie book? Let me know We love to brag on our members.

Chapter News

Officers Needed! In just a few days we will need two volunteers to serve as GLC board members for 2016! We need to fill our secretary and treasurer positions in order to maintain our chapter status. Please be praying for yourself and the rest of the members, that the right people will fill the right positions. If you're interested in serving, please contact Karin at ASAP. Thanks!
There's still time ... to volunteer to host a meeting nest year! We have one in-person event scheduled for April. If you'd like to host a meeting in June, August, or October, please contact Karin Beery ASAP.

Member News

A BIG congratulations to Joy Avery Melville, ACFW's 2015 Mentor of the Year! Just, wow! 
This year, Karin Beery presented the 8th Annual At-Home Conference - an online alternative for ACFW members who can't attend the annual conference. More than 100 people registered, with around 75 people participating in the Facebook group. It was another fun year and a great success!
Ron Estrada released the third book in his YA paranormal series, Cassandra's Crossing. The series is set in Karin's home town of Elk Rapids, which Ron has re-named Cherry Hill so he could make it his own. But the bear and library bridges are still prominent features.

Rohn Federbush has been busy this summer, releasing Separation Anxiety in July and preparing for her upcoming release In Lincoln's ShadowCongratulations Rohn!

Deb Gardner Allard’s YA fiction suspense, Under the Blood Moon, the first book in her series, Path to the Apocalypse, will be available by e-book in early September. A self-proclaimed prophecy addict, Deb spends countless hours scouring the internet, reading books and articles, and watching shows on TV, as well as DVDs about the newest insights in prophecy. The prophet Daniel said, “in the end times, knowledge will increase.” And it has. The Path to the Apocalypse Series will unite fiction with the most recent prophecy material for reader enlightenment and suspense.

Deb is waist-deep in life. When not cavorting with family and friends or reading the Bible, researching, or writing, she is most likely on Face Book—at least that’s what her husband says.Please click here for 1 ½ minute Blood Moon trailer, or click here for the 7 second book teaser.

Karin Beery is excited to announce that she'll be teaching a four-week Intro to Fiction Writing course at the Elk Rapids Library this October. Every Monday night she'll present a two-hour workshop and the fiction basics. This is the first class she's done like this, so prayers and encouragement are appreciated!

Upcoming Events

Don't forget! Saturday, October 17, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. - Meet & Eat in Gaylord featuring Pegg Thomas and Christine Johnson. We'll have a flier available so you can help us spread the word!

As always, if you have any news you'd like to share, please let Ron Estrada know - send your blurb to him at

May you have an amazing October - praying God's guidance for your work, family, and writing. Write on!

Karin Beery
ACFW-GLC President