What do you get when you add up nearly 2,400 miles of interstate, four days in the car, two days teaching, and one strangely expressive frog? Answer: An epic road trip halfway across the country and back. And for the first week in May, that’s what Crosshair Press founders Amy Williams and Katie (Morford) Phillips were up to.

Earlier this year, both Amy and Katie had been invited to teach at the 2017 PENCON editing conference, an amazing event that’s part of the Christian Editing Network. Freelance editors from across the United States all converged in Atlanta, GA this year to learn about their craft, to network with fellow editors, and to enjoy some awesome time getting to know each other.

Awesome speakers

Cecil Murphey speaking at PENCON 2017

The keynote speaker at this year’s PENCON was Cecil Murphey, ghostwriter and author of 140 books. He’s best known for Gifted Hands, a biography on former presidential candidate and current U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.

Cecil was so much fun to listen to, and all of his sessions and keynotes were tremendously encouraging. Plus, he was just really funny! He has several books out about the writing process as well as a method to ghostwriting, so if you’re looking for information on any of those topics, you should definitely look him up.

Old friends, new friends

Realm Makers Reunion at PENCON

Its a Realm Makers Reunion!

Other featured speakers were some awesome folks we already knew, like social media expert Ralene Burke and long-time copyeditor Kristen Stieffel. Others who shared their knowledge of the editing industry included our new friend Karin Beery, children’s book editor Linda Harris, and specialist editor Rachel Newman.

It was such a huge blessing to be reunited with fellow speculative fiction writers and editors from the Realm Makers conference! Crosshair Press is really excited to be a professional sponsor of Realm Makers again this year, and it was nice to see some familiar faces at PENCON.

PENCON Day 2 faculty panel

PENCON Day 2 Faculty Panel (Kristen Stieffel, Amy Williams, Karin Beery, and Katie Morford Phillips)

Crosshair’s own Katie Morford (who has recently become Mrs. Katie Phillips) taught on different types of content edits and common problems in worldbuilding.

Amy Williams taught on curating a terminology library for editors who work with clients in different industries as well as a session on the business side of freelancing.

During her sessions, Amy also introduced an exciting new business she’s planning called The Creative Techie, where she plans to provide webinars and in-person seminars for creative entrepreneurs who want to become more tech savvy. Watch her website for more information!

A new mascot?

Introducing Hermes the Frog

Introducing Hermes the Frog! No, Katie is not trying to bite him.

Plus, Katie and Amy got the chance to introduce the world to a new friend, Hermes the Frog. You can follow Hermes’s adventures by following the hashtag #HermesTheFrog.

Most of his adventures are on Instagram. Anytime Amy is traveling, you can expect to see Hermes along for the ride, adding his own brand of sarcasm and humor to the adventures onthe way.

PENCON was a wonderful experience where we met lots of wonderful new friends. If you’re a freelance editor, joining The Christian PEN and/or the Christian Editor Connection is absolutely something you should do. Plus, you’ll also get access to the PEN Institute, which provides educational content for editors.

In Closing

Amy and Katie had a wonderful time, and they’re really hoping to go back again next year. PENCON 2018 will be held in Grand Rapids, MI, so if you’re interested, start watching the website now!

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  • Tisha Posted May 16, 2017 8:14 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed having you both at PENCON! Grateful for new friends, new memories, and new discoveries. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us. Looking forward to next year!

    • Amy Williams Posted May 18, 2017 10:25 am

      Thanks, Tisha! Such a joy to meet so many like-minded friends!

  • padawill7 Posted May 17, 2017 5:59 pm


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