Last weekend I attended the Southern California Writer’s Conference in San Diego. I’ve been going for the past six or seven years and this is my favorite conference ever. Okay, so it’s the only conference I’ve been to, but still…
I was so happy to see my friend Sheri Fink at the conference. You might remember I spotlighted her on my blog back in November. For those who missed it, you can read the interview here. Well, this woman is on FIRE! She started an Author’s Academy where she mentors other authors and she’s also got a new book coming out, The Little Gnome. There is way too much to say about Sheri in this post, so I’m going to have her over again for a long visit. You’ll be amazed at her business skills and how she makes self-publishing work for her (and how it can work for you, as well).
One of the highlights of the conference was hanging out with my friend Gayle Carline. We went on a little field trip Friday night and, well, I’ll have to post about that next Monday. Suffice it to say, if I ever need to hide a body, I’m calling Gayle. That woman can hook a girl up!
She’s hilarious too, which is probably why she writes humor. Being multi-talented as she is, she also writes mysteries. I’m having her over for a visit soon and we’ll talk about her penchant for horses, murder, and Erma Bombeck.
Hanging out with friends is great, but I was also there to learn. And learn I did at the many workshops I attended ~ ranging in scope from, ‘Your Book as a Business’ by Charmaine Hammond to query letter critiques by the amazing Marla Miller. She also had a session called ‘Pitch Witches’ with Jennifer Silva Redmond where I learned my pitch sucked. Okay, to be fair I wrote it in about a minute, so yeah, it should’ve sucked. The great thing about this conference is that later, when Jennifer was hanging out waiting for the banquet to begin, I was able to approach her and ask what would make it stronger. She’s a publisher, people! How often can you do that?
I also chatted with Lynn Gard Price, another publisher, but not in my genre. She has amazing style and we both wore our glitter Tom’s (if you aren’t familiar with Tom’s, they are shoes that look like espadrilles and are super comfy). I don’t have a picture for you, so just trust me that we were adorable. Check out her blog, she has awesome information for writers.
Other workshops I attended covered social media (for once I was ahead of the game on this one. Thank you, Kristen Lamb!), how to bring microtension to your story, how to make sex scenes sexier, oh a whole bunch! Check out the SCWC website for all the fab workshops they had and then sign up for the September conference in Newport.
Two of my friends had new books coming out soon and were able to offer them at the conference, special just for us. Of course I bought both! Jessica Theirrien has a fab YA book, Oppression and Wes Albers, one of the directors of the conference, published a thriller based on his work as a cop ~ it’s called Black and White. I’m so thrilled for both of them and cannot wait to read their books.
As you can tell, the conference is one big love fest for me. I get to hang out with other writers and make new friends. They aren’t just ‘networks’ to me, they are a part of my writing community and therefore, they are family.
If you’ve never been to a conference, GO! It’s an amazing thing to be surrounded by hundreds of people who think like you, live in their heads like you, and totally get what it’s like to be a writer.
Because, really, that’s what we all are. Maybe we don’t want to call ourselves Authors yet, but we’re all writers. Like it says on the SCWC website,
A writer is a writer before, as well as after, publication.
It couldn’t be any plainer than that.
So in closing, I would like to thank Michael Steven Gregory, Wes Albers, Cricket Abbott, Chrissie Barnett, Rick Ochocki and all the SCWC staff for their amazing work in putting together a conference that is all about the writer. From workshops on honing our craft, to keynote speakers who have been where we all are and want to share their knowledge. Thank you.
Tell me, what conferences are your favorites? Would you stay up all night for a rogue read and critique? Is it your dream to be the keynote speaker someday?
I’ll leave you with a few more shots from the conference. These are a few of the folks who I’ve become friends with through this conference and who have made a difference in my life just by being themselves. Which means, fabulous!