Archive for September, 2015
It’s been more than 24 hours since the Central Coast Writer’s Conference 2015. I’m hoping that enough time has elapsed that I can succinctly convey the experience and all that I took away.
First let me say, it was my first writer’s conference and my first book fair. When I look at the photo of my little booth, I confess I cringe. Yet I share the pic with you because Chantelle Aimée Osman said in a workshop on writing Mystery, “Don’t hide your work.” I do that. I do just that. And I intend to change.
I fell quite by accident into the opportunity of judging the Golden Quills writing contest in three categories: Poetry, Flash Fiction and Short Fiction. My tit for tat for that labor of love was free entry to the conference, a place on two panel discussions, an invitation to the marvelous oceanfront, rooftop party for staff and presenters only, and a gratis table at the book fair. I’d say that I came out way ahead. Especially when it turned out that one of my fellow judges was English historical detective fiction author Anne Perry. I’m told I can use her name in my resumé. I’m not sure how that works, but then I freely admit, I’m new to this game.
My first panel discussion was at the boot camp for beginning writers. Christy Halsell, LeeAnne Krusemark and I were slated to talk about New Writing Technologies (Blogging and Twitter) from 1:30-2:00. Pulled together at 12:55, we were told, “You’re up now. Until 2.” With a precision teamwork that might have been orchestrated but which was utterly ad lib, we pulled it off with admirable aplomb. The key was to talk straight, keep it simple and then open up to questions. With a room of a hundred or so new writers, there were plenty of those.
The second panel discussion took place on the rooftop terrace where we’d partied the night before. The blue Pacific stretched without a ripple to a cloudless horizon. The sun blazed; the air was still and hot. Four women writers answered a few questions about “Finding Inspiration.” Verbose as we are, we managed to fill the hour. No questions from the audience, which I would have enjoyed. I quite adore speaking off the cuff.
When asked with whom we share our ideas, a fellow panelist confessed that she shares with no one out of fear of her ideas being stolen. I was so stunned by this concept that I probably went a little too far by saying that my books are so complex and so utterly me that I didn’t think anyone else could pull them off. Oh well, I am known for speaking my mind.
The book fair bombed. Foot traffic was sparse. The day was too hot. Anyone with any sense was at the beach. I did share my umbrella shade with a lively author named Corey Lynn Fayman whose good cheer and company made the time pass with laughs. Potential readers cruised by my voluminous books to finger his two thin novels. I heard him say over and over in just one little sentence, “These are mystery detective.” I saw him sell the thinnest.
Oh, how I envied that he said everything about his books in just those few words. Right then and there, I decided that no matter that I have ideas for three more books in my Red Mirror Series, the next book I write will be to a genre and skinny.
I have to give Jonathan Maberry special mention. He is the nicest successful author one could ever hope to meet. A teddy bear with huge heart. I ended up in his workshop “Horror Horror,” not because I have any talent for that genre, but because he was so engaging at the grand panel discussion that I simply wanted to be in the same room with him. The gods smiled on me, and I met him again at the rooftop party – a gathering tantamount to Mount Olympus for a novice like me. Elevated. Yes, I definitely felt elevated.
Three cheers for the Central Coast Writer’s Conference. Thank you to Teri Bayus for her leadership and spunk. Yes, there were some hiccups and blemishes, but those are best mentioned in the evaluation form. I prefer to focus on the good, of which there was plenty to experience at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference 2015. Twitter #CCWC2015.
Central Coast Writer’s Conference
Teri Bayus Website
Jonathan Maberry Website
Corey Lynn Fayman Website
Chantelle Aimee Osman Website
LeeAnne Krusemark Facebook
Christy Halsell Website
Anne Perry Website