Thought I’d share some conference seeds, but didn’t want to leave anyone out, so they sprouted. There is some fun info in here, so read at your leisure.
Pictures will come later! In a post with less words. 😉 I was forced to use one of those disposable cameras–so cross your fingers and hope some of the images came out. I’m a writer, not a photographer. Some of you remember the wild turkey shots, yes? Remember the casual suggestions I stick to writing??? I have such lovely, honest readers here.
First night at the hotel in Midwest City, we had one of those freak, Oklahoma storms that come out of nowhere. Well, for those of us who don’t always pay close attention to the news. Julia Mozingo did tell me that she’d heard Lubbock would be visiting us that evening in the form of wind carried dirt. Lubbock is over 300 miles southwest. In Texas.
Instead of dirt, we had huge hail and tornado sirens that sent everyone running into the storm shelter. I couldn’t help but wonder what our out of town guests thought. <g>
JA Jance was our keynote and she did talk about explaining the hail damage to the car rental place. Ouch. Her speech was wonderful, funny and inspiring. Have to say, the keynote is usually my favorite part of the conference. She has a blog and if it is half as entertaining as her speech, I’ll be following it.
I attended two workshops by A.C. Crispin. She talked about the popularity of urban fantasy but warned new writers about writing to trends. Not necessarily in reference to UF, no, she was talking about all recent trends and how long it can take to write the book, get an agent, go through the publishing process…. the trends could be over by then. Her advice is excellent. Write what you love.
I am hoping UF takes on its own powerful genre identity and stays around a long, long time. 😉
I highly recommend any author searching for an agent to first check out A. C. Crispin’s Writer Beware site on scam artists.
I walked up and introduced myself to Jason Pinter. He writes for Mira (like Rachel!) and I’ve followed his blog for a little while. Unfortunately, I tend to cross my arms over my name tag, so he didn’t know who I was until right before he had to run off. He then recognized my name from Rachel’s blog. I told him I wasn’t number one, but number two. (heh heh) I bought The Mark and The Guilty and look forward to reading them very much.
Selina McLemore, an editor from Grand Central Publishing, sat with us during the banquet. She is especially interested in fiction and non-fiction that resonates with the Latino community in the United States and also looks for romance, women’s fiction and narrative non-fiction. I enjoyed meeting her. She’s very personable, smiles often and is truly excited about her work. She also listened to a couple of stories about me from MY MOTHER. LOL!
(My father attended the conference–his first– and my mother joined us for the banquet. She looked stunning in her white dress and seemed to really enjoy herself. It was lovely having her there, but I kept thinking she would have really enjoyed coming when I was entering the contests and collecting those awards myself. <g> )
The best thing about the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation conference is spending time with my close friends Sarah Basore, Carol Shenold, Kathy Moad (currently building a new site), Lou Mansfied and Deborah Bouziden. I missed Christy Jenkins something awful!
I also like touching base with writers I only see once a year. I’m terrible with names at times, but I know the smiles and I get a kick out of all the cheering and support given to those who place in the Saturday night contests.
I didn’t enter them the last couple of years, but I feel they are a wonderful, wonderful thing for Oklahoma writers. I honed my craft in those contests, spending year after year working harder to get to first places. It’s a great source of feedback and it’s nice for new writers to get the positive vibes from the support when otherwise they might be swimming in rejections.
I do think there should be a bit of caution there and I don’t want to bring a positive post down, but feel it’s necessary to warn new writers not to let that positive feedback sustain you. It’s easy to fall into the habit of writing for the contests and not put your hard work toward publishing.
I also got to spend time with writers Maria Hooley and Kathleen Redwine. Maria and I have been friends for years and we try to touch base at the conference. She’s a fantastic writer who also happened to get up quite a few times to accept awards. Kathleen is a new member of OKRWA and just a fascinating and gorgeous woman!
So, while I enjoyed the conference, I’m always so happy to get home. I didn’t stay and celebrate with the winners last night. My father and I were both pretty wiped, so my parents gave me a ride home. (We had one vehicle in the shop, so the hubby gave me a ride up Thursday.)
I’m one of those oddly introverted people who does well at conferences for a few days, then needs to scurry off to recuperate. But my imagination never fails to find inspiration in something there. I came home with several ideas I can’t wait to explore.
And okay, okay. Yes. It was VERY fun telling people I’d signed with an agent. I worried I might say it too often, but then remembered how long I’ve been waiting to share that kind of news. <g>
Oh I almost forgot–yes, I know this is long– but I did attend an interesting workshop about marketing yourself from home. Dan Poynter created the workshop especially for introverts. You might want to check out his site and sign up for the newsletter. Some of his suggestions were incredibly simple, yet they’d escaped me. I picked up valuable ideas on promotion.
He shared a story about Johnny Carson that had me smiling. Carson as an introvert might surprise a lot of people, but it made sense to me. I tend to come off as highly extroverted at writer’s meetings and conferences because I’m talkative (too much when the nerves set in!) and I gather up the nerve to introduce myself to strangers. (Remember Pinter?) I do okay in crowds and don’t stare at my feet as Poynter said introverts are prone to do. I find people too interesting for that.
I do plan to market my books heavily and in person as much as possible, but I will always be more comfortable here, curled up in a chair with my laptop. Diving into worlds of my own making.
I’m a writer because I love to write. 🙂