Sunday, September 19, 2010

A great writers conference coming up

Less than a week until the Southern California Writers Conference in Newport Beach--I'm busy reading advance submissions, and preparing for a fun weekend for words at my favorite writers conference. Check out their lively site, and make sure you watch some of the videos on are a hoot, and some are fun animated stories, but they don't pull any punches.
I am polishing my two talks: Design or Death: Packaging The Self-published Title For Success, and also Young Adult: Why Write it and How Not To.
The thing about the SCWC is that it's not about going to meet famous writers and hear them talk (though you get to do that, too) it's about writing...Their motto is "a writer is a writer, before, as well as after publication" which I love!
There are so many amazing people on staff at SCWC, including some of my very talented friends like Judy Reeves, Marla Miller, Robert Yehling and Mike Sirota. Plenty more great writers and instructors--some of whom I haven't met yet--too many to list. And the list of Agents and Editors reads like a real "Who's Who" of Publishing.
Most important of all: When you attend this conference, you will write and read your writing to others; share your pitches, pages and queries with professionals; be challenged to improve; and you will get lots of good input and feedback on your work, be it novels, non-fiction, or short stories.
You'll also have a grand time, laugh plenty (Michael Steven Gregory, one of the organizers and sometimes MC, is a natural comedian and Wes Albers is the perfect straight man!) and, if all goes well, you will not sleep an awful lot.
So, if you don't make it this coming weekend to Newport Beach (Hyatt Regency NB), make sure you plan on San Diego on Presidents Day weekend, Feb 18-21, 2011.
If I don't see you next weekend--hasta pronto!

Monday, September 6, 2010

End of Summer Thoughts

Labor Day weekend in San Diego: Gorgeous days, cool weather, shopping for fresh summer fruits and veggies at the Farmer's market, reading a friend's fine YA manuscript (busman's holiday, I know) and an excellent dinner with friends. Then today a bike ride along the waterfront to the Festival of Sail on the embarcadero.
If you haven't read "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron yet, you might not have heard of "artist dates," but the gist of the theory is that we need to live life to be able to write about it well. Julia recommends taking ourselves on "dates" a couple hours per week. Get out and smell the air, see the views, feel the plums--take a hike, visit a museum, a gallery, a park, an art show, a bookstore or a farmer's market...whatever will stimulate your senses and get the creative juices flowing.
A few thoughts from readings this weekend:
Finished up Sherlock Holmes story collection I was reading last week, and was struck throughout by the admiring, intimate, and--would steamy be too strong a word?--voice employed by the character of Watson whenever he refers to Holmes. We may all have missed something in our youth, but the homoerotic overtones are impossible to miss now. I love Conan Doyle's use of Watson as his "excuse" for recording the "tales"; good device.
On a different subject entirely, Tortoises through the Lens, the latest book from Sunbelt has earned some nice comments from the natural history buffs in Southern California. Glad to see it hit the "big time" in the LA Times environmental blog Greenspace on Sunday.
A good article about the way different people (in this case, couples, are reading their books nowadays. This NY Times piece reminded me of Captain Russel and I, but we don't argue about it, we just read side-by-side, he with his book, me with my iPod. I say, as long as people are reading, who cares what they are reading on, or how they are getting their words delivered...Why can't we all get along?
Hasta pronto!