HWG April Conference

I failed to complete the Las Vegas story for the short story anthology. I came up with an idea, wrote three thousand words, meandered a bit too much, then focused. Still, not enough time for me to polish the story and get it submitted. In my defense, I only had a week between discovering the submission offer and its due date. Someday, I hope to have enough time to dedicate to this business as well as the skill to beat out a story faster. I’m going to complete the story and keep it in my pile until I find a home. If nothing else, it’s one more practice piece. Practice makes perfect, right?

The HWG April Conference was the best professional workshop I have ever attended. The opening talk Friday afternoon featured Christie Craig, who also writes as CC Hunter. She started with the funniest true life tale showing me what an amazing story teller she is. Ms. Craig elucidated the process for building believable characters readers can relate to by pulling characters from her stories as examples. In the end, she inspired me to continue writing even as the rejection letters roll in. She emptied large envelopes full of rejection notices into a carry on bag. The visual was mind blowing, but her words left more of an impression. Ms. Craig is a VERY successful, full time writer. I KNOW I can do this.


Friday evening, the guild hosted a release party for their anthology Tides of Impossibility, a fun anthology with published works by local writers.

It’s the one I submitted Larry and His Ghost to, but I did not win a spot. After reading the anthology, I understand why. That particular story does not fit the feel of the collection. A couple of the authors, who were lucky enough to make it into Tides, read samples of their work. How lucky are we to have a local organization to help us grow as writers? I don’t know why I didn’t join earlier. Buy the book and help support the cause!

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Saturday morning began with the attendees playing in the dark. The lack of lights was bearable. The lack of coffee? Not so much. I should have grabbed my obligatory caffeine before I left my neighborhood. Live and learn.

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Ironically, the key note speaker, Jane Friedman, had a prepared talk on technology and the ever changing world of publishing. Hmmmmm. The power was eventually restored, leaving the conference behind in schedule, but not lost.

The five talks I attended covered subjects as simple as using poetic techniques in prose to as complicated as publishing independently. They were detailed and enlightened and I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned.

Triumphantly, I only purchased four books. That alone is a record for me. I want to support the authors I meet who are spending their time sharing their experience with me.

But I also have to catch up on the books I already own.

And my husband is organizing an intervention to curb my book addiction. I try to tell him there are worse things to be hooked on. He’s not convinced.

Sunday morning, Jane Friedman closed out the convention with the most informative, useful practical advice I have received to date on writing a query, creating a synopsis, interacting with an agent, formatting your work and self publishing. I felt like I was attending a masters level class in three hours. The fear and hesitation, permeating that aspect of writing as a career, disappeared. It’s not that I know everything now. Quite the contrary. But I feel confident enough to dive in without being bogged down with terror.

Thank you, HWG! I have already gained a great deal from my four month membership. I’m excited for the future. If anyone in the Houston area wants to write, I highly encourage you to consider joining this organization.

This book recommendation is for all you romance fans: Shut Up and Kiss Me by Christie Craig. I bought her novel Friday night after watching her talk. Though romance is not my genre of choice, I hoped Ms. Craig’s voice, a combination bubbly and grounded, along with her sarcastic sense of humor would show through in her writing. I was not disappointed. Enjoy the ride!

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