April Writer’s Conferences

I haven’t been to a conference in a year. The two I did last year weren’t really conferences – one was a workshop (Andrea Brown Agency-sponsored Big Sur workshop on writing for children, middle grade, and teens – a fabulous workshop but I felt a tad out of place), the other was a convention – Romantic Times, in Los Angeles (which was wonderful, crazy and busy and a little too – um – manic in it’s must-party atmosphere, since I was still recovering from surgery).

April, somehow, seems to be conference month. RT happened earlier this month, in Chicago; and seemingly there were more writers there than readers, so I’m kind of glad I didn’t go. Plus I am just out of costume ideas, lol.

Last weekend was the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference, which looked fantastic – so many terrific agents/editors/speakers, that you wonder how any of them get their real job done

(I know – they work on their iPads on the plane, in the restaurant, at night in their

Photo of Author Aaron Michael Ritchey
This is Aaron Michael Ritchey, author of The Never Prayer. Photo swiped from Aaron's site. Thanks, Aaron!

jammies…).  A good blog about Pike’s Peak conference is from my friend Aaron Michael Ritchey, and you can find it here.  Okay, maybe it’s not so much about the actual conference as it is about the energy supplied by the people you meet in real time for the first time and the wonderful things that happen when you get so many creative people in one room at the same time. At any rate, it’s a really interesting blog post.  (Aaron is a really interesting guy who wrote a fantastic novel called The Never Prayer. You should read it.)

This weekend is the Desert Dreams Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona as well as the New England Conference in Salem, Mass. Before I knew the dates for the Salem conference, I signed up for DD – I’ve been there before, it’s small and mighty and I wanted to see friends and family. Plus, Salem is clear across the country and I wasn’t sure about spending the money, psychics and ghost tours notwithstanding. No – to be honest, I didn’t even know the New England conference was the same weekend and I’d hoped to do both, especially since my editor Steph Murray with Crescent Moon Press will be there, as well as a bunch of CMP authors.

But – I’m here at Chaparral Suites, my son getting ready to spend the weekend with family while I get ready to pitch to three agents and enjoy seeing friends, absorbing writing information, have a terrific book signing, and make new friends. Because after all, conferences/workshops/conventions are about making new friends, and strengthening long-time friendships as much as they are about learning craft.

When we writers climb out of our writing cave to go to a conference/workshop/convention, we get to spend time with people who understand us, who talk to people that only exist in our computer screens like we do, who look up weird facts on the internet that with anyone else would look extremely suspicious.

We’re with a huge bunch of people who get the beast. I guess, in a way, it’s like going to a convention of Bobs. Only other Bobs know what it’s like to be a Bob. Well, only other writers know what it’s like to be a writer.

Sorry this isn’t a wine blog today – I just didn’t plan ahead. Next week, I promise. In the meantime, off I go to meet relatives, hug old friends, drink a little too much wine, become good friends with new people, and in general simply bask with other writers.

Plus, have fan-girl moments. I saw both Brenda Novak (NYT Bestselling Author) and Brenda Chin (one of Harlequin’s TOP editors) at dinner last night (not together, though they were sitting in booths next to each other). It was VERY hard not to squee all over both of them – but since conference hasn’t officially started, and since they were in deep discussions with the person they were with, it seemed rude. However – at noon today, conference starts. All Squeeing will therefore be totally valid.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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12 Responses to April Writer’s Conferences

  1. Maria says:

    Have fun!

  2. Roz Lee says:

    Have fun, Christine!! Wishing you much success with the pitches! I soooo wanted to do the New England conference as it’s within driving distance for me, but being close on the heels of RT made it too much.

  3. Robena Grant says:

    Have fun, Christine.

    I went to DD about four years ago and thought it was a great medium sized conference. I met some wonderful people and for me the drive is about as half as long as for you. : ) I should have stretched and gone this year but too many other things were happening and I felt I needed to stick close to home. Maybe next year. : )

    Hope your pitches are fabulous.

    • Christine says:

      Thanks, Roben – you’re a peach! And yes I totally understand why you’d want to stick close to home this year.

  4. Catie Rhodes says:

    I have a question that may or may not be stupid. What is the difference between a conference and a convention?

    Have fun and good luck pitching to the agents. 😀

    • Christine says:

      Catie, to me a conference is where you go to learn. A convention is where you go to – well, sell. RT is a convention – and while there are panels and such for both author tracks and reader tracks, most people go for the costume parties and the book signings. I believe they have added pitch appointments the last few years; but it started as a way for readers to connect with authors.

      And of course, I may be way off base…

  5. Julie Glover says:

    That sounds wonderful! I’m attending the DFW Writers’ Conference in May and looking forward to it. Enjoy, Christine!

  6. I was in the elevator with Mary Buckham at a conference a few years ago and wanted so much to intro myself and tell her thanks for some encouragement she gave me once, but she was deep in discussion with someone else, so I didn’t interrupt. I hope you have a wonderful time at the conference and with friends and family. 🙂

  7. I’ve always wanted to go to DD, but now I’m starting to go to mystery conferences as well as romance. I have to choose carefully.

    Do have a great time and the best of luck to you with your pitches!

  8. Debra Kristi says:

    Have a fantastic time! Best of luck to you!

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