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Come on in…shove something off a chair and make yourself at home. Help yourself to virtual coffee and pastries. And please ignore all the clutter… and the lack of decoration. My new blog is a work in progress and will be for a while, but I’m excited to be here.

To start things off I’d like to talk a little about writers’ conferences.

If you’re an aspiring author, and you’ve never attended a writers’ conference, what are you waiting for?

For the past five years I’ve attended the annual conference held by the Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization. NETWO‘s 27th annual Spring Conference was held on April 26th and 27th. It gives me the opportunity to visit with old friends, meet new friends and network with writers from all over Texas, attend workshops held by authors, agents and editors. I’ve even been able to ‘pitch’ my latest work face to face with editors and agents from places like New York, California, and Texas.  All in all, it’s proven to be an amazing experience that just seems to get better every year.

At my first conference, I signed up for a one-on-one interview with an editor. Did I have any idea what to expect? Absolutely not. You might compare the whole experience to jumping off a cliff with my eyes closed. Literally. I didn’t know the first thing about how to make a pitch and was so nervous I couldn’t breathe. But guess what? I survived.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re just interested in the possibility of writing or have actually begun the process, whether you’re looking for an agent/publisher or have already been published, I guarantee you will come away from a writing conference with something you can put to use. You may get some good advice on how to build your marketing plan or information on preparing your elevator pitch, your query or your synopsis. You might be inspired by a speaker sharing his/her road to publication. You might talk to someone who has gone the small press or self-publish route and get their take on the subject.

I enjoy ‘collecting’ characters. It’s always possible I might see someone whose mannerisms or personality would be perfect for my latest book or there’s always the chance I could overhear some great dialog. I’m always on the lookout for ideas to file away for later use. And I’ve been known to make these observations while attending the conference. You just never know.  My daughter Carrie is fond of telling people, “You’d better be careful what you say around my mother or you could find yourself in one of her novels. And it might not be pretty.”

So, the next time you come across something about an upcoming writing conference and think this looks like it might be interesting, don’t just think about it. Register and attend. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and come back again soon. Please don’t be a stranger.