Weekend at Emerald City

I highly recommend the Emerald City Writers Conference. The Greater Seattle RWA chapter has always put on a good conference, but I hadn’t been able to get to one in five years due to Real Life. What a difference a few years makes! This conference was outstanding on a number of levels.

The location had changed; the 2011 ECWC was at a different (and much larger) hotel, the Bellevue Westin; there were six (!) simultaneous tracks of workshops; and the lineup of industry professionals and workshop presenters was impressive, to say the least. What hadn’t changed was the welcoming and friendly nature of the organizers and fellow participants, the quality of the workshops, and Seattle’s fall climate. Ahem, some of us near-desert dwellers like rain.

What gets truly impressive is to know that at least two members of the organizing committee were replacements due to serious health issues (may the afflicted persons recover soon and completely), and the replacements were already running the 300+ member writers’ organization. In short, the women who put on this conference are rock stars. That’s not really related to anything else in this post, but it needs to be said. Rock. Stars.

I can’t tell you how good the workshops were, because I think I made it to three or four; Angela James on digital publishing Friday afternoon/evening, the workshop I gave on Saturday and one shortly after it, the chat with Sara Wendell on Sunday (I moderated; she’s fabulous and can use the term “crapmonkeys” in regular conversation)…and that’s about it. Why, you ask? Well, I pitched books to three people Saturday morning. Then my workshop was right after lunch, and then I needed to sit in a corner and twitch for a while because public speaking does that to me.

Then there was the exhaustion factor after the pitching and the speaking and the twitching and the being a social creature–I’m quite capable of being social, but it sucks energy right out of me (I believe that’s the Briggs-Meyers/Meyers-Briggs definition of an introvert). I slept through a workshop session I had wanted to attend on Sunday morning, and, in fact, I could use a nap right now.

The conference organizers even managed to record most of the workshops. The CDs are available for ordering here, but only through November 10. The total cost is $20 for two or three CDs worth of information. If you have the chance to go to this conference over Halloween weekend 2012, go. It is so totally worth it.

The highlight of my weekend was meeting Angela James in person. I can report she’s just as nice in real life as she is online. She even chastised me for not having published anything else since Blade’s Edge and told me I need to focus on which series of books I want to use to build readership, since I’ve chosen a difficult subgenre. “Chosen” was her term. I’ve tried to write other stuff, but it always turns into space opera, or at least futuristic romance; I’m cursed.

Since I have two other stories in the universe where Blade’s Edge takes place, she said that if she contracted The Valmont Contingency (the story I pitched) she’d have to wait two years for the next book. And that’s too long to build readership. How cool is that? An editor I highly respect yelled at me (nicely, of course) to write faster. Yes, ma’am.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her I have at least two other “worlds” on the back burner, waiting for me to finish the Dozen Worlds and Republic Space initial trilogies. Tomorrow I start on the story of Talyn’s redemption as she reluctantly leads the Hauptmann Cartel out of their societal dead-end. Obviously, I need to complete four or five books in the next 14 months (God willing and the crick don’t rise, as grandma used to say) to get caught up, LOL.

Looks like I’m writing a novel during National Novel Writing Month this year. But first, I’m going to take that nap.

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