Mid July, I traveled to Seattle to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference, as a finalist in their annual writing competition. I spent four days in the Hilton, attending workshops, meeting people, and pitching my novel to agents and editors. The last evening of the conference, Joe flew up to join me at the awards banquet. After dinner, a couple of my favorite agents invited us to a private party in one of the rooms. Fun!
The Santa Barbara Writers Conference was an outstanding experience. I took the Pacific Coast Starlight down to the conference. Salinas to Santa Barbara. Good solitary writing time in the observation car. Interesting characters on the train. Beautiful landscapes, never seen from the highway.
One of the highlights for me was getting to work in a small group critique session with Gar Haywood and Sue Grafton. Gar is an accomplished mystery writer, an excellent critique facilitator, and a friend of Grafton. I was amazed by how just plain nice both writers are. No arrogance or games. Just real people, genuinely interested in writing and writers, and in sharing knowledge about their craft. All of the critique workshops yielded valuable insights.
The Pirates, from 9pm to after midnight every night with author and editor John Reed proved to be particularly bloody. (Kill your darlings.)
Still sifting through the fertile seeds gleaned at the conference.
I’m at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. Today was Agent’s Day. I met with five agents, who each read my first five pages and heard my pitch. All of the agents were shocked and amazed by the fact that methyl bromide and chloropicrin are still being used to grow strawberries. All felt strongly that the story needs to be told.
I’m sending my manuscript to a professional thriller editor this month, for the final revision and polishing. Then it goes out to the agents.
If you’re interested in receiving a free advance copy, let me know.