Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Two Conferences, Three Countries, Numerous Blogs and a Lot of Editing…

… all in two months. I’ve been way too busy. Time to slow down a bit and smell the roses…er, tulips…when they bloom here in Canada, that is. And get caught up on my editing.

February 16-22, I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for a stimulating writers’ conference in a great location. The 6th Annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival, Feb. 18-20, offered three days of workshops, with a wide variety of topics to choose from, plus keynote speakers and cultural events to give us all a taste of Mexican food, music and dance. I met some great people at the conference. I really enjoyed getting to know and hanging out with Diana Barnes, a writer and professor of Spanish Literature (far left, in the black jacket).

And I got to San Miguel early enough to explore this very special, safe, World Heritage colonial town in the mountains of Central Mexico, and snap hundreds of unique photos.I’m definitely going back to San Miguel next year, but for longer.

And I took a little detour on the way home to join my sister and her husband in Cancun for four days of R&R -- and I don't feel a bit guilty about it!

Then, March 22-27, off to Left Coast Crime’s conference, The Big Chile, in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, also a high desert location. I chose one of the optional pre-conference bus tours to Taos, led by two friendly, knowledgeable guides, which turned out to be a lot of fun and a photographer’s delight. This conference, for both writers and readers of crime fiction, featured panels (in contrast to the workshops at San Miguel), talks, a bookstore, book signings, and plenty of other cultural and literary activities to choose from, culminating in an awards banquet. I was also pleased to be asked to participate in a panel with literary agents and editors, called “Industry Professionals on Publishing,” which was extremely well-attended.

At the Awards Banquet, I was pleased to join thriller writer David Morrell's table. Morrell is the author of numerous novels, starting with First Blood, which grew into the Rambo movies with Sylvester Stallone. David generously supplied wine and gave each of us a book of his (I chose his excellent book on advice for writers, called The Successful Novelist, since I had just bought three of his novels at the bookroom.)

At both events, I was very fortunate to hook up with interesting people (mainly writers), companions to share sightseeing, shopping, meals, and lots of stimulating conversation, mostly revolving around writing, editing and the state of publishing and self-publishing. In both cases, although I loved the conferences and exploring new and different parts of the continent, it was the connections with these great people and talented writers that made the experiences so enriching and satisfying. A special thanks to my friend, mystery-suspense novelist LJ Sellers, for introducing me to four other bright, dynamic people – horror and thriller writer Andrew E. Kaufman, romantic suspense writer Peg Brantley, mystery writer Judith Yates Borger, and reviewer Marlyn Beebe. We all shared ideas and brainstormed over lunches, dinners and drinks--great times!

Plus, due to a flurry of activity before I left, I’ve recently had several of my articles posted on three blogs. In February and March, Blood-Red Pencil blogspot, at, posted Deep Point of View, or How to Avoid Head-Hopping, Survive Your Writing or Editing Career, The Pros and Cons of First-Person Viewpoint, and Deep Point of View, Part 2. (Part 3 coming in April.) As well, my article on “Writing Effective Dialogue” was published on The Thrill Begins blog at,  and my article on “Creating Compelling Characters” on Writing from the Peak – Pikes Peak Writers Blog, at

And I was surprised to discover that my panel at LCC and my freelance editing services were mentioned in a few other very interesting blog posts: Ctrl+Alt+Pub blog, at and Sisters in Crime blog, at

The very well-written article by Andrew E. Kaufman on the state of indie publishing, at Ctrl+Alt+Pub, sparked a lot of interest and debate. That will be the topic of another blog post here – the rapidly changing world of publishing, self-publishing and e-publishing.

And you might want to also check out Blood-Red Pencil’s “Ask the Editor” monthly feature for some tips for writers from editors and other writers. Here’s yesterday’s post:

Time to get back to my editing – my “raison-d’ĂȘtre” and, besides being satisfying and rewarding, the activity that funds my trips to all of these great writers’ conferences!

...speaking of editing, if you have a fiction manuscript you'd like me to have a look at, my website is