Once again we got up at 3 a.m. in order to catch a plane in Bakersfield. This time we were headed for Portland, OR to Epicon, the organization for electronically published writers. This is one my husband really looks forward to. We flew to San Francisco, then on to Portland, both planes were dinky, but I really like flying on those, they get right up into the air and land nicely.
The ride in the taxi to the hotel was downright scary, so scary I held onto my hubby’s hand all the way. First person we saw when we entered the hotel was Lee Emory, publisher of Treble Heart Books, who published two of my Christian horror novels. She’s also a very good friend. The conference itself was great. I learned lots more about Internet promotion–though I’ll have to find some more time to do everything I learned.
Other friends we enjoyed being with were Larry and Lorna Collins, fellow Californians and John Schembra (also from California) who is a member of Public Safety Writers Association too. We were delighted to see Ginny and David McBlain (Omaha). Hubby and I both enjoyed his talk on Military Intelligence. John Taylor is another Epic friend and I took notes during his Thriller Writing presentation. I gave to talks, one on Creating Memorable Characters and another on Promoting Trade Paperbacks. Always the highlight of the conference is the Awards Ceremony. Jeff Strand is the M.C. for life for very good reason–he is so funny! My book Judgment Fire was a finalist in the mystery category, but it didn’t win. I’ve been a finalist several times and never won. I’m beginning to feel like Susan Lucci. Our flight home was strange–Portland to Phoenix, then on to Bakersfield.
I was invited to give a workshop for Writers of Kern on Plot or Character, Which is Most Important in a Mystery. This is a great group of folks. Though I belong to this chapter of California Writers Club, I never seem to make it down there unless I’m invited as a speaker. Hubby went with me which was great–I didn’t have to drive. Plus I had a great time and sold a few books. Mike Russo, of Russo’s Books, spoke about the state of the book industry which isn’t all that great right now. Steve Mettee, publisher of Quill Driver Books, talked about what it takes to be a successful writer.
I was all set to give a talk at the Hanford branch of the Kings County Library when I got an email for Gail Lucas, the librarian, asking me if I’d like to go to Fresno to a TV station and be there by 6 a.m. to be interviewed for a 6 minute segment the same day as the talk. If I drive really fast and there’s not much traffic, I can make it to Fresno in 1 ½ hours–but think about what time I’d have to get up–and I did–I decided I’d rather be coherent at the library then to be on TV. My daughter-in-law was kind enough to drive with me to Hanford (another 1 ½ hour drive) and we went early enough to eat dinner there. We went to a lovely Italian restaurant and ordered hors’doerves–an antipasto plate and sweet potato fries. Way too much food but definitely delicious.
When I walked into the library after I met Gail, the first face I saw was someone from the Visalia Writers’ group. That definitely brought a smile to my face. Another woman who has come many times when I’ve spoken to the Visalia group was also there. You have no idea how wonderful it feels to have that kind of support. Though it was a small group they listened to me talking about what inspired me to write mysteries, looked interested, and laughed in all the right places. And I sold some books–always a good thing. I hope the library will ask me back some day–I had a terrific time.