Thursday, June 2, 2011

Conference Sunshine

More Conference Goodies

During a panel discussion about the world wide web, author Annie Jones stressed the importance of having an online presence to expand our reach. It is a good marketing tool, she said, but also a vital community. Why do we need a community? Building connections, and more importantly, friendships, she says, provides support and brainstorming opportunities, among other things, that aid our journey.

I'd met Annie before (she and I belong to the writer's group that sponsored the event), but it was nice to hear her insight in more detail. Annie's blog for writers can be found here. Annie's other blog,   Dear Helen Hartman, offers fun and timeless advice with a vintage twist. 

Author Virginia Smith shared how her experience in the corporate world helps her writing. Writing full time now, Virginia stressed how crucial it is to understand the business. Get to know markets and genres, find your niche, and note trends, she encouraged. Have a detailed plan - or at least work on developing one as you go, and maintain a "planning mentality". Every ship needs a rudder, after all. 

I thought it interesting that Virginia's mysteries dictated her transformation from Seat of the Pants to Plotter. I learned too, that she lives about 20 minutes away from me, so it's possible that we could bump into each other while shopping. Maybe I should keep a list of questions in my purse in case I see her at Starbucks. :) For more info on Virginia and her books, stop by her site.
It was great meeting all the speakers, but it was an especially fun treat to meet Ann Gabhart. You might recall the interview and giveaway I did with Ann back in March. Well, she's just as nice in person as she is in a blog interview. Ann's latest books are historical fiction; she discussed her research and the interesting things one can discover in the process. Primary sources, of course, are the mainstays, but journals, interviews, and even family memories play a large part as well. Her goal is to generate the flavor of the period and people to create a good, memorable story. 

Ann feels that it is okay to take some creative license, within reason, since it is historical fiction, after all. My current WIP is the same genre, and while this flexibility seems inevitable, it's nice to hear it from a real live author. More of Ann's wisdom and info can be found at her site or on her blog.

So that's my conference adventure in a nutshell. I highly recommend attending one, large or small, every so often. It's a great experience!

Oh and one more thing...

The new site find of the week is E-Junkie.Info. Okay, so I had a guest post there too this week, (thanks to all who stopped by to read it!), but it features an assortment of posts, from stuff for writers and artists, to info of a techie nature.

Have you found any new sites lately? What's going on in your neck of the woods this weekend?

Have a great weekend,

Photo credit: Columbine 


  1. Some good advice. I certainly know how important it is to have an online presence!

  2. What a wonderful conference, Karen! So glad you got to go.

    The site I'm in love with is Ann Voskamp's. I can't get enough of her. So real, yet so nourishing.

    Thanks for asking!

  3. I've never been to a writer's conference, but I can see where it would be a great blessing. I've gone to ministry conferences so I have some idea what these kinds of events are like. I need to look into a writing one sometime. Thanks for sharing some of the valuable tidbits you picked up.


  4. Thanks for the many links.

    I started blogging for the online hooked because of the community of generous and encouraging people. I learn so much, and I'm continually amazing by the talent out there.

  5. Sounds like a great conference! How neat that one of them lives so close!

  6. Hi Karen .. you've certainly given us a good overview summary of your time - and at some stage in the future .. I think I'll definitely join one - sounds interesting and informative.

    Thanks for the shout out about it .. as it's the Sunshine conference - would love to see you over supporting Lenny - the Sunshine lad .. via my blog .. you'll see why!

    Cheers and have a lovely weekend .. Hilary

  7. Thanks for the author links. :)

    I'm looking forward to the RWA conference in NY the end of this month!

  8. Thanks for sharing your conference experience with us Karen! I am actually at a Christian conference in North Eastern Germany, where we are giving some work shops, has nothing to do with writing, but it's fun anyway.
    Have a great weekend!

  9. I'm really enjoying all these conference posts, Karen. Thank you!

  10. I just joined twitter. That's been a fun experience.

  11. Good advice regarding the online presence issue and about belonging to a writing community. I have spent hours brainstorming with my writing friends online. Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. Karen I REALLLLY thought I was following your blog! I wasn't but I am NOW. Thanks for linking to my blog.

  13. Well now I really know what I missed, bummer! Thanks for sharing the goodies though.

    My weekend will involve dodging the heat :)

    Have a great weekend.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  14. Alex,
    It was great advice! And yes, you surely do a great job with your online presence.

    I am too! :) Will check out Ann's site and info, thanks!

    Yes, I think that's safe to say that they are similar. You might enjoy a writer's conference if you ever have time!

    You are very welcome! The online community is wonderful, I agree!

    I know, I was so happy about it! And yes, it is fun to know Annie lives in my area. :)

    You should go if you ever get the chance. They are great. Large ones might seem a little intimidating, but just relax and take it all in! :)

    You are welcome! Have fun at your conference!

    You're welcome! Hope you have a great time at your event!



  15. You know what? I don't remember you mentioning your WIP before. If you did, I missed it. That's very interesting.

    Sounds like you had a great time! I'm happy for you.

    Waving and smiling,


  16. There's nothing like meeting other writers in person for a nice, long chat. Thank you so much for all the author links! Have a great weekend!

  17. There's nothing like meeting other writers in person for a nice, long chat. Thank you so much for all the author links! Have a great weekend!

  18. Hi Karen -

    Thanks for giving us a peek at the conference. I love meeting other writers.

    Dashing - and I do mean dashing - off to read your guest post. :)


  19. HI Karen,
    So glad you had such a great experience. I think conferences are a valuable tool for any writer. You shared some good stuff here - thanks!

  20. Talli,
    I know, the community is great, isn't it? You have a good weekend too!

    It's okay, really! It's not like you aren't busy writing after all! :)

    Yes, I was sorry you couldn't make it, but maybe another time, you know? :)

    I think I've mentioned my WIP in passing...but you are kinda busy with your gang and all. Can't ecpect you to keep up with everything! :D

    I know, it is great meeting other writers in person. You are welcome to the links!

    You are welcome! I'm sorry that I couldn't take all of you with me. :)

    Me too! :) I have to agree with you about that.

    Happy weekend,

  21. I sometimes enjoy reading historical fiction and think if it sticks too tightly to the 'facts' it can come off a bit like a biography and a little boring, so flexibility is important to pizzaz it up. I think as long as you don't mis-educate readers on dates and major events it's all good :)
    In Oz our next big event is Supanova - an expo for pop-culture. I'll be going to that in a couple of weeks and attending one of their great writing workshops.

  22. I started my blog with some vague notion of web presence but it's the community that I have come to appreciate the most.

    As for new blogs I found this week: this one!

  23. I still have yet to go to a conference. Thank you so much for sharing all the wisdom!

  24. I love conference, especially ones that lift you up and make the whole process of writing even more exciting than before. Sounds like you had a great time, Bravo!

  25. Thanks for telling us about the conference! It sounds wonderful. I'm pining after a job that doesn't currently exist - Writing Community Coordinator. I want to try and talk the library into hiring me, but I know times are tough and I'm unlikely to succeed. Still, it seems like it would be a thing worth doing. And talk about reaching a wider audience!

  26. Hello, I come to via another friends blog.. I am co~author of and I enjoyed browsing your blog and wanted to introduce ourselves.. Heart of the Home is a womens ministry reaching out to women with encouragement from Gods word and his design for women as wives, mothers, friends and etc.. Hope you will get a chance to stop by and visit us, and that we can become Blogging Buddies.. Have a great weekend.. God Bless

  27. I wish I could have been there. Great authorly chat you have here, amigo! And appreciate the links which I will visit. First I'll head over to your guest post.


  28. Charmaine,
    I like your take on the historical fiction thing. I have to agree!

    Oh yes, me too. Had no idea what I was in for, but it was good! Thanks for your sweet comment. :)

    Glad you stopped by. You might enjoy a conference...attend in all your spare time, right?

    Now that sounds like a great job! Let me know how it works out, okay? :)

    I do too! It's good to be challenged and learn new things.

    Missy and Karen,
    Nice to meet you. Enjoyed my stop at your blog. Thanks for commenting!

    I think you would have enjoyed it! You are welcome to the links, and thanks for stopping at my guest post!


  29. Thanks for sharing your conference experience with us.

    Interesting that writing mysteries made Virginia turn from a panster to a plotter. I can see that!

  30. Sometimes people we admire can seem so out of reach, and then we attend a conference finding out they may be purchasing their apples the same place we do! Thank you for sharing your experience and the links.

  31. Thanks for putting this up. I usually do not go to conferences, they give me anxious moments! Don't ask me why, I don't know myself. Perhaps it has more to do with large groups. I usually stay away from large gatherings. But I see how I am missing out on many things.
    Thanks also for referring Annie Jones and her blog, Dear Helen Hartman

  32. Theresa,
    I thought that was really interesting too. It does make sense, though!

    I know, this is so true! We're all people, you know? :)

    Large groups can intimidate me too, that's why I like smaller events like this one. I also attend with the mindset of, okay, I don't really know anyone (if I don't) but I'm going to get what I can out of this. Surprisingly, this really helps the shy inner me! lol



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