Busy times – it’s all good!

For the last ten days I was working in my old technical writer/proposal manager capacity - helping a small business write and deliver a proposal to the National Science Foundation. The proposal was due yesterday, and I'm proud to say we got it in electronically as required with two hours to spare. Within minutes of finishing the proposal work,  I changed modes and started thinking about the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference happening this weekend. I'm scheduled to appear on two panels tomorrow, and up until yesterday I had done nothing to prepare. This morning I went into my files and found notes from past panels I've appeared on, and  found what I needed to provide some good information on writing a memoir and building a marketing platform, using the social networks. (This blog was the first thing I did to start building my platform prior to the publication of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On.) One more thing that's happening at the conference is an oppor … [Read more...]

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Tips for leading a conference workshop

Since I participated at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference as both a workshop leader and panelist the end of June, it's time to share a post I wrote for The Memoir Network's Writers Blog in early May on this subject. I very much thank The Memoir Network's founder Denis Ledoux for inviting me to write for his great memoir website. Here's the post verbatim: Promoting yourself as a writer Participating in writing conferences, either as a panelist, lecturer, or as a workshop leader is a great way to get your name and book out in public and to network with other writers like you Being a presenter comes with tasks, but the challenge is not impossible. I’d like to offer you some  guidelines to help you be as successful as you can be to: Respond to a presenters’ request for proposal, Adhere to a list of conference presenter’s guidelines, and Develop a workshop that keeps the promises you proposed – in the specified allotted time. I recently co-led a workshop at the Story … [Read more...]

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Burning moments and magical thinking in our memoirs

It turned out that I led the memoir workshop: “Telling Healing Stories – How to Write A Compelling Memoir” on my own at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference last Friday. Thankfully I had the material prepared, so when my workshop mate didn’t show up, I just waded right in. I discussed the four aspects of all good literature: plot, theme, structure, and voice and gave the group a list of universal themes (which I’ll discuss in a future post). I also explained how the plot is made up of a series of events – or as they have been called – burning moments. For example, the disposition of clothes and possessions of a loved one who has died is a huge burning moment. In one of my favorite memoirs, The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion describes in meticulous detail the items in the plastic bag she brings home from the hospital after her husband died. She says, “…I remember combining the cash that had been in his pocket with the cash in my own bag, smoothing the bills, taking spe … [Read more...]

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The Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference is this weekend

This coming Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, I’ll be moderating two panels at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference. According to its program materials: “West Coast Writers Conferences presents a full weekend of panels, workshops and presentations by educators, noted speakers, and industry professionals focused on the craft and business of writing. “This conference differentiates itself by presenting individual program streams for (what we call the 3-A’s) Aspiring,Active, and Accomplished writers. Topics are offered in progressive streams, so you are immersed all weekend in an exciting and educational environment. You chose your level of participation and areas of interest, and may crossover to other levels at any time. Speakers and panelists are selected based on who is best suited to the curriculum, so you get the most informed workshops and presentations. Along with some perennial favorites, we are pleased to include important new voices and industry experts.” … [Read more...]

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So what’s the bottom line on the conferences?

Just a few observations after my panel appearances at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference on Tuesday, June 11 and at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15. Venues: Santa Barbara was much more upscale. It was held at a lovely hotel that overlooks the beach. GLA was obviously done on a budget at LA Valley College. The meetings were held in classrooms instead of conference rooms. Linda Joy Myers, Marla Miller, me, Eleanor Vincent Panels: However, I think the panels went well for both. In Santa Barbara I was a panel member discussing building a platform with a master moderator, Marla Miller, presiding. At the GLA I moderated three panels: memoir, platform, and poetry. Excellent experts were on all panels so we had lively discussions and lots of questions from the audience. Since the poetry workshop was a roundtable everyone participated in a give and take discussion throughout. In the end I think we provided useful information with lots of … [Read more...]

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A couple of busy weeks

My writing life is becoming very busy these days. This week I’ll be featured on three websites:    Today my post on revision and editing is featured on She Writes where I urge writers to Make the Decision to Do the Hard Work Before You Start to Write a Book. I learned the hard way during the time I wrote and revised my memoir, so now I’m following a long arduous edit and revision process for my novel. On Wednesday June 5, I’ll have a post about writing as healing up on Southern Writes Magazine’s Suite T blog. Here’s the link though I’ll remind you again on Wednesday. In the meantime, go over and look at my book trailer on their Must Read TV site and listen to me read a five-minute excerpt from Leaving the Hall Light On, on Take Five, presented by Southern Writers magazine. On Friday June 7, I’m so excited to be a guest on Laura Dennis’ The Adaptable (Adopted) Expat Mommy blog. She gave me some tough questions to answer, and I hope you’ll come over and join in the conversatio … [Read more...]

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What’s happening this week

Whew! It’s been a long and hard three months – actually two weeks short of three months – but well worth the effort. After Lucky Press went out of business on April 30, I was fortunate to find a new and most wonderful new publisher Dream of Things in record time. Since then – about the early part of June – we have been working at getting the book and all the ancillary products ready to go. I think when this Friday comes along, when I’ll have a new paperback edition and updated bookmarks in hand, I’ll breathe a big sign of relief. They will be ready just in time for my book selling opportunities over the weekend and next week at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference where I’m participating on two panels and during my annual poetry workshop and retreat at Esalen, Big Sur California. What great timing for a stay at Esalen! It’s a perfect place to unwind. Because I know how tired you must be at hearing all of this stuff since April 30, I’m bringing a real breath of fresh air to C … [Read more...]

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