I spent this past weekend in my home state of Florida. I’d been invited a few months back by the Tallahassee Writers Association to speak at their annual conference. A quick Google search revealed they’d had some pretty heavy hitters in the past, including Donald Maass. Was I in? Absolutely. They asked me to speak on how to write good sex, and I offered up an additional workshop on my pre-writing process which was accepted.
The bonus was that Elizabeth Babski of Babski Creative Services was a member of the chapter, and I’d get to meet her in person at last. Elizabeth designed my Coded for Love logo and the book cover for Desperate Match. Gorgeous work, right? She and her husband, John, picked me up from the airport Friday evening and brought me to the conference hotel. (And I can’t forget to mention that they gave me an unexpected gift of one of John’s art glass necklaces. I’d seen them on facebook, but was thrilled to have one to call my own. Gorgeous, right?)
As soon as we arrived at the hotel, I could tell, the Tallahassee Writers were as cohesive and interesting a group as my precious Washington Romance Writers, but with lots of men! The Friday night keynote WAS a tad different than the usual romance speech. It was given by Jon Jefferson and was all about serial killers, complete with graphic images! It was a fascinating glimpse into a world of which I know little.
I was a tad worried about the state of my dreams that night, but I had a lovely hotel room complete with king size bed and down comforter. This working mom was a happy camper. (And check out the swag bag for speakers! Nice!)
I gave my first workshop bright and early Saturday morning on letting characters drive your plot. I think it went well, and I hope I inspired people. It was great fun to speak to an audience writing in a myriad of genres ranging from thriller to memoir. There were quite a few people writing memoirs, which meant a lot of people had interesting life stories to share. I met a pastor’s wife and a woman who’d survived a traumatic violent assault and was ready to share her story.
I then got to attend a workshop with Shari Stauch, a former pro pool shark turned marketing guru. She gave great advice, and I can’t wait to learn more about www.wherewriterswin.com
My afternoon talk on building sexual tension and writing love scenes went fine, but I wish I had it on video so I could analyze how to improve it. I think the audience enjoyed it, but I know there are a few tweaks to be made to make it better.
The conference ended with an great dinner with the organizers and other guests. I so enjoyed chatting with Nancy Springer and wish I could’ve met everyone at the looong table. Today, I head home and try to figure out how to stuff my suitcase with all the goodies from my gift bag! The only dark spot on the weekend was that the conference chair, Peggy, became ill Friday night and had to miss the whole thing. As someone who has chaired a conference, I can’t imagine the emotional pain of having to leave just as it’s starting. Peggy, here’s wishing excellent health and a personal invitation to consider attending the Washington Romance Writers at our annual spring retreat. I know you’ll fit right in with us crazy romance writers.
If you’re in the Florida area, I highly recommend checking out this writers organization and their excellent conference.