A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Friday, November 8, 2013

Conference Memories

by Janis Patterson

It couldn’t have been any better. A lovely resort right on the water’s edge in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A wonderful conference of professional writers. The Husband beside me the whole time, absorbing and learning. Seeing old friends and making new ones. It really couldn’t have been any better.
The conference was for Novelists, Inc, more familiarly known as NINC, an organization of multi-published writers. I have been a member for a while, but this was the first conference time and finances allowed me to attend. This was also the first conference where Author Support Teams (read assistants) could attend – not just professionals who handle lots of authors, but family members and friends. Professional, multi-author assistants have always been allowed to come as Industry Guests, and they had/have a different fee from both authors and AST people.
Yes, The Husband has decided that my time is better spent writing than doing a lot of clerical chores like posting excerpts, seeking reviews and tracking sales. (Of course, his decision was very much urged by me, but in the end it was completely his decision.)
I don’t think he realized how exhausting writers’ conferences could be. Accustomed to the regulated pace of military and public health gatherings, he seemed to be a bit overwhelmed by the frenetic energy of a hotel full of writers.  Generally solitary creatures who sit alone in rooms with lots of imaginary people, when we writers actually get together with others of our kind the results are electric. We don’t have to worry about someone calling the cops if they overhear us talking about the best way to poison someone undetected or gape in unabashed curiosity as we talk about the tangled lives of our characters. They are writers, and they understand.
But it wasn’t just writers. Sharing the magnificent hotel with us was the South Carolina chapter of the barbershop singers’ (can’t remember the exact name) organization. Perhaps writers aren’t the only unusual people out there. In the hallway we had to edge our way past masked men singing cowboy songs. In the morning, in the elevator going down, we were serenaded by men in tuxes singing Lida Rose. That evening going back up we were treated to a group in the worst looking arab costumes I’ve ever seen (one was a bathrobe!) complete with cheesy plastic swords belting out an enthusiastic version of The Riff Song by Romberg. It was definitely a surreal experience. 
The writing workshops, however, were all business. There were reps from the major self-publishing platforms, a traditional publishing editor or two, a couple of agents, a TV packager and more. We had in-depth sessions on audio books, the interrelationship between story and life, how books become movies, and of course several workshops on both being and working with an assistant. It was all fascinating.
Then there were the Early Bird and Night Owl sessions. There were several Early Bird sessions I wanted to attend, and I’m not sure if I did nor not. They begin at 8 am, and my brain doesn’t go online until 9. I hear they were great, however, and contradicted my long-held belief that nothing good ever happens before 10 am. The Night Owl sessions began at 8 pm and ended at 10, and they were just as splendid. Among other things, I learned secrets of blogging more efficiently and how to use the Tarot as a plotting device when I’m stuck.
I hate to handwrite anything and have not yet mastered the art of taking notes on a computer, but still managed to use almost a full legal tablet for notes. I ran into old friends not seen for years and met lovely new ones. The Husband and I even managed a few romantic dinners alone and a couple of walks on the beach. Yes, it really couldn’t have been any better. The conference was the most professional writers’ conference I’ve ever attended; it was so impressive that we’ve already registered for next year!

As for The Husband… I think he enjoyed it. He said he learned a lot. When I asked him what was his main take-away from the conference, he thought for a minute, then announced, “I’m glad I’m not a writer.” 


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Janis,

It sounds like a lot of fun, a writer's idea of a vacation. I wish I could get my husband to go on one with me.


Jacqueline Seewald
The Third Eye: A Pine Barrens Mystery
Beyond the Bo Tree
Death Legacy

Penny's Tales said...

Sounds like a fun time was had by all! Thanks for sharing!

jean harrington said...

Janis, You've made me want to attend the next conference. Sounds awesome . . . or is that your skill at creating a great scene I just read? Hmm?

No, seriously, sounds very worthwhile. And fun.

Julie Moffett said...

What a wonderful post!! Makes me want to attend next year. Thanks for sharing your experience.


Marcelle Dubé said...

What fun! It sounds like an enriching, exhausting experience--in other words, a successful conference. Thanks for sharing, Janis.

Rita said...

Thank you very much for the insight. Wonder what the singers thought of sharing the hotel with writers. LOL.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I love how writing conferences can be so energizing. (When they're not exhausting, that is.) I can sense from your post how NINC gave you a spark. Thanks for sharing!

Elise Warner said...

A great experience and romance too. Write on.

Clare London said...

What a great report, and it makes me wish my hubby was interested in these events :). Even more fun to share your career together. I took my son to an authors' convention a couple of years ago, and apart from him being great company for me, the other authors loved him!

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for sharing.
I usually come away from conferences more energized and inspired. Wish I could afford to go to more of them!

Morgan Mandel

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks, I have to decide if I want to register for next year. Attended two of the previous ones in St. Pete.

Wynter Daniels said...

I love conferences. Sounds like a good one. And what an awesome hubby you have to accompany you!

J Wachowski said...

What a great time to be on the beach too! Heard it was a really content-packed conference. I think NINC is one of the better conferences to attend in terms of clear take-aways.

Your mention of the singing group sharing conference space reminded me of the year RWA and the MaryKay Cosmetics sales conference shared a hotel. THAT was a lot of estrogen in one place!

Janni Nell said...

Your husband's comment is priceless. LOL!

Toni Anderson said...

Great recap, Janice! Thanks.

Terry Odell said...

I was at NINC, too. I've been recapping the First Word workshop on Story given by Lisa Cron at my blog. NINC is full of amazing information for writers, especially those trying to expand their reach. I've already signed up for next year.
Terry's Place

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