Sunday, August 22, 2010


Hi All!
By the time you read this, Billie & I will be wrapping up our exciting weekend in Tennessee. I'm post dating the blog to make it on my assigned Sunday.

I'm anticipating humidity, something I'm not used to in California. I wanted to attend this conference because the chances of meeting Jeffrey Deaver any other time in my life seems minimal. Plus, I had a free round-trip flight for giving up my seat in Miami.

Once I started making plans, everything snowballed. I have a friend, Del Tinsley, who I met many years ago at Bouchercon Las Vegas. She's been incredibly supportive of my writing. Another friend relocated from this area and is with Sisters in Crime in Tennessee. She'll be there. I'm also on a panel with a woman from NC whose book I blurbed. And, my webmistress (also from NC) is exicited to hook up.

Two of my former Navy WAVE buddies are coming to see me. One is from Georgia now, we were stationed in Newport, RI, together. The other was stationed with me in Puerto Rico and Orlando. We haven't seen each other in 35 years.

I'm on a short story panel and a marketing panel. The conference organizer had heard of me and was very generous to give me two panels. I think of myself as a regional writer but it seems I have fans in Tennessee.

And that's why I'm telling you all this. Conferences start out as being fun, a chance to meet authors and get books signed. At some point, you move from just attending to participating. You may have to scramble to get a foot in the door (volunteering helps, as does being an expert in something). Play your cards right and invitations start coming in. You might even get paid, but usually the reward is a book signing.

The people you meet and network with will be there for you throughout your career. You'll meet up with them at other conferences and communicate on the Internet. Some will remain peers, some will become close friends. You'll follow their careers. It's an exciting existence.

I'm anticipating ribs, country music and the tang of Southern accents over the long weekend. Billie and I will talk business and be sociable. I will probably collapse on the plane trip home. I'm sure it will be worth it. And oh, the stories I'm sure I'll have to tell!


Holli said...

I will definitely have to make provisions to attend next year. It's difficult with the girls being in school, but I think I can swing it or maybe bring them with me again. They so don't mind missing school to travel!

Sounds like a great time. BTW, I recently "met" Del on DorothyL, and she and I have been exchanging hot male actor lists via email. She's a blast and it doesn't surprise me at all that the two of you are friends. Small world.

Holli Castillo

Beverly Lauderdale said...

Thanks for your remarks and for the obvious enthusiasm you conveyed. It will be most helpful to read your final report. I'm interested, however, in knowing the advantages or disadvantages (if any)of a large conference versus a smaller one.

Sunny Frazier said...

Beverly, every conference is different. This one was mainly new, unpublished writers looking for info and opportunity. The pitch sessions dominated. Billie and I didn't have to be part of that, but we listened to pitches of people we met.

At a big conference, you are often lost in a sea of Big Names. Here, I had a rapt audience listening to my "posse" theory and my solid tips for writing short stories. I have my eye on at least three people I would like to bring to OTP. We also met a woman whose manuscript we have been considering.

It's easier to stand out in a small conference. This one was incredibly friendly, Southern hospitality. Holli, if you plan to go, let me know and I'll try to help you get on a panel.

Mike Orenduff and Lau were there, we didn't get to be together much. Even Billie and I saw little of each other until we had to have some Mexican food after the conference wrapped.

Bill Thomas said...

Killer Nashville was indeed a good time. My only regret is that I was unable to meet and speak with so many more participants. Fortunately, I was able to have lunch with Mike Orenduff, Lai, and and Billie.

All are wonderful people. I wish we all lived closer and thus could visit more often. It was well worth the trip. There were others who I wanted to meet and speak to, but time simply didn't permit.

I kept trying to leave on Sunday morning but kept findng others to speak to and say goodbye to. Billie must have thought me crazy as I kept running into her and said goodbye at least three times.

In short, a good time was had by all.

Bill Thomas
St. Louis, Mo