Monday, May 9, 2011

In the Afterglow of the Pikes Peak Writers Conference by Tena Stetler

In my humble opinion, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference was an absolute blast!  I was happy to see familiar faces, rekindle old friendships, and make lots of new ones.  It was fun being with like-minded people, without the expectation of normal behavior.  Oops–well, you know what I mean.

Workshops covered everything from Cowboys to Paranormals, writing authentic fight scenes to learning what invisible evidence and bloodstain patterns mean. Yet we didn’t learn what those Renaissance Scots wore under their kilts.  Editors and Agents offered insight into the state of the publishing industry, a hot topic on everyone’s mind.

Keynote speakers John Hart, Linda Lael Miller, Beth Kendrick, and Debra Dixon were informative and entertaining.  Their stories of trials, errors and finally success encouraged us all.

There was a lot of sashaying on and off stage. I suspect Todd (better known as Hot Toddy) had been practicing all year.  Jody (aka Trixie) kept everyone abreast of the happenings around the conference.  Unfortunately, lost and found yielded nothing scandalous, darn it.  Maybe next year.  (Hear that, Trixie?)

Read and Critique 123 was especially helpful to me.  The first page of my manuscript was read expertly.  Then the panel nailed down a couple of weaknesses and strengths along with encouragement for an original idea.

Not being a morning person, you can imagine my horror at learning my pitch appointment was 8:40 a.m., Saturday.  I do work a day job that requires me to be at work near the crack of dawn, but my co-workers know that I am not coherent until at least 10:00 in the morning.  The good thing:  I couldn’t even work up a case of nerves that early in the morning, so the pitch appointment went well and I was asked to “send it.”  YEAH!

Conversations in the hallway and at dinner tables also elicited requests.  By the end of the conference, I don’t believe my feet were touching the ground and I know that was the case for a lot of us.  What brought me down to earth was the expectation of creating a web page, facebook and twitter.  I work as an IT Manager, but social networking–now that’s another large can of worms I haven’t had time to muck around in.  So if you see me crashing around the Internet, don’t judge too harshly.  I’ll get it right eventually.

One thing that made me very proud was to hear several of the agents and editors say the participants at this conference were talented and extremely well prepared.  Way to go fellow writers!!

Way too soon, it was over.  The poignant goodbyes were said late Sunday afternoon as the festivities of Pikes Peak Writers Conference drew to a close.   But wait, next year is the 20th Anniversary of the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.  I am willing to bet the celebration will be nothing short of spectacular!  In fact, a little mouse told me (well, ok, it was a big dog named Ruh) the celebration preparations are well underway.  Ruh couldn’t be bribed into spilling any of the particulars, not even one!  So until next year, keep your nose to the grindstone and get those pages, partials, and full manuscripts out to the editors and agents.  Good Luck! 

By day, Tena Stetler is an Office and IT Manager for an electrical contractor.  When the sun disappears behind the Majestic Rocky Mountains, she can be found at her computer surrounded by vampires, demons, witches, and other paranormal creatures as she writes Paranormal Romance and Cozy Mysteries. She’s also written articles for a variety of magazines about traveling with pets, and raising and training parrots.  She shares her life with her husband, two parrots, a dog, and a 40-year-old box turtle.  When not sitting behind a computer, she enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, and whitewater rafting.

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