Friday, May 31, 2013

PPWC 2013 Recollections

By F.P. Dorchak

PPWC 2013. Yeah, I was a little tired, but not too bad, really, better off than I usually am at this point. Truth be told, my neck needed a good crack (it's better now). This year (as last year) I didn't pitch any work to anyone---short of showing around the cover I had created for my upcoming supernatural murder mystery e-book.

But, first, a HEARTY standing ovational thanks to all who worked their butts off getting this conference up and running! It's hard work, and it went off exceedingly well! You all done good!

So...what did I do to justify my $395 event fee?


I took in as many sessions as I could over those three days, focusing on e-book methods and madness (aside: I received many compliments on my cover, created by Karen Duvall, and it really did come out great as a hard copy!). I filled up the rest of the time with other things, like:
  • How horror bleeds into other genres. Get it? "Bleeds"?
  • How to talk up your book to potential readers ("Hey, do you like to read?")
  • How to create e-book covers (Mr. Schwartz really liked my soon-to-be-ebook's cover)
  • How to make the Indie and NY thing work together, and not be an "either/or" proposition
  • A little about how to write psycho characters ('cause, like, I really need to understand myself, there...)
  • Adapting novels to screenplays, and what that process is (I adapted this mystery of mine into a script years ago---Amber Benson taught this!)
  • How to deal with the sophomoric slump, or "that next book."
  • How to deal with writer's block---which was quite enlightening (on several levels) about how different the reasons between guys and girls are, when it comes to this---or, maybe, not so much?!
  • What to do once you're published. Yeah, you're just getting started....
  • How to write funny, 'cause Lord knows I need that, too (in my personal life)....
As I'd previously mentioned, I'd also moderated a couple sessions, one read-and-critique session with Kate Testerman and how to write a short story (and send it) in 4 hours, with Zombie-lover DeAnna Knippling (yes, pronounce the "n" in her name). I felt just a little like a fish out of water, moderating, since it's been about 2 years since I'd done any of that. But it was fun getting back into things.

I also met and talked with all kinds of writers. This time out I was trying to get a little more outside my comfort zone by sitting at tables for food consumption (during our lunches and dinners) with authors and others not associated with my brand of paranormal fiction bent. I also met and talked with the more "famous-y folk," listing them in no particular order other than...well...the order I've presented below:
  • Terry Banker (always "up," always friendly, always quick with a handshake and a "How've you been, Frank?" He always remembers me...)
  • Becky Clark (now, um, Becky. Yeah. I'm still trying to define and categorize her. Might have to make up a word. I'll have to get back to you on this one...)
  • Todd Fahnestock (I was so interesting to him, that his eyes glazed over and he had to prop himself up against a wall; that I had him held captive and pinned there only helped in that endeavor...)
  • Becky Clark (nope...still got nuthin'...)
  • Lynda Hilburn (we've interacted before by email, but you know you're in trouble when her first words to you are, "So, what are your hopes and dreams"? Did I mention she's a licensed and practicing psychotherapist?)
  • Lisa Renee Jones (maaan, I wanna' be rich like her!)
  • Becky Clark (okay, okay, got one: she tells cool jokes, like "All work and no play make Lincoln a full-term president" Get it? Get it?)
  • Aaron Ritchey (this man...he needs his own show; my face and sides still hurt from his EMCEE antics---his 200K "NanoPeakoPikeo" (pardon the spelling, Mr. Ritchey) effort over this weekend; he made me buy his book by being So. Damned. Funny.)
  • Becky Clark (Becky, Becky, Becky...she...she...defies...Becknification...)
  • Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer star; yeah, PPWC had her; that's the kinda' clout PPWC wields, my friends; she is so danged sweet!)
  • Barry Eisler (he worked his "Agency Mind Tricks" on me to buy one of his books. Damn him...I-I mean...yes, yes, Mr. Eisler, your books....)
  • Becky Clark (okay, she uses lots of K-words, and exaggerates---a lot---but...she did let me take a picture with her...)
Besides all the famous-y ones, I've also met up with those who I many times see only once a year. If that makes any sense. I (hopefully) made some new ones, and met several I've only dealt with electronically, so it was really cool to put pixels and faces and names together. Without having to virus check. One person, Lynda Hilburn was particularly funny in our first face-to-face, in that we'd been talking for a while at food time, Friday (you know about my hopes and dreams, which quickly morphed into my issues with cigars and lint---to this day I still don't know how she did this or where it came from---but in the middle of the ballroom banquet hall she had me up on a couch, recording our session...interlacing images and analyses from Dante's Inferno into my hot, steaming tears and mother issues), when she glanced down to my name tag and blurted: "Oh, you're that Frank Dorchak!" I wasn't quite sure how to take that, so we explored that for a while...

To be honest...I almost did not attend this year.

I'm not gonna' get into reasons why (Lynda's writing a paper on that for Psychology Today), but the point is, I did go. I learned so much about the e-books, the latest agent and editor Weltanschauung  (I love that word: Weltanschauung, say it aloud with me...), and I met so many wonderful, friendly, and, yes, even sweet people (and I don't use "sweet" much, besides "Please pass the sweet...ner"). I give Becky grief, 'cause, well, she gives it right back. Like a two-by-four to the back of  the head. Lynda---she tells people she's not good at small talk and gets right to the heart of any conversation in an instant. She's a wonderful, wonderful woman and an excellent conversationalist. You will never be bored talking with her. Ever. She has so much to say, each of her words so dense with meaning and intent, you're utterly fascinated by her and where her mind goes---and none of it is small talk. Everyone I met and talked with, they all have their stories, their own lives, and I would never have enjoyed any of it...had I not attended this conference.

So, what's my fricking point, already?

If you're a writer, a writer groupie, or simply "just" Becky Clark, and you're hesitant about attending a writer conference---maybe it'd be your first---afraid of putting yourself out there, meeting others, sitting at lunch and dinner tables with people you do not know---that's be apprehensive---that which does not kill us, makes us stronger (usually)---but do attend. Do not put it off. Do not skip it. Go and enjoy like-minded people you will not find anywhere else. You won't regret it. But you won't know you won't regret it until you come. To at least one. So, make those plans for 2014. Come out and see us. We don't bite.

Well, at least the non-vampire/zombie attendees don't bite....

About the Author: F. P. Dorchak writes about the supernatural, the metaphysical, the unexplained. His first novel, Sleepwalkers, was published in 2001. His newest, The Uninvited, is now available through Smashwords.

1 comment:

  1. Frank ... you better watch out or I'll go all Becky on you! (Which, of course, is simply a threat to giggle, smile and let you buy me a beer.) So watch it, Bubs!


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