First off, congratulations to SCWCer Amanda LaPera. Having attended both our San Diego and Newport Beach events, this past week saw the launch of her compelling Losing Dad, Paranoid Schizophrenia: A Family’s Search for Hope (Adamo Press). A passionate mental health advocate, Amanda’s debut title broke into the top 100 in mental illness in both paperback (#90) and e-book (#59) format on Amazon, as well as #42,951 out of all paperbacks (over 8 million) and #67,130 out of all e-books the day after its release. Of it Xavier Amador, Ph.D. (I am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!) declares, “Beautifully woven between the facts are the feelings. [Amanda] shows that behind every severe mental illness there is a human being.” Great job and utterly fascinating story. But wait! There’s yet another recent conference success to report:
LA11 conferee Sandra Montanino. Not only did she score an Outstanding Fiction Award for her historical family saga Of Brick and Salt at this past September’s conference, but two attending agents subsequently offered to represent her. A good, albeit stressful, spot to be in, after protracted deliberation Sandra has finally made her choice and signed on with Babette Sparr of Sparr Literary. It’s a powerful manuscript. Much success to both.
Staff Additions and Workshops Galore
The fourth Special Guest Speaker to be announced is none other than Janis Thomas. A regular SCWC workshop leader, this past September Janis offered up one of the most singularly meatiest workshop morsels that I’ve heard in years. Janis has had a very busy year and a bit, what with the release of her laugh-out-loud debut novel, Something New, in 2012, followed by Sweet Nothings this past summer (“A breezy read,” declared Publishers Weekly), both by Berkely Books. Now, eschewing legacy publication for her latest, a departure from the chick-lit genre she’s known for, Janis is releasing a crime thriller called Murder in A-minor, A Sam Wedlock Musical Murder Mystery, under a pen name. She’ll explain the logic behind the decision at SD28, as well as why telling a woman you like her pants can speak volumes to writers.
Agents-wise, on board so far is Terri Baranowski of Gateway Literary (joining us in an official capacity for the first time so she doesn’t have to lurk undercover in read & critique workshops like so many reps and acquisitions folk sometimes do), Anne Bomke of Bomke Literary, Clelia Gore, who’s heading the newly-launched children’s/YA branch of Martin Literary & Media, Linda Langton of Langtons International Agency, and van Haitsma Literary’s own ever-intrepid founder Sally van Haitsma.
Conducting a workshop both staffers and conferees have emphatically expressed an interest in, Ara Grigorian will address the why’s and how-to’s of using Scrivener, the immensely powerful content-generation software for writers… Richard Craig Anderson is back with a new real-world scenario law enforcement role playing workshop after a couple-year hiatus. His latest novel is Cobra Clearance, a contender for best new thriller of the year…
In a surprising move, given how work-intensive it is, Jean Jenkins will be conducting her wildly popular 2-part “Best Foot Forward: Editing for Success.” Limited to only 12 participants, if you’re writing genre fiction, you do not want to miss this. Along with Drusilla Campbell’s “NovelCram: Building the Better Book,” BFF requires advance sign-up.
As always, several other friends familiar and new will be joining us as we hone in on what specific issues, beyond craft, are most in need to be addressed. As we’ve long observed, between each SCWC event a whole strata of changes in the rapidly morphing publishing world require constant adjustments in thinking and approach. We’ll again be devoting a “Do Yourself Independence” (DYI, not DIY) track specifically geared to bringing all up to speed on the latest strategies and tactics. What we will not be doing is declaring any writer with a Twitter feed or Facebook account an authority on the time suck for most that is social media just because they have one. Speaking of which…
Blast to the Future Past
2014 marks the 10th anniversary of our “Storytelling and the Future of Content” event that was SCWC*LA4. Our one and only event held in Manhattan Beach, it’s where we accurately identified the forthcoming technological trends, conceits and opportunities lying just a smidge ahead for writers of the time; introduced them to the concept of transmedia storytelling, of it’s intrinsic value and virtually limitless possibilities. Then we drilled in deeper to explore what then-available tools and strategies could be called upon to better forge the way to success.
We did it long before it became trendy among writers’ conferences. We continued to when it did, but always with our eye on the outer edge of the envelope; the telling crest of the incoming tide.
Several conferees’ first published books came out of that conference, and while preparing to introduce a new iteration of the WritersConference.com website (coming soon), we came across the following copy written for it. An excerpt from our archives, I believed it when I wrote it then. I believe as I read it today. My hope is that you do too.
The world has changed. Or have we changed the world? As writers, change is the very fabric of our existence. As storytellers, our charge is to engage the audience with tales of characters overcoming obstacles that result in purposeful change. Regardless of genre, from international thrillers to intimate portraits of personal transformation, our stories offer visceral validation of who we are, or who we are not, or who we most aspire to be.
Transformational media and the newly modern storyteller is what the [SCWC] is about. The elevated awareness of conscious creativity, coupled by an exponentially expanding transmedia marketplace — from movies and interactive entertainment to graphic novels and print on demand — has afforded writers and media makers today more opportunities to reach the audience of their choice than at any other time. For the committed author whose will is to positively impact lives, to entertain and inspire, to evoke and enthrall with words, these are indeed the best of times…
Taisen Deshimaru once said that:
“Time is not a line, but a series of now points.”
Well the time is now… Now is the time for you to write!
That was back in 2004. Thankfully, how some things never change. Craft matters.
Early “Bard” Discount Registration on Full Conference or NovelCram/Conference attendance is now open. Remember that the SCWC is limited in size to ensure maximum accessibility to staff and attention paid to attending writers.
Still plenty more to announce, including our fifth Special Guest Speaker. Be sure to join the conversation on our SCWC Community Facebook page. Also, enjoy this preview below of the stage adaptation of author/workshop leader Matthew J. Pallamary novel, Land Without Evil, documented by PBS’ “Art in Context” TV show, the episode of which was recently nominated for a Lone Star Emmy Award.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC