Versitile bestselling author and SCWCer Janis Thomas is the second Special Guest Speaker to be announced. Ever the genre switcher, her spellbinding new novel, Finding Grace, is hailed by Wendy Walker (All Is Not Forgotten) as, [A] compelling psychological suspense drama about the ties that bind and the forgiveness that lives within us all. A truly unique and captivating read!” Publishers Weekly proclaims, “[An] engrossing paranormal thriller.” Kirkus Reviews declares it, “An authentically creepy tale.” A long, strange trip for this particular book. Janis will tell us all about it in September.
While there’s one more speaker still to be announced, the working weekend schedule has been posted and Advance Submission Readers are open for selection. As usual, this far out from the conference, there’ll likely be some last-minute finessing but at least you can start planning your weekend.
The Why of Writing
It’s been a popular topic among many of us these past months following February’s San Diego event, the Why of Writing. There’s plenty of reasons we write, of course; plenty of justification to write adequately enough. Big question is: How good is good enough? Further: What’s the ultimate point of your writing this story? What’s the reader supposed to take away upon reaching The End?
I mention this because so much material we’re reading, both published and in manuscript form, seem to exist without any effort to impact the reader beyond entertaining distraction. That is to say, so many stories seem to not strive for leaving a lasting emotional impact with readers. Not to imply there’s anything wrong with that – “adequate” is often “good enough” for publication, especially in these days of premature e-publication and binge streaming. Thing is, is that all you wish of your work? Your personal legacy?
A couple of workshops debuting September delve into the guts of this issue. As with so much else in life, but particularly with a book, you only get one shot at making a first and lasting impression. So the deeper into the woods we go to address it, the more likely better your book will be. At least that’s how the SCWC has historically played it. The results, as many know, are significant.
Which brings me to this account: A longtime SCWCer known by all regulars was set to self-publish his debut novel this summer. The book launch party and location were set, invites sent out, anticipation whelming. Basically, a big deal for this particular author long in the making.
Mere weeks before the launch he pulled the plug, for every right reason there is, he wrote in part to his mailing list:
“Unfortunately, I don’t believe [TITLE] in its current form achieves the level of excellence I aspire to. As a result, I’m postponing the publication of my novel and canceling the planned book launch party.”
In a world of just because you can doesn’t mean you should, I couldn’t be more proud of this writer. He epitomizes everything the SCWC stands for by making this excruciating decision.
Discounted registration remains open at this time. The hotel just completed a cool re-model. Aim for excellence, settle only for exceptional and join us. Your work is worth it.
(Note that if you’re planning way ahead, severely discounted pre-registration for our 37th annual winter conference, in San Diego, opens August 1st here.)
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/SWS