Out April 3rd in hardcover from Henry Holt and Co., Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword introduces readers young and elder to a vibrant new heroine and the fiercely competitive world in which she dreams of becoming a legend of wu liu, the deadly and beautiful art of martial arts figure skating. The first in a series, Publishers Weekly calls the debut novel, “Massively entertaining… Peasprout Chen is a future legend, indeed.” While New York Times-bestselling author Daniel José Older effuses, “Martial Arts! Global intrigue in fantastical lands! Ferocious figure skating! A disgruntled oracular monkey with a butcher knife! This book had everything I didn’t realize I needed and more–a thrilling, heartfelt tale about growing up and standing up for yourself told against a backdrop of stunning fight scenes and brilliant worldbuilding.” Its author is Henry Lien, and we can’t wait to welcome him to the SCWC. Our first Special Guest Speaker to be announced, Henry will join us in September to share with us his writer’s journey and more.
Discounted Early “Bard” Pre-registration is now open for our 16th annual Fall conference. Do so by April 1, 2018 and save a whopping $125 on Full Conference participation. Being fresh off our Winter event in San Diego, we’re developing several new workshops for September. As always, time and attention will be paid most to where you are today as a writer and how to get you where you want to be tomorrow. And every day after. Craft, of course, is key. We’ll begin rolling out regular updates starting next month. In the meanwhile, here’s what you need to know now…
SCWC*LA16 (IRVINE) LOCATION: The conference will again be held at the Wyndham Irvine Hotel, located at 17941 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614. Dates are September 21-23, 2018. Lodging discounts are available to SCWC conferees. Phone (949) 863-1999 to book your reservation, or click here to do so online. Deadline for discounted hotel registration is August 30, 2018.
SCWC*LA16 (IRVINE) SCHEDULE: Rest assured that plenty of craft- and business-centric sessions, read & critique workshops, one-on-one consultations and more will fill up the weekend. Though we won’t begin plugging things in until later, you can get an idea of the overall shape of the conference on the schedule page.
SCWC*LA16 (IRVINE) STAFF: In addition to the many familiar workshop leaders, agents, editors and other publishing professionals returning in 2018, many fresh folk will be joining the fold.
Before Irvine, our exclusive Sunriver Writers’ Summit will be held near Bend, OR, May 26-27, 2018. Held in the resort community of Sunriver, the 2-day intensive features three workshop tracks to choose from, with their respective emphases on writing memoir & personal narrative, substantive story building, and scripting the commercial screenplay (longform, episodic and short). What better way to prepare for September than escape to Central Oregon’s High Plateau and immerse yourself in The Great White Art? Details here.
If you haven’t, do subscribe to our periodic .COMmunity updates and never miss an important update. And be sure to join the well-moderated conversation on our Facebook Group for all sorts of publishing news, support, SCWC exclusives, announcements, and more.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/SWS
Yet another stellar weekend of writers who traveled from far and near to immerse themselves in story. To all the many talented first-timers and returning veteran members of our extended conference community, Wes, Chrissie, myself—we thank you for raising the bar, elevating expectations and daring to do better than best with your work. With your dreams. Your trust. Your generosity. In other words: Thank you for being writers. Truly, a memorable SCWC.
And to Melanie Hooks and Laura Perkins, whose Rogue Read & Critique ran deep into Sunday’s wee hours, thank you for texting me the selfie from your workshop at 3 a.m. No, really. No.
This year’s Special Guest Speakers warrant a shout out, as well. Big Spoon to Kelly Abbott (Great Jones Street Publishing), Greta Boris (Margin of Lust), Rachel Howzell Hall (City of Saviors) and Cherie Kephart (A Few Minor Adjustments). Quality talks and information provided by all. We’ll be posting highlights from each on SCWC*TV soon.
Now, on to the awards . . .
OUTSTANDING NONFICTION (Memoir)
Miss Yoo, a Piece of Me
By Hanna Yoo of Rancho Mirage, CA
OUTSTANDING FICTION (Commercial Fiction)
By Kellie Crawford of Los Angeles, CA
OUTSTANDING FICTION (“Cozy” Horror)
Dead Viking Rehab
By Dana Hammer of Anaheim, CA
OUTSTANDING FICTION (Mystery)
Starlet: Mystery and Murder in Old Hollywood
By Sandra Homicz of Dana Point, CA
Of course, each SCWC holds a contest in which all writers are invited to participate. The rules are simple: Write a piece in any form you wish of no more than 250 words based on the one-word topic announced Friday night. The topic for LA15 was “Bare/Bear/Behr/Beyer.” Here’s this year’s winning entry . . .
OUTSTANDING TOPIC STORY
of Mission Viejo, CA
They’re not afraid of us, but they should be.
They think we’re cute, and photogenic. They think we add a forbidden thrill, a delightful shiver of danger to their woodland vacation. They love to see us plodding on all fours, irritably growling, hunting for game, stockpiling calories against the long, dark winter. They watch spellbound as we stand mid-river, waiting for the salmon to fling themselves upstream, catching their tender pink flesh in our great drooling jaws, ending the migration of a thousand miles with a single, shredding bite.
They take pictures. They take “selfies,” trying to frame themselves in a digital photo with a bear standing uncomfortably close, as if to showcase their bravado, smiling inanely just a few feet away. They think we we’d never attack them – that we’d never indulge in a tasty side order of photo-snapping tourist meat.
And most of the time they’re right.
Most of the time.
But I’ve noticed something about our flesh-colored visitors. They like to test the boundaries, to skirt the edges of safe and secure. By wandering just a little too close, or staying just a little too late in the season, when the fish and grubs and rodents disappear, and sweet nourishment becomes harder to find. When the hunger gnaws and festers, and turns all-consuming. When tourists begin to look less like nuisances and more like dinner.
When we stop growling and suddenly strike.
I enjoy the tourists. I especially like their soft centers.
Congratulations to all the award winners!
We’ll return to the O.C. next year with our 16th annual LA(ish) event. Dates are September 21-23. Discounted pre-registration opens March 1, 2018. In the meantime, our 32nd annual San Diego conference will take place Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 16-18, 2018. Limited to 175 writers, all the details can be found here.
—Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC
After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia on a water sanitation and health education project, Cherie Kephart returned to the United States with an African souvenir that she didn’t expect: a debilitating illness that went misdiagnosed for years and nearly killed her. Her just-released memoir, A Few Minor Adjustments, chronicles the arduous journey to recovery and living with chronic pain. Kirkus Reviews declares the book, “A rich and complicated story, told on each page with clear dialogue and memorable anecdotes.” Stepping in at the last moment as our Saturday morning Special Guest Speaker, we’re thrilled to welcome Cherie back to the SCWC and can’t wait to hear her about her path to publication.
Discounted pre-registration ends Monday night. Those waiting till the last minute can register at the conference itself, which takes place at the Wyndham Irvine Hotel, 17941 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614. Walk-in registration will be available at the check-in desk beginning Noon on Friday; 7 a.m. on Saturday; and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
It’s going to another terrific SCWC. Your work is worth it. You’ve earned it. Be there!
And if you’re planning to attend San Diego 32, dates are Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 16-18, 2018. Limited to 175 writers, discounted pre-registration is now open for our winter event here.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC
#1 international bestseller Lee Child hails her, “A fresh voice in crime fiction.” The Daily Mail (UK) heralds, “Hall deserves to be compared to Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell, and it will not be long before she is recognized as every bit as big a crime writing star.” In City of Saviors, the just-released fourth installment in her series chronicling the trials of Los Angeles Homicide Detective Elouise “Lou” Norton, author Rachel Howzell Hall again earns her accolades. Rachel will be joining us in Irvine as our fourth Special Guest and we just can’t wait to hear whatever she wants to talk about—which includes collaborating with James Patterson on “The Good Sister” for The Family Lawyer, out September from BookShots.
As esteemed as the Special Guest Speaker slate inevitably is at any of our events, do remember that the SCWC aims to not be about those behind the podium. It’s about tending to the writers willing to do the hard work. Craft is key, so brace yourself. It’s going to be a very busy conference weekend.
The bulk of the working schedule is now posted. While a few tweaks are being finalized, you can check out the Weekend-at-a-Glance or Interactive Schedule and start making plans now. Several new workshops are being introduced this year, including a “read & critique, rewrite & re-critique” that we’re excited about. With NaNoWriMo right around the corner, we’re also devoting one to making the most of it for those daring to do so. View all of the sessions planned on the Workshops & Events page.
Whoosh! The following deadlines are coming up fast…
If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our .COMmunity to receive important updates via email. As we’re getting down to crunch time, there’ll likely be one or two over the next few weeks.
The deadline for discounted pre-registration is also approaching. Get your work the attention it deserves. Save today and register now.
And for those planning ahead, discounted pre-registration for our 32nd annual San Diego conference, taking place Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 16-18, 2018, is now open. Limited to 175 writers, get all the details here.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC
Dave Pelzer (A Child Called “It”) calls Scared Selfless: My Journey from Abuse and Madness to Surviving and Thriving, “A riveting memoir that takes readers on a roller coaster ride from the depths of hell to triumphant success.” Vanity Fair declares it, “A beautifully written book … with honesty [and] humor.” It’s author, Michelle Stevens, PhD, joins the SCWC for the first time to discuss the challenges of sharing her remarkable story with searing honesty, often with great hilarity. A now-veteran of the Big 5 auction block, she’ll also be conducting a workshop, “Crafting a Compelling Memoir Proposal.“
Speaking of memoirs, as large a market as there is for them, writing one can prove daunting on many levels. Whether to inspire or inform or merely entertain—or all three at once—the best personal narratives rely heavily on the tools writers of fiction have at their disposal when crafting stories. And be certain, memoir is story, story rooted in one’s life story, not one’s life story itself. (That would be autobiography.)
We’ve had many excellent memoirs come out of the SCWC, including Peggy Vincent’s Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife and Stacey O’Brien’s beloved Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl, among others. Over the past several recent conferences, however, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in such manuscripts coming through. While I won’t go into the specifics of why too many of these efforts fail at being commercially viable, I will cite that not exploiting the fiction writer’s toolbox factors greatly. To remedy this we’re introducing a series of workshops that directly address writing the modern memoir.
“Structure in Memoir: How to Reveal the Universal Story Inside the Personal Narrative,” “Tell Me a Story—Using the Techniques of Fiction to Craft a Compelling Memoir,” and “Time in Memoir—A Chronology of Its Own” will all be conducted by Judy Reeves; “Turning Your Real-life Experiences into a Book” by Maralys Wills; “Nonfiction for Newbies: Is it a Book or Not?” by Marla Miller; as mentioned above, “Crafting a Compelling Memoir Proposal“ by Michelle Stevens; and possibly one more we’re waiting to hear on. Also, don’t forget that Jean Jenkins’ “Best Foot Forward: Polishing to Impress” workshops also provide crucial hands-on attention to memoir. Check out the Workshops and Events page for details.
I suspect these sessions will prove as much value to the novelists in the house as any of the non-fictionalists.
Editor and publisher of Harper Wave, the imprint she founded in 2012, and a senior vice president at HarperCollins Publishers, Karen Rinaldi recently had this to say: “This writing and book business is a conversation, between a writer and herself, between an editor and a writer, and ultimately between the writer and her reader.” I would add that this holds truer to memoir than possibly any other genre. We’re all quite excited about the added focus. We hope you are to.
We mentioned back in December longtime author/SCWCer Janis Thomas’ 2-book deal with Amazon Publishing imprint Lake Union. Slated for release come November, the jacket for the first title, What Remains True, has just been revealed. The novel’s available for pre-sale now … Before then, author/SCWCer Marlene Wagman-Geller’s Still I Rise: The Persistence of Phenomenal Women drops July 25, 2017 from Mango … And for all those devoted readers of SCWCer Evan Ramspott’s (who writes under the pen name Better Hero Army) zombie-themed saga, Plagued: The Battle Creek Zombie Rectification Experiment has just been released. The picture below is of him at this week’s signing at our favorite independent bookseller, Mysterious Galaxy.
On the awards front, Cherie Kephart won Best Memoir at the San Diego Book Awards for A Few Minor Adjustments; Eric Peterson’s The Dining Car nabbed Contemporary Fiction; Tammy Greenwood’s Where I Lost Her got General Fiction; and George Berger’s well-deserved Four Nails took Historical Fiction.
For the 2017 International Book Awards, Matthew J. Pallamary’s n0thing is a finalist in Science Fiction, and Gregory A. Fournier’s Terror in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked is a finalist in the True Crime: Non-Fiction category.
Good job, all. Congratulations!
Much more to come as we finish knitting September together. Discounted pre-registration for Irvine is now open. Be there or be…ware!
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC