To call our current surreality unnerving is an understatement. Seems people in every walk of life are petrified. Friends. Family. Familiar strangers we’ve never taken time to learn about. Those we glance past. All face an existential threat not of our making, and largely beyond our control, other than sustaining personal due diligence and crossing fingers. Crossing toes.
There is an opportunity in our midst, however, in this Age of Outrage, one that may possibly be abating as a result of plague. A lull, for sure. How long we don’t know. The quietude it allows is one that must be squeezed of all empathy, experience, legacy and more to be found inside if only we plumb it deep enough, throttle it fast enough, now enough, to harness our potential.
Be smart. Be patient. Be kind. Be safe. Ask your community for help if you need it. And write through this. Write.
Your story will weigh. Come September we’ll reconvene to figure how hard.
We’re developing many new workshops for Irvine, influenced in part by issues identified at our recent San Diego event, as well current and evolving trends now thrust upon the writing community as a whole. As you might imagine, there will be plenty to address in the fall. First and foremost, of course, craft & execution. Along with it, our lifequake’s impact on publishing, on marketing, on readers and more. In the meanwhile…
SCWCers have been busy. Those with titles recently out include San Diego 30 Outstanding Fiction Award winner Clay Savage’s The Last Getaway, which Kirkus Reviews calls “A crackerjack read from an author who seems to have taken Elmore Leonard’s rules of writing to heart” … The third book in Bethany Lopez’s Frat House Confessions romance series, Brody … Book 1 in The Queen’s Fayte YA fantasy series, Dragon Maid, from DeAnna Cameron (as D.D. Croix) … And book 7 in the Bruno Johnson Thrillers, The Heartless, by David Putnam.
From Christa Yelich-Koth, The Jade Arch, book 2 in her Land of Iyah YA fantasy trilogy … The fifth and final installment of Gayle Carline’s Peri Minneopa Mysteries, Murder Bytes … And Death (A Love Story), a stand-alone check-up on possibly life’s “biggest event” from author/workshop leader, and resident shaman Matthew J. Pallamary.
Out this month from Megan Haskell, Forged in Shadow, The War of the Nine Faerie Realms Book 1 … In May, Ava Homa’s Daughters of Smoke and Fire … Along with Pamela McCord’s Under the Willows (her The Ghost on Firefly Lane was selected by Kirkus Reviews’ Indie editors to be included in the April 1st issue, which less than some 10% of Indie authors are).
Come June (Kathleen) Kat Clark’s The Voice of Reason and Dottie Hubble Bonneau’s Once in a Blood Moon drop, both from Acorn Publishing … Also, from Fawkes Press, the fifth in Greta Boris’ Seven Deadly Sins domestic thriller series, A Pinch of Gluttony.
And a hearty big virtual hug to Ryka Aoki (He Mele A Hilo: A Hilo Song), who just scored with Tor Press (Macmillan) for Light from Uncommon Stars in a two-book pre-empt deal. (Watch Ryka address taking control of her writing career below.)
Congratulations and best of success to all. You’ve earned it!
– Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/SWS
With furious hope we turn from our most recent San Diego event—where an unprecedented number of conferees were recognized and awarded for their outstanding work—to the SCWC’s annual Fall conference, which takes place again in Irvine, September 18-20, 2020. Friends familiar and new will be there. Pay no heed to your inner critic. Break the cycle of rejection from agents, from editors, and, most importantly, from readers and get your work the attention it deserves. Join us.
Discounted Early “Bard” Pre-registration is now open. Do so by May 1, 2020 and save $125 on Full Conference participation. We introduced several new workshops at San Diego 34 and will do so again in Irvine. With the SCWC community, it’s about the needs of the writers in the room, not the people behind a podium; getting writers to the level of commercially viable craft; helping writers find that one passionate advocate so often crucial to publication success. It’s pretty much what distinguishes us from most others out there, in it for a wrong reason and crowing claims they can’t back up. Fudging numbers and failing writers who’ve placed their faith in them. Compare schedules. Do the math. Ask how this investment in your career actually benefits you and your work, then decide which conference will get you where you need to be. The choice should be easy.
Regular site updates begin next month. Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know now:
SCWC*LA18 (IRVINE) LOCATION: The conference will be held at the Sonesta Irvine Hotel (formerly Wyndham Irvine), located at 17941 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614. Dates are September 18-20, 2020. 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 27, 2020.
SCWC*LA18 (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*LA18 (IRVINE) STAFF: In addition to our select roster of returning workshop leaders, agents, editors and other publishing professionals, several more will be with us for the first time. Be sure to subscribe to our periodic .COMmunity updates to find out who, along with all timely SCWC news.
Until next time, write as if your life depends on it. For a reader, if you do so well enough, it just might.
– Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/SWS
Make no bones about it – apparently, shrunken skulls in the late-night read & critique workshop do just fine – our annual Irvine event proved to be yet another knockout weekend for writers. Big shout out to the conferees who placed their trust in the SCWC staff; along with Rick and Linda Ochocki on the front desk, all of our workshop leaders and advance readers. And kudos to our guest speakers Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (The Two Lila Bennetts), August Norman (Come and Get Me), Kali Wallace (Salvation Day) and Jonathan Yanez (Forsaken Mercenary: Dropship) & Jynafer Yanez. Wes, Chrissie and I thank you all.
Now, on to the awards…
The Darkness that Consumes
By Emily Osburn of Aliso Viejo, CA
The Voice of Reason
By Kat Clark Naperville, IL
By Kat Clark of Naperville, IL
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 LA17 was “March.” Here’s the winning entry…
OUTSTANDING TOPIC STORY
of Mission Viejo, CA
The march began. A slow, excruciating cadence. One by one, the days passed on by. We didn’t know how long she had, but we knew it wasn’t more than days. Brown eyes looked up at me, still beautiful and bright. I held her hand, so slight and fragile, afraid that it would break. There was so much I wanted her to know, so much I could have said.
I felt the heavens open above her, saw the angels all make haste. Today there would be a party up in heaven, a great homecoming. We talk of this and that, and she is once again animated. She prepares for her final journey, making herself ready for a new body, strong and free of pain, with wings that will carry her across eternity. Her lips quiver. There are no words of regret, no sadness, only love.
It is March fourteenth, when the final chapter of her life unfolds. She passes quietly with a small gasp. March fourteenth. I close my eyes, it has a message, it is Pi Day, and pi goes on forever.
Congratulations to all the award winners!
We’ll return to Irvine next year with our 18th annual LA(ish) event. Dates will be September 18-20. Discounted pre-registration opens March 1, 2020. In the meantime, our 34th annual San Diego conference take place Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 14-16, 2020. Limited to 175 writers, all the details can be found here.
—Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC
The follow-up to international award-winning author Ara Grigorian’s Game of Love and Ten Year Dance hits shelves September 24th. As a longtime SCWCer, however, he’ll have his latest available exclusively to those attending Irvine. A YA novel, 15 Days With You follows a young man’s wending quest to understand his mother’s dying wish, with a California girl who challenges him to rethink everything. Ara will also introduce two new workshops. “Blast Off! Preparing Your Book Launch” delves into the heady deep of all things related to your book’s release. And, tag-teaming with Janis Thomas, “Front Story: Pouring the Foundation of a Powerful Tale” tackles the crucial elements of constructing a novel’s Act 1 that can reliably better sustain its structure going forward.
Having pegged a lot of issues we’re coming across lately, Janis herself will also debut “Dialogue in Motion” and “Make Me Give a Damn: Crafting Characters People Care For.” Check out the Workshops & Events page to view what all we’ve got lined up for LA17. And while minor adjustments will likely be made, the Schedule-at-a-Glance is now up.
Other SCWCer-books recently released or soon to be include Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove, an anthology from Atthis Arts which includes John Lowell’s short story “Robot Revolt,” about how [not] to behave when trapped in a robot elevator during the inevitable robot revolution … Luna the Lone Wolf, by Nicholas Wells (writing as Forest Wells), tells the story of a young lone wolf banished from his pack into the world of strange two-legged creatures … Douglas J. Bornemann’s A House of Cards, the third book in The Dreamweaver Chronicles and second volume of the Heiromancer trilogy … And Jan Steele’s debut, Shoes on the Stairs, which centers around one mother’s struggle to accept what she left behind following her death.
Coming soon: The fourth book in Greta Boris’ Seven Deadly Sins saga, Color of Envy, is out this month… Battle Lines, the fourth novel in Claudia Whitsitt’s Kids Like You Series, drops in September … And another anthology, Fury: Women’s Lived Experiences in the Trump Era, featuring Jennifer Silva Redmond’s “Viva La Raza,” will be released by Regal House Publishing, March 2020. Best of success to all.
August 20: Submissions to advance submission readers must be received. Visit All About Advance Submissions to learn more.
August 29: Final day to book Wyndham Irvine hotel lodging at the discounted SCWC rate. >>Details
September 1: The latest to secure a one-on-one consultation in “The Publisher Is In: Your Post-Conference Publishing Plan” (if room available). >>Details
September 1: Submission of requested materials for the 2-part “Best Foot Forward: Polishing to Impress” workshop. >>Details
That’s all for now. It’s the thick of summer and time’s speeding past faster than a feral Douglas squirrel fornicating on a fickle twig. Stop the clock and write like you mean it.
–Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/SWS
Following the publication of her first short story in 2010, Kali Wallace has gone on to publish two darkly phantasmal young adult books, Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees, as well the children’s fantasy adventure City of Islands, all critically lauded by Kirkus Reviews. Salvation Day, her riveting first adult title, is now out. York Times bestselling author Steve Berry (The Malta Exchange) declares it, “More than a science fiction novel, it’s a good old-fashioned thriller set in the future – every page filled with breadth and scope and twists and turns. An exciting, dangerous, magical quest for truth.” Joining us in September, Kali is our fourth Special Guest Speaker to be announced. She has quite the story to share, and share it well with us she will!
Other additions to the LA/Irvine 17 staff have been made, including DFEO Literary agent Weronika Janczuk. With still more to announce, be sure to check out the Staff page often to see who all is aboard.
SCWCers with new books recently out include Indy Quillen’s third Fox Walker thriller, Duplicity … The updated re-release of Dot Caffrey’s Cursed, book two in her Power Trilogy … And from Christa Yelich-Koth, launching her own young adult Land of Iyah trilogy, The Jade Castle, along with her psychological detective thriller Spider’s Truth.
Out December from Matt Coyle, Lost Tomorrows, the sixth installment of his popular Rick Cahill mysteries … And come January, In an Instant, a new powerful domestic suspense from Suzanne Redfearn.
What other good “muse” could possibly be better than birthing new books into the world? How ‘bout achieving your decades-old dream of buying a bookstore to tend to them! That’s exactly what SCWCer Greg Mollin – awarded for Outstanding Fiction in horror/supernatural at San Diego 33 – just did. Greg is now the proud owner of Book Tales, located at 603 S Coast Highway 101 Encinitas, CA 92024. Congratulations to all.
For those planning way ahead, our 34th annual San Diego event will take place at our usual winter haunt, Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 14-16, 2020. Limited to 175 writers, discounted pre-registration opens August 1st. Get all the vitals here. And to secure your spot for our September event, discounted pre-registration is available here.
—Michael Steven Gregory
Executive Director, SCWC/SWS