Want to go from thinking about being a writer to becoming one? Already a writer and want to move your writing to the next level? The third annual Avondale Writers Conference may be just what you’re looking for. You can connect with agents, editors and other writers who have gathered to share their knowledge and love of writing at the conference Saturday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., at the Avondale Civic Center, 11465 W. Civic Center Drive in Avondale, just off Avondale Blvd., south of I-10.
The conference features two keynote speakers and numerous sessions about writing, editing, and getting published. For a small additional fee, attendees can take advantage of the Agent Pitch Slam and meet individually with an agent to pitch their writing. Register online by Nov 2. Conference proceeds benefit the Friends of the Avondale Library.
The morning keynote speaker is Gordon Warnock, whose topic will be “Never Give Up—Never Surrender: Publishing Successfully in Today’s Market.” A senior agent with Andrea Hurst & Associates Literary Management, Warnock frequently participates in conferences and workshops and holds a bachelor’s degree in creative and professional writing. On the lookout for works that will not only thrive in the current market but will also withstand the test of time, Warnock seeks to establish long-term working relationships with talented and dedicated authors of many genres.
Afternoon keynote speaker Maralys Wills will speak on “Writing—The Thing You Do for Love Instead of Money.” Earlier in the day, she will also speak on “Ten Ways to Upgrade Your Manuscript” and “Turning Your Real Life Experiences into a Story.” Wills’ twelve books span six different genres. She has written four romance novels. a techno-thriller about airplane sabotage, and several nonfiction works, including her family story about the sons who were hang-gliding champions. Wills studied at Stanford and UCLA, earning a B.A. and a teaching credential, and for the past 22 years has taught college novel writing. She is a past president of the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America.
Vincent A. Alascia will speak on “Points of View.” The East Coast native is the author of “In the Presence of Gods,” “Xristos: Chosen of God,” “Undead Heart” (coming soon) and works that have appeared in anthologies and online. Alascia is a librarian at the Arizona State Library and an active member of the West Valley Writers Workshop. “This conference is where you go from thinking about being a writer to becoming one,” he says.
Longtime resident of Arizona Patricia L. Brooks will explain how authors can increase their chances of getting an agent by writing “The Ideal Query Letter.” Brooks is the author of “Gifts of Sisterhood,” a celebration of her sister Roberta, who died of lung cancer, and is currently working on a memoir about recovering from the trauma of experiencing violent crime. Brooks also helps writers get through the maze of publishing to launch their books and frequently speaks at writers conferences on publishing and marketing-related topics. She holds a master’s degree in organizational management and is the president/founder of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers.
Speaking on “Don’t Waste Time—Start Right” is Drusilla Campbell, who holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from American University. Campbell gave up her day job as receptionist, secretary and on-air personality at WAMU-FM, the District of Columbia’s NPR affiliate, to begin writing full time. Even during the years when nothing sold, Campbell says she knew that if she stopped trying, she would never be able to live with her disappointment in herself. It was almost 20 years between her 10th published novel and her 11th, and though it sometimes seemed hopeless, her family supported her and she persevered. Someone once asked her why she writes. Her answer? “It comes down to this: I write because I have always written, and if I stopped an essential part of me would stop too.”
Bob Duckles’ topic will be “Tools for Self-Editing.” Duckles has had a career that has taken him to more than a dozen countries, and along the way he has collected and made up stories, which he now puts on paper in his Phoenix, Ariz., home. As the organizer of the West Valley Writers Workshop, he helps its members with the editing process. Duckles has published several short stories and articles.
Ekta Garg will speak on “What Is an Editor and Why Is One Necessary?” and “How Do Editors Help and How to Find a Good One.” Garg has actively written and edited since 2005 for publications such as The Portland Physician Scribe, the Portland Home Builders Association home show magazines, ABCDlady and The Bollywood Ticket. Garg also edits writers’ manuscripts, and manages her professional writing platform, The Write Edge.
New York native and current Arizona resident Ann I. Goldfarb will speak on “Recognizing and Developing Mood in Writing” and “Using the Elements of Suspense to Engage Your Readers.” Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, but writing has always been an integral part of her world. Her freelance nonfiction can be found in trade magazines for Madavor Media/Jones Publications; but her real passion is writing mystery-suspense for young adult audiences. She has published four novels and is currently working on her fifth. Goldfarb has also conducted a number of writing workshops for students and adults in New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Eveline Horelle Dailey will speak on “Elements of Style When Publishing.” Dailey attended the first Avondale Writers Conference, which helped her gain the tools she needed to get published. Her first book, “Lessons from the Lakeside,” has been compared to “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and is read internationally. Her second book, “The Canvas: A Secret from the Holocaust,” is compelling historical fiction set during World War II. “This year,” she says, “with greater strength, incredible presenters and agents, the Avondale Writers Conference promises to offer each attendee something they can take to great height.”
A partner in the San Francisco-based Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents, Michael Larsen, will speak on “Three Keys to Succeeding as a Writer Faster and More Easily Than Ever.” Larsen is the author of “How to Write a Book Proposal” and “How to Get a Literary Agent” and the coauthor of “Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work.” He represents nonfiction that he believes will succeed because of writers’ ideas, writing, platform, and promotion and is a co-director of the 10th San Francisco Writers Conference.
Gale Leach’s topic is “Creating Characters Your Readers Will Love.” When Leach attended the Avondale Writers Conference three years ago, she had finished writing her first children’s novel, but she wasn’t sure how to get it published. The one-day session gave her the tools she needed to write a good query letter and approach publishers and agents, as well as how to self-publish. Leach is the author of an award-winning series for middle-grade children about a caterpillar named Bruce: “Bruce and the Road to Courage,” “Bruce and the Road to Honesty” and “Bruce and the Road to Justice.” The series has been adopted as part of the school curriculum in both Arizona and California. Leach, who lives in Surprise, Ariz., has also written “The Art of Pickleball,” an instructional guide that won the Arizona Book Award.
Greg Lundberg will speak on “How to Publish an E-book for $350 or Less,” which happens to also be the title of his book published March 2012. He is also the author of “Metamorphosis,” a science fiction novel published March 2011. The manuscript for “Metamorphosis” made many trips to agent and publisher slush piles before Lundberg learned how easy it would be to publish it in e-book form. After hiring a professional editor and publishing the book, Lundberg found himself on TV and radio explaining how he did it. Later a TV producer convinced him to write a book about the process. Now Lundberg takes the opportunity to share with others what is possible with just a little bit of passion and perseverance.
Freelance writer and editor Rebecca Carey Lyles will speak on “The Call and Challenge of Writing for the Christian Market.” A founding member of the West Valley Writers Workshop, Lyles now lives in Boise, Idaho. The group helped her hone “Winds of Wyoming,” her first novel in the Kate Neilson series. Its sequel, “Winds of Freedom,” will be released this fall. Lyles has also written nonfiction books: “It’s a God Thing! Stories of Inspiring Friendships” and “On a Wing and a Prayer: Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry.”
Speaking on “Time Management and How to Get Published” is international award-winning author and speaker Darlene Quinn. Quinn published her first novel, “Sizzling Cold Case,” when she was asked by Buddy Ebsen’s widow to complete the work-in-progress of Ebsen’s Barnaby Jones novel. Since then she has published the award-winning “Webs of Power” and “Twisted Webs,” and will release “Unpredictable Webs” in the spring of 2013. Currently working on “April’s Web,” Quinn lives in Long Beach and Big Bear, Calif.
Phoenix-area resident Christopher Wilke will tell conference attendees “What Makes a Good Cover Design.” Wilke has designed book covers for “Undead Heart” by Vincent A. Alascia, the first two novels of the Travelers’ Club series by Michael Bradley and the “Twisted History” anthology. Founder of the League of the Iron Quill and a member of Literary Plus, Wilke has published several news articles. He is currently at work on a series of post-apocalyptic diary shorts and a debut novel set in a retro-futuristic Earth.
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