• Viva Las Vegas!

    I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas where I participated in the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I was thrilled to be speaking on a panel titled, "Giving Teens A Voice". My fellow panelists included Conrad Wesselhoeft, Lindsay Lane, Katie Van Ark and e.E. Charlton-Trijillo. They are all doing amazing work and I encourage to to check them out!

    I saw Claire Vaye Watkins speak on Saturday, which was fun because I just finished Gold Fame Citrus. Want to know what else I'm reading? Come find me on Goodreads! And right now, Goodreads is giving away ten copies of my young adult novel, Strays. Click here to enter

    A few days earlier I had the pleasure of speaking with creative writing students at thee University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV). They asked the most engaging questions.

    Once I returned to the hotel I realized I had left my laptop in the classroom! (said laptop currently holds the only copy of two new novels and two revised screenplays) so back to UNLV I went. Imagine my delight when an hour and a half later my laptop was still where I left it. I might not have won anything playing the slots, but my reunion with my laptop totally restored my faith in humanity. 

    Here's a beautiful display at the Wynn Hotel:

    Next up: I'll be speaking Wednesday, October 21st, 8:00 pm - 9:30pm Theater Banshee Book'd in Burbank -

  • what's in it for you at a writing conference?

    Each time I peruse the latest edition of Poets and Writers Magazine I see the endless amount of writing conferences offered across the globe, which got me thinking, why should writers attend writing conferences?

    I've attended a handful of these conferences, (later this week I'll be at the SCBWI - society of children's book writers and illustrators - annual conference in Los Angeles) and I've compiled a list of benefits these conferences have to offer both seasoned writers as well as those just starting out. 

    What you can gain by attending a writing conference:

    1. Networking: Conferences boast hundreds to thousands of attendees depending on the type. Either way, you meet tons of people. You'll find writers working in a similar genre, in a similar city, or perhaps you'll meet your next writing group member!

    2. Access: Most writing conferences have established speakers that are active members in the publishing world. Writers, agents and publishers are all in attendance. Inevitably, one of the questions that is always asked by someone in the audience is, "can I send you my query?"  And I have to say,  many agents and publishers will give you something specific  to write in the subject line of an email to gain direct access to them so that you can forward them a query letter and they'll connect it to your attendance at a specific conference. 

    3. Exposure: Most conferences have a designated time when writers can sell their work to the other conference attendees. If you're a published writer, this is a great time to practice your sales pitch as well as answer questions about the writing process. And if you're just starting out, you can walk around and speak with scores of other writers and ask them questions about their publishing experience and their books. 

    4. They're valuable: The speakers at conferences have all prepared something very specific to talk to you about ranging from character development, how to land an agent, how excel can be used to track your submissions, to how to book gigs at your local library. There is always more to learn and there are always new ways to reach out to readers. I keep all my notes from these various conferences and reference them often.

    5. They're fun! There's plenty of time to socialize with other writers and lots of conferences will have an evening out where you can leave the notebooks at home and just have a night of fun! 

    So, how do you pick a writing conference that's right for you?

    Check out the back pages of Poet's and Writers Magazine.

    Go to New Pages for a list of upcoming conferences by state. 

  • SCBWI is almost here!!

    I am so excited for the SCBWI conference next weekend here in Los Angeles! SCBWI stands for the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators and their annual conference takes place each year in August. This conference is open to members and non-menbers of this amazing organization. I have been a member of SCBWI since 2009 when I attended my first conference. 

    For those of you attending, I will be selling and signing my latest novel, Strays, at the Friday Night reception until 8:30 p.m. 

    Come stop by and say hi!