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Saturday, April 18, 2009

So Cal Writer's Conference: Notes from "Triple G"

By Sophia Kercher
It is 8 a.m. on Saturday at the San Diego Crowne Plaza. The only time I’m ever up this early on the weekend is if I have a handsome cuddle-buddy next to me, but today I have a hot date with the Southern California Writer’s Conference (SCWC). I am here partially for an artist’s vacation, partially for self-development and partially to promote Writing Pad.

I throw on my oversized LA sunglasses and my Writing Pad tee. Add a cream colored silk scarf for extra flair and lend a hand to Marilyn. After passing out triple ginger mini-biscotti to fellow scribes at the Writing Pad table, I’m ready to hit the publishing short fiction seminar.

At this conference, I talk with other cool writers, agents and editors. I learn about the challenges of the publishing world in panels and seminars. Conference directors Michael Steven Gregory (with beard, below) Wes Albers (with glasses, below) and keep the weekend friendly and palatable, making the daunting idea of getting published seem very doable. The teddy bear sweet Albers, a cop who writes crime novels, and Gregory, a screenwriter who knows how to both party hardy and throw a conference, encourage mingling and fun. The seminars are intimate and informative.

As the weekend continues I fall in love with writing, over and over again. It is Valentine's Day Weekend after all. My heart becomes full as I complete a poem in Ed Decker’s “Poetry Cram” class. Ed is a bad ass poet/bartender and columnist for San Diego City Beat. He pushes us to consider poetry from different angles and squash the sap in our verse. Things nearly get romantic at 11 p.m. where Judy Reeves, author of A Writer’s Book of Days, leads a “Rogue Writing Workshop.” At the workshop, I get terrific feedback on my fiction from Judy and the ladies in the picture below. We feel alive by sharing our words and make a plan to meet again outside the conference.

And what would a hot date be without nerves? My palms start sweating in the magazine writing workshop where the easy-on-the-eyes Troy Johnson (Senior Editor of Rivera Magazine) leads an encouraging seminar, his dark eyes twinkling. My new Santa Monica bud Linda is also taken. At the end of Troy’s class, she goes up to him and says, “You are just delicious!”

SCWC continues to surprise me. Over nibbles of my 10th triple ginger biscotti of the weekend, I also meet a cute T-shirt maker/novelist named Michael (below) who has just moved to San Gabriel. Marilyn calls him “San Gabriel” every time he stops by the Writing Pad table so he gives both of us rapper names to equal his. Marilyn is christened “Biscotti” for her cookie-pushing ways, and I become the eyebrow-raising “Triple G” (that’s for Triple Ginger! Don’t get any ideas now).
So will we be back in the fall for date number two, a Los Angeles version of this conference? Yes, indeed. As Marilyn says, “The conference is super professional, an amazing deal for the moolah and chock full of Pu Pu platter goodness. Why would any writer or person aspiring to be published not want to go? It's so much fun and so productive!"

Join Writing Pad at the Southern California Writer’s Conference on September 25-27 located at the Crown Plaza Irvine! For more info., go to Word is the Los Angeles conference is much bigger than its San Diego counterpart. All Writing Pad students will get a special discount.

Tip: We recommend staying at the hotel, the conference is located in Irvine. After a day of knock-out workshops and read/critiques that go past midnight, you’ll want to either sink into a pillow, a couple glasses of wine, or both.