Full House for Benefits of Conference Connection

Turn-out was great for yesterday’s Writers Forum program, Benefits of Conference Connection.

Published author and professional speaker  Lezlie Winberry prepared attendees to attend any writers conference and to maximize the value out of that conference.


There are several key points to remember about attending a writers conference.

  • Attend the right conference for your writing
  • Prepare your 30-second elevator pitch before you go
  • Socialize and have fun!

Do your homework before you go to a conference. Some conferences are geared towards a particular writing genre. Make sure that your writing will fit in to the focus of the conference. Even general writing conferences across several genres will have focused seminars, workshops, and speakers. Check out the schedule in advance and plan your time well. Schedules are subject to change, so be sure to keep checking back with the schedule.

At the conference, you will be meeting people that you need to meet to publish your writing. You will be running across agents and editors all of the time. Be as professional as possible. One way to do this is to have your 30-second elevator pitch prepped and polished, and ready for delivery. What is a 30-second elevator pitch? It is the essence of your story distilled down to two or three sentences. You need to hook your listeners attention quickly. Think of your pitch as the minimal TV episode description in the TV Guide, or the satellite channel guide. The better you can quickly sell your story idea to a listener, the better your odds of success.

Above all else, the point of writers conferences is to meet other writers and people in the industry. This is tough for naturally introverted writers, but get out of your comfort zone at the conference! Mingle! Socialize! Especially after all of the official conference activities are done for the day. Don’t just retreat to your room. Go out to dinner with new people. Lean some names. Have fun!

What are some other ideas that you took away from Lezlie’s program? Leave a comment!


Who has been to a writers conference? Tell us about your experience in the comments!



Presented by
Lezlie Winberry

Published author and professional speaker Lezlie Winberry will present a guide to making the most of writing conferences. Her talk will cover how to self-evaluate goals and expectations before attending a conference and the pros and cons of making a commitment to attend. There will be optional audience participation. Lezlie’s most exciting conference included an Alaskan cruise with Writer’s Digest. Come prepared to take notes, meet new people, and brainstorm conference topics.

After earning her Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts from CSU-Chico, Lezlie has worked as an elementary teacher, taught community writing classes at Shasta College, and she’s been a member of ToastMasters International. Recently retired from teaching, she relishes her time spent in the area of her passion: speaking and writing.
Lezlie’s writing began as a healing process in 1990.  When I Cried Out is a personal story about the loss of her daughter. In 2013, she wrote an adventurous chapter book, Chinese Exchange, brainstormed by one of her previous 4th grade classes. Currently, she is working on a contemporary novel about a mother who is faced with a secret choice of her past. Lezlie’s writing has been published in several books and magazines and online, and she has spoken in varies venues over the past decades.


Writers Forum meets from 10:30am – 12:30pm monthly (except for July and August) in the All Saints Episcopal Church located at 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA. Doors open at 10am. The public is welcome to get acquainted with two free visits before joining. Annual membership dues are $25.


Other upcoming programs:


June 8: Read Around
Our semi-annual event in which Writers Forum members can read short pieces from their own works. Be prepared to read for five minutes.

July, August: No Meetings

September 14: Tentative title: What Makes a Poem?
What make a poem a poem if not content expressed in rhyme and meter? Susan Woodbridge, a popular presenter at Writers Forum, discusses writing free verse poetry.

October 12: What Editors Expect You to Know About Word Processing
WF members Sharon Owen and George Parker will offer tips on using Microsoft Word and Scrivener, either as separate programs or in combination. Sharon will demonstrate the expanded functions of Word, such as the Track Changes feature. George will introduce an alternate writing program while discussing the strengths and weaknesses to look out for in other writing software.

November 9: Authors Fair
Our regularly scheduled meeting will be preempted by the revived Authors Fair.

December 14: Read Around
Our semi-annual event in which Writers Forum members can read short pieces from their own works. Be prepared to read for five minutes. This is also our Christmas potluck, so bring holiday finger food to share!

Bouchercon 2014

Today Writers Forum board member Laura Hernandez is bringing us information about Bouchercon 2014.

What the Heck is Bouchercon 2014?

by Laura Hernandez


What the heck is Bouchercon 2014?  It’s a fabulous convention for Mystery writers and readers!  It’s also the only time for the next few years it’s held in California, or the west at all!
You can attend panels for short instruction and tips on your writing given by professional (PUBLISHED) authors, there are tables for fans to get autographs from author/presenters, a room of nuthin’ but books to buy, a banquet (optional) to get dressed up for, and this year’s Master of Ceremonies is Simon Wood (so you know how excited I am!!)
This year’s recipient of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award is Jeffery Deaver.

Jeffery Deaver

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jeffery Deaver is the international bestselling author of 29 novels, two collections of short stories, and a non-fiction law book. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. He has written a number of series and standalone novels throughout his career, and is currently alternating between books featuring special agent Kathryn Dance and quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhymes. In addition, he was selected by Ian Fleming Publications to write the James Bond novel Carte Blanche.
Deaver has received awards for Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association as well as Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger awards and the Nero Wolfe Award. Among other honors, he has been nominated for an Anthony Award, a Gumshoe Award, and six Edgar Awards. He was born in Chicago and holds degrees from University of Missouri and Fordham University. Before embarking on his successful career in fiction, he worked as a journalist, folksinger and attorney.
The website begins like this, so click on the link http://bouchercon2014.com/ and think seriously about coming to this!  Give your writing a kick in the pants!


We’re looking forward to hosting you in beautiful downtown Long Beach, California, for Bouchercon 2014, Murder at the Beach!
Hurry and register now, because the bargain price of $150 only lasts until October 31. Starting November 1, you’ll pay $175 for the privilege of adding your name to the list of confirmed attendees.
Trust us, you won’t want to miss out on all the fun we’re planning—from ghostly tours of the Queen Mary, to an awards extravaganza worthy of Hollywood, to the chance to rub shoulders with our fascinating, varied, and talented of guests of honor. Keep your eye on our Bouchercon 2014 blog and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates….
We want to make this the best Bouchercon you’ve ever been to—or your first one! We welcome suggestions and volunteers who will help us show Bouchercon that Long Beach knows how to throw a party.
For more information on Bouchercon 2014, go to their website or contact our very own Laura Hernandez at writersforumdal1@gmail.com.

Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference

Applications are now being accepted for the 6th annual Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference scheduled for Sept. 13-16 in Cedarville, California.

This year Western States Book Award winner Primus St. John and Copper Canyon Press co-founder William O’Daly will lead poetry workshops. A new poetry translation workshop will be led by noted Rilke translator Anita Barrows.

Novelist Kirby Wilkins, author of “Quantum Web,” will conduct the fiction workshop and Ray A. March, a recent Pushcart Prize nominee for “River in Ruin: The Story of the Carmel River,” will lead the creative nonfiction sessions.

The conference, which emphasizes the craft of writing, is open to writers of all skill levels.

The four-day event includes three-hour workshops each morning, an afternoon lecture series, dinners, a “field trip,” open mic and free time to write.

The application deadline is Aug. 1, and the conference is limited to 50 participants.

Writers interested in attending the Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference may click on their website for submission guidelines and further details.


SVWC has established a scholarship fund in the name of their old friend and writer/activist, Steve Turner. With that they’re offering a matching fund scholarship to a qualified recipient to attend the Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference on Sept. 13-16.  The scholarship will fund $225 and the applicant or organization is required to cover the balance of $225. This scholarship does not include travel or lodgings, but does cover two dinners and includes the entire program. Applicants can be writers of poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction.  Deadline for applying is Aug. 1. We will notify the chosen applicant by Aug. 15 and a writing sample from the chosen recipient must be sent to us that date.  Click here for information on how to apply for this generous scholarship.