Writing Historic Heroines by Terry Irene Blain

STEP BACK IN TIME: Creating Realistic Historical Heroines

Elizabeth_I_when_a_PrincessThis workshop at the California Dreamin’ conference will address the role of women in the time periods in Western Civilization in which many romance novels are set.

Addressing these questions will help you create your authentic historical heroine.

  1. How much “freedom” did she have?
  2. Who were some of the important women in her day?
  3. Which female archetypes might work best in a particular time period?

History gives a broad canvas in which to place your story.  There are many who made their mark in history, and one of my favorites is Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth’s greatness lies in two parts. The first is that she survived to become Queen, and second that she guided England from the disastrous state she inherited to a wealthy and stable country.

As the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth was born a princess. But as Henry progressed through his six wives, she was declared illegitimate, shifted from pillar to post and eventually reinstated third in the succession after her younger half-brother Edward and her older half sister Mary (who also went through the legitimate/illegitimate back and forth).

Nine-year-old Edward VI succeed at Henry’s death, and he pushed the English church further into Protestantism. To maintain the change in religion started under Henry, Edward and his advisors changed the order of succession, leaving out both Mary and Elizabeth. Instead, he left the throne to Lady Jane Grey, a great-granddaughter of Henry VII, and Edward’s cousin. However, on Edward’s death, the country supported Mary Tudor.

Unfortunately, Mary tried to bring England back into the Catholic fold.

While Mary was queen, there were several rebellions as protest against the reinstatement of Catholicism and against her marriage to Philip. As the Protestant heir to the throne, Elizabeth was the focus of any attempt to end Mary’s reign. Mary had Elizabeth in and out of the tower or under house arrest with these rebellions.

Her early childhood and her confinements taught Elizabeth to keep her innermost thoughts and feelings to herself, and she continued to do so throughout her queen ship. She managed to survive and with Mary’s death, Elizabeth came to the throne.

The second part of Elizabeth’s greatness was her forty-four year reign that brought stability to England.

91IaITspgBL._SL1500_At the time of her ascension, Scottish preacher John Knox published “The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Reign of Women,” predicting disaster with the regency of Catherine de ’Medici in France, Scotland’s Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I in England.

France was racked by religious wars under Catherine and her sons, and Mary was forced from Scotland and lived as a prisoner in England. Only Elizabeth and England prospered. She became the Supreme Governor of the English Protestant church, which evolved into today’s Church of England.

Early in her reign she refused to marry, for to do so would tie England to another country. And later her various engagements formed alliances that helped the country. She often spoke of England as her child.

Other major events under her reign included the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, which let England rule the seas and develop her colonies in the Americas. This was the time of the Elizabethan Renaissance as under her reign, prosperity and stability bought forth a burst of literary figures such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlow and Edmund Spenser.

Not too bad for a woman born, who grew up and came to reign in a man’s world.

DSC00004-234x300Terry Irene Blain earned a BA and MA and taught Amer­i­can His­tory and West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion at a com­mu­nity col­lege. While she was teach­ing all this aca­de­mic knowl­edge, people told her, “You should write a book.” Her excuse was that she wasn’t the best typ­ist in the world. Then her hus­band bought a com­puter. She had always enjoyed read­ing romance nov­els, and his­tor­i­cal titles like Samuel Shellenberger’s Cap­tain From Castile, the Elsworth Thane Williams­burg nov­els, and the Jan­ice Holt Giles Amer­i­cana nov­els. In all these stories, the romance ele­ment was a uni­ver­sal­ity. Regard­less of time or set­ting, social cus­toms, eco­nomic con­di­tions, pol­i­tics or wars, she was always sucked in by the rela­tion­ship between men and women.

She first wrote Ken­tucky Green. Some of her ances­tors lived in that area, and one fam­ily story has a great-great-great however-many-great grand­fa­ther hunt­ing with Daniel Boone. She was lucky enough to grow up with a sense of com­mu­nity and his­tory from the sto­ries she heard her fam­ily tell. It gave me a sense of place, and a sense of what she wanted—which was to write his­tor­i­cal romance, which gives her the oppor­tu­nity pass on the sto­ries of who we are and where we come from, explor­ing the rela­tion­ships between men and women.


Writing Novellas by Chris Marie Green

Baby, We’ve Come a Long Way (Or Are We Going a Shorter Way?)

It wasn’t so long ago that, as an author, I was entirely focused on writing full-length novels. You know—those things that contain over 50,000 words? At the time, I thought that this was the only market for me.

NA copyBut a new day has dawned. Shorter works, such as short stories, novelettes, novellas, lunchbox romances, and serials are hot now, and not just because readers love them.

In the workshop I’ll be participating in with Louisa Bacio and Michelle Klayman (THE LONG & SHORT OF IT: Novellas, Novelettes & Lunchbox Romances), we’ll be chatting about how these shorter works can support your longer career goals—as well as the differences between each category and how to make the most of each of them.

One way authors are using shorts is as loss leaders and samples of their larger books; these shorter works are hooking readers into their backlist novels as well as future ones. Writers can also utilize shorter works to satisfy readers’ hunger for more, more, more in between their bigger releases since the audience wants to spend more time in the worlds the authors have created.

Writers are also penning stand-alone short works because these punchy little treats are one-night reads that can really satisfy on their own!

I’ve made good use of these formats myself, and not only for business purposes. Writing short keeps me on my toes as an author—it helps me to hone my craft because, honestly, writing shorter doesn’t necessarily mean the writing is easier. (One short story I created took about half as long as a bigger novel because I had to be extra judicious about editing and ruthless with pacing. No joke!)

Most recently, one of my publishers, Berkley’s digital first imprint, InterMix, asked me to do a prequel novelette for my new New Adult series, Aidan Falls. I jumped at the chance to write WHISPER, and not only because it sounded fun and was a good promotional move—I had several things I wanted to cover in this introductory hook to the rest of the series.

NA2 copyFirst, I wanted to introduce the town and community of Aidan Falls, Texas, where the next two full-length novels, HONEYTRAP (out February 17th!) and SUGARBABY (out May 19th) take place.

Second, I wanted to give readers a peek at the bad boy hero of HONEYTRAP, Micah Wyatt—I wanted him to be a slightly mysterious presence that readers would hopefully want to know better.

Third, I wanted to give them a satisfying romantic buildup using a premise well suited for a short work (a secret admirer posts a meme on a phone app about the heroine).

Fourth, I wanted to preview the premise of the entire series at large: how technology affects us romantically and personally these days.

As a bonus, after I finished writing WHISPER, I realized that the story of the hero and heroine could continue, so I explored more of Carley and her secret admirer in SUGARBABY as a subplot.

And that’s just a taste of how a shorter story can fit into the bigger picture. I hope to see you at the workshop so you can learn other ways!

VB book photoChris Marie Green and her alter ego Crystal Green have written over seventy books in total. Chris Marie Green is the urban fantasy author of the Vampire Babylon series, including the indie self-published, spin-off Lilly Meratoliage series, plus the Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series. RITA nominated Crystal Green writes romance, namely the Aidan Falls new adult series and the hot adult contemporary Rough and Tumble series.

As both pen names, she tries her best to avoid international incidents whenever she takes a break from her first love, writing, and cheats on it with her other true love—traveling. You can find her at Chris Marie Green or Crystal Green or hang out with her online at Twitter and Facebook!

California Hooker Contest by Christine Locksy

Fish Hook - HookingDoes your writing have what it takes to hook the editor? The reader?

Find out when you enter the California Hooker Contest!

Hi, I’m Christine Locksy, and I’ll coordinate the contest entries again this year. The contest opens January 15, 2015, and all entries must be received by midnight (PST) on February 15, 2015.

And, it’s a cinch to enter – you electronically submit your unpublished story’s hook, up to a maximum length of 3 double-spaced pages. We had almost sixty entries in 2013, so let’s beat that number!! The entry fee is only $10 again for 2015, and multiple entries are happily accepted. Give each of your works in progress a chance to win!

Be sure to check the conference website page now for the official rules and guidelines, and mark the page to easily come back on January 15th to submit your entries.

The final round of judges will be editors attending the California Dreamin’ Conference.

We’ll announce the winners at the conference March 27-29, 2015 – you need not be present to win, but we’d love to see you there!

We’re proud of our 2013 contest winners!

10305042_1039239369435692_369798246466905826_n1st Place:  Alexis Lusonne Montgomery, Monk’s Maybe Baby

2nd Place:  Carmen Fox, Divide and Conquer

3rd Place:  Christine Leo, The Sync

Honorable Mention:  Lyn Austin, City of Rocks

Twitter for Authors by Sarah Vance-Tompkins

What Would Jane Austen Tweet?

91mbFlX8nBL._SL1500_It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a romance author in possession of a book or manuscript for sale must be in want of Twitter followers.

But is that all there is to it?

As a social media strategist for several well-known brands, I know only too well social media is integral to the success of any small business marketing plan. Today’s hybrid authors must be social media savvy. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr have all evolved into attracting attention through graphics, pictures and videos, but Twitter is the social media platform where a writer’s voice can and really should shine.

You only get 140 characters on Twitter, so you need to make each Tweet count, but while you’re trying to promote your books, you don’t want to turn your Twitter feed into a virtual dumping ground of marketing tweets. You’ll become as notorious for that kind of behavior as several members of the Bennet family at the Netherfield Ball.

And nobody wants that.

Your Tweets create and shape the personality of you as an author. Just as you have a picture of Jane Austen in your mind’s eye, you can use your Tweets to create a your own lasting public image.

Engagement is key. And I’m not talking about how long Mr. Darcy struggled in vain to keep his feelings to himself. And while he may ardently admire and love Elizabeth, how will you make your followers feel the same way about you?

As a writer, Twitter is your medium. Do you have an active Twitter account? If you’re not using it, why aren’t you? Is there a way you can actually enjoy being social through digital media?

You bet.

During my presentation at the California Dreamin’ Writers Conference in March, I’ll put the focus on how you can use Twitter to enhance your author brand and promote your books. I welcome Twitter users of all levels of experience and expertise.

svancehighres copySarah Vance-Tompkins (@SarahVTompkins) is a debut author. Her recent release from Books To Go Now is Celebrate Me Home, a steamy contemporary Christmas romance. She earned an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California and worked in feature film development.

Prior to her attempts at writing fiction, she has been paid to write everything from obituaries to the directions for use on bottles of personal lubricant. She is a member of the Los Angeles Romance Authors and CRW-Online. She welcomes your questions and comments. Sarahevance@gmail.com

Memorable Love Scenes by Tara Lain

Love Scenes in the Trees? Get Ready for Tara and Louisa!

Hi everyone. I’m Tara Lain and I write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. I’m so excited that I’ll be speaking at California Dreamin’ 2015 along with my friend, Louisa Bacio. We’re going to talk to you about writing love scenes that people won’t skip. By definition, if you write romance, you write love scenes. Your characters may just hold devoted hands or have sex on the dining room table. Either way, your readers need to read every word of that scene and feel they’ll miss something important if they skip a comma. That’s what Louisa and I get to explore with you in our talk.

Canning 28-02If you’ve ever seen any of my books, you know that I write MM romance. I read my first MM book by accident, and was captivated by the fluidity, lack of gender roles, conflict of masculine archetypes, and exquisite combination of sexiness and heartfelt emotion that characterized this unique pairing. I was hooked and that was 25 books ago – most of them MM.

But whether you write MF, MM, or MMMFFFF (LOL), love scenes are love scenes. The gender and number of your lovers may impact where and how they come together, but not the basic rules of creating a great love scene (as we’ll discuss further at Cal Dreamin’).

In my books, I try to practice what I preach about creating great love scenes. One of those cardinal rules is to use what you have in your characters and plot to create unique, memorable venues, costuming, and other details that set your love scenes apart from the missionary position in the bedroom standard. (Not in every love scene, of course, just enough to add spice.)

My newest release — Canning the Center on Dec 17th – is a sports romance with a definite twist. It’s about a young NFL football player who hides the fact that he prefers men and then falls in love with a mathematician who moonlights as a drag queen! All through the book, the unique undergarments that drag queens wear add a bit of mystery and spice to my heroes’ love making. But I also introduce a hazing scene in the football locker room in which the rookies are required to wear garter belts under their uniforms for a game. Of course, I couldn’t pass up a love scene in which my 300 pound, 6’7” football center prances into the bedroom wearing his garter belt. My beta readers say it’s memorable!

In March, my next paranormal romance (Winter’s Wolf) comes out. I swear those guys never have a love scene indoors. Paranormal romances are a great excuse to create slightly wild and very attention-getting romance. All that fur! Have you ever written a book about a dancer? If so, I hope you took full advantage of the dancer’s extraordinary flexibility to add some spice. I actually have a paranormal romance in which one hero is a pole dancer (The Pack or the Panther). Consider the possibilities. And I’ve written love scenes in an extraordinary number of car models– including a Tesla Roadster. I think my most unusual love scene took place fully underwater in a book called Beach Balls! You should have seen me holding my breath while sitting at my desk trying to figure out what exactly was possible while scuba diving.

But I don’t want to give too much away! I hope you’ll join Louisa Bacio and me for our California Dreamin’ workshop on writing fabulous and memorable love scenes. Remember, even if your lovers barely touch lips, all these rules will still apply (well, maybe no garter belts!). I’ll see you at the Conference! : )

profilepix2Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 25. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Paranormal Romance, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. She is a member of RWA PAN and NINC.

In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the California beaches where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at her website, on her blog, on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. Her books are available at Amazon and other leading retailers.

The Value of Pinterest by Elena Dillon

Why My Pinterest Addiction Is Good for My Writing Career

I have a lot of stuff I should be doing on a daily basis.  I have a writing schedule I need to stick to.  I have a husband, children and a household to run. Everyone says Facebook is a time suck. Not for me. Pinterest is it. The second I get on Pinterest, I am immersed.

I love bright and sparkly. When I get on Pinterest, my brain says “Ohhhhh shiny….” And the next thing I know, two hours have gone by. I love the recipes, funny quotes, clothes, shoes, cars and the stuff that reminds me of my childhood. What is not to love about this site?

I’m an addict. There, I’ve said it. I’m addicted to Pinterest. I really can’t just use it in moderation. It’s an all or nothing proposition for me but as it turns out, it’s a good thing. Mostly.

The nice thing? A lot of this can be productive. I used to think Pinterest was only good for recipes, cute dog pictures and crafts I was never going to do. Don’t get me wrong, that’s one way to use it, but Pinterest shouldn’t be underestimated and here is the reason. Traffic.

23315332Pinterest drives traffic. And well it should because really when you think about it, Pinterest is a search engine. A search engine with lots and lots of people looking for all kinds of stuff.

Also, as a romance author, who is my main demographic? Women. Who are the main users of Pinterest? Women. Pinterest is a search engine being used almost exclusively by the demographic I’m trying to reach. For this reason alone it’s a platform that shouldn’t be ignored.

Now do I focus exclusively on my books when I’m on there? Absolutely not. I have varied interests and they are all on there, but that definitely works to my advantage. On top of that, I don’t have to necessarily interact with anyone. As an introvert at heart, this is a huge plus as far as I’m concerned.

I’m doing the workshop “Pinterest for the Confused and Terrified” for the California Dreamin’ Conference and I would love to share with you all the many ways you can use Pinterest to help promote your brand, your books and attract readers. I have tons of ideas and tips. And I do love to share my addiction with others.

Professional Picture MKElena Dillon writes Young Adult Romantic Suspense. She lives in Southern California with her husband and kids. She spends her days writing and catering to their English bulldog, Brutus.

Connect with her online on Twitter, Facebook or her website. Or…you might find her on Pinterest!

Law Enforcement Workshop Preview by M.A. Taylor

51iYGgtQKdLHello all, my name is Margaret and I write under M.A. Taylor. I write both fiction (Romantic Suspense/ Mysteries) and non-fiction (How to . . . for  Writers). I was beyond fortunate to work for nearly twenty-four years in a field that I absolutely loved – Law Enforcement.

I mean seriously, where else can you get paid to:

1.    Be nosy and ask lots of personal questions,
2.    Drive faster than the posted speed limit,
3.    On rare occasion, get to blow stuff up?

It’s no wonder cops shows saturate television and films. Creating believable characters with realistic mannerisms, speech, not to mention navigating the ever important complex emotional reactions is essential to connecting with readers. That’s where I come in. Having worked in various areas of law enforcement throughout my career, I enjoy sharing the reality of law enforcement life.

I’ve worked patrol, narcotics, asset forfeiture, State, Federal and local Task Forces, Wire Intercepts (Taps), California Tribal and Card Club Gaming, Sex Crimes, and a whole lot more. I share many of my law enforcement experiences as a method to teach the nuances of the cop subculture.

One thing I always tell my students, law enforcement officers (LEO’s) work predominately in the grey area, so with proper motivation, just about any action could be viewed as justified or understandable. The key is to know and define what the ‘box’ is. So . . . when you break the rules, it’s done on purpose for a truly compelling reason. I love working with writers because you all keep me on my toes with great scenarios regarding compelling reason.

At the California Dreaming Conference in March 2015, I will be presenting Crime Scene Investigations and How Cops Cope/Cop GMC.

The Crime Scene Investigation class will be unique because I will be presenting the class with a recreated crime scene that students can walk through. The plan is to make it as hands on as time permits.

unnamedWe’ll be covering:

  • Arrival at the scene and set up.
  • What area(s) make up the Crime Scene?
  • Processing the Crime Scene.
  • Objectives while at the scene of the crime.
  • Who does what and why?
  • Myth Busting CSI

In How Cops Cope/Cop GMC we will delve into the dark psyche of the Law Enforcement Officer (LEO). Work in law enforcement is not only dangerous to the physical body, it’s also quite detrimental to the emotional psyche. Cops learn various coping mechanisms, some appropriate others not so much, on how to survive emotional trauma associated with the job.

Some of the mechanisms I’ll be covering will be:

  • Gallows Humor
  • Debriefings
  • Psychologist
  • Disassociation
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Professionalism
  • Promiscuity
  • Alcohol/Drug usage

I will lay out how most LEO’s Goals and Motivations for being ‘On-the-Job’ start long before they ever consider becoming a police officer. Then I’ll tie most of the conflict in any LEO’s life to their chosen coping mechanism, and how it bleeds over into their personal life.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference.

CHP Academy Grad photo

M.A. Taylor spent more than twenty years in law enforcement. After seven years with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), she became a Special Agent for the California Department of Justice (DOJ), spending over a decade in Narcotics…including assignment to a Federal DEA-HIDTA Task Force. Margaret’s areas of expertise range from surveillance to wiretaps to tribal gaming, sexual predators, investigations and more.

You can join M.A. Taylor on Facebook or Twitter.

What is Conflict? by Susan Meier

81e9Z0mCUoL._SL1500_Just a taste…

At the conference in March, I’ll be talking about using conflict to drive your story. But do you really know what conflict is?

A while back, I went to a workshop wherein the speaker described conflict as two dogs fighting over one bone.

I walked out scratching my head. If the dogs were a male and a female, and they were INCREDIBLY sexually attracted, why not mate and share the bone?

No pun intended in that example by the way. :P

The problem with that speaker’s theory was that her characters had a clear external conflict…they wanted the same bone…but she never mentioned internal conflict (which is the reason they wouldn’t just mate and share the bone).

EXTERNAL CONFLICT might be about dogs fighting over a bone, but the reason our two dogs wouldn’t mate and share the bone is the reason they wouldn’t commit permanently to each other (or maybe anyone), which is the INTERNAL CONFLICT – the SUPREME ELEMENT of a romance novel.

If I’m calling internal conflict the SUPREME ELEMENT of a romance novel, that makes it pretty ding-dang important. And knowing that internal conflict is probably the most important element of your book — that success or failure of your story depends on that internal conflict — you’re probably now terrified to try to come up with one.

Well, rest easy. There are lots of ways to come up with a great internal conflict for your book. And not just a conflict that makes sense, but a conflict that is so important to your story that it seems to drive your book.

And that’s the basis of my workshop on letting conflict tell your story for you. Looking at conflict not just as something to drive a wedge between your characters, but as something to drive your story!

So join me in California in March! There’s nothing I like better than talking conflict!

893004_579623678723819_1205346237_oOne of eleven children, Susan Meier was raised on a small farm in western Pennsylvania and attributes her love of stories and writing to lying in grassy fields staring at the clouds daydreaming!

Susan has written 54 books and always delivers a heartwarming story, reminding readers that family and love go hand in hand. Sexy or sweet, funny or sad, her characters make some serious lemonade out of their lemons.

Susan is an avid but terrible golfer, and a woman who desperately wants to learn to cook without having to involve the fire department. She still lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three children, and two very personable cats.

Susan loves hearing from fans and can be found on her website and Goodreads. You can also like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter!

California Dreamin’ Workshop Preview by Judy Duarte

SoldierOur guest blogger for this week is Judy Duarte, here to share a sneak peek at our upcoming conference’s workshop sessions. Judy’s latest book, The Soldier’s Holiday Homecoming, will be available November 1st!

The 2015 California Dreamin’ Conference Committee is determined to provide workshops that will appeal to a diverse group of attendees—from the beginning writer to the experienced. And since most authors are interested in a variety of publishing formats, we’ll have that information as well.

So far, we have scheduled 60 different workshops and panels for you to choose from. And that’s not counting the pitch practice session or the chats.

We’ll kick off the conference with the popular Book Camp that begins at noon on Friday, which you can attend even if you don’t register for the conference. This time we’ll be offering April Kihlstrom’s Book in a Week! So be sure to check it out on the website.

The conference will actually begin on Friday evening at 6 pm. If you’d like a sneak peek at what we’ll be offering, here are the tracks and just a sampling of our many workshops and panels:




  • Cop GMC – M.A. Taylor
  • SEAL Team: The Real Deal – Anne Elizabeth & Carl Swepston, Navy SEAL (Ret.)
  • Women’s Role Through the Ages – Terry Irene Blain
  • Writing Romance Novel Tie-ins to TV Series – Nancy Holder


And we’ll be offering a new track this year:


If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, don’t wait too long. We expect to sell out again this year!

JDphotos_004An avid reader who enjoys a happy ending, Judy Duarte couldn’t shake the dream of creating a book of her own. That dream became a reality in 2002, when Harlequin released her first Special Edition. Since then, more than forty of her books have hit the shelves, including two novellas and an online read.  A USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Rita® finalist, Judy has won two Maggies and a National Reader’s Choice Award for her heartwarming stories.

Why Attend a Writer’s Conference?! by Cami Brite

You might wonder why people make such a big deal about writer’s conferences. Why should you attend one if you already know enough about writing to get words on a page? Writers spend a lot of solitary time at the keyboard. Sometimes we need to get out of our heads, and a conference is the perfect place to do that.

IMG_4251This year, I went to the Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio. With about 2,000 attendees, it’s a big deal with three full days of about 100 workshops on a variety subjects, three keynote speakers, spotlight sessions on various publishers, pitch appointments with editors and agents, book signings by published authors, the annual RITA & Golden Heart awards ceremony, and other things I can’t recall at the moment. Many chapters and publishers also host parties and events, so there’s always something to do.

I attended more workshops than my mind could take in and had a great time getting to know people from my local chapter as well as many others.

I had my very first pitch with an editor, which was inspiring. It was wonderful to sit down with a knowledgeable industry insider, to tell her a bit about my characters and their story, and to get some objective feedback. We talked until the very last moment, and I left with a smile on my face and her card tucked safely inside my conference badge holder.

I returned home both exhausted and energized. Despite being incredibly tired and having a huge assortment of laundry ahead of me, I felt buoyed up with a sense of empowerment. Before the conference, I had been dragging my feet when it came to my daily writing commitment. Now, I’m eager to put words to the page.

Here are four great reasons to attend a conference:

  • Education: Workshops on a variety of topics offer something new to learn (or something vital to relearn). My favorite workshop at the RWA conference was Sarah Maclean’s presentation on Mastering the Art of Great Conflict. I didn’t learn anything new, but she summed up all the important points we need to remember when plotting out a story. (And she did it with panache. The whole room was buzzing.)
  • Networking: Conferences provide rare and relatively painless exposure to editors, agents, and other writers in both formal and casual settings. The contacts made at a conference might be the most important in a writer’s career.
  • Pitching: The opportunity to pitch your work to editors and agents is rare in a normal writer’s life. Sure, you can tell your story to friends and family…but why not tell someone who can help get your book finished and published?
  • Motivation: Call it conference afterglow. Following a conference, it’s possible you’ll find yourself writing better and faster than you have in years.

Next March, I’ll be at the California Dreamin’ conference, ready to fuel up with a new dose of empowerment. Will I see you there?

camib-1Cami Brite belongs to Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA). When not busy with her day job and web duties for LARA and the California Dreamin’ Writers Conference, she is busily working on her very first contemporary romance novel, currently entitled Hotel California.

You can find Cami at her website and on twitter.