Last weekend I hit the Surrey international Writer’s Conference ( to find out a) if I’m really good at this writing thing and b) where should I take it. I had the opportunity to have my work reviewed by one author and one agent. Since i had paid $400 for the priviledge of attending the conference, knuckled down and carved out a chapter of one of the science fiction concepts I had called “The Paranormal Advocate”. The excerpt dealt with the travails of a young lawyer as he took on a telepath as his client.

Don McQuinn was the author scheduled to review my work. To his credit he had 9 novels, including a bestseller series called Warrior, Wanderer and Witch. It was hard to sit there and listen to some of his remarks, but quite necessary. Don narrowed down some of the ways which my writing could be improved, but he also made it very to clear to me where I was going right with my work. He also cautioned me against taking his recommendations too seriously. I believe this was so I would retain the individuality of my work without sacrificing the craft.

My agent appointment was not as successful, since it was hobbled by the fact that I had no finished book onhand. Compounding that, I had no idea how to pitch a book. So I hocked my wares to Miriam Kersh, whose eye for speculative fiction bought her husband a Plasma TV, as she had related at a prior workshop. I got nervous, I stuttered, I fumbled, I wasn’t able to answer her questions properly. In other words, no book sale for me. I reminded myself that my chances were slim going in but what really kept that experience from being a kick in the teeth were the wonderful people I met at the conference. More than the workshops and the celebrity key-note speakers, the real highlight of the conference was meeting people from all walks of life trying to make a buck off their craft. I met people who practised law, worked for the environment, even someone who managed a Chuck E. Cheese. It was a treat see everyone so serious about opening a vein on the page. I grabbed e-mail addresses like crazy, hoping to stay in touch with these people who shared the dream of affecting others with the printed word.

If anybody reading this is from the conference, Welcome. I hope all of your projects are going well, and I hope to hear from you soon!

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