I attended the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference at the Hilton. Aug. 18-20. I had promised myself that I’d be fully engaged. That meant no kindle reading, no distractions about physical appearance. (She’s fatter than me. She’s thinner than me. She’s younger than me, She’s older than me.) No day dreaming about lunch. It worked. Full marks to Writer’s Digest and the Hilton for superb organization. Discussed topics were under the headings: Getting Published, Platform and Promotion, The Business of Being an Author, Craft, Genre Studies. The hour long sessions were discussions by the speakers followed by Q & A. Along with hundreds of others I attended Ask the Agents. Barbara Poelle, Janet Reid, Abby Zidle and Jessica Strawser spelled out the difficult task of getting an agent and gave solid advice about does and don’ts. Later in the day, Janet Reid gave an informative and hilarious session about effective query letters. Most of the participants were attending Pitch Slam. Throughout the day, a long line formed outside one of the conference halls. Inside, agents were seated at tiny desks. Each applicant was given three minutes to sell the project to an agent. I didn’t do a Pitch knowing that I’d only focus on that. A frightening thought: are there more writers than readers?
When I was in Oregon in July, the state was gearing up for the eclipse. Friends and I went to a talk about eastern Oregon having orchestra seats for the event. Meanwhile in NYC, on Aug. 21 at about 2:26 EST people gathered on sidewalks and looked up.
Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.
Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.
Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.