Tuesday, July 21, 2015

PNWA Celebrates 60 Years

(Image found on The Innovative Instructor Blog)

The last PNWA Writers Conference I attended was in 2012.  My work schedule prevented me from participating these past couple of years.

This year, I managed to squeeze three out of four conference days in between two sets of work shifts.  But it was "strictly business."  Due to the compressed timeline, I skipped out of the after-conference activities...

(Image from Flavorwire, 20 Excellent Photos of Famous Authors Partying)

...by which I mean, the Keynote Speaker Addresses and the Writing Competition Awards Dinner.

In honor of the association's 60th Year Anniversary and founding members, the selected theme was "Connections."

I'm glad I was able to attend and re-connect with some of my writer friends, such as:

PNWA's President, and my Popular Fiction teacher, Pam Binder,
Secretary, and author of  Jeff Ayers;
Board of Trustee Member Terry Persun,
his daughter and fellowette Trustee Member Nicole Persun;
along with Jason Black (aka The Book Doctor).

Robert Dugoni performed his Perennial Emcee duties during the Agents and Editors Forums, but I didn't get a chance to talk to him.

I was happy to encounter my fellow "rank and file" friend Chelly Wood.
According to her, she got the idea of making a stop-motion film of Romeo & Juliet using her daughters' Barbie Doll collection, from my webcomic Breakout from Bongolaan and my YouTube gaming videos.

(Image from Chelly Wood's Free Printable Barbie Clothes Group Pic)

I was humbled by Chelly's praise and even more humbled by her advanced photographic skills.  My "movies" are merely slide shows, so I'll be seeking Chelly's advice on actual stop-motion techniques.

Chelly is writing a how-to book on this subject and pitched a book proposal to an agent.  I wish her all the best.

Another rank and file friend I met was Abigail Carter, formerly of Writerly, and now Bibliocrunch.  I caught up at her Bibliocrunch booth when she wasn't overwhelmed with inquiring attendees.  Upon seeing Abby again, I remembered I bought her book The Alchemy of Loss and asked her to autograph it for my mom, who always grieved the loss of my dad.  When my mom passed away last month, I had to confess to Abby I'm not sure what happened to her book during the maelstrom to settle my mom's estate.

A few classmates from Pam's Pop Fic Class also attended, and I ended up sharing workshops with Emily and Lara.  One alum I didn't see was Tara Sheets, who had not just one, but two stories make it in the Finalist Category of the Annual Writing Competition.

In addition to catching up with old friends, I did make two new connections this year:

1. Jazmyn Wright, who was toying with the idea of turning her work-in-progress into an on-line graphic novel.

2. When I told fantasy author Ardyth DeBruyn about my work, she thought I'd find Penny Arcade's Strip Search, Darths & Droids, along with her brother's webcomic, Sluice.

I did suffer a lengthy low moment midway through the conference.

(Image by Gary Varvel)

I learned about the four Marines (and now one Sailor) shot and killed in Chattanooga, TN, early on Friday, before heading to the gym for a pre-conference workout.

It's at moments like this that I wish I was back on active duty again.

But despite my longing to don my uniform again, I enjoyed the conference, learned a lot and look forward to re-re-connecting with my writer friends again next year.

Coming Attractions:

I attended a dozen workshops during the three-out-of-four-days conference.  I'll be writing more detailed posts about these in the upcoming days/weeks/hopefully not months ahead.

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