Tuesday, September 9, 2008

East of Eden Writers Conference - Wrap Up

This past weekend I was in Steinbeck Country and attended the East of Eden Writers Conference that was organized by the South Bay Writers branch of the California Writers Club.

I find going to writers conferences to be invigorating since I am surrounded by creative minds who are just as obsessed with the written word as I am.

It is also a great opportunity to meet, schmooze and network with other writers. That is only the first part. The follow through after the conference is over is just as important.

For example, four years ago at the East of Eden Conference, I met Lee Lofland. He's a retired detective with over twenty years experience in law enforcement. He is now the proud author of the Macavity nominated book Police Procedure and Investigation: A guide for writers.

We chatted, I made a few networking suggestions for him and we exchanged business cards. He followed up later with an email to me and we have kept in contact ever since.

Whenever I see something that reminds me of what one of my friends is working on, I pass that information on in the hopes of helping them.

With that in mind, a few months back I saw a post about agent Verna Dreisbach on the Guide to Literary Agents blog. All I needed to see was a mention of Verna having a background in law enforcement for me to immediately forward that post to Lee. I knew Lee should get in contact with Verna. She might not become his literary agent, but I was certain they could work together in some capacity.

They are.

Both will be participants in the upcoming Police Writers Academy to be held in April 2009. Lee has the details of that conference on his blog.

So at the East of Eden Conference, Lee returned the favor and introduced me to Verna. He then told her that I was the one responsible for him knowing about her.

After talking with Verna I discovered that she worked in the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department and lived in the town where I now work. 'Tis a small world indeed.

At the first workshop session, I attended Hallie Ephron's discussion about POV and different ways it can be done.

I wound up making a comment in that venue which she liked. Later I ran into her in the hall and she saw me and said, "you seem to know what you are doing." That comment thrilled me as it meant that a published author thought I made a cogent point. Yay, me!

We exchanged business cards and later on, I tried to introduce Lee to Hallie. I did not realize that they were friends already. They both live in the Boston area, and have been friends for awhile.

After dinner and keynote speakers there were late night sessions held at a nearby hotel. I attended one about mystery writing. Lee and Hallie were on a panel with David Corbett and Terri Thayer.

One aspect that I love about the California Writers Club is that we are open to writers of all genres. That means we interact and learn from writers who are working on different styles and conventions of writing. I look at it as cross-pollination of ideas and as the lines of genres blur, I think it is even more important to learn whatever we can from other creative people.

So even though I do not currently write mysteries, I enjoyed hearing this panel of speakers.

Left to right: Terri Thayer, David Corbett, Hallie Ephron, Lee Lofland.

I had a great time listening to the panelists and their freewheeling style. It was informative and entertaining.

David Corbett has a wicked sense of humor and I look forward to reading his book Blood of Paradise which has been nominated for the following awards:

The Edgar

I wish him well and hope that he wins at least one of those awards. David was cracking so many jokes that after the session ended when I had a chance to talk with him, he got a little friendly with me. While Ana Manwaring was trying to figure out how to work my camera, David was grabbing my side. Hence the huge grin on my face.

Here is Ana Manwaring and David "watch his hands" Corbett.

David gave a wonderful and rousing speech the next morning as a keynote speaker about the importance of respecting the genre.

The next morning my new friend Molly Dwyer and I started chatting with people who sat down at our table for breakfast. We soon realized they were "techies" and the conversation was soon on the topic of using the internet to publicize yourself and your writing.

Left to right: Matilda Butler, Martha Alderson, Molly Dwyer and Kendra Bonnett.

And here is Kendra Bonnett explaining about why she Twitters.

At lunch Hallie Ephron spoke about what it was like to have grown up in a family of writers and how that impacted her own confidence in writing.

Now just some pictures of writing friends. Here is Jana McBurney-Lin author of My Half of the Sky.

Here is Dionne Obeso and Charlotte Cook of KOMENAR Publishing.

Here I am with Jordan Rosenfeld. This was her first major literary event for Jordan since she became a mother in June.

Then at the gala banquet that night I schmoozed with Martha Alderson.

Hallie Ephron then came over to share with us how giddy she was to have met the banquet's keynote speaker Jane Smiley. It is nice to know that everyone can become giddy at meeting someone they admire.

Then here is Hallie posing with me and my "peeps" from my writers club.

Left to right: Me, Hallie Ephron, Ana Manwaring, Kerry Granshaw.

Hallie Ephron and Lee Lofland

Here are the conference organizers as well as keynote speakers.

from left to right: Karen Joy Fowler, Edie Mathews, Kelly Harrison, Jane Smiley, Hallie Ephron

I will leave you with one of my favorite pictures from the conference. It is of me and Lee.

Write on!


Jana McBurney-Lin said...

East of Eden was such fun. It's a great place to network and keep the web of friendships going.
I sat next to David Corbett at most mealtimes. He is a witty,intelligent man (and I look forward to reading his book Blood of Paradise). I'd never seen him at this conference before, and had no reason to expect to see him again. However, just after the conference I got a note from Book Expo San Jose with my salon schedule. David will be moderating a panel I'm participating in called "All Abroad: Living and Writing Elsewhere" on October 26. I just love those small-world coincidences.

L.C.McCabe said...


Have fun with being on a panel discussion with him.

He was a riot to be around.

Just so much fun.

You are lucky to have sat next to him at meals because I'm sure there wasn't a dull moment.


Anonymous said...

Great, pics, Linda--and great meeting you at E of E!

L.C.McCabe said...


Thanks for stopping by my blog.

It was good to finally meet you. I'd heard Lee talk about you for quite some time so it felt like I already knew you.


Martha Alderson said...

Great post, fun remembering the good times together. Although it was less than a week ago, feels much further in the distance already!

I appreciate the resource your recommended on my blog. I plan to purchase it myself.

Can't wait to hear the good news when you find representation for your book. That's one I'll be sure to read.....

Lee Lofland said...

I enjoy the East of Eden conference. It's always a reunion of great friends and colleagues.

So, Linda, I take it from your comments that you were unlucky to be seated with your lunch and dinner companions? :)

Hallie Ephron said...

LOVE the pictures, Linda...I always bring my camera and then forget to take any (is that like sitting down to work at your computer and then reading email all day?)

It was a pleasure meeting you, and what a great conference! I was especially in heaven since I got to sit at the banquet between Jane Smiley and Karen Joy Fowler--complete bliss.

- Hallie (www.hallieephron.com)
"Never Tell a Lie" - 1/09, HarperCollins

L.C.McCabe said...


I had to re-read everything to figure out what you meant by the "unlucky" remark.

Er, nooooo, I did not and do not feel unlucky at all to have eaten dinner with you at the conference. I don't think there was a dull moment either night.

I should have taken pix of our dinner companions on Friday because then I would have included a mention of that in my wrap up as well. It was a bit unnerving at one point to realize that I had six agents listening to my every word as I was regaling internet rumors, but I couldn't get turn shy at that point. I had to plow through and use all my storytelling skills to make sure they stayed captivated until I gave my ending punchline.

Here is hoping that it does not take another four years for us to meet again in person!


L.C.McCabe said...


Thank you for stopping by and for commenting.

The pleasure was mutual in meeting you.

I'm glad you liked my pictures and my blog.

This past Sunday at my monthly writers club meeting I talked with Ana Manwaring and she told me that she had availed herself of the opportunity of having a sample of her work critiqued by you. She was thrilled by the experience.

In retrospect, I am kicking myself for not doing likewise.

Good luck with your book launch in January!


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Linda C. McCabe said...

I am glad you enjoy my blog and found my posts informative as well as entertaining.

Feel free to explore my archives a little more.