Conference, Finals and Summer!

Well, what a whirlwind the last week or so has been!  Say that three times fast.  It felt like I lived it three times fast.  I love, love, love the conference the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation puts on every year, but it is a busy three days.

If you take advantage of all this conference has to offer, they will make sure you stay hopping from the time you wake up to the time you go pass out for the night.   I do mean pass out.  You’ll be exhausted.  Of course you are free to set your own pace, but the days do fly.

There were so many activities and so many great speakers, that (having signed up for the lunch workshops and pre-conference workshop, I only saw the inside of my room when I woke, changed, and went to bed.  I had a fantastic roomie, Vickey Malone-Kennedy, who made sure I didn’t study or sleep too much (just kidding, Vic! ;-))  As usual, all of the people were amazing, and the organization was to be applauded.

I’m sure, dear reader, that you think I gush just because I belong to this organization, (as I belong to so few…) but to give you some idea about the kinds of speakers that were guests of this conference I’ll list a few here, along with their considerable credentials.

  • Our keynote speaker this year was romance writer, Eloisa James, whose best-selling novels are published at an alarming rate by Harper-Collins.
  • Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate, Nathan Brown spoke about the importance of poetry in the life of any writer.  I hear he also sang and played, but sadly I missed this part.
  • Christine Taylor-Butler award-winning writer for Scholastic, among others,  spoke to us about writing as a career.
  • Andrew Kaufman, how could I ever say enough?  This man is among the best of the best selling independent authors in the country.  Like six-figure big.  And he is the sweetest person ever.
  • Mel Odom, a master of Fantasy and Science fiction, has authored over 140 novels, and is an instructor at Oklahoma University.  Almost awesome enough to switch my college choice.  I wonder if they’ll let me just come and take his class?  He spoke about possibilities for serial fiction to make a comeback.
  • David Morell, author of the award-winning First Blood, the initiator of the Rambo series of novels and movies.  Ph.D. in Literature and multiple award-winner, including three Bram Stoker awards.
  • Jerry D. Simmons, who was an executive in the Time-Warner Book group, who came to talk to us about all things marketing.  And boy did I take notes.  He has given all of us some much needed food for thought on the marketing front.

These are just a few of the amazing speakers.  The list was 22 people long.  I wish I had room in this post to go over everything, but I am going to go over my notes and try to distill what it was that I actually came away with besides the mind-blowingness of the speakers, organizers and conference as a whole.  Given the choice, I would not miss this next year for the world.

Oklahoma Writers’ Federation is possibly a writer’s best resource in Oklahoma (aside from those amazing classes at college!).  The next best that I know of is the Nimrod conference in Tulsa every year. It’s much smaller, and just one Saturday, but it’s more intimate and they do have editors that will review your work and sit down with you to talk about what is working or not.

Oklahoma is not the desert for writers that I once thought it was.  We’ve got resources, it’s time to shout them from the rooftops and let people know they are here!

See you at the next conference!

D.E. Chandler