Emerald City Lights the Way

Last weekend I attended the Emerald City Writers Conference  in Bellevue.  For the past twenty-three years, it has remained the largest regional romance writing conference in the West.  The keynote speakers were Susan Wiggs, Victoria Alexander, and Stella Cameron. I enjoyed three days of networking, attending presentations on craft and industry, and mingling with agents and editors in the business.

Margie Lawson taught an excellent master class on deep editing.  One of these days I’m determined to attend her weekend writing retreat in Colorado.  The sheer amount of information she presents in just one 4-hour class is enough to make my head spin, in the very best way.  I imagine attending one of her retreats would be equivalent to Captain America powering up inside that vita ray capsule. I would come out of her workshop like a superhero, writing on a whole new level.  I would be unstoppable. Mwahahaha!

During the conference I also spoke with Melissa Ann Singer, the Senior Editor at Tor/Forge Books, which is the sister company to St. Martin’s Press.  Melissa has worked at Tor for more than 25 years.  For submissions, Melissa is specifically looking for women’s fiction, both contemporary and historical, special interest books with protagonists over the age of 45, disaster thrillers, urban fantasy, paranormal fiction, and horror.  I asked her about “New Adult”, a category coined by St. Martin’s Press a few years ago.  She said this category spans the ages of late teens to mid-twenties, targeting younger readers who want to move on from Young Adult fiction.  This audience would potentially be searching for protagonists dealing with situations such as college life or starting a new career. Tor/Forge currently only accepts hardcopy submissions, which I found unusual, since a lot of their published works are e-books.  I did wonder how much longer they will embrace this submission policy, with the rapidly changing structure of the publishing industry.  Everything seems to be going electronic.

Speaking of things going electronic, I won the Kindle Fire in two separate gift baskets. I couldn’t believe it!  Now my husband and I are having a blast trying to figure out how to use them.  A huge bonus for me is that Ann Charles donated eight books from her indie publishing company, Corvallis Press.  I can’t wait to jump into her Deadwood series. All in all, it was a fabulous conference and I’m looking forward to getting more involved with my local RWA chapters in the coming year.

About Tara Sheets

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4 Responses to Emerald City Lights the Way

  1. Dorine White says:

    That sounds like a wonderful conference. Is it only for romance or do they have other genres?

    • Tara Sheets says:

      The Emerald City Writers Conference is affiliated with RWA, but it is open to all writers of all genres. In fact, one of my friends (a writer of speculative fiction) attended this conference for the first time and she has decided to join the local RWA chapter (GSRWA) because she got so much out of it. They have countless classes on craft and the industry, and they bring in editors and agents from all around who take not only romance submissions, but other genres across the board (urban fantasy, young adult, middle grade, thriller, etc.). The thing I love most about romance writers is that they are very serious about their craft. It really was a wonderful conference!

  2. Don’t you just love the shot in the arm you get at conferences? So glad this worked well for you, Tara!

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