Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Write (re)Source

Hello Seekerville.  Sandra here and worn out from too many pickleball tournaments and the Tucson Festival of Books. Because of the four tournaments this month and the festival, I didn’t do Speedbo this year. I’ll make up for it though and will crack down next month.

My partner, Jacquee Ware and I with our gold medals we won at the Senior Games in Green Valley, Arizona

So how are all of you Speedbo writers doing?  I trust you are moving along.  We still have another week to go.  Yay!!!

So this post is going to be directed mostly to our readers as you writers need your time to write, write, write.  I will put the info that might be helpful to writers in bold print, so you can skim through the rest and have the information quickly.

Since I recently attended the Tucson Festival of Books, It occurred to me that there are some wonderful resources out there for readers and writers that we don’t know about. I’m going to tell you about the ones I know of and am going to ask the rest of you to tell me about the events for readers and writers in your neck of the woods.  

Be sure and read through the comments and look for those blue links. Many readers have been sending links to other venues. 

LeAnne Bristow met me at the Tucson Festival of Books and treated me to lunch. Thank you LeAnne.

WRITERS:  You know about resources on the Internet. Seekerville is a great source of craft information and it is free.

Most of you know about conferences and writer’s organizations that provide workshops and industry news. However, these can be pricey.

But did you know there are many events out there that offer workshops and presentations that are free.  Yay!!!  Free resources are listed in bold print below. I will make a list available from recommendations provided in comments.

Happy writing.

READERS: You know you can meet many of your favorite authors by visiting them on the Internet via their websites, Amazon author pages, and many blogs that feature interviews with our authors.

But there are many venues where you can meet authors in person. How fun is that?

TUCSON FESTIVAL of BOOKS is a huge event that features authors, publishers, writer associations, Illustrator associations and about anything else you can think of involving books. Every genre is represented. Fiction books and authors are featured. Non-fiction books and authors are featured. There is a whole mall dedicated to children’s books and authors.

It is held on the University of Arizona campus during spring break.  The whole mall area is filled with booths that offer all kinds of information. Many booths are filled with authors selling their books. Others are set up by publishers and they feature their best selling authors who are there to sign books.

There are many tents set up where different authors give presentations about any number of things.  Some talk about their experiences that led to the content of their book. Others talk about travels to the settings of their books. Others talk about the subject of their book. A person can wander all day both days and not be able to see everything presented.

The local newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, has booths and also prints out a thick newspaper filled with all the information and schedules for the weekend.

The exciting thing for writers is the huge selection of free workshops given in the college classrooms. These are presented by published authors sharing their expertise and are often the same workshops these authors present during conferences. But what is wonderful about these workshops is that they are free.
Many beginning writers attend these workshops and really get a good start in the right direction for publication.

Over a hundred thousand people attend this festival and most of them are readers who are there to meet their favorite author. Many are there to hear the background information behind the books they love to read. Or they are there to meet and discover new and different authors.

Many parents bring their children to meet authors and enjoy the presentations offered for the youth. It is so encouraging to see how many families truly value the reading experience.

GLENDALE CHOCOLATE AFFAIR:  The city of Glendale has a wonderful festival during the weekend before Valentine’s Day. They started this because one of the main industries in Glendale is a large chocolate factory.  (Now you know why one of our Seeker authors lives there-chuckle)  Anyway, they also feature booths with local authors. The local RWA chapter sets up a booth of romance authors so you can attend this festival and meet many authors there. Authors come from all over the US to sell and sign their books.

Signing books at the Valley of the Sun RWA booth at the Chocolate Affaire

GLENDALE GLITTERS:  Glendale also has a big Christmas Light celebration with many booths set up on the sidewalks of downtown Glendale. Many local authors have booths set up and they sell and sign their books.

Do any of you have similar festivals in your area?  Send me the links and I will make a list.

LIBRARIES   Another great place to meet authors is at your local library. Many libraries have events where they feature local authors. Here are a couple events in my area.

Tempe Book Festival:  This is a first time event hosted by the Tempe Public Library and Arizona State University. It will be held April 16, 2016 from 10:00 am to 3Pm at the Tempe Public Library and will bring together local authors, booksellers and others for a day of panel discussions, book signings and fun activities for all ages. I will be attending this event also in case there is anyone reading this from the Phoenix area.

Scottsdale Public Library:  Has a wonderful workshop for writers every November. The Desert Rose Chapter of RWA organizes many workshops for writers presented by local authors. They have a local book sale during the day when the public can buy books from the authors and get them autographed.

Do any of you know of any library events in your area?  I know that I have signed books at events held in Tucson in the past. Go to your local library and talk to the head librarian. They usually know what writer groups are in the area and what events are going on that involve books.  Waving at KAV and all our other librarians out there.

WRITERS CONFERENCES: Writers already know that they can get a lot of information and experience wonderful networking from a writer's conference. But readers, did you know that writers conferences are an opportunity for you to meet authors. Most conferences have a booksigning event that is open to the public. Authors in attendance sign books that are for sale during the event. It is a wonderful way to meet your favorite author.  Keep a lookout for writer workshops in your area.  We will be posting information about the national conferences later in Seekerville. The Romance Writers of America National Conference is in San Diego this July 13-16.  And the American Christian Fiction Writers conference is in Nashville, August 25-28th.

DESERT DREAMS is happening in April 7- 10th in Scottsdale, Arizona. There will be many authors there and they do have a book signing event.

Pamela Tracey and I at an earlier Desert Dreams Conference

Do any of you know of any writer's conferences in your area?

BOOK STORES: Many authors ask their local bookstore to have an autographing party. Please support your local bookstores and when you go in them, ask the managers if they have any autograph parties planned. I know that Debby Giusti, Myra Johnson and Missy Tippens often have book signings in local bookstores.

You can meet local authors by checking with your bookstore. If you have a favorite author you want to meet, then go on their website and find out where they will be signing books and/or presenting workshops.  They might be coming to a town close enough to drive over and meet them.

Do any of you know of any book signings in your area?

ORGANIZATIONS sponsor speakers and often they are authors.  This month, the RV resort I am staying in featured J.J. Jantz as one of their lecture speakers. I am not particularly a fan of her writing, but it is always fun to meet another author. So check out any organizations in your area that have speakers. Ask to be put on their mailing list. And if they ask for suggestions, tell them about an author you want to meet. You never know. They might invite that author to speak.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let's share resources

I hope these ideas have been helpful. There are many venues out there to meet an author. Whether you are a reader or a writer, it is always interesting to meet the author of a book you have enjoyed. Writers, it is always beneficial to meet other authors with whom you can network and share.

Please comment today and share places and events in your area that feature writing workshops or opportunities to meet an author and your name will be put in the dish for a chance to win a surprise box of books.

Sandra Leesmith writes sweet romances to warm the heart. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. She is based in Arizona, but she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome and enjoy the outdoors. You can find Sandra's books here on Amazon. Three of Sandra's most popular books are also audio books at Audible. You can read more of Sandra's posts here.

SPEEDBO is almost finished.  Go Speedbo writers. Find details here.


  1. Lots of terrific ideas here, Sandra. And I have to say, you sure get around. Clocking lots of PR mileage!! Way to go.

  2. Sandra, it was such an honor to hang out with you at the Tucson Festival of Books! I'm sad that I missed out on the Chocolate Affair this year. I hope to catch it next time.
    I love that there are so many opportunities for readers to meet their favorite authors and for writers to learn more about the craft.
    Keep writing Speed-Bo-ers! You're almost there!

  3. There are lots of great ways to 'meet' authors on the internet.

  4. I live in such a small town that I don't really know of any author events. We do have a library, which I'm sure hosts local authors. Since I read only Christian fiction, I don't pay much attention to those events. Our local Christian bookstore closed down at the end of last summer sadly! So the only way I've "meet" authors is online. I've attended many Facebook parties, am on various author street/ launch teams and follow many on Amazon, blogs and newsletters. I would absolutely love to meet any author personally! Anyone willing to come to my little local library?? :-) I do also support authors by leaving reviews on various sites.

    Pickleball? I've heard of it but not sure what it is. Sounds like great exercise though! Hope you had fun, Sandra.

    Drop 'm y name in the hat for the surprise box of books! My favorite way to meet an author...through their stories :-)

  5. If there are opportunities in Northeast Indiana to meet authors I haven't heard of any. If anyone else knows of any I would love to be enlightened.

    I'm praying that all of you who are working diligently doing Speedbo, will reach your goals! You're almost there....

    Have a blessed week everyone!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  6. Great ideas, Sandra!
    Tucson and books...two of my favorite things. It looks like it was the perfect day for the festival.

  7. I'm with LsAnne. Hate having missed anything having to do with chocolate.

  8. Hi Sandra,

    What a fun post. Thanks for sharing with us!

  9. Hi Tina I was surprised at how many events are around our state. I'm sure other states have the same opportunities.

    Happy writing.

  10. Hi LeAnne It was an honor for me also. And a blessing. I love meeting up with other writers. It is always so much fun.

  11. Hi Mary You are so right. What is your favorite way to meet authors on the Internet?

  12. Hi Trixi, Thanks for sharing. I'm so sad about how many bookstores are closing. I especially loved the Christian bookstores because of all the little god'y gifts I could find for my family and friends. I guess people prefer shopping online and that is the way our shopping is trending. sigh.

    Keep an eye out for events in any nearby cities. It might be worth the drive with some friends to go to an event and then go shopping and out to lunch. That is one of my favorite things to do. smile

  13. Trixi I forgot to mention, I love when you said you love meeting an author through their stories. That is scary to me as a writer, LOL but I think a very interesting observation.

  14. Hi Cindy, I'm sure you can find some events in nearby cities. Rural communities are more difficult, but you might be surprised. Maybe you need to start an event. Tucson isn't the biggest community in Arizona and they have that HUGE festival.

  15. Hi Jill It was a perfect day. One year it rained during the festival and I thought, Oh no there won't be any people attending. Not. There were still over 100,000 people even in the rain. That is how popular this is.

    Oh course an Arizonan hardly ever gets a rainy day, so when one comes, they go out and celebrate. LOL

  16. Oh Walt Yes, we know how much you love chocolate. And you aren't alone. I think all of Seekerville loves chocolate.

    Hey, I forgot to bring some food. How about some chocolate chip cookies, chocolate brownies and some chocolate candy bars to munch on. Help yourselves.

  17. Hi Jackie Thanks for popping in. Keep on writing. smile

  18. Hi Sandy!

    I want to get down to Arizona for the book festival someday. It's on my bucket list!

    South Dakota puts on a nice book festival. Here is the link: http://sdhumanities.org/festival-of-books/

  19. That Tucson Festival sounds great, Sandra! I've never been to a big reader-centered event like that that wasn't at a writer's conference I was attending. Sounds SO neat!

  20. Sandra, my wife went to visit her parents in SoCal recently. She brought back a box of See's. It was great. :-)

  21. Hi Rose Thanks for the link. I was hoping you would stop by and add that. I remember you talking about it and find it wonderful that South Dakota has a festival also. Here it is live: South Dakota Festival of Books

    Any other Festival of Books out there?

  22. Hi Glynna It is pretty amazing. And in our state. One of these days you will be able to get down here. Its a nice break from the cold too. smile

  23. Oh Walt What a treat. I KNOW you enjoyed that. smile.

    See's Candies are my favorites.

  24. Sandra, your post reminded me of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest that I've taken part in a couple of times. That's a great one that has events for readers. But it also has events for writers beforehand. So it's a joint book festival and writers conference. It's usually held in April in Bowling Green, KY--my hometown! :) http://sokybookfest.org/

  25. Wow -- Arizona is a happening place. All that good weather must egg you on. LOL (says the woman bracing for a wintery mix of freezing rain followed by copious amounts of snow. Sigh.)

    A great reader event -- first time ever -- is the Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat -- Honoring God with Christian Fiction. Not my event, but I'm sooooooo jealous that I can't go. It's in Nashville on August 24 -- the day before the ACFW Conference. And it's going to have a number of authors, but the whole event is geared to readers. Here is the facebook link:


  26. Thanks Missy for the information on another Book Fest. Yay! Here is the link folks for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest . If you live within driving range, be sure and check it out.

    Happy writing, Missy

  27. It sure pays to live where the sun and temperatures are so agreeable (even if you have to go from air-conditioning to air-conditioning in the summer)!
    Thanks for sharing all the warmth and fun, Sandra!

    I finally counted up my SPEEDBO word count last night. 11920 which is close to my goal 15k! I know it's not a big goal but for what I had to accomplish besides writing, I'm happy and I know I can get my last 3k in before the end of the month!

  28. Oh KAV What a wonderful event. I'm sure all the Christian authors who are attending the ACFW conference will be there to sign books.

    Here is the link Kav shared for the Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat

    And look at all the Seekers who will be there. Yay!!!

  29. Yay!!!!Debra Way to go on that word count. You are close to your goal and that must really feel good.


    And yes, it is nice here, but there are some book festivals in cold climates too. Check out Rose's comment above in South Dakota.

    Happy writing.

  30. Hello Sandra! I would love to attend a readers event. I live about an hour from Houston, TX. I wish I had been able to travel to the ACFW Conference in Dallas. Last year I was able to attend a speaking event in which I met Lynn Gentry. It was an incredible experience!

    Please put me in the drawing for the surprise books.

  31. Wow, what a great selection of author/reader events, Sandra--thank you! Looks like you're having way too much fun! ;-D

  32. Hi Caryl Oh how exciting to be able to go to meet Lynn Gentry. Yes, they have conferences in Dallas often. Maybe one day you will be able to attend. It is so exciting to meet authors, whether you are a reader or a writer.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope it encourages others to get out there and go support local authors.

    AS an author, it is very rewarding to meet someone who like your books. I can't tell you how encouraging that is. Thanks again.

  33. HI Myra, It has been way fun. I am so blessed.

    Don't you have some author events out your way? Seems like you are always going to some.

    Happy writing.

  34. SANDRA, thanks for the peek at all these fantastic writer/reader events! I've attended numerous conferences and always benefited from the experience.

    Our local library hosts an author-reader event. Since our independent bookstore went out of business, I've been fortunate that a used bookstore owner has graciously allowed me to hold signings at her store The Bookmark. She also keeps some of my books in stock. I'm grateful. If any of you writers are having trouble finding a location for a signing, check out your used bookstores.


  35. Thanks for the tip Janet, That's a great resource.

    So readers, if you're in Janet's area, be sure and check her website for future signings and events. She usually announces them on Seekerville weekend edition also.

    Happy writing, Janet.

  36. Thanks for the post. I know of a writer's conference near me and my brother said he would even take me but alas I don't have the money for this year. But maybe some day I can go. It is held in May and is the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference held at Ridgecrest,

    Also the last two years in January Lynette Eason has held a writing conference in Greenville, SC. I would love to go to this one as well. She keeps the enrollment down to around 30 people.

  37. Oooooo, SANDRA, GREAT RESOURCE, my friend!! And, LOL, I totally agree with Tina -- you do get around, girl!! ;)

    KAV, thanks SOOOOO much for the plug about the Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat -- Honoring God with Christian Fiction. Carrie, Annie, and Bonnie have done a FABULOUS job so far of coordinating/planning this event, and I am constantly in awe of the professionalism and creativity of this first-time event! I can tell you one thing, if it ends up being even a 10th as fabulous as it looks so far, this will be only the beginning of what I believe will become a major event in the CBA.

    AND ... Ruthy, Mary, and I will be speaking, plus other Seekers will be there, too, so if you are planning to attend ACFW, consider going in a day early for CFRR, okay? Here's the link again, for anybody who needs it:


  38. I am attending the Omaha Christian Writer's Conference the last weekend of April. It is not as expensive as some conferences, and I signed up with the early bird price in December which made it very affordable.

    Thanks for all the great info.

  39. Hi Sandra, here in Louisiana we're known for our festivals. We just had the Rabbit Festival last weekend. :) A lot of our writers schedule book signings and readings for those events. We have a HUGE Louisiana Book Festival in the fall of each year at our state capitol, Baton Rouge. They bring in authors from all around and have free seminars and book signings. During the past few years, they've also included a Friday "conference" of sorts. Writers can attend (for pay) workshops by some pretty big names.

    My daughter invited an author to attend her book club so she could answer questions and discuss her book with the club members. That could be fun ... or a little scary. :)

  40. Thanks Wilani for the heads up in your area. sounds like great conferences. I bet they sell books at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference. Even if you can't go to the conference you could go to the book sale and meet authors.

    Readers, you can check this out also. Here is the link for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference

    And if we go to Lynette Eason's webpage you will probably find out where and when her conference is.

    Thanks again Wilani.

  41. Hi Julie Yep, been super busy. And thanks for the link. I put it up above in my response to KAV. Wasn't she sweet to announce that?

    And what a great time to meet Seeker authors. woo hoooooooo

    Here is the link again. Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat

  42. SANDRA, this is a good post. I live in New Hampshire and I'd have to travel to Boston for any major book festivals, but some of the libraries have smaller ones and they are fun too. New Hampshire is home to a LOT of authors. I enjoy interacting with them.
    Kathy B

  43. Sandra, so many great thoughts here. I notice that some areas have lots of author events, and some almost none. So if you're fortunate enough to live in an area that engages readers (because that takes effort and time) that's a wonderful thing.

    And if you're not, well... why not see what you can do to get the ball rolling? I think once folks see a couple of successful events, especially if they're paired with other events initially, it starts the brain moving back in that direction and trends go where the brain leads.

    These are GREAT IDEAS!!!!!

    I'm going to see what we can come up with here, as time allows.

    I'm thrilled that our local B&N is now doing author events again, that's a new beginning, and let's see what can be stirred up beyond that!

    Sandra, thank you for the inspiration!


  44. Sandra, I want to go to the Tuscan Book Festival! Maybe we could couple it with a Seeker event.

    In the Atlanta area, we have a great Labor Day book event: The Decatur Book Festival, held in the city by the same name. It's about 15 minutes from Atlanta, and the festival runs for two days with lots of big name authors who give talks and sign their books. Lots of booths and fun events for kids too.

  45. Our Georgia Romance Writers group hosts a writing conference the first weekend in OCT, and we have a book signing during the event that's open to the public. So, readers, check out the writing conferences in your local area to find ways to meet your favorite authors.

    Barbara Vey is hosting her Reader Appreciation Lunch in Milwaukee again this year. I can't make it due to a family event, but it's always so much fun!

    Huntsville, AL, and Birmingham, AL, both hold Reader Luncheons in the fall, hosted by the Southern Magic RWA chapter and Heart of Dixie.

    Also I'll have a table at an ATL luncheon Feb 13, 2017. Info to follow!

  46. Hi Sandy Thanks for the info. I tried to find the Omaha Christian Writers Conference online but couldn't find it. When I googled it, a whole bunch of great looking writer workshops came up. One was free workshops every Wednesday night. So if you're in Nebraska, google it and see what interests you.

  47. Hi Jessica How fun that your daughter invited an author to her book club. That is so much fun. I love going to book clubs. It always interests me what the readers get out of my stories-sometimes things I never even knew about myself. LOL

    Thanks for the heads up about the Louisiana Book Festival . It looks as exciting as the Tucson Festival of Books. You Southerners should check this out. smile

  48. Great post Sandra! Now I really want to move back west to "home", which is Colorado. Then I could be closer to those cool festivals you've mentioned. I don't know much about Author/Book events in the Virginia Beach area, although I'm pretty sure there are some. (Note to self: check for info) I haven't joined the local writer's group because... well, no good reason.

    I would LOVE to go to CFRR event if only to finally meet Seekers in person. I'd be beside myself in fan-girl moments. But, alas... I don't think I'll be able to justify the travel/time off from work costs. :( I'm still hoping to one day interrupt Ruthy's traveling when she heads to her south kinfolk. I figure the drive gets close enough to VA Beach for me to meet up with her while re-fueling.

    Speedbo has been Speedbust for me this year because of too much minor havoc happening. Not much writing done - but lots of good learning via Seekerville - thank goodness.

  49. I love meeting authors! The Barnes & Noble here has hosted some events, and the RWA Conference is going to be in San Diego this year- but I'm going to be on vacation!!! I was so excited to find out that it is going to be in my city and then so bummed that I am going to be gone for it. I hope you all that are able to attend will enjoy San Diego, it's the best!

    Please enter me for the surprise book giveaway!

  50. Hi Kathy B Thanks for chiming in with the confirmation that your libraries have author events. So if you live in the New Hampshire area, check with your local libraries.

    Happy writing Kaybee

  51. Hey Ruthy you of all people know how to get a ball rolling and you also know how much it means to a community to do so.

    Go for it girlfriend.

    And hooray for Barnes and Noble. I love bookstores that support local authors.

  52. Wow, Debby Thanks for the tip about the AJC Decatur Book Festival

    It looks like it is along the same lines as our Tucson Book Festival. How fun is that?

    And look at all the other reader events you listed. I will put in the links here. Thanks my dear friend. btw folks, Debby does book signings in her area and donates the proceeds to Military Vets. She announces them here in Seekerville.

    Barbara Vey's Reader Appreciation Luncheon

    Georgia RWA's conference Moonlight and Magnolias

    Southern Magic RWA Romance Reader's Luncheon. Oooh they are featuring a friend of mine from Arizona, Jennifer Ashley. She's really fun to meet. (Not an inspirational writer though)

    Heart of Dixie Reader's Luncheon

    thanks again Debby for all these resources.

  53. Hi DebH I'm glad you will be inspired to look into local events. I've been amazed all day with all these events I've never heard of. They are out there. It involves getting into the loop. Your local writer's group should be a good resource and starting place. You can usually go to a couple meetings as a visitor. Go a couple of times and make some contacts. Joining groups ins't necessarily everyone's cup of tea and it doesn't really matter. But it wouldn't hurt to make some local contacts and at least find out where to get information.

    Don't fret about speedbo. Life happens. There are many of us who have had to put writing on hold for various reasons and guess what? We are still here. smile So hang in there. As Ruthy says, "Pull of those girl panties and Keep on keeping on."

    Sorry Ruthy, I didn't get the exact quote, but you know what I mean. lol

  54. Yes, Heidi I was pretty disappointed also to hear you were going to be out of town that week. Yikes. Well it might sail around to San Diego again in the future.

    I know there is a big Christian writers conference there in San Diego. You have tons of resources there. Yay!!!

  55. Sandra, it is the Word Sowers Conference. Sorry, I should have given more information. Thanks for the heads up about the links you found.

  56. Oh Thanks Sandy for confirming what I found. I thought it might be, but wanted to be sure. Sounds like you will have a wonderful time there. I'll be thinking of you on that weekend. smile (And trying not to be jealous)

  57. I lived in Tucson for 6 years and remember the book festival! Sorry I never saw you there - darn! Great post, Sandra! As a reader, I love meeting authors. I've only met 2 so far but I'd love to meet more! Someday I hope to go to conferences!

  58. Hi Valri I only started going to the Tucson Festival about four years ago so that may be why we haven't met. Maybe you can get to it again sometime.

    And conferences are wonderful ways to meet authors.

    Happy reading.

  59. I'm going to the Word Sowers Conference in Omaha in....Sandy are you still here?

    And I'm going to the Nebraska Writer's Guild Spring conference in Omaha mid-April.

    I like these small local conferences.

    RAH, Romantic Authors of the Heartland, has a retreat every year in January that's open to all writers. I went to that.

    The Council Bluffs Library is having their annual author's fair. I have gone to this before.

    I've recently been invited to a day long retreat/conference in Montezuma, IA called Our Front Porch Books. It's a long old drive and I don't think I'll go but it's interesting to hear of all these events out there for the writers and readers in the world.

  60. The Word Sowers conference is really a rich spiritual experience, at least it was for me. I loved it.
    I'm giving a session. So is Cheryl St.John, Sherri Shackleford, Rose Zediker, Angela Meyer, Jennifer Slattery Erica Vetsch (YES! Erica is coming to Omaha!!! Can't wait!)

    Lots of folks I know. A very nice way to spend a day!

  61. Hi Mary I think Sandy might be back later. She did mention the Word Sowers Conference and I put a link in for it u above. What a bonus that you and some other Seeker friends will be there. She will be thrilled because she said she was registered.

    I'll see if I can find. links to your other events.

  62. A Gold Medalist, Sandra!! I'm totally impressed. I've always wanted to enter the Senior Games, but I don't think they have a competition for couch potatoes. I really need to get a life, don't I? BTW, great resources for all of us here!!

    Heidi, I'm stoked that RWA is being held in San Diego this year. That's my old stomping grounds!! We've got a set of kids and grandkids out there along with a plethora of other relatives. Plenty of places to lay our heads. Too bad it's only a month before ACFW though. If you've never been, there's a bookstore/coffee shop called The Upstart Crow in Seaport Village there...a must place to visit.

    KAV/Julie/everyone...thanks for the link!!

  63. Hi Barbara So are you going to the San Diego RWA? I love to combine family visits with conferences. So fun. If you are, let me know because I will be there and maybe we can meet up. That bookstore/coffee shop sounds intriguing. Oh Yay, The Upstart Crow is walking distance from the conference hotel. I'm going to check it out for sure. Looks fun from the webpage.

    And yes, I second the thanks to all who have contributed links. I need to go check out the others from Mary.

  64. Sandra, I didn't know you were going to RWA! I know the venue will be beautiful!

  65. Here are the links to the places Mary mentioned. They are in the Heartland so if you live nearby, check them out and mark your calendar.

    Romance Authors of the Heartland has a retreat every January.

    Council Bluffs Library has a retreat every year. Keep checking in to their website to find out when and where.

    Nebraska Writers Guild Spring Conference This is April 15-16th and Mary will be there. yay

    Our Front Porch Books Writers Conference in Iowa.

    Thanks Mary for all of these resources.

  66. Yes, Debby, I mentioned it before and asked who was going? No Seekers that I know of yet? Unless the readers missed the question? LOL very easy with all the info we pack into these posts.

  67. Debby Are you going? You usually go to RWA. It would be so much fun to see you again.

  68. I'm not going this year...although I hate to miss!

  69. Thanks for the wonderful post, but I have to ask, what is pickleball?

    I am at my oldest son's orientation for middle school and am trying to destress for a few minutes, but it is hard when the reality your baby is going to transition to a school that has a terrible reputation. We are praying about and looking into a private school, but I am checking out the public school. After all there is a new principal and reputations can change...

    Hope everyone is having a great week! I am looking forward to hiding for a couple hours tomorrow and getting some speedbo time in. Oh how I would rather be writing than be here!

  70. Hi Chrystal

    Wow, so sorry to hear about your school situation. Is this school in your neighborhood? What most parents don't realize is that the school in their neighborhood belongs to them. They are the owners of that school. Their taxes pay for that school. If they are not happy with the principal then get a bunch of parents together and go talk to the principal and make your feelings known. If you don't get results, go to the superintendent of the school district and express your feelings. Tell him/her that you are worried about your child going to that school. If you still don't get results, start going to board meetings and make the board members aware of your concerns. You can even become a board member and really have an impact on your school.

    I was a teacher in a public school in the inner city and let me tell you, I really loved those strong Christian students. They brought Christ into my classroom. Yep, they sure did. And they made a huge difference.

    Talk to other parents and find out what teachers have your values. You can request a teacher for your child. Go to the principal and express your concerns. Very few parents bother to express their concerns which is why so many problems are allowed to exist. But if a parent goes and becomes a squeeky wheel, they get attention. smile Remember to be a Christian squeeky wheel. My grandma always said "Sugar catches more flies than vinagar"

    The Christian parents in the last school I taught finally got together and made them paint the walls in the halls that were covered with "questionable" art. Yep, you can make a difference.

    Well you sure made me climb on my soapbox. Sorry folks.

    I'll talk about pickleball. Much more fun. It is one of the fastest growing sports in the US today. You can find out about it and see videos on the USA Pickleball Association website

    Keep on praying. I am also.

  71. Waaa Debby I am really going to miss you. I have such fond memories of when we roomed together at the RWA in Anaheim. smile You gave me the book Jesus Calling and I still read it every day.

  72. oops Crystal I spelled your name wrong. So sorry. I have a friend named Chrystal and she spells it with an "h".

    1. I actually spelled it that way in high school as a form of rebellion against the "I am just like everyone else" feelings. :-) I didn't even give it a second thought.

      Others have made changes to the school, and we are incoming parents. This was the new principal's first year and so we are trying to sort out new and old reputation whisperings. I understand and feel your soapbox. :-) I grew up and went through some of the worst schools in our state at the time and survived just fine and made an impact on my school. Now that it is my baby and his academic skills leave him balancing on a crack I can easily seeing him slip through, I am striving hard to make the best decisions I can for him without being a helicopter mom. My husband is the stronger proponent for the private school. I have taught in both settings and know the positives and negatives of each. Thanks for the prayers. They are certainly comforting and appreciated.

  73. Sandra, how great to see the pictures of all the fun you are having! No wonder you didn't have time for Speedbo. Your time was used well!

    I hadn't realized the Tucson Book Festival included sessions on writing craft. When hubby is truly retired, we'll head to Arizona to attend the event.

    Our library does limited hosting of authors. Our museum has sponsored a book signing for local authors. I do appreciate our local events.

    My Speedbo project is making slow and steady progress. I'm pleased to have made more time for writing than I thought possible. And I love being in my story world.

    Thanks for the post.....and for the pictures of warm places! Congratulations on your pickle ball success!

  74. Guess I need to get back in here as people are talking to me.

    Mary, the Word Sowers is the last two days of April.

    Sandra, I knew Mary and all those others will be there. I'm very excited about it. It so happens that they are all teaching the sessions that interest me the most.

  75. Hi Sherida Congratulations for making progress on the Speedbo project. woo hoooo!!!!

    That is wonderful that your library does author events. They are so special. smile

    Happy writing.

  76. Okay Sandy I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous. chuckle

    You are going to have such a wonderful time. And you will learn so much.

    Happy writing.

  77. Hi Crystal, Yes, there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to every venue. And we do want to protect our young. smile That is natural and honorable. And godly. smile.

    You have asked and so I trust you will receive the wisdom you need.

    Your son is blessed to have a mother who loves him so much.

    Happy writing.

  78. Hi sweet Sandra!
    Sorry I'm super late stopping by today, but the reason is SPEEDBO (yay!) - - okay, and laundry and litter boxes too, LOL. I'm happy to say this week has been very productive (so far) with my SPEEDBO word count. :) Now if I can just continue, I'll make my goal by the end of March!
    I enjoyed this post and loved seeing all your photos. You always look so cute in your pictures - - I cannot imagine seeing you without a SMILE. :) Seriously, you seem like one of those amazing people who is always smiling!
    Thank you for sharing with us today.
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  79. Sandra, will you be in Scottsdale? I know our very own TINA is trying to meet me up with our very own RUTHY sometime after SPEEDBO is finished!

  80. Thank you for this post, SANDRA. I love reading and writing, and the conferences sound very interesting. I've recently joined ACFW and hope to attend some of the chapter gatherings here in Texas. Thanks again, and congratulations on your pickleball wins!!

  81. Sandra, since I condsider myself a reader and a writer, the entire post was written for me :-) I haven't had time to read through the comments (yet) but so appreciate your ideas. We used to have a wonderful reader/writer event called Books 'n' Authors 'n' All That Jazz. Until I attended that event several years in a row, I had no idea how many published writers were in my area. It was great fun to meet them and buy a book directly from them. As far as I know, none of them was a pickleball ace like you, though LOL

    Nancy C

  82. Hi Patti Jo You always say the sweetest things. smile

    Thank you for the compliment, but probably hubby can say I don't smile allllll the time. LOL

    Super Congratulations on accomplishing your Speedbo goals. Wooo hoooo. I bet you feel really good. That is the way to hang in there. And we still have nine more days to go. Yippeee

    Happy writing.

  83. Hi Laura Conner Kestner I think most writers are avid readers. It certainly helps. smile

    I'm delighted you will be able to attend some chapter gatherings in Texas. I think you will find the networking very encouraging and helpful.

    Thanks for the congrats. Pickleball is really fun.

    Happy writing.

  84. Hi Nancy Of course this was written for you. Don't we all need each other? smile

    Please do go through the comments. Even if you just skim, look for the blue links. They are all other writing/author events. We had lots of great contributions today. Thank you everybody.

    Books 'n' Authors 'n' All That Jazz. The title alone sounds really fun. Was it put on by the Weatherford College? I found some info about one put on by that college.

    Happy writing.

  85. Hi Marianne I won't be in Scottsdale but will be in Eastern Arizona. I am trying to find a way to get back into town the day Ruthy passes through. Would be great to see her. I think she's planning to meet up with you. Yay. She will be blessed.

    Happy reading.

  86. Thanks so much all of you. It was a great day and in the comments there are blue links to many more events. Thanks for sharing those links.

    Be sure and check in the Weekend Edition for the winner of a surprise box of books.

    Have a great week.

    Happy Easter to all who celebrate. It is one of my favorite holy days. We all have so much to be thankful for.

  87. And to the Speedbo Writers. GO SPEEDBO

    Happy writing.

    Happy reading.

  88. One more thing. I will check in the morning for night owl comments. Your names will be put in the drawing also.

    Thanks for joining us.

  89. Sandra,

    Our local Barnes & Noble hosts a book signing the first Tuesday evening of each month for new authors only. It's a popular event here!

  90. I remember the first author I met as a child, Scott Corbet. He came to the school library. I told him how many books of his I had read, and he jokingly told me he had not read that many. :-)

    I know the Joseph-Beth bookstore by us has many authors visit.

    Thanks for all the ideas.

  91. We have a Nebraska, Barnes & Noble an hour away that does have some authors come in for book signing.. I hope to maybe see Mary Connealy there someday & some other Nebraska authors too :)

  92. I have met authors at bookstores. Took my daughter and friend to meet Ann Rice. I also went to a writer's weekend that Lynette Eason had in South Carolina. They also had an author meet and greet at the local library last year , but haven't heard if get are having it this year. Then a fellow teacher is a writer and we do lunch.

  93. Hi Edwina That is wonderful that your Barnes and Nobles supports new authors. In the Phoenix area, we have one that really supports romance authors and the rest don't so much. It sure makes a difference.

  94. Hi Becky, How exciting to say you met your first author in school. I have presented in schools quite often. When I was teaching, our schools always had Young Authors Day. We would bring in authors to talk to the students. And we encouraged students to publish their own books. It sure was a great way to teach writing skills.

    This is a great idea folks. Get your schools to have young authors day. It not only promotes authors and the writing business, but it promotes reading among the young.

  95. Hi Deanna Did you see all the Nebraska events Mary listed? If you keep those in mind you will surely meet her. smile

  96. Hi Mary What great opportunities you have. Can you share where these are so others might be able to look for them? Not the personal events, but the bookstore and library events? Thanks

  97. Lots of great resources here in the comments today.

    Thanks for all your input.