Hi, there! I'm Gayle Trent, author of Murder Takes the Cake, a cozy mystery published by Bell Bridge Books, and your host for this Virtual Writers' Conference. The conference is intended to benefit those of us (myself included) who will be unable to attend a writers' conference this year. Given the economy and fear of contracting the swine flu virus, I believe many of our travel plans will be curttailed.
Let me give you a brief introduction so you'll know what to expect. If you've attended writing conferences in the past, then you know that networking and socializing with other writers is part of the fun. Since real-time events aren't feasible since our presenters and participants are located throughout the world, please leave your comments to various posts and I or the blogging participant will respond and attempt to answer any questions you may have.
Those of you who are on Twitter may follow me at http://twitter.com/GayleTrent for real-time comments and updates.
Unfortunately, we will not be serving a virtual conference luncheon or dinner any of the days of this conference. Therefore, to get the full conference experience, some of you might want to prepare yourself a meal of dry chicken breast, two asparagus spears, three small red potatoes with some blend of green, leafy seasonings and either ice water or unsweetened tea that you will not--despite your best efforts--be able to make taste just right. Also, have a roll with a pat of cold unspreadable butter, a wilted salad with unrecognizable dressing and either a cookie or a piece of cake. You may have a cup of lukewarm coffee with your dessert. The dessert will be the highlight of your meal, so savor it. It will almost make up for the rest of the meal. Charge yourself anywhere from $20 to $80, and wear shoes that hurt your feet for a greater effect. If possible, watch a video of writers from other conferences accepting awards for which you were not even nominated.
So while we will not be serving food, what we will be serving up is plenty of helpful information and advice. This advice will come from authors, journalists, freelance writers, columnists, editors, publishers and agents. Two agents are seeking new clients. Come back on Friday for more information on those agents and the types of manuscripts they're looking for.
We'll have new "speakers" coming in with fresh posts every hour or so. In order to make the most of your conference experience, subscribe to this blog so you'll be sure to get notification of every update. I realize you might not have time to enjoy the entire four-day conference as the updates come in. However, the posts will not be deleted; so you can come back and enjoy them whenever it's convenient for you. [Try that at a "real" conference: "Er, excuse me, Mr. Grisham, could you repeat your speech? I was in the bathroom." :-) ]
You might be asking yourself, "What's the catch? Why are these guys doing this for free?" There's no catch. We're simply hoping that you enjoy the Virtual Writers' Conference so much that you'll either buy some of our books and/or services, recommend them to your friends or request them from your local library. Plus we can do all that without eating the aforementioned meal, without the sore feet and without watching other writers accept awards for which we were not even nominated. [Please note, some of our presenters are award-winning writers. They are excluded from the last part of that sentence, although I'll hazard a guess that they, too, have sat through a few awards ceremonies eating sour grapes.]
Throwing out a couple advertisements to my sponsor, I'll direct you to Bell Bridge where you can buy an autographed copy of Murder Takes the Cake and to my personal website where you can get The Writer's Planner or sign up for my complimentary newsletters.
I hope you enjoy the conference immensely. In the meantime, I'll be checking in with you. Should you need anything, please don't hesitate to let me know.