Director’s Invitation: Join me at the 29th Central Coast Writers’ Conference September 20-21, 2013

My 4th Director’s Message by Judy Salamacha…More Details and online registration at and Facebook/Central Coast Writers Conference

The 29th Central Coast Writers’ Conference will stand out forever in my memory for professional and personal reasons. Professionally, the 2013 conference offers the best mix of presenters in a variety of genres for readers, aspiring writers and published authors. This year it is all about perfecting our craft in order to tell the story.

Personally, the 2013 conference resolves a quest started and completed within the four years I have been associated as a first year attendee then the director. Finally, all that I gleaned listening and applying what our presenters have taught us helped me fulfill my bucket list dream. My debut interpretative history book was published in April, 2013.

WHY WE WRITE is the title Rebecca Rasmussen chose for her keynote address. She is the author of The Bird Sisters and if I were still teaching high school English, I would challenge the list of required reading and incorporate this debut novel into my curriculum. Let me go out on a limb and state emphatically that Rasmussen achieved what most of us seek — “the great American novel.”

The Bird Sisters is crafted with memorable characters blended perfectly to their setting. These two ladies are bound and challenged by the mores of their mid-western rural heartland. We are introduced to spinster sisters, yet the story focus answers the question how they became “the bird sisters” one summer in their teens. Thus, the target reading audience spans the young adult seeking “coming of age” insights; the female adult looking for romance in her literature; seniors seeking peer adventures or reflection of times gone by. Male adults learn to understand the impact they might have on the female psyche and a family is put to the test of living through the drama between siblings and parents and extended kinfolk.  I hope everyone will read it before coming to the conference. You will wonder and ask as I did how Rebecca got into the heads and hearts of these two intriguing, richly developed characters.

With your guidance through evaluations and the insights of my advisory committee, I think we’ve found the perfect “closer.” We all want to squeeze one more nugget of process into our brains, but by the time we’ve crammed four workshops worth of training, we also need something light and fun. Joel Friedlander is all that, including being the best authority on what makes a great book cover that sells online or in the book store.

Whether it is fiction, short fiction, children’s, YA, poetry, nonfiction, word usage, setting, character or platform development, audio books, writing a query letter, finding an agent or preparing your manuscript for a publisher, you’ll find amazing presenters to answer your questions. My apologies now for making you choose. I know it will be next to impossible because you’ll want to hear from all of them. Here’s an option! Pick their brains at lunch. We’ve collapsed Table Talks into a Power Lunch with our presenters. Don’t forget to savor your time with them by ordering your box lunch ahead!

Seriously! If you have an idea for your bucket list or next book concept, 2013 is the time to invest in yourself and take advantage of the all new Manuscript Critique and Face Time. For a minimal add-on expense, you can submit your first 10 pages, your picture book text, or a couple of shorter poems to the professional editors our coordinator, Susanne Lakin, has assembled. You submit by August 16, we assign based on your genre, they return an in-depth critique by conference time and we schedule 15 minutes of Face Time for you and them to meet during the conference – to discuss it more or discuss another first page or your query to get your manuscript to the next step. I totally verify that if you listen to an experienced editor, you will produce a product that will be published to your satisfaction.

I’ll even share a secret…since I had a co-author, we submitted our 10 pages three years in a row under her name and avoided abusing a conflict of interest rule I set up for myself as director. It worked! We had to change our concept and focus a couple of times to get the right product and now it is a much better book thanks to the professionals that helped us.

Thanks to PG&E we’ve come a long way with our PG&E Teen Writers Program. For four years scholarships were offered for at least 25 students, who have learned to hone lifetime skills and appreciate reading and writing from our presenters. In 2013 we introduce the Chevron Teachable Moments Series to give our San Luis Obispo teachers the same opportunity we have given to their students – to learn from the professionals what expectations there are today in the world of writers and publishers, thus the world of work.

Jump out there in 2013 and enter the Lillian Dean Writing Competition. Former director Cathe Olson chairs the competition. Check out the rules and guidelines for submission on the website. The worst thing that can happen is you’ll get feedback on your submission for a very tiny add-on fee. The best, of course, is winning the trophy, certificate or review of your query letter submission by Foreword Literary and reading it to the rest of us at Saturday’s General Assembly.

And what a special year to share with Dave Congalton, San Luis Obispo’s favorite talk show host and friend and former director of the Central Coast Writers’ Conference. We’re so excited for Dave and Charlotte as they live the dream Rebecca Rasmussen will talk about in her keynote. It’s still a bumpy ride, but Dave understands why he was compelled to give screenwriting time and attention again. Indeed it is WHY WE WRITE! You won’t want to miss our celebration of Dave’s Success Story.

Whether you want to hang out with writers and see how we tick or have a dream to write and publish your memoir for posterity, chapbook of poetry, how-to book to get it right, or great American novel, please, join us September 20-21. We won’t disappoint your Great Expectations.


Judy Salamacha

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