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Thursday, June 7, 2012

What I did on my Summer (spring) vacation

The weekend of May 18th to 20th I went to the Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster, PA.  The Keynotes were Hank Phillippi Ryan and Maria V. Snyder.

First off my mom and I write very different genres so we’ve never been anywhere together, she has her mystery things and I have my speculative fiction things, and this wasn’t just the first time we went to any writers things together, it was the first time we’ve been away together in a very long time.  We don’t travel much – or at least not for things that aren’t work. 

 The first day we were there we were not registered for anything.  They had offered several four hour workshops.  The workshops were kind of expensive but I think that if I am interested in one next year I’ll put the money up for it.    

 So Thursday we went to Landis Valley Museum – because we always go to museums, what with working in two of them – and then we went swimming. It was a nice relaxing day with my mom, something we don’t get a lot of anymore.  There was also good food and a drink that I didn’t like as much as I thought I would and the biggest buckwheat pillow I have ever seen.

 Friday Morning mom and I went to the introduction and it was a good introduction.  There were things in the introduction that I may do next year that I doubt I would have known about if I didn’t go to the intro.  Then Mom and I split up, I went to a session called “Get thee to a Writterhead!” and Mom went to an editing session.  We both enjoyed our sessions more than I think we thought we would.  Mine was one of my favorite sessions, it was about getting into and staying in that creative zone, something I can have trouble with from time to time.  I get interrupted a lot when I am working; both my paying job and my writing. 

 After that we both did “Showing vs. Telling with Maria V. Snyder, I love her work so I would have gone to this even if she was going to read the phonebook.  It was enjoyable and it is something that I know I have trouble with – I haven’t gone over my notes yet but she used examples from her own work and I have read all but 2 of her books so I found that helpful. 

 Lunch at a sub shop that thought it was in Brooklyn.

After lunch we split up again and Mom did Fictional Characters Anonymous with Hana Haatainen Caye (who I have been calling ‘the Finn’ for some time now) and I did a thing on social media – I would have liked it better if I had gotten there earlier and could have had a chair that I could have taken notes from.

 There are times that being left handed really sucks.  And I was still cranky for the next talk and somehow still didn’t get a seat that I could take notes from. 

 After Mom went to the Keynote Dinner,  I was invited but wanted to have supper with a  few friends.   

Saturday started with a two hour workshop called 10 Tools for Author Success with Deborah Riley-Magnus if you get a chance to go to this anywhere – go.  One of the best things I’ve been to in a long while.

 Then a thing on Extended Workshops, I have to say I would love to do an extended workshop some time, but it will probably have to be after I retire, I just can’t see swinging 6 weeks away from work, but you never know.  Odd things have happened in the past, I could win the lottery or something.    
Last thing of the day was a Meditation workshop.  It’s been to long since I have done any serious meditation I would do that one again and bought the cd.  Her website is

 Then Mom and I ate with a group of writers – I have to say that was very fun.  I don’t get out with whole groups of writers often. 

 Sunday was two talks and then the goodbyes.  The two talks I went to were on fight scenes and time management.  The fight scene talk was interesting; it was done by a Corrections Officer who works in a juvenile center.  I had read a book not that long ago about fighting in the NHL and many of the things that he said were very similar to things that were brought up in that book.  And time management – well I’m just never going to be good at that. 

 At the goodbye I won a Nook.  I’m not totally sold on e-readers but all of my pieces are out on e-reader so now I have them on my Nook. 

All and all the best weekend I’ve had in a long time.  I met good people and I had a good time.  I also came home and bought a buckwheat pillow.  It should be here tomorrow. 


  1. Let us know how you like the Nook. Thanks for the report!

    1. So far I'm loveing the Nook, but I only have a few things on it. I need to get more books for it, since it is so easy to cary around.

  2. Hi Elizabeth, I have been to several PennWriters conferences, both in Pgh, and in Lancaster, or was it Hershey? Anyway, they are always worth the time and money. I have since dropped out of the organization due to hubby's illness.

    You must have bought a lot of tickets to win the Nook. congrats. I've attended many sessions including the crits. Always nice to meet other authors.

    I also live in Pgh, and one of these days hope to make another conference when they hold it in Pgh. again. Who knows, maybe next year.


    1. Mom and I each got $10 of tickets and I spread them around. I think I only had one ticket in for the nook, I had two or three in other bags though.

      I think Mom and I will be going next year in Pgh. for someone who spent so much of her life near Philly I have never been to Pgh, I've been through it a few times but I've never even had a meal in the city.

  3. This was a very nice article, and I'm glad you shared your experience with us. I have to say, however, that I'm a bit jealous that you got to go. :) It would have been great to have been there with you. And I hope you will be sharing the tips you got from time to time.

  4. I couldn't have put it better.
    Love, Mom