The Critic Rocks the Ozarks

Let’s see, how many trips and writing conferences can I cram into the last month before NaNoWriMo?

If you guessed “at least three and two, respectively,” then congratulations! You win a prize!


You get a beer!

The first weekend of October was my 10-year high school reunion, which was held in a haunted conference center out in BFE. (I did not actually find out that the conference center was haunted until that evening, when a friend of mine who used to work there told me all the stories. I was alternately freaked and sad that we didn’t get to do a ghost tour.)

It was wonderful to see so many people I hadn’t seen since graduation and see a few more I’d only met through Facebook pictures. Even though it had been a decade, there were times it felt like we’d just been gone for a long weekend and were back at school again.

To my knowledge, none of my classmates became hitmen, and I don’t think we had to foil any assassination attempts or hide bodies at the high school.

Oh well. There’s always the 15-year.

This past weekend, I headed over to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for the Ozark Creative Writers Conference (along with a few other people). It’s a relatively inexpensive, small conference that nevertheless manages to get some great editors, agents, and writers as speakers. Plus, Eureka Springs is a great little tourist town with some excellent shopping, restaurants, and sightseeing.

This year, the featured speakers were Cherry Weiner, a literary agent, and Daniela Rapp, an editor with St. Martin’s. They had a lot of fantastic information, and listening to the two of them together was absolutely HYSTERICAL. (Seriously, I would pay money to watch The Cherry & Daniela Show on a regular basis.)

OCW is also the contest I entered back in August. Two of my stories placed: “Benny’s Bedtime Adventure,” which won second place at the Tulsa Library contest earlier this year, got second honorable mention in its category, and “Don’t Tell” got third honorable mention.

Lissa also placed twice, with her poem “Tanka 42” taking second honorable mention and another poem, “Dragonfly,” taking second place in the nature poetry category.



If you’re in this part of the country and you’re looking for a conference that isn’t going to make your bank account scream in agony, OCW and OWFI (which is Oklahoma City every May) both give you some great bang for your buck.

My big “it’s not really a #WriteMotivation goal-check month but oh well I’m going to set one anyway” goal for this month was getting my Buzz articles finished as early as possible.

Because of travel, I didn’t get them done by October 13, as I’d hoped, but I got them all finished and submitted by October 16, which is just three days off. That still works, right?


More beer!

Now I get a breather from that for a week while I work on other stuff. Like editing. And NaNo plotting. And finishing up the 8 billion reviews I have sitting on my computer. (I actually have a Word doc called “Holy Shit Reviews.” No, I am not kidding.)

Meanwhile, I’ve got my sister-in-law’s baby shower this weekend and the Nimrod conference at the University of Tulsa the weekend after, as well as a pre-NaNo plotting session (which should be a ton of fun!).

And then it’s November!


Now it’s a coping mechanism.

How’s October treating you? If you’re doing NaNo, are you ready for it?

Beer picture by Bernt Rostad