For those who are regular attendees of writing conferences, you know they are a wealth of information and a great way to make new contacts.

If you’ve never attended one, I highly encourage you to find one even on a local level in your home town. Photo at right was at AZMysteryCon 2016, Photo by Elena Thornton, Arizona Consortium for the Arts.

They often include workshops on various writing topics, with professional speakers and/or those writers with expertise who are attending the conference. There are networking opportunities, dinners at which you can chat with and get to know writers from many levels and from all around the world, and usually there’s a bookstore in which you can sell your books.

I’m looking forward to my first time at the Kauai Writers Conference in Kauai, Hawaii in November. There are three days of workshops on everything from point of view and plot structure, to sessions on short stories, nonfiction and memoirs, to tools to get your BIC (butt in the chair) and how agents evaluate your work.

I’m also taking a three-afternoon master class there with the prolific mystery writer, Anne Perry, who has written 29 books in her Victorian mystery series starring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, and 20 novels in her William Monk series, set in an earlier period of Victoria’s reign, plus many more. The class is called “Breathing Life into your Novel,” and it will come at a good time for my new book, “Raw Image,” in a new series called “Behind the Lens Mysteries.”

I am already registered for the next “Left Coast Crime” conference, to be held in San Diego, CA in March 2020. It’s always a good conference, and I’ve been fortunate to be a speaker the past few years. Here are my writing buddies Wendy and Margaret at a recent LCC. 

I also may have the opportunity to attend a writing conference in Tullamore, Ireland in May 2020 as part of our Chandler Irish Sister City. I have been chairing the Cultural Art Program, where I was “twinned” with another artist two years ago, and we organized a “postcard” project with residents from Tullamore and Chandler that culminated in displays in both cities. Next year we’re planning a social media writing project, and we are in the early stages of preparation.

Another great conference for crime writers is Writer’s Police Academy, which this year held a “Murder-Con.” I wasn’t able to attend, but have gone three other years, and got a lot of hands-on experience in shooting weapons, figuring out a crime scene and so much more. That’s me on the left after using an AR-15 to shoot a paper target at WPA two years ago.

There are also a variety of writing groups online, such as on Facebook, where you can interact with other writers, ask and answer questions and continue your education about writing.

Yes, they cost money, in lodging, flights and food. But it’s all very worth it, especially if you want to grow as a writer and elevate yourself in the writing world.

Let me know your favorite writing conferences, or if you have questions about them please email me at or post a comment here.