Second Annual Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference, Medgar Evans College, Brooklyn, NY.
In one word, awesome. From the beginning of my trip from West Virginia to New York City and back home last night, my experience was awesome. If you are a writer, I highly recommend any writers conference if you've never attended one! Since this was my first writers conference, I had nothing to compare it to, but from the feedback I received from fellow writers and my own experience, this writers conference was a class act. From beginning to end.
Months before the Conference, I already felt like I was taken into the fold by Nora Comstock, President and CEO of Las Comadres para las Americas. You won't find a warmer, more beautiful human being than Nora. She kept us all in the loop on transportation, the 1 on 1 agent/editor sessions, and when needed, Nora put writers into contact with other writers who were looking for hotel roommates. I was very pleased to meet her in person. She was as lovely in person as I thought she would be.
After an easy registration, the participants were offered a great breakfast and time to meet new friends and mingle with long-time friends. We were welcomed by the four dynamic women running the Conference: Nora Comstock, Adriana Dominguez, Marcela Landres, and Dr. Brenda Greene, Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evans College, where the Conference was held. Kudos on a job well done to everyone involved, including the volunteers!
This fast-paced writers conference was worth every penny. I met fellow writers in every genre, published and non-published, and enjoyed listening to keynote speaker, Reyna Grande who spoke about her humble beginnings and how she became the author of a memoir and three novels. Reyna was open, gracious and a wealth of information to those attending the writers conference.
I especially enjoyed listening and meeting Karen E. Quinones Miller, a presenter who spoke about self-publishing. Karen is who I will remember most when I think back to the Conference. This woman stole my heart with her vibrant energy, raw courage, tenacity and accomplishments in the publishing world from her beginnings as a self-published author. Amazing woman!
There are those among us who enter this life destined to be life teachers and mentors for others. Karen is that teacher for me. I knew it instantly. Myself and several other writers practically begged Karen to continue her presentation on self-publishing in the cafeteria and she graciously and enthusiastically shared with us. Seven of us sat around Karen as she took us step by step from creating a book cover to downloading our images for the back cover and book spine. I was like a sponge to her knowledge and information which seemed to have no end. I also enjoyed meeting her assistant, Brenda, a kind, soft-spoken woman who lovingly attended to Karen's needs and our own, as we listened and furiously wrote down every word Karen uttered. I look forward to seeing Karen in November in Philly for her self-publishing workshop. I also look forward to keeping in touch with the many wonderful writers I met on Saturday, now friends and mis comadres.
In my life, I've encountered two types of creative people and teachers: those who guard and keep their learned experiences in a sealed box only available for their personal use and gain and those who freely offer of themselves and what they've learned to others. The women I had the pleasure of meeting on Saturday fall into the latter category. I was blessed to meet them.
Over the years since I wrote, A Decent Woman, my historical fiction novel, I have been fortunate to befriend many beautiful women and fellow creatives who have loved and supported me, my children and my writing. Adding a dozen more new friends to my comadre circle this past weekend has enriched my life beyond belief.
My warm thanks and gratitude again to Mayra C., Irene H. and Junior for helping me get to NYC! I love you all.