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Eight New Writer Friends: a Summary of the Ventura County Writer’s Weekend

January 2, 2015

Happy New Year! Amongst the festivities, the 12 Days of Blogging continue! For this eighth day of Christmas, I wanted to share about the 4th Ventura County Writer’s Weekend. As long time followers know, I attended the first annual Writer’s Weekend and posted all the information I gleaned on Charlotte Blackwood’s site. This year’s 2014 conference ran under the same format (and had some of the same information) as the last one. In order to provide some variety then, I thought I would simply introduce some of the speakers and the highlights of their messages.

Michael Bowker—Michael is the founder of, a company that guides authors through the writing, publishing, and marketing processes. He was a very kind soul. His take away advice was, when producing a book, do the parts that you like, and then figure out which parts you can pay others to do.

RosaLinda Diaz & Joel Eisenberg—Both of these people were insane social media wizards. Their sleeves are overstuffed with tricks. Rosa is the author of Bee Stings, a fantastic chick lit, and you can also hire her to do your social media promotion. Joel pens The Chronicles of Ara and wakes up at 4am every morning to talk with his friends on LinkedIn and Facebook. One thing she and he kept repeating over and over was, no matter what platform, to be interested in your audience and interact with them. Be sincere and don’t do it if not interested.

Sarah Howey HartPublicist, freelance writer, and author of Catch ‘n Release: The Game, Sarah has a finger in a lot of pies. Horizon/Alaska Air Magazine, Pacific Coast Business Times, Recovery Living, Ojai Quarterly, Ojai Monthly Real Estate/Lifestyle Magazine all benefit from her pen. One of her big pieces of advice was to keep control of your creative rights.

Melodie Johnson Howe—Nominated for the Barry Award and the Mystery Writer’s of America Edgar Allen Poe Award, Melodie has a Hollywood past and writes mysteries such as The Mother Shadow and The Diane Poole Stories. She suggested to not deal with people who take you on without reading your book or settling on payment up front.

Toni Lopopolo & Shellie Lowenkopf—This spitfire team are regulars of the Ventura County writer scene. They are authors, editors, and agent and can transform a wannabe aspiring author to a fully published and successful writer. They’ll kick your manuscript into next week, jovially and brusquely, but your manuscript will be all the better for it. Seriously. Check them out here and here.

Kate Sexton—Publicist and author, Kate is the main organizational force behind the Ventura County Writer’s Weekend. Expert and advocate for the self-publishing process, she’s chock full of new ideas and places to take your book. Her main adage was to start local with your promotion and marketing and expand from there. She’s amazing and I’d love to mine her mind sometime. Her website’s here.

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