My Biggest Takeaway: Philadelphia Writers’ Conference 2017

My biggest takeaway from PWC 2017At the Opening Speech at this year’s Philadelphia Writers Conference,  Yolanda Wisher, the Philadelphia Poet Laureate, coined the word “kinfluences”, meaning the family and friends whose stories influenced her life and informed her writing.

My biggest takeaway from the Philadelphia Writers Conference this year was my own reconnection with people in my writing family. “Kinnections”, if you will allow me to play off Ms. Wisher’s word.

The conference itself was a forum for connecting with people in real life who I usually only see online. Mary Mooney, Doreen McGettigan, and Kelly Deeny crossed my path this year. So did Uriah Young, who I met at his first Philadelphia Writers Conference a few years ago. At that time he was a newbie with a story to tell, this year he’s on the Philadelphia Writers Conference board.

The biggest blast from my past was Jonathan Maberry‘s visit to Doylestown. I met him more than a decade ago, and he has been a large influence on my writing career. He moved to California a few years back, so it was good to see him.

Keith Strunk is another writer friend of long standing. He was part of a group project that stands as a major turning point in my writing life, and also in my personal life, as I got married during the project. Connecting with him both at Jonathan’s book signing and at the Philadelphia Writers Conference was great fun.

Perhaps my biggest career-related reconnection at this year’s Philadelphia Writers Conference was with Denise Camacho, head of Intrigue Publishing. We first met three years ago at the 2014 Philadelphia Writers Conference.  At that conference, I pitched a novel to her at the pitch session. Not only was she interested in that novel, but she was very excited about a novel that I had literally just begun. This year, that novel is essentially finished, and she is still excited about it, so I will send it to her after I get final edits back from my editor.

So my biggest takeaway from this year’s Philadelphia Writers Conference were my “kinnections”–relationships built on previous years’ attendance, relationships cemented or expanded by shared experiences. Some people ask why I go to the same conference year after year. There are numerous reasons, of course, but the ongoing connections I build and strengthen every year are a part of it.

Writing can be solitary,  but publishing is a communal effort. For me, the Philadelphia Writers Conference is a large part of finding the publishing community to help me succeed.





  1. Interesting post. I wish you the best with your novel.

  2. I would have loved to have seen Jonathan Friday, but had dinner Fri. night with people whom I see at the conference – we shared a lot of laughs. There’s a lot to be said about connecting with old friends. Thanks for a great post.
    Barbara of the Balloons

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