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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thank you !

The 2014 Queen City Writers Conference was a huge success. Many thanks to every participant, sponsor, vendor who helped in our project. We could not have done it without you!

2015 promises to be even greater. Stay tuned.......there is much more to come!

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Queen City Writers Conference Countdown!

Today begins our countdown to the conference and we couldn't be more excited. If you have not registered to attend any of the events you are going to miss out on great things over the next few days.

Tim Small, our Master Motivator is our spotlight feature for today. With several years of military experience Tim will be our bonus feature on Friday of the conference. His focus will be on a writers breakthrough! What does that look like and better yet what does it mean? It should be fun and inspiring.

It's not too late to join us. You can still register for the conference or simply register for the day. The workshops are endless, the networking opportunities will be memorable and all that is missing is you!

Queen City Writers Conference begins Thursday, October 16th at 9am.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Who Are the Publishers for the 2014 Queen City Writers Conference?

Do you have questions about Publishing? With so many changes in the Publishing industry these days, how does one choose? Is it easier to Self publish or to try work with a Traditional one? These answers and more will be addressed at the conference, October 16th - 18 at the Hilton Executive Park. Registrations are still going on.

ICP Consulting & Publishing


Comfort Publishing

Chalfont House Publishing

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Breast Cancer Fundraiser

We are asking for your support. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are supporting the cause. Will you join us? Proceeds will benefit local families that need immediate assistance.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Who Are the Keynote Speakers for the 2014 Queen City Writers Conference?

With the conference fast approaching and the early bird registration coming to a fast close, I thought I would give you a glimpse of the great Keynotes for this years conference.

 Robert Inman- Author
 Robert Inman’s latest novel, The Governor’s Lady, was published in September, 2013. Drawing on his a career as a journalist and creative writer, Inman has crafted the story of Cooper Lanier, a determined woman fighting to establish her independence in the tumultuous world of male-dominated politics.

The Governor’s Lady is Inman’s fifth novel, following Home Fires Burning , Old Dogs and ChildrenDairy Queen Days, and Captain Saturday, all published originally by Little, Brown and Company, and now available in popular
 e-book formats.  He is also the author of a collection of non-fiction work, Coming Home: Life, Love and All Things Southern, and an illustrated family holiday book, The Christmas Bus.

Inman has written screenplays for six motion pictures for television, two of which have been “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentations.  His script for The Summer of Ben Tyler, a Hallmark production, won the Writers’ Guild of America Award as the best original television screenplay of 1997.  His other Hallmark feature was Home Fires Burning, a 1989 adaptation of his novel.

He is a member of the Authors Guild, Writers Guild of America, Dramatists Guild, PEN American Center, North Carolina Writers Conference, North Carolina Writers Network, and Alabama Writers Forum.

 Cathy Pickens - Author
Cathy is a frequent convention speaker on topics ranging from writing mysteries to classic true crime stories to the use of poisons. She is the Wireman Professor of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, where she teaches MBA courses in law and workshops on developing the creative process.

The first Avery Andrews novel Southern Fried won the 2003 St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Award for Best New Traditional Mystery.  Cathy has also written four other Southern Fried mysteries and a mystery walking tour of Charleston: Charleston Mysteries (History Press).

She has served as president of Sisters in Crime (a 3000-member group of readers and writers), on the national board for Mystery Writers of America (the oldest mystery writers organization), and is currently president of the regional Forensic Medicine Program. 

Syndicated Talk Show Host – Francene Marie
Francene Marie Morris is heard on 7-CBS Radio Stations in the Southeast Region. Francene began her radio career on Kiss 95.1 in Charlotte, North Carolina 20+years ago raising awareness to worthy causes and topics important to you and your families. From interviewing White house Politicians to local officials and non-profits, there’s no topic off-limits for her show.  She’s an author, food blogger and voice artist. Founder of My Media Tutor - a training portal for media interview prep and facilitates public speaking boot-camps. Co-founder of “Favorite Things For A Cause”and mom of 2 adult people she admires.

The author of two works of art: GOING PUBLIC – The Cheat Sheets In Promoting Yourself to Media.  Another gem is: Must Be Present to Win – The Tireless Spirit of Optimism. Francene’s voice is heard on an audio series of guided Meditation CD’s and her award winning radio career has led to one on one interview’s with Vice President Joe Biden, Madeleine Albright, Valerie Jarrett, and renowned poet Dr. Maya Angelou. 

Haven't signed up for the conference yet? What are you waiting for? You don't want to miss these Keynotes or any of the other speakers. 

The early bird registration ends Monday, September 15th and the rate increases to $199.00. 

We are writers supporting writers and what better way to take your writing to the next level than by attending this years conference?

Join us! We look forward to meeting you there!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Delbert Earle's Window of Opportunity

by Robert Inman
Late Summer always brings thoughts of a new school year about to begin, and for my friend Delbert Earle, that always brings thoughts of Miz Pirtley.  She was his senior English teacher, and Miz Pirtley’s favorite saying was, “Delbert Earle, if you ever stop acting the fool, you might amount to something.”
Delbert Earle thought he was quite the dude in the Fall of his Senior year.  He was playing halfback on the football team, going steady with a girl so cute she made him blush every time he thought of her, and headed toward graduation.  Well, hoping he was headed toward graduation.
Delbert Earle was the class cut-up, always the center of attention, and something of a practical jokester.  Whenever Miz Pirtley found something in her desk drawer that wasn’t supposed to be there, she knew exactly where it came from.  She found a good many strange things in her desk drawer that Fall, many of them alive and wiggling.
One afternoon, a warm and lazy Indian Summer day begging to be enjoyed, Delbert Earle was standing on top of a desk in study hall, leaning out the window, talking to his girl.  Miz Pirtley passed by in the hall, saw Delbert Earle, and moved faster than anybody had ever seen Miz Pirtley move before.  She grabbed him by the ankles, gave a mighty shove, and threw Delbert Earle clean out the window into a nandina bush.
Then Miz Pirtley got up on the desk and looked out the window at Delbert Earle.
“What did you go and do that for?” he asked, his pride more damaged than his body.  (The worst part was that his girlfriend laughed.  Loudly.)
“Delbert Earle,” Miz Pirtley said sweetly, “I was just acting the fool, and it was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
Delbert Earle turned out all right.  He’s got a good job and a nice family now, pays his taxes, never misses voting in an election, and speaks pretty good English.  He’s acted the fool a few times in his life, as we all have.  But a few times he’s started to and didn’t, and the reason he didn’t was that he thought of Miz Pirtley.
One of these days soon, as Summer becomes Fall, Delbert Earle plans to go by the school and thank Miz Pirtley.  But he plans to stay clear of the windows.

Robert Inman has written screenplays for six motion pictures for television, two of which have been “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentations. His script for The Summer of Ben Tyler, a Hallmark production, won the Writers’ Guild of America Award as the best original television screenplay of 1997. His other Hallmark feature wasHome Fires Burning, a 1989 adaptation of his novel. He is also a Keynote Speaker at the Queen City Writers Conference, October 18, 2014, Charlotte, NC.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lisa Heidrich's Radio Interview

Speaking Confidence: An Interview with Lisa Heidrich

Today we welcome Lisa Heidrich, author of Speaking Confidence. For a chance to win an ebook copy of her motivational book, comment below.
Hi Lisa! Tell me a bit about where you’re from.
Angie, I was born in Manhattan, NYC and lived there for a short time, just two young years, so I don’t remember what it’s like to live in the “Big Apple.”
I grew up in south Florida—call it home—lived there, went to school there, and had my children there. Moved to North Carolina about fourteen years ago. I remember we moved in the fall of 1999, and I would drive up and down I-77, to see the pink, plum, red, orange, and yellow leaves. I never knew anything but Palm Trees! I love the four seasons this state offers but miss the ocean near my home town.
I can relate to a love for the ocean and autumn. My hometown, Rockland, Maine has both. So you’ve journeyed to very different place in the United States. Now tell me a bit about your journey to salvation.
I grew up thinking I was a Christian. I thought I knew all about God. I had learned all the dogma and had obligation down pat. Nearly two decades ago I experienced grief, loss, and real life trauma. I was maxed out and at the end of my rope. I had lost all hope for this life. Someone invited me to a small group Bible study. I thought I was going to a coffee social. That’s where I found Jesus, and truly understood what it was to be given grace and have a one-on-one relationship with the Lord of this universe who loved me with a lavish love. I finally found my Hope. Jesus. My life verse is, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). I learned that religion never saves us from ourselves, but relationship does. That’s my official salvation quote. I love sharing my testimony and take every opportunity to share it, and have across eight states for the past six years seeing women give their lives to Christ. It’s been a blessing and truly a journey with Jesus.
What an incredible testimony! Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I am an introvert. I hate shredded coconut. I am Mommy to a Harlequin Macaw named Matilda and Great Dane named Mercy. [giggle]
Well, I know your favorite animal. What’s your favorite book? Why?
The Bible, I love non-fiction. Truly the only REAL READ that leads to life change. Every time I read the Bible I learn something new no matter how many times I read it. For example, just recently I read Isaiah 14:14, in short, “God doesn’t need our advice”. That’s powerful. I love being moved by what I read.
So, I *think* I already know the answer, but…what is your favorite genre to read? Write?
READ & WRITE: Non-Fiction. I love true stories, autobiographies, biographies, stories about authentic people, and learning new things.
I wish I had the desire to read more nonfiction. I’m a fan of speculative fiction, especially fantasy and dystopian. Who does your intended audience include? Believers and nonbelievers? In what ways do you believe your story reaches each?
Believers and nonbelievers. At heart I consider myself an “evangelista,” a female version of an evangelist! [smile] My book reaches both audiences because glossophobia is the #1 FEAR in our universe. The dreaded FEAR of PUBLIC speaking. My conviction is: there are bigger topics and scenarios to be afraid of, like dying without knowing Jesus. I am also passionate about connecting people with their public voices and sharing their story with confidence. My favorite story is from Jeremiah chapter 1, where Jeremiah makes all kinds of excuses about speaking, how he’s just a child, he doesn’t have the words, and he is terrified. Similar to excuses one might argue when they have to speak in public. My advice—my word, God’s word to them is stand up and say your piece—HE will give the words and anoint your lips. It’s our nature as people to speak, there is no point letting it hold anyone back from their potential. In many cases, I am finding it is a generational strong hold, a fear passed down from generation to generation.
How long did it take you to write this book?
My book, Speaking Confidence was birthed in three AMAZING months. This is a miracle story and was a Divine appointment for me. I originally thought I was going to write a devotional/gift-type book, so I attended a writing conference and booked an appointment with a publisher who wrote in RED pen all over my manuscript and asked me seemingly difficult questions. I left the appointment dejected, READY to go home. I would have IF I didn’t have a roommate who came all the way from Cincinnati, and I was her RIDE back to the airport in three days. She arrived at our room to find me in bed at 3:00 PM, crying. She agreed “so & so was a REAL JERK” because she had talked to him too. Girlfriends know how to cheer us up. The next day I ate an orange for breakfast in our room and had quiet time, prayed and cried out to God. I left the room around noon and walked toward the cafeteria for lunch. In my peripheral vision I could see two women coming up on my right. Inside I shuddered and secretly hoped they wouldn’t “talk” to me. Thankfully they did and I met my publisher (and her sister) at that lunch date. I pitched a verbal idea about Speaking Confidence and she said, “Send me the first chapter.” I was too terrified to pitch the devotion/gift book again! That was May, my book was written, edited and published late fall. It was a God thing and I give Him the glory for the book.
Lisa, thank you so much for venturing to other worlds with. I truly hope your writing endeavors glorify God.
Thank you, Angie, for allowing me to share with you! May I give a “shout-out” for the Queen City Writers Conference in Charlotte, NC on October 16th-18th?
Of course.
I am excited to be on faculty and hope to meet some new friends! Catch the $99 early bird registration till September 15 at
Speaking Conficence
Purchase Speaking Confidence on Amazon.
Lisa Bongiorno-Heidrich, RN,CCM,CHP, asserts writing unsurprisingly exists hand-in-hand with speaking. An International speaker, Ministry Director, Global Conversationalist, and author of Speaking Confidence, Lisa enjoys helping others find their niche through their unique voice, message, and mission. Contributor for monthly web-based articles, along with blogs at A real social butterfly, you’ll catch daily on Facebook and Twitter @LisaCHeidrich. With twenty years experience teaching, speaking, and coaching, she offers a compilation of vital information for speaking and writing trepidation. She grew up in Florida, now resides in North Carolina, and holds degrees in nursing and vocational education.  She is currently the Publicity Director and Faculty Member of Queen City Writers Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 Queen City Writers Conference Announcement

Great News!

Queen City Writers Conference on October 16 -18, 2014, Charlotte, NC— 

We are pleased to ANNOUNCE that due to the fantastic interest in this conference the publicity committee has deemed it necessary to EXTEND the Early Bird rate of $99 which includes a 3-day pass to writing workshops, critique groups, discussion panels, and general sessions. This affordable pricing has been extended for a limited time. Register and get complete details online at

This is the most sensational writers conference hitting the Queen City this FALL — you can't afford to miss it! There IS a workshop for everyone, seasoned authors, up-and-coming writers, journalists, and students alike. We even have a special writing class for TEENS on Saturday, an elegant AWARDS & semi-formal dinner banquet Saturday night featuring keynote speaker Robert Inman for $40 per person. See CBS radio personality Francine Marie LIVE Thursday night, mystery author Cathy Pickens on Friday night, and join the Pro-Panel discussion & open mic with experts in the field—ask questions and get answers—plus so much more.

     We are also giving a last call to vendors for networking with new customers RIGHT HERE IN CHARLOTTE. Vendor tables are only $50 for the 3-day conference. SPACE IS LIMITED. The Queen City Writers Conference, October 16-18, 2014, at the Executive Park Hilton (I-77 and Tyvola Road in Charlotte NC)—Come join the writing extravaganza of the season... WRITE here, WRITE now! See you there!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Are You a Lone Ranger?

By Rachelle Gardner

In publishing, we’re constantly asking writers—typically a rather introverted bunch—to get involved, to engage, to network, to join groups and go to conferences. I often find myself wondering how many of you cringe every time you hear that kind of advice.
Maybe you’re not into the whole publishing “scene.” Maybe you don’t enjoy being in a critique group where people discuss your work.
Maybe you don’t want to be part of a crowd, you don’t want to go to workshops, you don’t think of writing as a group activity. 
Maybe social media is not your thing. The thought of promoting your book gives you hives. You don’t want to be a speaker or a blogger or a Facebook expert.
Can such a person find success in publishing?
Yes—but these days it’s rare.

Monday, August 4, 2014

9 Things I Did To Become A Full-Time Writer

by Carlos Cooper | 50 Comments

Three years ago, I was like many of you. Just starting out. Not a clue which way to go. I had an idea for a book and that was it, but I wanted to become a full-time writer.
Fast forward a couple years, and I’m doing this for a living (on top of being a stay-at-home dad). I make a living writing fiction, but everything didn’t converge until four months ago. So what did I do to get here?
photo credit: via photopin cc
photo credit: via photopin cc
If you don’t want to hear a bit of my story, and think I may be tooting my own horn, feel free to read some of Joe’s stuff HERE. He’s much gooder than me anyway. :)
If you’re like me, and you enjoy hearing what others have learned in hopes of avoiding potential pitfalls, and you want to see what it took for me to become a full-time writer, continuing reading, my friend.

1. I Stopped Looking For Permission

I learned basic grammar and story-telling in grade school. I took one mandatory creating writing course in college.
That makes me a hack. I am not classically trained. But who cares?
The second I realized that it was all about writing stories that I enjoyed, and that readers might buy, I stopped listening to people who said I couldn't be a writer.
You are a writer the nanosecond you declare it.

2. I Learned To Deal With Rejection

Bad reviews stink.
Not having your closest family read your stuff hurts even more.
I had to come to the realization that my closest friends and family were not my target audience and that one crappy review could not eclipse twenty or thirty great ones.
Rejection is everywhere. Learn to focus on the silver lining instead.

3. I Read Everything I Could About Being A Writer

I’m an entrepreneur so this one was right up my alley. The Internet makes it so easy. There are tons of websites dedicated to the writing. Do a search for “How To Be A Writer” and you’ll get more than you could ever process.
The point is if you’re going to be a writer, read about being a writer.

4. I Developed Relationships With Like-Minded Writers

I've talked about this in other posts, but I can’t tell you how good it felt to find writers with the same mentality as me.
Guy and gals who were willing to type fingers to the bone in their quest for success. I no longer had my Marines, but I had something else. What I found were warrior writers.
Surround yourself with positive writers who challenge you to be great.

5. I Developed My Craft

The moment you think you've figured it out, learn something new.
Developing your talent takes time and gobs of effort. Luckily I’m imbued with this annoying habit of self-analysis. I think most of my stuff could be better.
That’s not to say that I hold my work back. What I do is take classes and try to hone my craft while publishing as I learn. I’m always improving.
Don’t ever stop chasing perfection.

6. I Discovered That My Stories Aren't Really Mine

I think a lot of writers get stumped because they think it’s up to them to come up with a story. I am a firm believer that that’s not actually how it works.
Think about it. When you look at a crumbling castle in Scotland a story probably comes to mind. When you happen across a teetering drunk you probably envision what led them there.
Before every writing session, I stop, close my eyes, and ask God (you may want to use the Universe or something less religious-y) to bring me the story.
I even posted this quote on my wall: “The story isn't mine. I’m just the conduit.”
As long as I remember that, and try not to force the story, I don’t have a problem completing my novels.
Be the conduit, not the source.

7. I Learned About The Business of Writing

This is in addition to #3. I couldn't just learn how to be a writer. I had to learn how to navigate the business of writing. Like I said before, there’s plenty of information out there. Take it in bite-sized chunks and apply the most important parts immediately.
Without business, there is no writing income.

8. I Gave My Stuff Away For Free

I know a lot of you hate this one. That’s cool. The only problem is that it may be holding you back from being successful.
This past March I set my first book to perma-free. You read right. That book will be free FOREVER.
You’re probably thinking, “Carlos! You’re crazy!”
My answer to you: Only on Sundays.
Here’s the truth. The more I've given away, the more sales I've made. A lot more.
This isn't my idea. Guys and gals like Robert J. Crane and SM Reine paved the way. But they planted the seed, and now I’m gearing up to do the same thing with my first three books in the Corps Justice series.
Stop being greedy. Give readers a chance to love your work without asking for a penny.

9. I Wrote

The most important lesson comes last. This is the big one, ya’ll.
If I don’t write, there are no books.
Without books, I cannot sell.
Without sales, I can’t do this full-time.
More than one writer has said that the best piece of marketing they ever did was write their next book. It’s true.
Every new book I publish sells more than the last. My readers want the next installment.
That’s made me ramp up my plans which now include six to ten new novels every year.
You may (once again) think I’m nuts, but I love what I do. I love writing prolifically. After all, isn't a writer’s only real job to write?
What’s keeping you from pursuing writing at a higher level?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stuck in Traffic - Freeing Yourself from Writer's Block

Stuck In Traffic
Freeing Yourself from Writer’s Block

Being trapped on the interstate in bumper-to-bumper traffic is not the way I like to spend my time!  Can you relate to being stuck in traffic at the most inopportune times?  It usually happens when under a deadline of some sort, or when running late for an important meeting, right?

Once stuck, it’s difficult to move over to an exit ramp. No one is paying attention to your predicament regardless of how fast and furious your rear blinker flashes.

I have often felt this way when it comes to writing. Finding myself ‘stuck in traffic’ time and time again as my fingers are held hostage on the keyboard. Creative flow is suddenly forced to stop in the midst of bumper-to-bumper plots and storylines trafficking through my head.  With my creative flow stuck, clarity of content becomes crippled, threatening to block the message I am trying to convey.

Being ‘stuck in traffic’ is metaphorically something familiar to most writers.  There is nothing worse than being on a good roll in your writing only to find yourself suddenly STUCK mid-stream with writer’s block.
I am excited to share a few ideas that have helped me move beyond writer’s block.  Each of the following will equip and help to avoid being ‘stuck in traffic’.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Writer’s Guide to Stop Panicking and Get the Most from a Critique

by Emily Wenstrom

Even when you ask for it, when people critique your writing it can feel like a dagger to the gut. It can knock out your confidence and even cause you to question whether you should ever bother picking up a pen again.
how to stop panicking and get the most from a critique
Photo by star5112
When a group of beta readers critiqued the manuscript for my first novel, I felt like I was on the cusp of a true panic for days. Was my manuscript too problematic to be fixed? Was I a terrible writer? Maybe I wasn’t really a writer at all and should just give up.
But critique feedback can also help you make your work even better—not just in this manuscript but in general. Once I calmed down, I realized that there was a lot of positive in the feedback I’d gotten, too. My manuscript was definitely fixable, perhaps even pretty good—it just had some areas where it could be even better. And then I actually excited to make those improvements and started coming up with even more creative ideas to add into it.
You can get past critique panic too—what makes the difference is how you handle it. Here’s some tips on how to move past the fear and get the most from it:

Accept the critique

The worst thing about feedback is what we imagine it will be. Don’t let the fear of your feedback stop you from moving forward. Bite the bullet and read it through all the way. It’s okay if at first it makes you angry or if you don’t agree with any of it. Just read and take it all in.

Take some space to think about the critique

Once you've read through all your feedback, step away from it for a few days and just let the feedback marinate. It’s hard to hear criticism and alternate ideas about something you've created. During this time, remember the positive comments you got, too–just because there’s ways to improve doesn't mean you’re not a good writer!
But if you let yourself have the time to mull on that feedback, you may be surprised to find you agree or that it triggers new creative ideas. Other suggestions you may decide not to take.

Get a game plan on how to act on the critique

Even when you you've had the space to calm down and decide what to do with your feedback, it can be overwhelming to think about the work required to execute on them. What you need is a game plan.
Write a list of all the things you want to address, and order them from the biggest plot-level changes to the smallest detail changes like word choices. Addressing changes in this order will eliminate some unnecessary effort fixing things that need to change anyway.

Butt in seat.

Then, the only thing left is to put in the work and plug through your to-dos. Stay focused and don’t let this last stage of hard effort get you down. You’ll be working your way into the publishing stages soon.
Receiving a critique on your manuscript can be deeply personal and extremely difficult. But don’t let that fear or insecurity hold you back from getting all you can from constructive feedback. Keep a cool head and a critique can make your manuscript even stronger.

About Emily Wenstrom

Lit addict, movie junkie, geek. Emily Wenstrom is a professional writer working in PR. She blogs about creativity at Creative Juicer and is editor of short story zine wordhaus.