It so happens that from time to time this introverted writer leaves the dungeons of his own mind to interact and mingle with other writers. Who else could understand the urge to put words on paper, to create new worlds, or write dialog you wish you were witty and fast enough to say to a random snarky person? It’s more than just that though, it’s learning about changes in the industry and a sharing of knowledge that you can’t get from regular online interaction.

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much I get out of these. Not only is it industry news, catching up with online friends in real life, but it’s also a sense of togetherness. Often, writing is a solitary and somewhat lonely job. I recently wrote about my new writing space in the bookstore, but before that, it was done upstairs in a small home office. Alone. Or with little Hemmy and the dog. But mostly alone. What readers can devour in a couple of days can take weeks and sometimes months for the author to create. Sometimes we need to refill the coffers in more than one way.

I think of writing conferences as a way to recharge my batteries. Sure, things like movies and video games refill my creative batteries (Far Cry – New Hope, Yo!), vacation or visiting with family recharges my social batteries, but a writer’s conference not only helps with both, I get a handle on what the market is doing, what readers are asking for and how I can create fiction to satisfy their wants.

I’m not speaking for all authors, but I constantly worry: Is this good enough? Is my concept stupid? Did I convey the message/meaning I wanted to? In real life, I often stick my foot in my mouth, and sometimes that happens on print as well. Did I do it again? Will torches and pitchforks be used to run me out of town? I mean, if I knew for certain somebody was going to hate what I was writing, I wouldn’t do it… So it’s nice to have an idea of what’s working and what readers want.

And I know you all want Still Surviving Book 3: Darkest Day. It’s in editing right now!

So now you’ve read my blather let me tell you about New Orleans. I would need a month here at least to experience things to do this place justice. I’ve taken a walking tour of haunted NOLA, I’ve walked by or been into many restaurants that were on my bucket list, had some of the finest coffee and three different types of Hurricanes (Think Rum Runner, but different).

There is so much here. I have made new bucket lists of food I want to try, places I want to eat, shops I want to visit, and a new to me southern culture to learn about. I’ll be honest, as much as I travel and as much as I write, I never thought I’d be here and it’s blown my expectations away. I had friends tell me they love it, it’s awesome. My friends on social media gave me tips and suggestions on where to go, where to eat. Thank you!

Monday I’ll return to my writing space at the bookstore. Gone will be the touristy outfits I wore in NOLA, but instead, I’ll be decked out in comfortable clothing, gripping my coffee cup tightly, queuing up my tunes, and starting a new book and maybe finishing off another trilogy. I’ve got until mid-April when I head to North Carolina for Heritage Life Skills April 12th-14th where I’ll be meeting readers and signing books.

That’ll give me three solid weeks to see if I can tie up loose ends, re-pack and finish a good portion of the next book. I wish the timing wasn’t so tight, but these events and you readers are what keep me going. So again, thank you!!!