Tag Archives: Mississippi River Writers

Writers Conference Coming Soon

Vintage Typewriter by Witthaya Phonsawat ID-100238218I’m traveling to Illinois for the Mississippi River Writers conference on October 4th. It is sure to be an informative day filled with networking and making new friends. Below is the press release for the conference. I’d love to see all of you there. I’ve given reasons why writers should attend conferences herehere, and here.

The Freeport Public Library is the venue for the Mississippi River Writers Conference on Saturday, October 4th. The writing conference will be held from 10-4 p.m., and will bring together presenters from all over the Midwest to work with new and established writers in the area.

Topics to be presented include How to Edit Your Work Properly. Lyle Ernst from Davenport, Iowa will be discussing editing techniques that can help your work stand out to publishers and readers. Ernst is a professional freelance editor and award-winning author who has been writing and editing professionally for 15 years. He is both traditionally and self-published, and his work includes non-fiction, memoirs, and fiction.

Anthony Wedgeworth from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin will be doing a presentation on how to keep your readers hooked in your story. Many books tend to sag in the middle or get boring. Wedgeworth will give writers tips on how to avoid this writing pitfall. He is the award-winning author of the Altered Creatures fantasy series, and has been writing professionally for over 10 years.

Freeport’s own Kim Sigafus will be doing a marketing presentation. As the industry now stands, both traditionally published and self-publishers need to market their work. Sigafus will share unique marketing tips and what has worked for her. She is an award-winning author of Native American fiction, children’s, and non-fiction books, and the Commissioning Editor of McIver Publishing based in Freeport.

Conference Speaker Fred Waiss from Wisconsin will be giving a presentation on how to break into magazine writing. Waiss has published stories, poetry, and articles about writing in the on-line magazine Page and Spine, and a story in The Storyteller magazine.  He has stories in anthologies such as Dark Light 3 and Dandelions of Mars.  A fantasy novel is scheduled to be published next summer by Double Dragon Publishing.

E-Book extraordinaire Jill Austin from Barefoot Editing in Minnesota will be in attendance to talk with authors about e-Booking their work.  Well-versed in e-Book formatting, Kindle, SmashWords and almost everything e-Book, she is a wealth of information on the subject. Austin has an English degree and has been a professional editor for several years.

A panel of all presenters including Ms. Austin will be answering questions from conference participants. It is the goal of the conference organizers that no one should leave without having questions answered or contacts made for further help.

The annual writing contest is currently underway for registered conference participants. A great prize will be given for the best short story based on a prompt.

Lunch is included in the conference fee of $50. On the menu is a meal of traditional Ojibwa flair; Wild Rice and Turkey Soup and homemade bread.

For more information on the conference or to register, please check out MississippiRiverWriters.com or call (815) 297-2293. The deadline to register is Friday, September 26th.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net “Vintage Typewriter” by Witthaya Phonsawat ID-100238218



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Mississippi River Writers Conference Host Award-Winning Authors

The AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Prairie du Chien, WI will be the destination for Mississippi River Writers Conference on May 3, 2014.

Kim Sigafus

The conference will be held from 9-4 p.m. and is an opportunity for both published and unpublished writers to network and gather information about their craft. The keynote speaker is award-winning fiction/non-fiction author, Kim Sigafus. She will be speaking on how writers can take back the power of the printing press and why they should.

Conference topics include:

  • Memoirs
  • Critical formula for successful storytelling in books and movies
  • eBook publishing

Anthony Wedgeworth

Anthony Wedgeworth will be teaching each step of the critical formula, which will include a breakdown of key elements which are utilized in blockbusters on the screen and on the shelves. This exciting and interactive presentation includes the entire process of story planning & outlining, character development & back story, emotional pacing & teasers, and plot & subplot threads.

Lyle Ernst

Lyle Ernst will present the many different reasons and ways to write your memoir. He will include samples and suggestions and ask everyone to join in the fun of writing a six-word memoir.




I will be presenting on eBook publishing and will be available throughout the conference to answer questions.

Lori Perkins of Total Printing Systems of IL will be in attendance to answer any questions writers may have on self-printing costs.

McIver Publishing will also be there to answer any questions on team self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

A writing contest for registered participants is being held for a great prize which will be awarded at the conference. A catered lunch is included in the conference fee.

Registration deadline is April 25th. For more information and to register visit the Mississippi River Writers website or call (815) 297-2293.

If you aren’t sure attending a conference is right for you. Let me give you a few more reasons. Follow this link to an earlier post from yours truly. The energy I feel leaving a conference is amazing. Don’t miss your opportunity to join us for a day.

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Writer’s Conference Coming Soon!

Mississippi River Writers is having another conference…Woot! Woot!

Their spring conference will be along the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin at the AmericInn on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014. Prairie du Chien is located on the border of Wisconsin and Iowa.

Writer’s conferences are so much fun for everyone in attendance. They are a great place to network with other authors and learn not only from the presenters but the other attendees. Story development and memoirs will be the focus this spring. Award winning authors Kim Sigafus McIver, Anthony Wedgeworth, and Lyle Ernst will all be presenting throughout the day. I will be there to answer any eBook and editing questions that may come up and Lori Perkins will be there from Total Printing Systems to answer questions on self-publishing.

The conference cost is $50 and it includes lunch. The registration and writing contest deadline is April 25th so get your registration in now so you have time to write that short story. Registration details are on the Mississippi River Writers website.

Besides the conference there is a lot to do in the area: Pikes Peak State Park (McGregor, IA), The Villa Louis (Prairie du Chien, WI), Effigy Mounds (Harpers Ferry, IA), and a casino boat on the Mississippi River! Prairie du Chien is along the migration route for Bald Eagles and it’s a wintering area for them so there are several really good observation areas along the river.

I hope to see you there!
Come for the conference and stay for the weekend!

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Road Trips Rule!

Mississippi River Writers - Lyle Ernst, Kimberly Sigafus, and Anthony Wedgeworth

Mississippi River Writers – Lyle Ernst, Kimberly Sigafus, and Anthony Wedgeworth

I made a solo road trip to Dyersville, Iowa for the Mississippi River Writers conference. I don’t normally go on road trips by myself, but since this was a working weekend for me my husband stayed home.  I started out a little apprehensive because I was taking a different route than I normally do so I wasn’t sure where along the way I would be stopping.

My first stop was about two hours into my four and a half hour trip. I accidentally stopped at a truck stop. I swear it looked nothing like a truck stop so I had no idea until I was eating my lunch and overheard someone paging number 33 to shower number 3. I almost giggled because it was so out of the ordinary. This happened not only once, but twice while I was there. I stood in line at the counter after I finished eating to buy some water and a soda. There were two men in front of me. The first man was buying a power converter and the cashier was having trouble with something so the line stalled, and by stalled I mean it didn’t move for about ten minutes. The second man tells the first one that he just bought that same power converter so he could plug a Crockpot in and cook while he was on the road. Both men are discussing food and waiting patiently while I’m getting antsy. Hurry up! I need to get back on the road! I’ve been stopped for too long and I’ll be late for the presenter meeting! During my silent rant, I happened to glance behind me and notice the line is at least ten men deep behind me and all of them are waiting patiently. At this point I’m chastising myself for being impatient. All of these men have every right to be impatient because they all have deadlines to get their loads somewhere and they were all being polite and patient, I could wait patiently too. First Lesson: I can be patient, slow down, and take time to smell the coffee. Everyone has somewhere they need to be too and it’s not the cashiers fault.

As I travelled East across Iowa I was struck by how bright green the grass was compared to Minnesota. I passed miles and miles of tired barns with sagging roofs and natural skylights, two wind energy farms, and in my 70 mph streak, a sign about Field of Dreams. I had no idea exactly what the sign said because I caught it while I was going past it, not coming up on it. I wondered how far the Field of Dreams field was from where I would be staying. I reached the hotel, checked in, and asked. I was in luck, it was four miles away, free, and open for two more hours. I called one of the presenters I was meeting and found out everyone was about an hour out so I hightailed it out to see Field of Dreams. It is early in the year so it was pretty empty. There were two cars in the lot when I pulled in and when one left another one drove in. I was so excited to get perfect pictures because it was empty, but when I reached into my purse for my camera I pulled out a camera with dead batteries. Unfortunately, my camera uses a special battery so I couldn’t buy some in the gift shop. I was bummed because I made it there and couldn’t take pictures to share with my husband. It then occurred to me to use my phone. I’m trying to snap pictures with my phone and grumbling because I can’t adjust the light to get them to come out right and I want my REAL camera. The pictures I’ve used here are the ones I took with my phone.

Field of Dreams House

Field of Dreams House

Field of Dreams House & Bleacher

Field of Dreams House & Bleacher

I decided I just needed to enjoy the scenery and forget taking pictures. I spent a little time talking to the gift shop cashier. She told me that if I can I should come back in August when the corn has grown. She said it’s packed with people from all over and people play ball with each other on the field. She shared with me that the farm has been sold and there are plans to make a bunch of ball fields in the middle of the corn and have tournaments starting next summer. They will be preserving the house and original field. Lesson Two: Never leave the house without charging the camera battery.

Field of Dreams House & Bleacher

Field of Dreams House & Bleacher

I had dinner with the presenters and we discussed the presentations and schedule for the conference. I wasn’t supposed to present at the conference, just be there for questions and help out. Guess what?! I ended up helping present material on self-publishing. The presentation was a lively, interactive discussion and I wish I would have had the examples I needed but it went well and everyone took away the answers to their self-publishing questions. Lesson Three: Always come ready for anything to a conference, you never know when you will need to help out.

My Friend Travis

My Friend Travis

I received a message during a break that it was snowing in Minnesota. I really wish Summer would come. I’m wondering how the drive home will be when I see this picture my friend posted. Saturday was Minnesota’s Fishing Opener, which is a holiday in Minnesota. I knew when I saw this picture the snow wasn’t staying because Travis had been on the lake in a boat catching fish. For those of you who do not live in Minnesota, yes we do dress like this (shorts and a winter coat) once the weather starts climbing out of the frozen tundra and looks hopeful.

Peter &Jill

Peter Receiving the Grand Prize

I had so much fun at the writers conference Saturday that I can’t wait for the next one. I came away energized and ready to work. I met many authors and enjoyed talking with them all. I enjoyed reading all the entries for the short story contest. They were all so different even though every author had the same characters to work with. Peter Woodruff won with the short story Hairline Estate. Lesson Four: Attend more writing conferences. They are full of energy and it’s fun to meet other authors.

I am looking forward to the next road trip and attending the next conference. If any of you have topics you would like covered please let me know and we will try to accommodate.


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Don’t Miss Out!

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

The Mississippi River Writers are hosting a spring writer’s conference in Dyersville, Iowa on Saturday, May 11th. During this all day conference attendees will learn how to develop characters that have depth, discuss what to consider when submitting work to large and small presses, and discover the steps involved in self-publishing. There will also be writing activities and time to share your work.

Why should you attend a writer’s conference? A writer’s conference gives you, the writer, the opportunity to learn about an aspect of writing giving you trouble, aren’t familiar with, or want to brush up on. Conference attendees learn not only from the presenters but other attendees. Most importantly, a writer’s conference gives attendees the opportunity to network with veteran and new writers, share what works and what doesn’t (those tidbits of gold about who people have used for editing, cover design, printing, etc), and spend the day doing what all writers like to do…write and talk about writing. Oh, and don’t forget to enter the writing contest. I wouldn’t want you to miss the chance to win a fabulous prize.

If you live near Iowa, and by near I mean within a day drive, come spend a Saturday learning and writing with a fun group of writers that enjoy what they do. To register click on the Mississippi River Writers link above and click on Conferences.


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