Monday, May 26, 2014

Printers Row Lit Fest Chicago. Not to Be Missed.

I attended the Printers Row Lit Festival  for the first time three years ago and was blown away not just by the sheer number of (big surprise) books, at this event (thousands and thousands, old, new, used and abused) but by the multitude of opportunities which bang into you as you round each booth.

Authors, printers, agents, publishers, TV and radio personalities, book store owners, and college representatives all within reach for an attendee to ask questions of, take cards from, inquire about, or just to learn more about how not to end a sentence in a preposition with.

This years 30th Anniversary festival lasts two days, June 7 and 8th, and takes place in several blocks around Dearborn and Polk Streets known as the Publisher Row Neighborhood, the South Loop section of the city once inundated with multiple publishing companies. Seeing the building architecture alone in that area is well worth the trip.

In addition to the plays, live music, poetry reading, book hawkers, food and drink concessions, the festival brings in a large number of celebrity authors who either participate in discussion groups, interviews or their own presentations. The festival itself is free to attend, you can just walk right into the midst of the streets blocked off with hundreds of vendors but some of the author driven sessions require a pre -paid ticket. These tickets go on sale tomorrow May 27 and can be purchased on line.

To sort though some of these events and to purchase tickets just click HERE.

The Printers Row Lit Fest is very family focused with numerous events and entertainment for future writers and publishers of all ages but keep in mind the following:

**The Lit Fest gets PACKED with people. Being an ex-pat of Chicago I have no problems with crowds but if you do I suggest you take your full dose of Ativan on that day.

**Bring cash. Small bills are best and change as some vendors are not set up for plastic. Don't worry about pick pockets as there is good security evident. Just keep your moola close to your body. Well, as long as you have a middle aged multiple child birth body like mine that pick pockets tend to avoid just on principle, keeping it close to your body is as good as carrying a metal safe around your neck.

**Bring your business card to distribute to other authors, possible agents and publishing companies. Do not slap some of your return address stickers on post-its and call it good. Future contacts will call that trash.

**Dress casually, wear real shoes. You'll be walking, going up and down stairs within some of the buildings if you attend any presentations. This week in June is almost always hot in the city and since it's unlikely they will open up the fire hydrants like they used to when I was a kid on north Ashland you should wear hot weather clothing. Funky hats are always popular.

Photo: New England Journal Of Aesthetic Research

**Bring a large tote bag to carry all the books you'd better buy, business cards, water bottle and maps.

**Come early Saturday morning (by 8am) and you will have no trouble parking. The event does not start until ten but before the other crowds arrive you can enjoy the coffee shops and walk the neighborhood scoping out the best vendors as they setup for the day.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Women's Fiction Writers Association

I am a new member of  the  Women's Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) and just learning about this group and all it's benefits. I only joined a couple of weeks ago but the number of woman who have reached out to me via email just for friend requests has been amazing and one day soon...I'll be responding to them.

I do not as a rule join many organizations. I've never been a sorority sister or part of the PTA. I don't do Tupperware or Pampered Chef Parties. I absolutely REFUSE to join AARP even though they've wasted several thousands mailing me all their brochures, and promises of great tote bags.

Like I need another tote bag.

I attend mass but have yet to get involved with the Rosary Club. Mostly because I am unsure if you have to have your own rosary first or do they give you one on joining or perhaps, like most things Catholic, will I have to earn my rosary? Furthermore if, it's OK to bring my own rosary what if it looks different than the other rosaries? Will I be shunned if I bring the red glass bead rosary my Aunt gave me when she visited Rome, because you know, it's too pretentious? Or will I be laughed at if I bring my dainty white necklace with the tiny gold cross from my first communion 1966?

Now, you understand why I don't join too many formal organizations, I am however planning to join the Illinois Rifle Association just as soon as I find out what kind of rifle most of the other members own.

Back to WFWA, the organization I actually belong to. It offers benefits. No, not health or life insurance type benefits but other equally cool benefits, like workshops, mentorship program, critique training and the opportunity to critique others work, contests, discussion forums and many valuable resources.

They even sell sports hoodies with their logo. I'm exercising regularly now so I believe I deserve one. In fact I am turning 55 in just 16 days so save yourself the trouble of last minute shopping and send me one now.

What I like most though about this organization is their commitment to writers of all levels, from the very new beginner to the well published shining stars. The organization is also fairly new, created in 2013 which means they are growing and exploring, rather than static and dull. You know, like those anybody-want-to-win-a-new-melon-baller? organizations.

So what writers organizations do you belong to? Why do you like or dislike them? If you belong to WFWA be sure and tell me how it's working for you. And oh, yeah, I'll take a size large in the hoodie.