The Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter will hold its 12th annual Write Now! conference entitled “Locked and Loaded: Set Your Sights on Writing Success” Aug. 14–15 at the Valley Ho Hotel, 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale, Arizona. The conference will open with a gala cocktail reception starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, and will continue with all-day speaker sessions Saturday, Aug. 15, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Our Write Now! conference is open to established authors, aspiring writers and readers of all genres,” said Isabella Maldonado, Desert Sleuths president. “We have designed a conference that assists writers in every aspect of their career. Our goal as a chapter of Sisters in Crime is to help as many writers as possible achieve their dreams of a successful career.”
Keynote speaker is international best-selling author Sara Paretsky, whose books appear in some 30 languages. In 1987, Paretsky earned Ms. Magazine’s Woman of the Year Award for her creation of Sisters in Crime to support women crime writers. Known for her V.I. Warshawski mystery series, Paretsky has received such prestigious awards as the British Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, the Anthony Award, the Golden Dagger Award and the Grand Master Award. Kathleen Turner played V. I. Warshawski in the 1991 movie of the same name, and Paretsky’s work is highlighted in “Women of Mystery: Three Writers Who Forever Changed Detective Fiction,” a documentary by Pamela Beere Briggs.
Other speakers include Simon Wood, Hilary Davidson, Christina Cox, Deborah J Ledford and Terri Bischoff. “This is an amazing lineup of professionals who will all be here to help conference attendees attain success,” said Dana King-Esquer, conference publicity chairman. “They will discuss how to write an exceptional story, how to stand apart and attract an agent or publisher and effectively promote your books for maximum sales.” Cox and Ledford, she said, will address writing and adapting screenplays, and Bischoff, who will complete the Saturday program, will provide guidance regarding how to interest a reputable publisher in one’s writing.
Originally from England, Wood now lives in California with his American wife, Julie, and their rescue pets. The former pilot, racecar driver, PI and endurance cyclist is the Anthony Award-winning author of more than a dozen books. In addition to the Aidy Westlake series, his titles include “Paying the Piper,” “Accidents Waiting to Happen,” “Terminated” and his latest thriller, “The One That Got Away.” He also writes horror fiction using the pseudonym of Simon Janus.
Born in Toronto and based in New York City, Davidson has won the Crimespree Award, the Derringer Award, the Anthony Award and two Ellery Queen Readers Choice Awards. In her Lily Moore mystery series, she uses her background as a travel journalist to set stories in places such as Mexico and Peru. Her latest book is also her first non-series novel, “Blood Always Tells.” Davidson has also written 18 nonfiction books.
Perhaps best known as the star of “Blood Ties” for Lifetime and “Defying Gravity” for ABC, screenwriter and producer Cox has also guest-starred on a variety of programs, including “Dexter,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: LA,” “Arrow” and “24.” In addition, she has appeared in “Better Than Chocolate” and “The Chronicles of Riddick.” She is currently developing feature films for her original screenplays.
Ledford is the award-winning author of the Inola Walela/Steven Hawk suspense series, including “Staccato,” “Snare,” “Crescendo” and “Causing Chaos.” The audio book form of “Crescendo,” presented by Ledford’s production company, IOF Productions Ltd., is narrated by Cox, mentioned above, and was a 2014 Anthony Award nominee in the Best Audio Book category. At the Write Now! conference, Cox and Ledford will address writing and adapting screenplays.
After joining Midnight Ink as acquiring editor in October 2009, Bischoff both dramatically increased the number of titles published per season and expanded the type of multiple award-winning and award-nominated crime fiction Midnight Ink publishes.
Conference attendees may register for content editing sessions with professional content editor Carol Test. Test, who holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, taught fiction workshops at the college level for a decade and currently helps authors get their writings ready for publication.
Register online for the conference, which is $115 for members, $125 for nonmembers, with a special student price of $75 for ages 14 to 20. (Those attending Friday night’s reception must be 21.)