Blurbs From 2014 Tony Hillerman Conference



Be yourself – don’t copy.

Create a large world. Stress setting.

“Once you create a character, he is forever that character.”

Once you mention a knife, there’s no need to describe it. “When she has to use it, we’ll know.”

Write a character driven story.

Beware of endearing habits or pets. “If there’s no reason for the pet, shoot the dog.”

A trilogy shows the writer has a plan.

Rule: Be hard on your heroes.

Map your book.

P.S. These notes were mine – don’t blame Steve for anything but the quoted material — and even then, there was plenty of context. And I’m sure he loves dogs. You get the idea. These are the highlights. Use them if you can.

Write What’s Inside You!


Returning from a writing conference takes a day of reflection.

Non stop classes, workshops and meet ups wind you up with inspiration, sending an urgency for you to produce more, expect more and then you hit home brain dead with sterilized, brand new input. You need to incubate.

From the first morning where new authors gathered for a celebratory breakfast, it was like letting a calf out of the rodeo chute. So much to learn, to do, to tweet, to Facebook, to LinkedIn, to change, to write, to write, to write.

A mass of business cards await my attention. Needing to say thank you to so many for their generous comments, ideas and inspirations.

Anne Hillerman and her business partner, Jean Schaumberg, head up the Tony Hillerman Conference in Santa Fe, NM, which is an extension from Tony Hillerman’s legacy.


Approximately one hundred people came, gleaning information from those who came before them, with top-notch authors headlining the event. David Morrell, John Sandford, Joseph Badal, Steven F. Havill, Sandi Ault, Melinda Snodgrass and CB McKenzie to name a few.

The beauty of this conference was the easy access to thriller writers. Unique. Whether it was following a panel discussion, dinner or catching someone in a hallway of the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza.

The main thing I garnered from the experience was:

Write what you have inside you.

And … don’t follow the market.