To Portland, With Love

Before I left beautiful Portland, my friend Julie Adams from grad school (Columbia Graduate School of Journalism 2000)  insisted I take a drive with her and see what we could in a very short tour.  Immediately, she stopped at Powell’s bookstore in the Pearl District. A four-story, city block building displayed books in almost any category. Miles of books.

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This picture of Powell’s is from the bookstore website.

As we drove around the Pearl District, we passed the Portland Art Museum where there is an Italian Style exhibition. Larger than life murals appeared on the outside walls, instantly beckoning walkers and drivers to stop and come inside. Stunning photos on the exterior of the building. Be patient with the quality of the photos. I had drizzling weather to contend with!

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On the drive we viewed beautiful cherry trees full of blossoms. Even though it was nearly dark, the trees were exquisite.

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We drove by one corner, a gathering place for food carts.  Portland is known for the food cart concessions. Here’s a sample.

FullSizeRender-5Apparently it’s a Portland thing, this obsession with food carts. They’re everywhere!

In the later afternoon, rain falling slightly, a fog settled over the city. Beautiful. And the lovely meal at the top of Portland in the Chart House helped me bid farewell to my visit there, as if it were tied with a giant red bow. Julie and her 94-year-old father proved to be a good Portland public relations team!

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At the airport, sighing and thinking what a wonderful time I had at the Left Coast Crime  2015 conference, I looked up to see the tallest free-standing cuckoo clock in North America! A surprise and a delight. Thanks Portland!

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Gearing Up for Left Coast Crime 2015

Left Coast Crime 2015, a writing conference in Portland, Oregon is touted as being one of the very best for those of us who love to write fiction with a touch of crime. I’ll keep you posted next week as I check it out beginning March 10 – 15.

Of course, any of you who know me know that I always show up early.

A quick sidebar. My father Lloyd Prudom always gave himself a 30 minute window so if he had a flat tire, he’d be okay and could still arrive on time. Showing up early is awesome for most people, with the exception of possibly my five children. To me, showing up early illustrates you are interested and you prepared to come early. But, mainly I’m arriving early for the conference because I’ve paid extra for a full day workshop before the conference starts. Why? You never know where you will learn that one nugget that will help you improve.

 If it’s between yes and no, say YES!

It is my belief that a writing conference is an education.

If you’ve a writer at any level, you can always learn more about the ins and outs of publishing. Also, you can learn to write better, become more colorful using interesting images in your work, more metaphors or similes.

Meeting people is the most fun of all. You can become inspired and even more enthused about what you do. The highlight is you’ll be amazed at how helpful you can be to others by inspiring them. It’s a give and take situation. I especially love that.

Learning how to meet people is a plus. Most of you have that ability already. And if you need practice, a conference is the best place I know of to meet other writers.

How to talk about your book is important. Writers are taught to have a :30 spiel, often called the elevator speech, about our most recent work. Of course, that elevator speech comes from various accounts of writers actually snaring an agent while riding on the elevator. And it has happened!

It’s easy to talk about your own book, right? Not always. I’ve found through experience that I am often at a loss because I didn’t organize my thoughts or practice. I will be going to the New Author’s Breakfast where I will have a full minute (sounds like a snap, right?) and I am working on coming up with a spiel that will get my book out there among my peers. A lot of people know about MIDNIGHT IN MALAMULELE, but talking about it is something I have to be ready to do at a moment’s notice. All you have to do is work at it – prepare and practice.

If you get a chance to attend a conference, I say go! And watch this blog next week for updates.