Enter to Win a Scholarship to the 2014 SBWC: Annual Best Opening Contest!

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Dear Writers,

Enter to win a tuition scholarship to the 42nd Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference! Send us your BEST OPENING, up to 50 words — a beginning most likely to compel a reader to turn the page. 

  • Email all entries to: sbwcBestOpening@gmail.com
  • Please include contact information: name, phone number, email address, & mailing address
  • Paste your entry and contact information into the body of the email
  • Word Count: Up to 50
  • All genres welcome
  • This must be your original work, published or unpublished
  • Winner receives a tuition scholarship to the 42nd Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference, June 7 to 12, 2014**
  • No entry fee
  • Open: Today!
  • Deadline: Thursday, April 17, Midnight (PST)
  • Winner Announced: Tuesday, April 22

Please share this opportunity with writers you know.

Write On!
Nicole Starczak
SBWC, Director

“I think your opening is enormously important. You’ve got to write a first line that will haunt you. It’s got to be magic.” – Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina, and keynote speaker at SBWC 2012

**In the event that the winner cannot attend the 2014 SBWC, June 7 to 12, the scholarship will go to the runner up.

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Sid Stebel’s Morning Workshop Challenge: Stump the Savant!

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Stump the Savant

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Marla Miller’s 2013 Daily Workshop Schedule with Special Guests

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SANTA BARBARA WRITERS CONFERENCE, 6/8/2013—6/13/2013

Marla Miller’s MarketingtheMuse Workshop Schedule: 1PM—3:30PM

Workshop Overview:

Most sessions begin with Read & Critique, 1-2 pm– Openings only, Fiction/nonfiction, Query Letters &/or Book Proposal Overviews.

2-3:30 pm– Special Guests, All Guest Speakers  are creatively BUILDING PLATFORMS!

__________

6/9/13-SUNDAY

1-2pm: Read & Critique: OPENINGS only! Fiction/nonfiction, Query Letters &/or Book Proposal Overviews

2-3:30pm: Publishing Options & Essential Ingredients of Platform Building.  Indie Author & Google Indie Author TV host Jason Matthews joins Marla Miller 

 6//10/13-MONDAY

1-2pm: Read & Critique: OPENINGS only! Fiction/nonfiction, Query Letters, Book Proposal Overviews

2-3:30pm: Marketing Your Muse: Muse Harbor Publishing’s marketing Director/Indie marketer, Margaux Hession & Indie author, Nancy Klann join Marla for lecture/discussion. Margaux will include a power point presentation of marketing strategies & Nancy will discuss how to get Indie books reviewed.

 6/11/13-TUESDAY

1-2pm: Read & Critique-OPENINGS only! Fiction/nonfiction, Query Letters, Book Proposal Overviews

2-3:30pm:  Published Authors with Sturdy Platforms: How they built them and how you can, too. Madeline SharplesEleanor Vincent and **Linda Joy Myers.

**Memoirists should NOT miss this workshop.

6/12/13-WEDNESDAY

1-2pm: Pitch Witch Workshop, Jennifer Silva Redmond & Marla Miller-Perfect your elevator pitch!  To watch us ‘in action’ click here for 4 minute Pitch Witch video

2:10-3:30pm:  The Editor/Author Relationship: How to find one and what to expect. Editor/Indie screen writer, Jennifer Silva Redmond & Indie author Gayle Carline discuss their working relationship.

6/13/13- THURSDAY

1-3:30: The Essentials of Manuscript Editing: What every writer must know. Amazon & traditional publishing editor Tiffany Yates Martin delivers ‘in-workshop’ critiques of opening 2 pages. Watch her ‘eagle editor eye’ zoom in on your opening pages! Writers, BRING your opening pages for on-the-spot critique! Our goal is to accommodate ALL. Sign ups begin at 12:55

6/13/13-Thursday

4- 5 pm: Platform Building Panel: For all SBWC conference attendees.

Platform Building Panel guests: Marla Miller moderates Blog/social media experts Ninety Degrees Media/Lisa Angle,  eBookSuccessforFree/Jason Matthews  and BooksAreMyBoyFriends/Kit Steinkellner

Q/A panel/discussion so bring your questions!

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2013 Best Opening Thanks & Congratulations

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Dear Writers,

Thanks to those who participated in our 2013 Best Opening writing contest. After reviewing over 200 entries, some clever, others funny, many thrilling, and a few lyrical, we’ve selected the winner of this year’s competition and recipient of a 2013 SBWC tuition scholarship.

First Place: Diane Winant
When Mom drove around with Grandma Schmidt on Tuesdays and Grandma Toots on Thursdays, I heard from the back seat of our Pontiac sedan that Aunt Alice didn’t wear underpants, Uncle Herman never paid income tax, and Cousin Cathy’s “appendicitis” was really a baby girl.

We’d also like to name several honorable mentions, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Lorie Brallier
  • Ann Doyle
  • Christina Gessler
  • Peggy Kassees
  • Stuart McElderry
  • T. Patrick Mulroe
  • Shelly Parker
  • Chris Westphal

Again, thank you for sharing your words!

Write On!

Nicole Starczak
SBWC, Director

“Your best move is to start everything you write fast. That means, something highly unusual that’s distinctive to you and your voice should happen on the first page, so that people are compelled to read the second, and the third, and the fourth.” – Gar Anthony Haywood, author of Cemetery Road, speaker at SBWC 2012 and teaching at SBWC 2013

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Sids Class 1

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Best Opening Contest — Enter to Win a Scholarship to the 2013 SBWC!

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Dear Writers,

Enter to win a tuition scholarship to the 41st Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference! Send us your BEST OPENING, up to 50 words — a beginning most likely to compel a reader to turn the page.

  • Email all entries to: sbwcBestOpening@gmail.com
  • Please include contact information: name, phone number, email address, & mailing address
  • Paste your entry and contact information into the body of the email
  • Word Count: Up to 50
  • All genres welcome
  • No entry fee
  • This must be your original work, published or unpublished
  • Winner receives a tuition scholarship to the 41st Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference, June 8 to 13**
  • Open: Today!
  • Deadline: Wednesday, May 22, Midnight (PST)
  • Winner Announced: Thursday, May 23

Please share this opportunity with writers you know.

Write On!

Nicole Starczak
SBWC, Director

“I think your opening is enormously important. You’ve got to write a first line that will haunt you. It’s got to be magic.” – Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina, and keynote speaker at SBWC 2012

**In the event that the winner cannot attend the 2013 SBWC, June 8 to 13, the scholarship will go to the runner-up.

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Mother’s Day Contest Winner

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Congratulations to Kristina Cerise, winner of our Mother’s Day writing contest and recipient of a scholarship to the 2013 SBWC! Check out Kristina’s winning entry below.

________________________________________________________________

Things My Mother Taught Me

by Kristina Cerise

PERFECT: being entirely without fault or defect; flawless; satisfying all requirements; corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept

It’s Mother’s Day. I should write an ode to my perfect mother. But I can’t.

I’m reminded of something my father once said about funerals. He said he hates eulogies because when they are over, you can’t recognize the person you came to mourn. He complained that eulogies only share the “good stuff” and leave out the “real stuff.” Eulogies make people sound like saints instead of friends.

I feel the same way about most Mother’s Day cards and sentiments.

There is lots of “good stuff” about my mom. But, there is also lots of “real stuff.”

She meddles. Like the time she caught Husband ironing and attempted to wrestle the iron out of his hands. According to my mother, it is unacceptable for a husband to do his own ironing. To keep the peace, I now make sure Husband is dressed and has put the ironing board away before my mom arrives.

She loses her temper as only an Irish woman can.

She offers unsolicited advice. Often. The week before my wedding she mentioned she had been journaling about my faults and offered to share her insights with me. I declined the offer as politely as I could.

She regularly recommends self-help and personal growth books to her children. Once, she gave my brother one as a gift.  She even pre-highlighted and tabbed it for his convenience.

She worries about weird stuff. She is especially concerned about the germs lurking in wet hair waiting to be activated by exposure to the outdoors.

She knows – and uses – bad words. “Sh*t” is her personal favorite.

But, here’s the thing:  I love her. Today and every day. She’s my mom.

Her penny-pinching made my childhood experiences and college education possible. Her sewing skills kept me in custom Hammer Pants with matching hair scrunchies for years. She introduced me to Gilbert Blythe and Mr. Darcy. She opened a world of adventure when she took me hiking and camping. She taught me how to preserve food and host a party on a budget.

I am grateful for all the “good stuff.” But, I am also grateful for the “real stuff.”

Because in the midst of raising children it is a great comfort to know for certain that children are capable of loving flawed mothers. I make mistakes. All. The. Time. Some mistakes I’m quick to identify and correct. Others I’m sure I won’t see until hindsight works its corrective vision magic. My kids will make a different list of my “real stuff” but they will have a list.

Of all the things my mom taught me, I am most grateful for the lesson that flawed mothers are loved every bit as much as the perfect ones.

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Mother’s Day Writing Contest!

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Dear Writers,

Enter to win a scholarship to the 2013 Santa Barbara Writers Conference! Entries will be judged on originality, use of language, and story. The word count is limited to five hundred, and all genres are welcome.

  • Theme: “Things My Mother Taught Me”
  • Word Count: Up to 500
  • All genres welcome
  • This must be your original work, published or unpublished
  • No entry fee
  • Email all entries to: SBWC.Mother@gmail.com
  • Please include contact information: name, phone number, email address, & mailing address
  • Winner receives a tuition scholarship to the 41st Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference, June 8 to 13, 2013**
  • Contest Begins: Today!
  • Deadline: Sunday, May 5th, Midnight (PST)
  • Winner and winning entry will be published in the Santa Barbara News-Press on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12th

 SBWC would like to thank Christopher Buckley, author of Thank You for Smoking and speaker at SBWC 2012, for making this scholarship possible. Please direct questions to info@sbwriters.com, and share this opportunity with writers you know.

 Write On! 

Nicole Starczak

SBWC, Director

“I guess one way or the other, it boils down to being able to look the Reaper right in the eye with a smile and say, ‘Oh, puh-leeze.’ I bet that was how Mum did it, adding, ‘And what, pray, is that absurd costume supposed to indicate?’” wrote Christopher Buckley in his memoir, Losing Mum and Pup.

**In the event that the winner cannot attend the 2013 SBWC, June 8 to 13, the scholarship will go to the runner-up.

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Barnaby Conrad (1922 – 2013)

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Barnaby Conrad at SBWC in 1987

This past Tuesday we lost the single most influential man in the Santa Barbara writing community. Barnaby Conrad was not only a writer and the founder of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, but also a bullfighter, the American vice-consul in Spain, and a successful painter. He mentored and inspired so many over the years, fashioning wings for writers who flew up the ranks of publishing. Author of more than twenty books, his stories remind us to have fun and be, as Barny was once called by a famous radio DJ, “a wild bastard!” Brave is to be Barnaby Conrad: hitch a ride to Hawaii; jump into the bullring. The stories we’d have! The stories we could write. The stories we’ll never forget. A man we will never forget. The late Herb Caen said, “They all loved Barnaby because he loved them with a flame that burned clean, true, and unwavering.”

On the heels of his adventures and the publication of his international bestseller, Matador, Barny opened El Matador, which reined for years as San Francisco’s most decadent night club. This is a passage from his memoir, Name Dropping:

One evening in February, 1994, I drove by the Matador and saw that the sign was down. I peered through a window, and though it was dark, I could see that the place was gutted, piles of lumber indicating that an extensive remodeling job was in progress. Nothing about the place indicated that there had ever been a place called El Matador.

Barny, Ray Bradbury, and friends

Except! Except the beautiful six-foot mat across the double-door entrance, which announced to the world in black with big white letters, “El Matador.” It was the only tangible proof left that there had ever been a place of that name, but it was firmly cemented to the sidewalk. My resolve was instant: Dammit, the Mat’s mat mattered! That was my mat, and I must have it forever.

I stationed my wife at the corner to keep and eye out for the fuzz–it would be terribly embarrassing to go to the slammer for vandalism at my time of life. Then I pressed my son, Barny, who was born about the same time as the nightclub, into vigorous action. With one eye cocked for policemen or the new owner, we pulled, we yanked, and pried. After ten minutes, the great mat ripped away from its bed and, like a giant manta ray, was flopped into the trunk of the car. Feeling as though we’d pulled off a monstrous college prank, we drove away jubilantly.

Barny reading the always hilarious “worst first sentence” contest winner at one of SBWC’s closing night banquets.

My more literate son added, “And Caldwell, Steinbeck, Capote, and Kerouac.”

“Well, it was fun while it lasted,” I said.

“I hat that expression,” said Mary, “the fun’s not over ’till it’s over. There’s plenty of fun left.”

 And so now, beautifully scrubbed, the object d’art glistens in front of the door of our beach house in Santa Barbara, reminding me daily of the illustrious personalities who once crossed the threshold of a Barbary Coast saloon in the great city of San Francisco so long ago, and of a way of life lamentably long gone that lives only in a few people’s memories and in the musty pages of a leather-bound guest book in my living room.

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Ray Bradbury’s Gift to Santa Barbara Writers

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Ray Bradbury’s Gift to Santa Barbara Writers

by Susan Miles Gulbransen

                        “What if?” These two words summed up the essence of the legendary author Ray Bradbury, opening-night speaker at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for 34 years. He would jump up on the two-foot high stage dressed in his tennis whites as if ready to slam the ball across the court. I later found out he really couldn’t play tennis but loved the outfit.

He’d hit us aspiring and published writers with a staccato of words so fast he did not seem to take a breath. He said that he writes 1,000 words a day and writes everyday whether he wants to or not. Then he fired away at our imaginations.

“What if you’re riding in a train when you look out the window and see…?”

“What if the man across the aisle from you suddenly…?”

“What if? That’s what gets the creative juices going.”

Then he gave us our marching orders. “Use your imagination! Just for fun, take along your favorite authors on an all-night train ride. Choose ones you’d like to talk to. Spend the night with them. Imagine what they’d say, the questions you’d ask, what you’d talk about. I’d choose Dickens, G. K. Chesterton, Eudora Welty and Thomas Wolfe. Think of the conversations we’d have!”

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference began in 1972 when local author and founder, Barnaby Conrad made a phone call to Bradbury. They had met the year before and formed a lifetime mutual admiration society.

Conrad decided to put a Santa Barbara conference together at Cate School, but he had no featured writers. Bradbury listened and asked what speakers he had. Off the top of his head, Conrad said “There’s Alex Haley…Charles Schulz and…James Michener.” With that, Bradbury told Conrad to count him in.

Conrad then called Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, and said, “We’ve already got Ray Bradbury and there’s Haley and Michener.” With that, Schulz said he was in. Haley and Michener responded similarly. Conrad was on his way. The Conference is in its 40th year, now owned by Charles Schulz’ son, Monte Schulz.

Anyone who reads American literature would have to include Bradbury’s works such as “The Martian Chronicles,” “Dandelion Wine” or “Fahrenheit 451.” His long list of works includes children’s books, poetry and plays .

            At lunch recently, Conrad remembered that first year opening night when Bradbury got up to talk at Cate. “The lights went out. I don’t know where the candles came from, but suddenly they lighted the room. Candles everywhere. When it was over, Ray said, ‘Hey, Barney, let’s do it this way every time. In that flickering light, couldn’t you just feel the spirits all around us?’”

            At the 2006 Conference, Bradbury had to be helped on stage because he was partially incapacitated from several strokes. All that changed when he started talking. We could feel the energy build, his mind flip into First Gear and his infirmed body forgotten. He said, “If anyone had told me at 33 years-old that at 86-years I’d have this zest for writing, I wouldn’t have believed them. Here’s my advice: Don’t worry a story, and don’t be self-conscious about work. Do it with passion, a sense of exploration.”

            Then came the inevitable words. “Ask that What If. Think of an idea. Then write it! Take the idea and make it grow into its own creative world.”


 

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