New York Times bestselling author, Tracey Garvis-Graves, was one of six speakers who inspired authors and attendees at the 10th annual All-Iowa Writers’ Conference at Drake Community Library on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Garvis-Graves shared her experience of self-publishing her first book, On the Island, after being rejected by 14 agents. Her book sold so many copies that it got the attention of Amazon, who included her title in a special promotion. The rest is history as the sales of her first book landed her offers from agents, which led to her current successful publishing career. Her first book is currently in development with MGM for a feature film.
The day opened with an hour-long presentation on police procedure by Grinnell Police Captain Zach Sittig, who shared his experience in law enforcement. He touched on all aspects of being a police officer from talking to making arrests and the use of deadly force.
Marci Bolden, whose latest book, A Life Without Water, talked about her publishing journey and shared tips on publishing a series. She is also the author of the Stonehill Series.
Cheryl Mullenbach, who writes historical non-fiction books, shared tips on searching for historical data and uncovering the unusual stories that aren’t found in typical history books. Her books include, Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II, to Industrial Revolution for Kids, Women in Blue, Great Depression for Kids and Torpedoed, a World War II book about the 1939 sinking of a passenger ship and two children’s survival at sea.
Cedar Rapids-based science fiction author, M.L. Williams, a former journalist, spoke and read from his books, Seers of Verde, The Legend Fulfilled, Return of the Earthers: Seers of Verde, Book 2. He also shared from his latest publication, Cornfield Chronicles, a book filled with tales of his growing up days on an Iowa farm.
Mary Lee Ashford, who writes the Sugar and Spice series for Kensington Books, and is one half of the writing team Sparkle Abbey (who has written 10 books in the Pampered Pet series) returned to share her insights and tips into the world of writing. Sparkle Abbey had spoken at the conference twice before and Mary Lee also attended the first All-Iowa writers’ conference in 2010. Mary Lee is the founding president of Sisters in Crime-Iowa chapter.
The All-Iowa Writers’ Conference was founded by J.O. and Debbie Parker, co-owners of Our Front Porch Books in Montezuma. The couple has published three books – two Iowa photography books and one romantic suspense entitled, The Auctioneer. The 2020 writers’ conference is slated for Saturday, Sept. 19 at a site to be determined.
Many local businesses help make the conference possible with generous financial donations as well as product donations for the on-going door prize drawings that take place throughout the day.
To learn more about the Parkers and Our Front Porch Books visit them on the Internet at www.ourfrontporchbooks.com or on Facebook.