Summer in Words

Writing Conference

Reviews,Kudos & Updates

WOAH! More congratulations called for! (I hate exclamation points, but sometimes they just add to the celebration.)

Kari Luna has won the Oregon Book Award for her first novel, The Theory of Everything.

Nancy Pearl, the Vigilante Librarian, recommends The Theory of Everything, calling it: “quirky, great fun, hugely inventive and terrific reading for teens.”

Kari Luna 2 More Kari updates can be found here.

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 A BIG Congratulations to SIW participant Melissa Ousley on her book launch!!! This is the second book in her The Solas Beir Trilogy. 

  Isn’t the book cover gorgeous?  Find more details here.

Melissa Ousley cover

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Summer in Words 2013:


Thank you so much for the outstanding conference. I saw how hard you worked @ every detail, and it showed. I’m so grateful we crossed paths. You have amazing talent.

Sherry Gorman

Updates on Kari Luna (a former SIW alumni and the Friday night keynote speaker)

Summer in Words 1From Summer in Words 2012

Our 2012 keynote speaker Chelsea Cain is writing a new book series set in Portland. Although it hasn’t hit the shelves yet it’s slated for development by NBC. This means Chelsea will have two television series running. Her book One Kick is due out in August 2014.

I’ve heard great news from Mellisa Ousley about her upcoming YA trilogy. It’s called the
The Solas Beir Trilogy and the first book Sign of the Throne will be out in October.  I was lucky to meet her and work with her last summer when she attended Summer in Words.

Melissa is the third author I’ve heard from recently who landed a book deal after attending Summer in Words in 2012 and working with me….you cannot imagine how happy this makes me. I’ve asked for her permission to tell folks about this and she graciously said yes, “Truly, without your help and Summer in Words, this would not be possible.”

Here are the details:

Good afternoon Jessica,

I hope you are doing well. Thank you again for your guidance on my writing and for hosting the Summer in Words conference. I’m so grateful for your help because I believe it made my writing stronger and helped me make some critical connections in the Oregon writing community.
I’m pleased to share that I received an offer from Gazebo Gardens Publications to publish my YA trilogy, and have signed on with them. The first book will be coming out this fall, probably in October. I’m really thrilled. It’s a smaller press in the Seattle area, but I am enjoying working with them. It’s nice to have that personal touch, and I feel like the publisher is enthusiastic about and invested in my writing. I have a feeling I will learn a lot in this process and am so grateful for all the guidance I’ve received so far. It’s a good fit. I’ll be posting more details soon on my web site and on Facebook. We are still working on a book tour plan, but the publisher will be featuring my book at her booth at the PNBA Tradeshow in Portland, so that is exciting!
Best wishes to you!
All my best,

Hi Jessica,
I attended your Conference last summer at Cannon Beach. I just wanted  you to know how much I gained from it. I thought your teaching was so  encouraging, and I’ve recommended your books many times to friends,  lecture attendees, and clients. All your guest speakers were so inspiring, too. I was fascinated with Chelsea Cain’s success, and I did a study of all her books to see what she was doing right. The other  person who had a profound effect on me was Cathy Lamb. Sometimes you’re  just ready to hear things, and her emphasis on a daily word count made  the whole concept finally sink in. I started writing 2K words a day, with the result of having three books in my Tala Chronicles, a paranormal romance series, accepted by a small, independent publisher. The first one, The Wolf’s Daughter, will be released soon.

So thanks again for a wonderful conference. I hope I have the  opportunity to attend another one in the future.
Patricia La Barbera

From Summer in Words 2011

I didn’t have the opportunity to tell you, but I really enjoyed the conference and consider it one of the best on craft that I have ever attended.
Thanks again.

Patricia Santos Marcantonio, the author of “Red Ridin’ in the Hood” a children’s book published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

I can’t  tell you how much Pat & I enjoyed the conference. We’ve been to a lot of conferences, and this is one of the best! I’m looking forward to next year. Nicely done, Jessica.

Wow!   That was great.  There was so much valuable experience and information that I am still translating my notes.

The presenters all gave us lots to chew on, and the attendees were wonderful too.

 Thank you so much, Jessica, for putting this all together for us.  I appreciated the size of the conference and cannot imagine a better experience.  I hope I am able to attend next year also.

Judith Hirsch,  Way down here in Ashland

Love love loved the conference. Still digesting. Started reading Poe Ballantine. What a great study in detail and getting to the meat with no mercy. What book of his would you recommend I start with? And I’ll get you my piece when I finish with my edits.

Thanks again and I’ll probably see you in September.  Amy

Jessica and friends:
As we were leaving the wonderful Summer in Words conference, Jessica encouraged all of us to go home and write something — and then send it somewhere for publication. So, when I got home, I read through my notes from the conference and wrote a story using everything I’d learned.
“Dog stories are hot,” someone had said, so I wrote a story about my dog, Bailey. I started with a dramatic “inciting incident,” then used scenes and quotes to tell the tale. In addition to the main “story arc” about Bailey, I showed that I had learned something as well.

I looked through this list of publication possibilities:
Then I sent my story to the Christian Science Monitor, which runs upbeat personal essays in its Home Forum section.
Today, the editor, Susan Leach, wrote to me to say they’d like to publish my story!
I am thrilled to pieces. And I am just sure I’m on my way to great fame and fortune (they pay $150)!

Thank you so much, Jessica.

The Summer in Words weekend was truly transformative for me. I’ve been writing like crazy since.This weekend was my introduction to the world of writing and writers. This world fills a void in me, and answers a need from my soul. I’ve been running away from really writing for a long time. The very practical suggestions and “how to” knowledge shared was just what I needed to get into gear. I just really didn’t have any idea how to step forward out of journaling and technical writing into giving some form and shape to my words.

Thank you more than I can express—and hoping to see you soon at other writing events.

THANK YOU for a terrific conference -- great people, great insights!


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