Notes on a Writer’s Conference – OWFI 2015

This was my fourth year attending and was, for me, the best ever. One of the primary reasons was due to the fact that there were more faculty and speakers who dealt with crime/thriller/transgressive/dark fiction genres, thereby making it more relevant for me.

Tops on the hit parade was Les Edgerton, the keynote speaker. Look up his bio on Wikipedia and that only scratches the surface. Les doesn’t have a filter, hates political correctness, has a wise-ass sense of humor and an absolute passion for the craft of writing. That kicks it into high gear beyond anything else. He graced our table at the Saturday night banquet. Trust me; that was an honor.

Richard Thomas is the editor in chief of Dark House Press and has proven that transgressive and dark fiction still has a place in publishing. He was self-effacing, personable, and accessible. I pitched my fully realized novel “Weekend Getaways, or Adventures in Contract Killing” (which I have commented on in this venue before). We’ll see where that goes (he said with painfully crossed fingers).

Andrew E. Kaufman doesn’t look like the kind of guy who would write “Twisted” or other psychological thrillers. But, again, the passion for the craft drives him and has brought him an incredible amount of success.

I am fully convinced that all you need to fully understand the intricate details of the police procedural is to consult with Lee Lofland. Everything about the sessions with this former police detective was filled with the most significant information to bring your story alive. Again, another interesting speaker with a unique sense of humor.

You have to consider all the sidebar events, gatherings, buzz sessions, pitch sessions, drinks at the bar, after-banquet jam sessions and impromptu conversations. I am convinced that the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City is never as alive as it is when OWFI invades.

I’ve mentioned people. But this conference also instills hope and motivation. It provides not only the tools but the confidence to proceed in this journey of creativity. When Sunday rolled around and people were leaving with their suitcases, I knew it was all over. Whereas I would have preferred to stay and live in that hotel until next year, I knew that “real life” was beckoning. Part of that “real life” includes writing.

It wasn’t a dream. And the adventure continues.



  1. dawnall said,

    May 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I’m glad you had a good time. I know I did. Our speakers just rocked it. See you next year!


    • H.B. Berlow said,

      May 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Meeting you in person was even better than your comments and witticisms online. And, yes, you WILL see me next year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dawnall said,

        May 5, 2015 at 8:25 pm

        Yeah!!! I’ll have more time for chatter and drinking.


  2. winonabennettcross said,

    May 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Well said, well said! I loved this conference. I don’t write crime or thriller but wish I could. But, I definitely read it! Great conference indeed.


    • H.B. Berlow said,

      May 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Every year, it will be different in terms of the faculty. However, every year, I keep enjoying the camaraderie and the opportunity to meet new people.


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