Conferences for Writers

McKendree R. (Mike) Long III 

By Mike Long

I joined Western Writers of America (WWA) in 2010, shortly after publishing No Good Like It Is through Createspace. Mary and I attended our first WWA conference that year in Knoxville.

I did more talking than listening, but I did meet a fellow and told him I was working on a sequel. He took my first book and later asked if his sister’s company, Goldminds Publishing, could publish the sequel. We came up with a contract and Dog Soldier Moon was produced in late 2010. As part of the deal I received 2000 copies at a very low price; Goldminds wanted 3000 copies for their use. The combined run gave us both a nice savings in cost from the offshore printer. Goldminds also did a second run of my first novel at the same price. Sales of those novels have now exceeded 4000 each.

In 2011 and 2012, we attended WWA conferences in Bismarck, ND and Albuquerque, NM. We vacationed a lot, and I networked a little. In 2013, the conference was in Las Vegas, NM, and I finally knew enough folks to really network. I met Mike Harris who owns La Frontera Publishing, as well as Brett Cogburn (Rooster’s great-grandson), who won the SPUR Award that year for Best First Novel. Both were looking for short stories for upcoming anthologies. Mike Harris has now published my story, “The Resurrection,” in this year’s anthology Broken Promises.

Brett wanted a story for an anthology he was working on with Louella Turner, co-owner of High Hill Press. “Choteau’s Crossing” was the result, and Lou Turner published it this year in Rough Country. Brett also introduced me to Lou and got her to look at the third book in my trilogy, Higher Ground.

This year’s conference was in Sacramento, CA, and “Choteau’s Crossing” took second place in the SPUR Awards. Lou Turner and Brett asked for more short stories; I’ve submitted three more so far. Lou also announced that she’ll release Higher Ground in October at the Ozarks Creative Writers (OCW) conference, Eureka Springs, AR. Brett asked for another Western novel (unrelated to the trilogy) to show to a NY publisher at OCW. It’s a first-person POV, working title, Brodie. I submitted it last week. We’ll see how that goes.

Brett also introduced me to Tiffany Schofield of Five Star Press in Sacramento. She looked at my trilogy and has agreed to publish it in hard-cover large-print versions for library sales. I’ll receive an advance of $750 for each novel, plus 10% of sales.

The 2015 conference will be in Lubbock TX; I will be focused on screenwriting. Conferences? Mikey likes ’em.


McKendree R. (Mike) Long III is a former soldier with two tours as an advisor to South Vietnamese Army units.  His awards and decorations include the Parachutist Badge and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

After retiring from the Army in 1980, he was a financial advisor with a major investment firm for 29 years.  He now devotes his time to his family, his writing, his guns, and travel.

Married in 1960, he and his wife Mary have two married daughters, four grandchildren, and a great-grandson.  He holds a BS in Business Administration, and is a gun enthusiast. He’s a member of the SCV, DCV, NRA, WWA, MWSA, SASS, VFW, and  Sertoma.  He is often found on Seabrook Island, S.C.

Mike is the author of four novels and six short stories.

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3 Responses to Conferences for Writers

  1. Big congrats Mike! Your post illustrates how a little pebble thrown reaps ever-widening ripples. I’m really happy for you. Thank you for continually inspiring us to keep throwing our writing out there and to definitely attend those conferences!

  2. Valerie Norris says:

    Thanks for the highly informative post, Mike! I’m working on a pioneer history novel and just looked up the Western Writers of America. Good resource! (Greenville branch of SCWW)

  3. Jacqueline Gum says:

    Sounds like some fun and educational stuff! Lucky that you get to go to warm places. So if Mikey likes conferences, he’d love PubSense Summit.. March 22-24 here in sunny Charleston:) Comer on down!

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