DFW Writers’ Conference

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

This past weekend I attended the DFW Writers’ Conference. It was a wonderful experience, both for meeting people and learning good stuff.

Friday afternoon I met Jillian Dodd at the hotel where she and Tiffany White had a room together. As we visited, she made the comment it was a lot easier to find guys than women. When I asked her to explain, she said most guys just posted a photo of themselves on blogs and Twitter but that most women got all dolled up for their photos and then photoshopped them to make them even better. When you met them in public they often didn’t look exactly like their pictures.

Soon we went to the lobby to meet Jess Witkins and Julie Glover for supper. I knew both online, but I’d never seen either of them. They reversed Jill’s theory. Their pictures didn’t begin to do justice to either of these beautiful ladies.

After supper we returned to Jill and Tiffany’s room to visit, joined along the way by Nigel Blackwell, Tiffany and Kait Nolan. I know Nigel and Tiffany well, but I’d never met Kait before.

She’s a down-home Southern girl, born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and now living in Starkville, Mississippi—but to hear her talk, you’d swear she was from New York. My ears don’t work fast enough to keep up with her. She’s a sweet lady, though, and very encouraging about self-publishing ebooks.


Why does Jess look so much better than I do? Never mind.


Jess, Tiffany & Julie


Kait & Jess

Saturday morning as I loitered with a cup of coffee, waiting for the opening session to start, I ran into Jenny Hansen in the hall. Jenny’s a rock star to me, and it was great to meet her.

As we began to assemble a table to sit together for the opening, we were joined by Kristen Lamb, Donna Collins Newton and Piper Bayard. Later Ingrid Schaffenburg joined us. I’ve known Kristen for some years, having run one writers’ group and started another one together, and I’ve known Ingrid for a while, but I’d never met Donna or Piper, and I was thrilled to meet both.


Piper, Jess & Jenny


Jenny, me & Jillian


How did Nigel get between these beauties – Donna & Ingrid?

These photos came from Jess, since I didn’t have my camera available. This was pretty much the group I ran around with for the weekend. Kristen and Kait were both presenters and weren’t always with us, but they would sorta come and go. I felt like I was in the presence of some pretty powerful writers.

James Rollins, who keynoted the conference, joined us Saturday night for supper and Sunday for lunch. Although he’s a big-time bestselling author, he acted like he was just one of us. Very down-to-earth and friendly. He was also an excellent speaker, both in his keynote address and in the classes he taught or served on a panel for.

Most of the classes I attended dealt with or touched upon self-publishing, since that’s an area of acute interest to me right now with my first book coming out in the next couple of weeks. Some of the agents are even beginning to change their views of the self-publishing world and epublishing in particular.

My first session Saturday morning was not directly related to publishing or even writing. It was a class on networking at conferences, presented by a beautiful young lady from Dallas named Brenna Smith.

Brenna Smith

Photo doesn’t do Brenna justice

Brenna really knew her subject, and I managed to get her to agree to present some of her ideas on my blog in the next couple of weeks. Look forward to that.

What conferences have you attended?

What were the high points of those conferences for you?


Every Wednesday and Friday one of our Life List Club members posts a blog on the LLC Website. Speaking of Jess Witkins, she’s featured today on that site.



After you comment on my post, be sure to come back here and click on the LLC Website so you can read hers also.


imageDavid N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Web Wisdom: Godly Thoughts and Inspiration from the Inbox and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.

Contact me at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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43 Responses to DFW Writers’ Conference

  1. Pingback: Personal Milestone | David N Walker

  2. Pingback: Bestselling Authors, DFWcon and The Flu…Oh My! | Jenny Hansen's Blog

  3. Jenny Hansen says:

    David, I’m just catching up (I came home to get Baby Girl into pre-school and was then hit by the flu). I love all these photos and I’m about to link to you. 🙂


  4. Pingback: How To Hook An Agent….The ‘SOO’ Publishing Way « Donna Newton's Blog

  5. Piper Bayard says:

    What a great conference! It was such a pleasure to meet you and all of the people mentioned here. Thanks for hanging out with me, David, and thanks for the shout out. 🙂


  6. Jess Witkins says:

    It was so nice meeting you David! You really did get stuck with all the crazy girls. LOL Hope we weren’t too hard on you. I’m looking forward to showing you around my town when you head north in a few months!

    P.S. Thanks for the blog sentence about my beauty. 😀 So sweet!


  7. Fabio Bueno says:

    So jealous! I wish I had been at the conference to meet you and the gang in person, David. On the other hand, you have a way with words that makes us feel like we have been there. Great description.
    But I’m still jealous 🙂


  8. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    I think you slightly misquoted me. I was looking for a group of people in the lobby, none of whom I had ever seen their photos even once. I knew from being in the entry of the hotel that there were multiple groups (a wedding party, as well as the tweet and greet we were trying to join.) I pointed out that numerous people had tweeted about it, but thought the guy would be the easiest to find. And he was. And my comment about women looking different was directed to myself. I was worried that people might not recognize me, as my photographer friend was very generous with the lighting in my photos. (As in I look like I don’t have the wrinkles that I actually have.)
    I thought the conference was awesome and had a great time meeting everyone and learned a ton. LOVED the PR company’s class. It was my favorite. I have so many new ideas just from that!


    • No intention to misquote you, Jill. I consider you one of my best friends on the planet. I was really just trying to make the point that Jess and Julie were both prettier than their pictures led me to expect.


  9. Catie Rhodes says:

    I am loving reading y’all’s recaps of the conference. I feel like I was there by proxy. 😀


  10. I am so jealous I didn’t get into your group! That’s the cool kids table, right there. I was in the networking class too, Brenna was amazing. Heck, it ALL was amazing.


  11. GREAT post, David! You and Nigel did very well (along with James and David’s help) keeping all of us crazy ladies in line. This year’s DFWcon was an absolute blast and I hope we can all get together again next year!


  12. Marcia says:

    Partying with the ladies, huh, David? You know who to hang with, for sure! The ladies all look great and you, obviously, had fun and learned a few things. Good for you! Hope i can go next year…we’ll see.


  13. Emma says:

    Sounds like so much fun. I was on Kait Nolan’s blog and she posted about the DFW conference too.


  14. Barbara Estinson says:

    The conference must have been a wonderful experience for you, David.
    So glad you got to go. Your writer friends look and sound like a very neat bunch.


  15. Karlene says:

    I love writer’s conferences. The people we meet, and lessons we learn are incredible.


  16. susielindau says:

    All y’all look so amazing! Maybe I can go next year. It looks like a blast! I haven’t been to any conferences yet, but will probably go to the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference in Colorado Springs in the fall. :


  17. Looks and sounds like a mighty fine time!


  18. Roni Loren says:

    Glad you had a good time at the conference! You and I ran into the same people but not each other, lol.


  19. I saw these pictures and read Jess’ write-up. I have to admit. I’m pretty devastated. I would have loved to have been with y’all at DFW. And I wish I could have been. But I would have missed seeing my son place second in his fencing tournament. And all this scintillating bar mitzvah planning. *glurg* So jealous! Hopefully next year. I really WANA.


  20. David, you are such a great storyteller. You put so much detail in the story and I have enjoyed reading it


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