Highlights From the Cat Writers’ Association 2012 Conference
I apologize for the break in blogging, but I have just returned from the Cat Writers’ Conference in Los Angeles and will admit to a serious bout of jet lag. Now that I have collected myself (relatively speaking), I must say that it was well worth the trip and that I am overwhelmed by the talent of the members, the generosity of the sponsors, the quality of the seminars, and the amazing job done by those involved who coordinated the event.
The Cat Writers’ Association is a compilation of not just writers, but artists, photographers, poets, journalists, fiction writers, non-fiction writers, bloggers, editors, publishers, and everything in-between that has to do with the subject, love, and passion for cats. Celebrating its 20 year anniversary, I felt like it was a trip down the red carpet as we were educated, entertained, wined and dined, and socialized to the hilt for three days!
The event started on Thursday night with the traditional meet and greet with our newest members,”The Kittens,” and a bag swag stuffing marathon!! For such a bunch of talented people, this was actually an exercise in fun chaos as we tried to figure out how to efficiently stuff these bags and I will admit we have a lot of room for improvement…. Needless to say, however, the cats in wait at home could care less about the behind the scenes of how these magical bags are created, all they care about is connecting to the catnip, tasty treats, and toys!!
Friday was a day of meeting editors and publishers (if you so desired) and informative seminars on such topics as how to self-publish, learning WordPress, writing book proposal and queries, followed by a night of mingling and networking with old friends such as Angie Bailey from Catladyland, Janiss Garza from Sparkle The Designer Cat, Janea Kelley from Paws and Effect, Stephanie Harwin from Catsparella, Susan Logan from Cat Fancy, and making new ones with Kristin Dewey from Cokie the Cat, Vicky Walker and Keith Bowers from Catster, and Marilyn Krieger of The Cat Coach.
All that alone would have been worth the trip, but then on Saturday, Marilyn Krieger did a seminar on clicker training for behavioral issues in your cat and my whole day was made when I got the privilege of being graced with the company of Nanuk, one of the Bengals in the demonstration. It is no secret how much I love the Bengal breed and no matter how much I enjoy these types of conferences, I miss my kitties desperately, especially my Bengal, Zoey. So, when Nanuk was done with his demonstration and wandered over to sit with me for the remainder of Marilyn’s talk, I was in absolute kitty heaven petting this spectacular cat (who, by the way, was about twice the size of my petite Zoey).
As if that wasn’t enough, we were then treated to a talk from Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell as he discussed the process of writing his book, Cat Daddy. He is just what I expected – a grounded guy with a fantastic sense of humor who has a very natural and compelling way about him when he speaks. What did we learn that I did not already know from reading Cat Daddy? Well, number one, human to human, it is NOT appropriate to go up to someone (especially someone you do not know) and stand up really close to them and give them the trademark “I love you slow blink” that you do with a cat. The other thing, don’t buy his book for a seven year old (actually, that was not news to me, but it was funny to hear Jackson say it!)
It was wonderful to then be with Jackson and other authors as we held a book signing party and got to know one another better. The night ended with an awards ceremony dinner and I am thrilled that my dear friend, Angie Baily won a Muse for her piece “Cosmic Love.” Not in attendance, but also friends and winners were Layla Morgan Wilde of Cat Wisdom 101 for her “Portrait of Gris Gris,” Ingrid King for her Conscious Cat website, Robin Olson for her Covered in Cat Hair website, and Bernadette Kazmarksi of the Creative Cat for numerous entries.
I am still riding the high of being part of such a wonderful group of people and hope that those of you who are thinking of joining will do so. Please click here to read all about the association and what it entails to qualify as a member. To follow are a few snapshot memories to share with you – hope you enjoy!