Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Reminiscing About Past Banquets

With our fifth annual banquet coming up on October 10, we decided to reminisce about past IWC banquets.

But first, a gentle reminder. Do you have your tickets yet? You will hear a great guest speaker—Indiana Poet Laureate Karen Kovacik—as well as networking with other writers and having the opportunity to sell or purchase books. Tickets are $27 for members and $30 for non-members through September 30th and $30 for members and $35 for non-members as of October 1st. Book table sales space is available for $10.

RSVP to and send your check to Jackie Huppenthal, Treasurer IWC, 13374 W. 101st Ave., Dyer, Indiana 46311.

The banquet is well worth your time and money. If you have any doubts, just read these comments from people who attended in the past.


Reminiscence by Janine Harrison, who was Vice President of IWC in 2009

As the first to arrive at our Strongbow Inn banquet room, not knowing what to expect and very much wanting our first annual networking dinner for writers to go well, I became a whirling dervish completing setup. After enthusiastic socializing and a succulent dinner, we heard from two preliminary speakers followed by the keynote speaker, Kate Collins, author of the commercially successful Flower Shop Mystery Series. Collins discussed promoting oneself as a writer, including through the use of a professional website and social media, which, in 2009, was not a well-tread topic as it is today. Shortly after she began speaking, a hush befell the room except for the opening and shutting of purses and rustling of jackets as writers frantically searched for pens and flipped over programs. Collins proceeded to give enumerable specific suggestions for self-promotion and the reasoning behind them, which was helpful information that extended beyond creative genre and fulfilled the needs of all writers in the room. No one left the event without having gained knowledge and, hopefully, a sense of fellowship. I drove all the way home smiling—thrilled that the IWC had begun to realize its mission of building and inspiring Indiana’s community of creative writers.


The 2010 banquet produced two reminiscences with different emphases. The first concentrates on the content of the panel presentation, while the second is an update on the success of our wonderful panelists.

Reminiscence by Gordon Stamper, Jr.

My favorite IWC Fall Banquet was in 2010, and not just because I was in the open mic that concluded the evening. The theme was “The Road to Publication,” and the author panel had a wide range of experiences to share that were valuable and encouraging for the writer audience. 

Kate Collins shared her roundabout career path to the continuing Flower Shop mystery series. The enterprising Katherine Flotz described her promotional experiences, from independent bookstores to academic readings, for A Pebble in My Shoe. Peggy Archer had useful advice for children’s book authors. Michael Poore’s path to publication was told with his usual humor and insight. Cynthia Echterling shared e-publisher and self-publication anecdotes and promotional practices for her work. And Kathryn Page Camp was an exceedingly capable moderator.

All of this was combined with delicious Strongbow Inn food and fellowship (it went beyond just networking) with talented and like-minded writers from Northwest Indiana. And my wife read an eerie short story that freaked people out in the best way at the open mic. Now that’s a great evening.

Reminiscence by Cynthia Echterling,

At the 2010 banquet, the program featured a panel discussion on “The Road to Publication” with published authors Peggy Archer, Kate Collins, Cynthia Echterling, Katherine Flotz, and Mike Poore with Kathryn Page Camp moderating. Since then, our NY time best-selling authors have been busy. Kate has published an impressive six additional books including romance and her Flower Shop Mystery Series. Peggy Archer’s fourth children’s book, Name That Dog, came out that year. She has moved out of the state but is still active in IWC as well as the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and the Author’s Guild. While living in Indiana, Peggy was Assistant Regional Advisor for Indiana SCBWI.

Michael Poore’s Up Jumps the Devil came out and is doing Hellishly Well. He is currently writing a second delightfully twisted book involving reincarnation. Cynthia Echterling has had two additional books in the Help Wanted Human series published and has self-published two more books. Katherine Flotz continues to have success marketing her memoir. Kathryn Page Camp has added to her publishing credits by self-publishing her very beneficial legal guide for authors, Writers in Wonderland.

During the panel, there was much interest in those new e-books, and we have seen tremendous growth in the sale of e-book readers, tablets and books themselves, presenting new challenges and opportunities for our authors.



Reminiscence by Kathryn Page Camp

As someone who has attended every IWC banquet, I can’t pick a favorite. But 2011 is memorable as the first one held at Avalon Manor in Merrillville. It was also my first banquet while president of IWC. I spent the majority of my time greeting attendees and making sure everyone felt welcome, which left my book table unattended most of the evening. Still, I don’t regret that. It isn’t about book sales (although they don’t hurt), and every IWC banquet has proven profitable in less tangible ways. For me, networking and learning new information are the best part of the annual banquet. Of course, I’m always ready for good food, too. In 2011, the speakers from Dogwood Publishing and the open mic rounded out a rewarding evening.


Reminiscence by Julie Larson

As a newcomer at last year’s IWC Annual Banquet, I was expecting formalities, and possibly some awkwardness, but was pleased by the camaraderie among members. I had not yet grasped my own role in the larger community of writers throughout Indiana. Witnessing interactions between members made me think I was missing out on a support system, an essential for a writer’s sanity. Guest speaker Michael Martone also tapped into the role of community by making his address interactive and relying on the audience for that which he could not accomplish on his own: keeping time. Working together to establish connections (Martone gave his phone number), share information (we texted questions and answers), and involve the community through teaching and support is what IWC offers to our growing community of writers.

So come join us on October 10 for the fifth annual banquet.

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