By Marlette Bess
It’s strange to think that a small place like Kalispell, Montana could have such a smart and interesting writer’s conference, but they did just. The Flathead Valley Community College where it was held in a conference room large enough to accommodate a hundred people but the room itself gave off a feeling of coziness, almost intimacy. When the speakers spoke, it was as if they were speaking to you while you were sitting on a couch in front of them.
For me, the joy of the conference was having my worked critiqued by one of the two agents who attended that weekend. Jim McCarthy of New York City gave me a fair and honest assessment of my work. He was neither cruel nor humiliating but concise with a little compassion. Before this conference I had only been to the big conference in Seattle put on by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. To meet an agent or editor there you had to go through a process of speed pitching. I don’t think you could find a mate with speed dating and I don’t see how you could find an agent with speed pitching.
My overall impression with the conference was positive, encouraging and very helpful. I want to thank the staff and presenters for doing such an excellent job and to the crew at the culinary department for putting on two good lunches. I would happily attend again.


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