My Adventures in … Dayton

This month, I attended the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. The conference really is one of a kind. It’s an event for humor writers of all kinds and only happens every two years. The conference draws big names, such as Dave Barry in the past, and this year one of its many nice guests was W. Bruce Cameron (8 Simple Rules…).

Because it draws humor writers from all over the country, the conference actually sells out every time. (Amazing in such an economic climate.) Check out this picture of the main ballroom at eating time.


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I taught a pair of workshops on getting an agent. I didn’t realize it until the day before I spoke, but with my Garden Gnome Attack book coming out in September, I am a published humor book author, which immediately gave me all kinds of street cred at the event. Score. Attendees were nice and, being that it was a humor-loving crowd, jokes were zinging everywhere.

At lunch, I got to sit next to Mo Rocca, formerly correspondent for “The Daily Show.” He was in town on behalf of “CBS News Sunday Morning” doing a piece on the conference, as you can see by the pic below. (The piece is tentatively scheduled to air on Mother’s Day. How cool is that?) I reminded Mo that we crossed path in Key West when I was on my honeymoon and he was filming something down there. He stared at me like I was crazy.

Would I recommend going to this event in the future? Absolutely. The list of speakers is big-time, and everyone is all smiles over the three days. Presenters give speeches multiple times, so if you miss something the first time, you can catch it on the second go-round. (Smart.) There are no agents or editors at the event, but it does bring the power players of humor book writing and column writing (networking!), so it’s well worth it … that is, if you can sign up in time.

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4 thoughts on “My Adventures in … Dayton

  1. terri

    I will attend this conference someday. I grew up in Cleveland, and Erma was the voice of truth for my mom and her generation, even before Erma became a national advocate for woman’s rights. (Actually, homemakers in the 1960-’70’s were aghast that Erma advocated taking off the apron!)

    My nonfiction has often been compared to Erma and I feel that’s the greatest compliment since I’ve read all her books.

    I also recognize Erma’s voice in some of my favorite novelists. Like Jane Porter’s novels. I can’t read 1st person in most cases because the voice and issues don’t connect with me. But with Jane, I feel like I’m sitting with her while she’s telling the story.

    Erma had an edge to her voice and a truth to her humor. I’m glad there are many writers keeping that style in print.

  2. Florence

    I recommended this conference to a friend who is breaking into journalism with the same type of column as Erma (a Generation-X Erma Bombeck) … I have all her books and loved to read her column.

    This conference is a great tribute to the unsung of our profession … those who care enough to make you laugh … and we all know how badly a good laugh is needed these days.

    I can see you would be a natural. thanks for the post … It’s a good way to start my day 🙂


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