PressPublish at the Heard in Phoenix

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Sunset in Phoenix Friday night was spectacular from the sky deck at the Clarendon Hotel.
Not only was the view spectacular, but the complimentary goodies, including hand-shaken margaritas, were really good. Didn’t even need to get dinner.

Friend and fellow writer/editor, Heather Severson, and I were in Phoenix for the WordPress PressPublish event, and believe me it was worth every mile, every dollar, and more between Tucson and Phoenix.

The idea was to help those of us who are WordPress bloggers to make the most of our blogs and to introduce us to new opportunities to use our blogs more effectively. There is no doubt that they delivered on the promise.

The venue could not have been more beautiful. We were at the Heard Museum, one of the most important museums of Southwestern Native American art and history in the region. I had been to the museum on multiple occasions, especially for research on my book series (The Clay Series, of which The Clay Remembers is currently available online). I had no idea they had such an amazing meeting facility; nor did I imagine how incredible the FOOD options would be.

I don’t normally dwell on the kinds of refreshments than a conference host offers, but when it is as extensive and generous as this weekend’s conference was, you simply KNOW that your host values your attendance.

Having just released my novel, The Clay Remembers, for publication, my blog is more important than it has ever been. It must become a primary sales channel for me, so what I learned at the conference was very important to my next steps in marketing.

A quick run-down of what we heard and who offered their ideas:

I have to say that Katherine Fritz was fantastic. Interestingly, I had recently read one of the entries from her blog, “I am begging my mother not to read this blog,” and I will follow her. She revealed her experience at going viral and getting new opportunities as a result of her blog. She was a hoot, and she reached out to Heather and me during the afternoon and after the day was concluded. We laughed together which is always fun.

Food blogger, Russ Crandall, told us about how his difficult health experience, particularly with a rare autoimmune disease, led him to, not only blogging about his experiences, but publishing multiple cookbooks for those who face similar challenges. Emily Austin shared her journey from a “little parenting blog” to fame and how she grew her large and loyal following to the forefront and to features on Huffington Post and CNN.com. Kathy Cano-Murillo had us all laughing through her experiences as a crafting blogger who ended up in “the big time.”

In between these excellent presenters, the “Happiness Engineers” of WordPress offered brief tutorials for features that bloggers like Heather and me could take advantage of.

I don’t know when I’ve been to a better organized conference than this one (and, believe me, I’ve been to a lot) than this one. WordPress deserves KUDOS for the work they did to put this program together and to meet the needs of bloggers like me.

Thank you, WordPress. I only hope I can put into practice what I learned this weekend.

About Sharon

**Writing, both personal and professional, has always been an important aspect of my life. **Personally, whether I write from experience or invent fictional characters, I learn so much about myself. Writing has always helped me understand and deal with important events and issues in my life. The blog, "Boxelders and Blackberries" serves this purpose. **My "gravatar" is a boxelder tree, which I hope provides a way to bring together my personal and professional writing. The boxelder tree branches into multiple trunks, each representing a different direction my life and career has taken.
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