My ultra-cool critique group and I went to Storymakers at the end of April. It’s taken me this long to write the post about it because of all the links. Well, and the computer trouble. Sorry for the wait and I’m apologizing in advance for the length of this post.
So what happened there? All things wonderful and terrifying. I began my 2 day conference with Bootcamp. We gathered at a table with a published author and many up-and-coming writers. (Shout out’s to: Deborah Talmage, Ali Cross, Jenn, Daron, Shanna, Cathy, and Graham.) Graham did awesome in the First Chapters contest, winning first place in the Youth Category for his piece, Lunaratus. Congrats Graham! Ali is having a great bit of success herself, having a piece of hers personally requested by the fabulous Lisa Mangum (of which there is more to come.) Everyone was helpful and the opportunity was a unique chance to work with people in our genres.
Following bootcamp, I got my choice of many wonderful classes/workshops taught by many wonderful authors:
Julie Wright, who just landed an agent! Way to go Julie! She also gave a wonderfully motivating speech about concrete and where we settle as writers. That’s post worthy on its own. Bug her on her site and she might repeat it for you! Annette Lyon taught one of the best grammar usage classes that I’ve ever attended. I was salivating over the geekiness. Ah…the word nerd. She’s wonderful. Skills aside, Annette is one gorgeous girl. Don’t let her comments about chipmunks fool you. She’s also genuinely kind. I want to be her clone.
Josi Kilpack taught us about playing nicely in the same sandbox. Useful skills for all people—not just writers. Not only does Josi play well in the sandbox, she classes it up. She’s the most down-to-earth author, despite her killer skills. It also needs to be said that she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Love ya, Josi. Heather Moore outlined the process from book conception to shelf-space debuts. I was dumbfounded and awestruck by her work ethic. Want to learn how to do it? Learn it from Heather.
James Dashner was NOT crying about the day he got The Call. It was allergies or something. But he does have the best pictures in his powerpoint presentations. Just sayin’. Jeff Savage not only gets props for the class on creating character bibles but also gave the BEST MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH EVER. I keep my bandana with me everywhere, Jeff. I’d also wave a glow-stick if you ever visited my school (which I don’t attend. But I would!)
Tristi Pinkston was a wonderful presenter on many things and did one of the best readings aloud I’ve ever heard. I linked the chapter she read in my last post (where you can also see when her latest book comes out!) Crystal Leichty let me join her bootcamp group the second day and she’s incredible. She’s a great writer and one of the prettiest pregnant women I’ve ever seen. She was always dressed in the cutest ensembles!
Rachel Ann Nunes did one of the best classes on Plot & Conflict. It was very detailed and thorough. I have to also mention that she’s got fabulous hair and is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I got to know her a little and I couldn’t love her better. I owe her a lot and I’ll explain that later.
Julie Bellon taught a class on self-editing and revision that changed my world. It was so incredible that I can’t even begin to explain it. Suffice it to say, if I ever make it through this journey, she gets a HUGE acknowledgement from me! Dean Lorey is a class act guy. Not only did he give a wonderful and funny speech but I got to spend some time with him and just talk it up. His books are amazing and my friends and I got a sneak-peek at the cover of his new project and I think it’s just AWESOME! He’s seriously incredible, people.
Stephanie Black is SO FRICKIN’ NICE! I love this woman. She sat at my lunch table and I had no idea who she was until about half way through and I saw her name tag. She’s so genuinely kind you wouldn’t believe it. She also won a Whitney Award for her book, Fool Me Twice and I cheered my guts out for her at home while I watched the live transcripts! Way to go Stephanie!
Stacy Whitman’s got one killer singing voice. (I’ll tell you about that sometime.) I got to spend a little extra time with Stacy (Thanks to Rachel Nunes!!) to talk about my MS. She asked to see the 1st three chapters. I’ll keep you updated. You just ought to know that Stacy is really smart and so kind. It wasn’t scary to talk to her at all and most editor meetings scare the bodily functions out of me!
The highlight of the weekend was meeting Kim from Temporary Insanity She is easily the warmest, kindest, most genuinely sweet person I’ve ever met. I’d journey to Canada ALL THE TIME to see her, she’s that fabulous. Her hugs and enthusiasm made my whole weekend. Kim, I love ya girl.
Debbie & Donna are Dashner fans that I met over at his site (click his link above.) They get props for the awesome Dashnog shirts they made to honor said Dashman. It was nice to finally meet them in person after we hogged up the comments section on James blog talking to each other. I’ve mentioned the wonderful Weston Elliot before but I got to meet her in person and hear all about her manuscript over lunch on Saturday. She’s not kidding when she said that truth was stranger than fiction and her MS will prove it!! I loved meeting her. It was an honor!
I’ve been a long-time fan of the fabulous Keith Fisher and sadly only had a small moment to see him. I’ve met him once before in person and I hope to get to know him better. He’s a damn fine writer and I adore his work. If you haven’t checked him out—Do it. (He usually posts on Saturdays. I wait all week for it.)
I learned something I didn’t know about Nichole Giles during a hallway chat moment. Should I tell? Hmmm…Maybe not! Okay, seriously, Nichole was part of a skit for Authors Incognito and you all should know that she has a beautiful singing voice. I will never hear Unwritten and not think about it. (I’ll ask her about the secret and maybe post it later! Want a hint? Both she and Ali share the same secret!)
Jaime Theler worked her tail off for Storymakers and the First Chapter Contest. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude. “THANK YOU, JAIME!” She & Deborah (link above) wrote this exemplary book called: Parenting the Ephraim’s Child that is changing my life as we speak. I can’t thank them enough. Kirk Shaw is a funny guy and I was honored that he took one of my Dashnog buttons. You’re awesome Kirk!
I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Eowyn and it is a huge regret of mine. Someday soon, Eowyn, huh? I’d love that. She’s a wonderful bloggist and you should read her. Melanie J. is smokin’ hot (I’m not hitting on her, just stating facts) who can dress to the nines. She’s also SUPER nice and I LOVED meeting her. I’m so glad she came to Storymakers. I’ve followed her for a while but you can’t appreciate how incredible she is over the internet. (Well, you can try but she’s even more amazing in person!) I’ve learned a little bit more about her history and it must be said that she’s a strong, intelligent woman. I’m so glad to know her better.
Darvell Hunt wins the award for most creative acceptance ever! His alter-ego, D.D. Hunt won 4th place in the First Chapters Contest and accepted it with squeals of delight that caused a riot of laughter. See more about it HERE.
One of the greatest delights was meeting J.N. Future Author, a fellow Dashfan. He is warm, kind, funny, and a great hugger. I couldn’t have been more delighted. He is the kind of person that reaffirms my belief in humanity. His kindness and friendship are something I’ll always treasure. (And he’s a good lookin’ kid too!)
Well, this post is long enough. I just wanted to make sure I told you about the wonderful people I met and showed my appreciation for what they’ve done. In the next post, I’ll tell you what happened there with me specifically and I’ll also be telling you about how I met Heidi Ashworth in person. She’s just AWESOME! Stay tuned. Sorry for all the links and names and details. There’s a lot to say about all of it! I promise I’ll be more concise next time. (Also, If I forgot your name, please let me know!!)
Love to all,