Starting LDS Women’s Book Review is the best thing I have ever done.
Okay, ONE of the best things. (Sorry, honey. :))
I’ll tell you why.
This is THE BEST writing community anywhere.
When LDSWBR first came to be almost 6 years ago, we were unaware of the amazing talent we would find, the awesome writers that would become good friends, and the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that would be ours.
An early LDSWBR logo. Ugh, I know.
Our star-struck awe upon first meeting authors a few years ago has matured into warm friendships and admiration for people who have worked hard and pursued their dreams of being published. Camaraderie is instantly formed with other book bloggers at socials and signings based on our common love of the written word. Nowhere else in my life have I encountered such easy acceptance and friendly encouragement as I have in this writing/reading community. Okay, almost nowhere. (Again, sorry, honey.)
The two writing conferences I have attended each year, as well as the book launches and signings sprinkled in between, recharge my soul in ways not much else can. I look forward to LDS Storymakers Conference and the Book Academy almost as much as I do Christmas. Book launches and author signings are like mini reunions that get me through until the next conference.
Last Thursday, October 6, was packed full of bookish goodness. Not only was it my 2nd Book Academy, but I was also able to attend the book launch for Robison Wells‘ Variant at The King’s English.
The Book Academy
The Keynote was given by Dan Wells, author of the I Am Not a Serial Killer series, who was as brilliant and clever as ever. The Wells’ brothers have always amazed and entertained me with their quick-witted senses of humor, so a double dose of the Wells’ brothers guarantees a good day. Dan guided the audience through a brainstorming session before issuing the challenge to come up with five new story ideas every day until it becomes second nature to find inspiration everywhere.
SIDENOTE: If you want to hear a sample of the Wells’ brothers brainstorming in action, listen to their presentation from the Teen Writers’ Conference here.
The first session I attended was Gregg Luke’s class on “Character and Dialogue Development.” Gregg gave great advice on point-of-view, moving the story forward, knowing your antagonist as well as your protagonist, and how to include backstory without info dumping. He even gave examples of what he taught from each of his recent novels. I really needed this class.
Sarah M. Eden’s “Unfunny Class on Being Funny” was the second session I attended, mainly for the clips and funny stories about the hilarious comments her kids make. Okay, mainly because I need all the help I can get when it comes to funny, though the clips and comments from her kids were a definite bonus.
I was glad to see that for lunch they were serving the same chicken and salad from last year because it was really good. Also, what kind of cake was that? Yum.
The best part of lunch, though, was sitting at the cool table: Krista Jensen, Sarah Eden, Angela Eschler, Julie Coulter Bellon, a girl named Cammie that I didn’t know but looked pretty cool, and ME. Yep, I was sitting with all of those oh-so-cool people. It was awesome.
My third class was Angela Eschler’s “Self-Editing to Woo an Agent or Editor.” I’m not anywhere near wooing an agent or editor, but as a book reviewer and aspiring author I found the information in Angela’s class invaluable. This woman is brilliant. Others have heard me say this before but I’ll say it again: I want to be Angela when I grow up.
My last session of the day was “Chemistry 101: Turning up the Heat in Romance without Crossing into the Fire Zone” by Michele Paige Holmes. I was delighted to discover at least four men attending this class. I’ve read a lot of good romances and I’ve read almost as many bad ones. Romance is hard to write. If you don’t believe that, do what romance authors say and go ahead and write one. I dare you.
I am always a little sad when a writing conference is over, but that is tempered by the excitement and inspiration I feel about starting back in on my work-in-progress. All seven pages of it. So far. All in all, it was a great conference.
Variant Book Launch
After the Book Academy I drove back to Salt Lake to The King’s English for the launch party for Robison Wells’ Variant.
Rob was the first author I approached about LDSWBR. He was also the first author we ever had on the podcast. I had read and loved his book Wake Me When It’s Over and found out he was signing books at a nearby book store. I decided to go introduce myself and let him know we had reviewed his book on the podcast.
Oh, man, was I nervous.
July 7, 2006
I didn’t need to be. Both Rob and his wife were friendly and gracious. He signed my book and the rest is history. Thanks to our association with Rob, we have been able to podcast at each Whitney Award Gala, and when he asked us to present an award for the first time you’d have thought we just won a million dollars. Though, after all his hard work with the Whitney Awards and everything else, it’s Rob who deserves a million dollars.
We couldn’t be happier for Rob and his family with the release of Variant and the news of his three book deal with HarperCollins.
Congratulations, Rob! October 6, 2011: Variant launch party.
Here are more pictures from the Variant launch party, including one I stole from Krista Jensen’s blog:
Ally Condie, Nichole Giles, Elana Johnson, Brodi Ashton, and me with our copies of Variant.
Annette Lyon, me, and Michele Paige Holmes. Love these ladies.
Sarah Eden, Margot Hovley, Krista Jensen, and... me. Love these ladies, too!
Heather (H.B.) Moore, me again, and Crystal Liechty. Great to see both of them again!
Jessica Day George, Mindy, Mindy's oldest daughter, and you-know-who. Seeing Jessica always makes me happy. (Seeing Mindy makes me happy, too, of course!)
The pilfered photo of Jeff (J. Scott) Savage, me, and Krista Jensen, taken by Jeff's sweet wife.
There were so many people there to support Rob and his new book.
Support, friendship, fun, acceptance and a whole lot of book love.
This really is the best writing community anywhere.
Wouldn’t you agree?