Monday, May 31, 2010

The one where the conference ends and we remember the brave...

The conference is over. I'm so sad. It's like that feeling you get when summer camp ends. Or, for those of you who've done theatre, the feeling when the run of the show is over. It's such a letdown. But it was so worth it. I would seriously encourage any of you who are writing fiction to consider attending a conference, regardless of your genre. This one was a speculative fiction conference but included topics that would be helpful to any writer. Things like manuscript submission, query & synopsis structure, writing and submitting short works. There was even a poetry session. Apart from all the invaluable advice, it was awesome to meet and have a chance to chat with so many published authors. There were even pitch sessions with editors, to give you a chance to sell your work, or at least get it looked at.

I know I came out of the month with some serious growth. I learned a lot of things that have improved my writing, cleaned up my submission techniques and truly encouraged me. I was amazed that some published horror writers like Gary Braunbeck and his wife Lucy Snyder, and Scott Nicholson were so friendly and down to earth. I've met a few authors on facebook that are not. And I loved that Scott reminded us all to be humble. No matter how many books you have published, it can all fall apart. So the goal is to be a better person not a famous person. There were many other very talented writers at the conference. I mention these three because they all write horror.

The other benefit I found to the conference was being able to read other author's blogs and daily progress reports. It gave me a feeling of such "belonging". We truly are all in the same boat. So many of the same hopes, fears, idiosyncrasies and doubts. I've read Joe Hill's tweets and know that he's a procrastinator. I've read Joely Sue Burkhart's blog and know that she is a majorly organized plot planner. It's been an amazing month. And I've come away from it renewed in purpose, much more confident in my writing and determined to achieve my goals. And really, I'm so close to needing an "author" photo for my author page. Which means I totally need to focus on that "lose 25lbs" goal!!

The downside of the conference? Life still happens. I missed several sessions I wanted to attend because of a mad dash to the hospital, CJ's prom, Bobby's graduation or because I felt guilty for neglecting my family. Luckily, they put up transcripts. It isn't quite the same but it helps. My family was pretty great about my locking myself in the family room during panels. They tried hard not to bug me. And for the most part it went well. They are all a little happy that it's over though. Which brings me to my funny story for today~

This weekend was "pride weekend" at camp. Everyone comes up and works on projects to help get camp ready for summer. There's a lot of mowing, ect that goes on. Some of the guys came up Friday night. Hubby and some volunteers poured three pads of concrete that night. He didn't get in til oh, 11 or so. About ten o'clock as I'm settling in for a panel in the conference, Sean comes into the family room~

Sean: Hey Homie G

Me: What's up?

Sean: MB is here. I'm going to take off with him for awhile.

Me: Okay. You coming home or sleeping in camp?

Sean: Probably home.

Me: Okay. Don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Sean: Well that leaves it wide open.

Me: Yeah, try to be careful.

It occurred to me about 5 minutes after he left that most 16 year old boys do not call their mothers "Homie G". It also occurred to me that most Mothers are not going to be cool with their 16 year old boys leaving at 10 at night with a "I'll probably be home". I guess our relationship is out of the ordinary. Go figure. But in truth, he was just leaving to go play in his 740 acre front yard. And it's Sean, whom I trust. Know why? Because the kid does not lie. EVER. He never has. He's honest to a fault, sometimes brutally honest. And he's pretty strait-laced. He doesn't want anything to potentially ruin his military career. And he doesn't like not being in control. So if he goes to a party, he's usually the guy taking care of everyone, making sure things don't get out of hand. It doesn't mean he's never pushed the boundaries or broken the rules. It's just that he fesses up, sometimes before I even ask. Lu was definitely my problem child in this regard. I'm often surprised that she made it to 18 and young adulthood without my killing her.

So as a last thing, please remember today to thank a soldier, either active duty, retired, reserve, whatever. Be thankful for the men who put their lives on the line for us. All those who now serve and those who've gone before. Say a prayer for those who are in the midst of combat now and those who never made it home. And for those who are still missing. Never forget.

Thank you Dad.



  1. My Dad and Uncle were servicemen, what a tribute. Remembering them all.

    Great job on the conference, that advice and knowledge is going to take you far. I am so excited for you!!

  2. ...and to our future veterans! Even those that call their mom's Homie G.

  3. Beautiful post, sweetie. So glad the conference turned out to be everything you'd hoped for...and more.

    And now there's nothing left to do but GO!

  4. I was really happy to hear about the conference...I definitely need to look into it. Wow--you are ready for your author photo. So cool! Sean may need to find another name for you after you are published! (though Homie G is pretty cute too)

  5. I recommend rolling with the Homie G, perhaps it could be a pen name one day. Sounds like you had a fabulous conference!

  6. Ohh, she's hanging out with the big boys now!

    query & synopsis...Ummm, what? LOL! I will never be an author! Strange and foreign words.

    Glad you got to enjoy the confrence.

    It is so cool that you and Sean can be that way with each other.

  7. I've been trying to piece this together and maybe if I go back a year or so in your blog I can, but make it easy on an old lady will ya?! Does 740 acre front yard and camp mean that you all run a camp? Just trying to fill in the spaces. Anyway, Sean is a one in a million kid, yep he's a keeper. I love the conversations you guys have. Glad your writers workshop was awesome!

  8. I am glad you had so much fun at the conference, and that you found it all to be helpful. I really need to get on board and find one to attend.

    My relationship with my parents are a lot like your's with Sean. I think they trusted me so much, that they were never worried I would do something I would regret.

    Lovalove you! :)

  9. Not sure who I envy more you or Sean. More envy and some happiness for you and your conference experience. Regarding our soldiers, I decided this year that we need to get a flag for our home and teach our boys its significance. My husband and I are not super patriotic and I think it was from lack of information from truly patriotic people in our upbringings. Even as a teacher, I can't say I taught or modelled patriotism outside of the morning pledge. I wonder if teachers avoid this too because there is a fine line easily crossed when you share what you love about our country.

  10. ok - I was way confused for a moment about your "Pride Weekend". Obviously I am on a different planet.

    Bless all those men and women in uniform. May they always be true to their country and to their own hearts.