I am finally getting back on track.
Several days with very little sleep, no transition before being back in the wife/mom routine, and today I was dead. I had to get up three times in the class I was subbing for and go to the vending machine, just so I wouldn't fall asleep.
Then I came home and took a nap with my boys. A long one. A three-hour nap.
I still have a headache, but I'm almost over my hangover!
Now. Let me tell you about this fantastic conference.
My day started Thursday afternoon with a drive to the Fort Smith airport, which has won my respect as the smallest airport I've ever seen. Three gates. I honestly thought I'd gone to the wrong place, to some municipal airport with chartered jets. However, they do have very nice restrooms that get voted in the top 10 airline restrooms in the US.
My Delta flight to SLC arrived at 9:15pm, five minutes before my brother got off work and ten minutes before M. Gray's flight arrived. So we met in the baggage claim, and right away, this girl and I hit it off. She is everything she seems to be. It was the best girly weekend I've had in years! Every night we'd go up to our room, dead tired, crawl into bed, and lay in our beds chatting for an hour. It was AWESOME. M. Gray was a major part of the trip for me.
We went to the wrong entrance of the Marriott and had to bang on doors for someone to hear us. We just didn't feel like walking around the block with our luggage in tow.
Friday morning, we woke up bright and early for our 6:30am Bootcamp. At this point, I was regretting signing up for it. Until I met my fabulous group. Our mentor was Kirk Shaw, senior editor for Covenant Communications, and other neat people like T.J. Bronley. (If the other four in my group have a blog, let me know and I'll link to you too!) This intense three-hour session each morning was pivotal for me to see how well I do as a critiquer, and how the first few pages of my WIP are perceived by the public.
After that was class time. As each class syllabus is copyrighted, I can't share with you what was taught. But some of the classes sparked creative juices, and I'm excited to share with you what I came away with.
On Friday I took two class: "You can be a Dot Com," by John Ferguson, Daron Fraley, and Darvell Hunt. While much of this class I already knew, I did walk away with a bluehost.com account and everything I need to start a website. (Now if only I knew some html...even basic!)
I also took "Writing a Killer Query," by Elana Johnson. This class was an amazing, two-hour event in which I reworded and rearranged my query, hopefully for the better.
Our keynote speaker was David Wolverton. The biggest thing I got from his address was not being afraid of public speaking. I think I was stuck on that note over the weekend. I am really excited to speak in public when my book comes out.
In between all the classes we had book signings. How fun to meet so many people! I'll picture bomb you later. I'm bad about getting pictures onto my computer.
On Saturday, we finished up Boot Camp. I would love to have that group of people in a critique group around me. The first class I took was "Press Releases" by Stacy Anderson. I had my laptop out and drafted a press release outline while she spoke. The second class I took was "The Marketing Power of Public Speaking" by C. S. Bezas. Wow! That class was amazing. I'm not afraid of public speaking, but I honestly had no idea what I would talk about. Not anymore. That inspiring class helped me build a platform. I now have a platform, that I'll share with you in another blog post!
In the afternoon I took "Marketing and Publicity" by Stacy Anderson. Really, this felt like the beefed up version of her other class, "Press Releases." And my final class was Dave Wolverton's "Writing for the Masses." Just as he said he would, he showed us little changes we can make to improve our appeal for an international audience.
The Whitneys were amazing, like I already blogged about here. I met several other WiDo authors--including M. J. Cunningham and David J. West. That was a definite highlight. We all hit it off so well, and have a special bond that I think only small press authors can have. We are so excited to boost and support each other. Here's a picture I stole from David's blog.
Sunday morning came way too early for M. Gray, who had to catch the shuttle at 5:30am. Not me! I met up with a dear friend, Jayme Hansen, who I hadn't seen since we moved from Provo two years ago. My sister-in-law Desree gave me a ride to the airport. Since I already posted about my adventures there, I won't post again.
It was a wonderful experience! I've already marked the speakers I must have for next year. It will be awesome!
If we met there, give me a shout out in the comments so I can find your blog!