Writers Conference – Day Two

As far as conferences go, the first day is one of the most stressful. Not because there’s so much going on, but being in a new place with so many new people, and not an inkling of where things are (this is a maze of a hotel).

I set up my table to sell prints of dragons my mom had purchased during the many times she had attended comicons and the like. I sold a total of six prints (including one my son had painted, which was really sweet of the buyer to do).

A lot of people asked if I had painted them, and with so much excitement in their eyes when they asked made me wish I had. I’m thinking next year I might have to create something to sell, but what? Sure I have my photography, but they’re not exactly sci-fi/fantasy related. Really, will pictures of clouds sell at a sci-fi/fantasy writers convention? Probably not.

Tom came with me, and for a ten year old, he’s been so patient watching the booth when I’m in class, or watching Babylon 5 DVDs in our hotel room. He did go swimming yesterday for an hour, so it’s not been a total drag for him. Plus we went to a restaurant for supper called Trainwreck saloon. He bought a tuna steak sandwich which was over an inch thick. It is currently not only his favorite meal ever, it’s now his favorite restaurant. He couldn’t stop talking about it last night or this morning.

Writers Conference – Day One

I finally got around to writing about the conference, and to share the highlights with you. I waited, because I had to not only catch up with work, but family came in from out of town, and I had to write a short synopsis for my latest novel (more on that later).

Anyway, here’s what happened the first day:

We left home at 3:45 am and arrived at the conference at 7:30. Just over 15 hours. Not bad considering I had anticipated a minimum of 16 hours.

Traffic overall was not bad, so I must have timed it just right. I didn’t hit any city during rush-hour (so called). The weather also couldn’t have been better. I even managed to grab a parking spot close to the front entrance of the hotel. How often does that happen?

I was no less exhausted when we made it, though.

The part about attending a conference for the first time is not knowing what to expect, and not knowing anyone else attending. It’s a little intimidating. I saw a bunch of other attendees, and most were engaged in lively conversations. For a moment I couldn’t help but feel like an outcast, almost unwelcome.

I’m going to chalk those icky feelings up to being tired. I’ve been in this situation before when I’ve attended other conferences. In the end, I make lots of new friends. Plus, I’m not the only newbie to attend, so I doubt I’m not the only one feeling lost.

Another Step

On a long journey.

In three days I’m leaving for a writers conference called “Realm Makers.” I plan on meeting with several agents to pitch one of my novels.

As usual, I’m anxious. I can write well enough, but pitching my novels well enough to pique interest, it’s intimidating to say the least. How does one boil a book down to a sentence or two, and well enough someone will say, “Tell me more?” Especially one who has little confidence in speaking to people I don’t know about my stories.

The last week I have spent trying to prepare my documents as well as my mind.

I’ve attended many conferences, talked to many an editor and agent. You’d think I’d be more comfortable by now. Considering I’ve yet to secure an agent, and have too few stories published, I’m not confident this conference will end up any different.

So why go, then?

Because conferences aren’t only about eventual publication through a traditional publisher (versus vanity or self-publishing). They also offer classes to improve our writing, and learn more about marketing. Even better, I get to meet, connect and reconnect with other writers. Others who understand the joys, sorrows, frustrations, failures and triumphs of what writing means.

I also often meet God there, and I learn something about him, about myself, or a combination of both. I never know what, and that’s part of the fun.

I will also write at least one entry a day while I’m there so you can share the journey with me. Perhaps a photo or two.

I Got It!

I received the following email yesterday (in part):

“Andra

I enjoyed speaking with you recently. I would like to offer you the volunteer position of Associate Editor of Spark, if you are still interested. Please let me know at your earliest convenience.”

Although it’s not a paid position, the insights I will gain into the magazine industry (and publishing in general) will be invaluable. Plus I get to read all the stories before anyone else!

For more on the magazine:

http://splickety.com/imprints/splickety-love/

In Tears

Maybe because I had a difficult week dealing with a bad tooth, and now with it fixed, I have succumbed to exhaustion. As such, I’m feeling a bit more emotional than usual (or maybe it’s a hormonal thing).

Regardless, I just finished writing another devotional for my church, and more than once I had to fight back tears. Something about it struck me. It’s about God’s love and mercy, that no matter how egregious our sins, he will always pursue us to get us to accept his convictions, his mercy, and his love.

Perhaps there are a few sins of my own that I need to lay at God’s feet. Perhaps, although my head is well aware of who God is, and how much he loves me, my heart needs a bit more coaxing. I don’t always feel God’s presence even when I know he’s there.

Such as when my husband is sitting next to me. I know he’s there, loving me, however quietly. Yet sometimes I need him to hold my hand, so I can feel his love just as poignantly.

Toofwess!

Well, one tooth less anyway.

A few weeks ago one of my molars started to ache. Not enough to cause issues, so I didn’t do anything about it.

Until last Thursday night. It hurt so bad I almost went to the emergency room.

Instead, I took both Tylenol and Advil which took me through the weekend (my dentist is closed on Fridays).

I was able to get in the next Monday.

Turns out the tooth was cracked, so he referred me to an endodontist to get a root canal. Two days later, I went in only to find out that a root canal was unfeasible, because the crack went too deep.

So I was referred yet again to an oral surgeon to extract the tooth.

But the earliest appointment available was July 17, well over a month later. They did, however, put me on a cancellation list.

I gave them until early this morning waiting to see if a cancellation came available.

Since I heard nothing, I searched the dentist that had extracted one of my wisdom teeth almost 20 years ago. Surprisingly, unlike every other dentist in my area, they are open on Fridays.

I called them at 8:06 hoping they had something early next week.

The receptionist asked, “Where are you from?”

An odd question, but I told her.

“We have an opening at 8:20.”

I paused. “Today?”

“Yes.”

“I am on my way.”

I made it to their office at 8:22.

At 9:10, said tooth was removed.

As I paid (happily!), the receptionist asked what my plans were for the rest of the day.

“I’m going to grin through the rest of the day.”

The Worst Part of An Interview

It isn’t the anxiety beforehand.

Nor is it during the interview itself.

It’s the aftermath.

I just ended an interview for a magazine associate editor’s position. This was especially nerve-wracking because I haven’t done an interview in twenty years.

It took place over Google Hangouts which was interesting and kinda cool (I’ll describe why in a second) with two ladies involved with the magazine. They asked me about my writing, my editing strengths and weaknesses, and my expectations with the position. They will be interviewing several others, and will let me know either way within a few weeks whether or not I obtain the position.

Now for why the aftermath is the worst part of the interview.

For the next two hours I will mentally scrutinize every word I spoke, and every action of my face and rest of my body.

Did I stutter too much? Did I blink too much? Did I pick my nose? Did I yawn? Did I talk with my hands too much? Too little?

I could have answered that question better!

I should have said something else!

Why, oh why did I say that?!

The upside of it taking place over Hangouts was they couldn’t smell my bad breath due to nervous dry-mouth, or that my deodorant gave out three hours ago.