There is nothing, nothing like being around book people. I love it. It's inspiring, educational and well…makes you feel a little less alone. If you're a reader or a writer, I'm sure you've experienced how some people in your life just don't get it. I think you have to be a book lover to really understand, so I thrive on these times where I'm surrounded by my people :)
I did more panels this year than I did in Kansas City. Most of mine were all LGBT or YA related. There was some great information out there and I wanted to soak it all in!
Meeting and hearing Susanne Brockmann speak. She's sort of my hero now. Her passion for equality and LGBT issues is contagious. She talked about the trope of "so what" which is about books that have LGBT characters in them but the conflict in the story has NOTHING to do with being gay. We all know that RUSH was a sports related coming out story but I'm a believer in the need of both kinds of stories. It may be 2014 but we all know that people DO still struggle with coming out. They need to feel like they're not alone but it's equally important for stories about gay characters who are gay, out, and it's not a big deal. Being gay is not related to the conflict. If you've read RUSH you know Logan is out. I hope to write his story and if I do, it will very much be a "so what" story. Mrs. Brockmann is very knowledgeable and I loved trying to soak up as much of that knowledge as I could. I was lucky enough to speak with her for a minute after one of her panels. I had my very own fangirl moment. Yes, authors have those too! At least I do :)
Seeing my friend DJ. I met him online when I first started writing YA years and years ago. We finally met in person and he is just as lovely as I knew he would be!
Going to a panel with Christopher Rice was just awesome too. He is hilarious and kind.
Coming up with a new YA story idea on the plane! I don't have it all sorted out but the bones are there, now I just need to put it all together.
Seeing author and reader friends I often only see once a year or less! There is something so different about seeing people in person rather than just speaking online. The internet is great but having real conversations, and spending real, quality time with people is eye-opening on many levels. I had reakfast with Carol and Adam Kunz, lots of room service with Elisabeth Staab, drinks with Kimberly, Rebekah, Michelle, Stacey, Raine Miller, Katie Ashley, Jay Crownover, AL Jackson, Brandee. Christa Desir who shares her amazing knowledge. Chats with Monica Murphy, Tiffany King, and SO many of you that if I keep going, we'll be here all day. Just know I appreciated seeing you all. I might not show it but I often feel like that nervous girl in high school again at events like this…wondering if I fit in, if people really want to be around me when they are, etc. It's sometimes hard but then there are some people who make the time spent with them so special, those thoughts disappear. There were laughs. Lots of them. And embarrassing stories too… I will treasure them all.
The book signing! That's what it's all about, isn't it? Connecting with readers!
Getting a shout out in a panel. Someone asked a question about LGBT NA and someone mentioned how happy they were about the release of RUSH. I heard that a lot of editors and agents are seeking LGBT NA. I hope we get some quality stories because we need them!
There was more but I'm sure you guys don't want all the details. I'm so tired, which I always am after an event like this but it's so very worth it! It's like a reboot in some ways. I always get that excited buzz zipping through me after a conference and it makes me even more excited to continue putting words on paper.
I might be a little scarce online for a while. There are some things going on behind the scenes that I have to deal with but I will still be around. I'm already counting down the days until next year!