1. I got to fetch James Dashner his water, and helped him connect his Macintosh to the overhead projector (press and hold F7, apparently) so he could show us the cover of The Death Cure. Then I helped persuade him to read three chapters (instead of two--he swore us to secrecy, but you're gonna love it. I can't wait until it's out!!!). I invited him to do an Authors' Advisory conference call and he... was noncommittal. Didn't say yes, didn't say no. If you know James, tell him he should do it! He has my card….
2. I moderated three panels and NO ONE asked why the heck I was there! Rather, I find that my voice is famous. A few attendees approached me afterward (which was really confusing—why were they talking to me?) and said they recognized my voice from the calls. So cool! I hadn’t even mentioned Authors’ Advisory (probably should have, though…).
3. When I approached J. Scott Savage to give him my card and invite him to do a call, he already knew who I was! Neither of us was sure if we’d met before, but we shook hands and proclaimed our happiness to know each other. He said he’d be happy to do a call sometime. *Squee!*
4. I got to see a certain book cover (it wasn’t authorized to be shown around, so I won’t say whose) that made me squeal and jump up and down. Literally. I want that cover as a poster to hang on my wall. It’s gorgeous. Breathtaking. The cover alone will sell the book, and the book itself needs no such help!
5. Howard Tayler’s wife Sandra says he’ll do a call, too, in a few months. I confess that I am a little intimidated by Howard—not sure why—but I still managed to approach him at dinner (he and Sandra obligingly sat down at the table right behind me). I was in the middle of my explanatory spiel when Sandra pipes in with “he’d love to do that.” :) Yes, Sandra is cool—it was great to meet her, too.
6. Being a Gopher is cool. I got to carry a clipboard, flash a bright pink 5-minute warning sign, fetch and carry water, and march around importantly. I got to know the shortcuts to all the rooms. I had the perfect excuse to talk to the authors on each panel. We got to know the conference from back-stage, as it were—which has always been my favorite place in any production—and therefore had a much fuller experience than anyone else. (So there.) Donna Weaver and I were the only Gophers over 25, but I, for one, never felt the age gap. (I think I stopped maturing at 17, anyway.) I got to meet Toad the Gopher King, Jenna-of-The-Jenna-Award is now my Facebook friend, and we got to see four teenage girls fit inside one 5X t-shirt. Best moment? Someone said “and there was much rejoicing” and the whole room gave a half-hearted “yay.” Sigh. I’ve missed being in a group like that.
7. Dinner with David Farland, his wife, his son, and a huge table of forum-mates. You know how, in situations like that, you always want to be the one sitting across from the super-duper cool people, but you never are? (Well, I never am, anyway.) Friday night, I was right across from Dave. He regaled us with some very scary predictions about the industry and some things we’ll want to watch out for about our digital rights, but it was still amazing. He also said he wants to do another call in a few weeks. Yay!
8. Brodi Ashton, (who wore her red scarf and got teased by James Dashner for her popularity with the agents), Bree Despain (who was on too many awesome panels to count), Emily Wing Smith (why wasn’t she on panels?), Kimberly Reid (who I’d never met IRL before), and Sara Bolton (with her adorable brand-new baby) were there. All just as nice as ever.
9. I discovered that Twitter is a great way to take notes in a conference—especially when you’ve forgotten to bring note paper and your laptop only has enough juice for two hours. Or when you've figured out that taking notes on Twitter is just plain cool. There were tons of people taking notes that way, BTW—check out the #LTUE hash tag on Twitter for a lot of great quotes.
10. I got to live with and hang with Donna Weaver—who is a kindred spirit. She has children my age, but we found we agreed on almost everything. After reading her blog, I suspected that I’d like her—now I know. She’s awesome. She even let me read her copy of Anna and the French Kiss (in two very late nights--AMAZING book).
There were other highlights--and other authors who will be doing calls for Authors' Advisory, but I need to get back to the one thing I didn't do at all: WRITE! I'll never feel like I've earned a permanent place in this awesome community until I have the publication cred to back it up!
Who else was there? What was your favorite part?