Tristi Pinkston and I were in charge of the Boot Camp and it simply rocked! We, along with Gordon Ryan, Janette Rallison, Cindy Bezas, Jamie Theler and Deborah Talmadge taught topics such as "Creating a Believable Antagonist," "Balancing Your Writing," "Choosing Your Words," "Showing Emotion in Your Writing, " and "Dialogue vs. Exposition." Each instructor did a fantastic job and I feel like we packed a lot of learning, growing and teaching in that 4 1/2 hour time block.
The classes provided throughout the two days were fantastic. Published authors taught a number of classes on "Writing a Hook," "Making the Leap from the LDS Market to the National Market," "How to Write a Synopsis," "The Editing Process," "Internet Marketing," on and on. One class after another shed so much light on the writing process, from inception to sale.
G.P. Putnam's Sons Senior Editor, Timothy Travaglini (silent "g"), spoke and also taught a class. I have reams of notes from his classes which were packed with great tips, humor and self-deprecating humor . . . and a great deal of humor directed at his client, national Young Adult author, Janette Rallison -- whose books simply rock!
Jamie Weiss Chilton, a national literary agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency, represents clients who write children's books, teen novels, middle grade fiction, chapter books, picture books, and narrative nonfiction. She was our Saturday lunch keynote speaker and did a fantastic job explaining how to submit things to her, what to look for and we learned a little more about her in the process. She likes our mountains.
Lisa Mangum of Desert Book gave a fantastic class learning to "love" the slush pile. Not sure that's ever going to happen but she gave us some great info how to make sure we catch her attention and keep it. Again, reams of notes.
Kirk Shaw of Covenant Communications also taught a wonderful class on ways to get our story noticed. Excellent tips, wonderful sample of a query letter, and general good information all the way around. Need I repeat myself . . . yeah, tons of notes.
All in all, I ended up in conversations with just about everybody. Have been given the opportunity to submit my new manuscripts to three different publishing houses. Now it's up to me to take full advantage of this opportunity. I am leaning a little more toward one than the other two . . . but really, whoever ponies up the most marketing dollars will be my favorite.
And on to the Whitney Awards. All I can is WOW! We had live commentary going on at http://whitneyawards.blogspot.com. Some very funny and astute, talented people did the blogging . . . Matthew Buckley, Tristi Pinkston, Jamie Theler and Hillary Blair (Kerry Lynn Blair's daughter.)
YourLDSNeighborhood.com was the big sponsor of the night for the Whitney Awards. Truly an amazing organization. The LDS Storymakers and Whitney Awards Academy thank them profusely for their generosity and help. The tables were elegantly set with gorgeous floral centerpieces, snow white table clothes and burgundy napkins. We were all dressed to the nines . . . okay maybe some were sixes and sevens, but you get the drift. The first Whitney Awards gala was amazing.
The Whitney Awards are named after early Mormon apostle, Orson F. Whitney. In 1888 he said,
"We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.And the winners are:
"God's ammunition is not exhausted. His brightest spirits are held in reserve for the latter times. In God's name and by His help we will build up a literature whose top shall touch heaven, though its foundations may now be low in the earth.
"Small things are the seeds of great things, and, like the acorn that brings forth the oak, or the snowflake that forms the avalanche, God's kingdom will grown, and on the wings of light and power soar to the summit of its destiny."
Best Romance/Women's Fiction: Michele Paige Holmes ~ Counting Stars
Best Mystery/Suspense: Josi Kilpack ~ Sheep's Clothing
Best Young Adult/Children's Fiction: Brandon Mull ~ Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star
Best Speculative Fiction: Shannon Hale ~ Book of a Thousand Days
Best Historical: H.B. Moore ~ Out of Jerusalem: Land of Inheritance
Best Novel By a New Author: Jessica Day George ~ Dragonslippers
Best Novel of the Year: Coke Newell~ On the Road to Heaven
Congratulations to each of you! You richly deserve your rewards.
There were Lifetime Achievement Awards given to: Jennie Hansen, Anita Stansfield and Dean Hughes.
The room was filled with national authors as well as regional authors, publishers, magazines and family to all of the above.
Heather Moore and Annette Lyon did a FANTASTIC job in pulling this all together. My metaphorical hat is off to them.
Robison Wells and his committee did an incredible job with the Whitney Awards. The awards themselves were amazing. YourLDSNeighborhood.com donated cash awards for every winner. The two awards (Best Novel and Best New Author) were awarded $1,000, and every other winner was awarded $500. So a HUGE thank you to YourLDSNeighborhood.com. I bow to your greatness!
Julie Wright, her husband, Scott and their precious daughter (whose name is escaping me at the moment,) did an incredible job with the conference bookstore. Books from ALL the Whitney Award finalists were there as well as books from every single LDS Storymaker working the conference. Yes, I even dropped some money in there. I'm going to have some happy nephews and nieces. Jules -- every year you rock this and this year was no exception. Thanks for the incredible amount of hard work and effort you and your family put in every single year.
I'm just so proud of everyone. We already outgrew the Sandy facility and will be looking for a bigger venue next year. Jeffrey S. Savage has been chosen as the "Gentleman in Charge" (I'm sure he wants to be called King Jeff or something like that) for the 2009 writers conference. This is a must attend, we just get bigger and better every year. Check the LDS Storymakers website often, and as of December 1, 2008 you will be able to register for the 2009 conference. Don't wait, don't delay. We're selling out fast and completely now, every year. And every year, the conference organizers, instructors and speakers go out of way their to insure you get more than your money's worth.
We have been touted the best writers conference west of the Mississippi. I put ours up against anyone's, nationwide . . . we are the best! And modest too. So start saving your money now . . . next year's is going to be amazing.