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LDStorymaker Conference Report 2010

Conference was twenty shades of awesome! There is nothing finer than hanging out with 450 writers for a weekend.

Bootcamp was awesome. Registration for bootcamp started at 6:30, but like Sarah Eden, I think 6:30 am is a thing better left not acknowledged. I got to play bootcamp instructor for five writers who were delightful to associate with and who had good work to share. One of them was a sixteen year old kid who is definitely on the up and coming list of new authors. I envy the opportunities that simply didn’t exist when I was his age. Think of how much better I could have been . . . seriously bootcamp rocked. Sarah Eden and the critique group that kicked it off was fun and definitely beneficial for the attendees.

editing at bootcamp


I got to do a pitch for one of my novels to Krista Marino who is delightful in every way. She likes thrift stores. How could I not love someone who likes thrift stores? This is one of the things that will forever bond Josi Kilpack and me together. We have had some good times in thrift stores. But I digress. Krista rocked. And now I am pleading with the gods of ink and paper to make her my editor so that I can shop with her and eat with her (she has great taste in food as well) And she obviously has great taste in writing, because she asked for the full manuscript. Yay! I feel a little dumb because my pitch was pretty pathetic, and I’m grateful my writing can stand on its own or she might have thrown me from the room.

After I’d finished the pitch, I felt like I could relax, so I went back to the bookstore to help Mr Wright, who deserves accolades and awards for putting up with all the stuff I make him do. I helped for about an hour when he said, “Your presentation isn’t tomorrow. You know that right?” Thinking he was messing with me, I argued that causing me stress on one of my busiest weekends was way uncool. So we had a bicker moment until he finally had to prove himself right by actually opening the syllabus and showing me that the class I was supposed to teach was indeed in 28 minutes. Nice.

My powerpoint wasn’t done and although I had 18 pages of notes, they weren’t totally organized into something that would flow smoothly. So in 28 minutes, I wrapped up the powerpoint, glanced through the notes, and rushed off to teach my class (halfway hoping that everyone had gone to the editor’s class being held that same hour). No such luck. The room was full. I think it went well in spite of me. I am so glad I had good notes! The class was on emotion in writing. So at least it was something I’m good at.  Mr Wright saved me, even if he had to argue with me and twist my arm to do it. I so owe that man.

Since my presentation AND my pitch was over, my friday night was totally open. I almost talked Josi into shoe shopping with me after dinner, but our keen sense of moral obligation took over and alas–no shoes. Instead I went back to the bookstore area to hang out and chit chat–as is proper and fun at a conference. This is where I found that the dress Janette planned on wearing to the Whitney banquet wasn’t going to work because she’s already worn it the day before and didn’t want a repeat. Because I am overprepared on everything except on the classes I’m supposed to teach, I had several dresses that were award banquet worthy, so Janette Rallison, Annette Lyon, Jessica Day George, and I went up to my hotel room and played dress up. So. Much. Fun. Janette is beautiful. We stayed there until nearly midnight when Mr. Wright showed up and mostly broke up the party.  And I just now remembered I promised Annette a head massage. I owe you big time Annette!

I sat next to Michael Flynn for lunch on Saturday, and so enjoyed meeting him. He is the producer of The Best Two Years. He is awesome and I might have fun stuff to share later on about that.

I got the chance to chit chat with Kirk Shaw, my editor at Covenant and I just think the world of him. Not only is he a discerning reader (since he chose to publish my books) but he is truly awesome. He’s just sweet and good to everyone and it’s fun to work with someone I respect so much.

The whitney banquet was lovely, as usual. Dan Wells did an amazing tribute to Dave Wolverton that made me get weepy in every way.  It was  a beautiful night and even though I didn’t win the Whitney Award, I loved being there and honoring those who did.I have to be honest, I’d held out hope that if I was going to lose my category, I wanted to lose to Riley Noehren. Gravity Vs. the Girl was so much fun and it would have been an honor in every way to lose to her. She did win the best novel by a new author alongside Dan Wells for I Am Not a Serial Killer. So deserved–both of them.

The highlight of my evening came after. Hanging out with Jessica and Janette is just so much fun! We had some pictures with our loser cake to assuage the pain of not taking home any awards (all said tongue in cheek, please know we were all okay and happy for those who did win). Another girl party in my hotel room (poor Mr. Wright). Later Howard Tayler helped us clean the bookstore up and load our car which was sweet beyond words and Mr. Wright and I talked until 2 am about all we’d seen and done. Some of my best moments in life are lying in the dark, holding his hand, and talking about our lives, our children, our dreams.

Another awesome aspect was Kim Vanderhorst brough me chocolate from Canada, and Don Carey brought me Dr Pepper in real glass bottles from Texas. I love these people! You guys spoil me.

And now I am off to prepare one manuscript for a film producer, another for my current publisher, and yet another for a national publisher. I plan on being busy. Wish me luck!

Dave Wolverton and Me

Mr. Wright

Janette Rallison looking fabulous as always

Eating our comfort cake after losing the Whitney's 🙂 Jessica Day George, James Dashner, Me, Janette Rallison. Great writers all of them!

The women from www.LDSwomen', Janette and me

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16 Responses
  1. Kristina P. says:

    You look great! It sounds like it was a lot of fun.

  2. Carolyn V says:

    You look fabulous Julie! It was such a great time last weekend. It was so good to see you again.

  3. Krista says:

    Thank you for sharing! It looks like you had a great time, and how awesome for your husband to be so involved!

  4. Enna Isilee says:

    Looks SO fun!

    What’re y’all pointing at in that last picture…?

  5. Julie Wright says:

    We’re doing Beyonce’s Single Ladies 🙂 Janette is leading us. And it really was so fun!

  6. Kimberly says:

    Oi that was fun! And I enjoyed your class hugely, Julie. The lack of prep time was not noticed!

    Love the pictures. I’m such a dork. I took my camera everywhere and took about two pictures altogether.

  7. I second what Kim said. Not only was the lack of prep time not noticed, the class was one of the best ones I attended! The best part for me was after the class when you encouraged commanded that girl to keep writing. I was so touched it made me cry. A little. Not so much that I would have to turn in my Man Card(TM) or anything, mind you. But that was awesome. You probably made her life.

  8. Rebecca says:

    How is it that I’m following my own husband around the blogosphere?

    Anyway, he and Kim are right. Your class was one of the best, and the encouragement you gave that sweet girl was so touching. I thank you so much for staying and chatting with me and James. You really helped me out in realizing some things about my writing.

    I want to be like you when I grow up. 😀

  9. Annette says:

    I hate that I always forget my camera. There is no photographic evidence that I was there. Miss you already!

    (Totally forgot about the massage . . .)

  10. One of these years I’m going to come to one of these things…

    I guess I could skip out buying groceries for six months to save up for it next year, but I’m not sure my wife and kids would appreciate that.



  11. Don says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Dr. P. It was great to see you and everyone else this year. I’m excited for my daughter to have the conference experience in June – barely a month away!

  12. Hi Julie! It was so nice seeing you at the Conference…It’s always nice seeing you! It’s okay, I think you’re an awesome writer! (I love comfort cake!) 😀

  13. I am so jealous. You are blessed to have such opportunities.

  14. It sounds like such a wonderful time! What fun to be among so many writers, stressful presentations and all. Also, you look beautiful.

  15. Oooh! wonderful post! I had so much fun there, too. I was so glad to see you again! I gave you an award over at my blog!!!

  16. Hey, at least they were yummy chocolate comfort cakes. The conference was completely awesome and I wish I had a chance to go to your class because I’m sure it totally rocked, despite the rush to finish (last year’s was awesome, and you’re awesome, so how could it be otherwise?) Sounds like you had fun at boot camp, though I don’t feel a bit guilty about sleeping in until 9!

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