I spent most of today smiling.
I love hanging out with writers. A lot. I don't get to do it often so it is absolute joy for me to immerse myself in the company of writers for a week.
Spec fic writers are even better. There is a fair sized contingent of us, all a little off, all a little bit broken. As I said, joy.
And returning for a second year is SO much better than going the first year. Last year I was scared to death, intimidated by pretty much everyone, and felt completely inadequate as a writer. I've come a long way in the past twelve months, though, and knowing a few people helped a lot. At dinner and orientation I got to reconnect with some of my favorite people from last year: Award Winning Writer A. Zayne Tawil (TM), Soon-To-Be Best Selling Children's Author Maureen Seifert, and Imminently Fabulously Successful YA Author Steve Kenton, all of whom deserve gold-plated publishing contracts with enormous advances. You editors out there just don't know what you're missing.
If you're ever going into a strange situation that you know will be uncomfortable and you don't know anyone, *volunteer.* By the end of the day I had met dozens and dozens of people, including a couple of agents and an editor for Writer's Digest. I spent the day at the Agents Day sign-up table, helping with the scheduling. It's a first for the conference, and so far appears to be a success. The litmus test will be on Tuesday, when people actually meet with the agents. There were a few unhappy attendees who didn't arrive in time to get slots with their agent of choice. I predict that there will be a few more unhappy people who don't get instant representation on Tuesday. It's kind of strange to learn how people *think* it works.
Barnaby Conrad, Founder Extraordinaire, mentioned that in his opening speech tonight. Some people honestly believe that the only thing standing between them and best-sellerdom is their lack of an agent, when in reality their writing isn't publishable yet.
This is all a little disjointed – sorry about that. It was a long day.
The conference is held at the Westmont College campus in Montecito, the posh southerly neighbor of Santa Barbara. The Westmont campus is amazing – all gorgeous architecture and manicured gardens. The sun broke through the traditional Santa Barbara June Gloom just in time for dinner in the garden. We could even see the Channel Islands off the coast. It's a beautiful setting. The whole experience is grand.
The one negative note of the day was that my PDA appears to have a battery drain – I charged it all night and it wouldn't turn on this afternoon. I bought it (and the keyboard) specifically so that I wouldn't have to take my laptop this year. Alas.
Tomorrow the workshops begin, and in the evening there is the Tribute to Ray Bradbury. As a volunteer I received an invitation to the pre-party, where in theory I should be able to actually meet Ray Bradbury. I confess to being completely star-struck, and will probably vomit on his shoes out of nervousness. I will take my camera but anticipate that I will be too self-conscious to use it.
That's it for today. Gonna relax for a little bit and then head off to sleep. Tomorrow will be another long day. Cheers.