DFWCON Retrospective

The DFW Writers' Conference was this past weekend.

It was awesome.  I'm still tired.

Last year, I was a speaker at the DFW Writers Conference, but only kind of.  I'd signed my book deal, but not gotten the advance (and I had to use most of it to pay off debts anyway).  Money was still tight, so I hadn't planned to go. 

The Conference Committee members didn't know that, and since I'd been every other year since I joined the DFW Writers' Workshop they figured I'd be there with bells on.  So they asked me if I'd be a facilitator at one of the Read & Critique classes.

When I told them I wasn't going, they offered to comp my registration if I'd do some Read & Critiques.

So I was kind of a speaker, but not really.

This year, I was officially invited as a speaker to moderate panels and be a panelist on the Children's and Middle Grade panel. 

It was really cool.  I started to feel like I might be a real writer who people would actually want to listen to.

Some highlights:
* Trying to convince Christopher Golden that he really needed to buy a Stetson hat to commemorate his trip to Cowtown.

* Whispering to Bree Ogden on the Child Lit panel and finding out she knew both my agent and my editor at HMH.

* Actually having useful input for the Child Lit panel.  I mean, seriously, I've only sold two books.  I really feel like a total neophyte in this business, but I've had so much help getting to where I am that it's awesome to be able to pay that help forward.

* Liz visiting from Houston.  (You Houstonites better darn well appreciate how awesome she is)

* My Read & Critique panel, which had all Children’s and YA readers.  (Evidentially, that was just a coincidence.  I think it was totally awesome, though)  Afterwards, having some of the readers catch me in the halls and say the critique was helpful.

* Leveraging my awesome (nearly non-existent) literary connections to hook up some friends with Tina P. Schwartz, who reps the kind of stuff they write.

* Deep Dish Pecan Pie.

* Mastering, or at least Journey-manning the skill of panel moderation.  My first panel went okay.  My second was actually pretty good (Even though I'd prepared for the wrong topic).

* Having a fan.  I have lots of fans (More than five, maybe!) already, but they're family or fellow workshop members.  This is the first time in my life that a complete stranger has come up to me and said "Hey, you're really cool."  I is flattered.

* Jenny Martin's Digging Deeper class.  Jenny is so passionate about good writing that it's fun to just listen to her talk.  The fact that she has interesting things to say is just a bonus.

* The uncomfortable pause between sex and death.

* Dinner on Saturday with Sally, Rosemary, Mark, and David at Taco Cafe where we geeked out about comic books for an hour, and the quesadillas were pretty good, too.

About the only bad thing was how utterly exhausted I was.  Being around a bunch of strangers sucks the life out of me, and there was a lot of walking for my out-of-shape, middle-aged body.  Every year, I think about getting a hotel room, and every year I talk myself out of it because a 30 minute drive isn't all that much.  But it really is.  It means you have to get up 30 minutes earlier to get to the workshop, and that you're driving home after a tiring day.

Now I'm mostly rested up and riding the wave of enthusiasm from the conference.  I didn't teach a class this year, feeling like I really didn't have much to teach.  But now I'm thinking that maybe I do have 50 minutes worth of stuff to say that someone else might want to hear.

That could just be the euphoria and sleep-deprivation talking, though.