A few weeks ago, several of my editors (for Precision Editing Group) and I went to the annual League of Utah Writers Conference. We had done manuscript reviews with several writers and were to meet with them in one-on-one interviews.
The editors coming happened to also be my co-writers for The Newport Ladies Book Club series, which includes Josi Kilpack, Julie Wright & Annette Lyon. So we were extra excited about not only getting together at a great writers conference, but to have the chance to go through some of our joint scenes.
Since it was a long drive, and Julie Wright would be passing my general location, we decided to carpool together. After about a 2 hour delay due to traffic and the now infamous Utah construction, Julie arrived, limping up to my doorstep. Because if you don't know, Julie tore her ACL. This began a weekend of me trying to do everything for Julie, and Julie telling me she was fine.
Despite the fact that it was pouring rain and a Friday afternoon, we cruised up to Logan. Well, almost to Logan. I knew we must be getting close to the Brigham City turnoff, but the freeway signs were announcing upcoming destinations for Pocatello (which is NOT in Utah at all).
I had a sinking feeling that I'd done it again . . . even with Julie driving. My kids know that when mom drives, we do a lot of U-turns. A freeway exit was coming up, and we decided to take it and call the direction-trusty Josi Kilpack. Who, by the way, Julie and I decided to blame because she was originally going to have us pick her up too. But since we were so late, she went on ahead. We could have definitely found her house without trouble (maybe).
The good news was that we'd taken an exit where there was an alternate canyon road leading to Logan. The bad news was the Julie was starving (she refused to eat the granola bars I brought, she said something about wanting real food. Granola bars are considered real food in my house . . .).
Josi also told us that our alternate choice of driving was a very pretty drive.
You can judge for yourself:
Not so pretty, Josi.
But I was just relieved to see this sign:
It meant that we were truly going in the right direction.
We met Josi and Annette Lyon for dinner at some delicious Mexican place (that met with Julie's approval for real food) with a very strange name. Julie hobbled to the table, and I offered to help her again, but she refused (stubborn woman).
After dinner, we left for our hotel, specifically asking Josi for directions. Just in case Josi was watching us leave, we purposely turned the wrong direction. But all was well. I mean, you can't get lost in the city of Logan, right? We made it to the hotel, and I bullied Julie into letting me do (most) the work.
Finally settled, we got some writing done and then I discovered that the Award Banquet, which I thought was the next night, had just concluded. I wondered how AMMON had fared, but I didn't know who was at the banquet to call/text. We took off to a place that Marion Jensen promised had great desserts (they were average, but I didn't really expect Marion to be a dessert connoisseur).
Upon returning to the hotel, I discovered that my book, AMMON, had won the Golden Quill award. And I had been upstairs in my room (writing, so that's not too horrible).
This picture was taken the next night, when the award was slipped to me:
So that was pretty exciting. I had forced Julie to stay with me at dinner because the second night, they were presenting the "writing" awards and I'd entered my YA ms, The Burning. Well, the category came, and I received 1st Honorable Mention. Julie started screaming and clapping like crazy. I tried to shush her, but her enthusiasm wasn't to be deterred. I found out that she thought I'd received "1st place" not "1st honorable mention." Well, as least I had one fan.
My fan club:
Fortunately, on the way home from the conference, there were no U-turns, although there were a couple moments of uncertainty of whether we took the right exit, and a moment of extreme pain for Julie on the way out of the hotel (my advice: get the surgery!).