14 October 2013

HOW Conference in October

I just did something that I've never done before--I flew away for a weekend of romance in October. Before you start thinking of hot cabana boys on some tropical island, or a secret weekend in Paris, let me clarify.

A few months ago, my dear friend, C.C. Wiley, asked me to go with her to the Hearts of the West Romance Writer's Conference in Utah. Ah, that kind of romance. I was tempted to go, really tempted.

In the middle of October? Was I crazy? The kids were deeply involved with school and sports, hubby was working hard, and I was in the middle of my big reports at work. Not to mention the cost was outside the family budget to take off and fly to a conference. How could I pick up and zip away at a time like this?

Without any question my family and my day job come first. But here's the thing, I am a business owner too--I write books. Didn't I owe myself the right to improve my business, my craft, and network? Didn't I deserve a little time away?

Yes, I did.

I seized my right to be a romance author, to challenge myself, to put myself "out there" and I went to the conference. Boy, am I glad I did! Being with other authors always juices up my writing batteries. Even though I am not a member of their chapter, the HOW members welcomed me with open arms. What an amazing group. I gained insights and tools to attack the manuscript I am working on. I pitched to an agent and learned about cover art from the amazing cover model, Jimmy Thomas.

It was a whirlwind weekend, but I am better for it. My family is better for it too. Heck, they probably enjoyed having mom away for a while.

Oh, and I brought pics!

This is the beautiful sunrise outside my window in Park City, Utah.

The lodge where the conference was held. The changing fall colors were spectacular.

Me winning second-place in the Single-Title category.

And of course, there was the chance to meet Jimmy Thomas. Do you know that he is on the cover of about 6,000 books? He is a very smart man. He spent a bit of time with me looking at covers and explaining what works and what doesn't. I was super grateful for the lesson. Thanks, Jimmy Thomas! 

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