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Adrian, a spy for the King, sees a nobleman murder a servant. His desire for truth is pitted against the dangers of a high-stakes political game. When his friend Draken insists on pursuing justice, Adrian must protect those he cares about as the political games of powerful men alter the lives of everyone around him.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

League of Utah Writers - Quills Conference

I attended the Quills Conference this past Friday and Saturday. I took lots of notes from several amazing presentations. One of the anthologies I'm in (Apocalypse Utah) won the Silver Quill award, so now my short stories have won multiple awards either for the story itself or for the collection it's in. It's great for feeling validated as an author. Will it turn into fame or fortune? Nah. Most awards won't do that, and for those who do, it's not guaranteed. Would I ever give up the award as useless? Of course not! Awards are cool!
Me with the Apocalypse Utah award.

I took a couple different classes from Maria V. Snyder who was one of the special guests at the conference. One was on properly portraying emotions, and the other on believable YA voices. Both classes were excellent.

I also took a class on deconstruction and criticism (the academic kind) from Johnny Worthen who moved from President-Elect to President within the League last night. (More on that later.)

David R Slayton (another special guest) talked about building worlds with a fatal flaw, something that leads to conflict within the world.

Theresa Braun talked about book reviews and how Amazon treats books differently based on when you get reviews and how many you get.

James A. Hunter talked about more details of how Amazon treats metadata, and how you can get the most out of it by understanding how it's used. It's important to get your first reviews from a relevant source to help Amazon put your book in front of the right buyers.

Classes covered a wide range of topics. Two or more talked about tax and IRS issues as they apply to authors. I attended one by Therese Francis on how to look like a business.

Aaron Michael Ritchey talked about story arc and character arc and how they interact, and we ended the class with a storyline brainstorm to apply the principles. It was a lot of fun and might result in some short stories or novels from the attendees.

Lyn Worthen taught about sharpening short story skills. I've team-taught with her before and she's an expert in the field, having written a huge number of short stories and been the editor for multiple anthologies. One of her latest anthos (Mirages and Speculations) won an award last night.

I also attended a class by a local editor, Callie Stoker, on how to find and train alpha and beta readers.

All in all, it was an excellent conference. I went to great classes, hung out with old friends and new, and enjoyed the two days.

But then...

You see, I've been a local chapter president in the League of Utah Writers for two and a half years. Last night they announced me as the new President-Elect of the state-wide organization, elected by the board from a field of three candidates. That means I have one or two years to learn the ropes under the current president, then one or two years as President, then one or two years as Outgoing President. It's kind of a long-term commitment to a statewide organization with hundreds of members. It will be a learning experience, and it will require me to hone my time management skills if I'm to do the job justice. I still have the day job to take care of, still have a trilogy to finish and another series to start, and someone has to do all that yard work.