Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Day At The WV Writer's Conference

Five days after the day at the WV Writer's Conference, and I'm still amazed at how God worked things out. Out of all the good things that happened that day, I think the most intriguing is that my husband who is not a writer was never bored. :) In fact, he mentioned going back next year for the entire weekend. I could hardly believe it. I thought about writing another poem to tell you how it went, but my rhyming is a bit off today, so we'll just stick with what I got.

We left around 10 minutes to 7 Saturday morning in the midst of a thunder storm. We went through McDonalds drive through and got a breakfast barrito (not spelled correctly) and some sweet tea. As the hubby drove, we talked, and eventually, we drove out of the rain and in to sunshine that was welcome but which would not last. We took the corect exit, but the hubby, who is bad for missing signs, missed the sign pointing to Cedar Lakes conference center, so we ended up driving through the town of Ripley. I called a friend who got us on the right track.

When we got there, we parked and went in to the dining hall, only to be told we needed to go to the visitors center to register. So, we hopped back in to the car and drove around and around until, finally, we made it to the approrpriate building. Signing in, buying our meals and finding the ladies' room didn't take too long, and soon we were looking for the assembly hall.

One thing I did not expect was the amount of people there, but that place was crowded. I registered and was given a name tag. Then, I paid for my 2 pitch sessions, one with Peter Lynch of SourceBooks, and one with Kelly Mortimer of MortimerLiterary Agency. Then, we found a seat near the front of the room.

A few minutes later, 2 agents and 2 editors sat before the crowd who sat in rows of chairs and talked about pitching, publishing, writing, and anything else that was brought up. They were very informative, and the crowd got to ask a lot of questions. I really can't remember everything they said, but I felt, when it was all over, that I had gotten to know each one of them in some way.

When that session was over, we sat in on a workshop given by Christine Witthohn of BookSense. She talked about how to do a pitch session and gave folks an opportunity to practice their pitches on her. I was too scared to try it, but I think I learned enough by watching the others succeed or fail. It was very informative, and after listening, realized I needed to tone my own pitch down.
We had lunch, after that, a cheese pizza, a bowl of potato soup, a bag of potato chips and some lemonaid. When we were finished eating, we found another restroom, then got in the car to head to the building where the pitch sessions were to be held. I spent the next thirty minutes reading over what I planned to say. I even practiced on my husband. My stomach was in knots, and I was ready to hurry and get it over with. :)

Finally, at 1:00PM we went inside and waited. I was the third person to pitch to Kelly Mortimer, and I believe it went well. After giving her my pitch, I said, "Well, I don't know what else to say."

She asked a few pointed questions, getting more of the story out of me than I would have told her. Then, she said, "Well, first, I love the color of your eyes. I wish mine were that color."

I thanked her, then she said, "Send me a partial."

I didn't have the nerve or the time to ask what in the world a partial was. :) But, told her I would. She gave me her email address, thanked me and stood to give me a hug. She seems to be a real friendly person. If you want to check out her blog, you can find it at

I was Peter Lynch's seventh person, and I felt a little more confident that time, because I knew the things Kelly had wanted to know. Turns out, he doesn't accept my genre, but he gave me his card and said to send him a query letter, anyway. He said his wife works for a publisher who does specialize in my genre and he'd forward the info to her.

So, after that, I walked out in to the sprinkling rain, and was able to breathe again. I think it took a minute for it to sink in that Kelly wanted to read part of my story, but finally, I calmed down and called a friend to give the good news.

There was a song writing workshop at 2:30, and the hubby and I sat in on that. It was pretty neet, because we got to listen as Pops Walker played his guitar and sang. There was a lady with him, but honestly, I don't remember her name. She sang real pretty, though.

At 4 that after noon, there was what they called an Appalachian Inquisition, where a panel of folks, mostly college professors and professional writers from WV answered some interesting questions. One of the questions was "Do you think there is an appalachian voice? If so, is it changing, evolving, dying or staying the same?" Most of them answered that it was evolving. The audience was allowed to ask a couple of questions, then it was over and time to get ready for the banquet at 6:30.

The banquet was really nice. Set at each place, as we went in, were plates of fruit and cheese, a salad and a dessert. They had unsweet tea and ice water to drink. Most folks ate their fruit and cheese, then the salads and the dessert before the servers could bring out the main course. :) I didn't, though. I waited until after I ate the main course before eating my strawberry cheese cake. They had either baked steak or chicken. We chose steak. There were sides of new potatoes and mixed vegies, brocooli, coliflower, and carrots. We stayed long enough to listen to the keynode speech, but I had not entered any contests, so didn't stay to hear who won.

We found the restroom for the last time, then left. On our way home, we stopped at Daniel Boone park in charleston, WV for my husband to perform a wedding for a colleague from his work. It took all of ten minutes, from arriving, to the "I do" part. :D We were home by 9:40 and in bed not long after that.

Early Sunday morning, I turned on the laptop and emailed Kelly Mortimer the prologue and first 3 chapters of my book. Monday afternoon, she replied saying that what I had sent was great and thanked me. So, I know she has it. Now I wait.

It would have been nice to stay for some of the entertainment, but, honestly, I was tired by then, and since that day, I've been sleeping like I haven't slept in a very long time. I guess I was more stressed out by the conference than I thought. It was wonderful to have Mom keep my girls all weekend, and we're talking about doing it again next year for the whole thing.

So, now you know what it was like. Please keep praying that Kelly Mortimer likes the book. Also, I need to get that query letter ready for Peter Lynch. Other than that, there isn't much else to do. The next biggest thing on my agenda is home school, and sending out the intent form, so remember us in prayer for that, as well.

Getting a bit hungry and have more email to check, and I think this post is long enough, so I'll go for now. Y'all take care and comment if you like. I love hearing from those who read the blog.

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