Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's in a name?

Before I start, I probably ought to crack open my electronic thesaurus and look up all the synonyms for stupendous that I can find, because I'll need them to describe this weekend. I almost don't even want to write this post because I know I'm going to forget someone, but that's what the comment trail is for: you guys can tell me when I screw up.


Anyway, I built in an extra day to my LDS Storymakers trip so I could catch up with old friends. And new ones. I had breakfast with Charrette and got to listen to her babbling brook. We ate slices of French toast bigger than our heads and sat on the grass, oblivious to traffic, and visited. It was awesome. I have such a deep awe for her wisdom and strength. (P.S. You didn't hear it from me, but she's a tiny little thing.)

Later I ran into Kimberly and Eowyn at dinner, and it was such a kick to see them. I mostly was really happy to see them together because I know how much they enjoy each other and it made me happy to see them hang out.

Friday morning, I went to a critique group Boot Camp and made super sure to sit at Annette Lyon's table. I would hang out with that woman any time. It was so much fun to spend that time with her and listen to her thought processes. She's as good of an editor as I expected and I learned SO MUCH! She's is MUCHO divertido.

Throughout the day I ran into Don (thanks for finding me!), L.T. (Lexicon Luvr) who was easily one of the nicest people I have EVER met, Carolyn my possible cousin (I need your URL!), and so on. And on. And on. Josi, who cheerleaded for me. And Julie Wright, who was full of energy and enthusiasm. And Janette Rallison who came and found me so we could have a great chat after a fly-by in the hallway.

Saturday I had more awesome Boot Camp and then my friend Aubrey Mace showed up. You know...my critique partner? We got to hang out all day. I was so excited to give her a present. I pulled out my one pound box of See's chocolate to give her--and she pulled out the exact same thing to hand to me. Awesome. The best part of Saturday came later, but I'm saving that until the end of the post.

Elodia Strain stopped me to say hello. I wrangled a promise from Stephanie Fowers to stay at my house for a few days so I can secure her future for her. She knows what I'm talking about. I bought new books that I can hardly wait to crack open. I laughed all day long. I saw old and new friends win in the first chapter contest.

Oh, I met Luisa/Novembrance. How cool is that? That is one together lady. I so want to go hang out at her house.
As for the conference itself, it's the best writing conference I've been to. Not only was the content great, the people who presented it were comfortable speaking and it makes all the difference. I went to the RWA national conference last year, and I thought Storymakers was far better. While I didn't hear anything new in the classes, I got some wonderful refreshers that motivated me to return to my writing with renewed determination and vigor. By far what helped me most was the Boot Camp in the morning. It helped me with my writing, of course, but it also really helped me to understand how a critique group should function. Oh, and I had a fantastic meeting with the editor I wanted to meet.
At the Whitney Gala, I got to see some more really cool people and laugh at some ridiculous antics. I think all the linky love has worn me out for the moment, so no pictures tonight but I'll have tons tomorrow. And my tons, I mean maybe a half dozen.

Anyway, I saved the best for last. My friend and critique partner (did I mention those two things already?), Aubrey Mace, WON for the Best Romance of the Year. Yay! And in a moment of delirium, she agreed to let me give away a copy of her new book, My Fairy Grandmother, on my blog. I already read it and trust me, you're totally going to enjoy it!
I think the terms of this bloggy giveaway are...hm. Answer the following question in the comment trail: You're living a fairy tale in a medieval castle somewhere. Where? In Aubrey's book, it's Spain. Where would your castle be? I pick...France! Provence, specifically. It's so pretty there.

All right. Give me your answer by midnight Saturday and you're entered in. And this book has no LDS themes so all my non-LDS friends can enjoy it just fine without worrying about foreign vocabulary.
Such a great weekend!
Please ignore the stupid spacing. Stupid Blogger picture function.

42 comments:

LisAway said...

Awesome! What a blast. I love that you and your critique partner gave each other the same thing. Same wavelength and all that.

I'm afraid I'll have to say I'd be living in Poland. Southern Poland to be exact. I LOVE the castles here. I sort of think I'd be in Ojcow. Love that one.

Luisa Perkins said...

I loved meeting you; you're even more gorgeous and entertaining in person. I totally agree about the quality of the conference; the committee earns five stars from me.

My castle would be the one that's just down the road from our house: Osborne Castle, overlooking the mighty Hudson River.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Gotta go with Spain. So far, my favorite place to visit in the world. And I'm so glad you had a good trip.

Guymons said...

I love to read books, so I am entering your contest. I also love to read blogs, especially yours....

I think a castle near Lake Tahoe would be wonderful. Have you ever been there? It's beautiful, year round.

DeNae said...

I want my castle in Cuzco, Peru. Love those Andes.

And I want to go to writers' conferences!! I've always been a 'dabbler', but I'd like to think I could be more than that if I started doing things like that.

I may be e-mailing you about this, Miz Melanie J...

Kristina P. said...

Italy. Definitely Italy.

And what a great weekend for you!

Annette Lyon said...

You were an amazing critiquer at our table--I think the others learned more from you than anyone else.

My castle would be in Finland (I know--shocker--it's so pretty there!). But the story would have to take place in the summer. No WAY would I want to live in a castle there in the dead of winter.

Lara said...

I just love doing things like workshops. I really need to get myself to one this summer. Obviously, you had a wonderful time and met fabulous people!

My castle will be in Romania. I love it there.

Kimberly said...

I love meeting bloggers in person - it helps me picture them as I read their blog. Don't worry, I only use this power for good. Err...you've got a little something in your teeth...just there...

Definitely Ireland. I don't know why, perhaps my ancestry, but Ireland calls to me.

Janette Rallison said...

It was so fun to meet you in person. It was a great conference this year!

I'd have my castle be in England because I love that countryside and because I already know how to speak English so the servants would be able to understand me when I said, "Hey where are the light switches in this place?" and then laughed and laughed at my own joke.

Oh wait, I have the vague recolection that the nobility spoke French even in England . . .

Andrew & Sarah Clawson said...

Sounds like you had so much fun! I admire you for chasing your dream!

I'm also a SEE's fan! My children are spoiled and know the difference between cheap chocolate and good chocolate!


I'd be living in the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. It looks like heaven!

CountessLaurie said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all.

My castle would be in the Caribbean on a sparcely populated island. Just me, my beloved, a couple cats and my forty odd servents.

CaJoh said...

It sounds like you met a lot of wonderful people and had a great time. Also sounds like you learned a lot and got a lot out of it. Ah to be in the company of greatness.

Emily said...

Yay! Pick me! Pick me! AGAIN!

I would live in Scotland. Why? Because it's overcast and green. An aspiring photographers dream! (okay, so I'm not really aspiring, but it rhymed.)

LexiconLuvr said...

You are too kind, Melanie. But I adore the heck out of you all the same!!! I loved meeting you IRL. Your pictures don't do you justice but the real kicker is that the wonderful person you are cannot be captured in an image. You're simply delightful.

As for my castle, I would have said Provence but some fabulous girl already did that. Hmmm...I think I might have to go with Italy then. Although if I really wanted to go wild, I'd say Mesa Verde and have my castle hidden in a cliff side because that's just fun!

Congrats to Aubrey!!!

Carolyn V. said...

Melanie, you're so awesome! What a great conference!

My castle would be in Hawaii. (And I would be completely tan...Oh! And thin. And my teeth would be as white as the sand, but not as crunchy.)

Stephanie and Co. said...

Sounds like it was a great conference. I pick Costa Rica!

Melinda said...

My castle would totally be in Italy! OOoooohh Italy, how I love you!!

Melinda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nano*ink said...

I would have my castle close to the beach, but with mountains right behind me...where o where? Chile? or the Northwest? Chile sounds kinda fun...

Heather of the EO said...

I so want to see so many of those same peeps in real life. So I'm just jealous... ): Don't worry, I'll be OK.

I choose Peru. Only because I've been to Ecuador and LOVED it, and then my parents went to Peru and they LOVED it. The pictures from their trip make me want to be in a castle there.

Aubrey said...

Melanie-

I've decided it's worth coming to Storymakers next year just to see you. I know you have to travel a lot farther than I do, but I'm sure you'll be out of chocolate by then... :)

And thanks for the extra large picture of My Fairy Grandmother-- it's like having my own billboard!

Heidi Ashworth said...

I choose Scotland. I feel really sad that I was in Utah the same time as you and LUisa and I didn't get to meet either of you. Bummer.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

It sounds WONDERFUL! Everyone is having a wonderful wonderful weekend. And everyone met everyone! I'm just about to break some commandments here, PEOPLE!

Can't wait for the half a dozen photos!

YOU GO, Girl! I can't wait to read your book.

Hel said...

I am going to go really lame-o and say that my castle can be anywhere (I am guessing they don't build castles in ugly places anyway) just as long as it's close by family.

Oh how I miss my family.

Debbie said...

Mine would be on some beautiful island somewhere. Yeah, that sounds good about now!

Laura Moffitt said...

Scotland. I would love to live there. Florence, Italy is a very close second.

Amber Lynae said...

Paris. I was there last month, and I miss it already. My fairytale has always been in Paris.

Eowyn said...

Ooooh, a castle anywhere I want it.

The Tetons, right up in the middle.

Although I haven't widely traveled the world. Scotland? Thailand? (Oooh, I can just picture it in Thailand. Maybe I'm going to change my vote.)

It was very cool to meet you too.

myimaginaryblog said...

As long as I have air conditioning, plenty of good food, and good company, I'll have my castle built into the rocks at Arches National Park or Petra in Jordan. (Either one. Or both.)

charrette said...

Easy. I think I already told you this. Mad King Ludwig's castle...in Lichtenstein (Bavaria).

And BLESS YOU FOREVER for saying I'm tiny! (maybe that will make up for all the pictures of me floating around other people's blogs where I look like an absolute COW!

And YOU are so fabulous. The girl who remembers, and brings me my favorite TJ's Candy Cane cookies. The girl who entertained me for hours with amazing stories. So much better in person! (And I never believed it possible.) I used this metaphor in a church talk on Sunday. Which I posted on my other blog yesterday.

I'm so rambling...
Can you tell I miss you?!?

Don said...

I guess I'll say Hawaii, too. That's where my heart is.

Erin said...

Ooh, I would live in a chateau in the Loire river valley in France. Sigh. It's so beautiful.

diapers, drool and life said...

Ireland, or Scotland. Just finished watching PS I Love You, so that might have something to do with my choice, but I have always loved Great Britain. Before WWIII, I will go there and see EVERYTHING!!!

kelberology 101 said...

My castle would be on Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia and my kindred spirit would be someone like Anne, with an "E".

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Okay I would visit a castle in Switzerland because Switzerland has the cutest cows in the world. And it has the aquafresh lakes.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Did I win? Did I win? Did I? Did I? Did I?

Jami said...

Nepenthe's/Big Sur

What a delightful trip! I'm glad you were able to meet so many wonderful women. I can't wait until your book is published too.

annie valentine said...

Okay, while part of me is furious that I'm not picking the Swiss Alps, I have to choose the Rhine River in Germany. I could die happy there.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Australia ... do they even have castles there?!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Mine would most definitely be in Scotland.

stephanie said...

Ha ha, that's right! You were gonna find me a husband...OF COURSE I know what you're talking about!