The Book Academy Review

Yeah, like I was actually going to write about something else today. Gees!

Where do I start? The beginning, duh!

Before registration I got to see Don Carey, who flew in from Texas for the conference. He was kind enough to share ‘contraband’ Dr. Pepper. It’s ‘contraband’ because of the fact that it’s bottled by some company in Middle-of-Nowhere, Texas in these small rare glass bottles. I could’ve drank it yesterday, but I really wanted to enjoy it cold. So it’s sitting in my fridge.

Also, I got to be introduced as “other people” by Lisa Mangum. She doesn’t know my name (T.J.! Dangit, Lisa! Ok, really don’t care in all honesty. She recognizes me at least.) Also had a quick, short chat with Josi Kilpack.

For breakfast, I had the privilege of sitting with Sarah Eden, Julie Bellon (sorry, I’ll get you those cinnamon rolls one day), Krista Jensen, Don Carey, and Marion Jensen/Matthew Buckley (who eventually realized my Twitter handle isn’t tjbronley). And it was awesome. I swear, I was at the cool table. I was between Sarah and an empty chair that had Julie on on the other side. Julie is awesome as she was ‘great with child’ and a real trooper. And honestly, if you want me to be quiet during something, do not put me near Sarah. There’s no other writer that is easier to crack a joke to for me than her. Just saying.

Let me preface this next part with: Brandon Mull is an awesome writer and pretty funny. But I was a little bummed that he didn’t seem as prepared for his keynote address as I would’ve liked. However, he did have great semi-winging-it skills. And he is a really nice guy. I did learn from his keynote. He spoke on some awesome things; but, as Lisa Mangum stated, I shouldn’t be writing his own quotes without his permission.

For the first class, I was accompanied by the ever hilarious Sarah Eden (yes, I’m a name dropper, deal with it) as we sat against a wall since all the chairs were taken and we were both too lazy to fight other for the extra chairs during Traci Abramson’s discussion of Show, Don’t Tell. Traci did an awesome job explaining some of her thoughts that she looks at when dealing with this common problem. It was actually refreshing to hear that published authors still have problems with this concept.

One of the reasons Sarah accompanied me to Traci’s class was that she was teaching in the same room. (Notice the lazy comment in the previous paragraph.) Sarah gave an awesome presentation on research. Two points Sarah made: Research can be fun. And it’s ok to like researching. Amazing concept, I know. I was so excited to research something after her class that I didn’t care about writing anymore. Actually, I was more intrigued by the books she shared with us. One such being about poisons. I found it fascinating.

And then it was time for lunch. Because Sarah was so popular, I had to ditch her so I could sit at the cool table. This table consisted of Marion Jensen, Jeff Savage (who was and wasn’t there), Julie Wright, Josi Kilpack, Annette Lyon, Angie Lofthouse, Taffy Lovell, Berin Stephens, and me. What you missed: You can order a steak ‘blue’, but if you do, Julie, Josi, and I would probably puke. I got to look at Marion’s Kindle and now may be swinging the other way since I hear rumor of Covenant making a deal with Amazon to get their books in Kindle format. Also, just because I always advertise for my author friends, Julie Wright’s My Not-So Fairy-Tale Life will be available in ebook soon.

After lunch was the publisher’s panel. It was awesome! I have no idea what they said actually. I was in Sarah’s chair for her book signing while hanging out with Marion, Josi, Julie, and Annette. Sorry, wasn’t interested in the panel. But I had awesome conversations with these wonderful writers where I learned nothing about writing and all about who thinks she’s fat. (Why is it that when women get together, they have to comment on their weight? And why is it that the Wii Fit says “That’s Obese” in this cute robot voice and you just feel doubly insulted because it sounds like a little kid said it?) And then Sarah came out of the panel and kicked me out of her chair (as I told Annette would happen. Yes, I’m afraid of red-headed women that are under 5 feet.)

During the signing, I was probably the only person to get a book signed by Robison Wells. I was also most likely to be the only one that had one of his books there. He wasn’t one of the signers, his books weren’t for sale. But don’t worry, he’ll be bigger next year when The Variant comes out by Harper Teen (yes more free advertising.) Rob also agreed to my comment of “The only reason that The Book Academy is better than LDS Storymakers is the fact that they give you a water bottle that you can fill up with a fountain drink an unlimited amount of time during the conference.” (Ok, I didn’t say it like that, it was quicker and less detailed. But you wouldn’t have gotten my point otherwise.)

I was bummed to see that Jeff Savage’s class on Character Bibles was going to be two hours. I decided that I was going to attend the first half and go elsewhere the second half. It was sad, but I at least got to absorb some of his awesomeness. (And hear the story about the boy’s first day in a new school for the 4th time. It’s a good example, but I think it means that I’ve attended too many of Jeff’s classes.)

So, I went and sat behind Sarah and Annette during Rob’s class on Overcoming Writer’s Block (I actually think it should’ve been titled: Lame Excuses You Come Up With and How to DEAL WITH IT!) It was pretty cool to have someone I’ve met before this conference come sit by me and be impressed at the fact that I was on a first name basis with Rob, Sarah, and Annette. Really, for some reason, Rob’s class motivated me the most into writing. His personal experiences were good inspiration for finding ways to just ‘deal with’ writing stumbling blocks.

During the final networking/drawing for door prizes, I won a book (not one I really wanted). My wife and I then went to a bookstore so we could buy Annette’s freaking awesome cookbook “Chocolate Never Faileth.” That means that my wife and I own 3 of Annette’s books and they’re all very different (a writing reference book, a historical novel, and a cookbook.)

We then went to dinner with a large group of awesome people. The majority of their names are already here. Some highlights: my wife got to feed her desire for another baby by holding an 8-week old (thank goodness). I got to talk to Traci about her books and some of the issues about writing intelligence stuff. And Julie and I revisited the ‘blue’ steak conversation.

Ok, so that’s that. I’m motivated to write. I have 3-weeks before the 2nd half of my CMA exam so the likelihood of that happening is low.

(NOTE: Normally, I try to link to blogs or other sites for the people I talk about on here. Today, I have month end stuff to take care of at work and value getting that going more than linking to blogs.)

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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One Response

  1. Great overview! I’m impressed at your memory–down to the Wii discussion and how you predicted Sarah would kick you out of your chair.

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