Author Apprentice: LDStorymakers

As has become my tradition, this is my 3rd annual LDS Storymaker-faux-reality-show casting. This time, we’re going with being able to tell self-employed authors “You’re fired!” (Shoot, I was tweeted that once during the conference, actually.)

In thinking of this post, I realized, I don’t want Donald Trump to be the one that gets to say it. I’m going to give the honor to the one and only great author known as Brandon Sanderson! And instead of Trump’s children being in the boardroom with him, we’ll have the obvious choices of Dan Wells and Howard Tayler as Brandon’s assistants. I mean, they’re his awesome writing excuses cohorts. (And I am out of excuses, according to my name badge.) To add some femininity to this team, Annette Lyon will be her grammar nazi guru self in making sure everyone will be in line  and Julie Wright will add her fun style and blog flakiness bookstore knowledge to the other talents.

(UPDATE: This was missed for some sick-brained reason) Now, for this show, I needed a host…well…a hostess. So I’ve decided that Jaime Theler needs to host. She likes to be in charge of writing conferences instead of participating in them, so I figured she could host the show for Brandon since he can’t be bothered until the “boardroom”.

This time it’s the men vs women for a bit until the Donald…I mean….the Brandon decides to mix them up a bit.

(Yes, there are repeat names from my previous years’ posts. But hey, I run out of names I want to use, okay!)


Elana Johnson: Elana should win the apprentice because of her kindness to one another. She works hard, even when overcoming a sinus infection. Her book Possession is awesome (well, from the 1/4 – 1/3 that I’ve read of it, I’m getting there slowly!) Does she have the kindness to be Brandon’s apprentice?

Sarah Eden: Sarah should win for her humor and quick wit. Speaking even without a voice is a very notable talent. Just listening to her speak at LDStorymakers 2010 I had to purchase her books for my wife. Does her wit get her through to the end?

Josi Kilpack: Josi may or may not threaten to kill Brandon off in the Sadie revamp Wedding Cake. But even if she doesn’t, this award winning mystery author (with a few non-mystery books also under her belt) has made ordering skills. And by mad I mean she said “T.J. will help you, David (Wolverton). NOW!” (Okay, I may have added a word or two there.) Can her polite attitude have her standing tall at the end?

Heather Moore: While she’s stuck in the past (Heather writes historical fiction), she’s also taking over the Whitney Awards for next year. I think she also has four or five books coming out in the next fifteen months (I may be exaggerating, but it is a lot and it is a short period of time). Will this award winner show everyone else just who can truly be in charge?

Lisa Mangum: Editor? Check. Author? Check. Apprentice? Sure, why not. Lisa Mangum recently joined twitter (as she was the only one on a panel that didn’t have an account) and is good a learning and growing. (Seriously, if she took on an apprentice, I’d want that job.) Does this woman who can do it all have what it takes to prove she just can do it all?

Stephanie Black: The “other” and MUCH more awesome LDS author Stephanie (and personally, the one I’m gonna go up to and speak with). She’s won the Whitney. And when I say “the Whitney” I mean that only one other author has won the Whitney award for Mystery/Suspense in the five years of its existence. Can her “I refuse to lose” attitude (or rather “winning streak”) give her the killer ending she deserves?

Tristi Pinkston: We’re talking about a mom…who writes….who loses weight….who manages finances well…who gives out advice….who edits….yeah, she does a lot. She was also in a car accident and stuck in a wheelchair and still showed up in style/class at Storymakers. (Go Tristi!) Can she prove that not even a wheelchair (and a fake reality show) stop her from winning this whole thing?


Don Carey: Devoted husband. Author. Hard worker. Frequent traveler. (Seriously Don, is there a trail between SLC and Dallas with your name on it?) Will these things have prepared him for being the co-chair at LDStorymakers? And will that prepare him for Author Apprentice?

Robison Wells:  Whitney Award Winning (I hope he likes hearing that he won award he helped create) Rob could use the fact that one of Brandon’s lackeys sidekicks. And another one is/was in a critique group with him. Or he could just use his honesty to his advantage and work his way to the end and defeat the competition?

Marion Jensen: Funny man (and that’s not funny looking for those that just thought that–including Marion) Marion is always ready to play games with the best of them. One of his faves is Dominion and I’m not sure if that’s Dominion the game or Dominion over society. But will his humor help him dominate the competition to be Brandon’s apprentice?

Jeff Savage: Jeff is awesome! Need I say more? Yes. Okay….Jeff is an author who was this close to pulling out of the business (if memory serves). Instead, he’s got a string of rotten awesome luck in the fact that he has 5 novels between the 2012 Storymakers and shortly after 2013 Storymakers. Plus, he’s always awesome at giving advice (he gave me some in a “you’re wrong to think you’re worthless” kind of way.) Can Jeff’s never-give-up attitude (or is it almost-give-up-until-I-try-once-more) get him to the end?

James Dashner:James is one of few to have been a guest on multiple episodes of the Big 3’s writing excuses. (Brandon, Howard, and Dan are “the Big 3”? Couldn’t think of something better T.J.?) As he’s dashed out some bestsellers, will he be able to dash his way to the big finish?

David Farland/Wolverton: Almost as bad as the “Marion/Matthew” complex from Survivor: LDS Authors, he may be older than the rest. He may need some help carrying his books. But this is not an author afraid to kick someone in the pants. Daily at that. Can he be the Runelord to rule them all?

Kirk Shaw: Editor. Author. (Did I already do that pattern for someone?) Kirk is awesome! Gives great advice. Leads well. (Maybe he has no need to win this.) But can Kirk’s great attitude, boy next door smile (as described by someone I know), and leadership skills make him a viable candidate for this apprenticeship?

This year, I’ll go with narrowing it down to a final four….two men and two women make up this final four. And they are, in no particular order: Jeff Savage, Lisa Mangum, Heather Moore, and Rob Wells! Why? How should I know. Just random.

But the winner of the Author Apprentice: LDStorymakers (remember this is no wise real and has absolutely no value to anything or anyone’s lives but my own messed up mind) IS……Jeff Savage!!!!

I think I’m running out of pseudo-reality shows. Can one be created that I can use next year? Any thoughts?

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.


The Amazing Race: LDS Authors

Guess what, it’s time for fake-reality-show-with-LDS-Authors! Why? Because I did this last year after Storymakers. And you know what, it’s just a fun tradition.

First: A little about the Emmy winning Amazing Race. Teams of 2 (usually 11-12 of them) race around the world solving clues and arriving at pit stops with mandatory 12 hours of rest. The last team to arrive at a pit stop is out of the race. So without further ado, my awesome cast list for The Amazing Race: LDS Authors

Before we get to the teams, I’ve decided that this show needs a good host. So I’ve chosen my agented friend Graham Bradley.

1. Team Wells: Robison Wells and Dan Wells. I put them in order of first novel published. Who wouldn’t want to watch the Wells brothers sparring off with one another? Threats of demons and weird schools coming up. And they can argue on who’s the better author agented by Sara Crowe.

2. Team Short and Sweet: Sarah Eden and Annette Lyon: (Yes Sarah, there is an order here.) This is probably the fan favorite team. Sarah constantly cracking short jokes and her expense, Annette freaking out that the clues misused the phrase “Couldn’t care less”. It’d just be awesome!

3. Team Dudes: James Dashner and Jeff Savage: I really see this being the lazy team who still manages to get by. And it’d be entertaining to watch James go to Greece and see his book at the airport and stop and admire it. (Well, he may do that.)

4. Team Awesomesauce: Elana Johnson and Nichole Giles: Elana’s Possession comes out soon. Oh wait, not why I’m talking about them. Elana and Nichole are seriously two of the nicest and awesomest people I know. And how could I not include my fellow reality-show loving fan, Elana? And how could I not have a ‘Team Awesomesauce’?

5. Team No Excuse: Brandon Sanderson and Howard Tayler: This will be one of the funniest teams to watch. They’d also be a pretty strong team and would have the other contestants gunning to get rid of them quickly.

6. Team Busy Bees: Josi Kilpack and Julie Wright: These two awesome authors are just so busy that it would be funny to see them be forced to sit still at an airport (without children or spouses to be worried about).

7. Team Mysterious: Stephanie Black and Traci Abramson: Both Whitney Award nominated women. The stay at home mom and the former CIA agent. Sounds like a tv show in and of itself actually.

8. Team Man-Cave: Abel Keogh and David West: Both awesome guys. Both manly-men. (Okay, that didn’t sound awkward or anything.) But both these guys are awesome and I can see them making a great team for this faux competition.

9. Team Fergie: John Ferguson and Danyelle Ferguson: Yes, I know John isn’t really a published author. But Danyelle is and she needs a great partner. So I chose her husband John. Deal with it! Also, John is hilarious and I think it’d be funny watching him race around the world. Danyelle is also sweet enough to put up with all the shenanigans he’d try do.

10. Team Siblingesque: Don Carey and Krista Jensen: Don and Krista aren’t siblings. But they do show that they’re friends. They could tolerate each other long enough for this competition. (No, Krista isn’t published, but she is under contract. Close enough in my book.)

11. Team Random: Marion Jensen and Tyler Whitesides: I know Marion already thinks that his partner should be Matthew Buckley. But there has to be four feet running, not two in this game. These guys are random, awesome, and cool. I think that’s all I can say for this team. Both funny guys. But you know what, this would be the quietest team I bet.

So, last time, I named the final 5. This time, we’re gonna go with the final three.

And they are, in no particular order: Team Busy Bees, Team Mysterious, and Team Random! I think Busy Bees just would have the drive to get to the end. Mysterious has the intelligence factor in their favor. And Random, well, because they’re random.

And my pick for The Amazing Race: LDS Authors winner:


Why? I don’t see either woman ever giving up. (Not that anyone else would be giving up.) I also see them as fairly fit and ready to go on a race around the world.

Okay, that’s it. Next year, what will I come up with? You’ll have to wait and see. As always:

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

LDS Storymakers Review

Holy crap on a cracker! Storymakers this was awesomesauce. I can’t even begin to explain how awesome it was. But I’m gonna try.

First, the M.C. was Sarah Eden. At one point, I was gonna tweet “my cheeks are hurting”. Seriously, I don’t know who they’ll get next year that could even attempt to get the crowd laughing half as much.

There were 10 breakout sessions. I did attend something during most of them.

Session #1: I went to agent Becca Stumpf’s workshop about….you know…I don’t recall it’s base topic. I tried looking it up, but it just said workshop. So I’ll go with Becca Stumpf’s workshop. It was so awesome that my brain must’ve leaked it out. Regardless, she did an awesome job at speaking to the crowd.

Session #2: I finally got to attend a  class taught by my good writing friend Annette Lyon. (Everyone knows how much I love Annette’s Chocolate Never Faileth.) Even better, I actually won a cool little notepad for not being afraid of sharing an impromptu story. Her Show, Don’t Tell class is something I’m going to need to sit and study some more.

Session #3: During the opening exercises (not sure what else to call that), I was privileged to sit at the same table as agent Sara Crowe and be introduced to her as “This is T.J. Bronley, and he’s awesome.” Yeah, I was the first person without publishing credits, but Rob Wells did boost my ego with this. This session I spent listening to Sara explain how to write succinct synopses for query letters (which is difficult to do if you’ve never done it, and even more so when you realize what you’ve written is crap.) It was probably the most informative short-synopsis-writing class I’ve ever had.

Session #4: We’ll call this nap time, in which I sat in the lobby and felt like I was ready to die. In speaking to author friend Nichole Giles later on, she used the term “overstimulated.” At this point in time of the conference, absolutely that’s how I felt. So I’ll title this “Awesome Chat w/Annette Lyon”. I’m really certain I talked to someone else, but I seriously can’t remember who.

Session #5: Rob Wells’ class on Marketing was awesome. Despite the fact that he felt like crap, he did a great job. And I can’t wait to go look up his presentation and learn from it a second time. I got to sit with Krista Jensen, who gave me the Hawaii quarter for my wife’s collection.

There was dinner. Irony: last year during the dinner I sat with two women from Colorado, Gail and Debbie. This year, I ended up sitting with them again. Of course, I know them better from being a part of the same online writing group (the awesome Authors Incognito or AI). But, I also got to sit with other people: Wendy, Tamara, Maria, Daron, and Jeff (were the names of the people at the table.) It was nice to finally meet Wendy in person. It was awesome to see Tamara again. And it was funny that at one point she said “T.J. I’m done holding my daughter, you’re a buff strong guy with bulging muscles and awesome hair, here!” (Okay, I may have said something incorrectly.) So I ended up holding a very bouncy 9-month little girl. After dinner, I attempted to attend the publisher’s meet-and-greet but was still overstimulated. I also attempted the AI mix-and-mingle, but left after about 45 minutes. I was exhausted after day 1.

Day 2 was just as awesome as day 1. Except I was freaking out with my pitch session.

Session #6: I started out in Dave Wolverton’s (aka Dave Farland) class on Worldbuilding. I was a bit of a neurotic mess with my impending pitch so I just couldn’t sit there. I kept wanting to talk to Krista (I think I sat with her the most this year) and decided I didn’t want to bug her too much. So I left. Glad I did because I ran into Lisa Mangum and was surprised to hear her book was out in paperback. So I rushed to buy it for my wife and then interrupted Lisa as she sat and listened to Marion’s class on…I don’t know what it was on. I didn’t go to pay attention. He probably doesn’t like me right now. Lisa does since I bought her book and got it signed and my wife is now done with it.

Session #7: There was a speculative fiction panel moderated by Howard Tayler with the ever awesome (and Whitney Award winning) Julie Wright, James Dashner, Dave Wolverton, and Rob Wells. In the ‘in-between-class-time’ Rob was sitting on the stand and spoke into his microphone. “Hi Krista.” She was sitting next to me so I joked with how special she was. Then he said “T.J. Bronley.” I looked at him thinking “Odd, he’s not saying hi.” Which was followed by “Can you go get me a glass of water?” So I turned to Krista and said “Sure, you get ‘hi’, I get ‘be my errand boy.'” The panel was awesome, by the way. Each of the four had some great insight into the subject of speculative fiction, each of them writing fairly different novels. (Although, if you base The Maze Runner and Variant, they kinda sound the same. But I doubt they are.)

Session #8: This was my pitch time. I’d calmed down during the speculative panel. I’m just gonna say I had a good pitch with a lot of work to do. After my pitch, I got to hear the last half of Rob Well’s Dystopian class. (Makes it sound like his class was a dystopian. Meh, not gonna change it.) Elana Johnson and Abel Keogh both gave their insights as well as Rob’s migraine made him ready to kill.

Session #9: After lunch, where I did not win the first chapter contest again, I sat in on Writing Excuses with Sara Crowe. Sara gave some good insight to her job and to what an agent (especially her) is looking for. Seriously, you can benefit a lot from listening to what an agent says about what they want.

Session #10: This can be called “T.J. is overstimulated, part II.” I just couldn’t sit through anything else. I had a great conversation with John Ferguson, though.

And after that, there was an agent/editor panel. But I still just couldn’t do it. My brain was ready to explode, I was literally exhausted. I didn’t say goodbye to anyone. (Although, I did get a message that Howard Tayler should smack me across the head for a tweet I wrote.) So, it was time to say goodbye to the building and leave. And that’s that.

Storymakers was awesome!

As always, I name a class I liked most above the rest. This year, I would have to say that it was Rob Wells’ class on marketing. It lived up to its expectations.

Until next time (a post I’m planning on calling “The Amazing Race: LDS Authors”):

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

LTUE and Awesomesauce

Note: My blogroll will be updated one day. It’s a short-term accomplish-able goal of mine.

So, let me rehash. LTUE is a 3-day symposium (high-class word for conference, in my opinion). So, last Thursday, I woke up got ready for work and said “I feel like crap right now.” My wonderful wife said “You’re not going to work.” So I tried to make a deal. “Fine, if I’m not going to work, then I’m going to LTUE.” Yeah, I lost. But I did get to live vicariously through some awesome writer friends and their great tweets on what I was missing out on. (FYI, there will be a lot of namedropping going on here.)

I had scheduled last Friday off so I could attend LTUE for two days. However, Sick Kid Death Plague was still attacking me and I ended up watching The Italian Job, Spaceballs, and Eddie. (Ironically enough, both movies say the f-word only one time each. Not exactly the coolest bit of trivia, but something I know.) But, with all the movie watching and writing (I did complete chapter 17) I felt better Friday night. So, I decided that I was going to sleep well and go the next day.

Saturday morning, my best friend, Andrew, and I went to LTUE. I was so excited that Sick Kid Death Plague wasn’t going to completely win against LTUE. Of course, I still wasn’t fully alive yet. But I went. And here’s my reaction: AWESOMESAUCE (yes, it’s a word.)

So, during the first class I went to, I was uncomfortable, tired, and annoyed that my cell phone was dying. But it was a great first class. I don’t recall a lot of what was said, but Dave Wolverton and Lisa Mangum were there. And they both always have good things to say.

In between the first two hours, I went and said hello to my friend Tristi Pinkston. Barely, that is. My voice was trying to hid from me as I did so. I then went to the editor panel where I got to hear what three people had to say differently from last year.

I sat in on the editor panel (basically, I found a place to plug in my cell phone in that room.) But it was awesome to hear Tristi, Lisa, and Dave give great information. Also, I sat in on it last year and got to hear the vast differences in what is going on with Stacy Whitman and Tu Publishing. During this class my friend Taffy decided to bug me and tell me to leave. Which I didn’t, of course. I also got a tweet from Elana Johnson that she was looking for me to say hi to.

Instead, I spent the next hour ditching out on James Dashner’s keynote guest of honor talk (just because I’m not fanboy enough to be a sardine in that room). But I had a great chat with a bunch of writing buddies including Tristi, Taffy, and Daron Fraley. Ran into Marion Jensen, Robison Wells, and Sarah Eden (who’d later regret running into me, but we’ll get to that later.)

So, I went to a panel concerning…not quite sure. But Jeff Savage was there. That’s all I can recall as I was constantly checking twitter. But, the best part of this moment is I got to see Rob’s cover. And by the way, it’s friggin’ awesome. I think I called it “Blair Witch Creepy only cooler.” If not, that’s the base sentiment. Can I describe it? Sure. Am I? Nope.

Then I sat in on two hours of Writing Excuses podcasts. Brandon Sanderson’s absence wasn’t a big deal as Dan Wells and Howard Tayler did awesome jobs with their guests, which included Rob for two of them.

And this is where Sarah Eden’s kindness begins to feel sorrow. See, my cell phone was dying so Sarah was kind enough to let me plug my phone into her computer. Well, no big deal, until right before the final recording of Writing Excuses, Sarah was asked to join the podcast team as they spoke on romance. She was forced to leave her laptop. At this time, Taffy, Elana, and Rob had already left us. I was left alone with her laptop and twitter was wide open. Now, it most certainly would’ve been a crime had I not written anything. I mean, seriously. What else can you do? Here are her tweets while she was podcasting:

SarahMEden Sarah Eden
I just got pulled on to #writingexcuses at the last second. The awesome and cool @tbronley was given my computer.
SarahMEden Sarah Eden
I am a romance expert according to the #writingexcuses team. #LTUE. I am impressed with the Wells’ brothers knowledge of Pride & Prejudice.
SarahMEden Sarah Eden
I am so good at winging it. All of you should praise me #LTUE #writingexcuses (Yes, @tbronley has my computer still. I will kill him later.)
SarahMEden Sarah Eden
@tbronley can’t move because he’s babysitting my computer. Serves him right for tweeting for me.
Um….yeah, you know, I could’ve written worse. Like:
SarahMEden Sarah Eden
I love monkeys, coconuts, and high-heels.
I mean, yeah, definitely not. So, it was no surprise that I got this response from Sarah:
SarahMEden Sarah Eden
Note to self: Next time I have to abandon my computer for the greater good, do not leave it in the sole possession of @tbronley.
Of course, I got another interesting note when writing buddy Krista informed someone that “TJ got to mess with Sarah’s laptop.” Seriously, that was a highlight of LTUE to some people. Come on!
Sarah however, had a comment to that:
SarahMEden Sarah Eden
@LDSWBR Yes. @tbronley is shameless. (Although I was sort of asking for it, leaving my poor laptop unprotected like that.) @KristaLJensen
I was really bummed that I missed a class on pitching to agents from Elana. There was seriously breathing room only in that room when I went to it. With remnants of Sick Kid Death Plague, I wasn’t going to give up decent breathing.
LTUE was awesomesauce and I can’t wait to go again next year. For now, I’ve got Storymakers in May where I actually get to pitch my agent of choice. Yay! And for now. I will leave with knowing that, as always:
Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Storymakers Contest

Almost two months ago, I registered for LDS Storymakers, which will be held May 6-7. Not sure if I’m doing bootcamp this year on May 5th. I want to. Just not sure it’s gonna happen. Well, there’s this awesome contest here that I would like to win. Why? Did you read it? If not, I’m going to explain what the winner gets. (For some reason, I almost wrote ‘whiner’. And then I thought, shoot, maybe that’s a sign that I’ll win it!.)

The winner actually get an assigned seat at the Friday dinner. Why is that cool? Because of who is assigned to sit with you. First, there’s Sara Crowe. Why is that cool? Only because Sara is one of the most sought out agents I’ve heard of. Honestly, Sara was #2 on my “I wish to pitch to” list. Oddly enough, #1 on my list ended up as an agent attending the conference. How bummed I was that I couldn’t pitch to both. 😦 But, I had to go with my gut. If I win this, will I try pitching to Sara? Not sure I can answer that. I’d have to win this and then keep my dinner down.

Second, I really don’t know who Larry Brooks and Marcia Markland are. However, I do intend to research them, especially if I win.

But, finally, I’d get to annoy James Dashner more. Gees! What an awesome prize for me. (Crap, still need to read The Scorch Trials.) But hey, it’ll be easy to get him to sign the third 13th Reality novel I own….still haven’t read that either.

So, go check out the contest. And just wait until you see when I win it. I do have hopes for one other person besides me if I don’t win it. Other than that, I want it! 🙂

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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.

Behave Yourself

So, I’m going to pretend that I’m like Dear Abby or something and offer advice (cause I’m credible, you know.) So since I’m already pretending, let’s pretend that I got a letter that says something like this:

Dear T.J.,

I am attending The UVU Book Academy next week and was wondering if you could offer advice on how to behave appropriately so I don’t make a fool out of myself.


First-time Writer

P.S. You’re blog is awesome! I really love Timothy Types TMI!

So with that wonderful question in mind, I’ll go ahead and answer it.

Dear First-time Writer,

Of course my blog is awesome. I write it. Duh!

But with that aside, let’s talk about some behavior tips. First, Brandon Mull is going to be the keynote speaker this year. Please do not go up to him and ask “What’s your secret?” Um…he writes! Seriously, I’m going to go up to this person and say “What makes you you? What’s your secret? I must know it!” Argh! There are no ‘secrets’ to being a New York Times Bestselling Author. There are, however, tips and tools to use to get there. Guess what, he took them. So did Brandon Sanderson, John Grisham, Dan Brown, and Stephen King. (Someone else’s name that starts with ‘Stephen’ is omitted for obvious reasons.) Honestly, I want to yell and scream if I hear someone say “What’s your secret?” Anyway, enough rant there.

So, let’s say you’re going up to an awesome and want to ask them a question. Be patient, but be nice. Now, if you want to talk to someone like Annette Lyon, please dangle chocolate in front of your face. Perhaps if Elana Johnson or Dan Wells were to be in attendance (which they’re not, unless something’s changed) you should cook bacon. Honestly, though, don’t interrupt the person they’re talking to. If you stand there long enough, they get the hint. (If the person your author of choice is speaking to just asked “What’s your secret?” then by all means, punch them out and introduce yourself to the author.) DISCLAIMER: If you actually do this, “Timothy Types TMI” and its author are not legally responsible or accountable if anyone does this. But if you do, you’ll get a blog post from me, as long as I witness it.

Here’s another random thought: all these authors that are published, were where you are at one point in time. But, at the same time, all published authors are people. I look at them as my peers. I’m on a first-name and familiarity basis with some authors. I’ve actually been bold enough to invite some to lunch and had one author and family over for dinner with my family. I also write praising words for some authors like subliminal messages. (Rob Wells is an awesome person to follow on Twitter. Sarah Eden’s blog is hilarious to read. Annette Lyon’s cookbook “Chocolate Never Faileth” is on the top of my to buy list. Josi Kilpack is simply wonderful. Marion Jensen has me in stitches with his split-personality. David West and Daron Fraley are awesome newcomer authors and I consider both good mentors. Stephanie Black’s latest book is actually really good.)

So, really, these are people. I’ve tried to make friends with some of them. And feel like I have. Also, don’t think that any of them can really do you favors. Honestly, if someone goes up to Rob Wells and say “Please read my YA novel” or Josi Kilpack and says “Please read my murder mystery” or Sarah Eden and says “Please read my regency romance” they may or may not be able to. (Now, if you say to Annette Lyon, “Please try this chocolate recipe” you may have a decent shot at it working.) Rob has a full-time job outside of writing and full-time job trying to drink as much Diet Coke to keep himself alive long enough to edit. Josi and Sarah (and Annette) work full-time too as moms. I’m sure they’re all wonderful moms (I just know them to be wonderful people.) These people are busy.

Shoot, I would’ve loved an opportunity to read someone’s work. But then I realized that lately, I haven’t had the time to write my own stuff. So I can understand how one of these authors can be too busy to read something of yours. If you want a free 10-page critique, I suggest you go to Precision Editing group. Also, I hear that Tristi Pinkston and Danyelle Ferguson are good editing options as well and come highly recommended.

One last thing, be happy. Especially if you’re attending for your first-time. Authors are happy to see one another succeed. Jealous? Yeah. But everyone learns how to be happy for one another because they know that when that agent and publisher comes back with a “YES!” that their world was just made.

In summary: don’t think there are secrets, don’t think you’re going to be published after attending, and don’t think these people are going to do favors for strangers. They don’t even do favors for one of their biggest fans! (That’s me, by the way.)

With much wisdom,


P.S. Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.