Sorry, I don't have a story today. I spent the weekend at Utah Valley University listening to some of my favorite authors at LTUE.(LTUE is a symposium for fantasy and science fiction authors and illustrators.) I was a little hesitant about going. This was my fourth time and while I enjoy it there have been things in pasts years that make it a little trying. I figured I would go and just be glad I wasn't at work and if anything else happened that would be just extra icing on the cake. By the end of the symposium I had more icing then cake.
I left bright and early to get there in time to register. I had a few classes I really wanted to attend and I figured I would be home fairly early, eight or nine. I met up with my parents and we had a great time going around to the different classes. I attended a class on "The History of Chocolate" as well as "Rewriting the Classics" and "Map Making." These three classes in particular stuck out to me because of how well the presenters did. I went to them because they sounded and I learned more than I expected. I got story ideas from all of them. I enjoyed the other classes I attended.
The best part was meeting with my editor for the Crimson Pact anthology, Paul Genesse. He made a comment earlier in the day about going somewhere for dinner. When I finished the last class for the day I wondered how I could approach him and see if he was serious about getting a group together to go to dinner. When I was in Ohio at the World Fantasy Con I learned that tagging along with groups is a lot of fun, so long as they don't ask me to speak. Then I just feel out of place. I looked around for Paul for a few minutes and then decided that maybe I would just head home and see Moose. I wandered into one more place and Paul came up. He was still planning on getting a group together and he said I should come. It took about an hour to get the group together but we ended up with 10. One of those ten included the guest of honor James A. Owen. It was one of the best evenings I had. I got home at 10:30 just bubbling with stories that James had told us and feeling really good about life.
I was on a high from Thursday night and it just got better. The keynote address was by James A. Owen and though I had heard some of his stories before it was just as amazing the second time. I highly recommend everyone reading his book DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS. I have heard quite a few motivational speeches due to my religion as well as all of the conferences I attend. This far outshone anything I had heard. What really stuck with me was his saying "Never, ever, sacrifice what you want most for what you want most now."
The rest of the day I was still on a high from his speech but I had a lot of fun. There was a mass book signing scheduled for that evening and I was worried because I had a book for James Dashner as well as Brandon Sanderson. I knew both of their lines would be long and didn't want to spend all night standing in line. I happened to see Brandon in the hall and inched my way up. I asked if it would be alright if he signed my book now, if he wasn't busy. He was so nice about it and signed my book.
This day wasn't nearly as exciting but I still had a great time. I went to several readings and got my books signed by Brandon Mull. My dad had watched Brandon Mull register that morning. LTUE is free for students, any students. There was a line of students waiting to pick up name tags when Mull walked up. The people at the desk waved him forward but he politely declined and waited until his turn. My dad made the comment that a lot of the authors at the conference are the superstars in the writing world and yet they don't act entitled. They are some of the nicest people you would ever meet. I think people have probably heard me call these authors my heroes and they laugh, but I am serious. It is men and women like these authors that make me want to be a better person, not just in my writing but in my actions.