Sunday, June 7, 2009

Amazing talent!

Saturday was so much fun for me. I was privileged to be on the committee for THE Teen Writers Conference, which turned out so well. I also did the coordinating for the writing contest, and it was so amazing. There's a lot of talent out there in the world, housed in the bodies of the 19 and younger.

The classes were really good, the kids seemed to have a good time, and the author panels were informative. I even learned a few things!

Among the books I bought at the conference:

I've known Jeff (J. Scott Savage), for a few years now, and I watch his career climb with admiration and awe. He's amazing, approachable, and so very cool!

I met Lisa Mangum in person at the conference but had been communicating with her earlier in the week regarding the contest judging. She was such a wonderful judge, and would be, of course, because she's a real-life professional editor for Deseret Book. She's amazing. Smart and witty and as she sat talking with the kids during lunch, my opinion of her just kept growing. She offered advice and was so approachable to the kids. It was so cool. Thank you for all your time and effort, Lisa!! Can't wait to read your book.

I had James Dashner's first volume of the 13th Reality series at home and wished I'd thought to bring it with me for him to sign. Such a funny, funny man. I'd seen him being entertaining with Jeff Savage for two years at the Whitneys and have seen him all over the web but never had the chance to actually talk with him until Saturday and I just have to say, he's wonderful. So articulate and sarcastic, two qualities I love and admire in others. :-) At any rate, I will continue to watch his career climb and cheer wholeheartedly for him from the sidelines. His book The Maze Runner comes out this fall from... Random House! So incredibly cool. (Plus, I think I've found a political kindred spirit, and this is always a wonderful thing.)

I don't have a copy of this book yet, but I can't wait to read it. I don't think I've ever met a more energetic, entertaining and sincere performer than Julie Wright. She was so, so wonderful. She did the general session at the conference and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. I think the kids got a real treat in her, and everything she said about the differing stages of writership was dead-on and I'm really hoping the kids took some good notes. Awesome, awesome, and she is so warm and just all-around great. Wish she lived farther north!

I bought this book, but will have to wait until I get it. They sold out! Annette took my order and will mail it to me. Call me a dork, but I do love a good grammar book. That would also mean Annette is a dork too, and she's anything but. She's also wonderful, (I'm using that word a lot), and I had a great time talking to her. She's a wealth of industry info, and she's a person I know I could ask just about anything and she'd probably have the answer for it. She's also incredibly funny and great to talk to.

I met Jewel Adams several years ago and have had the chance off and on to see her at various functions. I'm always impressed with her class and style. Jewel is awesome and I'm glad to say I know her. We traded books and I can't wait to start The Journey!! She's an incredible lady with an amazing presence about her.

I also met Ronda Hinrichsen, who has a new book called Missing coming out this month from Leatherwood Press. Another book to add to the stack! It sounds really cool, and I enjoyed spending some time with Ronda at the conference. She has a very polished air about her that reminds me of someone who really has her crap together. (Does that sound crude? I obviously don't have my crap together yet). At any rate, she was nice and gracious and I liked getting to know her.

Karen Hoover is a massage therapist! I'm thinking we need to set up a chair for her at future conferences. Oh, and in addition to that, she's signed a contract with Valor Publishing Group and has a book slated for March, 2010. Woohoo!! She was so much fun to talk to and I loved getting to know her.

I spent time with Heather Moore, historical novel author extraordinaire and winner of this year's Whitney and Best of State awards. She's beautiful and eloquent, as always, and has a daughter who looks just like her!!

Also on the committee and giving a wonderful presentation on humor was Matthew Buckley/Marion Jensen. As Josi put it, he was the testosterone on the committee that helped keep the estrogen in check. He's such a nice guy and I really enjoyed his presentation. He has such a dry sense of humor- subtle and very hilarious.

Speaking of funny, Jessica Day George was there as a presenter and panelist. I could just sit and listen to her talk because she is so funny and light. She's a person who will brighten up a room just by walking into it. I can't wait to read her books. They've been on my list since last year when I saw her receive her Whitney award for her book Dragon Slippers. She's an amazing person.

I met Cindy Bezas, (C.S. Bezas), for real at this conference, after seeing her only in passing before. What an amazingly talented woman. She was a committee member and presenter, and she's done it all, from books to music and everything in between. (I've tried unsuccessfully to link to her website- I'll try again in a bit). At any rate, she is all things gracious and lovely and I'm in awe of her accomplishments. Plus, she brought chocolate for her presentation which now makes her the smartest person I know.

Last, but not least, Josi Kilpack is an amazing woman. I want to be like her when I grow up. She ran one heck of an amazing conference and I am really, really impressed. It ran like clockwork, and I've decided if I ever need to have a major event organized, I want her in charge. Not to mention that she's funny and smart and I really like her. I've had her book, Lemon Tart, for some time now, and it's in my TBR stack. I will one day read all these great books. I think one day will start tomorrow morning. Extra reading time isn't going to leap into my lap. Unfortunately.

Well, all told, it was a great conference and I really hope that the kids enjoyed themselves and feel it was worth their time. I would have been all kinds of bat-crazy for something like this when I was young. Good times!!!


TRIBE'S said...

Nancy, Kimmy really enjoyed the conference and learned a lot. She has some great feedback for you if you are inerested.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Absolutely! I'd love to have her feedback. Have her email me!

Michele Ashman Bell said...

:-( So sad I couldn't be there. I never did hear who won the contest. I can imagine how awesome it was!

Julie Wright said...

I loved meeting you Nancy! You are in every way as delightful as your writing!

Josi said...

You were awesome, Nancy, and I'm so glad that you were on the committee. I loved getting to know you better and so appreciate all you did.

Kirk L. Shaw said...

I wish I could have been there. It sounds like it was a fulfilling conference.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

I wish you could have too, Kirk! It really was very fulfilling. Looking forward to the next one!

Carly said...

I really want to know how good that Abinadi book is so i can read it.