Storymakers Conference–Part 2

Another year of LDStorymakers has come to a close and I feel so lucky have been able to be a part of this conference. Between the inspiring classes, great speakers and the feeling of camaraderie that filled just about every square inch of the Utah Valley Conference Center—I am going home full. Full of knowledge and friendship and definitely full of food. Oh my gosh. So much delicious food.

Day Two had so many memorable moments. I think I’ll just toss some pictures in here and go from there.


This is from James Dashner (author of The Maze Runner series) and J Scott Savage’s (Mysteries of Cove, Case File 13 and Farworld series) class on “Setting the Scene” which was totally fun. My favorite bit from this class was how James Dashner filled us in on his favorite way to stay inspired and that is watching movies (and TV shows). Though he has his own method for gaining inspiration from these sources, I loved the idea that it is not just books that we as writers can be inspired by but stories. I’ve always said that I just love stories. Fictional stories. Historical stories. Life stories. So *high five* James—I concur.



Yes, you guessed it, a ten-year-old stole my writing notebook and drew a picture that vaguely resembles a human in a wedding dress….okay, fine, it was me. This was for Agent Josh Adams’s class on characters. He asked all of us to draw our main character which is HILARIOUS for all us non-artists out there. I’m just happy she didn’t end up as a stick figure.

This is a character for a project I work on occasionally for fun. Yeah, if you can decipher what is going on in this picture then you might be seeing a woman wearing a long dress and a veil. Then if you turn your head sideways you might see a horses’ face or a sunset….kidding. That doesn’t actually work with this particular picture but close enough (you can practice seeing horses by using this optical illusion below…write a quick prompt about this weird little picture why don’t ya?).


Speaking of Josh Adams, my Writer’s Group friend who you met in our last post, Kelli Nielsen, had a query critique session with Josh. She’s been working so hard at making her query “just right”  and I was so excited for her to go face to face with this awesome agent. The pictures below are a before and after. The “before” picture she says is her fake-super nervous-I might vomit smile but the AFTER picture is a real smile because she got a full request off of her AWESOME query. This was the highlight of the conference for me–to see a talented writer who worked super hard at revising and editing and polishing to find success. Congrats, Kelli!

Another fun moment for me happened at lunch. Last year I attended Storymakers for the first time last year and I went to a mix and mingle where I met some other Women’s Fiction and Contemporary Fiction authors. While I was there I met Candice N. Toone. (Check out her novella here) She’s published several short works of fiction but was working on a full length novel. We chatted at the table and then went our separate ways.

Well, Candice went home and read WRECKAGE and reached out to me via Facebook after finishing. We soon became virtual friends and when she landed a pitch session at Storymakers with my agent, Marlene Stringer, she reached out for some advice. I was lucky enough to be able to read her first chapter and query and get just SO excited for this up and coming author. It was so fun to have her find me in PERSON at Storymakers this year. We chatted about her upcoming pitch and then also realized that Kelli and Candice were former colleagues (SMALL WORLD). It was just a wonderful moment. To make it even better, Candice’s manuscript got a full request after her first chapter consultation with Marlene. Congrats Candice!! Can’t wait to keep up with your career.

One of the really cool parts of the conference is the mass book signing that takes place after the close of the conference. This is so interesting to me because I LOVE seeing a huge conference room packed with authors who are sharing their work with the world. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of the room (and the delicious DOUGHNUTS provided as part of the festivities–yum) but you can still get some idea of the event with these few pictures.

Not pictured is Joanne Osmond who also came to the conference from Chicago and is a member of my writer’s group. She was just so inspiring to be around. Always making great connections with other authors and taking in so much great information. I cannot WAIT for our next meeting. It is going to be ELECTRIC I’m positive. Joanne also came to support me at the Whitney Gala. So, even though you can’t see her, she was there and she is one amazing lady.

After the book signing it was time to prepare for the Whitney Gala. I’ll insert a spoiler alert right here: Wreckage did not win in any categories. BUT….it was still amazing to be a finalist and to be able to attend the Gala with my friends, with my agent and with my agency-mates. And to be inspired by all the great work done by all the finalist and winning books. I’m all out of words so I’ll just let you enjoy some pictures from that fun night!

Well, that was it! The conference in a glance. It was a wonderful few days and I look forward to going again NEXT YEAR! If you didn’t make it this time around then put it on your calendar for next year: May 11-13th, 2017. Seriously….let’s hang out.


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