That’s what it felt like last week when I traveled to Provo, Utah to attend the “Life, the Universe & Everything” science fiction and fantasy symposium. LTUE, as most of its regulars call it, was named for the third book in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” series and began while I was a student at Brigham Young University. As an aspiring author at that point, the symposium gave me access to prominent science fiction and fantasy authors and all the knowledge they had to impart. Some of the “big names” I remember most clearly as guests were C.J. Cherryh and Orson Scott Card, both of whom become my mentors and sources of encouragement.
It’s been twelve years since I’ve been able to attend the symposium, but with the relaunch of The Sergey Chronicles coming up and The Seventh Shaman series in the works, I felt it was time I returned.
I’m very glad I did. It was kind of like a family reunion with friends I haven’t seen–and a few of whom I’d lost contact with–during the twelve intervening years. I also met face-to-face, at last, several friends I’ve met and known only through author groups on Facebook, including Brenda Bensch and Mikey Brooks, who have been guests on this blog. We shared lots of smiles and hugs, and catching up over meals at some of Provo’s unique restaurants.
And, as it did during my “starving student” days, the symposium offered a wealth of information on a broad range of topics, from the how-to of structuring and producing a strong story to what’s happening in the publishing industry and how to get your story noticed. As before, “big name” authors were numerous (Megan Whalen Turner, David Farland, and Tracy Hickman were the Guest of Honor and Special Guests) and accessible to fans and aspirants alike. Between the information I gleaned from a couple of panel discussions and a chat with my mentor, David Farland (aka Dave Wolverton), I was able to make some decisions about publishing The Seventh Shaman books when the time comes.
My return was long overdue. I’ve decided that LTUE is definitely going to be an annual event for me.
And now, here are the first of my nominations for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award. I’ll nominate others in my posts over the coming weeks.
1. www.writtenbymikey.blogspot.com The stories and art of children’s author and illustrator Mikey Brooks.
2. www.murph4slaw.blogspot.com Interviews and book reviews by Heidi L. Murphy.
3. www.notesfromthewritingchair.blogspot.com Conversations about books and writing with fellow science fiction author Angie Lofthouse.
4. http://BenschWensch.wordpress.com ABC Writers Guild by Brenda Bensch. Writing tips, encouragement, author interviews and book reviews by Brenda Bensch.
More of my 15 nominees next week!