Friday, October 12, 2012

Moonlight and Magnolia Awesomeness

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This past weekend I went to the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference, put on by the Georgia Romance Writers. It was fabulous. Amazing. Wonderful. In other words, I had a great time.

I wanted to share a few highlights with you while it was still fresh in my mind.

1. I met Julia Quinn

Me with Julia Quinn at the M&M Book Signing

 I cannot tell you awesome this was to me.

Even though I write inspirational fiction and Julia doesn't, her writing style is probably what got me into writing in the first place. The inner kid in me jumped up and down all weekend screaming, "It's Julia Quinn!" Fortunately my outer adult had a little more control.

If I ever "make it" I hope I'm like her. A couple dozen books, New York Times Bestseller, RWA Hall of Fame, and she still is comfortable in a Wizard of Oz T-Shirt. Awesome.

2. I won third place in the Maggies

Receiving my certificate from the amazing Debby Giusti. 

I'll be honest, had I won first this would have ranked over meeting Julia Quinn, but I got third. Which is still pretty fabulous. As my dad pointed out, they even celebrate third place in the Olympics so it's a pretty good place to be. 

To have only been seriously pursuing my writing career for a year, it's an amazing place to be. I'm still a little awed. I mean, my name was on the big screen in front of 300 people, most of whom I didn't know. That's pretty cool. 

The hubby even came up and partied with me. It was a rather interesting look into the world of romance writers for him. He's heard me talk a lot about my inspirational writing buddies, but this was an all genre conference. The theme was "Corsets, Crime, and Craft". I'll let you figure out where it went from there.

Me and the hubs. Isn't he handsome? :) 

3. I learned A LOT. 

I don't have pictures and I can't even begin to remember the names of all the workshop people, but I learned so much this weekend. When it comes right down to it, that's what these conferences are for. I learned about period dress and fabrics (important to know when you write historicals!) and setting tones and layering meaning into my story.

Two workshops had big "A-Ha!" moments for me.

One was Lindi Peterson's workshop on sweet passion. I don't care what genre you write, if you have the opportunity to take her class, you should. It's a working workshop (I started to say "hands on", but given the title of the class, someone might get the wrong idea...) and I walked out of it with an amazing scene for my book. I wasn't the only one saying that either.
Here I am with Lindi at the book signing. I'm short, but not THAT short.
There's a table between us that I had to lean over. 
The other was the craft intensive with Jeffrey Stepakoff. I don't know how often he does workshops outside of the college where he works, but if he's ever in your area, check him out.

4. I actually won something!

I never win anything, so I was very excited when I won a critique from Missy Tippens. She's a friend so I probably could have gotten her to look at my stuff anyway, but now I don't have to feel guilty about it. ;)

A huge shout out to the conference committee that worked so hard to make this year's M&M amazing. Next year's will be a bit smaller, because RWA Nationals is in Atlanta next year, but if you are looking for a small conference to put on your annual radar, you can't do better than the M&M.

Were you at M&M? What did you think? What small conference have you been to that you would recommend?

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