This past weekend was my second time attending the Epicon Conference--a gathering of electronically published authors as well as others in the industry. This year, I took my family with me, as I would be helping with the teen tract. Epic Authors, sponsors of Epicon, also sponsor the writing contest, New Voices, and I was able to help with the judging and coordinating this time.
We pulled into New Orleans late in the afternoon with downtown traffic a tangle of tourists coming in, and folks trying to get out of the French Quarter. While the drive had been solemn as we watched the remnants of Hurricane Katrina gradually peak outside of the city’s abandoned homes, the downtown area seemed revitalized and almost cheerful.
Anyone who’s ever been to a conference can empathize with the drill: parking, unloading, checking in, wandering around looking for schedules. Overall, we had a nice evening and I found where I was to be the next morning for the kids’ tract.
Saturday morning, breakfast was a hurried affair with me cramming down a slice of banana bread and cup of juice. I would have liked to have mingled a bit, but arriving at a conference without any writer friends in tow, often means going through the motions until you have time to become reacquainted with people you have met in the past. During the New Voices tract, I enjoyed the guests who were invited to speak. Though I missed some classes I yearned to sneak into, I still learned a lot from the speakers. Especially enjoyable was Kim McDougall’s lecture on making book trailers.
Kim McDougall is the owner and driving force behind Blazing Trailers. Bringing a site together where authors can post all of their book promo videos with room for excerpts and sales information, she has created a fun place visitors can browse and relax.
I love watching trailers. These two to three minute visual blurbs tell me a lot about how an author writes and can really get me excited about a book. Two of my books have trailers at BlazingTrailers.com. You can see them here and here.
So what about the family? I was able to spend a little bonding time with my boys browsing the French Quarter. Of course, being teenagers they were more interested in signs, advertisements, and street artists than they were the history of the place. We spent more time in the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company gift shop than we did anywhere else. My seventeen-year-old now proudly has a Bubba Gump license plate for his car: Stupid is as Stupid Does. Nobody says it like Forrest.
My husband I attended the Epic Awards Banquet Saturday night. I must say that the banquet room was beautiful and the food delicious. A couple of my favorite reads from last year won in their categories, and it was fun to see some names and faces I know all “dressed up.”
It would have been nice to have attended the whole conference this year--and to have slipped into the adult tract, but all in all I had a nice time visiting New Orleans. It’s the first time I’ve been back since the hurricane, and it’s nice to know that people there are still kind and hopeful. I never had to deal with an unkind local. Everyone was so friendly.
The 2010 New Voices winners have been contacted and I’m super happy for the kids that took the time to expressive themselves and submit their work. I hope reputable contests for young writers continue to grow, and opportunities for encouraging these young authors blossom. They are growing up in an electronic world we never imagined, and it is not only our duty, but also a privilege, to show them the ropes as we fumble along trying to manage them ourselves.
For 2010 Epic winners for best ebooks, check out www.epicauthors.com. Perhaps you may see my name up there some day. For now, you can check out my book cover for Turtle Soup, which won the Dirk A. Wolf Award, for best book cover in the Contemporary Romance category. Congrats to my cover artist, Nikki Browning. And congrats to Debi Sullivan for putting on a great Epic contest this year, spotlighted by a successful conference.