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Heartwarming Small-Town Romances and Thrilling Mysteries

Hubby and I just returned from Boise and the Idaho Writers Guild conference. He didn’t go to the conference but had a great time biking and seeing friends. The last day we were there, he helped with the Idaho Riders for the Blind fundraiser. The organization has tandem bikes that seeing people pedal from the front and the blind pedal from behind, and they go for a ride along the Boise River. Good cause, good people.

I saw my dear friends who I call The Grannies for lunch one day. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time together, but the time we had was precious. It’s like we were never apart; we picked up talking where we stopped last time and off we went. Those kinds of friendships are priceless, and I cling to them with all my might. We also had supper two nights with my friends from high school who live in Boise. And we had huckleberry ice cream! Yum, it was good!

At the conference, I saw my writer friends in that area and visited with new people who I hope to see next time. I love mingling with writers because we don’t have to explain why we kill people, know the best poisons to do it with, or know how blood spatters can tell how a person was murdered and with what. They are tools of the trade.

The first day was a class with Robert Dugoni on writing fundamentals. It was a day well spent learning and refreshing the craft of writing. The next two days were spent with writers, literary agents, publishers, and podcasters who offered excellent presentations on all kinds of topics. The presenters were generous with their time in visiting with people individually and in small groups which was much appreciated. Ideas flowed like flash floods in those sessions.

As I said in an earlier blog post, I had an appointment with a literary agent to pitch my new book to in hopes she’d think it was a masterpiece and get it traditionally published. I practiced my pitch over and over before the time of my 15-minute appointment arrived. When my time came, I recited my pitch to her, then waited for her to respond. All she said was, “Not interested.” She must have seen me deflate a little because she asked what the title was. “Desert Dreams, Murder in Moab,” I responded. “Pick a new title. Does nothing for me.” With that, I was dismissed. I spent maybe 4 minutes with her. I was disappointed she didn’t get excited about my book or ask more questions, but I’m okay with it. After listening to all the talks about self-publishing during the conference, I’d about decided it was the way to go anyway.

I submitted a short story and a short memoir in the writing competition but didn’t win anything. I’ve won at least honorable mention every other time I entered it, and even got second place last year. That hit me worse than the pitch session, but then judging is very subjective. My second-place writing from last year was totally shredded at the next conference I attended. As the conference speakers acknowledged, there’s a lot of luck involved with being a successful writer.

We ended the conference with the keynote speaker Craig Johnson who writes the Longmire series and works with the series. He had funny tales about how he got started and where his stories have taken him. He still lives on his ranch in Wyoming outside a very small town. He spent a lot of time talking with whoever wanted to speak to him or get his book autographed. He seemed a very nice man.

On our way home, we stopped in Dillon, Montana to visit the Granny who doesn’t live in Boise anymore. We had lunch together and a wonderful visit while Hubby was out geocaching. Dillon is in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and has at least one really good restaurant. I hope we stop by next time we go to Boise.

Hubby and I also stopped by the Little Bighorn Battlefield on the way home. It’s an interesting place to visit. We took a different route home than usual and found out later, by doing so, we’d avoided the severe thunderstorms along the Bighorn Mountains. Hubby’s truck remains undented by hail.

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