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Heartwarming Small-Town Romances and Thrilling Mysteries

For several years, I’ve watched Wyoming Writers, Inc. offer writing conferences in different parts of the state. It was always tempting to go (I’m such a sucker for workshops to learn my craft), but it never worked out. This time, I was able to attend their conference in Casper. It’s only a four-hour drive from home, and it’s where we used to live. How could I not go?

Hubby was going to go with me up until the last minute when he had a dental problem that needed tending. Sadly, I had to leave him behind. I know he would have loved cruising all over town and raking in the geocache finds.

The drive between home and Casper is mostly through ranch and coal mining territory. Towns are at least 70 miles apart so there’s a lot of frontier in between (defined as less than two people per square mile). Cattle and antelope are most of the viewable population (rats, snakes, gophers, prairie dogs, etc. not included because they stay hidden). The spring rains made the prairie, buttes, and hills green and beautiful. They were working the huge coal mines along the road, so I saw the ginormous dump trucks and drag lines working.

Starting with the first morning at breakfast, I made new writer friends. A lot of very nice people attended, and it was easy to talk to whoever I sat by. The workshops were excellent for the most part (one was nothing what I expected or wanted) so it was worth the trip. The food was excellent, always an important part of a conference. The last night, I spent several hours with three other writers, having great conversations on how to improve our writing, marketing, and WIPs. I learned as much from that circle as I did the whole conference.

One of the best moments in Casper had nothing to do with writing. I had lunch with a friend who I hadn’t seen for 24 years. We worked in the same office and became fast friends there. We moved away in 2000, and since then, seen each other on Facebook from time to time but that’s it. I was a little reluctant to see if she wanted to meet because after that long, we’ve both changed. But I sent a message to her, and she agreed to pick me up during a lunch break. Turns out, nothing changed. We’re still great friends because we talked like no time had passed at all. Things around us have changed, but we still connected on that level where friendship dwells. We didn’t have long together, and I was late getting back to the workshop, but I am so glad we had that opportunity. I hope it’s not another 24 years before we see each other again.

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