Last Saturday, May 5, I attended my third Colorado Springs Mountain of Authors (MOA). At this point it is my only author gig for the year. I do not plan on attending MILEHICON, and I’ve heard nothing about Denver’s Comic Con. Things could change, but as of now, this is it for the year. I have an upcoming shoulder surgery I need to get done, thanks to to many years of heavy weightlifting.
It felt good seeing my writer friends! I sat between two of them for the day—Kevin Ikenberry and Shannon Lawrence. Great people and I had fun talking with them and hanging out for six hours. But I also got to see and spend some time catching up with Barb Nickless, Fleur Bradley, Karin (K. D.) Huxman, Becky Clark, and others. Robin L., a friend of mine who has begun writing-in-earnest the past few years, also stopped by and we caught up. It was great to see everyone!
The list of events may be found here, but the layout was this: all of the authors were set up around the perimeter of the conference room, while the center of the conference room was arranged for the speakers (up front) and audience members (in the center). Outside the conference room several writer organizations were set up. Throughout the entire day people were able to come and go and mill around and talk with us and buy books, while the various segments (The Writing for Children panel, freelance, self-publishing, and marketing workshops, as well as the All Pikes Peak Writes Award Ceremony) played out on center stage. A couple of times it got a bit noisy while people were speaking from the stage, but it was not the norm. One of the workshops was particularly interesting to me, the Marketing Workshop, presented by Rob Eagar. I tell ya, it’s getting crazier and crazier this promotion of one’s work. It really is becoming rocket science.
The The Writing for Children panel, moderated by Karin Huxman got to me the most. In a nutshell the panelists discussed how sometimes we all need a break…and how not to let the publishing industry “get to you”…but to accept and ride out your need to get away from it all. To not forget to cultivate your LIFE…about not allowing writing to BE your entire life. They devoted some words to “not making it” in the publishing world. That we shouldn’t allow the publishing pitfalls to carry over into the rest of our lives…to be sure to nurture our real lives and to take that time to rest from writing when you feel the need. I point this out because for the past few months I’ve been feeling just a little bit burned out, and it touched a nerve. The panel all had much good to say about publishing and writing that went beyond their genre. It was a wonderful panel and well-moderated by Karin. A hearty Thank You! to all the panelists and Karin!
Kevin J. Anderson was the Keynote Speaker. He’s written more than 140 books. Geez, I can’t even count that high.
I’d met him either last year or the year before at Denver’s Comic Con (DCC), not that he remembered, but he’s also the Word Fire Press (WFP) publisher, who an author or three I know are with. Anyway, here he spoke of his rise to power—I mean, his becoming the best seller that he is.
He’d begun his journey at age 5 with frequent trips to the local bookmobile. Throughout his life one thing after the other just seemed to fall into his lap—which doesn’t mean it was easy for him. Though he had tons of projects “just come to him,” the man still had to produce. And produce he did. I have not read any of his work…I’m just not interested in that genre anymore, but I am going to pick up one of his books and check him out, but the man has had his hands in just about everything since the creation of Heaven and Earth—and I’m sure some of his ideas were even employed in their creation! So, you really do have to hand it to the guy. He made his way to best-seller status through sheer grit. I’ve heard and met many others out there had also “fallen” into success, enough so that they could live off of writing, but Mr. Anderson had literally gone light-years beyond merely “living off” of his writing. The man obviously has quite the active imagination.
That trophy that Kevin Anderson is brandishing above was (if I remembered correctly) the first-ever award he’d won, and I’d wish I’d written down what he’d said about it. It was a tongue-in-cheek award basically declaring “Congratulations, you’re a writer who won’t make a living at being one,” or something funny like that. Sometimes I could just kick myself. Anyway, he had fun talking about it and brandishing the trophy. Afterwards, when I went up to thank him for speaking to us, I looked at the trophy, and man, was it ever battle damaged! I guess that comes from all the action/adventures he’d (lived?!) written about….
The crowd was much smaller than the past couple of years, but I still had fun and enjoyed some thought-provoking conversations with those who stopped by to chat and buy a couple of my books (thank you to all who did so!). As I’d previously mentioned, I’ve been feeling a tad burned out, so coming here and seeing all this and talking to my writer friends greatly helped kick me out of that funk!
This is a great little event, and I do love attending! Thank you, Bryan, for inviting me the past few years!
And speaking of Bryan, here he is:
Bryan Matthews. The humble, secret weapon behind the Mountain of Authors (sorry about outing you, man!).
But along with Bryan, thanks again to the rest of the tireless and dedicated PPLD MOA staff: Karin Huxman, Joelle Wren, Christine Dyar, Shannon Miller, and the Colorado Springs Library 21C for again hosting and inviting everyone to this wonderful event!
Enjoy the slide show! Most are shots I took, but Shannon Lawrence graciously sent me a couple of images she’d also taken. Thanks, Shannon!