Dreamspinner Press held their annual Authors Workshop the first weekend in March. For the second year in a row, I was able to attend. What a great weekend!
During the drive down to Orlando last year I realized something new was up with my vision. The macular degeneration in my right eye progressed from dry to wet, and my vision in that eye deteriorated from decent to legally blind. This year I hitched a ride.
My pal Eden Winters who lives in Greenville, SC detoured through Athens to pick me up. P.D. Singer was with her. I met Eden shortly after my first book came out, and P.D. a few months later at my first GayRomLit conference. You’d be hard-pressed to find a sweeter person than either of them.
The trip to Orlando passed quickly. When we got to the Gaylord Palms where the workshop was held, the first people I saw were Charlie Cochet, Poppy Dennison, and honorary author Amy Dimartino. I met the three of them for the first time at GayRomLit too, and since then, have become fast friends with all three. Seeing them is always a treat.
The workshop started Friday morning with a “state of the publisher” speech from Elizabeth North, owner of Dreamspinner Press. The world of publishing is rapidly changing and last year a number of smaller houses went belly up. Thanks to Elizabeth’s foresight (and general brilliance), Dreamspinner Press continues to grow.
I met an old friend for lunch who often reads my works in progress. Although we went to high school together, we didn’t know each other then, but connected through mutual friends on Facebook. Our lunch together was the first time we’d ever talked face-to-face. I have to say, she’s even more beautiful in person than in her pictures!
Friday and Saturday, a variety of successful authors shared their insights and expertise with workshop participants. The sessions were about evenly split between writing techniques and marketing approaches. As usual, I learned a lot, but the best part is interacting with other writes–some I’ve known for a while and many I met for the first time.
As luck would have it, Saturday (March 5) was my birthday. At the banquet that evening, the incredibly talented Shira Anthony sang Happy Birthday. She’s not only an author, but is also an opera singer, a successful attorney, and a good friend. Celebrating with more than 100 good friends made for a very special day.
Learning from other authors was a treat. Interacting with other writers was icing on the cake. I spent quality time with Lane Hayes, the always adorable Rick Reed, Lex Chase, handsome Lloyd Meeker, Elizabeth Noble, Pat Henshaw, CJane Elliot, and too many others to list here.
The highlight of the weekend–aside from all the birthday greetings–was hearing from fans. A surprising number of authors told me how much they enjoyed Whippersnapper. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
My writing pals at Dreamspinner Press are like a second family. I’m already looking forward to our next reunion. I came away from the workshop refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to work on a new project. As always, I’ll keep you posted.