I just returned yesterday from six days at a writing conference. It was great, wonderful, and exhausting. I taught a mentoring track with 10 writers in which we spent 8 hours together doing very extended critiques. I also had about 20 appointments with writers to critique their work.
All of that was fun, but I still think the best times were the offline hours when I sat down with old friends (and new friends) to talk. I think there are no friends like writer friends.
On the airplane coming home, I sat with one of my loyal blog readers who often posts here, Camille Eide, who lives not too far from me. She’s only been writing for about a year, so she had set her expectations relatively low–at the level of an early “Sophomore.” However, after getting strongly encouraging feedback from a couple of novelists at the conference, Camille worked up her courage to show her sample chapter to a couple of editors. They liked it too.
Camille told me all this in the airport while we waited for our flight. I asked to see her work and she let me read it on the plane. I liked it! I liked it a lot. I don’t know how the large-scale structure of the story will work out, but the 20 pages I read were Xtremely good on every point that I know how to measure. So I told her it’s time for her to get an agent. For the rest of the flight, I took a nap.
I took today off from doing any kind of serious work, since my brain is still basically oatmeal. I’ve been reading a legal thriller today by Rick Acker, who I met at the conference. I already knew about him because I’d read his second novel for endorsement a couple of months ago at the request of his publicist. I liked that one so much that I wanted to read his debut novel, DEAD MAN’S RULE which came out last May. Since Rick was at the conference, I bought a copy and got it autographed.
I’ll tell you, I REALLY like this book. Rick is a lawyer and has done great research on Russian biological weapons, and he’s got a great, compelling story. DEAD MAN’S RULE feels like a nice blend of the best early work by John Grisham and Tom Clancy. Suspense has always been my favorite genre, and Rick’s book is a terrific suspense novel. I hope to finish it tomorrow, because I really do need to get back to work.
Tomorrow, we’ll pick up on Cindy Martinusen Coloma’s “Puzzle Method” and I’ll report on how I liked the ending of DEAD MAN’S RULE. See ya then!