Shameless Name-Dropping

It’s time for my favorite post-conference blog entry, when I shamelessly name all the famous, near-famous, or infamous people I actually met. These aren’t listed in any particular order, other than they came out of my head this way. Here we go:

 

1.) Brandilyn Collins, who proved to be an excellent keynote speaker, engaging teacher, and down-right gracious lady. At the beginning of her class, she personally greeted each student with a hand-shake and a word of encouragement. Classy. On a completely unrelated note, her hand and facial gestures reminded me of the actress Patricia Heaton. She’s famous, too.

 

2.) Jesse Florea is the editor of a Focus on the Family children’s magazine and a published author. He was sitting all by himself at lunch the first day, so I asked if I could join him. We were soon discussing the future of speculative fiction in the CBA and out popped Jeff Gerke‘s name (you CAN’T talk about spec fic without Jeff showing up in some fashion). Jesse is so passionate about his magazine, he almost talked me into writing a short story for kids. I still don’t know how I resisted.

 

3.) Jim Rubart joined Jesse and I at the lunch table. Jim is most noted, in my mind, as the author of the spec fic novel ROOMS, the MC for the Reality Panel of Publishing Experts (held after lunch on the second day), and most importantly, a runner-up in Chip MacGregor‘s Bad Poetry Contest 2010. Jim proved he can pen utter tripe while showing true deepfulness and reflectivosity. He’s also a really great luncheon conversationalist.

 

4.) Holley Gerth also joined the lunch table. She’s an editor at Dayspring Cards, but what made her famous (to me) was her name tag. It said she was from Arkansas. When I told her my husband’s family was from a tiny town in Arkansas, she proved to me, yet again, that this is a small, small world. She’s from the same small town as all my husband’s relatives. And she knows them. I don’t know if I should be proud or take pity on her. . .

 

5.) Sandra Bishop is an agent at Chip MacGregor Literary Agency and blogs periodically. She shredded my pitch, told me how to fix it, then sent me off to conquer the next editor. Who was. . .

 

6.) Nick Harrison. He works at Harvest House, writes a great blog, has published several books, and taught an excellent course about selling fiction in hard economic times (see previous post). He patiently listened to my pitch and politely said, “No, thank you.” I chalked it up as another learning experience.

 

7.) Clint Kelly was the MC for both evening sessions with Brandilyn. He’s a funny guy with tons of published books to his credit and a great singing voice. He also works with my second cousin, Ray, proving that this is a REALLY small world.

 

8.) Chris Miller, the genius behind the Hunter Brown series, sat with me for the evening meal on the second night. His brother, Allan (the other half of the writing dynamic duo), couldn’t make it to the conference (wedding anniversary, or some such nonsense) so Chris held down the fort on his own. We had some intriguing discussions about spec fic (Jeff Gerke showed up again) and the fabulous books we’d both read recently. Then we entered a highly controversial debate over the correct term for “a series of four books.” We finally turned to Brandilyn, at the next table, and she gave us the correct term: quadrilogy. Now you know.

 

I could also bring up Luke Hinrichs, fiction editor for Bethany House (he liked my pitch!); Greg Johnson, who works with Rachelle Gardner (her blog was rated one of the Top Ten in the Publishing Industry); Les Stobbe, agent-extraordinairre, whom I didn’t actually meet so much as run into in an elevator (didn’t have my elevator pitch ready, so the opportunity slipped by. Plus the fact that cornering an agent in an elevator is almost as rude as cornering him in the restroom, which I would probably never do); Athena Dean of Winepress Publishing, who’s got such a cool name I may have to steal it and put it in a novel; and Shannon Woodward, a published author and master conversationalist.

 

That concludes my trip down the star-studded conference line-up. For what it’s worth.

 

-Sonja
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