Remember when you were a kid and your mom warned you that you wouldn’t always get what you wanted? You were determined to prove her wrong. And she ended up being right anyway.
Not one of my favorite life lessons. But over the years, and maybe especially because I am a writer, I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to wait for things you really, really want. Sometimes you have to work a lot harder to earn them. And sometimes you have to stop thinking like a spoiled brat (which of course you aren’t) and edit your expectations—or even completely rewrite them.
Two years ago, I attended my first Left Coast Crime writers conference in Portland, OR. I loved every minute of it—especially being introduced to so many amazing authors and their books. I swore to my new BFFs that I’d be back for the 2017 conference. Destination: Hawaii! (cue Tiny Bubbles)
Well, to make a long story short, that didn’t happen. I spent the conference weekend not in balmy Paradise, but home in freezing New Hampshire, working on a manuscript that’s due in 15 days—not that I’m counting or anything—and trying very hard not to be jealous.
But the truth is, I wasn't. (I mean, okay, maybe just a little.) That’s because two of my West Coast cozy mystery writer BFFs, Ellen Byron and Marla Cooper, were nominated for Lefty Awards—Ellen for Best Humorous Mystery and Marla for Best Debut Mystery—and I was over the blue Hawaiian moon for them. Here are their books, by the way:
Plus, I got to attend in spirit, thanks to the miracle of social media. I heard about the awesome panels, the food, the exotic cocktails, the broken Starbucks machine, the welcome luau on the beach (with fireworks!), the whale watches, the convos at the bar. It was the next best thing to being there.
(photos courtesy of author Eleanor Cawood Jones)
Marla even brought along her ukulele and wowed everyone at the Reader Connections:
On Saturday night, I tried to stay up for the Lefty Awards live. Honolulu is 6 hours behind EST, so I didn’t quite make it. At 2 am, though, I rallied, stalking the Twitterverse and waiting for texts with the results:
Due to an unusually long salad course at the awards dinner, I unfortunately dozed off again--but woke up Sunday to the news that Ellen had won for Best Humorous Mystery. Yay!
As I type this, the Left Coast Crime 2017 attendees are packing their bags for home. Have to admit, I’m feeling a bit of post-conference letdown. But I’ll see many of these very same writers in Bethesda, MD next month for Malice Domestic. By then, of course, this ms. will have been completed for 26 days (again, not that I’m counting). No way am I missing another chance to hang out with my favorite writer and reader peeps.
And next year, Mom, I will be at Left Coast Crime 2018, because I’m feeling lucky. That’s right, folks: It may not be quite as exotic as Hawaii, but Reno, here I come!
So what's especially motivating YOU right now, writers? And have you ever felt a tiny bit green? 'Fess up in the comments below!