Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Newbie Author's Experience as a Panelist at LTUE

So what do you do when you find yourself fielding audience questions alongside world-class authors? Remind yourself that you’re already on your way to being in their shoes.

Stan Crowe and David Farland
In mid-February, I got my first chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the heavy hitters of the modern literary world. Folks like Tracy and Laura Hickman, David Farland, and Howard Tayler all attended the 31st annual Marion K Smith Symposium, affectionately known as “Life, The Universe, and Everything” (LTUE).

Held in Provo, Utah, this event brings writers of all skill levels together to mix, mingle, and discuss the finer points of writing. There’s something sublime about putting New York Times #1 best-sellers in front of aspiring authors, and watching new dreams take root and begin to grow.

My first experience with LTUE was as a clueless college freshman. I went for the games, and the chance of girls. Though I enjoyed my first brush with this excellent symposium, I really had no clue just how much I’d missed in my short-sightedness.

Fast forward to 2013, and times have changed. The hopeful newbie is replaced by the published author who is now sitting on the other side of the panelists’ table, answering questions about how one can use the past to predict a future worth writing about. To my left are James A Owen and Eric Sveden. To my right is newcomer Scott Bascombe. We progress from discussing Iran’s nuclear program and into how technology can be used to generate great story conflicts.  I'm sitting with some wicked-smart authors,and it feels great to be among them.

 My panel aside, the major highlight of my attendance was getting in—almost literally at the last minute—on the mass book signing on Friday night.  David Farland was just beyond arm’s reach, and had I been just a hair faster than fellow author L.L. Muir, Mr. Farland would have been using my pen to sign all the books people brought to him.

Alas, I only have “The pen that David Farland didn’t use.”

From networking to presenting to just plain fun, this year's LTUE was the absolute best one I've ever attended (there’s something great about having Tracy Hickman ask, “So, tell me about your work?”).  It was an honor to represent Breezy Reads, and I'm excited to do it again in upcoming conferences.

I left the symposium ready to conquer the world. Or at least a small portion of it. I'm already making plans for 2014.

Stan Crowe is the author of the romantic comedy The Cinderella Project.


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