Through the Door


Where the accident took placeEver experienced a moment when you’re so excited and looking forward to an event, but in the back of your head you know that if this one thing happens it might ruin your enjoyment or ability to participate? I hit that occurrence on April 5th. Or more specifically my car was hit.

In stop-and-go traffic, the driver behind me had failed to stop. Adrenaline kicked in and I started shaking bad. The car was fine. My passenger was fine. The other driver and his car were fine. We exchanged information and then we both continued on our way (with him maintaining a MUCH better following distance).

With this being such a minor event, why has it stuck with me, and why had I been dreading such a thing happening before it happened? Because I’m a bit more fragile in some ways physically than I either care to admit or like. I know what even minor crashes can do to me. Because of that one moment where the other driver had looked away when he shouldn’t have, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted and needed to do that weekend. So, rattled and fighting tensing up, we arrived at the Loews hotel in Hollywood ahead of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future’s gala awards event (read about the event here).

Abandoned sparkly shoesThe night went well enough. I greatly appreciated the rides to and from the hotel (hey, my first limo trip!). I got through the event well even if I was a little shaky and had to ditch my shoes early.

Then the next day happened. I could tell my body wasn’t happy with me, but I pushed forward taking all the precautions I could and made it to the PR Workshop day at the Author Services building, the last day of the workshop the winners get. I even managed to snag a comfortable chair in the back. But the pain just kept increasing.

Author Services BuildingWhen my pain gets bad it is like I am here and the world is far away. I just can’t interact the way I want. I wanted to concentrate, take notes, and be ready to get my posts done early. In that moment, however, my body just didn’t care. I ended up sneaking quietly out the back (I hope) and heading to the lobby. There, I got help I hadn’t expected. I wish I could remember your name. I know I asked, but with the disconnect pain was shoving between me and the world, I can’t remember.

But I remember what you did. I remember you retrieving ice packs and getting me to lay down on the couch. I remember dozing a bit as my screaming muscles started to finally relax. I remember you didn’t have to do any of that. What you did was simple, but meant everything for me in that moment. I wasn’t a winner. I wasn’t a judge. I know what you did for me and I know you do even more for them.

Writers and Illustrators of the Future provide their winners with care and an experience I want to earn fully. I have seen glimpses.

Last Workshop Day Glimpse
I have heard the winners speak about receiving helping foreign winners arrive even when last minute mistakes on their parts occur.

I have seen where they are hosted: the hotel, the offices, the gala. Including John Goodwin serving drinks to people himself.

I have witnessed the press arranged for them. Outside of the big publishers and their select top authors I have not seen that level of work anywhere else.

Past Winner's Current WorksWhere Utah has a high number of winners, I’ve gotten to see any that wanted to participate or sell books at the Writers of the Future booth welcomed back at FanX. And I hear it happens at any other event they are at too. They are given a place to belong during other events.

The instruction that the judges give on details of being a professional in the genre I want to hear for myself.

The connections that are forge between winners, between winners and judges, and between winners and the staff.

I have seen in the library where copies of past winners’ current works are kept and those of the judges too. There is a new article showcasing their books. Sometimes finding the right book to read is a challenge.

And maybe most importantly I have seen their joy and excitement for every new group of winners. I’ve even heard Joni Labaqui telling a winner they’ve won. Even from a distance I could hear the absolute delight when she delivered the news.

I have seen how much they believe in and support their winners.

Author Services and guestbook quillAuthor Services DoorI know the prizes are just the beginning. If… or when I win the contests (just think positive! (and work hard)), I can’t wait to see what else there is just beyond sight. From everything I see, that week of workshops and the information delivered is a priceless. A once in a lifetime experience. Better than a day at the beach or a trip to Disneyland. Once I’ve won, what I want to do is go to the workshop, write more, publish more, and see my books there someday. But until then, thank you for everything large and small you do. Thank you for opening doors and allowing people the chance to walk through.

Oh, and if you’re an amateur writer or illustrator what are you waiting for? Go enter. Go enter now and every quarter until you win or become a pro. That is my plan.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more stories to write.

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