This year, I was super-excited to return to ORAcon. I haven't been this excited to do anything in quite a while. I had my clothes all picked out way in advance, a hat ready to go, and the nail-biting thrill of waiting to find out how my paranormal entry for the Weta Nichols writing contest, Lawless, would do. Here are the highlights:
I got to room with my partner-in-crime Lisa Medley again. We visited at the Author Signing at the Library Center in Springfield, Mo. I didn't sign, but I did cut out early for dinner, which was a total riot with my girls, including Lisa, Jillian Slack, Ellen Harger, and many others. Dinner was too fun. We hit the trail and met back at the hotel for the Meet and Greet cocktail party, which was also a riot. I met a writer who's super willing to help me out with my Regency novella. I love meeting people who are so enthusiastic about working with others. Yay! Jill, Lisa, and I were the last ones standing at almost midnight. We reluctantly parted ways.
Here's my Heckmaster basket for the raffle. The proceeds from the raffle go to the Ozarks Literacy Council. What a great cause. It contained copies of Wystan (The Heckmasters) and Eban (The Heckmasters, Book 2), Arrogant Bastard ale, Sinfire Cinnamon whiskey, 30 pieces of silver-wrapped chocolate, a solar dancing devil, earrings by Michele at Cobalt Sky Unique Art (she has an Etsy shop, check her out. Her jewelry is beautiful and modestly priced), a XL Hershey's Special Dark bar, an Amazon gift card, and custom blended loose leaf tea in a Heckmaster's theme. I included I Shot the Sheriff, Doctor's Orders, and I'm the Oracle (the whole set is here).
Obviously the coolest name badges we've had in the history of conference. I couldn't stop playing with it all day. I actually want to frame it because it oozes awesome.
I shared a table at the mini expo with Wanda Fittro. Love talking to that lady. Wanda! Write more books, woman! When I put on my hat, she put on her awesome red fascinator. We were the hat table and it was fabulous.
This is my uber-cool hat. I asked a few people if it was a little over-the-top, but everyone thought it was great. I could've done without the bow, but the rest of it was wonderful. I will always love feathers and I will never not love the lady skeleton cameo.
Lunch was great, as one would hope. I got to meet (and probably scared the hell out of) a Weta finalist whose contemporary entry I loved. I literally gushed all over her. Hey, you have a big fan in me! I will buy your book the second it comes out.
Here is my certificate for Lawless. My friend Rosalie Stanton got first and I couldn't be happier for her. She's a great writer. You go, girl!
Based on things I learned at the conference, I have a pretty good idea why the final judge would have given Lawless second. See, I learned things. Awesome.
I also learned about drafting a book in two weeks and I'm wondering if I dare. I have three projects I've got to finish right now. One of them is the next Cowboy Up novella, and it's very nearly done. The other is the Regency novella, and the last is the next Viking novel. I don't feel like the latter two really need a two week draft burst, so I'll probably save that knowledge for something else.
Overall, I'm totally exhausted, but it was such a fun time, it was 100% worth being exhausted over. Let's do it again!