Monday, March 18, 2013

My first time

The Rockies
As with a lot of conferences, at EpiCon (the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) in Vancouver, Washington, I got to meet a lot of fantastic people for the first time.

I got to hang out with the hilarious Queen of Hotness, Sabrina York. We chatted, we ate, we found a mutual love of snark.

I met and enjoyed Marci Baun, of Wild Child Publishing, and sat with her out in the lobby more than once.

Oh, and I got to hang out with Kate Richards and Desiree Holt who've been at every con I attended so far...I'm starting to think I'm stalking them across the country.

Celia Breslin, debuting with Haven soon, brought me VooDoo Donuts (holy bacon donut loving heaven in a box) and introduced me to her lovely family.

I could go on. I met my boss, (waves at Ellen), and Cassiel Knight...

Which leads to the firsts.

Mount Hood
This was the first conference where I really found my feet. While I was still a bit of a petrified freak at the Naughty Sleepover, I was outgoing at this one. EpiCon has this great vibe--the chance to really talk to people and get to know them which I adored. The chance to just plop down with your laptop and revel in the changing circle of people who pop over to chat with you.

I mean...I really don't have words for how great of a time I had.

But aside from finding my zen place and talking every ones ears off, I got to try those donuts. I found my cause (I've figured it would have something to do with children and I still look forward to finding a way to be an advocate for autism) in the New Voices program with EPIC. New Voices is all about the kids...the ones who want to write.

As I was once the kid who lay in bed in the mountains of Pennsylvania, listening to my cousin, Kenneth Tate, type into the night and wondering what stories he was clunking out on that typewriter...and what stories I would tell if I were him...

I get all kinds of teary when I think of the kids who want to write, the ones I can encourage so easily. My own children are storytellers, as are some of my author friends kiddos (I'm thinking of Sara and Heather but I'm sure there are more) so I know how easy it is to teach a love of books.

And how very easy it is to squash. I love this program. You'll hear more in the future about it so I'll hush for now.

Other first times? After the strokes, I firmed up a bucket list for myself. Two things were really important--I want to see the ocean and desert before I die.

I also want to see Ireland but the ocean and desert come first.

Muppet Moss
Anyway, I shared my dream with Cassiel Knight and she made it happen. After the conference was over, we loaded up in her car and took a drive on the Sunset Highway to the ocean. She humored me, pulling over so I could snap pics of moss (I called it muppet moss because it made the trees look like something out of Jim Henson's imagination) and then letting me taste the water and fill my pockets with shells for my daughter. We ate a lovely lunch at the Shilo Inn, viewing the water, and I snapped shots of The End of the Trail-where Louis and Clark finally found the water.
The End of the Trail
Just like me.

I found that moment really moving. Here I was, after all these years of getting close to the ocean and not making it and finally I made it...

And I was standing in the spot that Louis and Clark stood, feeling perhaps the same, after their long journey in search of the ocean.

Cool shit.

Just, cool.

I can't thank her enough for that. Really. It meant more than my con-coma brain could say.

So, traveling home, my heart ached for my babies and I couldn't wait to feel their arms and hear their voices. I had a late night flight and fell asleep almost immediatly after takeoff.

I was wakened shortly thereafter by INSANE turbulence. Like someone grabbed the plane and tried to shake it from the sky turbulence.

I cupped my hands on the window to peer out, hoping to see what was up.

We were high up, so high the clouds didn't obscure the sky and you could see the universe stretching out like a blanket of light in the darkness. The line of the Milky Way was so clearly visible, I gasped. And then the light show really started.

The earth below was wrapped in cotton, cities completely obscured but the cotton was visible because of the bright blue flashes, like someone holding a led flashlight under a sheet. Storms! Electricity arching through the night, lighting up every bit of the world that I could see. Every so often, the clouds parted enough that you could see the veins of liquid power stretch their wiry fingers down to touch the land and then shoot off in bubbles of brilliance through the cotton field.  All of this under that heartstoppingly lovely view of the galaxy.

Like a child on Christmas morning, I sat, rapt, wide awake past my exhaustion and watched the storms until we'd past them, completely enthralled and enchanted by the storm and sky and the frailty of the tin can I floated in so high above it all.

And now I'm home and the warm arms of my children wrap around me and I've found such peace. Between the conference, the bucketlist checkmark, and the fantastic show the elements put on for me (ruining my sleep but worth worth it) this was one of my most fantastic journeys.

And to think...There are even more things out there for me to consider firsts.

Life is so exciting. You never know what adventure waits just over the horizon.


  1. I'm going to try not to gush here, but YOU were one of my favorite aspects of EPICon. You have a vibrance about you that pulls like a magnet. You're funny, talented, generous, and real. You're much more fun than I am, but I'm glad you let me tag along with you a bit. And I'm glad you got to see the ocean. Gorgeous, eh? Happy belated St. Patrick's Day, and thanks for being a big part of why my first conference experience was so much fun.

    1. Oh, Christy, I loved meeting you. I already loved your work but you're so lovely in person.
      And I'm blushing furiously here. Thanks and glad you enjoyed me as much as I did you!! *hugs*

    2. You should gush a little, Christy. She is awfully glow-ey.

  2. I am do glad you got to cross a few things off your list! The ocean is such an awesome thing. I will never forget the first time I dipped my toes in the Atlantic. To this day, I have to be near water to allow the muse to go free. I am so happy for you and am glad you are safe and sound with your babies;)

    1. Thanks, Gemma!! I really look forward to the day I get to say I met you! :D

  3. Virg, I am really glad you went. I'm glad I went. I'm glad we met! It was a great weekend and I am looking so forward to the next time we can hang out together.

    And remember...what happened at Epicon STAYS at Epicon. Totally. At least the naughty stuff.

    1. *pinky swears* You'll note none of that made the blog.
      It left me grinning but it's not on the blog. ROFL

    2. I'm glad you went, too. We will hang out, shenanigans shall ensue...It'll be EPIC. I mean, it might actually BE at the next Epic, but it will ALSO be EPIC. *grin*

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