March of 1996, I joined my local chapter of the League of Utah Writers. I attended their spring workshop, where I first met Rachel Ann Nunes, who wasn't yet published, but who today is pretty much a superstar in the local market.
I went to chapter meetings, which turned out to be one of the few times I left the house then, as I was a new mom. That fall, shortly after my son's first birthday and discovering I was expecting my second child, I attended the League's annual Roundup conference. (I remember talking to Rachel in the hall after I'd stepped out of a class because I was so tired from the pregnancy that I kept falling asleep. She was out there soothing her newborn.)
At that conference and other Roundups that followed, I sat in classes taught by big names in the LDS market, which was where my goals were set.
I listened to Orson Scott Card, Jack Weyland, Jennie Hansen, Chris Heimerdinger, Anita Stansfield, and others.
More than once, I sat in a workshop and thought, "Some day, I want to speak at Roundup as a published novelist like these guys."
I became a published novelist in 2002. (My first book came out in July, so we're almost exactly to the decade mark.) I didn't speak at Roundup that year. Or after my second, third, fourth, or fifth books. (I'll stop there. My ninth book with Covenant is about to go to press.)
The last couple of years, I have taught at Roundup, but it's been under the umbrella of Precision Editing Group. And while that has been great (and I've been grateful for the experience!), it didn't fulfill my original dream of speaking in my own class, representing just me. I've been there as an editor, not a writer.
Some people may think that hey, it's silly to still want to be invited to speak at Roundup. After all, I've taught at a bunch of conferences, often several a year. Right? True. But it's never been at LUW, not me speaking as just me, the novelist. Roundup was my first big conference, and it was my first big goal.
You can probably see where this is going. I recently got a phone call inviting me to teach not one, but two workshops at Roundup in September! My picture and bio are already up. (Proof! CLICK HERE.) I'll also be there with Precision Editing, but this time, it's different.
I did it. I made it as me. The little whisper of a goal I had 16 years ago will be fulfilled in a few months.
I still have plenty of goals regarding my writing career, and I'm working hard toward them. But I must say, it's pretty cool to have something checked off the list so many years later.
If you're interested in attending this year's Roundup, check out the League's site. The conference will September 14 and 15 in Park City. Members of LUW get a discount, but anyone can come.
I'll also be teaching at The Teen Writers Conference on June 23 at Weber State University. This is the conference's 4th year, and it just gets better. If you have (or know!) a teen interested in writing, be sure to let them know about it, and soon, because registration forms must be postmarked by THIS Friday, June 15.
*Paige, my contribution to The Newport Ladies Book Club, goes to press any day and will hit stores in August!
*The sequel to my Whitney Award-winning novel will be out in January, titled Band of Sisters: Coming Home. No cover on that yet. I imagine we'll be starting edits in the next couple of months.