Debriefing Desert Dreams Conference

15 Apr

It’s been over a week since I’ve returned from the Desert Dreams Writers Conference held here in Tempe. I wanted to write and publish this post right away but I also realized I needed to decompress in order to gather my scattered thoughts. Overloaded on the amount of information, the thrill of spending time with fellow writers I call friends, meeting new ones and being scared out of my skin for meeting face to face for the first time with agents and editors I kept going and going for three days. By the end of the third day I was ecstatic for several reasons but also extremely tired.

I’m back to normal, whatever normal means. I have a lot of things I’d like to share with you so here it goes:

Best moment when . . . I was asked for a full manuscript of my newest novel titled Me Tarzan–You Jane, a contemporary romance with strong humorous elements. I won’t give any more info on this one so I won’t jinx it. But I promise once I have news worth sharing I will make the big announcement.

Worst moment when  . . .  at the end of Friday I was still unsure about my pitch (for those unfamiliar with what that is, a pitch is the essence of your book compressed in a few sentences). Arrived home around 10pm and went back to the board to draft yet another pitch. Close to midnight I had something that I liked better than the previous one, but still didn’t feel any goosies about it.

Aha moment when . . .  seating in the hotel’s restaurant Saturday morning and mulling over a bagel with my dear friend Shanyn Goodnight Hosier I wrote by hand another version of the pitch (can you tell I’m a perfectionist?) and reading it aloud I got all choked up and said, “This. Is. IT!”

Most painful moment when . . . I literally wanted to wrap my feet around my neck, they were hurting that much. I wore 2-inch heels which is a big no-no during conferences, but I couldn’t make myself wear anything else. Beauty suffers–I think that’s the saying. I need to “thank” my parents who couldn’t add to my DNA a little bit more height.

Funniest moment when . . . exiting my bathroom stall I saw Mrs. Sue Grimshaw of Random House coming my way. Without thinking too much I said, “I know I shouldn’t approach you here, but I have a copy of the February Issue of the Phoenix Magazine where you were cited during my interview. I thought you might like a copy of it. If you don’t mind I’d like an autograph on my copy.” She takes it from my hands, looks through it and, laughing she said, “Wow, I had no idea they published it. Thank you for bringing me a copy. Let me finish here and I’ll autograph it for you.” At this time my mind was already in panic mode for two reasons: 1). You NEVER EVER approach an agent or an editor during bathroom breaks and 2). I handed her a copy of the magazine without washing my hand. Mrs. Grimshaw was really candid about it and laughed when I said to her, “I apologize I gave you the dirty copy, BUT I’ll give you mine which I didn’t touch it until after I washed my hands.” She laughed, signed my copy and we made plans to meet during lunch. I hope she won’t always remember me as the “freak from the bathroom.”

One in a lifetime experience when . . . entering the elevator I realized that the one person standing in front of me was no one else but Mrs. Sylvia Day. The other lady I assume was her assistant. Sylvia smiled and said, “Lunch time?” I smiled, “Yeah, I need to feed the monster in my tummy.” She laughed and said, “Oh yeah, I know how that is.” Under different circumstances I would’ve run the other way, too shy to ever approach a person of her caliber. I’ve never read any of her book but I sure know of her fame. I hope one day I’ll be there myself…

Most inspiring moment when . . . during lunch time on Saturday we had the honor to listen to Mrs. Christie Craig talk. In the picture below she shows us how many rejections letters she got throughout her career. No one offered to count them, but they filled a plastic bin, that many.

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Her humor got us laughing out loud quite a few times. Her story brought tears to my eyes twice. What a woman! Diagnosed in third grade with dyslexia, high school drop out at 16, Mrs. Christie is nothing but the quintessence of perseverance and humility. There were several things she said that hit home and I will forever cherish them as part of the most treasured gifts I’ve ever received. Some of those gifts are: Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t; you know better. Surround yourself with people that look forward. Persist. If you fall, stand up and try again. It might not come to you overnight, but when it comes be prepared to say: I did it. Celebrate even the tiniest success. 

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I couldn’t ask for a better photo bombing although Shanyn tried to convince me the lady in orange was actually looking at my boobs. I can’t disagree more with her.

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Most relaxing moment when . . . Saturday night after the book signing event finished around 8:30ish we went out to celebrate each other.  Eager to apply what we learned from Mrs. Craig’s speech, we made the best out of it.

To old friends and new beginnings: cin cin everyone!

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3 Responses to “Debriefing Desert Dreams Conference”

  1. Cindy C Bennett April 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Looks like a blast, Cami! I’m happy it was so successful for you. <3

  2. Christie Craig April 18, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Hi Cami!!! I had a blast at the conference and love meeting new writer friends. Thanks.

    • CameliaMironSkiba April 18, 2014 at 8:46 am #

      Christie hon,

      What a pleasure to see you here! Sending you sun and smiles! :)

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