Annette and Heather were the queens and organizers of the conference. They did a great job. Rob was in charge of the Whitney Gala which was absolutely wonderful. Thank you to all of the workshop leaders and others who worked so hard to make this a great event for all of us.
I got to meet a few bloggy friends who I've never met in person (Stephanie & Janet), and say a quick hi to a few other friends and associates who I mostly know from our online association (Ali, Anne, Brillig, Candace, Karen, Keith, Kerry, Heather J., Jeff, Julie B., Julie W., Josi, Marcia, Rebecca, Shirley, Stephanie, Tristi, Wendy—I know I'm forgetting some of you, sorry!).
I also got to hang out with my dear friend Cindy Bezas who lives so far away in Florida. Didn't get to spend nearly enough time with her.
Me & Cindy (author of Powerful Tips for Powerful Teachers)
Meg and I played groupies and had our photos taken with a couple of authors. That was fun.
The Whitney Awards Gala was also wonderful. Here are the winners with my commentary. (You can see my guesses here):
Best Novel of the Year: On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell
This one surprised me. Not because it wasn't a good book but because I really didn't think a more literary type novel by a small press would win. Glad I was wrong on that one. I had picked Dragon Slippers because, all things being even, I am a fantasy junkie and will always choose the fantasy story, but I quite liked this book too.
Best Novel by a New Author: Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
Yes! I'm so glad she won this. (See note above about being a fantasy junkie.) Jessica Day George spoke at the conference and she is just hilarious. (See 5th photo down.) Meg and I tried to stalk her for a photo but the crowd around her was just too big. I am now a Jessica groupie. I bought her newest book, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, at the conference and will buy the sequel to Dragon Slippers as soon as it comes out later this year.
Best Romance/Women's Fiction: Counting Stars by Michele Paige Holmes
Yes! Right again. I, a confessed romance hater, loved this book. I bought a copy when it first came out and gave it to a friend for her birthday. She let me borrow it to read (my review). I had to buy my own copy at the conference—and yes, Michele signed it for me.
Best Mystery/Suspense: Sheep's_Clothing by Josi Kilpack
I'm so glad Josi won. This category was the hardest for me to pick. Sheep's_Clothing and Hazardous Duty were neck and neck for me. I finally picked Hazardous Duty just because it had more action and was more fast-paced. But I am just as equally happy that Josi won. Yea, Josi!
Best Young Adult/Children: Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
Yes! I really liked this book. My second fav in this category was Janette Rallison's, How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend. I liked these two books equally well. It was hard to pick because they are so different—one a fantasy, one a humorous teen romance. But once again, the fantasy addiction reared it's head, so...
Best Speculative Fiction: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
This was not my personal favorite (sorry, dragons always win with me, hands down). But I do like Shannon Hale and I was not disappointed too badly when she won this award. I loved the book—and she's hysterically funny. I thought this was the best book she's written. I liked it even better than Goose Girl.
Best Historical: Out of Jerusalem #4: Land of Inheritance by H.B. Moore
Although I picked a different book to win, the book I chose was not really a true historical—that was just the best category for it to go in. This book, however, is a true historical epic spread over four volumes. Heather uses very descriptive writing. She definitely paints a scene and makes you feel like you're really there. I like Heather and I'm glad she won.