I’m just back from a great Seattle writers conference. This annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association brings together writers and agents and editors to forward the hopes and dreams of writers throughout the country.
I found my agent Rita Rosenkranz at the PNWA conference in 2012. And here we are at this year’s event at the Friday night Autograph Party where authors sold and signed our books. Rita stood by me during the party, which was great. She’s a wonderful agent–she was there from New York–and I feel very fortunate to have her represent me.
Thanks to author Evelyn Hornbarger of Nebraska for taking the photo.
Please note the little black and gold ribbon on my nametag (see enlarged thumbnail), which reads “Nancy Pearl Book Award FINALIST.” This recognition brought me to the conference, which I hadn’t planned to attend this year. But when PNWA President Pam Binder called to tell me I was a finalist for the award, I decided to take the long drive north so I could traipse around the conference wearing this delightful ribbon.
Both of my books were nicely displayed in a prominent location, with the main focus on the finalist, The Shifting Winds, my historical novel, story of a reluctant young pioneer woman who’s torn between two men, one British, one American, who vie for her as their nations vie for the rich land of Oregon.
Something different at the Autograph Party this year: Instead of sitting behind a table to sell and sign books, we stood and mingled while we were entertained by singer, songwriter, actress (and now author) Donn T. She’s a cool performer.
The conference culminated in the Saturday night awards banquet where the finalists all received kudos and award certificates. Nancy Pearl finalists received beautiful certificates like the one below.
PNWA has a contest for unpublished work in many categories. I’ve been a finalist in that contest a couple of times and have learned that this looks great on a query and is well respected in the industry even if you don’t win or place.
The Nancy Pearl Book Award is for published books and received the highest recognition at the conference. The 2017 award is for books published in 2016. A winner is selected in each of two categories, with only three finalists in one category this year and four in the other. So I knew I was a winner already, just being a finalist.
I was told several times how much the judges loved my book, The Shifting Winds. While I did not win the award, a highlight of the entire conference for me was when all seven Nancy Pearl award finalists were asked to stand and told what a monumental achievement this was and I looked out at the many faces in the huge room and saw my agent waving at me. Standing a little bit taller, I smiled and waved back.
A moment to remember.
Several finalists joined the celebration at my table. From left to right: Evalina Mason, Nancy Pearl finalist for her book The Seekers; me of course; Janet Oakley, literary contest third place winner in the historical fiction category for Thatch’s War; and Debu Majumdar, Nancy Pearl finalist for Sacred River. Winners all!