Saturday was my big day at AuthorFest, which was held in Manitou Springs’ Business of Art Center. I gave a joint workshop with Jeanne Stein and Lynda Hilburn. Lynda is the one who let me know about AuthorFest, did all the paperwork, and got us in. I’m eternally grateful.

I hadn’t met Jeanne before, but we recognized a kindred spirit in each other based on our ability to cuss and drink, often simultaneously. But that was later. We behaved like perfect angels at the workshop (unless the attendee questionnaires say otherwise). We were actually a good match, the three of us, passing the mic around and promoting each other whenever possible. Lynda looked particularly beautiful in a cut-velvet jacket she got from Dragonfly. I fought the urge to knock her down and take it, because I’m pretty sure she could whup me.

So we gave our workshop, where I definitely told the truth about the amount of sex in many paranormal romances, despite the fact that there was a red-headed boy of maybe 13 in the audience. Hey, if he’s old enough to help organize a festival, he’s old enough to hear that kind of thing. Oh, and at one point, Jeanne mischievously said she couldn’t help thinking of elves as “cute” rather than sultry, prompting me to snatch up my Legolas action figure and squeeze his legs so he would wave his scepter at her in an angry fashion. And no, that’s not a euphemism. It’s just a scepter.

Post-workshop, they gave out awards for short stories and also artwork. The highlight for us was the boy who looked about eight (sorry, can’t remember his name), who read his story, Respect the Picture. It was very good, and we were all riveted by his talent in both reading and writing. Microphone technique, too, come to think of it.

Margaret Coel, the NYT bestselling author of the Wind River mystery series, gave the keynote speech, and she is a fascinating gal. Great storyteller, on paper or in person.

They put on a great buffet lunch after the speeches and awards. I hadn’t expected food, so I called Angel Joe and told him he’d have to fend for himself. After eating, Lynda, Jeanne and I walked to the Stagecoach Inn for some writerly drinking and dishing, which is sometimes the most entertaining and productive part of these shindigs. Writers don’t get to meet with our colleagues often enough. We know better than to exchange sensitive info in writing, so any face-to-face meeting is a chance to swap hard publishing info. Jeanne bought both rounds (Thanks, hon!), and we made it back to our signing in the nick of time, somewhat smiley but still plenty steady with a pen.

After shilling for ourselves and buying some other folks’ books, we called Angel Joe and all met for dinner at Amanda’s Fonda Mexican restaurant. Picking the restaurant and joining us were two mystery writers we met at AuthorFest, Bob Spiller and Ronald Cree, both very funny and engaging guys. I know Bob did a workshop, and I’ll bet Ron did, too. Ron took advantage of my margarita-induced state to ask really hard questions about elves, like, “Do they bleed if you cut them?” Since my elves have only been injured by other elves while fighting with energy, which didn’t leave a mark, I was stumped for a moment. Finally I proclaimed that, yes, they do. There were other questions, but I don’t remember them.

My dad, who is privy to the elven work in progress, asked me a harder question a while back: “Do elven mothers nurse their young, or do the babies also get energy from the earth?” You people, making my brain hurt! I don’t know the answer to that one yet. It all happens in gas-station restrooms, whichever the case.

I’ll have pictures of everyone at dinner when I get home and have my camera cable. It was a great day. I’ve alread put in a request to give a workshop at AuthorFest next year.


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3 Responses to “AuthorFest”

  1. Tez Miller Says:

    Sceptre-waving is funny, not angry 😉 Also, everything happens in gas-station bathrooms 😉

    Have a lovely day! 🙂

  2. uzuegbu munonye John Says:

    My name is john munonye you can view my poem on
    I’m a poet and a Novel writer, I hope we can be friends and share some knowledge together.

  3. jeanne stein Says:

    Hi Esri– It was great fun meeting you last weekend. Teh Stagecoach Inn will never be the same…


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