Monday, June 6, 2022

Storymakers Recap

 One of my favorite posts to write every year! This one is a little late in coming, because ever since I got home from the Storymakers Conference I have been slammed with my kids' end-of-school activities and oh, yeah, finishing up that renovation so we can move in a couple weeks!

I realize I haven't mentioned anything about our move here, so let me sum up: in November we found out that my husband's position here in Laramie was being combined with that of his counterpart in Casper, and the role would be based out of Casper. And we decided that if we were going to have to move, it sure as heck wasn't going to be to Casper. So my husband interviewed for a new position in Tucson, AZ, which he got, and we're really excited about. HOWEVER, we were in the middle of a home renovation that we'd planned to stretch out over five years, and suddenly we only had six months in which to do it.

It's been a rough six months.

Going to Storymakers, however, was non-negotiable. Especially because with the move, it was the last time Taryn and I got to drive together. This year, both of her sisters came along, as did one of my friends here in Laramie. The car was packed, and it was fantastic to nerd out the whole way about writing with great friends.

We got to Provo on Thursday with enough time to meet the fantastic Sarah Allen for dinner at my favorite Korean restaurant, Koko Lunchbox. Then we had the opening social for the conference, where I got to do some recruiting for the Storymentors program with my co-director, Rebecca Carlson.

The conference classes were excellent as always. I'd volunteered to be a room host for 6 out of 12 sessions, which was fun. It was a lot less demanding than being a room moderator was last year, and it meant I got to go to some classes I might have otherwise missed. I also got to go to an intensive class taught by Kendare Blake, whose Three Dark Crowns series is an absolute masterpiece. Her class was about using setting as a character in fiction, and she had us do a lot of workshopping exercises. I was brave enough to read one of my exercise out loud in front of the whole room of people. It was terrifying. But also fun.

I went to the Whitney Awards gala for the first time as a guest and not an organizer, which was a fun experience. It was so weird not to know who was going to win! I found myself holding my breath each time they announced the winner. Though I did know in advance who the next Whitney Awards president was going to be--my bestie, Taryn.

Three Whitneys presidents! me, Emily Inouye Huey, and Taryn Skipper

me and Emily with Don Carey, tech wizard extraordinaire

Elisa McLean, me, Rebecca Carlson, and Sarah Allen, pointing at the cover of Sarah's book Breathing Underwater, which was a finalist in the Middle Grade category

One highlight I absolutely have to mention is that Taryn won FIRST PLACE in her category in the conference's First Chapter contest!!!!! I pity the people sitting at my table when they announced it because I SCREAMED at the top of my lungs. Taryn has worked so hard on this book, and entered the contest multiple years, incorporating feedback each time. To not only place, but get first place was a testament to how freaking hard she's worked.

On Saturday after the conference I got to hang out with my sister, who drove all the way down from Salt Lake to spend a couple hours with me. She's pretty much the best. After she headed back, I went down to the hotel lobby to hang out with the rest of my writing group, many of whom either live in the Provo area or who were at the conference. Again, nerding out about writing is one of my favorite things to do, and we stayed up way too late doing it. But it was amazing to see everyone again.

The Missing Link Writers: Brandon, Kasey, me, Elisa, Leisha, Kim, Em, Julia, and Taryn

When I arrived home, it was to a newly remodeled kitchen! Ryan and some friends worked their butts off for four days to get our kitchen updated and ready to sell. I don't get to enjoy it--too busy painting to cook! But it looks amazing!

One last road trip photo with the McQueen sisters, in my fancy kitchen

Storymakers is, as always, my happy place. 




  1. Kara. I so loved this article. Your adoring GMA.

  2. That is awesome that you got to have such a great experience before moving. Storymakers sounds super fun.
    I wrote a humorous piece for the June WEP prompt.
    And I have my favorite book world narrowed down for the IWSG July prompt.
    "One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by."- Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
    Over at Operation Awesome, our Pass or Pages query contest opens Monday with July's family saga genre. Know any writers who might want to enter?

  3. Sneaking over to say hi again.

    July 4 is Alice in Wonderland Day, a commemoration of when the story was first told to the Liddell sisters by Lewis Carroll in 1862.

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Speculative Fiction &Reference Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge