I love conference weekends and I'm sorry to see this one end. The speakers always seem to know just what we need to hear. Except for the announcement of five new temples, nothing really new was said, but I was touched by the gentle reminder that we as a people believe in preparation; spiritual preperation, educational preparation, and financial preparation. There was no "haven't you been listening; we've been telling you for years to avoid unnecessary debt, dress modestly and respectfully, and live within your means." There was understanding and sympathy for those who face hard times along with a call to simplify our lives, reduce our wants, and place our emphasis on loving each other and the Lord. I think it was that sense of love and concern that touched me most deeply.
For me and other writers, conference weekends always mean book signings and they're some of the most fun signings of all. It was wonderful to meet people I only knew from online communications, people I've known but haven't seen for a long time, dear friends, and strangers who are now friends. It was my first chance to see my new book, The Ruby. I don't have my copies yet making it really fun to walk into stores and see it sitting front and center. My four-year-old grandson created a few fun moments for me too. Brandon has an imaginary friend he calls Happy Ghost who goes everywhere he goes so he was very interested in a Halloween decoration I have out on the buffet. It's a ghost sitting in a pumpkin with a pumpkin lid hat. When someone taps on the hat, the ghost spits out candy corns, M & M's or whatever candy I've filled it with. When I got ready to leave for my first signing, he told me not to forget my "happy ghost," so I took my little ghost along and he was a big hit--pun unintended.
One question I'm frequently asked at signings is how long it took me to write the book. I have a hard time with that question because I really don't know. It seems like over the past fifteen years I've always been writing one, working on the edit of another, and promoting and signing a third, all at the same time. This past couple of years it seems those various segments have piled one on top of the other until I found myself with four books in the publishing queue. Then suddenly for the last six months I haven't been writing a new one because I've been so busy with the editing end, then learning my temple responsibilities. Ideas are beginning to stir again and I think I've reached that magical point where I can concentrate on starting a new book. High Country and Shudder will both be back to contemporary stories and will come out in January and August of 2009. What do you think? Should I go with another historical for 2010?