While I still have a lot to say about the conference, and a lot to just ponder and let percolate, I thought I'd at least provide a quick summary of (most of) the good news.
I'm out of an agent's slushpile. Meaning an agent asked me to submit the first thirty pages of Human Dignity. Well, she actually said for me to send her the first thirty pages of anything I had. This was before I even had a chance to finish saying my name. For whatever reason, I got the impression she said this to everyone she met with. But I wasn't in the most self-supportive of moods. Maybe she did say it to everyone. Maybe she spoke with someone else at the conference and knew my name and wanted to see my stuff. Who knows? Quite frankly, who cares? She wants to see the first thirty pages of HD. And because it's solicited, my first novel won't be sitting around in this agent's slushpile, waiting for some lowly assistant to wade through a ton of junk to find it. That's cause enough for the wine Mark and I drank last night.
The ten-minute interview with this agent went well. I made some good newbie mistakes. She was very candid and happy to explain a few things to me (such as a log-line - hadn't heard that one before). And she was excited that I write SF, fantasy, and romance. She was most excited about my fantasy. It was a bit odd, though, since she told me right away that she wanted to see 30 pages of my work before I had barely sat down. And since I was supposed to pitch my novel(s) to her in the interview (with the hope that she'd ask to see it), I was somewhat at a loss to continue. I had three pitches prepared. And she already wanted to see my manuscripts. I was trying to ask her what she meant by "literary science fiction and fantasy" but before I could, she mentioned that she was interested in fantasy with a romantic subplot as well as science fiction. So I decided to start rambling on about my fantasy novel.
She had some great questions about it. My hero and heroine are humans chosen by the sort of Supreme Creator Loria to have magic (the only creatures with magic on the world are elementals and Mayj). And the agent asked me, "Why were they chosen?" A very good question. One which Loria has not seen fit to answer yet. She just tells me what she's doing, not really why. So I found myself blinking and explaining this in terms that didn't sound unbalanced only because I was at a writing conference. And then the agent asked another great question: "Is it finished?" By now I'm sure I was blushing to the hue of tomato paste. I'm not sure how I said it wasn't finished, but I'm sure it sounded very meek and ridiculous.
On the very plus side, though, the agent was very excited about the magic in Velorin being musically based and having a somewhat scientific element to it. She seemed very interested in this fantasy project. So I'm hoping that really lights the fire under me to step up my work on it.
The other quick bit of good news is that I've been invited to attend another critique group. This one meets every other Thursday down in Denver. And most of the folks who run RMFW are in it, and a number of published authors frequent the group. Also, a good three writers from this group made the final round of the writing contest. An excellent group to help with my writing in addition to my current group, as well as a way to maintain and get more contacts in RMFW and the writing world in general. So I'll journey down there this Thursday and see what's what.
I've got at least two more entries about the conference, one that will elaborate greatly on point 4 from my previous post. I'm still too tired to write much more, though. And one more thought: I'm not sure why I never mentioned the agent by name. But it's something I did, and the agent shall remain anonymous until I can figure out why my subconscious decided to do things that way.