#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
The LaJolla Writers Conference Report

Okay, I didn’t take my laptop, and I’m glad I didn’t, because as usual, I had way too much luggage in the first place. :)

So many great things happened that I wrote a prompt list in my journal, so I wouldn’t forget to tell all.

#1 My daughter, Wendy, attended, and her fiance, Jeremy, was there part of the time too. Wendy and I had lots of talk-time, and attended classes together. We also hit the resort’s gift shop at least half a dozen times. More than toothpaste and key chains at Paradise Point, San Diego, to be sure!

#2 I received an award, and it was totally unexpected. This year’s Person of Letters is yours truly! I got a lovely little desk clock with an inscription, and felt so honored. Thanks to Antoinnette and everybody at the conference.

#3 I almost fell into the duck pond my first day there. Marauding ducks and gulls attacked my room service tray, and a styrofoam bowl ended up floating on the water. I couldn’t have that–littering! So I tried to fish the bowl out with a long stick and came THIS close to going in! I count this as a ‘great thing’ because I stayed dry!

#4 We saw a skunk, up close and personal, and he DIDN’T spray! With the wild fire still burning around San Diego, they’re seeing a lot of small animals in places they wouldn’t normally be seen.

#5 The room key stopped working. I called Security on my cell phone, and they came and put new batteries in the lock. Did you know those things had batteries? I sure didn’t. Blessing here: the staff at this hotel is one of the most competent and cheerful I’ve ever seen. They rode promptly to the rescue and we all had a good laugh and swapped some stories.

#6 I got to hear and meet David Morrell, creator of Rambo, and Stephen J. Cannell, who is a very successful adventure novelist, in addition to being the writer/creator of a lot of my old favorite TV shows, like “Adam-12” and “The Rockford Files”. Mr. Cannell is dyslexic, and his story of perserverance was truly uplifting. I also ran into Lisa Jackson and sister NANCY Bush–I think I called her ‘Natalie’ in a previous blog. (She used to write as Natalie Bishop, which is what confused me, but honestly, it was a senior moment and there’s no way around it. I’ve known these two for YEARS.) As usual, Susan (Lisa) and Nancy were delightful, and gave several excellent presentations.

#7 The quality of the attendee’s writing simply blew me away. It was so much fun to hear them read parts of their stories aloud, and then all of us jump in for a discussion afterwards.

#8 No way I could close this blog without mentioning the hard work of Antoinnette Kuritz, her husband, Rich, and son Jared. Despite the fires, and some endangered property of their own, they were on the job 24/7 to make the conference even better than last years’. They are such pros, all three of them, and the gathering was a virtual paradise for writers. Nobody, but nobody, treats their faculty better than the Kurtizes. Thanks, guys!

Bumper Cars

Do you ever get the feeling you’re standing in the center of one of those bumper-car rides at a carnival, periodically blind-sided by a racing car? Maybe knocked down–or even run over??
Of course I’m referring to problems–the kinds of things that seem to come out of nowhere and upset whatever apple cart we’ve been filling up with dreams and blessings.

I know I’ve felt like that. But here’s a little insight I’ve learned along the way. We are NOT at the mercy of runaway bumper cars, no matter how it may seem. There’s a control room–our innermost thoughts and beliefs–and although we’re not always awake at the switch, Someone Else is. It’s called Grace.

When I get a lot of bumper cars crashing into me, it’s always a sure sign that I need to 1) Stop, 2) Pray, 3) Expect an answer and proceed as though I’ve already gotten it. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve EVER heard is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail.

Of course, some bumper cars are unavoidable. They’re the ones that are a vital part of your journey–into each life some rain must fall. (Or that life would dry up and die.) In this case, I ask for insight, for strength, for stronger faith, for the ability to keep going and keep believing.

I’ve never seen this fail. Give it a try.

As you know from yesterday’s blog, I’m headed for Fire Central today–San Diego. I’ll blog if I can. If I don’t, you can expect a full description on Monday.

Or Tuesday. :) (One of my own bumper cars, you see, is a tendency to procrastinate.)

Over the coming weekend, I expect to: have a wonderful time with my beautiful and talented daughter, reconnect with old friends and make some new ones, encourage discouraged writers, and learn A LOT in the process. There are some big names attending the LaJolla Writers Conference–Steven J. Cannell, David Morrell, and my friends Lisa Jackson and Natalie Bush. When I get home, I’ll be a better person and a better writer.


This is going to be FUN!

In the old times sometimes cowboys referred to beans as “Deceitful Beans” because they talked behind your back.