Jessica Day George

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Whitney Awards

I took Shardas for a little trip this weekend, just on his own. It wasn't very far, about a half hour drive, and he slept the whole way. I had to teach a one hour class on "world building in fantasy novels" down at the LDStorymakers Writing Conference. Of course, being me, I was late and didn't know who to call or have any phone numbers with me anyway, so while I was driving in a panic, the conference planners were all in a panic at the hotel as they tried to cover for me. Eventually, Howard Tayler jumped into the fray and began giving some excellent tips. I came in, sweaty and flustered, and found him saying things that were much more pithy and interesting than anything I had planned. I calmed down, taught the rest of the class, and then hid in a hotel room until the Gala.

Oh, yes, there was a Gala.

It was the third annual Whitney Awards Gala! The Orson F. Whitney Awards are for LDS (Mormon) fiction authors, and it's a wonderful event. Along with getting a neat award (or at least the privilege/pleasure of being nominated) it's a wonderful event. We get to dress up fancy and have dinner and visit with our peer group. Princess of the Midnight Ball was nominated for Best Youth Fiction, and lost to Carol Lynch Williams' The Chosen One. I'm really all right with that, because Carol's book was heart-breaking and intense, and deserved great recognition. My sister, Jenn, was my date, and we sat with Dan "I Am Not a Serial Killer" Wells and his beautiful wife and parents, and Howard "Schlock Mercenary" Tayler.

Both of whom cry like girls, GIRLS, at the drop of a hat, by the way.

The first category was Romance/Women's fiction, and the winner, Liz Adair, got up and gave a little speech that I don't even remember except that it made me tear up and I thought, "Oh, NO! Keep it together! You cannot stop crying now, you'll be on the FLOOR by the time it's your category." So I look over at Dan for strength, and see him WIPING HIS EYES. Then Dan presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to David Farland. Dave is one of the greatest people in the world, a talented author, funny guy, and incredibly generous mentor to who knows how many fledgeling authors. So I'm really thinking, all right, Dan, just be funny, FUNNY, so I don't start blubbering. Oh, no. Dan "I Am Not a Serial Killer" Wells gets up, and immediately starts crying and tells this moving story about how much Dave has influenced him . . . and I was a goner. My sister was a goner. Howard was wiping his face on a napkin.

It was some crazy pie.

By the end of the night, when Dave Farland also won Best Novel of the Year for his book In the Company of Angels, there was not a dry eye in the house. Best. Whitney. Gala. Ever.

The point(s) of this post is (are) thus:

First off: Buy Dave's book. In the Company of Angels. His mother flat out told him that, of the 50 or more books he's written, it was hands down the best.

Second: Dan and Howard are babies.

And third: Shardas has developed a taste for traveling. He enjoyed the car ride, the hotel, meeting new people all of it. Velika is far more shy and retiring, and refused to come, but Shardas is demanding to go with me on the research trip I'll be taking soon. So keep your eyes on this blog, because a spanking new contest is coming up!

And now we leave off with a strange and disturbing picture of Howard getting a little too friendly with Shardas. . . .


Bets said...

Loving Shardas' adventures!

brenda said...

Congrats on your nomination! I was hoping you would win. I prefer books that are warm and fuzzy with oodles of romance and Princess of the Midnight Ball will always be one of my favorites :) Glad you had fun at the Gala!

Katie said...

For a minute there I thought that "I am not a serial killer" was a slightly sadistic nickname you have for Dan. Then I realized it was the title of a book. I am so excited to hear about your trip!!!

Wendy Swore said...

At least 6 different people told me how awesome your class was--and none of them said a word about your being late. So apparently your sheer awesomeness overpowered the tardiness.

So, pat yourself on the back for that. And you're right that the Gala was something special. Wonderful.

Nisa said...

I just read my first book of yours (Dragon Slippers) and loved it! I can't wait to read more. Then I discover you have a blog. I'll definitely be checking in. Thank you for writing such an amazing world and lovely characters! (Who wouldn't want to get friendly with Shardas? He's too cute!)