Monday, October 10, 2011


Tonight's Listen "Paradise" courtesy of Coldplay

Paradise. A place I just returned from. This weekend, I had the awesome pleasure of attending Utah RWA's Heart of the West Conference in gorgeous Park City, Utah....where the 2002 Winter Olympics took place. We stayed at The Canyons Resort, in a beautiful lodge at the base of the ski runs. When I arrived, snow gently drifted from ashen clouds, turning to large feathery flakes by the time I settled in my room. We didn't see sun for three days. Temperatures plummeted so we were forced to turn on the fireplaces in our room. Ah, so sad? Maybe for the wasp who'd been pumping iron and feeding on steroids within its warm corner. The rest of the weekend we posted "wasp watch" for fear one of us would be carried away in our sleep. Luckily, he kept to the far corner of the steepled ceiling against the window. He only swooped down once, rearranged the heavy furniture, then retreated to the window where he plotted our deaths.

Closing the door for the final time and walking the long...long...long hallway to the lobby to await my ride (seriously, we left breadcrumbs and packed a sack lunch every time we left our room),  I contemplated where I'd been a year ago when I attended the Heart of the West Conference for the first time (my "virgin" conference). I'd literally penned "The End" to DESIGNER GENES-THE BOYFRIEND CUT two days before my arrival. Too scared to pitch "live" last year, but carrying various versions of poorly scripted elevator pitches on 3x5 cards in my purse, my first stack of business cards officially touting me as an "author," and at least twelve outfits to choose from for the two day conference, I settled inside a wave of enthusiastic and extremely talented comrades and opened myself to an amazing life experience.

RILEY'S POND hadn't even been conceived at this point, yet this year at conference, I walked to the podium  to accept awards not only for Designer Genes, but for Riley's Pond as well! Riley's Pond, my newly exposed "baby" took 4th place in The Heart of the West Contest and 5th in The Golden Pen. Designer Genes won 3rd Place in The Heart of the West Contest and 3rd Place in The Golden Pen! I almost spit my drink across the table when my manuscripts were announced for The Golden Pen because I didn't think I'd made the final cut. I've been riding the adrenalin rush ever since. In fact, I'm a little nervous of landing, I'm so high.  

This year, I pitched to two agents face-to-face [Anita Mumm, Nelson Literary Agency and Marlene Stringer, Marlene Stringer Literary Agency] who requested to see more (the third agent I shared an entertaining meal with, Laura Bradford of The Bradford Agency, was the final judge of the young adult category of The Heart of the West contest so she'd already read my stories. Fingers and toes crossed, and cramping. I swear the butterflies in my stomach never stop, only multiply.

Tonight I unpacked my bags, lined up my award certificates, and thanked my guardian angels for sticking with me. Again, I don't know what will come of my new submissions, but I've taken a few more scary steep steps on my "ladder to success." When I think of how far I've come in a the last three since Designer Genes hatched on Harley trip to Laughlin, Nevada, I wrap myself in a well-deserved embrace, truly proud of my decision to become a writer, burning my "box" and never looking back.

Harley Brooks is going places. I hope you'll climb inside my "limo," grab a crystal goblet full of whatever tickles your nose and warms your gizzards, and ride along with her on the journey. She's full of surprises! I know she's gotten under my skin...

As always thanks for stopping by and supporting my "multiple" personalities.


Calisa Rhose said...

Joelene, you know I love you and Harley! Congratulations on the contest awards! I'm so excited for you! Wow- FOUR finals on two mss! You. Are. Amazing! Good luck with the agents.

PJ Sharon said...

Congratulations Jolene. Excellent news. Good luck! I hope you land a big fish!

J. Coleman said...

Thanks ladies! Coming from two who are already on the way to fame, your vote of confidence is much appreciated.

Christine Ashworth said...

What a terrific journey and story! Huge congrats on your finals and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Karla said...

Way to go girl; remember, we knew you when!!! Fly high!!!

Julie Glover said...

Congratulations! What a terrific experience. Your post gives me personal hope as well, since I recently registered to attend the DFW Writers Conference again - my "virgin conference" last year. Keep up the great writing! Best wishes with the agent submissions.

Kacey Mark said...

It was such an honor to hang with you at the conference! Congratulations on your multitude of success this year! I just know it will only continue for you!

Kerrigan Byrne said...

Congratulations! It was great to get to know you better. I wish we could go back there too!

J. Coleman said...

Life is a little "lackluster" this morning. I'm not surrounded by my "peeps." Thanks guys for stopping by and helping me hold onto those warm fuzzy feelings a bit longer.

Sandy L. Rowland said...

I send my applause your way, talented girl.
And thank you for hiking in to our room, putting up with late hours, and the wasp.
I appreciated your help at every turn.
You rock.
Next year, we'll be published,
hope and pray.

Love ya,

Christina Wolfer said...

I am so proud of you, Joelene. I can't say enough what an excellent writer I think you are. Congrats on the well deserved awards. You are on your way.

Cheers to your success.

Love and hugs!!!

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

WOW fantastic! Congrats and good luck sweetie. :)

Loretta said...


CONGRATULATIONS, gal! I've just logged on to the computer and found this post:)...

Amazing, the difference the year has made:)...I know you're on cloud nine...or ten...or eleven:)

All the best as you go forward meeting your destiny!


Jenny said...

Holy-cow girlfriend, 4 awards?
I'm beyond excited for you that I think I could wet my pants. By next year we'll all be saying we knew her when--
I'm sooo proud of you!

Love you girlfriend.