LTUE Life the Universe and Everything (I couldn't think of anything original for this title)

I just got back from a long weekend in Utah where I attended the LTUE writing conference, a phenonmenon known to husbands everywhere by it's true name "excuse to hang out with the girls" (or maybe that's just at my house).  There may or may not have been some workshop skipping, hanging out moments (or hours).   But the important thing is that while we were hanging out there was much discussion of books and authors and becoming book authors.

I actually did attend several workshops and learned a great deal of useful information. There were a variety of panelists ranging from best-selling authors to artists and even ghost hunters.  Some highlights for me were listening to the podcast Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Taylor, and special guest James Dashner.  It's a fifteen minute writing podcast that is entertaining AND useful (it reminded me of my husband, funny and useful).  *Note to self: writing can be funny and useful, not just people.* 

 I also loved the keynote address.  Brandon Sanderson was inspiring! I wish I could have recorded what he said, but Jenn did a great job of restating it on her blog, so I'll let you read it there.  Suffice it to say that I got goosebumps a few times. It was like a big pep rally for writers of speculative fiction. So awesome.  I felt like standing up afterward and turning to the audience and saying, "I love all of you people," and then turning to the attendee who was snorting and making other wet sounds behind me and pointing at him and saying, "even you."  There was that much good feeling in the room.   I am also that cheesy.

Another highlight was meeting the authors at book signings, readings, and just around the conference.  I was so impressed with how generous they were with their time.  I just have to put a plug in here for a couple of my favorite books. 
The Maze Runner
by James Dashner (who was hilarious and so nice)
For the past several months I'd heard the buzz surrounding this book, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I got the chance to read it.  I was not disappointed. In fact, I read it in one day, staying up until the early morning hours to finish.  I had to know what was going to happen.  I think this is because Dashner is a master at pacing and hooks. His book is a true page turner.  At one point during the conference, after he had finished reading two chapters for the sequel, The Scorch Trials (aren't you jealous!), he mentioned that The Maze Runner is more than 100K words.  We were all shocked. It just flew by.  I think that speaks to the the authors story, but also to his technique, which he was kind enough to share elements of during the podcast. I highly suggest you listen to it.

I also highly suggest you buy the book.  What are you waiting for? Go now. 

Maybe I'll save my next book review until next week. I also want to talk about the aspiring authors I met who were so wonderful.  I think this blog post is probably long enough, and I've decided to adopt the Writing Excuses podcast philosophy of keeping it short because, as they say, "You're in a hurry, and [I'm] not that smart." 

Next week: Fablehaven (I may even draw)


  1. I loved The Maze Runner too!

    And LTUE sounds fantastic. I want to get down to a Utah Conference one of these days. They've got some good ones.

  2. I think I am going to make a blog post about LTUE because everyone else is, even though I didn't go. I stayed up reading Maze Runner, too. I'm very picky about sequels I will read because sometimes I think one book is enough, but I will read Scorch Trials. Maybe next year when my baby is weaned and I can leave my kids behind.

  3. I NEED to read this, but haven't yet. You just pushed me to go buy it tonight.

  4. You summed that up so well! I was a real treat to sit with you ladies at the banquet! You've really got a good thing going there. :) Do you twitter?

  5. Okay, first I have to comment on Jessie's comment because I misunderstood her to mean that she would read The Scorch Trials when her baby was weaned. I had to laugh when I realized what she meant.

    Anyway, RAH RAH! That's how I felt after Brandon's address. And I didn't hear the "wet" noise guy behind us. (and you know if I had it would've annoyed me, so thank you for pointing it out.) But I did tell the guy next to us that Brandon Sanderson was my boyfriend, that's how happy I felt after the speech. :) (oh wait, I was telling people that all week. I guess that was nothing new.)

  6. I meant thank you for NOT pointing it out (while we were there). :) Yes, I'm editing my comment. It would be more helpful if I actually edited it BEFORE I hit publish. A lesson is in there somewhere. :)

  7. Natalie,
    This was my first conference and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected (the actual conference part). I knew I would love spending time with my friends.

    I say jump on the bandwagon and do the post. Just pretend like you went, but were hiding in the shadows somewhere.

    Good! I think I should get a royalty check for every copy I help sell. :)

    Nice to meet you as well. I do twitter. My name is CandiceKenningt (my whole name was too long).

    I thought that at first too. It made me laugh when I realized my mistake. And I know you well enough to know not to point something like that out (especially after the pizza box incident).

  8. I really enjoyed The Maze Runner too. I'm looking forward to the sequel. I'm going to have to start going to all these conferences. It's sounds like a whole lot of fun going on.

  9. Hi, I just found your blog. I agree with your Maze Runner comments. I'm way excited for the sequel, which is too far away as far as I'm concerned.

  10. lol, I had forgotten about the Writing Excuses tagline. But it that really is how I feel about my blog. :) (However, in your case, I disagree. You ARE that smart.)

  11. I almost bought The Maze Runner the last time I was at Barnes and Noble. Not sure why I didn't. Anyway, I will definitely pick it up on the next trip:)

  12. Thanks for the linkage! :) I'm glad you enjoyed the conference so much. Can't wait to read your post about Fablehaven.

  13. *sigh*...*even bigger sigh*...

    I think I may just have to cry now. I am BEYOND twitterpated when it comes to Brandon Mull and James Dashner - my two very favorite male authors - and everywhere I turn, there they are, with other women. As in, not me. As in, someone else. Poor me. :-)

  14. Soooooo jealous. I thought I'd already visited here because half the people I follow were at LTUE. I have the Maze Runner at my elbow waiting to be read next.

  15. Good! I think I should get a royalty check for every copy I help sell.

    Work from home India

  16. I have Maze Runner and haven't read it yet. I am so excited to read it that it might jump to the top of my reading pile.

    So where to I find the podcast.

  17. Lois,
    Come next time. I would love to meet you, and they are a blast! Especially the part where we stay up talking until midnight after.

    Glad you found my blog. I know the sequel is too far away. My new mission in life is to get an ARC!

    Puh-lease. You are way smarter than me!

    I think it's definitely worth reading.

    I'm thinking I might "draw" some fan art for it. :) That should be interesting.

    LOL! Jenn passed along your message to Dashner. I was there when she got your book signed. He remembered you. :)

    Be prepared for a page turner. Maybe next year you can make it!

    I should add a link in my post, but the address is simply

  18. I keep hearing such good things about The Maze Runner. I think I'm going to have to pick up a copy!

  19. It was so great to meet you. LTUE was fun - James Dashner is a geek :) but he is a nice guy and I couldn't put the Maze Runner down. Brandon Sanderson was great too.

  20. That sounds like an AWESOME conference! So glad you had fun!

  21. I bought the Maze Runner for my boys to read, but just started reading it myself.

    Sounds like a great conference and mostly because of all the people who were there.

  22. Everything about LTUE rocked! Glad to have met you there. :)