The single thing I have loved most about writing a novel is writing the novel, especially on those occasions (more frequent than you might think), when the characters take over and I seem only to be channelling them directly from the Eighteenth Century. My other favorite thing is being part of a writing community. You will never feel that community around you more than when you are down, unless it is when you are up. How amazing is that?

I’ve just returned from the PNWA Summer Conference, where Of Ships and Sealing Wax was a finalist in the 2017 Literary Contest. I was honestly overwhelmed just to be named a finalist. As it happened, I walked out of the awards dinner still a finalist and still feeling overwhelmed. The warmth and support from fellow writers, including those nominated in the same category, was palpable during the entire conference. Yes, when you have that “finalist” ribbon on your badge, people go out of their way to congratulate you and ask about your work, but guess what? Every time I turned around someone was asking someone else about their work. The dinners, large assemblies, and breakout sessions all vibrated with energy, intelligence, and humor. There is not much to beat the feeling that you are among your tribe.

At the moment I’m both exhausted and inspired. I have new connections, new ideas, new ambitions.  I am full of admiration and gratitude for so many people.

Onward.

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