I think sometimes if I stop and really FULLY focus on how blessed I am in this profession, I might pass out from the rush. Seriously, it’s madness.
Dreamspinner Press has been magnanimous enough the past 2 years to extend an invitation for some of their narrators to join in the Author’s retreat weekend held in Orlando, and it’s absolutely magical. This was my second year, and I had such a lovely and enriching time chatting with the authors and editors and publicists and everyone. I met with my brilliant colleagues Derrick McClain and Joel Leslie Froomkin at the event, and we got to listen in on the Publishing view on the MM Romance market, where we fit into that as service artists, and ponder the future. The three of us even got up to some Live on Facebook shenanigans which you can check out here:
(Greg Tremblay, Joel Leslie Froomkin and Derrick McClain talking about narration, book prep, characters and more)
I headed for Orlando on Wednesday of last week, getting there in the late evening (Seriously, the cab stand had TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE there. Ground transport at MCO is nuts). Got to my hotel around 10, had a bite and a beer and racked the hell out.
Thursday, my awesome Hanai sister Rhys Ford and her BFF from Belfast TA Moore arrived and we headed for some truly EPIC Cuban food. (Reese and Ron Dante helped me find it last year. Padrino’s in Orlando, go!)
(eating at Padrinos w TA Moore and Rhys Ford… taking photos of them taking photos of their food)
By the time we were done dubbing about and eating, it was time to head for the Gaylord Palms Orlando where the conference was held. We checked in, got our badges, and hung with delightful and absurdly talented peeps like CS Poe, Wade Kelly, Mary Calmes, Megan Maslow, KC Wells, Andrew Grey, Reese Dante, Victoria Sue, and so many more.
(The Gaylord Palms, absurdly pretty)
Friday morning, the conference kicked off in earnest, with Elizabeth North the CEO of Dreamspinner Press giving us all a view of the year behind and the one ahead. It’s odd to be here as a narrator, because I only work partly in romance, and of that only partly for DSP, but it’s enlightening and honoring too. I get to hear what’s going on, what worries and inspires the authors and publishers. It helps me add to the world in which I work instead of just pulling from it.
(Elizabeth North starting the conference)
I floated around a lot this year, taking in some excellent presentations and chatting with folks. Friday lunch we went off site to a little place called “Logan’s Roadhouse” where I was so hungry, I pondered eating Derrick McClain
(Seriously tho, I’m not gonna be able to eat ALL of that… can I get a box?)
Friday night, the boys got together in one of the rooms which Dreamspinner VERY kindly let us use, and had ourselves some fun talking about the process and answering questions. It was TRES good. You should watch it if you haven’t already.
After that was an awesome cocktail party and more hanging out time. Tho, seriously, what the hell was that dude putting IN the martinis? I may not be able to meet the eyes of a bottle of gin for a while. Thankfully my most embarrassing moment was dropping a glass and forcing myself to sit up for an hour at the hotel to drink enough water I felt like I wouldn’t be tooooo rough in the morning.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Apparently even that much water was actually not quite enough. Oof. Coffee and a really interesting presentation by Andrew Gordon, Shira Anthony and Pearl Love talking about what it’s like to be lawyers, and how much is wrong in media, helped a lot. I loved it, because I listened to how they talked in and out of court persona… really good acting tips, even tho they didn’t set it up that way.
Regardless, it gave me enough stamina to get through the rest of the day. That and Pho with a whole crew at “What’s Pho” on International drive. J (Tho, to be honest, I’ve had better, so maybe give What’s Pho a miss)
Saturday evening we had the closing banquet. Dreamspinner is celebrating its 10th year, and to honor that, the team had an original oil painting commissioned from one of the extended family, which is STUNNING.
(Elizabeth with the painting evoking the way ripples spread everywhere we touch the world)
After a good night’s rest, there were teary farewells over breakfast, and discussions of plots and plans to create new marketing pathways, and new media outlets for stories.
I came away, as I always do, travel lagged and tired, and needing to get back to work. Also inspired, humbled, amazed and grateful.
I took Elizabeth North and Andrew Grey aside (Andrew, in addition to writing like a million words a year… legit… is also the DSP Audio coordinator) and told them both that they have a hand in where I am today and what I’m doing. THREE YEARS. Only THREE years ago, I did my very first audiobook “Dirty Kiss” for DSP. That book got me not only the reader acclaim and personal achievement, but also the financial reward to take this career to where it has reached.
Today, three years later, not only do I have a respectable 80+ title body of work which is growing steadily and clients that include Tor, National Geographic and Blackstone audio as well as Dreamspinner and Riptide…
I have a passion for what I do, and a new sister I would never have known.
Truly, sometimes the blessings are overwhelming.
Love to all, and I’ll see you next month. Cheers!