So yesterday was a very full and satisfying day for me. Yesterday I was privileged to attend the final Belt test for our Black Belt candidates.
I was happy to see how many students were taking the test and how hard they worked to get there, but I was in for an unexpected surprise. While greeting families and their students at the door I was approached by father who asked if I remembered him. Now, I'm terrible with names but great with faces, so yes, I recognized him but I couldn't place him. Turns out, he remembered me as his son Henry's first instructor in Virginia. It suddenly clicked. I knew who they were and who Henry was. He proceeded to tell me that Henry never forgot the words I told him and the rest of my white belt class. "A Black Belt is just a White Belt who never quit."
I was blown away to say the least. When I saw Henry he looked exactly the same just a little taller. Dad also told me that he had the first board that Henry ever broke with me hanging up in his bar. Now that tickled me.
When the testing was over, they asked if I would take a picture with Henry which of course I agreed to but was then surprised again, when Dad pulled out Henry's first board for him to hold. There was the picture I had drawn on it to help him focus on his break. Wow...
I sometimes question my decision to become a martial arts instructor, but in that moment it was all so worth it.
So, fast-forward. This all began at 7:00am by noon, we were done and I raced downtown to attend LIBCON 2015 OCLS at the Orlando Public Library.
There were panels and authors and books galore. As a writer and of course avid reader, I admit, I was drooling. Anyway, I digress. I missed the Keynote talk by Rick Yancey which I was a bit miffed about but I was still at the Black Belt test, sigh... Enough lamenting, I ended up attending 3 panels and learned so much. A shout out to the YAChicks their presentation was great and I've included a link to their site so that others can benefit from their wisdom and whimsy.
The Writer Panel:So you want to write a book, was quite insightful since on the panel was a writer who also happened to be an agent, with The Knight Agency, Ms Diver was quite gracious and when I met her downstairs to buy her book, Bad Blood, we spoke briefly and I asked if she accepted unsolicited queries. She gave me her card and suggested I check out the website which I was definitely excited to do and then as she is signing my book she asks the question: "So, what is your book about?" I froze, I realized I had worked on my little schpiel for my other works but hadn't done any practicing on this one, so, I stuttered and rambled and left her shaking my head thinking about what an idiot I am. D'oh!
I continued walking around looking at the various books and came upon one of the YAChicks, Christina Farley. She recognized me and we spoke and I told her what had just happened. She laughed but was very supportive, telling me a story of her own. Made me feel better. I bought her first book, GILDED which I was going to purchase anyway (come on, the main character is a black belt) and thanked her.
On to the YA Highway reader panel which was also a good source for writers and readers alike. They spoke about what inspires, moves and motivates a story as well as how important the readers are in comparison to the story's protagonist. These folks were welcoming and knowledgeable. As a writer just trying to break into the YA market I realized I did need to read a bit more, much more (though my family would say I read to much)
I finally wrapped up my day and headed home to rest (hurt my leg at testing), to read, and to write. Well, I did the first two but not the last one. I started reading Gilded and couldn't put it down. I finished it a couple of hours later. I've already started Bad Blood and am enjoying the differences in them. I've now ordered Farley's second title Silvern and can't wait to read that as well.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the day was an inspiration to me as I hope it was to other authors and readers who attended. Your local library will usually have similar events for readers and writers alike, take advantage of them.
As for me, I'm actually presenting a little thing called getting your Black Belt in Writing on July 15th at the Central Library. You can see all of the OCLS Writer Programs for July here: Writer's Corner-July 2015
I will also be a signing author at Indie Bookfest 2015, gulp...If you're in the area, come check it out it should be a wonderful reader and writer event.
As always, thanks for reading.