You know what I've discovered over the last week? Authors, famous, best-selling, awe-inspiring authors are NICE. Seriously. Okay, I knew that Shannon Hale was nice, but she's with my same publisher and lives like five blocks away, so she kinda has to be nice to me, right? But this weekend I had the opportunity to be the newbie, surrounded by people like L.E. Modesitt Jr., and George R. R. Martin, and Charlaine Harris, Sarah Beth Durst, Bruce Coville, Craig Shaw Gardner, Garth Nix, and my idol, Guy Gavriel Kay. I was terrified that one of them would turn out to be mean, or arrogant, or otherwise unpleasant. Nope. NICE. All of them! Okay, so I knew that Lee Modesitt was nice, he's also from Utah and I have known him going on three years now. But everyone was so supportive of each other and of me. There was a lot of, "You wrote a book too? Congratulations! Welcome to the club!", which just thrilled me to no end. And Guy Kay . . . . I mean, the man is absolutely the MOST gifted living writer. Hands down. No contest. Had me join him for a little sit down so that he could ask about my books and give me some great advice. Charming. Friendly. I nearly passed out. My sister and I were talking about how this is the way things should be: authors should be nurturing and supportive of each other. I've always been rather competitive, and I know quite a few aspiring writers who are as well. But once I got published, I started to relax. Let's face it, there's always room for more books, so why think of other authors as competition? They're colleagues, brothers and sisters of the pen! (Or quill if you want to be poetic. Laptop if you want realism.) There were two aspiring writers that I ran into at the conference who really were looking out for number one, obviously and annoyingly, and I found it quite upsetting. Being unpleasant to people is no way to promote yourself! That's why it was so wonderful to chat with Bruce Coville and his gorgeous daughter Cara, who are extremely cool. And Garth Nix, who gets extra cool points for having that Australian accent. Tim Powers, who is not only a fabulous writer, but also tells hysterical stories about his friend Philip K. Dick (the author behind Blade Runner and Minority Report), and is married to a striking redhead. And Craig Shaw Gardner got a kick out of my telling him that "Hoopen Groopen Beverly" has become a catchphrase in my family, thanks to his Cineverse Cycle books. Authors are just neat!