*If you can’t bear anything that remotely resembles sappiness in any way, move on from this post.

Happy book birthday, Elana.  If you haven’t heard, today is the launch day for Possession, Elana’s YA dystopian debut.  (Try saying that five times fast.)

I’ve known Elana for about two years.  Back in 2009 when my blog was still trying to find its footing, Elana was among the first to follow and start commenting on my blog.  This in turn led me to her blog and to all sorts of other blogs and writing-related resources.  It’s impossible for me to trace the path I took to finding some of the blogs that I follow, but I know Elana’s was probably instrumental in a lot of it.

I was such a n00b in those days.  I was only just starting to get an inkling of what a real writing journey to publication would be like.  I’d only barely heard of literary agents and had no idea how many words would be written in the coming months and years.  One day, Elana made a passing reference to a conference being held down in Orem, Utah.  I lived only a half an hour away at the time, something which no one had any idea.

Based off that one little mention, I did my research and found all the information I needed on Book Academy, the conference Elana and her writing friends would be attending.  The cost wasn’t exorbitant.  $30.  I had a little bit of money saved, though I was unemployed at the time.  (Funny how some things never seem to change.)  I alerted Elana that I would be at the conference.  We planned to be on the lookout, but I have to confess I was probably more nervous and more excited than she was, I think.  Sure I’d spent the last two years in an English graduate program, where writers abounded.

But to me, this was much cooler.  I didn’t operate on the same wavelength as many in my graduate program.  While they wrote poetry (which I did, too) and heavy tomes of literary fiction, I created fantasy worlds and populated them with people who became as real to me as my fellow students.

Through blogging I’d found people on a similar brain wave.  And I was soon to meet many of them.  I didn’t know who would be there with Elana.  She’d mentioned her crit group was coming.  So I kept an eye out for her all that morning before the conference started.  I’m sure the other girls were wondering who the tagalong was, as I stuck pretty close most of the day, feeling really out of my element.

Of course they were gracious enough not to say anything.  I met other writer friends that day.  (Hi Angie and Windy!)  But none of it would have actually happened if Elana hadn’t started following my blog and then mentioned that one itty-bitty conference.  (To this day the only one I’ve been too.)

I know I owe a lot to Elana and the hand of friendship she extended.  So thanks, Elana.

And now she’s published.  I read the book.  You should go buy it.

Oh, and I’m supposed to talk today, too, about a time I broke the rules for the greater good.  And, you know, I honestly can’t think of a time.  I’ve never been rebellious, never been one to break the rules.  I guess that makes me the opposite of Vi.  And maybe not.

ETA:

I’ve thought of a rule I’ve broken.  Lately I always tell myself that “This time will be different, I won’t act the way I always have.”  This is when it comes to members of the opposite gender.  I’m still looking for the guy who will just “get” me and with whom there’s a spark and such that can lead to some sort of meaningful relationship.  (Read: marriage.)  Sure there are going to be heartbreaks along the way.  (Oh, that’s already happened.)  But every time I meet someone new and I start to wonder if there’s any potential, I relapse into old ways of behavior, doubting things, and generally worrying over what I can’t control.

This despite telling myself that the rules are that I can’t let these thoughts in my head.

So, yeah.  Maybe there’s a Thinker in my head that I don’t know about.