By Thonie Hevron

I’m baaaack!

This was my first trip to Sin City. It won’t be my last. Although the glaring grandeur had little appeal for me, I will say I thought it fun to cruise down the Strip. However, because I was tired, I was more than ready to be at the hotel. Silly me, I’d gone cheap and hired a shuttle instead of a cab. Live and learn.

The truth is that I only booked this trip for a Public Safety Writer’s Association Conference.  Vegas has zero appeal to me. Give me a redwood grove or a sandy Southern California beach any day. I’d submitted my unpublished manuscript, Intent to Hold to their annual writing contest. In 2012, I’d submitted and won third place for By Force or Fear. I was hoping history would repeat itself for Intent to Hold.

At the conference, I met many with whom I’ve corresponded through the years. Meeting people in person after developing an online relationship can cause some shifts in perspective. Thankfully, they were all very positive shifts. I met some terrific people.

During the months before the conference, the call for help went out from conference chair Michael A. Black. Like a dummy, I volunteered. While I used to hate getting in front of people, I’ve made strides in getting over the fear. Knowing that

Dialog and setting panel PSWA Conference, Orleans Hotel-Casino, Las Vegas July 2014 photo by Marilyn Meredith
Dialog and setting panel PSWA Conference at the Orleans Hotel-Casino, Las Vegas – July 2014   Photo by Marilyn Meredith



I’d have to speak in front of people to sell my books nudged me onward. Two years ago, I volunteered to co-chair the Redwood Writers Conference in April of 2014, to help de-sensitize myself. Month after month, I got up in front of the general membership and announced conference news. When that day came, I was a little nervous but my co-chair Sandy Baker was super-supportive and all went well. Here’s how PSWA shook out: I was a “contestant” on CSI-Jeopardy, a game played twice every day except the last (only once). I clowned my way to a pithy third but had a lot of fun. I sat on a panel of five discussing setting and dialog. Then, I was the moderator of a panel on wounds and forensics. Since I know nothing about the topic, I contacted the panelists in advance and culled questions from them. A well-rounded and very knowledgeable group that included an EMS/fire training consultant, and ER doc, a forensic scientist, a psychologist, a biology professor…and me!

Pic is a little fuzzy but you get the idea.
Pic is a little fuzzy but you get the idea.

Thank God, I only had to ask the questions.

The crowd was so responsive and attentive that we all had fun. In fact, when our time was up, many said they wanted more time with the panel. I’d say that was a success. Success for the panelists, audience, and me. I didn’t faint! In fact, I got one glowing compliment on my presentation voice.

And, I won third place for unpublished novel award for Intent to Hold. History did repeat.

I’ll be back in Vegas next year, only I’m bringing my hubby next time.