I have to admit that I had a great time at Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE from here on...) this weekend. For background, it's a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention held at BYU in Provo (Brigham Young University, the center of the Mormon universe, in Utah, yes, that one). I call it a convention, but in point of fact, it's a bit more like a symposium, I think. Most of the people there were writers, would-be writers, and other artists involved with the speculative fiction genre.
...and LTUE was good, man. When I say that, what I mean is that, unlike some conventions I have been to, there were really interesting, well-attended, well done panel discussions. For some of us, we've sort of seen most of the good panels already, and now we only go to them if there's no one cool to talk to in the dealer's room or convention suite. Not here. No, the panels here actually had something new to offer, and not just the chance for heathens like myself to hear about my field from the Mormon perspective (yes, all the stuff they say when they're on their home turf and not being guarded). I don't want to give you the wrong idea. No one turned into a reptile from another planet and ate a mouse. The LDS people are still nice, even in their sanctum sanctorum. It's still cool to get that "inside" look.
Aside from the impressive panels, there were also LOTS OF WRITERS there. Pros, Joes, and those somewhere in between. I'd say that, per capita, this is about as high a percentage of writers as any convention I've ever been to, and that includes World Fantasy. As a writer, it's great to be among your peers (and betters), because they know what's going on. You can talk about all the stuff that makes normal folk suffer from glazed eyes and gives them a powerful urge to fiddle with their cell phones. In other words, you can nerd out about the writing life, the writing biz, and all the myriad small concerns that we writers have to take seriously.
I'm not going to list every writer there. You can go to the LTUE site to look at that. I'll just say that there are some names that you don't see there on the site, but they belong to talented writers who will someday be in your lexicon, if you're a spec. fic. fan.
Anyway, that's how I spent my weekend. If you live within driving distance and are interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend going to LTUE next year. It's free, and it's better than most of the Cons you'll pay to get in.