I went, as a sci fi/fantasy finalist, with no great expectations. I felt honored to be a finalist in the PNWA contest this year, so that was enough; anything else was just icing on that cake. My first conference was a great experience. I met interesting, kind and cool people without trying, got excellent advice, and received more input from seminars than I could easily process. I also was placed, by chance, at a pitch-practicing table with a lady from Issaquah who writes fantasy, is from the East Coast, wants to learn guitar and likes symphonic metal. What are the chances of THAT? As you can probably guess, I didn’t win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, but being a finalist is just fine by me.