I knew the day was going to start at what for me was a very early hour. I often get up around 9 or 10 or even later (and stay up correspondingly late at night), but classes started at 9am. Ugh. So – to be kind to myself – a couple weeks earlier I started changing my sleep schedule so I wouldn’t be exhausted on day 1. Thankfully, it worked.

I got up at 6:30am, got ready, and headed over to campus early so I could make sure my financial aid was all in order and so I wouldn’t be late for my first class. (Especially after the debacle the night before.)

For the first class, we were all split up into groups and talked about Gravity by Tess Gerritsen. (We had been told beforehand to read it before the residency.) I’m not too comfortable talking in groups, especially when I don’t know the people, but I muddled through. We discussed the book for about an hour or so.

After a short break, we re-convened in different groups based on what term we were (1-5). I’m a ‘one’ since it’s my first term. So all of us ‘ones’ were together, and Lee McClain gave us an orientation on the program and we asked questions. We finished off the session by logging into our accounts on the computer and making sure we knew how to get to the message boards and chat rooms we’d need during the term.

Then came lunch. I sat with some of the other ‘ones’ and got to know them a little. What great people – not just the ones; all the students, and the faculty, too.

After lunch, we had our first module. A month or two beforehand, we had picked out which modules we wanted to attend. There were four different ones being taught at a time. Some of them are required, so I had to make sure I would be able to take those required ones at some point, but also take the electives I was really interested in.

For this module, I took a class on POV taught by Timons Esaias. I already knew quite a bit about POV, but learned several new things. It was presented in an interesting, and sometimes amusing, way so I didn’t feel bored even when Tim covered something I already knew.

This brought us up to dinner. If you think the day is done, think again! After dinner, we had four hours of thesis presentations. We were required to attend two presentations total (there were more on another night, too), but I planned to attend all that I could. So on day 1, I went to four different presentations. For most of the hours, there were two presentations at a time, so I had to pick and choose (sadly).

The presentations were really good. First, one of the student’s mentors introduced the student, then the student would talk a little and then read from his/her thesis for twenty minutes or so. After the reading, there was more time for questions, which mostly covered the writing process (as opposed to the plot). In most cases, I wanted to hear more and was sad when the reading itself was over and we moved on to questions.

First, Kim Howe read from her book One Shot, Two Kills. I can’t wait until it comes out in print so I can read the whole thing. (No, she doesn’t have a contract yet, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.)

The second presentation I went to was Mary SanGiovanni’s. She read from her horror novel The Hollower, which has been contracted. *shiver* I got scared, and then near the end of the reading, when I was really, really scared, it occurred to me that I had to go back to my hotel room all alone… ack!

Third up, Ana Quinn and her novel Genuine Deception. Her book was very good, and I found the question/answer period really interesting, particularly when she talked about her experiences with horses and her writing aspirations.

Last but not least, Maria Snyder presented Magic Study. Besides being excellent, it’s already published. When she started the program, she had a book deal, and she completed two books during the two year program rather than the usual one. I find her success inspiring.

I left campus at shortly after 9pm, went back to the hotel and crashed. It was probably good that I was so tired; The Hollower didn’t haunt me as I’d been afraid it would. I was so tired I didn’t even stress about my first critique session the next morning.