I'm still riding the "high" of the SCBWI 40th Anniversary Summer Conference. As usual, the air was thick with inspiration, encouragement and kid lit friends.  Here are a few of my favorite moments...


I carpooled with one of my local critique partners, Sherry Dargert, and arrived first thing Friday morning. I quickly registered and met up with two of my dear kid lit friends (and conference roomies), Lori Degman and Meg Fleming Lentz.  Lori and I have been critique partners for a while now, but this was the first time I'd met her or Meg face to face. Here we are at the Saturday night "Forty Winks" Gala with our other roomie, Heather Zenzen.

Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser greeted and welcomed us to the first ever sold out SCBWI Summer Conference event.  We learned that there were close to 1350 attendees from 49 U.S. states and 20 different countries.  We enjoyed the annual "introduction of the faculty" as everyone shared a sentence that included the word forty.

Prolific author, Bruce Coville, was our first keynote speaker. He gave us 13 pieces of advice, starting with "marry rich."  But one of the most inspiring things he said was simply put, "children are worth our best effort." 

2010 Caldecott Medal winner, Jerry Pinkney, shared his journey through slides. He suggested that we look at things in a different perspective and look over the shoulder of the main character.

Lin Oliver was moderator for our star-studded editor panel with Allyn Johnston, Julie Strauss-Gabel, Jennifer Hunt, Beverly Horowitz, and Debra Dorfman.  One of the things they addressed was how the ebook is changing the way the industry markets and how more is expected from the author regarding creating a buzz with school visits, social media and an overall online presence. 

It was great to see Libba Bray again as she took the podium as our evening speaker.  Libba also spoke at the SCBWI Writers Day LA conference in 2010, where my picture book manuscript, Starry Kalahari, won the writing contest in the nonfiction category.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist that plug opp... now, back to Libba...)

Libba's keynote was titled Writing It All Wrong: A Survival Manual. She explained how important it is to write that first draft, even though we think it's bad... really bad... I mean REALLY SUCKY bad.  She said you should not only acknowledge that it sucks, but you should "embrace the suck." Of course, the entire ballroom erupted with laughter again and again and again.  

Middle Grade and YA author extraordinaire, Laurie Halse Anderson, spoke at a breakout session titled The Nuts and Bolts of Crafting a Creative Life: Finding Lost Time and Reclaiming Creativity.  Nuggets of gold were scattered this way and that around that on-the-floor-in-front-of-her-podium-sitting-room-only room.  Laurie listed many myths that can hurt authors and gave us tons of tips on how to avoid the so-not-true, but very common saying, "I don't have time for writing."  I was in awe as she NAILED us on several time stealing activities and habits.   

Editor and consultant, Emma Dryden, was our Friday evening keynote speaker. Her presentation, Traveling Through the Digital Landscape: Where We've Been an Where We're Headed, was jam-packed with stats, reports and detailed industry info. She took us step by step through the digital age as she tapped into the real deal of what's happening with e-publishing today.

Friday ended with the PAL Book Sale & Cocktail Party and lots of visiting with friends. 

It was great seeing Paula Yoo, who is not only my favorite violin rock star, but also kidlit author and writer/producer of the SciFi show Eureka. By the way, she and I both agree the show should be called YOOreka... but whatever!  Paula and I met at her first National Picture Book Writing Week (NaPiBoWriWee) event in 2009.

 Here I am with picture book mastaaaahhhh, Tammi Sauer, and author/illustrator, Dan Santat. By the way, I had the opportunity to see Dan again this past weekend when he taught a group of kids about graphic novels, including my own three kiddos.  Stay tuned for a blog post about that exciting event soon.

Here I am again with Lori and Meg at the PAL party. "Don't go into the light!" 

Stay tuned for some more great recap action for Saturday and Sunday at the 2011 SCBWI Summer Conference.