Posts Tagged ‘LA11SCBWI’




SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 9

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Conferences, SCBWI

This is it!  I’m ready to finish this up and move on.  Fasten your seat belts and get ready for your final SCBWI LA Conference installment!

This is not John Green.  Not a single one.

Nova Ren Suma, Julie Strauss-Gabel and Michael Bourret fill in for the missing John Green. (unable to make it due to medical issues)  I was seriously bummed not to get to meet one of my favorite authors, but so happy for my friend Nova (author of IMAGINARY GIRLS) to get this opportunity.  

I wasnt the only Nova fan!  Every crowd should have an enthusiastic Mike Jung in the back LOL!  (If you’re lucky)
Some highlights from their discussion…
*Nova-When something really scares you, its probably the right thing to explore.  I picked Michael as an agent because he pushed me to grow as a writer.
*Michael-I know that I’ve lost out on clients because I’ve been honest about what my expectations were.
From my own experience, I can’t agree more.  A great fit with your agent is the foundation you need and it will increase the chances that you’ll find an editor who is also an amazing match.
Time for the 2011 Golden Kite Awards Luncheon
We had a wonderful slide show, looking back over 40 years.  It was amazing.  Wish it was posted some place so that I could share it with you

This was dessert.  Everything about this made me smile.

Listening to the speeches of the Golden Kite recipients.  They were fantastic–so proud of them.

A special keynote from the impeccable Richard Peck.  I adore this man.  

Hanging with the Apocalypsies…Emily, Kim, Tamara and Mike.

This is when that big lunch and dessert became a problem.  Navigating the halls in a chocolate coma, I didn’t get to Bruce Coville’s workshop in time to get a seat or a piece of rug.  This picture was taken from the door with my hands up over my head.  The good news was that I could hear him just fine.

GAHHH!!!! Every word out of this man’s mouth is genius.  I’ll try to pick the best ones to share with you…
*Stories happen when a character is forced to make a difficult choice.  NEED DRIVES THE ACTION.
*Use yourself, steal from everyone around you.  Cast the book as if you are writing a play.
*Characters should have…
     -an agenda (theirs, not yours)
     -some inconsistencies (do you know anyone who doesn’t?)
*Plot is what happens when desire meets obstacle.
*If there is no chance to crash if you have not jumped.
Because the universe is fair, and wanted to make up for my inability to even cross the threshold of Bruce’s workshop, I was able to snag front row seats for the final keynote of the conference.  *squee*  While we waited for…drum roll…Laurie Halse Anderson.  We decided to take some pictures.  Guess who joined us?  Linda Sue Park!!!!!

Jodi, Laura, Edna, Amy N., Linda Sue Park, Kim and Amy S.

Then Linda switched out with our buddy Jeff so he could get in the picture too!
Laurie Halse Anderson-DARING THE UNIVERSE
Laurie, means so much to me.  I can’t put into words the effect that she has had on my life, the impact she has made.  The places I’ve dared to go because I knew I had a friend along for the journey.  Yes, because of her I have become someone who dares to disturb the universe.  I love that, I love her and I want a T-shirt that says it!  

Here is what you just can’t miss…
*Art disturbs the universe.  When we create it we make our neighbors nervous and our politicians fret.  
*We gather here to collect our courage.
*Revolutions of the soul are a scary thing.
*If you don’t jump, the wings never come.
*To write is to terrorize yourself.
*When things get bad, just remember, BABY…YOU’RE GOING TO DIE.  Puts it in perspective. Ha!
*It is your obligation to disturb the universe the best that you can.
*In 20 years, you will be more disappointed in the things you didn’t do than the ones you did.
*In children’s literature, we are not competitors, we are co-conspirators.
And here are the best co-conspirators that any of us could possibly have.  *sniff* 
Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser taking a bow after 40 years of love, dedication and brilliance.  <3

Dan Santat signing a book for the boys.

Kim and Dan giving K.L. Going the thumbs up.  (Dan is illustrating her new picture book)
The amazing author/illustrator Marla Frazee.  I adore her picture books.  *heart squish*

No one can blame me for sneaking Jon Scieszka the bunny ears.  He’s just mad because he didn’t think of it first. LOL!

No need to get teary about the end of the conference–yet.  It’s off to KidLit Night at the Pink Taco!!!!

What you don’t know is that we’re hungry enough to eat the table!  (Can you see me leaning in?)

Apocalypsies!!!!  Gretchen, Kim, Emily and Debra.  I love these gals!!!!

We ate.  We hung out.  A few of us even did the Pitch Slam with Mary Kole. 
 It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone.  The conference was amazing, but it was time to go home to the other people we love, to return to our writing, to once again sleep more than 4 consecutive hours and to begin to dream about going again next year.  Ummm and to do laundry.  *head thunk*
I know that these recaps have been endless.  I hope I was able to capture a little bit of the magic of the experience and share it with you.  Because honestly, I wish you’d been there too.  If you have any recommendations for things you’d like to see in future conference blogs–let me know and I’ll see if I can make it happen.  Hope to see you at a conference soon.  :o)

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 8

Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s Sunday!  I’m diving in…


Moderator-Brenda Bowen

BG-Barry Goldblatt
TW-Tina Wexler
WM- Marcia Wernick
TA-Tracey Adams

BG-Great voice is different for every agent, but every agent knows it when they see it.

BG-Nothing more satisfying to an agent then to sell a debut author’s work.

ALL-Publishers Marketplace can be deceptive and cause more heartache. Not a complete snap shot.

If you had a magic wand and could fix one thing about publishing what would it be?

TA-Publishing by committee, trust your editor.

TW-Higher royalties for ebooks.

BG-The end of semi-annual royalties.


I found this clip, which comes pretty close to giving you a taste of the best of Gary Paulsen.  He’s a true story teller.  Hearing him talk about his life is better than my retelling could ever be.

I was fascinated by him, both times I heard him speak.  Here were a couple things that stood out for me…
*I think you should be able to hunt lawyers. Ha!
*I tried to quit writing, but I couldn’t.  I love to write.
*If I had gone to Harvard, it never would have happened.
*Kill the television–read, read, read!!!
*TV is intellectual carbon monoxide, you think you’re breathing when you’re not.
*Read like a wolf eats.  Read what they tell you not to.
*It’s useless to write for adults.  Write for the children.
*Don’t write down, there’s no time.
I’d like to close this post by reminding everyone about the importance of reaching out and creating ripples.  And I would like to thank librarians everywhere.  Despite being under the appreciated, they change and save lives every single day.  Thank you.

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 7

Filed under: Conferences, The Class of 2k12

I don’t mean to scare you, but we are now HALFWAY through the conference.  And that’s only because I didn’t attend the Intensive Sessions on Monday.  I’ve never been to anything like this before.  It’s amazing and exhausting.  At this point, I’m sucking down ice tea, caffeine riddle soda and full-on regular coffee as needed. ( Read as–with an IV drip)  I’m breaking off glacier size hunks of dark chocolate from the stash in my bag.  So far, I haven’t missed a single keynote or workshop, but I’m openly weeping at the drop of a hat and running to the SCBWI store every break to hoard more books.  I may have even high-fived Jay Asher in the lobby.  He was totally cool with it though.  Ah…so where were we?

Legenwait for itdary!

Here are your nuggets…
*The great puzzle for kids is what their parents are made of.
*Boredom is an undervalued commodity.  It is a mistake to banish boredom.
*My books were motivated by “trying to avoid doing other things.” Ha!
*The hardest thing to make kids understand is how to listen to their own voices.
*Being out of context is the one great, liberating thing in our lives.  Spend a lot of time out of context and help kids stay out of it as long as possible.
*Playing with words is my great disease.
My friend Edna Cabcabin Moran, taking in Norton Juster.
I always like to watch for the little messages that the universe sends to me. *heart squish*
Next up, I had a workshop session with Gary Paulsen.  I am going to save my notes for his keynote since there was a bit of overlap.  I’ll combine the best of the two for you later.  
And then there was shame.  My shame.  *sticks out hand to be slapped*  I have no excuse, except the hideous crash of all that unfamiliar caffeine in my system.  Oh, Mary Pope Osborne of MAGIC TREE HOUSE fame…I have done you wrong. *sobs*
My brain has turned to mush.  I could see Mary up at the podium…talking…but it sounded like the teacher from the Charlie Brown specials.  The words would not go in.  I took no notes.  I fiddled with my camera…
Cute, huh?
I climbed over a row of people and went to the SCBWI store and fed the book habit–again.  Came back and ate some more chocolate.  It wasn’t her.  It was me.  *hangs head in shame*  
How will I ever feel good about myself again?
I GOT TO HOLD PEEPY!!!!!  And meet Lisa Yee. *heart squish*  
(My boys laughed so hard, when I squealed about holding Peepy. *snicker*)
I’m totally over exposed with Ellen Hopkins LOL!  I *heart* her!
She signed my copy of IDENTICAL…”A banned author to be!”
I hope I don’t let her down.  She is such a hero of mine.
Me and Cynthea Liu  
Cynthea is a major resource and support to the Children’s Book Writing community.  
I’ve learned sooo much from her.  Thank you!!!!
Jay Asher signing a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why for my babysitter Amy.
She’s the best and loves this book!!!!!
Nancy Castaldo (Best SCBWI RA evah!) and me.
Eastern NY SCBWI in the house!

Brought my own copy of HARRIS AND ME, a personal favorite, for Gary Paulsen to sign.

The wonderful Mary Pope Osbourne who DOES NOT sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown and is super sweet.

What time is it?  It’s almost time for the 40 Winks Anniversary Poolside Gala!!!!!

Everyone hanging out and getting on line for some food.

(Kim and Jodi) Got my bunny slippers!!!!
Surprisingly is was pretty cool out.

Jodi, Kim and Laura
Can you see my PJ’s?  Fiction that Rocks–The Class of 2k12

Captain Stupendous aka Mike Jung in his cape blanket with sleeves.  :o)

Jeff, rocking the dance floor in his night gown night shirt. *grin* Not my fault guys are so easy to tease.
It was at this point that I ran up to the room and dumped my sweat shirt and everything that did not fit into my name tag holder.  Take my word for it, dancing in bunny slippers just gives you really hot feet and a desire to throw your hands in the air and wave them all around!  What a great night!!
Phew, we made it through Saturday.  Now we’re almost done with the LA Conference blogs.  Are you clapping?  Seriously, that’s not nice.  *gives you the stink-eye*  I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled blather soon enough–then you’ll be sorry.  
Friday’s post will kick off (Sunday at the conference) with an Agent Panel and Gary Paulsen.

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 6

Filed under: Conferences


That’s pretty much all you heard in the ballroom at this point.  We were all a little bit a whopping load of excited.

Lin Oliver and Judy Blume

I vacillated between trying to jot down every syllable she uttered and just wanting to just sit there and take in the moment.  It was remarkable to hear Judy Blume speak.  This is a tough one to convey properly, it was once in a lifetime experience.  I’ll try to give you a little pice of the wonderful…

*We start the book on the day that something different happens.

*We write children’s books because it is what comes naturally to us.  Right now EVERYBODY wants to write for children–we are so hot.  We went from…”Judy, when are you going to write a REAL book?” To being the moneymakers for the publishers.

*In her 20’s (the early 60’s) she had two kids and a traditional husband who wanted her to be home and perfect.  “The expectations for my life were very disappointing to me.”

*Her life made her physically sick and when she changed it, all her illnesses disappeared.

*Writing not only changed my life, it saved my life.

*Don’t listed to anyone else, don’t worry about who your audience is, because if it’s good–your book will find one.

*(In response to a question) I don’t think about my legacy.  If I thought about all of you when I write, I would be too scared to write anything.  When I die, I’d like a little stone that says…Are you there God?  It’s me, Judy.

*heart squish*

Next up, a workshop.  How can anyone in the world interesting after listening to Judy Blume?  You find some wonderful folks to make you laugh.


Libba gave excellent advice and I’ll give you a few awesome tidbits, but as I’m reading over my notes, I can’t help but be disappointed because I couldn’t capture her wit on paper.  So be warned, Libba in person is unlike anyone you’ve ever met before and I mean that in the very best of ways.

*Read as far and wide as you possibly can.

*Feel free to read the mediocre and the bad–it will make you feel better and it’s instructive.

*Writing should cost you something.

*Question the assumptions, stereotypes and pop-culture.

*Revision is my only extreme sport.  :o)

Now we must follow funny with more funny…


Oh, I have not laughed this hard in a very long time.  Seriously.  And once again, I can not support the high level of hilarity with my notes.  As I look over my scribbles, I’ve realized that after the first comment, they are practically illegible.  Just funny, little tidbits that relate to a well, crafted humorous stories.  I’ll prove it to you…

*I got a masters in fiction writing, which qualified my to paint apartments. Ha! (Swear, this is the only one that will make sense.)

*Writing skinny books with cool covers.

*Tipping hat to Frog and Toad. Cowboy and Octopus–two weirdest best friends ever.

*Slaughter Ball.  Boys-“Yeah!”  Girls-“Why would you do that?”

*Oh, sorry mom–I think we broke Greg.

*3yo-Alzheimers patients on acid.  Everything is a little freaky and then it starts all over again.

*This stuff is not rocket science folks!

Trust me–just laugh.  I know what I’m talking about.

If you’re back on Wednesday…Norton Juster.  You don’t want to miss it.  Just sayin’.

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 5

Filed under: Conferences

I wasn’t prepared for David Small.  I hadn’t known I was going to find a hero.


This is the only way I could possibly explain…

David wrote and drew to save his life.

Then he spoke about it…

*Your biography becomes your biology.

*Through this intense experience of introspection, I always expected myself to come out of it.

*My story is a story about voicelessness.  My story is a story about having your voice taken away.

*A kid with a mother that doesn’t love him or her, lives life with a hole in their heart.

*Life is a shit storm and whit is starts to rain, the only umbrella we have is art.

And then we laughed.  And we sang.  I even told him how I found my own voice.  Then, I fell in the very best kind of love, with David Small.

Monday…Judy Blume.

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 4

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI

Imagine it’s Saturday, the second day of the SCBWI LA Conference.  You are up at 7am and you’ve freaked out your roommate by Face-Timing your family on the computer while she’s in the shower.  (She thought you invited a gaggle of really loud people into the room and figured she might have to dash out and say hi in her underwear.)  All is forgiven when your kids see her (fully clothed) and run to grab her debut picture book, WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN. Impressively, they can put their hands on the book in less than 30 seconds, making your roommate very, very happy.  *grin*  You don’t even have to buy her a make-up cake-pop.   You cyber kiss your kids and pray for your hubby who is road tripping to New York City with the rug rats to “do stuff”.  You and your roommie head out the door when you realize that you’ve got a phone message on the room phone.  Popular roommate is being sought by the goddess of the Blue Boards, Verla Kay.  Off we go…

Jodi Moore, her Dragon and Verla Kay for a mini book signing.
And guess who Verla’s roommie is?  Linda Jo Singleton!!!
Verla and Kim <3
But the clock is ticking and its time to find your coffee (which out of desperation has changed from decaf to half reg/half decaf) and something yummy to snack on.
This is the point in the morning that you realize you just left your camera in Verla’s room. *head thunk* So you run, passing Richard Peck (blowing kisses) as you leap into an elevator and hope you’re not too late.  Verla is walking down the hall and you wave your arms and she pulls your camera out of her bag.  Like a lightning bolt, it all becomes very clear.  There is no way in hell that you will ever be able to host a discussion board.  Not gonna happen.  You’ve discovered your social media limits and it feels good.  You hug Verla (because she’s cool that way) and slide into the Starbucks line just in time to meet another cyber friend…
Kim and Debbie Ohi!!!!!
And FINALLY, coffee and bagel.  

If, and only if, you can visualize this, will you be ready to have the full Saturday morning conference experience.  Let’s roll!


For the record, next time the Wall Street Journal wants to write about YA books being too dark, I’m going to gift wrap the brilliant Donna Jo Napoli and send her to them.  Donna Jo laid out a brilliant response to those people who do not understand why we must write about terrible things.

First she talked about the Unprotected Children in the world.  They are…
     -The children who are loved by their parents, but are abused by society.
     -The children who are abused by their parents.

She said that children who are unprotected are isolated with the abuse.  They do not go out and share the horrors of their life with others.  They are alone.  But they are able to find a like person that they can relate to in a book.

Most kids don’t have the power to change their world.  They do not have control over their situation.  To read about someone who survived the same things that they are going through, with dignity, can help a child to survive too.

Secondly, she spoke of the Protected Children. These children, must learn empathy for the rest of the people in the world and the safest way for them to do that is in the pages of a book.

I’m going to stop here because I think this is important.  The next two speakers coming up are equally as powerful and I want you to have the time to really think about this.  I’m still mulling it over a week+ later.  I don’t know about you, but for me this is bigger than just writing books.  It is about saving lives and changing the world we live in.  As Bruce Coville said earlier, “We love our children individually, but we have a hard time showing it collectively.”  So often my hands are tied and my ability to impact change is ineffective, but there are two ways that I know I can make a difference.

First, I can write books that respect and support Unprotected Children.  I will not censor my heart and soul.  Those kids deserve better than that.  Secondly, I can choose to raise my Protected Children with empathy.  At the very least, they will meet these Unprotected Children in the pages of a book.  They will learn how lucky they are and how big their hearts must grow.   I want them to learn that we can not live in isolation and blindness.  I want them to begin to see that we are better off dealing with the struggles of growth than the hurdles of ignorance.

I urge each and every one of you to share Bruce Coville’s and Donna Jo Napoli’s message with as many people as you can.  It is time to make a change.

First up on Friday–David Small.

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 3

Filed under: Conferences

It’s Friday afternoon at the SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference and we have…


Seriously, I’m not great at taking notes when Libba is speaking, due to the fact that I’m laughing so hard.  But here are some pearls of delightful wisdom that did manage to make it into my notebook…

*Getting it wrong is a necessary part of getting it right.

*Book 1-this is a kind of ignorance is bliss and you only get it once.
  Book 2-this is fun, I already know the characters!
  Book 3-yeah, I got nothing.  I love deadlines.  I love the whooshing sound they make when they fly by.

*Best Survival suggestions…
     -The voice is in there, buried under the one you hate.
     -Close the door on external voices.
     -Readers are not trends.
     -The difference between the right novel and the wrong novel might just be in how you present your novel.  Find out what works for your story.
     -Writing is freaking scary.
     -We write it wrong in the beginning to protect ourselves.
     -All books carry our DNA and if we knew that going in we’d be too frightened to write.

I know I’m spoiled.  I know it’s completely unfair that I get to follow a Keynote by Libbra Bray with a Workshop session with Laurie Halse Anderson.  All I can say is that I have a freaking fantastic fairy god-mother.  That’s the only logical explanation.


Laurie is one of my personal super heroes.  Many of you probably know that she was the first speaker at my very first SCBWI Conference and she has shaped my life as a writer.  I never get tired of being inspired by her heart and soul and her wisdom.  Again, here are some of my favorite take-aways from her talk…

*Personal problems are like whack-a-moles…they never stop popping up.  You need to accept the distractions and manage the interruptions.

*24 hours is enough.  God is not cruel, but she expects you to do the work. *grin*

*Discomfort won’t kill you.  Staying with discomfort will pay off with strength and growth.

*You are in more control of how you spend your time and energy than you want to admit…
     -Turn of the TV/internet
     -Stop volunteering.  There are other people who fill their creative voids through volunteering at the PTA-this is not your calling.  You fuel yourself through a different kind of art.
     -Family needs to see you follow your dreams.

*Be gentle with yourself.  The doubt lives in all of us.  Don’t be a writer, be writing.  Be the verb instead of the noun.

Next up….


This was a very interesting look at a topic that we are constantly debating and trying to figure out.  Here are some key pieces of info…

*Adults reeducate and retool to maneuver new landscapes.  Children have nothing to unlearn about the digital world-it’s where they live.

*Story still matters the most.

*We are not moving away from print, we are moving towards a world of print AND digital.

Now its Autograph time!!!!!!

Kim and Jerry Pinkney

Chatting with Bruce Coville.
Talking about dyslexia and how my boys love to play Unicorn Chronicles.  

Bruce Coville and Kim.
Norton Juster signing the Phantom Tollbooth and laughing because Jules Feiffer didn’t leave him any room when he signed it at the NY Conference. LOL!
Laurie Halse Anderson and Kim *heart squish*
Finally got to meet some awesome online friends in person.  Mike Jung, debut author of GEEKS, GIRLS AND SECRET IDENTITIES out in the fall off 2012 and Nova Ren Suma, author of IMAGINARY GIRLS.  I love these guys!
While I didn’t get a picture, I also snagged a copy of BROOKLYN BURNING by Steve Brezenoff.  I am so excited to read this!!!!!
We’ve finally made it through the first day of the conference, unless you’ve decided to do Peer Group Critiques, Yoga, the Illustrator Social, International Member Social or the Nonfiction Writers Social.  I opted to just be social and EAT!!!!  I’ll be back on Wednesday, kicking off Saturday’s recap with the amazing Donna Jo Napoli.  If you want the conference effect to feel real, you should probably stay up till the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, jump around in excitement and grab a coffee and some starch at a Starbucks near you before settling down to check out the blog.  *yawn* 
See you Wednesday.  

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 2

Filed under: Conferences, Cover Art

Yes, I didn’t get far. It’s still Friday morning. But I’m liking how the awesomeness of Bruce Coville is followed by the amazingness of Jerry Pinkney.


What I loved about Jerry Pinkney was learning that he took special care to find the smaller stories, hidden in his own illustrations.  I wish I could show you the art work.  The example he used, that really allowed me to understand what he was saying, was a red wagon.  In the first picture, the wagon, a prized possession of a child, was amongst the things needed to be packed when a family had to leave their home behind.  In a later picture of the house, now vacant, the wagon was left in the yard.  There was no room for it to be taken.  This one little detail, told so much about what was happening in the lives of the characters in the story, yet it was not the story itself.  It was hauntingly sad and beautiful at the same time.  His artistry had amazing depth.

Additionally, I was encouraged to discover that Jerry was dyslexic and a very reluctant reader growing up. As many of you know, my oldest (10) is dyslexic and I love to find positive role models that he can look too. <3  We spent time talking and he was a very gracious and kind person.  I was so proud to bring a signed book home for my son.

I know you’ve been sitting for awhile so it’s time to get up and switch rooms for the first Workshop of the Conference.  I decided to do something I’ve never done  before and attend an illustrators session.  Why?  Well…*squee* My cover is being worked on at this very moment and I’m finding it hard to think about anything else. LOL!!!  Also, this next speaker just happens to be Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers AND he was a puppet designer in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop.  That is just cool!  It was too tempting of an opportunity to pass up.

This session was a journey of beautiful covers coming to life.  I was fascinated by how one idea after another grew and changed over time.  But the thing that really moved me was recognizing a familiar passion.  It was obvious to me that cover art means as much to the people who create it, as words and stories do to writers.  As someone who is dreaming, waiting, hoping, wondering about her cover–I was reminded that while publishing is a business, it is filled to the brim with people who love and take pride in what they do.  I love that.
Woot!  We’ve made it to lunch!!!  Now if you want the full effect of the lunch experience, fill a tote bag full of books and stand in a l-o-n-g line for a sandwich.  The upside is that you will get to chat with amazing friends while waiting.  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll have at least three chocolate bars stashed in that bag of books.  Chocolate makes everything better.  
When munching turkey on a crusty roll, you can’t go wrong listening to a panel discussion–unless you’re a vegetarian.  *sorry*  
(from left to right)
AJ-Allyn Johnston, VP and Publisher of Beach Lane Books 
JSG-Julie Strauss-Gabel, VP and Publisher of Dutton Children’s Books
JH-Jennifer Hunt, VP of Acquisitions and Development and Editor-at-large for Dial Books for Young Readers 
BH-Beverly Horowitz, V. P.  Publisher of Delacorte Press
DD-Debra Dorfman, VP, Publisher Paperbacks, Non-Fiction & Licensing Publishing at Scholastic

*Moderator-Lin Oliver

Here are the best and most interesting comments that I took from the panel discussion…

BH-Don’t be too tough on the electronic future, it has potential.  It is bringing in new readers.

JSG-There is no one right way to sell a book.  Every path is different.

JH-Kids are always at the forefront of innovation and technology.

JH-No matter what the format, content is key.  Great writing is key.

BH-Sometimes you can be “before” the trend.  A strong back list-repackaging.  Need to be nimble and think in a new way.

JSG-The only time social media works is when it’s genuine to the author.  When it feels natural to the author, they capture their writing voice in their social media voice.

JH-While there is an upside to social media, it can cause a lot of stress and take up writing time.

JSG-I firmly agree in voices finding their way, when publishing doesn’t serve, but at the risk of being unpopular, I firmly believe in publishing.

DD-Adults are buying YA

BH-The teen market has only about 4% of the ebook market.

I know that this was a bit of a mash-up of thoughts from the publishers, but those were the things that jumped out at me.  Before I sign off (until the next installment) I thought you might like a peek at the hotel…

This was the Hyatt Regency and I’m just going to put it out there and say that they had one of the nicest hotel staffs I’ve ever met.  They were really, really sweet and friendly and I LOVED riding the elevator and chatting with them.  My favorite person was the adorable lady helping me get into my room when the key didn’t work.  She didn’t even laugh, when she pointed out that I was trying to break and enter into room 1656, when all of my own personal belongings were clearly in room 1652.  *head thunk*

This was the line of people at Starbucks in the lobby.  Each morning, our eyes propped open with tooth picks, we all descended upon the coffee people.  We picked their barista bones clean, leaving empty shelves and discarded coffee sleeves in our wake.  The whole scene made me want to write.


When the morning sun wakes up,
We writers come to get a cup.
We come from almost all the states
So Starbucks gives us discount rates.
I check my watch, I need to go,
Why is the freaking line so slow?
The staff is nice, they really are,
But god, I wish I had my car.
Should I get a cake pop? NO!
I settle for a cup of Joe.
And perhaps a bagel.  :o)

First up on Monday…Libba Bray!!!!

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SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 1

Filed under: Conferences

In the past, I’ve always tried to get at least half, if not a full day of conference recap into each of my blog posts.  I’m going to be doing something a little bit different this time.  I’m going to keep each entry a little bit shorter.  This means that I’ll be writing about the conference slower than most people, but for me, this needs to be savored and relived without rushing–it was special.

Of course, no conference can start without a warm welcome from the official mom and dad of SCBWI–Stephen Mooser and Lin Oliver.

We also must begin with some of Lin’s stats for the conference.

There were…
*1,342 people in attendance.  (A record number.)
*The men broke the 150 mark. (But we still commandeered their bathroom.)
*42% of those attending were published. (Woot!)
*49 out of 50 states were in attendance. (South Dakota needs to get their act together.)
*There were representatives from 20 countries. (70 people from outside the United States.)
*The Children’s Book Market is doing better than the Real Estate Market. (Fist pump!!)

I also would like to show you what the California Ballroom looked like.  I loved the tiers in this room and how they allowed so many more people to have a wonderful view of the podium.

On Friday morning we were introduced to the faculty which had the effect of blowing on an ember.  I couldn’t wait to get started after this spark was lit. (Sorry, the picture is a little blurry.)  Each person on the faculty was tasked with giving a sentence with “40” in it, to celebrate 40 years of SCBWI.  The responses ranged from hilarious to inspirational.  So much fun.

I took tons of pictures of everyone (because that’s what I do) but I’ll pick one to highlight.  As we all know, we’ve arrived not only at the end of the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, but also the movies. *sniff*  The least we can do is send a cyber hug to the man who was instrumental in our happiness.  He is perhaps best known as the American editor for for the Harry Potter Books, Arthur A. Levine, the Vice President of Scholastic and the Publisher of his own imprint, Arthur A. Levine Books.  I really wanted to meet him, but this was the closest I got, without falling over and melting into fan-girl gushy puddles.  

As if being JK Rowling’s go-to guy isn’t enough, he is also the editor for the wonderful, fantastic, debut author Mike Jung.  His middle grade novel Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities, comes out in the fall of 2012.  I can’t wait to mug Mike and run away with an ARC of this book.

Hmmm…I told you I was going to keep this short.  Lets get moving!

The first Keynote Speaker was someone I have been dying to meet and listen to.  I was not disappointed.

Here are the highlights that stuck with me…
*There are 22,000 people in our SCBWI Tribe, the only other place for us is the Island of Misfit Toys.
*It takes a delusional person to believe we are a society that considers children our most valuable resource. We love our children individually, but we have a hard time showing it collectively.
*Craft without inspiration leads to basket weaving, inspiration without craft leads to modern art. Ha!
*There is a butterfly effect.  You never know what kind of impact you will have.  The smallest gesture is a turning point.  
*If I wasn’t already won over by Bruce (and I won’t lie–I was) he would have had me hook, line and sinker when he quoted from the Broadway play, Into the Woods.  I swear, I played the soundtrack to this musical until my college roommate’s ears bled.  I love to be inspired.

No One is Alone… a song of responsibility.  Our responsibility.

*Don’t start with a message, start with your own heart…You can not know the effect of your words.

*I can’t help but think that we reach a very special, lasting place in a kid’s soul.

*Leave an unfinished chord…

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SCBWI LA Preview

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI

 My ability to function–take pictures, remember names (my own included) has deteriorated as the night has gone on.  Thanks goodness most people are named Jeff…hmmmm that doesn’t seem right.  Bear with me– I’ll be on my game tomorrow.  Brought the good camera.  But in the meantime, some phone shots to get you in the mood…

I’m getting closer!!!  And BTW, it was a -55 degrees up there at 37,000 feet.  Much warmer in the cabin though.  :o)

Props to the folks at Virgin America, they did a very nice job and I liked the little American flag on the wing.

It was a beautiful, clear day to fly and I’m always in awe of how big and amazing the world really is.


My first view of the Pacific ocean evah!!!!!  I’m pretty pumped about that.  California, here I come!

Loving this hotel already.  Look at that beautiful sun.  Even better when it’s 73 degrees, breezy and not  humid. *sigh of contentment*

Behind curtain #1…Lovin’ it!

Part of the view.  I think this (below) is the site of the 40 Winks Gala (Giant Pajama Dance Party)

The weirdest thing for me is the lack of skyline.  Everything is so low to the ground and stretches out for what seems like forever.

That’s you’re taste of LA for the moment.  I probably won’t get too much more up on Monday.  I’ll do those posts later in the week, but I will be posting tidbits on Facebook and twitter.  You can follow the live twitter feed at #LA11SCBWI.


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