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The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators had their New England Conference in Nashua, NH, this past weekend and it was simply fabulous.

I'm one of Cynthia Lord's biggest fans and her presentation moved me to tears when she talked about some of her littlest fans and the wonderful letters they have sent her. She shared some of the precious voices with us. I do hope someday I get a letter like that! When Cindy talked about writing from personal experience, she gave us so much practical advice on HOW to do it and what happens when you take that risk. If you ever have a chance to hear this inspirational author, please be sure you go.

Another highlight was watching artist Floyd Cooper demonstrate his eraser technique. His work is stunning and I never realized how he created those stunningly beautiful and haunting illustrations. Check out his illustrations on his website.

Throughout the weekend there were many choices for workshops - making me wish I could clone myself or send a spybot to record everything. As it was, my hand ached from taking copious notes throughout each presentation. Whodunit? Thoughts on Constructing a Solid Mystery by Eric Berlinwas fascinating. My students love his Winston Breen books and he was kind enough to sign both books to my class. He was funny, while informative, and deconstructed several books to show us how to write a good mystery.

Another workshop that was practical (and entertaining) was Toni Buzzeo's and Jen Ward's A Picture Book is Worth a Thousand Words (and Often Less!). Their fast-past workshop was filled with many examples of "mentor books" we can use to help model our own writings. In addition, they ran a writing workshop and had us edit one of our own works. I loved the organization techniques they taught us!

My dear friend author Kate Messner superbly moderated the panel discussion Everything You've Wanted to Know About Agents...But Were Afraid to Ask. Also included were authors Jo Knowles and Carlyn Beccia. Agents featured on the panel included Kate's agent, Jennifer Laughran, along with Barry Goldblatt, and Tracey Adams. They were honest with their assessments and advice - it was a lively and informative look at this part of the publishing world.

I was thrilled to have a one-on-one critique with Tracey Adams, who represents both Cynthia Lord and Margaret Peterson Haddix. two of my favorites. It was so exciting to hear what she had to say about my work and her suggestions! What an honor to have a critique with one of the biggest agents in the business. WOW!

Along with the business of the weekend, there was plenty of fun. We schmoozed and laughed (sometimes too loudly!). I ran into MANY of the writers I met last month in Vermont and met new people I hope I will see again. I wish I had space to list them all here....but you are all imprinted on my heart!

Thanks for a weekend of a lifetime everyone!


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:42 am (UTC)
Even though I was there for all this, your recap made me smile. Loved spending time with you this weekend! Thanks!
Apr. 28th, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thank YOU!
I can never thank you enough for inspiring me to write, sharing your insight, and encouraging me to join SCBWI and attend the conference. It was life-changing, I think.
Apr. 28th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
I am so glad to have met you -- and I'm excited about what Tracey said about your work, too!
Apr. 28th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
It was great to meet you as well. I hope your voice is getting stronger!

BTW, we started literature circles today in school and A Crooked Kind of Perfect was featured in all of the classes. One boy talked about how he wanted to sign it out once and all copies of the class set (30) were signed out to individuals! Isn't that cool?

Then I just happened to mention that I'd had dinner with you! Thanks for helping me up my cool-quotient with 7th graders.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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