"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take that New York—Austin SCBWI Rocks!

In case you felt sorry for us writers here in Austin that we weren't attending the National SCBWI conference in New York, I'm thinking the tables were turned. Sure, the temperature dropped just a few degrees colder than we'd all hoped, but we bundled up and kicked off the weekend Friday afternoon.

I headed to the airport where I had the pleasure of meeting Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson and her husband Neil, editor Stacy Cantor of Walker books, former FSG editor now full-time author Lisa Graff, and author Sara Lewis Holmes. The cold weather delayed some flights and brought others in early, but everyone managed to make it.

Author Kirby Larson and Me

After dropping Lisa and Sara off at the hotel, I waited at The Cheesecake Factory with Austin author Jessica Lee Anderson and author/illustrator Gene Brenek.

Dulce de Leche cheesecake = BLISS

Lisa and I headed to the home of Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith where they hosted an amazing pre-conference party complete with cheese made by Greg himself. If you've never seen their home, it's this beautiful historical masterpiece in downtown Austin.

Check out the spread. Yummy!

Hanging with my Texas Sweethearts: Me, Jessica, and Jo Whittemore

Saturday morning I picked Lisa, Stacy, and Sara up at 6:45 sharp where we headed to the conference.

At 6:45 am: Nathan, Stacy, Andrea, Kirby, Sara, Marla, and Lisa

I was doing critiques throughout the day, but did manage to hear bits and pieces of talks given by editor Stacy Cantor, author Lisa Graff, agent Nathan Bransford, editor Cheryl Klein of AAL/Scholastic, author Sara Lewis Holmes, agent Andrea Cascardi, agent Mark McVeigh, Kirby Larson, and Caldecott honor illustrator Marla Frazee.

Me getting ready to do critiques

Did I mention what an awesome lineup of faculty we had?

Author Shana Burg and agent Andrea Cascardi

Agent Mark McVeigh and Me

My conclusion while the conference was going on: I need to go to more conferences. I love them. They make be feel like such a writer.

Author Varian Johnson, Sara Lewis Holmes, and Illustrator/author Mark Mitchell

Authors Greg Leitich Smith and Jessica Lee Anderson

The conference ended with a panel I was on with eight other Austin authors/illustrators: Jessica Lee Anderson, Sibert Honor author Chris Barton, Illustrator Patrice Barton, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover (me), Newbery Honor author Jacqueline Kelly, Caldecott Honor author Liz Garton Scanlon, Philip Yates, Jennifer Ziegler. We each talked about our top habit for writing. (Mine was thinking outside the box.)

Author Chris Barton in his Day-Glo tie

Our New Austinite Author Bethany Hegedus

Authors Liz Garton Scanlon and Jennifer Ziegler

Saturday night we headed to the home of Meredith Davis who hosted a post-conference BBQ. I chatted with Nathan Bransford about his upcoming book and also his client Jenn Hubbard's new book THE SECRET YEAR, Cheryl Klein (and her boyfriend James who traveled down with her) about what sorts of changes Harry Potter needed for the American audience and what good books we'd read recently, and Stacy Cantor about book trailers and the success of PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Elkeles. Lisa Graff had a super early flight, so we bugged out around nine and I drove her back to the hotel and then promply crashed into bed.

Author Debbie Gonzales, editor Stacy Cantor, and author Chris Barton

Editor Chery Klein and her boyfriend James

It was a perfect weekend and a great reminder for how important going to these types of conferences really is. The Austin SCBWI team did an amazing job of putting this thing together. The amount of work required is huge, and they pulled it off without a single hitch. Huge Kudos to them!

Tim Crow handed off his RA hat to Debbie Gonzales and though we'll miss him, Debbie will be fantastic! She's already got the whole year filled with awesome presenters (including me at the March meeting), and she has big plans for the future!

Jessica, Me, and new Austin RA Debbie Gonzales

I loved hanging out with all my writer peeps. There is nothing quite like being in a room full of 200 authors and illustrators to fill one with warmth inside. I'd say I'm speechless, but that's rarely the case, so suffice it to say I'm riding a fantastic post-conference high.

Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

38 comments:

Karen said...

So fun! I wish I could have been there. Maybe next year, the ice and snow will stay away. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

You sure made me want to be there, and so did Kirby Larson, who wrote a wonderful post on her site about it. Congrats to all!
(And I'm in awe of--Greg makes his own cheese!!!)

PJ Hoover said...

I wish you could have, too, Karen. Yes, next year! We missed you for sure.

I loved Kirby's post, Tricia. And she was such an awesome person. That would have been awesome if you could have been here.
Yes, his own cheese. Wow!
And thanks!

Emily said...

It was truly an amazing day! I keep telling fellow writers that SCBWI is where you want to be if you're making books for young people. And after yesterday, I can't feel more strongly about what an amazing organization we have here in Austin. Can't wait for the February meeting with Bethany Hegedus!

Christine M said...

Sounds awesome! I'm so jealous!

Christina Farley said...

What a fantastic time. I loved, loved the pictures. Thanks for sharing all the details.

Sara said...

Tricia, thanks for everything, including the Cheetos and chocolate! Loved, loved talking to you and can't wait to see you again in Virginia.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Great line up! You Austin folks have a wonderful SCBWI community.

Anna said...

What a whirlwind! Your head must still be spinning. Thanks for posting all the pics so we can feel like we were there too. :-)

PJ Hoover said...

Hey Emily! I'm totally looking forward to Bethany's meeting too. She's a great person. And you're so right - SCBWI is the place to be. It helps in so many ways.

I wish you could have been there, Chris! Now that would have been fun!

You're so welcome, Christina! I love reading conference reports with lots of pictures on others' blogs, too!

PJ Hoover said...

You are so welcome, Sara! It was such a joy to meet you, and I'll look forward to Virginia, too!

I feel so blessed, Caroline, at what an amazing community there is here in Austin. How did I get so lucky?????

LOL, Anna! Let's just say I did a lot of unwinding yesterday (including sleeping late and a nap). But what a blast conferences are. Thanks!

Kristin said...

Oh, thanks so much for the photos. It makes me feel a tad bit better about being iced-in! ;)

PJ Hoover said...

You're welcome, Kristin! I think there will be lots of reports to make you feel like you were there. We missed you!

Danyelle said...

It looks like you had a blast! Yay for great times among great people. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Totally, Danyelle! Great times and great people are...great :)

C.R. Evers said...

Looks like an awesome time. Great pictures!!!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Christy! It was so much fun!

B.J. Anderson said...

Wow! It looks like you had such an awesome time!

Elana Johnson said...

AWESOME!! Looks and sounds like you had a terrific time! Writer's conferences are so much fun!

PJ Hoover said...

Such an awesome time, BJ! I love conferences!

I so agree, Elana! They are they best!

Kelly said...

Wow! So many fabulous author/agent/editor peeps there
Looks like an amazing time for all!

PJ Hoover said...

It was like being around a bunch of rock stars, Kelly. So cool!
Thanks!

MG Higgins said...

Great pictures. It looks like you guys had a fantastic time. I wish I lived closer to Austin!

PJ Hoover said...

I wish you did, too, MG. Austin is a great place to live!

Kathy Duval said...

Austin SCBWI does rock! It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed meeting you, Tricia!

Robyn Campbell said...

Awww, I so want to go to either New York or L.A. SCBWI CONFERENCE. How cool is that? It must make you feel all authorish and stuff.

Love the pics Tricia. You made me want to go even worse than before. Maybe one day soon. (^_^)

Jessica Lee Anderson said...

Great wrap-up, Tricia!

PJ Hoover said...

I enjoyed meeting you, too, Kathy! What a fun day it was!

Robyn, we should both go at the same time to LA one year. I've been to NY a couple times, but never LA. I've heard it's a blast!

Thanks, Jessica!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing. It sounds like it was a wonderful experience.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Those are some mightily impressive photos you've got there! I am glad you had such a great time. Good to see other writers making it, it helps me aspire.

PJ Hoover said...

You're welcome, Natalie! I loved being able to attend!

Thanks, Jonathon. I forgot how much going to conferences really inspires us. I so need to do it more often!

Heather Zundel said...

So wait. You met Mark McVeigh? What was he like? Was he nice? (I queried him a few months ago. He seems quite friendly from what I gathered). :) Mildly jealous you know, just a tad. Yay for conferences!

Vonna said...

Thanks for all these great pictures, Tricia! Of course, I forgot my camera. Thank goodness cell phones have built-in cameras these days. Unfortunately, most of my pics turned out too dark or blurry to use on my blog.

PJ Hoover said...

Yes, Heather! he was very professional and has a lot of ideas for the future of the book publishing world. I gather he's a very hard worker. Double yay for conferences!

Your blog post was awesome, Vonna! I plan to come comment pronto! It was so great meeting you!

Marcia said...

Wow, that was such good coverage I actually feel some of the high myself!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm so glad, Marcia!

Tabitha said...

Yay!! Great pics! I wish I could have been there, but I asked Andrea to pass on my hello's for me. :)

PJ Hoover said...

I wish you could have been here, too, Tabitha! And Andrea was super nice and friendly!