Hi, all. It’s been a busy two weeks so I wanted to send out some recaps from recent events. I keep explaining to people that I have to do recaps because my flip phone doesn’t allow me to live-tweet — or to tweet at all, for that matter. I’m fearing that this year is proving to me that I might need to step up my technology a bit, which will make my friend Sharlene very happy. (I’m not doing this for the tweeting, but because I need full-time access to a GPS to keep me from ending up in Maryland when I’m supposed to be driving in Virginia.)
Teen Read Week: Arlington Style
Since no one can wait until the NovaTeen Book Festival in March (the page will be updated soon, I hear), the organizers (Arlington Library and One More Page with Danielle Ellison, Nico Piro, Lelia Nebeker and more) put together four panels of YA authors talking about narration, world building, reading and writing. I learned so much from listening to everyone there, and was glad to reconnect with author friends from all over the state (plus two from Canada and Philly). The afternoon drew fans not just from Arlington, but from Sterling and Fredericksburg, too.
Teen Read Week: Richmond Style
I am not exactly a James River Writer, since I’m not living along the James, but every year at this time I feel the Richmond Love, big time. The Richmond Library Folks (Natasha Payne-Brunson, Patty Parks, and a cast of thousands) team up with authors (Lana Krumwiede this year, with extra support from Elle Blair) to put together a true celebration. What do we celebrate? Writing! Reading! Being from Virginia! Writing about Virginia (and all kinds of other places, too). And teens! This year, we tried speed dating, rotating from table to table and talking about our books. One of the same Fredericksburg girls who was at the Arlington event came to Richmond, too. (I’m jealous because she says this week she’s also going to YALLfest.) The event just changed its name to YAVA, but it includes middle-grade novels, too, and this year was the first year that the library gave away a $1000 prize, which went to Gigi Amateau for Come August, Come Freedom. Finalist prizes went to Cece Bell (El Deafo) and Erica Orloff (In Dreams).
Bonus: I got to spend the rest of the night hanging out with Wendy Shang, working on our once and future manuscript.
SCBWI: Mid-Atlantic Style
This past weekend, I was super lucky to be on the faculty this year for SCBWI Mid-Atlantic, which holds a fantastic October conference put on people who care SO MUCH about writers and writing in our region. Shout-out to the generous organizers (Ellen Braaf, Erin Teagen, Valerie Patterson, with speaker care by Moira Rose Donohue) and a slew of dedicated volunteers. Not everything went smoothly. The winds from the tropical cyclone cancelled Kathi Appelt’s flight, so she had to deliver the keynote by Skype. Then a fire alarm went off in the middle of the presentation. But she was gripping, charming and unflappable. The organizers were charming and unflappable. And all went well.
I was on a marketing panel, and preparing to be on that panel taught me tons. I’m going to save that for a separate post, but I will tell you that the operative word is COMMUNITY.
If you missed it, or in case you were there and want more, Jen Malone, the moderator of the panel, is doing an online workshop this Sunday (Nov. 1) about marketing smarter, not wider, and you can still sign up.
When we walked in to kick off the conference, each of us had to bring a word of inspiration. For that, my word of the day (and you may scream, ala Pee-wee, if you hear it again) was FRIENDSHIP. That’s because friendship is at the core of so much of our writing for kids, and because I’ve met many of my closest friends through writing and through SCBWI.
That’s all for now!