Monday, January 30, 2012

New York, New York

I'm still here, actually, both excited and a little sad to be going home tomorrow night, but the trip has been great. A friend of mine, Dana Elmendorf, flew from San Diego to New York with me on a Thursday night redeye. Despite our constant need for additional sleep, we had an awesome time hanging out and running all over town (including an amazing dinner at Marc Forgione in TriBeCa, after which we think we saw this guy in the Chambers Street subway station). Dana had to fly home on Sunday afternoon, but I'm hoping she'll plan on staying an extra night or two next year.

The SCBWI conference itself featured incredible keynote speakers (especially Chris Crutcher, who made us cry then followed it up with snort-worthy laughter) and informative breakout workshops. All three I went to, Revision by Cheryl Klein of Scholastic, Young Adult Fiction with Tara Weikum of HarperCollins, and a session on diversity led by Stacy Whitman of Tu Books, were fantastic. I learned all sorts of new stuff from their presentations, and then even more from their candid approach to addressing audience questions. On top of all that great main-conference programming, the marketing-for-writers intensive on Friday introduced me to a wealth of marketing resources I had no idea were at my disposal. Definitely worth the extra money I paid, since I wouldn't have learned that stuff anywhere else.

Post-conference, I had lunch with a friend I met at the 2010 conference, Nora Olsen. Nora's already had her first book published, but our writing careers began the same year, back in 2001, so it's always fun to catch up in person, sharing about our experiences and just generally about how life's unfolded for us in the months previous.

Sunday night, I went to church. Church? Yeah, church! As it turns out, my church has a location in Manhattan. I think they're meeting at the Scholastic Auditorium next week, but they're usually in the Times Center on 41st Street. Anyway, it was fun. C3's a different type of place (as in, I have to wear ear plugs during the worship music, it's so loud, and at 41, I'm pretty much the oldest one in the house, since everyone except maybe the lead pastor is in their 20s).

Today, I've been seeing friends and colleagues. I had a wonderful breakfast this morning with a dear friend I used to work with at Price Stern Sloan. Later in the day, I went out to lunch with Kerry Sparks, my extremely cool, extraordinarily wonderful, can't-say-enough-great-things-about-her agent, and two new friends, Emilia Rhodes and Sara Shandler of Alloy Entertainment.

Okay--is anyone reading between the lines? I don't want to speak prematurely, but I'm pretty sure there's a God-sized miracle going on here, and I'm really excited about it. Hopefully I'll be able to announce something big in the spring. For now, though, I've got a little reading and maybe a bit of self-editing to do before I turn in for the night.

Sweet dreams!  : )

12 comments:

Kate said...

I couldn't be more jealous that you got to go to lunch with Kerry. What a fun treat. I'm definitely going to have to figure out a way to attend the conference next year.
Can't wait to hear what your exciting news is...

Ara Burklund said...

Thanks, Kate! I'm praying for good things.

You should definitely come to the conference next year! It's so much fun being in New York, where all the action is. The summer conference is amazing, too, though--both have completely different flavors, with New York more geared toward serious professional networking and L.A. being all about craft and having fun with writer friends.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Yippeeeee!!! Sounds like the best trip EVER!

Can't wait to hear about the God sized miracle! :)

Cat Winters said...

Thanks for sharing your experience! It sounds like SCBWI presented another fantastic conference. I'm so glad you were able to meet up with all sorts of fantastic people, and I can't wait to hear good news from you in the near future!!!

Have a safe trip home.

Dana Elmendorf said...

You are simply fantastic to hang with. I will so stay longer next year so we can see more of the city and dine like kings again. Can't wait to uncork the champaign! ;)

Ara Burklund said...

Suzanne~Thanks! I'm looking forward to sharing the details once I'm allowed to.

Cathy~Thanks! I just finished doing that final read, although I need to be packing my suitcase.

Dana~Thank you! Glad to hear you're planning on staying longer next year. Looking forward to that bottle!

Susan R. Mills said...

Can't wait to hear the exciting news in the Spring! Thanks for sharing your conference experience. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Ara Burklund said...

Thanks, Susan! : )

Gail Shepherd said...

I haven't been to this big NYC conference yet, but I plan to go next year. I (heart) New York and can't get there often enough. Cheryl Klein was down here for our Florida conf in early January and gave that same good talk on revision. So glad you had a blast and came home with lots of new info: Post a tip or two that you learned; we'd love to hear.

Ara Burklund said...

It's definitely a fun one! I heard the FL conference was awesome this year, too, though. Funny you mentioned tips--even though you probably meant about writing, I was thinking to do a post about a few of the silly mistakes I made while traveling. ; )

Leslie Rose said...

Sounds like a blast. I think I'll seriously consider NY next year. Must save up sick days.

Ara Burklund said...

Good idea, Leslie! Not sure if it lines up with the end of the semester for you, but a couple of my kids had Friday and Monday off school around the weekend of the conference. Of course, I think their teachers had in-service days...