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!  : )

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January

Poor, neglected blog! I thought this month was going to be so focused on preparation for my upcoming trip to New York for the SCBWI conference, but it turned out a little (read: a lot) different than expected.

First off, one of my friends lost her battle with stomach cancer. A fast moving, debilitating, genetically linked cancer, her brother died of it in 2008, at the age of 37. Sandra was one month shy of her 40th birthday when she passed last Friday. Her memorial service was yesterday. A sad event, to be sure, but I'm so glad all the pain she endured is over.

Trivial in comparison though still time-consuming, stomach flu made a trip through our house last week. Not a fun way to spend the days, making Jello and rinsing throw-up bowls.

I'm back to work now, but I'm not sure how much blogging I'll get done between now and after I get home from New York, at the beginning of February. Hope January is going better for everyone out there! So far for us, it's been a cold, sad month, but I'm looking forward to happier times in the weeks ahead.