NOTE: Fabulous Follower Winner Prizes went out today. I'm working packaging up the Mardi Gras Prizes tomorrow and will email you when it goes out!
This past weekend I went to the Spring Mingle for the Southern Breeze Region (SCBWI). It was here in Atlanta.
I must say at first I was not sure if I was going to go. I had alot of things I needed to do and I did not know if I could handle a weekend of writing. In a way, I felt like I needed a weekend - away from writing.
Not to mention, my "normal" possee was not going. I was going this one alone. Don't get me wrong, I knew people there and love everyone in my Region. But having the comfort of a few girls that know me, my journey, and my deepest fears and dreams is nice when you enter a room of 150 people.
I'm not very good in a large room. I'm a bit shy, definitely an introvert, and I really stink at small talk. I usually resort to bad jokes and probably put my foot in my mouth at least twice.
I'll even tell you all a secret.
Part of me kinda wondered if I would learn much. I mean, I have an agent so the agent talk would probably not apply to me and wondered if the sessions would help me at the stage I'm at in my writing process. (this embarressing because I have so much to learn! I dont' know what I was thinking~)
Anyway, I went to Springmingle.
And am so glad I did.
I think the BEST thing about the conference was hanging out and getting to know Jennifer Jabaley and Kristin O'Donnell Tubb. These girls are definately soul sisters of mine (I hope they thin so :). I adore them and can't wait to see them again. They made me laugh, listened as I cried, and gave me advice and words of encouragement that I needed at this stage in my writing journey. I felt like I had known them for years and found myself sharing things that I NEVER share with anyone outside my normal friend circle. (and most of my friends have known me for at least 10 years.) If I'd hung out with my normal "crew" - I would have missed kicking off these great friendships. And that would have been a true loss. Check out Kristin (author of Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different) at her blog/twitter and Jennifer (author of Lipstick Apology) at her blog!
I also hung some other great people. Karen Strong, Sheri Dillard, and Heather Montgomery (who knows everything there is to know about how to be safe during a earthquake!!)
The next thing that was Sooooo worth it was meeting and hearing Josh Adams from Adams Literary. He was funny and open and shared some secrets to agenting that helped me feel even more confident in my agent and her process. It also gave me critical insight into the submission/agenting/publishing world that we writers don't get to see very often. If any of you are looking for an agent, be sure to read what he is looking for and query him because he rocks!!! (from what I can tell, he also kicks ass and takes names for his clients).
Another highlight was seeing Cheryl Klein again. I was on faculty with her at MidSouth in the fall and had dinner/drinks with her. For those who don't know who she is...she is the continuity editor at Arthur Levine for Harry Potter. Not only is she the sweetest but she is BRILLIANT! She talked on the 22 steps to revising that gave so many great suggestions (and a few crazy ones :) - that my head was spinning. I had to skip the next session because I was going through my book in my head and figuring out more things I wanted to start working on. She also did an amazing discussion on character development. Check out her amazing talks and blog!
And then of course, Jane Yolen, bestselling author of Owl Moon and How Do Dinosaur Say Good Night? She is funny and brilliant and honest. But most of all, she is real and tells it how it is. She had ridiculous insight into the industry and a perspective that only someone who has been in the industry over 30 years could, which I guess is why her blog is called Telling The Truth.
For those of you who have not joined SCBWI, you are truly missing out on a great experience, on great friends, on learning more than you can imagine, and on finding a place where you truly belong. With writers. Writers at every stage. Writers that care about you. Writers that love books. When you walk into an SCBWI conference, it is a pool of magic.