Wow, what an awesome conference. I tend to use the word awesome a bit overmuch (grew up in the 80's...what can I say?), but this was truly an awesome event, put on by the fabulous duo, Jone MacCollough and one of my fave fantasy authors, Laini Taylor. (photo snitched from Jolie Stekly!)
I came with readergirlz - Lorie Ann Grover and Dia Calhoun:
First thing in the morning, we went to the restaurant for breakfast and was invited to join the table of Lee Wind - more on him later, but I recognized him not only from meeting him briefly at the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles (where he hails from), but also as a recently joined friend of the readergirlz. I even recognized the shirt!
Here are a bunch of us from Seattle-area (again, photo from the fabulous Jolie):
Dia and Lorie Ann spoke on a panel with super-blogging-heroes Alice Pope of CWIM, Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 (who made a Not To Be Missed vlog post here), and Mark Blevis of Just One More Book. Here's a clip of Mark (one of many, soon to be made into a readergirlz...something...stay tuned!):
I got to hang out with the vibrant and hilarious Suzanne Young, another 2010 YA author, who also met her agent at the 2008 SCBWI conference in NY and also got a two-book deal in the spring. It's like we're twins!
Highlights from the day:
* Colleen Mondor (Booklist columnist, Guys Lit Wire co-creator, Bookslut, and all around wonderful person) and Jackie Parker (YA librarian and Interactive Reader), talking about blog tours. But they could talk about anything together and be hysterical.
* MotherReader Pam Coughlan's talk on expanding one's blogging territory - wonderful nuggets, especially on building community (hint: don't be shy, comment on other blogs!)
* Standing in the elevator with Sara Zarr and getting to tell her (without sounding too much like a fangirl) that I loved Story of a Girl and how real it felt to me.
* Coming home with a bazillion ideas for readergirlz and my own personal blog (and a little bit of guilt that I don't write every day).
* Inviting Gregory Pincus of GottaBook to our readergirlz post-dinner party no fewer than three times and hearing him say yes every time! That, and he made me want to learn about Fibonacci Poetry.
* Interviewing Laini Taylor and husband Jim Di Bartolo, who truly are the cutest (and I daresay talentedest) couple in kidlit:
Things that were seriously missing: Little Willow and Justina Chen Headley. Everybody missed you, and I can personally attest there is a lot of love and admiration in the kidlit world for you.
One of my very favorite new friends from the conference is Lee Wind, who tells us in this vid about his blog and favorite read for girls:
Then there was dinner with the readergirlz, the fabulous Kirby Larson, my very favorite illustrator Jaime Temairik (soon to open an Etsy shop! I can't wait!!), and Deb Lund. Here's my chat with Jaime:
That night, readergirlz invited everybody to a diva debut to announce...drumroll...that I have joined the ranks of readergirlz as an official diva! (yay!!!) I have been doing design work and special projects for nearly a year now, so it's really exciting to be official!
Here I am celebrating with Laurie Thompson (future co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI WWA), Suzanne Young, and current SCBWI WWA co-Regional Advisor, Jolie Stekly.
In the end (2am, to be exact - yawn! very late for this toddler mommy!), Lorie Ann, Lee, Colleen, Jackie and I were sitting around talking about - what else - books and blogging and making new friends.
Not being a super-dedicated blogger at the outset, I was inspired by these amazing people who have not only embraced kidlit but also support each other with astonishing vision, passion, and creativity. And by librian blogger-ista Jackie Parker (of Interactive Reader)'s insistence the next day that we visit Voodoo Doughnut in lovely downtown Portland, where I bought a Neopolitan (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry Quik) for my little girl and a Maple Bacon Bar for my husband (who, inexplicably, likes that sort of thing). I swear, I didn't even have a bite.