Just got back from my first trip to Austin, Texas where I spoke at theSCBWI Regional Conference. The whole time I was there, I kept wanting to spell the city: A-U-S-T-E-N, as in Jane . . .
Left the house at 7:30 a.m. for a 10:45 a.m. flight, which was cancelled, and then I was rebooked for a 7 p.m. flight. Sigh. Behold the gliz and glam of traveling . . .
As soon as I got to Austen/Austin, the doom and gloom of travel and a particular bad airline which I won't mention (UNITED AIRLINES), lifted. Peeps was particularly pleased with the gift bag the SCBWI chapter left for her . . .
BTW, there were BAT symbols everywhere in Austin . . .
I thought that the town was Batman crazed, but learned that it's because theirbridge is batty.
A couple MILLION bats live under the Congress Bridge. They weren't there when I was in town, luckily for all because you would have heard me screaming.
Oops. Digression. Back to writing!
The next morning, I delivered the opening keynote . . .
It was so much fun and everyone was wonderful. After,Peepyand I cast our ballots for portfolios and sat in on some of the panels, like this one withChris Bartonmoderating and agents Erin Murphy and Ammi-Joan Paquette from theEMLA Agency.
We also marveled (and were confused) by the bathroom sinks . . .
Peepy was presented by ANOTHER gift bag, this time by theTexas Sweethearts. . .
To cap off the conference, there was a wine and cheese party and book signing. Here's the room before and after . . .
During the signing, Peepy cornered author/editorDiane Muldrowand asked for advice about her epic memoir/fashion tips book. (They also discussed trigonometic integrals.)
Then Peepy had the great idea of getting authorDonna Jo Napolito blurb her yet-to-be-written book . . .
After, there was a big bash for the faculty and amazing volunteers and birthday people . . .
The next day it time for my class "Creating Compelling Bad Guys and Bullies." Peepy was gifted (yes, again!) with a lovely Texas cheerleader dress. It was given to her by her newest BFF, Austin Austen, the bear . . .
The workshop sold out and closed at 50 attendees, and I made them work and work and work. Okay, so I sort of bullied them . . .
At one point, we role played and then wrote about it. The actors were so convincing that if this writing thing doesn't work out, they have promising careers in the theater . . .
At lunchtime, the baked potato buffet was a hit . . .
Then back to work!
After exhausting my students, agentsJill Corcoran,Sarah DaviesandErin Murphy, and I did first page critiques. That's where the first pages of novels are submitted without anyone's name on it and read aloud . . .
Then, the agents and I give our first impressions on the page while being timed (so that it moves quickly) byDebbie Gonzales, the amazing Austen/Austin regional advisor . . .
Thank you, Austen/Austin SCBWI, we had a MARVELOUS TIME!!!
NEXT BLOG: Exploring Austin City Limits . . .
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