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01 March 2010

Springmingle 2010 - Wrap UP!

Our Southern Breeze SCBWI region is truly something special. We have dozens of volunteers who bring our annual Spring conference together every year, and they make it look easy ... from the outside. (It's a lot of work!) It does a heart good to see beginning to accomplished writers and illustrators get so much out of the event.

200 attendees - a record!

     Friday evening I led a tribute to my dear friend Liz Conrad, who we sadly lost to cancer in August. We were happy to have her husband Rick there to share. As I predicted, there wasn't a dry eye in the place as we celebrated Liz's amazing life and talent through a video and speech. And the gallery display this year was all about Liz - her artwork and her books.

Liz's Artwork


Liz's Books

     The two scholarship winners, Kristen Applebee and Jeremy Evans, took full advantage of attending, getting lots of good information . Liz would have been thrilled to know she was helping such promising careers.

Jeremy Evans - one of two Liz Conrad Scholarship Fund winners.

     Kudos kites were handed out to members with books released over the past year - how's this for a successful bunch?

Jennifer Jabalay, Irene Latham, Doraine Bennett, Hester Bass, Moi, Donny Seagraves, Heather Montgomery, Jo Kittinger, and Donna Bowman

     Saturday we heard from the master - Jane Yolen, as well as Cheryl Klein (one of the best and most desired editors in the industry), and Josh Adams of Adams Literary. Then we had break-out sessions with all including MY editor on "The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia," Meredith Mundy of Sterling Children's Books (the snow storm delayed her arrival). Turns out she has a strong background in studio arts so hosted a portfolio session. Loraine Joyner, Art Director of Peachtree Publishers, also joined us since she was there to give portfolio reviews. How's THAT for a break-out session!?

Lots of good food and company!

     We had an awesome lasagna dinner (yummm) while Susan Spain (author of "12 Days") spoke about happenings in our PAL (Published and Listed) tier membership level (upcoming book festivals, etc.), and I talked about happenings for our illustrators and the new Georgia Center for the Book Juvenile List of 15 Books by Georgian authors that every Georgian should read which will be announced soon. Between that and our gallery show and portfolio workshop... Jane Yolen came over to compliment me on the good things we're doing - how nice!
     Sunday we heard from Meredith on "Giving the Slush Pile the Slip" and the inner workings of Sterling. It was so nice to get this peek inside while I'm actually working with them.
     All four of our speakers participated in our two panel discussions: "First Pages" and "Q&A". They were refreshingly honest while being gracious at the same time. I'm constantly impressed by editors' abilities to pull that off.

Jane Yolen, Meredith Mundy, Cheryl Klein, Josh Adams (and moderator, Heather Montgomery)

     As usual it was wonderful to hang out with old friends and meet new ones as well. I was encouraged by all the kind comments I received about Liz's tribute. And I return to my office invigorated to dive back into my work and make things happen!

Little Shop of Stories was our bookseller.

     Thanks to Jo Kittinger, Donna Bowman, Heather Montgomery, and Heather Kolich for pulling together such an amazing event, as well as all the countless volunteers. (Thanks as well to Linda Parker Woodward for some of the photos included here.)
     This is an awesome group to be a part of - good people, bright brains. What a nice way to spend a weekend!

P.S. - Sandy Fry put together some great photo montages of the conference at http://springminglephotos.shutterfly.com/.

Donny Seagraves also did a great write-up.

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