Springmingle 2011 - wrap-up!

This past weekend was our 2011 Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Southern Breeze regional conference (covering Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi). As usual, it was an awesome affair - but this year stood out as being particularly inspiring.
     E.B. Lewis was our keynote, and not only is he an amazingly talented, multiple award-winning artist, he had lots of words of wisdom to share. It was impossible to listen and not want to go paint!
     We had two editors speak this year: Katie Carella, Assistant Editor at Grosset & Dunlap and Price, Stern, Sloan (Penguin Young Readers Group), as well as Erin Clarke, Executive Editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (a.k.a. BFYR). Both gave great information and advice, and I was especially impressed by Erin to whom I've been sending postcards for years.
     Our guest agent was the illustrious Sarah Davies of the Greenhouse Literary Agency. I heard her speak in Los Angeles and was equally as wowed by her in Georgia. Not to mention, with her lovely accent I wouldn't mind hearing her read the phone book.
     Our guest author was Lindsey Leavitt of Princess for Hire which I especially can't wait to read after experiencing her warm sense of humor in person.
     Susan R. Spain and I were given a few minutes to talk about our 2010 title, The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia and receive our official "Kudos Kite" along with our other fellow 2010 publishees:

     We also signed books. Here we are with Donna Bowman in the middle. She made the gorgeous amber necklace I wore all weekend. Click here to check out more of her beautiful creations!

     I also got to hang out with the fabulous Janice Hardy (author of Shifter and The Healing Wars series) and Peachtree Publisher editor and author, Jessica Alexander (her title, This is the Dream is on the 25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read list).

     And I had to add this great shot of E.B. with Kristen Applebee.

     Of course, as with any conference, it's fantastic to hang out with friends, old and new. These conferences have really become more like fun get-togethers for me (despite the lovely fashion accessory I had to sport this year). Susan called me 'Hopalong Cassidy' all weekend, and I surely was.

     And yes, I'm still accepting submissions on what I did to get in this lovely bootie - the truth is way too boring...
     The best submission is still from Hester Bass - that I was tripped by Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival and he kissed me to make up for it. That'll be pretty tough competition to top, but have a go at it! :)

Photos are by Sarah C. Campbell and Sandy Fry - used with permission.
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