Fairy Tale Blogfest

| Monday, August 30, 2010
Today's Tune: End Love

1.) Watch my music video for today - it's an OK GO video, and it's amazing. They did it all in one take and it's so silly and fun.

2.) It's Fairy Tale Blogfest day! w00t! The goal was to write a fairy tale in a style other than fantasy. I hope you enjoy mine, and then go check out all the other participants (click the link for the participant list). My contribution is below. I had a lot of fun writing it :D


Just when I think I'm in for another day of enchantments and lost orphans, Prince Charming walks through my door.

I roll my eyes. I hate dealing with the Charmings. Bunch of snobs that don’t know a golden apple from a poisoned one. They’re always getting into some kind of trouble, and Prince is the worst. He’s this sniveling little whiner with flippy hair he paid way too much money for. Spoiled twit. I guess his parents expected as much when they named him “Prince.”

But they have money, so they get my service like any other dwarf or talking badger.

I lean back in my chair and clunk my hiking boot-clad feet on my desk. He’s looking around all twitchy, but that doesn’t stop him from checking out my legs all the way up to my shorts. What a creep.

“Something I can help you with, Mr. Charming?” I say.

“Yeah. Yeah, Red, there is. My eighteenth birthday was last week. I wanted to have a big party for all the single ladies in the land, you know? I noticed you weren’t there, by the way.”

“Uh, well. I had a case. You know. Busy.”

He sniffs. “Not like I woulda picked you, anyway.”

“Picked me? For what, pray tell?”

He shifts uncomfortably, poking at the crimson trench coat and hat I have hanging by the door. “Mum wants me to start thinking about getting married. Gotta keep up the family name and all that. But why not have fun while I’m at it, right? So, big party, all the eligible babes, and me seeing which ones are most interested in being Mrs. Charming. You know what I’m saying?”

“I’m hoping you have a point in there somewhere. I have a furlong of paperwork to do on this Snow Maiden case. She fell in love and melted again. You’d think she’d learn.”

“Fine. I’m at the party, having a great time dancing with Beauty. She’s turned into such an animal ever since she dated that Beast guy, let me tell you. Anyway, the music skipped, and I checked to see what was up. And there she was. This absolute knockout in a dress that could’ve been made of spider silk. See-through in all the right places. Amazing. We were getting real friendly, but then the clock struck midnight and she bolted. Something about a curfew.”

He’s all hot under the collar, running his hands through his stupid hair and making it stick up. I privately congratulate this girl on giving Prince an obvious case of Crystal Balls.

I stand and walk around the front of my desk so I can gloat. “So you need me to find your mystery girl, is that it?”

“That’s what I plan on paying you for. Here. She lost this.” He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out this six-inch stiletto heel made of glass.

I take the thing from him and look it over. “Godmother almighty, she could walk in these?”

“Boy, could she ever,” he says with a wistful look in his eye. Or maybe it’s lustful.

He daydreams while I pull on my trench and hat. I snap my fingers and hold my hand out for the first half of my payment. Prince scowls and slaps me a satchel of jewels.

“Now get going,” I say. “I’ll find your cobweb princess. And stop checking out my boobs or I’ll gut you like I did the wolf.”

His eyes snap up and he scoffs like he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. He tosses his overdone hair and leaves my office. I follow and pull the door closed behind me.

It takes me a while to find the right house. A dozen fairy floozies and at least one troll claim the shoe’s theirs. They look about ready to cry when I have them try it on and it doesn’t fit. At last, someone points me in the right direction.

I knock on the door and am greeted by none other than Madam Ella, the most notorious professional bride in all the land. Her list of ex-husbands and step-children could probably reach to the top of Jack’s beanstalk and back.

“Hello, Miss Hood. What brings you?” she says.

“A golden goose chase, that’s what. This shoe belong to one of yours?” I hold it up. She nods me inside.

Her daughters are right there, waiting. They’re twins, and they’ve got so much magic surgery between them that I can’t tell if they ever had real bodies. To my surprise, she shoos them out of the way and pulls forward this tiny wisp of a girl with dark hair and big blue eyes.

“This is Cinder,” says the Madam. “I thought she’d end up just one more useless mouth to feed like all the others. Turns out she’s the progeny I’ve been looking for.” She gives her daughters a withering look, and they both stomp their feet in unison and storm off. Cinder gives me a sly smile.

I get it. “Ready to retire, Ella?”

“Yes. It’s about that time. But I’ve no doubt my girl here will keep me in the life of luxury to which I'm so accustomed.”

“Right.” I turn to Cinder and hand her the shoe. “Prince is looking for you. Why don’t you come with me so I can get the rest of my fee, huh?”

“Heck yeah,” she says, skipping out the door ahead of me. “Charming Estate, here I come.”

I glance at the Madam. “You know I’m only going along with this because Prince is a toad minus the warts, right?”

She smiles. “I know, my dear Red. I know.”

I take my leave. Cinder’s practically vibrating with excitement beside my coach.

“All right, girly,” I say. “Let’s get you your happy ending. Just promise me you won’t give him his.”

happy anniversary, my little blog.

| Saturday, August 28, 2010
Today's Tune: Time of Your Life

One year ago today, I started this blog. I wasn't really sure what I was getting into, only that I was reading a lot of author and publishing blogs at the time and it looked like fun.

And now another year has flown by and I'm deeply entrenched in the awesomeness that is the online writing community. My writing has become stronger, I've founded new relationships, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. Even the hard ones.

So, I just wanted to say "hey, thanks" to those of you who have been following me on my journey. I appreciate your comments and support more than I can say with these pixels on a screen. Keep on being wonderful.

Here's to the next year, and the insanity and joy it will bring!

(Also, I'm planning a little "yay I've been doing this for a year" contest. With prizes. It'll probably be a Blogfest, and it'll definitely be a lot of fun. So stay tuned!)

film vs. book

| Friday, August 27, 2010
Today's Tune: My Time

My week, it has been so full. My brain, it is like jelly. Not literally, thankfully.

REMINDER: Emily White's Fairy Tale Blogfest is rapidly approaching. It's due Monday! Don't miss out. The stories are bound to be made of win and wonder.

So, this week my new buddy E.J. Wesley posted a little something about True Blood, and the changes they've made translating book to film.

We all know this story: a book we love, we absolutely LOVE, is made into a movie or television show. BUT THEY TOTALLY CHANGED IT. And we rebel. We balk. We go, "OMG what are they doing the dragon DID NOT CHASE HARRY AROUND HOGWARTS WTF."

Now. I don't know much about film, but I have learned over time that the mediums (film and literature) are just different. It's literally impossible to convey scenes on film the way they're conveyed in a novel. You lose the details, the nuance, the inner reflection and turmoil. As I posted on E.J.'s blog, sure, they can put in a voiced over inner monologue. But it isn't the same.

I'm definitely not saying that film cannot be nuanced or detailed, because it can. It can capture the emotion and personality of a beloved novel, and do it well. What I am saying is that we can't expect film to be a literal interpretation of a novel, because it doesn't work that way.

Films are inherently visual. They're meant to either entertain or captivate. They have to choose actors and scenery that represents the vision of the novel while accepting that there is no actor or setting that will match every reader's imagination. They have to carefully select the scenes that will actually translate well to the medium.

A scene of a character sitting alone and reflecting on their situation may be moving and poignant in a novel, but on film, it's boring. It loses its appeal because we're not inside the character's head the way a novel allows us to be. And filmmakers must account for that.

Yeah, okay, and what about character alteration? Cutting favorite characters, or inserting new scenes that were nowhere to be found in the book? Well, that's part of the medium, too. They can't include every subplot, especially for epically long stories like LOTR or Harry Potter. And new scenes? I guess you could say that's them having a bit of their own fun with the world and adding something new that even the hardcore fans won't recognize. Keeps things fresh.

For television, sometimes the book series is just a jumping-off point. The base storyline is a good one, but the characters can be altered into something new; something more suited for televised entertainment. New storylines to keep interest piqued. The television show becomes its own beast.

Anyway. What am I blathering on about? My point is just that film and literature are different worlds. Both are entertainment, and both can be artful, but they're not the same. Going into a film expecting the story from your imagination to appear on the screen is a skewed point of view. Take the film for what it's worth - a visual representation of a beloved novel. One that won't be perfect, but may be entertaining.

I definitely don't mean to say that Hollywood doesn't screw up book adaptations, because oh boy, sometimes they sure do. I only mean to point out that a film adaptation doesn't HAVE to be an exact line-by-line replica of a novel in order to be good. Sometimes the film becomes its very own living thing, and that's pretty cool.

Next time you go to see a film adaptation, try to view objectively. See if maybe you can enjoy the film in its own right, as something separate from the beloved vision in your imagination.

But hey, if it sucks, then in sucks. They can't get everything right ;)

What do you think? Does Hollywood need to "stick to the script," so to speak? Or is artistic license okay?

Mockingjay + the End of Days.

| Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Today's Tune: All I Want is You

Oh, hey. I'm sorry, no "deep thoughts" blog post today.


Here are some entertaining LOLcats.

Also! I got a couple of awards recently. First, the Lovely Blog Award from the very lovely RosieC. Thanks, Rosie!

Also, the End of Days award from aspiring_x at Hairnets and Hopes. This is one I haven't seen much. Rules: Imagine the world was ending when the Mayan's predict, December 21, 2012... What would you do between now and then?

Honestly, I never feel like I can answer this question. I'm pretty happy right now, but there are still plenty of things I would like to do before everything goes kablooey. Like have a book published (duh, amirite) and start a family. And see lots and lots and lots of foreign places. And get a house. And a dog. But none of those things are really in the cards for me in the next two years. They're more long-term plans that I have for Someday.

SO ANYWAY. The world's ending in a little over two years? I guess I'll try to remain happy, travel a lot, and love as much and as often as I can.

Okay, I know I'm supposed to pick people to give these awards to, but I always hate doing that :( I feel like I'm going to leave someone out and they'll be all sad and think I don't think they're awesome which is totally not true because I think pretty much every writer who puts it out there and tries is awesome. Plus I can never remember who already received which award and who doesn't like to do awards and etc etc etc. SO I CHOOSE ALL OF YOU. All of my readers deserve these. If you'd like to post them to your own blog, DO IT!



Guess That Character Blogfest: The Reveal

| Friday, August 20, 2010
Today's Tune: Jai Ho

Thank you so much to everyone who read yesterday's Guess That Character blog post and guessed about Shan's appearance. It gave me a happy that so many people guessed pretty closely along the lines of the picture in my head.

So, without further ado, this is how I pictured Shan. (Short for Ikshan. I pronounce it like "Shaun," if you were wondering):

(The actor is Shayan Munshi)

As you can see, several of you guessed pretty closely! Most people got that he was of Indian decent. A few got the casual-but-well-groomed look, with short hair that's slightly longer on top. He's average height, maybe 5'9", strong but slender. He's about 17, and a second-generation American.

It's hard for me to say who had the closest guess. Which I assume is a good thing, because it means I conveyed him well, right? Ha! :D

Again, thank you guys for playing! This was a lot of fun. I tried to get through as many entries as I could yesterday, but I didn't quite make it. I'll make sure and catch the rest of you today!

Guess That Character Blogfest: The Scene

| Thursday, August 19, 2010
Today's Tune: Lollipop (Candyman)

It's a blogfest day!

Today is the Guess That Character Blogfest. The goal is post a scene with a character in it, and to AVOID describing their physical appearance. Readers guess what the character looks like based on voice, personality, and action. Tomorrow, all participants are supposed to post a picture or description so everyone can see how close they were.

So, let's see if you can guess what my character looks like based on the scene below :) Then go check out all the other participants! There are A LOT of them.

Aaaaaaand SCENE.


I'm still pissed at Kyla. I thought I'd relax during my bike ride home, but now I'm just pissed and hot. She didn't have a great time last night. I get it. But dumping me like that, just as everyone was getting out of class? Why the hell was that necessary?

I lock my bike up. Probably not as carefully as I should, but I don't care. I pace back and forth for a minute. If I go inside like this, Ma will pick at me till I give in. It's none of her freaking business.

I swing my book bag over my head and let it hit the lawn. It puts a dent in the grass. Dad won't be thrilled, but it made me feel a little better. Okay.

Why do I even care? We've been on the rocks for a while. Maybe I'm just ticked I didn't do it first. I hate it when she gets a leg up on me.

Doesn't matter. I pick up my bag and go inside. The door slams harder than I meant it to. Oops.

"Shan? Is that you?" Ma calls from the back room.

"Who else would it be? Sati's at orchestra practice."

"Ah, that's right. I'd forgotten. Help your father in the kitchen, won't you? He's making a mess of dinner."

Leave it to Ma to be able to tell Dad's screwing up the masala based on smell alone. I toss my bag into my room on the way to the kitchen.

She's not wrong. Dad's standing next to the stove measuring out cream while the chicken's burning. I swoop in and start flipping, trying to salvage what I can. I hit the fan so that the acrid smoke smell blows off.

"Dad. We've been over this. Measure ingredients first, then start cooking."

"Oh?" He turns to look at me, can of tomatoes in one hand, knife in the other. "I didn't hear you come in."

"Ma sent in reinforcements. Here. You do the chicken. Give me the knife. Slowly."

He does. I move the ginger and turmeric aside and reach for the garlic. Smashing the cloves against the counter while picturing Kyla's smug, stupid face is almost therapeutic.

"Is something the matter?" Ma says from behind me. She surprises me so bad I nearly lose my grip on the knife.

"God, Ma. You almost had to take me to the ER tonight instead of Dad." I turn to look at her and notice her long hair's braided down her back and she's dressed in a full sari. That can only mean one thing. "Going to see Naani?"

She flutters her hand at me. It makes her bracelets jangle. Translation is clear: don't change the subject.

I sigh. "Nothing's wrong, okay?"

"You're tense. Did something happen at school?"

"Seriously, it's no big deal."



"Ikshan. Speak."

I knew this was going to happen. She won't let up until I tell her. Lying's pointless. She's got some sort of sixth-super-mom-lie-detector sense.

"Kyla broke up with me, all right?" I say.

"Ah," she says. She doesn't look especially surprised. Or upset for me.

"Pity, she seemed like a nice girl," Dad says. Ma gives him the eye.

"Just say it. I know you're thinking it," I say.

"You know I've always thought you could do better."

"You thought she was slutty, you mean."

Dad coughs beside me, but I'm pretty sure he's hiding a laugh. Ma's chewing her tongue.

"I'm sorry she hurt you," she says. "You know I'd never want that. But I'm not going to pretend I don't think you're better off without her."

The anger I thought I'd smashed into the garlic is coming out again. "Yeah, well, I don't care what you think. You help Dad with dinner. I'm done."

I brush past her and go straight to my room. The door slams behind me. I flop onto my back on the bed and cover my eyes with my palms. Come on. Get a grip.

I lay like that for a while. Long enough to hear Ma argue softly with Dad and then leave for my grandmother's house.

When the smoke detector goes off, I groan and get up. Sounds like we're ordering takeout tonight.


Whew, okay, there's my scene. So, what does Shan look like? You tell me :D Be sure to come back tomorrow for the "reveal" when I post a picture of my vision of Shan. Thanks for reading!

it doesn't pay to be a publishing purist.

| Monday, August 16, 2010
Today's Tune: They

Multimedia. It is the way of the future oOoOoOoOoOoOo!

No, really. It is. Everyone's constantly wigging about the direction that writing, publishing, storytelling, et cetera is going. eReaders, aaargh! Social media marketing, ulp! Vlogs, Amazon CreateSpace, interactive eBooks, OMG WHATDOIDO?!

First: Relax.

Second: Realize this is happening. It's kind of freaky and confusing, but you're going to have to adapt.

Third: SERIOUSLY, RELAX. Here's a paper bag. Breathe.

For a lot of people, this all feels like the rug is being pulled out from under them. Either they just learned the ropes and now everything's changing, or they've known the ropes for a long, long time and now the ropes are all turning digital on them. There are a lot of questions. Do we have to forum? Blog? Vlog? Join every social media site and dedicate eight hours a day to building an online following? Are our books ever going to be in print, or will we be sentenced to sad pixels on a soulless screen?

Okay. Here's the good news: Storytelling isn't going anywhere. Books aren't going anywhere. This is not the first time in our history that new media has come onto the scene. Music, radio, film, and television haven't managed to kill The Novel. YouTube, Kindle, and video games won't kill it, either.

Here's the OTHER good news: Books have finally found a way to branch into other media. It's not just the possibility of a movie being made down the line anymore. An entire subculture can be built around a book. A book. If your novel strikes a chord in the public, people WILL hear about it. Twitter will explode with discussions about #yourbookhere. Teens with crazy-cool hair will create fan videos for YouTube. People will type your name into Google and find pages of information.

Aaaaand here's the thing: It doesn't pay to be a purist, because this "pure" idea of publishing and books? It doesn't exist. This is not the death of fiction; it's the evolution.

I admit, I have fantasies in my head just like any other aspiring author that one day my manuscript will be a BOOK, with PAGES and a COVER. I have a hard time imagining it any other way. But I also realize that it's my own bias creeping out. I grew up with paper books. I find them comforting and romantic. And really, it's still very likely that should I be published, my novel would be published in paper form.

But what if it isn't? Am I really so attached to the idea that my book isn't real, isn't important, if it's only available as an eBook? No, I'm not. Those are still my words and my passion on that screen. The format doesn't change the love I put into it and the realness of the characters on the "page."

This idea that the only kind of "real" publishing is ink on paper on the shelf of a bookstore is rapidly becoming outdated. I mean, just because you end up with a "real" book, it doesn't mean anything. What does it matter if it only sits on the shelf? ePublishing is huge exactly because it's going to get novels - good, awesome, amazing, life-changing novels - into so many more hands than physical books. The word of mouth is going to soar. The fans you never imagined existed will have access.

Don't panic. I'm not saying that you have to be a digital whiz. I'm not saying you're going to get ROFLstomped if you're not on Twitter. I'm not saying books are history. Trust me, our beloved paper and ink books aren't going anywhere. Our kids will still have access to them. But as long as we're willing to explore the multitude of new options that are popping up every single day?

Our books won't just be books anymore. They'll be forces of nature the future.

And that is. So. Cool.

guys read, gatsby gaming, and other nonsense.

| Monday, August 9, 2010
Today's Tune: Smooth Criminal (cover)

I hope you enjoyed the rundown of Jon Scieszka's Keynote speech from Friday! He was really something to see in person. His "Boys and Reading" session with Mac Barnett had me rolling. Also, you should absolutely, AB-SO-LUTE-LY, check out the Guys Read website that they co-run. If you have or know a reluctant boy reader, introduce him to this site. STAT.

Okay. I'm trying to decide how I'm going to go about posting aaaaall of those SCBWI talks. What do you think? Should I post daily until they're all posted? SCBWI posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, regular posts on MWF? Any sessions you're especially interested in hearing about LIKE YESTERDAY, STEPH, GET ON IT? Let me know.

I took a fairly long blogging break, so I thought I'd do a regular old maybe genius update that might interest the world you dudes and ladies. I gave the blog a slight facelift, as well. Hey, look, a picture of me that ISN'T five years old.


Did you know they made The Great Gatsby into a video game? It's true. And wonderful. I love this. Literature spread across multiple mediums makes me happy. People (silly people) like to get down on video games as a destroyer of youth and intelligence and the universe, and as a certified gamer girl WHO IS ALSO YOUNG AND INTELLIGENT AND NOT OUT TO DESTROY THE UNIVERSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, I find this attitude misguided. Don't get me wrong, I think Grand Theft Auto games are totally "pffffffffft gross" worthy, but gaming is an industry thirsty for quality storytelling in an interactive medium.

I am going to have to do another post on gaming and storytelling, now that I think about it.


Don't forget about WriteOnCon! It begins tomorrow (August 10) and goes strong till Thursday (August 12). If there's any way you can take advantage of this VERY FREE kidlit writing conference, you should. I've been busy polishing up my first five pages to post in the WIP forum.

Speaking of my first five pages, I recently discovered (via a very helpful crit group) that my beginning isn't really the beginning. My beginning was in chapter two. It was a very

moment, since I was so so so pleased with the wordsmithery and tension of my opening chapter. Such great language and imagery. And I have to scrap it.

That sort of thing cuts you. You really are always learning in this process. I know all the stuff about how to hook readers, how to open a novel, how to keep tension high and propel readers forward - all of it. And I did that, and well. But it's still not right. I've been editing a lot, but this is the first cut I've had to make that really made me go NOOOOOOOOOO. My opening line! My wonderful, poetic, fantastic opening line! I had to kill it!

:( :( :( :( :( :(

On a happier note, Clara's personality is really shining. She was one of those characters that grew a personality as she went, and now that I have a better grasp on who she is, fleshing her out from the beginning is proving not only easy, but FUN. She's so spunky.

The biggest help was going through Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, which I highly recommend. Like they all say - if you want your novel to really shine, you have to push beyond the surface of the obvious. And then push more. And more. Past the breaking point. Past where you ever possibly thought your characters or your story could go. AND THEN YOU PUSH EVEN MORE.

Whew. Sometimes it hurts, this writing life. And sometimes it's amazing.

How about you, dear readers? How's your journey going?

SCBWI Con Wind-down

| Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Today's Tune: Since U Been Gone / Maps (Ted Leo cover)

I love Ted Leo so much.

OKAY OKAY. So, I went to the SCBWI Summer conference. AND IT WAS AWESOME. I met so many fabulous people, ate a lot of fabulous food, and sat in on a lot of fabulous talks.

I missed you all! I'm glad to be home and getting back to my normal routine. The conference was AMAZING, but let me tell you... four days of intense kidlit conferencing? It takes a toll on you. Nonetheless, the experience is one I'll always treasure, and I'm very much looking forward to going again. And again. And again. If there is any way you can swing going to one, I very highly recommend it.

I have pictures to share! But first, I'll give you a brief rundown of the sessions I attended. THERE ARE A LOT:

- Keynote: Jon Scieszka - Tales of a Picture Book Writer: Do's, Don'ts, Maybes
- Keynote: M.T. Anderson - The Journey of Narrative (plus the unofficial Delaware anthem)
- Panel: Nick Eliopulos, Claudia Gabel, Brenda Murray & Jennifer Rees - Editors: What Makes Me Choose Your Book
- Breakout: Jennifer Cervantes, Christina Gonzalez & Guadalupe McCall - Stories That Cross Borders/Boundaries
- Keynote: Loren Long - The Picture Book: My Two Cents Worth
- Keynote: Gordon Korman - Writing for Kids: A Three-Quarter Life's Work
- Panel: Ginger Clark, Josh Adams, Lisa Grubka & Ken Wright - Literary Agents View the Marketplace
- Breakout: Jon Scieszka - What is Going on with Boys and Reading?
- Keynote: Marion Dane Bauer - The Shape of Our Stories
- Keynote: E.B. Lewis - Pursue Your Passions
- Breakout: Rachel Vail - Hearing Your Characters: Creating Distinctive Voices
- Keynote: Gail Carson Levine - Sweat and Magic
- Panel: Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Deborah Heiligman, Elizabeth Partridge, Tanya Lee Stone & Ken Wright - Why Narrative Non-Fiction is Hotter Than Ever
- Keynote: Carolyn Mackler - For Richer or Poorer: Writing Through Good Times and Bad
- Breakout: Rachel Vail - Seeing Your Characters: Adolescent Characters From the Inside Out
- Breakout: M.T. Anderson - Literary Experiment in Books for Children
- Keynote: Gennifer Choldenko - SCBWI: The Sideshow
- Keynote: Rubin Pfeffer - Society of Children's Book Content Creators
- Keynote: Rachel Vail - Finding the Humor and Heart in MG Novels
- Keynote: Paul Fleischman - Surviving the Novel
- Panel: Justin Chanda, Jennifer Hunt, Stephanie Owens Lurie & Francesco Sedita - Four Publishers Discuss Our Industry
- Breakout: Jennifer Rees - Your Voice is Your Voice: Keeping it Real
- Breakout: Julia Durango - Plot RX: 10 Ways to Bring Your Manuscript Back From the Dead

WHEW. Yes. I went to ALL of those. And there were many, many more I didn't get to go to. So. Much. Information.

But I'm sure you want to see the pictures, right? Okay, okay ;)

This is how I started all of my mornings! I am so not a morning person.

But it didn't take me long to get bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, especially when hanging out with the YALitChat ladies! This is Heather Strum, Heather Zenzen, D'Ann Burrow, Susan Kaye Quinn, me, & Stina Lindenblatt. I look very deer-in-headlights.

This was the main ballroom where we watched the Keynote speeches.

Here's M.T. Anderson giving his Keynote and being pretty much incredible while doing it.

The big Heart & Soul Ball by the poolside. Imagine the hotel pool area PACKED with writers and illustrators, drinking and dancing and dressed up and all around having a blast. It was incredible.

And then there was Ashley Bryan, our closing Keynote speaker. Such passion. Such sparkle. You'd never know he was 87. He has more life than most people my age. Incredible.

Of course I had to get a picture with M.T. Anderson. I mean, naturally. Great guy.

And Jon Scieszka. The man wrote two of my absolute favorite picture books! So cool. Also side-splittingly funny.

All in all, an unforgettable and incredibly educational experience. I even ran into Kiersten White and Stephanie Perkins, which was very cool, considering I've been following their blogs for quite some time.

Everyone in this society is so warm, so welcoming, so happy to help you succeed. You really must join if you haven't already.

Aaaaanyway. As you can see, it was a very busy time, and I have a lot of material to process. So stay tuned!


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