Friday night started out with a Kidlit Party and I got to meet so many great people from all walks of life, authors, illustrators, agents, editors, etc. It was so nice to be around people who really get what it's like to be in this creative environment.
Saturday was literally non-stop from the time I woke up at 6:00 am until the time I went to bed at 1:30 am (schmoozing with editors, agents and authors until the wee hours of the morn in the hotel bar. SO MUCH FUN!) First thing Saturday morning was the newbie meeting to let everyone know what was going to happen and what to expect, then introduction to all the guests and speakers. There were so many industry professionals, such as agents Michael Bourret, Edward Necarsulmer (who I absolutely LOVED!), Sara Crowe and Paul Rodeen. Also, editors Elizabeth Law from Egmont USA and Jordan Brown from Walden Pond Press, Lynne Polvino of Clarion Books, Lisa Graff Editor/Author, and Tim Gillner of Boyds Mills Press. The keynote speakers were authors and illustrators, Laini Taylor, Jay Asher, Peter Brown and Mitali Perkins. They also had many other authors, such as my tour guide/roommate/party buddy/all-around great person who now knows way too much about me,(Hee Hee) Mandy Hubbard mandyhubbard , illustrators, etc. This place was jam-packed!
They really kept us all on the go, whether be with sessions or key-note speakers. Saturday ended with a Wine and Cheese party where my sister Shannon, who is shannywriter , and I got to sit and chat with a group of authors, editors and agents, and we literally felt like the geeky kids who got to sit at the cool kids table. It was really wonderful to meet so many local successful authors. I'll be sure to check out their books!
After the Wine and Cheese Party we got to meet up with a bunch of people from the message boards on Verla Kay www.verlakay.com GO Blue Boarders!!!! We all ate dinner at Mehfil's, and I have to say I was pretty hesitant about our dinner destination. I have to admit that I've never eaten Indian food before, so the first thing that popped into my head was the movie "Along Came Polly" with Ben Stiller sweating at the table. And his, um, bowel issues. With my luck, that would have been me. Thankfully none of that happened. Phew!
Sunday was pretty similar, keynote speakers, sessions with agents and editors, but the one session that I really enjoyed that day was with agent Edward Necarsulmer. I had spent some time talking with him the night before, and he showed me a picture book about Jimi Hendrix that one of his author's had done. It hasn't come out yet, but it is really colorful and fun, so definitely keep an eye open for it. Anyway, he did a session on what the job of an agent is, and what he/she does for the authors. His dedication toward his authors is absolutely amazing and by far exceeded what I would have expected from an agent. He has such a passion for what he does, which I am sure many other agents do as well, but you just don't hear about it very often. I was very impressed by what he had to say both during the session and during our conversation prior to the session. If you get the chance to query him, do so! You won't regret it, especially if he offers representation.
Of all the keynote speakers, I have to say that the one I loved the most was Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why. We all love to hear about how authors got where they are today, and his story had no shortage of disappointments and agonizing moments. Overall he was just a very relaxed, funny and at one point, an emotional speaker. At the end, I don't think there was a dry eye in the crowd, though it was for celebratory purposes and not sad in nature. I also got a chance to spend some one-on-one time with him Saturday night and he was very easy to talk to, and just a down-to-earth kind of guy. So many people get a big head with success, and he is definitely not one of those people.
If you ever get a chance to go to one of these conferences, DO IT! It really was an experience I will never ever ever forget. I will definitely be attending this conference EVERY year from now on!
Here are some pictures of my time this weekend.
Okay, I can name some of these people, but not all of them. On the bottom left is my sissy Shannon, then me, author Mandy Hubbard, editor Elizabeth Law, some guy I don't know, agent Michael Bourret, behind him is author Suzanne Young, behind her is editor Jordan Brown, then a fellow Blue Boarder Bryan Bliss, author Jay Asher, local author Kevin Emerson, and then two more local authors whose names I can't remember (sorry ladies).
Shannon shannywriter , Mandy mandyhubbard , and ME!
These are just some of the people we went to dinner with. SO FUN!
I know I have more of these! I think I lost a bunch some where, oh well. I really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people! I have to give a shout out to one of my fellow blue boarders Jeanne who summoned the courage to talk to an editor, who then agreed to take a look at her manuscript! Way to go Jeanne!
The all important "Ticket to Ride". Okay, at first I felt a bit cheesy about the First Time Attendee ribbon, but it all worked out. People took mercy on me, plus it gave me a good excuse to make a fool of myself without an expectations. Hee hee! Not that I did or anything, it was just a good excuse. "Oh, she doesn't know any better, she's new." LOL!