ALA San Francisco 2015 - friends and books and a lot of walking.

I always enjoy the American Library Association Summer Conference! It's a chance to catch up with what's new, meet publishers and friends old and new. This year, though, was made even more fantabulous by the chance to meet up with some of my Nevada SCBWI Mentor Alumni buddies from 2010/2011. Five us us shared a sweet apartment near the Moscone Centre in San Francisco and you can bet there was laughter, gossip and deep conversations into the early hours ... So often in the book world the friends you make are spread far and wide, only social media keeps you in touch. Even more special was the fact that all of us are now published or agented and several of us had author events at the conference. It was also a lot of fun to go to each other signings! Back in 2010 we were all newbies, mostly unpublished and the raw material. As you can imagine, we celebrated fully! I cannot speak highly enough about the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Programme, I'm proud to be going back as a mentor myself for the coming session (click here to find out more

ALA highlights for me this year included the Caldecott/Newbery/Wilder Awards ... Dan Santat, Kwame Alexander and Donald Crews gave outstanding speeches that had the audience alternately in floods of tears or gales of laughter. (See links below to read the speeches).

Dan Santat

Kwame Alexander

Donald Crews

I leave you with some photos from around the conference. (Click on each for details!)

(Oh and so much walking, SO MUCH!)


Nevada Mentor Program

I am thrilled to have been asked to be a mentor on the celebrated Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program this year. I was part of the program as a mentee back in 2010/2011. It's pretty special to be asked back and to work with 2-3 mentees myself. The program was probably the one thing I did that really set my career on it's way. The friends and contacts I made are still strong and very much part of my life. Ellen Hopkins and Suzanne Morgan Williams did a marvellous job starting this program and it's as great as ever! Check out the line up of mentors for yourself. Maybe I will see you there? Applications are open ... spaces are limited. What are you waiting for?


Virginia City and the NV mentor (NOT MENTAL!!) programme is a distant memory already. OK, not really, missing all my new found writery friends very much. I won't go on (again!) about what a fab time I had, in case I make you jealous and I would. It just got better though. 2 x's winner in the raffle and I won a review with senior editor Cheryl Klein at Arthur A Levine Publishers in NY. Don't know who they publish?? Google them! Have to tell you it is a wonderful opportunity to make it to the top of their slush pile.

So here's a few of my comrades-in-arms (and moi) out on the town in Virginia City ...

(talented Heidi Sheffield, Sarah (Messy) Mcguire, fabulous Craig Lew, cutesy Amy Allgeyer Cook and The Wacky Brit.)

This is a great goal I can now set myself to get my YA in shape. I wrote furiously on the plane and am beginning to see it come together in my mind. Whether I will get it together on the page is another thing ....

Here is a quick sketch of Reno I did in the airport (really!) I had hoped to draw more when I was in Virgina City, but, alas not enough time. And the altitude did get to me, like they said. And they were right, this Nevadians.

Since I got back I have been working hard on the first go round of revisions for Free Spirit Publishing, done some late nights, finished yesterday. So a breather before they come back to me ...

Waiting for the contract with Charlesbridge ... yippee!! More on that soon I hope.

I am in earnest now in my search for an agent (just in case any happen to be idly reading this blog in their free time .. right ....?) So although the math concept PB's are now at dummy stage I am not sending them out to editors until I hear back from the agent query.

Meanwhile working on new ideas and thinking about APPS. Emma Dryden gave a very informative talk on the way forward with IPAD, she is working with Ruckus Media.

PIXEL SHAVINGS!! The new GLOG is launched (Group  bLog for the uninitiated.) Myself, Russ Cox, Sheralyn Barnes, Carrie Clickard and Fred Koehler will be posting every few days our sketches and art. Come along and join at it's going to be a lot of fun. We are all author/illustrators.

The leaves are falling here in Maine and we have had some good Nor' Easters already. It looks like winter is nearly with us. I am good with that, because I have a heap of ideas to keep me warm.

In my breathing space today going to be working on a piece for the 2011 Tomi de Paola award for NY SCBWI conference. The theme is Heidi ... so I am researching Alpine views.

Lastly, thank you to Teri Sloat. She gave me permission to create. Sounds crazy I know. So I will be doing it Teri!

And my fellow mentees from Nevada I love ya and I miss ya and I can't wait till April!! Margarita Pong!

Hasta la Vista
aka The Wacky Brit

PS. NOTHING NEW ON THE BEDSIDE TABLE!!!! Going to visit my long suffering library this morning.