Saturday, January 28, 2012

UNEXPECTED SURPRISES AT THE SCBWI CONFERENCE IN NYC!

Hi, Everyone,

Greetings from the BIG APPLE. Originally home for me. I am pleased to say that NYC never disappoints meet and neither did my first day at the conference.

At an EXTREMELY early start, I found myself on the train from my suburban home town at 7:00 am. Yes, folks, I had to get up at 5:30 to be pulled enough together to make that time. Tomorrow is going to be even earlier.... Sundays the trains only run every hour. BUMMER. So it's the 6:30 train for me. YUK! But it is so worth it.

No sooner did I walk into the hotel, conveniently next to Grand Central Station, when I hopped on the elevator to the ballroom floor. There a charming young woman, who could be a dead ringer for a young Wynona Rider, joined me. Her nervous/excited expression said it all. This was her first time at this conference.... mine as well.

Before I could finish asking her the question, she answered with a breathless, "Yes." I smiled and tried to put her at ease, which I knew I did. The stress drained from her glowing face. I met my first new writer friend seconds into the conference. Lila Black and I became instant best friends.

We exited the elevator and RAN to the hot coffee... Since EVERYTHING to eat was carbs, carbs, and MORE carbs, I bit the bullet and smeared some cream cheese on an everything bagel. AH, NY....

Since I barely ate half, I wasn't too concerned. Coffee was much more needed at the moment, and really, who could eat when chatting with a sweet and charming new friend.

The conference started with a warm, welcome from our "Hostess,"Lin Oliver (a children's book author and with the SCBWI FOREVER) which became the big joke of the morning. When she had finished her intro, she had asked us to hang on for five minutes after the panel discussion for a special surprise.

The energy was electric. Who or what could it be? This inquiring mind wanted to know, that's for sure!

Our Key note speaker was renowned author, Chris Crutcher. Let me just say one thing about Chris, taking fiction from real life experiences is THE only way to write. His message was one I had truly related to. Life's traumas are present in all of our lives ... why not write about them. No matter what the cost.

My current novel is Y/A edgy contemporary dealing with child abuse, alcoholism, and yes, sex between teenagers. This is life. This is real. So I connected with him. Nothing is TOO much in writing. Get YOUR message out, no matter what the cost as long as it's true. Of course, I HAD to have his latest book and I had met with him afterwards to discuss it and get his signature. That was my second surprise. Lila being my first.

Next came the panel discussion with four renowned publishing veterans. Fascinating. Discussion on the past, present, and future of this amazing industry. To simplify it, write what you know. Publishing is not dying, just more particular with its projects. We ALL know this... So keep up with your favorite author blogs for any changes that might be brewing.

The time came for our surprise guest... a person. Famous. Known by all for decades. An actor who recently within the past few years entered into writing for children. He has collaborated with our "hostess," and was none other than Henry Winkler. Many of us have grown up with "THE FONZ," and this charming man with a gleam in his eyes amused us for several minutes.

I had the pleasure of meeting Henry and Lin after I had bought their book. It was truly worth giving up my lunch hour for  this pic... here we are, me and "THE FONZ!"

Tomorrow I will recap this afternoon and the GALA cocktail Party. I don't want to overload with too much. LOL.

Until tomorrow. Have a great weekend....


17 comments:

  1. What a wonderful time you're having, Michael. Glad to see your smiling face again! (and the Fonz's, of course. he's an important part of WI history! well, sort of. ;)
    erica

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  2. I was thoroughly enjoying this recap and then I got to the last bit. Wow! You met the Fonz! I am so jealous :-)

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  3. Wow, what a rockin' start to the conference! I'm jealous you're in NYC!! Lila sounds great!!

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  4. Sounds so awesome. Thanks for sharing for those of us who can't be there.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this wonderful time you are having with us! I am a big fan of Fonzy..err...Henry. Just like you he has also made a career change. How wonderful! Wish I was there with you, do you have a link for us? Henrys book?

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  6. It sounds like you are having a great time! Thanks for sharing it with us! I love that picture of you and Mr. Winkler!
    HMG

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  7. You got to meet Henry Winkler! That is so awesome. Glad you're having a good time.

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  8. wow. It sounds like you are having a fabulous time. It shows in your writing :)

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  9. Henry Winkler!? He looks like a great guy. I envy you. You should be a reporter. I felt like I was there. And I envy you meeting the lovely Lila Black.

    I hope your conference dreams come true, Michael -- Roland

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  10. OMG...Looks like you had a great time!! Awesome.

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  11. Yay Michael, from the bottom of the world here I'm very jealous, mainly that you are in the fabled NYC and that you know your way around and that you're having a great time. Fancy meeting the Fonz. Love him! There's always re-runs on and they're still as funny as ever.

    Hope this conference comes through for you and BG. Writing using your life experiences is always good.

    Denise

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  12. I knew you'd make a friend right away. You're too awesome. OMG, a picture and meeting with Henry Wrinkleer! Seriously envying you right now.

    I can't wait for more updates. I will, however, not feel guilty for sleeping in while you're chasing a train :)

    ........dhole

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  13. Oh gee, I'm SOOOO surprised you started making friends two seconds in. That's a great picture of you & le Fonz!

    I'm so happy you're having fun and getting so much out of the conference. I hope day 2 was just as successful.

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  14. Oh my gosh, I'm so jealous! I'm glad you had a lot of fun and happy to hear that Blinded Gardener did well! <3

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  15. So exciting! And how nice to meet another conference-newbie to experience it all with :-)

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