This last weekend, I attended the Austin SCBWI Something for Everybody Conference held at St. Edward’s University and at the Wyndham hotel. Like the conference title suggests, there was something for everybody, and that included this faculty member of the conference wearing many hats. (Though not as many as RA Debbie Gonzales and ARA Carmen Oliver, who astound me with their attention to detail and creating a jam-packed conference lineup and making it run like clockwork.)
I was there as a published author — critiquing pages for conference attendees. I was there as an” introducer” — getting to introduce Kirsten Cappy of Curious City and to watch as word spread of her unique marketing campaigns from the conference room where her session was held throughout the conference. And I was there as a friend and colleague and thrilled to see a special award given to husband and wife Greg Leitich Smith and Cynthia Leitich Smith as Austin Ambassador’s of Children’s Literature.
It’s an honor that’s so well deserved. Whether for a visiting author, someone new to town, or a local in need of industry advice, Cyn and Greg are happy to share their knowledge, help authors make connections and champion all of us in whatever endeavor we take on. It was time to make their unofficial ambassador status official. Congratulations to two of the hardest working authors in the kid-lit biz — both with new books out or soon to be out. Cynthia’s Diabolical is on shelves now and Greg’s Chronal Engine releases March 20th.
And with all that exciting stuff, I was also at the Austin SCBWI conference as Operations Manager of The Writing Barn, with brochures in attendee and faculty packets, informing them about The Barn and what we offer to the writing community.
But the big news is that The Writing Barn donated a weekend writing retreat to the conference’s silent auction. This year, raffle tickets were sold for each prize, and boxes for various items were filled full to the brim. Many lovely writers told me they had stuffed their tickets into The Writing Barn box hoping to win the weekend.
This took place as I stuffed the boxes of five Austin artists: Patrice Barton, Shelley Ann Jackson, Jeff Crosby, Marsha Riti, and Mark Mitchell. If I didn’t win one of their works, I vowed to kick someone in the shins. Not sure who that someone would have been, but luckily I didn’t have to. I came up the big winner of Marsha Riti’s original print, which will now hang in The Writing Barn for all to enjoy!
When it came time to pull The Writing Barn weekend retreat winner, I was able to be the hand that had the honor. I swirled and swirled and picked up two tickets, dropping one before announcing the winning number. After the number was read aloud, the big winner stepped forward. And it was none other than Houston debut author Lynne Kelly Hoenig, whose novel Chained, hits the shelves May 8th.
As Lynne Kelly’s writing buddies swarmed her in congratulations (and in hopes of attending the weekend with her), I ran over to give her a huge hug! The date is to be decided, but the Houston writing peeps will be in the Barn sometime this spring. Look for news of their writerly arrival here at The Writing Barn blog.
BUT that isn’t the only opportunity to win a Writing Barn writing retreat. Look for another auction giveaway, this one via Hunger Mountain’s ebay auction.
As it won’t be just for Texas writers within driving distance who will be bidding on this one, I am thinking a week at The Writing Barn should be the big prize. Seven days and seven nights to write, dream, walk the land, sip wine, read, and hit all the Austin hotspots: BookPeople, the Broken Spoke, the hike & bike trail, The Saxon Pub and more! What do you think? Should I auction off a week?
Other Writing Barn News
Don’t miss Saturday’s (Feb. 25th) Women’s Writing and Yoga class with Leila Levinson & Michelle Gatto. Register now.