So, I finally met Henry Winkler. It’s been a long time in coming, actually.

I attended Emerson College for my undergrad and spent countless days walking past a human sized picture of him in the lobby of the Little Building (which is, in a since unmatched left-turn of wit and irony, the largest dorm on campus). There he was every day. The Fonz. And I finally met him.

That’s just one of the things that happened on Saturday at the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) winter conference in New York. Henry was a surprise. He co-writes some pretty sweet MG novels, it turns out, and he addressed the crowd with a lot of humor and a super bright shirt. He was very sweet and very encouraging.

Other highlights from the weekend:

– Two amazing roundtable critique sessions – one with a lovely, insightful editor and one with a lovely, insightful, and intimidating agent.

– A session on building romantic tension in YA literature given by Cassandra Clare (author of The Mortal Instruments series — CUDDY, YOU GET ON THIS RIGHT NOW!) This was one of my favorite parts – she used examples from so many dorky things I love: Buffy, True Blood, Felicity, Twilight, etc. It was totally entertaining and really helpful as well.

-Breakout sessions with different editors, one of whom handed out an amazing, robust list of revision strategies. Probably more bang for your buck than a semester in a publishing class.

Chris Crutcher was, hands down, the best speaker I’ve ever seen. I won’t try to summarize what he talked about but everyone in the gigantic ballroom was crying and laughing simultaneously. He is brilliant. Read his books.

-Lots and lots and lots and lots of incredibly kind, talented and generous people. The SCBWI is an absolute gift.

And then when I got back home I found out that I won a small writing contest! The winners were chosen by a literary agent and the prize is that he will review the first three chapters of THELMA. Yay!

Also, the lovely and insightful editor from the SCBWI roundtable critique also asked to read a bit more of my little story – so in total, it’s out to five people now. Just keeping my nose to the grindstone, as it were. After this I fully intend to do a google image search for “grindstone” to see if it’s a thing I would ever think about putting my face on.

That’s the update!



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