Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year Recap!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

9_2013card1Well, the theme for last weekend’s conference might have started off as Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year, but for me, it soon turned into “OH MY GOSH, I have so much work to do!!”

Seriously. By Sunday evening, I was exhausted, brain-dead, and overwhelmed … in the most fantastic, inspired way!

What a conference.

I’ve been to tons, but collectively, this batch of speakers and presenters were by far among my favorites! And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “You’re on the planning committee, Laura, so of course you’re going to say things like that!” Okay, okay, you got me there, but it’s still totally true.

Chris Crutcher? Wow. Usually big name authors like Chris intimidate the heck out of me, but he was completely approachable, down-to-earth, and a total joy to listen to. He also gave me wonderful advice on writing about your painful past that I have placed in my back pocket to use one day when I’m brave enough. I really appreciated that. Lovely man, lovely presenter!

Floyd Cooper? Oh my gosh. Seriously, don’t even get me started about him. Floyd was a total sweetie who had us on the edge of our seats as he created this … upside down and sideways in about 5 minutes!! 


Amazing, amazing, amazing. And one of my favorite moments from the conference was when it was given as a door prize. EVERYBODY wanted Floyd’s art, (I, personally, would have tackled your grandmother with no regrets for it,) but we were so happy when a lady who’s been a fan of his for twenty years won. She was tickled pink!

Let’s see, who else.

Author Audrey Couloumbis? She’s lovely. Her “Write to the Heart Without Tears” presentation on Saturday morning was the perfect way to kickstart the conference. I missed her “The Writer’s Journey” session on Sunday, but heard it was great, as was her participation during the First Page Mid-grades panel! And I can’t wait to read my copy of Lexie.

Author/Illustrator Susan Stockdale? Another total sweetie who folks say gave a fantastic presentation on “Beyond Books: What I Have Learned about Licensing Artwork.” She also graciously donated several books, cards, and coloring books for our door prizes and challenge awards. Thanks again, Susan!

Author/Illustrator Timothy Young and Illustrator Rebecca Evans? I wasn’t able to see their presentations, but again, I heard fantastic things about both of them and Rebecca had many wonderful things to contribute during Sunday’s Social Media Panel. And I’ll have another chance to see Tim speak this Saturday at 3:00 at the Baltimore Book Festival! I absolutely love my copy of “I Hate Picture Books.”

(Btw, if you’re going to the festival, please join the conversation on our Facebook page for an SCBWI meet-up!)

Same with Dr. Mary Bowman-Kruhm, author of picture books and over thirty nonfiction books. I was in a panel during her presentation, but she was a delight to meet! I would have loved to hear her talk about “When Your Writing Life Overlaps with Your Personal Life.” If only you could be in two places at one time!

Author Edie Hemingway? She gave an EXCELLENT presentation on author school visits that was loaded with tons of tips and advice! The thought of doing school visits still terrifies me, but Edie got me to thinking that they are possible, after all. And she plays the dulcimer beautifully, who knew?

Laura Whitaker, Associate Editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books? Okay, her informative presentation on “Dating 101: What Makes YOU Desirable to an Editor” was the spanking my lackadaisical social media platform desperately needed. Really. It was just what I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear it. Loved her.

(And if anyone out there is feeling especially overwhelmed by social media, don’t worry, we’ll soon be starting a Developing Your Platform Workshop series very soon! If you have any specific topics you’d like to see covered, please leave your suggestion in the comments below.)

Marie Lamba, Associate Literary Agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency? Another excellent presenter and total sweetie who inspired me to replace every “I feel” in my current manuscript with something stronger. There are lots. And lots and lots. Oops. She also did a fantastic job during the Young Adult First Page session and on the Social Media Panel!

As for Martha Rago, Associate Creative Director at HarperCollins Children’s Books, Jessica Garrison, Editor for Dial Books for Young Readers, and Jenne Abramowitz, Senior Editor at Scholastic, I wasn’t able to see their presentations, but many, many attendees gave them very enthusiastic thumbs-ups, and they each were a total delight to meet! Jenne’s input on the Mid-Grade First Page Panel was also quite valuable, as was Martha’s on the Illustrators First Looks panel.

I also couldn’t attend the session given by Cheryl Pientka, an Agent for Jill Grinberg Literary Management, but my co-blogger Susan Mannix walked away with many great tips that she shared with me. Like Jenne, Cheryl did an AMAZING job with the Young Adult First Page Panel on Sunday! Her advice was spot-on and extremely helpful.

Speaking of First Pages, I’m SO HAPPY we were able to get in every submission for picturebooks, mid-grades, young adults, and illustrators! Thank you to our fab panel members: Laura Whitaker and Timothy Young for PB, Audrey Couloumbis, Jenne Abramowitz, and Edie Hemingway for MG, Cheryl Pientka and Marie Lamba for YA, and Floyd Cooper, Rebecca Evans, and Martha Rago for illustrators. 

Thanks for our awesome first page readers, Barb Dell, Shelley Koon, Lois Szymanski, and Susan Detwiler who moderated the Illustrators First Looks panel.

Thanks also to  Rori Shay, Susan Mannix, Maria Lamba, Rebecca Evans, Shelley Koon, and Tracy Gold for putting together such a wonderful (and last-minute) panel on Social Media! We hope it was informative and helpful.

(Speaking of Rori Shay, congratulations and a mighty woo-HOO for her ELECTED trilogy to be published by Entraced, with the first book releasing Earth Day, April 22, 2014!  We’re looking forward to the cover reveal on Nov. 1, 2013.)

(And speaking of Shelley Koon, our lovely critique group organizer, she has posted her list of Thirteen Reasons to Join A Critique Group on her blog! Contact her if you’d like to join one within our region.)

All in all, it was a wonderful conference that did exactly what it was supposed to do: Inspire us to work harder, write and draw with more passion, and most of all, embrace the wonderful world of children’s literature!

So here’s a MASSIVELY HUGE thank you to our dedicated regional advisors, Sue Peters and Sue Poduska, for doing such a wonderful job with their first conference as RA’s! And many, many, MANY thanks to our hard-working committee members, Susan Detwiler, our illustrator coordinator, Loretta Carlson, who took care of all the critiques, Linda Jeffries-Summers, our registration queen,  Lois Szymanski, Edie Hemingway, Shelley Koons, Cynthia GriffithRebecca Evans, and my lovely co-blogger, Susan Mannix. Thanks also to Bobbie Schiede and Carol Millward for volunteering at the registration table, and to Amie Rose Rotruck who helped Bobbie and me collate first page submissions!

(My sincere apologies if I’ve left anybody out!)

Two more things before I get back to taking “I feels” out my manuscript:

Be sure to mark your calendars for our next event:  Spring, Nature’s Revised Draft! A one-day conference in March, 2014 at the Claggett Center in Buckeystown, Maryland. Registration will be opening in February, 2014, and more information about our presenters and schedule will be coming soon!

And finally, Susan and I are so excited, tickled, and flat-out pleased-as-punch to announce that Larissa Graham and Shelley Koon have joined our blogging staff, woo-HOO! 


Welcome, Larissa and Shelley! I can’t wait to read all the awesomeness that you’re both sure to bring to As The Eraser Burns. 🙂 

And for everyone else, if you have any questions about writing, illustrating, marketing, or if you have good news to share, please forward them to After all, this isn’t our blog. It’s for all SCBWI members, so don’t be shy!

Happy writing and drawing, everybody, and thanks to all the attendees, speakers, and committee members who made Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year a total success!

Quite simply … you rock. 🙂

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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11 Responses to Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year Recap!

  1. karadhya says:

    Wow. What an enthusiastic and awesome post. Sounds like the conference was just fantastic! Congrats to all involved. Also, welcome, Larissa and Shelley. Looking forward to your posts!

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Thanks, Kerry! We missed having you there. 😦 Hope all is great on your end!

      • susanmannix says:

        Me too! I started looking for you and then thought “Oh, wait…” Hope you are well and happy!
        Great post Laura! Thanks for wrapping up this wonderful conference for everyone. It was a great weekend!

  2. bandyslant says:

    Thanks, Laura, for thi recap and for all you did to make the conference a success! It was my very first, and I was blown away by everything I l. Laura Whitaker also challenged me to up the ante with my web presence, and I have my own recap posted on my blog here…. Looking forward to networking and keeping in touch with the great people I met 🙂

    • bandyslant says:

      Oh, my, just now realized that something went wrong and my computer seems to have scrambled my post. So sorry for the weird typos and omissions! Thanks again to all who worked hard to put together a great conference. I appreciated all that I learned and the great to-do list I came home with. Best wishes!
      Lindsay Bandy

  3. Pingback: Agent Monday: Got Media? (Social Media, That is…) | Marie Lamba, author

  4. Pingback: What I got from Lucky 13 | As the Eraser Burns

  5. Floyd Cooper says:

    A Big Ol’ Thanks! to you both for the recap! It was a pleasure to meet you!
    …..Floyd Cooper

  6. Pingback: Social Media Workshop #1: Where to Start | As the Eraser Burns

  7. Pingback: Social Media Workshop #1: Where to start

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