A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure and privilege of participating as a panelist (how's that for alliteration?) at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs' 18th annual conference in beautiful Tampa, Florida.
Melissa Hart, author of Avenging the Owl (a great book, highly recommended), to be part of a panel on Disability in Children's Literature. Melissa herself couldn't be there, but I still had two awesome panel-mates: Naseem Jamnia* and Rachel DeWoskin.**
The panel itself went really well. I estimate we had around 40-50 people in attendance - great for a Saturday afternoon panel - and there were lots of good questions at the end. Naseem was our moderator and she did a fantastic job. Rachel and I both read a little from our books and then we all took turns fielding questions that Melissa had prepared in advance as well as some others that we had come up with earlier in the day.
As for the rest of the conference, I had an amazing time. Listening to other authors and publishing industry people talk about writing and related subjects all day long was like being the proverbial kid in a candy store. There was even a panel about writers who are also musicians! The days flew by and I met a lot of terrific people. Overall, the experience was both energizing and inspirational. Next year's conference will be right in my backyard (Portland, OR, to be precise) so I can't wait!
*Naseem is currently shopping her manuscripts around, but in the meantime, you should check out her terrific writing skills here.
**Rachel has a number of books out, one of which I read cover-to-cover on the way to Tampa, and another that I read cover-to-cover on the way back. I couldn't put either of them down. Do yourself a favor and check out her catalog.