Austin SCBWI Holiday Party; Brazos Valley SCBWI Conference

About 200 people descended on the second floor of BookPeople last Thursday night for the Austin SCBWI annual holiday party!

To kick off the festivities, author-poet Philip Yates read from his latest book, A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas (Sterling, 2008).

Author and VCFA student Lindsey Lane coordinated a group photo in support of Amadi’s Snowman by Katia Novet Saint-Lot, illustrated by Dimitrea Tokunbo (Tilbury House, 2008)! See Lindsey’s report!

Greg (pictured signing) spoke on a picture book panel with Philip, author-illustrator Don Tate, and debut author-illustrator Emma Virjan in the amphitheater. Author Brian Anderson served as the moderator. Note: my whole-panel pics turned out blurry, but you can find one at Don’s blog.

Author Lila Guzman, debut author Shana Burg, debut author P. J. Hoover, author Helen Hemphill, and author Jo Whittemore await the beginning of the middle grade/YA panel, moderated by regional advisor Tim Crow.

Later, I spoke on a YA panel with authors Jennifer Ziegler, April Lurie, Margo Rabb, Brian Yansky, and Varian Johnson. This one was moderated by author Julie Lake (thanks, Julie!), but I couldn’t get a picture because I was busy participating.

VCFA graduate Debbie Gonzales and VCFA student and author Anne Bustard.

Author April Lurie with VCFA student and author Varian Johnson.

Tammy Tate and author-illustrator Don Tate.

Chris Barton models the F&G of his debut picture book, The Day-Glo Brothers (Charlesbridge, 2009), “the true story of how young Bob and Joe Switzer invented those eye-popping oranges, yellows, and greens.”

Author Jerry Wermund, illustrator Christy Stallop, and Greg.

Author April Lurie, Author Jennifer Ziegler, and Greg. If you peek over April’s shoulder, you can see debut author-illustrator Emma Virjan.

Author Julie Lake and regional advisor Tim Crow. Thanks to Tim and his whole crew of volunteers!

And thank you, BookPeople! What an amazing night!

The next day, I received a tasty get-well treat from my fellow faculty members at Vermont College of Fine Arts–a chocolate foot to help my real one get better!

Then it was time to pack my bags! This past Saturday, Greg and I had the honor of being on the faculty of “Connections and Craft: Writing for Children and Young Adults:” hosted by Brazos Valley (Texas) SCBWI at A & M United Methodist Church in College Station, Texas. Other faculty members included Pippin Properties agent Emily van Beek, Highlights editor Kim T. Griswell, and author Sherry Garland. Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring Bashi, our medium-sized tabby.

We had great fun staying at the home of Kathi and Ken Appelt, who’re getting ready to leave this week for the National Book Awards dinner in New York. Thank you, Appelts, and congratulations again, Kathi! Here’s Ken in the kitchen, making music.

And here’s Kathi (author interview), along with her agent, Emily van Beek, at the conference. I’ll be seeing Kathi again later this week at The San Antonio Express-News Children’s Book & Author Celebration. See: Author Might Have a Classic or a National Book Award Winner by Vincent T. Davis from The News-Express.

Stars of the Brazos Valley group also include authors Kathy Whitehead and Sherry Garland.

Kathy is modeling her picture book biography, Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008).

Sherry is modeling her historical picture book, The Buffalo Soldier, illustrated by Ronald Himler (Pelican, 2006).

Janet Fox is modeling Get Organized Without Losing It (Free Spirit, 2006).

Highlights of the weekend included meeting editor Kim T. Griswell of, well, Highlights. Appropriate, don’t you think?!

The conference book sale is illustrated here by Austin-based author Lindsey Lane. Thanks to Barnes & Noble Booksellers — College Station!

And a final rousing thanks to Liz Mertz, Janet Fox, and the Brazos Valley chapter for all of their hard work, hospitality, and a five-star event!