Tuesday, April 15, 2008


The scent of pine trees and lake water. The ticka,ticka, ticka of ladybugs scurrying in and out of every room. The hum of passionate writers and illustrators comparing rejection letters, success stories, and manuscripts. The roar of semi-trucks racing up the road outside my window at 3:00am. Ah, the retreat weekend had finally arrived. Unfortunately so had a completely new staff at our favorite Inn, which meant some rough spots in our idyllic jaunt into the mountains. Let's just say, McDonald's could have provided more consistent food and service. (Ouch...I know that's harsh!)

But the faculty was one of the best ever. Our speakers were impeccable, truly inspiring, and the editors were straight-forward and tons of fun. I feel truly blessed to have connected with T.A. Barron who shared such a love for storytelling and for the earth. Beautiful is the only word I can think of to describe this man. He is so at peace with who he is and so passionate about writing. We swapped stories and he shared the brand new cover of his latest book--Wow! I found a real kindred spirit in Mr. Barron, as well as what I hope will be a common editor!

I can't say enough about Jordan Sonnenblick. We had so much fun--although I'm sure he thinks he has a couple of stalkers, between me and Laurie! His story of how he wrote his first book, Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, was awe-inspiring. It will melt your heart...and make you want to thump the man! That's one writer's journey I would like to have. Jordan has the keenest sense of humor. We shared some war stories from the teaching trenches, although now he has quit his teaching job to write full time. I'm sure he is sorely missed. He's my kind of teacher--and writer!

Gene Barretta shared his journey as well, and oh how cool! Be sure to look for the author's photo on the jacketflap of each of his books--you'll be able to watch a little sprout grow...

The editors all had interesting points of view, and many of the workshops were more hands-on this year. Patrick Collins, the art director from Henry Holt gave the most helpful PB dummy construction workshop. Such a talented, unassuming man. Genuinely interested in seeing what other writers and illustrators were doing.

So...now the real work begins--planning for next year. Yep, that's right, folks. I'm in charge of the next retreat, and already I have a handful of possible sites. Sadly, the location where we have rested for the last 16 years just isn't going to cut it. So, I will be building this one from scratch. But I'm excited and I think I'm up to the task.

Hope to have more news, soon. Publishing news that is.


  1. Maybe I can make it next year! Jordan S was the reason I wanted to go this year (well, besides you :)) -- I'm so glad he was as fab as his awesome book!

  2. Oh man!!!! I missed you!!! I wanted so badly to be there. I will certainly make it next year. Plan on it. However, I WILL NOT wait a year to have tea with you, my friend.

    I'm so glad you had such a fabulous time. Looking forward to hearing about more good news from you soon! ;-)


  3. Ooh! Deena, do you have any other author preferences? looking for some ideas.

    CJ--Oh, yeah, I missed you there, too! And yes, we must meet for tea soon.

    Still waiting on news from 2 editors. I'm in the final 28 at BTP, but having said that, I'm sure I just jinxed the whole deal!


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