You know how at the end of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she only has enough energy to say, after killing the mayor, "Tree, pretty"? That's exactly how I feel now.
We just got back from a terrific five days in San Antonio, where we attended the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolsecents of NCTE). The program for ALAN is available in PDF here. Cyn also did the San Antonio Express-News Children's Book Workshop on Saturday, with M.T. Anderson, Kathi Appelt, and Pam Munoz Ryan.
Thanks to Candlewick Press and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for sponsoring our stay! Thanks also to all the organizers (especially David Gill, who spoke to us about this way back when...), sponsors, and other indefatigable types who made the conference(s) a great success.
Friday, we arrived at the Fairmount about mid-afternoon; checking in, we were greeted by Luke, the hotel dog concierge. That evening, we attended a reception for the Express-News workshop at a private home, where I had the chance to chat with a number of the organizers, as well as Pam Munoz Ryan, and Ken and Kathi Appelt, where we got the details on their trip to New York for the National Book Award gala. Thanks to Nancy, our escort and to our hostess whose name I can't remember right now (sorry!).
Saturday was the Express-News workshop itself, which Cyn attended while I scoped out the exhibits on the floor at NCTE (after moving hotels to the Westin Riverwalk). At NCTE, I happened upon and then went to lunch with the lovely Rita Williams Garcia. Other folks I was glad to have the chance to chat with included Judy O'Malley and Elaine Scott at Charlesbridge, Jeanette Larson (in a variety of locations), Helen Hemphill, John Green, M.T. Anderson, Tanya Lee Stone, Marc Aronson, Patty Campbell, and Linda Sue Park. Also, we found out that Cynthia's cousin Stacy, in her incarnation as an instructional coach/education doctoral student, was in town when she appeared at the signing for ETERNAL. Later that afternoon, Cyn and I had a drink at the hotel with Marc Aronson, discussing, among other things, boys reading nonfiction.
(Walter and Rita)
That evening, Cyn went to the Candlewick-YA librarian dinner while I stayed at the hotel, ordered room service, and read David Gill's SOUL ENCHILADA (I'll have a more complete review closer to publication date but suffice it to say for now that it is absolutely terrific).
Sunday, we had breakfast with Stacy and then lunch with my editor Alvina Ling (They had copies of Geektastic!) at Las Canarias. Afterwards, we decided to take it easy and went back to the hotel room, where I worked on my WIP for a bit. That night was the joint publisher reception, where I had the pleasure of meeting David Yoo in person for the first time; other notables I had the chance to talk with included Gail Giles, Jim Blasingame (former ALAN review editor and current ALAN president-elect), Bonnie Kunzel (panel moderator par excellence), Walter Mayes (aka, Walter the Giant), Stephanie Lurie, and a host of other luminaries I am too fried to remember right now.
Later that evening I attended a champagne social organized by Sonya Soanes and her husband (thanks guys!) for all the authors. Also there were Walter Mayes, David Lubar, Marilyn Reynolds, Laurie Halse Anderson, Varian Johnson, Margo Rabb, Rita Williams-Garcia, Kathleen Duey (I was delighted to find out that the sequel to Skin Hunger is scheduled for next year!) and another host of luminaries I'm too fried to remember right now (Cyn stayed back at our hotel, since her broken toe was giving her grief and she ran out of vicodin a couple weeks ago).
Monday, the ALAN workshop itself kicked off with Teri Lesesne delivering a terrific and rousing keynote and M.T. Anderson with thoughtful opening remarks (also terrific). We didn't see all the panels, but made it to "Shift Happens: Reading Material that Switches Teens from the Internet to Books," with Walter Mayes, Lauren Myracle, and Shana Norris. After lunch in the restaurant at the Marriott Rivercenter, the afternoon kicked off with an insightful speech by Joan Bauer, and a panel on "sports stories" with Matt de la Pena and Catherine Gilbert Murdock. This was followed by Cyn's panel with Melissa Marr and Rick Riordan, titled "Gods, Foods, and Tattoos: The Mixed Mythos of Urban Fantasy." (Cyn, as always, was excellent, and talked about literary influences on Tantalize and Eternal).
Later that afternoon was a panel called "Fear and Loathing in Young Adult Books," with Nancy Werlin, Gail Giles, and Sheri Sinykin. The workshop broke that evening with a hilarious monologue by David Lubar. Other highlights included chatting with C.J. Bott and Don Gallo (this apparently, is the tenth anniversary of his heart attack at NCTE Nashville), and E. Lockhart, who had her new baby there, as well.
(Me and David Yoo)
The second day of ALAN began with a speech titled "Speaking the twisted Truth to Power," by Laurie Halse Anderson (she blogs ALAN here). My panel on Tuesday was with Dave Yoo and Cory Doctorow, and was called "Let's Hear It for the Boys: Writing for the Teen Male." We did a well-received Q&A (thanks Bonnie!) and then signed.
(Me and Bonnie)
Lunch was again at the Marriott Rivercenter, this time with Walter Mayes and Helen Hemphill. That afternoon, we heard Sharon Flake talk about "Ten Years of Living in the Skin I'm In," and a panel called "War is..." with Marc Aronson, Patty Campbell, and Rita Williams-Garcia. After a break where we had a chance to talk with Patty Campbell, we returned for the last panels of the day, which were "When Love Produces a New Negotiation," with Marilyn Reynolds, Neal Shusterman, and Joan Kaywell; and "New Voices in Young Adult Literature," with Donna Freitas, Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, and Suzanne Crowley.
By then, of course, we were completely fried, and went over to Luca for a drink and dinner with David Gill and Walter Mayes.
(David Gill, snarling).
NCTE/ALAN is one (or two) of the most fun, exhausting, and exhilarating of all the writing/reading/teaching conferences. I'm going back to bed...