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Conferences

#Kidlitcon is the New Beyonce

This past weekend I took a trip to Wichita, Kansas to help facilitate Kidlitcon. And you heard me right, folks, forget that Beyonce; she’s yesterday’s news. Kidlitcon was Lit! Turnt! Off the Chain! Fabulous!

Never since that time at band camp have I had such a good time. I met some super nice locals. Heck, ALL of the locals arcamp have I had such a good time. I met some super nice locals. Heck, ALL of the locals arKidlitcon 2016e nice; which is kind of off-putting when you’re from the East Coast and no one  really cares how your day is going or why you’re in town. Aside from meeting nice locals, I met my tribe. My squad. My pack. I’ve known the organizers of Kidlitcon/Cybils marginally for a couple years now but in Kansas, we became friends. How can you not become friends with people who share your understanding of Heathcliff, Harry Potter, and Lemony Snicket? Ok maybe I was the only one who liked Heathcliff, but whatevs. These people let me fly my bookfreak flag high and didn’t judge.

 

If you want to know what we talked about and who we talked to, follow these two hashtags: #kidlitcon16 and #kidlitcon.  We spent time with AS “My book won a Cybils Award” King, C. Alexander “I write for all genres” London, Clare “I have a Newbery Award” Vanderpool, and TONS of other authors whose names I will mess up if I try to remember them without checking Twitter. But just know that if you didn’t attend you missed OUT. Just like how Beyonce dropped her last album and people lost their minds? That’s how it went down in Wichita.

We were WILDIN’ !

Shout out to Drury Inn for comfy beds, the Arkansas River for being all quiet and pretty, and for Wichita, for being home of the super nice people and yummy food. OMG who knew that Wichita could do BBQ? Super shout out to the nice dude with the Tom Selleck ‘stache from Drury hotel who helped with conference set up. He was a superstar for making things possible for us.

Even though it wasn’t on the agenda, diversity was prevalent in practically every conversation. It was the elephant in the room that we couldn’t ignore.  We celebrated diversity of many different types: racial, religious, ability, socioeconomic, etc. I was really amazed at how chill and woke everyone was about diversity.

Woke. Yes I said it. The kidlit community is WOKE. We are aware of the need for diversity, we want it, and we want our diversity to be diverse: not everyone’s story is the same nor does everyone react the same way and that’s important. I feel good about the bloggers, librarians, and authors I met last weekend. I feel like I have a squad of folks who will stand with me as I fight for more diversity in kids’ books.

I have a SQUAD. A posse. A tribe. A gang. A group of diverse bookish folks who are just like me.

And it feels AWESOME.

There’s room for you at the kidlit diversity table.

Join us! (bring your own wand)

 

P.S. Jonah Winter is a yinzer.

P.P.S. We learned about Occam’s razor. Or was it Shroedinger’s window?

P.P.P.S. Phil Binder is RAD.

 

Categories
Conferences Travel

Librarian in the Kitchen: Conference Preparations; Cooking for the Family

I love to travel! There’s nothing like learning new things and seeing new places.  As a blogger, I love  to attend several conferences and while it’s fun to travel, there is a certain amount of prep work that must be done to get out of the door. One of the things many of us do to prepare for conferences is prepare meals for the family we’re leaving behind.  In preparing for my trip to Sacramento to attend kidlitcon, I turned to my friend Heather, from Real, the Kitchen and Beyond, for food suggestions.

Chicken is very easy to prepare in numerous ways and my only requirement for Heather was that the meals couldn’t have dairy in them which meant no cheese. Boo.  Anyway, after reading Heather’s recipes here, I had my ideas!  We secured 5-8 pounds of chicken in bulk and I set to work cooking. If you’re like me and don’t have a crock pot big enough for all that cluck, you hafta get creative.

crockpot cooking

My family is the epitome of  picky eaters so we only buy chicken breasts. I like to divide up the chicken according to how many people I think might eat this particular thing i’m going to cook.

For the Crockpot, I placed 3 breasts and covered in water.  I added half a bag of Lipton Chicken Soup for flavoring. Once this had cooked, my Pumpkin shredded it and used it for chicken tacos.

Next I pulled out my dutch oven for the stove top.

stovetop cooking

Three or four chicken breasts should do the trick here. I was making chicken chili, so the more chicken the better.

I just use basic seasonings here; pepper, minced garlic (I prefer fresh but jar or dry will suffice in a pinch), and onion powder. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for hours. Chicken should break apart with a fork.  Do not remove chicken from the pot; just break it apart right there with a giant fork or spoon or whatever you have.

Then add your fave beans. I just used whatever I had on hand: Canneloni beans, Light Red kidney beans, Black beans.  Any beans that you like will do. When I’m making beef chili i don’t drain the beans because I need the liquid but because I’m making chicken and there is plenty of liquid in the pot, I drain the beans. It’s your choice.

After adding the beans, I add

  • chili powder
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • sofrito
  • stewed tomatoes that have some sort of flavoring in them for a little kick like jalapeños or similar.

If your family is’t much on spices totally back off on the spicy flavors. Just for fun I added little alphabet pastas because that’s what I had in the pantry.

Cover and simmer for an hour or so, stirring frequently.  The longer it simmers, the softer your beans will be.  When chili is ready, I IMMEDIATELY freeze half of it so I can enjoy a meal quickly one day when I’m strapped for a meal.

Finally, the remaining chicken went in the oven.

Bakingoven

I covered the chicken with water and sprinkled a little bit of minced garlic garlic for flavor. Bake at 250 for several hours until tender.  I made no plans for this chicken so that the family could do what they want with it. My husband likes to put chicken on top of his Lean Cuisines or on a store bought salad; my pumpkin likes to make bbq sandwiches,  so I like to leave them with options.

Because my family has weird eating preferences and also because my kids are 22 and 17, I generally tend to cook only on Sundays. The rest of the week they can heat up leftovers or fix their own meals since I am working.

Now that I know my family will have food in the house, I’m free to hit the skies for my own traveling adventures!

What do you fix for your family when you go away? Don’t forget to pop over to Heather’s site and show her some love!

 

Categories
Books Conferences

Is BEA all Fun and Games? YES! and No. It’s Hard Work

BEA is HARD WORK! You on on stage and live practically 24 hours a day; either chatting with your roommate, standing inline and meeting people while waiting for authors, or doing the 4 million other activities that happen during this busy week. To be sure, it’s fun but it’s hard work having that much fun.

I should know.

beagoodtimes.jpg

 

But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s your favorite conference to attend?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Conferences

Looking back on BEA 2013

If you haven’t heard, this week is BEA: Book Expo America, the biggest bookish event in the US.  I’m away this week attending the event, making new friends and learning lots of new skills. I will share updates on my FB page, Twitter, and Instagram, but meanwhile, please enjoy some highlights from last year’s trip.

BEA2013Collage.jpg

As you can see, I met with EVERYONE!! It was great fun and exhausting. Let’s see there was: Rick Yancy, Veronica Roth, Jacqueline Woodson, Jan Brett (I know!!), Sarah Dessen, Andrea Cremer, and oh, I don’t know, John Lewis. Most importantly? I got to hang with my old friends!

 

Categories
Blogging Conferences

I’m Moderating at BEA Blogger Con!

If you’re a book blogger, you’ve probably heard of Book Expo America. It’s like Disney World for book lovers! AND if you’re a blogger, you’ve also probably heard of the Book Blogger conference.

BEA

I’ve been attending BEA for a few years now and I’m always amazed at how much fun I have and also at how EXHAUSTED I am at the end of the week. Heck, who am I kidding? End of the DAY!  I run on fuel (coffee) all day everyday going to parties, grabbing books, making new friends, and learning as much as I can about the book industry.

You can imagine my delight when I was selected to moderate a panel discussion during Blogger Con!  Blogger Con, which I heard a rumor they might change the name to PammyPam Con, is Wednesday May 28th.  Maureen Johnson (THE MAUREEN JOHNSON) is the keynote speaker, how fun is that?

Blah blah blah all the important stuff: ME MEMEMEMEME 1:45pm:

Beyond the Blog: Introduce Yourself to Vlogging and Podcasting

Vlogging BEA Blogger con Vlogging copy

 

 

See there?? Look straight up! I’m the one with the tiara! I’m thrilled to be part of the lineup.  I love to vlog and I hope to share my love with others so they can party like a rock star too! I share my love of vlogging with my local friends all the time. You can find me on Youtube, Socialcam, Vine, Instagram, and just about anyplace that will let me post a video or photo of a book or a cute puppy.  Or a zombie.  I’ve even been known to pop up on the radio!

If you see me at BEA this year, I hope you’ll stop me and say HI! Just don’t poke me, I hate that. Oh and you MUST know the secret password in order to better enjoy our interactions.

 

Categories
Conferences resources

11th James River Writers Conference

jamesriverWriters, mark your calendars. The James River Writers Conference is celebrating its 11th
year as one of the most prestigious gatherings of published authors, literary agents and editors in the country with a two-day event that will inspire and educate writers on the rise.

The James River Writers Conference returns to Richmond on October 19 and 20 with an impressive lineup of  literary professionals, writing workshops and opportunities for aspiring writers to pitch their book ideas, hone their skills and connect with nationally recognized authors and publishers.

This year’s conference features an extensive list of esteemed guests and speakers including award-winning book designer and writer Chip Kidd, National Book Award-winner Kathryn Erskine and best-selling, award-winning author Christopher McDougall. Also making appearances at the conference are award-winning authors Cece Bell, Lydia Netzer, Megan Mayhew Bergman and Philippa Ballantine. Book Doctors and
Pitchapalooza founders Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry will be on hand, and don’t forget to make time for agents including April Eberhardt, Deborah Grosvenor, Victoria Skurnick and Paige Wheeler.

Year after year, the conference is lauded for its remarkable programs and its noteworthy influence on the writing community. It’s no wonder why hundreds of people have been flocking to central Virginia each fall since 2003.

“The James River Writers Conference [is] one of the best writers’ conferences in America,” says David Henry Sterry, of The Book Doctors. “If you’re a writer, do yourself a favor, get yourself to Richmond, Va., and go to this conference. It’s filled with warm, generous, talented writers, editors and agents.”

Registration for the annual conference is open, and writing sessions are already filling up. Find more details and a full list of programs at JamesRiverWriters.org.

 

Categories
Adult Fiction Conferences Reviews Young Adult

The Great Gatsby and Cupcakes and #BEA

The Great Gatsby

Who knew someone would find a way to combine books and food?  Well, the smart folks at BEA figured out how to do just that! They make cupcakes based on their fave books and then send the cupcakes to me to enjoy (I WISH)!

Either way, their videos are cute and fun and prolly very tasty.

You might remember I read and reviewed The Great Gatsby a while back for book club. My review is here.  While the book wasn’t a hit with me, I might hafta revisit the book while eating several yummy cuppies…

 

On that yummy note, take a look at the video…

How fun was that? Can’t you just see me yourself eating a cupcake?

Similarly, there is a funny pic going round Pinterest about Gatsby.  Let’s see if I can find the photo.

gatsby party

Thanks to I Waste So Much Time for the original post.  You’re completely right: Ain’t no party like a Gatsby party!

 

 

Categories
Books Conferences

#BEA and New York City Here I Come!

I’m so happy to announce that I’m attending BEA this year! What’s BEA you ask?  BEA, or Book Expo America, is the biggest, most ginormously fun book conference on the planet!

BEA

BEA is THE conference to attend in the book industry; everyone and anyone who likes books is there.  So you’ll have book bloggers, book sellers, librarians, authors, book publishers, book illustrators, coffee (goes with books), reporters, and more from all over the world to discuss books.  I went last year and had the time of my life.  As you’ll see from the collage below, there isn’t anything I didn’t do, except sleep much!

BEA12Collage

I’d like to thank Thien-Kim of I’m Not the Nanny and Rachee of Say it Rah Shay for tolerating me last year.  Kim and Rachee and I are in the From Left To Write, an online book club so we knew each other going into the trip. Rachee and I are in the Philly area and I stalk see her as much as I can.   Fun fact #1: Rachee is a real live librarian who works in a library!  Fun fact #2: I’m a certified librarian, but I work in a bookstore!

So anyway, you can see from the collage that the three of us met everyone, took every book, and met every challenge that was presented to us!

I expect this year to be no different: I’ve got a full agenda lined up and I hope to meet some new book blogging friends, learn about some new books, and maybe make some new connections.

My dance card is filling up so if you want to get next to me while I’m in New York, leave a message down below, I love making new friends!

Categories
Conferences

COUNTDOWN TO #BEA

Categories
Blogging Conferences

#PhillyHomeHer12 Wrap up

So…PhillyHomeHer12 came and went.  BlogHer12 is over as well.  While our minicon (mini conference) was not the overwhelming size and scope of BlogHer, those in attendance had a good time. Towne Book Center & Cafe in Collegeville graciously donated their space and coffee and yummy cookies for our session.

This was a unique conference, one in which everyone pitched in and had a stake in the conference.  Some donated items for swag, some shared knowledge and some posted links, etc.  I am never failed to be amazed at how giving the local bloggers are that I run with.  This minicon was a group effort and a group success!

Here are a few glimpses of the action:

Becks from Crafty Garden Mama and Victoria from Victorian Gilt

Chrissie from Picadilly Arts and Dana from Single Mom in the City

Steph aka Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom

and Janeane from Janeane’s World (ps she has TWINS)

Then, we moved on to Firebirds Restaurant where we were treated royally and plied with tasty food and drink.

I haven’t eaten that much yummy food since Aruba.

Here are some snaps of us at Firebirds:

Hey that’s Sheri from Humor & Honey (btw: she’s Andy Rooney’s replacement)

and a little refreshment

and…i had time to interview Arlett!

So…that was the phirst phillyhomeher12.  who knew i could plan a minicon?

So, my new slogan?

Keep Calm and plan your own conference!