2012 Iowa SCBWI Conference

Four of us converged in Brooklyn Park, MN, to carpool to Des Moines for the three-day 2012 Iowa Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference.  On the way home, all four agreed that the eight-hour round trip was worth every mile.

Minnesota party crashers: Randy Holland, me, Cynthia Weishapple, Elise Hylden.

The journey started one year ago when my new writing partner, Cynthia Weishapple, (the stranger who sat by me at the 2011 MN SCBWI Conference), happened upon the web site of Jan Blazanin.

We followed the cyber trail to Jan’s Magical Writing Group friends (Eileen Boggess, Sharelle Byars Moranville, and Rebecca Janni) and vowed we, too, would one day attribute our success to our writers group sisterhood.  Our vision paid off in the spring when Elise Hylden and Kristi Herro joined us. (See My Writing Friendspage.) With four invested in each other’s success, the group is magical, as promised. Like Jan’s group, we hope to inspire other writers, who will inspire other writers…

Iowa inspiration. Magical Writers Group: Jan Blazanin, Eileen Boggess, Rebecca Janni. Not pictured: Sharelle Byars Moranville.

Creatures of the Night.

Yes. We Midwesterners know how to party.

Conference organizers gave us three opportunities to share our work: a Friday night peer review workshop, a Saturday manuscript review, and a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning open mic session.  They also orchestrated table assignment mixers and a Creatures of the Night Tour of downtown Des Moines.  All could come away with new insights and new friends. No one would come away a stranger.

It seemed fitting that writers conference attendees would gather in Des Moines’ Pappajohn Sculpture Park’s Nomade.  Jaume Plensa, Nomade’s creator, imagined the letters as building blocks for words and ideas, like human cells for the body.





Thanks to the Magical Writing Group and 2012 IA SCBWI conference committee members: Connie Heckert, Lisa Morlock, and all conference volunteers.  You shouldn’t have been so nice, because we’ll probably be back again next year.

6 thoughts on “2012 Iowa SCBWI Conference

    • Thank you, Sharelle! Congratulations on your amazing successes — especially The Hop. What a timely, clever concept! You’ve inspired me to fight for that three hours of writing per day, six days a week, 52 weeks per year. It’s more difficult than it sounds. Come see us in Minnesota. We’re just a skip and a HOP north of you. (Excuse the shameless pun.)

  1. Marlys, loved meeting you here in Iowa, and we’ll be happy to see your smiling face again and again (and those of your friends)! I have to tell you…that first week after the conference, I caught myself – FIVE times – beginning a sentence with “Ac-tu-al-ly…” Hmmm, wonder where I picked that up! 😉

    • Jill, ac-tu-al-ly, Elliot would get a kick out of that. I finally hid the book jacket cover from TOM’S TWEET before my “tweets” destroy it. You look so cute as Cat Woman. And, consarn it! You and Dan Santat make a great team! Please, come see us in MN. I mean it!

    • Eileen, usually when a body heads south, it’s not a good thing. We needed to go — to drink the water. The Iowa zeal, comaraderie, and joy is contagious. Thanks for the open arms. We’d love to welcome you north anytime. Also, congratulations on your many successes. Mamma Mia! Mia’s Magnificent!

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