January 24, 2008


One morning, when our youngest son was two, we told him we’d go to Miami soon. Of course, “soon” turned into an hour of finishing up things around the house. Impatient, our son tugged on my pant leg and asked, “When we going to Your Ami?”

“My Ami?” I asked, confused.

He nodded vigorously. “Your Ami!”

“Ooooh,” I said, finally understanding. “We’ll go to Miami soon. Really.”

And we did.

This past weekend, I packed a suitcase and headed to Your Ami, er, Miami for the 6th annual Florida SCBWI Conference.

Friday evening, I gave a short talk titled: “Don’t Quit!”

Later, at the speaker’s dinner, Sid Fleischman leaned toward me and said, “Your talk was fantastic.”

Sid Fleischman! The man who has a humor award named after him!

When I was able to breath, I thanked him.

Donna and Sid Fleischman

On Saturday, attendees enjoyed a bevy of inspiring and interesting speakers. Here's the schedule.

Saturday evening – “Ahoy, Matey!” – a nautical-themed dinner party.

Here I am with some of my sailor buddies . . .

Linda, Captain Dan, Riley and Donna

There were pirates . . .

Pirate Ena

Look who washed ashore . . .

Dan, Amy and Chery

And who dropped in from Gilligan’s Island . . .

"Where's the Skipper, Little Buddy? Was he, um, voted off the island?"

And here's Sailor Sylvia . . .

"Swab that deck! Critique that manuscript!"

All had boatloads of fun.

Sunday was filled with workshops. I taught one about finding and applying for grants. The participants were so much fun. I hope they all get big, fat grants to further their careers.

This bunch was only pretending to be studious while we waited for the rest of the group to return from lunch. "And yes, Paul, you may go to the bathroom!"

Three cheers to Linda Bernfeld (and a lot of dedicated volunteers) for pulling the conference together. To thank Linda for helping create a vibrant community of children’s book writers and illustrators in Florida, we chipped in to get her a big card and a spectacular cake, created by Gaby Triana. If you think Gaby bakes amazing book cakes, you should read the books she writes!

The titles on the book cakes were as follows:

1. Frying Nemo

2. Rhyme of the Agent Marinara

3. The Old Man and the Critique

4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Slushpile

5. A Cake of Nautical Puns

6. Pirates of Penned Rants

7. Tuesdays with Morays

After an energizing weekend, it was time to say so-long to friends and Your Ami, er, Miami.

Until next year. . .



Anonymous said...

Donna, the conference was a lot of fun and a wonderful learning experience. I was really impressed to find published authors sitting in on the presentations given by other published authors. It was also very enlightening to see how readily the already successful authors impart their knowledge to struggling writers. Anyone visiting your blog who isn't already a member of SCBWI is missing the chance of a lifetime to increase their effectiveness, thereby increasing their chances of being published.

I can't wait until next January's conference.

Captain Dan

Wild About Words said...

Well said, Captain Dan!

Anonymous said...


It was a wonderful conference and great to see you!

E-mail me the second your book hits B&N!


Anonymous said...

It was a great conference. I love the photo of you and Sid Fleischman. There was something special going on in that hug. That was the very moment all of his wise and divine secrets for writing humorous stories was being passsed to you. And he was right, your talk was fantastic!

Paul R. May said...

Great pictures, Donna!

And it figures... I finally make the big time and get a picture on Donna Gephart's blog... but only cuz I had to go to the bathroom.

You did do a fantastic job with your workshop!


Anonymous said...

nice pics, nice pic of u and sid too. You go sis!!!