Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Austin's Writing Barn: A Special Place; Plus Texas Trails

The screen porch on the Barn - great for eating and working.
At the end of January I made a trip to Texas for a number of events. For the time I spent in Austin I was lucky to stay at The Writing Barn, a unique facility located on the south side of Austin owned and run by multi-talented author (and friend and VCFA alum) Bethany Hegedus. It turned out to be as much a personal retreat for me as a promotional tour.

The Writing Barn is peaceful and serene. For the hours I spent there between events I was able to write without interruption - which was not something I expected. I don't usually write easily while I travel, so I was thrilled to add almost 8000 words to my WIP during my stay.

As if the Austin kidlit scene weren't already one of the best, starting this year Bethany is hosting a series of "Advanced Writer Weekend Workshops". The first featured former editor and now agent Alexandra Penfold. The second in mid-April will address emotional pacing and be conducted by Sara Zarr, and the third, next November, will be run by Francisco X. Stork and is titled "Diving Deeply: Thoughts, Gestures, and Dialogue". I encourage writers to check out these offerings and, if you are in Austin, make plans to visit the Writing Barn.

At the MCBF with authors Suzanne Crowley, left, and Anna Myers.
I also was privileged to participate in a huge event in The Woodlands, the Montgomery County Book Festival. The readers I met - teens and adults alike - were attentive and excited and thrilled to meet so many of their favorite authors. The Festival had something for everyone - put it on your calendar if you are in the Houston area.

And a huge shout-out to BookPeople in Austin, Barnes & Noble in College Station, the awesome librarians in Austin and Houston who made me so welcome, and Murder By the Book in Houston - I had a ton of fun.

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