My mini-break at the Cape was lovely for all kinds of reasons, most notably the best ice cream I've had in a long time, at Four Seas in Centerville. I tried the chocolate, peppermint, peach and butter crunch--all sublime. Closes September 13th for the winter so hurry on down. Richard and I stayed just a block away at the Long Dell Inn, which went a long way in alleviating my suspicions of the term bed and breakfast. Nice bed, great breakfast, friendly innkeepers. Kept myself occupied each morning at the beach with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo while Richard one-upped me with Midnight's Children.
Oh yes, work: the writers' conference afforded me (and the attendees, I hope) a great six-hour discussion with Mary Lee Donovan, Debbie Kovacs, Alison Morris, Nancy Werlin and Martin Sandler about contemporary children's publishing, from the nitty-gritty of getting an agent to larger questions about the future of the market. Everybody seemed to think that we were not seeing enough picture books (the form, Mary Lee suggested, most likely to survive as printed book) and perhaps too much YA. Nancy wisely advised the audience to cover its ears when we moaned about the current depressing economic situation--since you need to write the book you need to write anyway, she said, discouraging words can only harm.
And I finally got to meet Mitali Perkins. Yup, she's tall.
Now the Christmas books are calling--I have to go write a review of Jim Murphy's forthcoming Truce, about the sadly ephemeral Christmas peace on the Western Front in 1914, for our Holiday Books feature. Ho-ho-ho.