Monday, October 23, 2006

New Moon Travels to Wisconsin!!

Yesterday was the one week anniversary of New Moon's trip to Wisconsin, where we gave a keynote address and a writing workshop at the Learn, Earn, and Prosper (LEAP) conference. The conference was an opportunity for high school girls to check out different career options. Nancy Gruver, New Moon's founder, Carly, a former Girls Editorial Board Member, and me (Lacey, assistant managing editor!) were the lucky women who got to go on the trip.

The conference was fun, but the HIGHLIGHT of the trip was getting to meet Natalia and her family. Natalia has been a long-time reader of New Moon and has written several great pieces for us, most recently "Disobedience" (Sept/Oct 2006) and, coming soon, "No Sweat!" (Nov/Dec 2006). She's also been a member of the CAB (Computer Advisory Board) since it started in summer of 2004. CAB members know her by the name of Nati.

I've admired Natalia's writing for so long that when I was on my way to her house, I felt like I was about to meet a celebrity! I felt a little nervous when we arrived, especially since I'd been driving for over six hours and felt a little disoriented. But her family was so warm and welcoming that my nervousness went away in about 15 minutes. In fact, by the end of the night, I felt as though we'd known each other for years. Considering how much work Natalia and New Moon have done together, that's kind of true.

I wish all of our readers and writers could have the chance to meet each other, but for now, I'll take you on a quick tour of our trip. (I admit I didn't take many pictures because I was having too much fun to think of the camera!) . When we first arrived, we saw this lovely dinner place setting. The bowls contain YUMMY carrot-pumpkin soup.

After a lovely vegetarian dinner, Natalia showed me the computer room where she works on her writing and also where she works during the online CAB chats. I told her that my CAB workspace is MUCH messier than hers. Maybe I'll post a picture of my CAB space sometime, complete with kitty hair and drafts of all my stories and and about a million pens without ink!

Speaking of CAB chats, Natalia recently told us in a chat that her story, "Disobedience" was actually part of a trilogy she wrote about mother-daughter relationships in Mexico, Iran, and China. Stone Soup published the Mexico and Iran stories. So I took a picture of her with all three published stories. It was interesting to see the way different magazines designed the stories. I also talked to her a bit about what it's like to work with other publications. She says that the biggest difference between Stone Soup and New Moon is that New Moon works with the writer to edit the piece, and Stone Soup publishes everything as is.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and after about four hours of wonderful food and conversation, we New Moonies finally (reluctantly!) decided it was time for us to head back to our hotel. So, we took one more group picture before we said our goodbyes:

Nancy, Natalia, Carly, and me!

We got to see Natalia's family again at the conference the next day and then we headed home. It was tons of fun, and I hope to meet many more of New Moon's readers and writers in the future!

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