Last August was my first time at the annual SCBWI Summer Conference. SCBWI stands for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. It’s a mouthful and the acronym is not much of a help, but notwithstanding the name, the society itself is a gem. I had never seen so many people together (over 1,100) working towards that same goal: writing and/or illustrating the best possible book. Overwhelming as it was, I let myself go with the flow and learned more in those four days than in the past couple of years sweating at my desk, working on new manuscripts. Needless to say, I left the conference with dozens of ideas for new books, and with dozens of new friends, writers and illustrators from…