Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Mar

6

2014

The 2014 NY SCBWI Conference–Part 2

Filed under: Check-it-out, Conferences, Publishing, SCBWI, Writing, Writing for Children

 

Part 2 of my SCBWI conference recap–let’s pick up where I left off. I’ve had a yummy lunch at the food court in Grand Central and I’ve dug into the chocolate stash in my bag. If you didn’t want to hang out with me before, you might once you know I bring enough for friends.

I also forgot to mention I did some live tweeting from the conference #NY14SCBWI. And my clown “shout out” even got tweeted. It DOES count for something. And here is my writer friend..Bee Bee the Clown <3

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I made lots of new friends through tweeting and if you go back and search the #NY14SCBWI hashtag–you will find a wealth of information on sessions I didn’t attend and links to other bloggers recapping the conference.

Grrrr I took a picture at my next Breakout session. I know I did, because Sara Shandler (Senior Vice President, Editorial, Alloy Entertainment) wore the cutest outfit EVER! Guess you’re going to have to take my word for it LOL!

Breakout session #2 was Developing and Selling a Series

I picked this talk because it was an area in publishing that I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about. After hearing Sara talk I have a few excellent tidbits to share with you…

*Have a clear, one sentence pitch/concept. You have a very limited time to capture someone’s attention.

*Each book must have it’s own story arc.

*Know your ending.

-where is the story going?

-is it a closed arc or can it be extended?

*Avoid following trends, know what’s out there and be unique.

 

The next Keynote Speaker was Elizabeth Wein: Bearing Witness: Authorial Responsibility

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AGAIN I’m missing an action shot, so here she is signing my copy of ROSE UNDER FIRE!!!  I waffled for such a long time about whether to get Rose or CODE NAME VERITY. I finally decided to pick my favorite of the two, but it was soooooo close.

Things you should know…

*She’s a 20 year overnight success story.

*Everyone is at wildly different stages of the journey.

*We are responsible for putting ideas in people’s heads at the earliest of ages.

 

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Next up was the Keynote Panel: Banning Books–Where Do We Stand?

JB – Joan Bertin (Executive Director, National Coalition against Censorship)

EH – Ellen Hopkins

SR – Susanna Reich (Chair, Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee, Pen American Center)

 

I’m going to have a ton for you from Ellen Hopkins. She is brave and amazing and I hung on her every word…

*You make children stronger by giving them the truth.

*Pull the books out from under the covers and read them WITH your kids.

*Do you think that Harper Lee didn’t write To Kill A Mockingbird for a reason?

*If a thirteen year old girl is sexually abused, shouldn’t she have the right to read a book about it?

*Write bravely–speak the truth.

*I have a responsibility to my readers–not the censors. Speak the truth.

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Appropriately wearing my I READ BANNED BOOKS bracelet and reading To Kill A Mockingbird with the boys.

And Susanna Reich noted…

*72 of the top 100 most challenged books in the past years have been children’s books.

*Librarians are on the front line of censorship.

*Multicultural books can speak to all kids, not just children of color.

*To create something you have to face your own fears.

 

THAT is an amazing note to end the day on…if the day were ending. Up next was the Gala Dinner where you will ALWAYS find me hanging out by the MASHED POTATO BAR!!!!!

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The picture is a little blurry, but can you blame me if my hands were trembling in excitement? A MASHED POTATO BAR people!!!! Unfortunately, just looking at that picture puts me back into carb overload. I think I need to lay down on my couch and take a nap…

That’s right–I forgot to tell you. I FINALLY GOT MY COUCH!!!

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Oh, happy day.

I’ll be back on Tuesday with the last conference recap. But while you’re waiting for some closure (hopefully on your cozy couch) tell me what your favorite banned book is.

 

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Mar

4

2014

The 2014 NY SCBWI Winter Conference – Part 1

Filed under: Conferences, Publishing, SCBWI, Writing for Children

It’s time for your 2014 NY SCBWI Conference Recap!!! But I have to start with an apology–I wasn’t able to figure out where the heck I “packed” my good camera. *pulls out hair* It drove me crazy all weekend long. I love my iPhone but for some of those shots, I really needed my Canon. But since there is nothing I can do about it–we are just going to have to use our imaginations. Pretend all those pics are crystal clear and fabulous.

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It’s not an international SCBWI conference without Lin Oliver giving the conference stats. I know I’m a dork, but I look forward to this every time I go.

*1,085 people in attendance

*867 women

*153 men

*65 people who refused to state what they were.

*We hailed from 47 states. What’s up with those two damn Dakotas? And yes, we’d all rather be in Hawaii too–so they get a pass this year. LOL!

*20 countries were represented–meaning 19 foreign countries and Canada. Love you, Canada!!!!!

*In addition to my local Shop Talk clown (which Lin stated I can not take credit for unless I AM the clown ROTFL!) We also had a Waldo Impersonator that no one ever found. Tricky little devil–where is that Waldo? And an Expert in No Particular Subject. I kid you not. It has become apparent that I need to get more creative with my registration packet.

*Because we writers are directionally impaired, this year there were extra staff at hand herding us in the right direction as we wandered around the hotel. The illustrators (with the amazing spatial awareness) were encouraged to go about their business as usual.

Then, as an inspirational treat, we got to listen to SCBWI success story and cancer ass-kicker Kristin Fulton. Go check out her website and read about her recent 2 book deal. *fist pump* photo

 

And besides Kristin being fabulous, the bonus we discovered when chatting, was a mutual friend–one of my fabulous critique partners. <3 Commence singing It’s a Small World.

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I was so captivated by Jack Gantos I never took a picture of him speaking, but here he is signing books at the end of the conference. I think that Jack may now hold the title for the longest Keynote title. What do you think?

Keynote: How everything I learned about fiction and nonfiction in picture books, poetry, short stories, novellas, or, angst, dialog, a hundred drafts, and good luck all end up in the crown jewel of literature: THE NOVEL.

After Jack was done with his keynote, I leaned over to a friend (a first time NY SCBWI attendee) and whispered…”FYI–if you went home right now, you would have gotten your money’s worth.” And it’s the truth. I wish you’d been there to take it all in. It was amazing. Because I love you, here are some of my favorite highlights from Jack Ganto’s keynote…

*A great character will carry a weak plot, but a plot will not carry a weak character.

*The reader has to feel what the character feels…without empathy you don’t have a good book.

*There is not one good ending–there is always two. (the external ending and the emotional one)

*If you see it, you want the reader to see it too.

*The reason we read books is to change. As writers we have to infuse change into our writing so the reader feels it. “If that character does not change–I would be ashamed to write the book.”

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Next up was the Keynote Panel: The Future of Authorship

PA–Paul Aiken (Executive Director, The Author’s Guild)

JF–Jean Feiwel (SVP Publishing Director Macmillan Children’s Books)

JFriJane Friedman (Web Editor, Virginia Quarterly Review)

AGAbbi Glines (Author)

TT–Timothy Travalini (Director of Children’s Acquisitions, Open Road Media)

Moderated by: LO–Lin Oliver

 

Here are their best bits of advice…

JFri–New tools and trends are driving the discovery of work in a noisy industry. Now that everyone  CAN publish, the DO publish.

PA–It has always taken persistence in this industry. What has changed? We’ve lost 60-70% of our shelf space. Picture Books need to be picked up and held to be discovered.

AG–I was turned down by agents 55 times, so I self published my first novel. It got really bad reviews because it was really bad LOL!

AG–Writing a book is like a muscle–it gets better with use.

AG–You want your followers (twitter) to be organic –they should want to hear what you are saying.

JFri-An author platform comes out of your body of work.

JFri–It isn’t going to take much more erosion for bookstores to be unsustainable.

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AM Breakout Session with my FABULOUS editor Anica Rissi  <3 — Writing Contemporary Fiction

There is soooooo much good stuff!!! I couldn’t even write it all down–but THAT was no surprise to me because Anica is an amazing editor. Here’s her best…

*If you continuously find yourself to be the exception to all the rules–you might need to reevaluate.

*Be a brave soul.

*NO ONE WANTS TO READ YOUR FIRST DRAFT!

*Revision is what makes you a publishable writer.

*Give the reader something to wonder about.

*We learn about people (characters) in context.

*Kids won’t wait around–write opening lines that engage

*Your story needs to have a plot arc and an emotional arc.

*Stories are universal–it’s your details that matter.

*You should be writing the story only you can tell.

*You can’t decide who your characters are and you can’t force it–teens will smell a fake a mile away.

 

I find myself at a natural pausing spot as I’m pouring over Anica’s advice and inspirational words all over again. Guess this means it’s time for all of us to stop here and savor what’s been shared. I know it’s already made a HUGE difference in what I’m currently working on.

What is the most recent piece of advice or inspiration that’s found it’s way into your process and informed your writing?

 

 

 

 

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Oct

29

2013

Things on my To-Wacko-Do-List!

Filed under: Check-it-out, Dancing, Drafting, Family, Pondering, Reading, Running, SCBWI, Writing, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

It’s been awhile since I’ve been late posting my blog. But here I am, keeping it real. LOL! What is making me late today? In a nutshell, there are a mess of things on my To-Wacko-Do-List.

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In not particular order…

*The hubby had a small surgery last Tuesday. He’s recovering nicely, but when he’s home I have the worst time keeping track of time.

*Switching over to fall/winter gear is time consuming. Where did I put the hats? No, you can’t wear shorts to school anymore!  And of course anything that no longer fits the 8 year old goes into the “For the Cousins Pile.” STUFF EVERYWHERE!!!!

*And I know I’ve been saying this forever, but we’re still moving. It’s not the house we’d originally planned on, that deal fell through, but we’ve found a wonderful new house and *crosses fingers and toes* we should be moving in some time before I die. I swear. This whole moving thing feels like an Indiana Jones movie. There are hurdles and traps around every corner. (But no snakes please) Moving is not easy, I didn’t expect it to be, but it’s harder than I thought it would be also. I can’t wait to get to the part where I can simply settle in and be excited. In the mean time, I’m in purge mode. It’s like fall clean up on steroids. I’m trying to do a little bit every day to make the process easier. I am FIGHTING my procrastinating nature and like I said, I want to get to the fun part of this adventure asap!  Anyway, more to come about the move craziness as it gets closer.

*And running–I want to be running as much as possible in this weather because it’s perfect. No further explanation needed, but I will say one thing. Crunchy leaves. <3

*And dancing–it’s recital time. Extra rehearsals. Costumes. Trying to remember my dances eek! Always so much fun.

*Prepping for NaNoWriMo and my next WIP. This is a funny little book that’s coming together in my mind. *breathes a sigh of relief because it IS finally coming together* It’s just weird because it’s doing everything differently than my other books. It doesn’t give two figs about a playlist. Really? And it clearly has it’s own agenda. I may kick-off NaNo in the middle-ish of the book. Or maybe not. But I could. I still might. THIS BOOK!  And this WIP has weird demands about how it should be written stylistically. I don’t even know what it means, but I know I’m excited about it and I can’t wait to get started. In fact, if it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo kicking off, I’d be typing like mad right now. But I need a timeline for this crazy manuscript. *head thunk*  Yup, I’ve never done that before either.  I guess I’ll plan, the way this book demands I should, until Nov. 1st!!!

*Oh, and Halloween. Because if you have three kids, Halloween takes up a huge chunk of your existence–for weeks. LOL!

*And don’t forget all the time I spent checking out the new SCBWI website!!!!! You must go check it out and while you’re over there, don’t forget to sign up for the NY SCBWI Conference in February. It is so much fun and we can hang out!!!!

*And reading!!!! Oh, I am reading like a fool. I’m reading for information and inspiration for the WIP. I’m reading Veronica Roth’s ALLEGIANT. I’ve followed the series and I’m hearing all kinds of rumblings and unrest about the ending. So curious!!!! I want to find out what the heck is going on. (Before someone hits me with a spoiler) I’m also reading WONDERBOOK an illustrated guide on creating imaginative fiction. I’m fascinated by this book and it’s speaking directly to me about what I’m about to attempt to write. I love perfect timing. I love it so much I’m carrying it everywhere with me. Plus I’m reading a bunch of other great books in addition to having a heavy line-up of books in the wings begging for my attention. I love books. <3

Alright, you get the point, I’ve been busy and it’s with mostly good stuff so I’m not complaining, just explaining. But now it’s time to hear what you’ve been doing. What’s on your To-Wacko-Do-List? What are you reading? What are you cleaning? Are you prepping for NaNoWriMo? Fill me in…

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Oct

1

2013

TOUCHING THE SURFACE is out in Paperback TODAY! Enter to Win a Copy

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Author Events, Book Signings, Booksellers, Check-it-out, Class of 2k12, Community, Conferences, Contests, Dancing, Family, In the Wild, Publishing, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12, Touching the Surface, Wolfson Literary, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

 

 

HOLY GUACAMOLE!!!!!

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TOUCHING THE SURFACE is out in paperback TODAY!!!!!

Where you can find it:

*Amazon

*Barnes & Noble

*IndieBound

Can you believe it’s been almost a year since I became an author? And even longer since I sold my first book and got an agent. Here’s a little walk down memory lane. Humor me–I’m nostalgic today. So in no particular order because that would add a layer of organization I’m not capable of, here’s just a few of my most fabulous moments between finding my agent and birthing a paperback…

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Standing outside the Simon & Schuster offices.

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Apocalypsies at the LA SCBWI Conference!!!

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Meeting my agent (Michelle Wolfson) and editor (Anica Rissi) for the first time. <3

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The Class of 2k12!!!!!

The day I got my ARC of TOUCHING THE SURFACE!!!!

Came home from a run to find my ARC’s had finally arrived!!! Such a squee moment!!!

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The ARC!

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Authors, Simon & Pulse friends and Writer Buds at the NY SCBWI Conference. <3

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Bookmarks!!! Thanks Jeff Fielder.

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Bringing my book to the Golf Bag Holder (Eastern PA Poconos Mountain Retreat with Jodi Moore.)

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First book I ever signed went to Laurie Halse Anderson. Love her.

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This made it feel so real.

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Loved participating in the YAmazing Race with my Apocalypsies!!!

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First author event, even before my book was out. LOL! With my buds from the Class of 2k12. <3

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Making friends at BEA!!! Lisa and Kim.

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First BEA was even sweeter because I got to spend time with my fabulous agent. <3

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Blogger love <3  Finally got to meet Erica!!!!

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Joining YA Outside the Lines. 

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It was a BEA Apocalypsie event of awesome.

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Ummmm I got to hear JOHN GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!

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Made amazing new blogger friends. Kim and Grace. <3

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Hanging with Jay Asher at LA SCBWI–Dude, it was awesome.

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Joining the Bookanistas!

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Kimmiepoppins met Mary Poppins!!!! I met Julie Andrews!!!!

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Signing my contract!!!!!! I AM GOING TO BE AN AUTHOR!!!

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My book was at Bologna. Takes my breath away.

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Wow!

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My Yanni dance girls wearing TOUCHING THE SURFACE T-shirts. <3

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Signing books at my book launch.

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Good friends drove in from far away despite all the trouble with Hurricane Sandy.

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Just an amazing experience.

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Unable to thank my friends and family enough for their love and support on that special day.

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More book launch at Oblong Books. I LOVE that bookstore and everyone in it. <3

Kim and Dad at Powell Point-Grand Canyon July 1998

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Dad–there–even when he couldn’t be. The dedication.

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On bookshelves in bookstores.

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Kimmiepoppins finally gets a book launch in NYC after Hurricane Sandy delayed it. Mean Hurricane–awesome party.

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Woo hoo!!! I got to speak at the NY Public Library.

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I’m a fangirl–it’s A.S. King people!!!!!

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I’m a fangirl–it’s Sharon Creech people!!!!

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My first SCBWI faculty gig at the Eastern NY SCBWI Conference–where I got paid to talk with my hands about things I love.

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Connecting with teen readers and making hedgehogs. *grin*

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Loving on my writer mama, K.L. Going. <3 Wouldn’t be here without her.

And because you made it to the end of my reminiscing…you shall be rewarded with a chance to win a signed copy of the brand spanking new TOUCHING THE SURFACE paperback!!!!

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Sep

24

2013

The Eastern NY SCBWI Conference 2013–Sail Into Inspiration

Filed under: Author Events, Book Signings, Check-it-out, Community, Conferences, SCBWI, Touching the Surface

Just this past weekend (September 21-22) I got the chance to sail into inspiration at the Eastern NY SCBWI Regional Conference. It was a fabulous event for multiple reasons…

*This is my local conference and I love supporting my local SCBWI in anyway I can. This was the very first SCBWI conference I ever attended (back in June of 2007) and it was a life changer for me. I am here to tell you I would not be a published author if it were not for the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators)

*Because this was a local conference, I had the good fortune of have more of my Eastern NY buddies able to attend than I do at most conferences. I seriously love this group of writers and I never get to spend as much time with them as I would like. This was a treat.

*The Faculty was INCREDIBLE! And no, I’m not just saying that because this was my first time as conference faculty. LOL! Although, it was an awesome experience.  I’m saying that because it was an incredible line up with speakers who have or who need to grace the SCBWI international stage. But just so you know, this is absolutely an area where I’d like to see some personal growth on my part. I have proposals developed for future SCBWI events so keep your fingers crossed that I get selected.

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So, let’s get to the conference recap…

After registration and a warm welcome from the ship’s captain (RA Nancy Castaldo) We had the honor of listening to a Children’s Literature legend–Jerry Pinkney. Seriously, I could stare at his art and listen to his thoughtful stories all day.

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Here are some of Jerry’s best thoughts during his Keynote Speech about ENVIRONMENT, TOOLS AND PROCESS

*His mom read him Hans Christian Anderson and it informed his work.

*His parents supported his artistry–in fact he drew on his bedroom walls and when they became full, his dad would repaint them white.

*He uses poetry to interpret our history and to help bring to light the roll people of color played in our past.

*Jerry Pinkney is dyslexic and to compensate, he is very organized with his art.  *fist pump* A big HUG going out to another awesome dyslexic!!!! Yes, you know I hugged him–I do that.

 

Session #1–An Editor and An Agent Discuss Acquisition (Jennifer Laughran-Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency and Elise Howard-Editor and Publisher of Algonquin Young Readers)

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Here are some of the best take aways from this session…

*When you write a good query/pitch, it will get used in the publishing process.

*In most cases, titles change.

*When submitting a PB manuscript, use illustrator notes sparingly (to explain a visual joke that can not be understood through the text)

*It’s okay to break the querying rules if and only if your manuscript is so fantastic I’m obsessed with it. If it’s that good I’ll read it scribbled on a cocktail napkin. (But yours is not that good.) LOL! Jennifer Laughran

 

Session #2–PUBLISHING NUTS AND BOLTS with Harold Underdown

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I’m a huge fan of Harold to start with. I’ve seen him speak before and he’s written The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Book PublishingHe’s a fabulous source of information on a broad swath of children’s literature topics and you can’t get better than picking his brain. Here are some great take-aways from his Saturday session…

*Platform: in children’s writing it is not a necessity to come with one–it will develop over time.

*Picture Book writers are going to have a hard time finding an agent. Kids commercial fiction needs an agent.

*Kids have different developmental needs and have diverse tastes. This is a wonderful thing but it makes writing for them challenging.

*Picture Books are not just ONE thing.

*Study what’s on the shelves now, not what is on your shelves–Books are always evolving.

*Study the books on award lists.

*On formatting a manuscript–ALWYAS FOLLOW THE RULES.

 

Lunch was YUMMY! I have no pictures, I was too busy inhaling it. There was soup and salad with chicken or beef. The rolls were warm and toasty and the cookies were scrumptious. In fact, they were so good, I wasn’t even focused on the DEBUT AUTHOR PANEL right after lunch!!!!!

Ummmm I have no notes for you LOL! I was doing double duty being moderator and panelist along with Lizzie Foley (REMARKABLE) and Lisa Amowitz (BREAKING GLASS) But I do have pictures (Thank you to everyone who shared them with me!!!!!)

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1239825_10151883761112402_1809836222_nYeah, I talk with my hands a lot. *giggle*

 

Next up was an Agent Panel–REPRESENTING OUT WORK with Amy Boggs (Donald Mass), Melissa Turk (Melissa Turk & the Artist Network) and Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown)

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All three agents gave a ton of insight into how they operate, what they’re looking for and the general ins and outs of working with an agent. Here are some of the highlights…

*Your query should leave out the “it’s a fast paced …” part of the cover flap. (AB)

*Don’t hand any paper (synopsis) to an agent at a conference. It will burn their hand. LOL! Follow submission guidelines and reference the conference. (JL)

*On contracts: Every little word id there because it happened to somebody. (AB)

*Good questions to ask an agent in an interview: What books do you like that you don’t represent? What books do you dislike? (JL)

*PB Writers or Author/Illustrators should query one MS but have 3 or 4 fleshed out MS’s in the wings.

 

Next there was a book signing!!!!!! I LOVE getting a chance to share TOUCHING THE SURFACE with new people and talking about their projects and aspirations. I made so many new friends this weekend.

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Autographing was followed by dinner and then…

A DESSERT CAFE WITH ELIZABETH BIRD (Youth Materials Specialist for the New York Public Library)

Let me just tell you, I was blown away by Betsy’s Keynote and the dessert selection was the bonus!!! YUM!!! But I would have adored her talk even without a HUGE side of chocolate yumminess. But since it was there…BONUS!!!! I apologize because I didn’t take a lot of notes or tweet–I was simply a captive listener. But if you’d like a taste of what Betsy has to offer, I highly encourage you to check out her blog–Fuse #8. It’s amazing!

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Kim Sabatini, Betsy Bird, Harold Underdown, Lois Miner-Huey and Nancy Castaldo

On a side note–Betsy incorporated Lois’ fabulous book Ick! Yuck! Eew!: Our Gross American History into her presentation and raved about it, not remembering that Lois would be in the audience. How cool is that??? All my teacher buds, be sure to check this one out because it’s got librarians cheering.

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 After such a fabulous day, I  went home completely pumped, totally exhausted and full of too much chocolate. But I needed to get over it quickly because I still had the SUNDAY INTENSIVES!!!!!

There were three choices for the Sunday event…

*Harold Underdown: MANAGING YOUR CAREER IN A CHANGING MARKET

*Kendra Levin (Editor, Viking) MEET YOUR CHARACTERS: HOW MOTIVATION DRIVES STORY

*Semadar Megged (Art Director, Philomel) PORTFOLIO EXAMINATION AND DISCUSSION

 

They all sound great, don’t they? I picked the session with Harold. It was a small intimate group and I learned a metric ton of stuff. I didn’t tweet or take pics because I was interactively engaged and that is a great thing. After two hours of intensive we finished off the conference with an amazing presentation from Steve Sheinkin, author of BOMB. Steve is a former text book writer with a passion for history and a drive to turn our past into really honest and interesting stories so that kids can remember and enjoy them. I was also very impressed with the idea that most of out history lives in gray area. The text book writers and those who influence them have created a world of black and white. Steve pointed out that no one wants to hear there is good and bad in everyone, particularly their heroes.But maybe that narrow way of thinking is in the past–because with the accolades that Steve is getting for his writing and research, I think history books are changing for the better.

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Let’s face it, no matter how long an SCBWI conference is, it ends too soon. So, before I go, some candids proving how much everyone was enjoying it…

 

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Kim and Linda–your neighborhood Shop Talk Coordinators!!

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Jeannie and I met because she almost knows my brother LOL!

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Some of our Shop Talkers doing a pile on. <3

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I love being a mentor for talented young writers. Kim and Danielle. ((((hugs))))

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Kim and Linda hugging on our awesome RA!!!! Thanks for everything, Nancy. <3

And that’s a wrap. Any questions about the conference? Want to know more about our Hudson Valley Shop Talk? We want YOU!!!! Anyone take notes for the debut author panel. I’d love it if you threw a highlight or two from the presentation in the comments. What conference are you planning on doing next? Want more info on the SCBWI??? Just let me know what you need to know. And plan on coming to #EastNYSCBWI next time. <3

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Aug

29

2013

Writerly Gadgets, Gizmos and Must-Haves

Filed under: Check-it-out, SCBWI, Writing

Thought I’d share some of the writerly gadgets, gizmos and must haves. In no particular order…

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The rolling cart I use for school visits and presentations. I have lots of props and this lets me move them around so much easier than hauling heavy bags on both shoulders..

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This is a two for one. I absolutely could not function without my Macbook Pro. It travels with me all over the house and everywhere else I write. (With three boys that could be just about anywhere.) I also love the decals I found on Etsy to personalize the back of the screen. (I sometimes joke that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.) LOL! The tree and leaves sit underneath a clear Invisishield skin and I still can believe I installed myself. *fist pump*

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Of course if you love your laptop as much as I do, you want the perfect bag to tote it around it. This Osprey is the best laptop bag I’ve ever had. LOVE it!

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My whiteboard calendar is a must. I only use it for my writing related stuff, but that’s okay, the family calendar is in the kitchen. (I actually have two so I can see the upcoming month also.)

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My writing magazines inspire me daily and I learn sooooooo much from reading them. It’s like an at-home, mini-conference in my kitchen.

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And of course the SCBWI!!! It could be the Bulletin, a Shop Talk meeting, writer friends online or a conference. It doesn’t matter–it’s all good.

Okay–time to share your writerly gadgets, gizmos and must-haves.

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Aug

8

2013

The Truth About Sleep Away Camp and How to Find Me Quicker than a Little Unidog

Filed under: Author Events, Blogging, Book Signings, Check-it-out, Community, Conferences, Contests, SCBWI, Touching the Surface, YA Books, YA Outside the LInes, Young Adult (YA)

Today I’m cross-posting over at YA Outside the Lines and talking about The Truth About Sleep Away Camp. There may be 80’s permed hair for your amusement!

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Just a reminder, you still have time to enter my write a review contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also have some up and coming events…

*I’ll be at Oblong Books and Musics HVYAS Birthday Party!! More info HERE!

*Children’s Writer or Illustrator and located in the Hudson Valley? Join us for our local SCBWI Shop Talk Meeting in August. For more information, feel free to contact me directly.

*I’ll also be faculty at my very first conference, which is also the very same conference I first attended as a newbie. Yea, pretty WOW! Registration is still open for the SCBWI Eastern NY Conference on September 21-22nd. Lots of amazing speakers and opportunities.

*September 28th I’ll be part of a fantastic line-up at the Warwick Children’s Book Festival. Details Here

*October 17th I’m thrilled to be a part of the Ulster BOCES FALL INTO BOOKS CHILDREN’S & TEEN LITERATURE CONFERENCE in Kingston NY. I adore hanging out with librarians!!!

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And good news…finding me is not nearly as hard as finding a little unidog. So, come hang out and we’ll squee and hug and talk about books and maybe eat some chocolate. I usually have some stored in a bag or pocket somewhere.

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Jun

3

2013

BEA– Fast and Furious

Filed under: Booksellers, Check-it-out, Conferences, Publishing, Wolf Pack, Wolfson Literary, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Last year I spent several days at BEA but this year I was only able to go down for the day. A day which started with my 8yo home from school. And if you know anything about me–that makes me crazy. Maybe I do have a little bit of a control freak streak that comes out from time to time. But my sitter (practically a big sister to my boys) was already lined up to hang with the 12 you for the day (he graduated to middle school the day before) so I decided to put on my fancy shoes and go anyway.

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I’m so glad I wore those comfy puppies on my feet and stashed my fancy shoes and top in my bag for the Simon & Schuster Pulse/Aladdin happy hour. Because the first thing I had to do when I hit NYC was wait in about a 20 person taxi line in the sweltering heat. OMG! Liked the Wicked Witch of the West–I was melting!

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This was when I only had 3 or 4 people in front of me and I was getting excited. LOL!

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A sweaty but very happy me in the cab with air conditioning until….

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My driver stopped at a red light, pulled out a book and started reading. It was pointed out to me how cool it was that I was going to Book Expo America and my cab driver was reading. NO! Sorry, not cool. Even with air conditioning–not cool! Unless a new Harry Potter book comes out–then I’ll totally let you do it. But that’s it.

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Made it to BEA alive and who was waiting for me? Lisa Lueddecke from The Young Adult Connection. <3 We were roomies for BEA last year and this was our 1 year Friendaversary. It was so awesome to see her, but I’m going to straight up say that between her evil, painful shoes, my lunch with my agent and the poor cell phone service, I didn’t see her nearly as much as I wanted to. Such a tease. We are totally going to have to Skype or something. Soon. If I could figure out how to Skype. I seriously have SDD Skype Deficit Disorder. *le sigh*

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But just like old times, Lisa and I went ARC hunting and we found OMG!!!! LAUREN MYRACLE!!!!!!! AND I HUGGED HER!!!!!! AND SHE IS MORE AWESOME IN REAL LIFE THAN ALL CAPS CAN REALLY EXPLAIN.

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And of course I had lunch and hung out with the agent of awesome…MICHELLE WOLFSON!!!! One of my favorite things in the whole world. <3 I also got to finally meet my Wolf Pack Sistah, Jennifer Iacopelli, debut author of GAME. SET. MATCH. Which I started reading on the train ride home and LOVE!!!!! And I also ran into my local book buddy and friend Emily.

There was more, a hazy hot blur of more. I actually ran into a lot more friends and met a bunch of amazing new people between BEA and the Pulse/Aladdin Happy Hour, but my phone battery!!!! The Javits Center eats battery bars for snacks, but on the bright side I met old and new friends while hanging at the charging station. LOL!

So, what have I decided about BEA? I need less than three and a half days and just a little bit more than one. And on the bucket list…I plan on signing there at some point. And on that note–it’s back to work.

PS I’d just like to add that I REALLY REALLY WANTED an ARC of FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. And I may have threatened to mug a young book blogger at the charging station, when she whipped out her copy. But I didn’t. So–there was that. What book from BEA would you have almost mugged a book blogger for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May

31

2013

I’m Off to BEA for the Day!!!!!

Filed under: Author Events, Book Signings, Booksellers, Community, Conferences, Publishing

BEA Harlem Shake

I’ll let you know if it was just like this–recap next week! Have a great weekend.

If I could snag any ARC of any up-and-coming book? What would it be???

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May

13

2013

Recap of the New England SCBWI Conference–NESCBWI13

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Book Signings, Class of 2k12, Conferences, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12

Here’s my recap of the New England SCBWI Conference for the second time. I got this half done for Friday when my oldest son’s school transportation had the drivers go on strike and then my other two kids came down with strep. I decided to postpone the post and finish it over the weekend.  I saved it and and then the gremlins that live in my computer erased only the part I’d finished. *head thunk*

I arrived at the conference at around noon on Friday and did all of the standard checking-in and hugging friends things. Then it was off to the first sessions.

Friday 5/3/13

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A Intensive–KEYWORD BY WORD: CREATE A PLAND TO BRAND. SELL, AND PROMOTE YOUR NOVEL with AC Gaughen and Hilary Weisman Graham

I love attending events by my Apocalypsies and Class of 2k12 siblings. So much fun!

Favorite take-aways…

*Everyone IS buying bookmarks and everyone WANTS bookmarks for swag, whether you like it or not LOL!

*Twitter is the most popular place (debut author questionnaire) to focus your social media push, but tumblr is where the teens are.

*  *  *

Workshop B–MANAGING YOUR WRITING; MANAGING YOUR LIFE WITH PEGGY DEITZ SHEA AND JANET DOUCETTE

This session started off with some relaxation and focusing techniques. I became so relaxed I forgot to take a picture and may have almost fallen asleep at one point LOL!

Favorite take-aways…

*Are you here?

*Women are great multi-tasks but being a multi-tasker is not in your best interest. You can get stuck on the bridge between the right brain and the left brain.

*Requests (received or given) should always include the right to decline and a clear expectation of fulfillment.

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Keynote–PANEL DISCUSSION: AN UNCENSORED DISCUSSION ON EDGY YA

Favorite take-aways…

*Be true to the work.

*Should the parent be the gate-keeper or do children effectively police their own reading material?

Saturday 5/4/13

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Keynote–THE WORDS WE CHOOSE TO SAY by Sharon Creech

A HUGE fan-girl moment for me!!!! Yes, she really glows in real life. <3

Favorite take-aways…

*Find your own voice, your own rhythms–it makes you a better writer.

*Use it all (great ideas) when you’re writing. New stuff will grow. Words generate words.

*Don’t be in such a hurry to publish your story. Time may allow you to deepen it. There could be something profound under there.

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C Intensive–REAL REVISION: BIG PICTURE AND LINE BY LINE with Kate Messner

I LOVE Kate! That’s all.

Best take-aways…

*Revision is finding and strengthening the heart of your story.

*You can’t revise, to bring about the heart of your story if you don’t know what the heart is.

*Writing off-draft can help you understand things.

*Trying something you’re not great at can free you up.

*Use a mentor text to guide your way.

*Make what you need to explore and fix your book. (Charts, maps, timelines and outlines)

If you want to learn more about Kate’s amazing revision tips–check out her book REAL REVISION.

 

Time for lunch and another amazing Keynote with author/illustrator Grace Lin

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Stephanie, Megan and Kendra

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Annie, Me, Jodi and Eileen

Best take-away from Grace Lin’s keynote (sorry I don’t have a picture)…

You’ll be your best self when you are yourself in you writing and art. <3

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Workshop G–THE ART OF THE OUTLINE with Elisabeth Papdemetriou

Best take-aways…

*Don’t confuse learning the skill (of outlining) with the act of outlining.

*Plot and character are inseparable.

*Outlines should include every single scene in your book.

*Have your closing scene echo your opening scene.

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 And I FINALLY got to meet Jo Knowles. I’ve participated in JoNoWriMo for years and Jo was one of those warm and giving authors who mentors those around her–plus I love the books she writes. Check out her latest, PEARL which won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award!

 

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Workshop H–THE POWER OF POINT OF VIEW with Linda Urban

She is hilarious by the way.

Best take-aways…

*I believe we are living in an increasingly 1st person world. 1st person is only going to grow. Writing in 3rd person may allow you to stand out.

Saturday’s Autograph Party!!!!!

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Katie chatting up the awesome Nova Ren Suma.

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Sharon Creech signing for my friend’s daughter who is her BIGGEST FAN!!!!!

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Of course I’m I HUGE fan too!!!!!

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Jodi chatting with Jodi.

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Kate Messner signing a book for the Fishkill Frogs!

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Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of the MG novel ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, signing and making friends.

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Greg Fishbone (Class of 2k7) and AC GaugheBrendan (Class of 2k12) hanging outIMG_5096

REVISING A CAREER: TIMING, TRUST & TEAMWORK with Brenda Reeves Sturgis, Emma Dryden and Karen Grenick

Favorite take-aways…

*Don’t quit–ever. <3

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Some down time in the Sheraton while waiting for the Ballroom to open up.

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The Books for Boston collection bin.

Check out some of the inspirational messages written in the books going to Boston.

Sunday 5/5/13

Panel Discusion–SCULPTING STORIES FROM FACT: FOUR WRITERS OF HISTORICAL FICTION SHARE STRATEGIES

Sarah Lamstein, Jeannine Atkins, Padma Venkatraman and Pat Lowery Collins (Boo my picture didn’t come out!)

Favorite take-aways…

*I tried to pack Padma in my suitcase. All four authors were great, but she stole the show. LOVE her!

*When story and history collide–story always wins. (PV)

*The attitudes of the times plays a role in the story/plot. (SL)

*The reasons writers aren’t diagnosed as schizophrenic is that we listen to the voices in our head instead of conversing with them. (PV)

*Create a LOVELY FILE to put all the darlings you cut–then you will always have them. (PV)

I Intensive–ADVANCED PLOTTING with Chris Eboch

I was very busy in this small, pro-track class and you guessed it–I forgot to take a picture. *smacks own hand*

Favorite take-aways…

*If your main problem can’t be introduced early, find a way in, something that gives a hint.

*Be careful not to open too fast. Give the reader a little time to get acclimated.

*Action without context is not a good thing.

*Likable character plus a bad situation makes the best story.

*Real life drama needs to be set up correctly to be believable to the reader.

You can find our more about Chris Eboch and advanced plotting HERE.

Workshop N–THE YIN AND YANG OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT with Kami Kinard

More Apocalypsie love!!!!! And yes, I was too busy meeting Kami in person for the first time that I…didn’t take a picture. Should have gotten one of us together. Drat!

Favorite take-aways…

*Add believable traits to your characters.

*Characters with both good and bad motives and traits naturally create much desired tension.

*Books are about physical, emotional and spiritual journeys.

Kami posted some stuff on humor from another of her sessions on her blog. You can catch it HERE!

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And because I always have to buy one more book LOL! Hanging with the AWESOME Padma Venkatraman, author of CLIMBING THE STAIRS. <3

Me, Padma, Jodi and Megan

And then it was time to say goodbye and drive home. NESCBWI was an amazing conference and I’m so glad I got the chance to grow. It truly had the feel of an International SCBWI Event but with the intimacy of a smaller conference. Lots of fun and I hope to be able to attend again next year too! Have any of you been to NESCBWI before? Any new authors that you’ve now got to put into your TBR pile?

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