A (Very) Few Juicy Conference Tidbits!

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With pal and agent, Sally Apokedak at SM’17

Remember when I said I’d tell you all about Springmingle’17? And then really, I just told you about Patricia MacLachlan and Jacquelyn Mitchard and Cathy-on-a-Stick?

Well, today I’m going to deliver on that promise and tell you about the doings at the conference. Except I’m afraid I’m still going to direct you to another spot to get all–well, some; okay, just a few–of the details.

See, writer friend Sherri Rivers who’s over at GROG, a group blog made up of a lot of kidlit writers, asked if I’d share about the conference and of course I said sure. And then she asked a lot of questions about the conference and at that point, I ran into a bit of a sticky wicket. Because a. I am the worst at taking notes at conferences; I always assume I’ll remember stuff–and lots of times I do. But b. this was not one of those times.

This was the time I attended a conference with a very bad, no good, horrible cold. And so I was there, but perhaps I was not all there, if you know  what I mean. Even so, I remembered the keynotes and honestly, despite my very bad, no good, horrible cold, this was one of my most favorite Springmingles! Because even with a very bad, no good, horrible cold, I came away buzzing with eagerness to write, and maybe even a little joy blossoming in my soul again.

So I hope you’ll zip over to GROG–it’s an excellent blog with tons of great writing information so join in that fun!–and read “Flying High with SCBWI Southern Breeze.”

And now that the very bad, no good, horrible cold is gone, I have some writing to do. Hope this spring is busting out with all kinds of words for you, too!

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February Wrap Up

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Libs in the office, watching me “work.”

You know, there’s something a tiny bit intimidating about an end-of-the-month wrap up. Or should I say knowing that your end-of-the-month wrap up is coming?

I mean, it’s bad enough if you don’t accomplish much, but blowing off the accountability report is like, Dang, Cathy, how lackadaisical can you get? So I knew the Day of Reckoning was coming and I’m not gonna lie. It motivated me.

The Good:

I read seven books this month! Full Disclosure: Several were short books by Patricia MacLachlan, but a couple of them were longer, the ones by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Both authors will be at the SCBWI Springmingle Conference coming up in a few weeks and I like to read books by people who are presenting. I want to know their style, yes, but I also think it just makes an author happy when you can say you’ve read their books. And really, I don’t think it matters if the author is a New York best-selling author like Mitchard, or a Newbery Award winner like MacLachlan, or a debut author who’s launching her first book. So I read a bunch of books and now–whee!–I’m three books ahead of my Goodreads goal. Which is a good thing as March is looking pretty busy.

I wrote up an article and sent it out and sold it! It could be a while before it’s published, but still. I sent something out into the world and received an acceptance. So yay me!

I also sent my manuscript out into the world (to an indie editor) because I’d come to that proverbial spot between a rock and a hard place. (You can read more about indie editors at The Muffin with my “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Writing Superhero!”) Which leads me to the not-so-good, otherwise known as …

The Bad:

I received the most amazingly detailed and insightful editorial letter re: my latest middle grade manuscript and…I haven’t quite finished digesting all of it. In point of fact, I need to figure out what and how to revise and so far, I’m stuck between thinking and figuring it out. I’m all for letting things sit for a while while you ponder the problems but I just can’t seem to move on to actually…well, writing. Any motivational thoughts from those of you who have found yourself in that No Writer’s Land would be swell.

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Even Libs is wore out with this project!

The Ugly:

I spent a ridiculous number of hours working on an SCBWI project that should’ve taken me about what? Two hours, tops? First, it involved design so I had to remember how to do all that, and second, it involved color printing and my color inkjet ran out on my practice sheets. And then once I finally got everything ready and pushed the Print button, the lovely pages came out completely hinky.

I am still not finished with this project. Ugh.

 

So how about you, dear writer friends? It’s your Day of Reckoning, too, and I’d love to cheer or commiserate, your choice, on this last day of February.

 

A List of Favorite Things! (Pssst! Mostly Books! And Exclamation Points!)

pexels-photoLast weekend, I hosted one of my SCBWI writer workshops at the Gwinnett County Public Library and gosh, it was just packed with wonderful writer stuff! And so I thought I’d share in list form, because…well, I love lists.

  1.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with my library. I LOVE MY LIBRARY SYSTEM! The Gwinnett County Public Library is a co-sponsor of these events and that means they do a swell job, promoting events in all of their 30 or so branches. And I–and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators– really appreciate that kind of promotion! If you have writer events, please check with your local library. You might be surprised what they can do for you, because…drum roll, please…they’re mandated to serve the public! Yay!
  2. Author Dori Kleber presented a workshop on the “Hero’s Journey in 32 Pages.” And it was excellent! I wish I could tell you more but I suspect that Dori will be giving that workshop quite often and you know what they say about the cow and the milk. (Wait, what? You’ve never heard that expression? Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Mom would say that to me in my younger–much younger–dating days. But in this particular instance, I’m referring to writer knowledge not, ahem, other things.) If you haven’t read her picture book, More-igami, now’s the time to go check it out! (And if it’s not at your local public library, why not ask about it? Your librarian might just order More-igami!)
  3. And speaking of books, NCTE will be in Atlanta this year–this week!–and SCBWI is sponsoring a FREE public book signing! With over TWENTY kidlit authors! You know what makes a great holiday gift for kids that you can feel great about after the holidays? A signed book! So if you’re in the Atlanta area, please come out and see us! And if you’re not in the Atlanta area, take a look around your area. I bet you’ll find a local author or two, signing books, just about any weekend. Think about supporting the authors and purchasing the gift that lasts a lifetime: books!

Well, that was an awful lot of exclamation points but I’m not going back to change any of those punctuation marks. Because I’m that excited. And besides, I love exclamation points as much as I love lists.

 

Whew!

pexels-photo-189349All I can say is “Whew.”

Well, that’s not all I can say or we wouldn’t have much of a blog post here, would we? So I’ll expound a bit on that “Whew.”

Remember a week or so ago when Hurricane Matthew blew through the southeastern seaboard? That was just about the same time I was scheduled to attend an SCBWI conference in Alabama. And not just attend–I was in the program as a presenter. So I pretty much had to show up and present something.

Meanwhile, half of my extended family was fleeing the coast, leaving both Savannah and Tybee Island. Yep, we have a house on Tybee Island–I have a house on Tybee Island–and there wasn’t a lot that we could do except pray for the safety of the people in the hurricane’s path and hope the homes were still standing after the winds and water blew through.

Meanwhile, it kind of felt like a hurricane was whirling around my insides, thinking about that conference session I had to deliver. Not so much the talking part; honestly, I can talk all day about writing (um…that might be a problem when you’re on a very tight schedule) but more that I wanted the people who’d signed up for my session to feel like it was worth their time and money.

So my home made it through Hurricane Matthew with very little damage, and all my family members fared as well. Whew! And I made it through the conference session, too.

Though if I’m being honest, the session was a wee bit more nerve-wracking. Read for yourself over at the Muffin, “Observations From a First-time Presenter (Or What I’ll Do Better Next Time)” and you’ll see what I mean.

Whew.

Good, Well, Whatever

timthumbSo I just returned from a swell SCBWI conference and my brain is still a little frazzled from all that good writing stuff coming in (and hopefully the bad writing stuff going out). But I promise to share a couple writing treasures after I’ve decompressed.

Oh! Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll pick the winner for Last in a Long Line of Rebels on Thursday on Wednesday, October 28th, and then give a couple winning tips so that those of you who don’t win this wonderful novel won’t feel quite so bad. (But don’t comment here if you want to enter the giveaway–go comment on the post from last week, please!)

In the meantime, you can enjoy “Facing the Sewing Moment” over at the Muffin, depending on where you are in your writing journey. That is to say, if you’re serious about writing, you’ll want to get crackin’ and if you’re not so serious, you’ll give yourself permission to chill out. Either way, it’s all going to be good.

Um…I mean well (said the gal who just returned from a writer’s conference).