After the Conference: Mind=Blown


Friend Tracey M. Cox fan-girling over LSP. 

So I’m back from my Southern Breeze SCBWI conference and yesterday, I realized I hadn’t written my blog post for WOW!Women-on-Writing that was scheduled for today, and I had this moment. I actually considered sending a quick note saying, “Get someone else to write something because my brain is fried and I can’t think of anything, much less make sense!”

I did not even skip out on my Muffin posts when Mister Man up and died on me so I took another moment to calm down. I had a cuppa. And then, quite sensibly, I thought, I wrote about the conference. You can read “Top Tips for Writer’s Conference Attendees” and let me know if I made sense.

To be honest, some conferences are better than others. And this one will land in the top of my “Best Of…” list:

Best of keynote speakers with Linda Sue Park. If you ever have a chance to hear her, please go. You will be inspired and energized. And if you haven’t read her Newbery-award-winning novel, The Single Shard, please read it. Yes, it’s middle grade but that’s beside the point. It will expand and enrich you, no matter how old you are.

Best of intensives with Scholastic editor, Matt Ringler, and a roundtable manuscript critique workshop. Not because he raved about my manuscript (he didn’t), but because when you hear an editor respond in five minutes or so to 4 pages of a manuscript, you get a ton of great information and insight into an editor’s thought processes. And not just for your own work but for all the manuscripts in the room. So if you ever have that opportunity at a conference, please be brave and sign up for it.

Of course, your brain will be fried and you won’t make much sense for a couple of days, but I think that’s a fair trade out.

Though in my case, it might not be that noticeable…


A (Very) Few Juicy Conference Tidbits!


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!

A Quote, A Sign, And a Conference

Comparison is the thief of joyIt’s very possible that I’ve shared this quote with you before. It’s right up there in my Top Ten Quotes and I feel like I say it, either out loud or in my head, at least once a day.

That’s how often I find myself comparing.. Whether it’s my work, my stuff, me.

Except now, I’m aware that I do it. And that’s half the battle, in getting and keeping my joy.

So a very talented friend who’s obviously amazing with calligraphy created this gift for me.(She hears me say it all the time; she’s probably thinking that Cathy and her constant quoting are robbing her of joy!) Anyway, I rushed home and set the framed quote on the dining room table and grabbed my phone to take a picture. Today, I downloaded the picture for this post and as I looked at my phone’s pics, I noticed a glare in the photo. Shoot, I thought, I’ll need to take another one.

But then I looked again, a bit more closely, and I saw it. What I mistook for a glare was the reflection of my gold cross in the joy.

Now, I don’t see how you could get a clearer sign than that, and just in time for my SCBWI writer’s conference this weekend when I really need it.

I’m thinking the good Lord wants me–and what the heck, probably all of us!–to embrace joy, to focus on all of our good gifts and blessings. And that’s just what I plan to do.

(Hope to see lots of writer friends at Springmingle’17 and I promise to tell you all about it!)

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).

Cathy-on-a-Stick Pops Up at Springmingle (And Runs Amok)

Usually, I go to writer’s conferences and walk halfway around a room to avoid the tables with all the books.

I sit on my hands, leave my wallet at home, eschew adult beverages–well, there are all kinds of tricks I use to keep from buying more books. But Cathy-on-a-Stick has a mind of her own. It’s not much a mind, and rather flat, but still. She would keep heading to the book table at Springmingle, the SCBWI Southern Breeze conference this past weekend. Every time a speaker finished, I felt this…this tug. And before I knew it, I had a stack of books.

2014-03-29 05.39.53Agent and author Ammi-Joan Pacquette had all these books about ghosts and they were picture books and middle grade (which come on, ghosts AND PB’s and Middle Grade? I was doomed from the start). Plus Joan was so darn sincere and engaging in her talk. She called to me–so I bought one of her books.

2014-03-29 05.32.26And then Vicky Alvear Shecter went on and on about Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead. She sucked me in with her humor and expertise and Anubis tidbits. Who knew the Land of the Dead could be so darn entertaining? So before I knew it, Cathy-on-a-Stick was in the line for an autograph.

2014-03-29 05.48.12Elizabeth Dulemba was nearby, explaining that her muse had grabbed her in North Georgia and wouldn’t let go till she told the story in A Bird on Water Street. You cannot argue with the muse. And apparently, you cannot argue with Cathy-on-a-Stick either. There she was again, stick-deep in Elizabeth’s book.

2014-03-29 05.53.44I was just about to make a dash for it when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied Ruth Sanderson’s books! A whole pile of books with the most gorgeous covers ever, of woods and castles and princesses and–oh. My. Word. Fairy tales. And stained glass windows of saints. Stick a fork in me, I was done (for).

2014-03-29 05.56.52Wait, I take that back. I was not quite done. Janice Hardy’s book, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, was calling my name. I tried to resist, I really did. But Cathy-on-a-Stick whispered in my ear, “Really? You think you can afford to pass on this gem of writing craft?”


2014-03-29 05.36.37And as I glanced over at Cheryl Klein (Executive Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, a Scholastic imprint), I thought how much her book, Second Sight, An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, had helped me on my writing journey. I’d won her book three years ago, so at least I didn’t have to buy that book at the writer’s conference, too.

But I’m pretty sure she and Cathy-on-a-Stick were up to something. I’m kinda afraid to check my credit card bill.