Springmingle Writers and Illustrators Conference

ImageHaving someone write a lovely post about a topic you were planning to write about is like having a day off. So here’s Janice Hardy (who is quite lovely herself and chock full of writer wisdom!) espousing on an upcoming SCBWI conference:
Springmingle is the annual regional conference for Southern Breeze, offering writing workshops and sessions with agents, authors, and editors to help writers and illustrators learn the skills they need to get published. Meet editors, art directors, and agents who are looking for new talent. Connect with a friendly, supportive group of authors and illustrators. 
It’s a fantastic conference for writers and illustrators of juvenile fiction and non-fiction from picture books to young adult novels. Not a SCBWI member? No problem. Non-members are welcome and encouraged to attend. In fact, it’s a great way to meet the members and see if it’s a group you’d like to join.
The conference faculty includes: Lucy Ruth Cummins, Art Director Simon & Schuster; Cheryl Willis Hudson, Creative Director Just Us Books; Ruth Sanderson, Author/Illustrator; Cheryl Klein, Editor, Arthur Levine Books; Ammi-Joan Paquette, Agent, Erin Murphy Literary Agency; and Jo S. Kittinger, Award-Winning Author.
Looking for Feedback? 
Both formal and informal critiques are available. Formal critiques are $40, informal are free. The deadline for face-to-face critiques has passed but you have till Wednesday, February 26 for a written critique so act fast if you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity!
For a peek at how agents and editors think, there’s the Image/Eight panel. Attendees can submit the first eight lines of their manuscript or an opening illustration for a free review by a panel of conference faculty.

Springmingle takes place on March 28-30, 2014 at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center. 
Conference tuition is $195 for SCBWI members, $225 for non-members, or $205 for students. 
Advance registration is required and spaces are limited for some activities.
For more information please visit southern-breeze.scbwi.org.

I’ll be there–and Janice will be there, too. Y’all come join us and have some writing fun at Springmingle!


Matt de la Peña, All-Around Swell Author

I just got back from Wik’13, the SCBWI conference in Birmingham, and as always had such a delightful time. But I’m sort of kicking myself for not signing up for Matt de la Peña’s intensive on dialogue. I know it would’ve been swell.

He was the keynote speaker–I laughed, I cried, I learned. (I might not have actually cried, unless it was from laughing. But seriously, he’s an engaging speaker. If he’s ever in your area, go see him. And take your boy readers.)

So I bought one of his books,

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and it’s a great read. But more than that, it’s a good template for wanna-be published authors like me (and maybe you, too). It’s a well-crafted story, with layered characters and terrific pacing and plotting. And I’m not just saying that because Matt very graciously agreed to have his picture taken with Cathy-on-a-Stick.

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Or wrote such a sweet note when he signed his book.

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Rutgers One-on-One Plus Conference News! (And More Tips!)

So I am not gonna lie. I have been dashing to the mailbox for the last couple weeks, looking for that envelope from the Rutgers One-on-One Plus Conference. My desk overlooks the front of the house and when I would see the mail truck go by–zoom! I was down the stairs and out the door. I knocked down the Beneficent Mr. Hall more than once. (Not to worry. He just rolled to the end of the driveway where I graciously helped him up.)

Finally, I got my letter. Of acceptance. Wheee!

Yeah, you have to apply to attend the conference. Now, honestly, I have no idea how many people apply. They accept around 8o writers because around 80 professionals (editors and agents, mostly) attend to provide one-on-one mentoring. Maybe only 80 writers send in the packet. I don’t care. I felt special. For about 2 minutes. Than I read the letter and felt a little panicky.

You don’t know who your mentor will be. You also have an opportunity for what they call 5-on-5–and you don’t know who those five mentors will be, either. But you do know who the 80 mentors will be.

Now, I am a writer who believes in being prepared before I hit a conference. You can read all about it over at The Muffin today. And if you do, you’ll see that I like to research speakers. Not in a creepy, stalker way. Just the normal, crazed writer way.


I’m just sayin’. So you might not see much of me for a month or so. And P.S. I’m even going to let the Beneficent Mr. Hall fetch the mail.

Mingling and Moving Forward

So I had a lovely time at Springmingle, the Southern Breeze’s SCBWI conference this past weekend in Atlanta. It’s all over, as they say, but the transcribing of the notes.

Er…I did take notes. When I’m listening to presentations on writing fine dialogue or how to punch up a plot or what makes a thriller, I scribble furiously. But when I’m listening to a speech that’s inspiring and thoughtful and just fills my soul with all those writerly words I need to hear, the notes sort of drift off into a word or two. Oopsies.

So I’m sorry that I can’t share Kirby Larson’s points from her wonderful keynote speech. But I can direct you to her blog where she lists all the books she mentioned (that was lucky, huh?) and you can follow her posts to get a little inspiration and/or information. (By the way, is it only in the South where mac ‘n cheese is a vegetable? I mean, if you go through the cafeteria line, where else are they going to put mac ‘n cheese???)

Anyway, I picked up her latest book, The Friendship Doll, and of course, Cathy-on-a-Stick had to get in the picture with ’em. (I think my pic was a little miffed that the pics on the book were all wearing delightful outfits while Cathy-on-a-stick was a tad under-dressed for the occasion.)

And I did remember the last poem that Kirby read called “God Says Yes to Me” by Kaylin Haught. I love the last lines…

what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

Yep, I’ll keep going to conferences (and probably forget to take notes). But that’s okay. I’m listening and learning,  writing and growing. And someday, I’ll get my Yes.

Friday’s Fun Find: CONFERENCE TIME!

I LOVE writer’s conferences! And I especially love Springmingle, which happens to be my own region’s (Southern Breeze) SCBWI conference that’s held every February. I love to catch up with writer friends I hardly ever get to see, and I love hearing the First Page critiques, and I love meeting agents and editors and famous authors. I even love those nerve-wracking formal critiques.

And so I’m off to mingle this fine almost spring day. But first a little oldie-but-goodie tip from Arthur A. Levine, Vice-President of Scholastic Books. (And P.S. If you’re a conference lover, too, you’ll want to check out The Official SCBWI Conference Blog. I think that title pretty much says it all.)