Tuesday, April 24, 2012

more of "My Conference"

I'm still floating on that magical cloud that I came home on after the New England conference.  Others have posted keynote speakers, but the photos I'm showing are quite like me, a patchwork kind of quilt. 
The workshops were fantastic. Here are Cindy Faughnan-www.cindyfaughnan.com  and 
Jo Knowles, our writing camp councilors. Believe me, they used their whistles more than once, but in defense of the group, they gave us exercises and we couldn't stop chatting until...well you know, the whistle thing! I didn't think that someone else's writing prompt would help me with my writing, but I was wrong. The prompts were given, few minutes to write the story, and then the readings. I was amazed that with each prompt, each writer came up with totally different ideas. So I'm stuck on prompts and when I'm stuck I'll turn to them. A good place to find prompts is at www.joknowes.com/prompts.html   See what you come up with!
         This is the crowd in the dining hall where we ate surrounded by editors and agents. I had the good fortune to have the seat right beside the lovely Julie Ham, assistant editor from Charlesbridge. And on Sunday, Denise and I had breakfast and conversation with independent editor, Harold Underdown. Nice! Nice! Nice!

There were books sold and authors signing. Do you recognize anyone at the tables?

 The next few photos are in a full house Real Revision workshop with Kate Messner. Kate is so smart and nice-oh, did I say nice up above....Yes, everyone there was nice!

Besides the fabulous, fantastic workshops I attended, I had critiques of my manuscripts. One of them was an new (for us) and interesting concept-on the spot critique. "You" take a manuscript to the assigned agent or editor, he/she reads it there and gives a crit on the spot! I was leery of this, but person and I had a chat, I presented one of 2 manuscripts we talked about. Brainstormed it, with pencil notes and suggestions, then he/she asked if I had the other one with me! I did and I received an email yesterday about that one. I was worried about the process, but it was a pretty cool. First read, first impressions count!

This is what I'm reading right now. It's Jennifer Carson's Hapenny Magick. I love the cover and title. Don't you just want to pick it up and read?!?!? I didn't buy this book though. Jennifer gave it to me because she said I'm nice! Thank you so much Jennifer. (I'll try not to say nice again) 

I did buy a few books but will post them when I get them back. I lent them out to a teenager  this morning.

And this-I thought I was keeping secrets from my roommates. I made a plan and removed my birthday from my facebook page but wishes started filtering in. I didn't say anything, thinking it's conference time, not my time, but on Sunday morning they presented me with a card and lovely journal-they knew all the time!

I can't say enough about the conference experience and how I wish everyone could attend one and come home as upbeat and refreshed and motivated as I am. It's spring conference season, so if you get to go to one-
*Take advantage of the offerings. Paid critiques are invaluable. Don't expect editor/agent to gush over  
      your manuscript and want it right there on the spot. You may get a request though/or not, but the 
      critique usually gives you an overview of what that person sees and hears from the pages subbed.
*Be prepared with a few manuscripts. I've never had anyone ask to take a story with them until this   
        year, but I had it with me in a small portfolio.
*Dress comfortably.
*Have business cards.
*Socialize and be friendly.
*Volunteer if you can. 
*Attend your workshops with pencil and notebook or computer in hand.  Some have detailed handouts. *You've heard lots of this stuff before, but keep your mind open. You will learn something, I promise!
*Fill out the evaluation form. It helps with planning the next event.
*Miss Zumba for a few times!!!!

Now that I'm home,  it's time for me to dance! Have a great week.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"My" Conference

Our New England SCBWI conference doesn't officially begin until this afternoon,

but four writer friends decided to come to Springfield a day early to have our own little writing retreat. Tami Wight and I drove from Maine, Val Giogas from MA and Denise Ortakales from NH yesterday "retreating"! After the update chit chat, we pulled out our computers and stretched out and immersed in our own manuscripts.

Then our friend Joyce Johnson came by and talked writing and shared her newly released book...
You can check her out at thewritejoyce.blogspot.com. And...when we looked inside, she gave us, her "Schmoozer" critiquers acknowledgement!!!! I'm humbled.

 The inside of our hotel-looking down and all around-     The sign that lets the world know who's here!

Our room view is the mini apple orchard on the roof next door.

 And this, well it's Denise after a very special presentation from Val, The Rosemary Frye Award.  Rosemary has a long story but the short of it is that each year,  the Rosemary muse and journal is passed on from one deserving children's writer to another, to see them through their writing journey for a year. Congratulations Denise!!! You're special.

Now a quick note to my Zumba girls before I  get back to story writing....I've been reading your updates and singing and dancing- in my head. I shared the first video with my roomies and I danced again -in my head! So dance dance dance on your feet and I'll see you soon!!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Honey I'm Home

I know I missed posting last week. Did anyone notice?!?!? We were in St. Augustine checking out our son's FL home. I was in glory land enjoying the beach and being inspired every morning before we went on our other daily adventures.  Here's an early morning sunrise on St Augustine Beach on Anastasia Island.
...and the chair I bought to relax, read and write in after I took my power walk along the beach. That's my bag of writing tricks under the chair! 
Zumba friends, I thought of you too. I didn't dance, but while I walked, I held my shoulders back and tightened the middle, and thought core, core, core! And neighbors and friends, I never talked as much on my cell phone especially while beach walking-thanks for the calls. 

 I wrote and critiqued pages by the pool too.

David and Ed were our tour guides. With almost every turn, I surprisingly found "signs" that related to many of the stories I'm working on. I truly feel like they mean something. My critique buddies will know what I'm talking about when I show them this once-upon-a-time moat. Not around a castle. It was around the historical fort, but a moat, nevertheless! Then there were the crocodiles on another venture and a black bear too... la la la la....

the moat

and a full moon!!!
What do you think my dear writer buddies? Do you believe in the signs? I'm still feeling the weird connection to all of these intrusions that just happened to be there during my vacation. A good weird!

This tourist also found the fountain of youth. Did I drink from it? You bet. I dumped it over my head and jumped in the magical waters, so wait 'til you see the new me! Okay, so I lie, but sounded pretty good. I did drink a glass of the stuff because I was dry, but that was it. A girl can dream and pretend.

David and I climbed the 215 steps up to the top of the historical lighthouse. Just happened to be near the top when these school kids were going down and around and down and around and down and around! Pretty cool seeing one red shirt following another.

A fitting last photo- sunset on the beach.
Much thanks to David Pease and Ed Tobolski for a glorious week. We landed home on Easter Sunday afternoon, just in time to enjoy the rest of our family for Easter feast.

All I can say is dream, walk in the sunshine and enjoy your journey, no matter where it may take you.