Monday, November 18, 2019

NOVEMBER 2019 -- Three Turkey Day Shorts

Turkey, oh dear Turkey, 
You need to run and hide.
Otherwise you’ll find yourself
Served with stuffing on the side.

                    Turkey slow roasted,   
                    Turkey deep fried,
                    Turkey butter basted,
                    Turkey unidentified.

My stomach has a little twinge . . .
I think I ate too fast.
Perhaps I shall feel better
When all this gas has passed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

OCTOBER 2019 -- An October Acrostic

          Outside my window I can see
          Change creep across the fields,
          Trading greens for autumn hues,
          Overthrowing summer’s glow.
          Bearing hints of winter’s bite, it
          Excuses me to spend more time
          Roasting my tootsies by the fire.

OCTOBER 2019 -- Spokane SCBWI Conference Notes

My SCBWI “home” region, the Inland Northwest, held its Fall Conference September 20-21 at the Montvale Event Center in Spokane, Washington. Previously a one day conference, this year, an additional half-day was added. This Friday afternoon event offered the choice of two Intensive Workshops. One, with Martha Brockenbrough, was geared to middle grade and YA writers; the other, with Daria Peoples-Riley, towards picture book writers. I attended Daria’s session. Calling on personal experiences, Daria led participants through exercises that focused on recognizing what child we feel needs our book and how we want that child to feel when they are holding our book in their hands. After that, we focused on visualizing “scenes” from our story and creating some storyboard panels even if they were only stick figures. That can be a bit intimidating for non-artists, but the writers in the group (including me) seemed to survive and even had some fun.

For me, Saturday started way too early. As Conference Volunteer Chair, I had to be on deck to make sure all our volunteers and the chairpersons to whom they were assigned connected okay. Fortunately, we had a hard-working, enthusiastic bunch on both sides this year and since this conference runs on volunteer power, this was a big, big plus. We got everything set up and kicked off the day.
The main events started with a local author panel speaking on sustaining a long-term career, then moved on to the first of two morning breakout sessions. In the first session I attended, Christy Cox of Little Bigfoot gave participants an overview of her imprint’s regional focus and the opportunities that afforded writers.  Next, I chose a fast-paced but information loaded session with Sylvie Frank, editor at Paula Wiseman Books, who shared her perspective on the major characteristics of a great picture book character. To further this, she walked us through the final melding of text and illustrations that occurred during the editing of Ariel Bernstein’s “Where Is My Balloon.”

After the morning breakouts, there was time to visit the Illustrators Portfolio Showcase, do a little shopping at the bookstore, get those purchases autographed, and then sit down and chat a bit with fellow attendees and members of the faculty during lunch. 

The afternoon sessions kicked off with an agent panel featuring Adria Goetz, Laurel Symonds, and Courtney Radocaj fielding moderated questions about their backgrounds and their agenting preferences, information that comes in handy when considering submitting work to them. Courtney then followed this up with a talk on the differences in writing with versus about diversity and gave some great tips on how to incorporate diverse characters into our writing. The final breakout session was next up. I chose to attend a First Impressions Roundtable where six of us had a chance to read the first 250 words of a work and get feedback from a faculty member, in this case Adria Goetz. Getting some helpful feedback was great, but I also enjoyed the chance to hear what others were working on.

The afternoon was winding down as all attendees met back in the main room for the second local author panel. This one featured four authors sharing their perspectives on the revision process, something I found not only interesting, but entertaining as well. Yes, I’m looking at you, KMH!

Closing out this busy day, was keynote speaker Martha Brockenbrough. Martha encouraged us to embrace what our life’s journey brings to our writing journey, both highs and lows. Personally, I got a kick out of some of the photos she shared as they reminded me of some similar pics stored in a shoe box in my own closet. Note the picture of my muse to the right of this post.

All in all, a very full day and a half. Yet, as always when attending this type of event, I came away feeling inspired and re-energized. Not a bad way to feel at all.