March brings me to my third conference of 2017, "From Dreaming to Doing", the regional conference for Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia. I would not have attended except that I learned a member of my online science critique group was from this region and planning to attend. It was close enough for me and thought it'd be nice to meet Kirsten in person. I looked at the schedule and found a few sessions from which I might benefit if I followed the nonfiction track, so I registered.
If you've suffered coccyx pain (that's the tailbone, folks), like me, you've probably purchased many pillows in an attempt to get some relief when you sit down. By my count, I have bought at least 13 different cushions. Here's my evaluation of each one.
This month was the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York City. I planned to drive along with a critique partner. It would be the first time attending for both of us and we were excited to go. They say the journey is half the fun and we certainly found that to be true. With a winter storm on the horizon we loaded my truck with shovel, de-icer, and windshield scraper, boots, coats, and plenty of water. We wanted to get halfway across Pennsylvania the first day since we were getting a late start to the day. We wouldn't have any weather issues on this leg of the trip, but we knew it would all be a different story when we woke up the following morning.
On my last post I mentioned that I had read Harold Underdown's Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books. I actually read this last fall and starting thinking about his ideas and trying a few suggestions. I am in the submission process for a number of manuscripts, and not really getting any results. I think the first bit of encouragement I've had in a long time was at the WPA-SCBWI Conference last fall, and it got me thinking again about what I had read in Harold's book. Conferences are the place to meet editors.
I read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by Harold D. Underdown. This was the third edition and some of this may be out-of-date. This is a list of things that I got from it at this point in my writing career. My knowledge is past the beginning stage of writing, and I know a lot about books in general from my work as a Children's Librarian. So, for me, the greatest gain was about submissions and imprints and tidbits that specifically relate to what I'm writing. I came away with some new ideas about how to approach my submission process, I was encouraged by some of what I read, and I have set some new goals for the year. Maybe some of it will be applicable to others. Turn to the book for the complete conversation about each bulleted item. Most of these are exactly as Harold Underdown wrote them. I hope you'll find something useful as well.
I've attempted these twice now and neither attempt was quite right, but I think third time's a charm. I first attempted to make them for Christmas dinner and are they turned out to be nice for something savory that is just a little beyond the ordinary. Here's what happened:
What an honor to present this program in the library where I used to work!
Sunday, January 15, 2017 -
2:00pm to 3:30pm
Wright Memorial Public Library
1776 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood, OH 45419
Fiction writers like to give their characters as much authenticity as possible by indicating where they are from and how they speak. But giving characters proper dialect can be a challenge. In this writers’ study and workshop, author Jennifer Sommer will focus on how dialect is communicated on the page, the history and evolution of dialect in literature, controversies, and best current practices for writers. Registration is requested. Please visit www.wrightlibrary.org.
Jennifer Sommer is a writer who earned her MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University where she presented her Master’s thesis Writing in Dialect in Fiction: a History and Study. Sommer is the former Coordinator of Youth Services at Wright Library and has served on national selection committees for several American Library Association awards, including the Odyssey Award, which recognizes the best audiobook for children and/or young adults, and the Robert F. Sibert Award for non-fiction books for children.
This is an easy snack to prepare for those Rice Krispie treats lovers, and I know a few. The hardest part was decorating. The color and flavoring come from Jell-O. The decorations can be about anything you have on hand. I had Jelly Belly's and chocolate chips to try out different button looks. I ran into a few problems with the decorating icing, which I'll explain in more detail later. Once you know the tricks, this would be a fun project to do with the kids.
Looks familiar, right? But this cookie is not anything like the Angel Pecan cookies I made last. Except for the shape and the powdered sugar, of course. This snowball has a very unexpected surprise inside. Ooey-gooey chocolate cookie surrounding a Hershey's chocolate kiss. You could also try a peppermint flavored kiss and I think it would be equally good. Rod loved these. Warning: they are so rich, a couple will do you.
I whipped up a batch of these to drop off with my sister-in-law after she rushed to complete a quilt I was giving as a Christmas present. They turned out to be so delicious that I know I will make another batch next week. They are light and would be great with hot chocolate on a cold winter's day. And I have a great occasion coming up next week to do just that.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
3/4 confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
I am a writer of Children's and Young Adult books. I received my MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, and am an active member of SCBWI. I also have my MLS in Library Science with an emphasis on children and happily worked as a Children's Librarian for nearly 20 years. One of my favorite activities was reading books aloud to kids, especially to school-aged kids. Like the kids, I enjoy having stories read to me, so I listen to many of my books on audio and serve on audio judging committees.
Another favorite activity is creating fun snacks for library programs, friends, and family. I do that a lot and continually search for more ideas.
I have a tiny brown tabby cat named Gypsy, who originally belonged to my brother and sister-in-law, a very large Russian Blue mix named Bosley from the shelter who has quickly made himself at home, and a new puppy named Prince Albert. He's a Cavapoo, which means he's part Cavalier King Charles and part poodle, and adorable. I am married and live in Dayton, Ohio with my husband Rod.
You can find more detailed information about me by clicking the link below: