I am continuing my New Year's goal of attending different regional conferences with a 3-day event in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's the first in what will be a busy 2nd half of the year. There were a few specific sessions listed on the schedule that attracted my attention, besides kinda liking the area a lot and wanting to visit Charlotte. Also offered was an optional intensive session, and it looked like Gary Schmidt was one of the choices. His session, "Your Narrator, Your POV and You" sounded exactly like it applied to what I was currently working on with my YA Historical Fiction. It wasn't a hard decision. I would attend the RedHot Carolinas conference.
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.
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.
Three of us from my picture book critique group decided to head out of our region for some refreshing brain food and this conference looked like a good one. We drove out of Ohio and into Pennsylvania excited about who we might meet and what we might learn.
My attendance at SCBWI Annual in Los Angeles was a first for me. I was looking forward to hearing authors, editors, and agents talk about relevant issues. I wanted to reconnect with fellow writers and make new connections. I wanted to be rejuvenated and inspired. I wanted to learn and to have fun. Was I successful? Absolutely! And after having some time to reflect on my conference experience, here is a list of some my personal highlights.
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: