I have gone to the SCBWI annual summer conference many times (in LA), but now that the conferences are virtual, I am able to "go" to the NYC winter conference this year. It begins this afternoon. Woot!
After sending my latest book out to agents, I received a few critiques and made some changes to the start of my book. Shout out to Steven Salpeter of Curtis Brown and Beth Phelan of Gallt & Zacker for such thorough feedback. If any of you ever need great feedback and have the opportunity to pick their brains, I highly suggest them!
By the way, my drawing above is what I drew this month in my 2020 Currently journal, available by clicking here. I already purchased mine for 2021!
This year I had planned to go to LA for the annual SCBWI conference. But alas...pandemic.
After a summer of free weekly webinars with well-known members of the writing community, this past weekend, SCBWI produced their annual conference online.
The conference was great! Four days of panels, conversations, and keynotes, interspersed with yoga breaks! And Lin Oliver began and ended the conference in her usual welcoming style, making me miss hanging out at the conference,but thankful she was able to bring it to me. The LA conference always fills me up to the brim with inspiration, motivation, and confidence. I was able to get a hit of that this weekend. Thanks, SCBWI!
It was a small but mighty group that gathered on December 8 for a bit of holiday fun, food, and of course, a writing exercise. Author Axie Oh led us in a small workshop, and then we had a book exchange.
The Las Vegas Book Festival seemed to be a bit smaller this year, but it was still good. I zipped down there to catch a few speakers...Jarrett Krosoczka and my friend Daria Peoples-Riley. They had many authors there for signings, plus panels and even free books.
This month, Nevada SCBWI hosted a webinar with Adria Goetz of Martin Literary. I was fortunate enough to attend in my own backyard, while hummingbirds buzzed around me. The weather has been in the 60's in Las Vegas! Crazy!
Adria's topic was query letters, a topic of which I am revisiting now that I am almost ready to begin submitting my middle grade novel instead of picture books. There was a long Q&A at the end, which was nice. Webinars are an awesome way to get your questions answered!
Thanks to Adria and NV SCBWI!
The first weekend in May, Nevada SCBWI hosted its Pitch Perfect Conference in Las Vegas. In the photo above, attendees practice pitching to agents and editors. If you are currently submitting your manuscripts, or if you are almost ready to do so, I highly recommend this conference!
Spring seems to be a super busy time in the writers' community. Here's what I've been up to...
On the left: The Southern Nevada Chapter of SCBWI got together to mingle and catch up on each others' writing. There was a ton of talent at that table!
Center: I happened upon a virtual conference offered by School Library Journal. Called "Middle Grade Magic," it was a free full-day of keynotes, panels, and author/publisher chats. I sat my laptop on my desk at work so I could listen and work at the same time. And did I mention it was free? :-)
Right: Nevada SCBWI and Henderson Libraries offered a free writers' retreat. Another freebie! We mingled, we ate, and we wrote. A perfect morning.
Within the next month, I'm looking forward to more SCBWI webinars, critique group meetings (I'm now the leader of mine), and the SCBWI Annual Pitch Perfect Conference, here in Las Vegas in the beginning of May.
And I have to find time to write, too!
Literacy Week is a great opportunity for a writer to learn. I took advantage of the week by reading to a class at my son's school, and by volunteering during the school's assembly, when local author and Channel 3 Weatherman Kevin Janison visited the school.
I am doing all I can do to help myself as a writer. I get up early to write, go to critique groups and conferences, judge local writers contests, make notes constantly, and try to stay motivated. Literacy Week allows me to get some experience with a class of kids (even though the book I read wasn't mine!) and to watch another author's presentation so I can do them myself someday.
And the book sale at the school is always welcome. They're for the parents, right? :-)
I should have posted a beach photo after writing that title, but I had to show that instead of luxuriating on the beach all weekend, we did actually work! Last weekend I attended the MG/YA Writers Retreat in Fort Lauderdale organized by the fabulous Allyson Levitt of editandgetit.com. I highly recommend any event she plans...she works hard and does whatever possible to provide the info and opportunities that writers need. She even added skypes with more editors at the last minute, just because she wanted to...how many people would do that, and not charge any more money?
Above is a photo from the Agents and Editors panel, including Jess Regel, Heather Flaherty, Krista Vitola, and Julia Maguire. Also pictured is me with Allyson's dog Lucy, who was the unofficial conference mascot, and me with Gary D. Schmidt, award-winning author and keynote speaker for the weekend.
The best part of the retreat, besides meeting so many great people, was my critique with Gary D. Schmidt. If you ever get the chance to have him critique your work, DO IT! I left his critique more motivated than ever. In fact, I'm going to quit writing this post and go work on the book I discussed with him...