SDSU Writers’ Conference 2017 features R.L. Stine, best-selling Children’s Author

conference-clipart-student-conference-clipart-1Alright. Any 80’s and 90’s babies out there? You likely grew up reading “Choose Your Own Adventure Novels”, “Babysitter’s Club” and “Fear Street/Goosebumps”! I am personally a total super-fan of Ann M. Martin, Christopher Pike, and R.L. Stine. How fabulous would it be to meet one of your favorite childhood authors in person?

Coming up in January 2017 SDSU will be hosting its annual Writers’ Conference in San Diego! This year R.L Stine will be featured as one of their Keynote Speakers along with J.A. Jance. I can only imagine their speeaches will be insightful and inspiring. I had the privilege of attending this event back in 2013. I found this conference to be fun, friendly, and informative . I love that along with their informative panels they also provide opportunities for networking and one-on-one sessions with industry professionals.

Follow this link to find out more about this fabulous conference:

You can also sign up to receive updates about the event. They will be introducing a new conference format this year. I look forward to hearing all the details about their breakout sessions!


SCBWI 2013 Summer Conference Recap

I met Jon Sciescka at the 2013 Summer SCBWI Sonference.
I met Jon Sciescka!

Every year I have the intention to write a recap shortly after attending the LA SCBWI Summer Conference so I can share about my wonderful, life-changing experiences, and never seem to find the time to do so. I always leave feeling so ready to write that I think that’s what gets me. I go out and write, and write, and write — and neglect my blog in the process.

I’m still writing up a storm in the aftermath this year — journal entries, revising current works, reworking a current picture book into something quirky and new, and dabbling in a historical piece. But this year is different in one way — I’m actually posting about my experiences because I really feel this oozy-amazingness needs to be passed on.

Laurie Halse Anderson commenced the conference with an inspiring keynote. I felt as if she could see into the brain of every writer in the room. Some of my favorite quotes:

All you have to do is be brave today. -Laurie Halse Anderson

There’s a reason you dream a different reality. – Laurie Halse Anderson

Jon Sciescka followed up with an equally inspiring keynote. And this was just within the first few hours of the three day conference. The stage was set for an amazing weekend. (By the way, … did I mention that I met Jon Sciescka?)

[Because his daughters favorite book was the Gingerbread Man and he was sick of it, he thought:] What if the Gingerbread Man was made of cheese? That changes everything. – Jon Sciescka

The days that followed were filled with breakout sessions, editors and agents panels, meet-n-greets galore, the black and white gala, and more deep-yoga-breath inducing keynotes. The weekend was truly jam-packed.

IMG_2057Towards the end of the last day we were treated to a keynote from the illustrious Richard Peck:

Because nobody, but a reader ever became a writer. -Richard Peck


I walked away with a notebook full of valuable knowledge, a heart filled up with stories bursting to be told, and friendships to last a lifetime. I can’t wait till next year!



SCBWI Summer Conference 2013 – What I’ve gained and why you should go.

-Resources-Image-scbwi-logoH66W170A1The SCBWI LA Summer Conference is only one week away! I’m so excited. I’ve been packing for a week already. Next step — meal planning! I have food allergies. Eating away from home can be difficult. And on top of that, hotel food can get pricey.

There are a few spots still open for this life-changing conference extravaganza. Don’t delay! Register today.  (Sorry for the rhyme. Couldn’t help it.)

What have I gained from this event? One word describes it. As was featured in keynote speaker, Bruce Coville’s talk in 2011 — ripples.

Rewind to 2011 … my first summer conference. I didn’t know anyone. I went online seeking an SCBWI buddy in my area. I found one immediately. We started out as coffee buddies, and then conference buddies; now we are close friends.

Fast forward to 2012 … my second summer conference. I knew a small classroom full of people. And I built even more connections. This is the year that my big take away was “dig deeper.” They were several moments of bawling at this conference, but it was breakthrough bawling, which is totally ok.

And now it’s 2013 … I’m actually attending a Pre-Conference party on Thursday, and dressing up with a group for the gala (which I’ve always wanted to do.) Me — shy, little me!

This event helped further my writing career, feed my soul, and shed my introverted skin so I could interact with some of the most amazing people I have ever known. I hope you will think about attending. And if do, and you happen to see me, don’t be afraid to say hello! I love making new friends, and will be happy to help out if you are new!

I also wanted to share the following comics below created by Debbie Ohi who has a great SCBWI Success Story!! Her comics capture the pre-conference newbie jitters perfectly!

SCBWInewbie-01 SCBWInewbie-06kidlitchat SCBWInewbie-07editor

Picture Book Review: A Balloon for Isabel

Sometimes there are books that touch my heart so much, I can’t help but review them. A Balloon for Isabel  by Deborah Underwood is one of these books. Here are a few reasons why I love this book.

1) It has a clever, witty plot and is an all around fun read.
2) The main character is an adorable little girl named, Isabel. She also happens to be a porcupine who wants a balloon, and for obvious reasons can’t have one. Brilliant.
3) It’s filled with vibrant, colorful illustrations.
4) Isabel’s best friend is Walter. His Dad owns a candy shop. But what does Walter love? Broccoli, of course. What a wonderfully fun detail.
5) It’s filled with ingenious ideas, like the pop-stopper, that will tickle the reader’s delight.

I hope I’ve peeked your interest enough to check out this book. Happy Reading!

(I was fortunate enough to meet the author, the lovely Deborah Underwood, at the LA SCBWI Summer Conference. She is pictured below with goofy ol’ me.)

Getting out of my bubble — My SDSU Writer’s Conference Experience

I love attending writer’s conferences, workshops, and critique groups with fellow children’s and young adult writers.  I get to spend time with like-minded, spirited individuals who love children’s books as much as I do.  And, I don’t get people looking at me funny for enjoying them either!

This past summer, I received a wonderful piece of advice while attending a Children’s Writers Schmooze — ‘Expand your horizons.  Don’t limit yourself to events just for children’s writers. Branch out! Explore events for other genres as well.’

I percolated over the idea for some time and finally decided to take the plunge.  I signed up for the SDSU Writer’s Conference in San Diego, and will be posting recaps of it very soon! Writers from all genres were present at this event — and I was very nervous to attend.  I am so happy I did! Most sessions didn’t address my genre specifically, but nonetheless I was able to pick out information relevant to me and soak it all in. I was also exposed to many ideas about the new digital and technological world of publishing (more on that soon too.)

One of my favorite sessions was put on by author, Angela Hunt, entitled Evoking Emotion.  It was wonderful!  She had a box of tissues on the counter for all of us — just in case.  I didn’t think I would need them, but oh how wrong I was about that!  She used various videos as discussion points in discovering how they evoked such a strong emotional response.  Take a look at the video below about Christian the Lion Cub and see what I mean.  (The singer featured in the video is the Late Whitney Houston.  May she rest in peace.  My heart goes out to her family and friends.)


Did you miss WriteOnCon?

What is WriteOnCon?
WriteOnCon is a free online conference designed to give Writers many of the features of a live, in person conference in an online setting.  WriteOnCon is the brainchild of seven writers who wanted to “pay it forward” and give something back to the writing community. The curriculum is focused on Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Writers, however the information is relevant for all writers.

Sounds fabulous! How do I attend?
Well, here’s the thing. WriteOnCon 2011 has just finished. This year it was August 16-18. Not to worry though! The schedule is archived and still available for viewing. You will need to sign up to use the forums but you can view a link to the schedule of events here.

The sessions with publishing professionals are full of amazing information.  I attended as much of the live events as I could this year and am still not caught up!  I hope you take a look! You won’t regret it.

My favorite sessions: (so far)
Puzzled by Picture Books with Author Sarah Frances Hardy – Ms. Hardy gives a thorough talk about writing character driven stories from conception to storyboard.  Her talk is designed for both Authors and Illustrators.
Your novel isn’t ready for submission because… by Author Tom Leveen – Mr. Leveen speaks openly to authors about the many reasons why your novel (or picture book) is not ready for submission and in turn provides ideas that help you become ready to submit in the future.