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!

 

sunflowerslobby

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

Ripples…One Year Later

Last year I heard the amazing, Bruce Coville speak at my very first SCBWI 2012 Summer Conference. Here are a few quotes from his keynote “Ripples in the Pond: Why What We Do Matters…and Matters…and Continues to Matter”:

“Start ripples throughout the world” and “You cannot know how you’ve affected the world; make ripples anyway.”

Powerful words, right? Every time I hear them, I my heart melts.

I threw my tiny rock in the pond in 2010. That’s when I attended my first ever writing conference, the Central Coast Writing Conference at Cuesta College. I met Children’s Book Author, Merrily Kutner, who told our class that the best thing we could do for our career was to join SCBWI. So I did…

Fast forward to July 2011. My little pebble sat in the pond, stagnant. I longed to make a connection. I gathered up some courage and emailed another local SCBWIer I’d found online and invited her to coffee. I was nervous to meet someone this way, but I took the plunge anyway. We connected instantly. We attended the summer conference as buddies and enjoyed every breathtaking keynote together. One ripple.

A few weeks after the conference, feeling more inspired than ever, I stalked the SCBWI Critique Connections board, anxious to find a critique group in my area. As luck would have it, a new one was forming. One more ripple and then after a SCBWI Schmooze — two more.

This summer I attended the Summer Conference again. This time I had made a few connections. But it didn’t stop there. This year I found my courage. My courage to write. My courage to look inside my heart and will my true self out, the one I’d suppressed for many years.  I spoke with agents and authors who inspired me, hugged me, and nodded my way with eyes filled with a ‘way-to-go’ like shine. It was magical. I met other writers from across the nation. This time, I can’t even count the ripples, and as Bruce said, I can’t even imagine what kind of affect they will have on the world. I felt blessed to have attended this year. My true writing voice is ready to ooze out of my fingertips onto the page. I hope to continue sending ripples outward, that all started with a tiny, stationary pebble.

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.)

Super SCBWI Summer Conference 2011

I gotta admit. This is a weird feeling.
Why doesn’t the CVS cashier know I’m a Children’s Writer?
How come the people in the fresh juice line don’t want to talk to me…about writing…and illustrating…and publishing children’s books?
Oh yea…I’m not at the SCBWI Summer Conference anymore, that’s why!

This year I attended the summer conference for the first time. On my first day I quietly sat in the lobby, trying to muster up courage to talk to people. That’s when I saw them…sunflowers! In the lobby of the hotel! As I have mentioned in a previous post, sunflowers tend to show up during significant times in my life. I think this experience certainly qualified as significant.

I don’t know yet what will come of my conference experience. What I do know is that at times I felt inspired, moved, excited, anxious, nervous, and encouraged. I met postive, like-minded, quirky people. I witnessed the diversity in writing, speaking, and art.  I was also reminded to believe in myself, my voice, and my vision.  I am so excited to write this week!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the conference:

“Everything we do moves outward, like ripples in a pond.”  – Bruce Coville

“I write what I need to write.”   – Donna Jo Napoli.

“Writing not only changed my life, it saved my life.”  -Judy Blume