Monday, July 28, 2014

KidLitCon 2014

Jen Robinson, who blobs at Jen Robinson's Book Page,  invites you-all to come to the next KidLitCon to be held in Sacramento, CA. on October 10th and 11th.
General information about the conference is here.  Click on over to see why this is a must-see for blog readers/ blog writers/ and children's book writers.

If you'd like to present a lecture/ workshop/ or propose a panel discussion, those proposals are due by next Friday (August 1st).

Tanita Davis has written a great article today about what it is that we're looking for in proposals, and why people should consider participating in KidLitCon as speakers.  Or even just as attendees.

The theme this year is diversity.
Tanita also discusses the broadest of definitions of diversity at this same link.

Click here for the registration form for the conference.

Twitterites can follow the news on the KidLitCon Twitter feed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

VCFA Class Names

I've been thinking lately about college. (probably because my teen is entering high school and we should begin looking at colleges -- eventually)

Recently, I've been attending a graduate school where I am studying writing.  The wonderful thing about this college is that the class groups become very close and have a tradition of adopting a name for themselves.

July 2008, I began a picture book certificate course at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the school of Writing for Children and Young Adults.  This is a correspondence course with the requirement that students spend 10 days on campus attending lectures and readings from 8:30 am to after 9:00 pm.  Then we go home and write (at least 25 hours a week, often more), sending our work to our advisor about every 4 weeks in an email packet.  At the next residency, in January 2009, our picture book group gave a lecture about what we had learned.

In 2010, I read One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.  Instantly, I realized that I needed to go back to Vermont College of Fine Arts and take the full course (4 semesters) that would result in an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Names of the classes I have been a part of are:
July 2010 - Thunder Badgers  (they began their study the semester I did the Picture Book Certificate program)
January 2013 - Dystropians
Then I had to take a break because of family events.  I came back and joined:
July 2014 - Allies in Wonderland
Another break in attendance
January 2015 - Darling Assassins 
July 2015 -  The Craftographers

I hope to graduate at the July 2015 Residency.

All these groups contain wonderful writers and it's been my privilege to have known them.
Look for their books coming out in the next few years.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Walter Dean Myers

Those of us who attended the Corretta Scott King breakfast at ALA in June wondered why Walter Dean Myers was not there to accept his award.  His editor accepted it in his name.  Early in July we discovered why. The Children's Book World was shocked by the information that one of our giants had died.

There have been many tributes to him. Here are links to a few:

Lyn Miller-Lachmann -- We've Lost a Library
Fuse #8 Production blog on the School Library Journal Website
And here's his biography on the Walter Dean Myers' website

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Praise for Women over 50

I had a birthday yesterday.
A little bit over 50.
Ahem -- a bit over 64, too.
(cue Beattles music, "Will you still need me/ Will you still feed me/  when I'm 64?")

Some of you reading this will remember Andy Rooney, who always had the last word on the news program -- 60 Minutes.  I've been going over my old email and discovered a quote from him that my sister sent me in 2004:

 What Andy Rooney says about women over 50

Andy Rooney says.... "As I grow in age, I value women who are over 50 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

An over 50 woman will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.

If an over 50 woman doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And it's usually something more interesting.

An over 50 woman knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants, and from whom. Few women past the age of 50 give a darn what you might think about her or what she's doing.

An over 50 woman usually has had her fill of "meaningful relationships" and commitment." The last thing she wants in her life is another dopey, clingy, whiny, dependent lover.

Over 50 women are dignified. They seldom have screaming matches with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Over 50 women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

An over 50 woman has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women. A woman over 50 woman couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to an over 50 woman. They always know.

An over 50 woman looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women.

Over 50 women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Ladies, we praise over 50 women for a multitude of reasons.
Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. 
For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of 50+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize.
Andy Rooney

Pass this on to other fabulous women over 50 that you know!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Five Rules of Writing Success

Robert A. Heinlein, the famous Science Fiction writer, always maintained that there are 5 rules for writing success.

1. You must write.
2. Finish what you start
3. Don't rewrite, except when an editor tells you to
4. You must put your story on the market
5. You must keep the story on the market until it sells

Science Fiction Writer, Robert J. Sawyer lists these rules on his blog, On Writing, and adds another rule of his own -- 6. Start working on something else.

He explains these rules in detail, plus points out why, out of 100 would-be-successful writers, only one will be successful. (for example, out of 100 writers, only 50 will actually write.  And less and less end up following the remaining rules to success.)
 Click on over to read his blog.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel

Friday the 13th.
Mercury in Retrograde.
PLUS, it's a Full Moon.

Any one of these could mean something bad to some people -- but all THREE of them on one day?

--One friend lost his whole book draft.  The file is GONE. Gone. Gone. Gone.
--One friend's dog has been condemned to solitary confinement at Doggy Day Care and has to wear a red collar to warn people that he doesn't get along with the other dogs.
-- Many, many parents had to burn up, sitting under the hot sun, to watch their children graduate.  (Okay, maybe that's not a disaster -- but it was very, very hot.)

Well --
Here's one thing that you can do right today.
You can get the beginning of your story right.  Or at least learn to avoid The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel.  Literary agents give advice at Chuck Sambuchino's blog. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Word Count!

Writers always worry about word count. Do editors want picture books to be short, short, short these days? How long is too long?

Fret not, famous literary agent, Jennifer Laughran, otherwise known as Literiaticat when she writes in her blog, Jennifer Represents, to the rescue. Here she takes samples of all levels of children's literature and tells you how many words they have.  Compare your own writing to the masters and see if your story fits in the category you want to write for.  Click on over.