Monthly Archives: January 2010

Spring Conference for Writers & Illustrators

If you write or illustrate, you know that few people “speak your language.”  You may feel driven, but insecure about your talent.  You may feel happy, but lonely in your craft of solitude. 

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is an organization to recharge your batteries, assure yourself, and meet wonderful people who understand.

I’ve been member of SCBWI for about 4 years now.  Not only is it an amazing network of people who are making the same writing journey as myself, the conferences have given me exposure to professionals in the field. 

Each spring, top-name agents, (an) art director, and publishing editors fly to Oklahoma to speak on their craft.  They are also keeping a sharp lookout for promising authors and illustrators.  Attendees have the opportunity to submit their work for critique–a great way to get your work in their hands! 

This year’s conference on March 27th features:

*Amy Lennex, Editor, Sleeping Bear Press

*Kate Fletcher, Assoc Editor, Candlewick Press

*Greg Ferguson, Editor, Egmont USA

*Stephens Fraser, Agent, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency

*Kerry Martin, Sr. Art Director, Clarion

I’m attaching the conference flyer if you are interested in more details, SCBWI Spring conference flyer pdf or visit www.scbwiok.org.     

If you’re serious about writing or illustrating, consider this conference your college crash course.  It has certainly increased my level of knowledge.  Also, I feel so connected to the attendees, who also  understand this strange drive I have to put ideas on paper.  

Please come!  I’ll be there running the book sales table, so visit and say “hi” if you attend.

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Strong Characters Need to Laugh, Cry and Quake

If you write fiction, you know it’s all about the emotions.  What good protagonist doesn’t glare, stare or growl?  Surely your leading female will need to shed a tear, give a smile, or gasp with fear at least once during your story.

The problem is—how to describe these emotions without sounding trite or overdone. 

Well, I’ve stumbled upon a jewel that will help.  The book is called The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book by J. Ken and C. Shelton.  The authors have selected fifty common emotions, characteristics and movements, and listed over 3,000 ways to describe said emotions, characteristics and movements. 

Why have your bad guy act angry when you can have him glare with hostility or let rage distort his features?  Maybe his eyes can convey the fury within.

Speaking of eyes, let me tell you—romance writers know a thing or two about describing eyes.  This section alone has a list 8 ½ pages long!   Why have green eyes when you can have eyes the color of malachite? Eyes that glint indulgently. Or eyes that flash with azure fire?

Yes, some of these are a bit extreme for the non-romanticist, but this book is still a great source for thinking outside the stereotypical box.  I can truly say, without a shudder of humiliation, that The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book has spiced up my descriptive writing.

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Filed under My Philosophy on Writing, Resources for Writers, Uncategorized

My Mother is a Poet

My mother has supported my “writing habit” for years.  She always denied having the talent herself–but I knew it was there.  In 2009, I convinced (okay, maybe forced) her to submit some of her writing for publication, and Viola!, she’s had great success.  I’m very proud to acknolwedge her talent.  Here is her latest poem, published in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Christian Woman Magazine.   

God Created Loveliness

By Phyllis Davidson

 –

God created color.

He loves it, as we do –

The reds, the greens, the purples

And every other hue.

He put them in the rainbow

And set them in the sky.

He buried them within the earth

Where miners dare to die.

 –

God created beauty.

He likes a lovely scene –

A mountain, valley, waterfall

Or blooming field of green.

He set it on the young ones

Who need it at the start.

He buried it within the old

Of good and honest heart.

– 

God created music.

He loves it, as do we.

In every woman, man and child

He tuned a middle C.

And music motivates us

To love, to work, to fight.

‘Tis said it soothes the savage beast

And fretful babes at night.

God created rhythm.

He loves consistency –

The days, the nights, the seasons

And tides within the sea.

He put it in our clapping hands

And in our tapping feet.

He wound the clock within our hearts,

A life-long, vital beat.

– 

God created goodness.

He wants it for us all.

He gently offers, coaxes, pleads;

We’ve but to heed his call.

For goodness is essential.

To shun it leads to loss.

He sent it down inside his son;

We hung it on a cross.

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A Few of My Favorite Things are Songs

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Mary Poppins.  Who wouldn’t want to eat spoonfuls of sugar, sing endlessly, and be “practically perfect in every way?” I sewed my own Mary Poppins costume for Halloween and could even repeat “Supercalifrag…etc, etc…” backwards. 

 And then Mom let me stay up late to watch Sound of Music.  Suddenly, singing scales and yodeling seemed awfully wonderful.  My friends and I belted out “Do-Re-Mi” at the top of our lungs.  We felt quite proud when we could hit the high Ti-Do notes. 

 I admit it–I was (and still am) a Julie Andrews groupie.  Many of her solos bring back special memories, even into adulthood.  The year I taught at a difficult inner-city school, I frequently listened to “I Have Confidence” on the way to work.  The words…

 I will be firm but kind
And all those children
Heaven bless them
They will look up to me
And mind me
…gave me some courage to face each terrible day.

One of my favorite happy songs was (and still is) “My Favorite Things.”  I always get tickled at the part “when the bee stings,” because a friend and I always poked each other at that part, and he accidently stuck his finger up my nose one time. 

Actually, my favorite things aren’t kitten whiskers (which make me sneeze) or copper kettles (that have to be scrubbed).  Instead, I find I have an ever-changing list of favorites.   

Here are my favorite things (this week):

Sitting by the fireplace and blogging during the Oklahoma blizzard

1.  Sitting by the fire during an Oklahoma blizzard

2.  Reading about Regency England romance in “The Season” by Sarah MacLean

3.  Talking to my 80-year-old Grandma about outhouses

4.  Knocking out two more agent query letters (fresh and full of promise)

5.  Watching Lucy argue with Ricky about an expensive hat

 And finally…

 6.  Listening to (not reading, but listening to) Julie Andrews read her own biography Home: A Memoir of My Early Years.

What are your favorite things this week?  Does a song have a special place in your heart?  I think music is such a powerful force in our lives, and you writers will agree that the words are just as important.  Words set to music have power, create memories and change lives.

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