Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Fraction and conference report

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted. Things have been busy this week as I filled in for the secretary at my kids' elementary school.

Anyway, here is my Friday Fraction. Once again, it's from WOLFSBANE AT MIDNIGHT.

Scarlet rounded the corner. The air was still, as though waiting with baited breath. The closed door and lightless windows of the cottage begged her to leave.

Gooseflesh prickled along her arms and down her neck.

Her reluctant steps carried her to the front door. "Aradia? I'm here. I hurried as fast as I could."

She turned the door handle and pushed.

The door opened a crack but caught on something.

"Aradia?" Scarlet called through the small opening. "Oren?"

No one answered.

Her pulse quickened. She shoved hard against the door. It opened a bit more. After several more heaves, she managed a large enough opening to squeeze inside. Weak moonlight created shadows and illuminated nothing beyond the threshold.

"Grandmother? Oren?" Scarlet's voice sounded shrill and loud.


She bumped into out of place furniture as she felt her way through the blackness."If I were a Wicche, I could conjure light," Scarlet raged.

She pushed past an overturned table, slipping in something wet and nearly falling before she made it into the kitchen. Once there, she slid on what she assumed to be food and banged into a chair. She cursed as pain shot up her leg then settled to a throb in her shin. Limping to the stove, relief flooded through her when she found the kitchen lantern and matches in their place. Moving quickly, she lit the lantern and headed back to the living room. Foot by foot, the light illuminated the destruction.

Smashed furniture and shredded spell books littered the floor.

It was all she could do to hold on to the lantern as her eyes took in the horrendous sight before her.

A scream caught in her throat.


There you have it! And now, on to the conference report.

On September 26th I was pleased to be able to attend the SCBWI Arizona "Welcome to Our House" conference. This was my first conference experience, and it was a blast! Now I know why you people go to these things. ;-)

Here is my ultra condensed version:

My day began with a manuscript critique (first 10 pages) with Bradford Heeys from Blooming Tree Press. I was terrified, but it turned out to be a fantastic experience. He graciously gave me some pointers on how to improve things and told me he liked my writing. What author doesn't like to hear that?!

The first speaker at the conference was Jennifer Rees, Senior Editor from Scholastic Press. She talked about the various imprints of Scholastic and what they publish. She mentioned a few of their authors. She told us what she is looking for. One stand out thing she said:

If your book isn't something she'll want to pass on to others, she's not interested.

Second speaker was Miriam Hees, Publisher from Blooming Tree Press. She spoke about the differences between her small publishing house and the larger publishing houses. She told us what she is looking for. One stand out thing she said:

Don't write what's hot unless you like it a lot.

Our third speaker was Kate Jacobs, Associate Editor from Roaring Brook Press. She compared writing to hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park. Gave us a list of things we'd need for our hike. One stand out thing she said:

Don't be down about the economy. Keep going and follow where the hike takes you.

Our fourth speaker was Laura Rennert, Agent from Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She spoke about what she is looking for and held up examples of books she loves (including SHIVER by the fabulous Maggie Steifvater). She told us how to find an agent and mentioned an online presence (again she mentioned Maggie and her incredible online presence). One stand out thing she said:

The books we love as children shape us and make us who we are as we grow.

Our last speaker was Loraine Joyner, Art Director from Peachtree Publishers. She did a breakdown of what happens from the time they get a picture book until it is finished. She had a very interesting slide show depicting the process an illustrator goes through from first concepts to finished illustrations. One stand out thing she said:

Be patient.

And then it was lunch! It was delicious!

After eating, we went to our breakout sessions. I attended "Getting Your Manuscript Submission Ready" with Miriam Hees (Blooming Tree Press) and "It's Just Bunny Eat Bunny Out There: How to Succeed in the Competitive Picture Book Market with Laura Rennert. They were both fabulous and I learned a great deal.

Finally, it was time for the first pages and first look panel where the faculty gave their opinions on first pages and illustrations. Fun and informative! A brief Q & A session followed and then it was time to head for home.

Yeah, a brief run down that ended up not being very brief, but considering the pages and pages and pages of notes I took, this was only a sampling of the day.

Write on.

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