A Blog of Writing Tips, Interviews, Thoughts on the Writing Process, Book Reviews, Blog Hops, and Things NESCBWI Conference Related.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Co-Directing a Conference

I am so excited to be co-drecting the 2012 NESCBWI "Keeping it Real" Conference. The past eight moths have flown by and now we are truly in the throes (it's like giving birth, Really) of getting it done.

I've traveled to the heart of Springfield, MA, twice, to tour the Sheraton Monarch Hotel and plan out where each workshop, academy, and event will take place. It is an amazing building, with an amazing soaring atrium, plenty of comfortable seating for intimate conversations or robust group gatherings between workshops.

There are some excellent restaurants you can walk to if the weather is nice. Here are a few you can check out now.
1000 West Columbus Avenue
(413) 737-5800 · pazzohof.com
Category: Italian Restaurant

201 Worthington Street,
(413) 736-6000 · theobbq.com
Category: Barbecue Restaurant

1390 Main Street
(413) 737-7373 · nadimsmediterranean.com
Middle Eastern · Lebanese · Eastern cuisine

1688 Main Street
(413) 732-8011 · sitarindianrestaurant.net
spices · tandoori · curry

1000 West Columbus Avenue
(413) 746-6299 · maxtavern.com
8 Fort Street
(413) 788-6628 · studentprince.com
Category: German Restaurant Deli 

137 State Street
(413) 301-6286 · montenia.net

Down Home - sweet potato pie · mac and cheese · soul food · comfort cuisine · the ribs

91 State St.
(413) 306-3151 · dillweedzcafe.com

1414 Main Street
(413) 746-1025 · cornerstonecafe.net

1500 Main Street, Springfield, MA
(413) 746-9435

The train and bus stations are approximately 4 blocks from the hotel. So get planning! Want to reserve your room now? Go to NESCBWI 2012 Conference, Springfield, MA.

See you in April!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

22 Days Until 50!

That's right, I turn 50 in 22 days! Kind of shocking when I think about it. So many thoughts are racing around in the old gray matter but I won't go there now. 

What I really want for my birthday, is for my friends and and family to pledge $15 and support my kickstarter Book Project, The Casting. Not matter what happens, this book is debuting on April 1, 2012.

Spending $15 gets you a dedicated and signed softcover copy ($25 gets you a hard cover copy), and some other awesome swag! Please make an old lady happy, and pledge $15 today!

Don't make me beg, it might get ugly.


Now go have a glass of wine and celebrate with me!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Get More When You Give

It is a real pleasure being interviewed by Kristine Carlson Asselin for her blog, Writing. For Real. Actually, she gave me a gift.

I found myself reflecting on the reasons for starting a small press. I realize that for me, much of it has been because books have always been available to me. My parents, although they never gave my sister, brother, or I any homework support, they did give us books. I may not have been the best student, but I could read and read well. My comprehension of any material I read, was reinforced by the follow up conversations I had with my parents about what I was reading.

I taught myself so many things by reading how-to books, and travel guides. If I was interested in something, I'd walk to the library and find a book. I learned about Machiavelli, and Plato, read about the American Revolution, learned how Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, and learned the names and legends of the constellations; all from the books I read. I loved getting lost in a new world or imagine I was the main character having a grand adventure. Sometimes I still do!

I love to turn pages and feel the paper between my fingers and miss this tactile element when I read on my Kindle.
You can find the submission guidelines for Pugalicious Press here.


Friday, November 4, 2011


When I walked into the house, Crossed by Allie Condie was on the kitchen island waiting for me.

My kids, both book lovers, were calling dibs before I could even rip the plastic wrap from it. Before I could enjoy the cover.

I smoothly and very mom-like, swatted away their grubby, little book-stealing hands, ran from the room and hid it from them until I can start reading.

I plan on reading it this weekend. Maybe, I'll start it tonight and read it straight through the night until finished. It's been a very long time since I've done that.

What are you reading this weekend?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NESCBWI 2012 Conference

It’s closer than you think….

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NESCBWI 2012 Conference Invitation

You should be checking your mailboxes starting next week.
You've seen the front.

But ... if you turn it over...

You will see what's happening in April 20-22, 2012 at the
Sheraton Springfield
Monarch Place, Springfield, MA.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Calling All Illustrators! Ilustrators Day 11/19/2011

Casey Girard (your new Illustrator Coordinator) and Anna Boll (Northern New England Regional Advisor) are thrilled to announce Illustrator Day! 

When: Saturday, November 19, 2011 (I know it?s short notice. Quick, go sign up!) 
Time: 1:00-6:00 
Where: Emma Blood French Auditorium (The French Building) on the New Hampshire Institute of Art campus in Manchester, NH. 

NEW ~ PRIZES! That's right you could with some cool illustrator stuff.
Sketchbooks, drawing supplies, even a copy of Pocketful of Posies - A treasury of Nursery Rhymes By Salley Mavor

Registration: Click Here!

The schedule for Illustrator Day 2011 will be as follows: 
1:00-1:30 Registration 
1:30 Welcome 
1:45-2:45 Keynote: Salley Mavor, Golden Kite Winner 2011 
5 min break 
2:50-3:50 Carol Goldenberg, Award Winning Book Designer 
25 min snack break 
4:15-5:00 Repeat of Carlyn Beccia and Jennifer Morris' Digital Painting Duels from NESCBWI Spring 2011 Conference 
5 min break 
5:00-6:00 continued Digital Painting Duels 

You can find a map Here!

To register and for additional information follow this link: http://tinyurl.com/illustratorday-registration 

Registration Fees for SCBWI Members and Students: $50 all day Public Registration Fee: $75 all day.

Send your check to Anna Boll at 17 Rich Rd. Brunswick, ME 04011, or you can pay at the door. 

More questions? Anna: NorthernNERA@nescbwi.org or Casey: casey.girard@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kickstart a Dream!

A close friend of mine, you may even know her, is looking for funding on Kickstarter.com to fund a fantastic middle grade book project. Check it out and think about giving!

Jennifer Carson

Jen's first book To Find A Wonder, was published by from LL Dreamspell.

Her second book Hapenny Magick, with help from wonderful supporters, will be published through Pugalicious Press.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Here it is! NESCBWI 2012 "Keeping it Real" Conferenece

I can only give you a glimpse of things to come but we did change things up.

Registration opens January 23, 2012. Get your manuscripts and agent quick queries ready! Deadlines for submitting for critiques close early for the upcoming conference due to the dates being in April.

Kudos to Jen Carson for all she's done with her work on the newest version of the postcard and in such a teeny-weenie amount of time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday's Things

The premise of Thursday's Things is based on Things the Game.

(a)game that presents players with provocative topics like "THINGS… people do when no one is looking", "THINGS… you wouldn’t do for a million dollars" or "THINGS… your parents forgot to tell you"… and allows each player to say whatever comes to mind. Pick a topic, get everyone to write a response, read them out loud and then guess who said what. There are no right answers. There are no wrong answers.

Today's Things Game: Things You Love to Write About

I'll start.

Ancient Technology

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sabotage – We All Do It!

For the last Four weeks I have been trying to complete a final revision on my YA. I'm almost there. But if I finish it, I'll then have to submit. I think the prospect of subbing my manuscript is what is holding me back.

Sabotage. We all do it. But why?

7 Ways to Change from Saboteur to Successful!
  1. Plan your writing time.
    Pick a time and stick to it. 
  2. Give yourself a goal.
    500 words, 3 pages. Whatever you think can get done in the amount of time you actually have to write.
  3. Do not revise while writing.
    Just get the words down. You can revise later.
  4. Give yourself a timeline. You can always change this, but it helps to know what your deadlines are, even if no one else knows.
  5. Believe you are a writer.
    Own it! This isn't difficult.
  6. Understand that rejection is not about you.
    This is the most difficult, but take away the emotion behind rejection and you become strong.
  7. Seek support from your Writer friends.
    They understand.
Help me add to my list! What do you do to be successful?

Friday, August 19, 2011

NESCBWI 2012 Conference Reminder

I'd like to remind everyone that proposals for workshops at the 2012 NESCBWI conference are due September 16th! Use the link on this page to submit one:


Also, we're seeking volunteers for the 2012 conference. Please fill out this survey if you are interested in helping out:


Friday, August 12, 2011

Calling ALL Volunteers for NESCBWI 2012!

We need you to make 2012 the best conference ever!

Only 251 days until the conference.

Want to volunteer?

The New England SCBWI annual conference is entirely organized and run by volunteers, so help is vitally needed and greatly appreciated. This is one of the largest regional SCBWI conferences, and last year we sold out the conference in two weeks. This year, the theme is "Keeping it Real: Reality and World-building in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Illustration" and the conference will take place April 20-22, 2012 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, Springfield, MA.

Please complete the conference volunteer survey if you are interested in helping out. Getting more involved in the NE-SCBWI conference is a great way to meet accomplished authors, illustrators, editors, and other publishing professionals.

Volunteers are needed to assist with many different aspects of the conference. Conference weekend volunteers are responsible for tasks during the conference weekend only, and will be trained that weekend. We also need volunteers to help select workshops for the conference. The Workshop Selection Committee will meet on October 2, 2011 in Holden, MA to choose the best workshops out of all the proposals submitted.
We are also seeking volunteers to take on roles with greater time commitment and involvement. If you are interested in any of the following volunteer positions, please email nescbwi12@gmail.com with your full name, contact information, and a brief explanation of why you feel you would be a good fit for the position.

Open Volunteer Positions

Special Interest Group Coordinator

Special Interest Groups are informal discussions meant to promote networking and discussion on topics of mutual interest. For example, past Special Interest Groups have discussed writing fantasy, using Twitter, and digital illustration. The Coordinator will need to solicit topics for the groups, find and recruit volunteers to lead the discussions, create signage for the tables, and make sure that the event runs smoothly.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Book Signing Coordinator

Authors and illustrators who present at the conference are invited to sign books. The Book Signing Coordinator is responsible for contacting and scheduling faculty for the signing, coordinating with the conference book seller to ensure that their books are available, and figuring out the best set-up for the book signing room, including line management.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Assistant Critique Registrars

The Critique Registrar takes every manuscript submitted for a critique at the conference, organizes them by genre, and submits them to appropriate editors and agents. The Registrar also puts together the schedule of critique meetings. Assistant Critique Registrars will work with the Registrar to manage this process and deal with critique requests and scheduling issues. We are looking for volunteers who live in the Burlington, MA area.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Open Mic Coordinator

Open Mic night was popular this past year, so we would like to offer this event again in 2012. The Open Mic Coordinator will plan the open mic night (or nights) and will be there to ensure that the event goes smoothly.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Door Prize Coordinator

The Door Prize Coordinator will solicit prizes to give away during the conference weekend, organize the prizes at the conference, and come up with a fun, creative, and efficient way of conducting the raffle.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Poster Showcase Coordinator

The Poster Showcase Coordinator organizes and runs the Illustrator poster contest at the conference. The Coordinator will come up with a concept for the contest, solicit prizes for the winners, present the prizes to the winners, and take charge of set-up and take-down of the contest.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Portfolio Critique Coordinator

Art Directors give portfolio reviews at the conference. This Coordinator will seek out Art Directors who are interested and available the weekend of the conference to critique portfolios, and will manage the portfolio critique schedule.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Portfolio Display Coordinator

This year, we are interested in adding a location for illustrators to display their work. The Portfolio Display Coordinator will recruit illustrators to take part in the display, and will manage set-up and take-down of the room.

Contact nescbwi12@gmail.com if you are interested in this position.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sneak Peek - 2012 NESCBWI Conference Artwork

The illustrator for the NESCBWI 2012 Keeping it Real in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Illustration, is Jen Carson.  Here is a preliminary sketch that she has shared with me!

NESCBWI 2012 Call for proposals

It's official! Today the call for proposals for the 2012 NESCBWI Spring Conference "Keeping it Real: Reality and World-building in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Illustration" is out. 

Reality doesn't often get the spotlight in the post-Harry-Potter world of children's literature, but even in fantasy or highly stylized illustration, a believable world is fundamental. Also, there is so much we all can learn from nonfiction research and writing techniques. Finally, how do you stay realistic and focused on your future in this rapidly evolving industry?

As always, the conference will have a strong focus on craft. This year, we are moving to a new venue with more space available for workshop sessions. We'd like to invite more small, hands-on workshops. Of course, larger lecture-style workshops are still welcome as well.

This is one of the largest regional SCBWI conferences, and last year we sold out the conference in two weeks. We welcome proposals from everyone. We also encourage artists and writers of color, those who are differently abled, and others from underrepresented groups to propose conference workshops.

What YOU Need to know: Important Information

Conference Dates: Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, April 20-22, 2012
Conference Location: Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, Springfield, MA
To Submit a Proposal: Please complete a conference proposal form. Separate submissions are required for multiple presentations or workshop/intensive versions of the same presentation.
Proposal Due Date: September 16, 2011
Presenter Notification Expected:
November 1, 2011
Types of Presentations: 55-minute workshops; 120-minute intensives
What are we looking for?

55-minute workshops

  • Presentations that relate to our conference theme.
  • Presentations that last 55 minutes in their entirety. When planning, leave time for participant questions and any required audiovisual setup.
  • A range of presentations for all SCBWI members, including illustrators and writers in all genres.
  • Leveled presentations. We are not trying to find one presentation that everyone can attend. Instead, presenters should direct material toward a specific experience level. For example, an "advanced" illustration presentation should not begin with "Why you should carry a sketch book," and a "beginner's" writing workshop should not address marketing a contracted novel. 
  • Focused presentations with clear learning outcomes. These should be clear, tangible "final products" that attendees take away. Plan the presentation thinking, "I want participants to leave with these three tools or ideas." A few examples: ideas for a new direction or revision in their own work; increased understanding of a specific genre, style, area of craft, art media, etc.; a step-by-step plan of attack for marketing, revisions, problem-solving, etc.
  • Hands-on workshops where attendees spend significant time in writing, illustration, or marketing exercises applying ideas to their own work.
  • Lecture-style presentations  with information that participants can take back to their desks to ponder and play with. 
  • Presentations that include a range of examples rather than drawing solely from the presenter's experience or body of work.
  • Presenters who are published members of SCBWI, as well as editors, agents, MFA graduates, and other industry professionals. Past presentation experience is appreciated.

120-minute intensives

Intensive proposals should meet all of the criteria listed above for 55-minute workshops. Also consider the following:
  • 120-minute intensives typically take place on Sunday, and there are fewer slots available for these workshops.
  • Two hours are provided, so plan exercises or some interactive element in the workshop. An intensive should not only be a lecture.
  • Past presentation experience and in-depth knowledge of the topic are required.
  • Partner presentations are welcome.
Note: If you apply to present a 55-minute workshop or a 120-minute intensive and we feel your presentation may better fit the other format, we will let you know!

Selection Criteria and Topics

Every year SCBWI New England receives many excellent proposals, more than can fit into a conference schedule. Therefore, we must choose on the basis of experience, quality, variety, novelty, attendant costs, and other factors. Please use the NESCBWI Workshop Rubric for more explicit selection criteria and standards.

We would love to see presentations on the following topics. If you are an expert on one of these topics, we would love to see your proposal.
  • Hands-on writing workshops: tools, tips, outlining, character sketching, etc.
  • Hands-on illustration workshops
  • Publishing 101 session for authors or illustrators
  • Developing an idea from conception to completion
  • Nonfiction and fiction research
  • Secrets of Story Arc
  • How to lay out a picture book dummy
  • How to start your own publishing company
  • Gesture and emotion for illustrators
  • School and library visits and promotion
  • Writing nonfiction articles and short stories
  • Mystery writing
  • Creative writing courses in the New England area
  • Game plan for leaving a full time job to become a freelancer

I hope to see you there!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Solstice 2012

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Each year, on the summer solstice I make a wish. For me, it's all about rejuvenating my spirit and finding inner peace. Tonight, my family will have a small bonfire in our backyard fire pit. we'll sit under the stars and talk about what we think the next six months will bring.

About the Summer Solstice Energy You Create

This is a time of completeness and abundance, for nature as well as for you, a time to celebrate all that you have achieved and manifested. The summer solstice invites you to celebrate your individuality and who you are, and to use your positive intent to look forward to all that you still want to become. As the sun’s energy comes to its peak, the active principle ripens all our outer achievements on the inner level too, bringing a transformation of spiritual strength and awareness. In this wholeness, you can recognize and celebrate the death and rebirth of the great cycle of the year.

How You Can Celebrate

This is definitely a time for celebrating and entertaining in style with the whole community. Drama, dance and song are all essential elements to raise the energy, and give everyone a chance to display their own unique talents. Light a huge bonfire and have lots of fireworks – Catherine wheels are especially symbolic. If you can find a fire-eater, even better! Throw aromatic herbs onto the fire (traditionally fennel, lavender, geranium, rue, rosemary and chamomile) and dance through the smoke. The tug of war is traditionally played at this time – all the summer-born people on one side and the winter-borns on the other, to symbolize the battle between summer and winter. Close the evening’s activities with a ceremony of thanks, to the sun, moon, five elements, nature, spirit, ancestors and, of course, each other. Then bless the food and drink and enjoy!

With thanks to Triple Moon at www.semelexerri.co.uk/calendar/celtic-festivals/ and Glennie Kindred for her excellent source book Sacred Celebrations.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

After the Beta Reader - Reads! 11 Things You Can Do.

My last blog post was about the importance of having a beta reader. So, let’s say you have a beta reader and they’ve read your manuscript. Waiting is hard. Every now and then you wonder if they hate it. With any luck, they won’t. And now you log into your email and they’ve sent you feedback...gulp...what now?

1.  Take a deep breath.
2.  Pour a glass of wine (so what if it’s only 8:17 AM).
3.  Grab a highlighter.
4.  Kick off your slippers.
5.  Sit back.
6.  Read.
    If you find something that makes you want to stop reading, highlight it and continue reading. Read it all the way through and don’t think defensive thoughts.

    7.  Now read it again. This time look for dangling threads, problems and "just not working notes", your beta reader noted.
      Didn’t realize you stopped writing about something halfway through, did you? Well, this was where my beta reader, rocked! She found several threads that weren’t completed and one that didn’t even need to be there anymore.

      8.  Put it down and walk away for twenty-four hours.
        I know, not easy to do, but this is important to your story. Take this time to do other things and let your beta reader’s input percolate.

        9.  When you are ready, make the small edits first. 
          Focus on grammar and punctuation. They are easy and you need to make them.

          10. Finally, with your beta reader’s comments in hand, read your story from beginning to end.

            As you read, you will see where the problems are. You will know what you need to do. It’s you story and you know it best.

            11. With opened eyes, revise!

            What are some of the things you look for when reading a manuscript?

              Wednesday, May 25, 2011

              Why a Trusted Beta Reader is a Valuable Addition to Your Toolbox!

              You’ve completed your manuscript, edited and revised, read it aloud, and now you want to have a trusted reader complete a beta read.

              As a writer, I crave feedback from my peers. I want honesty. I want to know what works and what doesn’t. Which all boils down to having another writer to be my beta reader.

              Most writers understands that criticism isn’t about the person, but the manuscript. But, sometimes getting criticism is painful (I remember one very specific occasion where I cried) and can be very difficult to hear. Even for a seasoned, well-critiqued writer.

              I want honest and well thought out feedback from someone who recognizes structure, story arc, dialogue, developing characters, plot, and who the intended audience is. Their constructive criticism will empower my creativity and bring with it a desire to continue revising until I get it right.

              There are numerous ways to find a trusted reader. Recently, I found a writer who does all of this for me. We’ve swapped manuscripts a few times now. I have learned so much about my writing by reading and offering feedback to her about her work.

              I have known her for several years and we first met as members of a critique group. I contacted a critique group that was listed on the NESCBWI.com critique group page. They were looking to grow the group but after a short time the group disbanded. To this day, she and I laugh about it. What I ended up with was a wonderful beta reader and a super writer friend. A girl can get lucky!

              You might already be a member of a writer's group. But a fresh reader, someone who hasn't heard all about your struggles with the story is essential when you are preparing for a final round of revision before sending your manuscript to agents or editors.

              Do you have a beta reader? if so, how did you find them? I'd love to hear you suggestions and tips.

              Saturday, May 21, 2011

              What Are You Waiting For? NESCBWI 2012 Conference

              If you were in attendance at last weekend’s NESCBWI 2011 Conference in Fitchburg, MA., I want to hear from you!

              • Tell me what you loved.
              • Tell me what you didn’t love.
              • Did you step our of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to someone new?

              The NESCBWI 2012 Conference - Keeping it Real: reality and world building in nonfiction, fiction, and illustration is all set for April 20-21, 2012 and will take place at the Sheraton Hotel of Springfield, MA, so mark your calendars.

              Tell me what you would like to see at next year’s conference.

              Now think about this.
              Do you have what it takes to be a workshop presenter? Start putting your proposal together. The call for proposals will go out sometime mid to late June. Be ready to submit, because we want you!

              Thursday, May 12, 2011

              What To Bring To The NESCBWI 2011 Conference

              I'm packing for the #NESCBWI11 conference. Packing always stresses me out. Every year, I swear I will not forget my business cards. Did I mention, I hate packing? I can never decide what to bring to wear for the weekend. So, rummaging through the closets began last night. I am almost over-packed, I might just have to stop somewhere on the way to Fitchburg to go shopping. Just in case.

              In the meantime, I have to start my list. Every year I forget my business cards. So they are at the top this year. (I just ran out to the car and put them on the front seat.)

              CHECK LIST
              • Business Cards
              • AQQ Schedule
              • Copies of AQQ letters
              • Copy of Manuscript Critique Submission
              • Questions for Critiquer (I wonder who it is?) :)
              • Laptop
              • Phone
              • Power cords
              • Camera
              • My Own Pillow (Because you just never know where hotel pillows have been!)
              • A bottle of wine to share
              • Something Silver to wear to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this conference
              • Clothes that I feel Comfortable Wearing!
              • Comfortable Shoes
              • A SMILE!

              I’m sure I forgot something.

              What do you usually forget? Tell me. I’ll add it to the list.

              Monday, May 2, 2011

              Voice or Tone - How to Tell the Difference

              What's voice?
              What's tone?
              In writing, it is often confused.

              Grammar Girl did a great post about this on July 1, 2010, called Understanding Voice and Tone in Writing. It was explained by Julie Wildhaber who is a trainer at Yahoo for writers and editors.

              I think Julie explains it so well, even I can't improve upon it. So click on the link, and read away!


              To be a true writer, you have to get to the end — it’s unavoidable. The best advise I've ever received, this from a well published writer, was to write the whole thing. Don’t stop to “polish” any chapters until your entire manuscript is written.

              If you polish, you never finish.

              Another great unavoidable for me — the outline. I find that an outline, even one as simple as:

              Chapter 1 — Hero breaks leg, can’t save the world.
              Chapter 2 — Hero wallows in self pity.
              Chapter 3 — world falls apart because hero, isn’t.

              Gives me something follow. If I don’t have it, I end up polishing.

              The final unavoidable — the rejection. Everyone gets them. I read them, work with them, and move forward.

              What are your “Unavoidables” when writing?

              Friday, April 29, 2011

              T is for Time and Thanks

              I know I won’t quite finish the A to Z Challenge on time, but I had family to be with and mourning to get done. I will finish, and I hope to continue to blog more often. I’ve enjoyed this challenge.

              To all you A to Z challengers, thank you for visiting my blog. I have read some spectacular blogs and met some incredible bloggers.

              Thank you to everyone for your kinds words and support this week.

              Sunday, April 24, 2011

              S is for Seven Weird Facts About Me

              I thought it would fun to give you some interesting facts about me. It’s the stuff that doesn’t usually come up in conversation.

              1.    I value honesty. I try, even when I really don’t want to - to tell the truth.
              Sometimes, this can’t be accomplished tactfully. Often not. So if you don’t want to know if I think you drink to much, have bad judgment in men, or drive badly, don’t ask. I will tell you the truth.

              2.    I’m not afraid to die.
              I’m afraid I’ll die before I get a chance to do everything I want to do.

              3.    I love living in New Hampshire.
              Truly, I do. I have lived in many different places and my current residence is by far, my favorite.

              4.    When I was kid, I hated my name.
              I wanted to change it to Aimee (spelling it this way, mattered). For six months I wouldn’t answer to anyone if they called me Joyce. This was problem at school. I was always being reprimanded by a teacher.

              5.    I was adopted.
              On October 12, 1991, my birthmother found me.
              On June 22, 1992, she married my birthfather. I’m the oldest of 8.
                 3 1/2 brothers
                 2 1/2 sisters
                 1 Sister
                 1 Brother

              6.    The Geraldo Rivera show called to ask me if I would be on their very first reunion show. A friend of my birthmother had called them and told them about our reunion.
              I said no. They didn't like it.

              7.    I have been the human in the life of 10 dogs.
              Their names were:
                 Wolfgang (my son's middle name is after this dog)
                 Brownie (he came to live with us after my Grandfather died)
                 Katie (my duaghter's middle name is after this dog, but spelled Cait)
                 Thor, my current dog. He is a 3 year-old black pug. I love this dog!

              Thursday, April 21, 2011

              Revision Tools For Revising Your Manuscript

              Just the thought of revision can make you quake in your chair. Where to begin? What to think about? Revision can be overwhelming. Here are 10 points about revision to help get you in the mood for revising.

              1.  What is the story that I am telling?

              2.  How will my character change?
                • Does my character get to where s/he needs to be?
                  No – How do I make her change?
                  ~  Introduce a crisis situation that makes my character  change.
                  Yes – Do the things that happen along the way help get my character where s/he needs to be?
                3.  What does it mean to move forward?
                  • Reveal something about the character.
                  • Propel the plot.
                  • Build a relationship that is important later in the book.
                  4.  Summarize the things that don’t move the story forward.
                  • An example of this is Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy speaking, but the adults always sound like,
                    “Blah, blah, blah.”
                  • One sentence summary of the scene.
                  5.  Is my main plot a character development arc?
                  • Subplots
                    ~  Do they fit in?
                    ~  When do they resolve?
                    ~  How do they resolve?
                  6.  Characters
                  • What are my character's quirks and personality traits?
                  • Do my secondary/minor characters grow with each appearance they make in the book?
                  • Do my characters have unique voices?
                  • Do they reveal everything about their characters?

                    An example of this is sub vs grinder (sandwich)
                    Their socio-economic placement
                  • Does the dialogue let their relationships evolve?
                  • How authentic do they sound?
                  8.  Setting and Description
                  • Picture it then brushstroke the description. Let the reader envision it, unless it must be specific.
                  • For it to be specific, it must be important later in the book. If not, take it out.
                  9.  Wordsmith
                  • Search for commonly used, but unnecessary words.
                    ~  Examples are just, so, next, that, but.
                  10. Show, don’t tell.

                  What works for you?

                  formerly my 11/17/10 post ~  Revision Toolbox

                  Q is for Questions Asked by First Time Conference Attendees

                  Are you going to your first writer’s conference this year? Are you wondering how to get the most from your first time?

                  If your first time is a large regional conference, I recommend you focus on craft. The New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators Conference is designed to have something for all levels of experience.

                  For first-timers, there is a Friday afternoon workshop, Conference Orientation. This workshops is an excellent way to get a quick over view and great tips on making your first conference work for you.

                  Peer Critique Workshop will explain how to give and receive critiques. Other writers are some of the best sources for Learning from. Most have been exactly where you are, at the beginning of their writing journey. And remember, there is something to be learned from each person, even if you don’t agree with their style or comments. Dig deep and be objective. Take what you learn home and start your own critique group.

                  I hope you registered for Saturday’s Publishing Basics: The Myths and Realities. You’ll learn about the basics of manuscripts, researching and finding publishers, agents, how to handle rejection, and what to do when you sell your first book.

                  Sunday has a great workshop for beginning illustrators. The Illustrator’s Academy focus on revision in illustration.

                  Most of all, relax and smile. Say hello and introduce yourself. We’ve all been a beginner at something. Writing can be solitary but that doesn’t mean you are alone.

                  What tips and suggestions can you give first time Writer conference attendees?

                  Wednesday, April 20, 2011

                  P is for My Pug!

                  Yes I have a Pug!

                  I used to show and breed Rottweilers.
                  Both are black, make rude noises, and think cats belong to them.

                  But my Pug,

                  Makes the best faces!

                  See what I mean?

                  Outer vs Inner Journey

                  What’s the difference?

                  The Outer journey is all about what your character wants, it’s their ultimate goal. The goal is always tangible. Moving through the outer journey means they have to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from attaining the tangible. More often than not, this journey involves dealing with treachery, duplicity, physical dangers which are all about keeping your character from easily achieving their goal.

                  The Inner Journey is the emotional path your character needs to navigate so they can grow and change. In the end, your character may or may not get what they want.

                  Your character’s journey is comprised of these two aspects. For your story to be successful, your character must travel both simultaneously. This creates the tension which moves your story forward.

                  Which do you think has more power, the inner or the outer journey?