Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Death and Writing Perspective

It’s been an interesting week.

I’m sure all of you have shared your condolences to Jeffery Hargett, who recently lost his wife. His words “It took just over 48 hours for me to go from concerned husband to grieving widower” haven’t been able to leave my mind. I can’t sum up how beautiful his post is, but if you haven’t read it, click here.

My grandfather passed away this week. And though it’s not near the amount of pain as losing a spouse, it’s been pretty devastating. And even though I’ve had trauma in my past that I thought would prepare me for this, it hasn’t. We’ve had a bit of death in our family as of late, and quite a few close calls, but for some reason my grandfather passing has affected me in a way I couldn’t predict.

Maybe it’s because I feel like my grandpa really cared. He always asked me about my writing when no one else did. He always encouraged my dancing and was always in the background watching and silently supporting. He was a fascinating man with amazing war stories. He was brilliant in his field and I always loved to hear him talk about his adventures and the way life used to be.

Thinking about how the Navy folded the flag and gave it to my grandmother while a bugler played “Taps” quietly at the cemetery is a moment that won’t ever leave my memory. It has me crying now thinking about it.

I think it’s good for us to get a dose of reality every once in a while. I think as writers (and I may be only speaking for myself) we tend to forget what’s really important sometimes. We get SO caught up in querying or being on submission or writing the next best seller or worrying about our next review that we may push aside moments that we can never get back. Our happiness level tends to revolve around what is (or isn’t) happening in our writing lives. And that's too bad. 

I’d do anything to speak with my grandfather again. His death was so unexpected. And the evil selfish part of me is sad that I wasn’t published before he died. To be honest, there’s a part of me that writes because I wanted to make him proud. There are other areas in my life I didn’t succeed with, but I felt that by succeeding in writing that I would make him proud. So that hurts. 

But I know what’s most important. I do. And I’ll keep pressing forward, with writing and with life, doing the best I can.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest!

Welcome to the Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest!

In honor of Mr. Anti-Blog Hop himself, Gary at Klahanie.

Hosted by:

Mark "Madman" Koopmans
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Rockin' Robyn Engel
"Life is good" Tina
And... ME. (Did I just link myself?)

The rules: 

Create the titles of three PG-13 blogfests you would never join--and then add a descriptive sentence or two.

My three blogfests I would never join: 

The Romney/Obama Bloghop -- Who did you vote for and why? 

The Bragadocious Bloghop -- Top 10 reasons why I'm cooler than you! 

The Gary-don't-let-your-friends do bloghops Bloghop -- Er... 

I've only recently gotten to know Gary, and he's quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers. So glad we can honor him in this way! You participating in this "hop?" Do you follow Gary? And would you participate in any of the hops above? ;-)

Red. Head. Out. :D

Monday, August 5, 2013

2013 SCBWI LA Conference Recap:


Here we go:

If I haven’t expressed it in the past, I have to now. If you’re a children’s writer/illustrator, I can’t tell you enough how important it is that you join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).

This organization is amazing. And it’s done so much for my career up to date. I just returned from the 2013 LA Conference—my third year in a row. I can’t imagine not attending this conference.

There’s something about this organization that stands out from the others. I’ve been to other conferences, but all of the events that SCBWI puts on are definitely miles above. Not only do they provide the best keynote speakers from the most revered people in the industry, but there’s a personal vibe in the air that unites all of us—regardless of status, genre, or age.

You’d think that being around so many agents/editors/well-known authors would create a standoffish vibe, but it’s completely the opposite. Even when you have a table war with the amazing Arthur A. Levine… right, Michael Pierce? (A long story)  J

Before this conference, I felt myself falling into a funk. But emerging from the other side, I have such a clear head with what I want to accomplish next—not only with my next project, but with how I want to keep my mental perspective. Something changed in me this year… some sort of renewed strength that gave me a long term POV, rather than just the present.

Too many highlights to name, but aside from the wonderful classes, I enjoyed:

The gorgeous Karen Grencik
Breakfast with my amazing agent. I met her here two conferences ago, and I can honestly say I haven’t met a more brilliant woman. To get the full story, click here. 

Meeting up with writer friends. You guys are my sanity! It’s so much fun to get together and talk the same language. Some pics:

 Ryan Dalton and Jolene Perry

With Jerry Bennett, amazing illustrator
 Evelyn Ehrlich
Michael Pierce

Christa Desir         

The great thing about SCBWI is that you don’t need to spend loads of money to travel to the bigger conferences. There are smaller chapter retreats in your area that are amazing too. Every writer needs a community. And I know I’ve found a home with this one.

Red. Head. Out. :D



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