Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Passion is an Inspiring Emotion

I went to the Folsom Arts Association tonight. I haven't been able to attend for quite a while and I was glad to go tonight. There were two speakers this evening, both filled with passion about their topic. Passion is a rare emotion, or at least it's an emotion I infrequently see in people. When I do, I smile and feel such excitement that there are people out there in love with something.

The first speaker was a teacher. She established a Montessori School in Malawi, Africa. Every ounce of her being was filled with a passion to help the people of Malawi through education. Learning is a powerful gift to give. I felt lucky to hear her speak. I gave her three of my books hoping they would add to her school.

The other speaker was Valrie Jensen. She spoke about composition of art and how it relates to a fundamental concept - the golden rectangle. She demonstrated how natural lines are in nature and how comfortable humans are in relating to visual spaces that have relationships. It really made me think about the fact that I often don't think about where I place things on a canvas. I think I naturally put things in places. Just think about how powerful I could be visually if I really thought about composition.

I am spending some time right now editing my YA novel. I'll return this weekend to "Through Desert Eyes." I haven't heard back from anyone regarding "Where Missing Socks Go." Luckily, I am so busy with multiple projects, the waiting game isn't nearly as painful.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

SCBWI Conference Oakland, CA 2009

I attended my first writers conference yesterday in Oakland, CA. It was hosted by SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.) It was an amazing day.

The President of SCBWI was the keynote speaker. His name is Stephen Mooser. He was quite an inspiring and funny man. The ideas he comes up with for children's books amaze me.

There were several books to look for mentioned at this conference and each idea hit me with a - wow, could I have ever thought of that? Man, I have to get my creative cap on to come up with something really unique to catch people's attention.

The people attending the conference, my fellow writers, were also wonderful. So many are full of their own stories to tell, it is no wonder there are such a variety of books available.

When I listen to music I am dumbfounded that there are so many thousands of sounds and just so many notes, how can people still come up with beautiful new music? I think the same goes with books. And yet, people create "new" everyday.

I sat in front of my book at each break, eager to share my story of getting published as well as my books message. I gave the conference bookstore three copies to sell, as suggested last week, and they ran out. So, I ran to my car to get another three and those sold too. I was so happy and grateful that people liked it.

I got home last night after reviewing all that I heard, including my YA novel critique and have decided to make some major changes to my YA. I am so excited to see what happens to the book as I rework it with all my new information.

I can't wait to go to another conference.

I also know that I am a writer and an illustrator, for real! I have ideas and art poring into my head. I just need to pull myself out of the clouds and focus on the projects at hand and table ideas. I am eager to get the draft of "Through Desert Eyes," to my publisher and see if he wants to move forward with it. The flow of that book, I think is even better than my first:)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Article in Tennessee's "Herald Courier"

I get a google alert in my email daily, most of the time it is about a Rachel Dillon basketball player or girl graduating from high school. Today, it was finally about me:) Wow, that was a nice surprise. So, thank you "Herald Courier," for this article!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kid in a candy store

It is funny how much of a rookie I am at some things. I haven't ever taken a creative writing course so any assistance I find through the Internet to help me is like a piece of candy to a kid. I found this article on Women on Writings site that helps you diagnose strengths and weaknesses in your novel, After spending several hours at this I have now eliminated my first and last chapters in my book and have definitely become more focused with my intentions for my protagonist. Tee hee, I'm using "big" words now, perhaps I'll become a good writer after all.

One of my critiques asked me directly, after reading the first five pages of "Emerald Cage," what is Kendall's goal in the book? What is her turning point? What the conflict in the book? What is the resolution? Pretty darn simple questions, that I hadn't ever really thought through. Of course, all of those questions have answers. But, I have a bit more direction in tightening the book.

I still can't summarize it in 25 words without it sounding a lot like Spiderman. I laugh at what I sent out to the four agents, that - of course - rejected me. I finished my novel and thought, "woo hoo! I just finished a novel! Everyone will want this one!" Duh, little did I know that I would have to rewrite it more than once. Yes, I did read that I would do that, but didn't really believe it. So, naive!

I read today that it is common for writers to have multiple projects going on at once. They bounce between them. So cool, I am doing that too! I tightened up, after about eight or nine drafts my "Where the Missing Socks Go," then felt confident enough with it that I sent it out to 9 publishers and 3 agents.

My next endangered species book is feeling great. I am going to send my draft to Windward and see if they are interested in it. I will be following the same illustration and poetry patterns as my first book.

Then there is my novel, "Emerald Cage." I would love to have it tight enough to send it out by the end of December.

There are also a few short stories swimming around in my head that I want to tell. I walk around and pay attention to potential ideas everywhere I go. I listen and take notes when my kids say something interesting, trying to see if it will inspire a book. Little things like: my daughter asking me what her shadow is made of; or my son saying that boy birds look pretty to trick the girl birds to follow them - thank goodness he doesn't think about what they might trick them into doing:)

The one thing I am having a hard time balancing is painting. I am so enthralled in my writing that I haven't painted for weeks. That is definitely a skill that needs to stay in shape. I might work on one this weekend. Once my text for the Desert book is tentatively approved by a publisher, then I'll start the illustrations for that. I want to make sure that my poetry is the inspiration for the paintings.

I am still dedicated to trying to make it as a writer and artist, but hope falters a bit as time goes on...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mention on Publisher Weekly!

My publisher Al Krysan, from Finney Co. just emailed me some exciting news. Their marketing guru spent time at a booksellers show recently and pushed Through Endangered Eyes, and it worked.

It is mentioned in the e-newsletter put out by Publishers Weekly. It is huge news to be mentioned in a national publication.

Thank you Al for you and your team being such champions!

I am almost done with my first draft of "Through Desert Eyes."