SCBWI Davis and Style…

IMG_0308 Scholastic Art Director Marijka Kostiw's cool shoes sum up one of Golden Books Editor/Author Diane Muldrow's points at Saturday's SCBWI Davis conference: You have to have style.

Muldrow told pb authors to "think cinematically" and dummy their manuscripts to see if the story fits the visual medium of picture books.  

Author Chris Eboch (Her Haunted series debuts in August.)now has me thinking about virtual school visits, a more affordable option for this era of school- budgets-left-behind. Can't beat the commute!

The Persian Storytelling style wherein the narrator points to one character per finger on one hand (thanks Sara Kahn!)might help keep my pb characters to a manageable cast. (It won't work when I start getting material together for my theater kids this summer at Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp! 40-theater kids per session…)

Congrats to my crit group pal, Linda Joy Singleton, for her successful presentation on Navigating the Blogging World (see her cool Dead Girl Walking book trailer at .)

And speaking of blogs, Curtis Brown agent Nathan Bransford answers all the How-do I? questions and more at . NOTE: If he can't answer them, go to . I sat next to Verla for most of the day and enjoyed all of our asides. Nathan's tip on series submissions: Don't assume it's a series. The first book must work as a stand alone. It's not a series until the second book is published.

But one of the main highlights for me was being able to thank Viking editor Kendra Levin in person for the helpful, encouraging two-page rejection letter she sent me a while back after reading my middle grades manuscript. Thanks for a rejection you ask? Heck yeah. Not only did she take time out of her crazy-busy schedule (Now that's style!), Levin's editorial suggestions helped me to revise and take my ms to the next level. My agent has it now. Fingers crossed. : )

For more details about the SCBWI Davis speakers, hop over to Laure Latham-Guyot's blog at . And MANY thanks to RA Tekla White and her committee for a great day! 

Influenza: The Next Pandemic? (Twenty-First Century Books/2007)

With the swine flu outbreak, everyone should know about Connie Goldsmith’s book, Influenza: The Next Pandemic? (Twenty-First Century Books). Goldsmith discusses the historical impact of the flu; how flu viruses mutate; today’s flu viruses; and preventing the flu. She reported on bird flu in this book before it hit the major news outlets. In fact, she’s even been commissioned by the editors of NurseWeek, a periodical for practicing nurses, to write an article on the flu this week.
Influenza: The Next Pandemic? has received excellent reviews from librarians and the medical community. The NSTA Children’s Book council called it “a seamless blend of history and science.”
Connie’s book may be found on Amazon at: com/Influenza-Pandemic-Twenty-First-Century-Medical
Connie advises: “I’d encourage all of you who are interested to check the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website at :
http://www.cdc. gov/swineflu/
for common-sense precautions to follow and for additional information. This particular flu contains elements of human, bird, and swine flu and has never been seen in humans before. Therefore, no one has any natural immunity, and of course, current flu shots offer no protection against it.”
Stay healthy!

Editors and Egg Hunts: a thank you to my awesome AGENT : )

     Last weekend at the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt I realized that children at an egg hunt are very Bo Peep mini play2 much like writers searching for publishers. We all want to fill our baskets. 

Picture a football field covered with color-coded plastic Easter eggs. (within view of the stage I might add, where authors Lynn Hazen and Phil Silver (photo below R) and I were scheduled for Storytime. Not the easiest gig, but fun just the same.) OK back to the field. Each color of egg had age appropriate goodies inside. A perfect match for all, right? IMG_0089

The littlest kids went first and they were instructed to pick up the yellow eggs ONLY. But many were so eager to fill their baskets, they grabbed whatever eggs (ie publishers)they could find while patient Moms and Dads (ie agents) dropped the blue and orange eggs back onto the ground for the next round of egg hunters. "Why can't I have that one?" one confused toddler (ie writer–You getting this metaphor?) asked. "Because the yellow ones are for you," mom/agent said. 

Field of Eggs Picture the next two age groups chomping at the bit. Their eyes on that special egg /editor of their dreams. "I want that blue one!" one 6 year old boy announced with such Hands-off-It's-mine detrmination a few fellow egg hunters backed away. But alas, the blue ones were earmarked for the oldest kids. "When our turn comes, we're heading for those cool orange ones over there!" his Dad/agent said, knowing the best deal for his client–err son. Note: a meltdown over the right egg is not an easy parenting gig. We all want the kid to succeed.  And sadly, blue-egg boy's tunnel vision (and yeah, the meltdown) kept him from seeing that. "Trust me, dude, the orange ones are the best," Dad tried again.  (somebody give this agent–err Dad–a medal!) And, when it was their turn, the blue-egg guy followed Dad's lead. Happy Easter, right? 

Picture the very sad child arriving late to find an empty football field.  No eggs at all. The writer–oops–child had taken so long getting her basket ready, they'd missed the whole thing. Well, except for the petting zoo, and our author tables–which have nothing whatsoever to do with this over-extended  metaphor. IMG_0083  

The moral of the story? You decide–I was over signing books when the kids plopped on the grass to open their eggs. 

The message? A sincere thank you to my wonderful agent, Deborah Warren of East/West Literary who always makes sure I get the right eggs in my basket. : ) And hugs to those weary Egg Hunt parents. You rock. The kid won't remember the melt-down–only the chocolate kisses inside his egg. 

IMG_0095     PS Thanks also to my high school helpers (Jordan and her pals) for manning the booth during my storytime!

Not your Momma’s Critique Group : )

THE GroupIMG_0076(we still don't have a name) meets every other Thursday, with writing pals (L to R) Linda Joy Singleton * Dead Girl series, The Seer series and more. , Connie Goldsmith * Invisible Invaders , Superbugs Strike Back and other cutting edge science titles. , and Patricia Newman *Jingle the Brass, and soon to be released Nugget on the Flight Deck (Fall 2009) at a local Border's. (Yes, I said the B-word. They've been good to us. Plus, it's the closest mid-point we could find, and no Indies around for miles.)

This week we had the usual chapters to critique, news about editors and agents and SOUND THE TRUMPETS Patti shared the first glimpses of Nugget, with cool illustrations by Aaron Zenz and military jargon and facts about life aboard an aircraft carrier.


We KNOW this book's gonna TAKE OFF and SOAR, Patti. (and not just because we've known Nugget since it was a mere gleam in your writer's eye…)IMG_0080

It's not just about the coffee… IMG_0078

We are serious about this stuff.

Plus I got a new camera for my birthday…                                                                  

Twitter but no Tweep

Today’s goal was to make sure I had ErinDealey as my Twitter id before any other Erin Dealey’s aced me out. Are there any others, you ask? I know there’s an Erin (or wait a minute it’s Kat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance?) but just in case I have name-twins out there, I signed up. Which then lead to creating my profile. And downloading a photo. And then I found that little Find A Friend button… Honestly, I do write books–not just blogs and Twitters and emails. And actually I haven’t officially Twittered yet because I can’t figure out how. Or maybe I have and I don’t know how to read my own post–ha! Then there’s re-tweeting someone else’s Tweet. And DMs and Tags. But what am I worrying about? I only have one Twitter follower (thanks to my writing pal Linda Joy Singleton!) and one What’s the DEAL(ey)? follower (thanks to another writing pal, Lynn Hazen) TAG, you’re it!