Monthly Archives: September 2015

Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference 2015 Re-cap

Northern Ohio SCBWI Conference 2015 Re-cap

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The Northern Ohio SCBWI Annual Conference -THE MAGIC OF 13 – was truly magical. The sessions inspired. The speakers motivational. The inspiration to writers to continue telling stories abundant. And as always, meeting new people and making new friends – unforgettable. Here’s a recap:

kcb badge       KCB Bookstore                     The King Cake Baby & me, all checked in!                  The King Cake Baby in the bookstore!

Kudos to Heather Price, the Regional Adviser for Northern Ohio SCBWI. With her guidance the conference was quite a hit. Juliana Lee and I traveled together to the conference and had lunch with Lindsay Bonilla, founder of World of Difference, a theatre-in-education company.

Heather Price Lisa Amstutz            me Lindsay Bonilla Juliana Lee             Heather Price, N.OH RA & Lisa Amstutz                                Me, Juliana Lee, and Lindsay Bonilla

Conferences are the perfect place to meet writers in person we befriend in our virtual worlds. Kathy Halsey shares the same digital space many of us kid-lit writers do. Also had a chance to catch up with a local Cincinnati SCBWI superstar award winning author Mary Kay Carson, a faculty member at the conference. I had to give her and the other members a shout out at the Publication Celebration for their mentorship which helped me get started in this crazy, creative business.

me Kathy liana                Me mary kay liana                        Me, Kathy Halsey & Juliana Lee                                       A toast! Me, Mary Kay Carson & Juliana Lee

The keynote, delivered by Viking Senior Editor Kendra Levin was quite inspirational. She motivated the audience by her comparison of our journey as writers to a hero’s  journey. Thanks for sharing, caring, and comparing Kendra! Agent & author Marie Lamba shared what it takes to make a manuscript picture book worthy. Can you tell she loves a good story?

Kendra Levin                      Marie Lamba                 Kendra Levin, Senior Editor, Viking, keynote                          Marie Lamba, Agent, Jennifer DeChiara Agency

Agent Viki Selvaggio treated us to some tips on how to add magic to our manuscripts. Each and every element has a purpose, know their roles and why they exist. Agent Jodell Sadler shared her knowledge of pacing in picture books. She gave us lots of picture books to use as mentor texts that are particularly good at using one or more of the pacing tools she shared.

Victoria Selvaggio, Agent DeChi                        Jodell Sadler               Vicki Selvaggio, Agent, Jennifer DeChiara                         Jodell Sadler, Agent, Sadler Children’s Literary

Author Miranda Paul shared some ideas on revision, something every manuscript needs. Whether tweaking an idea, a pitch, or a manuscript at the sentence or word level, we must be our own editors first. Little, Brown Books Editor Nikki Garcia gave her insight during the critique of “first pages”. Conference participants submitted the first page of a manuscript for editor input. Thanks for your insight Nikki.

miranda-paul                                  Nikki Garcia                                           Miranda Paul, Author                                           Nikki Garcia, Editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

A highlight for a debut author like me was meeting author and poet Shutta Crum! Fortunately I was assigned the space right next to her at the book signing table. What a treat for me. And signing a copy of my book for someone thrilled to have it will never get old!

Shutta Crum and me                       signing kcb                                         Shutta Crum & me!                                              Signing a copy of The King Cake Baby

And if you think those who write for children are not HOT, we were on FIRE! Well, actually someone pulled the fire alarm on the 5th floor of the hotel so technically not a real fire, but we still had to evacuate to the lobby. Bet the agents and editors visiting from NY had no idea O-HI-O could be as exciting as New York City!

Firetruck   Miranda taping   Miranda who me           Excitement in Cleveland             “Are you filming this Miranda?”                        “Who me?”

Finally, there were two conversations I recall that are too funny not to share. I spy a thread, do you?

Writer #1: Congratulations on your book. My son loves New Orleans. He still has the king cake baby he got in a cake.
Me: I still have my collection too! What grade is he in?
Writer #1: College, he’s twenty.
Me: Oh. (wondering if this was from a spring break trip)

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Me: Who should I autograph the book to?
Writer #2: My son Alex. He loves everything New Orleans.
Me: Cool! How old is Alex?
Writer #2: Twenty-four
Me: (kid lit works for adults too)

Not exactly my intended audience for The King Cake Baby, but proves picture books are enjoyed by all.

Happy reading and writing!

Amazon Giveaway #2

Amazon Giveaway #2

The baby is on the run again. CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN! 

#‎AmazonGiveaway #2! Click here to enter for a chance to win a copy of The King Cake Baby. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

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Amazon Book Giveaway, Ends 09/21/15

Amazon Book Giveaway, Ends 09/21/15

That ended quickly!! Check back tomorrow. New giveaway will be announced!!

Catch him if you can! #AmazonGiveaway! Enter here for a chance to win a copy of The King Cake Baby. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends September 21, 2015!

If you’ve ever had king cake, you know a tiny plastic baby belongs inside the cake. But what if the baby runs away before he’s hidden inside the cake?

The King Cake Baby is a tasty re-telling of the Gingerbread Man tale, told New Orleans style! The runaway baby is chased by an old Creole lady and an old Creole man, a praline lady in Jackson Square, and a waiter at Café du Monde. But can he outrun a clever baker?

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International Dot Day 2015

International Dot Day 2015

International Dot Day is celebrated every September 15-ish.

The motivation for this annual event came from the story about a girl from The Dot, a picture book written by Peter H. Reynolds. Vashti is reluctant to participate in art class because she believes she can’t draw. But through her teacher’s encouragement, Vashti learns she can. The idea is to challenge what we may think about ourselves or what others may think about us and express our own creativity.

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To date, Dot Day creator T.J. Shay has taken this message of inspiration and the celebration of creativity to 3.6 million participants in 113 countries. Listen to T.J speak with librarians on this ISTE Librarians Network twitter chat .
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Register here and download a free educator’s guide. Collaborate and share using facebookSkype in the Classroom or twitter using hashtags #DotDay and #makeyourmark. Everybody can make a dot-ish – so…

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Check out the amazing Celibri dots made by illustrators. Authors made them too! I made one. But first, like Vashti I thought, “Look at those beautiful dots, I can’t draw!” Then I remembered what Vashti’s teacher said, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” I made a mark, learned new skills, and this where it took me. It’s my dot and there’s no other like it.

Who Dot FINAL signed

 Now everyone join in and sing the Dot Day Song. Then go out there and make your mark!

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Dot Day Partners