Sharing knowledge

Last Friday of the month! How did that happen? This past month has been so, so busy for me. One of the things I’m doing is updating my presentation for this class at Highlights Foundation:

If you’re interested in writing nonfiction children’s literature, you won’t want to miss this class. Jen Swanson is an incredible author and teacher!

I’m also preparing talks for a couple of other appearances. One is at the MT-SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) virtual conference in October where I’ll talk about writing biographies for all ages…or at least picture books to middle grade. 😄 It will be a blast! Do join us!

And the other will be next Spring in Davenport, IA (pandemic willing). Registration and info to come.

Hope I will see some of you in one of those workshops/conferences!

Glutton for punishment

That would be me.

Against my better judgement, I agreed to be the Illustrator Coordinator for the Indiana chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators last spring. I had volunteered for 18 years for homeschool organizations at the city and state level and vowed I would never, ever take on volunteer roles that lasted more than one or two days again.

But wait! It gets worse.

Through a series of unfortunate events (but not nearly as droll/funny or fictional), the Regional Advisor, the person who recruited me to be IC, took a sudden leave of absence (and eventually resigned). This left me and the Assistant RA scrambling to run this gin joint, sans gin–though I would have had lots of gin if my body could handle alcohol.

Then it got even worser…is that a word?

Because the role of RA was now vacant, HQ issued an open call for applications, and invited me and the ARA to apply (since we had been performing RA duties for a few months anyway). We reluctantly applied and only on the condition that we could continue to be co-RAs….because I despise dealing with finances and Diane would rather not have to deal with the website so we are a perfect match. We only agreed to apply out of a sense of duty to our region but secretly hoped that someone else more qualified would apply and get chosen. What can I say? I’m an eternal optimist at heart even though I’m a grumpy-a$$ in person.

The optimism was unfounded as we ended up being appointed co-RA.

Diane and I barely even knew each other prior to our assuming the roles of ARA and IC last June, but the dire circumstances forged a great friendship and together we work like well-oiled machinery. Sadly, we are now stuck in the cogs of said machinery for 3-5 years. Let’s hope we can survive these years without being covered in grease or ground to death by gears.

(No idea where the whole machine metaphor came from; I’m about as mechanically apt as a three-toed sloth.)

So if you see me in person, like the joke goes, and I’m blinking rapidly, it’s not because I have something in my eyes; it’s because I’m blinking “HELP ME!” in Morse code.

Autumn Frost Retreat, part 2

I’m mostly recovered from our very fun Autumn Frost Retreat now! My stress/lack-of-sleep induced cold sores on the mend (if you call scabbing and bleeding “on the mend”). You can find part 1 here.

costume party participants
Diane Bradley-Kantor cooking up 3 delicious lasagnas for the Sunday dinner party
meeting my buddy Keila Dawson for the first time in person
made a new friend, Emmie Werner
Juliana Lee eschews the selfie…LOL!
agent Natascha Morris gave an insightful intensive on picture books
the 7 desserts I made for the Sunday party
I’m signing books!! Pinch me…I still can’t believe it. Even agent Dawn Frederick got me to sign one…squeeee! (photo courtesy of Tanya Konerman)
After the Retreat, I took all the donated books to Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington where they were super happy to receive this bounty.

Join us in 2020 for the fun!! I hear there are already two top-notch NYC editors who put dibs on being faculty here next year!

Autumn Frost Retreat, part 1

This past weekend, November 8-11, the Indiana Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators held its first annual Autumn Frost Retreat. As one of the people in charge, I have been preoccupied with the event…before, during and after. But it was a success overall, I am happy to report, and here are some photos to prove it.

Angie Karcher, our Regional Adviser, chose this gorgeous venue that shows off the beauty of the rolling hills of southern Indiana.

Angie, at podium, introducing some of our faculty
dinner at Samira restaurant with all the faculty

Part 2 will have more photos once I’m fully recovered!

Food, you say? Why not, I say

I thought I had one or two more posts about Vancouver, but I lost that note where I’d written the topics down and I can’t remember what they were based on the remaining photos, so I’ll wander off to another topic: food. Food is always my favorite topic anyway. Let me share the gastronomic delights from my visit to L.A. to see a dear friend and for the SCBWI conference!

First up, ramen lunch with my sweet friend Grace at Ko-Ryu Ramen

Then it was dinner from The Standing Room where we ordered some special fries and Korean burger…

After that, it was off to the SCBWI conference where I had lunch at Katsuya with my friends and IN-SCBWI team members, Angie Karcher and Diane Bradley!

yummiest brussell sprouts ever
my sashimi bowl
Diane’s bento “box”
Angie had sushi rolls
Special Sunday lunch at the conference
One last meal before leaving L.A. (which made me sing the Deliverance song…and that is a good place to end)