Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Knock-Out Saturday!

Halleluia! SCBWI-EPA held their annual Fall Philly Conference today, and it was fabulous! Just what I needed. Dianne Ochiltree gave a wonderful presentation on developing a picture book with punch, agent Stephen Barabara shared his wit and wisdom on the 7 Habits of Effective Writers, Joyce Moyer Hostetter showed us the STEPS to writing historical fiction, and Laurie Halse Anderson doled out a heaping helping of inspiration.

Boy did I need this day! Hats off to Laurie K.K and Marilyn H. and all the people who made it happen. Every topic hit the spot and fed my soul. I know how hard it is to put such a dynamic package together. And I wonder what other writers would like to see at a conference. Anybody have a topic they would like to explore?

It was great to meet some fellow blueboarders--hey Deena and Natisha and Jennifer! Saw more friends from the Poconos Retreat and met some new ones, too. The panel of editors offered some good clear advice, though I did not submit anything for critique (considering my fragile psyche these last few weeks, that's probably a good thing!).

I'll add more details later, but I'll leave this post with a thankful sigh and a bit of wisdom from Laurie Halse Anderson's DH: When Laurie injured herself this summer and could not run a race she was training, she was bummed and frustrated, as we would all be. Her DH told her, "The point is not to run that race; the point is to run the rest of your life."


Sunday, September 23, 2007


You all know that this transition back into teaching has been a tough one. I expected it to be very different from my previous experience, but I had no idea how draining it would be. I still don't know if I am cut out for this. I keep thinking they meant to call someone else...they pulled the wrong name from the pile. What did they see in me? There are good days when things come together and we all have fun together (my 14 students and I). But...

So the second part of my nervous breakdown...Am I going to lose my momentum? I want to start researching my next book, but frankly, I'm too exhausted to even get my own PJ's on in time for bed! I imagine that things will calm down soon and it won't be so overwhelming, but what if it doesn't? I feel as though I'm losing my grip on the writing world, which I have worked so hard to grab on to.

Of course I now begin the waiting game as well with my latest YA sitting on a desk at Philomel waiting to be judged. I know the editor is swamped, now, so my ill-fated dream of a faster response (because the sub was invited) are destined to ride the 4-month tidal wave of anticipation.

Anyone out there in blogland swimming in conflicting responsibilities and desires?

Friday, September 14, 2007

The WIP has left the building!

Yep, my rambling brat has officially hit the post and is on her way to New York. I finally put the last revision my baby, but it has taken me a week to get up enough energy to get the dang package in the mail. This teaching thing is killing me. I loved teaching at the college and teaching high school, but I'm not sure what's going to happen with this teaching 3rd grade stuff. Oi!

Anyway, I phoned ahead to the editor's assistant to let her know that the book was on its way. Why, might you ask, could I make such a call? Well, I was fortunate enough last summer to work with Patti Lee Gauch at the Chautauqua Writers Workshop, and she invited me to submit my MS and to call ahead so it would skip the slush pile. Of course I realize there are no guarantees, here, but at least I have a little encouragement and a spark of hope. This is my best work so far, and I really hope it finds a good home soon. my stomach will churn with spastic nerves as I worry whether I am doing irreparable damage to these poor 3rd graders as well as whether my book will be available on the shelves sometime in the next 2 years. All I really want to do is get started on the next book, but school is sucking every ounce of energy out of me for now. (but that's another story...)

Breath, MA, breath...