Whew, I have been busy as Co-Regional Advisor for the San Francisco North and East Bay Region, and I love it! My partner and great friend, Shells, and I just threw our first big conference. 270 people attended with 14 faculty, from editors to agents to “book doctors.” I’m happy to say that all the intense planning resulted in success. 97.8 percent of attendees said we met our goal of offering valuable advanced craft with a 5 out of 5 rating. Now that Oktoberfest 2019 has wrapped up, we are planning the Spring Intensive, with a fantastic presenter surprise I can’t quite share yet. When I’m not in SCBWI mode, I’m tutoring adults and children in my two areas of expertise: creative writing and public speaking. You can find out more on my Services page or at the tutoring platform, Wyzant. It’s been so much fun helping others improve, and my dance card’s filling up fast. I also continue to work on several book projects. All I can say is it’s a good thing my two daughters have headed off to college because I no longer have time to raise them.
Excited to be both the interviewer and interviewee with the hero of NANOWRIMO (National November Writing Month), Grant Faulkner, at the Mill Valley Library in San Rafael on Tuesday, November 12th, from 6:30 to 7:30. I wrote STOLEN SECRETS during NANOWRIMO, and I’m not sure I would’ve finished it without that daily word-count nipping at my heels. I was afraid to write it, if you want to know the truth. Being able to push through kept me too busy to consider such questions as: How can I pull off a book with a Holocaust mystery in it? Who am I to write something like this? Who I am to write at all?
It’s official! As of September 1st, 2018, I have taken over the position of Regional Advisor for the San Francisco North East Bay Region, along with my Co-RA, Shells Legoullon. We inherited a healthy, dynamic region of seven Bay Area counties and a fantastic group of core volunteers from previous Co-RAs Colette Weil Parrinello and Keely Parrack. Some big shoes to fill, for sure. Our first event is the Green Gulch writing retreat and the next is a not-to-be missed Holiday Extravaganza on December 8th. A few surprises there. (More details coming on the webpage.) I’m very excited to work with SCBWI members–all my fellow writers, editors, and agents to share the best information out there on the fabulous business of writing books for children and teens.
My summer started off with a presentation I did for the Jewish Libraries conference in Boston. I pulled off my first slide show and discussed why fiction is necessary to teach historical empathy–now more than ever. It was so much fun and very well-received. I really love speaking to groups. After that, I was off to to visit my youngest daughter before she returns from her high school year abroad. My oldest daughter and I took the train everywhere, ending our trip with a fabulous visit with my host exchange son, Luca, and his warm and welcoming parents. Now that we are all back, safe and sound, I am once again tackling my picture book idea. It’s a gold mine subject, and one that I want to have ready in September for a contest, but I have little experience writing for this age group so there is much to learn. Then it’s back to my next YA project. They key for me is reintroduce the consistent schedule. I have spent a lot of time convincing myself that I am too busy to write. It’s not true! I should be busier writing.