the journey from writing a novel to ... what were we talking about again?

Month: August 2013

And more on the SCBWI Conference…

It always takes me awhile to analyze things.  I wish I could be one of those ‘act and react’ people, but when it is serious, I just can’t. For example, if someone starts yelling at me, I kinda freeze, and my head is empty. Like, completely empty. It’s almost like I’m not quite there, I’m just a tape-recorder, listening to everything that person is saying and then later, much later, I start contemplating what they said, dissecting it completely until everything is in their little boxes. This usually means I don’t stand up for myself because it never occurs to me until much later what they were saying.


After a good week of not doing ANY writing at all (with the exception of an 11 o’clock scurry to the library to write out a title for a novel) I haven’t done anything. Why? Well, I’ve been cleaning my house (unpacking is almost done now, so shut up), laundry, rearranging ALL of the furniture in my house so all of my books are in one room (kinda) and creating a plan of attack.

And while I do these things, my brain never turns off and I contemplate everything that I remember from the conference. Later on, maybe in a few more days, I’ll go through my notes and read what these lovely people said. But right now, what stands out the most is WHY I went all the way to LA for a conference.

I wanted to be encouraged.

I do not have a writer’s critique group.  I don’t really ‘know’ any other writers. I mean, I know one, but we write different genres and she’s terribly busy and couldn’t be possibly be interested in reading anything I wrote because she is a big deal and I am not.  I haven’t taken a writer’s class since University because I don’t have time.  Nor could I be on a deadline with homework.  Sorry excuse, I know.

But on the very first day, we were asked to write out our goals.  And mine was encouragement.  To be an encouragement and to be encouraged.

And I’m happy to say, I was.

And sometimes? You just need the teeniest word to tell you how wonderful you are, and then you feel like you can tackle the world again and that your heart and soul are not being trampled on. And all is well.


Listening to: “Anybody Seen My Baby’ by the Rolling Stones (it’s on shuffle – and just shuffled to Elvis’s ‘Are you Lonesome Tonight?’

Drinking: 911 Tea and water

Smelling: fresh air.


Well, that’s a lot of letters!


How to describe the conference? How to describe LA? First, thing’s first.



I had no idea what I had signed up for.  It was awesome. Imagine a really gorgeous hotel, like, reeeeally gorgeous. And downstairs, they have a gargantuan ‘ballroom’.  Chandeliers, comfy chairs, a stage… and it had 1286 chairs. Approximately.  Because I was told there were about 1286 people there.  And the best thing said was that ‘there are 1286 introverts here’.  Which made me laugh. Because already I was beginning to feel slightly claustrophobic.  Which made me laugh again, but I realized a lot of the people there felt the same way. People were sitting on the floors, standing at the doors for a quick escape, standing in the lobby kinda listening in their own space.  It was cool.  So many incredible speakers. And some made me laugh with their words of ‘be brave, write from your soul, you are magic’ and some were not for me.  And the hardest part was meeting people, because after you meet someone, good luck finding them again.  I thought I was the only Canadian there until Saturday night, and I met Debbie, but then I never saw her again. Oof. I have some of their business cards, and I’ve followed them on twitter. And I’ve handed out some of my own cards, but haven’t heard from them.  So, in case they happen to be reading:

Flemishing Dave from Kitchener!!!!  You can e-mail me!!!!


lovely girl I sat beside at lunchtime on Sunday and for the life of me I can’t remember your name and I totally deserted you after we ate because I had to take a phone call, and then had to deal with some issues and then the lunch was over and I never saw you again… I’m so sorry I left you behind!!!!!  Please contact me!!!!


person I totally wigged out while standing in the drinks line and you totally wouldn’t talk to me and then you abruptly left, I’m sorry! Was it my breath?

And to all the authors I didn’t have the guts to say ‘hi’ to. Hi!

I got to meet the lovely Veronica Rossi, who taught an AMAZING class, of which I can tell you nothing.  She had to be the most down-to-earth person I met there.  She was eloquent and encouraging and so gosh-darn-sweet!  I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn’t want to seem a stalker. Now I can only wish that she’ll follow me on Twitter and maybe she’ll catch me saying something witty.

I got to meet the insatiable Brodi Ashton.  This woman is incredibly adorable and soooo funny! And her class was pretty amazing. And I can tell you nothing about it.  And later we took a photo together but whoever took it seemed to have the ‘blurry’ on my iphone of which I didn’t know existed, but we look like two smiling blobs, so I shall keep it to myself.

Best parts!!!:

-when an author or illustrator spoke and they made you cry. But in a good way! Because they were so encouraging and reminded you of WHY you write (well, maybe not YOU, but me).

-the laughter

-the food was incredible

-the new ‘quasi-friends’.  And I say that because I didn’t really make ‘friends’ per se, I am rather shy, but I made ‘acquaintances that will hopefully be friends one day’.

Alright. So in a nutshell, I had a wonderful time, learned lots and now I have a lot of work to do.


Wow.  Sunny every day at 11.  Warm. I can’t talk enough about the amazing food. I ate too much. I couldn’t help it!  The boys came with me but they couldn’t/wouldn’t go to the conference so they went to Six Flags. Three days straight. Yeah.  But they did win me this!!!

isn't he brilliant!

isn’t he brilliant!

Ok, I had honestly hoped that my butt would look smaller in this photo, but it’s smaller than the unicorn’s so I guess it’s ok.

And yes, I did take him home on the plane. How could I not???  We quadrupled garbage-bag wrapped him and then made him ‘checked baggage’.

He’s sitting in my living room.  My son keeps pulling out his nostrils so it looks like he had an accident sneezing. It’s actually really disgusting.









what? Yes, I said Pixar. We got a private tour of PIXAR!!!!!

And I can’t tell you anything about it, because it’s all very secret.

But what I can say? Dude. I need to work there.

Why? Because I met my new friend, Claire up in San Francisco and I met her entire family, and gosh they are the sweetest family! So beautiful and bright and kind and well… we hope to be invited again. Because they are crazy fun. And they made us eat huuuuge sundae’s. So how could we not love them?

And now? I have to work.  Lots of work.


Eating: water.

Listening to: the thunder. And the dog stress out.

Watching: Masterchef. Why aren’t you?

Reading: Just finished, ‘The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things’ by Carolyn Mackler (whom I also kinda met)


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