Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Critique Group

After our critique group numbers dwindled to three, we began sending out feelers for new members.  Roz and I attended an event at one of the WW Writers' House events and, thanks mainly to Roz's efforts, we have doubled our number once more.  Welcome Susan, Cate, and Louise.  We are now preparing for a combination meeting/holiday celebration, YUM!  I love hearing about what others are working on and listening to them read from their work.  Thanks for hosting, Kim.

I'm also starting to see more of the benefits of being involved in the writing community's events.  After attending Cynthia's pitching class where I practice pitched Born to Sing, I was approached by two other attendees at the WW conference who expressed their support for my writing. They said they really enjoyed my pitch and wanted to read the book.  Hopefully, that will be possible in the very near future.

A few weeks later, I was on my way to see Hugo at the Living Room Theater downtown when I encountered a couple walking there to see the same movie.  The woman said, "You look very familiar but I can't remember where I've seen you before."  I mentioned that I'd recently volunteered at Wordstock, but she said she hadn't made it to Wordstock this year.  I mentioned that I'd recently attended the NW Veg Compassionate Thanksgiving Feast and she said, "No, I wasn't there."  Then, she asked if I attended WW events and Bingo!  I have a feeling she may have been in the same pitching class.  It was a large class and hard to remember all who were there but eventually our paths are bound to cross again.

Speaking of Wordstock, I'm looking forward to their upcoming volunteer party and definitely to next year's event.

In the meantime, I'm headed for the Oregon Coast and looking forward to finding even more inspiration for my writing.

Happy Holidays and Happy Writing.  May 2012 bring us all "glad tidings".


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Expanding Horizons

My latest writing-related adventure was at Wordstock this past weekend.  I started out  by volunteering on the first day of this wonderful event.  Then, I spent most of one day sitting in on readings and author conversations.  Since I write for children, I spent most of that time at the Knowledge Universe Stage listening to presentations by children's book authors and illustrators.  Another big portion of my time I spent listening to fellow-Hispanic authors read from their work.  The rest of the time I walked around the exhibit, talking to vendors, buying books and cards and even a T-Shirt.  I came away from the event truly inspired after having connected with individuals who were there representing the many resouces available in the community.  I look forward to attending future events organized by these various organizations and can hardly wait for next year's Wordstock.

After attending literary events: talks, readings, conferences, workshops, bookfairs, etc. I come back to my desk with renewed energy, new ideas, and a determination to write, write, write (and, of course, take time to read).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Willamette Writers Conference Experience

This past weekend was a great experience at the conference where I saw some familiar faces and lots of new ones.  I got to pitch for the very first time - one group and two one-on-ones.  Now I'm busy preparing my queries and a synopsis for each of my novels as each agent/editor requested the first 50 pages.  Writing will keep me busy for a long while.  Will keep you posted. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Writing Tips from the SCBWI OR Summer Picnic

I recently attended the SCBWI-OR Summer Picnic.  The guest speaker this year was Dale Basye author of Heck, Where the Bad Kids Go.  His presentation was very informative and entertaining.

As usual, attendees were encouraged to share helpful tips and I would like to pass some of these on:

Alexa.com to check traffic on websites & blogs
EditCentral.com for checking text/reading level
Writing for Children Course through PCC. Teacher:  Marianne Monson  
Writing Picture Books" by Ann Whitford Paul.
The book, "It's a Bunny Eat Bunny World."  (author name not given but I believe it's Olga Litowinsky)

It's going to be a busy summer, but I'm trying to set time aside for writing as I've got three projects going at once.  I am currently preparing to attend the pitching class offered by Cynthia Whitcomb and hope to pitch two of these novels at the upcoming Willamette Writers Conference. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pura Vida in Costa Rica

Travel is a great way to expand one's horizons. My last trip reminded me of this.  I just returned from Costa Rica where exotic sights, sounds, and flavors filled my senses everywhere I turned.  This country, in particular, offers the kind of experience that feeds the imagination and get one's creative juices flowing.  It was great to get away from the cold and rain for a while.  What a great experience!  Here are some images from CR. I'll post more once I figure out how to re-size them.

Now, back to my writing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Role - Restaurant Critic

Those of you who know me know that I love to eat, so trying new restaurants is a hobby.  Last night we had dinner at the new Lebanese restaurant, TarBoush, in that gorgeous Victorian on SE 32nd and Hawthorne and I have to give it very high marks.  The food is delicious, the portions very generous, the prices reasonable and, in my book, it earns extra points for using recyclable containers for carry out.  Try it.  You'll like it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Add Compassion to Your Valentine's Day Celebration

Lessons and Paws is joining with other local nonprofits for the 2011 Tom & Mom Cat Special to provide low-cost spay/neuter services ($20 spay and $10 neuter) to low-income residents of our community.   If you know anyone who might qualify, please refer them to www.spayoregon.com or (503) 389-0228 for referral to the nearest participating veterinarian. 

You might also consider sending a "valentine" of your own.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Writing Habit

It's so easy to find reasons (excuses?) for not writing every day (or at least regularly).  Some of the best and most useful tools I've found to keep creative juices flowing are writing exercises.  There are many good books out there, some inspirational such as The Woman Who Spilled Words All Over Herself by Rosemary Daniel, some on craft and life such as Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, some with a generous number of writing exercises such as Writing Fiction, a Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway.  Of course there are numerous online resources for all the different genres as well .  Whether we're writing poetry, fiction, nonfiction; writing for ourselves, for adults or for children, the key is to write regularly. 

As we sharpen our writing skills, gain confidence, and start to edit and revise our work, we learn to pay closer attention to detail and turn to sources such as The Elements of Style (Strunk and White), and Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (Lynne Truss) and other books on form, style, grammar, punctuation, and so on. 

Finding time to read, particularly books such as those we wish to write, is essential if we wish to grow as writers and keep up with ever-changing  tastes and trends.