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irony, corn mazes and fonts

Goodness, I must have been more tuckered out from the kidlitosphere conference than I thought. It's taken me almost a complete month to recover and post again. (Well, that and I was lost in a corn maze for a very long time, either about fifteen minutes or eight days.)

So here's the part with the irony. Guess what am I going to post about? Another conference!

Tomorrow I'll be attending Prairie Writer's Day, SCBWI Illinois' fabulous fall event. I am going to learn all kinds of amazing things about the publishing business. I will glean beaucoup d'informative tips on making my writing stronger. I will hobnob with other interesting and incredibly attractive Illinois writers.

Last year at this very conference my editor (who was not then my editor) asked me to revise the chapter book manuscript I had submitted to her. The very chapter book manuscript that is now THIRD GRADE BABY, actual chapter book.

And speaking of THIRD GRADE BABY, actual chapter book, recently I got to see the actual fonts in which the book will be printed. THE FONTS! And I love them. (I'm not just saying. Fonts are something I care deeply about. As proof, I offer this fact: the most exciting thing I got for my birthday, which was on October 18th--a day when I might still have been in the corn maze--was Print Shop 22 with over 700 fonts! True, it does take a rather long time to scroll through them, but still. The alphabetic variety!)

And then, only days later, I got to see the illustrations! (Yeah, they sort of blew the fonts out of the water.)
It's so unbelievably cool to see your characters in pencil-created form. Especially extra-extra cute pencil-created form. I can not wait to show you them, but I fear it may still be a while.

Oh, if you think of it, please remind me to bring my camera tomorrow. (I never remember my camera.) If I remember it (and then also remember to take pictures.) I'll post them for you!

How does one remind oneself to remember things?


the first annual kidlitosphere conference and a transformers birthday party

Well, I'm chiming in late (the conference was Saturday, October 6,) but I have a good excuse. I was throwing a Transformers party. Both were amazing fun. One was more edifying.

Seriously, my head was stuffed with new knowledge. Bits and scraps were leaking out my ears and nostrils.

The conference was populated by (amongst others) amazingly motivated and generous people who offer up their time to blog about children's and young adult literature. People who care about kids and adults having the opportunity to read phenomenal books with young people as main characters. And Jen Robinson's presentation looking to the future of the kidlitosphere made me feel like I was there at the start of something (already big) that's going to be huge!

It was such fun to get the behind the scenes peak into the world of book reviewing. Now I know how bloggers get ARCs, thanks to Tasha Saeker. I've learned that while any contact with print reviewers is taboo, authors can and do have contact with bloggers. (And a little thank you email or comment is nice to do. Good to know, Liz Burns.)
Anne Boles Levy's presentation on how to write reviews made me fantasize about doing just that. But when the magic sparkle dust of her presentation disappeared, I realized that no matter how nerve wracking it will be, I'm more comfortable as the reviewee than the reviewer.

Pam Coughlan's tips on how to improve your blog were fantastic, too. But intimidating. I'm not sure I'm up for daily posts yet. (Thank you readers who keep checking back to see if I've posted!) Once, maybe twice, a week is all I can manage at the moment. I do actually have to write books, you see. It's my job! That's why the blogging for author's panel was so reassuring. Robin Brande (conference organizer extraordinaire), Barry Lyga and Gregory Pincus discussed this very issue. Blogging is fun, but books come first.

Mark Blevis and Andrea Ross's inspiring introduction to podcasting got my brain whirring. Look for a top special secret project happening in the next couple of weeks!

The highlight of the day for me was the Meet the Authors session hosted by Esme Raji Codell. It was my first time ever participating in such an event! People asked me to sign the special Planet Esme poster provided just for that very purpose. I got to tell people about THIRD GRADE BABY and about the amazing books of The Class of 2k8. (website coming soon!)

Now I'm almost as tired just writing about the conference as I was attending it. (So tired in fact that me and my writing pals left before the dinner. :( )

Next year the conference will be in Portland. I think I'll need the whole year to get ready.


Ode to Teachers

I've been thinking a lot about teachers lately. We're a month into the new school year and both my kids love their new teachers. Yay! I'm working hard on creating a teacher's guide to my first book and also writing my school visit presentations. (Can't wait to get back into classrooms!)So I thought I'd reminisce about one of my favorite parts of teaching.

I taught preschool and kindergarten and when you are with the under six set not a day goes by when you don't hear something priceless! Here are my top seven favorite student comments:

1. Child: Guess what! My mom got pregnant this morning!

2. Child (during afternoon recess): Look the moon is in the sky! It must be the Olympics! (He meant an eclipse.)

3. Child (after stowing mittens in the pockets on the front of her winter coat): Look! I got boobs!

4. Child one: What kind of baby do you think your mom will have?
Child two: I don't know. It could be a boy. It could be a girl. Or, it could be a bunny.

5. Child one: Did you know that when your mom has a baby sometimes they cut her stomach open?
Child two: Eeeeew! They see her food!

6. Child: Did you know that sometimes my mom has yellow boogers?

7. Child: Mrs. Teacher, what's your name again?

When I was teaching something brought a smile to my face everyday. (Although that happens being a parent and a writer, too.)If I thought I could handle my momming load and my writing load along side a teaching load, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Hat's off to the many men and women who accomplish this amazing feat!

Any teachers or parents out there have their own great lines to share?



Just a quick post to tell you guys about a neat interview and a neat book.
The book is called Click. I haven't read it yet, but after learning about it on NPR this morning I sure want to.
The premise is this: It's a novel with ten chapters each written by a different author. Linda Sue Park, Ruth Ozeki, Gregory Maguire, Tim Wynne-Jones, Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle, David Almond and Eoin Colfer. (Not too shabby, huh?) The editor is Arthur Levine. (He's the American editor for Harry Potter.)