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Word by Word

Word by Word and Keynote Butterflies

I had a great time at the SCBWI-Utah/Southern Idaho Regional Conference last week. Not only did we rock, we rocked out! Move over Rock Bottom Remainders--here comes "Banned"! But before I got to pick up my bass and play, first I had to give the opening keynote speech.

This was a new experience. I've taught workshops all over the place, and done zillions of critiques, even spoken to a crowd of over 200 teachers, but a Keynote--the very word had me shaking in my boots. I thought I'd signed on for a two hour craft lecture on "Voice", and I was fine with that. But change "lecture" to "keynote" and somehow it upped the ante. I was breaking out in cold sweats just thinking about it. That's the power of words for you.

In the end, that's what I spoke about--The Power of Words. My talk was well received, to judge by the comments. At least and the audience laughed in all the right places. So I want to thank the organizers for inviting me--and making me step out of my comfort zone.

Authors included Sydney Salter (My Big Nose) and Carol Lynch Williams (The Chosen One). Lori Benton from Scholastic and Jennifer Rofe from Andrea Brown Agency also spoke.  Read More 
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Blast Off to New Horizons

This weekend, May 14--15, I'll be winging my way to Portland, Oregon to teach at the Oregon chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Spring Conference. The title of the conference is "Blast Off to New Horizons". To see who is speaking, I typed in the entire line-up of authors, editors, illustrators, agents, and art directors above--or you can visit the site at www.scbwior.com for a brochure.

My workshops will focus on the writing of picture books. Many people harbor the mistaken notion that because they are short, picture books are easy to write. Actually, because they are short, picture books are a challenging art form--like a miniature painting or a sonnet. There are rules! Learning the rules--and how to be creative within them--is at the heart of writing a successful picture book.

If you are an aspiring children's author, I hope you'll join me, and the rest of our illustrious crew, as you launch your writing career! Read More 
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