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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: gem, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 11 of 11
1. My Best Weekend Ever, Part 2

This is basically one big journal entry so that I can remember all the great stuff from my amazing weekend at SCBWI LA. It is going to be long and I really don't expect anyone to read it. However, if you are interested in finding out more about the people who write the books that your kids and I read, these are the authors and illustrators I'll be talking about below and in this order: Gary

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2. SCBWI LA '11

First things first! The winner of the DAMNED ARC is Margo! I'll be emailing you with details...
Now, I've had several people ask me to give my thoughts about the conference. I know there is already so much out there about the phenomenal speakers and content. 40 years! Just look at that dessert above from the Golden Kite luncheon. It was truly an amazing time. The sheer number of icons had me absolutely dazzled and in awe. So I'm going to share a few of these people with you and what they mean to me.

  1. Judy Blume. How can I even begin to describe what it was like to be so close to THE Judy Blume? The woman was so gracious, so kind, so intelligent, and so very REAL. The first novel I think I ever read was Are You There God? It's me, Margaret. I remember that special feeling of being entirely wrapped up in Margaret's world. I loved it. I loved it so much that I never stopped reading and seeking new worlds with new characters. Hearing about Judy's process and journey was inspiring beyond belief. 
  2. Norton Juster. The first fantasy book I ever read was The Phantom Tollbooth. It was also the first book I ever read more than once. I had the opportunity to tell Norton Juster that, to which he looked me dead in the face and replied, "Fantasy? That's my life." How can I not love him? How can I not love a book that's remained AMAZING after 50 years, and that my own son loves just as much as I did? I think I might have to go read it again...
  3. Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak. She gave voice to difficult subject matter that may make some uncomfortable, but saves lives on a daily basis. At the conference, she taught me to embrace my creative need for self-expression, and to nurture the "seed" in my soul. 
  4. Donna Jo Napoli. Her speech was possibly my favorite. And that's really saying something as I gave more standing ovations than I have in my life. It was titled: How Writing About Terrible Things Makes Your Reader a Better Person. And she spoke to not just those who need to see others who've gone through similar things, but to the sheltered who benefit from exposure to truths beyond their own. 
  5. Libba Bray. I saved my favorite for last of course. My hero. Her speech was just as amazing as I hoped and so was she. Funny, intelligent, friendly, and talented. Libba - I would have voted you Prom Queen in high school. I'm just sayin'. She let us know that even the super stars go through rough times, and are plagued by self-doubt. 
Okay, have I gushed enough? You asked and now you have received, my friends. My own personal highlights of the conference this year. I could have kept going too! I mean Richard Peck, Gary Paulsen...

20 Comments on SCBWI LA '11, last added: 8/19/2011
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3. Notes from the SCBWI conference in LA

The conference was wonderful! Seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and hearing Judy Blume speak!! OMG, Judy Blume! Oh, and at one point, I saw Judy Blume and Fonzie (Henry Winkler) together. Whoa! That was strange, but so cool!

There’s usually a theme emerges when I go to conferences. It’s not anything planned by the speakers, but arises from the sessions I attend and the advice I need at that moment. I’m not sure what the theme for this conference is, yet. But if I had to pick a theme, I might go with Heart (making sure your stories have it), or Embracing the Suck (of first drafts), or Specific=Universal. Here are the notes (cross posted to my other blog).

Bruce Coville: He started off the conference with a keynote that was both funny and serious. Some of his advice was:

“Marry rich.”

“Take your art seriously but also take yourself seriously as a business person.”

“Make your own rules.”

“Don’t be afraid to show your heart; put it on the page.”

Liesa Abrams: (Aladdin/S&S) She talked mostly about middle grade. Her list focuses on fantasy.

On Plot, Theme, and Voice: Think about what matters to a twelve-year-old, what they see and care about, and what’s at stake.

Sees too many subs where kids are really self aware (keep them believable, even when they do stuff out of their age range).

Hook is just as important in MG as it is in YA.

Young vs. Older MG is about tone and sophistication.

Libba Bray: keynote and breakout session

“Embrace the suck (of first drafts). Your book is there, buried under the one you hate.”

“You don’t have to make it perfect; you just have to make it better (one little bit at a time).”

“In the particular is contained the universal.”

“Mediocre fiction is usually where the character isn’t well developed.”

“It should cost you something (emotionally, to write the novel). You want to be a different person on the other side of the book than when you started writing it.”

“Be who you want to be/allow yourself to play/explore humanity.”

“Think of characters like nesting dolls with many layers.”

On revision: It’s like “standing on the edge of the plane waiting to jump, thinking, ‘this could all end badly, but it’s a good day to die.”

Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler: talking about writing with humor and heart – I missed the beginning of the session because of my critique, but the end was well worth going to. Lin’s voice was going out, so Henry did most of the talking. One of the highlights was when he talked about how he created the character of Fonzie. “Aaaaaaa.” But they both  talked a lot about writing and making things funny. The biggest take-aways:

general=not funny / specific=funny

“If you don’t laugh, cut it.”

Emma Dryden: talking about the digital landscape

“The story matters most.”

“Adults have to re-educate and re-tool to maneuver new landscapes. Children have nothing to unlearn about digital. It’s where they live.”

Judy Blume (talking with Lin Oliver): During her talk, it became clear that Judy Blume is a writer’s writer. She’s one of us.

“I’m so sucky at plot. That’s not how it comes to me.”

When she begins a book, she knows where it starts and thinks she knows where it’s going. She doesn’t know anything else and loves the surprises along the way.

“The stuff that’s going to matter, going to work, and touch the readers has to come from someplace deep, deep inside.”

“The first draft is

5 Comments on Notes from the SCBWI conference in LA, last added: 8/14/2011
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4. SCBWI LA USA -Meeting friends Around the World

Soooo….. exciting to meet children’s authors and illustrators, publishers and agents from around the world.

And I’m sharing my room with the fabulous Frane Lessac – extraordinary picture book writer and illustrator and SCBWI Illustrator coordinator for Australia & New Zealand.

SCBWI LA, Cherly Zach author, Tracy Barrett USA Regional coordinator, The farewell to Cheryl Zach author and outgoing USA Regional Advisor was joyous and filled with cakes and singing.

The new talented author and USA RA is Tracy Barrett.

This is the 40 th anniverary of SCBWI which has more than 23,000 members worldwide. 

The conference is packed with 1342 delegates from more than 20 countries and 49 USA states – it’s already fabulous.Dianne de las Casas author and storyteller whose website gets 12million hits a year, Frane Lessac award winning illustrator, Susanne Gervay author at SCBWI LA Conference


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5. Angela Cerrito’s ‘The End of The Line’, Chris Cheng & Sarah Davis’ ‘Sounds Spooky’ & others…at SCBWI LA

The SCBWI International LA Conference is different to most others with nearly 50% of the delegates published authors and illustrators. There are publishers and agents.

The Friday night cocktail party with delegates showcasing their books with lots of sales, was wonderful. 

Some of the book and authors were:-

Sue Cowling’s ‘You will call me Drog’ CarolRhoda Books imprint Lerner Books

Angela Cerrito ‘The End of the Line’ A Holiday House Book

Christopher Cheng and Sarah Davis ‘Sounds Spooky’ RandomHouse Australia

Patricia Newman illustrator Michael Chesworth ‘Jingle the Brass’Farra, Straus, Girroux

Judy Goldman author of folktales and many picture books in Spanish and English, SCBWI LA International.

Leslie Helakoski illustrator by Lee Harper ‘Woolbur’ HarperCollins

Susanne Gervay illustrator Cathy Wilcox , HarperCollins Australia Susanne Gervay's Always Jack, Cancer Council endorsement, National breast & Ovarian Cancer Centre, Cancer Australia, Australian Family Therapists' Award 2011, Cathy Wilcox illustrator 'Always Jack', publisher HarperCollins Australia

'Sounds Spook' by Christopher Cheng and Sarah Davis, RandomHouse Australia, SCBWI LA ConferencePatricia Newman and 'Jungle the Brass'Farrar Strauss and Giroux, SCBWI :LA ConferenceSue Cowling and 'You Will Call me Drog' Carolrhodda Books imprint LernerBooks USA, SCBWI LA Conference

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6. Donna Jo Napoli, David Small, Jon Scieszka Celebrating 40 Yrs at SCBWI

Illustrator Frane Lessac, author Bruce Coville, SCBWI LA International Conference Fabulous speakers at the 40 year celebration of SCBWI in Los Angeles.

Write from the heart. Say thankyou to a fan.’ Bruce Coville

‘Write from your places of joy.’ Donna Jo Napoli multi award winning author

‘I felt lost…. and went inside myself’  David Small wrote ‘Stitches’ – powerful memoir and engaging wonderful picture books.

‘I like writing what entertains me’ in a joyous presentation of writing for kids – Jon Scieszka.

The talks made me laugh and cry. What a day!

author Susanne Gervay, illusttrator Kristi Valiant at SCBWI LA 40th birthdaySCBWI Australia and New Zealand, SCBWI logo, Frane Lessac, on display at, The Hughenden

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7. Ode to SCBWI LA

Ahem. I am a bit loopy there's no doubt, but I can't miss a post! So enjoy my crazy attempt at a poem - Ode to SCBWI LA and be sure to come back Thursday for a contest and character interview you won't want to miss!

What's incredible, amazing, and cool, even though it's a mouthful to say?
SCBWI's hard enough, then they added the letters LA!
But we will forgive them for making it hard because of all they do,
I don't want to be dramatic but without them I wouldn't have a clue.

Helpful, supportive, and gracious only begins to describe,
Between workshops and speeches, and dances that give us the chance to imbibe,
we build many friendships, we learn about craft, we vent about our journey,
We pitch, and critique, and grow so nervous you could cart us all off on a gurney!

So many lessons, and formats to learn. So many faux pas and rules,
Thank goodness they're there to pick up the pieces and provide us with the tools.
It can be overwhelming and wonderful too, with so much to do and to see,
But all of those writers make it worthwhile and an awesome place to be!
photo credit

27 Comments on Ode to SCBWI LA, last added: 8/11/2011
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8. fortunately I have a website; unfortunately I don’t have email; fortunately I have another email

Do you know the book, Fortunately by Remy Charlip?* My life has seemed a lot like that book for the last six weeks, especially my website:

Unfortunately, the company that hosts my website had a catastrophic server failure about six weeks ago, which meant no website, blog, or email.

Fortunately, they fixed it in about a week.

Unfortunately, my site and blog were missing pages, my email still didn’t work, and my blog kept disappearing and reappearing.

Fortunately, they let me switch to a new server.

Unfortunately, my blog disappeared for good.

Fortunately, my blog returned about a week later (nobody knows why). And it has a cool new design and background image!

Unfortunately, my email has now disappeared and they don’t know why. (Great timing, since I just gave out a couple hundred postcards and business cards with my email on them at the LA SCBWI conference** this weekend.) Update: email is back up and running!

Fortunately, I have another website for my pen name (Ani Louise), so if you’re trying to email me, please send it to: al (at) anilouise.com. I’m crossing my fingers that my sruble.com email will be back up and running again soon! Update: email is back up and running!

Unfortunately, I have food poisoning and had to stay in LA for an extra day.

Fortunately, the hotel had a room available and I was able to switch my flight. And I’m starting to feel a bit better. Should be able to fly home tomorrow (crossing my fingers).

* If you don’t know, Fortunately by Remy Charlip, you should check it out. It’s an excellent book!

** Notes soon … if I still have a blog!


4 Comments on fortunately I have a website; unfortunately I don’t have email; fortunately I have another email, last added: 8/11/2011
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9. Alan Silberberg:Milo-Sticky Notes & Brain Freeze Wins SCBWI Award:authors-llustrators applaud

Loved meeting Alan Silberberg at the SCBWI LA Conference – a writer, script writer, cartoonist who 40th birthday of SCBWI, SCBWI LA Conference August 2011has great heart! Alan won the SCBWI Sid Fleischman Humor Award which was presented at the 40th birthday lunch.

Read his MILO and laugh and cry and in the end know there’s hope. It’s out in Australia too.

Story: ‘Milo Cruikshank is a 13 year-old new kid, who has to find a way to hit the “restart” button all over again.

The truth is, ever since Milo’s mother died nothing has felt right. Now, instead of the kitchen being filled with music, the whole house is filled with Fog. Nothing’s the same. Not his Dad. Not his sister. And definitely not him. In love with the girl he sneezed on the first day of school and best pals with Marshall, the “One-Eyed Jack” of friends, Milo struggles to survive a school year that is filled with reminders of what his life “used to be”‘ -  http://www.silberbooks.com

Sarah Davis award winning illustrator at SCBWI Golden Kite Award Dinner SCBWI LAAward winning illustrator Sarah Davis, author and poet Alprin Halprin Wayland, Susan Raab of RAAB Associates who is also an author of Marketing Strategies and many others celebrate the Golden Kite winners at SCBWI lunch.

author Cheryl Zach SCBWI, April Halprin Wayland author and poet, at SCBWI Golden Kite lunch LAauthor Susanne Gervay, Susan of Raab Associates Marketing company for Children's books and products, at SCBWI Conference LA

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10. Ilakaka, Madagascar


Ilakaka, Madagascar

Coordinates: 22 40 S 45 13 E

Elevation: 2526 feet (770 m)

Perhaps best known for its abundance of arboreal, mainly nocturnal primates (in fact the only place in the wild where lemurs remain), Madagascar recently discovered another, more lucrative source of natural wealth: precious gems. (more…)

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In a few days I head to LA for the 2011 SCBWI Summer Conference. I"ve never been before but have heard accolades by the dozens for the conference. There's a small army of folks on Twitter going. My goal, in the midst of my usual summer deadlines, was to finish 5 of my facelift pieces in time for the conference. Happily I was able to do so. I've painstakingly printed out a portfolio and loaded them onto my iPhone so I have a tiny little portfolio always in my hand!

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