Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Birthday, and the SCBWI Conference Goings-On.

Happy Blorthday!
Or is it Happy Blogiversary?

Anyway, my blog turned one year old today.

One year ago, my agent Ted came into town and asked the now historic question, "Publishers are going to Google your name. Do you have a blog?"

me: "Totally. Of course. Just don't check it tonight, kay?"

Then I raced home and wrote my first post: My Foot Lives in my Mouth... Sorry, Does that Sound Gross? , and emailed my entire contact list, begging them to comment so I wouldn't look like I'd just started a blog that day. Which is what I did.

At first, I thought I'd run out of things to blog about after a week. Funny, huh?

I went to the Utah SCBWI Conference over the weekend.

Publisher Elizabeth Law spoke about five things writers don't have to worry about:

1. Trends. Don't try to write to "what's hot now".
If there's anything Nosferatu (hot vamp in the 1920's) taught us, it's that our obsession with vampires is as fleeting as a granite mountain. But the second you try to write about them, the mountain crumbles.

2. Don't worry about working in the "telling detail". If it doesn't sound natural, don't put it in.
"I walked into the classroom. The smell of chalk mixed with eraser assaulted my nostrils, and the desks gleamed as if they'd been cleaned with wood varnish by a custodian who loves his job like a trucker loves his truck."

I copied that sentence from one in my book. I think maybe I'll cut it now.

3. Don't worry about making your writing sound ethnic, hip or trendy.
Seriously, don't try it. Fuhgehdaboutit. Umm... capice? Talk to the hand. Grown-ups suck! Cowabunga. Text you later. Me Tarzan. You Jane. Confusius say... Mama Mia!

She sort of forgot 4 and 5.

Here's a rundown from the rest of the events:

*Emily Wing Smith tried out her new video camera, and thought no one would notice it was a video camera, even though she walked around looking like this:

*Matt Kirby got away with wearing a Dr. Seuss t-shirt to the author social while the rest of us were sweating in actual clothes.
(Sarah DeFord Williams, Matt Kirby, Bree Despain)

*Matt thought my fear of Thing 1 and Thing 2 was heeelarious.

*Emily insisted she could suck on a giant ice cube and still look normal. I don't see anything.

*I circled the library four times before I spotted the elusive entrance to the underground parking. Apparently, the library likes to watch confused drivers and laugh its arse off.

*Elizabeth Law said she would give a contract to anyone who could set her up on a date. I offered hubby. She declined.

*Bree Despain appeared on a panel of debut authors. Her ARC of The Dark Divine was the hot ticket at the raffle. Go Bree!

*Matt Kirby theorized that our civilization would morph into a culture where people partake in crazy activities just so they'd have something to blog about. I say, it already has.

*Bree and I reminisced about the party last year, when the two of us went to the wrong party. For 45 minutes. And didn't even notice. The partygoers were all dressed in hoity toity clothes, many carrying pooches in their purses. I remembered thinking, "Boy, Children's authors must be rich!"

How wrong we were. The author's party was in the basement.

So, what did you guys do this weekend? Anyone hit the conference? Any NaNoWriMo updates?


  1. Ms. Law turned down a date with me? Does she know how hott! I am? Does she know how popular I am in our neighborhood? She will regret that decision one day.

    My weekend was spent crying with the boys over the Utes losing twice (once in hoops and once in football). I will recover, thanks for asking.

  2. Sam- I tried to tell her how warm and fuzzy you are, but she didn't bite.

    Sorry about the Utes. Like I always say, sports suck.

  3. I spent the weekend buried in wedding dresses. For some reason we thought it would be a fun young women's activity to model wedding dresses. Have you ever tried to get 20 girls matched up with a wedding dress that fits? It made it even more challenging that none of the girls knew what size they were and none of the women who loaned us their dresses knew what size they had been. So, yeah, fun times. I wish I could have made it to the conference...

  4. Wow, Jenilyn. That sounds like quite the ordeal. You are a dedicated woman.

    I remember once when I was asked to be in charge of the Young Women Campout. I promptly moved across the country.

  5. Glad the conference was good! Sounds like it was a good time, as always!

    Did you ever figure out what party you were at by mistake?

    I spent the weekend getting our phone line fixed, doors rekeyed, and running errands while my hubby painted the baby's room so we can get the crib put together tonight.

  6. Una- We never figured out, but I would guess it was a gathering of "Rich Widows, and the Pooches they Love."

    Setting up the crib? You guys are really on the countdown, aren't you? Exciting.

  7. Wait, your foot lives in your mouth? How do you hobnob so well then? Is the secret that other authors speak with their feet, too? Odor-Eaters must sell hotter than breathmints there!

  8. Did she mention cowbells in her speech? I know, totally random question, but she did keep tweeting about it. I need to know.

  9. Douglas- I got my undergrad degree in hobnobbing. And most of the authors I know have been known to eat feet. Especially James Dashner.

    Just Kidding, James.

    Nkrell- Yes, she did mention cowbells. In fact, she rang the cowbell she brought with her at the end of the speech. Bree and I are still confused as to what the euphemism is. Something about a Twitter conversation? If you find out, let me know!

  10. "The writers' party was in the basement." Love it! Thanks for the SCBWI run-down.

    This weekend I read half of LIPS TOUCH (dying to get back to it right now!) and had some big epiphanies because of it. Namely, there is not nearly enough danger in my WIP. Now I feel like I'm at square one, though I guess I'm not, it just feels that way. Danger as a concept is awesome; danger as a set of yet-to-be-figured out insertions/changes into my novel is daunting.

  11. I'm gonna have to go find the SCBWI dates. They sound great. Plus if I could tag along then I'd get to see first hand some of the hee-larious stuff you're talkign about.

    This weekend I finished The Dark Divine. Awesome book. I highly recommend it.

  12. Nikki- Lips Touch sounds so good. It's always a good idea to add danger. Who is it that says, "Stick your characters in a tree and throw rocks at them?" But I agree- it's the actually adding that's hard.

    Debbie- You definitely need to come to the next one. And did you just love The Dark Divine? So good!

  13. Brodi, but did she work in that she needed "more cowbell."

    Yup, I'm at 31 weeks today. We are getting much closer...

  14. Happy Blogversary! Today's my hubby's birthday too! :)

    It looks like you had fun at the writing conference. I spent my weekend dealing with hives--an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. I didn't know I was allergic.

  15. Hmmm, How old is Elizabeth Law? My brother's single.

  16. Una- I think somewhere, sometime, somebody mentioned something needed more cowbell. I admit, I am confused on the whole thing.

    Jenni- That is one sucky way to spend a weekend. Hope you are better soon.

    Cherie- I have no idea how to answer that in a way that won't get me in trouble if Elizabeth Law reads this. (Which I'm sure she won't, but you never know...)

    Let's say, she's older than me, and younger than my mom.

  17. Happy Blog Birthday to you! I can't believe it's been a year. Sorry about the Utes losing too, however, Hooray to Real Salt Lake for winning the Eastern Conference Title and making it to the championships this sunday. Sorry about the plug for soccer with all the writers club people...but I just had to spread the joy!

  18. Erin- I saw that Real game. What a game! Thanks for reminding us that professional soccer is out there. Somewhere.

  19. Happy Birthday to your blog! I remember reading that first post. Hilarious, and it's just gotten better!

  20. I am so bummed I wasn't there with the rest of our posse. I'm sure Bree was brilliant as always though.

  21. Happy Blogiversary! And thanks for the sum-up of the conference. I wanted to go (especially to see Bree present--how cool is that?), but decided right now I need to write more than I needed to hear people talk about writing. Good thing you covered it for me.

    My weekend: watched "Stardust" and celebrated daughter's birthday with Korean food and way too much fatty desert. Little servings don't have calories, do they? So you can eat as many as you want, right? That's what I've been telling myself.

  22. Elena - my father believes wholeheartedly that birthday meals have no calories, fat or carbs. They are "free" for celebration and fellowship. Which is why birthdays are once a year! =) Enjoy guilt-free!

  23. lulabell- thanks, girlfriend. You were one of the ones who got an email, begging for a comment!

    V- she was great. Poised and funny.

    Elena- I know what you mean. Eventually you have to stop going to classes on writing, and actually write!

    Una- I totally agree about the free days! Of course, I also include Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day, Columbus day, Arbor day, Veterans day...

  24. ohh.. Birthday photos. i have also collected my each birthday photos till now. Thats really. At the early ages parents were collecting and nowadays i am collecting. Thanks for sharing to me.

    r4i karte