Rowena Eureka Goes To New York

Life – I went to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference in New York City a couple weeks ago. Since the conference I've struggled with a flood of writing assignments, plus I got some wicked cold virus that came with its own fever, chills, and sweats.  I've finally finished my writing assignments and am starting to feel healthier too.  Yay! (PS- I'm taking an excellent online writing course right now.)

 The SCBWI Official Conference Blog has good summaries of the entire conference so I'm going to link to it (and a couple other sources) to list my favorite parts:

* Cheryl Klein, an executive editor at Scholastic, gave an excellent hour-long crash course on how to revise your novel.  Her blog and plot checklist will give you a good start on revising.  Now I want to read her book on revision because the hour went too fast for me.

* Katherine Erskine's speech on how to focus on writing was full of concrete ways to nurture creativity and make sure that turns into actual writing. 

* Jennifer Laughran was my favorite agent to speak at the conference.  Not only does she know the book world inside and out, she's funny too, and sharp, and she has her own blog.

*I got to meet and talk to my regional advisers –Edie Hemingway and Lois Szymanski– and was struck by not only how truly kind both of them are, but also how much writing and publishing experience they each have.  

*I went to the extra evening LGBTQ session as a spur of the moment decision and was glad I went.  It was a refreshingly fun and honest session, full of:  good writing information, friendly people, and a list of new books I now want to read.

* I was surprised how much I liked Cassandra Clare's speech about forbidden love and how to create satisfying love triangles.  It was partly because she used shows like: Buffy, The Vampire Diaries, and Felicity as examples, but I also liked her speech because she made a lot of good points. 

Clare explained that to have a real love triangle, as opposed to a love "V", all three parties have to have a relationship and connection with each other. She used the TV show, Felicity, as an example of a love "V" because the two guys Felicity likes– Ben and Noel– have no real relationship or connection to each other.  Her example of a true love triangle was from the TV show, The Vampire Diaries.  The fact that Damon and Stefan are brothers makes their love triangle with Elena all the more interesting because the audience cares about their relationship as much as they care about Elena and Stefan or Elena and Damon.

After Clare's speech, the SCBWI Co-President Lin Oliver pointed out that if you are writing Middle Grade fiction, you can use Clare's points on love triangles by exchanging the word love or romance for friendship.

March 2009: In Brief

The Allergy Shots Are Working!
Yay! Yay! Yay!  The real test comes this April.  Still, it was fantastic having a clear head and plenty of energy in March.

2 Family Dinners–  The good thing about staying in my family’s "home town" is that the more adventurous family members come back frequently.  So I can be a homebody and still have fun family dinners with my dad and sibs.

SCBWI Westminster Conference–  There was the usual helpful/inspiring information, a chance to hang with fun people, and even a presentation on the Library of Congress’s cool website, plus, conference cookies.

Driving Glasses– I read so many books and blogs I’ve changed my distance vision.  So far, my plan to only wear my glasses for driving is working.  Life is eerily clear when I drive and happily misty-and-water-colored when I don’t.  Luckily I don’t drive very often.

Fiction Books:
Mudville, by Kurtis Scaletta (***)
Wake, by Lisa McCann (*** 1/2)

Non-Fiction Books:
Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time
, by Susan Scott (****)

Dead Like Me (**)- Unlike Serenity, this movie was not worthy of the TV series it continues.

Afro Celt Sound System, Gossip, Kelly Clarkson, The Puppini Sisters, and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs
TV:Top 5 Favorites of the Month (In A,B,C Order)
Battlestar Galactica
– Not the best series finale ever, but it had its moments.
Dollhouse– Episodes six and seven did pique my interest.
Flight of the Conchords
The Big Bang Theory

Sub Jobs:
1 day- Reading Teacher
1 day- Media Specialist
1/2 day- Computer Teacher
1 day- 2nd grade in Ms. K’s class
1/2 day- Media Specialist
1 day- 2nd grade in Ms. K’s class

I Know What I Did This Summer, part 2 (aka: July 2008: Inbrief)

Quote of the Month:

 “…it isn’t always easy knowing who you are and what you want, because then you have no excuse for not trying to get it.” Paul, from Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan



SCBWI Conference in Westminster, Maryland- Two days of stuff I love: information on writing, inspiring speeches, chats about children’s books, and lunch with fun friends who watch a lot of the same TV and read a lot of the same books as me.  


Fiction Books Finished:

None (I read the same 800-page book from late June to mid-August—gripping, but long.)


Non-Fiction Books Finished:

 **** Time Management from the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern- excellent book on how to live your goals.



**** Onceappealing indie film about two musicians in Dublin who help each other deal with their personal problems by making a debut album together. I enjoyed the soundtrack too.


TV Enjoyed:

 **** Dr. Horrible– Joss Whedon’s adorably tragic online mini-musical about shy Dr. Horrible’s conflicting quests to be accepted into the Evil League of Evil and to date the girl of his dreams, Penny, who he met at the Laundromat.


**** Mad Men, season 1- evocative, addictive show about advertising writers in the early 1960’s.


*** ½ Flight of the Conchords, season 1- the first show I’ve seen where each guy in the duo is the straight man. You can also check out their videos on You Tube.


*** Supernatural, season 3- I wrote a 700-word love-letter to this show here. 😉


*** How I Met Your Mother, season 3.


July & August 2007: Inbrief

Quote of the Month:

“Being me is a full-time job and I’ve never missed a day.”
Stephen Colbert (June 27, 2007)



July SCBWI Conference in Westminster

Bought an mp3 player- Wow! It’s like living in a movie montage: Rowena walking to the store, Rowena cleaning the house, Rowena riding metro.  

L.A. Trip:

-August SCBWI Conference in L.A. w/ ZQ & Laura

-Hanging out w/ ZQ

-Hanging out w/ Ladytiamat

-Meta’s Uno Party

-Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier

-Celebrity Sighting: Enrico Colantoni  (aka Keith Mars) crossing the street to the Celebrity Scientology Center for their annual festival with what looked like his wife and two young daughters. 

-Tons of good food

-A whole relaxing week of books, writing, & TV talk, games, music, and fun

The new school year starts. Yay!


Books Finished:

*** ½ New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer

****    ZQ’s WIP (reread)

****    Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling


 Comics & Graphic Novels:

***      Buffy, season 8 comics, issues 1-3

*** ½ The Plain Janes, by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg


Movies Seen:

***       Stranger Than Fiction

****    Pan’s Labyrinth

****    Freedom Writers

****    Why We Fight

*** ½ The Devil Wears Prada (Meryl Streep was the highlight of this movie, for me.)


Music I Listened To:

Fall Out Boy: From Under the Cork Tree *** ½   & Infinity on High ****

Frou Frou: Details *** ½

Imogen Heap: Speak For Yourself **** & I, Megaphone ****

Charlotte Martin: Veins *** ½

Paramore: Riot! *** ½

Emiliana Torrini: Fisherman’s Woman *** ½


Sub Jobs:

1 day- computer lab (1st week of school)


TV Watched:

****    Big Love, current season

****    Daily Show, current season

***     Entourage, current season

****   Monk, Season 1 (in French or Spanish w/ English Subtitles)