Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three Writers Conferences on the Horizon

Statue at the Getty Villa Museum, Los Angeles

I registered for three writer's conferences in 2010. They all happen early in the year, which sends attendees scrambling (myself included) to complete manuscripts. Conferences offer countless opportunities to advance writing skills, meet successful authors and make pitches to publishers.

The 17th Annual Christian Writers Seminar (February 19 - 20) is sponsored by Redwood Chapel Community Church in Castro Valley, California. With an array of seasoned authors teaching, instruction covers the basics of Christian writing,
fiction, researching, articles, self-publishing, screenwriting, and more. Though it targets the person beginning the journey, published writers will also find encouragement. Since there are no publishers, editors or agents represented at this conference, attendees are free to learn without feeling the need to pitch their project. This year the keynote speaker is Dave Meurer—a very funny guy, author of six books and numerous magazine articles. My husband used Dave as the speaker at his men's retreat some years back and
found him hilarious.

The 2010 Christian Writers Conference at Mount Hermon (March 26 - 30) is the crème de la crème of conferences in the Christian writing world in the opinion of many. From my attendance last year, I made valuable contacts with publishers that would not have been possible otherwise. Read my blog post from the conference last year. With
a jam-packed schedule of classes for all levels of writing proficiency, the difficulty lies in picking classes. In addition, attendees receive free manuscript critiques, have meal-time opportunities to meet authors, editors, publishers and literary agents, and can take part in night owl sessions covering issues important to a writing career such has blogging, tweeting and other platform essentials.

I plan on taking the Writing for Children morning track again. This year's track titled Children's Books: Writing For Today’s Kids features instructor Bill Myers, award winning author of over 70 children’s books, films, TV and radio shows. The track will explore how to reach today’s child and teen, create memorable characters and unforgettable plots, incorporate comedy, preach without getting caught, and market your work.

On April 24th I will attend the SCBWI 2010 Spring Spirit Conference at the Sunset Center in Rocklin, California. Similar to other conferences, except the focus is writing for children, this regional conference sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) offers something for every aspect of writing for children. I will be attending with a fellow children's writer from my critique group.

This year my goal at these conferences, aside from learning, is to find "homes" for articles I have written and acquire the interest of an agent for my children's books.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Horror in Haiti

Children of Haiti
Watching the heart-wrenching pictures and videos of the tragedy in Haiti, it struck me. Reporters pointed out the dire living conditions the Haitians endure following the quake. No water, no electricity, families living in camps, cooking outdoors and the dangerous environment in general. Guess what? Pretty much that describes the conditions in Haiti BEFORE the quake.

Haiti is very near to our hearts. In 2005 my husband and I witnessed Haiti first-hand—a country in chaos. We went with 28 others to meet the children we sponsor through Compassion International and help build a school at one of their new church partners. Even though we studied-up on the country and its conditions, we were not prepared for what we experienced.

Poor does not describe how the Haitian people live. Barely surviving. The people of Haiti struggle each day to provide for themselves with few ways to make a living. Safe water is scarce except from wells provided mostly by humanitarian organizations. The environment sits decimated—hillsides scrapped and stripped of all material. You would not recognize Haiti as tropical except for the sweltering heat and humidity.

Though the Haitians live in very horrible conditions, they are
a resilient, kind and hard working people. We heard no complaints from them about their conditions. The children shined with an infectious joy and the adults showed a genuine gratefulness, so sweet to experience. Visiting a Haitian home in the small town where we served, we felt honored as the man of the home cut up coconuts and offered them to us. The family's home consisted of a single 9x9 space with outside kitchen similar to the one in the picture.

As the eyes of the world watch Haiti and contributions pour in to help the Haitians, possibly a brighter future awaits these beautiful people. With strict oversight and help from other countries, the government can rebuild a Haiti that could one day flourish.

Ke Bondje beni Haiti (God bless Haiti)
Haiti Donate Online

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Parades and Dogs in 2010

Who doesn't love a parade. When I lived in Mountain View in the Bay Area, on most holidays you could count on a parade happening down the main street of town. We walked the two blocks to find a prime spot on the street to view the local pride parading by. We loved it!

In pursuit of that love, we made arrangements in late November to go to the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Despite growing up in SoCal I had never seen the parade in person—even though my alma mater, Cal Poly, is a star entry every year. Yes... I felt a bit like a kid in anticipation of seeing the "Grand Daddy" of parades.

Arriving in town on New Year's Eve, we headed for the decorating tents to view the floats getting their final application of flowers. To my delight we first saw the Cal Poly universities float. I felt a sense of pride knowing that it is designed and built by students of the two universities—Pomona (my alma mater) and San Luis Obispo (our son's alma mater). Each college builds half of the float, joining the two parts late in the year. Cal Poly's float oftentimes garners an award and this year received the Bob Hope Humor Trophy. The majority of floats in the parade are built by professional float building companies. Hats off to the Cal Poly geeks!

Finishing Touches to the Cal Poly Rose Parade Float—Jungle Cuts

Under a crystal-clear blue sky and crisp cold air the Rose Parade began promptly at 8 AM with HD cameras feeding pictures of stunning floats and the chatter of commentary by TV hosts. We sat in bleachers down the street a short distance from the TV cameras. It was fairly quiet except for the occasional "oooohhs," "awwwws" and applause. Sitting amongst a sea of Ohio State fans, it got loud when their team float and band went by—we were forced to our feet to see them pass.

If you didn't see the parade you missed the big hit—Natural Balance Pet Foods float Hot Doggin' — Going for the Gold. Besides being the longest float (114 feet) ever seen in the parade, it featured Tillman the skateboarding dog and his four best friends showing off their skills at snowboarding. If you missed it, take a look at the video I made.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...