(Nov 12, 13, 14)
Gary, my husband, and I drove to Pittsburgh on
Friday morning to enjoy a weekend in this three
river city. The weather was an unexpected treat
for this time of year. Dry roads and clear, sunny
I attended the Western Pennsylvania SCBWI
conference on Saturday, Nov. 13. Click the link
to view the schedule, presenters and workshops.
One of my manuscripts, Asha's Journey, was
critiqued by Deborah Vetter. She offered many
suggestions that guided me in a fresh edit which
I did when I got home. I did feel overwhelmed
when I got home from all the input and, yes,
discouraging news about the economy's affect on
the publishing business, but energized none the less.
As Pat Easton, regional advisor, stated in her opening
address, she writes in the basement so that she doesn't
jump out the window! It was great meeting her and
connecting to all the organizers, new writers, illustrators,
editors and agent, Quinlan Lee of Adams Literacy,
that I met.
I had the added pleasure of sitting next to Ms. Vetter
at lunch. I learned a lot about her life and her
experiences as executive editor for Cicada. We had
a humorous conversation about "green burial." How
and why I brought up that topic is gratefully forgotten.
But, actually, everyone at the table had fun with the
topic. No one had ever heard of green burial as an
option to casket or cremation. And Ms. Vetter was
delighted that it existed! Here is a link for those
interested in reading an interview with Deborah Vetter
I have also been researching agents, and have submitted
to one, but after going to Quinlan Lee's talk, I am very
interested in submitting to her. I felt a connection and
loved her energy. She also made a clever analogy that
an agent is sometimes a stager. Before selling a house
one must present the house in the best light. Maybe
some repairs are needed. Or updates. Or coats of fresh
paint. Maybe a few new items. Well, manuscripts need
to be staged for the editors she feels are right for the
manuscript and often manuscripts need a little work
before she sells it. I like that and I like that she is on top
of all the editor moves in the industry, negotiates contracts
and manages one's career. All worth 15% in my opinion.
Quinlan Lee stated that she is a middle grade junkie, so
I'm eager to work on my MG novels.
Saturday night, Gary and I went to Heinz Hall to hear
Rags to Ritzes: The Music of Irving Berlin. Conductor,
Jack Everly, led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a
rich selection of music with vocalists Ashley Brown, Ted
Keegan, Natasha Yvette Williams, Tony Desare and Eric
LaJuan Summers. There truly is "No Business like Show
Business." What would this world be like without music!
That's what I dislike most about winter. No birds signing
in the dawn. Well, where I live, anyway!