Archive for May, 2008

“Good morning, Mommy” music to my ears: My LA Trip

I had a wonderful, though swift, trip to Los Angeles this week in the midst of wrapping up two classes, starting a new class (Craft a Saleable Nonfiction Book Proposal starts Wednesday), finishing my rewrite of Get Known Before the Book Deal and juggling a lot of personal/home details.

Here’s the abrreviated recap:

Getting on the road: This is always the hardest part for me (see my earlier post on the speed bumps of leaving home). But typically, once I get dropped off at the airport, assuming I didn’t forget anything, I can finally relax and enjoy my trip. This trip was no exception. And may I take this opportunity to say that Portland, Oregon has one of the nicest airports you will ever see.

Flying: I adore flying. Some of my best ideas come to me on airplanes. Once air-bound, I can thoroughly relax and enjoy myself. I can’t address the pile of laundry or dishes in the sink from thousands of feet in the air, so I get to chill out instead. (I typically peruse People magazine, a treat reserved for visits to the chiropractor at home.)

Arriving in LA: When LA photographer Mark Bennington was here, I teased him about living in LA. But after my trip, I feel contrite. My LA experience was so wonderful and so thoroughly enjoyable that I want to shout from the rooftops: “Don’t judge LA by the traffic jams!” (However, a few locals did comment on the stress related to bad traffic and congestion, something that is easier to forgive when you are just there for a few days.)

Bad Habit: When I am presenting I absolutely need peace and quiet to prepare myself the night before. On other trips with my family along, this has proven difficult. I am a presentation tweaker. I will stay up way too late the night before tweaking and re-tweaking my presentation. Usually with positive results…which is why this has become a “bad” habit. I’m tired the next day but I can’t sleep well in hotels by myself anyway, no matter how wonderful they are. My hotel on this trip was brand new and the nicest I’ve seen. We’re talkin’ gorgeous! And right on Sunset Boulevard, where yes, I did indeed bump into a celebrity. To respect her privacy, I won’t say where.

Rolling computer bag ideas? I need a rolling bag for my computer that is compact enough to use as a carry-on and hold my other plane items. Does anyone have any suggestions? I hurt my shoulder dragging around my Mac laptop every time I speak. Surely there’s got to be a better way…anyone?

Stay tuned…more to come!


Handling Feelings When Mom Travels

For writer mamas, as for moms who travel for work, the leaving/coming home transition can be an emotional one. I’ve always been sensitive to my daughter’s need for smooth transitions. So we always talk things through well in advance of the actual event. When she was younger this was as simple as saying, “Samantha, first we’re going to put our coats on, then we’re going to get in the car, then we’re going to go shopping at the store.” Just the rhythm of the plan seemed to soothe her. Whereas if I had just suddenly said, “Let’s go.” She would resist and become easily upset.

The same parenting strategy works, I’ve found for just about anything with my daughter. It’s always best to keep her in the loop in an age-appropriate way.

So I wasn’t surprised last night at bedtime when my daughter began to cry because I would be leaving for two nights. She’d seemed agitated all evening, the same way our cats get agitated when all the suitcases come out.

She knew it wasn’t just the hypothetical “mommy is going on a trip” any longer but time for the actual departure. So I felt good about letting her cry. I didn’t try to stop her or chastise her not to cry. I remember when my mom went away when I was kid. I didn’t like it at all!

Fact is when moms leave home, it’s never “easy.” There’s all the planning and preparation to make sure everyone’s needs will be met and then there’s trying to take care of and prepare yourself. Just like everything else, I just do the best I can.

When Jason and Samantha dropped me off today, there were no tears. Just lots of hugs and kisses. Of course, I’ll miss them.

I’m jut so grateful that we’re all on the same page, even if tears are part of the picture.

10th Annual RACC Artist Fellowship Award

This fall, RACC will award one $20,000 Fellowship to a Literary Artist in the Portland tri-county region.”

“Literary Arts” include poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and playwriting.

Intent to apply is due on July 9th.

Full application due by 5 pm on July 16th.

All the details available at RACC grants online.

Be sure to check the guidelines and good luck!

Writer’s Digest/BEA Writers Conference, Here I Come!

2008 BookExpo America - Writers ConferenceYou can still register for next week’s 2008 BookExpo America/Writer’s Digest Books Writers Conference. This is the country’s leading writing conference featuring a keynote by Jacquelyn Mitchard, motivating workshops and the largest gathering of agents and editors of any conference who want to help you GET PUBLISHED!

When: Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Where: The Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

The conference is an all-day affair, with workshops and panels throughout the morning and afternoon. Here are a few highlights:

  • The keynote speaker: best-selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard.
  • Guests include: superstar agent Donald Maass, The editors of Writer’s Digest Books, Writer’s Digest magazine and Writer’s Market
  • Plus dozens of agents taking part in our famous Pitch Slam session

Register Now!

For up-to-the-minute information, and a list of attending agents, visit

Admission to this all-day conference is $199, which includes a copy of the 2008 edition of Writer’s Market!

8:30 a.m. Keynote by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Keynote address by New York Times best-selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard

9:30 Morning Breakout Sessions

  • Fire in Fiction (literary agent Donald Maass)
  • Putting Thrills in Your Mystery Novel (author Hallie Ephron)
  • Book in a Month (author Victoria Schmidt)
  • Finding a Home for Your Personal Essay (author Victoria Zackheim)
  • Get Known While You Sleep—A Platform Primer (author Christina Katz)
  • Screenwriting: Exploring Genres (screenwriter-author John Truby)
  • Getting Started in Writing for Television (Richard Hatem)

10:30 Mid-Morning Breakout Sessions

  • Plotting a Novel They Can’t Put Down (author James Scott Bell)
  • Fictional Seeds (author Lisa Lenard-Cook)
  • Panel: Creating and Contributing to Anthologies (Victoria Zackheim, Jane Ganahl, Aimee Liu, Aviva Layton)
  • Effective Use of the Internet for Authors (author Bill O’Hanlon)
  • Panel: Ask the Editors: A publishing Q&A with WD experts
  • Panel: Meet the Script Agents and Managers


Speaker: Blake Snyder, screenwriter, producer, and best-selling author of two books on screenwriting (Save the Cat!)
1:30 Afternoon Breakout Sessions

  • Revising a Novel They Can’t Put Down (author James Scott Bell)
  • Panel: Ask the Literary Agents (moderated by GLA’s Chuck Sambuchino)
  • The Times They Are A-Changin’: Being a Successful Author Amidst Transformational Change in Book Publishing  (WDB Editorial Director Jane Friedman)
  • Panel: From Book to Film/TV: How Your Work Comes Alive
  • Practice Your Pitch (WD’s Lauren Mosko, attendance limited to room capacity)

Pitch Slam Session
The BEA/Writer’s Digest Books Writers Conference once again presents the original Pitch Slam session, featuring the largest gathering of agents and editors who want to hear your story ideas and give you immediate feedback!

Gold Star: Another Awesome Essay on Motherhood by Abigail Green

This line says it all:

“The thing is, I have Canyon Ranch taste, but a YMCA budget.”

Read the entire essay, “You Look Tired,” over at Diary of a New Mom.

Abigail Green is teaching an essay writing class for Writers on the Rise. (Not that I’ve updated the info yet…but I will soon, I promise!)

Light at the end of the writing tunnel…

And from what I can tell, it’s not a train. It’s a long weekend!

Thank goodness for that.

I leave you to yours with the cover design of my forthcoming book, Get Known Before the Book Deal:

Have a great holiday weekend, mamas!

Seal Press Anthology: The Maternal is Political, Gigi Rosenberg Reads

Gigi Rosenberg reads “Signora” her essay from the Seal Press anthology “The Maternal is Political.” Powell’s Book on Hawthorne. Thursday, May 29, 7:30 pm. This book features 30 powerful, hard-hitting literary essays by women who are striving to make the world a better place for children and families – both their own and other women’s – in this country and globally. Editor Shari MacDonald Strong appears with contributors Jennifer Margulis, Alisa Gordaneer, Gigi Rosenberg, and Margaret McConnell.

Two things:

1. I’d say this is great timing for this title, wouldn’t you?

2. Go, Gigi!

Gigi is a former student who is doing fabulous things. Check out her site, if you have a chance.

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