June 2012

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Scene Stealing Seagulls and SCBWI

Wow, what an experience at the SCBWI Canada East Niagara Falls retreat! Tons of talent, talk, and inspiration. Here’s a bit of what it was like:

Keynote Quotes

“Story matters most.” Emma D. Dryden, drydenbks, talking about all the many technological devices and platforms there are.

“Bring your props out before you need them.” Kathleen Duey, talking about introducing physical elements or setting details to your reader when they’re just insignificant details so you can bring them up again later when they become pivotal plot points.

“Think of voice as personality; the thing that stays with you.” Nancy Conescu, executive editor, Dial Books for Young Readers, telling us she needs to see this in manuscript submissions she would consider acquiring or working on further.

“No more missing sock stories!” Tracey Adams, agent, Adams Literary, when asked what she does not want to see…but she did go on to say that anything can work if it works.

Most Memorable Moments

* Walking to dinner and coming across a bride and groom’s photo shoot backdropped by the falls. But the wind was whipping the bride’s hair and dress all up and around. Immediately, Kathleen Duey stepped up and suggested the bridal party, a group of mostly men standing idly by, form a windbreak by positioning themselves in front of the bridge and groom but out of the photo. They did and it effectively blocked the worst of the wind. Situation saved!

* Waiting to deliver Lesley Livingston to the group tour and snapping this photo as a seagull soared right towards me. Check it out:

* And downloading my photos to find some seagull snuck into my snapshot of Janis and Lesley. Scene stealer! Look at it there between their heads, bold as all get out!

Seagulls aside, in summary Jackie Garlick-Pynaert did an outstanding job of gathering the talent (which also included Patti Ann Harris, art director of Little Brown; author Kristin Clark Venuti; editor and author Lorin Oberweger; director and writer Roman White) and coordinating the conference.

I look forward to enjoying the new connections made at this conference for a long time.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.
circle-contrail1

Sky Circle

I was driving home yesterday when I noticed a peculiar contrail in the sky. Check this out:

It seemed weird to me that it was circular because they’re usually straight. At least around here they are.

Then I came across this article thanks to Twitter about an air show happening further north and that planes performing in it would be flying over: http://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/community/southmuskoka/article/1369946

Ah-hah, mystery likely solved.

What did we ever do before the internet??

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Save a Circ Clerk’s Sanity

One common question I’m asked at the library is which of an author’s books comes first…or next. You know, like if an author has a series or some related books that don’t already come with “Book 1” or “2” or “Stupendously Super Series #3” stamped on the cover or spine, people want to know which one to read first…or next.

And I want to help them find out.

But I usually don’t have a lot of time to do this because the person who wants to know is standing there at the checkout desk waiting. And there might be a lineup behind them. Yes, I can look at the book’s copyright date. But sometimes an author will write a prequel, and I’d like to be able to pass that info along. The bigger problem with checking the copyright is I’d need to have all of the author’s books there in front of me–which means leaving the front desk to go to the shelves or assumes the patron has brought a stackload up to the desk with them and none of the ones they want are already out on loan. Wading through holding or bib records is also a serious pain–you should see how many fields there are to scroll through for each book.

Or what if a particular author has several series’ out, each with quite a few books in it (eg. Wilbur Smith)? You have to both sort which series each of the books goes into and then put the book in its order within the series. Searching Amazon.com, which often states book order for physical books, gives me too many results to wade through (movie adaptation, kindle edition, audio book edition, paperback edition, original edition, hard cover edition, etc.), especially for prolific authors, even if I refine the search. How long do you want to stand in line while I figure that out?

So I go for the author’s website. Because they should be able to tell me pretty quickly, right? Sadly, I’m often disappointed.

Please, please, please, authors. Please, under the heading of “Books,” clearly identify the chronological order in which your books should be read, and please identify which books are part of the same series.

Do this and circ clerks everywhere will be highly appreciative and, with sanity intact, be able to continue serving book lovers in our communities for a long time.

(Oh, and while I’m at it, you get bonus points for identifying a book title that’s different in another country!!)

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.