Monthly Archives: March 2010

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events and let us know if you know of more . . .

In Idaho:

2010 Novel Revision Retreat with Darcy Pattison, April 30-May 1, 2010 at the Stonefly Lodge in Ashton, Idaho. Sold out!

In Utah:

Monthly SCBWI Meeting, April 7, 2010 at the City Library (210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City). 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Kelley JP Lindberg will talk about conducting interviews for fiction and nonfiction. Questions? Contact Sydney at (free event)

Next Meetings: May 5th, June 2nd

Regional SCBWI Events:

The 2010/2011 Nevada Chapter Mentor Program is now open and accepting applications. This is an intermediate to advanced program for pre-published and lightly published (see website for definition) SCBWI MEMBERS. Mentors this year are: Emma Dryden, freelance editor and consultant, Drydenbks; Priscilla Burris, illustrator, author/illustrator, and SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator; Harold Underdown, publishing consultant and founder of The Purple Crayon website; Teri Sloat, award winning and multi-published author/illustrator. And from Nevada and environs ? our own Ellen Hopkins, best selling verse novelist and Co-RA NV SCBWI; Terri Farley, Middle Grade series author and YA author; Susan Hart Lindquist, Middle Grade author, Suzanne Morgan Williams, MG and nonfiction author and Co-RA Nevada SCBWI. Go to and click on Mentor Applications on left of home page for all the info and a printable application. Applications are due June 1. Applicants will be notified of selections August

Non-SCBWI Events:

Writing For Young Readers, June 14-18, 2010 at The Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. For more information about the schedule and presenters see: http:\\

Heart of the West Utah Romance Writers of America

Bob Mayer?s All-day Workshop for Writers, June 5, 2010, 9:00 am to 5:00 PM, Salt Lake City Airport Hilton. New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer has published 39 books ranging from military techno-thriller to political thriller to non-fiction to science fiction to romantic suspense. He has over three million books in print. Registration URWA Members $20.00, Non-URWA members $35.00. For registration form and more information visit

Pacific Coast Children?s Writers Workshop, August 20-22, 2010 at Pajaro Dunes? private beachfront facilities near Santa Cruz, CA. I WANT TO GO TO THIS! I LOVE PAJARO DUNES!!

Congenial, team-taught seminar for 30 savvy and/or published writers of character-driven youth novels, “active observers,” and teen readers and writers. ? FACULTY: KATE HARRISON (senior editor, Dial Books/Penguin); TED MALAWER (agent, Upstart Crow Literary Agency); and author-consultant LAURA BACKES, publisher of Children?s Book Insider. ? WEEKEND THEME is “A Novelist?s Toolkit: Architecture, Archetypes, and Arcs.” Focus on craft as a marketing tool; 90 percent hands-on. Open critique clinics, aka master classes, are enhanced by interactive pre-workshop assignments. ? DEADLINES: For the most critique options and lowest fees, apply by April 10 or asap. Limited enrollment may be open through July. For more info, or to apply to work in the teen program, contact Director Nancy Sondel:


Utah Original Writing Competition. Manuscripts accepted the first week of May through June. For more information:

Irreantum Writing Contest. Manuscripts accepted until May.
And of course, the all the awesome contests posted by Ms. Amy Finnegan a few weeks back.

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Ann Dee: Why I Should Never Do Marathons but I Should


I sometimes wear the same clothes two days in a row.

Don’t tell anyone.

And today, while the guy came to see if he could aerate my lawn, my three year old came out pants and diaper-less and yelled, “Come see my poo!” He did it in the toilet so it’s a big deal. For some reason the guy declined and then three year old ran out the door and down the street.

“Sorry. I don’t know if I want my lawn aerated for forty bucks (is that a lot?) but I have to catch my naked waist down kid.”

The guy said, “I’ll wait.”

He waited and I ran in my two day old clothes down the street with my one year old screaming and I was screaming and my three year old was laughing and cars were slowing and can I be arrested for naked kids running around?

Then one time I did a marathon. A writing marathon. I’ve done a running one before too but that is a story for another time. The thing with the writing marathon is that it was great. Really great. I got so much done. But it was bad. So bad. Because I got so much done.

Like when I maybe step on the scale at my sister’s house one time and I had lost weight. Whhhhaaaaaatttttt? Excitement. So then for the next two weeks I stuff my face with ice cream, buttery buttery popcorn (I LOVE POPCORN), candy, maybe a loaf of bread and then I think there were some cookies. Isn’t that weird? Like now I can do whatever I want because I sort of lost weight.

Like now I don’t have to write for a week or think about writing for a week because I wrote a bunch of words over a weekend and even did research and got all excited about my novel? Isn’t that backwards? Like when I have momentum, why don’t I keep the momentum, work to make the momentum a part of my life. I am so up and down . . . in almost all aspects of my life. Hot. Cold. Happy. Sad. Clean. Dirty. Why can’t I just be, you know, warm. Warm is good. Warm is nice. Warm is what gets the job done. Boo hoo to all this hot cold crap.


This is a quote someone gave to me:

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself has changed, but that our power to do is increased.”       Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope I learn how to persist in doing the right things. I hope I know what the right things are. Wearing the same clothes for days on end? Chasing kids? Writing novels? Drinking chocolate milk?


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Carol: Character

Whenever I write a character, I base a little bit of that character on someone I know. Lots of my novels have older people in them. There was real-life Mr Clark, who was 88 when I moved away from his neighborhood. He lived across the street from us. He was all alone and he cried out late nights from loneliness. He sounded like a ghost in his late-night sadness. My sister and I made friends with him. He showed me how to use a wood lathe and made me a wooden box lined with red felt to hold my jewelry. We played rummy in his garage and he was a Golden Gloves boxer. At a weird time in my life, Mr. Clark was a stable person. I loved him. You’ll see bits and pieces of who he really was in many of my novels. He shows up again and again.

My very best friend in 8th grade (and up) was Vickie. She and I did everything together. We sang to the Donny Osmond records she had, made up dances to David Bowie, and stayed up all night long, telling stories. One day she took me to the local store to teach me how to shoplift. I was so scared that when I tried to steal the little 25 cent foot sticker (yellow, furry), I dropped it on the floor and ran from the building. Vickie is the best friend in most all my books, including GLIMPSE that comes out in June. We rarely talk, but when we do, it’s as though we have never been separated. I love her.

There was Nana. If you can get a hard-copy of my novel, The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson, on the back flap you will see me sitting there with my nana. I’ve just handed her a rose. We hadn’t seen each other in several years and I showed up to her surprise b’day party. She turned 77 that day and when she walked into my mom’s house and saw all the people there, she thought at first that we were a bunch of “damn Mormon missionaries”–until we screamed surprise. But back to the back flap picture. Nana saw the camera, and just like Nana always did when a camera was around, she struck a pose. I adored my grandmother. She was a stable person in my life. She loved me regardless. And any loving older woman in my books is my nana.

Today, though, I just want to take a moment to talk about my aunt Linda. My mom is the oldest of the three Yelvington sisters. Next came Aunt Linda then Aunt Judy. Aunt Linda was three years younger than my mom and those two–for many, many years, were tight. Best friends. I was the first child born. Then my good cousin Kelly. So Kelly and I were bestest friends. We spent summers together–and lots of times the stories I write about will show flashes of my cousin.

My novels also show my aunt. Whenever I write a kind mom, it’s Aunt Linda. If there is a beautiful mom in a book, it’s Aunt Linda. Man, she adored me! I can only remember one time that she was ever angry with something I did. Only once. Mostly I remember her telling me I could live with her if things got too bad at home. Or laughing at the stories I told. Or writing me long letters telling me that she loved me. Or taking care of everyone. Man! What a caretaker. I can see her in my memory, on Nana’s house with a rake, gathering all the leaves so the roof wouldn’t rot. I can see her on her feet while the rest of us sat at the table eating, making sure we were all okay. She sent me a handmade quilt when my first daughter, Elise, was born. She sent me secrets no one knows. Even when I was old and supposed to be able to care for myself, she sent me money that I never expected.

I can see her getting her hair streaked, wearing the old-fashioned rubber cap you squeezed onto you head. It was filled with holes (so you could pull out the bits of hair to streak them blond). One of her kids–mostly Jeff did this–sat up behind her, pulling out bits of her hair. I can see her laughing till the tears ran out her eyes. Or packing to leave for Ecuador. Or telling stories herself. Or letting me know I was her favorite of the all the nieces and nephews.

This past Saturday morning, my cousin Kelly called to tell me Aunt Linda died Friday night. No one expected this death. She was, after all, only 68. 68. My aunt. Gone. Just like that. I haven’t stopped crying. Aunt Linda watched a lot of weird things going on at my house. She would have packed my sister and me up and taken us with her. She tried. Even as a single mom she would have taken us in with her. And she stuck it out with my mom until the end with Nana–even as crazy as things were with my mom. Aunt Linda believed in family. When I grew up, she told me family stories that would send shivers down your backbone, whispered stories that no one should know. She was everyone’s protector. I will miss knowing that she is in Pennsylvania with her grandchildren, with Kelly close by, with me only a letter away. I miss her now.

The thing is, having a bit of goodness in your life, can give you hope. Aunt Linda was a part of my hope. And when I write, I try to put a bit of hope in what I write, ’cause man, we need it.


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Kyra: On Writing

My blog today isn’t gonna be great, so if you’d like you can just skim over it now.
It’s on something I’ve been thinking about a lot, tho.
Writing. {holy shocker!!!!}
Well, not just writing, but how HARD it is.

I’ve finally started my first YA story {can’t say novel because it’s hardly even there} and I never realized how. freaking. hard. writing is.
How do people like my mother {the best writer in the world} and Ann Dee {the second best writer in the world} put emotion on the page like they do?
My story is supposed to have a lot of emotion {whose isn’t, tho?} and I have no idea how to even do it! I’ve taken the classes and read hundreds of books, and yet I’m still having a hard time!!!

After you figure out the emotion, how do you make something fake seem real?
Courtney Summers, Jandy Nelson, Laurie Halse Anderson…They all write stories about kid’s I’ve known, kids I’ve met.
HOW? How do you people do it? How do you think up a person and make it seem real. Because when I try, it’s an absolute joke!

Then you have to build a place, and write the storyline and believe it.
YOU, the writer, has to believe it or no one will.
When I write, all I see is a bunch of fake stuff coming from my thoughts just written out on a page. IT’S INSANE!

So yes, this is a short post. But I just want to say to all you writers out there…
I never knew how hard it was to write!
I now know it’s even harder to make money writing than, like, working at any other job! No wonder you’re all drama queens! You can’t afford to comfort yourselves with chocolate or sappy romance movies. I think I’m going to fit in with you people . . . . 🙂
Writing is hard! But if we didn’t have writers, I wouldn’t have books. If I didn’t have books, I wouldn’t be who I am today! Neither would a million other people.

Sorry this blog had a ton of I’s and sounded very self-interested…I’m just speaking my mind. 🙂


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