Made it back from Oklahoma (my old stomping grounds) where I attended the OWFI Conference — they know how to throw quite a shindig. Lots going on in two days: networking, great speakers, banquets, signings, and a chance to pitch my new work. Success! Will be sending pages off soon. I also managed to grab a few awards in the annual contest: FANDITHA took third place for middle grade and DECLARATION took third in YA. Even my picture book, THE DAYDREAMING TREE, got an honorable mention.
Better still, I got a face-to-face with my new publisher, Vivian Zabel of 4RV Publishing. They are publishing my middle grade novel, MYTH RIDER, early next year. What a lovely lady! And, I’m not just saying — she took home the lifetime member award from OWFI. Congratulations, Vivian!
And best yet, I shared a room with a newbie writer; my dad, Dwain Kennedy (that’s us in the pix). He just drafted his first novel and I’m quite proud of him. It also made me realize how far I have come as a writer. We tend to forget how overwhelming it is to attend your first conference. Like any profession, there is all the jargon I now take for granted. Queries. Genres. Big 6. There are the sessions on marketing, editing, and querying — yes, I once believed I just had to keep my BIC and write. Now I’ve accepted that writing is just the beginning.
With that in mind, I want to give a particular shout-out to Christine Taylor-Butler. Christine also writes for children, quite successfully, and gave me confidence that I am on the right path. Not that I won’t veer off. But her informative sessions showed me the way. Darleen Bailey Beard’s session on school visits was fantastic. Show don’t tell — and that is what she did! Another thanks to Jerry Simmons, great speaker and marketeer extraordinaire. Hope you made it safely home, Jerry, and we can now enjoy our ‘dry heat’.