Before & After



The before and after photos of my favorite tree!
A couple of months ago my neighbor questioned
whether my tree had survived the winter. I had
faith that the tree was still able to work its magic.
The bottom two photos were taken yesterday.
 My little tree is now in full bloom...
 for the second time this year!
Love it!


Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers Conference

     For the past week I have been attending the Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) Conference. It was held at The Waterford School campus in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. What a great experience this turned out to be...again.

      I found out about last year's conference when I went shopping for books at The King's English Bookshop. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2011 conference. The highlights for me were the presentations by authors Brandon Mull (Fablehaven series, The Candy Shop War, Pingo, and Beyonders series) and Ally Condie (Matched, Crossed, and soon to be released, Reached). I knew that the information that I gleaned would be very beneficial to me as a writer, and I found it extremely satisfying to be in the same location as so many successful authors, plus two editors and one agent ... from New York City!

     This year I was on their radar and received emails about the dates for the 2012 conference. Of course I signed up! I'm so glad that I participated this year. Guess what? The most important thing I learned was...I have to write my own synopsis of my book! For some unfathomable reason I was under the impression that the "professional people" would be writing that. Nope! It's all on my shoulders and there's no time to waste. So...feeling the pressure to write something productive this very morning, I sat down at the computer and...Wa La! I have a first draft of my synopsis. Yea me! Woo hoo! Patting myself on the back...because, man was that hard! Okay, writing two to three pages may not sound challenging, but when you are taking about 390 pages and summarizing it into said two to three pages, it becomes a monumental task! My synopsis first draft is three pages plus one paragraph. So...the next step is to revise and edit the synopsis. Wish me luck!

     Getting back to this year's awesome conference, I thought there were some great instructors/workshop presenters. I learned a lot from the following individuals: Carol Lynch Williams, Matt Kirby, Tim-Wynne-Jones, Trudy Harris, Elissa Cruz, Cynthia Leitich-Smith, Greg Leitich-Smith, Mette Ivie Harrison, and Ann Cannon. The presentations by editors Alexandra Penfold and Ruth Katcher, and agent John Cusick, were so insightful and interesting. My favorite sessions were the panels of 3-4 people for question/answer time. It was great to hear about their experiences working in the writing and publishing industry. I still have one question: What happened to no-show Brandon Mull? I was looking forward to his presentation, and we waited...and waited...and no Brandon! So the powers in charge (Carol Lynch Williams) found three authors plus the conference Keynote speaker and assembled an impromptu panel. Very cool and a great save! By the way, the Keynote speaker was Trent Reedy. Trent did a fantastic job and received a standing ovation at the end. I will definitely need to read one of his books! All in all it was a great conference. And another wonderful element of the writing conference...I will get USOE (Utah State Office of Education) continuing education credit for attending!

     So...will I be attending the conference in 2013? You bet! Do I recommend the conference to other aspiring writers/authors? You bet! Thanks go out to the organizers of the did a fantastic job! See you next year :)


Quote from my blog on Tuesday April 3, 2012:
"Out in my front yard, my little wisteria tree looks so bare, unimpressive, and lonely.
But I know from past springs that, one day soon, this little tree will decide
 that it is time to show off in all its glory!"

One month after I wrote that I was on a plane headed for Italy. My wonderful little tree had leaves, and was beginning to blossom. And...I missed its "glory!"
While I was globetrotting my little tree did what it is so good at. It blossomed while I was gone. Two weeks...and too bad for me! I saw a few leftover remnants of the "glory." tree is now ready for round two! It's completely covered with those dainty leaves, and is starting to show off its second batch of its beautiful, violet colored blossoms. Happy day for me! I ran outside this morning (barefoot even!) and snapped these photos to share with you.

I love the fragrance of the blossoms!
If you pass by my tree... "take the time to smell the flowers." 
Very soon my incredible little tree will be a delight to behold.
 I look forward to being able to witness it this time!

During my outings in Italy I saw only a few wisteria vines,
and none in a tree shape.
 I guess we just didn't visit the right streets.
However, I did pass by a gorgeous bougainvillea, in Rome,
 that I captured in a photo..isn't it beautiful?

Beautiful flowers make every day so much better!
Have you seen something beautiful today?

Verona, Italy

During May 2012 I had the opportunity to travel to Italy with my daughter, and three very good friends. We spent fifteen days exploring, shopping, and sightseeing in some amazing cities. Along with learning about: the country we were in, the Italian people, methods of travel, tourists, and our hosts, we also learned about each other. Fifteen days is a lot of time to spend together. You see each other at your best and at your worst. I am so glad that I had the chance to go on this trip. It was an absolutely amazing adventure. I love my travel companions and hope that we will be able to work out another "girls' trip" soon!