Find me at Fyrecon 2018

b6228817e7c6ee37bfcc7f548def5a6e-rimg-w720-h273-gmir.jpgWith Spring into Books (Utah’s Awesome-st Author signing and workshop) at the beginning of the month, paired with end of school craziness for my kiddos, June has been a wild ride – and it’s getting wilder.

Fyrecon, the conference that encourages writers and artists alike to “Burn Your Creative Path,” kicks off tomorrow – and they are kind enough to let me play!

Writing conferences are wonderfully gratifying because they give creatives a chance to spend quality time with like-minded people. They are my tribe and I love all of them. This year I decided to be super ambitious and offered three brand new classes to teach, with the hopes that perhaps one or two might be chosen.

And … they asked for all of them. Woohoo!

Needless to say, I’ve been working my little fanny off getting ready and I’m super excited to share the awesomeness that I’ve learned.

Here is my schedule – come find me!

  • Class – Overcoming Ego for Better Head Space (Thurs 11am, Building D2, Rm 318)
  • Panel – Portrayal of Death and Dying: Discussing the Philosophy of the Memento Mori (Friday 1pm, Building D2, Rm 111)
  • Panel – Medical Accuracy in Fiction: Common Pitfalls and What is a Better, More Believable Approach (Friday 3pm, D2 – 111)
  • Class – Gut Punch your Audience with Emotion (Saturday 9am, D2 – 117)
  • Class – Finding Balance in Storytelling: Not Everything can Explode all the Time (D3 – 341

For those of you trying to decide whether you want to go or not – come! If you register at the door for the whole conference it’s only $50 and daily rates range from $22-27. If you’re a student it’s cheaper than a hamburger, $10 dollars for the whole conference or $5 a day. Military gets a 10% discount. That’s a whole lot of amazing for an extremely reasonable rate.

If it doesn’t work out for you to come this year, be sure to like Fyrecon on Facebook to be the first to hear about future events.

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Teaching the Next Generation

I had all the intentions of writing a new section of The Man in the Cupboard for this morning but then I got caught up in another project – preparing a mini class for my daughters kindergarten class.

Part of being a writer mom means doing my best to be the coolest mom out there for my kids. If I can do that using something I love, teaching about writing, then that’s a double bonus for me.

For the class I will be walking the students through the parts of a book which include, beginning, middle, end, conflict, resolution, character and setting.  As part of the class we will be making our own book using ideas from the class.  It’s fun to encourage the kids to think of silly ideas and then being able to create a finished product that they can keep.

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here’s hoping it will go as planned!

Teaching Sewing to Kids

I’m a mom first, writer second.  I dream of being that kind of fabulous mom who comes up with all sorts of crazy and memorable activities for my kids.  Problem is, making up crazy and memorable activities takes lots of time and energy.  And, well, writing just takes lots of time.

Needless to say, when I find an activity to share with the kids I’m really excited.

Not too long ago I had this brilliant idea that I would start teaching my kids about how to use a sewing machine.  I learned how to sew when I was a kid and have been grateful for the skill all my life.  I had a simple project, a tote bag, and all the materials on hand. Showing my kids something new, where they actually make something useful, how cool is that?  Mom of the year, here I come!

Step one, cut out the pieces.  Simple enough, right?  I thought so.  All the pieces were squares and clearly marked.  I had looked forward to some quiet time while they sat and worked on this step.  However, Mr. T couldn’t manage to cut even close to the line and was zigging and zagging all over the place.  Miss K was determined to cut on the line but couldn’t get the scissors to work.  Baby D was determined to give the scissors a try and nearly cut big holes into sister’s project.  After a whole lot of whining, their’s not mine, I ended up cutting out the pieces while holding off baby and sending the other two off to play.  Now that we’ve started I’m committed to finishing, but I’m having a sinking feeling that I might need some chocolate before this is over.

The next step is to pin the pieces together.  The idea of sewing pins and kids is a bit dicey, especially with Baby D roving around stealing whatever he could get his hands on.  Miss K loved the idea of pinning so much she managed to get forty pins in the one foot section of cloth we were working on.  Mr. T, on the other hand, couldn’t get the hang of pushing the pin in then back up again. Since it’s a straight line it’s not a big deal for me, but for beginners those pins really help do keep everything organized.  Six demonstrations of how to pin later and no progress on his ability to do so, it’s time to move on.

At last we sew!

Cutting and pinning will never measure up to the golden trophy of getting to use mom’s awesome sewing machine.  And boy, were they excited!  I sat Mr. T in my lap and showed him the pedal and the needle and how it moved up and down.  His job was to gently push the pedal while I guided the fabric through.  So, naturally, he jammed his foot down on the pedal as fast and hard as it would go.  He thought it was the funniest thing in the world.   Repeated encouragement to knock it off didn’t help and after a few minutes I had to ask him to go off and play or risk turning his bag into an mangled mess.

Miss K, on the other hand, demonstrated much more control and was thrilled to watch the different sides come together as she pushed the pedal.  By the way, guiding fabric with a gazillion needles in it and a kindergartner at the pedal is far more exciting than it sounds.

In the end, the project took much longer and much more patience than I had imagined. It’s going to be a long time and take a lot of convincing, and perhaps some more chocolate, before I teach another sewing lesson.  For now at least I can say that I’ve exposed them to some of the process of sewing and it will be more familiar – should there be a next time.

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Two tote bags, finished!