Tag Archives | NESCBWI

Navigating social media – the right way!

The first time I went to the NESCBWI conference I felt like a total dork.

I hadn’t started blogging, so I didn’t have any blogging friends to meet. My current critique groups hadn’t formed, so I didn’t have them to meet, even though they were there. I knew one person somewhat well and was just thankful she let me sit with her at lunch. But I survived.

And this year it was so much better. I knew people. And I got to know even more. I’ve never felt so connected with other writers and it truly makes me appreciate all of them. Writers truly are a group of very giving people.

So many conference goers have blogged about the NESCBWI conference. They’ve included quotes and some sage advice. I have to be honest. There were too many good quotes for me to quote. This would be a 5,000 word post. Or longer!

Today, I want to focus on one workshop. It was all about social media tips and techniques for using Twitter, Facebook, blogs…etc.

Mitali Perkins and Deborah Sloan co-taught the workshop. They knew what they were talking about. So if you’re confused about Twitter or not sure how to use it, or if you’ve crossed Facebook off your list – think again!

Here is the link to Mitali’s blog where she has made accessible the hand outs from the workshop. And she’s included a bunch of other helpful links. Check it out.

Thanks Mitalie and Deborah for sharing your wisdom!

To my readers, how do you feel about Twitter? Facebook? What are your questions about social media? (not that I can answer them)

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Two agents, one motorcycle, and a gorilla. (Bunny slippers don’t make good watch dogs.)

Mystery. Contest. Part 5. (You know the drill.) Read the rules.

Part one. Part two. Part three. Part four.


Bunny slippers don’t make good watch dogs.

 Agent Chloe finished her fifteen jumping jacks, barely breaking a sweat. She slipped into the black spandex suit she’d found on sale at K-Mart for $9.99. She breathed in and out, fast and then slow. The Lamaze breathing technique. She’d picked it up after being a labor coach for her best friend. She couldn’t understand why it wasn’t spreading like wildfire among the guys at the office.

 Minutes later, with her video feed sunglasses on, Agent Chloe strolled down the hallway and stopped right before the corner. The only way to catch the Oreo Cookie Killer was to catch him in the act – of buying Oreo cookies from the vending machines. After he came, paid, and left, Agent Chloe followed the crumbs and pulled her best Jennifer Garner moves on the culprit.

 At the same time, Agent Zelda stumbled up to her room, her mind in a fog. She barely could change into her pink fleece jammies and her bunny slippers before flopping onto the bed.

 A couple hours later, a man dressed in black, opened Agent Zelda’s door. By the sliver of moonlight that shone through the window, the man lifted Agent Zelda’s arm and then let it flop back to the bed. Asleep. He eased her onto his shoulders and left the room.

  Saturday Morning

 Agent Chloe strode through the hotel lobby. The tip of her stiletto heel caught, and Agent Chloe stumbled forward. Her face flushed with embarrassment – Jennifer Garner never tripped. Agent Chloe glanced around and then nodded. She’d been trying to figure out what kind of conference was taking place. And now she knew. The Save the Gorillas Campaign.

 The place was in an uproar. All she desperately wanted was a mocha latte from Dunkin’ Donuts. But duty called. And something clearly was amiss.

 “Excuse me, Ma’am,” Agent Chloe asked the lady at the information desk. “What has happened?”

 After the lady told her, Agent Chloe stumbled back from the desk, her face pale. She leaned over and started breathing. “Hee heee hoo. Hee hee hoo. Hee hee hoo.” After several minutes of Lamaze, she ran to her room. Or walked really fast because she was still wearing stilettos. After inhaling three whoopee pies, she felt better, but not much. She’d messed up big time and would probably lose her job.

 Where is Agent Zelda?


**Remember to put your answer in the comments. And any other connections you made. The full solution will be revealed on Monday. And then after that I will announce the winner. Feel free to answer in the spirit of the mystery. Have fun.

I’ll be gone for the weekend at the NE SCBWI conference choosing the book prize by a New England author. Yay!!

Good luck and thanks for participating or reading for fun!

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Two agents, one motorcycle, and a gorilla. (The gimmick that broke the agent’s glass.)

We’re almost to the end. If you don’t know what’s going on – read this.

Part one. Part two. Part three.


The gimmick that broke the agent’s glass.

Agent Zelda shoved the envelope in her big black purse that had tiny pink rhinestones across the top. She loved that purse and had purchased it off of Ebay after her leading author made the NYT Best Seller List. Her mind wandered back to Edward, the writer in black. And his mocha golden eyes. Her insides quivered. Was he for real? Or was that another gimmick? She couldn’t tell. She shook it off. Her husband had already threatened to send her to a Team Edward support group.

The rest of the agents greeted her with a cheer when she walked into the private room. She settled in with her chums and a sparkling cider. After they talked about #queryfail and #kidlitchat and #yalitchat and #scribechat, she finally got to talk about #petcat. She tried her hardest to steer away from #Edwardchat, but twittered away in her mind in phrases under 140 characters.

“Would you like a sandwich?” a man asked with a huge smile. He held a platter filled with finger sandwiches. His hair was slicked back with gobs of gel. And oh, for the love of Neil Gaiman, she thought, as she visibly tried not to cringe. He had caviar stuck in his teeth.

Agent Zelda’s fingers itched to reach into her purse for her minty floss, extra thin for people with sensitive gums. Ever since, high school and her prom picture with bits of salad stuck in her teeth, she was never #without floss. But instead, she patted his arm and said, “No thanks.”

Just then their agent schmooze was interrupted. A person in a gorilla suit ran into the room. He beat his chest. And then, started to pitch his story. Agent Zelda took charge. She’d had enough of gimmicks. “Okay, ladies, let ‘em have it.” She led the attack by grabbing a sandwich off the tray and hurling it at the gorilla.

From that day on #gorillafail became a twitter thread where agents shared the craziest gimmicks, never revealing names, of course.

After the security guards three frightened conference newbies led the gorilla away under threat of losing his manuscript critique the next day, Agent Zelda turned back to find her sparkling cider filled to the brim. What a lucky night, she thought, and drained the glass.

As the agents chatted about gorilla family dynamics, Agent Zelda pulled out the envelope, curious. She easily opened the envelope, appreciative of the peel off tab.

She gasped. There were only two sentences on the page. Her fingers slipped. The sparkling cider glass crashed to the floor.

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Two agents, one motorcycle, and a gorilla. (A murder attempt with poisoned ink.)

Yowza! The Solve-the-Mystery Contest contest – part 3. Five posts. One mystery. One prize.

Read all about it here. Read part one. Read part two.

A murder attempt with poisoned ink.

 Agent Zelda straddled her motorcycle. Her legs still vibrated from the three hour ride, and the engine was hot. She stared out from between the dead bugs on the shield of her hot pink helmet. She sighed. A writer hopeful strode across the parking lot. She was dressed in black like a wannabe spy. Or worse, that’s what her book was about and she dressed the role. Another cheesy gimmick. Just last week, a writer had sent Zelda a sheet cake with the query letter written in frosting.

 More writers poured into the Hotel. Agent Zelda felt a ping of excitement. Maybe one of them would be her next great find. That’s why she loved conferences. They were almost as addictive as a great hummus dip with pine nuts. She headed inside to use the bathroom.

 Before she could schmooze with the other agents, she had to meet with writers for two hours to discuss their queries. She’d read their letters beforehand, but Agent Zelda had seen nothing but vampires. Vampire dystopian. Vampire version of Glee. Vampire Treasure Island. But nothing sparkly. Agent Zelda had a secret obsession for Edward Cullen.

 When the two hours were over, Agent Zelda shuffled from the room. In her zombie-like state she didn’t realize that most of the writers had left for dinner. Most of the agents had moved to the private bar/room. She was alone. Except for the amazon-like potted fern.

 But then, a man in black sidled up next to her. Agent Zelda couldn’t help but think of her cat, which was always sneaking up on her when she read manuscripts on her iPad in the comfort of her recliner.

The man held out an envelope. AGENT was written across the front in bold black lettering. Agent Zelda glared, trying to shoot poisoned ink from her eyes. Clearly, this writer didn’t read the numerous agent blogs. Get a clue, she wanted to scream. Follow the guidelines!

“Quick. Take it,” the man in black said. His eyes were a simmering pool of liquid lava ochre yumminess.

Her breath caught in her throat and she held out her hand. “Sure thing.”

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Two agents, one motorcycle, and a gorilla. (The Assignment.)

Woo hoo! Part 2 of the Solve-the-Mystery Contest. Five posts. One mystery. One prize.

Read all about it here. Read Part One.


The Assignment

 Agent Chloe gasped. The package. It was time. Her first assignment. With her phone, she snapped a picture, then picked up the envelope.

 For the love of Bond, she thought, this is heavy. For a brief moment, panic seized her chest as she thought back to ninth grade English and the Fellowship of the Ring. She prayed there would be no Elvin songs for her to translate. French, Russian, German, and Mandarin had been hard enough to learn. She only knew a few basic words in Elvin, like house and dog.

 She clutched the package to her chest. First, she had to inspect the area. She pried open the door with her elbow and made a sweep for bugs in the bathroom. All clear. Except for a beetle, due North. After planting a video device on the back wall, next to the paper towels, she put on a special pair of sunglasses with a video feed. Then she closed the door to her office and got comfortable.

 With a sigh, she started on page one. She tapped her stiletto heels. Weather? On the first page? She could not figure out why it was so important for her to know that clouds laced with pink floated across the clear blue sky like a dove in early morn. Get to the point already, she thought. Her frustration grew as she skimmed pages and pages of more weather, description of places and people, and seemingly drab conversation between people who didn’t seem relevant to the case.

 But then, on page 116. A murder. In a hotel. Near a waterpark. She didn’t need to know anymore. She’d read enough. One man, with bushy brown hair, was obviously the killer. And the man ate Oreo cookies by the dozen.

 The assignment was clear. Find the Oreo Cookie Killer. Before he struck again. She always loved a cozy mystery. She rushed from the stall. From her big black purse, she pulled out a simple black comb but when plugged into her cell phone it became a paper shredder. Quickly and quietly, she shredded the assignment.

 Secrecy and stealth would make or break her first case.


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