Field Trip: Writer’s Digest Conference 2016

WDC2016 Banner

Now that all of the late-summer busyness has passed, I finally have some time to tell you about this year’s Writer’s Digest Conference! And what an amazing four days it was. In fact, I think it topped the 2015 edition!

With this post, I’ll give a general overview of WDC 2016, including which sessions I enjoyed most and what I learned. Last year I did a trio of posts for DIY MFA; and while I would have liked to have covered the conference for the site again this year, it wasn’t possible with my friend’s wedding 2 weeks later. The good thing is, waiting to do this post has given me time to digest (no pun intended) everything I absorbed that weekend and feel grateful for continuing to invest in my writing career.
Continue reading

Field Trip: The Muse And The Marketplace 2015

Muse2015_logo

What an excellent way of getting back into the literary conference swing! The Muse & The Marketplace 2015 (a.k.a. #Muse15) was this past weekend in Boston, Massachusetts – and though I was only able to attend on Friday, I absolutely loved it! In fact, as I was walking from Park Plaza Hotel (where the conference was held) to the Back Bay train station that evening, the first thought that bubbled into my mind was, “I HAVE to go all three days next year!” 🙂

So, yes, #Muse15 was a fantastic learning, networking, and confidence-building experience. Here’s my report on Friday’s events, from the general conference details, to the presentations I attended, to lessons learned and tips for attending future conferences.
Continue reading

Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. Le Guin at the 2014 National Book Awards

I’ve been searching for days for a video with both of their speeches together – and now I’ve found it! 😀

Last week, Neil Gaiman presented Ursula K. Le Guin with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 2014 National Book Awards. Like Neil, Ursula is one of my favorite writers of all time, for both her poetic yet precise writing style and her thought-provoking ideas she explored through fantasy and science fiction. I also enjoyed Neil’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and plan to catch up on his earlier works.

What I love most about this video, though, are the speeches themselves. Neil is a fantastic speaker; he’s intelligent, thoughtful, and at times wonderfully funny. Ursula is also well-spoken in her own unique way. She’s like a force to be reckoned with: wise, witty, daringly insightful, and unabashedly honest. She’s not afraid to say what the publishing and writing industries truly need to hear.

What do you think about their speeches? Have you read any of Neil Gaiman’s or Ursula Le Guin’s works?

Respecting Others’ Privacy and Opinions: What Authors and Bloggers Can Learn from the Kathleen Hale Controversy

Handshake 2

In the past week, the book blogging world has exploded in reaction to YA author Kathleen Hale’s article at The Guardian. In it, Hale describes her decision to confront a book blogger who had given a negative review of Hale’s debut novel No One Else Can Have You and then purportedly harassed Hale online as well as other bloggers who gave positive reviews for Hale’s book. By “confront,” I mean that Hale followed the blogger’s social media accounts, gathered personal information about her, and rented a car so she could drive to what she believed was the blogger’s home address. Turns out in the end that the blogger didn’t live there and (like many book bloggers do) may have been using an online pseudonym to keep her real-life identity private.

Complicated as this story is, readers have been quick to lash out at Hale since last weekend. Reviewers at Goodreads have either posted mostly 1-star reviews for No One Else Can Have You or vowed not to read Hale’s work. #HaleNo has become one of Twitter’s most popular hashtags in the past few days. And regardless of whether you’re a book blogger, a writer, or both, it’s nearly impossible to escape the uproar Hale’s actions have caused – and equally difficult to not have an opinion about it.  Continue reading

Site Updates, Plus Two New Article Series Coming Soon!

Housekeeping 2

You can only leave things lying around for so long…

Hi everyone!

I finally got around to some long-overdue site updates. The following pages now contain more accurate information regarding my current writing activities. Plus, I feel more organized now. Yay for getting things done! 🙂

Here are the most recent changes:

  • The About Me page features a new, more brief bio and a new photo.
  • Information regarding music review inquiries has been removed from the Contact page. However, visitors may still use the Contact form for article / interview requests, invitations to literary events, and related items. Teasellers who’d like to have me review their teas at A Bibliophile’s Reverie are also encouraged to use this page.
  • The Awards & Achievements page has been added! It lists writing and blogging awards and related milestones.
  • All freelance articles are now filed under the Freelance Writing umbrella. From there, it branches out into indexes for each venture: A Bibliophile’s Reverie (tea reviews), Grub Street (articles on writing), and Sonic Cathedral / Suite101 (music reviews and interviews).

Also, two new article series are coming soon! They are:

  • Freelance Article Round-Up, which will link out the most recent freelance articles I’ve written for A Bibliophile’s Reverie, Grub Street, and other ventures. These Round-Ups will appear on the last day of the month, with a frequency of once a month or every 2 months (depending on the number of new articles). As always, all new articles will be linked out on Facebook and Twitter as soon as they’re posted, and the respective freelance venture indexes will be kept up-to-date.
  • Author Interviews! Yes, I’m going to periodically feature interviews with published authors, starting in September. Twitter has proven to be an amazing way to connect with writers of all kinds, and those connections have inspired the idea for this series. For now I’m going to start with self-published and debut authors. The first one is already in the works (it just needs to be scheduled), and I already know which writers I’d like to pursue afterwards.

And… there may be more excitement around the corner! I can’t say much right now, as I want to see how things play out over the next couple weeks. But I’m buzzing with joy and anticipation just thinking about all the opportunities. If anything does work out, I’ll let you know as soon as I can confirm it. 😉

Hope you’re all doing well right now and enjoying your summer (or winter, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere)!

All the best,
Sara

Field Trip: WANACon February 2014

WANAConFeb2014

In some ways, WANACon doesn’t count as a field trip in the true sense of the phrase. (Click here to read my “promo” article for WANACon.) It’s an online writing conference you can attend from the comforts of home, someone else’s house, a cafe – wherever you can bring your laptop and find a wifi connection. However, it meant two days of geeking out and investing time and money into learning more about the craft of writing, something I’m more than thrilled to do. I may have been at home and in front of my laptop for much of the time, but in my head I was seated in crowded classrooms and surrounded by other writers who shared my passion and excitement. I took flurries of notes, listened to each presenter with rapt attention, and almost immediately applied what I was learning to my work-in-progress (WIP). In other words, I was far, far away mentally – and I had a blast! Continue reading