Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ventura/Santa Barbara Writers Day -- Spotlight Speeches

I attended the yearly Ventura/Santa Barbara Writers Day event Saturday and found it excellent, as usual. The program was informative and interesting, as well as fun. I was honored to be asked by the fabulous Regional Advisor and organizer of the event, Alexis O’Neill, to give one of the spotlight speeches. Each year first-time authors are invited to speak about their road to publication. The other spotlight speakers were Ian Fraser (and Mary Ann Fraser), Sarah Lynn and Candace Ryan. Catherine Linka also gave a spotlight talk on dystopian fiction – what it is and why we relate to it.

Ian Fraser, along with his illustrator mother (the much-published author/illustrator of over 60 books) created Ogg and Bob: Meet Mammoth and Ogg and Bob: Life with Mammoth. Their joint talk, “Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones – or Get You a Story”, was about Ian’s childhood story of two prehistoric friends and how it progressed to a high school project and finally to publication of two books – and he’s still in college! He’s studying engineering, but we hope he’ll write more books!

Sarah Lynn's topic was “Write Two Books and Call Me in the Morning”. She told of her journey to the publication of her book, Tip-Tap Pop. It's a touching and heart-warming story of a little girl and the grandfather who taught her to dance and what happens when he begins to lose his memory of their dance steps. Sarah is also the author of the very charming iStory Frankie and the Big Squish.

Candace Ryan's fun and lively presentation “Word Herding 101: How to Tend a Flock of Words for Fun and Profit” was a good complement to her wildly imaginative book, Animal House. It’s about Jeremy and his difficulty convincing his teacher how unusual his house and furniture are, done with clever play on words throughout. It was a fun and creative presentation – lots of clever visuals and witty ‘word-herding’.

Catherine Linka, of Flintridge Book Store, also spoke. She is the excellent coordinator of Writer2Writer, which meets monthly at the book store, and a writer herself of dystopian fiction. She knows her subject, and “Dystopian Fiction: The End of the World as We Know It” was a much-appreciated overview of the genre: set on earth, in the near or distant future, in a familiar world but one that has been forever changed by a pandemic, technology, war or other disasters. She pointed out to us that we have more than likely all read dystopians without realizing – such as 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World. A fascinating talk.

My own talk, “A Conference Groupie’s Lucky Day”, told of my journey to the publication of Signed, Abiah Rose. More about it tomorrow.


  1. I so enjoyed your talk, Diane. Can't wait to see what you share with us tomorrow.

  2. Mary Ann, I'm glad you liked my talk! -- it's today's post!