Valya Dudycz Lupescu

Writer, fueled by coffee

28 April, 2016
by Valya
0 comments

Writers and Nebulas

If you’re involved with publishing or books in some way or another, you likely know that BEA (BookExpo America) is in Chicago this year (May 11-13). What you may not know is that there’s another literary event overlapping as well. The Nebula Conference is in Chicago on May 12-15 and will feature seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing.

NebulasPostcardFront20161-680x486

There is no one path to being a writer (except for the work of writing and revising). Some of us have gone through MFA or PhD programs. Some of us come from backgrounds in journalism or advertising. We are lawyers, teachers, therapists, burlesque dancers, parents, doctors, baristas, puppeteers. We have varied experiences, perspectives, and skill sets. Conventions and conferences give us the opportunity to learn from one another, and the Nebula Conference has assembled an impressive array of topics that are timely and relevant.

Here’s a sampling of the programming options for writers who register for the Nebula Conference Weekend:

Best Practices for an Author Website

Commissioning, Working With, and Compensating Expert Readers

Understanding Translation

Fighting the Harassment Game

Patreon

Podcasting for Writers

Language as Rebellion

Historical Research from the Margins

The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller

Day Jobs for Writers

What Teens Are Looking for in YA Literature

The Future of Racism

Promotional Bootcamp

BarCon and other Secret Handshakes

So you want an assistant…

Western Narratives, There is No Single Voice in The West, So Why Do Only Hear From One?

Defense Against The Dark Arts: Protecting Yourself and Others From Harassment Online

Literary EstatesPart I and II (pre-reg required)

How to Give an Effective Reading

hodgman1Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the annual SFWA Nebula Conference will be held at the Palmer House and will include professional programming, receptions, and an awards banquet and ceremony with Toastmaster John Hodgman.

On May 13, a mass autographing session will also take place at the Palmer House that is FREE and open to the public. You can view the list of participants here.  (I’ll be there with Stephen signing copies of Geek Parenting! Stop by and say hello!)

While the organization sponsoring the weekend, SFWA, is a professional organization for authors of science fiction, fantasy and related genres, the programming and speakers participating in the conference are pertinent to all manner of professional writers. From freelancing to social media, digital assets to agents—these topics transcend genre and will be presented by professional writers, editors, lawyers, and social media specialists.   

More information about the SFWA Nebula Conference can be found at: http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/2016-nebula-conference/

 Autographing

EBkid

22 April, 2016
by Valya
0 comments

From Awkward to Awesome

For those of us who grew up in the 80s and early 90s, the brainy Encyclopædia Britannica kid from the tv commercial was an iconic image of what a nerdy kid looked and sounded like. For those of us who *were* nerdy kids in the 80s, it was an extremely familiar image. (I certainly had the big glasses.)

It’s likely no surprise that my Geek Parenting coauthor, Stephen H. Segal, was also a nerd; and when he was young, he shared enough of a physical resemblance to the Encyclopædia Britannica kid (played by Donavan Freberg), that he was quite often mistaken for the awkward commercial know-it-all.

Much later, Stephen met and befriended his adolescent doppelgänger, and Donavan turned out to be a kindred spirit. We hear enough about how people fall from great heights and notoriety, but sometimes the story is better than that. Sometimes people take the gifts they have been given and work to make this world better and more beautiful.

Click here to read Stephen’s blog post about how “This iconic geek kid “had a report due on space.” Spoiler alert: He grew up to be awesome.

(Be sure to also follow the link in the story to read the entire interview with Donavan about his legendary comedian/ advertising creative director father, Stan Freberg.)

I love the way that Donavan’s story shows how creating a space for your kids to figure out who they are can help them to eventually embrace their authentic selves. It’s a valuable reminder, and it’s a really good story.

donavan

IMG_6424

21 April, 2016
by Valya
0 comments

Books and Gratitude

Scholastic Lucky Flyer, 1983.

When I was little, books lived mostly at the library and occasionally came home with me by way of treasures ordered from Scholastic flyers we received at school. I loved those days when the teacher distributed the neatly rubberband-bound piles topped with order slips bearing our names. I don’t think I ever verbalized it to my parents, but even then I was consciously building a library.

My family had a few books and a collection of encyclopedias that I adored on shelves on the back porch, but the only people in my extended family who had anything close to what I envisioned as a proper library were my Aunt Natalia and Uncle Wasyl. The shelves in their family room were filled with what looked like ancient and exotic Ukrainian books.

usedbookI loved the places that brought me books, but they were not really gathering spaces for book-loving communities. The tiny chain bookstore at the mall lacked designated seating spaces, so my best friend Cheryl and I would sit on the floor in the metaphysical section reading about dream analysis and palm reading, trying to find ways to predict or control the future.

Somewhere around junior high, I discovered the used bookstore on Addison Street, situated on the end of the block where we lived– past the Superette, past the bakery, but just before you reached the corner bar. It barely had room for customers; its narrow aisles were filled with classics and pulps, dusty shelves and tables overflowing. That’s where I would take my babysitting money and buy science fiction and fantasy paperbacks, sometimes filling a brown paperbag for $2. I still have some of those early purchases, and they are like old friends in my bookcase.

I discovered the Book Cellar not long after it opened in 2004. Serving good coffee AND wine, it was a community hub with excellent books and literary events. After having launched both Conclave: A Journal of Character and The Silence of Trees at the Book Cellar, there was no question in my mind where I wanted to celebrate the Chicago release of Geek Parenting.

13036327_10154732809078942_849071071_o

Photo by Mary Anne Rooney.

We had a wonderful turnout on April 16th–a beautiful, warm, Chicago Spring afternoon. I was overwhelmed by the number of friends, family, and strangers who came to listen as Stephen and I read from Geek Parenting, answered questions, and signed copies.

GeekParentingTwitter

Photo by The Book Cellar.

Out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing passersby stop and peer in the windows to see why such a large crowd had assembled. It’s one of the charms of a neighborhood bookshop–the neighbors come by. Some even came in to listen, joining the lively audience who filled all the seats and stood in between the stacks. We answered a few questions; and then my sister cut the cake while Stephen and I signed books and chatted with people.

geeek parenting 6 (1 of 1)

Photo by Ellen Prather.

Sincere thanks to Suzy and her wonderful staff, to everyone who came out to the Book Cellar or has attended events in Seattle or Philadelphia, to everyone who has bought our book, has given it to friends, or has helped to spread the word.

geeek parenting 4 (1 of 1)

Photo by Ellen Prather.

Thank you. So much.

It has been a wonderful beginning to our Geek Parenting book tour, and we’re excited about the next few stops on the East Coast in two weeks (click here for dates and more information), as well as those still to come. 

geeek parenting 2 (1 of 1)

Delicious cake from Dinkel’s. Photo by Ellen Prather.

Geek Parenting is a celebration of the lessons we learn from some of pop culture’s most famous families, but it’s also a book about the different ways we share and shape our visions for a better future. We do it with stories and imagination, and we do it with friendship and community.

Thank you.

xxo