Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Acetone and Alcohol
The Birth of the Pirate Alphabet

2011 Los Angeles Conference
Intro by Hilde Garcia
Each August, my birthday falls during the annual SCBWI Conference.  This year my birthday was a couple of days before the conference, so my fellow writing partners decided to surprise me for a little girl time.  Lupe stays home wondering what we are up to.

Manicures and pedicures came just in time for the conference. After all, we want to look our best.  The smell of acetone permeates the air as old polish is removed and new colors are chosen.  Six people speaking at once, three in English and three in Korean.  Jalapeño cheddar puffs and cookies being eaten carefully so as not to mess up fresh polish.

“Now what,” I say.

“I should get home,” Kris looks at her watch.

“Nonsense,” Sue admires her new nails, “We should go for a drink.”

“I’m in.”  It didn’t take much to convince Kris.  But where to go?

Kris, Susan and Hilde
“Hey how about El Torito’s?”

Five minutes later, we are there and lucky for us, it’s Taco Tuesday, so the bar has dollar tacos with your choice of meat and margaritas for $3.  How can we say no?

We drink.  We eat. We laugh. I can’t believe I’m out on a Tuesday night, without kids or at a PTA meeting.  Kris can’t believe she’s out either without her son.  Sue happily munches on chips and salsa and we all drink to Lupe, our token male, who happily declines manicures, pedicures and margaritas.

“So, we should do a pirate alphabet at the conference,” Kris says and takes a long drink.  I join her.

“What?”  Sue registered the question. I chose to ignore because I have no idea what she means.  When I don’t know what’s going on, I plead confusion or stupidity.

“We should ask authors at the conference to pick a letter and say it into the camera in their best pirate voice.,” explains Kris.

Kris and Hilde
My turn.  “What?”  I keep drinking. It helps.

“It would be fun to get a whole alphabet together with all these cool authors and make a video,” Kris continues.

“Why?”  Sue and I chime together.

“Because,” Kris says.

“Because why?”  We all take a drink and admire our nails and then break out into a gale of laughter.  We sound like our kids.

“Ok, sounds good to me,” Sue says and sips her margarita.

“Me too,” I say.  “But who is going to break it to Lupe?”

“Just bake him some cookies and he will cave,” Kris says.  We ask the waiter for our third basket of chips and salsa.

The evening is done.  We have consumed 3 margaritas, 13 tacos, 3 baskets of chips and dessert before dinner, which consists of jalapeño puffs and cookies.  Now that we are well fed, ha, and our thirst quenched, we make our way home, our heads swimming with ideas for the video.

“Here’s a thought,” I say as I hiccup, which makes us all laugh, “What if no one agrees to do it?”

The Management


“Well, we can hand out pens and bookmarkers,” I add quickly.  “And our t-shirts are cool too.”  I figure we need bookmarkers for when we fall asleep on the couch with our book and then can’t remember what page we are reading.  And who doesn’t need a pen?

“Hey and our shirts are very reminiscent of Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice,” Kris unlocks the car doors for us and we jump into her SUV.

“Ok, let’s do it,” Sue says with renewed confidence, “I’m game.”

We designate Lupe as cameraman and editor.  Kris and I shanghaied victims… ahem…schmoozed potential participants, while Sue stood by with our bag of pirate props.

It’s a good thing we were under the influence of a good time or we wouldn’t have been able to bring to you this once in a lifetime production. Enjoy it!  We surely did!  Here’s to all things that make your senses misbehave!

The ABC’s of Piracy
Ye Better Press This Here Image to Watch the Movie!

Here are links to the participating author's websites:


  1. Brilliant. If I do say so myself. Well done Inkers and to all our wonderful authors, thank you so much. This was by far a super fun event.


  2. There is nothing quite as wonderful as watching some of my favorite authors "get their pirate on" - this was simply amazing! Never underestimate the power of $3.00 margaritas combined with a truly brilliant idea! And, a very Happy Belated Birthday to you Hilde!


  3. Awesome and you guys are doing great.. It's really great event..domain registration india

  4. Avast Matey Kelly,
    Ye be spared walking the plank as ye have watched the video with thy own eyes.

    Register domain,
    You scurvy dog, ye not a real person and we're running you through with are scabbards and hoist your head on a yardarm.

    The "Black Ink" Management

  5. Quite a production! Costumes, props, (where did Amy get the rats?!!) Great fun—you guys are amazing!

  6. Avast Matey Laurie,
    Pirate Amy be having an army of rat that be living on her isle. They be loyal and don't talk like them noisy parrots.
    The "Mad Sea Dog" Management

  7. My daughter's rats were home from college for the summer. Have now returned up north to continue their studies.

  8. @Kelly,why thank you m'lady for the belated wishes. And to all you pirates out there, ahoy and thank ye for playing the game. No one had to walk the plank, except maybe Mr. Peck.


  9. Avast Matey Kit,
    There be no "Yay" with pirates. There only be "Argg!!!!".
    The "Black-Patch" Management

  10. “Lupe … declines manicures, pedicures and margaritas.”


  11. Ahoy there Matey Lee Rae,
    I be walking the plank over shark-infested before I be partaking in any dandy fobbing practices.
    Lupe "Sargasso Sea" F.

  12. What a great idea. And it sounds like you had fun thinking of it.

  13. Hi-Ho to you too Lupe. Sargasso Sea? Hmmm. Isn't that where a bunch of non-biodegradable plastic waste accumulates?

  14. Ahoy there Matey Natalie,
    There be no thinking in pirating. We be taking booty when we be seeing it!

    Avast there Matey Lee,
    Ye be thinking of the North Pacific patch, says I.

    Lupe "Anchovies Away" F.

  15. Arghh! which is for AMAZING! And that's what you are. :-)

  16. Avast there Matey Carmela,
    We be pillaging and plundering at a blog near you.
    The "Red Tide" Management

  17. Hi Pen and Inkers!
    I thought your video was very clever and fun - and I'll be including it (with a link back here) in this week's post over at SCBWI: THE BLOG. What a perfect illustration of how much fun the SCBWI Conferences are!

  18. That's mighty kind of you, Mr. Wind.
    The Management


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