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1. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events March 24-March 31

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JUST ADD MAGIC by Cindy CallaghanI’m so excited today, running around, packing and getting ready for D4EO Literary Agency’s client/agent retreat, which starts tomorrow! I’ll get to spend time with agents Kristin Vincent, Mandy Hubbard and Bree Ogden, plus a whole lot of writers and illustrators including Gail Shepherd and Priscilla Mizel! Squee!

BTW, D4EO author Cindy Callaghan’s Middle Grade debut, JUST ADD MAGIC, is now an Amazon TV pilot! Watch and share!

I want to wish a Happy Book Birthday to Paul Greci’s debut MG novel, SURVIVING BEAR ISLAND, which launches tomorrow from Move Books! Watch the exciting intro:

Here’s the fun I’ll be missing in Houston:

March 28, Saturday, 11:00 AMONE DEAD SPY by Nathan Hale
Blue Willow Bookshop
Nathan Hale, Author/Illustrator

Author and illustrator of graphic novels and picture books Nathan Hale will meet and greet customers. His graphic novel ONE DEAD SPY is on the Texas Bluebonnet list this year. Nathan Hale has gathered some of the most fascinating true-life tales from history and given them his inimitable Hazardous Tales twist. Easy to understand, funny, informative, and lively, this series is a great way to be introduced to U.S. History.

Take a look at Nathan’s fun and fascinating presentation, WAR HATS. SPOILER ALERT: He might show this at the presentation, so if you’re bringing kids to BW for his event, don’t let them see this!

 

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2. KidLit Author Events March 17-24

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TEN EASTER EGGS by Vijaya Bodach; Illustrated by Laura LoganWhat a lovely week for Spring Break! I hope everyone gets a chance to get outside and enjoy this fabulous weather! Before we get going on this week’s events, I want to share a fun little springtime book, TEN EASTER EGGS, by Vijaya Bodach, illustrated by Laura Logan.

From Scholastic: In this sweet story, clever die-cuts, touchable plastic pieces, and fuzzy flocking all come together in a rhyming adventure all about Easter traditions. Follow and count along as ten quiet Easter eggs become ten colorful chicks ready to celebrate the holiday! A fun, engaging novelty story just right for the littlest of readers.

This week:

March 21, Saturday, 1:00 PMEVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN by Lindsey Lane
Blue Willow Bookshop
YA Panel with Lindsey Lane, Jennifer Mathieu, & Varsha Bajaj

A great YA panel hits Houston when author Lindsey Lane chats with authors Jennifer Mathieu (THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE) and Varsha Bajaj (ABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLYWOOD) about EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, Lindsey’s novel for young adults. Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew a missing teenager, EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pullout off the highway, so maybe someone snatched him. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it may be true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

March 21, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PM Writespace
Writespace
Writing Workshop: Benjamin Rybeck
COST: $30-$45

Character Development: Pushing the Story Forward: Everyone has something they want—to find a lost dog, to snag the jewels from a bank heist, to attract a romantic partner—but the reasons behind these desires are complex, suggesting our past experiences in rich ways.

In fiction, giving your protagonists clear goals pushes the story forward, but it also helps you develop complicated characters that will move your readers. Is your character striving for a promotion? Perhaps she’s also working through feelings of worthlessness in her childhood. Is your character searching for a friend’s child after a disastrous day of babysitting? Maybe he’s also confronting his own failings as a man who abandoned his own son years earlier. All great characters contain a mix of these desires—some literal and immediate, others figurative and lingering.

In this workshop, we will look at familiar characters from short fiction and even film to identify these literal and figurative objectives, and a series of in-class prompts will help you use these lessons in your current projects—and also as inspiration for your next story.

Attendees will receive a $20 gift certificate to Benjamin Rybeck’s six-week “Short Story” workshop, which begins March 28.

March 20, Friday, NOON-9:00 PM Writespace
Writespace
Open House
FREE

Writespace is happy to announce their first Open House and Faculty Reading event! On Friday afternoon, join a free write-in complete with writing prompts hosted by Layla Al-Bedawi, then stick around for a free critique session with director Elizabeth White-Olsen. If you’d like to receive free feedback from a professional editor, please bring along the first two to five pages of a work of fiction, poetry, personal essay, or memoir you’ve written, as well as seven copies for the group! Afterward, enjoy a spontaneous poetry lesson from Writespace’s brilliant and wonderfully unpredictable poetry instructor BJ Love.

From 5:30-7:30 PM there will be a cocktail hour and public reception (Free to the public, 21+) with faculty readings from K.J.Russell, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Katie Bagley, Benjamin Rybeck, B.J. Love.

Free Gift: $15 gift certificate to every person who walks in our door either day. Here’s a link to the event on facebook.

March 21, Saturday, 4:30-9:00 PM Writespace
Writespace
Open House
FREE

The Open House celebration continues! Saturday from 4:30-5:30 PM, Writespace director Elizabeth White-Olsen will give a free mini-workshop on “How to Wow Readers on Page One.” Afterward, there will be a meet and greet for interested parents and teens of the Young Writers Program. Meet SAT/ACT and college admissions essay instructor Jessica Capelle and young writers creative writing instructors Elizabeth White-Olsen and Adrienne Perry. At 6:30 there will be an electric violin performance: “Our Simple, Spacious Envelope” by Shepherd School of Music student Nigel Deane.

Stick around for faculty readings from Adrienne Perry, Joy Preble, Jess Capelle, BJ Love, Matthew Salesses, and Elizabeth White-Olsen. Before and after the reading, you will have ample opportunity to meet Writespace faculty members and learn about their work. This would be the perfect opportunity to ask them for writing advice! Have a question about the writing process or about what will happen in a workshop led by one of the Writespace teachers? Now is the time to get to know Writespace faculty members and to see whether the teacher you are interested in is someone you can learn from.

Free Gift: $15 gift certificate to every person who walks in our door either day.

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3. KidLit Author Events March 10-17

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Abby Spencer ppbI saw a lot of great reader and writer news on the  SCBWI-Houston newsletter this month. Varsha Bajaj’s debut MG novel ABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLLYWOOD (a Cybil’s Award finalist) is now available in a paperback edition which comes with a bonus of six henna tattoos! I also discovered a great blog about middle grade historical fiction, Mad About MG History.  Today’s post Women’s History is History, is by SCBWI-Houston member, children’s coordinator at Brazoria County Library System, and soon-to-be debut author (!) Sara K. Joiner.

Here’s what’s going on around Houston this week. As always, please check the host’s website for the most accurate information.

March 10, Tuesday, 5:00 PM COLONIAL MADNESS by Jo Whittmore
Blue Willow Bookshop
2 MG Authors: Blast from the Past Tour

It’s the Blast from the Past tour with Middle Grade authors Jo Whittemore, COLONIAL MADNESS, and Cory Putnam Oakes, DINOSAUR BOY.

In COLONIAL MADNESS, Tori Porter is best friends with her mom, and most of the time it’s awesome. Not many girls have a mom who’d take them to a graveyard for hide-and-seek or fill the bathtub with ice cream for the world’s biggest sundae. But sometimes Tori wishes her mom would act a little more her age. Thanks to her mom’s poor financial planning, they are in danger of losing their business and their home. But an unusual opportunity arises in a bizarre contest put on by an eccentric relative: Whoever can survive two weeks in the Archibald Family’s colonial manor will inherit the property. The catch? Contestants have to live as in colonial times: no modern conveniences, no outside help, and daily tests of their abilities to survive challenges of the time period. Tori thinks it’s the perfect answer to their debt problems, but she and her mom aren’t the only ones interested. The other family members seem to be much more prepared for the two weeks on the manor—and it doesn’t help that Mom doesn’t seem to be taking the contest seriously. Do they stand a chance?

Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putman OakesIn DINOSAUR BOY, it isn’t a complete surprise when Sawyer sprouts spikes and a tail before the start of fifth grade. After all, his grandfather was part stegosaurus. Despite the Principal’s Zero Tolerance Policy, Sawyer becomes a bully magnet, befriended only by Elliot aka “Gigantor” and the weird new girl. When the bullies start disappearing, Sawyer is relieved-until he discovers a secret about the principal that’s more shocking than Dino DNA. The bullies are in for a galactically horrible fate…and it’s up to Sawyer and his friends to rescue the day.

March 12, Thursday, 7:00 PM Vanishing Girls
Blue Willow Bookshop
Lauren Oliver, YA Author

Author of New York Times and international bestselling novels Lauren Oliver will discuss and sign VANISHING GIRLS, her new book for young adults.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

CRAFTQUEST 2015: Illustration by Diandra Mae

March 14, Saturday, 9:00 AM – NOON
Tracy Gee Community Center
Diandra Mae, SCBWI-Houston Illustrator Coordinator

In preparation for the upcoming SCBWI Houston Spring Conference on April 18-19, our chapter’s Illustrator Coordinator Diandra Mae will be holding a Portfolio Prep day. Please bring whatever work you intend to display in your portfolio, a portfolio purchased for the conference (if you have one), and any questions you have regarding illustrator opportunities at the conference.

There is a private group for SCBWI illustrator members on Facebook. It’s a place for discussion as well as critique. If you are a local illustrator, SCBWI member, and wish to participate in the group, follow this link and request to join. Once SCBWI membership has been confirmed, you will be added.

March 14, Saturday, 1:00 PMMattie Has Wheels
Barnes & Noble, Westheimer
Meena Dhanjal, PB Author

Meena Dhanjal presents her picture book MATTIE HAS WHEELS. Mattie is a little girl with a strong love for life. She is a young girl that uses a wheelchair. Nothing stops Mattie from being a normal kid. Mattie loves to play basketball and reading. She is surrounded by great friends and a wonderful family.

March 14, Saturday, 1:00 PM THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Writespace
Cassandre Clarke: Writing Workshop
Cost: $30.00 – $45.00

TENSION: HOW TO BUILD IT, KEEP IT, AND INCREASE IT:
Cassandra Clarke, author of the YA novel THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE, leads this three-hour workshop discussing the elements of tension, from cliff hangers to pacing, from character motivations to story stakes. The class will dissect high-tension examples from published stories and participate in several writing exercises in order to put these elements to work. Bring a laptop or pen and paper and be prepared to write, share, and try new things! Attendees will receive a $15 gift certificate to Cassandra Clarke’s April 22nd-May 27th Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop.

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4. KidLit Author Events March 3-10

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There is so much going on this week, with visits from NYT Bestselling authors, two authors visiting from Austin and a debut for Houston YA author, Becky Wallace. Congratulations, Becky! Thanks to Blue Willow Bookshop for hosting so many of these great events!

Please remember to check the bookstore’s website for the most accurate information.

March 5, Thursday, 5:00 PM ISLAND OF SHIPWRECKS
Blue Willow Bookshop
Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann will discuss and sign her novel ISLAND OF SHIPWRECKS, the newest book in THE UNWANTEDS series. In book five of the series, Alex and his friends from Artime are stranded on a newly discovered island after barely surviving a storm that destroys their ship. And it turns out they’re not alone…

Back in Quill, Aaron’s power base grows as he aligns himself with an unlikely ally. Together, the two enact a drastic, risky plan to finally conquer Artime—a plan that could ultimately leave everyone in both Artime and Quill in far more danger than Aaron realizes.

March 5, Thursday, 7:00 PMUnchanged by Jessica Brody
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jessica Brody, YA Author

Popular YA Author Jessica Brody will discuss and sign her novel UNCHANGED, the final book in the UNREMEMBERED series. After returning to the Diotech compound and undergoing an experimental new memory alteration, Seraphina is now a loyal, obedient servant to Dr. Alixter and the powerful company that created her. Happy and in love with Kaelen, another scientifically-enhanced human designed to be her perfect match, Sera’s history with a boy named Zen is just a distant memory from a rebellious past she longs to forget. But as Sera and Kaelen embark on a nationwide tour to promote Diotech’s new product line—a collection of controversial genetic modifications available to the public—Sera’s mind starts to rebel. She can’t stop the memories of Zen from creeping back in. As more secrets are revealed, more enemies are uncovered, and the reality of a Diotech-controlled world grows closer every day, Sera will have to choose where her true loyalties lie, but it’s a choice that may cost her everything she’s ever loved.

KREMLIN KERFUFFLEMarch 6, Friday, 4:00 PM; March 7, Saturday, 10:00 AM; March 8, Sunday, 10:00 AM
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
George Arnold, Children’s Author

George Arnold’s seventh installment in the CIA Cats Adventure series, KREMLIN KERFUFFLE: KOSHKI OF THE CIA, finds our heroes Buzzer Louis, Cincinnati the dancing pig, Dusty Louise, and the kitten twins—Luigi and Luisa in the process of tracking down the smuggler panda Ar-Chee and learning to speak considerable Russian. This book is illustrated by Jason Eckhardt. Russian translator is Oksana Stotska-Day.

March 7, Saturday, 2:00 PMTHE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace
Blue Willow Bookshop
Becky Wallace, YA Author

Becky Wallace will discuss and sign her debut novel THE STORY SPINNER, the first book in THE KEEPER’S CHRONICLES series for young adults. In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. Expelled from her Performers troupe after her father’s death, Johanna Von Arlo is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure. The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

March 10, Tuesday, 5:00 PM COLONIAL MADNESS by Jo Whittmore
Blue Willow Bookshop
2 MG Authors: Blast from the Past Tour

It’s the Blast from the Past tour! Middle Grade authors Jo Whittemore, COLONIAL MADNESS, and Cory Putnam Oakes, DINOSAUR BOY, will meet and greet customers.

In COLONIAL MADNESS, Tori Porter is best friends with her mom, and most of the time it’s awesome. Not many girls have a mom who’d take them to a graveyard for hide-and-seek or fill the bathtub with ice cream for the world’s biggest sundae. But sometimes Tori wishes her mom would act a little more her age. Thanks to her mom’s poor financial planning, they are in danger of losing their business and their home. But an unusual opportunity arises in a bizarre contest put on by an eccentric relative: Whoever can survive two weeks in the Archibald Family’s colonial manor will inherit the property. The catch? Contestants have to live as in colonial times: no modern conveniences, no outside help, and daily tests of their abilities to survive challenges of the time period. Tori thinks it’s the perfect answer to their debt problems, but she and her mom aren’t the only ones interested. The other family members seem to be much more prepared for the two weeks on the manor—and it doesn’t help that Mom doesn’t seem to be taking the contest seriously. Do they stand a chance?

Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putman OakesIn DINOSAUR BOY, it isn’t a complete surprise when Sawyer sprouts spikes and a tail before the start of fifth grade. After all, his grandfather was part stegosaurus. Despite the Principal’s Zero Tolerance Policy, Sawyer becomes a bully magnet, befriended only by Elliot aka “Gigantor” and the weird new girl. When the bullies start disappearing, Sawyer is relieved-until he discovers a secret about the principal that’s more shocking than Dino DNA. The bullies are in for a galactically horrible fate…and it’s up to Sawyer and his friends to rescue the day.

 

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5. Book Birthdays!

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Happy birthday this week to four YA novels!

PAINLESS (Albert Whitman & Co.) by S.A. Harazin

THE STORY SPINNER (Simon & Schuster) by Becky Wallace

DEAD TO ME (Disney Hyperion) by Mary McCoy

MOSQUITOLAND (Viking Penguin) by David Arnold

PAINLESS by S.A. HarazinPAINLESS: A first kiss. Falling in love. Going to prom. These are all normal things that most teenagers experience. Except for 17-year-old David Hart. His life is anything but normal and more difficult than most. Because of the disease that wracks his body, David is unable to feel pain. He has congenital insensitivity to pain with anhydrosis–or CIPA for short. One of only a handful of people in the world who suffer from CIPA, David can’t do the things every teenager does. He might accidentally break a limb and not know it. If he stands too close to a campfire, he could burn his skin and never feel it. He can’t tell if he has a fever and his temperature is rising. Abandoned by his parents, David now lives with his elderly grandmother who is dying. When David’s legal guardian tells him that he needs to move into an assisted living facility as he cannot live alone, David is determined to prove him wrong. He creates a bucket list, meets a girl with her own wish list, and then sets out to find his parents. All David wants to do is grow old, beat the odds, find love, travel the world, and see something spectacular. And he still wants to find his parents. While he still can.

THE STORY SPINNER: THE STORYSPINNER by Becky WallaceIn a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

DEAD TO ME: Don’t believe anything they say.”

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking.

MOSQUITOLAND by David ArnoldMOSQUITOLAND: I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

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6. Book Birthdays!

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This week I am celebrating three middle grade book birthdays! Hurray for MG!

Nikki LoftinCupcake by My Cute Graphics and fellow Austinite Jo Whittmore are having a joint launch this Saturday at The Book People in Austin.

This week Nikki released her third MG novel, WISH GIRL. In this lyrical novel, a boy struggling with the overwhelming noise in his life meets a “Make A Wish” girl who is dying of cancer, and through their friendship, he finds the strength to live.

Read the beautiful summary on Nikki’s website. Kirkus gave WISH GIRL a starred review!

 

http://images.indiebound.com/089/405/9781481405089.jpgBirthday Cupcake by My Cute GraphicsJo Whittmore is celebrating her new her fourth book with Aladdin Mix!

COLONIAL MADNESS is the story of a girl who hopes to win a new home and debt-free life for her and her mother by accepting the challenge of a deceased relative: live for two weeks as in colonial times.

This fun book received great reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist.

 

THE DREAMSNATCHER by Abi Elphinstone, Simon & SchusterCupcake with a CandleI’m also celebrating the launch of a magical MG, Abi Elphinstone’s debut THE DREAMSNATCHER! Head over to Abi’s website for a sneak peek.

From the publisher: Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare—the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.

Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Is this a gorgeous trailer or what?

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7. Kidlit Author Events Feb. 24-March 2

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Wish Girl

Happy Book Birthday

to

Nikki Loftin’s

WISH GIRL!

Shout out your congratulations to Nikki on facebook and twitter then take a look at her interview on Middle Grade Mafia!

 

Now for this week’s events:

February 24, Tuesday, 6:30 PMUNLEASHED: Sophie Jordan
Murder By the Book
Sophie Jordan & Victoria Scott, YA Authors

Sophie Jordan will sign and discuss her newest young adult novel UNLEASHED  (Harper Teen) and Victoria Scott will sign and discuss SALT & STONE (Scholastic).

UNLEASHED is the romantic, high-stakes sequel to Sophie Jordan’s bestselling UNINVITED. Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.

Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she’ll be ruled by the kill gene or if she’ll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn’t even know if she can trust herself.

SALT & STONE: Victoria ScottSALT & STONE is Victoria Scott‘s sequel to FIRE & BLOOD. In FIRE & FLOOD, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t stop–and in SALT & STONE, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the beginning of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left . . . and only one can win.

February 28, Saturday, 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Houston Authors Bash
FREE! But registration is required: Eventbrite

The Houston Authors Bash is a book signing event bringing indie and traditionally published authors together. This is a fundraising event brought to you by Wines and Labels Productions. The event will include over 100 authors, including local YA/MG favorites Rose Garcia, Dax Varley and RL NOLEN!  You can bring your own books to sign, but the authors’ books will also be for sale at the event. If you are bringing your own books, please know that you can bring one book for each one that you buy at the event.

FINAL STAND: Rose GarciaBOOGERMAN'S HOUSE: Dax VarleyTHE DRY: RL Nolen

 

 

 

 

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8. KidLit Author Events Feb. 18-23

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Sorry I forgot to post this yesterday! It was a busy critique day :)

Here’s what’s going on this week for readers and writers:

February 21, Saturday, 10:00 AM THE EIGHTH DAY by Dianne Salerni
Writespace
Writers’ Workshop, Diane Salerni
Cost: FREE

Houston YA/MG Writers presents a free workshop with YA Author Dianne Salerni: Crafting A Series for Teens And Tweens

February 21, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PM
Writespace
Writers’ Workshop with Cassandra Rose Clarke
Cost: $30.00 – $45.00

Writespace presents Crafting Effective Prose. All stories require fascinating characters and a compelling plot to be successful. But how do we reveal those characters and stories? Movies get images, music, and sound. Comic books get art and writing. Prose fiction, though, just gets words.

In this workshop, we’ll examine these powerful building blocks of fiction by focusing on the importance of effective prose. How can the prose of a story highlight and enhance classic story elements like character, structure, and plot arcs? How many metaphors are too many?  Should we all just be trying to write like Hemingway? Through a combination of writing exercises and discussion of classic examples of effective prose, we’ll answer these questions and more.

February 21, Saturday, 9:00 AM.-4:00 PM Rhyme Schemer by K.A. HoltTHE XYZsOF BEING WICKED by Lara Chapman
Lone Star College – Montgomery, Conroe, TX
Montgomery County Book Festival

The Montgomery County Book Festival is an annual free event for all ages. YA author Ellen Hopkins will give the keynote address. There will be three author discussion panels featuring Texas children’s/YA Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood, by Varsha BajajBALANCE KEPERS: Lindsey Cummingsauthors Dianna H. Aston, Kari Anne Holt, Lara Chapman, Lindsay Cummings, Emily McKay, Michelle Madow, Meg Gardiner, Kim O’Brien, Joy Preble, A.G. Howard, Victoria Scott, Beth Fehlbaum, Jennifer Mathieu, Julie Murphy, Varsha Bajaj, Lindsey Lane, C.C. Hunter, Kristin Rae, Rachel Harris and Mari Mancusi. For a full list of participating authors, please see the festival’s website. Topics being discussed include romance,UNHINGED: A.G.HowardBIG FAT DISASTER: Beth Fehlbaum mysteries, writing children’s literature, graphic novels and censorship. There will also be two workshops for writers/illustrators: Creating Comics: Words Pictures Comics! and How to Engage Readers with the Teams Writing Strategy. Murder By the Book will be on hand to sell the authors’ books.


WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN: Kristin RaeTHE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE: Jennifer MAthieuThe A-Word by Joy PrebleEVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: Lindsey LaneTHE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS: Michelle Madow

February 21, Saturday, 10:00 AMThe Neptune Project: Polly Holyoke
Blue Willow Bookshop
Polly Holyoke , MG Author

Polly Holyoke will discuss and sign her novel THE NEPTUNE PROJECT. Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident in water than on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who, unbeknownst to themselves, have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of “The Neptune Project” will be able to build a better future under the sea, safe from the barren country’s famine, wars, and harsh laws.

But there are some very big problems: no one asked Nere if she wanted to be a science experiment, the other Neptune kids aren’t exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim through hundreds of miles of dangerous waters, relying only on their wits, dolphins, and each other to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids…dead or alive.

Fierce battles and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friends race to safety in this action-packed aquatic adventure.

February 22, Sunday, 1:00 PM The Orphan Sky, by Ella Leya
Barnes & Noble, River Oaks Shopping Center
Ella Leya, YA Author

Join us young adult author Ella Leya for a reading and signing of her new novel. Set at the crossroads of Turkish, Persian and Russian cultures under the red flag of Communism in the late 1970s,  THE ORPHAN SKY reveals one young woman’s struggle to reconcile her ideals with the corrupt world around her, and to decide whether to betray her country or her heart.

Leila is a young classical pianist who dreams of winning international competitions and bringing awards to her beloved country Azerbaijan. She is also a proud daughter of the Communist Party. When she receives an assignment from her communist mentor to spy on a music shop suspected of traitorous Western influences, she does it eagerly, determined to prove her worth to the Party.

But Leila didn’t anticipate the complications of meeting Tahir, the rebellious painter who owns the music shop. His jazz recordings, abstract art, and subversive political opinions crack open the veneer of the world she’s been living in. Just when she begins to fall in love with both the West and Tahir, her comrades force her to make an impossible choice.

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9. KidLit Author Events Feb. 10-16

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This week we are again grateful to our wonderful independent bookstore Blue Willow Bookshop for bringing children’s author events to Houston. Thank you, Blue Willow!

Please remember you can help support our local bookstores by buying books, ebooks and audiobooks from them. Blue Willow Bookshop has joined with Kobo for ebooks, Acoustik for audiobooks, and e-titles from independent publishers via 0s&1s.

February 12, Thursday, 5:00 PM Masterminds by Gordon Korman
Blue Willow Bookshop
Gordon Korman, MG Author

Gordon Korman is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than SEVENTY(!) middle-grade and teen novels. Join him for a signing and discussion of his newest MG novel, MASTERMINDS (Balzer & Bray/Harperteen). Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. In this idyllic place, every lawn is perfectly manicured, and everyone has a pool and a tree house. Honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie—they know it’s a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places.

Eli has never left Serenity. Why would he ever want to? Then one day he bikes to the edge of the city limits, and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one, least of all their own parents.

February 16, Monday, 5:00 PM Big Magic for Little Hands: 25 Astounding Illusions for Young Magicians
Blue Willow Bookshop
Magician Joshua Jay

Magician Joshua Jay will demonstrate amazing magic tricks for kids and sign BIG MAGIC FOR LITTLE HANDS, a great magic book for elementary-aged students. Joshua Jay started doing magic when he was 7 and was named champion at the World Magic Seminar (the Olympics of magic) by the time he was 16. His BIG MAGIC FOR LITTLE HANDS (Workman Publishing) is packed with 25 astonishing illusions for kids ages 7 and up. In other words, it’s sleight of hand for the small of hand. These are tricks that require little prep time and dexterity yet are guaranteed to deliver a big payoff. The large format, oversized text, and black-and-white vintage-style illustrations make Big Magic easy to follow and kid-friendly. Here’s how to levitate your sibling several feet off a bed. Escape Houdini-like from tightly bound ropes. There are also impromptu effects that can be performed anytime, anywhere, like Spook-Key, in which an antique key mysteriously rotates in your hand. Each easy-to-perform feat is clearly illustrated with step-by-step drawings and accompanied by insider tips. Joshua Jay is a master who guides his apprentices through every aspect of the magician s art, from the first step taking the Magician’s Oath to how to minimize nervousness (Rule #1: Rehearse. A lot).

 

 

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10. KidLit Author Illustrator Events Feb. 3-7

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I had a great time talking with SCBWI-Houston last night about one of my favorite subjects, the SCBWI Blueboards. I hope to see many of our members there soon!

SUPER STRUCTURE: THE KEY TO UNLEASHING THE POWER OF STORY by James Scott BellWhile revising my current work-in-progress this week, I’m going to try out the advice in a new craft book from James Scott Bell. I’ve heard him speak twice at the Northwest Houston RWA Lonestar Conference, and found his advice to be insightful and inspiring both times. His new book is SUPER STRUCTURE: THE KEY TO UNLEASHING THE POWER OF STORY. I can’t wait to see what exciting tips  this book has in store!

Here’s what’s going on around Houston this week. As always, please check the bookshops’ websites for the latest, most accurate information, or better yet, go in and say hello!

February 4, Wednesday, 5:00 PM TOMBQUEST: BOOK OF THE DEAD
Blue Willow Bookshop
Michael Northrop, MG Author

Michael Northrop will discuss and sign TOMBQUEST: BOOK OF THE DEAD, the first book in his new series for middle graders. Nothing can save Alex Sennefer’s life. That’s what all the doctors say, but his mother knows it’s not true. She knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can crack open a door to the afterlife and pull her son back from the brink. But when she uses the spells the Death Walkers are also brought back to life, and an ancient evil has been unleashed. Mummies are awakening. New York is overrun with scorpions. And worst of all for Alex, his mom and the Lost Spells have both disappeared. He and his best friend, Ren, will do anything to find his mom and save the world…even if that means going head-to-head with a Death Walker who has been plotting his revenge for 3,000 years.

February 7, Saturday, 5:00 PM LOVE YOU FOREVER by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw
Archway Gallery
Sheila McGraw & Barbara Farnsworth, Children’s Authors

February 7 through March 5, Archway Gallery presents an exhibition, Love You Forever and Beyond: The Children’s Book Art of Sheila McGraw. A reception and artist’s talk will be held on Saturday, February 7. There will be complimentary valet parking and catered refreshments. Illustrator Sheila McGraw will be signing many of her popular books along with Indie author Barbara Farnsworth who wrote WHERE THE LOST THINGS GO, illustrated by Sheila McGraw. Farnsworth and McGraw will be available at the reception to discuss their publishing experiences with guests. Books will be on sale throughout the show.

February 7, Saturday, 7:00 PM THE SCUPLTOR by Scott McCloud
Brazos Bookstore
Scott McCloud, YA Author/Illustrator

Meet author/illustrator Scott McCloud. He wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work. In THE SCULPTOR (First Second), David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier!

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11. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events Jan. 27-Feb. 2

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This week we have an exciting one-a-year event for the younger set! Bookworm Festival!

January 31, Saturday, 9:30-12:00A Moose That Says Moo THE STORY OF FISH AND SNAIL by Deborah Freedman
Spring Oaks Middle School, 2150 Shadowdale
Bookworm Festival

Bookworm Festival is a celebration of reading and a chance for primary grade children to meet several authors who create books for them. Dan Santat, illustrator of countless A CRANKENSTEIN VALENTINE by Samantha Berger; Illustrated by Dan SantatDUCK & GOOSE COLORS by Tad Hillbooks including his newest, A CRANKENSTEIN VALENTINE, will give the keynote speech. He will be joined by nationally known authors and illustrators of picture books and early chapter books including Tad Hills, Deborah Freedman, Jennifer Hamburg and Dan Hanna.
Librarians and language arts teachers from across Houston comprise the steering committee for the Bookworm Festival. Their goal is to connect emerging readers with authors to foster the joy of reading. SWEET DREAMS, POUT-POUT FISH by Deborah Diesen; Illustrated by Dan Hanna

Please visit their site for exciting information about the day. Books by the festival’s speakers will be available for purchase though Blue Willow Bookshop.

Enjoy the trailer for CRANKENSTEIN VALENTINE!

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12. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events Jan. 20-27

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I’m sorry I missed posting last week’s events. They were wonderful, so to avoid more shame, I won’t mention any more about them. (Hides head in paper bag.) But look what we’ve got this week!

Please remember to check the bookstores’ websites for the most up-to-date information!

January 22, Thursday, 7:00 PM THE LIVING by Matt de la Pena
Blue Willow Bookshop
Matt de la Pena, YA Author

Matt de la Pena will discuss and sign his fifth novel, THE LIVING (Ember). In this Pura Belpre Author Honor Award novel, Shy takes a summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he’ll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all. But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy is only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed.

The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it’s a fight to survive for those left living.

January 23, Friday, 6:00 PMFIREFIGHT by Brandon Sanderson
Murder By the Book
Brandon Sanderson, MG Author

Internationally best-selling author Brandon Sanderson will sign and discuss FIREFIGHT (Delacorte). In this sequel to the #1 bestseller STEELHEART:
Newcago is free.
They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart–invincible, immortal, unconquerable—is dead. And he died by David’s hand.
Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers.
Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is flooded and miserable, but David is sure it’s the path that will lead him to what he needs to find. Entering a city oppressed by a High Epic despot is risky, but David’s willing to take the gamble. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And now he will go on a quest darker and even more dangerous than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

January 23, Friday, 4:00 PM KREMLIN KERFUFFLE: KOSHKI OF THE CIA by George Arnold
January 24, Saturday, 10:00 AM
January 25, Sudday, 10:00 AM
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
George Arnold, MG Author

Author George Arnold signs his book for young readers, KREMLIN KERFUFFLE: KOSHKI OF THE CIA (Eakin Press). In this seventh story in the Cats of the CIA, Buzzer Louis, Cincinnati the dancing pig, Dusty Louise, and the kitten twins—Luigi and Luisa—are dispatched to Moscow to help the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) track down the opium smuggling panda from China, Ar-Chee. In Moscow, our secret agents confront a spy-turned-traitor, turned-patriot named Natasha, who presents an ongoing puzzle for them. With the help of Boris Alexandrovich, head of the FSB, and Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, our heroes set a trap for the panda. A trap designed by Luigi and Luisa that’s sure to snare Ar-Chee.

In the process of tracking down Ar-Chee, the heroes learn to speak considerable Russian. You will, too, with a 750-word and–phrase vocabulary and pronunciation guide in Russian, built right into the story.

January 24, Saturday, 2:00 PM SILLY SHOES: POEMS TO MAKE YOU SMILE by Lawson Gow
Blue Willow Bookshop
Lawson Gow, Children’s Poet

Lawson Gow, author of SILLY SHOES (Bright Sky Press), will meet and greet customers. The world can seem so serious, and sometimes people just can’t think of a reason to smile. SILLY SHOES, a collection of whimsical, endearing poems, gives kids just the tickle that’s needed. Life is good, and SILLY SHOES reminds us of the color and fun that surrounds us, if we’re willing to look. No matter what’s going on, Lawson Gow proves that there are always things to smile about if you just put on your silly shoes and tie them up tight!

January 24, Saturday, 2:00 PM THE PRIOR by Katie Lea Yates
Katy Budget Books
Katie Lea Yates, YA Author

KBB welcomes back Katie Lea Yates as she discusses and signs her young adult book, THE PRIOR (Rocking Horse Publishing LLC), sequel to THE PROVIDER, a huge hit with both the young adult and middle grade book clubs last summer.

Please visit KBB’s Event page for important information.

 

 

 

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13. KidLit Author Events Jan. 6-20, 2015

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Happy New Year!

The Houston SCBWI spring conference is now open for registration! If you are interested in finding out about writing or illustrating literature for children and young adults, this conference is exactly what you need. There will be three literary agents: Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency, Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management, and John Cusick of Greenhouse Literary; two editors from closed houses (meaning they do not accept unagented submissions): Annie Berger of HarperCollins and Wendy Loggia of Random House; and Random House art director Isabel Warren-Lynch. Our Keynote speaker will be author/illustrator Kelly Light. Join us!

If you’re on the west side of town, you might enjoy stopping by Blue Willow Bookshop this Saturday morning at 10:00. The cast of Stratford High School’s production of Bye Bye Birdie will be there performing  hits from the show. This is a fundraiser for the Stratford Playhouse, so bring your shopping list! The show opens Thursday, Jan. 29th and runs until Saturday, Feb 7th.Tickets and more information are available at shsplayhouse.org.

This week’s events:

January 7, Wednesday, 7;00 PM THIS SHATTERED WORLD by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Blue Willow Bookshop
Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, YA Authors

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner will discuss and sign THIS SHATTERED WORLD (Disney), the newest in the STARBOUND series for young adults. In THIS SHATTERED WORLD, Jubilee Chase (a.k.a. Lee) and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents. Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. His sister died in the original uprising against the powerful corporate conglomerate that rules Avon with an iron fist. These corporations make their fortune by terraforming uninhabitable planets across the universe and recruiting colonists to make the planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion. Desperate for any advantage against the military occupying his home, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as his prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape base together, caught between two sides in a senseless war. Will they survive?

January 12, Monday, 5:00 PM BLUE MOON by James Ponti
Blue Willow Bookshop
James Ponti, MG Author

James Ponti will discuss and sign the books in his DEAD CITY series for middle grade readers. DEAD CITY and BLUE MOON (Aladdin) are the first two books in the Aladdin Middle Grade series about Molly Bigelow and the Omegas, a super-secret society charged with policing and protecting the undead of New York City.

When Molly Bigelow discovered that zombies shared New York with humans, she didn’t think life could get more shocking. Then she learned her mother was once one of the greatest zombie killers ever—and she discovered her dead mother is not technically dead (although she isn’t alive, either). Molly’s efforts to keep these secrets and to help her Omega team track down the identity of the original thirteen zombies takes her from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade to New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Her loyalties to friends and family will be put to the test. And her life will be changed in ways she never could have imagined.

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14. Happy Holidays!

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Due to the holidays, I’ll be taking a break from posting author/illustrator events until January. Along with celebrating Christmas with my family, I’ll be working on revisions for my WIP. It’s currently out with readers, but comments are already arriving. I’ll continue to update the conference pages daily. (Okay, maybe not on Christmas Day!)

The list for children’s and YA literary agents attending conferences in 2015 has exploded! I’m not sure if there are more conferences this year or if the conference organizers are just getting organized sooner, but the info is rolling in faster than I can keep up. I’m adding conferences as quickly as I can, so keep checking back. I’m seeing a lot of new names among the agents at these conferences, too. Some are new agents, but there are others who just haven’t been attending conferences in the last couple of years or so.

When I first posted the list of online writing classes and workshops, it was pretty skimpy. Now it’s up to thirty-six and I predict that number will keep going up.  There are all ranges of cost, genres and skill levels, so it’s likely you’ll find one that’s right for you.

In 2014, I had the honor and pleasure of critiquing manuscripts by five wonderful writers I met through the SCBWI Discussion Boards. One of those manuscripts has been sold and will hit the bookstore shelves late in 2015! I’ll shout about it here when the author gets to reveal her cover.

2015 will be starting off with a BANG! for me. In January, I’ll be attending the Florida SCBWI conference in Miami. This is only the third out-of-state conference I’ve attended, and it is a very special one. This will be my first opportunity to meet several of my co-moderators and administrators of the  SCBWI Discussion Boards, including the board’s founder Verla Kay! Verla is one of the speakers for the conference, so it’s a double bonus; I get to meet Verla AND hear her speak on Making Words Sing: How and why your choice of words can make or break a story.”

Then in March, the Seattle branch of D4EO Literary Agency is having their first agency retreat, which I hope will become an annual event. We’ll be at a beautiful, rustic location in Washington. I got to meet my agent Kristin Vincent and agent Mandy Hubbard at the SCBWI Western Washington  conference last year, and I can’t wait to meet agent Bree Ogden and all their authors and illustrators in person at the retreat.

In April, SCBWI Houston will be having our conference, and I’ll share those details with you soon.

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15. KidLit Author Events Dec. 8-16

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I think these will be the last events for 2014. December is a tough month for special events, so I hope each of these has a great turnout. I want to say a big THANK YOU! to all the stores, libraries and organizations that have hosted writer/illustrator events in the Greater Houston Area this year.

December 9, Tuesday, 4:00-6:00 PMBIZZ & BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS by Dee Leone
River Oaks Barnes & Noble
Dee Leone, PB Author

Dee Leone will be signing BIZZ & BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS for the William B. Travis Elementary School book fair. Book fair purchases that day will benefit the school.

December 13, Saturday, 11:00AM-4:00 PM SLEEPYHEADS by Sandra Howatt
Teacups & Tadpoles, The Woodlands
Sandra Howatt, PB Author

Author Sandra Howatt will be signing her sweet, snuggly, and silly bedtime book SLEEPYHEADS.

The sun has set, and sleepyheads all across the land are tucked into their cozy beds.
Rabbit is snoozing in the weeds, and Duck is snuggled in the reeds.
Bear is nestled in his cave, and Otter is rocking on a wave.
But there’s one little sleepyhead who’s not in his bed.
Where, oh where, could he be?

December 13, Saturday, NOON- 4:00 PM Scrivener
Loosecan Library
Houston YA/MG & Houston Writers’ Guild
Workshop: “Software Will Save your (Writing) Life: Using Scrivener Effectively”

Think Microsoft Word is sufficient for your manuscript? Wondering if you need specialized creative writing software? Downloaded Scrivener but not sure where to start? Using Scrivener but want to take it up a level?

Regardless of where you are, Jess Capelle and Sharon Morse will help ease you out of your comfort zone and see how much easier your writing life can be with Scrivener, whether you’re starting from scratch on a new project or importing an existing one. They’ll cover how Scrivener can help with every step of the writing process from brainstorming to formatting for e-books, demystifying the program and helping you get the most out of it. Jessica and Sharon will cover basic and intermediate level tips for both PC and Mac.

While previous knowledge of Scrivener is not a requirement for this presentation, please visit http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php and read a little about the features and download a trial version of the software. We will be doing live demonstrations during the presentation which you’ll be able to follow along with on your own computer.

December 13, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PMJoy Preble
Writespace
Joy Preble, YA Author, Workshop: How to Find an Agent
Cost: $35
CAP: 14

For those serious about publishing a novel with a traditional press, the next step after writing a polished manuscript is to find a literary agent to represent you and your work. This two-hour workshop will break down the often daunting and highly competitive process of seeking representation. We will examine what an agent does and doesn’t do when he or she agrees to represent your work, as well as what exactly it takes to find the perfect match between author and agent. In this workshop, we will cover the most crucial aspects of the process of finding and your dream agent, from networking to research to query letters and more.

December 13 & 20, Saturday, 2:00 PMLittle Scrooge
Express Theatre
Patricia Barry Rumble’s Holiday Play, Little Scrooge 
Tickets: $10, $9 for seniors, $8 each for groups of 10. RSVP: 713 682 5044

In Little Scrooge, Patricia Barry Rumble’s adaption the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, an adolescent boy strikes it rich by inventing a popular phone app but loses sight of what really matters in life; Love & Friendship. Visited by three ghosts of Christmas, Little Eben soon realizes the true meaning of Christmas. Suitable for All Ages/Recommended for Pre-Kindergarten and up.

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16. KidLit Author Events Dec. 2-8

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This weekend brings us a few opportunities to do some holiday shopping, including a big bash in Katy at the Maud Marks Library.

December 5, Friday, 4:00 PM SILLY SHOES: POEMS TO MAKE YOU SMILE by Lawson Gow
River Oaks B&N
Lawson Gow, Children’s Poet

Join Lawson Gow for a special storytime with SILLY SHOES: POEMS TO MAKE YOU SMILE. The world can seem so serious, and sometimes people just can’t think of a reason to smile. Silly Shoes, a collection of whimsical, endearing poems, gives kids just the tickle that’s needed. Life is good, and Silly Shoes reminds us of the color and fun that surrounds us, if we’re willing to look. No matter what’s going on, Lawson Gow proves that there are always things to smile about if you just put on your silly shoes and tie them up tight!

December 5, Friday, 4:00 PM & December 6, Saturday, 2:00 PMTHE DRY by Rebecca Nolen
River Oaks B&N
Rebecca Nolan, MG Author

Rebecca Nolan will be signing her middle grade fantasy, THE DRY. West Virginia, 1895, a deadly dry spell has left the earth parched and souls desperate. Crops are failing. Cities are starving. A missing newspaper man doesn’t account for much in times so terrible, except to the 12-year-old son he left behind. When Elliot Sweeney discovers the search for his father has been called off, he boards a train alone to find him.

His quest leads Elliot into the depths of an abandoned mine, with a peculiar pocket watch, a blind burro, and a gutsy girl at his side. He discovers a world he never dreamed of, even in his worst nightmares, and lands smack in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Monstrous insects, smiling villains, and dark riddles are everywhere. Deciding who to trust may prove to be his greatest challenge, while the fate of the world above hangs on Elliot’s choice.

Saturday, December 6, 1:00-5:00 PM Celebrate Local Authors
Maud Marks Library, Katy
Celebrate Local Authors

Mingle with local writers, hear readings in many different genres from children’s through adult, and get some of your holiday shopping done! Approximately three dozen authors and representatives of local writing groups will be on hand. There will be a meet and greet the first half hour, followed by author presentations. Books will be available for purchase, personalization, and signing.

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17. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Need to keep kids busy and happy over the holiday? Here are a few ideas. I was surprised by how many of these I’ve done (and forgotten about) over the years.

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18.

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Today, Publishers Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf  had two articles  article discussing places to get a MFA in writing for young people, here, and here. These articles highlight three universities but here is a list of thirteen universities offering MFAs in writing for young people.

As we get into the holiday season, there will be fewer author/illustrator events, and today I only have one to share with you.

Meanwhile, the late winter/early spring conference info is rolling in. So if you are looking for an agent, take a peek at what’s lined up for spring so far in Conferences: Agents, or if you’re interested in meeting editors, hop over to Conferences: Editors. Most of the new entries on  Conferences: Indies/SP are save-the-date, but the details should be coming soon. Organizations are quickly adding their information now, so I will be updating all of these pages daily, along with the Conferences: Illustrators page and the Workshops/Retreats page. Check back often!

This week:

November 24, Monday, 4:00 – 6:00 PM BIZZ & BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS by Dee Leone
River Oaks Barnes & Noble
Dee Leone, PB Author

Picture Book Author Dee Leone will be signing her book BIZZ & BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS (Penguin Young Readers Group) during the Wharton Dual Language Academy book fair. Dee will be there from 4:00 to 6:00, but the book fair lasts all day, and the schools will get credit for books bought that day that are turned in with a slip.

Bizz and Buzz are two bees who want to make honey buns. So, they ask their friend Bear for his recipe. Although the directions seem simple, Bizz and Buzz make mistake after mistake, like finding a little flower instead of adding a little flour. What will bee-come of the honey buns?

 

 

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19. KidLit Author Events Sept. 29-Oct. 6

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I had such a great time at the TweensRead festival this weekend! This is the third time I’ve been to this event, and WOW, the crowd has grown! Every session was jam-packed with kids eager to hear from the twenty authors who participated, including local author Varsha Bajaj. Most sessions were standing room only. According to Valerie Koehler’s newsletter for Blue Willow Bookshop (which handled books sales for the event) over 1700 people attended, and 70% were tweens.

We’ve got more good stuff happening this week, both thanks to our good friends at Blue Willow Bookshop:

September 30, Tuesday, 7:00 PMRUMBLE By Ellen Hopkins
Blue Willow Bookshop
Ellen Hopkins, YA Author

Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many books for teens, including CRANK, IMPULSE, and TILT, as well as the adult novels TRIANGLES and COLLATERAL.

In her new novel, RUMBLE, Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything. Not in family–his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide; not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough; not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen; and certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend, Hayden, says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

October 1, Wednesday, 5:00 PM JANITORS BK 4: STRIKE OF THE SWEEPERS by Tyler Whitesides
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tyler Whitesides, MG Author

Tyler Whitesides will discuss and sign STRIKE OF THE SWEEPERS, his newest novel in the JANITORS series for kids. The stakes have never been higher, and you’ve never seen squeegees do this before! It is a wild and slightly unsanitary ride as Spencer, Daisy, and the rebels find themselves chased by Mr. Clean’s new and terrifying breed of toxite: the Sweepers. Time is short. With the fabled Manualis Custodem in hand, Spencer must figure out how to summon the founding witches if they ever hope to mop up and save education.

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20. KidLit Events Oct. 7-14

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Just a few things to tell you about today:

October 10, Friday, 4:00 PM &
October 11, Saturday, 10:00 AM KREMLIN KERFUFFLE by George Arnold&
October 12, Sunday, 10:00 AM
Barnes & Noble River Oaks
George Arnold, MG Author

George Arnold presents the seventh story in his The Cats of the C.I.A. series. In KREMLIN KEFUFFLE: KOSHKI OF THE C.I.A., Buzzer Louis, Cincinnati the dancing pig, Dusty Louise, and the kitten twins Luigi and Luisa are dispatched secretly to Moscow to help the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) track down the opium smuggling panda from China, Ar-Chee. In the process of tracking down Ar-Chee, our heroes learn to speak considerable Russian. You will, too, with a 750-word and -phrase vocabulary and pronunciation guide in Russian, built right into the story.

October 11, Saturday, 10:00 AM-Noon
Maud Marks Library, Katy
Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes
Writing Workshop—Traditional Publishing from the Author’s Perspective
Price: FREE

Join the writers of the Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes for a free workshop! They’ll guide new writers through the traditional process, from establishing a platform to querying agents to working with editors.

October 14, Tuesday, 7:00 PMTHE ELF ON THE SHELF: A BIRTHDAY TRADITION by Carol Aebersold, Illustrated by Chanda Bell
Barnes & Noble The Woodlands
Carol Aebersold, Children’s Author

Carol Aebersold presents THE ELF ON THE SHELF: A BIRTHDAY TRADITION. In Santa’s Christmas village, the elves have their own special way of celebrating birthdays—a tradition that goes back thousands of years. Now, at the request of children around the world, Santa has given special permission for his scout elves to share that tradition with the families who love them. But an elf cannot come to a birthday party unless it is invited.

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21. KidLit Author Events October 14-21

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We have three great authors coming to Houston this week and a free writing workshop, plus a fist-time event which we hope will become an annual tradition. As always, please check the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website for the latest, most accurate information.

October 16, Thursday, 7:00 PM CLARIEL: THE LOST ABHORSEN by Garth Nix
Barnes & Noble The Woodlands
Garth Nix, YA Author

Join Garth Nix to discuss CLARIEL, his thrilling prequel the Old Kingdom series. Clariel is the daughter of one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most important, to the King. She dreams of living a simple life but discovers this is hard to achieve when a dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she finds hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?

October 16, Thursday, 7:00 PM AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld
Blue Willow Bookshop
Scott Westerfeld, YA Author

Scott Westerfeld will discuss and sign AFTERWORLDS, his newest novel for young adults. Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, AFTERWORLDS. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she is taken under the wings of seasoned and other fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, AFTERWORLDS, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Darcy’s heroine Lizzie falls in love, but a new threat resurfaces, and Lizzie’s special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

October 18, Saturday, 10:00 AM NANOWRIMO
Writespace
Houston YA/MG Writers Workshop
FREE

Whether you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month or not, fall is a great time to get started on a new project. For the October meeting, we’ll discuss how to plot a new project, including three-act structure, brainstorming, and outlining. We’ll even have some advice for the “pantsers” in the group, and tips and tricks to stay motivated all the way to “The End”. Come ready to discuss what’s worked for you (or not worked for you) in the past and get ready to pick up some new techniques!

October 19, Sunday, Noon-5:00 PM
Rice Village: Greenbriar to Kirby, Rice to University
Better Block Houston

Join local authors to celebrate Houston by re-imagining our public spaces. The Better Block project provides a one-day living workshop of how a “Complete Street‟ works, by actively engaging the community, helping them to visualize better outcomes for the future, and empowering them to provide feedback in real time. Better Block is a fun and interactive demonstration of a “Complete Street” —and what it can do for a neighborhood.

October 19, Sunday, 3:00 PM; Doors open at 2:30 PM MUTATION by Roland Smith
Johnston Middle School, 10410 Manhattan Drive, Houston
Inprint Cool Brains! Series: Author Roland Smith

Inprint Cool Brains! Series presents Roland Smith, author of numerous picture books and young adult books, including the I, Q series, the Storm Runners series, Jack’s Run, Zach’s Lie, Peak, and the riveting Cryptid Hunters saga. In MUTATION, the final thrilling title in Roland Smith’s popular Cryptid Hunters series, monsters of legend come to life!

Marty and his best friend, Luther, have managed to rescue Marty’s cousin Grace from the clutches of the nefarious pseudo-naturalist Noah Blackwood, but their most dangerous mission lies ahead of them. Marty’s parents have been missing in Brazil for months and their trail has all but run cold. With time running out, Marty and the Cryptos Island crew race off for Brazil—where they discover that Noah Blackwood has twisted the natural order of things beyond their wildest, most terrifying dreams.

*Please note that the book signing will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please see Inprint’s Event Page.

 

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22. KidLit Events Oct. 21-Nov. 3

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We have a great variety of events happening this week. Take in an author’s visit, a writing workshop, a literacy fundraiser or a poetry presentation. As always, please visit the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website for full details.

October 22, Wednesday, 5:00 PM UNDIVIDED by Neal Schusterman
Blue Willow Bookshop
Neal Shusterman, YA Author

Neal Shusterman will discuss and sign UNDIVIDED, the last book in the bestselling UNWIND Dystology for young adults. Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the NYT bestselling Unwind dystology. Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

October 23, Wednesday, 7:00 PM DINOTOPIA by James Gurney
Geren Auditorium, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University
James Gurney, Author/Illustrator

Illustrator event! Join SCBWI-BV, as we attend a free lecture, featuring  James Gurney, author and illustrator of the DINOTOPIA series. James Gurney specializes in painting realistic images of scenes that can’t be photographed, from dinosaurs to ancient civilizations. He is also a dedicated plein air (outdoor) painter and sketcher, believing that making studies directly from observation fuels his imagination.This is sponsored by The Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) at Texas A&M University.

October 23, Wednesday, 10:30 – 12:30 and 12:30 to 1:30
The George Bush Library and Museum, College Station
Wayne Edwards, The Family Poet
Free. For grades 3-8 and adult learners; Reservations are advised.  

Comic poet Wayne Edwards will present his latest book of rhyming poetry for children, KIDS ONLY LAND. Through discussion of the three R’s of rhyming verse – Rhyme, Rhythm, and Repetition – he helps inspire interest in both reading poetry for pleasure and writing one’s own as a form of art. His humorous illustrations of poems engage and delight all ages. Contact bushlibrary.tamu.edu or email bush.education@nara.gov, or 979 691 4006 for telephone reservations.

October 25, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PM Jessica Cappelle
Writespace
Jessica Cappelle: Workshop—Worldbuilding
PRICE: $ 35.00

Jesicca Capelle will lead a workshop at Write Space: How to World-build in Every Genre: World-building is a term that many people associate with science fiction and fantasy, but all novels require careful crafting of the world of the characters. This workshop will take writers through the process of creating a world that feels “real,” whether that world might be down the street or across the universe. We’ll look at using actual and imagined settings in realistic fiction, recreating the past for historical fiction, transforming landscapes based on alternate history and future developments, and venturing to new planets and high-fantasy worlds. We’ll learn what to consider when crafting both the society and culture of a setting and the environment of the characters’ daily lives. Lastly, we’ll discuss the importance of knowing much more about your world than readers will ever see, as well as how to decide what details to share without “dumping” too much on readers. Come prepared to apply these lessons to your own writing through exercises designed to help you connect more deeply with the details of your story’s world. We will discover how to craft “believable” worlds through careful study of excerpts from adult and children’s books in many genres including well-known works such as The Help, Gone Girl, The Hunger Games, Water for Elephants, The Hobbit, and The Graveyard Book.

October 28, Tuesday, 7:00 PM FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA by Callista Gingrich; Illustrated by Susan Aciero
Blue Willow Bookshop
Callista Gingrich, Children’s Author, with Newt Gingrich, Adult Nonfiction Author

Callista Gingrich will meet and greet customers and sign her new book, FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA. Callista Gingrich shares a new adventure into American history with Ellis the Elephant as he explores the untamed wilderness with Lewis and Clark. He learns about the Louisiana Purchase, the two explorers’ epic journey across the North American continent, and the amazing discoveries and innovation it sparked.

Appearing with Callista will be author Newt Gingrich with his new adult nonfiction title, BREAKOUT.

November 1, Saturday, 10:00 AM- Noon, & 1:30-4:30 PM Kathy Duval
Writespace
Kathy Duval: Picture Book Workshop
PRICE: $ 85.00

Kathy Duval will present  Make It Shine!: Polish Your Picture Book Manuscript to Its Full Potential. A successful picture book is an art form combining lyrical language and dynamic images, each dependent on the other.  To compete, your work must shine, as well as follow the conventions of today’s crowded market.

This hands-on revision workshop will take a fresh look at your characters, setting, plot, and picture book language. Participants will complete exercises to polish their prose, as well as create a dummy to see how your text fits into a picture book format. Feedback in small groups will help you take your picture book to the next level.

November 1, Saturday, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM
Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar Street
Read3Zero 5th Anniversary Luncheon
Price: Ticket costs vary. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

Houston non-profit literacy organization, READ3Zero, will honor students nationwide at a memorable Luncheon and Book Signing event for this year’s winners of the I Write Short Stories For Kids By Kids contest and celebrate the organization’s 5th anniversary. The event will feature the works of 55 published student authors and illustrators. The Keynote speaker will be Neil Bush, chairman to the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and the event will be emceed by Deborah Duncan of Great Day Houston.

November 3, Monday, 7:00 PM IN THE AFTERLIGHT by Alexandra Bracken
Blue Willow Bookshop
Alexandra Bracken, YA Author

Alexandra Bracken, NYT bestselling author of THE DARKEST MINDS and NEVER FADE, will discuss and sign IN THE AFTERLIGHT, the finale in the DARKEST MINDS series for young adults. Ruby can’t look back. Having suffered an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Ruby tries to keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check, but with Clancy Gray, there’s no guarantee you’re fully in control, and everything comes with a price.

When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby becomes a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam’s brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government “rehabilitation camps” all over the country. Freeing them–revealing the government’s unspeakable abuses in the process–is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.

But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.

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23. KidLit Events Ocotber 28-November 4

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With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) kicking off this weekend, there’s a lot of support opportunities for those of you (not me!) who are planning to tackle the challenge of writing a full 50K word novel in one month. I’ll cheer you on while I finish revisions on my current WIP. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other events going on this week. Please remember to check the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website for full details.

October 28, Tuesday, 7:00 PM FROM SEA TO SHINGING SEA by Callista Gingrich; Illustrated by Susan Arcerio
Blue Willow Bookshop
Callista Gingrich, Children’s Author, with Newt Gingrich, Adult Nonfiction Author

In FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA, Callista Gingrich shares a new adventure into American history with Ellis the Elephant as he explores the untamed wilderness with Lewis and Clark! He learns about the Louisiana Purchase, the two explorers’ epic journey across the North American continent, and the amazing discoveries and innovation it sparked.

Appearing with Callista will be bestselling author Newt Gingrich with his new adult nonfiction title, BREAKOUT.

November 1, Saturday, 10:00 AM-Noon, & 1:30-4:30 PM Kathy Duval, PB Author
Writespace
Kathy Duval: Picture Book Workshop
PRICE: $ 85.00

Kathy Duval, author of TAKE ME TO YOUR BBQ (DISNEY/HYPERION) will present a picture book workshop: Make It Shine!: Polish Your Picture Book Manuscript to Its Full Potential.
A successful picture book is an art form combining lyrical language and dynamic images, each dependent on the other.  To compete, your work must shine, as well as follow the conventions of today’s crowded market. This hands-on revision workshop will take a fresh look at your characters, setting, plot, and picture book language. Participants will complete exercises to polish their prose, as well as create a dummy to see how your text fits into a picture book format. Feedback in small groups will help you take your picture book to the next level.

November 1, Saturday, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM Read3Zero
Hilton Americas
Read3Zero 5th Anniversary Luncheon

Houston non-profit literacy organization, READ3Zero, will honor students nationwide at a memorable Luncheon and Book Signing event for this year’s winners of the I Write Short Stories For Kids By Kids contest and celebrate the organization’s 5th  anniversary. The event will feature the works of 55 published student authors and illustrators. The Keynote speaker will be Neil Bush, chairman to the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and the event will be emceed by Deborah Duncan of Great Day Houston. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

November 1, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Barbara Bush Library
CC Hunter, YA Author
Kickoff National Novel Writing Month with a talk by NYT bestseller C.C. Hunter!

November 2, Sunday, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM Matthew Salesses, Author
Writespace
Novel Workshop: The Three Inciting Incidents
COST: $10
NOTE: Register in this workshop and when you attend on Nov. 2nd, you will receive your 10$ back in a 10$ coupon for another Writespace workshop!

In this two-hour course, novelist Matthew Salesses will give a craft lecture on “the three inciting incidents” to support National Novel Writing Month writers, as well as NaNoWriMoall Houston writers seeking to start new projects. After Matthew’s one-hour lecture, each writer will bring his/her novel concept to the table and get some help with development.

November 2, 16, 30, Sundays, 2:00-5:00 PM
Writespace
NaNoWriMo Write-Ins
Cost: Free

Come write with us and keep on-track with your word count goals!

November 3, Monday, 7:00 PM IN THE AFTERLIGHT by Alexandra Bracken
Blue Willow Bookshop
Alexandra Bracken, YA Author

Alexandra Bracken will discuss and sign IN THE AFTERLIGHT, the finale in the DARKEST MINDS series for young adults.

Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times bestselling author of THE DARKEST MINDS and NEVER FADE. Ruby can’t look back. Having suffered an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Ruby tries to keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check, but with Clancy Gray, there’s no guarantee you’re fully in control, and everything comes with a price.

When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby becomes a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam’s brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government “rehabilitation camps” all over the country. Freeing them–revealing the government’s unspeakable abuses in the process–is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.

But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.

November 4, Tuesday, 7:00 PM The Strange Maid: Book 2 of United States of Asgard, by Tessa Gratton
Blue Willow Bookshop
The Roadside YA Tour

The Roadside YA tour hits Houston when authors Tessa Gratton, Julie Murphy and Natalie Parker discuss and sign their newest novels for young adults.

Tessa Graton will present THE STRANGE MAID: BOOK 2 OF THE UNITED STATES OF ASGARD. Signy Valborn was seven years old when she climbed the New World Tree and met Odin Alfather, who declared that if she could solve a single riddle, he would make her one of his Valkyrie. For ten years Signy has trained in the arts of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphywar, politics, and leadership, never dreaming that a Greater Mountain Troll might hold the answer to the riddle, but that’s exactly what Ned the Spiritless promises her. A mysterious troll hunter who talks in riddles and ancient poetry, Ned is a hard man to trust. Unfortunately, Signy is running out of time. Accompanied by an outcast berserker named Soren Bearstar, she and Ned take off across the ice sheets of Canadia to hunt the mother of trolls and claim Signy’s destiny.

Julie Murphy will present SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY. When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting Beware the Wild, by Natalie Parkerwrongs. So she convinces her best friend to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge as it is about hope. But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.

Natalie Parker will present BEWARE THE WILD. The swamp in Sterling’s small Louisiana town proves to have a power over its inhabitants when her brother disappears and no one but Sterling even remembers that he existed. Now Sterling, with the help of brooding loner Heath, who’s had his own creepy experience with the swamp, must fight back and reclaim what–and who–the swamp has taken.

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24. KidLit Author Events Nov. 5-10

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We have another crowded weekend, with several events happening Saturday, including opportunities at writing conferences. Good luck to all who are toiling away on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month)!

November 5, Wednesday, 7:00 PM MORTAL HEART by Robin LaFevers
Blue Willow Bookshop
Robin La Fevers, YA Author

In MORTAL HEART (Harcourt Brace and Company), the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever’s NYT bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn’t mean she has.

November 6, Thursday, 4:00-6:00 PM TAKE ME TO YOUR BBQ by Kathy Duval; illustrated by Adam McCauley
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Kathy Duval, PB Author

Picture book author Kathy Duval will be reading and signing at St. Vincent’s Family Night. In TAKE ME TO YOUR BBQ (Hyperion/Disney) aliens have landed on Willy’s farm and they’re not leaving without a square dance and a square meal! So fire up that grill, lay on the barbeque sauce and snatch up that fiddle. Told in verse, this rollicking story puts a twist on the typical encounter with the third kind.

Kathy will also be appearing for this special story time:
November 7, Friday, 4:00 PM
Barnes & Noble, River Oaks
Kathy Duval, PB Author

November 8, Saturday, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM Sarah Cortez, Councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters
Houston Writers’ Guild Conference
Hilton Houston Westchase
Price: $50 members/$60 nonmembers/$30 student members

All-day workshop: How to Finish Your Novel with Sarah Cortez. Daunted by characters who won’t cooperate inside your plot? Foiled by narrative arcs that don’t end, lost their tension or, worse yet, fail to deliver reader satisfaction?  Come to the Houston Writers Guild, November Fall Mini-Conference session conducted by award-winning teacher/writer/editor Sarah Cortez to learn tips used by professional novelists in these exact situations and more.

November 8, Saturday, 9:00 AM.-4:30 PM Jodell Sadler, Literary Agent
A& M United Methodist Church, College Station
SCBWI Workshop with Agent Jodell Sadler
Cost: $125 for SCBWI members, $150 for non-members

Pick up the Pace!—A Workshop with Agent Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children’s Literary: Story pacing can make the difference between a “nice try” rejection and a publishable manuscript. Whether you’re working on page turns in a 500-word picture book or end-of-chapter cliff-hangers in a 50,000-word novel, Jodell Sadler has tips and tools to help pick up the pace. Join SCBWI Brazos Valley for a day-long workshop focused on pacing and strong writing skills. Register through the event website.

November 8, Saturday, 10:00 AM-Noon
Maud Marks Library (1815 Westgreen Blvd, Katy
Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes
Writing Workshop—Nuts and Bolts of Indie Publishing

Join the writers of the Katy Kritique Group and The Space City Scribes for a free workshop! They’ll help those wanting to independently publish and will provide information on sales channels, covers, editing, marketing and more.

November 8, Saturday, 10:00 AM- NOON, & Sunday, November 9, 2:00-4:00 PM Teen and Middle Grade Authors
Larry J. Ringer Library, College Station
Teen & Middle Grade Authors Event

Teen and tween aspiring authors and adult authors who write for teen and middle grade audiences, talk about their books and about other teen and middle grade fiction, book signings. More info about this event here.

November 8, Saturday, NOON #HASHTAGGED by Kimberly Hix Trant
Barnes & Noble, College Station
Kimberly Hix Trant, YA Author

Join KBB to celebrate the release of Kimberly Hix Trant’s first book #HASHTAGGED (Tate). #hashtagged is a chilling new science fiction novel about a daughter’s journey through her father’s past and into a frightening future. This future is something that Oliver Smith has seen firsthand and for which he has been preparing his daughter, Madeline. After Ollie’s death, Maddy must follow a trail of secrets that leads her into the arms of her first love, Jagger, the only person that can truly help her fight against a future world governed by artificial intelligence.

November 8, Saturday, 2:00-4:00 PM SPACE CTY 6, Anthology
Katy Budget Books
Multi-Author Event

Space City Scribes, an author collective of Houston indie authors, introduce their new anthology, SPACE CITY 6: HOUSTON STORIES FROM THE WEIRD TO THE WONDERFUL, a collection of short stories with a Houston flair.

Attending YA/MG/PB authors: Monica Shaughnessy , Mandy Broughton, Ellen Leventhal, Ellen Rothberg, Artemis Greenleaf, and Kaleigh Castle Maguire.

November 10, Monday, 5:00 PM EVERBLAZE by Shannon Messenger
Blue Willow Bookshop
Shannon Messenger, MG Author

Shannon Messenger will discuss and sign EVERBLAZE, the third book in the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES series.

Sophie Foster is ready to fight back. Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again. But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes.

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25. KidLit Author/Illustrator Events Nov.11-17

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It’s another full weekend, and what better way to spend a chilly Saturday than hanging out with authors and their books? Perhaps all the bookstore-hopping will inspire you to join the NaNoWriMo write-in on Sunday!

November 15, Saturday, 9:00 AMKREMLIN KERFUFFLE by George Arnold
Barnes & Noble, Westheimer
George Arnold, MG Author

Author George Arnold signs his new book for young readers, KREMLIN KERFUFFLE: KOSHKI OF THE CIA , the seventh book in his ‘Cats of the CIA‘ series.In this seventh story in the Cats of the CIA set, Buzzer Louis, Cincinnati the dancing pig, Dusty Louise, and the kitten twins—Luigi and Luisa—are dispatched secretly to Moscow to help the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) track down the opium smuggling panda from China, Ar-Chee. In Moscow, our secret agents confront a spy-turned-traitor, turned-patriot named Natasha, who presents an ongoing puzzle for them. With the help of Boris Alexandrovich, head of the FSB, and Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, our heroes set a trap for the panda. A trap designed by Luigi and Luisa that’s sure to snare Ar-Chee.

In the process of tracking down Ar-Chee, the heroes learn to speak considerable Russian. You will, too, with a 750-word and–phrase vocabulary and pronunciation guide in Russian, built right into the story.

November 15, Saturday, 9:00AM– 6:00 PM RETURN TO SLEEPY HOLLOW by Dax Varley
Houston Book Rave

Houston Book Rave is a unique experience where readers  can meet with their favorite authors in person. YA authors Rose Garcia, Dax VarleyRachel Harris, Cheyanne YoungBrooklyn SkyeJordan DeenJulie CrossLara Chapman, Ted GoegleinVenessa Kimball, Joy Preble and Colleen Houck will be in attendance. There will also be a Special Discussion Panel with Jennifer L. Armentrout and cover model Pepe Toth between 4:00-5:00PM. There will also be entertainment, exclusive giveaways, exclusive early book releases and delicious food.

November 15, Saturday, 10:00 AM
Writespace
Houston YA/MG Writers Workshop
Cost: FREE

Getting to the Heart of Your Story: Strategies for Pitching and Summarizing
What is the heart of your story? One skill all writers need is the ability to distill stories into the basic elements, whether it’s to submit to an agent or editor, or to re-focus before starting a revision. In this meeting, the Houston YA/MG Writers will be looking at three examples of this: the short pitch or logline, the query description, and the one-page synopsis. We’ll study examples (both what to do and not to do) and learn some tips and tricks for working with our own manuscripts.

November 15, Saturday, 2:00-4:00 PM    THE DRY by Rebecca NolenCream Cape and the Case of the Missing Hamster by Mandy Broughton, Dee Densmore-D'Amico (Illustrator)
Barnes & Noble River Oaks
Three Children’s Authors

Dee Leone (BIZZ AND BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS), Mandy Broughton (THE ALPHABET GIRLS Series), and Rebecca Nolen (THE DRY) will be signing their books as part of a book fair to benefit River Oaks Elementary School. The school getsBIZZ AND BUZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS by Dee Leone credit for any books bought all that day that are turned in with a slip designating it is part of the book fair.

November 15, Saturday
SketchCrawl

For illustrators who would like to participate in a SketchCrawl, this month’s location is Trader’s Village: 25th Annual Native American Championship Pow Wow. For information, contact the SCBWI Houston Illustrator Coordinator, Diandra Mae at: scbwi (dot) hic (at) gmail (dot) com.

November 16, Sunday, 2:00-5:00 PM
Town & Country La Madeleine, 770 W Sam Houston Pkwy N
NaNoWriMo Write-Ins

Join the Houston YA/MG Writers for a NaNoWriMo write-in (even if you don’t write YA or MG)! Bring your muse, writing materials, and enough money for a cup of coffee. We’ll have 50 minute silent writing sessions with 10 minute chat breaks. No commitment required; come when you can, leave when you must. Words written and sessions attended will be counted. At the end of NaNo, the highest word counts and attendance will be rewarded! Look for the group sitting near the back staring at their laptops!

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