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1. KidLit Author Events Aug. 25-Sept. 1

We have a quiet week to slip into the back to school routine, but there are a few things coming up that you may want to either mark on your calendars or go ahead and register. An event I am particularly excited about is a one-day workshop:

DISNEY FAIRIES: TINK, NORTH OF NEVERLANDThe Essentials Workshop for Fiction Writers

with Kimberly Morris

Kimberly Morris is the author of over 60 books for children and young adults, many of them for popular series including Disney Fairies, That’s So Raven, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Animorphs, Sweet Valley, and Generation Girl. Her credits include read-aloud stories for the Muppets, Muppet Babies, and Fraggle Rock, and animated television scripts for the classic ThunderCats.

THAT'S SO RAVEN: BE MINEANIMORPHS: THE ARRIVALSWEET VALLEY TWINS: THE HAUNTED BURIAL GROUNDMARY KATE & ASHLEY SWEET 16: CALIFORNIA DREAMSMOLLY IN THE MIDDLE

This workshop is for writers of any genre of fiction; chapter books, middle grade, young adult and adult. You can read an interview with Kimberly about her writing career on the blog, 7 Magic Islands. This workshop is limited to 40 people, so don’t wait to register. I’ve already booked my spot! Go here for more information and to register.

Another event on the horizon is the Houston Writer’s Guild conference for self-publishing writers, INDIEPALOOZA. Registration is open! Registration is also open for the Houston Bay Area RWA Starfish Conference, and SCBWI Brazos Valley’s Connections and Craft: Novel Workshop.

And if you haven’t gotten your ticket to see Rick Riordan on his MAGNUS CHASE Tour, call Blue Willow Bookshop right away to get your book and secure your seat!

Here’s this week’s event in Houston:

AUGUST 25, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: Growing the Architectural Writer: Helping “Plotters” Breathe Life into their Plots
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. The latter group is also called “plotters” for their meticulous plotting and careful structural setup. This workshop is for the second group, and will examine methods and techniques for helping these writers grow their characters into their plots so that they come to life and feel like more than pieces of the plot-machine.

 

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2. Author Events August 17-25

We’re fresh out of author visits this week, but we have several writing workshops to take up the slack!

AUGUST 18, TUESDAY, 7:30 PMRWA-Logo-200
Bay Area RWA
Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Road
Fernanda Brady: Conflict

In this presentation, Fern Brrady will discuss how the four types of conflict can be integrated within individual scenes to add depth and tension. Come prepared with your work in progress, if you want to try the technique out as a revision strategy or come ready to write. The objective is for each participant to be able to use the strategy and discuss its impact on the story.

AUGUST 19, WEDNESDAY, 6:00-8:00 PMWriters In The Schools
Writers in the Schools
Sparrow Bar + Cookshop, 3701 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002
Night WrITerS at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
Cost: FREE; Cash Bar

Join Writers in the Schools for a free creative writing series. With an interactive workshop led by a WITS writer, Night WrITers is a fun happy hour in support of a creative cause! A special thanks to Chef Monica Pope and Sparrow Bar + Cookshop for generously providing appetizers! Cash bar. No charge, donations always appreciated.

AUGUST 22, SATURDAY, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PMHouston YA/MG
Houston YA/MG Monthly Meeting at Writespace
Cost: FREE; All are welcome!

The first page of your story is your first impression, so what makes a good one? We’ll look at some YA and MG first pages that stand out and discuss takeaways to use in our own writing. If you have a first page (or first paragraph even) that you love, bring a few copies to share with the group. Please also bring your own first page to self-evaluate during some writing exercises (sharing is optional).

AUGUST 22, SATURDAY, 2:00-5:00 PMWritespace
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Farish Classroom on the lower level of the Beck Building
Elizabeth White-Olsen: Art + Writing: “Shadow Monsters” & American Art
Cost: $45-$50

Writers have always been inspired by art—from Homer to Dostoyevsky, Herman Melville to W. H. Auden. This writing workshop begins with artist Philip Worthington’s interactive installation Shadow Monsters. Inspired by its improvisational playfulness, participants explore writing prompts. Next comes a visit to the Museum’s galleries of American art to view and create stories about a wide range of paintings and sculptures—some traditional, some innovative.

Whether you are new to writing or looking to infuse your current writing practice with new ideas, this workshop for adults (ages 18 and older) delivers an exciting adventure in writing and art to invigorate creative energies. Meet in Farish Classroom on the lower level of the Beck Building. Sponsored by Writespace.

AUGUST 23, SATURDAY, 11:30 AM-2:30 PMWritespace
Writespace
Adrienne Perry: Digging the Well: Building Emotional Content in Our Work
Cost: $30-$45

Why is it that our story ideas sing in our imaginations, but then sound flat when we move to the page? Sometimes we can chalk that discrepancy up to the ups and downs of the writing process; it’s just what happens when we move from the kernel for a story to drafting and revision, and eventually it works itself out. At other times, the gap is due to a lack of emotional content. We’ve generated characters, a setting, they’re talking to each other, they even have some problems, but we find that while we’re accruing details, we’re not accruing depth. Building emotional content isn’t about getting all of our characters on a therapist’s couch. It’s about looking at what we’ve written and finding the traces of deep desire, power play, values, and fruitful contradiction within those pages. From there, we find ways to subtly turn those traces into a source of power and purpose in our story. In the class, we’ll do this through exercises, discussion, and by lending a keen eye to our own work.

AUGUST 25, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: Growing the Architectural Writer: Helping “Plotters” Breathe Life into their Plots
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. The latter group is also called “plotters” for their meticulous plotting and careful structural setup. This workshop is for the second group, and will examine methods and techniques for helping these writers grow their characters into their plots so that they come to life and feel like more than pieces of the plot-machine.

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3. KidLit Author/Writing Events August 11-18 + Happy Book Birthdays!

This week I want to wish a Happy Book Birthday to two books which debut on the 15th:

I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK by Tara Lazar and Benji DaviesI THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK

by author Tara Lazar and illustrator Benji Davies

After an unfortunate bookcase collapse, Alien suddenly finds himself jolted out of his story and into a very strange world, complete with talking bears. Desperate to return to his book, Alien asks the Bear family for help so he can get back to his story and save his beloved Planet Zero from total destruction before it’s too late.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear try all kinds of zany contraptions (with some help from their nemesis, Goldilocks) without much luck. Baby Bear might have the perfect solution to get the Alien out of the woods and back to his planet…but will anyone listen to the littlest voice in the story?

 

and

FOR THE RIGHT TO LEARN by Rebecca Langston-GeorgeFOR THE RIGHT TO LEARN:

MALALA YOUSAFZAI’S STORY

by Rebecca Langston-George, Illustrated by Janna Bock

from Capstone Press

She grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent. She defied the Taliban’s rules, spoke out for education for every girl, and was almost killed for her beliefs. This powerful true story of how one brave girl named Malala changed the world proves that one person really can make a difference.

 

Announcing a new page:

Houston’s Young Writers & Readers!

The community of the Greater Houston Area has always supported the arts, but recently, the programs for young people who desire to explore creative writing has exploded. To spread awareness of these exciting opportunities, I’ve added Houston’s Young Readers & Writers. Most of these programs take place in the summer, but we are fortunate to have venues for these events throughout the year. As well as the writing workshops, we have many events geared toward readers, including three major events: Teen Book Con, Tweens Read, and the Houston Public Library’s annual BOOKS ALIVE! This new page will alert the Greater Houston Area and beyond to events before it’s too late for young readers and writers to register. Check it out!

 

GHOST HORSE by Tom McNeelyThis week’s Author Event:

August 15, Saturday, 3:00 PM
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tom McNeely, MG/YA Author

Tom McNeely will discuss and sign his book, GHOST HORSE. Set amidst the social tensions of 1970’s Houston, Ghost Horse tells the story of eleven-year-old Buddy Turner’s shifting alliances within his fragmented family and with two other boys–one Anglo, one Latino–in their quest to make a Super-8 animated movie. As his father’s many secrets begin to unravel, Buddy discovers the real movie: the intersection between life as he sees it and the truth of his own past. In a vivid story of love, friendship, and betrayal, Ghost Horse explores a boy’s swiftly changing awareness of himself and the world through the lens of imagination.

 

Three writing events in Houston this week:

AUGUST 11, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PM
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.Houston Writers Guild
Julian Kindred: Bringing Structure to the Organic Writer: Helping “Pantsers” Give their Plots Direction
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. This former group is also sometimes called “pantsers” for the way they write “by the seat of their pants.” This workshop is for this group, for whom writing is an almost external force and aims to help these writers explore methods for giving their work a cohesive plot, solid ending and overall sense of structure. Exercises will include methods for predicting character reactions and utilizing a fluid plot outline.

AUGUST 11, TUESDAY, 7:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Elizabeth White-Olsen: Critiquapalooza
Cost: $25-$35

Have you ever wondered what a critique from a professional editor is like? Do you wish you could have an editor’s support and feedback, but you don’t feel ready to incur the cost? Or, are you just starting out and you would like to know what aspects of craft to consider when you’re writing a novel? Join us for Critiquapalooza, a fast and fun, yet in-depth look at dozens of craft elements essential to creating great stories. At Critiquapalooza you’ll learn what an editor looks for when he or she is determining whether to publish a submission.

AUGUST 18, TUESDAY, 7:30 PMRWA-Logo-200
Bay Area RWA
Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Road
Fern Brady: Conflict

In this presentation Fern will discuss how the four types of conflict can be integrated within individual scenes to add depth and tension.  Come prepared with your work in progress, if you want to try the technique out as a revision strategy or come ready to write. The objective is for each participant to be able to use the strategy and discuss its impact on the story.


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4. Book Birthdays + Writing Workshops

Today I’m celebrating three book birthdays: a Young Adult, a Middle Grade and a Picture Book!

Happy Book Birthday!

SCBWI Western Washington author Shannon Grogan

and

SCBWI Oklahoma authors Tammi Sauer and Sonia Gensler!

FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU by Shannon GroganFROM WHERE I WATCH YOU by Shannon Grogan, Soho Teen

Sixteen-year-old Kara is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker. Beautifully designed and piped, her cookies are masterpieces, but also her ticket out of rainy Seattle—if she wins the upcoming national baking competition and its scholarship prize to culinary school in California. Kara can no longer stand the home where her family lived, laughed, and ultimately imploded after her mean-spirited big sister Kellen died in a drowning accident. Kara’s dad has since fled, and her mom has turned from high-powered attorney into a nutty holy-rolling Christian fundamentalist peddling “Soul Soup” in the family café. All Kara has left are memories of better times.

But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces a secret terror. Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what she’s doing. As they lead her to piece together the events that preceded Kellen’s terrible, life-changing betrayal years before, she starts to catch glimpses of her dead sister: an unwelcome ghost in filthy Ugg boots. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. And even her life.

YOUR ALIEN by Tammi Sauer, Sterling Children’s Books YOUR ALIEN by Tammi Sauer; Illustrated by Goro Fujita

“One day, you’ll be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way and you will want to keep him. ”
When a little boy meets a stranded alien child, the two instantly strike up a fabulous friendship. They go to school, explore the neighborhood, and have lots of fun. But at bedtime, the alien suddenly grows very, very sad. Can the boy figure out what his new buddy needs most of all? This funny, heartwarming story proves that friends and family are the most important things in the universe . . . no matter who or where you are.



GHOSTLIGHT by Sonia Gensler Alfred A. Knopf /Random HouseGHOSTLIGHT

Nothing ever happens on Avery’s grandmother’s sprawling farm, where she and her brother spend the summers. That is, until Avery meets Julian, a city boy with a famous dad, whose family is renting a nearby cottage. When Julian announces his plan to film a ghost story, Avery jumps at the chance to join him.

Unfortunately, Julian wants to film at Hilliard House, a looming, empty mansion that Grandma has absolutely forbidden her to enter. As terrified as Avery is of Grandma’s wrath, she finds the allure of filmmaking impossible to resist.

When the kids explore the secrets of Hilliard House, eerie things being to happen, and the “imaginary” dangers in their movie threaten to become very real. Have Avery and Julian awakened a menacing presence? Can they turn back before they go too far?

And it has a cool trailer!




Houston, we have two writing workshops this week!

AUGUST 11, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: Bringing Structure to the Organic Writer: Helping “Pantsers” Give their Plots Direction
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. This former group is also sometimes called “pantsers” for the way they write “by the seat of their pants.” This workshop is for this group, for whom writing is an almost external force and aims to help these writers explore methods for giving their work a cohesive plot, solid ending and overall sense of structure. Exercises will include methods for predicting character reactions and utilizing a fluid plot outline.

AUGUST 11, TUESDAY, 7:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Elizabeth White-Olsen: Critiquapalooza
Cost: $25-$35

Have you ever wondered what a critique from a professional editor is like? Do you wish you could have an editor’s support and feedback, but you don’t feel ready to incur the cost? Or, are you just starting out and you would like to know what aspects of craft to consider when you’re writing a novel? Join us for Critiquapalooza, a fast and fun, yet in-depth look at dozens of craft elements essential to creating great stories. At Critiquapalooza you’ll learn what an editor looks for when he or she is determining whether to publish a submission.

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5. KidLit Author Events July 28-August 4, 2015

Right now, high school juniors all over the world are battling their way through college application essays. Some view this as a great way to ruin a good summer, but for others, it’s the excuse they’ve been waiting for to spend days curled around their laptops or notebooks, pouring their hearts onto the page. For these young writers, there are some exciting opportunities to delve deeper into their passion. If you are one of these writers, or if you know a teen who is passionate about writing, take a look at the events coming up this fall and in 2016 and mark your calendars!

Aside from the longer events in the link above, many communities have short writing workshops for teens through libraries, schools, or local writers’ organizations. Here in Houston, we have many such events. One organization here that offers the most classes for teens is Writespace. For instance, on August 6 & 13 from 12:30-3:00 PM, Writespace will be offering a class in two parts: Young Writers Fiction Workshop (Ages 14-19) with Sara Rolater.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve added a new section to my website to highlight writing conferences and camps for teens. While researching this, I came across a website devoted to teen writers, Teens Can Write, Too. These innovative young writers have teamed up with Chapter One to host their own one-day conference in Illinois. I won’t usually be posting one-day events that occur outside the Houston area; there are just too many! But I had to share this one. Here’s the deets:

ECHOES OF US by Kat ZhangAugust 8: The Chapter One Young Writers Conference 2015, Arlington Heights, IL
Currently, the cost of admission is $49.99, but beginning August 1, the cost will rise to $74.99.

Keynote Address: Kat Zhang, author of the YA series THE HYBRID CHRONICLES (HarperCollins). She started writing the first book in the series, WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, during her senior year of high school and sold the trilogy when she was nineteen. Workshop Leaders will be Taryn Albright and Karen Bao. Read more…

Soon, I will be adding another page to my website that focuses on writing workshops for younger kids. Meanwhile, I will be adding local events of this sort to my regular Tuesday events post. And we have one this week!

August 1, Saturday, 10:30-11:30 AMWriters In The Schools
Writers In the Schools
Houston Public Library Express Library at Discovery Green Park
WITS Childrens’ Writing Workshop for Students Grade 2-8
Cost: FREE; No registration required

In partnership with the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and Houston Public Libraries, WITS offers the Discovery Green Workshops—For one hour WITS writers explore imaginative writing exercises. WITS provides all necessary materials. No registration is required, and walk-ins are welcome.

And for adult writers  this week:

JULY 29, AUGUST 5 & 12, WEDNESDAYS, 6:00-9:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Cassandra Rose Clarke: Science Fiction and Fantasy
Cost: $120-$155

Do you take your fiction with a side of aliens, superheroes, dragons, or witches? Then this is the workshop for you! This course will provide an overview of the SFF genre. Together we will consider those elements of writing which are crucial to crafting compelling speculative stories, such as building our own worlds, extrapolating the fantastic from reality, and creating compelling non-human characters. In addition to discussing classic and contemporary SFF works, you will participate in writing exercises and bring in your own work for critique. Come to class prepared to write and discuss, and by the end of the four weeks, you will have completed at least one SFF short story.

JULY 28, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: World Building Beyond Genre: Your Characters and the World Around Them
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

World Building is often classified as something exclusive to authors of speculative fiction but the truth is that every time a work of fiction is crafted, an entire world is written into being. While writers of fantasy and science fiction will also benefit from this workshop, writers of any genre stand to gain from examining the world in which their characters live and how they interact with it. Futurists look to tomorrow by examining society, technology, economics, environment, and politics, and in this workshop we shall look at the relationship between these topics as they relate to your plot and characters.

AUGUST 3, MONDAY, 7:00-9:00 PM SCBWI
SCBWI Houston
Tracy Gee Community Center
Kate Pentecost discusses “Using the Uncanny: Creating Horror that Packs a Punch”.
Cost: FREE; All are welcome!

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6. KidLit Author Events July 21-28

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Heads up! Rick Riordan is bringing MAGNUS CHASE to Houston in October! This ticketed event will be held at Morton Ranch High School.  For details and tickets, please go to Blue Willow Bookshop’s page for this event.

This past Saturday, I had a wonderful time at Kim O’Brien’s launch for her debut YA novel BONE DEEP. The novel sounds intriguing and I’m looking forward to diving into it later today after my critique meeting. It was great to see familar faces there, too. These events are so much fun when other local authors show up to chat about books and writing.

There’s lots going on this week for readers and writers:

JULY 21, TUESDAY, 7:30 PMRWA-Logo-200
Bay Area RWA
Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Road
Thelma Zirkelback: Developing Characters

If you read a paragraph of dialogue without attribution, could you tell if the speaker was a man or a woman?  Dialogue can help develop character.  So do movements, mannerisms and facial expressions.  Even clothing or home décor can show character traits.  Join Thelma Zirkelbach in an exploration of character building through verbal and non-verbal communication.

JULY 22 & 29, AUGUST 5 & 12, FOUR WEDNESDAYS, 6:00-9:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Cassandra Rose Clarke: Science Fiction and Fantasy
Cost: $120-$155

Do you take your fiction with a side of aliens, superheroes, dragons, or witches? Then this is the workshop for you! This course will provide an overview of the SFF genre. Together we will consider those elements of writing which are crucial to crafting compelling speculative stories, such as building our own worlds, extrapolating the fantastic from reality, and creating compelling non-human characters. In addition to discussing classic and contemporary SFF works, you will participate in writing exercises and bring in your own work for critique. Come to class prepared to write and discuss, and by the end of the four weeks, you will have completed at least one SFF short story.

July 25, Saturday, 1:00-3:00 PM
Katy Budget BooksTHE KNIGHTING NETTLE: THE NINTH REGION by D. Scozzari
D. Scozzari, MG Author

Local author D. Scozzari signs the second book in her Ninth Region series for early readers, THE KNIGHTING NETTLE: THE NINTH REGION. It is a great time for celebration now that the Ice Lady, Polar Spirit, and Fire Prince have disappeared. Mom and Dad Sco, bear twins Gloria and Nathan, their brother, Nettle, and their newest family member, Vincent the overgrown frog, are journeying to the capital so King Otto can honor them for freeing the Ice Lady’s captives. Once they arrive, Nettle is given the opportunity to earn knighthood by performing a task for King Otto: to bring him an old goat’s magical horn that, with its powers, will make the kingdom stronger.

With Vincent, Nettle travels outside the Ninth Region to a different reality. But what Nettle does not know is that the forces of the Fire Prince and the Polar Spirit are preparing wicked plans for Nettle, Vincent, and their new friends. Can Nettle overcome great obstacles in order to get the magical horn back to his King?

July 25, Saturday, 4:30 PMTHE FIXER by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Murder by the Book
Rachel Caine & Jennifer Lynn Barnes, YA Authors

YA author Jennifer Lynn Barnes will sign her new novel THE FIXER. When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.’s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians’ scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister’s footsteps and becomes D.C.’s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens. But when their secret worlds crash together, Tess finds there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than she is willing to pay.

INK AND BONE by Rachel CaineRachel Caine signs her new YA novel INK AND BONE. In a dangerous world, the Great Library of Alexandria has survived as a ruthless and powerful presence. Through alchemy, the Library instantly delivers the content of the greatest works of history to the masses, but personal ownership of books is forbidden. Jess Brightwell is training to enter the Library’s Service, but when he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers those who control the Great Library value knowledge more than human life and soon both heretics and books will burn.

And it has a cool trailer!

 

JULY 28, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: World Building Beyond Genre: Your Characters and the World Around Them
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

World Building is often classified as something exclusive to authors of speculative fiction but the truth is that every time a work of fiction is crafted, an entire world is written into being. While writers of fantasy and science fiction will also benefit from this workshop, writers of any genre stand to gain from examining the world in which their characters live and how they interact with it. Futurists look to tomorrow by examining society, technology, economics, environment, and politics, and in this workshop we shall look at the relationship between these topics as they relate to your plot and characters.

 

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7. Happy Birthday, CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE!

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CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE by Ena JonesI am so happy to be saying this:

Happy birthday to

Ena Jones’s

exciting debut MG novel

CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE

From Holiday House Books

 

Read an excerpt here!

Teachers, don’t miss the Discussion Guide with questions for discussion and classroom extension! The guide includes connections to the Common Core State Standards.

From the publisher: Twelve-year-old Clayton Stone is shocked when a top-secret government organization recruits him as a decoy in a kidnapping sting. Instantly, he gets drawn into the dangerous world of covert operations in the Washington, D.C., area. Clayton’s new life is full of excitement, with elaborate disguises and classified debriefings, but soon enough the real danger begins.

And here you can read the great review from Kirkus!

Ena Jones is a member of the SCBWI Carolinas and is a moderator on the SCBWI Discussion Boards. (And she’s witty and kind and is a crazy-fast writer!)

 

 

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8. KidLit Events July 14-21

All over the world this week, fans of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD are celebrating the release of GO SET A WATCHMAN. I haven’t gotten my copy yet, so I’m watching twitter and facebook with one eye closed to avoid seeing spoilers. Instead, I’ve been busy reading and critiquing manuscripts by two of my writer friends. This is one of the best parts of being a writer: getting to see exciting new manuscripts years before the rest of the world gets to see the published book (publishing takes forever). I love this!

We have a couple of author events this week, plus FIVE writing events! Hurray!

JULY 14, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: Crafting Characters and What Makes Them Compelling
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

Characters are the driving force behind any literary work. No plot is complete without a compelling  individual or  group of individuals  to drive it forward. In this workshop, we will examine the art of crafting characters who engage the reader by examining the use of voice, flaws, and motives. Exercises will explore the creation process and developing your characters and their relationships with the world around them.

JULY 15, WEDNESDAY, 7:30-9:00 PM Writespace
Writespace
Andreana Binder: Music and Writing
Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced; Cap: 12
Cost: $20-$25

Many writers find that writing in a room filled with music unleashes new ideas. For some writers music helps them connect with the rhythmic and sonic qualities of language, while for others music relaxes them and opens the door for the subconscious to deliver its wonderful surprises. Whether you write to music often or you have never written to music before, this workshop will help you connect with your story, essay, or poems in new ways. Participants will listen to varying tempos of ambient and instrumental music and free-write about what comes to mind based on the melodies. This will be an opportunity to see how music can inspire, transform, and enhance writing projects. Those with an existing project, please bring a draft. Those without existing projects may use this workshop as a way to inspire their next project. Writers of all experience levels are welcome.

THE HEART OF BETRAYAL by Mary Pearson July 15, Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Blue Willow Bookshop
Mary Pearson, YA Author

Mary Pearson will discuss and sign her new book THE HEART OF BETRAYAL. Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape, and even less of being together. Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar’s interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw. Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia’s deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people, and her own destiny.

JULY 18, SATURDAY, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Houston YA/MGHouston YA/MG
At Writespace
Cost: FREE; All are welcome!

Monthly meeting including a craft talk at Writespace. This month’s program has not yet been announced.

 

JULY 18, SATURDAY, 1:00-4:00 PM Writespace
Writespace
K.J. Russell: The Secrets of Effective Characterization
Cost: $30-$45

When we write, it can be easy to stumble into the trap of creating characters we’ve come across before, but often these characters are stereotypes or caricatures. Populating a story with characters that seem unique and truly alive, that draw readers irrevocably into the story’s fictive world can be a challenge. In this workshop, K.J. Russell will teach you how to easily render fully-formed characters, so that every character, including your minor characters, becomes a chance to add flavor and life. You will learn what makes a character effective, the difference between a character and a caricature, and how to render a fascinating portrayal that takes seconds to write, yet stays with a reader for the length of your work. Come learn the tools you need to vitalize your heroes from page one and to transform your minor characters into major assets.

JULY 18, SATURDAY, 1:30-5:30 PM
inprintInprint
Jennifer Mathieu: Young Adult Fiction
Cost: $90

Writing Real Teenagers for Real Teenage Readers (and Adult Readers, Too!)
It’s hard to deny that realistic teen fiction is having a moment.  In recent years books like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park have captured the hearts of teenage readers as well as readers whose high school years are long behind them.  But how can an adult writer craft an authentic teenager as protagonist?  How do we, as grown-ups, write stories full of the tension, excitement, longing and frustration that come with being 16?

This four-hour workshop focuses on writing realistic contemporary fiction for young adults.  We’ll spend time in class studying two mentor texts and discussing how and why they work, including analyzing the voice, characterization, setting, structure, pacing and plot.  Participants will have time to write in class, applying our conversations to an existing work in progress, or they may choose to respond to an exercise or two.  Sharing is optional but encouraged.  Participants will leave with a reading list of some of the best contemporary young adult fiction from recent years as well as resources on the querying and publishing process.

BONE DEEP  by Kim O'BrienJuly 18, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kim O’Brien, YA Author

Kim O’Brien will discuss and sign her new YA novel, BONE DEEP. When Paige Patterson travels to Arizona to spend the summer with her archeologist father, she expects answers. Why did her parents divorce? Why did her father choose his career over family? She doesn’t expect to be reunited with her best friend Emily Linton, or to find herself falling for the project manager’s son, Jalen Yazzi. But the summer takes a terrible turn when Emily vanishes. As the police struggle for answers, Paige sets out to find the truth.

The search takes Paige from the Cliffside ruins of prehistoric Native Americans to the Navajo Nation to the horrifying possibility that the answer is much closer to home. Her father has no alibi for the night Emily disappeared. An intern with the motive insists he’s innocent. And Jalen has secrets of his own. Old bones might not be the only things buried in the ruins. As Paige digs deeper into Emily’s disappearance, she realizes that uncovering the truth may cost her everything—even her life.

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9. KidLit Author Events July 7-13

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Shimmer!My son is off visiting colleges this week but I’ve got the puppy and a friend’s shiny new manuscript to keep me busy. Because of the silver sprinkles in her black fur we’ve named her Shimmer, Shimmy for short because she backs up with a cute wigiggle. She’s training well, learning to sit, stay and heel but it will be a loooong time before she stops chewing every single thing she can get her teeth on. I’m not sure if it’s because of the barking or the smell of puppy, but our summer guest corn snake, Roger, has been in hiding ever since Shimmer arrived.

We’re still short of author visits this week but there are several events for writers. Sign up and join the fun! For upcoming workshops in the Houston area, see Houston Writer & Illustrator Events.

JULY 11, SATURDAY, 8:30 AM-NOONRWA-Logo-200
West Houston RWA
Memorial Drive Christian Church, 11750 Memorial Drive
Shelley Wall: How to Pitch

Shelley Wall,  author of Text Me and Bring It On will be speaking on Pitching.

JULY 11, SATURDAY, 9:30 AM-12:30 PMWritespace
Writespace
Cassandra Rose Clarke: Worldbuilding
Level: Beginner, Intermediate; Cap: 12
Cost: $30-$45

In fiction, setting can be as an important a character as the people. And in speculative fiction, that character often needs to be built from the ground—and history, and culture, and physics—up. In this workshop, we’ll be tackling worldbuilding. What issues arise when you set a story in a world that’s not our own? How can we build worlds as complex and lived in as the real one? How can we avoid creating the same fantastical world that’s been done a thousand times before? We’ll attempt to answer these questions and more through discussion and writing exercises, and with any luck, you’ll leave the workshop with the seeds of a brand new world.

JULY 11, SATURDAY,1:30 – 5:30 PMWritespace
Writespace
Elizabeth White-Olsen: Art and Writing
Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced; Cap: 10
Cost: $30-$45

Ever wondered how visual artists work, or are you a visual artist excited by the relationship between writing and art? In this workshop we will explore the magical kinship between art and writing. We will visit the studios of Writespace’s painter neighbors and ask them questions about their relationship with their ideas, materials, and creative processes, as well as watch them work. We will explore writing exercises based on the works we view in the studios of artists such as painter Justin Garcia and photographer John Bernhard. This workshop will consist of group Q&A sessions with artists and ekphrastic writing prompts (meaning, writing inspired by art), as well as time for writers to explore studios and begin poems, essays, and scenes on their own. Please bring a journal and a favorite writing instrument, as inspiration is meant to strike.

 

 

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10. KidLit Author Events June 30-July 6 (And PUPPY!)

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This has been such an exciting week around my house! Because this happened:

Puppy Coming Home Puppy SofaPuppy lge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s a 3 month old, German Shepherd/Husky (Gerberian Shepsky) mix. I saw her at Ace Hardware last weekend, and was bewitched by her sweet little face. I resisted the urge to take her home with me, because I still had some sanity left. But she stayed in my thoughts all week, so Saturday morning when my husband and son said they had to go to the hardware store, I chirped up that I wanted to go, too. Now, this isn’t unusual; I love hardware stores. But something in my tone of voice immediately tipped off my husband that something was up. I admitted it; I wanted to see if the beautiful little black dog had been adopted. She hadn’t, but now she has! We haven’t reached a decision on her name yet, so I’ll add that here next time.

Last week I introduced a new page on this blog, Houston Writer & Illustrator Events. This week, I’m introducing another new page, Workshops: Young Writers. There are many writing workshops for teens that range from an hour to a full day, but for young people who are serious about writing, that isn’t enough. This list will help serious young writers find events in time to meet the often rigorous application requirements and early registration dates. If you know a teen (and occasionally younger kids) who has a keen interest in writing, please share this list with them. Like all my other conference lists, I will update this page on a weekly basis, so check back often!

Also, tomorrow is the first full month of my new website theme, and so will be the first full month to feature books launching in July. These children’s and young adult books will be shown on the sidebar on all the conference pages. Clicking on these images will open a page about that book. Throughout July, please take a moment to visit these books and spread the word!

We have another quiet week for author bookstore events, but we have two writers’ events this week:

JUNE 30, TUESDAY, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: Finishing Your Novel: Bringing Your Ideas to Fruition
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

Staying the course once you’ve started writing your novel is difficult. How do you manage the distractions of daily life or the temptation to quit and chase the next new idea? And once the manuscript is complete, then what? This workshop will examine methods for holding yourself accountable for writing your novel and examine when it is time to start, or finally finish, revisions, as well as what you should be doing in the meantime.

JULY 6, MONDAY, 7:00-9:00 PMSCBWI
SCBWI Houston
Tracy Gee Community Center
Holly Walrath: Writing Culturally Relevant YA: War, Politics, Violence and Gender
Cost: FREE! All are welcome!

Children’s literature is entering a new era – one that embraces the dark lens of postmodern literature. Picture books deal with increasingly more disturbing topics from abortion to personal violence. Four themes have emerged in Children’s Literature that reflect these changes: War, Politics, Violence, and Gender. In discussing these themes, we’ll look at new trends in children’s literature and what they might mean for us as writers. We’ll explore how to approach these themes in our writing. We’ll discuss how children view these events and how they affect children’s personal lives.

 

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11. KidLit Events June 23-30

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Renovation on my site is ongoing, but I think I’ve got the bones in order. My main pages (this weekly local events update and all the conference pages) are mostly set. My older posts still need a  lot of updating, and I don’t expect I’ll get it all done until the end of the year. Everything is still there, but some text colors might conflict with the new theme, making the text illegible. If you select the area, you’ll be able to see the text.

I’ve added a new feature to the conference pages. On the right sidebar, you’ll see a slideshow of books being released this month. The featured children’s and young adult books are brand new releases from my friends, both IRL and online. If we know each other from the SCBWI Blueboards, or follow each other on twitter or facebook and you have a new book coming up, please let me know! I’d love to feature your book.

Events-wise, we are having a quiet week in Houston, with one exception, a class in Julian Kendal’s revision series, from the Houston Writers’ Guild. Speaking of writing classes, I’ve added a new page to my blog dedicated to writing classes and workshops in the Houston area. We have so many writers’ organizations here and most offer some combination of classes, talk, workshops, conferences and retreats. I’ve been putting these events on this weekly updates page, but often, that doesn’t give you enough time to sign up for special events. I’ll continue to add these events here on Tuesdays for the week the event is actually happening, and the full list will be on its new page: Houston Writer/Illustrator Events.

June 30, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 PMHouston Writers Guild
The Houston Writers’ Guild
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd.
Julian Kindred: Finishing Your Novel: Bringing Your Ideas to Fruition
Cost:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID.

Staying the course once you’ve started writing your novel is difficult. How do you manage the distractions of daily life or the temptation to quit and chase the next new idea? And once the manuscript is complete, then what? This workshop will examine methods for holding yourself accountable for writing your novel and examine when it is time to start, or finally finish, revisions, as well as what you should be doing in the meantime.

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12. Renovation!

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Please bear with me while I update my site’s theme!

Thank you!

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13. KidLit Author Events June 16-23

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GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWNHey folks, there’s a new hedgehog in town! Happy book birthday to Tammi Sauer and Lynn Munsinger’s GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN! The Truman Elementary Troublemakers are a bad bunch. Especially these three: Cap’n Catastrophe, Destructo Dude, and Make-My-Day May. But they are no match for Ginny Louise, the new hedgehog in school. Her unwavering cheerfulness in the face of their bullying will make young readers holler with glee. Full of rhymes, wordplay, and comic misunderstanding, this book will lend itself well to reading aloud as well as discussions about peer dynamics.

CROWN OF THREE by J.D. RinehartI’ve got some great reading lined up this week. I wasn’t able to attend Jennifer Mathieu’s launch for her second young adult novel DEVOTED on Saturday, but I went by Blue Willow Bookshop yesterday and picked up the book she signed for me. I’ve heard great things about it, and I loved her first book, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, so I’m really looking forward to reading DEVOTED. While I was there, a middle grade fantasy CROWN OF THREE caught my eye. I’d never heard of the author, J. D. Rinehart (who also uses the name J.D. Blackthorne) but I loved the cover and the blurb sounded like my kind of adventure, so I got that one, too.

You can read an excerpt here.

THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS by Crystal AllenThis morning I was delighted to see that MG author Crystal Allen has shared the cover of the first book in her new chapter books series, THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS: SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN! With this newest chapter book addition, Crystal has covered the full range of middle grade from the upper edges with HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY, and the smack in the sweet-spot middle story THE LAURA LINE. I can’t wait to get to know Mya!

Friends, I may be working on my website this week and next, so if things go wonky, please know the problem is on my side, not yours. The theme I’ve been using is seriously outdated and is keeping me from using a lot of WordPress’s cool plugins and even basic necessities, like a functioning mobile site, so it’s got to go. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Here’s this week’s events:

June 19, Friday, 7:00 PMPOWERLESS by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs, YA Authors

Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs will discuss and sign their new novel for teens, POWERLESS. Kenna lives in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary—which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.

June 20, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Joy Preble, Workshop: The Power of Point of View
Cost: $30-$45

Point of view is one of the most important choices an author can make because it impacts how readers see and respond to the story. Through whose eyes is the story being told? Through the eyes of a character as he experiences the story’s events (1st person present), through an unnamed narrator (3rd person omniscient), or through a narrator who shares the thoughts of just one character (3rd person limited)?

Come prepared to write, revise, and experiment. Please bring the first three to five pages of a novel or short story you are working on, as well as a laptop or a notepad and pen or pencil.

June 20, Saturday, 2:00 PMHELLO I LOVE YOU by Katie Stout
Blue Willow Bookshop
YA Debut Author Panel

Debut authors Katie Stout, Jenny Martin, and Meredith Moore will discuss their books in a panel moderated by WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN author Kristin Rae.

Sweet, fun, and romantic, Katie Stout’s HELLO, I LOVE YOU explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process. Grace Wilde is running-from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start. But when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame.

TRACKED by Jennie MartinJennie Martin’s futuristic, action-packed debut is TRACKED. On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

I AM HER REVENGE by Meredith MooreIn Meredith Moore’s debut I AM HER REVENGE, Vivian was raised with one purpose in life: to exact revenge on behalf of her mother. Manipulative and cruel, Mother has deprived Vivian not only of a childhood, but of an original identity. With an endless arsenal of enticing personalities at her disposal, Vivian is a veritable weapon of deception.  And she can destroy anyone. When it’s time to strike, she enrolls in a boarding school on the English moors, where she will zero in on her target: sweet and innocent Ben, the son of the man who broke Mother’s heart twenty years ago. But the more Vivan learns about herself, the more dangerous this cat and mouse game becomes. Because Mother will stop at nothing to make sure the truth dies with her.

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14. KidLit Author Events June 16-23

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GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWNHey folks, there’s a new hedgehog in town! Happy book birthday to SCBWI Oklahoma member Tammi Sauer’s GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN! Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. The Truman Elementary Troublemakers are a bad bunch. Especially these three: Cap’n Catastrophe, Destructo Dude, and Make-My-Day May. But they are no match for Ginny Louise, the new hedgehog in school. Her unwavering cheerfulness in the face of their bullying will make young readers holler with glee. Full of rhymes, wordplay, and comic misunderstanding, this book will lend itself well to reading aloud as well as discussions about peer dynamics.

CROWN OF THREE by J.D. RinehartI’ve got some great reading lined up this week. I wasn’t able to attend SCBWI Houston member Jennifer Mathieu’s launch for her second young adult novel DEVOTED on Saturday, but I went by Blue Willow Bookshop yesterday and picked up the book she signed for me. I’ve heard great things about it, and I loved her first book, THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, so I’m really looking forward to reading DEVOTED. While I was there, a middle grade fantasy CROWN OF THREE caught my eye. I’d never heard of the author, J. D. Rinehart (who also uses the name J.D. Blackthorne) but I loved the cover and the blurb sounded like my kind of adventure, so I got that one, too.

You can read an excerpt here.

THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS by Crystal AllenThis morning I was delighted to see that SCBWI Houston member Crystal Allen has shared the cover of the first book in her new chapter books series, THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS: SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN! With this newest chapter book addition, Crystal has covered the full range of middle grade from the upper edges with HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY, and the smack in the sweet-spot middle story THE LAURA LINE. I can’t wait to get to know Mya!

Friends, I may be working on my website this week and next, so if things go wonky, please know the problem is on my side, not yours. The theme I’ve been using is seriously outdated and is keeping me from using a lot of WordPress’s cool plugins and even basic necessities, like a functioning mobile site, so it’s got to go. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Here’s this week’s events:

June 19, Friday, 7:00 PMPOWERLESS by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs, YA Authors

Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs will discuss and sign their new novel for teens, POWERLESS. Kenna lives in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary—which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.

June 20, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Joy Preble, Workshop: The Power of Point of View
Cost: $30-$45

Point of view is one of the most important choices an author can make because it impacts how readers see and respond to the story. Through whose eyes is the story being told? Through the eyes of a character as he experiences the story’s events (1st person present), through an unnamed narrator (3rd person omniscient), or through a narrator who shares the thoughts of just one character (3rd person limited)?

Come prepared to write, revise, and experiment. Please bring the first three to five pages of a novel or short story you are working on, as well as a laptop or a notepad and pen or pencil.

June 20, Saturday, 2:00 PMHELLO I LOVE YOU by Katie Stout
Blue Willow Bookshop
YA Debut Author Panel

Debut authors Katie Stout, Jenny Martin, and Meredith Moore will discuss their books in a panel moderated by WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN author Kristin Rae.

Sweet, fun, and romantic, Katie Stout’s HELLO, I LOVE YOU explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process. Grace Wilde is running-from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start. But when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame.

TRACKED by Jennie MartinJenny Martin’s futuristic, action-packed debut is TRACKED. On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

I AM HER REVENGE by Meredith MooreIn Meredith Moore’s debut I AM HER REVENGE, Vivian was raised with one purpose in life: to exact revenge on behalf of her mother. Manipulative and cruel, Mother has deprived Vivian not only of a childhood, but of an original identity. With an endless arsenal of enticing personalities at her disposal, Vivian is a veritable weapon of deception.  And she can destroy anyone. When it’s time to strike, she enrolls in a boarding school on the English moors, where she will zero in on her target: sweet and innocent Ben, the son of the man who broke Mother’s heart twenty years ago. But the more Vivan learns about herself, the more dangerous this cat and mouse game becomes. Because Mother will stop at nothing to make sure the truth dies with her.

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15. KidLit Events June 9-15

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THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel HarrisWISH YOU WERE ITALIA by Kristin RaeI want to start out by sending a big, sparkly THANK YOU! to young adult authors Rachel Harris and Kristin Rae for speaking to SCBWI-Houston about their experiences with their agents, both past and present. It was a great meeting to start off our summer.

Speaking of summer, I’m really looking forward to two books coming from Holiday House; one in July and one in August. I’ve included links for you to pre-order these books if you are interested in them. To quote a blog post from author Claire Legrand: If you’re excited about a book, the best thing you can do to ensure the book’s success—and support the book’s author—is pre-order the book.

Coming July 30, 2015!

CLAYTON JONES: AT YOUR SERVICE by Ena JonesCLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE by Ena Jones
Clayton’s transformation from middle-school lacrosse star to Special Service agent is full of suspense, humor and heart—a thrilling undercover debut! Read the thrilling review from Kirkus!

Debut author Ena Jones is a moderator on the SCBWI Discussion Boards and is a member of SCBWI-Carolinas. Follow Ena on twitter: @EnaJones

Pre-Order CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE!
Blue Willow Bookshop
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

AFTER THE ASHES by S.K. JoinerComing August 30, 2015!

AFTER THE ASHES by S.K. Joiner
In this riveting coming-of-age survival story, a stubborn and intellectual teen must fight for her life when the mighty volcano Krakatau erupts and puts her hometown on the Javanese coast in mortal danger.

Debut author Sara Joiner is a member of SCBWI-Houston and the children’s coordinator for the the Brazoria County Library System. Follow Sara on twitter: @skjoiner

Pre-Order AFTER THE ASHES!
Blue Willow Bookshop
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Oh, and HEY, PICTURE BOOK WRITERS! Katie Davis is hosting the Inauguaral Picture Book Summit, an online conference just for Picture Book writers. Don’t miss it!

Now for this week’s events:

June 11, Thursday, 6:00-9:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Workshop: Writing Through the Eyes of a Child with Thomas McNeely
Cost: $30 Members, $45 Non-members
How do great writers lure us into the magical—and sometimes treacherous—world of a child? How do they tell a story from a child’s perspective, while still speaking to us as adults?

June 13, Saturday, 1:00-3:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Workshop: How to Write Like Madeline L’Engle Generative Workshop with Elizabeth White Olsen.
Cost: $20 Members, $35 Non-members

Did you love A Wrinkle in Time when you were growing up? What is it about this novel that is so compelling? As readers we enjoy stories, but as writers we study them, understand them, and learn from them.

June 13, Saturday, 2:00 PMDEVOTED by Jennifer Mathieu
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jennifer Mathieu, YA Author

Join local author Jennifer Mathieu for the launch of her second young adult novel DEVOTED. Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul. Buy now from Blue Willow Bookshop!

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16. KidLit Events June 9-15

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THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel HarrisWISH YOU WERE ITALIA by Kristin RaeI want to start out by sending a big, sparkly THANK YOU! to young adult authors Rachel Harris and Kristin Rae for speaking to SCBWI-Houston about their experiences with their agents, both past and present. It was a great meeting to start off our summer.

Speaking of summer, I’m really looking forward to two books coming from Holiday House; one in July and one in August. I’ve included links for you to pre-order these books if you are interested in them. To quote a blog post from author Claire Legrand: If you’re excited about a book, the best thing you can do to ensure the book’s success—and support the book’s author—is pre-order the book.

Coming July 30, 2015!

CLAYTON JONES: AT YOUR SERVICE by Ena JonesCLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE by Ena Jones
Clayton’s transformation from middle-school lacrosse star to Special Service agent is full of suspense, humor and heart—a thrilling undercover debut! Read the thrilling review from Kirkus!

Debut author Ena Jones is a moderator on the SCBWI Discussion Boards and is a member of SCBWI-Carolinas. Follow Ena on twitter: @EnaJones

Pre-Order CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE!
Blue Willow Bookshop
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

AFTER THE ASHES by S.K. JoinerComing August 30, 2015!

AFTER THE ASHES by S.K. Joiner
In this riveting coming-of-age survival story, a stubborn and intellectual teen must fight for her life when the mighty volcano Krakatau erupts and puts her hometown on the Javanese coast in mortal danger.

Debut author Sara Joiner is a member of SCBWI-Houston and the children’s coordinator for the the Brazoria County Library System. Follow Sara on twitter: @skjoiner

Pre-Order AFTER THE ASHES!
Blue Willow Bookshop
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Oh, and HEY, PICTURE BOOK WRITERS! Katie Davis is hosting the Inauguaral Picture Book Summit, an online conference just for Picture Book writers. Don’t miss it!

Now for this week’s events:

June 11, Thursday, 6:00-9:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Workshop: Writing Through the Eyes of a Child with Thomas McNeely
Cost: $30 Members, $45 Non-members
How do great writers lure us into the magical—and sometimes treacherous—world of a child? How do they tell a story from a child’s perspective, while still speaking to us as adults?

June 13, Saturday, 1:00-3:00 PMWritespace
Writespace
Workshop: How to Write Like Madeline L’Engle Generative Workshop with Elizabeth White Olsen.
Cost: $20 Members, $35 Non-members

Did you love A Wrinkle in Time when you were growing up? What is it about this novel that is so compelling? As readers we enjoy stories, but as writers we study them, understand them, and learn from them.

June 13, Saturday, 2:00 PMDEVOTED by Jennifer Mathieu
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jennifer Mathieu, YA Author

Join local author Jennifer Mathieu for the launch of her second young adult novel DEVOTED. Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul. Buy now from Blue Willow Bookshop!

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17. Writing Workshops this Summer

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If you like this post, please share it and spread the word about our Houston writers’ organizations!

This summer, there will be more writers’ events in Houston than ever before, thanks to our many writers’ organizations: the Houston Writers’ Guild, Inprint, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Houston YA/MG, the Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Writespace. Our newest entrant to our local literary scene is also one of the oldest in the country, the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW). There’s no news on events for this group yet, but give them time!

SCBWI-HoustonThe writing organization I am most involved with is the Houston chapter of SCBWI. As the name implies, our focus is exclusively on fiction and nonfiction for young readers, from picture books to Young Adult. We have an annual conference which has traditionally been held in the spring, but we’re shaking things up for 2016. Our conference will be a fall event with a new format and exciting new events. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, you are welcome to join us at our free monthly meetings this summer on the Monday evenings of July 6 and August 3 at 7:00 PM at the Tracy Gee Community Center at 3599 Westcenter Dr, Houston, TX.

RWA-LogoThe Romance Writers of America has three chapters in the Houston area: Northwest, West, and Bay Area. They have many events throughout the year including one big event every fall, the Lone Star Conference, which features a writing contest judged by an agent and editors (now open for entries until June 7). Though I do not write romance (Middle Grade rules!), I try to attend this event every year. The speaker is always prominent author/writing instructor who addresses craft issues that are universal; good writing is good writing, no matter the genre! The Bay Area chapter will soon be opening registration for their fall event with bestselling author Sarah MacLean, which will have substantive workshops on Mastering Conflict, Dialogue, and Conquering High Concept.

Houston Writers' GuildThe Houston Writers’ Guild is the jack-of-all-trades of writing organizations with something for everyone. This summer, the Guild will offer a series of workshops by Julian Kindred. These six sessions will be hands-on so be prepared to write! Bring laptop or notebook. If you have a work in progress, bring it, as many of the techniques Julian will be covering can be used for revisions. All classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 PM at Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd., Houston, TX. Price for each Individual Session:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID. Six Session Pack Price: $50 Members; $100 Nonmembers; $30 Students w/ID.
Here’s the info:

  • June 9: Starting Your Novel: Breathing Life into Your Ideas
    This workshop will focus on the craft of beginning a novel. If writing a novel were easy then everyone would do it. Moreover, different techniques, styles, and even behaviors work better for different writers. This workshop will examine how to take your idea and put it on the page with tips, tricks, and exercises.
  • June 30: Finishing Your Novel: Bringing Your Ideas to Fruition
    Staying the course once you’ve started writing your novel is difficult. How do you manage the distractions of daily life or the temptation to quit and chase the next new idea? And once the manuscript is complete, then what? This workshop will examine methods for holding yourself accountable for writing your novel and examine when it is time to start, or finally finish, revisions, as well as what you should be doing in the meantime.
  • July 14: Crafting Characters and What Makes Them Compelling
    Characters are the driving force behind any literary work. No plot is complete without a compelling  individual or  group of individuals  to drive it forward. In this workshop, we will examine the art of crafting characters who engage the reader by examining the use of voice, flaws, and motives. Exercises will explore the creation process and developing your characters and their relationships with the world around them.
  • July 28: World Building Beyond Genre: Your Characters and the World Around Them
    World Building is often classified as something exclusive to authors of speculative fiction but the truth is that every time a work of fiction is crafted, an entire world is written into being. While writers of fantasy and science fiction will also benefit from this workshop, writers of any genre stand to gain from examining the world in which their characters live and how they interact with it. Futurists look to tomorrow by examining society, technology, economics, environment, and politics, and in this workshop we shall look at the relationship between these topics as they relate to your plot and characters.
  • August 11: Bringing Structure to the Organic Writer: Helping “Pantsers” Give their Plots Direction
    Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. This former group is also sometimes called “pantsers” for the way they write “by the seat of their pants.” This workshop is for this group, for whom writing is an almost external force and aims to help these writers explore methods for giving their work a cohesive plot, solid ending and overall sense of structure. Exercises will include methods for predicting character reactions and utilizing a fluid plot outline.
  • August 25: Growing the Architectural Writer: Helping “Plotters” Breathe Life into their Plots
    Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. The latter group is also called “plotters” for their meticulous plotting and careful structural setup. This workshop is for the second group, and will examine methods and techniques for helping these writers grow their characters into their plots so that they come to life and feel like more than pieces of the plot-machine.

inprintInprint is a literary arts organization for readers and writers, and is brought to us by the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. The Summer 2015 Inprint Intensive Workshops take place on Saturdays in July and August. Registration for the summer session is open online, and two classes have already filled. The remaining summer offerings are:

WritespaceWritespace is an independent organization created by writers, for writers of all genres. Through their workshops, they aim to bring MFA quality training and mentorship opportunities. Here are their upcoming workshops:

  • Character Breakthrough Workshop with Kate Pentecost
    Saturdays, June 6th and 13th, 10 AM-12 PM,  $30 Members, $45 Non-members
    Feeling stuck in your story? Our stories often get stopped because we’re still learning to listen to our characters.
  • Fiction Lessons from TV with Matthew Salesses
    Saturday, June 6th, 1-4 PM, $30 Members, $45 Non-members
    What can fiction writers learn from TV? In this 3-hour class, we will watch short scenes from TV shows and find strategies for fiction.
  • Writing Through the Eyes of a Child with Thomas McNeely
    Thursday, June 11, 6-9 PM, $30 Members, $45 Non-members
    How do great writers lure us into the magical—and sometimes treacherous—world of a child? How do they tell a story from a child’s perspective, while still speaking to us as adults?
  • How to Write Like Madeline L’Engle Generative Workshop with Elizabeth White Olsen.
    Saturday, June 13th, 1-3 PM,   $20 Members, $35 Non-members
    Did you love A Wrinkle in Time when you were growing up? What is it about this novel that is so compelling? As readers we enjoy stories, but as writers we study them, understand them, and learn from them.

Houston YA/MGHouston YA/MG is a group especially for those writing for the middle grade and young adult age groups. They haven’t posted their agenda for the summer, but their free, workshop-style meetings are held the third Saturday of each month at Writespace. Meetings are from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Anyone is welcome!

I will add reminders for each of these events as they come up on my regular Tuesday KidLit Author Events posts. Happy writing!

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18. Writing Workshops this Summer

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If you like this post, please share it and spread the word about our Houston writers’ organizations!

This summer, there will be more writers’ events in Houston than ever before, thanks to our many writers’ organizations: the Houston Writers’ Guild, Inprint, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Houston YA/MG, the Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Writespace. Our newest entrant to our local literary scene is also one of the oldest in the country, the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW). There’s no news on events for this group yet, but give them time!

SCBWI-HoustonThe writing organization I am most involved with is the Houston chapter of SCBWI. As the name implies, our focus is exclusively on fiction and nonfiction for young readers, from picture books to Young Adult. We have an annual conference which has traditionally been held in the spring, but we’re shaking things up for 2016. Our conference will be a fall event with a new format and exciting new events. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, you are welcome to join us at our free monthly meetings this summer on the Monday evenings of July 6 and August 3 at 7:00 PM at the Tracy Gee Community Center at 3599 Westcenter Dr, Houston, TX.

RWA-LogoThe Romance Writers of America has three chapters in the Houston area: Northwest, West, and Bay Area. They have many events throughout the year including one big event every fall, the Lone Star Conference, which features a writing contest judged by an agent and editors (now open for entries until June 7). Though I do not write romance (Middle Grade rules!), I try to attend this event every year. The speaker is always prominent author/writing instructor who addresses craft issues that are universal; good writing is good writing, no matter the genre! The Bay Area chapter will soon be opening registration for their fall event with bestselling author Sarah MacLean, which will have substantive workshops on Mastering Conflict, Dialogue, and Conquering High Concept.

Houston Writers' GuildThe Houston Writers’ Guild is the jack-of-all-trades of writing organizations with something for everyone. This summer, the Guild will offer a series of workshops by Julian Kindred. These six sessions will be hands-on so be prepared to write! Bring laptop or notebook. If you have a work in progress, bring it, as many of the techniques Julian will be covering can be used for revisions. All classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 PM at Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd., Houston, TX. Price for each Individual Session:$10 Members; $20 Nonmembers; $5 Students w/ID. Six Session Pack Price: $50 Members; $100 Nonmembers; $30 Students w/ID.
Here’s the info:

  • June 9: Starting Your Novel: Breathing Life into Your Ideas
    This workshop will focus on the craft of beginning a novel. If writing a novel were easy then everyone would do it. Moreover, different techniques, styles, and even behaviors work better for different writers. This workshop will examine how to take your idea and put it on the page with tips, tricks, and exercises.
  • June 30: Finishing Your Novel: Bringing Your Ideas to Fruition
    Staying the course once you’ve started writing your novel is difficult. How do you manage the distractions of daily life or the temptation to quit and chase the next new idea? And once the manuscript is complete, then what? This workshop will examine methods for holding yourself accountable for writing your novel and examine when it is time to start, or finally finish, revisions, as well as what you should be doing in the meantime.
  • July 14: Crafting Characters and What Makes Them Compelling
    Characters are the driving force behind any literary work. No plot is complete without a compelling  individual or  group of individuals  to drive it forward. In this workshop, we will examine the art of crafting characters who engage the reader by examining the use of voice, flaws, and motives. Exercises will explore the creation process and developing your characters and their relationships with the world around them.
  • July 28: World Building Beyond Genre: Your Characters and the World Around Them
    World Building is often classified as something exclusive to authors of speculative fiction but the truth is that every time a work of fiction is crafted, an entire world is written into being. While writers of fantasy and science fiction will also benefit from this workshop, writers of any genre stand to gain from examining the world in which their characters live and how they interact with it. Futurists look to tomorrow by examining society, technology, economics, environment, and politics, and in this workshop we shall look at the relationship between these topics as they relate to your plot and characters.
  • August 11: Bringing Structure to the Organic Writer: Helping “Pantsers” Give their Plots Direction
    Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. This former group is also sometimes called “pantsers” for the way they write “by the seat of their pants.” This workshop is for this group, for whom writing is an almost external force and aims to help these writers explore methods for giving their work a cohesive plot, solid ending and overall sense of structure. Exercises will include methods for predicting character reactions and utilizing a fluid plot outline.
  • August 25: Growing the Architectural Writer: Helping “Plotters” Breathe Life into their Plots
    Writers tend to fall into one of two categories: gardeners and architects. The latter group is also called “plotters” for their meticulous plotting and careful structural setup. This workshop is for the second group, and will examine methods and techniques for helping these writers grow their characters into their plots so that they come to life and feel like more than pieces of the plot-machine.

inprintInprint is a literary arts organization for readers and writers, and is brought to us by the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. The Summer 2015 Inprint Intensive Workshops take place on Saturdays in July and August. Registration for the summer session is open online, and two classes have already filled. The remaining summer offerings are:

WritespaceWritespace is an independent organization created by writers, for writers of all genres. Through their workshops, they aim to bring MFA quality training and mentorship opportunities. Here are their upcoming workshops:

  • Character Breakthrough Workshop with Kate Pentecost
    Saturdays, June 6th and 13th, 10 AM-12 PM,  $30 Members, $45 Non-members
    Feeling stuck in your story? Our stories often get stopped because we’re still learning to listen to our characters.
  • Fiction Lessons from TV with Matthew Salesses
    Saturday, June 6th, 1-4 PM, $30 Members, $45 Non-members
    What can fiction writers learn from TV? In this 3-hour class, we will watch short scenes from TV shows and find strategies for fiction.
  • Writing Through the Eyes of a Child with Thomas McNeely
    Thursday, June 11, 6-9 PM, $30 Members, $45 Non-members
    How do great writers lure us into the magical—and sometimes treacherous—world of a child? How do they tell a story from a child’s perspective, while still speaking to us as adults?
  • How to Write Like Madeline L’Engle Generative Workshop with Elizabeth White Olsen.
    Saturday, June 13th, 1-3 PM,   $20 Members, $35 Non-members
    Did you love A Wrinkle in Time when you were growing up? What is it about this novel that is so compelling? As readers we enjoy stories, but as writers we study them, understand them, and learn from them.

Houston YA/MGHouston YA/MG is a group especially for those writing for the middle grade and young adult age groups. They haven’t posted their agenda for the summer, but their free, workshop-style meetings are held the third Saturday of each month at Writespace. Meetings are from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Anyone is welcome!

I will add reminders for each of these events as they come up on my regular Tuesday KidLit Author Events posts. Happy writing!

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19. Book Birthday! FALLING FOR ALICE

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FALLING FOR ALICEHappy birthday to

FALLING FOR ALICE

A YA Anthology celebrating 150 years
of Alice in Wonderland
by authors

Shari Green
Denise Jaden
Dawn Dalton
Kitty Keswick
Cady Vance

From ​the modern Alice dumped in the Aquarian ​Age of the late sixties, to the ​present day Alice, tormented by body image and emotional issues, to the Alice of the future, launched forward through time and space, FALLING FOR ALICE offers five fresh takes on ​Lewis​ Carroll’s classic tale.

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20. KidLit Author Events April 28-May 5

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Independent Bookstore DayThis Saturday, May 2, we are celebrating Independent Bookstore Day all over the country, all day! If you live in or around Houston, stop by one of these local bookstores and see what’s happening. Tweet at @BookstoreDay

Houston shops participating in special events this day:

Blue Willow Bookshop
14532 Memorial Drive, Houston, 77079
Locally owned by Valerie Koehler (aka, Girl Boss). Here you’ll find an eclectic selection of books (fiction and nonfiction) for adults and children. There’s something for everyone, including puzzles, games, and gifts for the book lover. Join Blue Willow Bookshop’s Independent Bookstore Day with activities, great food, giveaways and some very cool limited edition merchandise!

Brazos Bookstore
2421 Bissonnet, Houston 77005
Locally owned by a group of twenty-seven Houstonians. Celebrate with Brazos Bookstore on Independent Bookstore Day all day, from the special edition story time at 10:00 AM to the Ultimate Literary Showdown at 6:30 PM.

Katy Budget Books
2450 Fry Rd, Houston, 77084
New and Used Books
On Independent Bookstore Day, Katy Budget Books will be celebrating with exclusive, one-day only merchandise.

If you aren’t near one of the bookstores listed above, you might find one of these locally owned shops closer to you:

Murder By The Book
2342 Bissonnet St., Houston, 77005
One of the nation’s oldest and largest mystery specialty bookstores, stocking new & used, hardbacks & paperbacks, first editions, collectibles, gift items, mystery magazines, and more.

River Oaks Bookstore
3270 Westheimer, Houston, 77098
Locally owned by Jeanne Jard.

Galveston Bookshop
317 23rd Street, Galveston, 77550
Locally owned by Sharan Zwick and Jack Schlossberg. Books Used & New, Vinyl LPs, Comics, with a monthly local authors meet and greet!

Copperfield’s Books
8220 Louetta Rd., Ste. 106, Spring,  77379
Locally owned. New and used books.

Glow Worm New and Used Books
311 Main, Spring, 77373
Locally owned by Nelda Monjure. New and used books and sundries.

Good Books in the Woods
25915 Oak Ridge Drive, Spring, 77380
Locally owned by Jay Rohfritch. New, Used, and Out of Print titles, Fine Bindings, and First Editions.

The Book Nook Sugarland
5022 Hwy 90-A, Sugar Land, 77498
Locally owned by Katrina Chapman. New and used books, plus gifts and gift cards.

The Book Nook Brenham
212 W. Alamo Street, Brenham, 77833
Locally owned by Stefani Snead Kelley. Mostly used, with a smattering of new books.

 

We also have a two-author YA event happening that day:

May 2, Saturday, 4:30 PMFINDING PARIS by Joy Preble
Murder By The Book
Joy Preble & Meredith Moore, YA Authors

Joy Preble will sign and discuss FINDING PARIS, and Meredith Moore will sign and discuss I AM HER REVENGE.

FINDING PARIS: Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind–going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn’t going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.

Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris–a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.

I AM HER REVENGE by Meredith MooreI AM HER REVENGE: She can be anyone you want her to be.
Vivian was raised with one purpose in life: to exact revenge on behalf of her mother. Manipulative and cruel, Mother has deprived Vivian not only of a childhood, but of an original identity. With an endless arsenal of enticing personalities at her disposal, Vivian is a veritable weapon of deception.
And she can destroy anyone.
When it’s time to strike, she enrolls in a boarding school on the English moors, where she will zero in on her target: sweet and innocent Ben, the son of the man who broke Mother’s heart twenty years ago.
Anyone…except for the woman who created her.
With every secret she uncovers, Vivian comes one step closer to learning who she really is. But the more she learns about herself, the more dangerous this cat and mouse game becomes. Because Mother will stop at nothing to make sure the truth dies with her.

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21. KidLit Author Events May 5-12

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The end of the school year is upon us, and I want to wish good luck to all our dedicated high schoolers who are suffering through their OWLs (AP tests) and preparing for their finals.

We’ve got several events happening this week, mostly on Saturday. I hope you’ll be able to get out and enjoy a few. As always, please verify the event information with the sponsoring bookstore or organization.

Now through June 30Houston Writers Guild Press
Houston Writers Guild
Short Story Contest
Entry fee: $25 HWG members / $35 non-members / $20 students or seniors over 65
Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entries for members / $25 for nonmembers / $10 for students and seniors over 65. Authors may submit up to 3 short stories for consideration in the contest.
Please see their website for more information.

DIVE INTO MYSTERY Short Story Mystery Contest:
The Contest is open for submission through June 30 to both members and nonmembers. The Houston Writers’ Guild ise looking for original unpublished mystery short stories; stand-alone adaptations from a longer manuscript are welcome.

May 7, Thursday, 5:00 PMHOW TO SURPRISE A DAD by Jean Reagan; Illustrated by Lee Wildish
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jean Reagan, PB AUTHOR

Jean Reagan will discuss and sign her picture book, HOW TO SURPRISE A DAD. Author of the New York Times bestsellers HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA and HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDMA introduces her charming new how-to book about surprising dear old Dad!

So you want to surprise your dad? You’re in luck! The pages of this book are full of tips on how to become a super dad surpriser, including tips for things you can make, do, or find—just for your dad.

Be sure to read up on:
·      Yummy treats and presents for a dad
·      What to do if he starts getting suspicious
·      How to prepare for the big moment (where to hide everyone, and how to practice whispering “Surprise!”)

Illustrated by NYT bestseller Lee Wildish.

May 9, Saturday, 11:00 AMA NEST IS NOISY By Dianna Hutts Aston; Illustrated by Sylvia Long
Blue Willow Bookshop
Dianna Aston, PB Author

Dianna Aston will discuss and sign her picture book, A NEST IS NOISY. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap. Illustrated by Sylvia Long.

May 9, Saturday, 1:00
Writespace
Mathew Salses, Novel Workshop
Cost: $30-$45

STARTING YOUR NOVEL: Have a great idea for a novel but don’t know how to start? Stuck in the middle of novel-drafting and don’t know why? Much of writing a novel through to its end is about what is set up by its premise. Bring your novel ideas or incomplete novels to this workshop on novel premises. We will discuss the novel form and do some exercises on character and plot. Plan to leave with ideas of how to go forward with your draft.

May 9, Saturday, 1:00-3:00 PMA TRIP TO THE BARBERSHOP by Shirley Jordan-Bellamy
River Oaks Bookstore
Shirley Jordan-Bellamy, PB Author

Shirley Jordan-Bellamy presents A TRIP TO THE BARBER SHOP. This darkly funny debut picture book celebrates imagination and bravery while addressing the dilemma: taking a trip to the barber shop.

May 9, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Blue Willow Bookshop
Tricia Barr, NF Author

ULTIMATE STAR WARS By Ryder Windham, Anthony DanielsAuthor Tricia Barr will celebrate the release of ULTIMATE STAR WARS (Co-authored with Anthony Daniels). There is no other guide that visually explores characters, vehicles, locations, and technology from the entire Star Wars galaxy. An excellent primer to prepare for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ULTIMATE STAR WARS® is the ideal go­to resource for fans who wish to brush ­up on their Star Wars knowledge, and for a new generation of children eager to start their journey into a galaxy far, far away….

 

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22. KidLit Author Events May 12-18

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We have three big events in Houston this week, including one HUGE event for the whole family! The Houston Public Library is having their 6th Annual Books Alive! Event, and this year the featured author is Jon Scieszka! Scroll down for lots of exciting details, but don’t miss all the fun stuff happening before then!

A TALE OF TWO BESTIES by Sophia RossiMay 14, Thursday, 7:00 pm
Outreach Center of West Houston, 725 Bateswood, Houston

Sophia Rossi, HelloGiggles co-founder, will meet and greet fans as she discusses her new book, A TALE OF TWO BESTIES.

Whatever you want to call them, Harper and Lily were born to be besties. Casual-cool Cali girl Harper and awkward, always-costumed Lily are in constant contact, whether they are sharing after school fro-yos or swapping emojis. Not even the threat of different high schools could throw this BFFship off-course, even if Lily begs her parents not to send her to the “dreaded Pathways,” a special school for creative types, while effortlessly-popular Harper attends Beverly High with the rest of their class. But in a city like L.A., where fitting in means standing out and there’s nothing more uncool than being cool, it’s the naturally charismatic Harper who finds herself fighting the tide of American Apparel’d teens who rule the school. Meanwhile, it’s the perpetually “gawkward” Lily–who accessorizes every ensemble with a pair of tattered fairy wings–who finds herself flying alongside the queen bees of Pathways. Can BFF-ship survive the tidal wave of HS drama, or does growing up mean leaving some friends behind?

Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet Sophia Rossi for book personalization, please purchase TALE OF TWO BESTIES from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, we will issue a signing line ticket that indicates your place in line. Your book and signing line ticket can be picked up at the event. Each person who purchases a copy of TALE OF TWO BESTIES from Blue Willow Bookshop will receive a gift bag.

May 15, Friday, 7:00 PMNIL UNLOCKED by Lynne Matson
Blue Willow Bookshop
Fierce Reads 2015 Tour: Four YA Authors

Four YA authors will appear together at Blue Willow Bookshop, talking about their books and anything else.

Lynne Matson: NIL UNLOCKED: On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape–or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever. Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil–and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

REVENGE, ICE CREAM AND OTHER THINGS BEST SERVED COLD by Katie FinnKatie Finn: REVENGE, ICE CREAM, AND OTHER THINGS BEST SERVED COLD:

After the humiliating events on the 4th of July, Gemma’s trying to grapple with the fact that Hallie knew her true identity all summer, and that she was the one who stole Teddy from her. Gemma vows revenge, but things immediately get more complicated than she planned. Her dad forces her to get a job, and the only one she can find involves scooping ice cream all day. Ford, Gemma’s longtime crush, has arrived in the Hamptons, and is cuter than ever. Josh is refusing to speak to her after finding out she lied to him. And to top it all off, Teddy is back in the picture, and closer to home than Gemma would like. Gemma and Hallie find themselves locked in an escalating revenge cycle involving everything from strawberry syrup to stolen identities. But just when Gemma thinks she has the upper hand, the biggest bombshell of all is dropped. And it’s one that threatens to change her life forever.

THE WINNER'S CRIME by Maria RutkoskiMarie Rutkoski: THE WINNER’S CRIME: A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless world . . . and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.

SKANDAL by Lindsey SmithLindsay Smith: SKANDAL: The dramatic sequel to SEKRET, this psychic Cold War espionage thriller follows Yulia to Washington, DC, where she fights to discover the truth about her family without losing control of her mind. My mind is mine alone. Life in Washington, D.C., is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia’s allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international SKANDAL.

Admission: In order to go through the signing line and meet the authors for book personalization, please purchase one of the author’s books from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, you will receive a signing line ticket that indicates your place in line.

THE STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES BY JON SCIESZKAMay 16, Saturday, 12:15– 3:30 PM
Central Library 500 McKinney St., Houston
Books Alive! 6th Annual Children’s Book Celebration

The celebration at Houston Public Library kicks off at 12:15 on the fourth floor as Main Street Theater young ambassadors present selections from THE STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES and FRANK EINSTEIN AND THE ANTIMATTER MOTOR. At 12:45, Author Jon Scieszka will address the crowd and sign his books. Starting at 1:30, there will be music and entertainment by AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse! Arts & Crafts, Mad Science of Houston, PhotoMoto photo booth, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Come dressed to impress as your favorite Jon Scieszka–inspired book character! 
Prizes will be awarded for best costumes!

Take a peek at some of the fun in store: Music video from AndyRoo, Mad Science of Houston’s video from The Houston International Festival, and fun with PhotoMoto!

May 16, Saturday, 3:00 PMTHE BOOK OF ETHAN by Russell J. Sanders
River Oaks Bookstore
Russell J. Sanders, YA Author

Houston YA Author Russell J. Sanders presents his new novel THE BOOK OF ETHAN. Ethan Harker is the son of The Prophet, the stern, demanding leader of a small Southwestern polygamous community. Ethan has been groomed to one day take his place as the leader of this isolated cult. But things happen that compel Ethan to flee his stifling community and find his way in the world beyond it. Totally out of his depth, he is sheltered by a remarkable group of people from a loving and accepting church. From them, he learns what family truly means and begins to construct a life free from the restrictions he’s grown up with. Little by little he dismisses the assumptions he was taught about the evil people in the outside world. Amid all this, Ethan realizes something about himself when he meets rapper Kyan, a boy his age. Although he’s been brought up to fear and hate members of Kyan’s race, he can’t help falling in love with Kyan. Fueled by a new understanding and new friends, Ethan gains the strength and courage to conquer the confusing world he has been thrust into.

Now through June 30Houston Writers Guild Press
Houston Writers Guild
Short Story Contest
Entry fee: $25 HWG members / $35 non-members / $20 students or seniors over 65
Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entries for members / $25 for nonmembers / $10 for students and seniors over 65.

HWG is looking for original unpublished mystery short stories; stand-alone adaptations from a longer manuscript are welcome. Authors may submit up to 3 short stories for consideration in the contest. Please see their website for more information.

 

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23. KidLit Author Events May 19-26

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ABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLYWOOD by Varsha BajajThe Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Awards have been announced, and SCBWI Houston has another author to add to our long list: Varsha Bajaj! This members’ choice award of the Texas and Oklahoma regions goes to Varsha’s debut middle grade novel ABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLYWOOD. ASGTB was also a 2014 Cybils finalist. Congratulations, Varsha!

 

After last week’s flurry of events, we only have one author visit to Houston this week, but there’s a writing workshop and a short story contest to fill out the week.

May 23, Saturday, 2:00-4:00A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS by Kathleen Baldwin
Katy Budget Books
Kathleen Baldwin, YA Author

Enjoy tea and biscuits with Kathleen Baldwin as she discusses and signs her young adult novel A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS. It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the “beau monde” who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible-until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts.

May 30, Saturday, 1:00 PM; Registration now open
Writespace
Writing Workshop with Marian Szczepanski: All Genres
$30.00 – $45.00

USING OBJECT AND MEMORY AS SPRINGBOARDS INTO THE PAST

Objects and memories can carry significant resonance for literary explorations into the past – from personal experiences to collective histories. Learn how to use objects and/or memories, both personal and those shared by family members or history, as prompts for imaginative rumination and writing. We’ll consider examples in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. This highly interactive class also will include joint exercises in creating meaning and exploring literary possibility from a provided object and historical event. As a prompt for individual writing, each participant will be encouraged to bring his/her own object – personal memento, family keepsake, or any item (or image) that interests or intrigues. I’ll have an assortment of new and vintage objects on hand for participants who prefer to consider something unfamiliar. This workshop is intended for writers of all genres, including writers of fiction, short story, personal essay, creative nonfiction, memoir, and poetry.

Now through June 30Houston Writers Guild Press
Houston Writers Guild
Short Story Contest
Entry fee: $25 HWG members / $35 non-members / $20 students or seniors over 65
Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entries for members / $25 for nonmembers / $10 for students and seniors over 65

DIVE INTO MYSTERY Short Story Mystery Contest:

HWG is looking for original unpublished mystery short stories; stand-alone adaptations from a longer manuscript are welcome. Authors may submit up to 3 short stories for consideration in the contest. Please see their website for more information.

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24. KidLit Author Events, May 26-June 9

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Well, my neck of the woods got a lot of rain this weekend, but we are fortunate to have made it through with no damage. The news over the rest of Texas and parts of Oklahoma is very sad, though. I hope all of you can stay safe through this rough weather.

We are getting into the summer slow-down on autor events, but the local Houston arts organizations are stepping up!

May 27, 10:00 AMlogo-scbwi
Gentle Critique, 9:30 AM
Barnes & Noble, College Station
Glows and Grows: Tips on Giving and Receiving Constructive Critiques

Join the Brazos Valley chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for discussion, news, and encouragement. The topic is “Glows and Grows: Tips on Giving and Receiving Constructive Critiques” with Alyson Greene and Candilynn Fite. Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress. Those who have time stay for lunch at a local restaurant. Members and friends welcome!

May 30, Saturday, 4:30 PMWritespace
Writespace
Marian Szczepanski, Writing Workshop for All Genres
Using Object and Memory as Springboards into the Past
Cost: $30-$45

Objects and memories can carry significant resonance for literary explorations into the past – from personal experiences to collective histories. Learn how to use objects and/or memories, both personal and those shared by family members or history, as prompts for imaginative rumination and writing. We’ll consider examples in fiction (“Mortality” by Pablo Medina), poetry (“Mauches” by Angele Ellis), and creative nonfiction (an excerpt from Virgin Time by Patricia Hampl). This highly interactive class also will include joint exercises in creating meaning and exploring literary possibility from a provided object and historical event. As a prompt for individual writing, each participant will be encouraged to bring his/her own object – personal memento, family keepsake, or any item (or image) that interests or intrigues. I’ll have an assortment of new and vintage objects on hand for participants who prefer to consider something unfamiliar. This workshop is intended for writers of all genres, including writers of fiction, short story, personal essay, creative nonfiction, memoir, and poetry.

May 30, Saturday, 4:30 PMTHE DEATH CODE BY LINDSAY CUMMINGS
Murder By The Book
Lindsay Cummings, YA Author

Young Adult author Lindsay Cummings will discuss and sign MURDER COMPLEX #2: THE DEATH CODE, the action-packed, chilling sequel to her bestselling The Murder Complex. With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ends. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fight fearlessly to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read. For fans of La Femme Nikita, Legend, and Hanna.

June 1, Monday, 7:00 PMlogo-scbwi
Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter Dr.
SCBWI Houston: Author Workshop
FREE

Join us for the Houston SCBWI monthly meeting where YA authors Rachel Harris & Kristin Rae will discuss Agents: Pros & Cons. Members and non-members alike are welcome to attend!

Now through June 30Houston Writers Guild Press
Houston Writers Guild
Short Story Contest
Entry fee: $25 HWG members / $35 non-members / $20 students or seniors over 65
Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entries for members / $25 for nonmembers / $10 for students and seniors over 65

DIVE INTO MYSTERY Short Story Mystery Contest:

HWG is looking for original unpublished mystery short stories; stand-alone adaptations from a longer manuscript are welcome. Authors may submit up to 3 short stories for consideration in the contest. Please see their website for more information.

And a heads up for this event:

June 5, Friday, 6:00 p.m.
Blue Willow Bookshop
Joey Graceffa, YA Memoir Author

Star of TV and YouTube Joey Graceffa will meet and greet fans as they receive pre-signed copies of his book, IN REAL LIFE. Your book purchased from Blue Willow Bookshop is your ticket to this event. You may purchase IN REAL LIFE in-store, online or over the phone. At the time of your purchase, Blue Willow Bookshop will make a color line card that indicates your place in line.

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25. KidLit Author Events, May 26-June 2

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Well, my neck of the woods got a lot of rain this weekend, but we are fortunate to have made it through with no damage. The news over the rest of Texas and parts of Oklahoma is very sad, though. I hope all of you can stay safe through this rough weather.

We are getting into the summer slow-down on autor events, but the local Houston arts organizations are stepping up!

May 27, 10:00 AMlogo-scbwi
Gentle Critique, 9:30 AM
Barnes & Noble, College Station
Glows and Grows: Tips on Giving and Receiving Constructive Critiques

Join the Brazos Valley chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for discussion, news, and encouragement. The topic is “Glows and Grows: Tips on Giving and Receiving Constructive Critiques” with Alyson Greene and Candilynn Fite. Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress. Those who have time stay for lunch at a local restaurant. Members and friends welcome!

May 30, Saturday, 4:30 PMWritespace
Writespace
Marian Szczepanski, Writing Workshop for All Genres
Using Object and Memory as Springboards into the Past
Cost: $30-$45

Objects and memories can carry significant resonance for literary explorations into the past – from personal experiences to collective histories. Learn how to use objects and/or memories, both personal and those shared by family members or history, as prompts for imaginative rumination and writing. We’ll consider examples in fiction (“Mortality” by Pablo Medina), poetry (“Mauches” by Angele Ellis), and creative nonfiction (an excerpt from Virgin Time by Patricia Hampl). This highly interactive class also will include joint exercises in creating meaning and exploring literary possibility from a provided object and historical event. As a prompt for individual writing, each participant will be encouraged to bring his/her own object – personal memento, family keepsake, or any item (or image) that interests or intrigues. I’ll have an assortment of new and vintage objects on hand for participants who prefer to consider something unfamiliar. This workshop is intended for writers of all genres, including writers of fiction, short story, personal essay, creative nonfiction, memoir, and poetry.

May 30, Saturday, 4:30 PMTHE DEATH CODE BY LINDSAY CUMMINGS
Murder By The Book
Lindsay Cummings, YA Author

Young Adult author Lindsay Cummings will discuss and sign MURDER COMPLEX #2: THE DEATH CODE, the action-packed, chilling sequel to her bestselling The Murder Complex. With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ends. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fight fearlessly to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read. For fans of La Femme Nikita, Legend, and Hanna.

June 1, Monday, 7:00 PMlogo-scbwi
Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter Dr.
SCBWI Houston: Author Workshop
FREE

Join us for the Houston SCBWI monthly meeting where YA authors Rachel Harris & Kristin Rae will discuss Agents: Pros & Cons. Members and non-members alike are welcome to attend!

Now through June 30Houston Writers Guild Press
Houston Writers Guild
Short Story Contest
Entry fee: $25 HWG members / $35 non-members / $20 students or seniors over 65
Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entries for members / $25 for nonmembers / $10 for students and seniors over 65

DIVE INTO MYSTERY Short Story Mystery Contest:

HWG is looking for original unpublished mystery short stories; stand-alone adaptations from a longer manuscript are welcome. Authors may submit up to 3 short stories for consideration in the contest. Please see their website for more information.

And a heads up for this event:

June 5, Friday, 6:00 p.m.
Blue Willow Bookshop
Joey Graceffa, YA Memoir Author

Star of TV and YouTube Joey Graceffa will meet and greet fans as they receive pre-signed copies of his book, IN REAL LIFE. Your book purchased from Blue Willow Bookshop is your ticket to this event. You may purchase IN REAL LIFE in-store, online or over the phone. At the time of your purchase, Blue Willow Bookshop will make a color line card that indicates your place in line.

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