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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kidlit Author/Illustrator Events, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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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. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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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 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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14. 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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15. KidLit Author Events Feb. 18-23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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16. Kidlit Author Events Feb. 24-March 2

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Wish Girl

Happy Book Birthday

to

Nikki Loftin’s

WISH GIRL!

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

 

Now for this week’s events:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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17. KidLit Author Events March 3-10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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18. KidLit Author Events March 10-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAFTQUEST 2015: Illustration by Diandra Mae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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19. KidLit Author Events March 17-24

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

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

This week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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21. KidLit Author Events March 31-April 7

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It’s good to be home! I just got back from D4EO Literary Agency’s first annual retreat, on the beautiful Sequim Bay in in Washington (Seals! Bald eagles!). My body was still on Houston time, so I got six to seven hours of writing in each morning before the day’s activities began. It was fantastic to be surrounded by so many brilliant, dedicated writers and our wonderful agents, Kristin Vincent, Mandy Hubbard and Bree Ogden.

If you haven’t signed up for the SCBWI Houston Conference, April 18-9, there is still time! There are also available spots for the Sunday intensives, one for writers led by Wendy Loggia, Executive Editor at Delacorte Press, and one for illustrators led by Isabel Warren-Lynch, Executive Art Director at Random House Children’s Books.

Though the critique spots are filled, all attendees will be given information on what the speakers are looking for and how to submit their work to these editors and agents after the conference. Please join us to hear what this great line up of speakers has to share with us!

KELLY LIGHT  is the illustrator of two chapter books series: THE QUIRKS and ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS and the author-illustrator of the LOUISE LOVES ART picture book series.
ISABEL WARREN-LYNCH is the Executive Art Director at Random House Children’s Books.
SUSAN HAWK is a Literary Agent at The Bent Agency, representing middle grade, YA, picture books, and non-fiction for kids.
WENDY LOGGIA is Executive Editor at Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
MOLLY JAFFA is an agent with Folio Literary Management. She focuses exclusively on middle grade and young adult fiction.
ANNIE BERGER is an associate editor at HarperCollins. Annie is looking for both middle-grade and teen fiction.
JOHN M. CUSICK is an agent with Greenhouse Literary, representing picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels.
J. PATRICK LEWIS is the author of more than fifty books of poetry for children and served as the nation’s third Children’s Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

Here are the registration details.

Here’s what’s going on this week around Houston:

April 02, Thursday, 5:30 PMTHE IMPOSSIBLE RACE by Chad Morris
Barnes & Noble, Town & Country
Chad Morris, MG Author

Chad Morris is the author of the Cragbridge Hall series, a middle grade romp through a futuristic secondary school. He will sign the third book in the series, THE IMPOSSIBLE RACE and give away posters and bookmarks!

Every year the futuristic school, Cragbridge Hall, holds its most popular tournament–the Race: a series of challenges that range throughout the school and require the use of its amazing inventions like its holographic time machine! But this year is different. Rather than a monetary or academic reward, this year’s winner will be the recipient of a carefully guarded school secret: a secret that could prove both powerful and dangerous. Afraid that the secret may be one of their Grandfather’s inventions, Abby and Derick gather several friends and enroll.

But when Derick gets a mysterious message from the future, the team of friends must figure out how to succeed even when they know they are destined to fail. The stakes have never been higher. A page-turning, time-travel adventure that teaches powerful lessons about choice and consequence, believing you can do hard things, and valuing our history.

Watch the exciting trailer!

April 4, Saturday, 2:00 PM I AM HER REVENGE by Meredith Moore
Blue Willow Bookshop
Meredith Moore, YA Author

Houston author Meredith Moore will sign her debut YA novel, 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. 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.

April 7, Tuesday, 7:00 PM THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL by Paige McKenzie
Blue Willow Bookshop
Paige McKenzie, YA Author
TICKETED EVENT!

Paige McKenzie will discuss and sign her new novel, THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL, which is based on her YouTube series of the same name.

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just … creepy.

In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening–and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger–Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

NOTE: This is a ticketed event. In order to attend this event with Paige McKenzie, please purchase THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL from Blue Willow Bookshop. At the time of your purchase, you will be issued a ticket that indicates your place in line. Your book and signing line ticket can be picked up at the event.

Here’s the haunting trailer:

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22. KidLit Author Events April 8-15

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YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE! There is still time to register for the SCBWI Houston Conference: CraftQuest! If you’ve ever wondered about whether writing for children and teens is right for you, come to our conference. We have editors, literary agents, authors, illustrators, an art director and a poet laureate to help put you on the right path. Join us for a wonderful, exciting weekend!

This year’s BIG Ya event is hereTEENBOOKCON! The organizers have put together a fabulous event with twenty-eight authors.

April 11, Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PMTeenBookCon
Alief Taylor High School
7555 Howell Sugar Land RoadHouston
TeenBookCon
FREE!

This years TeenBookCon features Gayle Forman as Opening Speaker and Ally Carter and David Levithan as Closing Speakers, plus a fantastic lineup of 28 YA and Graphic Novel authors:

Panels include:

The Secrets that Bind Us: Lindsay Cummings, Ally Carter, Justine Larbalastier, Henry Turner, Maureen Johnson

The Hardest Thing: Kevin Emerson, Aisha Saeed, Elizabeth Wein, Gayle Forman, Jason Reynolds

Reality Need Not Apply: Lydia Kang, Megan Miranda, Kristen Simmons, Scott Westerfeld, Tommy Wallach

Magical Mayhem: Josephine Angelini, Sarah Cross, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Rachel Hartman, Joe Shine, Leslye J. Walton

Fight the Good Fight: George O’Connor, Jen Wang

The Truth About Love: Alexis Bass, Susane Colasanti, Joy Preble, David Levithan, Jennifer Mathieu

Blue Willow Bookshop is the official bookseller of TeenBookCon.  All featured authors’ books will be available for purchase all day.  Buy books at the festival and have them signed by your favorite authors at the end of the day! Your receipt from Blue Willow will also entitle you to bring 2 additional books from home to be signed by the authors as well.

April 14-May 19, Tuesdays, 6:00 PM
Writespace
Adrienne Perry: Writers of Color Workshop
Cost for 6-week Workshop: $245

Over the last few decades, organizations designed to support and promote the work of writers of color have emerged across the country to encourage writers of color to take risks, resist stereotypes (in ourselves, others, and in our writing), and creat poems, stories, novels, and essays that speak to the range of our experience as human beings. This workshop shares these intentions. While no single feature can capture the experience and identity of a human being, writers of color—of all levels, and from all genres and backgrounds—have the opportunity to thrive in workshop experiences where their many, varied voices are welcomed and seen to enrich the workshop’s diverse worldview. We will read the work of poets and fiction writers of color, including our own. This workshop is open to writers of all races typically underrepresented in American literature. We will study the craft of prose and poetry, whether literary fiction or slam or sci-fi, consider what the work is trying to say, and explore what possibilities it can open up for our writing. As a special treat, Trinidadian author Lynn Joseph will visit our workshop via Skype to supplement our conversations with an international view of craft and community considerations specific to writers of color. Expect to come away with fierce new work, as well as a renewed sense of the power found through community.

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23. KidLit Author Events April 14-21

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Art by Diandra Mae

It’s finally here! This weekend is the SCBWI Houston conference! All the details are in place, agents, editors, authors and illustrators will be flying and driving into Houston for the big weekend. If you haven’t registered, there is room for walk-ins Saturday morning. Come to the Westin at Memorial City and find out what it takes to be an author or illustrator for children’s and young adult literature! (Art by Diandra Mae.)

The Houston Public Library is offering an exciting opportunity:

Win a Lunch with Jon Scieszka!FRANK EINSTEIN AND THE ANTIMATTER MOTOR by Jon Scieszka

Create an art masterpiece inspired by one of the many books written by the award-winning, world-famous author Jon Scieszka! Fifty winners and one adult guest each will be treated to a catered lunch 
with Jon Scieszka and receive an autographed copy of “Frank Einstein & the Antimatter Motor!” This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is scheduled to take place prior to the kickoff of the 6th Annual Books Alive! Children’s Book Celebration on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Deadline: Friday, May 1, 2015
Winners will be notified by Friday, May 8, 2015.

For more information visit the Books Alive! Contest.

Now for this week’s author visits:

April 14, Tuesday,  5:00 PMDEAR HANK WILLIAMS: Kimbrely Willlis Holt
Blue Willow Bookshop
Kimberly Willis Holt, MG/YA Author

Kimberly Willis Holt will discuss and sign her newest novel for kids, DEAR HANK WILLIAMS. It’s 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee’s new teacher has just given her class an assignment–learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits.

Told entirely through Tate’s hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award-winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.

April 16, Thursday, 10:00 AM BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU: Melissa Marr; Illustrated by Teagan White
Blue Willow Bookshop
Melissa Marr, PB Author

Melissa Marr, author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels GRAVEMINDER and THE ARRIVALS, joins Blue Willow Bookshop for a very special story time with her debut picture book, BUNNY ROO, I LOVE YOU!

The world can seem like a big, bewildering place for new babies—fortunately, their mamas know just how to soothe and comfort them. Through enchanting scenes portraying all kinds of mama animals looking out for their little ones, the mother in this story reassures her baby, and young children everywhere, that their caretakers will always love them and keep them safe. This beautiful picture book has the feel of a classic and its heartwarming premise should make it a family favorite.

April 16, Thursday, 6:30PMTHE FINISHER: David Baldacci
Murder By The Boook
David Baldacci, YA Author

Worldwide bestselling novelist David Baldacci will sign and discuss THE FINISHER (Scholastic). Vega Jane has never left the village of Wormwood. But this isn’t unusual, nobody has ever left the village of Wormwood. At least not until Quentin Herms vanishes into the unknown. Vega knows Quentin didn’t just leave, but that he was chased. And he’s left behind a very dangerous trail of clues that only she can decode. The Quag is a dark forest filled with terrifying beasts and bloodthirsty Outliers. But just as deadly are the threats that exist within the walls of Wormwood. It is a place built on lies, where influential people are willing to kill to keep their secrets. Vega is determined to uncover the truth. But the closer she gets, the more she risks her life.

Thursday, April 16, 7:00 PMI AM HER REVENGE by Meredith Moore
Brazos Bookstore
Meredith Moore, YA Author

Houston author Meredith Moore will sign her debut YA novel, I 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.

April 16, Thursday, 7:00 PM Image from THE CROODS
Texas A&M, Langford Building
The Neuland Concept Designers
Cost: FREE!

SCBWI Brazos Valley Illustrator Event: The Neuland Concept Designers

Concept designers Margaret Wuller and Patrick Hannenberger will discuss their work for film projects such as The Croods, Rise of the Guardians, Monsters vs. Aliens, and How to Train Your Dragon. The free public lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Geren Auditorium at the College of Architecture on the A&M campus.

April 18, Saturday, 10:00 AMTHE WIZARD'S PROMISE: CASSANDRA ROSE CLARK
Houston YA/MG Writers
Writespace: Silver Street Studios – Studio 212

Cassandra Clark: Workshop: Engaging Your Reader Through Tension
Cost: FREE!

Tension may be a bad thing in our personal lives, but it’s a necessity in our writing. Nothing engages a reader like tension! This month, YA and adult science fiction and fantasy writer Cassandra Rose Clarke will show us how writers can effectively build tension throughout their work. We’ll consider how to up the tension through the internal and external elements of the story, from cliff-hangers to pacing and from character motivations to story stakes. We’ll leave with the tools to keep readers turning pages until late into the night!

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24. KidLit Author Events April 21-27

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LOUISE LOVES ART by Kelly LightSorry, I don’t have time to write about our SCBWI Houston conference this past weekend, but I’ve just got to shout about our keynote speaker:

KELLY LIGHT!

Along with a big thank you to everyone who helped put this conference together, I want to say a special thanks to our guests, Wendy Loggia, Annie Berger, John Cusick, Molly Jaffa, Susan Hawk, Isabel Warren Lynch, and J. Patrick Lewis, and of course, to our wonderful bookstore host, Blue Willow Bookshop. It was truly an outstanding conference.

This week’s events:

April 22- May 27, Wednesdays, 6:00 PMCassandra Clarke
Writespace
Cassandra Clarke: Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop (Hybrid)
Cost: $170-$205
Cap 12

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 six weeks, you will have completed at least one SFF short story.

Please note: This is a hybrid workshop, which means the workshop meet three Wednesdays at Writespace and three Wednesdays online, from the comfort of home. Though writers will be asked to post and read discussions on our online forum on Wednesdays, our Wednesday online meeting dates will offer more flexibility. For instance, on the days of our online “meetings,” if you need to check in at a time other than between 6-9 PM, this will work.

April 25, Saturday, 10:00 AMKathy Duval
Writespace
Kathy Duval: Workshop: Make it Shine! Polish Your Picture Book to Its Fullest Potential!
Cost: $75-$95
Cap 12

Five hundred words—no problem, right? Wrong!

A successful picture book is an art form combining lyrical language and dynamic images, each dependent on the other.  To compete, your work must shine, as well as follow the conventions of today’s crowded market.

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

Participants will be asked to bring three copies of the same completed picture book manuscript. You will be notified closer to the workshop date about the other supplies you will need for making a dummy.

April 25: Saturday, 2:00 PMFINDING PARIS by Joy Preble
Blue Willow Bookshop
Joy Preble, YA Author

Joy Preble will discuss and sign her newest novel for teens, 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.

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25. 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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