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1. Photos from my SCBWI talk on middle-grade and chapter books

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

The talented Roxyanne Young took these photos of my talk on Middle-Grade and Chapter Books at SCBWI-San Diego last weekend and kindly gave me permission to use them. My school visit/speaker page needs a massive updating and I’m so grateful to have some recent images to include.

Apparently I talk with my hands a lot? What’s funniest to me is that this Boston Bay slide was onscreen for barely a minute. That’s an awful lot of glasses-waving going on there.

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

The rest of my slides were all about other people’s books—my favorite things to talk about, as you know. Here’s a taste:

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 09 Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 10

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 12

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 15

(Just a sampling from the Chapter Books part of the talk.)

 

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2. Critique Groups

If I could give only one piece of advice to those who want to write for children and teens, it would be to find a good critique group and make a commitment to it. I value my critique group more than you can imagine. Some of us have been in it for more than 10 years, while others are fairly new. They are all amazing writers, and as we have evolved, we have learned what works for us. Most importantly, we have learned how to offer really useful and necessary critiques, which is definitely a skill that can be learned and perfected and which doesn't necessarily just happen.

How to find or form a critique group:

One easy way is to check out the SCBWI walk-in critique groups via the web site. These are walk-in groups, so you can simply arrive and check it out. You might find others with whom you'd like to start a regular group.

While on the web site, you can also contact one of our region's critique group coordinators to get their help in finding others near you.

Attend local writing events, including SCBWI meetings and conferences, where you might meet others to form a group or others who are looking for a new group member.

Post on the SCBWI Utah/southern Idaho Facebook page and see if others want to form a group with you.


How do critique groups work?

There are several logistical choices available to a group.

PLACE and FREQUENCY: Some groups meet weekly, others monthly. Some are online groups. The group might have to try different meeting options to find what works best for that unique group of people. My critique group meets in one another's homes. I've been in other groups that meet in a public place or the home of just one group member or a mentor.

MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION: I've seen this issue handled dozens of ways. In one group we brought several copies of our submissions to the meeting, where each person would receive a copy to read along as the author read out loud. This was fun for me, as I love being read to, but it had some limitations as far as critiques. Reading aloud took up much of our meeting time, and the critiques usually weren't very in-depth, as the readers never had time to ponder or reread the piece. My current critique group sends in 1-2 chapters (we are all working on novels, so this works for us) about a week before the group meets. It is up to each group member to read all the submissions before coming to the meeting. Then we use our meeting time more efficiently, as we jump right into critiques. Some groups do only a few pages of each manuscript each time, while others will do large chunks. How you handle this depends on a lot of factors, such as how many people are in the group, how much each person is writing between meetings, and how much time you have during a meeting. My group meets on Saturday evenings, so we can take more or less time if we feel like it. A group I used to be in met on Wednesday evenings and had only two hours to get through about eight manuscripts, so we were very focused and limited.

NUMBER OF PEOPLE: I think the ideal size of a critique group is somewhere between 3-8 people. More than that is just unwieldy in terms of having enough time to give each person a useful critique. You want at least three people so you have a diversity of opinions. I value the varied opinions of my critique group members, because if they ALL agree, I am pretty certain what needs to be revised. And if they don't all agree, I can pick and choose which approach I might take.

HOW TO CRITIQUE: This is the crucial piece. Some people like to focus on commas and spelling. That's not critique. I suggest focusing on questions. If something brings up a question for a reader, that is useful information for the author. If you're writing a mystery, those questions may be exactly what you're going for. On the other hand, maybe you thought you were being really clear, but the critiquers' questions indicate you need to do some revising to get at the clarity you want. Another way to look at the big picture is to think about the main elements like character, setting, plot, world building, etc. Sometimes it's fun to bring some useful exercises or information from any conference or workshop you've attended and focus on that element in all the manuscripts. The "sandwich" critique is always a nice way to approach a work: say the things you like in the manuscript, then concentrate on problem areas, then end with more nice things.

CHOOSING/ADDING MEMBERS: Our critique group is straightforward and sometimes ruthless. We are all veteran critiquers who are used to the give and take of brutal critique (not mean or harsh, but just absolutely honest), and not everyone is up for that. Some people have less thick skins and require a softer approach. We screen any potential new members to make sure they are up for our kind of blunt critique. If everyone can be honest about what they are ready for, it helps. I find it's also helpful if all the members of the group are writing in the same genre--such as picture books or YA. One magazine writer in a group I used to be in felt like her two pages each month versus everyone else's full chapter was just not a fair give and take. She was not the best fit for the group.

My best advice is to find a group of fellow children's writers and jump in. Be patient with each other and with the process as you find your way as a unit. If you feel like you don't know what you're doing, maybe occasionally bring in a more experienced author for some mentoring, or do some research. There are plenty of books on starting critique groups. Attending conferences and workshops will also teach you skills that will help you improve your critiquing skills.

by Neysa CM Jensen
in Boise, Idaho


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3. Love being a Writer in Canberra!

Susanne Gervay 5.00 am early start – dragging myself out of bed – even chicken was squawking.

5.30 am – destination our capital city – hop in the BOOTIE-MOBILE – also known as my car.

Sun shining, car purring, radio on as I drive out of Sydney into the countryside with yellow fields of sunflowers and baa-ing sheep, eventually along Lake George to spring lined streets of Canberra -  It’s glorious being a writer on the road.

First stop ACT State Library to a packed  group of enthusiastic kids writing about – Werewolves, Wizards & Writers.

ACT Writers Centre with Tracey Hawkins and SCBWIL CAMERANext stop, Poppy’s Cafe at the National War Memorial listening to bagpipes while discussing everything with SCBWI Coordinator for ACT/Camberra – author Tracey Hawkings.

SCBWI Australia East and new Zealand at The Hughenden

Then it’s the SCBWI Event at the ACT Writers Centre with the dynamic SCBWI ACT crowd – including authors Tania McCartney, Irma Gold (brilliant short story writer), best selling author Gina Newton, historical author Pauline Deeves, script writer Lina Silva and other committed authors and illustrators. It was great fun , great nibbles, great enthusiasm for creating story.

Saturday was brilliant – the ACT Writers Centre at Gorman House is old world with a lilac lined courtyard and Saturday markets and music – and I had the pleasure of running a short story course with some extraordinary writers.

Caught up with SSuzanne Kiraly and Susanne Gervayuzanne Kiraly at Tilley’s Cafe where we talked writing and about the Literature festival Suzanne is organising 28 Feb next year – it’ll be brilliant.

Drove home through fields and sunshine.

Can’t wait to visit Canberra again.

The post Love being a Writer in Canberra! appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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4. Piles o’ Books

If you, like me, missed Kidlitcon this past weekend, Leila has a delicious recap & link roundup for you at Bookshelves of Doom. I haven’t been since 2010, the Minneapolis gathering, and I had many a pang of longing as the tweets and FB updates came rolling in. But it was delightful to see so many of my blog-pals having what was clearly a Very Good Time.

One reason I couldn’t be there is because I was engaged to speak at SCBWI-San Diego on Saturday. (The other reason is because I have a hundred children and am therefore Always Broke. You know how it is.) I’m happy to say my SCBWI talk seemed to go over very well. The topic was Middle-Grade and Chapter Books, two categories of children’s publishing I can speak about with considerable enthusiasm. What’s more fun than speaking to a full house about your very favorite books? The crowd was wonderful, with really smart questions afterward. The only thing that could have made it more fun would have been having the Kidlitcon crowd there. :)

Sunday felt amazingly luxurious: nothing was required of me but to read. This was convenient, as the nominee tally in my CYBILs category is currently 100 novels, with more contenders coming in every day. Only two more days, guys, until the public nomination period closes. People are starting to compile lists of worthy books that haven’t yet been nominated; you can find links to those posts here.

Speaking of piles of books, the younger set and I finished The Boxcar Children over the weekend (it’s a mighty quick read) and today it fell upon to me choose the next readaloud. Sometimes I know EXACTLY what book I want to reach for next, and other times I have option paralysis. Today was the latter sort of occasion. I got Rose to go around the house with me, pulling likely candidates off shelves, and when we had a comfortable stack, I decided on a Jane-Rose-Beanie favorite, Rowan of Rin. Chapter one was well received. I’ve never read this one aloud before, and there’s always a risk—some great books just don’t make great readalouds. But so far, so good. So gripping!

readalouds

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5. An Interview with Lin Oliver on SCBWI’S Emerging Voices Award

On this blog we’ve often discussed our own New Voices and New Visions awards for unpublished authors of color. Today we wanted to spotlight another great award specifically for authors of color: the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

scbwi Emerging Voices Award

The On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award is a grant created to “foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books.” It offers two writers or writer/illustrators from under-represented backgrounds the chance to receive:

  • An all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles August 1-4, 2015 (transportation and hotel)
  • Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference
  • A manuscript consultation at the Summer Conference with an industry professional
  • An additional meeting with an industry professional
  • Tuition to the Summer Conference Writers or Illustrators Intensive
  • A press release

We interviewed Lin Oliver, Executive Director of SCBWI, about the creation of the award and the role of SCBWI in diversifying the world of children’s book publishing.

When was the Emerging Voices Award established?

The SCBWI Emerging Voices Award was established in 2012, with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation.  The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. Each year, we select two writers or writer-illustrators for an all expense paid trip to the summer SCBWI conference, which includes a manuscript consultation and additional mentoring.  Qualified applicants must be from an ethnic or cultural background that is under-represented in children’s literature in America, such as Black or African-Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, American Indians or Asian-Americans.

Why did the SCBWI decide to establish the award?
The SCBWI is committed to encouraging the creation of a diverse body of literature for children. We believe that all children should be able to see themselves on the page and all readers will benefit from participating in diverse experiences through literature.  The representation of many cultures of ethnicities is vastly under-represented in today’s marketplace, and we hope this Award is a step to correcting that situation.

Have any past Emerging Voices winners gone on to receive publication contracts or publish books?

The award is still very young—there were three winners in 2012, and two in 2013.  As of now, all five winners are having their work-in-progress shared with editors and agents in the field.  There are no sales to report yet, but we feel confident that their work is in professional hands and receiving every possible consideration.

Emerging Voices Award winners

From L to R: Martin Schmitt, award winner Jennifer Baker, award winner Dow Phumiruk, and Sue Ganz-Schmitt

How do you perceive the SCBWI’s role in the greater movement for more diverse children’s books?

As the largest organization of children’s book writers and illustrators, we believe we play a leadership role in the movement to increase diversity in our field. We always make sure that the faculties of our national conferences include publishers, agents, authors and illustrators of diverse backgrounds.  We encourage our members to support and promote books from these publishers, authors and illustrators.  We often publish articles and papers about the role of diversity in children’s books, and work with other organizations such as the Children’s Book Council, First Book and We Need Diverse Books who are involved in this important initiative.

We all acknowledge the need to support aspiring authors of color, but their eventual success will be determined by the marketplace.  It is crucial that the these books prove to be not only artistic and social successes, but also commercially viable.From your perspective at the SCBWI, what are a few of the biggest obstacles that you see aspiring authors of color facing?

We all acknowledge the need to support aspiring authors of color, but their eventual success will be determined by the marketplace.  It is crucial that the these books prove to be not only artistic and social successes, but also commercially viable.  This is a challenge not just for children’s books but for our whole society—-we need to all show interest in and embrace all the diverse cultures that make up America.

Has the SCBWI taken any other steps to promote diversity among its membership?

In addition to the Emerging Voices Award, we have a special category in our Work in Progress Awards for multi-cultural books.  Many of our scholarships have been awarded to students of color. And our Amber Brown Grant sends authors to low-income schools who have never been able to afford an author visit.

How can publishers and the SCBWI work together to create a more inclusive industry?

In the past year, the We Need Diverse Books campaign has done a wonderful job of creating awareness of the lack of diversity in our field. That is the first step. The SCBWI will continue to provide opportunities for publishers to discover new talent. The publishers need to put forth their best effort to publish those books, and together, the SCBWI and the publishing community need to market those books and help bring them to the forefront in the consumer consciousness.

More information about The Society of Children’s Book Writers and all of its programs can be found at scbwi.org.  Please visit us.


Filed under: Awards, Diversity 102, Diversity, Race, and Representation, Publishing 101, Writer Resources Tagged: Emerging Voices Award, SCBWI, writers of color, writing contests, writing resources

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6. SCBWI SPARK AWARD – Self Published Books

The Spark Award is an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.


 

THE INAUGURAL SPARK AWARD WINNERS

 

Deadline:  Books may be submitted between September 15th and December 15th, 2014 for books published in the 2014 calendar year. Books published in previous years and re-issues are ineligible. Books submitted outside of that period will not be considered. You may only submit one title each award period.

Award: The winner and honor recipients will receive: a Spark seal to display on their book;  commemorative plaque; the opportunity to have their book featured and autographed at an SCBWI conference of their choosing during the year the award is won, featured in the SCBWI online bookstore and publicized through SCBWI social networking sites. The winners will also get the opportunity to attend any conference of their choice tuition free (other than for extras such as critiques and intensives).  Winners will be announced in March 2015.

Guidelines:

1. You must be a current SCBWI member with membership current through April of the following year to apply.  If you are a member now but your membership is scheduled to expire before that time, you will need to renew your membership in order to be eligible for the award.

2. Both the author and illustrator (if the illustrator’s name appears on the book) must be members to apply.

3. You must have published a book intended for the children’s or YA market in one of the following categories: Board Book, Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, or Young Adult.

4. The book may be fiction or nonfiction.

5. The book should have been self-published either through an established self-publishing enterprise or individually self-published.  The book cannot have been previously published in any print or digital form prior to the self-published form.

6. SCBWI reserves the right to disqualify books published by enterprises that we believe, in our discretion, operate in a predatory or unbusiness-like manner.

7. The entry must be submitted in traditionally bound form, contain an ISBN number, and provide evidence of Copyright Registration.

Evidence of Copyright Registration can be an electronic recipt or email showing you filed with the US Copyright office. If your book originated outside the US you must follow the copyright laws in your country.

8. All applicants must include a cover letter with your name, the name of your book, the genre of your book, the publishing method for your book (including the name of any editor/copyeditor/designer who was retained in the creation of the book), your book’s ISBN and a synopsis of your book.

9. Applicants must submit one copy of a printed and bound copy of the book and a cover letter to SCBWI via a traceable mailing method (i.e. FedEx, UPS, US or International Mail with tracking number). Please do not double package your book.

Send copies to:
SCBWI Spark Award
8271 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Please note that books submitted will not be returned.

10. One winner and two Honor Book recipients will be chosen in two categories:

Novels: This includes: young adult, middle grade and chapter books

Picture Books: This includes: board books, picture books, readers, and fully illustrated novelty books.

There will be two rounds of judging. The first round will be judged by an SCBWI panel; the second round will be judged by a panel selected from industry editors, agents, authors, illustrators and/or booksellers.

11. Books may be entered for either the Spark Award or The Golden Kite Award, but not both.

12. Judging will be based on a number of criteria, including but not limited to: quality of writing and concept, quality of illustrations (if applicable), professional presentation, editing and design, appropriateness of content for the targeted age group of the book.

SCBWI reserves the right not to award a SPARK AWARD in any given year.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, children writing, Competition, need to know, opportunity Tagged: SCBWI, Self Published Authors, Self Published Books, Spark Award

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7. What are agents looking for? – David Thorpe

I had the pleasure last month of attending the Agents' Party at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London, organised by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

It was called a party, but I'd say that's stretching the term; despite the free wine and nibbles, gratefully received, this was a place to pay full attention.

The agents attending were a good cross-section. Those on the panel were:

  • Ella Kahn DKW Literary Agency
  • Jo Williamson Antony Harwood Ltd
  • Julia Churchill A.M. Heath Literary Agents
  • Lauren Pearson Curtis Brown
  • Penny Holroyde Caroline Sheldon Literary Agents
  • Yasmin Standen Standen Literary Agency.

There were also other agents in the room:
  • Alice Williams David Higham Associates
  • Bryony Woods DKW Literary Agency
  • Elizabeth Briggs LAW Literary Agents
  • Eve White and Jack Ramm Eve White Literary Agent
  • Hannah
 Whitty Plum Pudding Illustration
  • Louise Burns Andrew Mann Literary Agency.
In the assembly were up to 80 of us writers and illustrators. On the way in we were handed two badges to fill in and stick onto our clothing: one saying our name, and the other our favourite children's character.

I spotted at least one person who'd chosen a character from their own book. There's confidence for you.

Who did I choose? – Skellig, the brilliant creation from David Almond's beautiful novel, a broken winged human found in a garden shed who, maybe, has miraculous powers. I thought he might bring me good luck.

Thus protected, I entered the airy new seminar room on the top floor of the wonderful new bookshop (they've moved a few doors down the hill away from the Crossrail engineering works. I went to the old bookshop first by mistake – shows how long since I was last there!)

(ASIDE: I remember the days when Foyles was completely disorganised, full of dusty piles of randomly assorted books that the overworked staff never got around to sorting out. If you wanted a book, it could take you days to burrow through them, like looking for a diamond in a snow drift, you'd have to take a whole week off work. While the old bookshop was definitely Dickensian, the new one is well into the 21st-century.)

Yes! There were a few familiar faces, very nice to see some old friends I hadn't seen for ages. (I confess I am a lapsed SCBWI-er, recently returned to the fold.)

So first of all there was a panel with Nick Cook as the ringleader, and lots of questions being asked about what agents are looking for, and how they make their choices, and then we could queue up to talk to them individually.

Here's what I took away from it:

In the younger age group, humour is popular and perhaps something with a strong literary bent. Others are looking for something more quirky, but above all they are looking for a powerful voice, something with attitude, strong and moving. Some of them were looking for a paranormal story, some for something with lots of twists.

Other keywords for older readers included dark, emotional,  historical, with flow, written from the heart, and another interesting thing was said by Ella: "I know it's ready to be submitted to a publisher when I get lost in it".

That is really important in the context of answering the question: "When do I submit? – Either to a publisher or an agent". The answer is, don't send it in until you are absolutely sure it is ready for publication; is it in the form that you would like to see it in print? Because if it is, then the agent or editor receiving it will stop looking for mistakes and become absorbed, as if they were reading a book that had already been published.

And then all the agent has to do is send it straight off to their favourite editor. With absolutely no work for them. What could be better?

In connection with this, another piece of advice was: take your time. There's no rush to submit, not even when an agent gets back to you and suggests some changes. It's far better to get it right than to get right back.

That certainly good advice and probably the best thing I took away from it.

Website: davidthorpe.info. My new book, Stormteller, is out at the end of the month.

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8. SCBWI Alive with Deb Abela, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Liz, Anelli, Jennifer Reid more

jumping dogIt was so much SCBWI news at The Hughenden for the SCBWI and excellent sandwiches too – even glutten-free!

Liz Anelli  intrepid explorer made it back after her Outback on a sketch trek for her new book. She crahsed and ended up on crutches.

I think she tripped over a wild dog in the Outback.

Luckily she made it to the SCBWI event at The Hughenden- all the way from Newcastle!

Deb Abela’s celebrating her brand new book – a companion book to the best selling dystopian novel Grimsden. It’s the brilliant NEW CITY (Random house) – a must read if you want to save the environment and the world.

Mark Thomason arrived from his many trips abroad – he’s having too much of a good time – hey but he’s back and writing again.

IMargaret Roc and Marjorie Crosby Fairall t was wonderful that Jennifer Reid President of the CBCA Western Sydney branch – so good to see her and she has her first book out!!!  Kooky Pants.

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall slipped the news that she’s illustrating for the iconic School Magazine!!!!  Well, what would you expect from this talented illustrator. Next week we hang her artwork from Croc and the Platypus in the Hughenden Illustrator Gallery.

Margaret Roc, Deb Abela and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall had spent the afternoon on plans – BIG announcement – bookmark 17-20th July 2016 for the next International SCBWI Conference at The Hughenden!

The post SCBWI Alive with Deb Abela, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Liz, Anelli, Jennifer Reid more appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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9. Setting Your Characters Free - From Book to Film and back again


Bindi Irwin as Nim, from Return to Nim's Island movie poster
I know that tying in a film to a book sequel sounds like the writer’s equivalent of a first world problem, but in fact we always need to be aware of how much we are, or want to be, swayed by other people’s comments and interpretations, from editors to illustrators, cover artists and even readers. I didn’t actually plan Nim as an eco-warrior, but the way that she and Jack live means that she’s interpreted as one. It seems so logical to me now that I have to remind myself it simply evolved naturally, as it probably would have if she were real.














My only physical description of Nim in any of the books is ‘her hair is wild and her eyes are bright.’ But of course I have my own vision of her:  a wiry, dark haired, almost elfin girl, and I kept that through the first two books, even though I enjoyed imagining how Kerry Millard might illustrate something.


Kerry Millard's interpretation of Nim






Wendy Orr, Abigail Breslin, Kerry Millard
Then the films came, and there were real people, in flesh and blood, both the people I met off camera, and the way they were portrayed on screen and covers. By the time I started Rescue on Nim’s Island, I’d had 5 years of seeing Abigail Breslin being so completely Nim that it was difficult to return to my own vision.  
Abigail Breslin as Nim



It was only when I’d seen Bindi Irwin on location, portraying Nim differently but equally convincingly, that I could free myself up and remember my mantra that characters are however you interpret them: if they could both be Nim, my own vision could be too.


Bindi Irwin, Wendy Orr

It took me a while to find my way with Rescue on Nim’s Island  and that’s what I think is relevant to all of us. I had to really go back to basics instead of planning plots that I thought were terribly filmic, to which the film producer kept saying, ‘But that doesn’t really sound like you, or Nim.’ 
Geoff's Kelly interpretation of Nim


I had to slow down, dream around it, and gradually discover the story in the usual organic way that I work. I reread the first books and got into the rhythm. Nim is a year older in each book, and I felt that she was growing naturally. She’s still herself. She’s more quick-tempered than either Abbie or Bindi are in real life, though slightly less pugnacious than the Nim of the second film. She’s the girl that was obviously born of some part of me, when I started writing her in 1998. Or maybe further back, when I wrote the prototype when I was 9. So if there’s a moral, I think it’s simply, let your characters grow and develop, but always be true to who they are at core.

*This is an edited excerpt of a talk I gave at the SCBWI meeting at Flinders on 6 September, 2014.

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10. Review – The Billy That Died with its Boots On

Grade Four Brief: fill an entire exercise book with a collection of poetry based on the theme ‘Don’t’. ‘I hear don’t much more than do. I think that’s sad, how about you?’ was my interpretation of the theme. It featured on every page. Outcome: I filled the book, each page boasting original arrangements of strangled […]

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11. Doodles from the 2014 Midsouth SCBWI Conference

My complete recap of the 2014 Conference is over at Once Upon A Sketch. The conference also got some great coverage in Publishers Weekly and of course there's the conference blog.

Instead of rewriting my notes here (when you can find those fabulous details at the places above,) I'm just going to show off some character sketches for a work-in-progress I did while listening to the speakers.






























Also I won a little award again. At this point saying I was honored with the top illustration prize two years in a row feels a little like bragging. But it's my blog so I'm gonna;) This year the conference gave an honorable mention as well to my friend and fellow Nashville illustrator, Cat York.

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12. SCBWI Carolina’s Annual Event

Getting to Charlotte

Note to self…Charlotte North Carolina  is not 2 1/2 hours from Cary North Carolina its actually closer to 3 and the best time to figure that out is not 3 hours before you are due at an event. Luckily the sun was shining down on me and Siri guided me to my destination, arriving at a crisp 1:55. Just in time to walk in, grab a faculty badge and sit down at my table to review portfolios. And so it went through almost the entire weekend from one event to another until the late hours of the night. I had no idea what a jam packed weekend I was in for. 

It was super cool getting to meet everyone, after months of preparation, and to finally put some names to faces. Our breakout session came late in Friday. It seemed like the hour went by too quickly and we just barely had a chance to scratch the surface. Luckily Deb, Vanessa and I had a handout that went into much more detail than we were able to cover. I believe the pdf version will be available online soon for members to download. 

The WIN Group

We were finally able to announce our new WIN group which will be available to members soon. WIN of course stands for working illustrators network. If you are an illustrator and a member (or are considering becoming a member) of SCBWI than this group is for you. I will be writing more about the group in the weeks to come so stay tuned for some really great stuff you are not going to want to miss this.

I’ve got some crazy deadlines to catch up on this week so here are just a few more quick thoughts on the event before I sign off.

  • Met some great new friends
  • The accommodations were excellent 
  • Everyone was super friendly and super helpful 
  • The days were filled with activity starting at 7:30am and continuing until 10pm (and a little bit later for the the crew of friendly illustrators I had traded laughs with at the hotel bar)
  • I am looking into starting a new art group here in the Raleigh area for those who are interested. (More on that at a later date)
  • The Tom Carvell impression still kills at parties and events
  • I’m very happy and thankful for being invited to participate as a faculty member this year and hope to see everyone again next year.
  • Thank you so much to everyone who went out of their way to make me feel welcome and help me navigate my first ever SCBWI event.

Oh one more quick reminder. My adobe Illustrator class starts this week at Wake Tech so if you are interested in learning this program hop on over to the wake tech website and do what all the super cool. kids are doing sign up for my class. You only have one more day so hurry!!!!

photo scbwi carolinas event 1 photo scbwi carolinas event 4 photo scbwi carolinas event 5 photo scbwi carolinas event 3 photo scbwi carolinas event 2

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13. SCBWI Carolina’s Week

photo scbwi week materialPortfolio.

Well this week is all about the SCBWI portfolio. I’ve got the printer inked up and ready to roll. I have to admit I feel like I’m stepping back in time a little with an actual printed portfolio, its been so long since I’ve shown one I almost feel like a kid again. Twenty three skidoo!!! 

Getting all this stuff ready is a lot of work so I decided to use InDesign to help make the process a little easier. If you’ve never used the program you’d be amazed at how well it streamlines a task like printing out a portfolio. As I was  working it occurred to me that this would be a great opportunity to share how easy this program makes something like putting together a portfolio. So, as soon as I get back home next week I’m going to put together a little demo and pop it up over on BobTeachesArt.com. Those of you who have used the program know exactly what I’m talking about. Those of you who haven’t are in for a treat.

zazzle tshirt comparison photoZazzle Quality Question

Before I sign off just wanted to ask all my readers a quick question. Has anyone here ever ordered anything through Zazzle? Particularly a dark colored T-shirt. I got mine back in the mail Saturday and the quality on that thing is very poor. I’m really hoping they were just having a bad day and we can get this straightened out because if this is the quality they produce on a consistent basis I would be very disappointed and very surprised. If you’ve had a similar experience please leave a comment and let me know how you resolved it and or if you were able to find a better solution. 
Thanks and see you in Charlotte!!!

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14. On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD

SCBWI Grant and Award Logos

The SCBWI established the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award in 2012 with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books.


Deadline: 

Applications accepted between September 15th and November 15th, 2014

Award:

Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive:

  • An all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles August 1-4, 2015 (transportation and hotel)
  • Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference
  • A manuscript consultation at the Summer Conference with an industry professional
  • An additional meeting with an industry professional
  • Tuition to the Summer Conference Writers or Illustrators Intensive
  • A press release

 

Eligibility:

Any writer or writer/illustrator from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America. (American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)

The manuscript must be an original work written in English for young readers and may not be under contract.  The applicant must be over 18, be unpublished, and should not yet have representation.

Guidelines: 

All applications will be accepted via email only between September 15th and November 15th at Voices@scbwi.org and must include the following:

In the body of the e-mail:

1. An autobiographical statement and career summary in less than 250 words.

2. Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words.

3. A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words.

Attached to the e-mail:

4. A PDF of your entire manuscript.  If the manuscript is not complete, it is not eligible.

The winners will be announced December 19, 2014 and the award presented at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, August 1-4.

When your work is published the author/illustrator should include in the acknowledgement “This book was made possible in part by a grant from SCBWI”

VIEW PAST WINNERS

Questions? voices@scbwi.org

Good Luck! Remember you can not win if you don’t submit.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, Competition, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry Tagged: ethnic and/or cultural background, On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD, SCBWI, Two Awards

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15. Houston Area Writers’ Groups

Looking for a writing group in or around Houston? I don’t recall what made me start looking for these groups, but once I got started, I was amazed at how many organized writing groups there are in and around Houston. The groups listed here range from large organizations like SCBWI and The Writers’ Guild to small critique groups, and most of them  have writers of various genres. Many are open to new members, so if you see one in your area that looks like it might be a good fit for you, give them a holler.

Bay Area Writers League (BAWL)
Clear Lake Area Writers (CLAW)
CyFair Writers
Dawn Ireland’s Critique Group
Get Trapped In A Book Writers Group
Houston Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers
Houston Storytellers’ Guild
Houston Writers’ Group at Rice Village
Houston YA/MG Writers
Houston Writers’ Guild
Island Scribes
Monday Night Writers Houston
Mystery Writers of America
Northwest Houston Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers Workshop
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Texas Comic Creators Consortium
The Final Twist Writers
The Woodlands Writers Guild
The Write Stuff Houston
West Houston Writers Group
White Oak Writers
Write Inside the Loop
Writers and Storytellers Conroe Group
Writers of the Woodlands
Writers on the Storm, ACFW

Don’t quite fit with any of these groups? Grab a few friends and make your own! Name yourselves and get a blog. If you know of others (that have an internet presence) in or near Houston, let me know. I’ll revisit this page from time to time with updates.

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16. SCBWI – Crunch Time

Yes Readers, we are officially entering Keee-runch time for the SCBWI fall event and that means anything that needs to get printed or shipped has to happen this week or it starts costing extra. I’ve steadily been checking items off the list all weekend. 

  • Postcards
  • Connections requests sent out on LinkedIn
  • Big Giant Handout for breakout group

Only a couple more items and I’m good to go. If you can believe it I’m actually ahead of schedule on most of my check list items with the exception of announcing the wrong date on The Friday Hangouts show over at Drawn By Success. Not sure what I was thinking, this thing has only been in the works for the last 4 months. Must have had my wires crossed for a second there. I’m sure anyone who caught the episode is probably thinking that I’ll be that guy standing in the lobby of the hotel on the wrong date wondering where everyone is, or worse yet that guy getting the panicky phone call from my co-presenters 15 minutes before the event wondering where I am. Don’t worry guys, I know the date and I’ll be there ready to go if my name isn’t
Cornelius VonBlatenshcnuoozen… the third.

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17. Illustrator Interview – Kathryn Ault Noble

I’m back with another Wednesday series of interviews with published and unpublished illustrators whose work I admire. So prepare to be wowed by the skill and fascinated by their process and passions as we get a glimpse into their lives … Continue reading

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18. KidLit Events Sept. 2-9

Fall events are off and rolling! Here’s what’s going on this week:

September 6, Saturday, 2:00 PMTHE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS by Skylar Dorset
Blue Willow Bookshop
Skylar Dorset, YA Author

Debut author Skylar Dorset will discuss and sign her novel for young adults, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. In Selkie’s family, you don’t celebrate birthdays. You don’t talk about birthdays. And you never, ever reveal your birth date. Until now. The instant Selkie blurts out the truth to Ben in the middle of Boston Common, her whole world shatters.

Because her life has been nothing but a lie—an elaborate enchantment meant to conceal the truth: Selkie is a half-faerie princess. And her mother wants her dead.

September 8, Monday, 7:00 PMARMY CAMELS: TEXAS SHIPS OF THE DESERT by Doris Fisher
Tracy Gee Community Center
SCBWI Houston
Doris Fisher, Children’s Author

Doris Fisher, won the Crystal Kite Award for the Texas/Oklahoma Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators region this year for her book, ARMY CAMELS, TEXAS SHIPS OF THE DESERT. Doris will talk a little about her writing journey, so don’t miss hearing her story. Also, local writers who attended the National SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles this month will share what they learned from the many breakout sessions and keynotes.

September 9, Tuesday, 6:00 P.M.A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by Sandy Hall
Katy Budget Books
Sandy Hall, YA Author

Teen librarian Sandy Hall signs her debut YA romance novel, A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT, which was selected as the first novel to be published by Swoon Reads, a crowd-sourced teen romance imprint. This sweet romance between two college students is told from 14 different viewpoints. The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together.

Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it.

Please remember to check the website of the sponsoring bookstore or organization for the most up-to-date information on these events.

 

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19. Writers and Illustrators Across the World ~SCBWI LA

Emma Dryden, Susanne Gervay, Ellen Hopkins at SCBWI LA ConferenceLeaders meeting at SCBWI LALove, love, love the amazing, exhilerating community of children’s book writers and illustrators and publishing industry. You have to go to the SCBWI Conference Los Angeles once.

It’s truly about friends across the globe – with our Internationals led by author Kathleen Ahrens in Hong Kong and the Assistant international author Angela Cerrito in Germany …..

get to meet some of your idols like Judy Bloom, NY Times best selling author Ellen Hopkins, amazing illustrator Mo Willems, huge series author Bruce Coville  and so many more … and many agents and publishers.

The best part – the Saturday night PARTY – and yes, everyone sang like the SCBWI Conference in Sydney at The Hughenden.

 

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20. Recharging my batteries

In the summertime, I need to rest. I usually like to step away from the computer (and other glowing screens) and use my time to paint, write, catch up with friends, go places and look around. Sit under a really big flower. Do whatever I need to do to recharge my batteries. 

One of the results of my happily splashing about in stories and paints was the image above. Part of an ongoing series, it emerged in the usual ways — cut paper, monoprint and oils ...first the character and the sketchy background:
And a few quick tests for tonal values and color choices:

And then (as it is summer), I left all methodicalness behind and waded in with my arms flailing. Trial and error, intuition, exploration— a great pleasure, but they are things that I sometimes can't afford when the meter's running and the deadline's looming. Of course the result is never guaranteed, but I liked this one so much I made it into postcards:
Just in time, too—I wanted to mail them out and give them to people I see at events. Which brings me to the SCBWI Conference: the other thing I do to recharge my batteries in the summer. I went to my first one out of curiosity a year ago — with unexpected, life-changing results! And ever since then, I've been going every chance I get. Each time I come away exhausted, happy and inspired—seeing old friends and new, questions/answers/feedback swirling around. Learning learning learning! And above all, the workshops and the talks leave me motivated, stimulated, challenged, and encouraged. And apparently incapable of choosing a single adjective. 

My batteries are now recharged — bring it on!!

PS. You can read more about it on this piece from today's Publishers Weekly, and on the SCBWI Blog (don't miss the clip from the gala party — thousands of illustrators and writers poolside, celebrating Tomie de Paola's birthday!)

Happy what's-left-of-summer....

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21. Summer Scenes

Although sometimes SUMMER is a time to slow down and take a look at the wonders close by


it can also be a time for new adventures

like listening to animated author BRUCE COVILLE discuss plot at the SCBWI CONFERENCE in LA,




or building the TALLEST tower in the world

or experiencing a brand new TASTE.



Ever since I can remember, SUMMER has been a special time for me--colorful BEGINNINGS...

new PATHS explored... 


new BOOKS read...






and fond FAREWELLS.


I hope YOU have found WONDER and EXCITEMENT this summer, especially in the pages of a SPECIAL BOOK -- or two or ten. 

Here's to more SUNNY DAYS and lots more GREAT SUMMER READS!





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22. Introducing NONE OF THE ABOVE, a debut novel by my friend, I.W. Gregorio

In November 2009, Ariel Levy, a New Yorker writer, wrote an essay about the runner Caster Semenya ("Either/Or"). She was South African, a world champion, a "natural." She had a body built for speed, a body, Levy tells us, that got some whispers started:

Semenya is breathtakingly butch. Her torso is like the chest plate on a suit of armor. She has a strong jawline, and a build that slides straight from her ribs to her hips. “What I knew is that wherever we go, whenever she made her first appearance, people were somehow gossiping, saying, ‘No, no, she is not a girl,’ ” Phineas Sako said, rubbing the gray stubble on his chin. “ ‘It looks like a boy’—that’s the right words—they used to say, ‘It looks like a boy.’ Some even asked me as a coach, and I would confirm: it’s a girl. At times, she’d get upset. But, eventually, she was just used to such things.” Semenya became accustomed to visiting the bathroom with a member of a competing team so that they could look at her private parts and then get on with the race. “They are doubting me,” she would explain to her coaches, as she headed off the field toward the lavatory.

I remember reading this story front to back the day that issue of The New Yorker arrived. I felt compassion—that's what I felt—for a young athlete who was working hard and running fast and doubted. For a human being who'd had nothing to say about the nature of the body she'd been born with, who was living out the dream she had, who was being dogged and thwarted by questions. Caster Semenya was a runner. She had committed no crime. And yet there was her story—in headlines, in gossip. What were her choices, after all?

Later this year, I.W. Gregorio, a beloved physician, a former student of one of my dearest friends (Karen Rile), a joyous presence at many book launches and festivals, and a leading voice in the We Need Diverse Books initiative that has packed rooms at the BEA and the LA SCBWI, will launch a book called NONE OF THE ABOVE. This YA novel is about a high school runner—a beautiful girl with a boyfriend, a popular teen—who finds herself having this conversation with the physician who has examined her:

-->
"So, Kristin," Dr. Shah said, "In that ultrasound I just did I wasn't able to find your uterus – your womb – at all."
"What do you mean?" I stared at her blankly.
"I want you to think back to all your visits to doctors in the past. Did anyone ever mention anything to you about something called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, or AIS?"
"No," I said, panic rising. "What is that? It's not some kind of cancer, is it?"
"Oh, no," Dr. Shah said. "It's not anything like that. It's just a...a unique genetic syndrome that causes an intersex state - where a person looks outwardly like a female, but has some of the internal characteristics of a male."
"What do you mean, internal? Like my brain?" My chest tightened. What else could it be?
Dr. Shah's mouth opened, but then she paused, as if she wasn't sure whether she should go on. I was still trying to understand what she'd said, so I focused on her mouth as if that would allow me to understand better. I noticed that her lip-liner was a shade too dark for her lipstick. "Kristin. Miss Lattimer," she said. Why was she being so formal all the sudden?
"I think that you may be..." Dr. Shah stopped again and fingered nervously at the lanyard of her ID badge, and at her awkwardness I felt a sudden surge of sympathy toward her. So I swallowed and put on my listening face, and was smiling when Dr. Shah gathered herself and, on the third try, said what she had to say. 
"Miss Lattimer, I think that you might be what some people call a 'hermaphrodite.'"
What do the words mean? What does the diagnosis tell Kristin about who she really is? How will it change her life, what medical choices does she have, who will love the "who" of her? These are the questions Gregorio sensitively and compellingly addresses as this story unfolds—bit by bit, choice by choice, reckoning by reckoning. It takes a physician of Gregorio's knowledge and skill to tell this story. It takes, as well, a compassionate heart, and Ilene has that in spades. Ilene has not written this story to exploit. She has written it so that others might understand a condition that is more common than we think, a dilemma many young people and their parents face.

We Need More Diverse Books, and None of the Above is one of them. I share my blurb for Gregorio's book here, and wish her greatest success as her story moves into the world.

Like the beloved physician she is, I.W Gregorio brings rare knowledge and acute empathy to the illumination of an anatomical difference—and to the teens who discover, in the nick of time, the saving grace of knowing and being one’s truest self. A book unlike any other.

— Beth Kephart, author of Going Over and Small Damages

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23. An Interview with Author Marlena Zapf: Part I

Earlier this month I attended the annual summer conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), where I   so enjoyed hearing a variety of publication success stories, especially those of debut picture book authors and illustrators like Pat Zietlow Millerand Aaron BeckerToday another debut picture book author   -- Marlena Zapf -- is joining us to tell us about her own unique journey to publication. Marlena's book Underpants Dance, with exuberant illustrations by Lynne Avril, was published by Dial in April of this year. It is the story of Lily McBloom, who loves her brand-new underpants so much that she makes up a special dance to show them off. As it turns outs, she loves her underpants so much that she even takes her fancy new dance on the road -- with both hilarious and heartwarming consequences.

Congratulations on your picture book debut! Can you tell us a little bit about how Underpants Dance came to be?

Of course! When I wrote Underpants Dance and chose not to include an ending in which the protagonist “learns her lesson” in the traditional way, I knew not every editor would be jumping to publish it. So what did I do? Research  -- just like SCBWI and every children’s book editor will tell you to do. And it paid off.

Here is what I did. I found out that Steve Meltzer was the Dutton editor for Walter the Farting Dog, and I figured if he likes farting dogs he might be okay with underpants, too. So I followed Dutton’s submission guidelines and sent him a query. He sent back a note asking me to email the manuscript, which I did. Then I waited…almost a whole year. Now, I’ve worked in publishing and know how busy things get. I had a good hunch that the email with my manuscript was lost for good. I also knew that Steve probably had an assistant who read all his mail. So I decided to send a hard copy with a letter politely explaining the situation. Lo and behold, the assistant did find my manuscript, and after some further editorial gymnastics, I ended up with editor Liz Waniewski at Dial and a book contract with my name on it.

Wow. That’s a great story of research and persistence paying off! If we go back in time a little further, what initially inspired you to write Underpants Dance?

I used to be a reading editor at a big school publisher. One thing you need to understand about school publishers is that they put lots of money into developing textbooks that they hope to sell all across the country. And because they need to appeal to a broad market in order to make their sales and not go bankrupt, they can’t offend anybody. So, if a state such as, oh, Texas for instance, declares it won’t acquire any textbooks that include stories about children who defy authority, well then a publisher sure as heck isn’t going to include that kind of story in its program. (Never mind that LOTS can be learned and enjoyed from stories about protagonists who misbehave and make mistakes. Luckily we have awesome librarians to direct kids to those books.) This corporate culture of self-censorship ran counter to my often contrary, somewhat rebellious, nature. And that is where the story of my story begins...


As it happened, I was in this big important publishing meeting where experts were discussing the kinds of stories we should commission. I recall something about well-behaved children who always wear their bicycle helmets and gleefully eat peas…no kidding. Two thoughts went through my mind:

1. What if a REAL child walked into this room right now? These people wouldn’t know what to do with her (especially if she were my cousin’s three-year-old daughter, who was going through her eschewing-any-and-all-clothing phase).

2. What if I jumped up onto the conference table right now and danced in my underpants?

But neither of these things happened. What happened was that I quietly nibbled a dried-up lemon danish and nodded politely while a little girl named Lily McBloom wandered into my thoughts. And she started doing everything that the children in the textbook stories weren’t supposed to do. Then, when the meeting was over, I went back to my desk and wrote the story’s first lines.

Way to go for following your heart! What was the most exciting part of the publication process for you after that?

I guess for me it was when Underpants Dance was finally released. The publication of my first book was a LOOOOOOOOONG process. It was delayed a bunch of times. I think it took about a decade from beginning to end. I’m hoping the publication of my next books won’t take quite so long.

Speaking of your next books, do you have any projects in the works that you can tell us about? I hope they will be in print soon, too!

I’ve written more stories about Lily and Lily’s sister Marigold, but my publisher is waiting to see how Underpants Dance sells before committing to something like a series. This is how publishing works now. So, if you like Underpants Dance and want to see more of Lily, please spread the word!

I’m also working on a middle grade fantasy series inspired by a quote from Joseph Campbell: “There are no models in our mythology for an individual woman’s quest.” Actually, I believe that a new mythology is being created right now, in our time, by authors, storytellers, filmmakers, and especially girls and women themselves. That’s a party I can’t help but join.

If you’d like to hear more from Marlena, stay tuned for Part II of our interview. Next week we’ll be chatting about Marlena's background in movement and how she’ll be incorporating it into her author visits for Underpants Dance!

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24. ZAC the YAK at SCBWI at CBCA BIG BOOK DAY OUT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAZac the YAK from  Room to Read romps in for CBCA’s BIG BOOK DAY OUT with so many wonderful authors, illustrators, storytelling, SCBWI, jumping castle, barbecue and more … what a brilliant day!

The SCBWI stand was buzzing with Ben Johnston’s hands-on workshop Engibear Series

Margaret Roc’s BIG JELLYBEAN competition.

Lesley Gibbs launch to the very scary very funny picture book SCARY NIGHT.

The hilarious Mike Lefroy entertaining kids with talented illustrator Liz Anelli – HOWZAT!

Wilderness Fairies flapping through the Fair – Jodie Wells-Slowgrove!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOliver Phommavanh at BIG BOOK DAY OUTSOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAue Whiting’s Firefighters with kids in firemen raincoats!  Kids loved it.

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s workshop with The Croc and The Platypus – so creative!

Wendy Blaxland brilliant play about Blaxland’s Crossing” …. and much more … authors  Sandy Fussell, Deborah Abela, Kate Forsyth, Belinda Murrell, Oliver

Ben Johnston ENGIBEARS at BIG BOOK DAY OUTPhommavanh ….. a feast of creators.

Even more fun with the CBCA Newcastle and Sydney West regions with Jennifer Trad Reid and Katrina McKelvey.

What a day!

 

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25. Part 4 – SCBWI and Getting Lost in the Woods

picture of Bob Ostrom at Umstead State Park Vanessa, Deb and I have come up with an amazing handout we will be presenting to all the illustrators who join us at the SCBWI fall conference in Charlotte. This thing has turned into quite a large project. It’s basically a guide to running your own art business. Working with Deb and Vanessa has been so much fun. I always look forward to our Wednesday meetings. Since we’re almost at crunch time this weekend was dedicated to getting the layout together. I’ve been capitalizing on all my mad InDesign skills to come up with a rocking layout for you guys. Can’t wait to share it with you.

Saturday as I was working on the design I came to a section where we focus on health, handling stress and taking care of yourself. Part of staying healthy means not spending marathon sessions at the desk without a break or exercise. That’s when I realized I had been sitting at my desk for a marathon InDesign session. I decided I should take my own advice and get outside for a run to enjoy the beautiful afternoon.

My favorite kind of running is on a trail in the woods where I can be alone and decompress. There are some great trails near my house at a huge park called Umstead. These trails go for miles. I planned to run for about a half hour…easy-peasy in and out then back to work. I love is to run trails I haven’t run before so I picked a new one that I hadn’t tried yet. I’ve only run at Umstead a handful of times so most of the trails are new to me. This one was amazing and started out by following a deep wide stream. Umstead is quickly becoming a favorite place to run.

illustration of cartoon alligator by Bob Ostrom

Work in progress for the SCBWI fall conference.

Anyway to make a long story short I got a little turned around as I made my way along some very long unfamiliar paths. Not knowing exactly where I was I ended up running pretty deep into the woods and spending much more time there than I had intended. MUCH more time. In fact let’s just put it thus way if I had been in there any longer, I probably would have made the evening news as one of those, old guy lost in the woods search and rescue stories. It was a humbling experience but yes, I made it out alive and am all the better for it. By my best estimate I probably ended up running for about 3 or 4 miles and then walking around 63 miles. You would think I’d be discouraged but honestly I can’t wait to go back and run it again. Well, not the exact same trail but this time however I think I’ll print out a map before I go… and maybe pack a flare gun just in case.

Here is a little piece I’ve been working on to help promote Bob Ostrom Studio at the event. Once this campaign is complete I’ll post it here on the site for those of you who aren’t able to attend this year.

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