Your October 2021 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Monday, November 1 7-9 PM
Next Meeting: Monday, December 6 7-9 PM
Please join us on the first Monday of every month from 7-9 p.m. on Zoom until meetings are resumed at the Tracy Gee Community Center,
3599 Westcenter, Houston.
Yahoo Listserv has ended. STAY in the loop by joining the new listserv NOW.
The listserv has proved to be a great way to keep in touch, start critique groups, announce good news, etc. With us not meeting in person in the near future, let's keep in touch virtually.

In an effort to prioritize our public health and safe community building during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have canceled all 2020 Dinner Table quarterly events and look forward to bringing this program back in 2021. Stay safe and keep creating with open hearts and minds!

Kristen Kiesling's New YA Graphic Novel, The Harrowing, Set for Publication

From PW Children's Bookshelf: Charlotte Greenbaum at Abrams/Amulet has acquired world rights to The Harrowing, a YA graphic novel by Kristen Kiesling (l.), illustrated by Jen Hickman (Moth & Whisper). Pitched as Minority Report meets I Hunt Killers, it's a near future story about a psychic teen girl who is forced to use her powers to track down killers, until she discovers her boyfriend is her next target. It asks questions about how far a person might go to protect those they love, while wrestling with the value of individual choice, punishment, and rehabilitation. Publication is set for 2024; Jennifer Chen Tran at Bradford Literary represented the author, and Dara Hyde at Hill Nadell Literary Agency represented the illustrator.

New Book Trailer Released

Alda P. Dobbs has released a new trailer for her book, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna.

Additionally, Alda appeared on the NPR broadcast, Texas Standard.

And inspired by Alda's book, check out this video of Sue Young performing The Bridge, a song she wrote after reading Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna.
Step into a New World of your own making.

Like Alice, Dorothy, Harry and many others we shall fall down the rabbit hole, be whisked away by the wind, or step through a magic door.
What we see, well that is up to you.
During our creative time together, Yousef Balat, Illustration Coordinator, will be posting an inspiration board of different environments and architectural styles so attendees can all create their own fantastical lands. (Illustrators and Writers both welcome)

3rd Saturday Creative Social October 16, 10 am to 11 am
New Kid Author Removed From School Visit after 400 Signatures Claim CRT
Katy ISD is making local and national news this week after it canceled a planned virtual event with acclaimed author Jerry Craft, in addition to pulling his graphic novels “New Kid” and “Class Act” from its libraries, after he was accused of fomenting “critical race” theory.

Hybrid Texas Book Festival Schedule
October 23- 31, Including Texas Teen Book Festival Oct. 23-24
With nine days of nearly 200 authors taking part in panels, solo sessions, kids’ activities, and more – there’s something for everyone at this year’s hybrid Festival. 
Registration for all sessions is now open!
October 27, 2021, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Having a good book trailer is one of the best marketing tools for your
book. Just like a movie trailer, a book trailer should inform, entice,
and captivate the viewers so they want to read the book. Reach
librarians, teachers, parents, and readers with a glimpse into your
book’s world. By learning how to make your own trailer, you can save
hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and you have complete control
over the end result!

From visual brainstorming and photo/video editing
to posting the trailer online, this crash course will get you started
on putting your book on the big screen. No artistic or graphic design
skills required, but you should feel comfortable with your ability to
learn new computer software. Bring your own popcorn!

Alexandra Diaz is the author of The Only Road, which was a Pura Belpré Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, and the recipient of two starred reviews. She is also the author of Of All the Stupid Things, which was an ALA Rainbow List book and a New Mexico Book Award finalist, The Crossroads, and Santiago’s Road Home. Alexandra is the daughter of Cuban refugees and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but got her MA in writing for young people at Bath Spa University in England. A native Spanish speaker, Alexandra now teaches creative writing to adults and teens. Visit her online at

Nonfiction has been gaining traction in recent years in children’s publishing, especially as authors and publishing houses have broken out of the traditional “textbook” model and have looked to create informational and fact-filled texts that are engaging, interactive and just plain fun. A particular advantage of taking a more creative approach to nonfiction is that you can potentially position your book for both the trade and educational markets and interest a greater variety of editors and ultimately readers.
In this interactive workshop we will look at the nuts and bolts of proposing a nonfiction project, focusing on writing a polished proposal, and accompanying query, for middle grade and YA crossover nonfiction. We’ll also talk a little bit about strategies for presenting nonfiction picture books in newer and more original ways than the traditional “PB bio” format that has filled—some would say overfilled—the market in recent years.

October 19 7-8:30
NatGeo Explorer Academy:
Discovering a World of Wonder.
Series blends fact, fiction, and breathless adventure to deliver a unique reading experience. Read about it in this excerpt from
Contest for MG Mystery Novels
The institute of Children's Literature says it's time to lure them in with the first pages of your mystery novel for middle grade readers. This contest is your chance to write a fiction mystery first page for kids ages 8-12 years old. It can be funny or ominous or somewhere in between. Entries for this contest will include a one-sentence book summary followed by no more than 1,000 words from the beginning of your book. (Book summary sentence not included in first pages word count. The full manuscript does not need to be finished in order to enter.) Your first page should be previously unpublished. 
DEADLINE: November 15, 2021
Click here for more details.
The Future of School Author Visits
SCBWI Indie Support

SCBWI is happy to announce the launch of new member benefits to support authors and illustrators who publish their books independently. Your SCBWI membership now gives you access to resources to help distinguish reputable self-publishers from the scams; new publications that discuss self-publishing tools, technologies, and marketing practices; a self-publishing guidebook that will be out this fall; grants and awards for self-published books and more!
Check out the full list of benefits HERE. 

If you’d like to receive ongoing notification about SCBWI’s self-publishing programs and publications, please log into your member profile and check the “Independently Published” box.
SCBWI BookStop is Here

There's an opportunity out there for every SCBWI member to connect readers with their book and it's called SCBWI BookStop, our annual promotion where we assist you in promoting your book to readers everywhere. Independent and traditionally published books published in 2019, 2020, and 2021 will be eligible for the promotion. The eligible 2021 books may either have been published or will be published, in this calendar year.

We're in this together. Through the talent, creativity, and connections you've built with readers through your website, in-person and virtual events, and your social media outlets, as well as good old word-of-mouth, you have a strong foundation to promote your book. Our website sees thousands of visitors throughout the promotion period. Our tremendous following on social media, email marketing to librarians, booksellers, homeschoolers, and parents/caregivers will help in directing people to the BookStop website.

Here's the schedule for SCBWI BookStop. Please note the cost of a BookStop page is $25.

September 7
  • The templates will be available for all members to create their pages
  • Books published in 2019, 2020, and 2021 will be eligible for the promotion
  • To take full advantage of the marketing we do to launch the promotion, your page needs to be completed by Monday, October 11
  • You may still create a BookStop page all throughout the promotion period from October 18 - November 30
October 18
  • BookStop goes live to the public
  • You may still create a BookStop page all throughout the promotions period from October 18 - November 30
November 30
  • End of BookStop promotion period
2021 Version of The Book now available.

THE BOOK is updated with invaluable, up to date market surveys, and several new articles including Bringing Your Backlist Forward, Putting Together a Winning Virtual Presentation, and Beware Author Self-Publishing Scams. Whether you are published or pre-published, there are many helpful articles to jump-start your career and/or provide the encouragement and knowledge you need moving forward.

THE BOOK is one of your most invaluable member resources that should be within reach at all times. Check out each section for information and insights: Preparing & Submitting Your Work, Published and Listed (PAL), Self-Publishing, SCBWI en Español, SCBWI Market Surveys, SCBWI Directories and Resources, Publicizing Your Published Work, SCBWI School Visits, and SCBWI Legal Questions.

To view THE BOOK, just log into your profile page and click on PUBLICATIONS, then on The Book in the dropdown menu. You must be logged in to download or order THE BOOK.
SCBWI YouTube Featuring The Vault Let's You Relive Wondrous Moments with Best-Selling Icons of Childrens Publishing -- Or Experience Them For The First Time
We are so proud to introduce you to the all-new SCBWI YouTube featuring the Vault which launches today with a treasure trove of exclusive never-before-seen videos that put you smack in the middle of the greatest children’s book creators of our time. Culling the best moments from SCBWI conferences---from the early days in the 1970s all the way up to this year, the Vault holds the advice, teachings, and musings of the biggest and brightest names in children’s publishing over the past 50 years. Even if you never got the chance to be there originally, you can now have a front row seat to all the SCBWI conferences---the profound, the moving, the funny, the goofy, the heart-stopping moments that are at the center of this brilliant creative community.
It's easy to step into our new YouTube channel and watch featured video clips from award-winning creators including:

Kwame Alexander Laurie Halse Anderson Judy Blume
Bruce Coville  Karen Cushman Paula Danziger                                      
Sid Fleischman Gordon Korman Meg Medina
Vanessa Brantley Newton Linda Sue Park
Jerry Pinkney David Small Jerry Spinelli
Shaun Tan Richard Jesse Watson

Before Newbery medals, before National Book Awards, before the adulation, there were young writers and illustrators on the path to legend status. The awards and praises of the book industry and book lovers worldwide were heaped on the giants of the industry seen here. All of them shared the stage at our conferences over the years. You’ll be inspired, captivated, and enamored.
And that’s just the beginning! Each week we will be bringing you stunning archival footage to watch and share with your friends, family, and colleagues. SCBWI is giving its members and book lovers everywhere an opportunity not found anywhere else, to witness the history of contemporary children’s books in the making.
SCBWI members will see exclusive clips pulled from the vault just for them in Insight, the monthly e-newsletter, and in Pro Insider the e-newsletter for published members. You can follow all the fun on our social media – Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – with sneak previews and only-on-this-platform content. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here so you don’t miss out.  And check in regularly, to keep the inspiration flowing. 
For anyone interested in children’s books, for anyone who values creativity, for anyone wanting a direct hit of inspiration and joy, SCBWIYouTube featuring the Vault is the place to be. See you there, friends.
#SCBWIYouTube | #SCBWIvault   
Renew your membership at

Suggestion Box
Have an idea on how to improve Houston SCBWI?
Leave a suggestion in our new Suggestion Box!
SCBWI Emergency Fund
Information and Procedures

The SCBWI Emergency Fund has been established to provide assistance to SCBWI members of at least
six months’ standing in times of emergency or hardship. The emergency or hardship could involve,
for example, matters of health, family issues, or natural disasters that are in any way restricting
or preventing an SCBWI member’s ability to work as an author or illustrator.

The fund is also running low due to the high number of applications.
If you wish to donate to the fund, you may do so on the website or by mail:
 Please send a check to:
 SCBWI Emergency Fund
6363 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 425
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Your contribution will be announced in the following SCBWI Bulletin. Dollar amounts will not be listed. If you wish to remain anonymous please indicate so in your letter.
There is a $1,500 cap on any given grant, and no member may receive the grant more than twice.
SCBWI does not expect to be reimbursed for grants made from the Emergency Fund.
Applications for assistance can come from the individual member seeking the aid or from someone noting their member friend or associate is in need of assistance. Applications are confidential and not shared outside the organization.
Members should fill out the application, which can be found here. The applicant will receive an electronic confirmation and all communications will be by email unless the applicant indicates no access to a computer.
To learn more about the Emergency Fund, please click here to read the FAQ.
Don't Get SCAMMED!

Are you aware of Writer Beware? It's a good site to check on complaints about publishers. This 2019 roundup covers the year in review. If you're not familiar with how "vanity publishers" scam authors, be sure to study the links under SAVE YOUR CASH and ADVICE YOU CAN USE. It also touches on how awards can take advantage of authors.

Use the SEARCH THIS BLOG function to look up specific publisher and agent names.
FREE On-demand webinars from SCBWI MD/DE/WV!
Creating Your Portfolio with Rebecca Evans
• Formatting Your Manuscript for Submission with Kathy MacMillan
• A Conversation with Picture Book Authors 1 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
J.H. Diehl, Amy S. Hansen, and Rebecca Evans)
• A Conversation with Picture Book Authors 2 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Ann McCallum, Karen Leggett Abouraya, and Lezlie Evans)
 • Conversation with Picture Book Authors 3 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring Veronica Bartles, Sue Fliess, and Megan Wagner Lloyd)
• A Conversation with Middle Grade Authors 1 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Laura Shovan, Leah Henderson, and Barbara Carney-Coston)
• A Conversation with Middle Grade Authors 2 (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
R.D Henham and Deborah Kalb)
• A Conversation with Young Adult Authors (Read Local Challenge webinar featuring
Kathy MacMillan, Linda Budzinski, Meg Eden, Pintip Dunn, and Christina June)

We are pleased to offer these free webinar recordings, available anytime
SCBWI Podcast Goes Public
In a bold expansion to new platforms, SCBWI has made the first season of its popular podcast, SCBWI Conversations, available to the public. Our library of in-depth, insightful episodes feature the best of editors, agents, authors, and illustrators in the children’s book industry. As of today, we have over nine thousand listeners on six continents who have joined us since our public launch in May. The most current season will remain exclusive content for SCBWI members only. It is available for streaming from our website here
An Ongoing and Updated List of Webinars
The Nevada SCBWI chapter has a new feature listing and updating webinars of interest to our members. Be sure to bookmark this page to stay abreast of new opportunities...

Austin's Cynthia Leitich Smith Is Compiling
an ever growing list of Texas children's-YA
authors and Illustrators.
Howdy! Texas is bursting with talented children’s-YA book creators.
Once again, my Cynterns and I are updating the ever-growing list of 
Texas children’s-YA authors and illustrators at:
It’s a popular resource for event planners, gatekeepers and Texas book lovers.
Please share widely and/or reply to with new 
listings or updates to existing listings.
Those who currently live in Texas or have previously lived in Texas are 
eligible for inclusion.
Please reply with byline, official website URL, preferred titles to 
highlight, and current city and/or state of residence.

Chapter Events

Monthly Meetings
When: Meetings are held on the first Monday night of each month (first Tuesday if first Monday is a holiday), 7-9 pm. Fiction, Nonfiction and Illustration critique groups meet from 6-7pm.
What: All regular monthly meetings are open to all at no cost or obligation. To suggest speakers or topics and/or to be added to our monthly meeting reminder e-mail list, contact Program Coordinator via our Contact Us page.
Where: The meetings are held at the Tracy Gee community center, located at 3599 Westcenter Dr, Houston, TX 77042. Please note: Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, meetings will be held online through Zoom until further notice.

Our Staff

Regional Advisor:
Asst. Regional Advisor:
Lynne Kelly
Illustrators Coordinator:
Monthly Program Chair:
Cheryl McCosh

Listserv Coordinator:
Twitter Coordinator:
Newsletter & Website
Art Credit
Header Design:
Join our conversations on the SCBWI Texas discussion boardPlease send your author/illustrator news for the next newsletter to Bruce Foster by the 25th of the month at

Copyright © 2021 SCBWI-Houston, All rights reserved. 

Our mailing address is: