SCBWI Local Chapters

Houston SCBWI Newsletter

May 2022

Illustration by Marissa Valdez



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New! Co-Regional Advisors 

Current members will have received an email from me about a new opening in our Regional Team: a Co-RA!  All the necessary information about how to apply is contained within that email, so I will not repeat it here.

I do, however, want to give a bit of reasoning behind this addition.

I've found that while things are getting back to normal, they aren't quite the same. My capacity for getting things done has decreased while the demands on my time have increased. I want our chapter to continue to function as it has in the past, and in order to do that, I must be realistic about my own limits.

At the start of my term as RA, I stated that this was your chapter. And it is, very much so; but like the old adage says, the hands of many make quick work. Similarly, my goal has long been to make our chapter resilient against whatever the future holds for us. (Like the plan to move the conference out of the busiest part of hurricane season to the spring.) In that spirit, the addition of new volunteer roles helps to spread the work so that no one volunteer is left with more tasks than can be reasonably managed.

Unfortunately at the time of this writing, there have been no applicants for any of the open previously advertised volunteer positions. I am concerned about the chapter's ability to host larger scale events moving forward. The hard truth is that without one or both of the Co-RA and/or Conference Chair positions filled by July 1st, we will be unable to host an in-person conference in 2023. I simply cannot manage and oversee such a large scale project at this time without additional help.

I am asking again, that each of you consider if you have skills you can contribute to our chapter keep up the programming and content that we've all found so helpful in our creative journeys. These are the open positions:

  • Regional Team (RT)
  • Co-Regional Advisor (Co-RA)
  • Illustrator Coordinator (IC)
  • Local Volunteers
  • Conference Chair
  • Event Webmaster

If you are interested in more information on or how to apply for the RT positions, please email me at

For more information on the Local Volunteer positions or to apply, click here. And please remember that these spots have a large degree of flexibility and can be made into co-chairs if there's a pair that would like to work together. Please reach out to me if you'd like to discuss further.

In the meantime, the Regional Team is working on some upcoming webinars and intensive-type workshops. More to come on that soon!

I hope you all will consider getting more involved with our chapter so that we can continue to have the high-quality programming that we've come to enjoy.

Take care,

Meghan Senkel

RA, SCBWI Houston




Karen Lotz at Candlewick Press has acquired world rights for the picture book I'M IN CHARGE!, which models for children how they can take charge of their bodies, voices and choices. Written by film and TV producer Stephanie Allain and essayist and former theater, film and publishing executive Jenny Klion, illustrated by Marissa Valdez. Publication scheduled for spring 2024; Albert Lee at UTA represented the authors and Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the illustrator.

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Tonya Duncan Ellis was recently awarded one of 25 full tuition Highlights Foundation onsite scholarships granting her paid participation in a Highlights writing workshop at the Highlights Pennsylvania retreat center. 

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Tonya Duncan Ellis announced preorders for her newest book, SOPHIE WASHINGTON: TREASURE BEACH. In this thirteenth book in her bestselling, self-published, middle grade series, a message in a bottle leads Sophie and friends on a seaside treasure hunt. The book releases June 3, 2022.

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Lovely Kirkus review of Susan McCauley’s upcoming upper MG MERLIN'S APPRENTICE: THE MAGE.

"With vivid scene-setting, McCauley expertly draws readers into a perilous, sometimes ruthless world as experienced through the eyes of a boy consumed by guilt and grief over his family's plight and the uncertainty about who he is becoming." - Kirkus Reviews

The first novel in her new series will be released in January 2023. Stay tuned for more details!

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Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail and co-author Fred Carmichael, are excited to announce Tundra Books will publish FREDDIE THE FLYER about Fred's life as a pioneering Gwich'in pilot in the Western Arctic. British Columbia-based Inuvialuit artist Audrea Wulf will illustrate this book. Elizabeth Copps at Copps Literary Services brokered the deal with Samantha Swenson at Tundra Books for publication in fall 2023.

Photo credit Miki O'Kane.


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This month's topic: WRITER BEWARE: How NOT to Get Published

Monday, May 2nd

7pm-9pm CT (via zoom)

A look at the current state of publishing with a goal of helping people identify what may make an agent/publisher/editor and so on right or NOT right for an author and how to identify red flags before you sign that contract.


Richard C. White is a multi-genre author, primarily focused on Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fantasy Noir. More details here.

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This month’s theme: Roll the Dice

Saturday, May 21st

Draw-A-Long 10am - 11am CT (via zoom)

Critique session 11:10am -12:00pm CT (via zoom)

Let’s be random this month and follow chance? During the creative time together, story dice will provide random objects, characters and actions for all to illustrate. Following the drawing session, stay for the critique session where we can help each other with our current illustration work. More details here.


Copperfield's Books is having an author fair in May at their store in Spring. It's touted as an Indie Author Fair, but is open to all indie and traditionally published authors. The registration link for authors is here. If authors have questions, please contact Shawn at Copperfield's at 832-761-5559.

NOTE: This is a paid event and is not associated with SCBWI. SCBWI in no way endorses this event, and encourages readers to thoroughly investigate this and all non-SCBWI events which require a fee.



Free for members

May 5th 3PM CT

An Illustrator and Author Walk Into a Bar...

with illustrator Benson Shum and author Meg Fleming

May 6th 3PM CT

Stop Waiting for Inspiration and Start Becoming an Idea Generator

with author Naz Kutub

More info here.


SCBWI Montana


with Terry Jennings

May 4th 6-7:30 MST

Are you working on a series or maybe dreaming of one? Author, Terry Jennings will talk about what agents want to see in a series proposal, the arc, unifying a series, character development, keeping track of EVERYTHING, voice, the pitch, and what happens after the sale, including marketing and working with editors and publishers. More info here.


SCBWI Montana


May 14-15

Ready to take your career to the next level and hear from industry leaders? Learn from all across the industry from agent to art director to illustrator. More info here.


SCBWI Arizona


with Michael Hale & Tanja Bauerle

May 7-14

It does not matter if you are a writer or a writer/illustrator, if you want to someday see your work published, knowing how to create a picture book dummy is an essential part of the process. More info here.


Find many more Regional Virtual Events from the SCBWI website.



By Jim Smolski

Do Again

If I had it all, to do again.

With an option to delete.

There are some things I would leave out.

Much more I would repeat.


Certain I would make things worse.

I’m turning out okay.

I’ll leave it all just as it was.

And work on my “today”.

The smallest ray of sunshine can start a leaf to turn and look with hope. 

I want to be the sunshine that creates that moment for at least one leaf every day.


Have News? Share It With Us!

Please submit your author/illustrator news for the next newsletter to Lisa Chow by the 25th of the month via this form.

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Our Volunteers

Regional Team

Regional Advisor:

Meghan Senkel

Asst. Regional Advisor:

Lynne Kelly

Illustrators Coordinator:

Joe Balat

Regional Advisor Emeritus:

Vicki Sansum

Chapter Volunteers

Newsletter & Webmaster:

Lisa Chow

Monthly Program Chair & Evite List:

Cheryl McCosh

Critique Group Coordinator:


Social Media Chair:

Heather Walters   

Chapter Logo and Header Design by Marissa Valdez

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