Your February 2020 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Feb 3, 2020 7-9 PM
Next Meeting: March 2 7-9 PM
Please join us on the first Monday of every month from 7-9 p.m. at the Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, Houston.
This month:
 Feb. 3  – The Illustrated Biography of an Illustrator & Muralist, Too
Bill Ferguson, Illustrator & Muralist –

Next month: Mar. 2 The A-Zs of Writing Children’s Stories for TV & Picture Books
Jennifer Hamburg –
New York Annual Winter Conference
February 7-9, 2020
Another incredible opportunity for SCBWI members! Speakers include Newbery Honor Winner Derrick Barnes , E.B. White Read Aloud Medal Winner Kate Messner , Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney , and best selling author James Patterson , Keynote at the Golden Kite Award Gala.
Lynne Kelly's Song for a Whale was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award for middle grade.

And the audiobook version received an Odyssey Honor at the ALA Youth Media Awards.
The Schneider Family Book Award is for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. Lynne will attend the ALA in Chicago this June where she will receive the award. Recently she also attended the Miami SCBWI Conference as a faculty member where she gave a keynote, a breakout session and served as a presenter for the novel writing intensive. In March Kelly will have school visits in New Jersey, Seattle, and Plymouth, MA. Visit ALA and PW for the announcements.
New Book Launch
Houston children’s author and SCBWI member, Deanne Wagner White, has completed a charming new book titled  How Can They Ever Get Along?  Hot-off the paws of her  Otter Chronicles  trilogy, Deanne’s latest story takes place in her own backyard. Captivating characters of a furried and feathered variety come alive in this vividly illustrated work. Sure to delight and educate, one can only wonder what’s next for this aspiring artist! Here’s a hint: hee-haw.

Under her pen name C. M. McGuire, Chelsea Smith announces her new YA Urban Fantasy, Ironspark, will be published August 25 by SwoonReads.
Bryn has always been a loner. Knowing the truth about the Fae will do that to you. For the past nine years, ever since a bunch of those evil Tinkerbells abducted her mother, cursed her father, and forced her family into hiding, Bryn has devoted herself to learning everything she can about killing fairies.
But when the Fae threaten to take her brothers, Bryn isn't going to be able to handle this on her own. Gwen, a kind-hearted water witch; Jasika, a schoolmate with her own grudge against the Fae; and Dom, a new foster kid pulled into her world, all offer to help. But trust is hard-won.
That trust is put to the test when Bryn uncovers a book of Fae magic that once belonged to her mother. With the Fae threat mounting every day, Bryn must choose between faith in her friends and power from a magic that could threaten her very humanity.
Laura Edge's Apollo 13: A Successful Failure will be released
March 3.
Released by Lerner Publishing Group, the book's launch coincides with the mission's 50th anniversary. The glossy hardcover edition brings new life to the ultimate survival story.
Heading Here
SCBWI Houston member Tonya Duncan Ellis will soon release the 10 th  book in her best selling series... Sophie Washington: My BFF ...on March 27, 2020. The indie author has sold over 20,000 books to date.

Two Classes by Julie Wray Herman upcoming at Writespace this spring
Writing Realistic Young Protagonists
with  JULIE HERMAN .  
TIME:  Sunday, March 22nd , 3-6 PM


Including Mystery Elements in your writing: How Scene Tension Keeps Readers Turning the Pages
on  Sunday, April 19th from 3-6 PM

Julie is an active member of SCBWI, MWA, SinC, and the Southern Literary Coalition and is a past board member of Writespace. She is currently enrolled at Vermont College of Fine Arts to pursue her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Find her online at .

February will bring a new online challenge...this time for Non Fiction writers!
NonFiction Fest
Created by Pat Miller and her fellow NF Chicks, this month-long challenge will have helpful daily posts from Melissa Stewart, Lesa Cline Ransome, Candace Fleming, Jen Bryant, Cynthia Levinson, Heidi Stemple and 22 others. There will be three pre-events, and the month will include daily NF activities and prizes for eligible registrants! Join their FB group NFFest today for more details. Registration opens January 15 for two weeks. It's free!

Notably Pat will have her seventh article for Children's Book Insider published this November, titled, "Creating An Extensive Bibliography". Her article, "How to Create a Teacher's Guide for Your Book" was previously published there in October.
Did you know many of the webinars we list in our newsletter come to us from different chapters of SCBWI? Its often difficult to be aware of them all. But our friends in the Nevada chapter have made it their mission to stay on top of all this valuable information and these wonderful opportunities. You should bookmark their site and check there often, but we will also include it in each new issue for your reference.
In the meantime, here are a few choice offerings available today.


February 4, 2020 at 7pm-8:30PM Central

Even after you’ve cleared the hurdles to get your book published, there are other challenges ahead! 
What can you do as an author or illustrator to tell the world about your project (and share a bit about yourself as well)?
We’ve invited  Megan Tripp, Associate Social Media Manager at Random House , to present a webinar focusing on how to build your brand and promote your books on Instagram, as well as how to connect with the bookish Instagram community to improve your reach on the platform.
Topics will include:
• Content strategy
• How to read and apply analytics information
• Insights into the bookstagram community
(And there will be some additional time for Q&A.)
This meeting will be recorded, and a link will be provided to all registered participants, in case you can’t attend in real-time.

MT Anderson – TEXTURE: The Weave of the Narrative Dream

February 16 – 2-3pm central

Prepare for a unique webinar adventure with New York Times Best Selling Author, MT Anderson as he discusses how to recognize what’s truly unique in your own work, whether you’re writing picture books, fiction, or nonfiction – and how to use those special qualities to make your manuscript stand out from the crowd.
He also shares ways to cast and weave the interaction of story elements (Character, Setting, Conflict/Solution, Plot) so to capture the essence of what makes a compelling, cohesive story – from start to finish.
SCBWI Members: $15, Non-members: $30
Hosted by SCBWI West-Central Upstate New York
Tuesday, February 18 6 pm Central

Using recently published and award-winning nonfiction, from picture books through YA, we’ll delve into hooks, plot, character development, point of view, and voice. Not all nonfiction books have all of these elements, and we’ll talk about why that is as well as how to use these elements in your writing to create manuscripts that readers won’t want to put down!
Webinar registration: SCBWI Members: $15; Non-members: $25
Optional written 10-page nonfiction manuscript critique following webinar: $50.00
Hosted by MD/DE/WV
The Business of Nonfiction
Saturday, Feb 22, 2020, 1pm Central
In this 75 minute session, Scholastic Editor Katie Heit will discuss nonfiction in the children’s
marketplace. This talk will cover how publishers approach a growing audience, what’s working in
children’s nonfiction, how to select and research your topic, the dos and don’ts of nonfiction,
and how to make your manuscript stand out.
$20 members $65 event plus critique for members (limited number) $25 nonmembers

Saturday, Feb 22, 2020, 10am Hawaii Time

Wow your next art director with a beautifully crafted digital portfolio that showcases the breadth and depth of your talent! This workshop will cover how to craft, edit, and organize your best work in a suitable online platform; creating a cohesive catalog of images that includes more than one style, plus personal and professional work; the dos and don’ts of portfolio basics; and what an art director looks for when viewing potential work.
$25 for members, $30 for nonmembers
Hosted by Hawaii
Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 @ 10:00 am–11:30am Mountain Time

You’ve heard that shorter is better when it comes to picture books. But that’s easier said than done. How do you say everything you need to in such a small space? Learn nine tips to make your manuscript leaner, tighter and more powerful. Examples will show exactly how it’s done. You’ll never even miss the words you lose.
$10 for SCBWI Members, $20 for Non-members
Hosted by SCBWI Utah/Southern Idaho
Writing the Middle Grade Mystery
February 22 , 7:30-9:00 pm Central

Author Cynthia Surrisi , will discuss writing mysteries for the middle grade audience.
This workshop is designed for the writer who is interested in crafting a cozy-type mystery for middle grade children. Topics include developing the unique youth sleuth; the traditional cozy setting and cast of characters; back story, clues, red herrings, suspects, and raising stakes in a scary but non-murderous environment. Middle grade mysteries are unique in that they not only ask the question. “Who dunnit?” they explore relationships among friends, and between kids and adults, and they do it with heart, humor and irony.
$10 for Members
$20 for Non-members
Hosted by Dakotas
Leaping into Submissions
February 27 , 8:30-9:30 PM central
What does it take to submit your work to agents? Or should you submit to publishers? There can be so many questions when submitting your work! This submission overview will have information on research to figure out who to submit to. You’ll get tips on deciphering those sometimes tricky submission guidelines. You’ll be shown steps to help lead you to create a strong query letter so you can send your best submission package. We’ll talk about how and why you should keep of track submissions, what to do after submission, and more “small” steps to take as you get ready to Leap Into Submissions!
$15.00 for SCBWI Members
$20.00 for Non-Members
Hosted by Inland Northwest
College Station Conference Feb 29, 2020
Registration is open!
Early Bird Registration through Dec. 15: $135 for SCBWI members; $175 for nonmembers
Regular Registration Dec. 16 through Feb. 28
$160 for SCBWI members; $200 for nonmembers
Trisha De Guzman , Associate Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers
“Raising Your Stakes”
Rubin Pfeffer , Agent at Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC
“You and Publishing. Let´s Get Going.”
Saho Fujii , Art Director at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
“The Picture Book Process”—a 90-minute break-out session for illustrators
Charlotte Wenger , Agent at Prospect Agency
“Giving Characters Life and Voice”
Kelly Bennett , Author
“What is your Picture Book´s Big Picture?”
Susan Fletcher , Author
“30 Tips/30 Years: What I’ve Learned about Writing Since I Sold my First Book”
March 26, 8:30-10 PM central

Tension. Though one of the most important elements in storytelling, authors often find it difficult to implement in their writing. This workshop defines tension in concrete terms, explains why it is so important to story, and demonstrates how to create it using plotting, structure, pacing, and tone. Appropriate for all genres from picture books to novels, this workshop is geared toward the advanced writer, but will also gain valuable craft knowledge.
SCBWI Member: $15.00
Non-Member: $25.00
Hosted by Arizona
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

2020 schedule of meetings

Mar. 2 The A-Zs of Writing Children’s Stories for TV & Picture Books
Jennifer Hamburg –

April 6 Using the Uncanny: Creating Horror that Packs a Punch
Kathleen Bagley writing under the pen name of Kate Pentecost –

May 4 Back Matter Matters
Pat Miller -

June 1 First Pages – Panel Review
Authors get informal critiques prior to the upcoming submission deadline for First Pages for Sept. conference

July 6 Humor in Writing
Crystal Allen – 

Aug 3 Maximizing Your Marketability: Writing Various Genres & Formats
Dana Wright –

Sept. 8 (Tuesday) National SCBWI Conference Recap – Attendees’ Panel Discussion

Oct. 5 The Illustrator’s Voice
Diandra Mae – email: 

Nov. 2 How to Write the Best Dialogue
Lane Riosley –

Dec. 7 Holiday Celebration: Potluck, Literary Bingo & Book Sales

Our Staff

Regional Advisor:
Asst. Regional Advisor:
Lynne Kelly
Illustrators Coordinator:
Monthly Program Chairs:

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

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