Your November 2019 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Dec 2, 2019 7-9 PM
Next Meeting: January 6, 2020
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:
Curt Locklear
Next month: January 6 - A Panel Discussion:  Top Favorite   Professional Resources for Writers & Illustrators (Caroline Leech, Lynne Kelly, Varsha Bajaj, and others)
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.
Congratulations to Heather Walters, chosen as winner of this year's Joan Lowery Nixon Award.
Houston SCBWI is proud to announce  Heather Walters as the winner of this year's J.L. Nixon Award for her MG novel, Simon Pippery! She will receive a year-long mentorship from Joy Preble . The Joan Lowery Nixon Memorial Award was established to honor a writer who so generously shared her time and talents with our members. For many years, Joan selected and mentored a pre-published author whose manuscript was considered by conference critique faculty to be nearest to publication. With this award Heather is expanding her creative portfolio to the written word after already leading a successful career as a sought-after TV/radio voice personality . We send our congratulations to Heather and all our nominees, Heather Harwood, Kate McCormick, Leigh Frillici, Gobi Hale, Maggie Brown, Shelley Fritze and Meghan Senkel 
Saying Yes! to Opportunity, Meghan Senkel Accepts Invitation to Become the SCBWI Houston Chapter's Regional Advisor
Meghan is excited at the incredible opportunity to combine her passion for creating children’s literature with her project management skills in a way that benefits and grows the Houston SCBWI chapter. She looks forward to meeting and interacting with members of the chapter and the larger SCBWI community.

Meghan joined the Houston chapter in 2018 after more than a decade of self-taught writing, drawing, watercolor and photography. Previously, she earned both a B.S. and M.S. from Texas A&M University at Galveston focusing on coastal resource management. Most recently she worked at the Maryland Department of the Environment where she advised and educated stakeholders on coastal issues and the permitting process. She remains proud of the part she played to improve and preserve the state's tidal resources, which includes the creation of many acres of tidal wetlands.

Since returning to Houston in 2017 when her husband, Jesse, was transferred back here, Meghan decided to stay at home with her two children, Lillian, age 8 and Keaton, age 4, and grasp this opportunity to seriously pursue traditional publishing as an author/illustrator. She’s now a regular member of three critique groups, one for illustration and two for writing. 

Already having promised to herself that she would say  yes  to as many opportunities as possible, she said  YES!  to the invitation to accept the role of Regional Advisor.   And, with the help of an incredible and dedicated team of committee members, Meghan lead the planning of the 2019 Houston SCBWI Conference, where she was nominated by agent Jennifer Laughran for the J.L. Nixon award for her picture book manuscript  Party in a Pot .

Meghan brings an interest in technology and organizational prowess to her new role. "This chapter belongs to the members themselves and I want to support them to help everyone reach their full potentials. Also Houston is by some accounts the most diverse city in America. I want to reach out to all that untapped talent, including the diverse voices that reflect the culture and welcoming community Houston embodies."

Meghan recalls how comfortable and warm this chapter was on her very first visit:
"I immediately was attracted to the open and supportive friendliness of this group embodied by the smiling leadership of RA Vicki Sansum and hope that everyone will bear with me as I grow into the position! I am open to any ideas you would like to suggest and want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and feels like they have ownership of their chapter."

New Book Launch
SCBWI Houston member, Andrea Jaimes , announces the debut of her new book, KODA and the Polka-Dot Bow Tie, published by Christian Faith Publishing.

Congratulations to Cheryl Pilgrim.

Her Big and Little, A Story of Opposites has won a Northern Lights Book Award in the Concept Category.
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.

Pat also recently traveled to East Lyme, CT where she spoke to the K-4 grades at Flanders Elementary, where three of her grandkids attend.
Picture Book Workshop November 9 in Austin
with the Ransomes
Picture book writers and illustrators, improve your craft with the award-winning author Lesa Cline-Ransome and award-winning author/illustrator James E. Ransome . The couple create books on their own as well as together. Some of their collaborations include the picture books GAME CHANGERS: THE STORY OF VENUS AND SERENA WILLIAMS, MY STORY, MY DANCE: ROBERT BATTLE’S JOURNEY TO ALVIN AILEY, GERMS: FACT AND FICTION, FRIENDS AND FOES, and BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET (a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book). These creatives have won numerous acclaim and awards for their work, and are wonderful teachers.
Attendees will have joint sessions with both writers and illustrators learning together, as well as 3-hour intensive workshops during which Lesa will teach the writers and James will teach the illustrators. Lesa’s writer sessions will work for both fiction and non-fiction projects.
Date(s) - 11/09/2019
12:30 pm - 6:30 pm
216 E Main St - Round Rock, Texas 78664
$60 members, $90 non-members


Thursday, November 14, 2019 – 7 p.m . (Central Time)
Short description: How can you know when your manuscript is really ready to submit to agents or editors? Learn ten actionable tests for knowing when a novel is really ready to submit—along with ways to whip the manuscript into shape if it fails a single one of them.
Cost: $20 SCBWI Members
Cost: $30 Non-members
Region Hosting: Texas Southwest

International SCBWI:
All You Need to Know to Pitch an Original Board Book with Naomi Kirsten, Senior Editor at Chronicle Books.

Saturday, November 16, 2019 –
Members 30 Euro
Non-members 45 Euro
Master the Nuts and Bolts of Novels at Austin SCBWI's

At this one-day event, you’ll learn about the main aspects of novel writing plus have guided writing time during which you can work on your own manuscripts with our acclaimed faculty.
The covered topics include:
* Character Development/POV
* Setting/World-building
* Plot/Structure
* Revision Techniques
Our faculty includes four amazing authors and teachers:  Cory Putman Oakes, Varsha Bajaj, Nikki Loftin and Jessica Lee Anderson.  

Attendance costs $50 for SCBWI members, $75 for non-members.
A new Opportunity from a Conference Faculty,

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 7:00 PM Eastern/6:00 PM Central/5:00 PM Mountain/4:00 PM Pacific
The first page of your manuscript can hook an agent or editor right away – or turn them off immediately. In this webinar, Talia Benamy, associate editor at Philomel Books gives live feedback on anonymous first pages from picture book, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. Go to link for more info.
Querying & Pitching Publishing Professionals
with Agent Rachel Orr

December 4 , 2019 –  Kansas/Missouri SCBWI is offering the following webinar: Have you polished up your manuscript post-conference? Getting ready to submit to agents in time for the new year? Are you crafting your query letter and wondering what to include (or leave out) to stand out in the inbox? 
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
$10 for SCBWI members and $25 for non-members
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”
NYTimes Best Illustrated Children's Books 2019
A delightful peek at some of the very best this year, like the art above by Leo Timmers from Monkey on the Run . Click the image to visit the page.
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

2012 schedule of meetings

Jan. 6 The Top Favorite Professional Resources for Writers & Illustrators
Panel Discussion: Caroline Leech, Lynne, Varsha & More

Feb. 3  – The Illustrated Biography of an Illustrator & Muralist, Too
Bill Ferguson, Illustrator & Muralist –

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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