Your Dec. 2019/Jan 2020 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Upcoming Meeting: Jan 6, 2020 7-9 PM
Next Meeting: Feb 3, 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:
Top Favorite Resources for Writers & Illustrators...
Megan Senkel moderator
Next month: Feb 3. The Illustrated Biography of an Illustrator & Muralist, Too Bill Ferguson, Illustrator & Muralist –
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.
Ghost Hunters, a middle grade ghost story by Susan McCauley, first in a series, will be released February 11, 2020.

Book Launch Party will be at Barnes & Noble in the Woodlands, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2pm-5pm
Twelve-year-old Alex may have lost his ability to play sports, but he gained the ability to see ghosts. Now he must figure out how to put a malevolent spirit to rest -- or die trying.

Once an athlete and popular kid, Alex is in a terrible car accident that severely injures his hip and leaves him with a rare power: he can hear and see ghosts. All Alex wants is to be normal. But when a vicious spirit beings haunting him, Alex must accept his unwanted psychic powers and work with his best friend and his paranormal investigator cousin to solve the mystery of bones in the wall and put the ghosts in the house to rest. If he fails, he’ll lose his family and friends to a gruesome fate.
Crystal Allen is Busy Sharing Her Knowledge and Talent
Crystal tells us that on Dec 5th, she taught a course on Creative Writing to 200 teachers in Manhattan, NY! Continuing her journey, from Jan 31st thru Feb 2nd, Crystal will be teaching at Kindling Words East in Burlington, VT for the first time there.

New Book Launch
from Michelle Nott
Recently relocated to North Carolina, Michelle's 2nd early reader was released in December from Guardian Angel Publishing.

Entitled  Dragon Amy's Flames, Amy's a little dragon with a big temper. When frustrated, she erupts. When confused, she fumes. And, flame-throwing practice often ends in disaster. Will she be able to keep her flames under control in order to win a prize at the Dragon Day Fun Fair...and how?
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and from any bookseller.
This book was contracted while Michelle was here in Houston. From Michelle,
"I'm enjoying NC, but I do really miss everyone in Houston."

CBC , the Children's Book Council of Canada has selected Alis, The Aviator by
Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail as one of its top 10 picture books of 2019.

Alis, the Aviator was illustrated by Kalpna Patel and published by Tundra Books.

Joy Preble and Cathy Berner Were Each Awarded a
James Patterson Holiday Bonus.
Joy, the Children's Programming Director at  Brazos Bookstore , is a leading Houston advocate for readers and writers and is very active in the Houston SCBWI.  Cathy  is Children's/YA Specialist and Events Coordinator at  Blue Willow Bookshop  and an avid supporter of our chapter and their writers and illustrators.
Congratulations to you both!
A New Picture Book Writing Class
with Patricia McMahon
"Akin to poetry, or flash fiction, a picture book requires brevity;
no word can be wasted,
and yet the form asks more of the author:
the ability to write a story which leaves room for the artist."

In a two day weekend workshop at Inprint, March 28 and 29 Patricia will be leading participants through the intricacies and challenges of the Picture Book.
There are a wealth of classes, including hers, being offered at Inprint
that you can explore at THIS page.

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.

Getting your Picture on the Page
January 11, 10am-12pm
Elizabeth Dulemba  offers an expert workshop including hands-on work with storyboards, four-panel and
full-length “dummy” picture book prototypes–to help you bring your existing picture book text or well-developed picture book idea onto the page. This webinar will help you get to the heart of the structure
of your story, and think visually.
$20.00 SCBWI Member
$30.00 Non-Member
Hosted by Carolinas


Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 1 PM Eastern/12 PM Central/11 AM Mountain/10 AM Pacific (2.5. hours long)
In this unique and engaging presentation, bestselling author, teacher, and story coach Jessica Brody guides novelists through the renowned SAVE THE CAT! story structure method, which writers around the world are using to create engaging stories, compelling character arcs, and unputdownable novels.
Jessica, author of SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL (a #1 Amazon Bestseller) will walk writers through the “secret storytelling code” that lies at the heart of all great fiction and will demonstrate (using examples from popular books and movies) how the 15 “beats” of the Save the Cat! method can be used to plot, write, outline, or revise your novel, or simply jumpstart you out of writing slumps. This fun and informative presentation is sure to inspire you and leave you itching to start writing!
SCBWI Members: $25 | Nonmembers: $40
Hosted by MD/DE/WV

Inland Northwest SCBWI's 2020 Picture Book 4 Webinar Series

Saturday, January 18 – 9am
Editor Emily Feinberg 
The Power of an Original Idea
Powerful picture books, whether fiction or nonfiction, often break the mold, or maybe just reshape the mold. Fresh and inventive picture books start with compelling ideas. This webinar examines how to shape original new ideas into picture books.

Saturday, January 18 – 10:30am
Editor Christina Pulles  How to Show a Story
As picture book writers, “Show, don’t tell” is a phrase you’re probably tired of hearing, but it’s one of the most important tricks of the trade. In this webinar, we’ll explore strategies to help make showing come naturally, whether it’s when describing a character’s feelings, a relationship between two characters, or showing that a character has changed.

Saturday, January 25 - 9am
Author & Librarian Betsy Bird  Killing the Picture Book Canon: What the Classics Get Right, and What Your Future Classic Shouldn’t Get Wrong

Saturday, January 25 - 10:30 am
Assistant Art Director Katrina Demkoehler  
The Lifecycle of a Picture Book
In this webinar, the story of a single picture book unfolds. From manuscript to final art, Katrina will share the specific tips and feedback she offered the artist. Participants will see how early sketches evolved to improve the finished book.

EB price until Jan 14: $60 SCBWI members
&75 non-members.
This price includes all 4 webinars . If space remains on January 15, tickets will open for individual webinars. These tickets will be $20 for SCBWI members and $30 for non-members.
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 – 11:30 am 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

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”
If you have not paid for it, then you can register and watch the recording.
The recording will be available until January 30, 2020.

Have you thought about writing a picturebook biography but not quite sure where to begin? How do you pick a theme to focus on, how to cite references? If this is you, join us with Vivian Kirkfield , author of Sweet Dreams, Sarah and Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, to learn best practices for writing nonfiction picture book biographies. Vivian is joined with her editor Courtney Fahy of Little Bee Books. After the presentation, Vivian will also share predetermined answers to some burning questions about nonfiction PB’s that we had for editor Ann Rider of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The Zoom link will be sent to attendees and there will be access to the recording.
$25 for SCBWI Members, $35 for nonmembers
Hosted by Hawaii

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

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

Copyright © 2019 SCBWI-Houston, All rights reserved. 

Our mailing address is: