Your October 2019 SCBWI Houston Newsletter
Next Meeting: Nov 4, 2019 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: An Agent's Top 5 Standards:   Query Letters, Manuscript Formats, Communication Skills, Contract Considerations and "Shopping to Publishers" with  Ann Rose , Agent & Author
Next month: November 4:
The Illustrated Biography of an Illustrator & Muralist, Too! Bill Ferguson , Illustrator & Muralist
A Pivotal Moment for the Houston Chapter as we say Thank You! to 11-year Regional Advisor Vicki Sansum and Welcome! to New RA, Meghan Senkel
Fresh off the heels of the 2019 Houston SCBWI Annual Conference, a change is afoot. (To quote a friend of mine, "Yes I DID go there..."). As the thank you's and tributes for Vicki Sansum's expiring term as RA flood in, and Meghan Senkel (who chaired the Conference committee this year) prepares to take the reins, we wanted to both look back through Vicki's eyes and next month, peer forward into the near future with Meghan.
An open letter to the chapter
by outgoing RA, Vicki Sansum
A s you now know, I am retiring as the Regional Advisor of the Houston SCBWI chapter. It's been a great run and I'm thrilled to say that Meghan Senkel is stepping into my place as of October 1st. Meghan was the conference coordinator for our September conference and did a fantastic job. She brings youth, a talent for organization and artistic detail to the position and I know the chapter will continue to grow and develop with her at the helm.
It's been a wonderful 11 years as the RA, I have enjoyed every minute. My first SCBWI event was in 1995. I had seen a notice in the Houston Chronicle for a children's writers conference, bucked up my courage and went. One of the main speakers was Stephen Mooser, one of the founders of the SCBWI. I won a door prize (which I still have), a book by Sherry Garland, a member of our chapter. I remember being a little star struck by the speakers, yet impressed by how approachable they were. I was hooked. The SCBWI was for me.
 From that point on I started attending the monthly meetings and got to know a lot of the founding members like Mary D. Wade, Marj Gurasich, Carmen Bredesen, Joan Lowery Nixon
and others. I started volunteering by promoting the annual conferences by sending out press releases to all the local papers (that was before social media). I made a lot of good friends over the years,
one of them being Dotti Enderle. Dotti and I would meet and talk about our writing and eventually we sold a picture book together, my first, one of many for her. We are still in a critique group together to this day.
The friends I've made over these decades are invaluable. I've traveled with them, roomed with them, laughed and cried with them. I've celebrated success and offered encouragement when needed. They in turn have given me support and strength when I needed it the most. The SCBWI fosters a wonderful sense of support and camaraderie and it certainly shows in our chapter. 
There is no way I can list ALL of the people who have helped make our chapter so welcoming and dynamic. I thank all of you for these eleven years and I for sure will still be around for many more, just not at the front of the room. Our new Regional Advisor, Meghan Senkel will be great in her new role especially with the assistance of all of you.
I want to thank all of you who were involved in the generous gift I received at the conference and I am humbled beyond words for the wonderful tribute of having a scholarship in my name. It is an honor to be recognized by such a remarkable and caring group.
Thank you all for making the Houston SCBWI chapter vibrant, fun, successful, friendly and welcoming. You all are the best. Thank you all for everything!

For the future, if you'd like to contact me, my email is
Keep writing and illustrating!

NEXT MONTH: Get to know our new RA,
Meghan Senkel
New Book Launch
SCBWI Houston member, Cathey Nickell , has launched a children's picture book, YAZZY'S AMAZING YARN. The book is illustrated by another SCBWI member (and winner of the Most Promising Portfolio Showcase at the conference), Emily Calimlim of The Woodlands. Cathey was featured in the  Southwest News  on September 10, 2019 and has several launch events lined up. She'll sign books from 10:30-12:30, Oct. 19 , at Tomfoolery Toys and Books; she'll also be at the Galveston Book Festival on Oct. 12 , to name a few. Cathey's first book, ARTHUR ZARR'S AMAZING ART CAR , was awarded first place in 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors for Best Picture Book-All Ages. Cathey has spoken to students at more than 70 elementary schools throughout Houston and beyond about writing, inspiration and creativity. 
Marissa Valdez , with art coordinator Diandra Mae . Marissa was awarded Grand Prize in the Portfolio Showcase at the conference. As a result, Marissa will be able to attend next year's conference for free.

Emily Camlimlim won Most Promising in the Portfolio Showcase at the conference.

Chelsea Smith was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award
Announced at the conference:
The 2019 Nominees for the Joan Lowery Nixon Award.
From left: Gobi Hale, Heather Harwood, Shelly Fitze, Heather Walters, Meghan Senkel, Leigh Frillici, Maggie Brown , and Kate McCormick . The winner will be mentored for an entire year by Joy Preble if a middle grade or ya author, or Kelly Bennett if a picture book author.

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail has been shortlisted for the inaugural Readers' Choice Award at the Houston Library Foundation. Danielle is one of 5 local authors competing. The winner will be announced at the HLF dinner October 19.
Author Appearances :
Cheryl Pilgrim (Big and Little) will be at the Brazos Bookstore for story time, songs, and crafts. October 19, 10:30 am
Bruce Foster will be one of the headliners at the second annual Lubbock Children's Literature and Film Festival November 2.
Launch Party for Debut Novel by Susie McCauley...will it be haunted???
Susie McCauley will host a book launch party and signing for The Devil's Tree , a paranormal YA novel, in Old Town Spring, Saturday, October 19, 1-5pm at Glow Worm Books. The event will conclude with a family friendly ghost tour led by Houston Ghost Tours.

Kaitlyn didn’t believe in ghosts—not until one killed her boyfriend and her best friend. Now she must stop the spirit haunting the Devil’s Tree, or she could be next.

“Evil is not always the only enemy you should fear . . . Fast-paced and deftly written, with emotional depth from the darkest of characters, this is a ghost story to savor.” ⎯Peter Adam Salomon, Bram Stoker Award ®  nominated novelist, author of  All Those Broken Angels  and  Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds 

Lynne Kelly's  Song For a Whale  was featured as a Staff Pick in the Southern Poverty Law Center's  Teaching Tolerance  magazine. 

The paperback edition of  Song For a Whale  will be released in January and will be available in the Scholastic Book Club flyers and fairs. 

Sherry Garland's MG history book,  VALLEY OF THE MOON  (Scholastic Dear America Series) is being used in a student curriculum book for California history. The author of the curriculum just ordered 50 books from Sherry to take to conferences. The books have been in Sherry's garage for 15 years waiting to be placed in little California hands.
New Award!
At the Los Angeles SCBWI conference a new award was announced. Details below:

The Kate Dopirak Craft and Community Award provides tuition to the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles to the author of a promising manuscript who is dedicated to honing their craft and expanding their writing community but is experiencing a financial barrier to attending the conference. This award is offered in celebration of Kate Dopirak, a picture book author and beloved SCBWI member who lived her life lighting the way for others.
The KDCC Award will alternate every other year between a picture book winner and a middle grade/young adult winner. The initial 2020 KDCC Award will be given to a picture book manuscript.
In 2020, one picture book writer will be selected by a panel of judges as the recipient of the 2020 Kate Dopirak Craft and Community Award, which includes:
 Note: Award does not include travel, meals, accommodations, or optional conference intensives or critiques.
What are the trends in publishing for children? 
Does anyone really know? Well, yes…
Join us  Thursday, October 10 @ 7:30 PM EDT   for a ninety minute online program, complete with Q & A, to hear what’s selling and what’s being acquired, what’s being wished for, what’s not so popular, and what’s showing signs of potential upswing.  Deborah Halverson  annually surveys publishers, editors, art directors, and agents and presents a deep look at the acquisitions environment for publishing houses and literary agencies, along with the state of the children’s book market.
Register before October 9, 2019.
View the program live with the Q & A [with participation limits]
and have access to the recording until October 30, 2019
COST:   SCBWI Member $15.00  NONMEMBER $25.00
Or Register to access the  recording only  until October 30, 2019
COST:   SCBWI Member $10.00 NONMEMBER $20.00

Not Every Story Arcs: Writing Nontraditional Picture Books That Will Be Read and Re-Read with author Liz Garton Scanlon
Join us  Tuesday, Oct. 15 @ 7:00 pm CT  for a 90-minute craft webinar examining mentor texts and discussing strategies for creating concept books that are compelling, memorable and reward re-reading.  Liz Garton Scanlon  is a picture book and middle grade author whose nontraditional texts include A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes, Think Big, Dear Substitute, and All the World . She lives in Austin and is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

$10 for SCBWI members
$45 for non-members

Region Hosting: Austin
Recording will be available for one month after the webinar for those who register before the event.
October 19 , 2019 – 10:00 - 11:30am
(Central Time)
Rhymers hear all the time that story is more important than rhyme in a picture book text. But is that really true? In this workshop, picture book author and rhyme enthusiast Rebecca J. Gomez will explore that question and help participants learn how to strike.
$15 for SCBWI Members
$35 for non-members
Region Hosting: Nebraska


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
Oct 22, 2019 at 5:30pm
Agent, Abigail Frank is lucky to work with brilliant children’s book writers and illustrators at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She loves picture books, middle grade, and YA equally, but for very different reasons.
Texas Teen Book Festival
October 12, 2019 Southwestern University
An annual event featuring 30–40 authors (from Texas and beyond) whose books have been published in 2019 for a teen audience. Authors chosen for the event will participate in a panel or a special session.  Learn more and register here.

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.
Revising Your Rhymer Picture Book
with author Tim McCanna
Join us  Tuesday, Nov. 5 @ 7:00 pm  CT for a 90-minute craft webinar to discuss techniques for taking your rhyming picture book drafts to the next level. From rewording rhyming stanzas to overhauling endings, we’ll work on getting that rhyming story of yours from so-so to sold. Tim McCanna is the author of Jack B. Ninja, Barnyard Boogie, So Many Sounds, Boing! A Very Noisy ABC, Bitty Bot, Bitty Bot's Big Beach Getaway (ALA/LITA 2019 Golden Duck Notable Picture Book), and Watersong
(2017 New York Public Library Best Book for Kids and 2017 NCTE Notable Poetry Book). 
Cost: $10 for SCBWI members, $35 for non-members  
Post-webinar Critiques: $35 (NOT included with webinar price).
Region Host: Austin

Rising from the Wreckage...How to Revise a Picture Book with New York Times Bestselling Author Pat Zietlow Miller
Tuesday, November 2, 2019 at 10:00 AM -11:30 AM Mountain Time
Do you have a picture book manuscript that’s not quite working? Something that’s gotten good feedback but isn’t selling? Or a story that just seems like it should be stronger? You need to revise. Hear New York Times bestselling picture book author Pat Zietlow Miller share the attitude, approach and techniques you need to pull off the best revision possible.
Registration: SCBWI Members: $10; Non-members: $20
Hosted by SCBWI Utah/Southern Idaho
Getting School Visit Gigs
Alexis O'Neill will present a webinar called  Getting School Visit Gigs  on 11/14/19 from 7:30-9:00 central time. Cost is $15 for members, $25 for non-members.
Region Hosting: Dakotas
Highlights is offering a Tuition scholarship to its Craft & Heart of Poetry Workshop (Oct 13-17, 2019)

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
December 2 - Self-Publishing: 1st Impressions, Book Trailers, Editing, Promoting & More
Our Staff

Regional Advisor:
Asst. Regional Advisor:
Lynne Kelly
Illustrators Coordinator:
2019 Conference Chairs:
Meghan Senkel
Sarah Choi
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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