One Writer’s Journey

November 2, 2012

3 Reasons to Attend Writer’s Conferences

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:14 am
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What are you doing this weekend?  I’m going to the fall conference put on by the Missouri Region of SCBWI.   Attending conferences is one of the best things that you can do for your writing career and this is why.

Meet like minded individuals.  Conferences, workshops and retreats are a great way to meet your fellow writers.  Even if you’re a true blue introvert (waving my membership card), you need to get out among your people.  Why?  Because you need to know you aren’t alone.  We writers are a quirky breed and, as much as our loved ones try to support us, they don’t always get it.  So, you got a rejection.  Get it back out there.  Just be more efficient and don’t do so many rewrites.  You need to interact with other people who get it.  You need their support.

Opportunities to advance your career.  Writing events also offer you a great opportunity to advance your career.  Most people read this and think, “I will meet the agent/editor/publisher of my dreams.”  Maybe.  It probably happens.  But, while you are interacting with like minded individuals, keep your ears open.  Someone may very well comment that their editor is looking for a writer who can X.  Or they may e-mail you after the conference and ask if you’d like to work with their editor.  I know this happens because it has happened to me.

To see what is new.  Last but not least, conferences and the like offer you an opportunity to find out about the latest ins and outs of your chosen profession.  When I started writing, you singly submitted and patiently waited.  Now, unless a publisher requires an exclusive, it is more or less expected that you will submit to more than one place at a time.

There’s no doubt about it.  Writing events take time.  They take money.  But it is well worth both when you make the connections that you need to be a strong, healthy, productive writer.




May 10, 2011

Missouri SCBWI Fall Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:14 am
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Hopefully you don’t already have plans for November 5th because Missouri SCBWI has a great fall conference lined up.

Lee, Davis and Morgan

Speakers include:

Heather Alexander, Asst. Editor, Dial Books for Young Readers.  Check out Heather’s listing on Ellen Jackson’s site.

Quinlan Lee, Acquiring Agent, John and Tracy Adams Literary Agency.  In addition to her work as an agent, Lee is a writer so she has experience on both sides of the desk.

Suzanne Morgan Williams, author of 11 books including her two most recent — Bull Rider and China’s Daughters.  I heard Suzie speak several years ago and was wowed by her enthusiasm both for the writing and for connecting with her young readers.

Rich Davis, illustrator of 11 books including the Viking Easy-to-Read series, Tiny.  Rick is a remarkably inspiring person.  Easy to talk to and full of great ideas to help readers (and art directors) connect with your work.

In addition to hearing these speakers, participants will have the opportunity for professional manuscript critiques with both Alexander and Lee as well as authors Louise Jackson and Sue Bradford Edwards (me!).  For the illustrators, there will also be portfolio reviews by Davis.

Be sure to mark this on your calendar.  I know, I have!


September 9, 2010

Missouri SCBWI Annual Conference

Guess who is critiquing manuscripts at the conference this fall?  I am!  I’ll be working with editor Namrata Tripathi (Atheneum), agent Bree Ogden (Martin Literary Management), and fellow author Jeanie Franz Ransom.
Following  are the details for the November 6th event.


All events will take place in the Daniel J. Conoyer Social Sciences Building.
8-9 a.m. Registration
8:30-9 a.m. New Writers Q&A
9-10 a.m. Keynote Address
Lin Oliver, co-founder and executive director of SCBWI, and Steve Mooser, president and co-founder of SCBWI
10-10:10 a.m. Break
10:10-11:10 a.m. Keynote Address
Namrata Tripathi, executive editor at Atheneum Books
11:10-11:15 a.m. Break
11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions:
Apprentice: How to Get Published, Cynthia Reeg
Masters: Writing Workshop, Jody Feldman
Illustrators: Illustrators Workshop, Deborah Zemke
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. Keynote Address
Bree Ogden, Martin Literacy Management
2:30-2:40 p.m. Break
2:40-3:55 p.m. Breakout Sessions:
Apprentice: Critique Workshop, Lynnea Brumbaugh
Masters: Writing Workshop, Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser
Illustrators: Portfolio Review, Deborah Zemke
3:55-4:05 p.m. Break
4:05-4:35 p.m. Learning Opportunities Panel
4:35-5:30 p.m. Closing Remarks and Farewell
Lin Oliver and Stever Mooser


Receive a professional one-on-one manuscript critique from one of the following: editor and writer Sue Bradford Edwards, award-winning author Jeanie Franz Ransom, executive editor Namrata Tripathi or agent Bree Ogden.
They will review either the first 10 pages and synopsis of a novel or one complete picture book manuscript. Authors will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Edwards, Ransom, Tripathi or Ogden at the conference, as well as receive a written critique. No requests are taken for faculty preference.
Interested authors must email their manuscripts to by Oct. 5. The fee for a critique is $30 (see registration form).
Due to time constraints, critique space is limited. Critiques are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Register early to take advantage of this opportunity!


Illustrators are invited to bring a portfolio or sample of their work to display at the event. No fee or registration is necessary.


Rooms have been reserved at a discounted rate at the Drury Inn in St. Peters, and will be available until Friday, Oct. 22. Simply call 636-397-9700 and give the SCBWI group number: 2099446. There is a flat rate of $79.99 a night per room. This rate is available Friday-Saturday, Nov. 5-6.


Namrata Tripathi, executive director at Atheneum Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuester, works on all types of books, from young picture books to young adult fiction. She describes her tastes as eclectic and literary. She is also an author and has written numerous books for children.

Bree Ogden, agent at Martin Literacy Management, works specifically with children’s authors and graphic novels. Her clients include HC Noel, Anthony Flacco and Jo Anna Hagen.

Lin Oliver, co-founder and executive director of SCBWI, writes and produces movies, books and television series for children.

Steve Mooser, president and co-founder of SCBWI, is an author with over 50 titles to his credit, including The Ghost With the Halloween Hiccups and The Hitchhiking Vampire.

Cynthia Reeg, the Missouri Writing Mentor for 2011, is the author of five picture books for children. She has also published numerous stories in magazines such as Clubhouse, Faces, Highlights and My Friend.

Jody Feldman, award-winning author of the Gollywhomper Games and The Seventh Level, teaches writers and entertains children with her wit and words.

Sue Bradford Edwards, editor, writer, blogger, teacher and past SCBWI regional advisor, has been published by READ Magazine, Ladybug, Young Equestrian, Children’s Writer, Harcourt Brace and Women on Writing.

Jeanie Ransom, award-winning author of five picture books, has previously served as the Missouri Mentor and loves teaching new writers how to succeed in the business.

Deborah Zemke, author/illustrator, has illustrated more than 40 children’s books and brings a serious sense of silliness to her work.

Lynnea Brumbaugh, professor at Washington University, teaches writing and was a primary developer of the university’s children’s literature program. She is a professional editor, a published author and the assistant regional advisor of the Missouri SCBWI.


Children’s Writers Conference

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010

St. Charles Community College

Register online:

Name _______________________________ Address ______________________________

City ________________________________

State _______________ ZIP ______________Phone _______________________________

E-mail _______________________________


Early Registration Before Oct. 10

____ SCBWI Member $95

____ Non-member $115

After Oct. 10

____ SCBWI Member $110

____ Non-member $135

One-on-one critique session

____ $30 *Critiques must be submitted by e-mail to by Tuesday, Oct. 5.

$____ Total Due

If you have special lunch needs or would like a

vegetarian option, please call 636-922-8233.

Mail, phone or fax registration to:

St. Charles Community College

4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive

Cottleville, MO 63376

Phone: 636-922-8233 Fax: 636-922-8686

Make check payable to: St. Charles Community College

Payable by Mastercard, Visa or Discover credit/debit card (please circle):

Name on Card ___________________________

Credit Card Number _____________________

Exp. Date ______ 3-Digit Security Code _______

Signature _____________________________

April 23, 2010

And They’re Off . . . Is a Retreat Right for You?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:17 am
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This is going to be a short post because I’m leaving for my retreat at Missouri’s Trout Lodge.  Friday Evening to Sunday afternoon spent with Charlesbridge editor Randi Rivers and just over 10 other writers.  Hurray for me!

What is the difference between a retreat and a workshop or conference?  Is it just the overnight stay?

To me, a workshop means writing exercises and hands on.  A conference features more speakers and less actual writing but there may be some.  Often there is a choice of sessions.   or retreat can include writing exercises, presentations and writing time.

But it depends on how your organizer uses the terms so read the details carefully. With the Missouri SCBWI, a retreat is a small overnight event.  That means almost 48 hours with an editor and no more than 15 other writers.  It is an intense learning experience with serious one-on-one time with the speaker.  You learn in the one-on-one session and the group sessions and then you go off and apply what you’ve just learned to your own work.  A lot of us rewrite what we worked over with the editor.  Sometimes we apply the lessons to something else as well.  Either way, we spend some serious time writing.  All in all, it is a real growth experience.  In part, it is because we figure in writing time.  Also, it small.  Finally, it is limited to SCBWI PAL members.

Is this the event for everyone?  Nope.  A new writer would probably be overwhelmed by the information and the intensity, but, having chatted with several other writers, all PAL members, who regularly attend, it is just this intensity that we crave to take our writing to the next level.

Whether you are an experienced writer or a new writer, there are writing events to meet most every need.  Before you sign up for an event, read the brochure.  It is just like studying a market to find the one that is right for you and your work.  Do your research, come prepared and, if you’ve chosen the right event, your hard work will pay off.


November 9, 2009

Goals for November — Week 1 results

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:44 am
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Last Tuesday evening, the file that held both of my talks for the conference ate itself.  Bye bye!  I had hard copies but had already begun updating one of them.

What does this mean?

Other than print things out and/or have back ups?  It means that all I finished last week was the two talks.  I didn’t lose a whole lot of work but it was a bit frustrating so I took a break.

I came home from the conference really wanting to submit to both Greg Ferguson and Jennifer Mattson, two of our speakers.  Guess I better get writing!

Those of you who attended know what a great day it was.  I’ll be sharing a bit of information and some of my impressions this week as well as information on various upcoming Missouri events.

If there is anything in particular that you’d like to hear about, drop me a line.

I took e-mail addys from a number of you who wanted critique group information.  You’ll be hearing from me today.


August 3, 2009

Missouri SCBWI Confluence Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:12 am
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Here is the detailed info I promised you on the upcoming conference!


When:  November 7, 2009 from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm

Where:  St. Charles Community College

Sessions and Faculty Bios:

The Art of Children’s Books
An Illustrator’s Life
Group Portfolio Review

Floyd Cooper has illustrated more than fifty books, many of them for such award-winning authors as Virginia Hamilton, Eloise Greenfield, and Patricia McKissack. His illustrations have won a number of honors, including four Coretta Scott King Awards. Some of his books include The Blacker the Berry, Miss Crandall’s School for Young ladies & Little Misses of Color, and Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea.


On Egmont Books

Greg Ferguson is the editor at Egmont USA. Egmont is one of the largest publishers in Europe with activities in 23 countries. Their first list of 15 books will publish in fall 2009. Greg’s primary acquisition interests include boy’s adventure fiction, middle-grade ghost stories, horror novel (or series) for tweens, edgy and realistic YA fiction, and humorous stories for middle-grade or tweens.


On Andrea Brown agency

Jen Rofe is an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.  Jen handles children’s fiction projects only, from picture books through young adult, and is particularly interested in literary, multicultural, offbeat, paranormal, and commercial-with-heart material. She enjoys magical-realism and reality-based fantasy; ghost stories (though not gore); stubborn characters who learn lessons the hard way; and unassuming heroes and underdogs.


Establishing a Writing Career

Sue Bradford Edwards is an editor, writer, and book reviewer who lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.  Sue is the Managing Editor of 21st Century Family, a virtual magazine for families of all kinds.  She is responsible for locating and editing content and now understands the editorial phrase, “I’ll know it when I see it.”  As a writer, her work has appeared in Children’s Writer, The Children’s Writer Guide, Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, READ, Ladybug, Young Equestrian magazine, The Gaited Horse,  and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. 


The Business of Writing

Judy Young is an award-winning children’s author and poet who specializes in school visits and writing workshops for students. She also speaks at events such as children’s literature festivals and young author conferences as well as conducting poetry writing workshops for elementary and middle school students nationwide. Judy is also a frequent featured speaker at professional educational conferences nationwide as well as for individual school districts’ professional development workshops and school in-services.


Creative Writing Workshop

Leslie Wyatt is a solid and enduring writer who delights in bringing the commonplace to life and in putting words to the undefined. Leslie has published well over 100 articles for children and families.  Her work appears in numerous anthologies. Her most recent book, Poor is Just a Starting Place has had critical acclaim from Booklist review, and School Library Journal. Leslie also gives workshops on the craft of writing, has written numerous articles equipping writers to excel, and edited the work of other writers.

March 20, 2009

Pick the Right Event

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:25 am
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thinkI hope you’ve enjoyed reading just a little bit about what I learned at the retreat.  I learned much, much more.  In fact, Cheryl Klein gave us so much information that it will take me weeks to absorb it all.   If I had been a new writer, a retreat of this kind would have been too much.  That is why I’d like to encourage you to look at the type of event before you sign up. 

  • Conferences tend to be large and offer a variety of sessions that may or may not be focused around a particular topic.   Probably the best choice for new writers but they can also be good for intermediate writers.
  • Workshops give you the chance for “hands on” learning.  You’ll probably be doing writing exercises.   Good for intermediate writers looking to hone skills.
  • Retreats, whether large or small, offer a chance for several days of intense work.  They usually include one-on-one time with the editor, evaluations meant to help you improve your work.  Expect to be told what you’re doing wrong although a good critiquer includes what you’re doing right so that you have something to build on.  Best for the advanced writer.  
  • Agent or Editor Days are generally designed to expose you to several agents or editors in one day.  Best for intermediate to advanced writers who have several highly polished manuscripts to market.

Pick the event that best fits where you are.  It will make for a better experience.


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