One Writer’s Journey

November 3, 2017

Reading List: The SCBWI 2017 Winter Reading List

I’ve got just over one chapter to rough and really need to have a full draft done today so I’m going to keep this short.  But truly this resource is meaty enough that you’re going to want to dig right in.  I”ll be back with another picture book post tomorrow.

The SCBWI 2017 Winter Reading List is out and my book, What Are Race and Racism? , is listed on page 49. I have to admit that I struggled with which book to submit.  I have several new ones out in 2017 and this one isn’t particularly upbeat.  But it is about an important topic.

This volume, as described by SCBWI:

“The Reading List Program includes books of all genres from our PAL authors and illustrators, both front list and backlist titles. This is an opportunity to find that book that a kid or teen will enjoy and can engage with the fun and adventure of reading. Authors and illustrators from close to your hometown to those around the world are featured on the List.”

The entire list is just over 120 pages long.  You can also download the list for a specific region.  Missouri is part of the Mid-South.

This list is a resource for libraries, teachers and bookstores.  All of the books are by Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators members.  It represents book in all genres and all juvenile age levels. Need a book list for your Christmas shopping?  Download this listing and search by key words.  You’re sure to find something for every young reader on your list.



October 19, 2017

Webinars: Writing Events You Can Attend from Home

I love taking MOOC. These online classes offer me the opportunity to learn from university and museum faculty from all over the world.  And I can do it from my desk which means that I can sit here and knit while watching lectures. (It drives my husband nuts but I really do focus better if my hands are busy.)   I take the majority of my classes through  They frequently offer a paid version for those who want college credit but since I’m doing it for fun, I also do it for free.

I have to admit that I’ve never taken advantage of a webinar although I can see the benefits.  Webinars offer similar content to a conference without the travel expenses.  They also tend to be much more affordable.

Although Society of Chldren’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) regions offer a variety of webinars, you have to go to each regions site to see what they have to offer.  With roughly 80 regions worldwide, that’s a lot of sites to look through to find events.

Fortunately one region, Nevada SCBWI is cataloging this content so that we can review it all in one place.  Just go to their webinars page and see who is offering what.  I have to say that the nonfiction webinar and the one on picture book dummies both look really interesting!

When you are looking at these listings, be sure to pay attention to the time zones.  You don’t want to sign up for something at 6:00 pm Pacific if you will be putting the kids to bed.  And also remember that you will need to direct your questions to the region offering the event vs contacting the Nevada Region.

Take a look at what’s available and maybe I’ll “see” you there!



September 20, 2017

12 Writing Books: 6 Books Librarians Recommend and 6 of My Favorites

Whenever I come across a list of must read writing books, I skim through it to see what I might discover.  So it’s not surprise I clicked through to read the list Terri Frank composed for a DIY MFA blog post.

When asked a variety of questions, the librarians queried each recommended a book.  Here is their 6 item list along with some commentary from yours truly.

Writer’s Market 2018 was recommended as a get started writing book. I have to admit that surprised me.  I would definitely recommend it to the writer who has several manuscripts under their belt and is ready to seek out an agent or editor, but a newbie?  I’m not so sure about that.  I do have my copy so don’t think I’m dissing it.  I’d just need to know what the newbie wanted to write before I made a recommendation.

No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low Stress,High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty was recommended for a writer who is prepping for NaNoWriMo.

Literary Market Place was the suggestion for a writer with a technical manual to sell.

The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker was recommended for the author who failed to connect with their plot.  I don’t know this book but I’m wondering how similar it is to Plot by Ansen Dibell which I have on my shelf.

Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction by Jack Hart was recommended for someone who plans to write a memoire.  I have to admit that I’m not madly in love with memoire but I’ve yet to find a nonfiction how-to that I love so I’ve requested this from my library.  I keep them very busy.

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by Mike Figgis is the book the librarian will be reading.  Wish my library had this one but they don’t so I may have to ILL it.  Like I said, I believe in providing job security for the local library staff.

So what 6 books would I recommend?

The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children.  This SCBWI book is a compilation of their market guides and other handy references tools.  Honestly, I use this more than I use Writer’s Market because it specializes in children’s markets.

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul is the go-to book for anyone who wants to write picture books.  She analyzes the form, provides tons of information on the language and so much more.  Honestly, I try to find time to look through this every time I start a picture book project.

Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison.  This book is all about rewriting your novel.  It is a workshop in book form and if you follow it you will come out with a much better manuscript.  I mean it.  This is one every children’s novelist should own.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.  This is an essential book for someone who wants to have their anxious character do more than chew on his lip or wring her hands.  A great reference tool for emotions across the board and all types of characters.


Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang  is a how to that gives information on how the illustrations in a picture book convey emotion, lead the reader through the story, and more.  Read this one for a better understanding of how illustrations function.

The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson.  This is a great book for studying plot structure – the ups, the downs and how they all come together for a satisfying story.  A great tool for troubleshooting pacing and figuring out what isn’t quite working on your novel.

Hopefully between the DIY MFA list and my list, you’ll find something new to inspire your writing.  After all, we all need a little nudge every now and again.


August 4, 2017

SCBWI 2017 Reading List

Are you a PAL (Published and Listed) Member of SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)?  If the answer is yes, SCBWI has a promotional opportunity for you might want to take advantage of.  
The Society isputting together a 2017 SCBWI Reading List to promote our PAL authors and illustrators.  As with previous lists this one will be shared with teachers, librarians, and booksellers. But this list offers another great opportunity.  SCBWI will have a booth at NCTE in November.  At this event, they will be handing out the list on flash drives!
Do you have a book on the SCBWI Winter 2016 Reading List?  They you are set and no action is needed (unless you want to add your website/see below). The Society is using the 2016 list as a basis for the new list.
Do you have a 2017 book you would like to see on the list?  You can even substitute it for your 2016 book. The important thing to remember is that there are a lot of us so each member can only contribute ONE BOOK.
To have a 2017 book listed or substituted for a 2016, send the following information to
25 Word (or Less) Book Description:
Your City and State of Residence:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:  (Use PreK-K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12)
Your Website:
Including your website is a new feature of the list.  This means that if your book is from the 2016 listing, you can add your website to that listing.  Just send the following information to
The deadline for either a new entry or an addition is August 31, 2017.  
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an entry to update!

July 26, 2017

Illustration Contest

Are you a children’s illustrator?  If so, here is a fun contest you can enter as long as you are a member of SCBWI.

The KS/MO (Kansas and Missouri) Region of the Society is hosting a content.  The winners illustration will grace the KS/Mo Fall Conference 2017 programs and will be displayed on the Kansas/Missouri SCBWI web site.  It is a great opportunity to get your work in front of art directors, agents, and editors.  Don’t dawdle!

  •  DEADLINE:  August 7, 2017, by midnight. The winner will be notified by late August.
  • Open only to SCBWI members.
  • The illustration must be original, created by the illustrator submitting the work.
  • Submit a 350dpi .jpg of an 8” x 10” original work of art to illustrate the conference theme: Middle of the Map.
  • Send it as an email attachment to Amy Kenney at Submission files should be labeled with your name (eg: sam_doe.jpg).
  • Include the following in the accompanying email: your name; mailing address; telephone number; illustration title (if applicable).

I wish I was an illustrator!  The winner will be notified by the end of August, and will receive free tuition to the 2017 Kansas/Missouri Fall Conference on November 4th, 2017.   Note: You, the illustrator, will retain ownership of the illustration.

Good luck!


May 23, 2017

Winners Announced: SCBWI Announces Winners of the 2017 Crystal Kite Awards

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:26 am
Tags: ,

I was so excited when I saw the notice for the annual Crystal Kite Awards.  The Crystal Kite awards are peer-voted in that members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators bestow this award for excellence in children’s books on their fellow writers and illustrators.  Winners are voted on and awards made with 15 US and international regions for books published in the preceeding year. It is always a tough call because so many great books are published every year.

Ah, well.  Without further ado, the winners are:

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy for the Atlantic Division  (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Wash DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland)



Smile Cry by Tania McCartney & Jess Racklyeft for Australia and New Zealand.  Not sure why but the cover really makes me think Easter.

Australia NZ

Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature by Cynthia Jenson-Elliott & Christy Hale for California and Hawaii.  Mom loved Ansel Adams so this one really grabbed by attention.




CA Hawaii

Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Aurora by Joan Marie Galat for Canada.



El jardín mágico by Carme Lemniscates for Internationals Other.  I found this one online.  The publisher is Venezuelan.


Salt to the Sea  by Ruta Sepetys for the Mid South  (Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana).  Sepetys is an amazing author!




Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu for the Middle East, India and Asia.  Don’t you just adore this cover?  It really makes me want to read the book.

Middle East


The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller (& Frank Morrison) for the MidWest Division  (Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio). Oddly enough, you’d expect KS/Mo to be part of the Midwest, but no. So I didn’t get to vote for this one!


FEARLESS FLYER: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine by Heather Lang (& Raul Colon) for the New England Region  (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island).  Oddly enough, although I have a strong background in history, none of the projects I’m currently working on are history.  Still, this is an excellent imprint (Calkins Creek) and I’ve put in a request.

New England

Saving Kate’s Flowers by Cindy Sommer (& Laurie Allen Klein) for the New York Region.  Don’t you just love the cover?

New york

Wish by Barbara O’Connor for the Southeast Division (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama).  I’m working on a couple of picture book manuscripts so I’ve got this on my reading list.  It has a different tone than mine but who knows, I might write a serious picture book some day.


Space Boy and the Space Pirate by Dian Curtis Regan for the Southwest Division (Nevada, Arizona, Utah, southern Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico).  Although I hadn’t read this one yet, I do have a request in for it as well as Space Boy and His Dog.   Study, study, study!


Tiny Stitches – The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thoms by Gwendolyn Hooks for the Texas and Oklahoma Region.  I love children’s biographies so I’ll be looking for this one at the library.


More of Me by Kathryn Evans for the UK, Ireland Region.  Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have this one!

UK Ireland

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox for the Western Division (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota).  Oh the excitements!  I adored this book.







Lots of great books to read!



April 4, 2017

Crystal Kite Award: It Is Time to Cast Your Vote!

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:26 am
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If you are an SCBWI member, it is time to cast your vote in the Crystal Kite Awards.  For those of you who have not vote before, the Crystal Kites are voted on by your peers, fellow authors and illustrators.  There is an award for each of the 15 SCBWI regional divisions worldwide.

This is Round 1 in the voting.  Cast your vote for one book.  The winners in this Round will become the finalists in the Second/Final round.

To vote, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Go to the SCBWI site and log in.
  2. Once you have logged in and reached your member page, scroll to the bottom of the left hand menu and click on “Vote in the Crystal Kite Awards.”
  3. This will automatically take you to the correct region, thankfully.  I’m in Kansas-Missouri which is part of the Mid-South.  Yep.  Not something I would have guessed.  Any-who, at that point you just take your time and look through the various candidates.  For the Mid-South, there are something like 44 eligible books.  I can scroll down the page and click on “More Info” to find out additional information on any given book.  You can sort the books by Title, Author Name, or Illustrator Name.
  4. Once you have decided which book you want to vote for, click on the “Cast My Vote” button for the book you have chosen.  You will be asked to confirm you vote and then you simply click “yes” or “no.”

Good luck to all of you amazing authors and illustrators out there!  And, may be the best books win.




November 16, 2016

SCBWI Reading List Available

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:38 am
Tags: ,

scbwi-winter-16-reading-list-231x300I’m between jobs at the moment.  Yes, I’m still writing and working but I always feel a bit adrift when I don’t have a real deadline.  I should have known SCBWI wouldn’t let me drift along for too long.

The SCBWI 2016 Winter Reading List is out and my book, The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, is listed on page 38.

As described by SCBWI:

“This is our second list and we’re very excited to have over 1,100 books from 328 publishers created, by our PAL authors and illustrators located in 15 geographical regions. They have created some of the best children’s books around from picture books to YA fiction to nonfiction and more. The list is comprised of books by writers and artists from around the world, and from right near your hometown.”

The entire list is just over 100 pages long.  You can also download the list for a specific region.  Missouri is part of the Mid-South.

This list is a resource for libraries, teachers and bookstores.  All of the books are by Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators members.  It represents book in all genres and all juvenile age levels. Need a book list for your Christmas shopping?  Download this listing a search by key words.  You’re sure to find something for every young reader on your list.


September 27, 2016

Winter Reading List

 Are you an SCBWI Pal Member?  A Pal member is someone who has published a book with a recognized professional publisher. If so, take advantage of this Pal opportunity to promote one of your books.

The organization is pulling together a Winter Reading List for 2016.  Schools, libraries, bookstores and consumers will have access to the list via digital download. SCBWI will promote the list paid advertising, social media marketing and social media advertising.

I’ve already submitted my book for the list.  Have you?  If not, you have until September 30th to take advantage of this opportunity.  Send an e-mail to with the following information for your book:

  • Title:
  • Author:
  • Illustrator:
  • Genre:
  • 25 Words (or Less) Book Description:
  • Your City and State of Residence:
  • Publisher:
  • Publication Date:
  • Grade Level (Choose the closest match from this list/PreK-K; 1-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12)
  • Also let them know if this is the same book you submitted for the Summer Reading List. That’s okay but they prefer that you take the opportunity to showcase another books.

Remember, this is due FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30.  Take advantage of this free opportunity to showcase your book.


April 5, 2016

Crystal Kite

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:42 am
Tags: ,

Are you an SCBWI member?  If so, have you cast your ballot in the first round of the Crystal Kite voting?  The Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award that gives SCBWI members (divided into 15 regions) the opportunity to vote for and recognize amazing books in their regions.

The first round of voting is going on now through April 14, 2016.  Here is what you need to do to vote:

Go to the SBWI site and log in.  my home


At the upper right corner of your screen, click on My Home.  That will take you to your page with your profile picture to the left and your various information as well as a column of tabs on the left hand side of your screen.

voteAt the bottom of this list of tabs, find a click on Vote in Crystal Kite Awards.

Through April 14, click on the Vote tab  will take you to first round of voting in your division.  Yeah, the categories feel odd — I’m in the Mid-South.


Books are arranged more or less alphabetically.  Be sure to visit and review each page of entries before voting.  I had 2 – 3 pages (depending on number of books per page) and 35 entries.

When you click on the button to vote for a book it will ask you if you are sure.  You get to vote for one and only one book.

The longer I’m a SCBWI member, the harder this is because I actually now the people who have written and illustrated the books.  Its never an easy choice, but please take the time to vote.


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