One Writer’s Journey

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!



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!

March 18, 2016

Summer Reading List: AKA Watch Me Try to Make Up My Mind

PicturePictureBreaking News for PAL* Members:  SCBWI is creating PAL Summer Reading Lists! Fifteen regional lists (the same regions used for Crystal Kites) will be created and divided by grades and within the grades, genres. These lists will be beautifully designed, then marketed and publicized to schools, libraries, bloggers, and more. Look for a special invitation to submit one book for the list. Submissions will be due by April 1st.



I was so excited when I got this message from Kim Pidding, the Missouri Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).  Yay!  A chance to get my books into the hands of young readers!

PicturePictureThen reality hit home.  This means that I have to pick one and only one of my books for the list.  At this point, I have 6 books:

  • Ancient Maya (Abdo)
  • Getrude Ederle vs The English Channel (Schoolwide)
  • The Bombing of Pearl Harbor (Abdo)
  • Black Lives Matter (Abdo)
  • Trench Warfare (Abdo)
  • 12 Incredible Facts about the Cuban Missile Crisis (12 Story Library)

SCBWI plans to make electronic and print copies of the list available “to schools, libraries, bookstores, and consumers.”  This immediately eliminates Gertrude Ederle vs The English Channel.  It is part of Schoolwide’s electronic library.  What this means is that schools that pay for a subscription have access to the book.  There’s no point in putting it on the list because aren’t going to pay to access the whole library for one book.

PicturePictureThat still leaves 5 candidates and, let’s face reality, they are all about hard realities.  These aren’t your light and airy summer reads.

Right now, my choice is Black Lives Matter.  Yeah, I might just hack someone else off but I might also get my book into the hands of a young reader who really and truly wants to know what it is all about.


*A PAL member is a member of SCBWI who has published a book with a recognized, professional publisher.  The list of publishers is available on the SCBWI site.

June 24, 2015

Insight: SCBWI Member Benefit

InsightIt’s been a while since I wrote about SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  When I started writing for children, this was the only game in town.  The internet was pretty darn new (yes, it’s been THAT long) and this was the best way to get a lot of information as well as access educational opportunities.

With the internet, you have access to so much information, but SCBWI still offers so much to its members.  The best part is that they are always working to expand on these benefits.  Perhaps their latest creation is Insight.  It is a monthly e-report on the industry.  Because of this, it is both more current than a print newsletter (duh) but also has the muscle of the Society behind it.  If you read the information in Insight, you know it has been vetted by industry experts and professionals in the field.

Here are just a few of the things that were in the first (June 1, 2015) issue.

Interview with Allyn Johnston.  Johnston is one of my dream editors.  My son loved her books (Mr. Putter and Tabby); I still love her books.  This woman is IT.  Lot’s of great info in this interview.

On the Shelves.  This column profiles a different indie book store each month.  Did you know that indies are making a rebound? Check out this column to find out why?

Draw This!  A monthly prompt for illustrators and no one says that the writers can’t use it too.

Monthly Contest.  There is also a monthly writing prompt and contest.  The winner receives a piece of SCBWI swag.  There just aren’t prizes for us.

There are also inspirational bits from noted writers (find out how Linda Sue Parks writes) and tips for illustrators.

I’ve been a members of SCBWI since 1991 and have never regretted it.  In addition to everythings else, it is an amazing networking opportunity.  Find out how to join here.



April 28, 2015

Book awards: Crystal Kite voting Round 2 now open!

If you are a full member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, you can now cast your vote in Round 2!  Don’t dawdle.  This round of the voting closes on April 30, 2015.

  • As before, go to the SCBWI web site and log in.
  • The top right corner of your screen will have a purple button called My Home.  Click on it.
  • Look at the menu on the left side of your screen.  The last choice is “Vote in the Crystal Kite Awards.”  Click on it.
  • You will then see the three choices for your region.  You only get to vote for one this time, so choose carefully.

Ready, set, vote!


April 10, 2015

Book Awards: Who is elligible for the Crystal Kite Award?

Back sure your books are on the list of nominees for 2015.

Be sure your books are on the list of nominees for 2015.

When my book, the Ancient Maya came out, it never crossed my mind that I should enter to win the Crystal Kite. In fact, I didn’t even think about it until last week when I was voting in Round One of the 2014 awards.  Lucky for me that my book came out in February 2015 so it is still eligible.

To be eligible, you, the author or illustrator, need to be a current member of the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators.

Your book needs to have been published in the calendar year for that award.  So to win for 2015, which will be voted on in 2016, your book needs to have been published in 2015.

The publisher needs to be on the SCBWI PAL list of approved publishers.  For more on that list of commercial publishers, click here.

You need to list your book on your SCBWI profile.  To do that, go to  Log in.  Click on My Home (purple button, type right).

At the bottom left of the page, you will see “publications” and under that “books.”  Click ADD and then follow the directions.  Be sure to click the box for “submit to Crystal Kite award.”

That’s all it takes!  If you have an eligible book, be sure to promote the award among your friends and on social media, but do not use the SCBWI messaging system, promote on the SCBWI discussion board, or e-mail people you don’t know — SCBWI has strict rules about spam.

As your books come out this year, don’t forget to add them to the nominations.


April 7, 2015

Favorite Books: Time to vote for the Crystal Kite Award

Crystal KiteEvery year, members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators get to vote on the Crystal Kite Award.

Voting for Round 1 on the award for books published in 2014 began on April 1st (no fooling!).  This round continues until April 14 at 5:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time. So if you are a member, get your vote in now.

To vote, go to the SCBWI web site, click here.

Once there, log in using your e-mail address and password.  If you have a problem logging in contact Josh Smith,

After you’ve logged in, click here or to go to

You will arrive at the page for your Crystal Kite division which is not the same as your region.  For example, my region is Missouri.  My Crystal Kite division is Mid-South.  Check out the list of books.  There are approximately 22 for Mid-South.  This part is going to be tough because you only get to vote for 1.  One!

Cast your vote and then hang on — Round 2 opens on April 18.  In Round 2 you will get to vote again on a short list composed of the top titles from Round One.

If you have a question about voting, contact Sara Rutenberg,

Let the voting begin!



October 2, 2014

Magazine Merit Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2014 Magazine Merit Awards for work published during 2013.  Without further ado, the winners are:

First Place Plaque:  Laura Williams McCaffrey won for “Into the Vast” which appeared in the March Yarn magazine.
Honor Certificate: Emma Adelaida Otheguy took honors for “Fairies in Town” which appeared in the July Highlights
Letters of Merit: Both Nancy Cote and Sara Matson received letters.

First Place Plaque:  Julia Kelly won for her illustration of David Sklar’s poem in the May/June issue of Lady Bug.
Honor Certificate: Lori McElrath-Eslick won for her illustration for “Gulls at Sunset” by William Beyer in the September Cricket.
Letter of Merit: Susan Dahlman took this honor.

First Place Plaque:  
Barbara Walsh won for “The Poppy Lady” in the November issue of Highlights.
Honor Certificate: Joseph Taylor won for “Emerging Butterflies: The Story of Maria Sibylla Merian” in the April Cricket
Letters of Merit: Alexandra Loewen and Patricia A. Miller won this honor.

First Place Plaque:  Diana Murray for her poem, “Ocean Beach”, in the August Highlights.
Honor Certificate: Heidi Bee Roemer took honors for “Applesauce” in the September Highlights
Letters of Merit: Julianne Palumbo and Dale Cross Purvis received letters.

If you’ve had work pubished in magazines in 2014, SCBWI is taking submissions for 2015.  See the rules at MAGAZINE MERIT AWARDS.

Note the distribution of winners:
4 of the winners appeared in Highlights.
3 appeared in Carus Bug Magazines — 2 in Cricket and 1 Ladybug.
1 appeared in Yarn, the only nonpaying market in the batch.

Clearly Highlights and the Carus group are still holding their own and then some.  Hats off to publishers of note and the writers and illustrators whose work appears in their pages!



Cricket 2

Highlights 4

Ladybug 1

Yarn 1

October 25, 2013

New SCBWI Site

SCBWIIf you are a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, head on over and check out their new web site which went live Wednesday/Thursday.  Not to worry.  Your old password still works like a charm.  Some of the new features include:

SCBWI Online Bookstore where members are allowed to post their books for sale through Indie Bound, Barnes and Noble, Amazon or the member’s own site. Not only can you search the listings by author or title, you can also search on subject or genre, such as chapter book or young adult.

The Illustrator’s Gallery stars a Featured Illustrator with 6 illustrations and a searchable data base of illustrations.

A list of member blogs.

Regional sections have newsletters, event information and more.

And the discussion boards.  The old SCBWI boards have been merged with Verla Kay’s amazing Blue Boards.  All I can say is Wow!  I’m looking forward to getting involved in some amazing chatter.

Truthfully, there is much, much more than this but it is going to take several visits to wrap my head around it all.  I did note that I seriously need to update by “enhanced” member profile.  Right now, it looks a little thin!

Have fun exploring.  I know I will.




October 3, 2013

Are You Eligible for this SCBWI Award?

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award is for an a writer or illustrator who is from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in American children’s literature.

This includes American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander.

The award is for unpublished work and original work and the author or illustrator must be over 18, unpublished and unagented.

The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2013.  The winners will be announced December 15, 2013 and the award presented at the 2014 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York.  Two winners will receive an expense paid trip to the Winter Conference, a press release to publishers, a free one-year SCBWI membership and an SCBWI mentor, also for one year.

To find out more about this award, visit the On-the-Verge Emerging Voices award page on the SCBWI web site.



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