Conference Updates & KidLit Events July 19

The one-week drought has ended! This week I have six writing conferences and a writing retreat to add to the list, giving you opportunities to meet thirteen literary agents. More are on the way!

Yesterday, I attended a round table discussion with several authors from SCBWI-Houston. Our topic was self-publishing. Some of the authors were re-publishing their traditionally published books that had gone out of print, some were self-publishing after trying the traditionally published route for many years, and others were skipping the drama of traditional publishing and going straight to self-publishing. Others, who have been in the self-publishing trenches for years were there to guide us, and some were just there to learn. And WOW, was there a lot to learn! I’m lucky to be in a SCBWI chapter with such knowledgeable and generous authors. Our next meetup for this CLASS CLOWN ACADEMY by Stephen Mooser, Illustrated by Rick Reesetopic will be in September. If you are a local author interested in joining us, sign up for the SCBWI-Houston listserv to keep informed.

Also in September, the Houston Writers Guild will be hosting its Indiepalooza event. Whether you are going the traditional route with agents and publishing houses or going it alone, every author should arm themselves with an education in self-publishing. A couple of years ago, even SCBWI founder and president Stephen Mooser, author of over 60 traditionally published books for kids, self-published a middle grade novel, CLASS CLOWN ACADEMY. He talks about his decision to go indie with this title on the SCBWI blog. He gives lots of advice in this article, including this quote: “… I can’t emphasize enough you need to do a professional job and put out a book that can compete with traditionally published books.

You can check out the Houston Writers Guild event and other upcoming Indie Publishing conferences here. And don’t forget the SCBWI-Houston conference coming in October. Registration is open!

Here’s this week’s roundup:

LOCAL KIDLIT AUTHOR EVENTS

FOR READERS

JULY 23, SATURDAY, 11:00 AM: BRIGHT SKY AUTHORS CELEBRATION

Blue Willow Bookshop

THISTLE DOWNE by Molly & Gary WhitneyTHE SAME HEARTNOSEY ROSEYTHE MAGIC GINGERBREAD HOUSEARTIE: THE FIRST ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREE

Children’s authors with local publisher Bright Sky Press will be on hand to sign their books. Attending authors are Molly Whitney, Chris Bridge, Paige Clough, Pam Franks, and Dee Maner.

Molly Whitney: THISTLE DOWNE
Chris Bridge: THE SAME HEART
Paige Clough: NOSEY ROSEY
Pam Franks: THE MAGIC GINGERBREAD HOUSE
Dee Maner: ARTIE: THE FIRST ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREE

FOR WRITERS

JULY 19, TUESDAY, 7:30 PM: HOUSTON BAY AREA RWA MTG & WORKSHOP

Kirkmont MUD Building, 10102 Blackhawk Rd., Houston
Thelma Zirkelback—Non-Verbal Communications
COST: FREE

Thelma Zirkelbach will present a workshop on enhancing character through non-verbal communication.

JULY 23, SATURDAY, 1:00-4:00 PM & JULY 30, SATURDAY, 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM: WRITESPACE WORKSHOP

Writespace
Workshop: How to Write a Novel with Anis Shevani
COST:  Early-Bird until Monday, July 18: $105 Members, $135 Non-Members. After Monday, July 18, $135 Members, $165 Non-Members.

This intense two-day workshop—the two sessions a week apart—will depart from the norms of instruction in writing fiction by making us rethink the dominant terms of discussion. The functional components of a novel—character, plot, narrative, exposition, dialogue, scene—will be discussed with regard for the fluidity and range of expression a distinctive novel compels, not with the sense of constriction short fiction typically demands of the writer and reader.

JULY 26, 6:30-8:30 PM: HWG SUMMER SERIES

Trini Mendenhall, 1414 Wirt Road, Houston
Workshop: Finding Selling Venues For Your Print Books with Andrea Barbosa.
COST: $10 per session to Houston Writers Guild members/$30 per session to nonmembers; Or $50 members for all 6 sessions/$150 nonmembers for all 6 sessions 

Book festivals can be worthwhile endeavors, but you have to be well prepared and willing to stretch and grow. In this informational session, HWG’s Author Events Director Andrea Barbosa will talk about how to find selling venues for your print books, how to work at a book festival, how to sell, display, and market your books during events, and how to conduct book signing events.

CONFERENCE UPDATES

This week’s roundup includes one editor and thirteen literary agents from thirteen agencies! If you’d like to be notified of these weekly posts, please use the form on the sidebar to Subscribe to Updates.

AGENTS AT CONFERENCES

JULY 23: LEAGUE OF VERMONT WRITERS MEET THE AGENTS, SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT

AGENTS: Rebecca Podos/Rees Literary Agency, Heather Flaherty/The Bent Agency, Jan L. Kardys/Black Hawk Literary Agency, Dede Cummings/Green Writers Press

SEPTEMBER 16-17: ORA FICTION WRITERS CONFERENCE, SPRINGFIELD, MO

AGENT: Sara Megibow/KT Literary Agency

SEPTEMBER 29-OCTOBER 1: MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS, PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA

AGENTS: Nicole Rescenti/Seymore Agency, Laura Bradford/Bradford Agency

SEPTEMBER 24: TALLAHASSEE WRITERS CONFERENCE, TALLAHASSEE, FL

AGENTS: Elizabeth Copps/Maria Carvainis Agency, Alyssa Jennette/Stonesong Literary

OCTOBER 13-16: ENDURING SPIRITS UNTOLD STORIES, SANTA FE, NM

AGENTS: Samantha Bremekamp/Corvisiero Literary Agency, Shanon Hassan/Marsal Lyon Agency

OCTOBER 14-15: NWG FALL WRITER’S CONFERENCE, AURORA, NE

Carrie Pestritto/Prospect Literary Agency 

RETREATS/WORKSHOPS

OCTOBER 13-16: FALL RETREAT, SUBLIMITY, OR

EDITOR: Jill Santapolo/Philomel Books
AGENT: Abigail Samoun/Red Fox Literary
AUTHORS: Jane Kurtz, Graham Salisbury

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KidLit Author Events July 12

LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA by Katie Kennedy; Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary AgencyWhile I was out of town, my pre-ordered copy of Katie Kennedy’s (moderator on the SCBWI Discussion Board) debut young adult novel arrived at Blue Willow Bookshop! The novel, LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA, has continued to gain praise from the industry pros, like this starred review from Publishers Weekly, and was included included in the PW Picks: Books of the Week, July 11, 2016.

Since I started including the writing conference updates on these weekly posts, I think today is the first time I have come up empty-handed. There are many conferences and retreats which are pending but haven’t yet posted their information. Fingers crossed, next week I’ll have more news for you.

But don’t forget the SCBWI-Houston fall conference coming October 22 is now open for registration!

Here’s what’s going on around Houston this week:

Greater Houston Area KidLit Author/Illustrator Events

JULY 12, 6:30-8:30 PM: HWG SUMMER SERIES

Trini Mendenhall, 1414 Wirt Road, Houston
Workshop: Plotting Thrillers and Action/Adventure—Story Arc and Comic Relief with Tony Burnett
COST: $10 per session to Houston Writers Guild members/$30 per session to nonmembers; Or $50 members for all 6 sessions/$150 nonmembers for all 6 sessions

Tony Burnett, current president of the Writers League of Texas, will discuss:
Plot development–how complex should your story be
Pacing–tension and tension release
Unique characteristics of thrillers versus action adventure versus mystery
Finding your voice–reading to write
Standalone versus series versus serial–what works for your story
Character traits and quirks–making the believable interesting and the unbelievable believable
Finding an audience and/or specific genre
Having fun with writing

PAPER & FIRE by Rachel Caine; Published by Berkley Publishing Group, NAL

JULY 13, WEDNESDAY, 6:30 PM: RACHEL CAINE, YA AUTHOR

Murder By The Book

NYT bestselling author Rachel Caine will sign and discuss her young adult novel PAPER AND FIRE. In this sequel to INK AND BONE, Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.
Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London. But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

WELCOME TO MARS: Buzz Aldrin & Marianne DysonJULY 15, FRIDAY, 5:00-10:00 PM: MARIANNE DYSON, CHILDREN’S NONFICTION AUTHOR

Barnes & Noble Westheimer Crossing

As part of Barnes & Noble’s Star Wars night, Marianne Dyson will sign her new children’s book WELCOME TO MARS, co-authored with Buzz Aldrin, plus her space shuttle memoir, A PASSION FOR SPACE. Another of her books, HOME ON THE MOOON, which won the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in 2004 will be available. She’ll have a special scale for readers to “Guess Your Moon Weight” with NASA stickers for prizes, and some “gravity bricks” to test their strength on the Moon and Mars.

JULY 16, SATURDAY, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM: WRITESPACE WORKSHOP

Writespace 
Workshop: Crafting Effective Prose with Cassandra Clare
COST: Early-Bird until Monday, July 11: $30 Members, $45 Non-Members. After Monday, July 11: $40 Members, $55 Non-Members

In this workshop, we’ll examine these powerful building blocks of fiction by focusing on the importance of effective prose. How can the prose of a story highlight and enhance classic story elements like character, structure and plot arcs? How many metaphors are too many? What other writing styles can we employ to tell our stories well, or should we all just try to write like Hemingway? Through a combination of writing exercises and discussion of classic examples, we’ll answer these questions and more.

JULY 16, SATURDAY, 7:00 PM: CAMILLA D’ERRICO, MANGA ARTIST

Barnes & Noble Westheimer Crossing

Celebrate manga with drawing and coloring activities from renowned manga artist Camilla d’Errico. Enjoy a special offer on manga, activities, cosplay and giveaways.

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Conference Updates & Kidlit Events July 5

So far, 2016 has been a good year for authors on the SCBWI Discussion Boards (Blue Board), and today is launch day for two more! It is such fun to see manuscripts written and illustrated by people I know and “talk” to regularly come to life as real, on-the-shelf-books. If you write, or want to write, for children or young adults, I urge you to join the Blue Board. If you are a member of SCBWI and are not using the boards, you are throwing away a free education! (Plus, you’re missing out on getting to know some really great writers and illustrators!)

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

First up is a sparkling new YA from debut author (and SCBWI Discussion Boards moderator) Katie Kennedy. I had a chance to read Katie’s book as an ARC, and it was so much fun! The American Booksellers Association agrees with me; they chose this novel for their Indies Introduce list, and it has already received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, one of the nation’s leading children’s book review journals for school and public librarians.

LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA by Katie Kennedy; Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary AgencyLEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA

Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

From the publisher: An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Maybe not kill-all-the-dinosaurs bad, but at least kill-everyone-in-California-and-wipe-out-Japan-with-a-tsunami bad. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been recruited to aid NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster.

The good news is Yuri knows how to stop the asteroid—his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But the trouble is, even though NASA asked for his help, no one there will listen to him. He’s seventeen, and they’ve been studying physics longer than he’s been alive.

Then he meets (pretty, wild, unpredictable) Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and live a life worth saving.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with the questions of the universe.

Buy the book! BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  INDIEBOUND  BARNES & NOBLE  AMAZON

Follow Katie on twitter! @KatieWritesBks

Next up is a nonfiction picture book from another SCBWI Discussion Boards author, Jody Jensen Shaffer. Jody has a Goodreads giveaway for this book starting tomorrow! She also has two more picture books releasing in the next two years. PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW will be published by Holt Children’s in 2017, and A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK in 2018 from Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin.

THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED BY Jody Jensen Shaffer; Illustrated by Kelly Kennedy; Author's Agent: Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary AgencyTHE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED

Illustrated by Kelly Kennedy

Published by Simon & Schuster

From the publisher: C is for cookie in this fact-tastic nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read that explores the history of cookies, part of a series about the history of fun stuff!

Did you know that Queen Elizabeth I used to have gingerbread cookies molded into the shapes of her favorite advisors? Or that Girl Scouts used to bake the cookies they sold themselves? Or that if you stacked all the Oreos ever made, they would reach to the moon and back five times? Become a History of Fun Stuff Expert on the super-sweet history of cookies and amaze your friends with all you’ve learned in this fun, fact-filled Level 3 Ready-to-Read!

A special section at the back of the book includes Common Core–vetted extras on subjects like science, social studies, and math, and there’s even a fun quiz so readers can test themselves to see what they’ve learned! Learning history has never been so much fun!

Buy the book! BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP  INDIEBOUND  BARNES & NOBLE  AMAZON

Follow Jody on twitter! @jodywrites4kids

LOCAL KIDLIT AUTHOR EVENTS

JULY 5, TUESDAY, 7:00 PM: SCBWI HOUSTON: MTG & WORKSHOP

Tracy Gee Community Center
Lane Riosley—On Stage: The Nuts & Bolts of Writing & Adapting Children’s & YA Works for the Theater
COST: FREE

JULY 8, FRIDAY, 6:30 PM: ANNA SILVER, YA AUTHOR
Murder By The Book

Local author Anna Silver will sign and discuss her young adult novel, SONGBYRD. Living on the road with her mother, all she’s ever really wanted is a normal, stable life in one place. Innocence is plagued by nightmares of a terrible event in her past, and the ever-growing fear that whatever she and her mother have been running from will finally catch up. In Stonetop, a small town in the Texas Hill Country, she meets Jace, a charming and sensitive guy but he’s not the only one drawn to her. Suffering from PTSD symptoms, Innocence becomes increasingly aware of her family’s mysterious and sometimes frightening powers. As her own powers begin to surface, Innocence has to decide who to trust. Unable to elude their haunted past, three generations of Byrd women must not only unite, but embrace their heritage as a gift and their key to a future of love and understanding.

JULY 9, 2:00-4:00 PM: WRITESPACE WORKSHOP

Writespace
Workshop: Jumpstart Your Writing with Andreana Binder
COST:  $25 Members, $35 Non-Members

Feeling stuck? Have you not written in a while? Does the work you have accomplished seem stagnant? Join your fellow writers in a friendly, open atmosphere in which creative freedom is celebrated. Using writing prompts, visual inspiration in the form of images and props, and fun freewriting exercises, we will free up your creativity so that you can get back on track and feel inspired again.

LONE STAR LEGACY: THE TEXAS RANGERS THEN AND NOW by Melanie ChrismerJULY 9, SATURDAY, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM: MELANIE CHRISMER, CHILDREN’S AUTHOR

Barnes & Noble, Baybrook 

Picture book and children’s nonfiction author Melanie Chrismer will be presenting LONE STAR LEGACY: THE TEXAS RANGERS THEN AND NOW. This nonfiction middle grade book takes readers through the two hundred-year-history of the Texas Rangers and the changes that took place in the state from the organization’s inception to its current incarnation. Issues covered include the creation of the Rangers as a response to territorial conflict, their role under the Republic, their defense against Mexican invaders, and their evolution during the twentieth century.

JULY 12 TUESDAY, ,6:30-8:30 PM: HWG SUMMER SERIES

Trini Mendenhall, 1414 Wirt Road, Houston
Workshop: Plotting Thrillers and Action/Adventure—Story Arc and Comic Relief with Tony Burnett
COST: $10 per session to Houston Writers Guild members/$30 per session to nonmembers; Or $50 members for all 6 sessions/$150 nonmembers for all 6 sessions

Tony Burnett, current president of the Writers League of Texas, will discuss:
Plot development–how complex should your story be
Pacing–tension and tension release
Unique characteristics of thrillers versus action adventure versus mystery
Finding your voice–reading to write
Standalone versus series versus serial–what works for your story
Character traits and quirks–making the believable interesting and the unbelievable believable
Finding an audience and/or specific genre
Having fun with writing

Conference Updates

Please note that some of these updates are for 2017 writing events. For more information, go to the main conference pages. If you’d like to be notified of these weekly posts, please use the form on the left sidebar to Subscribe to Updates.

AGENTS & EDITORS @ CONFERENCES

AUGUST 15-18: OREGON CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE, KEIZER, OR

AGENT: Sally Apokedak/Stobbe Literary

AUGUST 20: THE TORONTO WRITING WORKSHOP https://torontowritingworkshop.com/ , TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA

AGENTS: Ali McDonald & Olga Filina/The Rights Factory; Stacey Donaghy & Sue Miller/Donaghy Literary; Monica Pacheco/The McDermid Agency; Moe Ferrara/Bookends Literary; Rachel Letofsky/Cooke Agency

OCTOBER 14-16: JAMES RIVER WRITERS CONFERENCE, RICHMOND, VA

AGENTS: Linda Camacho/Prospect Agency; Gemma Cooper/The Bent Agency; Moe Ferrara/Bookends Literary

 

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