Posted by: Laura Bowers | September 2, 2014

Coffee & Conversation with Miranda Paul

Happy Tuesday, everyone, we are continuing our series of awesome pre-On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature conference interviews! For those who need to catch up, here’s the links:

Miranda_Paul_headshot-300x273Today we have author Miranda Paul joining us! She is a teacher, #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign team member, and freelance writer with 100+ publishing credits, ranging from nonfiction articles and poems to digital folktales. In 2011, she created a critique website for writers preparing manuscripts for submissions, called Miranda is the author of four upcoming picture books from imprints of Lerner, Macmillan, and Random House. She believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind. Her website can be found here and on Twitter, she’s at @Miranda_Paul.

Read More…

Posted by: Laura Bowers | August 29, 2014

Coffee & Conversation with Sarah Sullivan

Happy Friday, everyone! With only 22 days until our On the Road to Sparkling Literature Conference … yeah, I know, only 22 days, where has the time gone? … we are continuing our series of interviews with our awesome speakers! Missed our previous ones? No problem, here’s the links:

Sarah-231x300Today we have the lovely Sarah Sullivan joining us again in the cyber chair. Sarah’s debut novel, All That’s Missing, received a starred review from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Her four picture books, include Passing The Music Down, an N.C.T.E. Notable Children’s Book and Bank Street College Best Children’s Book and Once Upon a Baby Brother, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book.  She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College and lives with her husband in Williamsburg, VA.

Read More…

Posted by: Shelley Koon | August 26, 2014

Chatting with Kirsten Hall

Kirsten-Hall-1Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Kirsten Hall, a boutique children’s literary and illustration agent. She has brokered hundreds of children’s book deals between authors, illustrators, and all of the major American publishers. She is also a book producer and published author. (Her first book was published when she was in 7th grade!) Kirsten opened her own NYC-based agency and packaging company, Catbird Productions, in March 2014. It focuses on debut talent, as well as the creation and development of original story pitches—especially picture books.

Kirsten will be presenting How to Make a Picture Book—and Sell It!!  Part One where she will be showcasing some of picture books she has helped to create and place with publishers over the past four years, sharing their stories and explaining the many different ways the book development and acquisition process can happen.

Read More…

Posted by: Susan Mannix | August 22, 2014

Coffee and Conversation with Ariane Szu-Tu

Hello friends! Can anyone tell me what today is? Yes, it’s Friday August 22nd, which means…

IT’S DEADLINE DAY! You have only a few hours left to get your submissions in for the critiques and portfolio reviews. No more waiting. Get it done.

Being a Friday and with our conference fast approaching, it’s also time for another intervview with one our amazing faculty members. Today we’re tickled to have editor Ariane Szu-Tu.


Ariane graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she had a full scholarship for creative writing and was Managing Editor of her university paper.  She is responsible for project managing and editing about 20 books per year for National Geographic.  In her spare time she leads National Geographic Student Expeditions to Alaska where she teaches students wildlife and conservation. Ariane is teaming with author John Micklos, Jr. on Saturday to present 125 True Stories of Amazing Pets: Behind the Scenes and again on Sunday to give the intensive He Said, She Said: Double Your Idea’s Chance of Success with Proven Development Approaches from an Author and Editor.

Read More…

Posted by: Susan Mannix | August 20, 2014

Critique and Portfolio Submission Deadline!!!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!!! You have only two more days to get those manuscripts and portfolios in for review!!!



I’ve pulled the following right from the source, but make sure you go here for all the details:

“Three items MUST be completed BEFORE ANY CRITIQUE SLOT WILL BE RESERVED FOR YOU. Don’t ask to have a slot held until your printer is fixed. If you submit a revised version of your manuscript, you will get whatever slot is available when we receive the revision. We are not doing this to be mean to you, but rather to be fair to those who follow the rules and justifiably expect first consideration. Note that, while the deadline for critiques is Friday, August 22, we reserve the right to close submissions if all the slots are filled before that time. We will do our best to spread the word if this occurs. Loretta will let you know when your critique is scheduled.

A printed copy is necessary for those critiquers who prefer to work this way. Don’t ask Loretta to print out your copy for you. Her job is very time-consuming, plus all that paper and printing would get expensive for her.

1)  Register for the conference and pay for the conference and your critique

2)  Send an electronic copy to Loretta Carlson at

3)  Mail a printed copy to

Loretta Carlson


PO Box 1546

Bear, DE 19701

Attach 2014SeptCritiqueForm to identify your manscript and indicate your critiquer preference.

Your manuscript must be double-spaced, size 12 font, and not more than 10 pages. You may also submit a summary or synopsis in addition to the 10 pages. A manuscript example is available here. SamplePages Picture book writers: Only one story may be reviewed.

In the email and on the printed copy, indicate your first three preferences for critiquer. The critiquers and their genre preferences are clearly listed on the critique form available above. CRITIQUE SLOTS FOR EMMA LEDBETTER AND ELLA KENNEN ARE NOW FULL. Reiko Davis, an agent with the Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency, will be reviewing a limited number of YA and MF fiction and poetry manuscripts. For novels, she will review contemporary and fantasy only.

ART PORTFOLIO REVIEWS: Register and pay for the conference and portfolio review and email Susan Detwiler . She will let you know when your review is scheduled. Do not send original artwork through the mail.

Okay, folks…get cracking and get those submissions in!!!

Posted by: Susan Mannix | August 19, 2014

Coffee and Conversation with John Micklos

Tuesday greetings friends! I CANNOT believe how fast this summer is going. We’re over halfway through August and schools start next week, including most colleges. Fair warning: you may want to steer clear of me next week, unless you’re into conversing with an hysterical blubbering mass.  My oldest is heading off to college and my youngest will officially be a senior in high school. Time has certainly been flying by in my house – at Mach 3!  I could really use a little slowing down and I can’t think of a better way to do it than getting to know one of the amazing faculty members for our upcoming conference On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature.

Today we’re being visited by author John Micklos, Jr.

John Micklos Photo

After spending more than 30 years in educational publishing as an editor for the International Reading Association John now works as a children’s book author, freelance writer, and editorial consultant. His byline has appeared in national magazines such as National Geographic Kids, Highlights, and Modern Bride. His 20 books include poetry, biography, and poetry titles for prekindergarten through high school students. His subjects include Elvis, Muhammad Ali, Jennifer Hudson, Amelia Earhart, and the Challenger disaster. Visit John’s website at

In their Saturday conference session John and editor Ariane Szu-Tu (National Geographic Kids) will discuss their work as part of the team preparing the recently published NGK book 125 TRUE STORIES OF AMAZING PETS. They will describe the development process from idea generation to research, from writing to editing, from photo collection to production. On Sunday, they will give theintensive  He Said, She Said: Double Your Idea’s Chance of Success with Proven Development Approaches from an Author and Editor. Building on the theme from their Saturday session, they will examine in detail, from their respective positions, the various stages involved in carrying a concept from idea through finished project. Whereas Saturday’s session covers a specific book, Sunday’s workshop focuses on how these principles apply to ANY writing project.

And now that John is settled into our ultra-comfy cyber chair, let’s get started!

Read More…

Posted by: Shelley Koon | August 15, 2014

Coffee and Chat with Marc Tyler Nobleman

Marc Tyler Nobleman Photo_1We’re excited to have Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of  Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, joining us at our fall conference, On the Road to Sparkling Literature.    Marc will be “pulling back the cape” to reveal secrets he uncovered and mysteries he solved while researching  his books about two of the world’s most enduring icons, Superman and Batman. A real-life detective story featuring surprises both uplifting and heartbreaking, engaging even to those who couldn’t care less about superheroes (an even more so for those of us who love them!).

As a bonus he’ll let us in on the story behind his “kidlit authors read bad reviews” videos that went viral earlier this year! So what’s next for this superhero of an author? Two new books: Thirty Minutes Over Oregon and The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra.  Can’t wait until they come out and want to keep up on all the news both about and by Marc?  Then follow his blog noblemania!  Still want more?  Lucky you – we caught up with him for coffee and a chat… Read More…

Posted by: Shelley Koon | August 12, 2014

Conversation & Coffee with Calista Brill

calistaToday we’re chatting with Calista Brill, Senior Editor at First Second Books.

A lifelong comics fan, Calista has edited graphic novels for First Second for over six years. Her areas of interest include nonfiction comics and children’s comics. At First Second, she has worked on New York Times bestselling titles such as FeynmanFairy Tale Comics, and Primates. Brill has previously been an editor at Disney Press, a freelance writer, and the world’s funnest nanny.

We’re very excited to have Calista presenting  “This Is the Golden Age of Graphic Novels” at the 2014 On the Road to Sparkling Literature fall conference!
An overview of the history of graphic novel publishing in the US and an in-depth look at what makes this moment so special, especially for people who want to make graphic novels for kids. In addition she’ll be discussing the publishing being done by First Second, and a sneak-peak into the life of a graphic novel editor.

Now onto our chat! Read More…

Posted by: Laura Bowers | August 11, 2014

Illustrator Group-Critique Portfolio Workshop

Happy Monday, everyone! Here’s some awesome information sent to me by our lovely regional illustrator coordinator, Susan Detwiler:


On Saturday, August 9, the first Group-Critique Portfolio Workshop was held in the meeting room at the Pikesville branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. Admission was free and required only an RSVP email. It was coordinated by yours truly, Susan Detwiler, and attended by members Brittanny Handiboe, Lynn Farina, Kerry G. Johnson, and Joan Boor. We spent a couple of hours sharing our portfolios one by one and giving comments, advice, and general feedback about each others’ work. It was, as Joan said, “… wonderful, encouraging, and helpful… ” I was very impressed with not only the caliber of the artwork, but also the warm atmosphere and insightful and nurturing discussions that took place. I remember fondly the gathering of illustrators I would sometimes lead at the end of past conferences to look over each others’ work and share comments and ideas about illustration — this was even better, because we were not rushed at all. We have some very talented illustrators in our region, and I hope you will all take a look at the work of these artists! And I send thanks to everyone who attended.

I hope to do this workshop again. Watch this space, and also our region’s Facebook page.

Susan Detwiler, Illustrator Coordinator MD/DE/WV SCBWI

Posted by: Laura Bowers | August 8, 2014

Coffee & Conversation with David Teague

With only six more weeks until the On the Road to Sparkling Literature Conference on September 20-21, you know what that means, right? Another series of awesome speaker interviews! We’re kicking things off with David Teague joining us in the cyber café and he’s brought along one of our best “favorite place to work photo” so far.

santoteague-author-photo-color-277x300David is the author of the picture book Franklin’s Big Dreams and the forthcoming Henry Cicada’s Anything But Ordinary Adventure. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife Marisa de los Santos and their two children, Annabel and Charles. Marisa is the author of the New York Times bestselling adult novel Love Walked In, which is also a perennial staple on YA fiction lists, as well as Belong to Me, Falling Together, and the forthcoming The Precious One. Saving Lucas Biggs is David and Marisa’s first middle-grade novel, and their first collaborative project.

Saving Lucas BiggsPerfect for fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix, When You Reach Me, and Savvy, this charming time-travel story from husband-and-wife team Marisa de los Santos and David Teague follows one girl’s race to change the past in order to save her father’s future.

Thirteen-year-old Margaret knows her father is innocent, but that doesn’t stop the cruel Judge Biggs from sentencing him to death. Margaret is determined to save her dad, even if it means using her family’s secret—and forbidden—ability to time travel. With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret goes back to a time when Judge Biggs was a young boy and tries to prevent the chain of events that transformed him into a corrupt, jaded man. But with the forces of history working against her, will Margaret be able to change the past? Or will she be pushed back to a present in which her father is still doomed?

Told in alternating voices between Margaret and Josh, this heartwarming story shows that sometimes the forces of good need a little extra help to triumph over the forces of evil.

Read More…

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 916 other followers