Posted by: Susan Mannix | September 19, 2014

Pre-Conference Wrap-Up

Good morning! We are on the eve of our fabulous conference On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature.


Are you psyched? I hope so, or I’ll have to bring back my good friends, Hans and Franz.

If you haven’t seen Laura’s post from yesterday with tips and links to preparing for the conference, hurry over there and give it a read. And remember to follow us on Twitter at #SparklingLit.

Anyone coming Friday night and/or are staying on Saturday night: If you are interested in meeting and socializing with other conference attendees, the Hilton Garden Inn has a lovely bar/grill area that will be open later than usual! There is also a nice sofa area by a fireplace as well as a large conference table in the lobby. I’ll be leaving some SCBWI stickers at the check-in] desk for those who would like to identify themselves.

Okay, so we covered all our bases, except one…how to get there! The conference will be held at the Claggett Conference Center, 3035 Buckeystown Pike,  Buckeystown, Maryland. You can find directions here.  For those of you staying at the  Hilton, go here for a map and directions.

Have fun this weekend! Soak it all in, folks, and learn. Enjoy and support each other!

Happy conferencing!












It’s heeeerrrrrreeeee!


Go here for information on the Saturday faculty and sessions and here for that day’s schedule. If you’re attending on Sunday, head over to our website for details and then prepare any materials or writing samples for your particular intensive.

Laura’s blog post on perfecting your book pitch is a must read and on the subject of pitches, read my writing challenge from way back when What’s Your Pitch?. Larissa’s advice for pre-conference polishing is a gem, as well as a workshop for those of you looking to survive your first critique. It also gives some timeless conference tips.

So, get excited and get ready! For our first-timers – relax, have fun and take it all in. I promise you’ll leave energized, inspired and assured that, yes, you are where you belong! We’re all looking forward to meeting you, as well as seeing old friends.

Wow. I seriously can’t believe the  “On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature” is THIS SATURDAY. Anyone else shocked at how quickly this month is going? Hands? Hands?

Photo: Anankkml,

Photo: Anankkml,

If you’re not feeling prepared, never fear, here’s some conference tips for you to read:

Susan Mannix also did a bang-up job of recapping links to all our posted interviews with conference speakers and presenters in Tuesday’s post. Go here if you missed it!

If you’re attending David Teague’s Collaboration, Inspiration, and the Sound of your Own Voice intensive on Sunday like I am, (can’t wait!!) then be sure to bring one copy of an excerpt from a work in progress—an entire scene, ideally, in the range of three to five pages long, capable of standing on its own.

Also, for those of you who are coming in on Friday night and/or are staying on Saturday night: If you are interested in meeting and socializing with other conference attendees, the Hilton has a lovely bar/grill area that will be open later than usual! There is also a nice sofa area by a fireplace as well as a large conference table in the lobby. I’ll be leaving some SCBWI stickers at the check-in desk for those who would like to identify themselves. Don’t be shy–some of my best writing buddies are ones I’ve met at conference!

And finally, we have several Twitter volunteers who will be tweeting throughout the conference.

Once I find out what hashtag will be used, I’ll be sure to have Susan Mannix announce it on tomorrow’s post.

ETA: Jennifer just let me know that the hashtag they’re be using is #SparklingLit. Thanks, Jennifer!

Okay, that’s about it! If you have any questions or concerns, please post it in the comments below. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does! We’re looking forward to seeing you this weekend and I hope everyone has a great conference!

Happy writing and drawing. :)

Posted by: Susan Mannix | September 16, 2014

Conference Interview Round Up

T-minus 4 days until our conference “On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature” !!! Are you excited about our amazing speakers coming to  the Claggett Conference Center in Buckeystown, MD? Just to be sure, I am here to pump you up!


No, Hans and Franz will not be appearing (now wouldn’t that be a hoot?), but our faculty totally has them beat. We had a number of terrific interviews here at ATEB when many of them checked into the Cyber Cafe for a chat. Check out the links below to reread them:

Reiko Davis

Kirsten Hall

Ariane Szu-Tu

Emma Ledbetter

Calista Brill

Miranda Paul

Sarah Sullivan

John Micklos

Marc Tyler Nobleman

David Teague

Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, put you feet up and enjoy these interviews. I’ll be back later in the week for a pre-conference wrap up.

Happy writing and illustrating!!


Posted by: Shelley Koon | September 12, 2014

Chatting with Agent Emma Ledbetter

Registration is now closed and we’re in the home stretch for this year’s fall conference, On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature! Sooooooo Excited!

One of the best reasons to get excited about conference are the fantastic presentations by agents, editors and authors and, lucky us, we happen to be chatting today with one of our presenters!.

Emma Ledbetter, Associate Editor for Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will be presenting Lights, Camera, Picture Book!  Emma’s background includes internships at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr., and a B.A. in Art History from Yale University (with a focus on the art of Little Golden Books). Emma works on a variety of children’s books, with a particular passion for picture books of all stripes and voice-driven middle grade novels.
In her talk for picture book writers, she’ll explore how to work on your manuscript with the full vision of your final book in mind—from the technical details of a book’s format and layout, to pacing and the page turn, to thinking beyond your text to the art and design of the book—all important factors which contribute to the cinematic experience of reading a picture book and keeping young readers engaged from start to finish. Please bring a story that you’re working on and some extra paper with you, as well—if there’s time, we’ll work on “pacing out” your own book dummies. Read More…

Posted by: Laura Bowers | September 11, 2014

Sad and fab As The Eraser Burns news!

Let’s get the bad news out of the way, shall we?


It is with a droopy heart that I must announce that Larissa Graham has retired from our As The Eraser Burns blogging team in order to focus more time on writing and her family. Larissa’s posts have always been informative, poignant, and insightful so she’ll be dearly missed! (Here’s a couple of my favorite posts by Larissa on characters: Part One and Part Two.)

We do have a fabulous bright side, however: Our new blogger is our very own regional illustrator coordinator, Susan Detwiler! I know, right? How awesome is that? I’m thrilled she said yes because ATEB has been lacking in picture books and illustrating posts for some time. Susan will fill that void beautifully since she’s both a picture book writer and illustrator. Last Friday, Susan Mannix posted our interview with Susan about her recent release, Fine Life for a Country Mouse.

Click here if you missed it!


Now all we need to do is figure out a way to not confuse Susan Mannix and Susan Detwiler. :)

Happy writing and drawing, everyone, and don’t forget–the conference registration deadline is TODAY, so hustle on over to our SCBWI website if you haven’t registered already!


Posted by: Laura Bowers | September 10, 2014

Happy Book Birthday to Laura Gehl!

Congratulations and a super mighty woo-HOO for regional member Laura Gehl for this Tuesday’s release of One Big Pair of Underwear!

One Big Pair

Count and share with…underwear! Come along on a zany adventure with hilarious pictures from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.

What’s one thing that two bears, three yaks, four goats, and six cats have in common?

They hate to share.

But look out—here comes a pack of twenty pigs ready to prove that sharing makes everything twice as fun!

This seriously silly picture book with artwork by the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site irresistibly combines the concepts of counting and sharing.

Read More…

Good morning all!

Today we’re chatting with Reiko Davis BUT I have a quick announcement to make before we get to the good stuff (see how I keep you all in suspense….).  This Thursday, Sept. 11, is the last day you’ll be able to register for our fall conference On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature. There’s still time if you want to hop on over and register – go ahead, I’ll wait!…

Done?  Great!  Onto our chat!

Reiko DavisReiko Davis is an agent at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency and will be presenting Landing an Agent” at On the Road to Sparkling Children’s Literature. As to what she looks for as an agent? In fiction, she loves beautiful writing, but a book always has to have a compelling story to draw her in. She’s interested in both literary and commercial fiction. She loves a strong narrative voice, smart, funny heroines, narrowly located settings (towns in the South and Midwest, small communities), and stories that cross borders (in culture, geography, or tradition). For children’s books, she loves young adult and middle grade fiction—whether contemporary, historical, or fantasy.

Read More…

Posted by: Susan Mannix | September 5, 2014

Happy Book Birthday to Susan Detwiler!

TGIF everyone. Laura and Susan here tag teaming our incredible Illustrator Coordinator’s new book. She’s so amazing it takes two!  Congratulations and a major woo-HOO to Susan, for today’s release of FINE LIFE FOR A COUNTRY MOUSE!


Susan has illustrated several award-winning books for children and serves as the Illustrator-Coordinator for our region. She was educated at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Susan grew up in Maryland the eldest of five children, although she insists she was not bossy. Her large extended family is very close. When she isn’t drawing, Susan likes to sculpt at the beach, make pies (especially apple) and sock toys. She loves animals and was always fascinated by the pet mice that belonged to her two sons. She and her artist husband live in Baltimore with their dog. You can learn more about her from a previous ATEB interview and by visiting her website at

Time to hand the reins over to our master interviewer, Laura “Oprah” Bowers. Don’t expect tears or stunning confessions, just a great read. Take it away Laura! Read More…

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…

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