Coffee & Conversation with Hannah Mann: Presenter for our upcoming Professionally Personal Webinar!

Happy Friday, everyone! Things are gearing up for our first regional webinar on October 10, 2017 – Professionally Personal: How to Compel Agents in One Page or Less that will be presented by Writers House agent, Hannah Mann!

About the Webinar:

Learn from home! A 90-minute webinar on what to stress for success when it comes to querying agents, featuring focus on:

• What to do when an agent’s query instructions are vague
• Keeping it simple: how to stay brief and be heard without coming off as generic
• How to strike a balance between broad appeal and agent-specific
• Honing in on the perfect comp titles
• Putting in the time on your work before querying—and putting in the time on your query itself!

The presenter will also provide detailed Query Letter Critiques for a limited number of participants following the webinar.

How to Register:

Head on over to our SCBWI MD/DE/WV website for directions on how to register for either the Webinar and a Query Critique from Carrie Howland of Empire Literary or just the Webinar.

About our Presenter:

Hannah Mann from Writers House grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and has always loved stories. She got a BA in Narrative Studies from the University of Southern California, where her career goal morphed from doctor to writer to editor to agent. She has been assisting Steven Malk in the San Diego office since 2013 and began building her own client list this year, focusing on Children’s work from young picture books through YA.

Want to learn more about our webinar host? Awesome, enjoy this…

Coffee & Conversation Chat with Hannah Mann

What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? And now, as an adult?

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!, and then A Wrinkle in Time, and then The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and now, I couldn’t possibly say. The most recent book I loved was The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien.

You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)

On a big, fat coffee table book that heavily features photos of surfing or kitchens in Provence.

For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author or artist you want.  Who do you pick?

Margaret Wise Brown.

What’s your favorite motivational quote?

Go for it now—the future is promised to no one.” –Wayne Dyer

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Spending time with family, traveling, dining out—preferably all three at once.

If you could sum up your best advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?

I can do it in three—take your time.

Time for the lightning round! What’s your favorite…

Book to movie adaptation? The Talented Mr. Ripley

Music to listen to while working? Claude Debussy

Book title? From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Book cover? Pax

Pair of shoes? Nike Frees

Guilty pleasure? Breakfast for dinner

Line from a movie? “I got vision and the rest of the world wears bi-focals.” –Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Awesome, thanks so much for stopping by, Hannah, I’m looking forward to next Tuesday’s Webinar!

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Baltimore Book Festival this weekend!

Baltimore bound this weekend for the 2017 Baltimore Book Festival? Awesome, be sure to stop booth P88 near the Maryland Science Center and say hello to some regional MD/DE/WV authors and illustrators! You’ll also be able to find more information about SCBWI and what we have to offer.

Click here for the 2017 Baltimore Book Festival Map.

You can also click here for a printable PDF copy of the following regional schedule.

Hope to see you there! Continue reading

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Upcoming Regional Events

Wow, you might want to grab a cup of coffee before reading this whopper list! We surely have a ton of them, so pull out your calendar as well. Ready, okay!

Upcoming Regional Events

Baltimore Book Festival

When? September 22-24

Where? The Inner Harbor, 11 AM-7 PM each day.  

Stop by our region’s booth at the Baltimore Book Festival to find out more about our region’s activities and purchase signed books by local published members!  Sneaks the Cat will also be making appearances at our booth throughout the festival to represent Maryland public libraries!

Click here for the 2017 Baltimore Book Festival Map. Continue reading

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Read Local Challenge

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you had an amazing summer … and yes, I know, summer isn’t technically over until September 22nd, but the weather is cooler, leaves are turning, and kids are back in school, so for me? It’s fall.

I love fall.

I love the whole crisp notebooks, new pens, and fresh slate feeling that September brings, shaking off the lazy days of summer and inspiring me to once again roll up my sleeves and work hard on my goals. And one of my biggest goals? To read more. So I’m in luck thanks to our regional … Continue reading

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Writing Advice for Beginners: Coffee and Conversation Flashback Friday Round Two

Last week, I kicked off a Coffee & Conversation Flashback Friday series where we revisit awesome nuggets of wisdom shared by editors, agents, art directors, authors, and illustrators throughout the years here at As The Eraser Burns.

Missed it? No worries, here’s the link for the first round of writing advice for beginners.

Writing Advice for Beginners: Coffee & Conversation Flashback Friday 01

Ready for round two? Okay, let’s go.

What advice for beginners do you wish you would’ve followed?

From author Monica S. Baker:

Do not send out a manuscript until the last fat lady has sung, swinging by her toes from the balcony!  I wasted much time, energy, cash…and probably goodwill by sending manuscripts out too early. The first picture book I ever wrote is so God-awful that I have a special file for it, where it won’t contaminate other manuscripts.  I can not believe that I imposed it on the publishing community. As my teens would now say, “My bad!”

Monica’s Coffee & Conversation Interview.

From author Sandy Asher

“Writing is rewriting.”  Don’t know who first said this.  I wasn’t listening.

Sandy’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author  Alexis O’Neill

Rejections are not personal (even though they feel like it.) A good book will find a good home eventually. It’s just that no one has a crystal ball to pin down the date of “eventually.”

Alexis’ Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author  Amie Rose Rotruck

Just finish the book.  The reason why my first, still unpublished book took so long to finish was I kept refining the first few chapters.  Finish the book entirely, THEN start revising.  If you’re taking a writing class where you have to focus on first chapters, that’s fine for one class, but don’t do the same first chapters again in another class until you’ve finished the book.

Amie’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author Jim Murphy

See above.  Focus on the project and see it to completion.  Then send it off and start working on another project.  Don’t get bogged down worrying over one project (I have a friend who has been working on one project for over ten years).  Also, learn to revise.  You would be surprised at how many writers can’t or won’t revise.

Jim’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author  Jacqueline Adams

I wish I had understood how the learning curve works, and that you may think you’re doing everything right, but a year or two later you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come. Because I was working hard and applying what I’d learned up until that point, I couldn’t understand why I was getting so many rejections. Later, when I’d learned more, I could see the flaws in some of those early stories. With other stories, the problem was that I was sending them to the wrong places—and that was true even though I was doing my homework. It takes a while to develop a feel for those kinds of things. If I’d realized that, I might not have gotten so discouraged.

Jacqueline’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author/illustrator  Susan Detwiler

I wish I’d had that first book contract looked over by a lawyer specializing in publishing copyright law; I was just so excited to have a picture book to work on that I would have signed anything.

Susan’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author/illustrator  Lulu Delacre

Hmm…the advice I give is the one I’ve always followed: believe in yourself, be persistent, do your best, be flexible, and you’ll get there!

Lulu’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From author/illustrator  Vonnie Winslow Crist

Set aside time every day, if possible, to work on your skills and artwork. Always be ready in case an opportunity pops up unexpectedly (most of the time I was, but I did let some great jobs slip through my fingers). And I wish I’d focused on children’s illustration earlier in my career.

Vonnie’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From illustrator Rebecca Evans

Join SCBWI and go to the events!

Rebecca’s Coffee & Conversation Interview

From illustrator Joan Waites

Always keep working on new portfolio pieces-something that you truly love to do. This will show in your work. It’s really hard to balance the paying work with doing new art for your portfolio, but make the time if you can.

Joan’s Coffee & Conversation Interview


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Summer Writing Prompts

“I enjoy, in the summer, getting back to writing in my own voice.” –Mike O’Brien

I really like this quote, since summer is such a lovely time to relax, renew, and think about what truly makes you happy, as a person and as a writer or artist. It’s also a great time to grab a journal, kick back on the porch with your favorite beverage of choice, and scribble out a story just for fun.

Imagine that. Writing for fun!

With that in mind, here’s some fun first lines just screaming to be used as …

Summer Writing Prompts

Continue reading

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Writing Advice for Beginners: Coffee and Conversation Flashback Friday Round One

In the many years I’ve been blogging here at As The Eraser Burns, we’ve posted lots of Coffee & Conversation Interviews with editors, agents, art directors, authors, and illustrators. Within each are brilliant nuggets of advice that deserve a revisiting. So today, I’m starting a Flashback Friday series of posts with answers for various questions from those who have taken a turn in the C&C cyber chair.

Writing Advice for Beginners: Coffee & Conversation Flashback Friday 01

Continue reading

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Our Annual MD/DE/WV Regional Conference has a New Home!

Awesome news for those of you who are planning on attending our next SCBWI MD/DE/WV 25th Annual Regional Conference … it will have a new home! Here’s the announcement our co-regional adviser, Kathy MacMillan sent out with all the details:

25 and Still We R(ev)ise

We’re excited to announce that our MD/DE/WV Annual Conference will have a new home in 2018.  Though we have loved the beautiful Claggett Center, which has housed our conference for many years, we are simply outgrowing it!  (But we can’t quit it completely – be on the lookout for a writing retreat at Claggett in Fall 2018!).  After researching and visiting several facilities in the area, our committee has selected the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, Maryland as the home of our 2018 Conference. It’s got a big, bright, beautiful facility, easy access from public transportation and BWI airport, and plenty of comfortable hotel rooms, so we hope you’re as excited as we are! Continue reading

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Crafting Dynamic Characters with a Character Development Chart

Cha-ra-cter: the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

Chart: record the progress or development of.

Cha-ra-cter chart: a super awesome way to develop your characters in order to write a super awesome book.

With July’s blog theme being It’s all about the Character, this is the first in a series of posts about how to create dynamic characters with enough juice in their back pocket to fuel a dynamic story. A good place to start is, well … where I usually start, and that’s by filling out a chart I’ve created for my main character, antagonist, and important minor characters. Continue reading

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Upcoming SCBWI Events

Happy Friday, everyone, I hope you’re having an amazing summer! Ours has been wonderful but a recent Wal-Mart trip reminded me how fall is just around the corner, as proved by their stuffed Back to School aisles. But that’s cool, we have many awesome SCBWI events coming up this autumn, both for our region and others. So grab your calendars and get ready to make some notes! Continue reading

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