Coffee & Conversation with Vicki Selvaggio

Our series of pre-Team SCBWI in MD/DE/WV Conference faculty interviews continues! Missed our first two? No worries, mate, just click on these links. And don’t forget that critiques are due on February 12th! #nagnagnag

  • Ava Jae, writer and Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing
  • Stephen Barbara, agent with InkWell Management Literary Agency
  • Laura Shovan, author of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

VictoriaToday we have Victoria A. Selvaggio, Associate Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency joining us for some coffee and conversation!

With a strong background in business ownership, Victoria came to JDLA as an Associate Agent with over 7 years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio.  Drawn to the publishing scene first as an Author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done. Continue reading

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Write-in/Sketch-In for Children’s and YA Writers and Illustrators II

Don’t forget about the next Write-in/Sketch-in this Saturday, February 6th at the Finksburg Branch Library in Finksburg, Maryland! From our website:

Work on your latest project surrounded by fellow authors and illustrators, with refreshments, hourly door prizes, and lots of moral support!  This free program is co-sponsored by Carroll County Public Library and the MD/DE/WV Region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Please RSVP by February 3rd at our website to help us plan for refreshments!

So bring your laptops, sketch pads, pens, pencils or what have you, creative juices and for me … good set of ear buds since I’d be tempted to chat otherwise … for a lovely four hours of concentrated work time. Hope to see you there!

Also this month, there will be a Creating a Successful Illustration Portfolio Workshop on Sunday, February 21st at the Central Branch Library in Columbia, Maryland! From our website:

Join Illustrator Coordinator Rebecca Evans and other experienced artists for a hands-on workshop as we learn how to create a successful illustration portfolio that will help you gain the attention of agents, authors and publishing houses. Discuss what the elements of a winning portfolio are and what pieces are best left at home. Bring your portfolio – no matter what stage of development it is in.

Happy writing and drawing!


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Coffee & Conversation with Laura Shovan

Our series of pre-Team SCBWI in MD/DE/WV Conference faculty interviews continues! Missed our first two? No worries, mate, just click on these links. And don’t forget that critiques are due on February 12th! #nagnagnag

  • Ava Jae, writer and Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing
  • Stephen Barbara, agent with InkWell Management Literary Agency

Laura ShovanToday we have author (and fellow MD/DE/WV member) Laura Shovan joining us in the cyber café! Laura is a poet, children’s author, editor, and educator. She is Howard County Poetry and Literature Society’s current writer-in-residence. Laura edited Maryland Writers’ Association’s anthology Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems and co-edited Voices Fly: An Anthology of Exercises and Poems from the Maryland State Arts Council Artists-in-Residence Program, for which she teaches. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, her middle grade novel-in-verse, debuts in April (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House). Continue reading

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Coffee and Conversation with Ava Jae

Hello! I hope you’ve all stayed safe and warm during the recent blizzard and are now getting back to your regular schedules. That was a lot of snow!

Registration for Team SCBWI, our conference on March 19 and 20 is going strong! Don’t delay if you have not yet registered — there are still critique slots open.

Ava Author Photo_smallJPGToday we have as our guest in the Cyber Cafe, the lovely and charming Ava Jae, who will be a member of the faculty for Team SCBWI.

Ava Jae is a writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 1, 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel. Continue reading

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Congratulations to David Teague for his latest book release!

Hmm, didn’t I just do a book release post for David Teague in December?? Yes, it was for his picture book, THE RED HAT, and now he’s had another book released this week? Wow, David is on a roll!

So congratulations and a mighty woo-HOO to David again for Tuesday’s release of his latest mid-grade novel, HENRY CICADA’S EXTRAORDINARY ELKTONIUM ESCAPADE! (HarperCollins.)


From David Teague, the coauthor of Saving Lucas Biggs, comes a boisterous and funny novel about friendship and self-discovery that will send readers on the wackiest adventure of their lives!

It’s no surprise when the doghouse in Henry Cicada’s backyard starts glowing. After all, it’s made out of Elktonium, a luminescent green metal his mom invented. But Henry is surprised when the doghouse transports him into the imagination of a twelve-year-old girl named Lulu. So surprised, in fact, he forgets his whole plan to be just ordinary.

But as Henry gets to know Lulu, he realizes she’s a real girl who is in real trouble. Henry knows he has to help Lulu, but doing something so heroic, so courageous, so audacious . . . well, it would mean abandoning his quest to be ordinary once and for all. Continue reading

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Happy Book Birthday to Kathy MacMillan!

Kathy MacMillan author photo color 4x4300dpiCongratulations and a mighty woo-HOO to Kathy MacMillan for today’s release of her debut young adult novel, SWORD AND VERSE! (HarperTeen, 2016.)

In a sweeping fantasy that award-winning author Franny Billingsley calls “fascinating and unique,” debut author Kathy MacMillan weaves palace intrigue and epic world-building to craft a tale for fans of Rae Carson and Megan Whalen Turner.


Raisa was just a child when she was sold into slavery in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father had been adamant that she learn to read and write. But where she now lives, literacy is a capital offense for all but the nobility. The written language is closely protected, and only the King, Prince, Tutor, and Tutor-in-training are allowed to learn its very highest form. So when she is plucked from her menial labor and selected to replace the last Tutor-in-training who was executed, Raisa knows that betraying any hint of her past could mean death.

Keeping her secret guarded is hard enough, but the romance that’s been blossoming between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground rebel army—to help liberate the city’s slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees. Continue reading

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Coffee and Conversation with Stephen Barbara

Hello and happy Friday!

Registration for Team SCBWI has been open for less than two weeks and critique spots are filling up at a record rate! Linda Camacho is booked, but never fear, we have other amazing faculty members who still have slots open, so hurry up and get your submissions in. Don’t forget – you have to register first!

Today we have the first of our Team SCBWI faculty interviews. I’m so happy to welcome literary agent Stephen Barbara to the Cyber Cafe.

unspecifiedStephen joined InkWell Management Literary Agency in January of 2015, after six years at Foundry Literary + Media and three years as Contracts Director of the Donald Maass Agency. He focuses on high-quality books for youngreaders as well as select adult fiction and nonfiction. One of the world’s leading agencies, InkWell proudly represents major literary prize-winners as well as some of the world’s bestselling and best-loved authors.

First off, what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?

Continue reading

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March’s Main Event

squirrelOkay, so now the weather has turned cold. The holidays are but a happy memory. It’s back to work for many, and we all know that writing and illustrating for children can be a solitary, almost lonely, occupation.


But have no fear, Team SCBWI is here–


Registration is now open for our region’s 2016 big event!

Team SCBWI in MD/DE/WV will be held Saturday, March 19, 2016 and Sunday, March 20, 2016 at the Claggett Center in Buckeystown, MD 21710. Continue reading

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Coming soon: Team SCBWI!

Are the post-holiday blues starting to settle in? Frantic with plans for New Year’s revelry? Stressed by what never got done for the season? Well, here’s something to lift your spirits:

Team SCBWI is on its way!!


Registration opens on Monday, January 4th!

The speakers and schedules for Team SCBWI are now posted on the event home page, as well as links to all the information you need to the sessions and speakers.

We have a full roster that is headlined by our keynote speaker Betsy Bird, the influential librarian, reviewer, and author who has served on the Newbery selection committee, among her many credits.

Agents, editors and art professionals will be offering their thoughts on achieving success in both craft and career:

Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management Literary Agency
Linda Camacho, Prospect Agency
Vicki Selvaggio, Jennifer De Chiara Literary
Mallory Grigg, Senior Art Director, Simon & Shuster
Andrew Harwell, Editor, Harper Collins
Traci Todd, Executive Editor, Abrams Appleseed

Authors will tell you how to build your career, touching on specialties such as Christian Writing, Crafting, Fan Fiction, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Puppets, and Work-for-Hire

This year’s event also features a specialty team of debut novelists – the Sweet Sixteens – who will offer tips and insights from their experience launching their first novels, as well as provide relevant and timely advice on querying and promoting your work.

As always, critiques and portfolio reviews well be available.  Follow this link for complete information and submission guidelines:

Happy New Year everyone!! We’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2016!!


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Congrats to our regional NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo finishers!

Something amazing arrived in our mail yesterday. THIS!!!


My apologies if this sounds braggadocious, but wow, I’m really proud of this shirt after failing at NaNoWriMo for many, many years. So there might be a slight chance that I’ll be wearing this shirt quite a lot.

We have several other regional members who completed either National Novel Writing Month or Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month and deserve a major shout-out! We even have two overachievers who did BOTH, talk about WOW!

So congratulations and a major woo-HOO to our …

NaNoWriMo Finishers!

  • Laura Bowers
  • Mike Crowl
  • Laura Emmons (fourth year in a row!)
  • Mary Stojak

PiBoIdMo Finishers!

  • Veronica Bartles
  • Thornton Blease
  • Juli Jones
  • Susan Nicholas Korstanje
  • Kara Laughlin
  • Sue Poduska

And our NaNoWriMo AND PiBoIdMo Finishers!

  • Brittanny Handiboe
  • Jennifer Deitz Weingardt

Congrats again! Now … who’s in for Camp NaNoWriMo 2016? ;)

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