May Mid-Grade Madness!

Yes, you read that correctly. We are venturing once again into the insanity aptly titled “May Mid-Grade Madness.” This year, the lovely Kara Laughlin has volunteered to oversee our attempt to pen a middle grade novel in what surely has to be record-breaking time. Here is Kara to tell you all the details:

I’m writing this to you from the window of a website called Write or Die (link: , in which a writer writes as fast as they can for the amount of time they specify in order to create writing in bulk. I’m trying it out, you see, because when you’re looking to write twenty thousand words in the course of three days, you need some tools, and I’m doing research.

May Mid-Grade Madness has returned to SCBWI MD/WV/MD, and I’m going to finish this year. I’m determined. I wanted to go back and edit the first sentence of the paragraph to just add determined, but time marches on, and I can tell I’m behind. I have 550 words left of my goal, and only 12 minutes in which to write it.

What’s May Mid-Grade Madness, you ask? Well, it’s a crazy idea developed by Laura Bowers and Susan Mannix in (check here to see what year*) in which writers commit to writing a complete middle grade novel over three consecutive days in May. I’d add the rules here, but I’d have to look them up, and that would take away valuable time from composition. Basically, 20,000 words in three days is the goal.**

Why would anyone do something so crazy? Well, like Tolstoy said (sort of) happy families and sane people are boring, but each crazy person is crazy in her own way. Which is my way of saying, I can’t speak for my fellow MMM participants, but here’s why I want to try: Continue reading

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Don’t Give Up!

I had a fabulous time at the Miller branch of the Howard County Public Library last Sunday, giving a talk about myself and my career and foibles at our region’s Authors Book Club event. For one thing, I rather enjoy talking about myself; I’m rarely shy about blowing my own horn… perhaps the mark of a first-born? Anyway, the event was fun for me and I’m sorry if you missed it.

photo by Kathy MacMillan

photo by Kathy MacMillan

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Posted in Author/Illustrator Events, Member News, Writing Tips | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Upcoming Events

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Member Kristin O’Keefe has passed along some information about upcoming children’s lit events through our regional Yahoo group so I thought I’d also share it here!

(And don’t forgot, our lovely Susan Detwiler’s ABC Event is this Sunday, April 19th at the Miller Branch, Howard County Public Library!)


Hello! Had a few things that might be of interest to our local SCBWI this week:

Thought SCBWI members might want to attend this weekend’s Bethesda Literary Festival (April 17-19). Speakers include American Girl author Valerie Tripp and several children’s book events. More here at:

Kensington, MD has a day of the book festival on Sunday, April 26th. Long list of children’s book authors, might be fun for some local authors for next year?

I also published a piece in today’s Washington Post about the magic that happens when children meet the authors of their favorite books. Thought some of our MD/DE/WV authors might enjoy. Go here to read!


Thanks for sharing, Kristin, we appreciate the heads up!

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Coffee and Conversation with Susan Detwiler

Good Friday morning friends! As promised, we have the lovely Susan Detwiler gracing the Cyber Cafe today. Susan will be giving an Author’s Book Club (ABC) event on Sunday, April 19th.


Susan is the the author and illustrator of the picture book Fine Life For A Country Mouse, published in 2014 by Penguin. (For more behind-the-scene scoops on her amazing book, check out this interview.


She is also the illustrator of several books for children including On the Move, Big Cat, Little Kitty, and the award-winning titles Pandas’ Earthquake Escape and One Wolf Howls. She joined the SCBWI in 2003, and recently stepped down as the Illustrator Coordinator for our region after nine years of much-appreciated service. Susan is currently a co-blogger right here at ATEB.  Continue reading

Posted in Author/Illustrator Events, Interviews: Authors, Interviews: Illustrators | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards

Crystal-Kite-logo1-1024x393The annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award to recognize great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world.

Voting for our division has begun! Crystal Kite Voting Round 1 : Atlantic To vote for your favorite, members can go to and log-in.

Good luck to all those who were nominated!

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ABC Event – Susan Detwiler

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am so loving this weather! Even thought the official first day of spring was last month, it is now finally starting to actually feel like it. What a relief!

It’s not just the weather that’s got me going. I am happy to announce that our co-blogger and recently former regional Illustrator Coordinator extraordinaire, Susan Detwiler, has an ABC event coming up on Sunday, April 19th! It will run from 3:00-5:00 pm at the Miller Branch, Howard County Public Library.


Susan will speak about her path to publication and her experience as an illustrator. She will particularly address her journey as the author/illustrator of FINE LIFE FOR A COUNTRY MOUSE.


Registration is FREE, but please do so in advance. Just follow this link to sign up.

Look for an interview with Susan in the Cyber Cafe this Friday! Until then, happy writing and illustrating!


Posted in Author/Illustrator Events | 1 Comment

SCBWI Social First Friday Blog Link-Up!

SCBWI SocialWelcome to SCBWI Social, where SCBWI members from all regions can share their expertise and meet new friends! We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your social media-based blog post. Let’s get social, SCBWI!

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Posted in SCBWI Social Blog Link Up, Social Media Tips | Tagged , , | 8 Comments