Registration Now Open for our July “Staying On Track” Weekend!

Meet Our Faculty

 Young Adult Track Leaders:

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is the award-winning author of nine books for children,  including the YA  novels The Compound and The Gardener (written under the name S.A. Bodeen), both YALSA Quick Picks.  The Compound is a finalist for over  a dozen state reader awards, including the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan, and The Gardener was named a  Best Summer Teen Read by Good Morning America.  She is a former Peace Corps volunteer, has an MFA  in Writing, and currently lives in Oregon with her family.  Latest news:  The Compound is the winner of this year’s Black-Eyed Susan Award for grades 9-12!!!

Stephanie will present two sessions:

  1. How To Survive Your First Novel–A presntation about the inspiration, formation, destruction, and ultimate resurrection of The Compound.
  2. Mining Your Past to Make Your Characters Real–A series of writing exercises designed to make your current characters jump off the page.
 Liz Szabla has worked in the book industry for over 30 years, starting as a bookseller in the San  Francisco Bay Area.  She is Editor-in-Chief of Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of the Macmillan  Children’s Publishing Group, where she edits picture books through YA and works with new and  established talent.  Recent books she’s edited include Ten Rules for Living with My Sister by Ann M.  Martin, Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail, The Girl Who  Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente, The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith, Enclave by  Ann Aguirre, and the New York Times bestseller, Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto.  She is also working on  second novels with Jill S. Alexander and Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, two authors she met at SCBWI’s NYC Writers Intensive.  (Liz is editor for both Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen and John Coy.)

Liz will be speaking with Stephanie about their author/editor revision process, the editor’s viewpoint, and will be part of a “no holds barred” Q & A session with agent Andrea Cascardi (see her bio below), Stephanie, and John.

Middle Grade Track Leaders:


 John Coy is the author of the picture books Night Driving, Strong to the Hoop, Vroomaloom Zoom,  Two Old Potatoes and Me, and Around the World.  He is also author of the young adult  novels Crackback and Box Out.  He has completed three books in the 4 for 4 middle grade series, Top  of the Order, Eyes on the Goal, and Love of the Game.  John lives in Minneapolis and travels widely.

John will present two sessions:

  1. Revision: Seeing Your Story Again–Revision is the step where good stories can become great.  John will show examples from his own work to demonstrate how a story improves significantly during revision.  He will demonstrate techniques that will strengthen your stories and allow time to write in order to put these into practice.
  2. That’s How We Talk–Using dialogue adds immediacy and authenticity to stories, but it’s also a challenge as an adult to write dialogue that sounds “real” for today’s characters.  In this session, we’ll practice writing conversations and pay attention to how our adult sensibility creeps into our conversations.  We’ll also discuss ways to make dialogue jump and move the story forward.

 Andrea Cascardi spent 20 years editing books before joining Transatlantic Literary Agency.  She    has worked at Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, Crown/Random House and Hyperion and was the    Assistant Publishing Director for Knopf and Crown Books for Young Readers.  Her agency clients  include John Coy, Mary Casanova, Johanna Hurwitz, and Clare Vanderpool, winner of the Newbery  Medal for Moon Over Manifest.

Andrea will present a session on The Heart of the Matter: From Author Query to Agent’s Pitch–how to harness the essence of your work into that powerful tool, the query.  She will also join Liz Szabla, Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen and John Coy in the “no holds barred” Q & A panel.

Picture Book Track Leaders:

David LaRochelle is a former elementary school teacher who has been creating books for young people since 1988.  His titles include The Best Pet of All, The End (SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Award winner), 1 + 1 =5 and Other Unlikely Additions, and the YA novel Absolutely, Positively Not ( a Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner).  David lives in White Bear Lake, MN and loves to carve fancy jack-o-lanterns which you can view at his website, <>.

David will present two sessions:

  1. The Building Blocks of a Picture Book–What do you think makes an outstanding picture book?  We’ll look at a few stellar examples and discuss the elements that make them strong.  We’ll also practice some brainstorming techniques that will help you generate powerful picture book ideas of your own.  If you have a favorite picture book, please bring it along and be willing to share why you think it is exemplary.
  2. Revisions, Revisions, Revisions (with editor Meredith Mundy)–Once you have a good idea and have written your first draft, how do you turn your picture book story into a manuscript editors will love?  We’ll look at some real life author/editor revisions and explore tips you can use to revise your own story before sending it to a publisher.  By creating a sample dummy, you’ll get a chance to check your story’s pacing.  Come to the session with a picture book manuscript that you are willing to revise, mark up, and cut apart.

Meredith Mundy is delighted to still be a children’s book editor 17 years after starting as an  editorial assistant at Random House in a brief stint as keeper of the Junie B. Jones “style bible.”  Eleven years at Dutton Children’s Books and 6 years as Senior Editor at Sterling Children’s  Books have yielded opportunities to work with a wonderful variety of editors, art directors,  authors, and illustrators.  Pugs, poetry, and gardening are some of her extracurricular passions.

Meredith will participate in the “Revisions, Revisions, Revisions” session with David LaRochelle and will deliver the editor segment of “Building a Picture Book–from the Perspective of Author, Illustrator, and Editor.”

Illustrator Track Leader:


Ever since she could hold a crayon, Lauren Stringer wanted to be an artist.  In 1994, she painted her first children’ book, Mud, winning the Minnesota book Award, IRA Children’s Choice Award, and Crayola Kids Best Book of the Year.  She has illustrated many award-winning picture books, including her own, Winter is the Warmest Season.  Lauren is currently illustrating Tell Me About Your Day Today, by Mem Fox.  She lives and paints in Minneapolis, MN. Visit her at

Lauren will deliver the illustrator segment of “Building A Picture Book–from the Perspectives of Author, Illustrator, and Editor” and then will take the illustrators to their own space for two more workshops.

  1. Are You Ready for a Manuscript?–So you want to illustrate a picture book, but how do you convince a publisher you are the right artist for the story?  Lauren Stringer will share her illustration and publishing experiences and offer tips on how to get your portfolio seen by the right publisher at the right time.
  2. Bringing Words To Life:  Illustrating Children’s Picture Books–Illustrations bring the story to life, just like actors and scenery bring a play to life.  In this workshop, participants will think like stage directors, drawing and sketching scenery, casting characters when necessary, and creating action that illuminates the story.  We will discuss such issues as size, format, and layout, create storyboards, and begin a small book dummy, using texts provided by the instructor.  Considered a mockup of the final book, the book dummies will allow participants to focus on the cover, endpapers, and title, copyright, and dedication pages, as well as to set the overall tone of the book.  Throughout the process, special attention will be paid to intuition, memory, imagination, and research. (This session will meet Saturday for 2 hours and Sunday for 1 1/2 hours.  Participants should be comfortable with drawing and bring pencil, sketchbook, and colored pencils to the workshop.)

Non-Fiction Track Leaders:


Catherine Reef has written more than forty nonfiction books, most recently Jane Austen: A Life Revealed (Clarion 2011).  She received her first important recognition, the Joan G. Sugarman Children’s Book Award, for Walt Whitman, in 1996.  Her other honors include the Sydney Taylor Award for Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind and a Golden Kite Honor Award for Ernest Hemingway: A Writer’s Life.  A graduate of Washington State University, Catherine lives in College Park, Maryland.  Read more at <>.

Cathy will present a session on Writing Children’s Nonfiction in the Internet Age–What role do informational books for children play now that so much knowledge is being shared online?  Participants will explore this issue as they develop nonfiction manuscripts that meet today’s needs.  The workshop will focus on creating an opening that draws readers in and discovering how to present information in a way that will be meaningful to young people and hold their interest.  The basics of research and documentation will be covered, as well.

Ed Sullivan has many years of experience as a book reviewer, educator, librarian, and presenter. He is the author of The Ultimate Weapon: The Race To Develop the Atomic Bomb (Holiday House, 2007), which received a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award, a Jefferson Cup Honor Award for Distinguished History Book for Young People, and was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. As a freelance writer, Ed creates discussion and teaching guides for publishers. He also reviews children’s and young adult books for Booklist, Kirkus Reviews and James Patterson’s web site Ed maintains a blog calledRogue Librarian at, collects PEZ candy dispensers, and is well known for his vast collection of Converse Chuck Taylor high top sneakers. He lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with his wife Judy and two cats. You can learn more about Ed’s work at
Ed will present, “What Makes a Great Nonfiction Book?”
What are the differences between adult nonfiction and nonfiction for children and adults? What kind of nonfiction subjects appeal to children and teens? How much of an expert on a subject must you be before you can write about it? How important is telling a good story in a nonfiction book? Why is end matter so important? These and many other questions will be addressed in this workshop by a veteran librarian and teacher, long-time book reviewer, nonfiction author, and past member of the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award committee. Participants are encouraged to share their questions about book ideas and works-in-progress.

Pamela Kelly Glauber is an associate editor at Holiday House, where she has edited picture books through young adult novels, for nearly five years. She edits David A. Adler’s Picture Book Biography series, as well as math, science, and language arts books.  Previously, she was a marketing and communications manager at TechnoServe, an international development organization. She also freelances as a professional ballet dancer. She holds a B.A. in English and Latin American Studies from Cornell University and a professional certificate in editing from New York University.

Pam will present a session on “What Editors Want: Compelling Nonfiction in the Internet Age” 

Today’s nonfiction must be compelling, particularly when a student’s first impulse is to turn to Google or Wikipedia for answers. Yet a fine line exists between a creative narrative voice and historical fiction. How does one strike the right balance without compromising substance or seeming pedantic? What sells in this market, anyway? This session will focus on writing nonfiction that stands out to an editor and will touch on current trends in nonfiction trade books, knowing one’s reader, the importance of backmatter, and where to search for inspiration.

General Creativity Sessions Leader:

Betsy Woods is an author, creativity educator, and mediator.  She is the editor of The Children’s Corner of the Louisville Review.  Her critical study, “The Water Mystic: Birth, Death and Transformation in Literature” was presented at the 31st International Conference of the Children’s Literature Association.  Her work has appeared in The Louisville Review, The New Orleans Review, The Literary Trunk, Alive Now, Sophisticated Women Magazine, Acres USA and The Times Picayune.

Betsy will lead a series of three general sessions on Creativity.  Writers and illustrators will enter the realms of their imaginations, explore dreams as fodder for character and scene, and focus on the practice of stilled attention: the momentum that fuels all creativity.

Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques

Limited critiques are available, so reserve yours early!  Participants must register and pay for the conference before being assigned a review. Critiquers include our faculty and published regional members experienced with critiquing.  We’ll do our best to match your work to the expertise of the reviewer on a first come, first served basis.  Second critiques will be assigned only after all first critique requests are filled and if received by the deadline of June 25, 2011.

To have a manuscript critiqued:

  1. Register for the conference and include an extra $50 (per critique) in your conference registration payment.
  2. Email up to 15 double-spaced pages of one manuscript (including age group, genre, a one-paragraph summary, and your phone number) to Naomi Milliner at
  3. If you have been critiqued before, please list your previous reviewers.
  4. Mail a printed copy to Naomi Milliner, Box 253, Olney, MD 20832

To request an art portfolio critique, include the $45 fee with your conference registration.  Send Susan Detwiler an email ( to notify her.  DO NOT send original artwork in the mail.

Please note that the deadline is SATURDAY, June 25, 2011.  Prior to the conference, you will be assigned a 15-minute time to meet with the critiquer.  Questions:  Contact Naomi at

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: CLICK Reg-Page_V3 for a downloadable/printable form.

Registration Deadline: July 6, 2011–No Walk-in Registration

Lodging: We encourage our particpants to stay in one of the cottages at The Bishop Claggett Center.  Double rooms are available on a first registered, first served basis.  After the general creativity session on Saturday night, there will be time for socializing and impromptu critique groups with other attendees.

For those who prefer more privacy, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn of Frederick, 7226 Corporate Court, Frederick, MD (240-566-1500).  Mention SCBWI to get the discounted rate of $109 per night, or go to this website to book online. Book by June 26th to receive reduced rate!

For directions to the Bishop Claggett Retreat Center, 3035 Buckeystown Pike, Buckeystown, MD 21717, visit signs to Monocacy Hall once you are on the grounds.

*A special thank you to SCBWI regional member, Juliette Furlong, for designing our “Staying On Track” brochure!

About ediehemingway

I am an author of children's middle grade novels and the Regional Advisor for the MD/DE/WV SCBWI chapter.
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9 Responses to Registration Now Open for our July “Staying On Track” Weekend!

  1. Pingback: Friday Author Focus: Coffee & Conversation with Sarah Sullivan! « As the Eraser Burns

  2. Pingback: Tuesday This and Thats « As the Eraser Burns

  3. Pingback: Friday Author Focus: Coffee & Conversation with Lauren Stringer « As the Eraser Burns

  4. Pingback: A wonderful, “A-Ha” filled ABC Event with Mary Quattlebaum! « As the Eraser Burns

  5. Pingback: Monday Author Chat: Coffee & Conversation with David LaRochelle! « As the Eraser Burns

  6. Pingback: Sunday Author Chat: Coffee & Conversation with John Coy! « As the Eraser Burns

  7. Pingback: Coffee & Conversation with Catherine Reef! « As the Eraser Burns

  8. Pingback: Coffee & Conversation with Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen « As the Eraser Burns

  9. Pingback: Coffee & Conversation with Ed Sullivan « As the Eraser Burns

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