LitMingle Minute: Hollywood


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Minglers discussing plot.

The SCBWI L.A. Hollywood LitMingle started humbly. For the past three years, Deborah Blum and Jean Perry (that’s me) have taken the mingle from a living room to the meeting space at the Hollywood Fairfax Library. It’s absolutely delicious to meet with other children’s writers. We who gather on those special Thursdays “get” each other. We find friends whose eyes don’t glaze over at the mention of plot and inciting incident. When we talk about crisis and climax, we can ask which is which. Picture book, middle grade, young adult, and new adult writers are welcomed to this free event every month. We usually start out full group, and then break into small groups based on genre, to get the specific support we need. Mingles are open to the public.

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Getting Your Geek On: Why You Should Check Out Comic-Con


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Author Tobie Easton signing "Emerge" for fans in the signing area.

Author Tobie Easton signing “Emerge” for fans in the signing area.

As a debut author, I have spent this year—and the time leading up to it—learning as much as I could about the publishing industry and about all the different ways to build a successful career as an author. One lesson that has stood above all the rest so far is that publishing is about finding your people. That team of people who really gets your writing—and who falls in love with it. It starts out with just you, then your critique partners, then (if you pursue traditional publishing) your agent, editor, and other members of the team at your publisher, then booksellers, and finally readers. No matter what stage of your writing career you’re at right now, here’s why conventions are so beneficial: They help you find your people. Continue reading

SCBWI-LA Working Writer’s Retreat – A Winning Weekend


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by Marilyn Morton

Among the many reasons for SCBWI-LA Working Writer’s Retreat’s (WWR) popularity is that it may result in a publication. Just ask Julie Williams (HarperCollins), Cecil Castelluci (Candlewick), Jesse Marie Klausmeier (Chronicle), and Amanda Hollander (Beach Lane Books) who became published authors as a result of attending this event. In recent years WWR, which is also open to non-SCBWI members, has filled within hours of opening registration. Continue reading

Lori Nichols: Illustrator’s Perspective


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MapleLori Nichols is the author and illustrator of the award-winning picture book Maple and the Maple series. Her illustrated work can also be seen in the This Orq books by David Elliott, No, No, Kitten! by Shelley Moore Thomas, and Go Sleep In Your Own Bed by Candace Fleming (2017). In this “Illustrator’s Perspective,” Lori shares where she gets her ideas, how her process works, and ideas to keep your own ideas flowing.


I find my creative juices flow better when I have a fair amount of playtime. Right now, we are doing a kitchen renovation. Walls are being demolished and floors ripped up. My world has been turned upside down, so creative juices are not flowing– at least not until yesterday when I took a sharpie and started drawing on the exposed ceiling rafters and unfinished walls. That helped some.

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Critiquenic 2016



by Daka Hermon IMG_1073

“When you decide not to be afraid, you can find friends in super unexpected places.” —Ms. Marvel

I found that to be true at the SCBWI Peer2Peer Critiquenic. What is that you ask? It’s an amazing opportunity to have your work critiqued by your peers. Continue reading

Volunteer Spotlight: Gina Capaldi


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circus girlWe love our volunteers at SCBWI and couldn’t exist without them! “Volunteer Spotlight” is a great way to get to know them for yourself and learn more about what they do and how you can volunteer too. Now meet Gina Capaldi, Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI’s Inland Empire, also known as SoCal.

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SCBWI Community Corner with Deborah Fletcher Blum


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Deborah Blum_8087The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a dynamic community of professionals and aspirings. Read on for a member’s story about how SCBWI has influenced their work and connected them to publishing professionals, life-long friends, and the tools they need to share their stories with children of all ages. Read on for former Hollywood LitMingle Coordinator Deborah Fletcher Blum’s story!

IMG_6077The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators launched my career as a filmmaker. It may sound odd to credit a children’s writers and illustrators group with this, but writing and filmmaking are integrally connected artistic disciplines. As an artist and English teacher, who wrote poetry and non-fiction, I embarked on a middle grade novel in the Summer of 2010 and joined SCBWI soon after.

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Interview with Carl Angel, Illustrator of The Girl Who Saved Yesterday


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Our local Angelino and SCBWI member Carl Angel is the illustrator of the beautiful new picture book, The Girl Who Saved Yesterday. In this book, Angel takes on the daunting task of illustrating Julius Lester’s poetic lines in a book that straddles myth, magic realism, and folklore. 51y5F2jyDxL._SX393_BO1,204,203,200_

CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT: Welcome! Please tell us a little bit about how you illustrated trees that talk, lights that felt “as thin as a raindrop,” and stones of the ancestors which “glow a pink as gentle and soft as a first kiss.”

CARL ANGEL: The poetic nature of Julius’s words resonates on both an emotional and literal level, and in such a way where both are equally appealing as imagery. As an illustrator, I chose to address, primarily through color and composition, the aspect on which to best focus for the image. The text is rich enough that some of the words, I felt, were beyond illustrating and were best left in the reader’s imagination, which only added to the depth of the book. The way Julius connected those two dimensions so delicately with such great lyricism was so inspiring that I wanted to share that with the reader visually. Continue reading

Ask an Editor: Why are Picture Books Printed Vertically?


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Welcome to “Ask an Editor” where our wonderful SCBWI members send in questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog. AskAnEditor_2

Dear Editor – I am writing and illustrating a picture book. Do my illustrations need to fit a vertical (tall) layout? I can’t find a book that’s horizontal, but that’s my preference when painting.  —Ann, Los Angeles

Dear Ann – Great question! Industry experts respond. Continue reading


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