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The end of the year is fast approaching, and we can now curl up by the fire and enjoy the memory of a wonderful Agent’s Day in the OC. Our guests included authors Marci Wessels and Marianne D. Wallace, and agents Lori Kilkelly of Rodeen Literary Management, Sean McCarthy of McCarthy Literary, Christa Heschke of McIntosh and Otis, Inc., and Charlie Olsen of Inkwell Literary. As a special treat, our illustrators and picture book authors enjoyed a session with Suzanne Cruise, Licensing Agent and President of Cruise Creative Licensing.

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Suzanne Cruise

In her informative Group Review, Suzanne provided her professional wisdom in the field of licensing art and words. She clearly explained the distinct differences between work appropriate for licensing and that for children’s books. She also showed digital and physical examples of successful products with art and/or words as part of the design.

Attendees came prepared with up to three pages of art samples. As time allowed, Suzanne reviewed each attendee’s samples, speaking to the way each image (art or wording) could be applied to products. She answered many questions from the attendees and was generous with advice and realistic encouragement for all who were serious about venturing into the area of licensing.

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Charlie Olsen

Cheers for Elana!

We’re also celebrating great news from first-time author Elana Asoze. She shared details with us about Never Insult a Killer Zucchini, her picture book tale of a mad science fair where things go terribly awry.

Elana, how did you connect with your editor?

I met Yolanda LeRoy Scott through the manuscript critique at the OC SCBWI Editor’s Day. She gave me great feedback and chose my manuscript as her “Editor’s Pick” for the conference. Ms. Leroy Scott later connected me with Karen Boss, also at Charlesbridge.

Tell us about your most important experiences during the editorial process.

This book actually started out as a tongue-in-cheek ABC book. The original title was “K is for Killer Zucchini,” and it went through the letters of the alphabet (A is for Anti-matter, B is for Bionic Limb, C is for Cloning, etc.).

Then I had an agent tell me it needed a plot. I wasn’t sure I heard her right. I remember asking, “How can it have a plot? It’s an A-to-Z book.” But she insisted, so I added a background story in the illustration notes about a rather needy killer zucchini who escapes his pen at a science fair and tries to get the attention of the oblivious science fair judge.

Charlesbridge asked me to scrap the whole ABC idea and run with the science fair aspect instead, having me extend the plot and beef up the “True Life Mad Science” back matter. So it went from an ABC book to a silly picture book about science. But I’m okay with that.

What part has SCBWI played in your journey as a writer?

I’m a big SCBWI fan. Besides meeting my future editor at Editor’s Day, I’ve learned a ton about both the craft and the business of writing through SCBWI. (Who knew that educational back matter could be such a selling point? Thanks, 2010 Temecula Retreat!) I also met my amazing Seattle critique group through SCBWI, and while we no longer meet for geographic reasons, they are still made entirely of awesome.

Here at SCBWI SoCal we can’t wait to celebrate the release of Never Insult a Killer Zucchini, coming out from Charlesbridge in Spring 2016!

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Elana Asoze

Old Friends and New

Last year we were saddened to say goodbye to the incredible Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in LaVerne. On the bright side, Judy Nelson will be continuing the fabled Mrs. Nelson’s Young Writer’s Awards. A community partnership of Mrs. Nelson’s Bookfair Company, the Pomona Library, and the dA Center for the Arts, will enable the long-running contest to continue to provide a platform for young writers in the Southern California region. www.daartcenter.org/da_infor/event_flyer_2.pdf

We have one more exciting announcement: We are so thrilled to welcome a new independent children’s bookstore to our region!

Once Upon a Storybook opened its pretty pink doors on October 4th at the Enderle Shopping Center, 17300 E 17th Street in Tustin. The store is a wonderland where kids can enjoy storytime, arts and crafts, and book signings with their favorite authors and illustrators.

Stop in and say hi to Susie Alexander (Susie the Storylady) and check out their Web site and Facebook page.

Web site: www.onceuponastorybook.us

Facebook page www.facebook.com/OUAStorybook?ref=br_tf

In closing, don’t forget to check our Web site after the first of the year for updates on the upcoming Spring Retreat at the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa in Temecula.

We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.

Best, Francesca and Q

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