Sometimes doing a good thing, even a very good thing, is not necessarily the best thing for us. It’s hard to know when boundaries need to be placed, when risks need to be taken, when the unknown is better for us than the relative safety of routine. It’s hard to change. But as writers and illustrators, we must be protective of our time, our creative mental space, and recognize when a good thing, even a very good thing, could be getting in the way. Continue reading
Lisze Bechtold is an animator as well as an author & illustrator of picture books and early readers. Her published works include Edna’s Tale, Sally and the Purple Socks (a Children’s Choice and Imagination Library book), and the award-winning Buster the Very Shy Dog series. She has taught workshops, reviewed portfolios, and studied writing with such luminaries as Myra Cohn Livingston and Patricia Lee Gauch. A long-time member and volunteer for the SCBWI, she’s co-coordinated several SCBWI Illustrator Days, sits on the L.A. Regional Board, and has quite a few ideas and events in mind for our region’s illustrators and author/illustrators. “What ideas and events?” you ask? We wondered that too, along with a few other questions you didn’t even know you wanted to ask. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this installment of “Volunteer Spotlight.”
SARAH PARKER-LEE: Just in case anyone out there has avoided approaching you at events or something because of this, before we go any further, how do you pronounce your name?
LISZE BECHTOLD: “Liz” or “Lizzie”, if you need to pronounce all the extra letters.
SPL: Phew! We haven’t been saying it incorrectly! (Introverts worst nightmare.) With that out of the way… You’ve been an SCBWI volunteer for a long time, off and on, why did you recently take up the mantle of Illustrator Coordinator?
LB: I had too much fun coordinating the illustrator contests at the 2016 Writer/Illustrator Day and realized as an author AND illustrator, I have specific insight into the different needs and interests of each. I love connecting people who should meet, as well as the detective part of helping other artists — pointing out their strengths and the direction they are already taking that perhaps they themselves may not have noticed.
SPL: As an experienced illustrator and author, what types of workshops, exercises, or tools have helped you? Continue reading
Each year, the Sue Alexander Service and Encouragement Award is presented to a regional volunteer who has shown exceptional dedication to SCBWI Los Angeles. This year’s winner, Karol Ruth Silverstein, credits her time volunteering as Schmooze/LitMingle Meister with signing with an agent and subsequently selling a book. She’s since moved on to be our Contest Coordinator and is so dedicated, she was just featured in our previous “Volunteer Spotlight” (here). So instead of the usual spotlight fare, I thought we’d do something a little different and ask Karol some fun questions.
SARAH PARKER-LEE: If you could volunteer for anything you wanted to, other than SCBWI, what would you choose? Continue reading
by Karol Ruth Silverstein
Editor’s Note: A “changing of the guard” has taken place recently at LA SCBWI, with our wonderful Contest Coordinator, Marcelle Green passing that baton to our equally wonderful Mingle Meister, Karol Ruth Silverstein, who has, in turn, passed the Mingle Meister baton to, yes, another wonderful volunteer: Jennifer Pitts. Read on as Karol explains the change-over, and why the contest-addiction struggle is real! Many thanks to Marcelle for all her hard work over the year. We wish her the best of luck on all her future endeavors! And welcome to the team, Jennifer!
I have a confession: I was addicted to entering contests.
Unlike casual contest entrants, who may really benefit from the manufactured deadlines and bravery required to put their work out there (not to mention the potential cash and prizes — woohoo!), it became an unhealthy obsession for me. Writers Day events weren’t about the great faculty and enjoying a fun day with my fellow children’s book writers and illustrators. Increasingly, they became about the contest. If my manuscript won — which a few have — I was high as a kite. If I didn’t win or place in the contest — which is what happens more often than not — the day felt like a total waste. Never mind the inspiring keynotes or illuminating panels. Even if I came in second or third, the initial high of being “a winner” was soon replaced by the disappointment of not having been deemed “the best.”
I’d literally dream of winning contests. Any addiction specialist will tell you that the cure for obsessive compulsion is complete abstinence. But could I do it? Could I really walk away from entering all the SCBWI LA contests voluntarily? I wasn’t sure I could. Continue reading
By Marilyn Cram Donahue, Schmooze Coordinator for the Inland Empire
Once a month, I lead a group called The Saturday Morning Schmoozers in Redlands, for the SCBWI SoCal Region. Members share their manuscripts and we offer opinions and encouragement. I also volunteer as a career advisor for Pomona College, which connects me with aspiring young writers. And I work with a community group interested in memoir writing. A highlight of volunteering for SBWI was hosting a workshop on screenwriting techniques with Michael Mahin. I love this busy schedule! Writing can be a solitary job, and these volunteer activities keep me in touch with people who love pen and paper as much as I do.
When people ask me how I started writing, Continue reading
By Gwen Dandridge
I’m the manager of the listserv in the CenCal region.
For those of you unfamiliar with a listserv, let me explain: a listserv is a program that automatically redistributes e-mail to names on a mailing list. This allows the quick flow of information to like-minded people. On an SCBWI listserv you get information about local children’s writers’/illustrators’ events, achievements, sorrows, and joys. Continue reading
We 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 Jessica Chrysler, the Los Angeles Region’s Social Media Coordinator.
When I joined the SCBWI in 2008, I had just graduated from art school. I had no idea how to get published and I hadn’t read the latest best-seller in middle grade, but I knew without a doubt that I wanted to create stories—books specifically. So I attended the South Bay Schmooze, and within the first two meetings, I became the co-coordinator. I was scared at first—I had no idea how this stuff worked—but soon I discovered that I was in the same place as most of the members in our area. Time to roll up my sleeves and jump into some research! Continue reading
We 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 Jill Tuckman, digital artist and the Los Angeles region’s webmaster.
I am humbled, honored, and still a little bit surprised to be the Webmaster for the SCBWI Los Angeles Region. I joined SCBWI immediately upon discovering the organization, as it seemed the perfect place to learn about the children’s publishing industry. Continue reading
We 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.
We 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. Now meet Chester Perryess, Central/Coastal CA regional Schlepper and Minion:
I’m an introvert. I’m happiest at home making those characters come to life, or sequestered in my “shedio” narrating audiobooks, or researching etymologies for Wordmonger, my blog about words. Still, I volunteer out in the Big Scary World and encourage my fellow introverts to consider doing the same.