Attention Novelists: SCBWI-L.A. Mentorship Contest Opens February 14!


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by Cheryl Manning 

The SCBWI Los Angeles region offers a plethora of events and contests for writers and illustrators throughout the year. I’ve been inspired and enlightened by many of them, but the Mentorship Contest stands out. Here are six reasons why my mentorship was so meaningful. 

LinkaBookLaunch1. Favorite New Author 

I was writing a middle grade novel and therefore reading mostly books in that genre. When I found out that YA author Catherine Linka had chosen to mentor me, I purchased her novels A Girl Called Fearless and A Girl Undone. Instead of prepping my manuscript to send off, I began reading Catherine’s first book and was sucked into Avie’s story of survival in search of freedom. Within one chapter, Catherine’s storytelling skills and authentic dialog had me hooked. By the end of her second book, I knew that I was the luckiest mentee on the planet. When I found out that her newest novel, What I Want You to See, was about to launch, I knew I’d be the first in line.

2. Memorable First Words 

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Great News!




SCBWI loves celebrating our members’ successes and noteworthy news, and there are many! Read on to find out who’s got something to shout about. Digital high-fives welcome in the comments!



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Ask an Editor: The Difference Between a Mentor Text and a Comp Title


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“Ask an Editor” is a forum wherein SCBWI members submit questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog.

Dear Editor – What is the difference between a mentor text and a comp title?

—May, Los Angeles

Because of her great webinar on this topic for 12 x 12, I’ve asked Tara Luebbe to reply.

Dear May – A mentor text is all about craft, as it’s a book that helps you shape your manuscript. A mentor text could cover a subject matter or concept that’s comparable to your story. It might mirror your story arc, utilize a format you’d like to explore, or have a main character with a similar obstacle to overcome. It may use a voice or POV you want to try, or be written with a brand of humor or sense of irony you are looking to emulate. So the right mentor text can provide a template for figuring out one or more challenging elements in your own work. Continue reading

Four Counties, Four LitMingles


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by Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

SLO County Mingle

San Luis Obispo County Mingle

The SCBWI Central-Coastal region offers regular, free meet-ups, known as LitMingles. All LitMingles are hosted by volunteers. Whether you want to connect with other writers, learn about craft, or build a community of support, your LitMingle hosts are ready to plan for your needs.

Our County Mingles were newly created in 2019, and our current LitMingle hosts are Allison Crotzer Kimmel, Kern County; Claire Noland, San Luis Obispo County; Mari Talkin, Santa Barbara County; and Lori Anaya, Ventura County. I wanted to check-in and see how the meet-ups are progressing. 

ANN ROUSSEAU SMITH: Welcome to the Kite Tales blog! What is the purpose or mission of a LitMingle, either in general or more specifically for your County Mingle?

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Your 2020 Guide to Book Festivals, Conventions, and SCBWI Events


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Need a creative pick me up? How about a new avenue for book promotion? Or maybe you just need some quality time with like-minded writers and illustrators working on their craft. SCBWI has you covered on the craft of kidlit and our region’s list of local book festivals and conventions is sure to broaden your creative perspectives!

SCBWI Sponsored Events for 2020

Writers Day
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Dive into craft and “Discover the Words Worth Keeping” with a full day of keynotes, critiques and agent pitch sessions. A special pre-event intensive with Harold Underdown will also give a new perspective on approaching revision to polish your work in progress. Contests, manuscript reviews and scholarships will also be available. Need more insight? Read author Charlotte Offsay’s recap of last year here.

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All the Ways You Can Be Featured On KITE TALES


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nick-morrison-325805-unsplashA week into 2020, are you still working on your goals for the year? If your goals include things like sharing your work/personal successes, being more active in the SCBWI community, increasing your online presence, or helping fellow writers/illustrators by sharing your expertise – then you should consider submitting to Kite Tales!

Here are some of the key ways you can be featured on Kite Tales. Continue reading

#KTWriteOn with Editor/Author Eve Porinchak: PITCH PERFECT, Mastering the One-Page Synopsis, Query, and Logline


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Happy New Year! Welcome to the Kite Tales Writing Prompt: #KTWriteOn. Each writing challenge is crafted by a kid-lit publishing professional to help spark ideas, creative energy, and get your work moving out into the world. This prompt was created by former literary agent and current editor/YA true-crime author Eve Porinchak. She’s sharing her method for writing the all-important one-page synopsis and subsequent submissions package materials it practically writes for you. BONUS: she’s offering to help you with your logline in the comments, so don’t miss out! Now, take it away, Eve:

The only sad part about working as a literary agent and kid-lit author is witnessing fabulous manuscripts go unread by the gatekeepers’ eyeballs. To prevent this from happening, authors must learn how to pitch their stories. And, I’m here to help! This means creating a submissions package, which equals: Continue reading

Finding Confidence at Illustrators Day


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by Lisa Saint


For over twenty years I have been a fine art painter, card designer, and have taught book making classes for children. But my deepest desire has been to write and illustrate children’s books. I’ve attended SCBWI conferences, workshops, and retreats – and created some nice, even well-received work. But that’s where it all stops. Jobs, family, friends, and numerous commitments continually take up my time and attention. Year after year. The sad revelation is that this pattern could go on forever.

When the most recent Illustrators Day was announced, I made a pledge to commit to my dream. I registered for the one-day conference. Gathering my 10 strongest illustrations for a mail-in portfolio review, I sent them off to be critiqued by an industry professional. Continue reading