Page 1



IN THIS ISSUE: Grammar Quiz! PLUS: Interviews with Kit Grady, Kathleen Fox and J.J. Johnson COVER STORY: Eli’s Magic Blanket Ride by Jeehyun Hoke



R.A. LETTER: Teresa Fannin...............................................................................................................3 CALENDAR by Marilee Haynes.......................................................................................................4 HURRAHS by Constance Lombardo..............................................................................................5 NOTES FROM THE FRONT LINES: Kit Grady......................................................................................7 FIRST SALE INSIGHTS: J.J. Johnson...................................................................................................8 Pursuing the Craft: Kathleen Fox...............................................................................................9 Cover Story: Jeehyun Hoke......................................................................................................10 Opportunites by Janelle Bitikofer...............................................................................................11 Collective Wisdom by Carol Baldwin......................................................................................12 Writer’s Well by Steve Matchett................................................................................................13 Illustration © Kit Grady

Becoming a Serious Writer by Jo Hackl.................................................................................14 Caught in the Web by Laura Renegar.......................................................................................15 Writing Elements by Megan Shepherd....................................................................................16 ART CONTRIBUTORS........................................................................................................................17

Illustration © Sherry Neidigh

The Editor’s Desk: Rebecca Petruck..........................................................................................18

Spring 2011


Pen&Palette is a publication of SCBWI-Carolinas.

Regional Advisor: Teresa Fannin Assistant Regional Advisor: Bonnie Adamson Managing Editor: Rebecca Petruck Art Director: Bonnie Adamson Copy Editors: Janelle Bitikofer, Justin Campoli, Tracy Davis, Julie Krantz, Carol-Ann




Thank Goodness It’s Spring!

It was a real Currier and Ives holiday season. We faced being housebound surrounded by snow, and ice. And now, thank goodness, all things green and blooming. Back in 2010 we celebrated the debut authors and the continually publishing professionals of our region. Their accomplishments are a light at the end of the tunnel for those of us pursuing publication. 2010 was our Year of Story. We don’t write or illustrate books. We tell of adventure, loneliness, magic, travel, and so much more. But how do we get there? 2011 will be the year of Filling the Blank Page. From our 2nd Annual Art and Writing Contest to our fall

Rudy, Peggy Sheehan, Megan Shepherd

conference, again in Charlotte.


I want to thank Jo Hackl for her time and dedication as ARA and wish her success in her

General News/Features:

writing endeavors. She added talent and energy to our region. Illustrations: Opportunities: Pen & Palette welcomes submissions of articles of interest to our illustrator and writer members. We also welcome illustration submissions. No payment is made for items that appear in Pen &

Bonnie Adamson, our Illustrator Coordinator and designer of P & P accepted the position of ARA. Bonnie’s commitment to the illustrators of our region shows in every page of this newsletter. Her understanding illustrator’s needs will only bolster what we can do for the entire region. Other volunteers who will expand the activities and reach of our region are Janelle

Palette. For illustrations, we retain only first-time

Bitikofer, Schmooze coordinator, Laura Renegar, Social Media Coordinator and Maggie

rights. For articles, we take only one-time Pen &

Moe, Yahoo Group List Moderator will be working to make this region a haven for writers

Palette and all SCBWI-Carolinas website rights. Email submissions to the point of contact on

and illustrators pursuing the art and craft of writing for children.

the staff listing for consideration. Submission deadlines are:

JANUARY 15 for the spring issue

APRIL 15 for the summer issue

JULY 15 for the fall issue

OCTOBER 15 for the winter issue


Teresa Fannin

Members may not reprint Pen & Palette articles in any form, including posting on members’ websites. Requests to reprint articles in SCBWI publications may be sent to rebecca_petruck@ Mention in Pen & Palette, including articles, market listings, and advertisements, does not

company or advertiser’s references.

Illustration © Nicole Oquendo

constitute endorsement by SCBWI. Please be

Spring 2011


careful and make informed decisions when entering into any professional transactions. Should any member contact the companies mentioned in Pen & Palette, SCBWI cannot be held responsible for the future use or sale of that member’s name and address. Additionally, SCBWI does not endorse companies or services and encourages members to investigate any


Illustration © Holly McGee


April 10 - 16: ALA NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK. Information at index.cfm May 1: SCBWI MEMBER OF THE YEAR submission deadline. See May 1 - June 10: MARTHA WESTON GRANT submission period. Open to published children’s authors who would like to work in a different children’s genre. See May 20 - 21: BLUE RIDGE BOOK FESTIVAL in Hendersonville, NC. See www. May 27 - June 5: SOUTHERN BREEZE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS GALLERY SHOW in Decatur, GA. See July 2 - 8: WRITER’S RETREAT in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Spruce Pine, NC. See July 16 - 23: HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION WRITER’S WORKSHOP in Chautauqua, NY. See

by Marilee Haynes Marilee Haynes is a full-time mom of three small children and part-time writer of middle-grade contemporary fiction.

Spring 2011

August 5 - August 8: SCBWI SUMMER CONFERENCE in Los Angeles, CA. See www. September 23 - 25: SCBWI-CAROLINAS FALL CONFERENCE in Charlotte, NC. See




Bonnie Adamson, who recently became our Assistant Regional Advisor, illustrated the bilingual picture book BEDTIME MONSTER, written by Heather Ayris Burnell and published by Raven Tree Press. It was mentioned in Publishers Weekly and received a very positive review from Booklist Online. John Claude Bemis was featured in Publishers Weekly for the launch of THE WOLF TREE, the second book in his Clockwork Dark trilogy, which is published by Random House. Tameka Fryer Brown’s AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBOR’S DAY, illustrated by Charlotte RileyWebb and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, was featured in a book trailer on YouTube. Sherri Carpenter’s book CHLOE’S FIRST JOB is due out spring 2011. Her next book, THANK YOU MOM, THANK YOU DAD FOR ALL OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS I HAVE, is due out in summer 2011 from Willow Moon Publishing. Kristy Dempsy’s picture book MINI RACER, published by Bloomsbury and illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo, was released February 15. Bonnie Doerr’s book STAKEOUT, published by Leap Books, will be released in February 2011. Also, ISLAND STING is a finalist in the international EPIC e-book awards for children’s fiction. Rhonda Lucas Donald’s new book, DEEP IN THE DESERT, which is illustrated by Sherry Neidigh and published by Sylvan Dell Publishing, will be released in March 2011. Donna Earnhardt’s poem “Procrastination” was published in the Jan/Feb issue of the SCBWI Bulletin.

by Constance Lombardo Constance is a writer and illustrator living in Asheville with her husband and daughter. You can see her artwork at: or visit her blog at: www.constaurspeaks.blogspot.

with special thanks to

Ann E. Eisenstein announced a launch party for the publication of her first work of juvenile fiction, HIDING CARLY, published by CreateSpace. Elysabeth Eldering’s story “Butterfly Halves,” formerly published as an e-book, has been accepted in a faery anthology through UK-based Rebel Publishing. The book is slated to come out in March 2011. Also, the fifth book in her state series, STATE OF HEIGHTS, was released in December 2010. David Macinnis Gill’s BLACK HOLE SUN, which received a starred review from the School Library Journal, was chosen as one of the Library Journal’s “Best YA Lit for Adults 2010.” Publishers Weekly announced that film rights for BLACK HOLE SUN are being packaged by Lorenzo di Bonaventura Pictures, the producer of STARDUST, RED, and TRANSFORMERS. Also, the sequel to BLACK HOLE SUN, INVISIBLE SUN, has been announced by Greenwillow Books. Kit Grady’s debut picture book as an author/illustrator, A NECKLACE FOR JIGGSY, was published by Guardian Angel Publishing. Also, HUMBERTO THE BOOKWORM HAMSTER, which she illustrated, is a finalist in the international EPIC e-book awards for children’s fiction. Alan Gratz’s middle grade novel FANTASY BASEBALL, which will be published on March 17, 2011 by Dial Books/Penguin, is on the Spring 2011 Kids’ Indie Next List with a glowing review. His editor is Liz Waniewski. He was also featured in the spring/summer edition of the SCBWI Tokyo newsletter, CARP TALES, available on the SCBWI Tokyo website at Megan Hoyt has two agents interested in her work.

Sherri Lubin Carpenter Sherri is author of five books, available in 2011, and has been published online at This I Believe… Sherri lives in Advance, NC.

Spring 2011

JJ Johnson signed a two-book deal with Kathy Landwehr at Peachtree Publishers. THIS GIRL IS DIFFERENT is scheduled for an April release, followed by RANDOM in fall 2011. Johnson’s agent is Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown. Kami Kinard’s upcoming middle grade novel from Scholastic, KARA MCALLISTER’S BOOK OF SOUL MATES, was featured on Publishers Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf. Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio is Kinard’s agent, and Aimee Friedman at Scholastic is the editor.

continued on page 6


Deanna Klingel announced the release of her book JUST FOR THE MOMENT: THE REMARKABLE GIFT OF THE THERAPY DOG, published by Dog Ear Publishing. Sheri Levy’s magazine article “Scent with Love,” which was published in CLUBHOUSE magazine in July 2010, won the Special Interest Category and was nominated for the Mainstream General-Interest Magazine category by the Dog Writers Association of America. Mike Litwin illustrated the picture book MY NAME IS NOT ISABELLA. It has been republished by Sourcebooks and is #10 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. He is currently at work on the sequel, MY NAME IS NOT ALEXANDER. A video about the completion of one illustration from concept to finish is viewable on YouTube. Constance Lombardo’s illustration GIANT READER was published in the Jan/Feb issue of the SCBWI Bulletin. Her book review will also appear in the Feb/March issue of SIXTY SECOND PARENT magazine. Kelly Lyons will be teaching a continuing education class for Duke University entitled “So You Want to Write a Children’s Book.” Bryan Marshall and David Marshall’s picture book, SONGS OF FREEDOM: A JOURNEY ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, illustrated by Wil Smith and published by Blue Sky Project, has been awarded the American Heritage Gold Medal by the 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. It will be highlighted at the Traverse City Children’s Book Festival. The Rochester City School District in New York features a DVD version of the book for teachers of social studies, history and music curricula. Additionally, the book has been awarded a Golden Eagle for 2011 in the children’s education category from CINE and listed as an ALA Notable for 2011. Holly McGee illustrated her first picture book, HUSH LITTLE BEACHCOMBER, by Diane Moritz and published by Kane Miller. The release date was March 1, 2011. Georgia McBride signed with agent Mark McVeigh of The McVeigh Agency. Stephen Messer’s debut middle grade fantasy, WINDBLOWNE, was published by Random House and named to the New York Public Library’s Children’s Books 2010 list. It was also chosen for review through the School Library Journal. His book COLOSSUS has sold in a 2-book deal to Jim Thomas at Random House Children’s Books by Josh and Tracey Adams at Adams Literary. Rebecca Petruck has signed with agent Kate Testerman of ktliterary. Linda Phillips signed with agent Julia Kenny of Markson Thoma Literary Agency. Beth Revis’s debut novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, published by Penguin/Razorbill, launched on January 11, 2011 and quickly rose to #7 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. It was also picked as a January Best Book of the Month by Megan Shepherd’s article “Express Yourself: The Changing World of Pop” was published in the February 2011 issue of FACES magazine.

Illustration © Erin Bennett Banks

Eleanora E. Tate was included in Georgeann Eubanks’ article “Women Writers of Hayti” in OUR STATE magazine’s September 2010 issue.

Spring 2011

Maureen Crane Wartski’s publisher, Amy Spaulding of Sleepy Hallow Books, spoke about Wartski’s book YURI’S BRUSH WITH MAGIC on National Public Radio. An author interview also appears on YouTube, and she will have a book signing at Frank’s Gallery ( in Chapel Hill in April. Additionally, two of her haikus were chosen to be displayed in the “Eye of the Quilter” exhibit at the International Quilt Market and Festival show in Houston, Texas. Carole Boston Weatherford’s picture book THE BEATITUDES: FROM SLAVERY TO CIVIL RIGHTS, illustrated by Tim Ladwig and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, was chosen as one of Booklist’s Top Ten Religious Books for Youth. Weatherford was also named as a recipient of the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor given by the state of North Carolina.



Notes from the

ront Lines

What surprised you about the

Break down the timing of your most recent

publishing process?


Again, that there are more ways


than one to reach your goals. In

year of writing, rewriting, and illustrating. My

this economy, it is even harder to

editor and I worked on a few things—but

break through to large houses;

not much—in rewrites. It took about eight

but if you really love to write or

months before publication. Promoting and

illustrate, you can find fulfillment

marketing is the harder part to me. I visit

in small presses, educational

schools and libraries for author visits, and I

markets, magazines,

attend book fairs and promotional events.

e-publishing, community/local

Social networks are great to spread the word

publications, and working with

and keep you motivated. I have a Web site

self-publishers. Small assignments

and blog. I have also created a blog where

can bring you closer to your

teachers can download study guides for my


book. My marketing URLS are:

What, if anything, frustrates you

Kit Grady Kit Grady lives in the mountains of Asheville, NC. Her love for drawing animals, nature, and children began very early. She studied art at Virginia Commonwealth University and later under Caldecott winners Uri Shulevitz and Gale Haley. She has published with The United Methodist Publishing House/ Cokesbury and is author and illustrator for a leveled reader with Kaeden Books, JUST ONE MORE MOM. She has recently released A NECKLACE FOR JIGGSY by Guardian Angel Publishing. Kit has also illustrated eight other books with G.A.P. Her newest book project is MOLLIE THE MERBABY, soon to be released by Meegenius in their Apple iTunes Store.

about the publishing process?

I am frustrated that, sometimes, it just comes

down to business. You may submit a wellwritten story, but it may not be what the editor needs at the time. It may also have been something that was recently done. You have to have the right product for the right market.

Marketing is a full time job, just like the

writing and illustrating. So you will often catch yourself doing three full-time jobs! What craft challenges do you continue to face?

Comparing your first book with your most

I work digitally and love it. Yet, there are

recent project, what has changed?

always new things to learn and new ways

In the beginning, I was the typical new

to create the look you want. I continue to

writer and illustrator who saw the “stars” of

sketch and always try to improve.

the publishing world and thought maybe I was after an impossible task. I took my

Do you hear from your readers? What do

craft step-by-step and tried not to miss an

they say?

opportunity to improve. I took workshops

Yes, letters from school visits are a real joy.

and classes, and, after hard work, began to

The kids ask everything, and not always

see the possibilities. As my skills grew, so did

about your story. These letters make the best

the opportunities.

job in the world even better.

What is one thing you know now that

Is there anything you would do differently

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers/

you wish you had known before being

now that you have more experience?



I would ask questions. When I received my

Take the time to educate yourself about

I wish I had known that there is more than

first specs for artwork and did not completely

your craft. Take classes, join SCBWI, use all

just one path to publication. The internet

understand them, I was afraid to ask

the resources available, network, and join

has made it so much easier to find different

because I felt it would make me look like a

writer groups. You must be prepared to

publishing houses and companies that need

rookie. Later I found out the rookie mistake is

really work hard. But it will be a wonderful

artists and writers.

not to ask.


Spring 2011




ale Insights

Did you start writing the

brutal. I took my mantra from the Marge

book as soon as you got

Piercy poem “For the young who want to”:

the idea?

The real writer is one / who really writes….

Heck no! Compost needs

Work is its own cure.

to cook awhile. That’s a disgusting image, but

Any daily habits that keep you writing?

you get the idea. I’ve

I have a little ritual—I make or buy a cup

learned to respect the time

of tea, clear off a table, and listen to white

it takes to bake a novel.

noise. It becomes Pavlovian. I’ve written in

A few months of busy

kindergarten classrooms, coffee shops, the


dining room table while kids lightsaber-duel

the house, teaching myself

around me. You don’t have to refinish your

to reupholster furniture—

attic into a peaceful writer’s retreat. Trust me. I

that’s when stories coalesce.

don’t even own a desk.

And then I start writing.

J.J. Johnson Tell us about your first book sale. Peachtree Publishers offered me a contract for my young adult novels This Girl is Different (April 2011) and Random (Fall 2011). They are stand-alone books, but if you read carefully, you will notice they take place

What key incidents led to this publishing house/this sale? 1. Finding my critique group: John Bemis, Stephen Messer, and Jennifer Harrod. They are über-smart, talented, honest, and supportive. We’ve been through thick and thin together. We’re a team. 2. Getting

What helps you keep a kid’s eye view? A friend of mine says we all have a soul age—how old you are in your core. My soul age is fifteen: that time of cynicism tempered by idealism, when everything feels ten times more intense than it does as an adult. I’ll always have a 15-year-old’s view of the world.

a great agent, Ginger Knowlton at Curtis

What are you reading now?

Brown. It took a year, and I found her the

Nonfiction, research for my next novels. I tend

What initial incident or idea sparked this story?

old-fashioned way—research, query letter,

to eschew reading fiction when I’m working

For This Girl is Different, Obama was

revisions. 3. Keeping my chin up, and writing

on something new, because whatever’s in

campaigning, and I was thinking about

another novel, while getting rejections for

my head leaches into my writing. Except I

change, and the system, and high school.

the first. It was my second novel that caught

will always read new fiction from my critique

Because I am always thinking about high

the eye of Kathy Landwehr at Peachtree

group. They’re amazing. I osmose from them

school. It was swirling together: free speech

Publishers; she then read my first novel and

as much as possible.

and responsibility—what if speaking your mind

offered a two-book deal. Lucky for me, Kathy

crosses the line into bullying? What if you grew

and Peachtree were worth the wait.

up outside the system?

all Pollyanna about

If it’s at all avoidable, don’t be writer.

van that said Aftermath Cleaners. And then I

it now, but we’re

Writing is a sucky, thankless profession,

got home, and my dog brought me a dead

talking about four

and publishing is a heartless monster

possum, just laid it right at my feet. And I was

years between

of an industry. But if you can’t not do

like, “Eureka!” The story came together. (Not

finishing Random and

it, then—okay, I’m right there with you.

really. Not right away. But eventually …)

signing a contract.

A fellow author once told

Both my novels had

me, “Your words are medicine for

everything you experience goes into a

near misses: editors

someone out there.” On bad days,

compost heap—everything you think and do

who loved them,

that keeps me going.

and see and feel gets thrown in there and

but were shot down

breaks down into rich, fertile soil. That’s what

by their acquisition

it happen. And may the Force be

you grow your novels in.

committees. It was

with you.

in the same high school, a few years apart.

For Random: I was driving and saw a

The writer Robert Olen Butler says

Spring 2011

It’s easy to be

Any parting thoughts or a favorite quote to share?

Find what keeps you going. Make


Pursuing the



Pursuing the Craft is dedicated to those active members of SCBWI Carolinas who make the chapter so strong—and have yet to sell a first book. To quote the great American rock band Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing.”

a “writer” without feeling like a fraud so by

to other countries, kids are basically the same

blurting out the “w” word, I better produce a

regardless of their situations, living conditions,

bunch of good work or I’ll simply feel like a liar.

or education. I pick up on a lot of non-verbals

Is there a book on the craft of writing that you

I can draw on by watching the children I

Kathleen Fox

me laugh, Steven King’s ON WRITING makes

How long have you been a member of

to be inspired and learn more is reading

true, people are listening!

SCBWI, and what do you feel is most valuable

juvenile biographies of children’s authors and

What are you reading?

about your membership?

illustrators. I learn about them as kids and their

I’m going through 2009’s Newbery Award/

Wow, let me calculate here. Maybe since

struggles and successes, then and now.

Honor winners at the moment.

1996, with a few missed years here and there.

What is your writing routine?

I’m a big fan of all SCBWI conferences. I leave

It used to be crank it out when creativity

Parting thoughts/favorite quote?

them so jazzed about writing and networking

came, but lately I sit down at my computer

and my head is full of new ideas. I also love

in the morning and write like it is a proper

that SCBWI provides you with the dos and

job. I have a small business developing

don’ts of the publishing world so you’re

educational games so that work is done in

not wasting time researching the basics on

the afternoon. Sometimes I get the writing

your own. When people ask me a slew of

bug at night and will work well into the wee

questions about writing for children, I always

morning hours, but I pay for it the next day

say, “Join SCBWI,” it answers everything.

being totally tired and gulping down way

What project(s) are you working on now?

more coffee that any human should.

I am working on a middle grade novel called

What helps you keep a kid’s eye view?

THE DOG that was awarded the SCBWI

Traveling to places where most kids don’t

Work-In-Progress runner-up grant. I started the

speak English. I know this sounds a bit crazy,

story after volunteering at a make-shift animal

but human emotions don’t vary. When I go

have found to be particularly helpful? Anne LaMott’s BIRD BY BIRD always makes me feel human, but one of my favorite ways

work with. I also love traveling to places that challenge my perceptions. And of course the old stand-by… eavesdropping on teen conversations at the coffee house-OMG! It’s

I love sitting down and seeing where the story will take me each day. I’m not an “outliner” although it would certainly help me to be. I like the unknown, the surprise element you get from something unexpected floating onto the page. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s that rollercoaster of writing that I keep lining up for, wanting to take the ride over and over again.

One of my favorite sayings: Believe it will

be, and it will.

Kathleen has a new writing website:

shelter in Mississippi shortly after Katrina. It sat on my shelf for a long time, but last year I committed to finishing it. I’m also working on a corny middle-grade novel about a boy who is embarrassed that his dad wants to become a professional clown. In the nonfiction department, I’m wrapping up a quirky educational book about parts of a book.

I have very inspiring writers in my critique groups and a “mastermind” class that meets twice a month. All are cheerleaders, but also keep me accountable for the goals I’ve set for myself. My husband, who knows nothing about children’s literature, keeps asking when his Newbery is coming, which always makes me laugh but that’s a little push for me to stay on task. Recently, I’ve started to call myself

Spring 2011

Illustration © Nicole Oquendo

What helps you stay motivated in your work?



Cover Jeehyun Hoke

tory me. I wanted to be an artist, and I believed this is the way for me to be happy. After this, I thought I needed some education to understand the illustrations and the industry better and applied for schools. How is illustrating for children’s books different from other types of illustration you’ve done? I think the biggest difference is children’s book illustrations are sequential. For other individual illustrations, they don’t need to carry the same characters, styles, atmosphere, and feelings between works.

This issue’s cover image is “Eli’s Magic Blanket Ride,” by Jeehyun Hoke.

There would be similarity in them of course, but it is just because they are made by one

There’s a sense of mystery in this

Is this your preferred method of working?

person. On the other hand, children’s book

piece—are the children taking off on an

Yes, especially when I work on a sequential

illustrators must calculate the flow between

adventure or arriving home? Can you

project. I think watercolor is easy to

pages. Many times, the previous page

tell us a bit about the story behind the

maintain the same style throughout the

can decide the next page’s composition,


whole project. I also do many mixed media

colors, size of characters. and so on in the

This scene is about kids arriving at a

illustrations. I use this method for individual

next page.

planet where they are about to have an

illustrations that I can just experiment and

adventure. And this planet is full of strange

play with media.

Promoting myself is the biggest project

and delicious buildings and houses but with a danger, too.

What current projects are you working on?

What is your background in art?

that I am working on right now. So I really

Of course, I have loved drawings and

appreciate this opportunity. Also, I am

The enclosed space of the garden is either

paintings ever since my youth. My teen

working on a manuscript about the loving

comforting or confining—how did you

life was filled with comics, cartoons, and

deep blue sea.

approach the setting and make it such an

animations, so I was always close to

important part of the narrative?

illustrations. When I went to the University

What would be your dream project?

It is enclosed, but there is a narrow exit on

of Kansas to study Illustration, I was

The project that I can be paid. This is the

the left bottom of the page, so that after

able to broaden my perspective for

first dream project. The next dream project

these kids look around this small space,

illustration. Also, I was exposed to various

would be one that combines travel and

they can move on to the next. Also, I did

methods to create images besides just

illustrations. I love traveling, and information

not want to put any hint of what would be

drawing with pencil. It was a great time

about a new place always excites me.

the next.

that I could organize and develop my

So, if I can get to travel, illustrate it, and

skill and talent. I graduated there in May

convey the experience to someone else,

last year.

that would be my dream project.


When did you decide to illustrate for the

Where can we see more of your work?

I used watercolors on Arches watercolor

children’s market?

I maintain a website, blog, altpick (which is

paper. The green colors are inspired by

It was fall in 2005. That time, I was studying

a portfolio website), facebook, and twitter,

a forest that children would play and

Economics and Politics in Konkuk University

and these are all linked in my website.

hide in. By using greens deep and rich,

in Korea. I never thought I wanted to be an


I wanted to give the atmosphere of a

artist. One day, I went to a bookstore and


beautiful and mysterious place.

saw children’s books. And then it just struck


Your color palette plays a large role in creating the atmosphere—what is your

Spring 2011





s a published writer, you’re always looking for new ways to market your books. You do author readings in bookstores. You participate in school visits, library visits, and blog tours. You have a webpage to keep in touch with your readers. You are a marketing machine. But are you also on the literary festival track? Literary festivals bring book lovers from across the region together. Every year festivals offer selected authors the chance to read from their books as a part of the celebration. Featured authors can sign and sell their books, and it’s a great way to market yourself as an author. But not every Jim, Jack, or Henry can easily jump on the festival track. Some festivals require a recommendation from a publisher or a respected author before they will consider you as a presenter, so keep in mind your professional connections. Other festivals allow authors to apply to become presenters by simply filling out a form. Either way, literary festivals are a great opportunity for published authors.

Literary Festivals: An Opportunity to Market Your Books Here is a list of some literary festivals in our region:

The S.C. Book Festival in Columbia, S.C., runs from May to April each year. Six thousand

readers participate in the festival annually, and festival coordinators give preference to authors with recent books or reprints scheduled for publication between March and May of that year. Authors can download the author submission form and rules for submissions from your publisher at

The BOOKMARKS Book Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., accepts open nominations for

featured authors until March 1st each year. The festival happens annually in September with a focus on encouraging literacy among both children and adults. The Author Eligibility Policy can be found at

The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville, N.C., occurs annually in September.

The festival includes novelists, poets, historians, journalists, and book lovers of all ages. Authors must receive an invitation from the planning committee to participate, but authors can submit themselves for consideration. The planning committee chooses authors who can contribute to the festival’s theme for that year. Information is at

The North Carolina Literary Festival, hosted at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill,

N.C., brings readers and writers together each September. Interested authors can mail letters of interest to the festival headquarters to be considered for the following year. Find more details at You can search the Internet for other opportunities, like the Blue Ridge Bookfest and the Virginia Festival of the Book. Then, once you’re scheduled as a presenter, don’t forget to get the word out to your fans. They can come to meet you in person at the festival and bring their friends to buy a signed copy of your newest book.

Janelle Bitikofer is Schmooze Coordinator for the Carolinas. She works and writes in Raleigh and travels whenever she can. Please send suggestions for future Opportunities columns to

Spring 2011

Illustration © Janice Green

by Janelle Bitikofer






his column focuses on different elements of writing for children. Here, guest

and dial back the literal rendering of every

columnist Carol Baldwin gathered and compiled opinions from SCBWI-Carolinas


members on the use of vernacular in children’s literature.

Vernacular Ain’t Necessarily Wrong

heavy hand or tossed carelessly into the wrong dish, it overwhelms the rest of the dining—or reading—experience.”

by Carol Baldwin

vernacular (noun): A mode of expression

provides wondrous tools for setting a time

that occurs in ordinary speech rather than in formal writing. –Merriam Webster While writing my novel, which takes place in Charlotte, NC, in 1950, I wondered how much vernacular to include. I posed the question on the SCBWI-Carolinas LISTSERV:

Most respondents were in favor of using

some expressions that showed time and place. As Andrea Jacobsen said, “Vernacular is like seasoning in food. If applied with a

Blonnie Wyche said, “The use of

vernacular with colloquial speech or phrases period. I often use words that are not familiar to today’s readers. It’s fun finding those tiny bits of research material. If Granny’s shift is tied all ‘catawampus’ at the neck, I hope a reader just has fun with the old woman’s attire.”

Ann Eisenstein concurred. “In many

instances, the proper use of the native language or dialect richly affects the plot, theme, or characters, and the manuscript would seem less real without it.” Similarly, Sherri Carpenter said that vernacular “allows the reader to feel more like they are actually transported to the time and place.”

“‛Ain’t’” is fine, but don’t drop g’s or use

phonetic spellings,” Jackie Ogburn said. “Let the flavor come from the word choice or rhythm. After all, the character thinks he or she is saying ‘going’ not ‘goin’.’ Alternate spellings draw attention to the words, not the voice.”

Gretchen Griffith has found that readers

need the context more than the accent. “Usually the personality of the individual

Carol Baldwin is the author if Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8 (Maupin House, 2008) and has written extensively for the magazine market. She is currently working on her first middlegrade novel. Niki Schoenfeldt returns to Collective Wisdom next issue, with the question: “How important are Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media to my career as a writer/illustrator and should I get on board?

Spring 2011

comes through in the sentence structure and the choice of words, as in the double negative. Structure is much smoother to read than any unusual spellings I might invent,” she said.

Eileen Heyes agreed. “By rendering the

“Vernacular is fine,” David Macinnis Gill

said. “The difficulty comes when the writer tries to approximate pronunciation by using alternative spelling and apostrophes, which make the text difficult for struggling readers to follow. Writing ‘I’m fixing to’ will let the reader supply her own accent, and it will sound better to her ears than the one we script.”

Beth Revis warned, “Keep in mind that if

vernacular makes the book difficult to read, kids won’t read it.”

“Vernacular can be overdone,” Joyce

Moyer Hostetter offered. “Just ask those who didn’t like it in BLUE. I find that people who live in the area where the story takes place say, ‘Don’t change a word of it.’ People from Michigan say, ‘Huh?’”

Similarly, if you want your book to be

read internationally, consider what Julie Mansius, a native of England said, “I have found vernacular to be distracting in the past, especially not being from the United States.”

Going forward, I’ll choose my character’s

words and sentence syntax carefully. Most importantly, I’ll heed Blonnie Wyche’s suggestion, “Write good, honey! Now that’s Southern.”

Books SCBWI members recommend as good examples of vernacular usage: A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO (winner of the 1999 Newbery Honor Award) by Richard Peck. “This is a good example of ‘Southern.’”—Blonnie Wyche WILD THINGS by Clay Carmichael. “This uses beautiful, figurative language and shows that it is set in the mountains.” —Blonnie Wyche CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson.

dialect too literally, you make it so that the

“Vernacular in this book works.” —Sherri

reader has to read it out loud to figure out


what the words are. Render dialect and

DOVEY COE by Frances O’Roark Dowell.

vernacular gently, to fix in the reader’s mind’s

Recommended by Bonnie Doerr

ear what the character sounds like. Then trust


the reader to continue hearing it that way

Recommended by Carol Baldwin



Writer’s How Would I Shoot It?


by Steve Matchett


hen I was a little tyke living in Japan, Saturday morning was my favorite time

of the week. That’s when Armed Forces Radio played two solid hours of back-to-back stories for kids, starting at 8:00 a.m. No commercials, Illustration © Bridget Owen

just stories. Fantasies, cowboys, fairy tales, space adventures, cops and robbers— everything. Prompted by nothing more than words and sound effects, every story I heard played out in vivid color on the IMAX screen of my young mind. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being trained to visualize, which has certainly paid off in my current work as a video producer and writer.

The most obvious correlation is video.

When shooting, I visualize what I want to see on the screen, then look through the viewfinder while I move and adjust the camera until I see it. And really, writing is almost as straightforward.

When a scene or a piece of action

happens in a story and I’m trying to figure out how to make it real for the reader, (in other words, how I can help the reader visualize

Steve Matchett has revised his second YA novel, this one set in the world of Texas rodeos. He is a full-time video producer, which he sees as writing in four dimensions: words, sound, image and time.

Spring 2011

what’s going on) one of my initial steps is to

the dialogue in where needed. Visualization

ignore the actual words in my mind and just

shows what the characters are doing and

ask myself the basic question: If I was making

where and how they are doing it. Dialogue

a movie of this scene, what would I need to

tells why they are doing it. Dialogue reveals

show? The answers flowing from that question

the characters’ personal drive, their inner wit.

tell me almost everything that needs to be

on the page. Once the scene is visualized,

bouts of the oft-cursed writer’s block. If you sit

my job as writer is to decide what elements

down to write your story and see nothing but

of that scene are important enough to be

the proverbial blank sheet of paper in front

put on paper. In making those decisions, I

of you, maybe you’re looking in the wrong

become the camera, or rather, the eyes of

direction. Try turning your vision inward. Let

the readers. I focus their attention on what is

the movie of your story play in your mind.

important to the storyline by showing them

Watch your characters move through their

the elements that illustrate it. This includes

world. Note how they relate to each other.

character action, set design, color palette,

Listen to what they are hearing and decide

and sound effects—whatever the reader

if your readers need to hear it, too. What are

must hear, see, feel, smell, or taste. When I’m

your characters feeling? Would your readers

covering those five basic senses, I remember

understand those feelings by what the

what Shakespeare and others called

characters are saying?

the ‘inner wits’—the expressed or implied

manifestations of a character’s inner feelings.

a giant chunk of luck: Our readers have

Inner wits reveal character, and it’s character

incredible imaginations. Elephants fly by

that drives story.

flapping their ears? No problem. A kid with

Visualization can be a real help with

We of the SCBWI have been gifted with

Here’s another trick that sometimes

a scar on his forehead jumps on a broom

helps: When first visualizing a scene for setup

and flies around the school yard playing

and shooting, I turn off the dialogue. I look at

quidditch? Absolutely. So how do we keep

the scene as I want the readers to see it, and

up with them? Let them see that wild, colorful

when I get that solid on the page, I then feed

movie that’s playing in your mind.



erious Writer

Becoming a Incorporating Natural Elements in Your Work

very unscientific, but I do try to record natural elements through all of the five senses. Depending

by Jo Watson Hackl

upon the season, I include details such


The first and most obvious method to

gather inspiration is to spend plenty of time outside. I try to spend time outdoors without an agenda. Puttering in the garden is a great way to do this. As I putter, I try to be mindful of the natural elements I encounter and think of ways to incorporate them subtly in my work.

Jo Watson Hackl is a founding member of the Upstate Children’s Writer’s Group. She can be reached at

Spring 2011

as what plants are green and blooming, what animal sounds can be heard, what insects are out, the temperature, the wind speed, and the smells in the air. These notes serve as a timesaving

Illustration © Laura H. Baker

aybe it comes from growing up in the country, but no matter where I set the opening scene in a story, I find that most of the action ends up taking place outside. In many ways, the natural surroundings function as a primary character. They establish the mood of the piece, help the other characters grow and change, and drive their actions. There are as many ways to incorporate natural elements in your work as there are writers. I’ve included below some techniques I’ve found helpful.

reference, particularly if I am writing or revising during a different season from the one in which my story is set. Write with a view whenever possible. Experience the outdoors through the

Sometimes just staring out the window can

eyes of your characters. Each character

provide inspiration.

will notice different natural elements and

describe them in a different way. For

I admit that I’m a geek when it comes to

example, one character may stop to admire

little-known facts about the natural world.

a thick patch of wildflowers while another will

I collect them in a research file and see if I

view the underbrush as an annoyance. I try

can find a moment in a story where knowing

to put myself in the shoes of each character

or learning that fact can help propel the

as I describe any natural elements. I try to

action of the story.

edit out any description of a natural element

that does not reveal something important

whether over the course of a day or the

about the character describing it.

course of a season—to coordinate or

contrast with the movement of your plot. For

Brainstorm on how natural conditions

Keep a research file of cool nature facts.

Use changes in the natural world—

can create obstacles for your characters. It

example, you can describe the ways in which

may be the heat or bugs that make things

outdoor conditions are becoming more or

uncomfortable for your main character

less favorable from your main character’s

or a more extreme event such as a flood,

perspective. You can use this observation

snowstorm, or lighting storm that drives the

either to create hope or to increase tension.


Our Carolinas are full of gorgeous natural

Keep a nature log. I find it helpful to

elements, and I look forward to learning how

keep notes on natural conditions in my

other Carolina members incorporate them in

area throughout the year. My notes are

their work.



Caught in the


According to a recent ComScore, Inc. report, “172 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in December for an average of 14.6 hours per viewer.”

Worried you might try it and look like a goof? Silliness may work to your advantage. Author

Libba Bray promoted her book GOING BOVINE with a video of her dressed up as a cow while answering interview questions and wandering the city streets interacting with people. This YouTube video has had thousands of views since it posted.

Jackson Pearce, YA author of AS YOU WISH and THE SISTERS RED, is another fearless vlogger.

Not only does she talk books on YouTube, but you can find her dancing in the street to a song Illustration © Stacy Gray

called “Writers’ Blok.” Her short videos show her teen audience that she is not a stuffy, rigid person, but a vivacious, playful soul.

When asking for examples of writers who vlog, one name came up over and over: John

Green. John and Hank Green are known as the Vlogbrothers. With the motto of being “nerdy to the power of awesome,” they sing songs, tell jokes, discuss current books and movies, and vlog about things kids find funny. High school student and writer Jennifer White says, “They’re hilarious! You can tell they love what they’re doing, love their audience, and they act like good friends. They’re not stiff and boring—they’re dynamic and impart interesting information while having fun with it.” The Vlogbrothers’ web video “This Isn’t Hogwarts” has been viewed over 340,000 times.

To Vlog or Not to Vlog

Some writers use videos to teach others about their process. Martha Alderson, also known

as the Plot Whisperer, posts videos to help others with their craft. “Each one is packed with

by Laura Renegar

information and, because she is speaking instead of writing, she actually gets more into each

logging—posting video blog entries online—can be a great way to connect to your audience and gain a fan base. Many writers are taking advantage of using videos in social media. Is it worth it? Does anyone really take the time to watch videos on the Internet?

Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, or Screenplay?” to learn from her.


vlog,” says writer and artist Cat Moleski. Hundreds are tuning into Alderson’s vlog series, “How

If you’re still feeling camera shy, you don’t have to go it alone. Gather a few writing buddies

and try it together. YA Rebels is made up of seven writers and authors vlogging to show what a writer’s life is like “behind the scenes.” At, a mix of teens blog and vlog book reviews, sometimes as a group and sometimes one at a time.

Even if you don’t want to appear in a vlog, you can always encourage a guest to make a

video appearance. WriteOnCon, a free online writers conference that made its debut in 2010, made excellent use of videos as it featured agents, editors, and authors answering questions and giving advice. While written interviews are helpful, many of us connect to someone even more when we see a face and can watch the person’s expressions as he or she speaks.

Ready to post a video? You could copy it from your camera straight to your blog, but going

through YouTube will increase your chances of bringing in new viewers. I admit I was hesitant to register for a YouTube account. After all, I remember the first car I sat in that had automatic windows. Doesn’t that make me too old to make YouTube videos? But it’s not about age, it’s about reaching your audience, and if your audience is preteens or teens, this is a great outlet.

Once you’ve registered for a YouTube account, you can upload a video to your page or

record it from a webcam. During this process, it will give you the option of making your video public or private. YouTube also has a feature called autoshare that can automatically share your video on other social networking sites you use, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace.

Laura is Social Media Coordinator for SCBWI-Carolinas. Email lrenegar001@ if you have questions, ideas, or would like your information added to the SCBWI-C networking list.

Spring 2011

Once your video is on YouTube, you can copy and paste the code to a blog or website.

If this seems complicated, click on the YouTube video link next to “Needs more help.”

The video is cute and states everything in easy-to-follow instructions. Most importantly, have fun. Think about who you are writing for and let your vlog show them that you are worth checking out.


Writing Copy Editing Crash Course

by Megan Shepherd


o many elements come together to form a children’s book, such as quirky characters, plot twists, unusual settings, and proper grammar. Hold on…grammar? As highly imaginative people, children’s book writers sometimes overlook pesky mistakes that can clog up their stories. Editors and agents often remark that, as fabulous as a story might be, grammatical mistakes are distracting, unprofessional, and costly to fix. Don’t let a few mistakes stand between you and an editor’s undivided attention. The next time you’re preparing to submit your work, take a moment to reflect over these copy editing basics.



Be consistent. Ensure character names, places,

and physical traits remain constant throughout your book. If your character lives on Eastman Street on

page 27, he shouldn’t live on Eagle Street on page 200.

Check (and double check) your facts. You don’t

want your main character to meet Harriet Tubman in 1915—two years after Tubman died.

Understand that vs. which. “That” is for

essential information and doesn’t take a comma. “Which” is for nonessential, extra information and does require a comma.

Illustration © Alice Ratterree

Compare these two sentences: The two basketballs that are deflated need to be pumped. The basketball, which was a gift from Sam, is in the gym.

Use active rather than passive voice. Whenever possible, give your sentences pizzazz

by using an active voice. Passive: The shout was made to the masses. Active: The warrior shouted to the masses.

Avoid repetition. Copy editors strive for tight, clear writing. There’s no need to tell us

your character’s voice is both icy and frigid. Beware redundancies: hot water heater, unexpected surprise, honest truth, safe haven, black darkness, etc.

Befriend your dictionary. Don’t sweat it if you can’t remember if “long term” is

one word, two words, or hyphenated. Dictionaries often disagree on spelling and hyphenation, but many copy editors recognize Merriam Webster as the go-to source.

Beware “their.” Though it has become common usage, grammarians highly

discourage using “they” or “their” in the gender-neutral singular sense. “Every student thinks they can write a book” is not correct. Try to use “he” or “she” or make the subject plural.

Quiz time! Now that you’ve beefed up on the basics, test your knowledge! Mark all the errors you can find in the paragraph below.

Megan Shepherd lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband and two cats. She is an aspiring YA writer with several published magazine articles, and is a member of Asheville’s Secret Gardeners critique group.

Spring 2011

Lightening cracked outside Suzie’s window. Sitting up with a start, the sudden flash was blinding. Beside her was a book which had fallen open to a particular illustration: the glass bottle. She closed the book and ran her finger along the spine. Her father, long missing, had given her this copy of ALICE IN WONDERLAND before he had disappeared 9 years ago. It was rumored he’d died at sea. Susie didn’t believe it. Flip to page 17 to see how many errors you caught, and congratulations on brushing up on your grammar!



rt Contributors

Laura H. Baker

Erin Bennett Banks

Timothy Banks

Kit Grady

Stacy Gray

Janice Green

Jeehyun Hoke

Taillefer Long

Holly McGee

Sherry Neidigh

Nicole Oquendo

Bridget Owen page 14 page 6

http://honeycombadventures. com cover page 11 pages 3 and 9 page 17 page 18 page 2 page 4

http://stacygrayillustration. page 15 page 2 page 13

Alice Ratterree

We love to showcase the work of SCBWI-Carolinas illustrators! Email for details on how to submit your art for publication in Pen & Palette.

Spring 2011

Illustration Š Timothy Banks page 16





ditor’s Desk

pringtime is lovely. Full of energy and fresh starts. While I relish the newness, I remind myself to enjoy it cautiously. Beginnings are easy. Follow through, however, is tough.

In the face of so many glowing green sprouts, how do we focus on--how do we even choose--the ONE thing we will love summer, winter, and fall? Look for the kudzu. During thesis time for my MFA, my advisor informed me the manuscript needed work to be acceptable. He informed me of this only SIX WEEKS before my defense! Revisions included: changing three POVs to one, deleting two characters (one of whom had sections in his POV), rewriting a third character from a primary to very secondary role, and shifting the focus from one plotline to the other. Plus, the manuscript had to be formatted according to old-fashioned (read: not MS Word friendly) guidelines established by the university back when they began to archive theses. By the end of that process, I never wanted to look at those pages again. But two years later, guess what crept up on me? I batted it away for another six months before a conversation with John Claude Bemis gave me the kick in the pants I needed to read the pages again. Three revisions later, the manuscript helped me to sign with an agent. Kudzu is the “vine that ate the South” because it is relentless. An idea that relentlessly eats at our hearts and imaginations is a blessing for which we may not always be grateful, but a blessing nonetheless. Keep writing,

Rebecca REMINDER: April 15 is the deadline for articles and artwork submissions for the Summer 2011 issue of Pen & Palette.

Correct Version (Grammar Quiz from page 15): Lightning (1) cracked outside Suzie’s window. Sitting up with a start, Suzie (2) was blinded by the sudden flash. Beside her was a book, (3) which had fallen open to a particular illustration: the glass bottle. She closed the book and ran her finger along the spine. Her father (4) had given her this copy of ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (5) before he had disappeared nine (6) years ago. The townspeople (7) said he’d died at sea. Suzie (8) didn’t believe it. (1) “Lightening” means making something lighter. “Lightning” is the weather phenomenon. (2) This is a case of misplaced modifier. Suzie is the one sitting up, not the sudden flash. (3) A comma is necessary with nonessential information. (4) Though not necessarily incorrect, it is repetitive to say her father is “long missing” and also “disappeared nine years ago.” (5) The correct title is ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, not ALICE IN WONDERLAND. (6) Numbers one through nine are typically written out. Ten and higher take numerals in most cases (depending on your style guide). (7) Active voice is preferable here. (8) This is a consistency error. The character’s name is spelled “Suzie” in the first line and “Susie” here.

Spring 2011

Illustration © Taillefer Long


Pen and Palette  

Newsletter for SCBWI Carolinas for Spring 2011

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