IN THIS ISSUE: Grammar Quiz! PLUS: Interviews with Kit Grady, Kathleen Fox and J.J. Johnson COVER STORY: Eliâ€™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
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
writing endeavors. She added talent and energy to our region.
email@example.com Illustrations: firstname.lastname@example.org Opportunities: email@example.com 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
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@ yahoo.com. 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
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 http://www.ala.org/ala/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/natlibraryweek/ index.cfm May 1: SCBWI MEMBER OF THE YEAR submission deadline. See www.scbwi.org 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 www.scbwi.org May 20 - 21: BLUE RIDGE BOOK FESTIVAL in Hendersonville, NC. See www. blueridgebookfest.org May 27 - June 5: SOUTHERN BREEZE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS GALLERY SHOW in Decatur, GA. See www.southern-breeze.net July 2 - 8: WRITER’S RETREAT in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Spruce Pine, NC. See www.wildacreswriters.com July 16 - 23: HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION WRITER’S WORKSHOP in Chautauqua, NY. See www.highlightsfoundation.org
by Marilee Haynes Marilee Haynes is a full-time mom of three small children and part-time writer of middle-grade contemporary fiction.
August 5 - August 8: SCBWI SUMMER CONFERENCE in Los Angeles, CA. See www. scbwi.org September 23 - 25: SCBWI-CAROLINAS FALL CONFERENCE in Charlotte, NC. See www.scbwicarolinas.org
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: www.zhibit.org/conlombardo 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 scbwi.jp/newsletter.htm. 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.
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 Amazon.com. 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.
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 (frankisart.com) 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
What surprised you about the
Break down the timing of your most recent
Again, that there are more ways
A NECKLACE FOR JIGGSY took about a
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
attend book fairs and promotional events.
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
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
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.
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 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
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
in the same high school, a few years apart.
For Random: I was driving and saw a
The writer Robert Olen Butler says
It’s easy to be
Any parting thoughts or a favorite quote to share?
Find what keeps you going. Make
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
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: www.KathleenFox.net
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
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 scbookfestival.org.
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 www.bookmarksbookfestival.org.
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 www.cmlitfest.org.
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 www.ncliteraryfestival.org. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
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
BRONX MASQUERADE by Nikki Grimes.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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
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
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 www.readingteen.net, 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@ triad.rr.com if you have questions, ideas, or would like your information added to the SCBWI-C networking list.
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.
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!
Laura H. Baker
Erin Bennett Banks
firstname.lastname@example.org page 14
www.erinbanks.com page 6
http://honeycombadventures. www.jeehyunhoke.com com cover page 11
www.art.dsguru.com pages 3 and 9
http://timothybanks.com page 17
www.illuminatedstories.com page 18
www.kitgrady.com page 2
www.hollymcgee.com page 4
http://stacygrayillustration. carbonmade.com page 15
www.sherryneidigh.com page 2
www.bridgetowen.com page 13
We love to showcase the work of SCBWI-Carolinas illustrators! Email email@example.com for details on how to submit your art for publication in Pen & Palette.
Illustration ÂŠ Timothy Banks
www.aliceink.com page 16
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.
Illustration © Taillefer Long