What’s new in New England SCBWI?

Unless you’ve had your head deep in your WIP you know that last night’s Super Bowl was  rematch of the Patriots vs. Giants Super Bowl from four years ago. Both times the New England Patriots lost in a dramatic, clock-ticking ending. I watched the game with my kiddos, my husband (on Skype chat in Africa), and my writer friends (in a separate window on twitter). Hubby went to shower at halftime, (It was about 3 am his time after all) and the writers heated up. Talk of the ads, the show (costumes, choreography), how Madonna looked at 53, her energy level, and the guest appearances kept me refreshing my screen every few seconds. The funniest part of the tweet show was when my writer friends disappeared to watch the PBS Masterpiece Theater period drama Downtown Abbey. Well, if you were a stalwart Patriot fan and stuck it through to the bloody end, I give you some New England SCBWI news and events to boost your spirits and keep you going through spring.

Live Animal Study: A Children’s Book Illustrator’s Workshop:

Sunday, February 26, 2012, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab
13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI

Bring your sketchbooks, pencils, and light painting supplies and enjoy a rare opportunity to study a handful of live exotic (and some not-so-exotic) animals up close and personal!

RISPCA Humane Educator Laurelin Sitterly will present on each creature’s basic anatomy, movement, and habits that will be sure to inspire you and provide a wealth of knowledge for your animal-themed book projects. Taxidermy and skeletal models will also be available to examine, courtesy of RISD’s Edna Lawrence Nature Lab.

This is an event to gather inspiration from the animal world, practice your craft amidst an active environment, meet your fellow SCBWI illustrators, and benefit from a critique of your day’s efforts by your peers.

Registration Form

Must be completed and mailed to Christina Rodriguez, Workshop Coordinator by February 17, 2012
***Note: This program is for SCBWI members only. Not an SCBWI member? Join now!

Applications are now being accepted for the Ruth Landers Glass Writers Scholarship and the Ann Barrow Illustrators Scholarship:

Deadline for application: March 10, 2012.

Scholarship winners will receive one day’s free tuition for the 2013 New England SCBWI Spring Conference or any other NE SCBWI one-day event including Encore, Salon or other one-day workshop that we hold. The scholarship is for tuition only and does not cover any other expenses such as editor critiques, hotel or travel. Click for more information include rules and registration.

***Applicants MUST be registered for the 2012 New England SCBWI Spring Conference.
***Note: These scholarships are for SCBWI members only. Not an SCBWI member? Join now!

Working with a Book Marketing Consultant:

Saturday, March 10, 2012, 10:00 – 3:15
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA

Are you feeling unsure of your path after publication?
Do you wonder how best to handle the promotion of your book?

Many children’s book creators are supplementing their publisher’s book promotion efforts with the advice and tactics of marketing consultants.  Is this the right step for you?

Listen to authors and illustrators discuss their relationship and work with their marketing partners, Deborah Sloan and Kirsten Cappy. Then ask question of your own.

$15.00 for SCBWI members, $20.00 for non-SCBWI members
Registration fee includes admission to the museum.
No food or beverages provided. Please bring your own lunch and eat at the museum with other attendees.

And of course… The NESCBWI Annual Spring Conference:
Keeping it Real
April 20-22 in Springfield, MA

When last I checked there were still spots available for the conference but they are filling quickly so register today!

All of this information is also listed on the Chapter Home Page on the SCBWI.org website. Go to Regions>Regional Chapter and pick your state. In order to receive news and event information, and membership renewal emails, remember to keep your member profile up to date. Spring will be here before you know it!

Five on Friday

1. Don't forget that the NYC SCBWI conference registration starts on Monday, 10 am PDT. Hopefully you got your postcard in the mail. If not, click here for more information.

2. My husband came home on surprise visit. He's away with the Navy and hasn't been home for a month. The whole family is very happy and I can't believe how relaxing it is to just write, plan my next lesson, do SCBWI stuff, and exercise without having to shuttle children, take care of the dog, make dinner, do laundry, clean the car, and vacuum the stairs. (The last two I just don't do when he's not here.) We'll see him again next weekend at the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI conference in Dulles, VA.

3. My WIP is moving forward fabulously. A huge thank you and shout out to the entire community for their cheering and support as I tackle daily word count. Another huge thank you to my fellow Cheese Sandwiches who check in with me during the week to make sure we are all on track. It takes a village to write a book.

4. Speaking of a village. Another shout out goes to Lynn Conway, a librarian at Georgetown University who helped me this week by answering silly questions about Riggs Library such as: Do the stairs in the library cling or clang when you ascend? What stained glass is in the round windows? Are the book cases painted gold or do they just shine in the pictures because of the flash? Once again I'm reminded of the awesome and selfless nature of the librarian.

5. Casey Girard, NESCBWI Illustrator Coordinator has been working hard to put together an Illustrator Day Event for the region. Here's what we know. It will be on November 19th from 1 pm – 6 pm at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH. (Yes. In a month.) It will include an award-winning book designer, Carol Goldenberg, and a reprise of the "Dueling Digital Painters" Workshop with Carlyn Beccia, and Jennifer Morris from the spring NESCBWI conference. Keynote speaker to be announced! Watch this space and www.nescbwi.org for more information.

Five on Friday

1. I just finished marking up and responding to six-one page letters from my pre-college English class. Two more will arrive over the weekend via snail mail. I marked up each one in Word then wrote a one page letter back to each of them. My head is pounding from the exercise. I can't even imagine what it is like to get 40 pages from an MFA candidate. God bless my VCFA professors. I can't believe how lucky I was to have each one of you.
2. This is the end of week one. Sixty three weeks to go. I'm so tired already. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, send me a private message.)
3. Rowed twice this week. No running, no biking, no swimming. Must figure this out. I need it to clear my head. Two new swimsuits arrived in the mail today though. Here's a picture of the suit for our "Angry Kitties" all girl (and allies) Triathlon group.

4. I had a pretty good week of writing. Not perfect but about three out of five days. One day was especially productive and lovely where all the ideas flowed easily. I'll try and make up for it this weekend.
5. Exciting things going on this weekend if you are an illustrator. First, Hazel Mitchel is meeting foks at the MOFGA Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine for a meet-up/sketch crawl. You can message her on Twitter @TheWackyBrit. The Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo is going on this weekend info here. And the Maine Illustrators' Collective meeting is Sunday the 25th. More info here.

What’s new with SCBWI?


I’ve wanted to post this blog since I came back from the wonderful Regional Advisor retreat in March. I know. That’s a long time and a lot has happened in that time. Of note, I finished my creative thesis and had a wonderful final grad residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts that culminated in my graduation. Yes. I am officially Anna J. Boll, MFA. But enough about me. This post is about new developments at SCBWI and how you can take advantage of them.

1. Headquarters is encouraging Regional Advisors (RA’s) to create programs that are low or no cost events. Here are just a few events that I’ve been thinking of.

Meet-Ups: Host a meet up at a local book store, the library, or popular watering hole. These events can be just social or you can ask a local author/illustrator to read from their new book, or talk about some aspect of craft or marketing.

Group Book Launch: Do you have a book coming out? I’d love to hear about it so I can connect you with others in your area who might be able to do a signing/launch activity at a local book store or library. I’m also happy to congratulate you on my blog.

Sketch Crawl: Get together with other SCBWI illustrators and go to the zoo, the aquarium, or hang out in a local park. There is plenty of subject matter for artists all around.

Portfolio Review: Have a portfolio critique session with other illustrators (live or online) so you can put your best work forward. Especially helpful before trips to major SCBWI conferences.

Museum/Library Visit: Have you always wanted to go to look at Michelson’s gallery? The Eric Carle Museum? Did you know that there’s a great Illustration exhibit in Lewiston-Auburn College until August 12th? Our own NESCBWI member David Kelly and many other authors are slated to speak at the Boston Public Library? If you’re planning to go, let’s tell other members and see if we can get a group together.

Book Clubs: Good writers have to be good readers. Would you be interested in analyzing the works of published children’s authors to discuss what makes a great story /illustration.

Figure Drawing Nights: Figure drawing is a critical skill for any artist. If you are interested, email me and we will try to get a critical mass together to hire models.

Retreat Day: Do you live on a lake, in the mountains, by the ocean? Invite a few SCBWI members to join you for a day of writing with an optional sharing/critique. Have everyone bring a dish to share for lunch and keep costs low.

***If this is a sanctioned SCBWI event, I need to know about it. Send me an email at NorthernNERA at nescbwi dot org.


2. The 40th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference is August 5th – 8th in Los Angeles and I’ll be there! Sadly, I do not own a smartphone. If I did, I’d download the amazing Guidebook App to plan my conference. It gives you a personalized schedule, and information about each speaker and session. You can also browse maps of the event space at the Hyatt, and follow the #LA11SCBWI Twitter feed directly from the app.


The app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Android devices.


To get the guide, choose one of the methods below:


  1. Download ‘Guidebook’ from the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace
  2. Visit http://guidebookapp.com/getit from your phone’s browser 


The guide will be listed under the "download guides" section of the application.


3. Awards and Grants:

If you haven’t looked at the SCBWI Awards and Grants recently, follow this link!


Today I’m highlighting the SCBWI Book Launch Award which provides two annual awards of $2000 each for an author or illustrator to use for marketing a book scheduled for release from a PAL publisher during the next calendar year. We all know that authors and illustrators are increasingly responsible for their own marketing. The money from this grant can be used for any kind of promotional purpose that will increase sales and visibility of the book, such as launch events, speaking engagements, book tours, curriculum materials, advertising, book trailers, website development, or community events. 

Watch this space for more grant information and interviews with recent winners!

Have a great weekend.



Maine Festival of the Book

Thank you to Sarah Cecil at Maine Reads for this more in depth itinerary of children’s and young adult events for The Maine Festival of the Book. Programs are taking place this Saturday, June 23rd in Portland, ME. Hope to see you there!

PPL= Portland Public Library. CMM=Children’s Museum of Maine.

Children’s and Young Adult Program Schedule

Young Adult Programs
9:30am     Donn Fendler, video presentation and discussion, PPL/Rines
11am        Bill Wise, reading and discussion, PPL/Lewis
Noon        Ruth Swain, reading and discussion,  PPL/Lewis
1pm          Alice Mead, reading and discussion, PPl/Lewis
2pm          Lea Wait, reading and discussion, PPL/Lewis

Children’s Programs
9:30 am            Sarah Thomson and face painting, PPL/Children
10:30 am            Scott Nash, reading and fun, PPL/Children
11am – 2pm        Reading Around the World: Stories Read in Different Languages, CMM
11:15 am            Brian Lies, reading and fun at Bat Mobile on Monument Square*
12:15 pm             Lynn Plourde, reading and fun, PPL/Children
1:00 pm              Melissa Sweet, reading and fun, PPL/Children
1:45 pm              Matt Tavares, reading and fun, PPL/Children
2 pm                    Allen Sockabasin, reading and fun, CMM
2:30 pm             John and Ann Hassett, reading and fun, PPL/Children
2:45 pm            Allen Sockabasin, reading and fun, CMM
3:15 pm             Brian Lies, reading and fun at Bat Mobile on Monument Square*

Monument Square Activities
(*Or in the library in the event of inclement weather)
Maine Humanities Council and Bookmaking Art Activities
Maine Department of Education/Windham Adult Education with Frame Making
Portland West and Art Activities
Raising Readers with Surprises
Brian Lies and His Bat Mobile (Presented by Friends of Scarborough Library)
A Cakewalk with Books
Illustrators’ Mural
The Maine Squeeze Accordian Players