Web Wednesday: Early December Edition, by Lori Ann Palma


It’s Wednesday, and that means I have more links to publishing news you need to know. If you missed the first edition, you can read it here.

Please note that the following contests and/or events are not sponsored by SCBWI.

  1. Writer’s Digest has launched their 29th “Dear Lucky Agent” contest for the Historical Fiction genre. The contest rules do not specify that YA historical fiction isn’t eligible, so submit away! See the submission guidelines for full details and deadlines.
  1. See additional insights from the Nielsen Children’s Book Summit on book sales, trends, and the buying habits of parents.
  1. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has launched the LITTLE, BROWN EMERGING ARTIST AWARD, which will recognize new illustration talent and encourage the development of high-quality picture books that resonate with readers of diverse backgrounds. Submission details are available on the contest website.
  1. The much anticipated film adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s 2010 YA novel, Before I Fall, dropped its first trailer. Additionally, Netflix has released a full trailer for its upcoming A Series of Unfortunate Events 8-episode series, which is based on Daniel Handler’s beloved middle grade series.
  1. If you’re shopping for holiday gifts, take a look at Amazon’s 2016 Editor’s picks for Best Children’s Books of the Year, which are separated by age group, and Best Young Adult Books of the Year.
  1. Publishers Weekly speaks to best-selling YA authors who are also teen advocates, asking them about the challenges they face when writing particularly tough topics.
  1. Several agents have renewed their call for diversity and #ownvoices submissions. See the list of agents on the Writer’s Digest site and query away!
  1. Lambda Literary is now accepting applications to attend the 2017 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices. The application is available on the Lambda site.
  1. Jane Friedman’s blog offers a guest post from Matt Knight discussing writers, publishing contracts, and negotiating for editorial control.

If you have an interesting link about news in the children’s publishing industry, share it in the comments below.

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Five Encouraging Celebrations on the Path to Publication by Kristen C. Strocchia


Becoming a published author isn’t for the easily discouraged. There will be many pitfalls along the way, but each lined with a hidden encouragement if you know where to look.

The summer of 2012, I realized that I just had to fulfill my childhood dream of writing. I couldn’t put it off one more day. But I also realized that I knew absolutely nothing about getting published so I started Googling. Four months later, I found myself—picture book manuscript in hand—at the nearby Highlights Foundation for my first writer’s workshop. The faculty spoke to every area of question that I, as a newbie author, knew to ask. I sweat my way through my first agent critique, but found that I loved the feedback it provided, and I heard a keynote that encouraged me to step out and write the novel that I’d always dreamed of. I could do this.

Two months later, the novel idea came. Armed with nothing but encouragement and a pen, I went for it.

Fast forward to today…one KBR webinar, two Highlights’ workshops, four SCBWI EPA Pocono Retreats, seven revisions and numerous Twitter contests later, and I’m still not published. But I’m also not in the least bit discouraged. My turn will come, as will yours if you persevere.

Backwards Perspective
All of the time, energy, and advice invested in my first novel manuscript was not for naught. In fact, I’ve completed three more manuscripts during the “shelving” times of my revision process, and each one starts (and ends) stronger than the last. Because I’ve learned so much and allowed myself to grow as an author along with my manuscripts.

  • Celebration 1: I’m a better author today than I was yesterday.
  • Celebration 2: I’ve developed lasting relationships with other authors who are also on this path.

Recognizing the Mile Markers
Encouraged by some Twitter contest feedback last fall, this past February, I took the plunge and sent my first novel manuscript out to query. I had two full manuscript bites the first week, two more partials a few months later and one more full by midsummer. Unfortunately, none of those have materialized into an offer, but they each sent me back some very helpful feedback.

  • Celebration 3: Contest and query feedback showed that my query letter and synopsis are in good shape! That’s a huge success!
  • Celebration 4: The fact that agents are taking time to send feedback means that the manuscript—while not ready for their “yes”—is close enough for them to invest the extra time it takes to send a personalized rejection.

Looking Forward
After four years of ferreting out time to write, for the most part I can honestly say that it flows fairly seamlessly with my family and career…though there are times when it still gets backburnered. I have a system. My family understands my need and values my writing time. And there are daily encouragements to keep trying… like the fact that my journal has quickly grown into a career worth of ideas, or seeing those around me find their success as authors, and looking forward to the next Pocono Retreat where maybe, just maybe, I’ll find my “Yes” this year. But even if I don’t…

  • Celebration 5: The best is yet to come!
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#BelieveInMagic – Annual Art and Poetry Submission Call!

Our 2017 February Art and Poetry show is open for submissions with a brand new theme: This year, we dare you to #BelieveInMagic!


Every day in February, Eastern Penn Points Blog will feature artwork and/or poetry by Eastern PA SCBWI members!

This will be a special month for showing off our regional talent and spreading the word through social media.
You can submit poetry and/or art by yourself, or team up with another writer/artist to create something together. Create something warm and fuzzy, heartbreaking, cutesy, abstract, romantic, realistic, magical, anthropomorphic, hilarious, touching….the possibilities are endless! Let’s show our full range, since we represent those who write and illustrate for babies through teens.

A few little rules….                                               

1.       All submissions must, of course, be your own work. You also need to be part of the EPA region of SCBWI.
2.      Poetry must be limited to 500 words or less
3.      Submissions should be sent to Lori Ann Palma at lu_lat@yahoo.com by Friday, January 2oth, 2016.
4.      You may include a giveaway with your submission, but this is totally optional. For example, if you are a PAL member, you might want to do a signed book giveaway to a random commenter, or offer a free online critique. If you are an artist, you may want to give away a signed original or print of your work. People like free stuff, and this can boost your engagement! You will be responsible for any postage, but I will randomly select winners and get their contact info to you.
5.      Include any social media info you’d like! You can also include a sentence about yourself.

E-mail any questions to: Lori Ann Palma at lu_lat@yahoo.com or

Lindsay Bandy at lkbandy84@yahoo.com.

Sharpen your pencils, mix your paint, and join the fun!



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A Café Chat with Matt Phelan by Adrienne Wright



Good morning Matt, welcome to Eastern PennPoints Café. What would you like to drink?

mattphelan-image-1A bucket of coffee, please.

Wow! Okay, would you like a pastry to go with it? Or maybe a big juicy red apple?

I’ll pass on the apple. No offense.

None taken.
Congratulations for making the Best Books of 2016 list by Publishers Weekly, and all the starred reviews you are getting for Snow White, a Graphic Novel. It’s a beautiful book. 

Thank you very much.

I saw the reviews in Kirkus and The New York Times where your book is paired with Shaun Tan’s new book. That in itself is fabulous.

Like everyone in the world, I’ve admired Shaun Tan’s work for years. He’s fine company to be in, that’s for sure.

The setting, period and interpretation of Snow is brilliant. What made you choose brink of depression era New York?

It began as an exercise. I made the connection between the corner apple peddlers of the Depression and the stepmother from Snow White. From there, I brainstormed how other elements of the tale would translate into that time period. After I decided that the Seven Dwarves would be seven street kids, I started connecting with it as its own story. I wanted to know more about these characters. It started to take on a life of its own apart from the fairy tale.

I don’t mean to gush, but one scene that literally took my breath away was the glass coffin. And you’ve managed to retain all the essential traits of all the characters. Do you have a favorite part of the story that you are particularly pleased with?

Connecting the Glass Coffin with Macy’s Window was one of those breakthrough moments in the early brainstorming. As far as favorites go, there is a chapter in the book where the Seven finally reveal their names to Snow White. That scene was a large reason for doing the book for me. Whenever I wavered or was unsure, I thought of that scene and plowed on.

I love the design of the book it perfectly fits the era in which it is set. Did you have any input in the design, cover and typography?

Absolutely, but I have a lot of faith in the good judgment of my art director, Heather McGee at Candlewick Press. She’s designed all of my graphic novels. We talked a lot at the beginning about how the book itself as an object should look and feel. The cover design was mine, but the font choice (Mackintosh) was Heather’s idea.


© Matt Phelan, Published by Candlewick Press

Your previous graphic novels are historical and this one is based on a fairy tale. What are the similarities, and differences in the processes for both?

I’ve always loved the past and how another time period can be so different than today but still be essentially the same. There is always friendship, jealousy, adventure no matter what the date. Snow White was in some ways similar to Around the World in that I was using certain set elements: the basic plot of the tale and the real events of three true stories. For all of the books, research is essential and critical for the details. But once I start to think of it as a story, the process is much the same.

What are the main differences in working on graphic novels and picture books?

I really do think of my graphic novels as picture books for older readers. The process is essentially the same. It starts with a manuscript (written by myself or another author in the case of picture books, my own script if it is a graphic novel). After the editing process is complete and the manuscript is as strong as possible, I begin with very loose, tiny thumbnail drawings. This is the stage where all of the major decisions are really made: the composition, the mood, and the panel sizes (in the case of GNs). The rough thumbnails are sketched again, developing the ideas but still keeping things pretty loose. The final art is drawn fresh, based on the sketches. For Snow White, I decided not to use a light-box for the art. I simply looked at the sketches and drew them again. This gave the art a freshness and energy that you can lose by using a light-box.

Do you have a preference, picture books or graphic novels?

My heart will always be with picture books. There is a true perfection in the simplicity of a beautiful picture book. That said, I love how the graphic novel allows me to tell a longer story, and play with mood and pacing over 200 pages. When it works, reading a GN can almost feel like a dream.

I first noticed your work when I saw the beautiful original cover illustration for The Higher Power of Lucky, Newbery award winning book written by Susan Patron. Did that put a spotlight on your work?

Absolutely. I had only done a few books by the time Lucky came out, and I guess that book helped me get noticed by other publishers and authors overnight. I know Jeanne Birdsall suggested me for Floras Very Windy Day based on the cover of Lucky alone.

I love Flora! Your spontaneous, gestural line work really comes through in her windswept poses.
How did you get your start in children’s book illustration and writing?

All through my twenties, if asked what my dream job would be, I would always answer “children’s book illustrator.” I was working in bookstores at that time and was just blown away by the picture books that were coming out. I think The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and David Small really tipped the scale for me. Knowing that my drawing wasn’t up to snuff, I spent about five years making a portfolio. Convinced that I would never be satisfied with the portfolio, I knew I had to just stop at some point and show it to someone. I signed up for a portfolio review at the Eastern PA SCBWI Fall Philly Conference (2003) and was assigned an art director from Simon & Schuster. She liked my work, shared it with Dick Jackson, and I was hired to illustrate The New Girland Me by Jacqui Robbins. That led to another book at Atheneum and then I started working with other publishers. I haven’t stopped since.

Which artists and illustrators do you admire and have influenced your work?

There are so many. I’ll write out a few with the caveat that I am missing some. Inspiration from the past: Ernest Shepard, Daumier, Hiroshige (particularly his sketchbooks), Heinrich Kley, Tyrus Wong, Marc Simont, Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, N.C. Wyeth, Robert Lawson. And there are so many illustrators working today that I admire that I really can’t list them all. Some of them are definitely: Lisbeth Zwerger, Helen Oxenberry, David Small, Holly Hobbie, Brian Floca, LeUyen Pham, Sophie Blackall, Melissa Sweet, Kelly Murphy, Marla Frazee, Frank Dormer, and on and on.

Graphic novels are fast becoming more “mainstream” in literature. March, Book 3 just won the National Book Award. What are some of the graphic novels that impress you?

I wasn’t the least bit surprised that David Small’s graphic memoir Stitches was brilliant. Ben Hatke (Zita the Space Girl, Mighty Jack) has that rare gift of getting real emotion into seemingly simple drawings. El Deafo by Cece Bell is wonderful. On the more adult side, I was very impressed with the storytelling in Matt Kindt’s Red-Handed.

What’s next up in your studio, or is it secret?

I’ve spent this past year working on picture books. The next one to be published is What Are You Waiting For? by Scott Menchin, from Neal Porter Books. My next book as author and illustrator is a picture book called Pignic, which will be out in 2018 from Greenwillow.

We wish you continued success with Snow. Thanks for visiting the café and come back soon.

Thank you!

To learn more about Matt, visit his website at http://www.mattphelan.com

Adrienne Wright is the Illustrator Coordinator for Eastern PA SCBWI. Please visit her at http://www.adriennewright.com/  and follow her on Twitter @adiillustrate

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Late 2016 and Early 2017 Events Calendar


Though we’re closing in on the end of 2016, there are still a few writing and illustrator events you can attend for inspiration. And if you’re already looking forward to 2017, mark your calendars for a bunch of events in the Mid-Atlantic region.


NY Metro Writer’s Day
Saturday, December 10, 2016 
12:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Chelsea Studios, New York, NY

If you plan a trip to New York every year for some holiday fun, why not add some writing into the mix? The SCBWI NY Metro Chapter is hosting “NY Metro Writer’s Day with Laurie Halse Anderson, Rebecca Behrens, Bess Cozby, T.S. Ferguson, and Carrie Pestritto.”

This half day event offers inspiration, knowledge and practical advice to those committed to improving their craft and careers. Tickets may be purchased here.

Lottery Portfolio Reviews
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Anthroposophical Society, New York, NY

If you’re wondering what art and editorial directors are looking for in illustration portfolios, consider attending the NY Metro chapter’s “Lottery Portfolio Reviews with Maria Modugno and Nicole De Las Heras.”

Random House Children’s Books’ team Maria Modugno (Art Director) and Nicole De Las Heras (Editorial Director, Picture Books) will spend the evening reviewing illustrator portfolios (chosen by lottery) in real-time. Tickets may be purchased here.

SCBWI 18th Annual Winter Conference
February 10-12, 2017
Grand Hyatt New York

SCBWI offers members a full weekend with top editors, agents, art directors, authors and illustrators in the children’s publishing world. The Annual Winter Conference in New York is an excellent opportunity to learn, get inspired and network with others in the children’s book industry. Information and registration are available on the conference home page.

SCBWI Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Chapter Annual Conference
March 18 – 19, 2017
Bishop Claggett Center, Buckeystown, MD

Our friends at the SCBWI Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia chapter will host their 2017 Conference with the theme of “From Dreaming to Doing.” With a full faculty of agents, art directors, authors, and illustrators, this is a great local conference to keep on your radar. More information is available on the MD/DE/WV website. Registration opens in early January.


The New York Pitch Conference
December 8 – 11, 2016
Ripley-Grier Studios, New York, NY

Held four times a year, this conference focuses on writer’s workshops and pitching to publishing house editors to improve your manuscript. The conference is geared toward writers who have a finished or close-to-finished manuscript in young adult, middle grade, and YA/MG fantasy/science fiction (as well as other genres in the adult market). For more information and the application to attend, please visit The New York Pitch Conference home page.

Philadelphia Writing Workshop
Saturday, April 8, 2017
9:30 am to 5 pm
The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (150 total). For more information and registration, visit the workshop website.

Highlights Foundation Workshops
Ongoing Events in 2017
Honesdale, PA

The Highlights Foundation hosts a line-up of excellent workshops and retreats at their conference center in the Pocono mountains, close to their Honesdale office. Please see the list of their upcoming workshops throughout 2017.

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Giving Thanks That All are Welcome, by Jeanne M. Curtin


Strictly No Elephantswritten by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, is a poignant story about friendship and fitting in. A boy and his pet elephant are off to the Pet Club. But when they arrive, they find a “Strictly No Elephants” sign hanging on the door. They are not welcome.

Turns out, they aren’t the only ones. They find a girl and her pet skunk who aren’t welcome at the Pet Club either. Together they create a club where their sign reads “All are welcome.”

This story touched my heart, and I could easily think of a million ways others could relate. Everyone wants to feel included. Everyone needs friends to lift each other over cracks, coax each other along, brave the scary things together, to never leave one another behind.

As Thanksgiving approaches, this story made me think about my ever growing children’s book writing world where the sign always reads “All are welcome.” I’m so thankful for that.

I’m grateful for the shared knowledge, opportunities, and camaraderie from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), The Highlights Foundation workshops, Writers Digest online workshops, KidLit Facebook groups, and my two amazing critique groups. And the never ending support of friends and loved ones. Especially my fiancé and first editor, Allen.

I’ll be keeping Strictly No Elephants and its ever important messages of friendship and inclusivity close to my heart as I munch on my turkey dinner, mingle with friends and family, write my stories, and walk amongst the wonderful variety of people in this world. Will you join me?

To connect with Jeanne, please visit her blog, or Facebook page.


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Congratulations to Kim Briggs—Winner of the SCBWI Regional Advisor Marketing Grant!

Around the world, SCBWI chapters are helmed by hard-working Regional Advisors who act as superheroes for their SCBWI community, tirelessly organizing and leading events that bring members together. To honor the incredible dedication of these amazing volunteers, the SCBWI sets aside special grants, including the Regional Advisor Marketing (RAM) grant, to assist the honoree in the marketing or promotion campaign for a published book.

I’m happy to announce our own Eastern PA Co-Regional Advisor, Kim Briggs, has just been awarded the RAM Grant for her recently released YA novel, Starr Fall!

Congratulations, Kim, on this amazing achievement! You are an inspiration to the Eastern PA SCBWI community!

More about Starr Fall:


On the run from the Organization, Starr never planned on falling in love.

Starr Bishop’s the complete package. A perfect smile, brains to match, and a winning attitude. Boys want to date her and girls want to be her. She’s the type of girl you want to hate, if only she wasn’t so damn likable. But don’t worry, she’s not interested in your boyfriend. Boys are one complication she can live without.

When the Organization decides she’s not only the model student but the ideal assassin, Starr’ll need a lot more than high test scores and extracurricular involvement to get herself out of that commitment.

Dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood is the last person she’d expect—or even want— to come to her rescue. From opposite ends of Webster High’s social hierarchy, their lives collide in one electrifying moment. Christian isn’t the Goth loner he pretends to be, he’s a part Cherokee, All-American boy who wants to be a hero, Starr ’s hero. Christian makes Starr forget that the Organization is after her, but nothing will stop the Organization from collecting their top recruit.

By the way, the spot for junior class president just became available.

Starr Fall is available now through:

 Amazon  | Kobo | Itunes B&N All Romance Ebooks

More about Kim:

 kim-20-1Kim once smashed into a tree while skiing. The accident led to a concussion, a cracked sternum, temporary notoriety as a sixth grader returned from the dead, and the realization that fictionalized accounts are way more interesting than just slipping on the ice.

An unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories combined with a love of travel and happily ever afters led Kim to write her YA novel, Starr Fall, where a secret organization decides Starr Bishop would make the ideal assassin. While in hiding, Starr meets dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood. Cue the swoon worthy music. But it’s not all happily ever afters for Kim, her NA novel, And Then He, explores the dark and scary corners of the human psyche. Following a night of innocent flirting with a handsome stranger, Tiffani finds herself in the midst of a nightmare she can’t escape. And Then He is available now through Amazon and other major book retailers. Starr Fall debuts November 2016 with Inkspell Publishing. Starr Lost will release in January 2017, followed by Starr Gone in June 2017.

When she’s not doing something writerly, Kim can be found jumping into snow drifts with her three kids, husband, and dog. She’s careful to avoid trees.

You can connect with Kim through the following channels:

Twitter Web Facebook Goodreads INK Sisters Write 

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A Cafe Chat with Author/Illustrator Val Jones, by Lindsay Bandy

GP 1

IDA Design

I’m so excited to have  local EPA SCBWI author/illustrator Val Jones in the Cafe today! If you’ve met her at an SCBWI event, you know just how lovable she is.  Her debut picture book, WHO WANTS BROCCOLI? is pretty lovable, too! So sit back and relax with me and Val, and then visit Val’s Web site to learn even more about her and her books!

Here she comes!

Hi there, Val, and welcome to the Eastern Penn Points Café! As we settle into our cozy booth, what can we get you to drink?
Coffee please – black with stevia if you have any!
We’ve got plent. And something to snack on?
Ooo a blueberry scone would be fabu!
I know you’re dying to show us pictures of Ollie, your new rescue dog and the inspiration for a new book! Come on, pull out that phone and let us take a look at him so we can…..
Awwwww!! Can’t wait to hear more about Ollie’s adventures🙂
It’s so funny…I never seem to have pictures of my human family, but always have one ready of my furry family members! He is such a cutie and so brave. I guess he had to be to have survived most of his life roaming the hills of Shamokin, PA – that’s where Mommy & Me Rescue found him.
Two important things we learned about Ollie; 1. he’s a runner…if he sees a deer, all we see is his dust! and 
2. if you give him a bone or a toy he sneaks it away and buries it forever…we’re the ones to find it and bring it back. As Lindsay Barrett George always sez – that’s a book!! :) 
I’ve gotta tell you how much my girls and I love WHO WANTS BROCCOLI?! And we’re obviously not the only ones – Congrats on BROCCOLI making KSRA’s 2016-17 Best Book list, receiving Bank Street’s Top 5 Animal Books of 2016 award, and sticking around for the final 6 Crystal Kite!
Thank you so much Lindsay…I love to hear how Broccoli’s story resonates with the kiddies. Broccoli is aka my big, fun dog Fergus. He had quite a few foibles – which was probably why he had been in a shelter for the first year of his life. Fergus turned out to be the sweetest and most gentle soul ever…and I am so glad I picked him for my perfect pet. We lost him last September and I miss him almost every day. Loosing Fergus left a big hole in my heart, but jolly Ollie is doing his best to fill it up :))
Broccoli cover
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a debut author/illustrator?
Knowing that I met all of the publisher’s deadlines…in other words, I really, actually did it! 
I knew absolutely nothing about writing or publishing when I started my new career as an author/illustrator a few years ago. I didn’t know the difference between an Art Director and an Editor or what an Agent did! 
SCBWI and Highlights workshops have been absolutely invaluable and I’ve had the opportunity to meet tons of wonderful, and generous artists, especially in my critique groups. I’ve learned so much…but let me tell you, when I was offered a contract for Who Wants Broccoli? I was terrified. My biggest fear was that I couldn’t do the work fast enough to meet the timelines…but I did!! 
What’s been most frustrating or difficult?
One word…marketing! There is so much to do to get the word out about your book and most of it is up to the author. Thankfully I had help from Bobbie Combs who helped me put together a marketing plan, but for me marketing was and is the biggest challenge. 
I know you’ve been doing a lot of elementary school visits lately. Have you been visiting individual classrooms or auditoriums? How’s it going?
Broccoli has met classrooms of kiddies and auditoriums of students! I’ve also visited libraries and been invited to doggie and rescue events…it’s been going great, thanks. I try to share a little about the writing process and talk about how important it is to adopt new pets from shelters, before we read Who Wants Broccoli? and afterward we do some fun activities. I can’t believe how much I enjoy visiting schools and talking to kids – especially knowing how terrified I am if I have to stand up in front of grownups!
Any favorite kid stories or notes you’d like to share?
Two of my favorites; 
First is from a Dad who sent me a You Tube invitation of his 2 year old who had memorized Who Wants Broccoli? The video is an adorable little girl holding this big Broccoli book and ‘reading’ the story and she had it perfect word-for-word! 
The second was a Facebook post of a man in NYC who had just adopted a dog and his daughter had named him Broccoli! Choked me right up…
Got any tips for authors and illustrators in booking local school or indie bookstore visits?
I do have a tip that I thought up and it works pretty well.
I like to stop at bookstores and ask if they have Who Wants Broccoli?
If they say ‘no’, I ask if they’ll be ordering any and they usually say they will be
and if they say ‘yes’ I let them know I’m the author/illustrator and offer to sign the books they have.
The store is always happy to have me sign what they have.
The best thing is some stores add a special sticker on the Broccoli and some even have a special section for signed books.
While I’m there it’s a great time to chat a bit and offer to do a reading in the future.
What does a typical workday look like for you?Clock 1.jpg
My hubby gets up at 5am for work and I send him out the door with breakfast.
I read my bookclub book until my granddaughter gets up for school and I get her out the door,
Then I take Ollie for a 2+mile walk – this is when I really think through my current projects.
When I get home my workday starts.
If I don’t have any outside appointments or teleconferences, I start with email then move onto either writing or working on my current art project. I find I can either write all day or paint all day but can’t do both on the same day…must be a brain thing :)) I stop about 5 and start making dinner…
Man, I just realized how predictable I am!!
Congratulations! Broccoli wins the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and your prize as his distinguished creator is an original, framed illustration from ANY children’s book to hang on your studio wall. What might you choose?
Oh that is so hard…there are so many ggggoooorgeous picture books out there.
Of course a-n-y-thing from David Wiesner
or Diane Goode…I love her work
and of course Pamela Zagarenski (just bought Mary Logue’s Sleep Like  a Tiger)
oh don’t forget Quentin Blake
and I love Bert Kitchen’s Gorilla/Chinchilla
and of course Eric Rohmann – Time Flies is awesome…
then let the wild rumpus start with the fabulous Maurice Sendak –
Ahhhh!! My head is going to explode…I’m just getting started…no way to choose!!

david-weisner  diane-goode sleep-like-a-tiger time-fliesquentinblake10-jpgnewwhere-the-wild-things-are

As if we haven’t overwhelmed you enough….it’s time for rapid-fire favorites! Val, quickly now, name your favorite…
Book(s) as a little girl? 
This sounds sad when I say it out loud but I had only one picture book before starting school. An illustrated book of Alice in Wonderland. I paged through it until it literally fell apart. I can still see the illustrations.
Midnight snack?
French vanilla iced cream with walnuts, hot fudge and whipped cream…but never happens :))
Form of exercise?
yoga…and of course my Ollie walk!
Place to vacation?
Anna Maria Island. Too many people have finally found it so unfortunately it’s not as secluded as is used to be, but it’s still beautiful.
Song (at this very moment?!)
I Me Mine by the Beatles – yes the Beatles sorry :)))))
Place to read?
Big, old leather chair right next to the fireplace – with Ollie on the ottoman.
Thanks so much for stopping by to chat with us today, Val! Don’t be a stranger…we love your company (and your books!).
Thank you Lindsay – and I’ll see you at the next event!!
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Web Wednesday: Links to Publishing News You Need


Today, Eastern Penn Points introduces a new feature called Web Wednesday: Links to Publishing News You Need. Every two weeks or so, I’ll compile the latest news and information from around the web so you can stay updated on the children’s publishing industry, agent alerts, query contests, and more. I hope you enjoy our first installment!

  1. On December 1, 2016, the next #PitMad Twitter event is going down. If you haven’t yet tried out this Twitter pitch contest, it’s open to completed, polished, unpublished PB, MG, and YA manuscripts. Read the rules and regulations here and start working on your 140 character pitch!
  1. In the last few weeks, Writer’s Digest has featured a series of new agent alerts. Check them out to see if an agent fits your manuscript or portfolio.
  1. If you keep hearing the term “metadata,” this is the post for you. What it is, how it’s used, and how it affects you.
  1. Amazon continues to claim its stake in publishing by releasing Amazon “Rapids,” a new children’s reading app that offers illustrated short stories in a chat style approach.
  1. At Nielsen’s annual Children’s Book Summit, industry experts provided key insights into the state of the children’s publishing market.
  1. November is Picture Book Month! Head over to picturebookmonth.com to read why picture books are important from some of your favorite PB authors.
  1. The Alliance for Artists & Writers has launched their #MyCreativeYear campaign to encourage teens to share their artistic journey on social media. Read these four reasons why your teen or teen students should share their #MyCreativeYear story.

If you have an interesting link to news in the children’s publishing industry, share it in the comments below.

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Enjoy the Magic of “A Year with Frog and Toad” at the Arden Theatre, by Virginia Law Manning

When I was a child growing up in New York, I was a reluctant reader. In second and third grade, I was in the lowest reading group and spent time each week with Mrs. Roth, the special reading teacher. I remember everyone trying very hard to find books that would appeal to me. Then finally someone recommended Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad.”

Fast forward 30 years. My son Thomas was starting to read. I saw an announcement for the musical A Year with Frog and Toad at the Arden Theatre. It would be our first show there. A Year with Frog and Toad was wonderful! I loved it. My son loved it. Even my husband loved it! The songs, the set design, the acting! And now it’s back from November 23rd through January 29th. There are discount performances as well. I hope you’ll spend some time with Mr. Lobel’s wonderful cast of characters! If you do, please leave a comment and let others know what you thought. Enjoy the show!


From the Arden Theatre website:

A Year with Frog and Toad
Music by Robert Reale
Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale
Developed by Adrianne Lobel

Directed by Whit MacLaughlin
November 23 – January 29

The award-winning, Tony Award nominated hit A Year with Frog and Toad from brothers Willie and Robert Reale returns! Kids loved our first two productions, so we’re reviving this treasured story for you to enjoy with your families, whether it’s the first time or a cherished memory.

An unlikely friendship between the cheerful Frog and the rather grumpy Toad blossoms and grows as they travel through four fun-filled seasons learning life lessons along the way. Barrymore Award winners Jeff Coon and Ben Dibble return as the amphibious best friends in this charming musical that promises to delight the whole family!

Use code TOAD to save half off Friday evening performances at 7PM, and performances on Saturday, November 26 and December 22 at 7PM.

Tickets are available through the Arden Theatre website, or by calling 215.922.1122. The Arden Theatre is located at 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106.

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