Thursday, October 27, 2011

I've Got The Torch... And Here We Go!

Lee Wind, mid-air

I am honored and thrilled to be the new official SCBWI blogger and Captain of Team Blog!

Look for updates here on things going on in our kid lit industry and inside looks at the many SCBWI offerings of information, networking, publications, grants & awards, being a collective voice for authors and illustrators, and of course our amazing SCBWI Annual Conferences!

Your SCBWI Team Bloggers will be diving into pre-conference interviews to give you the scoop on what you can look forward to at our upcoming Lucky 13th Annual Winter Conference in New York City, Jan 27-29, 2012.  I mean, have you checked out the lineup of speakers?  The break-out workshops?  The number of agents and editors on faculty?  The gala dinner, a new mingling and networking event for Saturday night?  The portfolio showcase?  And the Friday day of intensive sessions on marketing for writers, marketing for illustrators, and writers roundtables?  There's so much great stuff!

But the conference blogging by Team Blog couldn't happen without our amazing team:

Martha Brockenbrough, one of the funniest people I've ever met.  And she can write funny, too.  Her book on grammar  had me laughing out loud (yes, grammar and laughing) and I can't wait to read her upcoming titles from Arthur A. Levine books ("Devine Intervention" sounds amazing!) Martha is deep and insightful and snort-milk-out-of-your-nose funny.  She's also a wonderful blogger, both at her own blog, and for our SCBWI Team!

Jolie Stekley is awesome. A YA writer bursting with creativity and energy, she imbues everything she does with heart and insight.  I love re-reading her conference posts (like this one), because they are personal and universal at the same time - and with all the photos and quotes the whole feel of the conference comes back to me in a wonderful rush!  She's a great blogger at her own blog, Cuppa Jolie (check out her fabulous weekly writing prompts!) and for our SCBWI Team!

Jaime Temairik, our resident illustrator on the team, changes things up for all of us by stretching the form and having fun with it all.  Like her commercial breaks and zombie sock puppet sketches, Jaime is wacky in the most wonderful of ways!  When I first met her, I thought she was Yoda-like, as in still-waters-run-deep.  What I discovered is that Jaime is deep - and she's quieter than me because she's busy planning all this amazing stuff while I'm chattering away!  She's a treasure of a blogger at her own blog, Cocoastomp, and for our SCBWI Team!

Suzanne Young is zany, charming, and prolific - with three YA titles out (her latest is the supernatural romance,"A Need So Beautiful!)" and more books coming soon...  Suzanne is also really innovative in her marketing efforts, and I recently saw her speak with Novel Novice's Sara Gundell about their super-fun and well-received do-it-yourself campaigns for her books.  Suzanne is a bright light and a super blogger, both at her own blog and for our SCBWI Team!

What all these amazing bloggers share is a huge sense of heart and passion.  (And twitter accounts:  follow them at
I'm beyond grateful for their friendship and support - and so glad to continue Team Blogging the SCBWI Annual Conferences with them!

And I have to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks to Alice Pope, who not only had the vision to create Team Blog with Aaron Hartzler (and bring me on board) but for believing in me and now passing me the torch.  Thank you, Alice! 

So I'll raise the flame high and run with you all, as we explore the grandeur and endorphin-rush of our passion - writing and illustrating and editing and agenting and art-directing and publishing and blogging and bookselling and teaching and librarian-ing (!)  and marketing and innovating...  as we create and celebrate creative content for children and teens.

Run with me!

ps: You're welcome to follow me on my home blog, "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" and on twitter at @leewind
pps: My photo above was taken by the wonderful writer and photographer Rita Crayon Huang.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Passing the Torch: My Final SCBWI Blog Post

Dear Readers,

Today, in a swirl of mixed emotions, I offer this post announcing that I will no longer be blogging for SCBWI.

I happily started this gig in May of 2010, a month after leaving my position as the long-time editor of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market. I was so grateful and excited that SCBWI gave me the opportunity to continue to communicate via the blogosphere with the amazing community I'd come to know and love throughout my 18 plus years at Writer's Digest Books.

While I was an editor at WD, I attended countless SCBWI events all over the country. Without a doubt, my favorite event has always been the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles. I learned so much, made so many terrific contacts, saw success stories unfold, and, most importantly, became lifelong friends with some tremendous people.

So of course I was beyond thrilled with the formation of SCBWI TEAM BLOG in 2009. The brainchild of former SCBWI Director of Communications Aaron Hartzler, the team--including me, Jaime Temairik, Martha Brockenbrough, Jolie Stekly, Suzanne Young and Lee Wind--brought you pre-conference interviews with conference faculty and exhaustive as-it-happens coverage of the LA and NYC conferences. We blogged and social networked our fingers to the bone, with joy.

I'm thrilled to announce that the SCBWI blog and TEAM BLOG will survive--and thrive--under new the leadership of Lee Wind.

Lee, always an enthusiastic and energetic TEAM BLOG member and award-winning blogger at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read, is taking over as the official SCBWI blogger and is the new captain of TEAM BLOG! (He's being fitted for his SCBWI cape as I type.)

Lee will will begin posting here in a few days (at which time the blog will get a bit of a makeover), and he'll tell you a little more about himself. So please be sure to visit the blog often to read Lee's posts and watch as he clues you in on the pre-conference fun and offers his terrific faculty interviews as the date for the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York draws nearer. (I'll be popping in frequently here and at the Official SCBWI Conference Blog to enjoy things from the other side.)

So I bid you farewell, but not goodbye. (We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter afterall.) Thank you for reading both the SCBWI blogs. Thank you Lin and Steve for allowing me to be a part of them. Thank you Jaime, Martha, Jolie, Suzanne and Lee for all your hard work and for your friendship. I love you guys.

Now I leave you the same way I greeted you...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every Poster Has a Story: The Scoop on the First-Ever Golden Kite Awards Poster

SCBWI recently unveiled its first-ever poster featuring winners of the organization's coveted annual Golden Kite Awards. The debut poster was beautifully illustrated by John Parra, 2010 Golden Kite winner for picture book illustration.

"We asked John to illustrate the poster for two reasons—one, because we knew his style would be absolutely perfect for the poster art. Second, because we hoped to start a tradition that the winner of the Picture Book Illustration category of the Golden Kite Award would illustrate the poster to commemorate the following year's winners," says Sarah Baker, SCBWI's Manager of Illustration and Design.

"John needed very little in the way of suggestions or notes. We just told him the poster was to celebrate the next year of Golden Kite winners, the dimensions of the poster of course, and that it should feature the kite somewhere. He took it upon himself to add an image representing each winning book, a really great touch!"

"Working on the Golden Kite Poster was a wonderful and great thrill for me," says John Parra. "The concept comes from when I received my Golden Kite Award from SCBWI in 2010 for the book, GRACIAS/THANKS, and how I felt a soaring emotion like the bird in the poster. The child characters in the image represent us all taking that wonderful journey into literature and art that we collectively celebrate and cherish. Many of the other icons and imagery that surround these main characters are sample images representing each of this year's 2011 Golden Kite winners. I always enjoy seeing the final print when type is added and I was honored to have it presented at this year's SCBWI 40th Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles."

"I absolutely fell in love with John's art from the moment I saw the first sketch, and finding typefaces and designing the poster around his art was so much fun. It was thrilling when his painting arrived in the mail, and thrilling once again to see the finished printed poster," says Sarah. "Presenting it in front of the 1,300 attendees at the Golden Kite Award Luncheon was more terrifying than anything, but so much fun to see how much everyone else loved the poster as much as we did. This was a great start to an annual tradition of Golden Kite Award celebration posters, and I can't wait to work on next year's!"

SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver adds: “We hope this beautiful poster will not only honor the outstanding books that have won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, but will go a long way to expanding the public visibility and sales of these deserving books. We want to see their names highly visible to the reading public.”

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Winter Conference Regisation Opens Monday!

Registration for the SCBWI 2012 Winter Conference begins Monday, October 17th, 2011 at 10AM PDT. 

The Annual Winter Conference features a huge line-up of stars and decision-makers from the world of children's book publishing. Whether you're an illustrator or a writer, whether your genre is picture books, middle grade, or young adult, you can't afford to miss this spectacular chance to meet and network with the major players in publishing for young readers!

Plus we've added a third pre-conference intensive on January 27th-Marketing for Professional Writers--and that, along with our Writers' Roundtable Intensive and Marketing for Illustrators Intensive are sure to fill up fast. We have also added a Gala Cocktail party on January 28th so people can mingle with publishing professionals, regional advisors and other attendees, as well as enjoying a free drink and food.

The conference will take place from January 27th-29th at the Hyatt Regency Grand Central in New York City.

And be sure to watch the official conference blog (and this blog) for exciting interviews with faculty members and other 2012 Winter Conference news from SCBWI's terrific TEAM BLOG.