Monday, May 8, 2017

Current Scratch: Join Us, Upcoming Events, Summer Reading Lists for Kids and Craft, What I'm Reading, Recommended Resources

Howdy! Hope you've all had an eventful April (if you're in need of writing inspiration) or an uneventful one (if you're in need of peace and quiet to actually write). Hope you enjoy this month's Scratch! If you have ideas for Scratch topics or would like to contribute some writing or resources please let us know!

Join Us

Our next regular meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 31st at 10 a.m. in the College Station Barnes & Noble. This month Molly Blaisdell will discuss the writing process. We'll also discuss news and provide encouragement. Gentle critique begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring copies of 5 double-spaced pages of your work in progress. Those who have time may go to lunch at a local restaurant afterwards.

Note: Our meetings are open to members and non-members. If you are interested in SCBWI or children's literature in general attending is a great way to meet our community and get your feet wet.

Upcoming Events

Community Events

May 27th: Artist Reception for fellow member Candi Fite—5 p.m.-7 p.m.­ at Back Lot Gallery, 308 S. Park St, Brenham, Texas 77833.

Workshops & Craft

May 8-19th: A free seminar for self-publishers hosted by Ingram Spark, Author's Adventure Summit

May 11th: A Drone’s-Eye-View of Your Manuscript Webinar by Darcy Pattison, Thursday, May 11th at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, $15
Learn to see the overall structure of your novel with simple tools. Author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison helps you confirm that the major plot points fall in the right places and events lead to a dramatic climax. A single chapter is easy to write. But to make a novel work, you must sequence the chapters in the right order and with the right events to make readers refuse to put the book down. Come and learn simple exercises to help you see your novel from a drone's eye view.
For more information and to register:

May 20-21st: Austin 2017 SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference, register online here.

June 8-10th: The sixth annual Children's Art & Literacy Festival will be held in Abilene. This year's focus will be on celebrating illustrator Garth Williams (of Charlotte's Web fame). Discounted registration open till May 15th.

September 23rd: The Brazos Valley Book Festival is set for Sept. 23, 2017. We will have an SCBWI Brazos Valley table at the festival. Please contact Liz Mertz at as soon as possible if you want to participate. The hours will be from 9 am to 2 pm, so we could set up shifts if we have several members sign up. For more details, keep an eye on the website

October 7-8th: The SCBWI Houston conference will be the weekend of October 7-8, 2017. The keynote speaker is Bruce Coville, who will also give a writing intensive on that Sunday.

Summer Reading Lists for Kids and Craft

If you'd like to add some more diversity to your summer reading check out the summer reading list put together by We're the People.

I recommended the Latinx in Kid Lit blog in April's scratch. Here is a list of middle grade books with latinx characters put together by one of their bloggers Cindy L. Rodriguez.

Here are a few books I have on my summer reading list that deal with the craft of writing (considering it has taken me over a year to get near the end of Bird by Bird this list is laughably unrealistic). Some were recommended by Brazos Valley SCBWI members (thanks!) and others from people I met at conferences and badgered for advice.

Bird by Bird - Ann Lamott A classic for new writers. Recommended a while ago and also heard on the 10 Minute Writer's Workshop podcast (see below for more on that)

The Magic Words - Cheryl Klein Recommended by Karen Boss at the Brazos Valley Blooms SCBWI conference

Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg (sidenote: Natalie Goldberg is one of the reasons I decided to publish under my full name, Romy Natalia Goldberg)

On Writing - Stephen King This one came recommended by BV SCBWI member CandiLynn Fite. Thanks, Candi!

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing - Linda Ashman

Multicultural Literature for Latino Bilingual Children: Their words, Their Worlds  Many of the authors featured in this book were mentioned during (or spoke at) the National Latino Children's Literature conference in San Antonio in March, 2017.

What I'm Reading

Low Riders to the Center of the Earth

This imaginative graphic novel mixes elements from Mexican and Mexican American/Chicano culture with a underworld adventure (and lots of science thrown in to boot). It won the 2017 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award. Written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Raúl the Third. There are Spanish words throughout though English speakers will be happy they are translated in the footnotes for each page. Here is a fun review with some sample panels. My kids loved it and so did I. Now I need to get my hands on the first book in the series, Lowriders in Space.


Abuelo is lovely picture book writen by Arthur Dorros with illustrations from one of my favorite Latino illustrators, Raúl Colón (he illustrated "Me Llamo Gabito, My Name is Gabito," a picture book about Gabriel García Márquez that I recommended a few Scratches back). In the story a grandson tells us everything his grandfather, a gaucho (Argentine cowboy) in the Pampas, has taught him. Then he must move to the city and we see how he uses that knowledge and channels his grandfather in his new environment. Beautiful story. I'd be willing to bet that any Texan grandparent would happily find parallels to their own life while reading it to their grandchildren.

Recommended Resources

10 Minute Writer's workshop podcast

I learned about this podcast from the Kid Lit 411 Facebook Page. It features 10 minute interviews with a wide range of authors. Authors answer a few standard questions including
  • What is harder, the first or last sentence? 
  • What is the best and worst advice you've been given as a writer? 
  • How/where do you work? 
It is fascinating to hear different authors' answers. Some will say they write in a specific room overlooking the water while others swear the only way to write is to park yourself somewhere you hate like a Holiday Inn. You can get a surprising amount of information and advice in ten minutes!

Note: You can listen to this show on your computer or phone directly from the webpage or via podcast. If you do not know how to listen to podcasts please let me know and I'll give you a quick tutorial.

Ok folks, hope you're inspired to create some great material this summer! Adiós for now!

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