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Penelope Anne Cole enjoys writing children’s stories to be read aloud. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” Ms. Cole has taught and tutored at every grade level, K to 12, and community college. She also reviews children's books. When not writing or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church, and choir activities. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of the California Writers Club:  Fremont Area Writers, SF Peninsula Writers, and South Bay Writers, and is a Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books at


See reviews of Ms. Cole's books at


Her website is www.penelopeannecole.com

Contact Ms. Cole for School Author Visits, locally in-person, or by SKYPE.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Firsts and Fancies - SCBWI 2014 Spring Spirit Conference

To all my writer and author friends, I'm going to another SCBWI conference, California North/Central's 10th Annual Spring Spirit, on Saturday - it's one of my favorites. 

Why do I especially like this conference?  

First:  The conference is well-planned so that you can easily see which workshop meets your needs.  You don't have to choose a picture book, mid grade or young adult "track"  -- you can choose workshops from each and every genre.  (I'm currently writing in all three, so I appreciate help in all areas!)  You can submit ten pages of a manuscript for critique by a presenter.

SecondThey run a slide show of Published and Listed Authors (PAL).  Even if you aren't a presenter or volunteer (who can sell at the bookstore), you still get a little publicity - and a lift at seeing your book cover up on the screen.  It's a very supportive environment for new and experienced writers and illustrators.
ThirdThere are also tables of freebies and a "Critique Group Connection."  Everything is in one well-laid out venue with free and easy access parking.

Fourth:  They have good snacks and drinks (and I think the lunch is passable.)

Fifth:  Every year they get better!
What do you hope to get from this year's conference?

Each SCBWI conference helps fire you up and get you excited about writing. You get new ideas and strategies.

They cover nuts and bolts stuff that children's book writers need to know, but they also offer little "Aha" nuggets of insight and tips.  

They keep you up-to-date on what's happening in the industry.  

You get to hear speakers and presenters -- agents, editors, publishers -- that you wouldn't normally be exposed to.  It's professional and supportive.  

You get to meet creative people -- authors and illustrators - you wouldn't normally meet.  I was happy to meet fellow GAP Authors Janet Ann Collins (Signs of Trouble, Slime and All, Secret Service Saint, The Peril of the Sinister Scientist) and Melissa Abramovitz (ABC's of Health and Safety) there and will see Melissa again this year.

And, this is a biggest one,  you get the opportunity to submit to publishing houses that are normally closed to unsolicited manuscripts, but open to conference attendees. You get to meet and submit to agents, too.

Can You Share Information from the Conference?

You're allowed to tell people general things you've learned -- things that are readily available-to-the- public-at-large - that kind of information.  

However, since attendees have paid for the conference, and thus for the information the speakers present, it's not kosher, acceptable, or allowed to share hand-outs, materials, or guidance presented. Attendees are special -- we get special treatment and special information!  

I highly recommend SCBWI to all aspiring children's book writers and illustrators.  There are regional conferences, local events/meet ups, and national conferences.  Plus, as a member you benefit from their website resources and connections.

Happy conferencing to all! www.scbwi.org

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