February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

NJ SCBWI Events Schedule 2008-2009

June 26 - New Beginning, 1:00, Tibetan Museum
July 15th - New Beginning, 1:00, On Green Pond
September 17 - First Page session with dinner, 4:00, MacKay Center
October 4/5 - Mentoring Workshop, Toms River
October 26 - Mentoring Workshop, all day, Stuart Hall
November 9 - Mentoring Workshop, all day, Stuart Hall (illustrator's day)
November 19 - First Page session with dinner, 4:00, MacKay Center
January 14, 2009 - First Page session with dinner, 4:00, MacKay Center
February 22, 2009 - Mentoring Workshop, all day, Stuart Hall
March 29, 2009 - Mentoring Workshop, all day, Stuart Hall
April 22, 2009 - First Page session with dinner, 4:00, MacKay Center
June 5/6, 2009 - Annual Conference

For more information about these events, go to http://www.newjerseyscbwi.com/. Laurie

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy days!

Hi everyone,
I am really excited and happy to announce that I just signed with Prospect Agency in New York. I love my agent, Rachel Orr, who has some great ideas on how to take me and my work to the next level. YAY!

Thanks to Pat Cummings for bringing us together and to everybody who I have ever had the pleasure of working with, learning from or knowing to help me get to this point.

I see it as a small victory on the path to children's book success and can't wait to really get stuck in...

Thanks to you all!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NJ SCBWI June Conference


JUNE 6th and 7th 2008

Princeton Theological Seminary Stuart Hall

Princeton, NJ

For directions, click here...

Just a brief reminder, the postmarked deadline for the NJ SCBWI June Conference is swiftly approaching. Be sure to have your materials to Kathy Temean with a postmark date no later than JUNE 26th. Any later and you will be charged extra fees.

Mail to: Kathy Temean, 203 Stowe Ct Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

Please do not request a signature on delivery

Good luck and see you there.
So... are you attending the June Conference this year? Will you be participating in the speed pitch? If so, let's practice here. Post your speed pitch in the comment section, if you dare...

Happy Writing,


Thursday, April 17, 2008


Ray Mathis is a Buck's County artist who suffered great loss when a fire broke out this week in his Bucks County studio claiming his life's work, tools, and so much more, at the tender age of 50. A tragic and incomprehensible loss.

Another Bucks County artist, Materese Roche, a friend of Mathis', would like to step up and help and so can you. She is holding several art sales where proceeds are set up to go to the Ray Mathis Fund. For more information go here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks one year since that rainy April evening when we all first met to form the Hunterdon County Children's Writer's Group. So, I wanted to say...

I also wanted to thank all of you because without you, there wouldn't be the HCCWG.

Also, I think we must all give a special blogger round of applause for our wonderful and talented facilitators. They didn't ask to lead a group. They, like you, wanted to join a group on April 16, 2007. But with the group of 60 eager people, they rose to the challenge. So, please join me in saying, THANK YOU to Cathleen, Jeanne, Laurie, Leeza, Pat, and now our newest facilitator - Tina. Thank you ladies, from the bottom of this writer's heart, thank you!

WRITING EXERCISE NUMBER I - They Say Fairies Live Here... Don't worry, there is still time to get your Fairy stories in by the May 1st deadline. We have received a few. Please check them out under Writing Exercise I in the comments section. And be sure to leave yours. It does not have to be a perfectly developed story. It can be 50 words... 100 words... And it is fun. It is writing for writing's sake. So no pressure, no stress.

But now it's time for WRITING EXERCISE NUMBER II - and this one's meant to make you think in just one, single sentence... If you can't do this with one of your own stories, see if you can do it with one of your favorite children's stories published by one of your favorite authors. Here is the challenge... Can you tell your story in just one sentence? One sentence, simply stating the main character, his/her problem, and the resolution. Sometimes it's easier if you use the words When.... then.... until....

Here are a few to get your started...

Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton (PB)
When Russell the Sheep can't fall asleep, he tries several techniques that don't work, until sleep finally comes.
One Hungry Monster by Susan Heyboer O'Keefe (PB)
When (the boy) feeds one hungry monster, he must feed all ten, until he finally figures out how to settle his now chaotic home.
The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck (MG Novel)
When Jiya's left orphaned after a tsunami claims his family and village, he must choose between living a poor life with love, or a rich life without love, until he ultimately chooses his own path and discovers spiritual wealth out ways financial wealth any day.

Stating your story in its simplest form will put you once again in touch with your original message. It is then easy to build on that simple statement. When it becomes too convoluted, so does your story. It's a good idea, once you have encapsulated your story into a single sentence, to print it out and clip it to the top of your computer, or on a bulletin board. So, as you start to complicate things, you can glance up at it and remember to stick with your simple sentence. That's not to say that our stories can't change and develop, but once we lose touch with the simplicity of our statement, it will begin to show up on our pages.
So, give it a try... Write you story in one sentence and post it in the comments section.

Happy Writing Everyone!

Sheri ks, ks

Thursday, April 10, 2008


When I was a teacher, we had this thing we would start every morning with called a DO NOW. We would write some little brain teaser, math problem (don't worry, there will be no math here...) sentence starter, etc. on the board, and as the kids were unpacking and getting ready to begin their day, they would do the DO NOW. The idea was to wake the kids up and get their motor started.

Well, as writers, we could use a DO NOW every so often as well. So I am beginning this new segment for all HCCWG members and non-members alike. Once a month, or maybe more often, I will post a sentence starter to inspire you (hopefully) into writing a short piece of fiction. Hopefully, I will also include a picture to jump start your imagination too.

Here is what I want you to do. In the comments section write a short story (no more than 250 words) and post it there. If there is enough interest in these flash fiction segments, then I will keep this going. I think it can really help sharpen and hone your skills. Do not worry about anyone stealing your work in the comments section. Just write fresh off the top of your head.

Another writer I know of, Christine Elden, does this on her blog and, although I always complain about her tight 150 word count, it is really fun and gets my brain buzzing. I do agonize over the limited word count, as I am more prone to writing novels, than flash fiction. But, you picture book writers, may really have the upper hand at this. So give it a try. I think we can have a lot of fun. Also feel free to leave brief comments about the entries you read. But it does not have to be critique-y. This is for fun and to keep those juices flowing. So here it goes.

They say fairies live here. Some say they've seen them late at night, dancing in the moonlight. Some say...

Now, you take it from here. Try to make your entry no more than 250 words. (Perfect for you picture book writers.) Just remember, the comment space does not have formatting, so you can not indent. Just separate paragraphs with an extra space instead. Oh, and feel free to begin your story however you want. If you have another first sentence you want to begin with, fine. Mine was just to motivate you those creative story-tellers not so deep inside all of us...

The deadline is May 1st. So don't delay! We say we're writers, so let's write!

Happy Writing!
Sheri ks, ks


Kathy Temean, RA of the NJ Chapter of SCBWI, has unleashed her new webiste. Check it out!

It is chock full of handy information, not to mention ge-or-jee-ous illustrations! Just gorgeous! Great job Kathy! I love your new site!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rutgers One-on-One Conference 2008

Just giving everyone a heads up about another one-day conference happening on Oct.18, 2008. The Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature will be hosting its 37th Annual One-on-One Plus Conference. Details will be posted on the Website mid-April which is right around the corner.

If you haven't heard about it before, it's a day when 65 individuals (authors and illustrators) get to spend "One-on-One" time with 65 editors, agents and other industry professionals. During lunch you have the opportunity to approach any of those professionals as well to ask questions, obtain business cards and network out of the wazoo!

Last year's cost was $150, and the process is by application only. I encourage everyone and anyone, who wants to get their foot in the door of some of these big-name houses who don't accept unsolicited work, to apply. To be in a room with that many contacts and potential 'contracts' is priceless!

To visit the Web site, click here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First Page Session

There's still room in the NJ SCBWI First Page Session on April 22. In these sessions, two editors listen to the opening page of your manuscript and give their quick impressions about--dialogue, voice, age appropriateness, does it draw them in, genre choice, etc. Optionally, you can pay extra and stay for dinner with the editors. For more information, go to http://www.newjerseyscbwi.com/firstpages.shtml. Laurie