Monday, October 24, 2016

Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Meeting

© Sylvia Liu
Just got back from a great weekend in northern Virginia for the annual Mid-Atlantic SCBWI conference. A quick recap:

Friday Illustrator Intensives

1. Workshop with Viking Children's Books Art Director Nancy Brennan 

Before we arrived, Nancy Brennan gave us an assignment to illustrate the opening spread of SURPRISE SOUP, by Mary Ann Rodman, illustrated by Brian Collier (Viking Children's Books 2009). She gave us a working manuscript so the text is not the same as the published text. I came up with this piece:

© Sylvia Liu

We got a lot of useful feedback on our pieces and heard about the business in general.

2. Workshop with illustrator Lisa Falkenstern

The incredibly talented Lisa Falkenstern taught a group of us how to make Sculpey sculptures of our characters for modeling purposes. I had fun making my pirate parrot:

Saturday Conference Highlights

Lin Oliver shared her Ten Point Guide to Launching and Sustaining a Children's Book Career. A few highlights: "Define yourself as a professional." "Fail quickly and fail often." "As you succeed, send the elevator back down." "Write like a wolf eats."

Agent Panel. Emily Keyes (Fuse Literary), Carrie Hannifin (HSG Agency) , and Linda Epstein (Emerald City Literary) shared their expertise about queries, what they're looking for, and the agent-client relationship.

Wendy Lamb, Vice President and Publishing Director, Wendy Lamb Books, Penguin-Random House, gave an overview of the industry (children's books are still a bright spot), talked about voice and finding the unexpected. About her job: "A lot of what I do is inspire people to do way more work than they expected." 

Editor Panel. Adrienne Sszpyrka (Running Press Kids), Christina Pulles (Sterling Children's Books), and Wendy Lamb (Wendy Lamb Books/Penguin-Random Books) shared craft tips on character development, voice, and storytelling in historical fiction. Wendy, on critics:

Judith Viorst & Kwame Alexander, both legends in their own rights, talked about their writing habits, inspirations, careers, and more. It was funny, moving, and inspiring to listen to them read their poems, share laughs, and have a great time.

Banner Contest: Honorable Mention

Exciting news: I won an Honorable Mention for the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI's website banner contest. My entry is the one at the top of this post. 

New and Old Friends

Having organized several local SCBWI events, I knew a lot more of the people from my area who were there. I also caught up with friends I met in past conferences, and it was fun to meet many new friends as well. 

PB writers Debra Shumaker & Marcie Flinchum Atkins

Illustrator Mishka Jaeger and YA/MG writer Poppy Parfomak

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summer Roundup: ALA Conference, Classes, More

The summer has gone by in a flash, but here's a recap of the American Library Association (ALA) convention in Orlando and other kid lit activities that kept me busy.

ALA Convention

The ALA Convention was a dream come true as a debut author. Lee & Low Books invited me to join their line up of authors signing books, so I headed to Orlando for a weekend in late June with my older daughter. Not only was it thrilling to sign my book, but I got to meet so many kidlit friends and idols walking around the convention center. Some memories:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

More Book Events: DC & Orlando

DC Events

Fun with A MORNING WITH GRANDPA continues. I went to DC last week and had a book signing party at my friend's house as well as one of my first school visits with 100 first graders at Thomas Stone Elementary School at Mt. Rainer, MD:

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Whirlwind Month: Book Release, Blog Tour, Big Sur at Cape Cod

May has been a whirlwind of book events, a blog tour, and an amazing writing conference. Although I knew it was coming for a couple of years, nothing quite prepared me for the blur of events. A recap:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Spring: A Morning with Grandpa Release & Norfolk Academy Art Show 2016

Although it still feels like Winter, Spring is coming in with a bang for me.


The official release date for A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, written by me and illustrated by Christina Forshay (Lee & Low Books) is May 1, but books have already arrived at my local indie store, Prince Books, and Amazon is fulfilling orders.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cats on My Mind: A 5-Day #artchallenge

This week I was tagged to do an #artchallenge on Facebook, which was to post five pieces of my art per day. It didn't have to be newly made art, but I decided to doodle my cute new kitty, Apollo:

© Sylvia Liu

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Meet Apollo: our new Siberian Kitten

Apollo is our new Siberian kitten. I never thought we would have a cat because my husband is very allergic to them. As a Christmas present, he researched hypoallergenic cats and this breed came up and now we have a cat. He is still somewhat allergic, but only when he handles him, and it's much better than most other breeds.