Judges Award Sue Alexander Grant, SCBWI-L.A.’s Top Writing Prize

Congrats to the winners!!

Kite Tales

By Marcelle Greene, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator

Our anonymous judges were unanimous in their opinion that awarding this year’s Sue Alexander Grant was one tough decision. But after three rounds of whittling more than one hundred entries, there emerged this clear winner:

I do my best thinking in my underwear. Mamma always understood that about me.

 “We Rockfort women are at our best when we’re wearing the least,” she’d say. But Lordin Heaven, I don’t think she had in mind that I’d be wearing a man’s jockey shorts, standardArmy issue, second-hand no less. And I’ll say it plain, as much time as men have spent gettinginto my drawers, I can’t quite get right with walking around in theirs.

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SCBWI Summer Conference Time!


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Hello readers, first of all, I want to apologize for not writing as much as I used to on this blog. The reason? I’m putting everything into my new YA novel. For my followers, and readers, who don’t know what that is, it’s young adult or teen fiction. I loved writing for TV and hope to go back to it someday. I also hope and plan on screenwriting again, but novels will always be my first love. In 2012 I re-joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and have been really active since 2013-as 2012 sucked for me with two huge losses and being out of work.

The annual SCBWI summer conference is here and I’m so excited to go back this year. It will be my 4th year in a row. I attended a long time ago when a friend paid for my entry, but I only went one day and was so clueless that it was a waste of my time. Now that I’m serious and more grown-up I make the best of it. This is the Oscars for children’s book peeps–not about awards, but the social event of the season and I love it.

Some tips and things I like to share with newbies to this or any writing conference. These are my personal feelings & thoughts, others probably have more official things, but this is how I approach any huge event.

  1. Have fun!!! This is really important to enjoy your time there. Do what makes you happy and don’t feel bad if you want to sit out a workshop or need some alone time, it’s overwhelming even for extroverts like myself.
  2. Be KIND TO EVERYONE-this doesn’t need explaining, or maybe it does. Be nice always, even if someone is acting catty, jealous, bitchy or just rude, even to the valets and front desk.
  3. Smile-when you smile it just makes people feel at ease and you’ll see will put you in a good mood. 🙂
  4. Be yourself-don’t poster and or lie about your experience or be ashamed that you still have a minimum wage job or whatever.
  5. Avoid religion and politics if you can.
  6. Be CONFIDENT in yourself and your work no matter what stage of the game you are in.
  7. Always ask questions.
  8. Be open to feedback, listen, take notes and do your best not to defend your work. It’s okay to ask questions so you understand, but only AFTER every person critiquing is finished speaking.
  9. Take breaks, wear comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, eat healthily and stretch.
  10. Pick up and hand out business cards.

Those are my top 10 suggestions for a successful conference. I have a whole list of what not to do, but a lot of that is covered in my previous blog. LOL

Okay peeps, I will start blogging at least once a week and add more content on queries, character, voice, social media and things like that as I’m planning to do more talks again like I did from 2008-2012 when I was concentrating on TV & film writing. Most of the principals are the same. Story is story no matter what the genre. Characters drive their stories.

Happy writing!


Writing Residencies, Workshops & Retreat Etiquette

As a lot of you who follow me know that I go to a lot of writing events away from home. Here is some advice to writers of all levels to help the experience be good for yourself and others around you.

  1. Don’t stalk other writers for any reason.
  2. Understand that people are there working.
  3. Be respectful of common areas as all writers may not have the option to write in their room.
  4. Don’t pitch your work to other writers, unless asked.
  5. Don’t insist that a fellow writer connect you to their agent.
  6. Always be polite.
  7. Don’t brag or lie about your experience.
  8. Listen to feedback.
  9. Be open.
  10. Respect personal boundaries.

I’m writing this because while these things seem like common sense there are writers who attend these types of events in hopes to sign with an agent and or to make connections and they don’t act professionally, which makes the experience miserable for the others.

Most of the ones I have been to the writers all follow these things, but recently I went to one where I was terrified of one of the attendees and was sure that I would end up like Meredith Kercher. As well she made it uncomfortable for many of us to do our work. When I spoke to the director about it I was told that she was just socially awkward and was coming to find those friendships that happen at these things. I just wanted to finish my novel and relax.

This advice I’m giving also goes for conferences and any writing event. Please always be respectful of others. If you really just are looking to make close friendships and don’t care about the work, please join a support group and or a Meetup.


Writing for the 21st Century

This is spot on!

Glass Cases

I represent Adult fiction and YA & MG fiction, but I talk more about the latter. I know I do this, and it’s not because I don’t have a lot to say about Adult fiction. It’s that YA, and especially MG, are still new. They are still evolving. Adult genres get redefined every once in a while, and audiences grow, but mostly, adults are adults and their writers know who they’re writing for.

I talk more about YA because the category itself is known for jumping from trend to trend, being super enthusiastic and supportive, yet misunderstood (and often disrespected) by mainstream literary culture. Its target audience can relate, and they aren’t known for standing still either. Adults age at a much slower pace. The difference between a 32 year old and a 36 year old is barely a blip compared to that of a 13 year old and a…

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Social Media for Writers & Artists

This is an article I wrote for the SCBWI Los Angeles regional newsletter Kite Tales. I love social media, as most of you know and I’m quite good with it. Hope you like the article.

Kite Tales

socialmedia1At conferences, one of the things I hear many writers and artists talk about is that their biggest fear/worry/stumbling block/insecurity (besides their craft – because hey, we all know how that is), is how to use social media. I’m writing this quick article with some tips because while I’m not officially a paid social media person, I’m really good at it. Really.

First of all, breathe. Don’t be scared. It’s okay. We were all beginners and didn’t know how to do any of it until we did. Please don’t feel insecure about the things you haven’t done yet. It seems daunting, but it’s not. Really. Please trust me.

7910370882_39d180fb66_zHere are my tips:

  1. Don’t be nervous about it.
  2. Treat social media like any other social interaction (meaning, be kind and respectful).
  3. Start with the one or ones you are comfortable with. It’s okay not to be on all of them, and…

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Revise! Revise! Revise! Then? Revise Again

From last year on revisions!! #amrevising

Steph Olivieri Writer's Blog


Hello, writers!

Today I wanted to write a quick blog about revising, something that all writers should be very acquainted with but many aren’t. Revision is part of the process. It doesn’t matter if you are Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or someone brand new; if you write novels, you must plan on revising.

I personally love revisions. They are where the heart of the story really comes to life. It’s exciting for me to dig deeper and get to know my characters better and help them tell their story even better than I had originally planned it. I know that may sound a bit crazy, but trust me, it’s not. My characters always have the final say in how their story is told.

You may have heard the term “pantser”? Yup, that’s me, on the first draft. I am the writer who just sits down sometimes with not much more…

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SCBWI Community Corner with Stephanie Olivieri

My article about why and how much I love being part of the Scbwi

Kite Tales

11846797_10153538797467079_5070761802491006292_n SCBWI Summer Conference 2015

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a dynamic community of professionals and aspirings. Read on for a member’s story about how SCBWI has influenced their work and connected them to publishing professionals, life-long friends, and the tools they need to share their stories with children of all ages.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has changed my life for the better in many ways. It’s hard to explain how a group of book writers and illustrators can do that, but they have. I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll start at the beginning: I’m a writer, who also draws. I worked in animation for many years and have recently worked in children’s books both as a writer and an illustrator.

In the summer of 2012 I joined the SCBWI and then, boom, my father died. I was broke and I couldn’t…

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No Posturing, Just Posting

Keeping it real for a minute. No posturing, just posting. 🙂
People always assume that everything is great for everyone on social media-it’s not. It’s just that it’s better to present a positive spin on life, than a negative one.
I’m keeping it real here today just because why not? Maybe someone out there is struggling and needs to know that we all have it hard at some point. Especially those of us who have a creative career.
I was explaining to someone at Highlights last week that for me there is no backup plan, this is what I do for a living, and this person didn’t seem to get it. It’s funny to me.
I feel like I’ve been drowning my entire life, but I’m doing what I love and trying to continue to do that.
My writing is not where I wanted it to be at this age. I have been paid to write, I have sold stuff, but I wanted to be further, I’m not, but that’s okay. I get up every day and I write, or I think about writing, or I don’t do anything and then tomorrow is a new day.
Money?? Ha, I look around and see everyone with savings accounts, owning houses not living like they are in college still, and again, I thought that would be me, it’s not. But I’m okay with it.
Marriage, kids? Same.. but it’s okay.
The point is, that no one is perfect and no matter what it seems like on social media, life is hard a lot of the time.
We are all in this together!!!
Don’t give up. Keep reaching for your goals and don’t compare yourself to others-it will make you crazy.