New England SCBWI 2014 Create Bravely: Make Your Mark

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, May 02, 2014

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2015 New England SCBWI conference: 
Think Outside The Crayon Box!


New England SCBWI 2014

Create Bravely: Make Your Mark

artwork by Denise Ortakales

Printer friendly PDF version of the keynotes, critique staff, and faculty bios.


Peter H. Reynolds

Peter H. Reynolds is the founder of Fablevision Studios ( co-located at The Boston Children's Museum. Peter is also a filmmaker and New York Times best-selling author & illustrator of over 30 books including The Dot, Ish, Sky Color, The North Star, and has collaborated on books with Alison McGhee (Someday), Judy Blume (Fudge series) and Megan McDonald (the Judy Moody series). Peter is an SCBWI member and has served on a panel at the SCBWI Winter Conference and was the featured speaker at the SCBWI-LA Illustrators' Conference. He also owns an independent children's bookstore, The Blue Bunny, located in Dedham, Massachusetts. In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Fitchburg State University for his 25 years of work in creating positive media for schools and families. 

Laurel Snyder

Laurel Snyder is the author of many books for young readers, most recently Seven Stories Up, a middle grade novel that blends history and magic with the power of friendship. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an occasional commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, Laurel also writes picture books, including the forthcoming  SWAN: the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova . Among other honors, Laurel's books have been named EB White finalists, Sydney Taylor Notable books, Indie Next Picks, and Junior Library Guild Selections. She lives in Atlanta and online at

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen is an author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl MoonThe Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century.

The Book Doctors

Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are the co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping authors get successfully published, and co-authors of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It and Market It…Successfully! Arielle is also an agent-at-large at The Levine Greenberg Literary Agency as well as the author of eight books. David is the bestselling author of thirteen books, the last of which appeared on the cover of The Sunday New York Times Book Review. They’ve appeared everywhere from NPR to USA Today, and have taught their workshops on how to get published everywhere from Stanford University to Smith College.

Critique Faculty:

Hannah Bowman, agent, Liza Dawson Associates

Hannah joined the agency in 2011. She has a B.A. from Cornell University, summa cum laude in English and magna cum laude in Mathematics. While a student, she spent four summers working in particle physics at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, before eventually deciding her true interest was books.

Hannah's clients include: Pierce Brown (Red Rising trilogy, Del Rey, Feb. 2014), Rosamund Hodge (Cruel Beauty, Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins, Jan. 2014), Brian Staveley (The Emperor's Blades, Tor, Jan. 2014), Dianna Anderson (Damaged Goods: Christian and Feminist in the War on Women, Jericho Books, Spring 2015)

In her free time, she plays the organ. Hannah specializes in commercial fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy, young adult fiction, women's fiction, cozy mysteries, and romance. Hannah is also interested in nonfiction, particularly in the areas of mathematics, science and religion (especially history and sociology of Christianity).

Jennifer Carson, editor, Spencer Hill Press

Jennifer is the senior middle grade editor for Spencer Hill Press. She acquires middle grade, young adult and new adult manuscripts. Jennifer prefers historical fantasy with a dash of humor and quirky characters. Books she’s signed from SCBWI members include: Deadwood, Freaks of Nature and Almost Magic . Look for them in 2014-2015!

Alexandra Cooper, editor, HarperCollins Children's Books

Alexandra Cooper is an executive editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she is excited about building her list with authors including Margo Rabb, Leila Howland, and Kathryn Holmes. Previously, she worked at Simon & Schuster for thirteen years, beginning there as an editorial assistant. At S&S, she was fortunate to work on a number of outstanding books, including the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano; the Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick; Friday Never Leaving by Vikki Wakefield; and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (an ALA Top 10 BFYA pick) and Second Chance Summer (also named to the BFYA list), both by Morgan Matson. Alexandra is especially looking for singular voices and exquisite prose, and characters that are familiar enough to be relatable yet distinctive enough to keep her interested.

Sara Crowe, agent, Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Sara Crowe is an agent at Harvey Klinger, Inc., where she represents children's books and adult fiction. Her clients include NYT Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, USA Today Bestselling author Jeff Hirsch, as well as Megan Frazer Blakemore, Nina LaCour, Michael Northrop, Evan Roskos, Lisa Schroeder, Kristen Tracy, and Dan Wells. She started her career at The Wylie Agency in New York, and then moved to their London office. She came to Harvey Klinger in 2005, after working as a Foreign Rights Agent at Trident Media Group

Kaylee Davis, agent, Dee Mura Literary Agency

Growing up in The Middle of Nowhere, Ohio, Kaylee’s lifeline to sanity was the local library where she nurtured her love of all things literary. Kaylee received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. As an Associate Literary Agent with Dee Mura Literary, Kaylee is particularly interested in middle grade, young adult, science fiction, and fantasy. She also specializes in steampunk, espionage, coming-of-age, and social commentary. You can find her at and on twitter at @Kaylee_Davis

Nicole de las Heras, Art Director, Random House

Nicole de las Heras is currently an Associate Art Director at Random House Children’s Books. She loves finding new talent, and thinks one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is pairing the right artist with the right project and watching it come to life. She began her design career at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, and also held positions at North South/SeaStar Books and St. Martin’s Press before joining Random House Children’s Books as a Senior Designer in 2006. During her time at Random House, she has worked with such artists as Ruth Sanderson, Emily Winfield Martin, LeUyen Pham, Dave Horowitz, Greg Call, and Bob Dob. She designs both covers and interiors for a variety of formats, including picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels.

Kate DePalma, editor, Barefoot Books

A native of the South, Kate DePalma moved north in 2010 to join children's publisher Barefoot Books as the US Editor in their Cambridge, MA office. In 2012, she became Managing Editor of Barefoot Books. While at Barefoot, Kate has had the pleasure of helping to create hit titles like The Adventures of Achilles, the Greek Myths series and Lola's Fandango. A graduate of Loyola University New Orleans and University of Texas, Kate got her start in publishing as a Fellow in Copyediting at the University of Texas Press, and went on to serve as the Editorial and Marketing Coordinator for Atlanta-based children's publisher Peachtree Publishers prior to moving to Massachusetts.

Diane Earley, Art Director, Charlesbridge

Diane Earley is the Associate Art Director at Charlesbridge Publishing where she art directs and designs a variety of titles from picture books to young adult novels. In her 20+ years with Charlesbridge, Diane has designed hundreds of books and worked with many wonderful illustrators, including Peter H. Reynolds, Wendell Minor, Christine Davenier, Grace Lin, and Don Tate. She has a special interest in middle grade history.

Julie Ham, editor, Charlesbridge

Julie has been an editor at Charlesbridge for nearly five years. She is on the lookout for contemporary, realistic middle grade novels as well as fiction and nonfiction picture book sports stories. She also likes character-driven tales with school and library appeal. Julie has an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College and currently teaches adult writing courses at her local community center

Carter Hasegawa, editor, Candlewick Press

Carter, assistant editor at Candlewick Press, came to children's publishing in a roundabout way. After a decade of working in grocery, followed by a two-year stint in textbook publishing, he left everything behind to follow his passion for children's books and earned his MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College. Since 2008, he's been a children's bookseller at various independent bookstores in Seattle and in Cambridge, which he still continues to do part-time when not at Candlewick. Some of his favorite, non-Candlewick books include: The Notorious Benedict Arnold, Jellicoe Road, Eleanor & Park, Ready Player One, Three Times Lucky, and many, MANY others. Basically anything that has a great voice, is a good story, and is "unputdownable."

Mandy Hubbard, agent, D4EO Literary

Mandy joined D4EO literary in February 2010, specializing in YA and MG fiction, and has since expanded to include new adult and romance. She’s discovered and sold many debut authors, including Emily Murdoch, Jessica Martinez, and Lanie (Lee) Bross. She's also the author of 9 teen novels, written under her own name and the pen name Amanda Grace. Her titles include Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, Fool Me Twice, and But I Love Him. She's currently living happily ever after near Seattle, Washington, where she watches too much MTV and stays up too late. Learn more at or follow Mandy on twitter: @MandyHubbard

Melissa Kim, editor, Islandport Press

Melissa is the children's book editor at Islandport Press, an award-winning regional publisher based in Maine. She has a BA from Brown University and a Masters in Journalism from NYU, and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 20 years in New York and London.

Jennifer Laughran, agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Jennifer began her career at Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007, after working as a long-time children's bookseller and buyer. Her clients include Kate Messner, Daniel Pinkwater, Ilsa J. Bick, Vivian Vande Velde, Linda Urban and Sarah Darer Littman, to name a few. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books... and her true favorites are all of the above.

Kendra Levin, editor, Viking Children’s Books

Kendra is a senior editor at Viking Children's Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, where she has spent over eight years working on a wide range of children's literature from picture books to young adult novels. Prior to that, she worked at Scholastic. Kendra also helps writers as a teacher and certified life coach ( Authors she edits include Julie Berry, Carol Goodman, Jon Skovron, Susane Colasanti, David A. Adler, Deborah Freedman, and others.

Laurent Linn, Art Director, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Laurent is an Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. He began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop, creating characters for various productions, including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. With Henson over a decade, he worked primarily on Sesame Street, becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Laurent art directs picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels, including  I, Too, Am America, by Langston Hughes, illus. by Bryan Collier; Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow, illus. by Leeza Hernandez; The Scarecrow’s Dance, by Jane Yolen, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Laurent is Creative Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Twitter: @LaurentLinn

Lauren MacLeod, agent, Strothman Agency

Lauren joined the Strothman Agency in 2007. She primarily represents Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction, in addition to a select few adult narrative nonfiction projects. Notable clients include Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate trilogy, Hélène Boudreau, author of the Real Mermaids series and the Estate of two-time Caldecott Medal winner Barbara Cooney. Her most up-to-date submission information can be found at She tweets under @Lauren_MacLeod

Emily Mitchell, agent, Wernick and Pratt Agency

Emily lives in Massachusetts because of Anastasia Krupnik: after reading the eponymous classic dozens of times as a child, she got it in her head that going to college in Massachusetts was something she should do, so she did. Emily began her career at Sheldon Fogelman Agency, handling submissions, subsidiary rights, and coffee. She then spent eleven years at Charlesbridge Publishing as senior editor, contracts manager, and director of corporate strategy. At Charlesbridge her books included A Mother’s Journey by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Alan Marks (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book); Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein by Susan Goldman Rubin (a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction finalist and winner of the Sydney Taylor Jewish Book Award); the Aggie and Ben series of early readers by Lori Ries, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer; and  Flying the Dragon, a debut middle-grade novel by Natalie Dias Lorenzi. After a brief post-MBA stint in the non-publishing world, Emily is thrilled to be back where she belongs in children’s books. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard, a master’s in secondary English education from Syracuse, and an MBA from Babson.

Ammi-Joan Paquette, agent, Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Joan is a senior agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, representing all types of children's and YA literature. She is also the author of the novels Paradox  (Random House, 2013), Rules for Ghosting (Walker, 2013), and Nowhere Girl (Walker, 2011), and the picture books Ghost in the House (Candlewick, 2013), Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo (Clarion, 2013), and The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids (Tanglewood, 2012). In her agent acquisitions, Joan is particularly drawn to richly voiced, unforgettable characters and settings, as well as tightly-paced, well-plotted stories with twists and turns that keep you guessing right until the end. Visit her on the web at:

Aubrey Poole, editor, Sourcebooks

Aubrey Poole got her start as an editor correcting her friends’ grammar in high school, an effort which naturally guaranteed instant popularity. She is now an associate editor at Sourcebooks, acquiring children’s books from picture books through young adult. Her first YA novel, Send by Patty Blount, was a Junior Library Guild pick. Her middle grade novel This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy Cavanaugh received a Starred review from Kirkus and is a Core Collection award winner. Aubrey hopes to continue shamelessly courting librarians with her forthcoming middle grade series The Ninja Librarians.

Meredith Rich, editor, Bloomsbury Spark

Once upon a time, Meredith Rich was a girl who regularly hit the limit of books she could take out from the library. Many years and careers later she finally figured out that she loves telling stories, and that helping other people tell their own stories is even better. Meredith is the digital editor for YA and NA at Bloomsbury Spark, launching this December. You can find her on twitter at @MeredithJHRich

Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers. Launching in December 2013, our outstanding list will feature multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. If you have a manuscript between 25 and 60k words long, then please check out our submissions guidelines here.

Kathleen Rushall, agent, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Kathleen represents a wide range of children¹s literature and nonfiction at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She started as an intern at the Sandra Dijkstra Agency, and then spent two years at Waterside Productions agency. She looks forward to garnering fresh voices, strong narratives, and whimsical tales in all areas of young adult literature including contemporary romance, mysteries, historical fiction, and horror. She is open to all genres of YA, but has a soft spot for romance, edgy plots, humorous voices, and would love to find a dark mystery. Kathleen is also looking for unique, quirky picture books and all genres of middle grade fiction as well.

Kathleen graduated from Seattle University with her bachelor¹s degree in English and minor in fine arts. She moved back to her hometown of San Diego to earn her master¹s degree in English, specializing in children¹s literature, from San Diego State University. When she is not at her desk, Kathleen enjoys exploring new restaurants, dreaming of Ireland, and walking her Australian Shepherd, Finn.

Yolanda Scott, editor, Charlesbridge

Yolanda is the editorial director at Charlesbridge, where she has edited over 150 titles. She has worked with authors such as Eve Bunting, Tony Johnston, Kathryn Lasky, David McPhail, Wendell Minor, Linda Sue Park, and Jane Yolen. She is a co-founder of Children's Books Boston, a member of the Children's Book Council Diversity Committee, and a former executive board member of the Foundation for Children's Books. She has been a children's literature speaker and mentor at Boston College and Simmons College and is often a judge for the Boston Public Library Children's Writer-in-Residence Program. When Yolanda isn't editing, she performs as a singer and actress in the Boston area.

Brooks Sherman, agent, The Bent Agency

Brooks is a literary agent with the Bent Agency, which has represented over 30 New York Times bestselling titles, with many more on USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and other regional lists. He previously worked as an agent with FinePrint Literary Management and in the managing editorial department of Henry Holt and Company. He is seeking middle grade novels of all genres (but particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), picture books by author/illustrators with an emphasis on humor, and is open to young adult fiction of all types except paranormal romance. He would especially love to get his hands on dark and/or funny contemporary YA projects. 

Recent sales include Becky Albertalli's YA contemporary novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Balzer + Bray, Winter 2015), Adam Silvera's YA novel More Happy Than Not (Soho Teen, Fall 2015), Heidi Schulz’s middle grade adventure Hook's Revenge(Disney*Hyperion, September 2014) and her picture book Giraffes Ruin Everything (Bloomsbury Kids, Fall 2015), Emma Trevayne’s YA sci-fi thriller Chorus (Running Press Teens, May 2014) and her middle grade Victorian fantasy Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times  (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May 2014), author/illustrator Sam Garton’s picture book I Am Otter  (Balzer + Bray, April 2014), and novelist Sean Ferrell’s debut picture book I Don't Like Koala(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Spring 2015). 

Brooks is active on Twitter, where he tweets publishing news, advice, and horrible puns from @byobrooks

Alison Weiss, editor, Egmont USA

Alison joined Egmont USA in 2008, shortly after the international media company opened its doors in the United States. She has worked with New York Times best-selling author, Jessica Verday (the forthcoming Of Monsters and Madness series), Penny Warner (The Code Busters Club series, winner of the 2012 Agatha Award), Tony Abbott (Goofballs series), Kristen Lippert-Martin (Tabula Rasa , Fall 2014), Micol Ostow (Amity, Fall 2014), Lindsay Eland (A Summer of Sundays), Mike A. Lancaster (Human.4; The Future We Left Behind), Kristina McBride (One Moment), and Lynn Kiele Bonasia (Countess Nobody). She also assisted on Christopher Myers's H.O.R.S.E., which won a 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor. Alison tweets for Egmont @EgmontUSA

Workshop Faculty

Sarah Albee - Sarah Albee's latest book is called Bugged: How Insects Changed History (Walker 2014). It's a follow up to Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up . She has two more nonfiction titles under contract, to be published in 2015. Sarah also writes fiction, including, most recently, several middle grade series with Simon and Schuster. She has been an editor at Sesame Street and a freelance newspaper illustrator. You can visit her history blog at

Taryn Albright - Taryn Albright is a freelance editor whose clients have signed book deals with houses like Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Harlequin. Since 2011, she has worked with presses, agencies, and authors as an assistant. Her YA fiction is represented by Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency.

R. W. (Robert) Alley - I know that I began drawing sometime around age two because my parents saved everything. However, I’ve been drawing professionally for only the last thirty-four years. This may have been because I didn’t know I wanted to draw for a living until I graduated from Haverford College and realized that what I liked to do more than anything else was to tell stories through pictures. I began by telling very, very short stories on the staff of large (Hallmark) and small (Paramount) greeting card companies. After four years, I went freelance and began telling longer stories in books. Today I live and work in Barrington, Rhode Island with the lovely Zoë B. Alley, author, wife and mother of our two clever children, Cassandra and Max. Currently, I’m writing and illustrating a series of four picture books describing the fantastical adventures of four siblings as well as illustrating and co-authoring with Zoë a pair of picture books based on Enzo, the canine hero of the adult novel The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Please visit my website:  

Mary Jane Begin - Mary Jane Begin is a Professor in the Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she has taught for twenty-two years. Her latest teaching venture includes the Foundations of Color series through the online video tutorials with Mary Jane, based in Rhode Island, is an award-winning Illustrator and author known for her acclaimed picture books; Little Mouse’s Painting, A Mouse Told His Mother, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Willow Buds, tales inspired by Wind in the Willows, a classic tale that she also illustrated. Mary Jane's latest picture book, My Little Pony: Under the Sparking Sea was published by Little Brown Books in collaboration with Hasbro, April 2013.

Her work has been exhibited throughout the country with one woman shows in New York and Beverly Hills and the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, the RISD Museum, Society of Illustrators (NY), The DeCordova Museum, and Storyopolis in LA. Her work can be found at:

J.L. Bell - J. L. Bell is a writer, editor, and SCBWI Assistant RA who has spoken at several past New England conferences. As a young book editor he acquired and edited two New York Times bestsellers, and as a freelancer his projects have included a National Book Award-winning novel for young adults. He has published a wide range of fiction and nonfiction for both children and adults, including the activity book Soap Science, a large Revolutionary War study for the National Park Service, short comics, and reviews in The Horn Book. 

Julie Berry - Julie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. She now lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband and four young sons. All the Truth That’s in Me (September 2013, Viking) is Julie’s first YA novel. It has earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, BCCB, and the Horn Book. It’s been named a Junior Library Guild selection and been nominated for a YALSA BFYA award. It will be published in 12 international countries and territories. Julie is also the author of The Amaranth Enchantment and Secondhand Charm (Bloomsbury) and the Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys series (Penguin Books for Young Readers). Julie is under contract with Viking for a two-book series set in medieval France, as well as a two-book contract with Roaring Brook for a farcical Victorian murder mystery entitled The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (Fall 2014). Risk-taking defines Julie’s writing process, as the breadth of genres, voices, and subjects she works with can attest. Her works appear in audio and international versions worldwide.

Megan Blakemore - Megan Frazer Blakemore is the author of Secrets of Truth & Beauty (Disney-Hyperion 2009), The Water Castle (Walker 2013), and the upcoming The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill (Bloomsbury, 2014). She lives in Maine with her family where she reads, writes, hikes, swims, and dreams of keeping bees.

Sarah Brannen - Sarah S. Brannen is the author and illustrator of Uncle Bobby's Wedding, which was one of the most challenged books in the US in 2008. In addition, she has illustrated over a dozen picture books, including Feathers: Not Just For Flying (Charlesbridge); The Very Beary Tooth Fairy (Scholastic); At Home In Her Tomb (Charlesbridge); The Pied Piper (Sterling) and the forthcoming Madame Martine, which she also wrote.

Ed Briant - Author and illustrator Ed Briant has illustrated or written (or both) eleven books, and creates the popular, weekly comic strip, Tales from the Slush Pile. His most recent young adult novel,  I Am (Not) the Walrus, was published by Flux in 2012. Most recently he has illustrated the Petal and Poppy series of books for beginning readers, for Houghton Mifflin. He teaches Creative writing at Rowan University in New Jersey.

Loree Griffin Burns - Loree Griffin Burns channels her passion for science and discovery into fascinating non-fiction for young readers. Her books Tracking Trash (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), The Hive Detectives (Houghton Mifflin, 2010) and Citizen Scientists (Holt, 2012) garnered several honors, including ALA Notable designations, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, a Green Earth Book Award and two SB&F Prizes. 2014 will bring the publication of her first picture book and her next Scientists in the Field title.

Laurie Calkhoven - When she got her first library card and was set free among the picture books, Laurie Calkhoven decided she wanted to be a librarian. Later she realized that that were actual people who created those books on the shelves, and she decided to be one of them. Now she is the author of more than 50 books for young readers. Laurie writes for American Girl’s Innerstar University series as well as historical action/adventure novels for her own series, Boys of Wartime. Her most recent work of nonfiction is I Grew Up to be President. She lives in New York City and can frequently be found at the library.

MarcyKate Connolly - MarcyKate Connolly is an author and nonprofit administrator who lives in New England with her husband and pugs, and writes weird little books. She’s an SCBWI member represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, and her debut upper MG/Tween fantasy novel, Monstrous, will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in Winter 2015. She’s also had short stories published by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in the Spring Fevers and Summer’s Double Edge anthologies. She used to be the most disorganized writer ever, then Scrivener came along and revolutionized her writing life. She’s been a Scrivenervangelist ever since.

Russ Cox - Russ Cox was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the back woods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like a television set or running water, he spent his time drawing and whittling away the hours. After dismantling his grandfather's lawn mower engine, and without a clue on how to get it back together, he soon realized that he did not have an automotive bone in his body so he kept drawing. After graduating from art school, with a portfolio in his hand, he ventured into the world of design and illustration. He opened his own studio, Smiling Otis Studio, where he presently specializes in illustration for children. He has illustrated books for Capstone, Regnery Kids, Outhouse Ink, Islandport Press, and Caterpillar Books. When not drawing, running amok in the snow, or training their four cats to sing Bohemian Rhapsody, Russ enjoys some quiet time, working on his picture book stories. He also enjoys playing the banjo but his wife would prefer him to play the triangle or build a sound proof room. Visit Russ at

Karen Day - Karen Day is the author of award-winning middle grade novels Tall Tales, No Cream Puffs, and A Million Miles From Boston . She has also given workshops for the Cape Cod Writing Center Conference, the Chautauqua Institute and Grub Street in Boston. You can reach her at:

Erin Dionne - Erin Dionne writes adventurous, funny books for tweens. They all have long titles. When she's not writing, she teaches at Montserrat College of Art, moms two kids, manages the expectations of the disgruntled family dog, and spends an inappropriate amount of time on Facebook.

Frank Dormer - So one day Frank is looking out his window, and he sees socks on the ground. And there are no feet in them. So he yells, as loud as I can, "you kids better put on those socks or Socksquatch will get you!" So after that he thought about it, and realized that his kids were just having fun, and dad was wayyy too over the top with the yelling.

But then he thought this might be a good book for kids. So Frank became the author illustrator of Socksquatch, published by Henry Holt. Frank has also illustrated many other books (without socks in them) like the Aggie and Ben series of easy readers published by Charlesbridge, and the middle grade series The Adventures of Jo Schmo, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. But there was another time Frank thought it might be fun to write a story about a pen that wouldn't write what people wanted it to. And alas, that book became The Obstinate Pen, which got mentioned in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Terry Farish - Terry Farish is the author of The Good Braider, an ALA Best Book, winner of the Boston Authors Club Young Reader Award, and Lupine Award. Terry is also the author of Flower Shadows set during the Vietnam War.  With Nepali-speaking refugees from Bhutan, she produced a bilingual folktale, The Story of a Pumpkin and is a consultant for "I'm Your Neighbor," a project based in Portland using children's literature about new immigrants to build understanding in communities. Visit her at

Deborah Freedman - Deborah Freedman was once an architect, but now prefers building worlds in picture books. She is the author and illustrator of Scribble (Knopf), and Blue Chicken and The Story of Fish and Snail (Viking).

Kathryn Gargolinski Hulick  - Kathryn Gargolinski Hulick is a former Peace Corps volunteer who writes for children because at the age of ten she realized that was the perfect age to be, and some part of her listened well and never got any older. Kathryn writes the Science Scoops column for Odyssey science magazine and has published over 40 feature articles. Her book The Economics of Making A Video Game is forthcoming from Crabtree Publishing, she completed her first article for the Science News for Students website in 2013, and she is also a contributing author for Quiz Whiz 4 from National Geographic: Kids. In addition to many nonfiction projects, Kathryn also enjoys working on fiction. As editor for the Beacon Street Girls book series, Kathryn published four titles, including Sweet Thirteen in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, Kathryn co-directed the New England SCBWI conference.

A.C. Gaughen - A. C. Gaughen is the author of Scarlet and Lady Thief. She serves as the Director of Girls’ Leadership for Boston GLOW, a non-profit organization that creates opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the greater Boston area. She holds a masters degree in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she is pursuing her Masters in Education from Harvard University.

Bruce Hale - Edgar-nominated author Bruce Hale is passionate about inspiring reluctant readers to open books (and read them).  He has written or illustrated nearly 30 seriously funny books for children, including the award-winning Chet Gecko Mysteries series and Snoring Beauty (one of Oprah’s Recommended Reads for Kids), as well as his two new series, Clark the Shark and School for S.P.I.E.S.

An actor and Fulbright Scholar in Storytelling, Bruce is in demand as a speaker, having presented at conferences, universities, and schools nationally and internationally, and from the Maui Writers Conference to the Surrey (British Columbia) International Writers Conference.  He is a member of the National Speakers Association, the premier organization for professional speakers.  His acting resume includes regional commercials, theater, and an independent film, The Ride. Bruce also sings with Mezcal Martini, a latin jazz combo in Santa Barbara.

Abigail Halpin - Abigail Halpin is an illustrator and graphic designer living in Southern Maine. She's illustrated both middle grade and picture book titles including Penny Dreadful, Bella's Rules and The Problem With Being Slightly Heroic. For many of the titles she's worked on, she's created hand rendered type as well, an opportunity to blend her love of illustration and design. She's currently illustrating the Oh My Godmother series by Barbara Brauner and James Iver Matteson (Disney Hyperion).

Jim Hill - Flaming Snot Rockets! Jim Hill is a mild mannered designer by day, and children's book creator by night. He writes middle-grade and young adult stories packed with humor, heart and lots of action. He is a member of SCBWI, the Vice-President of the Cape Cod Writers Center and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing for Children & Young Adults from VCFA in January 2014. Jim lives on Cape Cod with his wife and son within walking distance of an excellent playground, the village library and his favorite ice cream shop.

Mark Peter Hughes - Mark Peter Hughes’s award-winning novels include Lemonade Mouth, A Crack in the Sky, I am the Wallpaper, and Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up. The Disney Channel movie musical of his novel Lemonade Mouth was the #1 cable movie of 2011. Mark was born in England, grew up in Rhode Island, and is on the faculty of the Rhode Island College ASTAL Writing Institute.

Anna Eleanor Jordan (Boll) - Anna Jordan (Boll), author/illustrator and educator, also runs a school and library booking business for authors and illustrators called Creative Bookings, and writes freelance curriculum for authors, illustrators and publishers. Her poetry is published in Highlights High Five, Babybug, and Ladybug magazines. Her illustrations appear in the picture book Fufu and Fresh Strawberries (The Telling Room). Anna has an MFA and Picture Book Certificate from Vermont College of Fine Arts and an MSEd from the University of Southern Maine and is represented by Alexandra Penfold of Upstart Crow Literary. Find her on the internet at Creative Chaos (, Creative Bookings (, or Twitter @annawritedraw

Sashi Kaufman
- Sashi Kaufman is a middle school English and science teacher in Portland, Maine. The Other Way Around (Carolrhoda Lab, Spring 2014) is her first novel. She is represented by Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency.

Marty Kelley - I am a recovering second grade teacher and current full-time author and illustrator. After attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Sheridan College of Visual Arts in Toronto, I went on to get my teaching degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Now, as an author and illustrator who visits a lot of schools, I am in the enviable position of actually using what I learned during all those years of college.

So far, I’ve illustrated 13 books, 8 of which I also wrote. The books I’ve written and illustrated range from early, rhyming picture books to middle grade chapter books. In addition to my work writing and illustrating, I get to visit a lot of schools. I generally visit between 50-75 schools each year as either a guest author/illustrator or as an Artist in Residence where I work on writing and art programs with the students and teachers.

For the past several years I have also worked in collaboration with award winning children’s musician, Steve Blunt, playing drums and harmonica in music performances, making CD’s, and desperately trying to be a rock star.

Jo Knowles - Jo Knowles is the author of Living With Jackie Chan, See You At Harry’s, Pearl, Jumping Off Swings, and Lessons from a Dead Girl. Some of her awards include two SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards, the PEN New England Children's Book Discovery Award, A New York Times Editor’s Pick and Notable Book, and YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. Jo has a master's degree in children's literature and teaches writing for young adults in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University.

Lisa Kramer - Lisa A. Kramer is a freelance writer, theatre director, and educator. After graduating from Smith College with a double major in Theatre and English Language & Literature she spent some time teaching English conversation in Japan. This led her to expanding her understanding of theatre and getting an MFA in directing from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa as well as a Ph.D. in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University. In recent years, however, her love and passion for writing has taken a larger role in her life. She began to expand her teaching to include writing courses for college students, in addition to theatre and honors class. Several years ago, Lisa began a blog called Woman Wielding Words, which has extended her audience, as well as the topics she’s interested in writing about. Lisa is currently based in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter and two dogs. She is living the freelance lifestyle: writing books and short stories, blogging, teaching theatre classes to all ages, directing, and working as adjunct faculty for universities throughout New England.

Renee Kurilla - Renee Kurilla is an illustrator, dabbling author, and Lead Artist at FableVision Studios.

She got her start as a character designer on the Discovery Kids TV adaptation of Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio. She has since illustrated many books for kids including Margarita Engle’s Tree Dancers: Orangutanka (2015), covers for Cassie Water's Pool Girls (2012), and 4 titles in Stuart J. Murphy’s I See I Learn (2010).

Her work at FableVision has contributed to multiple honors, including the graphic novel Zebrafish (2008), a Junior Library Guild selection, and the Ranger Rick's Tree House app for National Wildlife Federation, which won a 2013 Parents’ Choice Award.

Renee lives just outside Boston, MA with her husband and fluffy cat, her primary sketchbook inspiration.

Janet Lawler - Janet’s 2014 publications include Love Is Real (HarperCollins) and Rain Forest Colors (National Geographic). Her fiction and non-fiction picture books have been published by specialty, mid- and major publishers. If Kisses Were Colors (Dial) was a CBOMC selection and has been translated into four languages.Tyrannoclaus (HarperCollins) appeared in CBOMC and Scholastic’s SeeSaw Book Club. Janet loves to write about family, nature, and silly things. Learn more at

Patricia Leaver - Trisha Leaver is the author of The Secrets We Keep, a YA Contemporary coming winter of 2015 from FSG/ Macmillan and Creed, a co-authored YA Psychological Horror coming fall 2014 from Flux. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Social Work. Having worked in the social service field as child advocate and youth counselor, Trisha has had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing some of the blacker shades of life and the honor of witnessing some of the most amazing stories of recovery and triumph. She draws upon these experiences to weave stories that show the depth and courage of the human spirit in today’s youth. Her experience in writing YA suspense thrillers series, emotionally-driven YA contemporary, and YA horror fiction lends itself to crafting endings that conclude the conflict in the non-traditional happily-ever-after way. Much to her agent and editors' chagrin, Trisha has yet to write a HEA, preferring to illustrate stark realities of true life to bubble gum and cotton candy. Trisha resides on Cape Cod with her husband and three children. When not writing or managing her children's insane carpool schedule, she works as a freelance editor and an editorial intern for Bree Ogden D4EO literary.

Dawn Metcalf - Dawn Metcalf is a writer, blogger, advocate and public speaker with a penchant for dark chocolate and colored Post-It notes. Author of Luminous (Dutton, 2011) and the Twixt Novels, Indelible and Invisible (Harlequin Teen, August, 2013 & April, 2014), she's proud to Pay It Forward as a member and presenter at NESCBWI. She invites everyone to share insights, inspiration, and geekery on her website,

Kate Milford – Kate Milford is the author of The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands, The Kairos Mechanism, and the forthcoming Bluecrowne , Greenglass House and The Left-Handed Fate. She is also an occasional travel correspondent for the Nagspeake Board of Tourism and Culture ( Kate hails from Brooklyn, New York by way of Annapolis, Maryland and sometimes remembers to update her website at

Lynda Mullaly Hunt - Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of the middle-grade novel, One For the Murphys (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), winner of The Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature, an ABA New Voices Pick, an Editor’s Choice Book with Scholastic Book Clubs, and appears on 13 state lists. Lynda has also directed the SCBWI-NE Whispering Pines Retreat for eight years and is a former teacher and Scenario Writing coach. Her second novel, Alphabet Soup, will be released in spring, 2015. Lynda lives with her husband, two kids, impetuous beagle and beagle-loathing cat.

Patricia Newman - Patricia Newman is the author of several fiction and nonfiction trade books, school and library titles, and magazine articles for children, including Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a Junior Library Guild Selection; Jingle the Brass , a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Smithsonian-recommended book; and Nugget on the Flight Deck, a California Reading Association Eureka! Silver Honor Book for Nonfiction. She is a frequent speaker at schools, libraries, and conferences and volunteers as a regional advisor for SCBWI California North/Central. Visit her at

Anne Sibley O'Brien is a writer and illustrator with 31 published children's books. She writes the column, "The Illustrator's Perspective," for the SCBWI Bulletin. Since she stumbled on the work of Barbara Sher (Wishcraft: How to Get the Life You Want) as a college student, she's been using a variety of planning tools to shape her personal and professional life. Recently she attended a professional strategic planning training for artists offered by Creative Capitol, on which this workshop is based.

Maria Padian - Maria Padian is a young adult fiction author who has published three novels with Knopf/Random House: Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress (an ALA Best Book for Young Readers in 2009); Jersey Tomatoes are the Best, and Out of Nowhere. She has also worked as a freelance writer and essayist, a broadcast journalist for commercial and public radio, and a congressional press secretary. Her most recent book, Out of Nowhere, is a multicultural novel inspired by actual events which have taken place in her home state of Maine. To learn more about her, visit

Lisa Papademetriou - Lisa Papademetriou is the author of the Accidentally Fabulous and Confectionately Yours series and co-author (with James Patterson) of the New York Times bestselling Middle School: My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar. But she has also had a bunch of flops that she is not mentioning here. (She'll tell you all about it in her workshop on failure.) She is currently enrolled in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Mitali Perkins - Mitali Perkins ( has written several award-winning books for young readers, including Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices (Candlewick), Rickshaw Girl and Bamboo People (Charlesbridge), and Secret Keeper (Random House). After 13 winters in Boston, Mitali now lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on twitter: @mitaliperkins

Sheli Petersen - When children's book illustrator Sheli Petersen isn't drawing or painting, she's out riding her bike. The New England critters, wild flowers, light, and landscape she sees along her route inspire her art for timeless, historical, and contemporary tales. Her clients include McGraw-Hill, Renaissance House, and the National Heritage Museum. Her artwork has been exhibited at regional and national venues including the Currier Museum of Art, the Danforth Museum of Art, and Creative Quarterly. In addition to her traditional publishing projects and exhibitions, recently Sheli has delved into creating 2D game art for independent game developer Fussy Kid.

Katherine Quimby Johnson - Katherine Quimby has been interested in gender ever since she was a girl playing trucks with boys who refused to join her tea parties. The newest member of the RA team for the New England SCBWI, Kathy recently received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where her work was recognized with a Norma Fox Mazer Award. She is also a  co-recipient of the 2013 PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Kathy is an adjunct in the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, and also works as a freelance writer and editor.

Susan Kaye Quinn - Susan Kaye Quinn has published through a small press as well as successfully sold over 55,000 ebooks since indie publishing in 2011. She is the author of the bestselling YA SF Mindjack Trilogy, the Hugo-nominated adult future-noir Debt Collector serial, as well as Third Daughter, a steampunk fantasy romance. She also writes middle grade (Faery Swap) and non-fiction (the Indie Author Survival Guide). It's possible that she bores easily. Susan grew up in California, got a bunch of engineering degrees (B.S. Aerospace Engineering, M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering) and worked everywhere from NASA to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research). She designed aircraft engines, studied global warming, and held elected office (as a school board member). All her engineering skills come in handy when dreaming up dangerous mindpowers, future dystopic worlds, and slightly plausible steampunk inventions. Now that she writes novels, her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly sits around in her pajamas in awe that she gets paid to make stuff up. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.

Karen Rock - In a quest to provide her students with quality reading material, former English teacher Karen Rock read everything out there and couldn’t wait to add her voice to the genre. She graduated from Albany State University with a degree in English Literature and earned her Master’s in Secondary English Education at Plattsburgh State University. Now the author of the YA series, Camp Boyfriend, through Spencer Hill Press, Karen is thrilled to pen stories that teens can relate to. Her first book in the series, Camp Boyfriend, was released in September 2013 and Book #2 in the series, Camp Payback, is released in April 2014. Additionally, Karen is a Harlequin Heartwarming author and her latest novel His Hometown Girl, is out in March, 2013. She is a long time SCBWI and RWA member. When she’s not busy writing, Karen enjoys watching The Walking Dead, Supernatural, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathons, cooking her nona’s family Italian recipes, and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter and two King Charles Cavalier cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch,” though they know a lot about love.

Ruth Sanderson - Over the course of her long career Ruth Sanderson has illustrated 80 books, 12 of which she authored as well. Perhaps her best known books for children are her fairy tale retellings - The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Goldilocks, Cinderella, the Snow Princess, and Rose Red and Snow White. Sleeping Beauty, retold by Jane Yolen was her first illustrated fairy tale. The Golden Mare, The Firebird, and The Magic Ring received the Texas Bluebonnet Award, and The Young Hoosier Award was given to her original fairy tale The Enchanted Wood. Ruth lives in Easthampton, MA, speaks at schools and conferences, and is the co-director of a brand new MFA in Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating at Hollins University in Virginia, taken over the course of 4-5 summers. She is the Illustrator co-Coordinator of NESCBWI. Her website is

Susan Savory
- Susan Savory earned her BFA in illustration from Parsons School of Design and has been a children's bookseller/book buyer since 1998.

Lynne Shook - Lynne Shook, PhD, Psychotherapist and Writer has over 30 years’ experience as a child and family therapist, with a significant part of that time devoted to counseling professional writers and understanding the writer’s psyche--her clients’ as well as her own. She’s currently finishing her first work of fiction, a middle grade novel, The Beautiful Everything.

Alexandra Siy - Alexandra Siy writes nonfiction books for children that fuse science and art through the use of scientific imagery and creative design. She is the author of many nonfiction books for children including Cars on Mars, which was named a Top 10 Science-Tech Booklist Online, Sneeze! which was awarded the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for Children, and Bug Shots, recipient of the Eureka! Children’s Book Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Her newest title, Spiderbook: Friends on the Web will be out in the fall. Alexandra was awarded the SCBWI nonfiction work-in-progress research grant to fund her photography of ancient bristlecone pines—the subject of her current work. Please visit her at

AJ Smith - Sometimes animator/designer, sometimes author/illustrator AJ Smith specializes in silly stories and funny drawings for kids (and immature adults). His picture book Even Monsters ( roars onto shelves this spring. Check out his work and beautiful, bald head at

Anna Staniszewski - Anna Staniszewski is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series and the Dirt Diary series, both published by Sourcebooks, as well three forthcoming picture books from Henry Holt. She was the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Anna teaches graduate courses on creative writing and children's literature at Simmons College.

Aaron Starmer - Aaron Starmer is the author of DWEEB , The Only Ones and The Riverman. In a previous life, he worked as an editor for an online bookseller and an operations director for an African safari outfitter. He lives with his wife and daughter in Hoboken, New Jersey. Visit him at

Melissa Stewart - Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 150 nonfiction books for children, including Feathers: Not Just for Flying; No Monkeys, No Chocolate; Under the Snow; and Animal Grossapedia. Melissa maintains the blog Celebrate Science ( and contributes a monthly post to the I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) blog ( She serves on the board of advisors for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Keene State College Children's Literature Festival.

Kate Sullivan - Kate Sullivan likes to play around with words, music and pictures.  She is a storyteller who uses a multi-media approach to touch audiences.

A linguist by training (BS in French and Latin), she is also an award-winning composer and performer.  Her one-woman theatre piece about Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill won the Independent Reviewers of New England prize and her Fugitum Est, a fleeting fugue for strings, was premiered by The Kremlin Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.  Her setting of Pinocchio for string quartet, narrator, hammer and chisel has been performed in Providence, Boston and Durham, NC.  She has also given many solo performances, from Sculler’s Jazz Club in Boston to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York, always singing and playing, anything from the piano to the musical saw.

Kate has been painting for many years, everything from portraits and landscapes to cartoons.  Her writings include a travel memoir, a screenplay, short stories and poetry.

For more about Kate’s music and art, visit Taunton River Studios Kate lives with her husband in Newburyport, MA, a little city on the ocean, where they enjoy a country mouse-city mouse life.  Between them, they have eight children and a growing gaggle of grandchildren. She has written and illustrated a picture book, On Linden Square, published by Sleeping Bear Press, Ann Arbor, MI. For more info, go to:

Nova Ren Suma - Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels Imaginary Girls (Penguin/Dutton, 2011) and 17 & Gone (Penguin/Dutton, 2013). She also wrote the middle-grade novel Dani Noir (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, 2009), reissued as Fade Out for a YA audience (Simon Pulse, 2012). She’s now at work on a new novel, The Walls Around Us, coming in 2015 from Algonquin YR. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has taught YA novel writing with Mediabistro and workshops at SCBWI conferences and elsewhere.

Marvin Terban - Called a "master of children's wordplay" by ALA Booklist and "Mr. English for Kids" by the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club, Marvin Terban is Scholastic’s Professor of Grammar. He has written thirty-eight books for young readers, three of which have sold over a million copies each. Marvin is widely recognized as an expert in English language arts for young readers. No author in this country has written more books for children directly related to the basic English skills stressed in the Common Core State Standards. Marvin is a very long-time member of SCBWI, and for many years co-produced the annual New York City conference where he can still be seen every year. He was SCBWI's Member of the Year for 2005. Throughout his long career as an author, he has kept his even longer day job as a Latin, English, public speaking, and drama teacher in New York City. He has spoken at schools, colleges, and conferences all over the world.

Sarah Towle - Sarah Towle writes historical tales that bring the past to life through 1st-person storytelling and interactive games. Her concept combines the traditional power of narrative nonfiction with the latest in mobile technology and represents a new model in digital publishing. Her debut storyapp, Beware Madame Le Guillotine: A Revolutionary Tour of Paris (Time Traveler Tours), launched in July 2011 to rave reviews and numerous awards: Apple New & Noteworthy App, School Library Journal Top 10 2011 App; Teachers With Apps Top 10 2011 Tried & True Classroom App and 2013 App of Distinction; and Top 10 2012 World Youth & Student Educational Travel Confederation Educational Travel App.

Following the app’s success with educators, Sarah re-released the story as an interactive eBook in 2013. Published by Time Traveler Tales, it is now available in iBookstores worldwide in both French and English. Sarah’s second title, Decade of the Dead, is due for release as an interactive book in 2014. Sarah blogs about writing, app development, tech in education, and digital publishing at She has presented at industry events in Europe and North America, including SCBWI-FR, SCBWI-Europolitan, SCBWI-LA and O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing.

Yvonne Ventresca - Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca created computer programs, taught Microsoft Office to college students, and wrote video scripts on how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of computer code. Yvonne’s debut YA novel, Pandemic, will be available May 2014 (Sky Pony Press).

Nancy Werlin - Nancy Werlin is the author of 9 young adult novels that range from fantasy (the New York Times bestseller Impossible) to suspense (the Edgar award winner The Killer's Cousin) to contemporary (the National Book Award finalist The Rules of Survival). Her latest is the fantasy novel Unthinkable. Visit her website at

Volunteer Bios

Kristine Carlson Asselin - Conference Co-Director. Kristine Carlson Asselin writes contemporary Young Adult & Middle Grade fantasy. She has written fourteen nonfiction books for the school library market with Capstone Press and Abdo Publishing, the newest (Dangerous Diseases ) coming out in February 2014. She is one of the co-directors of SCBWI-New England this year, and her debut Young Adult novel, Any Way You Slice It, is due from Bloomsbury Spark in late fall 2014. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Joannie (Felde) Duris - As the Door Prize Coordinator for the NESCBWI conference, Joannie is always looking for new and fun ways to surprise people with a prize. She is a psychiatric nurse who has had stories and articles published in several national children's magazines, and on, a creative writing website for children. She is now focused on writing funny early chapter books that feature unique, quirky characters. A longtime SCBWI member, she also leads a critique group in Concord, MA. She lives in central Massachusetts with her husband and three spoiled cats.

Josh Funk - Co-coordinator of the Poetry Slam/Open Mic Night and A/V Coordinator. JOSH FUNK lives in New England with his family. He is the author of the forthcoming picture books LADY PANCAKE AND SIR FRENCH TOAST (Sterling) and DEAR DRAGON: A Pen Pal Tale (Viking/Penguin). He writes picture books, not bios. Sorry. Find out moderately more information at

Susan Garrett - In her role as Bookseller Coordinator, Susan Garrett gets to enjoy two favorite things—the heft of real books in her hands and the warm and cluttered ambiance of an independent bookstore. When she is not reading or counseling children, Susan writes the kinds of  novels she loves best—ones featuring feisty characters encountering unusual adventures.

Heather (Gerry) Kelly - Heather Kelly is the Volunteer Coordinator for the NESCBWI conference. While exploring the fabric of the universe by writing YA and MG novels, Heather runs The Writers' Loft, a supportive writing community in Sherborn, MA. She believes that writing is too hard to do alone and encourages anyone who needs a critique partner or a quiet place to write to stop by the Loft. 

Lorettajo Kapinos - Lorettajo has been a nurse for fifteen years in the Springfield area. She spent more than a decade pretending she wasn’t a writer, until one day she discovered a passion writing for teens. Today, Loretta can be found educating nurses and blogging about her adventures. In 2011, Loretta co-authored the book, Springfield Tornado: Stories From the Heart to help raise money for local tornado relief.  She’s an avid reader of Young Adult fiction (mostly realistic) and running addict. Learn more about Lorettajo on her websiteFace Book page or find her coordinating all the evening activities at the 2014 NESCBWI conference.

Deborah Kreiser - Deborah is the Book Signing Coordinator for the NESCBWI conference. She writes in MetroWest Boston, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Her debut YA novel, Three Wishes, will be published by Astraea Press in April 2014. When not on her laptop, Deborah sings a cappella and teaches nature programs.

Jen Malone - co-coordinator, #AskAMentor Roundtables - Jen Malone is a middle grade and young adult author. Her debut At Your Service publishes with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin MIx in August 2014.

Stacy Mozer – Stacy Barnett Mozer is the critique group coordinator and ARA for NESCBWI. She is a middle-grade writer who is represented by Linda Epstein. Stacy has a Masters in Elementary Education from New York University and spends her days teaching third grade. She lives with her husband and two children in Stamford, Connecticut. You can find more about Stacy at and To find out more about open NE critique groups visit

Laura Pauling - Laura Pauling is the Agent Quick Query coordinator for the NESCBWI conference. She is the author of the exciting Circle of Spies Series and the time travel mystery, Heist. She writes to entertain and experience a great story…and be able to work in her pajamas and slippers. Prom Impossible, her newest YA contemporary will be released in May of 2014.  Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Blog ~ Facebook

Natasha Sass - Conference Co-Director - Natasha Sass lives in Massachusetts where she writes upper middle grade and young adult fiction as Ansha Kotyk. Gangsterland, her first novel, spent 3 weeks in the top 10 of hot new releases in children’s books about bullies, and is a story about a boy, a bully and a magical comic book that transports its readers to the gangster era of the 1920′s. Book #2 in the Ink Portal series follows the friends on a Geo-caching treasure hunt in a mysterious haunted mountain range, Apocalypse Junction will be out later this year. In addition to volunteering for NESCBWI, she was a founding host for #mglitchat, currently works with the Emblazon middle grade marketing group and is a champion for self-publishing.  Follow her on twitter: @anshakotyk or on her website:

Pam Vaughan - Conference Photographer -Pam writes picture books whose characters literally come to life, and middle grade sports stories featuring female athletes. While pursuing an English degree from Brandeis University, Pam managed to play 3 sports. She has been coaching, writing and playing sports ever since. Pam lives in central Mass with her husband, two daughters and a slight obsession with the Word of the Day. If she isn't writing, she is probably playing ice hockey or running in the trails with arguably the smartest (and cutest) dog in the world.

Jean Woodbury - Transportation Co-ordinator - Jean Woodbury spent her childhood on the island of Galveston, Texas, home to the pirate Jean Lafitte, and taught school in Hawaii before moving to Massachusetts and becoming a college dean. She joined SCBWI after retiring and began writing historical fiction focused on America’s cultural diversity. Jean has been a volunteer for NESCBWI since 2007. 

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