September 2008

Congratulations to Lois Castellano, a member of our Flemington NJCWG Critique Group as she enters the 4th round of the ABC Book Competition!  Out of 150 entries, Lois is now one of nine remaining writers vying for first prize - one-thousand published copies of her work, Zebra Berries for Mommy.

Femington Member Lois CastellanoLois holds a BS in chemical engineering from Cornell University, is married to husband Chris, and is the proud mom of two energetic boys, Ryan and Sean.  She has been writing short stories and poetry since high school, but her story, the only one selected from a New Jersey writer, is her first completed manuscript.

We invite all of our members to read Lois’s story, and to participate in the competition!  Voting is permitted daily.   The competition runs through October 5th; winners will be posted to the ABC Book Competition web site.

The ABC Book Competition is in its fourth year.

We wish Lois the very best!

Photo courtesy of Lois Castellano.

Future poets in conversation and on the move.An overcast sky couldn’t dampen the fun at the biannual 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival in Waterloo, New Jersey!  We happened to visit on “teen day,” and so the Festival - which is typically attended by dozens of luminaries and thousands of visitors - was especially bustling.

Tomorrow is the Festival’s final day; if you’re looking for a unique way to spend the weekend, we heartily encourage you to attend!


New Jersey SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor Laurie Wallmark will be offering a course starting this October on writing books for children.  The course will be offered at two venues, Raritan Valley Community College, and the Hunterdon County Adult and Continuing Education program at the Hunterdon Central High School:

Laurie Wallmark of NJ SCBWIWrite children’s books and maximize your chances of publication. We will discuss: picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, other genres, formatting your manuscript, hints for revising, writing a query letter, synopses, getting an agent, self vs. traditional publishing, avoiding scams, researching publishers, submission strategies, contracts, marketing your book, and more. This course includes a critique of your manuscript by the instructor.

~ Laurie Wallmark

Laurie is a familiar face to those of us actively involved in NJ SCBWI, volunteering much of her time to the organization and in helping to produce the wonderful publication Sprouts. We hope that all of our members will check out Laurie’s course!

~ Sheila

(Photo courtesy of Laurie Wallmark)

The ongoing Peddler’s Village scarecrow competition has produced dozens of delightful entries this year, and we’d like to introduce you to just a few… (more…)

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those lost on September 11, 2001.

The founders of The New Jersey Children’s Writer’s Guild wish to offer our deepest condolences to those touched by the 9/11 tragedy; you are in our thoughts on this special day.

The Writer’s Journey is a section of the NJCWG web site that will explore the challenges and rewards of endeavoring to be a professional, published writer. This column will feature thoughts from cofounders John and Sheila Wright as well as interviews with other writers and artists whose personal experiences will offer valuable insights to all who aspire to put pen to page.

Hello, Lyn, and welcome to The Writer’s Journey!

Children's Author Lyn Sirota in Garden

Children's Author Lyn Sirota


A big thanks to Barnes & Noble of Bridgewater and especially to Community Relations Manager Robyn Ulmer, who helped to make our first NJCWG Bridgewater Critique Group meeting a success!

We’re looking forward to spending many wonderful evenings in your cafe!

~ Sheila

The New Jersey Children’s Writer’s Guild invites you to visit Guilda, our very own “Jersey Girl,” at the now-ongoing Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Competition in Lahaska, Pennsylvania.

After our recent news update on the event, we thought it would be a terrific idea to join in the fun ourselves! Guilda is cooking up a little literary magic as entry number 18 near the famous Peddler’s Village Waterwheel.

Guilda the Scarecrow and John Wright

Guilda the Scarecrow and John Wright

Guilda is one of dozens of wonderfully creative scarecrows grouped into six different competition categories; the event makes a terrific day trip.  If you stop by, don’t forget to cast a vote!

NJCWG’s The Writer’s Journey will be publishing our interview with children’s writer Lyn Sirota Wednesday, September 10th.

Lyn has a fascinating and diverse background in children’s publishing, and we think that you will find this interview both interesting and informative!

Mark your calendar!

~ Sheila

Tristate area residents interested in festive fall fun should certainly check out the Peddler’s Village Annual Scarecrow Competition, which runs from September 8th to October 26th.  


A Scarecrow from the 2007 Peddler's Village Competition

A 2007 Scarecrow!


Dozens of families and various organizations compete for over $4,900 in prizes at the event, which in past years has proven to be quite a spectacle!

Perhaps we’ll even see one of your creations at the fair!

~ Joshua

“Hands down, the biggest thrill is to get a letter from a kid saying, I loved your book. Will you write me another one? ”
— Kate DiCamillo