Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI Montana Summer 2019 Newsletter

We have a creative summer planned for our region—an art contest, webinars, distance critiques, and a one-day retreat in Helena!

Illustrator’s Contest
Don’t forget about our art contest for a new header for our SCBWI Montana webpages. Deadline is May 15th, but in the interest of getting as much exposure as possible for our awesome Montana artists, as long as you contact Erika before the 15th with a work-in-progress, an extension may be granted if an extra week or two are needed to finish your artwork. The entries are coming in already and they are looking great! Full details are on the website or you can contact Erika with questions at Once all entries have been received, they will be posted in our Facebook page to be voted on by our members. Good luck!


Nonfiction Webinar
May 11, 2019, 1pm MST

Chris Eboch will deliver a 90 minute webinar “Nonfiction 101.” If you’ve ever thought about getting into the nonfiction market, this webinar is for you.

Chris Eboch is the author of over 60 books for children, including nonfiction and fiction, early reader through teen.  She is the author of You Can Write for Children: How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers, and Advanced Plotting. Her nonfiction titles, published under the name M. M. Eboch, include World War I Battlefield Medicine, A History of Film, Transportation Technology, and Chaco Canyon. Her articles for children have appeared in magazines such as ChemMatters and Appleseeds. She has also written educational test passages and questions. Chris lives in New Mexico and has spoken at SCBWI events around the world. Learn more at or her Amazon page, or check out her writing tips at her Write Like a Pro! blog.


Register before May 10 at
Price: $15/SCBWI members; $25/non SCBWI members


Distance Critiques
Are you aiming to improve your craft? Sign up for our summer Distance Critique program.

Our regional team will pair you with a published SCBWI member who will critique your manuscript, offering ways to help you improve your craft and refine your story.

What’s Included:
A written manuscript critique by a published author (via email)
A 10-15 minute follow up phone call with your critiquer

To participate:
1. Register with our regional advisor, Precious McKenzie, at Send her your manuscript in a Word doc. Submitted manuscripts must not exceed 10 pages.
2. Fee: $40. Make your check payable to SCBWI Montana. Mail your check to the address provided at the time of registration.
2. Deadline to register and submit all materials is May 20, 2019.
3. Critiques and follow up phone calls will be completed by July 1, 2019.


Powerful Picture Books!: A Retreat in Helena
Award-winning picture book writer Kelly Bennett will offer a jam-packed one day writing retreat in Helena on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Kelly Bennett is the author of many award-winning books for children—mostly picture books. Her stories, such as Not Norman, A Goldfish Story, Jumpstart’s 2015 Read for the Record book; Vampire Baby; Your Daddy Was Just Like You; Dance, Y’all, Dance; and One Day I Went Rambling, an Illinois Library Association’s iREAD 2018 selection, celebrate imagination, families, friends, pets… all that goes into being a kid! Kelly is a 2010 graduate of VCFA’s Writing for Children and Young Adults program, and long-standing member of SCBWI and The Author’s Guild. A former ARA for SCBWI-Houston, Kelly now divides her time between Westhampton Beach, NY and Mimiville (which is anywhere her grandboys may be!).

For more about Kelly and her books, visit her website: And for a swimmingly good time, wade through her blog:

A full-day workshop for picture book creators wanting to take their stories to the highest levels.

In this working workshop we will:

Explore: The art and craft of picture books focusing on secrets to making stories stand out in a crowded market.

Discover: How and why current books are successful.

Generate: Revision, ideas, and strategies for future PB creation.

Retreat registration is limited to 40 people so register today at

Details:  Saturday, September 21, 8:30am-5pm
Location: Covenant United Church
Registration: $100/SCBWI members
$125/non-SCBWI members

Post-Retreat Manuscript Critique with Kelly: $40
Lunch: $15 (additional)

Hobnobs & Critique Groups

All Hobnobs are free and open to the public. Encourage friends to drop by and see what SCBWI is all about.

Friday, May 24, noon to 2pm, University of Montana’s UC Center. The topic will be “Coincidences – When and How to Use Them” This can be applied to a book you’ve read or to your own work. As usual, I’ll send out a handout a few days beforehand to interested people, so RSVP to Wendy Parciak if you’re planning on attending:
Directions: The UC is located on the east side of UM, and is best reached by taking Beckwith Ave along the perimeter of campus (it turns into Campus Drive) toward the “M” Mountain. Just past the underground parking garage, there is an hourly pay lot, which would work for easy access to the UC, located beside the Masnfield Library. They’ll meet in one of the conference rooms on the second floor.

Thursday, May 16, 11am-2pm, “Let’s Study Picture Books” Gathering. Contact Joann Howeth for more information:

Thursday, June 6, noon to 2pm, Country Bookshelf, Hobnob

Tuesday, May 14, 5:30-7pm, This House of Books, Critique Group

For more information about SCBWI Montana, visit our website at or follow the group on Facebook at Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Montana Chapter.