Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

  • SCBWI SoCal Spring Writers Retreat Into the Woods Date/Time 05/04/2018 - 05/06/2018 Friday, 5:00 pm - Sunday, 12:00 noon Location Tahquitz Pines 55251 S Circle Dr. - Idyllwild, CA 92549 Sorry, our retreat is sold out!   Attention all YA and mid-grade writers: are you deep into the woods of your novel? So deep, you can no longer see the forest for the trees? Are you pining to mingle with an agent, an editor, and fellow authors? Now’s your chance to spruce up your manuscript with the guidance of professionals in a scenic mountain retreat. And what better theme for this year than “Into The Woods?” Attendees will participate in four critique-group sessions led by an editor, agent or published author; in addition, you will hear speaker presentations on the craft of writing. But it won’t be all work and no play! You also will have a chance to mingle with the editor, agent, authors, and fellow attendees during meals and a happy hour. Our faculty include: Nancy Mercado - Editorial Director at Scholastic Press Jennifer March Soloway - Associate Agent for Andrea Brown Literary Lin Oliver - Author & Co-founder of SCBWI Michael Mahin - Author This three-day, two-night retreat includes lodging, meals, critique groups, speaker presentations, a sunrise hike, and writing time. Because we want to keep the critique groups cozy, we are restricting the number of attendees to 28. Attendees can also get a professional written critique of up to 10 pages of their manuscript before the conference. Tahquitz Pines is tucked away in the mile-high pine forests of San Jacinto Mountains. Picture yourself strolling on a nature walk in a protected national forest, surrounded by fresh mountain air and majestic pine trees, just a short ten-minute stroll to the quaint town of Idyllwild with its unique shops and art galleries. There are a multitude of quiet reflection spots throughout camp, the perfect setting for a writer’s retreat.   STAFF BIOS: Nancy Mercado - Editorial Director at Scholastic Press Nancy Mercado is an editorial director at Scholastic Press where she manages a team of editors and works on realistic chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels, with an occasional picture book, non-fiction project and graphic novel thrown into the mix for good measure. Nancy’s had the good fortune of editing books by Paul Acampora, Cecil Castellucci, Tommy Greenwald, Paul Griffin, Peter Raymundo, Isabel Quintero, Lauren Tarshis, Diana Lopez and many, many others. When not editing, Nancy is exploring the Brooklyn playground scene and spending way too much time on twitter.   Jennifer March Soloway - Associate Agent for Andrea Brown Literary Jennifer represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and young adult stories. She enjoys all genres and categories, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult. A suspense junkie, she adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. Jennifer is actively building her client list and welcomes queries to To learn more about Jennifer, follow her on Twitter, @marchsoloway, and find her full wish list at   Lin Oliver - Author & Co-founder of SCBWI  Lin Oliver is the author of the Who Shrunk Daniel Funk series, and the co-author, with Henry Winkler, of the bestselling Hank Zipzer series. She is a writer and producer of movies, books, and television series for children and families. The co-founder and executive director of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and sons. Visit her at   Michael Mahin – Author Michael Mahin is a children’s author and an aspiring screenwriter. His debut picture book, Muddy: The Story of Muddy Wat ers, illustrated by Evan Turk, is a New York Times Best Illustrated Book for 2017 and one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017. His forthcoming picture books include Stalebread Charlie and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band (Clarion), illustrated by Don Tate, due out Summer 2018; and When Angels Sing: The Story of Music Legend Carlos Santana (Atheneum), illustrated by Jose Ramirez and due out Fall 2018. Michael has also recently optioned his first screenplay, while another script of his has just completed filming. He is a frequent lecturer at SCBWI events as well as a contributor to the SCBWI Bulletin, has a Ph.D. in American Literature, and can be found at   COST SCBWI member price Non-member price Single Room $495 $530 Double Room $445 $480 Critique $45 $65   Manuscript Critique -  Fee: $45 Members, $65 Non-members If you would like a written critique by an editor or agent, please email your first ten pages (double-spaced) and a one-page synopsis (single-spaced) as an attachment.  At the top of your manuscript, type: Critique, genre (MG - fantasy, YA-thriller), your registered name, address, email address and phone number. Manuscript must be double spaced, 12-point font, and have one-inch margins.  Critique is available to registered attendees only. Email manuscript by midnight, March 23rd, 2018 to Heather Buchta at: Type: Retreat Critique into the subject line. Manuscript Contest -  Free to registered Attendees If you’d like to participate in our writing contest, please email your first ten pages (double-spaced) and a one-page synopsis (single-spaced) as an attachment. At the top of your manuscript, type: Contest, genre (MG - fantasy, YA-thriller), your registered name, address, email address and phone number. Manuscript must be double spaced, 12-point font, and have one-inch margins.  Email manuscript by midnight, April 6th, 2018 to Heather Buchta at: Type: Retreat Contest into the subject line. Refund policy: If you need to cancel, a $30 administrative fee will be charged for refunds after March 30th. Email your refund request to the SoCal region: No refunds will be given if you signed up for a critique spot. While we do not anticipate any issues, the faculty and schedule times are subject to change without notice. If you have any questions, email Heather at:
About Us

Welcome to SoCal

Our chapter of SCBWI includes Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside and Long Beach. We have sunny beaches, snow-capped mountains, award winning wineries and the legendary deserts of Palm Springs; Disneyland and Raging Waters; and most importantly we have some incredible writers and illustrators who gather here for a

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An experienced, published writer speaks to writers! Author of four different MG series and several YA Novels, including:  Kaitlyn and the Competition, for ages 9-12, and the children's book series Silver Pony Ranch, Zeke Meeks, and Supernatural Rubber Chicken. She has also published five YA novels with Penguin: Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl, Stuck in the 70s, and The Band trilogy. Kirkus Reviews said, "Hilarious first-person narration gets the details of third grade life right." Her works have been translated into Spanish, Azerbaijaini, Turkish, and Czech. Ms. Garfinkle will share her considerable experience as a published author on a variety of topics.  Q &A to follow: Also: Thursday April 19th main event 7-8:30 pm/ Critique Groups 6-7 pm  

Every month before our main event:

Critique Groups 6-7 pm

Contact Amy Terranova at:

To join our mailing list to receive details:

email Tim Burke at ONCE UPON A STORYBOOK 17300 E 17th St #C, Tustin, CA 92780 714) 669-4377