Deadline Looming for 2018 SCBWI-WI Mentorship

2018 SCBWI-WI Mentorships Flyer

Hurry, aspiring writers and illustrators! You have just 18 days to apply to SCBWI-Wisconsin’s 2018 mentorships.  The deadline is November 30, 2017, and this is an opportunity not to be missed. I am deeply honored to be among the six authors/illustrators who’ll be mentoring up-and-coming creators in 2018, along with Jamie Swenson, Jane Kelly, Pat Schmatz, Deb Gross, and Jeanne Styczinski. I’ll work with an author of middle grade or young adult work who’s interested in self-publishing.

First, here are the mentorship basics:

The 2018 SCBWI-Wisconsin Mentorship runs approximately six months, January to June. The amount of interaction between mentor and mentee will be decided between the pair.

Next, the rules:

You must be a current member of SCBWI and have attended at least one member event in the past year, unless applying for the Diversity Mentorship with Pat Schmatz.

You can only apply for one category of mentorship unless you qualify for the Diversity Mentorship, in which case you could apply to more but only win one.

You must yet to be traditionally published in your category.

Finally, the application details:

Follow the guidelines on this online application form and email the requested documents to wisconsin-ra@scbwi.org by November 30th.

 

I’m really looking forward to this adventure. Please apply if you’re interested and spread the word to the creative people in your life who you feel might benefit. Thanks! 🙂

 

Playing at the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat

Silvia Acevedo Presenting at Wisconsin's Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

How often, do you suppose, have you fallen into a rut? Even when trying to be creative, do you find yourself slipping into familiar routines and say, meh, the writing or artwork is good enough?

Whoa boy, let me tell you. If you were feeling that way before the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat, you left feeling like a new person. Superhero-ish even. There’s no way any uninspired, humdrum, or worse, corrosive thoughts could creep into your creative sphere that weekend. And if you haven’t yet made it a part of your creative journey to connect with others at a conference, I’d highly suggest you do.

Wisconsin’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Fall Retreat was meant to be an antidote to stifling routine. This years theme was “experiment and play,” and what a great thing to  do to help us create.  I was incredibly honored to give three presentations: how to slant the truth through an unreliable narrator; how to bring back the thrill of creating (in case the joy’s become a grind); and using art as inspiration.

Anyone who knows my writing knows that I love a good unreliable narrator. I could talk about that all day. I didn’t, though, to allow attendees time to work on their writing prompts. See? Proof.

Writing at SCBWI-WI

Writing…writing…writing…

And we had an open, dynamic talk on how to banish the blahs. Author Melissa Gorzelanczek not only inspired everyone during her talks, but she came up with the idea of Journey Stones weeks ahead of our workshop. I designed a hundred.

YES to your journey! YES to challenges! YES to bravery! I think the attendees liked them. 🙂

Journey Stones - Silvia Acevedo

Journey Stones

My final presentation really revved my engines. Author Valerie Biel and I talked about the gazillion ways we creative types use other art for our inspiration. I’m talking literature, visual arts, music, theater, or dance. I’m big into the visual arts, and there’s no shortage of it referencing mythology, so I was absolutely in my element. Here are a few pictures I shared: me hanging out with Cupid at the Milwaukee Art Museum and then imitating Bacchus, the god of theatre and wine, at the Louvre. We’re buds, ya know.

Silvia Acevedo with Cupid at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Bacchus at the Louvre Museum

Silvia with Cupid and Bacchus

And again I made a little memento: crocheted bookworms. I hope they crawled their way into someone’s heart. 🙂

Silvia Acevedo's Bookworms

Silvia’s Bookworm Bookmarks

Others got artistic, too. Check out these handmade bags for the faculty, made by the “Freakin’ Happiness Fairy,” Author M.J. Diem. And can she rawk a tutu or what?

Freakin' Happiness Fairy M.J. Diem and her fabulous bookbag

M.J. Diem and that *gasp* gorgeous bookbag

Oh, and the talks. And the amazing guest faculty (Lin Oliver, Mary Amato, Carol Hinz, I’m looking at you!). The cruise. The book title contest. Yes, yes, yes, and yes!

Keith Pitsch, Silvia Acevedo, and Valerie Biel

Keith Pitsch, me, and Valerie Biel

Heaps o’ Books for Hurricane Relief

Once in a while you get to experience something really special, and that usually involves helping others. For the third straight year, I’ve taken part in the Novel Cuisine Luncheon put on by Wisconsin Author Liza Weimer and Blogger Extraordinaire Heidi Zweifel. The luncheon brings literary types together to collect and donate books to organizations that need them but don’t have financial means to secure them. We also dine on book-inspired foods. The recipients of donated books typically include classroom libraries and women’s shelters, offering the traumatized children there a desperately needed diversion. This year, books collected also went to areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The awe-inspiring gathering of community-minded authors, publishing professionals, teachers, librarians, book club organizers, bookstore associates, and bloggers donated and shared hundreds of books. I know our small contribution to this cause will bring someone a moment of relief in truly trying times.

Here are some photos of the 6th annual event. I hope you enjoy them. A special thanks goes to the event organizers and volunteers for taking on such a worthy cause.

Author Gayle Rosengren donates books at the Novel Cuisine Luncheon

Author Gayle Rosengren donates books at the Novel Cuisine Luncheon

A small sampling of the hundreds of books donated at Author Luncheon 2017

A small sampling of the hundreds of books donated at Novel Cuisine Luncheon 2017

Authors Silvia Acevedo and Liza Wiemer

Me and Liza Wiemer

Ten Years Blogging

http://www.silviaacevedo.com

Milestones trigger emotions, and this one is no exception. Today marks ten years blogging. My website and blog is mostly about the creative life (writing, publishing, media in general) and occasionally sports. I’ve experienced growth in all those areas, and I hope something I wrote added to your insight on a subject.

My very first post was about inspiration, specifically about shooing the Muse. You can read it here:  http://www.silviaacevedo.com/a-writer-writes/muse-schmuse/ I feel pretty much the same way today. If I waited until I felt inspired, who knows when I’d ever get around to it? The funny thing is, once I start, it’s the writing itself that inspires me to write more. What inspires you?  And what topics should I hit in the next ten years? 🙂

Play Date! at the SCBWI Retreat

YesMy engines are really revving for the SCBWI-WI fall retreat. You should come. Really! You have just three short weeks to sign up, and I’ll tell you why you should (and then how to maybe get in for free!).

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is the premier association for creators of children’s lit (and one of the largest organizations for writers and illustrators in the world). If you want to learn more about writing or illustrating for kidlit, these are your people.

Wisconsin’s fall retreat is three days of amazing networking, creating, and communing. This year’s lineup is impressive as always: the society director, three editors/directors, an art director, an agent, two leading authors/illustrators/creators, along with 11 local presenters, myself included. My involvement isn’t why I write today; I’ve been praising the association for more than ten years. This is the place to go to build your craft.

I am proud, though, of the two presentations I’m doing. Both are collaborative.

Friday’s Intensive with Melissa Gorzelanczyk is four-fold: Honing in on images; Focusing on plot; Unreliable Narrators in your writing and illustrating; and Bringing Back the Thrill. Plus we’ll have a memento for attendees. The picture gives a hint. 🙂

My second presentation, with Valerie Biel, highlights how music, dance, theater, literature, and the visual arts can inspire your creations. And attendees get another memento.

So you’re convinced. I can tell! Sign up by August 31st here.

Aaaaand if you want a chance to get your registration fee reimbursed, apply for the DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP BY AUGUST 14. SCBWI is inclusive in what constitutes diversity, so you may well qualify. Find out and apply here.

If you’ve been dreaming about creating for children, this may be your moment. Hope to see you there! 🙂

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY for Fantasy Art Workshop’s “Oil Painting Techniques” Video

I am so thankful and pleased to say that today is finally the official release day of Fantasy Art Workshop’s Oil Painting Techniques DVD. You may wonder why I’m excited about that as I’m not an artist, but I actually have a couple of huge reasons: the Fantasy Art Workshop is my illustrator husband and my creation, and this video is now our second successful feature-length instructional set to hit the market. It’s getting great reviews, and I’m honored that the first video (the Workshop’s Acrylic Painting Techniques) is not only highly recommended by Video Librarian, but it’s also award-winning, having won ImagineFX Magazine’s lauded Artist’s Choice award.

So, why is it garnering such nice attention? Because my husband so generously shares his knowledge. Jeff Miracola‘s got more than 23 years in the fantasy art industry working for the biggest entertainment names. Our little YouTube channel grew more than we expected. It’s now got more than 65 videos, 31,000 subscribers, and 1.4 million views. The feature-length DVDs/Digital Downloads came to be because people wanted more. We delivered; he by showing the world his form of magic, and me as videographer and occasional disembodied voice / cameo artist. Ha!

If you are an artist or have an artist in your life, I invite you to check out the series. You can read reviews on Amazon for the Oil Techniques here and the Acrylic Techniques here. We’re honored that our work has taught and inspired others.

So check them out, please, and remember: Draw, Paint, and Always Create! 😉

A Captivating Literary Weekend

I spent the latter part of this week presenting with the Wisconsin State Reading Association, an organization that’s all about literacy. Their concerns: how parents and teachers teach kids to read, helping students strengthen their reading skills, and encouraging all of us to make our society well read.

Literacy is a cause dear to my heart. I taught my children to read at an early age, and I feel that literacy skills are absolutely vital to success. I was honored to present at the association, but I decided to do a bit more by donating 100 books to established and/or fledgling school book clubs. I hope the kids who get them enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Below are some pictures of the event. If you like the idea of encouraging literacy, consider supporting your local literacy agency with a financial gift or a donation of your books or time. 🙂

Silvia Acevedo at Gateway to the Wisconsin State Reading Association

At the WSRA gateway

Silvia Acevedo Presenting at the Wisconsin State Reading Association

Enjoying the presentation

Silvia Acevedo's Set Up at the Wisconsin State Reading Association

My set-up

Silvia Acevedo's Book Giveaway Jar

Slips in the Jar. Five names were drawn to get 20 books for their book club! 🙂

A crowd gathers for Silvia Acevedo's book giveaway

Hopefuls Awaiting the Draw

A winner for the God Awful Series of Books

Whoo hoo! I won!

A winner for the God Awful books

Another winner!

Gubernatorial and Mayoral Proclamations for WSRA

Proclamations

Silvia Acevedo and fellow authors at the Wisconsin State Reading Association 2017

Serious Wisconsin talent here. Left to right: Melissa Gorzelanczyk, Liz Czukas, Tricia Clasen, Stephanie Golightly Lowden, me, and JoAnn Early Macken.

Talking YA during Teen Read Week

What great fortune I had this week to join National Teen Read Week by being a part of a Young Adult Literature panel at the Oak Creek (WI) Public Library. We talked not only about YA trends but also about some of the tough topics that YA authors take on, such as teens’ body image and self esteem, sexuality/consent, and diversity. It was a great discussion with thoughtful questions from library goers. Enjoy some pix of the event! 🙂

Left to right: Authors Sandy Goldsworthy, Silvia Acevedo, Kelly Risser, Librarian Sarah, Author Liza Wiemer, and Panel Moderator Kellie

Left to right: Authors Sandy Goldsworthy, Silvia Acevedo, Kelly Risser, Librarian Sarah, Author Liza Wiemer, and Panel Moderator Kellie

Authors Silvia Acevedo, Sandy Goldsworthy, Panelist Kellie , and Authors Kelly Risser and Liza Wiemer

Author Liza Wiemer

Author Silvia Acevedo

Author Sandy Goldsworthy

Author Kelly Risser

We had a lot of fun, and I hope you got a chance this week to encourage reading – and maybe even got a few minutes to yourself to read! 🙂

Presenting at the NEW Sheboygan TEEN Book Festival

The Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival has enjoyed a great reputation as one of the premier book fests in the state. It’s free to the public, organized to the finest detail, and wildly entertaining for the kids who’ve gone since its 2010 start. New this year, the fest launched its TEEN book festival, and what a great event it was!

Turnout was great – and no wonder. The middle schoolers and high schoolers got to investigate books and meet authors who focus on them. Presenting authors talked about everything from depicting teenage life on paper to what inspires their particular bent. Author Valerie Biel and I talked about our love of mythology and how the genre is experiencing a popular renaissance. The teens were engaged and asked such insightful questions! All we authors were deeply impressed – and we made it onto trading cards. We felt like superheroes. 🙂

Here are some photos of this fantastic event. If you read Young Adult books or have a teenager in your life who does, seriously consider setting your calendar for next year’s festival. Both the Children’s and Teen’s Book Festivals run annually on the second weekend in October.

Author Silvia Acevedo at The Sheboygan Teen Book Festival

Author Silvia Acevedo at The Sheboygan Teen Book Festival

Author Silvia Acevedo at The Sheboygan Teen Book Festival

Author Silvia Acevedo at The Sheboygan Teen Book Festival

Author Silvia Acevedo at The Sheboygan Teen Book Festival

Authors and Illustrators of the Sheboygan Teen Book Festival 2016

Authors and Illustrators of the Sheboygan Children’s & Teen Book Festivals 2016

Good Day Wisconsin Plugs the Sheboygan Teen Book Festival

The inaugural year of Sheboygan’s Teen Book Festival is good news, and so local media let viewers know that their favorite children’s fest now has a teen component. Here’s video of a segment about it on Green Bay WLUK Good Day Wisconsin. Enjoy!

And here are some stills. Thanks to both WKUK-TV and Karin Menzer of the STBF for inviting me. I had fun and even went to Lambeau Field afterward. Go, Pack, go! 🙂

Good Day Wisconsin segment on the Sheboygan Teen Book Festival with Co-chair Karin Menzer & Author of the GOD AWFUL Series of Books Silvia Acevedo

Sheboygan Teen Book Festival Co-chair Karin Menzer & Author Silvia Acevedo share a laugh on WLUK Fox 11's Good Day Wisconsin Show