Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 7, 2016

New Jersey SCBWI Conference – THE INN BETWEEN Winner & Journey

lisa Falkenstern

This is the winning illustration from the New Jersey SCBWI Art Show by Lisa Falkenstern. She was also won the popular vote from the attendees. Congratulations Lisa!

Well, the Internet is all a buzz with talk about this past weekend’s SCBWI conference in New Jersey. It is always a great conference because it gives all the attendees so many opportunities to meet agents and editors and other writers and illustrators who can help on the road to publication.

Each year there are one-on-one critiques, pitches, first page sessions, and this year added round table discussions. Eight or nine workshops were offered during every session to help writers and illustrator learn new things, but the icing on the cake – THE ATTENDEES.

It’s wonderful to meet and talk with everyone. I had a wonderful time and was greeted with a lot of love. I’m still smiling from meeting the tons of people who I only knew through my blog. I got to visit with old friends and make new ones. I had writers and illustrators tell me how something I did kept them from quitting or pushed them on when things seemed so dark.

It was so much fun to have people tell me how much they enjoy waking up to find my daily posts in their mailbox. I left the conference with my heart filled with joy from seeing the growth the writers and illustrators accomplished since last year’s conference.

All the hugs and kisses I received will be cherished throughout the year.

Over the next few weeks, I will try to get permission to share some of the workshop information with everyone. If you gave a workshop, please get in touch to talk about how I can share your expertise with everyone. Thanks!

THE WINNER OF MARINA COHEN’S BOOK THE INN BETWEEN is Claudette Hoffman. Congratulations! Please send me you address so it can be sent out.

I know everyone enjoys reading about the road to publication, so I asked Marina about the books journey. Below is what she had to say:

The inn between and MarinaMy road to publication was long and winding. It was riddled with potholes and paved with tears. (Yes–I cried many times throughout the process!) Here are just a few key moments along the bumpy way.

It took five years from the time I completed the first draft of my first manuscript–five years of writing, rewriting, and rejections–before I received my first contract from the absolute smallest Canadian children’s publisher. Then, within a year of publishing my novel and its sequel, the publisher closed up shop and my poor books were left languishing.

My path twisted and turned again until two years later I was able to place a manuscript with another Canadian publisher. That novel, Ghost Ride, went on to be nominated for an Ontario Library Association Red Maple Award. I placed two more works with the same publisher, all the while dreaming of one day getting an agent.

So, when I wrote my sixth manuscript I decided to give it a try–hoping, but not really believing anyone would be interested. One of the agents I submitted to was Scott Treimel. Lucky for me, his assistant at the time, John M. Cusick, received my query and requested the full. I’m thrilled to say I’ve been with super-agent John ever since. Still, it took two manuscripts and four long years before I’d sign a contract–a two-book deal with my current publisher, Roaring Brook Press.

I’m definitely in a very happy place right now–but it was a roller coaster ride getting here. I know I will still have many ups and downs on the (hopefully!) long journey onward.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. THANKS for sharing Marina’s journey. Gives me hope!!


  2. Congrats! LOve Lisa Falkenstern’s work.


  3. Congrts to Lisa for her gorgeous and charming artwork! Congrats to Marina for a fabulous book! And,, congrats to Claudette for winning a copy.


  4. Thank you Darlene for the congrats-your are gracious & kind.
    Appreciations to you Marina for sharing your road to authordom & your book!
    Kudos New Jersey for the awesomest conference!!
    And to Kathy T-Huzzahs for your blog that connects the people who love books, writing, and illustrating for children!


  5. Congratulations, Lisa! 🙂


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