Educating and Inspiring Writers on the Road to Publication Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles


Upcoming events

    • 27 Sep 2014
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • El Segundo Library 111 W. Mariposa Ave, El Segundo CA 90245

    Write Stories That Change the World & Pitch them to TV & Movie Producers

    With Jill Gurr and Pamela Jaye Smith

    Mythic Challenges is a tool set that helps writers use Mythic Themes, Archetypes and Symbols to tell unique stories for a global audience that moves them to awareness and action. Mythology expert Pamela Jaye Smith partnered with Jill Gurr (and Brian Dyer) to develop this special method of generating powerful stories that can impact our planet. The pilot program worked with students in LA and Afghanistan, in conjunction with the US State Department, helping the young media-makers craft short award-winning films that address some of the 15 Global Challenges.

    No matter your plot or topic, you can seamlessly weave in the issues we all face, no matter our age, gender, ethnicity or location. Main plot, sub-plot, background, main characters, minor characters and symbolism give your children’s book a “message” to help align it with the hundreds of organizations and millions of interested people worldwide.

    Jill and Pamela will share how you too can use these timeless tools to make your already entertaining stories work in even bigger ways.

    Besides the Mythic Challenges tools, they will also present tips about how to break into the entertainment industry, including via Pamela's Pitch Proxy service. They’ll present formats for Pitch Materials: Logline, Pitch, Synopsis – and will share what they’ve learned doing hundreds of pitches of books and scripts at many, many PitchFests.

    Pamela and Jill will provide some fun writing and improvisation exercises to teach you how to promote your books to the entertainment industry. They'll also listen to some of your pitches and give you feedback about how to enhance them.

    Both of our speakers have decades of experience in the film industry and much success in promoting their books and screenplays to film producers, agents and network executives both at PitchFests and in one-on-one meetings.


    JILL GURR self-published her children's chapter book Dolphin Healing about a 10-year old girl fighting cancer who is inspired to live through her friendship with a dolphin. She'll talk about the research that went into the project, including the best system for publishing her three books. Jill is the founder of Create Now, a nonprofit that helps troubled children through arts mentoring, and the author of Mentor Youth Now: A Guidebook for Transforming Young Lives, a practical and inspiring guidebook to passing on your experience and expertise to young creatives, while also learning from kids about what makes them tick. Jill is also a screenwriter. Two of her scripts were produced with name actors and several screenplays were optioned.Jill was also a Script Supervisor on award-winning movies for many years, working with major celebrities in exotic locations all over the world.

    Jill Gurr's Websites:

    PAMELA JAYE SMITH is a writer, international consultant-speaker, and award-winning producer/director with over thirty years experience in the media industry. Pamela is the author of 5 books for writers including the new self-published SHOW ME THE LOVE! She is the co-author of two children’s books and also writes short stories and articles. Her company MYTHWORKS helps media-makers improve their stories, find and live their personal myths, and better present their projects to producers and the public.

    Date: September 27, 2014, Saturday

    Time: 1 - 4 PM

    Venue: El Segundo Library, 111 W. Mariposa Ave., El Segundo, CA

    *$10 Discount for CBW-LA Members when you pay online

    *$5 Discount for CBW-LA Members when you pay at the door

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and copies of the speakers' books Jill Gurr's DOLPHIN'S HEALING & Pamela Jaye Smith's SHOW ME THE LOVE


    DOLPHIN HEALING includes 18 detailed illustrations by artist Valerie Woelk. Being bullied makes Julie feel miserable, but she has a bigger challenge to overcome when she discovers that she has cancer and must stay in the hospital for treatment. Julie returns to school after losing all her hair. Classmate Danny embarrasses her in front of the entire class. She runs away to her secret spot where she meets Dreamer. He's a special dolphin and through their friendship, she heals. Julie learns from a marine biologist that the owner of the local fishery where her mother works is killing dolphins to capture tuna fish. Julie becomes an activist to save dolphins from the nets. However, after a very traumatic experience where she loses her best friend, the cancer returns. Julie is dying and nothing can save her, but just when there's no hope for her recovery, she learns a visualization technique. She discovers that her thoughts and feelings can affect her disease. As she regains good health and self-confidence, her popularity soars and she receives support. Julie is finally able to help save the dolphins. She becomes cherished by her new friends, and people from all over the world.

    A rich resource, new ideas, and a comprehensive, practical guide to using the dynamic and dramatic power of LOVE in all your stories.

    For undefined Writers, Directors, Actors, Directors of Photography, Production Designers, Composers, and Sound Designers as well as Development Execs, Producers, Publishers, and Marketers.

    Identifying, understanding, portraying, and communicating the core of emotion in a story is what entertains, enlightens, and educates your audience.

    Understanding the deeper drives that affect how we act, react, and understand will give you better tools with which to create and motivate your characters and stories along their transformational arcs.

    Readers and viewers of all types of media may also find this information will enhance their understanding and enjoyment.

    Jill was also a Script Supervisor on award-winning movies for many years, working with major celebrities in exotic locations all over the world. 
    Jill Gurr's Websites:

    Then the space to separate me from Pamela, followed by this link:

    • 04 Oct 2014
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Torrance Airport Meeting Room 3301 Airport Drive, Torrance, CA 90505

    Baiting the Hook: 

    Nabbing the Reader 

    With Your First Page

    Former St. Martin’s Press editor, Mollie Traver, and bookseller/author Catherine Linka team up for a workshop on writing first pages that will hook agents, editors and young readers. Mollie and Catherine will give you insider insights along with solid advice on how to tackle those critical pages, before providing specific feedback about your first pages. A brief writing exercise will be included. Workshop participants need to bring 2 copies of the first page of their manuscript AND a plot synopsis of 450 words or less. 

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and copies of the speakers' book A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS


    CATHERINE LINKA is the author of the YA novel, A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS. An MFA grad of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, she's also the Children's and YA Buyer for an independent bookstore in Southern California, and has spent almost 100 hours listening to tweens and teens talk about what they love and hate in books.

    MOLLIE TRAVER is a freelance editor and writer and a former editor at St. Martin’s Press, where she specialized in young adult fiction of all kinds, and worked with a host of wonderful authors, including Catherine Linka, Amy Kathleen Ryan, Jenna Black and Jana Oliver. Mollie graduated from Stanford University with a degree in creative writing, a serious relationship with black coffee, and a passion for helping shape other writers’ work.

    Date: October 4, 2014, Saturday

    Time: 1 - 4 PM

    Venue: Torrance Airport Meeting Room, 3301 Airport Drive, Torrance, CA 90505

    *$10 Discount for CBW-LA Members when you pay online

    *$5 Discount for CBW-LA Members when you pay at the door 

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and copies of the speakers' book A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS


    Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to "protect" young women, is taking over the choices they make.

    Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad "contracts" her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.

    From Catherine Linka comes this romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real story, A Girl Called Fearless, about fighting for the most important things in life are freedom and love. 


    • 11 Oct 2014
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Torrance Airport Meeting Room 3301 Airport Drive, Torrance CA 90505

    Story Sprouts, CBW-LA’s annual Writing Day Anthology and Resource Book, is raring for release and it’s time to party! Once again, we will celebrate our Story Sprouts Authors' book *launch* at the airport! (The Torrance Airport meeting room, to be exact.)

    Let's recognize our newly published authors and celebrate another year together in CBW-LA!

    There will be food, mocktails (named after your favorite children’s book authors), games and door prizes.  

    Most importantly, we will hand out certificates recognizing each author and their valuable contribution to the book.

    So join us for an afternoon of fun! Family and friends welcome!

    Story Sprouts 2014 will be available for sale at $15.00 each. (That's free shipping and tax!) Story Sprouts 2013 will also be available at the party.

    This year's theme was VOICE, and the book is chock full of original poems, short stories, and tips on how to hone your writing voice!

    • 08 Nov 2014
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • El Segundo Library: 111 W. Mariposa Ave., El Segundo, CA 90245
    • 34
    Write the Truth: Creative Nonfiction and Real World Inspiration
    with Alana Garrigues

    If you think nonfiction stories are just for dingy college libraries and assigned reading lists, think again! Readers and publishers alike have embraced true stories as a major market in the literary world. In February of this year, Amazon reported nonfiction books make up 22% of the market share. And while the New York Times keeps their book sales best seller tracking logarithm under close wraps, making it difficult to track sales and earnings, readers flock to both their nonfiction and fiction titles in the stores.

    Plus, if writers "write what they know," isn't there a little nonfiction hiding in all of our stories?

    In this workshop, you will discover:
    • What is the difference between nonfiction, "inspired by a true story," and historical fiction?
    • Who coined the phrase "True Stories Well Told" and what does it mean?
    • How do you write "creative nonfiction"?
    • How can thinking like a journalist uncover story ideas and opportunities for all writers?
    • What are the genres that fall under nonfiction?
    • How do you make a nonfiction story dazzle and pop?
    • Why should children's writers look at nonfiction as a real, viable market right now?
    • How can your personal history, family and friends make you a better writer?
    • What do agents and publishers look for in a nonfiction book proposal?
    • How can all writers build publishing credit and make money on nonfiction projects?
    This workshop will include handouts, original writing prompts designed to unlock your creativity, and tips on how to use nonfiction techniques to improve your current project.

    Please bring a laptop or a pen and paper.

    This workshop also includes your choice of Story Sprouts Volume II: Voice or Heartbeats: Voices Against Oppression (contains adult content).

    About The Speaker
    Alana Garrigues is a freelance journalist in the South Bay; she covers Hermosa Beach news for The Beach Reporter and is also published in Daily Breeze. She is the Publications Director for CBW–LA and the co-editor of Story Sprouts, CBW–LA's annual Writing Day Workshop Resource and Anthology. The first edition of CBW–LA Story Sprouts has earned a five-star average rating on Amazon.

    Her current projects include a creative nonfiction "humorous humanitarian" account of a So Cal nurse who moves to West Africa to start up a non-profit and several first drafts of children's nonfiction books.

    Alana also writes company bios for small businesses and loves to volunteer as an art and nutrition teacher at her daughters' school in Redondo Beach. Her website is

    Date: Sat., Nov. 8, 2014

    Time: 1:00–4:00 p.m.

    Venue: El Segundo Library

    Fee: $35

    *$10 Discount for CBW-LA Members who pay online

    *$5 Discount for CBW-LA Members who pay at the door

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts and worksheets and your choice of book:
    Story Sprouts: Voice

    (CBW-LA Writing Day
    Resource and Anthology 2014)


    Heartbeats: Voices Against Oppression
    (Fictional Anthology to Fight Human Trafficking;
    Adult Content)
    • 06 Dec 2014
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • LA Public Library - Harbor Gateway Branch 24000 S. Western Ave., Harbor City, CA 90710
    • 15
    Calling all Middle Grade/Young Adult Writers Out There!

    Join this critique session to:

    Get constructive feedback for your manuscripts, meet potential critique partners and make new friends!

    *Critique will be at the East Conference Room, so there will be a limit of 15 attendees.

    What to Bring:

    1. Bring the first chapter of your manuscript (First 7-8 pages). Or the chapter which you need the most help with.

     The general rule is that you must bring copies for every member who has signed up for the session. * Please wait for the final email from the organizer before printing copies, so you know exactly how many to print.*

    2. A voice/tape recorder if you wish to record the critiques.

    3. A notebook/pad and pen to use for your critique notes.


    As writers, we are very close to our work and often times we miss certain details on story development or story elements like characters, setting, etc.

    Critique sessions allow other people with “fresh eyes” to have a look at your writing sample, and read them as your future readers would, providing you with valuable feedback to improve your writing skills and get your manuscript ready for submission.

    In all our Critique Sessions, we give you feedback in the most TACTful way possible.

    TACT = Finesse, thoughtfulness or having a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.

    TACT is also the technique we use for our critiques:

    T = Terrific

    We share what we loved in your piece, what worked in your story and what we liked about your plot, setting, character, pacing, etc.

    A = Author Questions

    In the last few minutes of your critique time, we encourage you, as the author, to ask questions either about your story or to  clarify the comments you received.

    C = Constructive Comments We deliver, in the politest way possible, comments that are specific and helpful to help you improve your story. 

    T = Talent Talent can get you far, but hard work can get your farther. We always end by encouraging you, the author, to keep on writing. We remind you that we are here to help you achieve your writing goals.

Past events

18 Sep 2014 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
13 Sep 2014 Picture Book/Chapter Book/ Early Reader Critique Session
23 Aug 2014 Do You Give...Good Voice? How to Find (and Nurture) Your Writing Personality
09 Aug 2014 Novel Critique Session
12 Jul 2014 Establishing Your Independence: Marketing Secrets from a Best-Selling Independent Author
28 Jun 2014 Do You Give...Good Voice? How to Find (and Nurture) Your Writing Personality
31 May 2014 Writing Day Anthology Workshop: Get Published with CBW-LA
29 Mar 2014 Novel Writing Bootcamp
22 Feb 2014 Honing Your Middle Grade Writing Voice: A Workshop with Author Kristen Kittscher
11 Jan 2014 Kickstarting Your Writing Career Workshop
02 Nov 2013 Anthology Launch Party & Year End Celebration
26 Sep 2013 The Write Stuff Children’s Picture Book Workshop
17 Aug 2013 Potent World-Making: What's Myth Got to Do With It?
27 Jul 2013 Query Critique Session
20 Jul 2013 Writing Between the Lines: The Power of Multiple Revisions A Workshop with YA Author Carmen Rodrigues
22 Jun 2013 Writing Day Anthology Workshop: Get Published with CBW-LA
25 May 2013 Queries, Loglines and Blurbs: Oh My! Workshop with Author Samantha Combs
30 Mar 2013 The Author's Platform: Blogging with the Bird
12 Jan 2013 Kickstarting Your Writing Career Workshop & Lunch Social
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