Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2021 L.A. Working Writer’s Retreat: At Home

Date(s) - 10/09/2021 - 10/10/2021
8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Registration for this event is now closed.

The First Ever Virtual Working Writers Retreat:
Critique, Revise, Repeat in the Comfort of Your Own Homes

Focus on your writing
Polish your pages
Network with fellow writers
Learn tangible writing techniques
Get feedback from acquiring agents and editors

This intense critiquing weekend is being offered Virtually on Zoom for the first time this year.

The retreat begins Saturday morning and goes until Sunday afternoon. Deborah Halverson, author and editor, will be facilitating Craft Workshops in between critique sessions. Four of the Workshops will focus on a specific element of story (Character, Plot, Setting, Voice), while the fifth and final workshop will focus on Revision. Attendees will come away with tangible craft techniques they can immediately apply to their stories.

As an optional service, Deborah will also be offering 15-minute Consultations during the weekend, along with Manuscript Critiques to be completed after the Retreat.

The highlight of the Retreat is the Critique Sessions facilitated by our acquiring faculty composed of two agents and two editors. Attendees will be divided into eight groups with 5 writers each. Each group will spend over an hour with each of our four faculty members. They will get valuable feedback on their pages from an industry professional. All of our faculty members will be open to queries for attendees of the retreat only.

As this retreat is virtual, access to a computer and good internet reception is required to participate.

Cost: $225

The Retreat fees cover the following:
– Four faculty-led critique sessions
– 5 Craft Workshops
– Networking and social event with fellow attendees using Gather, an interactive virtual platform. You can walk your avatar around the virtual 2D space and video chat with people nearby. You can also interact with various items, games, and videos around the room.

Optional Services with Deborah Halverson
– 10 page Manuscript Critique: $50
– 15 Minute Consultation. Ask Craft/Publishing questions: $30


Sign up for the Wait List below if the retreat is sold out. We will contact you if a space becomes available.


Jiton Sharmayne Davidson – Literary Agent at Serendipity Literary Agency

Jiton Sharmayne Davidson received her MA in African American literature from Howard University and pursued further graduate studies in African American literature at Penn State University. After earning her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts she began working as an intern at Serendipity Literary Agency to balance her craft experience with working business knowledge of the industry. She is currently an agent-in-training, as well as editorial and marketing assistant. She is currently working on a debut middle grade novel. Working with authors and manuscripts bring her joy and make her giddy-up go.

Genres Jiton represents:
Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, special interest in BIPOC authors

Projects/Books Jiton has worked on:
Works have not been announced yet.

Trisha De Guzman – Editor at Macmillan

Trisha de Guzman is an Editor at Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, where she edits picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, graphic novels, and nonfiction. Trisha is passionate about uplifting creators and stories from the margins, and works on stories across genres. An immigrant from the Philippines, she likes to climb rocks, watch scary movies, and ride bikes.

Genres Trisha represents:
Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Graphic Novels

Projects/Books Trisha has worked on:
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas, What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo, All You Knead is Love by Tanya Guerrero, The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

Karly Dizon – Literary Agent at Fuse Literary

Associate Agent Karly Dizon was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Northern California as a child. Professionally, Karly began her career in the publishing industry as a reader for Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary. Her responsibilities quickly grew and she was promoted to Literary Assistant, a role that also included a spot on the production team of Short Fuse.

Karly is also the Marketing Coordinator of the San Francisco Writers Conference, held every President’s Day weekend. In her spare time, Karly is an Adobe Technical Trainer, freelance graphic designer, Young Adult author, video game geek, and art noob.

Karly has a deep love for characters with a strong voice and seeks out stories she can get lost in. Diversity in genre fiction is a major bonus. She specializes in picture book, middle grade, and young adult genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary).

Genres Karly represents:
Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult

Projects/Books Karly has worked on:
Works have not been announced yet. Client NoNeiqa Ramos.

Deborah Halverson – Author and Freelance Editor

Deborah Halverson is the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies and Writing New Adult Fiction, as well as numerous teen novels, books in a series for struggling readers, and a picture book. Formerly an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books and now a freelance editor specializing in picture books and Young Adult/Middle Grade fiction and nonfiction, Deborah has been working with authors—bestsellers, veterans, debut, and aspiring—for twenty-five years. She is also the founder of the popular writers’ advice site and serves on the advisory board for the UC San Diego Extension “Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating” certificate program.
Twitter: @Dear_Editor
Instagram: deareditordotcom & deborahhalversonbooks
Facebook: DearEditorcom & DeborahHalverson

Elise McMullen-Ciotti – Editor at Tu Books

Elise McMullen-Ciotti is a children’s book editor, author, and food scholar with NYU Steinhardt’s Food Studies master’s program. She has worked in children’s book publishing since 2012 and with Tu Books/Lee&Low Books since 2017. Originally from Texas, she is a proud member of the Cherokee Nation and spent large amounts of her childhood in Oklahoma with her Cherokee grandmother. Before her career in publishing, Elise worked in food, television, and then food in television. She lives in New York City with her husband, a large personal library, and an open kitchen. You can find her at

Genres Elise represents:
Middle Grade, Young Adult, Picture Book (occasional)

Projects/Books Elise has worked on:
Tu Books/Lee & Low Books: Indian No More (MG, 2019), Julieta and the Diamond Enigma (MG, 2020), The Shadow Prince (MG SERIES) (2021), Black Was the Ink (YA, 2021); consulted on numerous books with multiple publishing houses in recent years, most notably Fry Bread (PB, Macmillan, 2019), History Comics (MG SERIES) (Scholastic, continuous); currently for Lee&Low/Tu Books/Cinqo Puntos Press: Moonlit Vine (YA, 2022), Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key (MG, 2022), Falling Stars (YA, 2022), The Shadow Prince: The Longest Night in Egypt (MG, 2022)


We are not responsible for any technical difficulties that may arise during registration.

Please note: $30 administrative charge for refunds before October 1, 2021. Any refund requests after October 1st will be granted on a case-by-case basis and there will be a $100 administrative charge. E-mail your refund request to the Los Angeles region

Registration for this event is now closed.