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

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 in 2019, she was a woman of a “certain age,” but reborn. Jiton began working as an intern at Serendipity Literary Agency and is currently an agent-in-training, as well as editorial and marketing assistant. She is also a pre-published children’s book author. 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 Books (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 1st. 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

Are you a member of SCBWI?

Did you know that SCBWI members always receive a discount on events?

Whether Regional events or the International Conference, all members receive a discount.

Are you a member of SCBWI?  

If so, please log in before continuing with your event registration.

If not, please consider becoming a member.  Click here to learn about membership benefits.

Thank you,

Event Registration

General Information Required Fields*


Ticket Information

Working Writer's Retreat - $225.00

This price is only available for SCBWI members.

Wait List -

This price is only available for SCBWI members.

Sign up for the Wait List ONLY if the Working Writer's Retreat tickets are sold out.
We will contact you if space becomes available.
Signing up for the Wait List does not guarantee a spot at the retreat.

The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
To register for an SCBWI event, you are required to acknowledge our Anti-Harassment Policy.
Scroll to the bottom to read the policy.

You will then be able to click the checkbox indicating that you have read our policy.


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion. 

The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include Zooms, Webinars, online meetings, communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.


Code of Conduct

All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, volunteers, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

  • Intimidation, stalking, or following;
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Unwelcome sexual attention or advances;
  • Abusive verbal comments;
  • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors;.
  • Harmful or prejudicial verbal comments, written comments, or visual images related to gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic status, disability, age, appearance, body size, or other personal characteristics;
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images
  • Unwelcome or uninvited attention or contact
  • Physical assault (including unwelcome touching or groping);
  • Real or implied threat of physical harm;
  • Real or implied threat of professional or financial damage or harm;
  • Body policing, unwelcome photography or recording;
  • Doxing
  • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.

We expect all participants at SCBWI activities, meetings, and networking events to abide by this Anti-Harassment Policy in all venues, including sanctioned events, ancillary events, unofficial events, and social gatherings.


Reporting Procedures

Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

  • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
  • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
  • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.

SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.

Sanctions for faculty, speakers, volunteers, staff or board members may include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
  • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
  • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
  • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
  • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
  • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.

Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
  • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
  • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.

If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.


If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.

If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words "Anti-Harassment Policy" in the subject line. 


I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.