Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 L.A. Working Writer’s Retreat

Date(s) - 09/15/2017 - 09/17/2017
12:00 pm

Holy Spirit Retreat Center
4316 Lanai Rd - Encino, CA 91436

Registration opens Sunday, July 16 at 6am!

Retreat Options:
Staying Onsite (Double Occupancy) – $515
Commuter – $450
Single Rooms* – $75 additional fee, for a total of $590
If you don’t see a ticket option below, that option has already sold out. Please sign up for the wait list and we will contact you if a space becomes available.

The Retreat fees cover the following:
– Four faculty-led critique sessions
– Two first page panels
– Accommodations
– All meals from Friday dinner to Sunday breakfast
– Snacks throughout the weekend
– Wine and Cheese Party (Friday)
– Karaoke Party (Saturday)

There are no guarantees that single rooms will be available. However, if a spot for a single room opens up, it will be offered on a first come, first served basis. An additional fee of $75 will apply.

Select this option if the retreat is sold out. We will contact you if a space becomes available.



Stephanie Gordon – Author and Freelance Editor
Judy Enderle – Author and Freelance Editor

Once upon a time, Stephanie Jacob Gordon and Judith Ross Enderle met in a writing class at UCLA. Both saw their first published words in the pages of Highlights for Children magazine. Since then, they’ve co-authored numerous books, from picture books to young adult novels, including Smile, Principessa!/Simon & Schuster/McElderry, Two Badd Babies/Boyds Mills Press, and What’s the Matter, Kelly Beans?/Candlewick. In the works are a middle grade novel and a picture book. They are also eagerly awaiting news on several manuscripts under consideration.

On the bookshelf and in children’s magazines, you’ll find their work under their individual names and under the pseudonyms, Jeffie Ross Gordon and J.R. Gordon. Past writing experience includes over eight years as co-editors of the Fox Broadcasting Children’s Network magazine, Totally Fox Kids. They also served as story editors and writers for the first season of the Fox children’s television program, “Rimba’s Island” which received both NEA and PTA endorsements as quality children’s television.

“Language is fun. Our favorite stories are those that make young people laugh,” say Stephanie and Judy.

When they aren’t writing, they can be found sharing their stories in bookstores or lecturing at conferences, workshops, and retreats to adults who want to learn to write. In addition, Judy and Stephanie critique and edit manuscripts for other children’s writers through their business, Writers Ink. Visit their website at And please visit their blog, KidsBook Mavens, also featuring authors, Cheryl Zach, Dawne Knobbe, and Laurie Knowlton.

Stephanie and Judy are board members emeritus of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, both International and Los Angeles. Both now reside with their families in Washington State. Between them they have six grown children, a few grandchildren, a lot of fun, and a lot of wacky words yet to be written! Not “the end” yet.

Alyssa Miele – Associate Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books

Alyssa Miele is currently an Associate Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she began her career as an intern while still in college. She acquires middle grade and teen fiction, with a strong preference in contemporary realistic, but could be pulled into other genres if the voice is there. She loves fiction chock-full of strong, flawed, and loveable characters whose stories stay with her long after she’s earmarked, underlined, and reread the heck out of them. From commercial to literary, queer to straight, and everything in between, Alyssa loves books that inspire, haunt, and captivate. She graduated with a degree in English from Hunter College.

Alyssa’s recent projects include Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone, Confidentially Yours: Vanessa’s Design Dilemma by Jo Whittemore and Maybe, Maybe Not (working title) by Jen Malone (Summer ’19)

Tara Gonzalez – Associate Agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Tara Gonzalez is an Associate Agent at EMLA, as well as the assistant to Erin Murphy and social media coordinator for EMLA. She’s located in Florida, although she’s currently plotting how to make her way back to London, where she studied abroad for several months during her undergrad.

Tara is actively building her client list. She loves all ages of children’s literature, but her passion is in young adult and middle grade novels. Her taste spans across broad ranges of genres, from contemporary, historical, literary, to adventure and fantasy. She loves characters and stories that resonate, and strong voices.

Beyond books, Tara loves movies, cats, buying things she probably doesn’t need on Etsy, and getting hooked on TV shows that get cancelled after one season. She recently graduated with her master’s degree in Media and Communication Studies, and is always looking for the next opportunity to travel.

Samantha Swank – Assistant Editor at Scholastic

Samantha Swank is an assistant editor of children’s books at Scholastic, where she works on both fiction and nonfiction for ages 0–8. She hails from the Midwest and studied English (Publishing Studies) and History at Hofstra University. She uses these degrees to help craft funny, engaging books for kids, with an emphasis on nonfiction. One of her professional goals is to make sure everyone knows just how cool Benjamin Franklin was. When she’s not working or reading the latest mysteries and presidential biographies, Sam can be found singing karaoke, live-tweeting TV shows, or playing fetch with her cat, Mrs. Hudson.

Additional Friday Author Panelist

Catherine Linka – Author
Catherine Linka is the author of the Girl Called Fearless duology and winner of the YA Novel of the Year Award from the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. After receiving her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Catherine ran the Children’s and YA department of an Indie bookstore for 8 years. A longtime member of SCBWI, she has judged writing contests, spoken at Writer’s Days, and in 2016, mentored an aspiring author.

Additional Sunday Agent Panelist

Kari Sutherland, Literary Agent at Bradford Literary Agency
Kari Sutherland joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. Previously a Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she has worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success.


We have switched from PayPal to for our credit card processing. It is the only option to pay for this event. We hope this will eliminate the issues experienced with PayPal during the registration process. is the service the main office uses for Summer and Winter Conference.
We are not responsible for any technical difficulties that may arise during registration.
For the waitlist: You will be given the choice of whatever accommodation is available if your name comes up when processing the waitlists.

Please note: $30 administrative charge for refunds before September 2, 2017. Any refund requests after September 2 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