Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

MD/DE/WV Region Planning Committee

Nicole Davis, Ph.D.  – Co-Regional Advisor

In addition to writing, Nicole Davis, Ph.D. and her husband Tony are co-founders of an organization, EMPOWER TO ENGAGE, which focuses on enhancing marriages, families, and organizations through mediation, coaching, and training. They have co-authored multiple books, including the 3-book Done Right Series Parenting Done Right is Hard Work (But It’s Worth It!), Marriage Done Right is Hard Work (But It’s Work It!), and Leadership Done Right is Hard Work (But It’s Worth It!); and, their newest children’s book series, Growing Up with Bendie the Squirrel, teaches children important life skills. Nicole also authored her book, Eve, Where Are You? Confronting Toxic Practices Against the Advancement of Women. Visit their websites,


Lisa Crayton – Co-Regional Advisor

A former corporate editor and writer for multi-million corporations, Lisa A. Crayton is a versatile African-American nonfiction writer with more than 30 years’ experience. Her background includes corporate publications management, public speaking, e-publishing, and freelance writing. She is an award-winning freelance writer, freelance editor, conference speaker, writing mentor, collaborative writer, and multi-published author of 17 books, including 16 children’s nonfiction books. Her book Juneteenth released in January 2021, and her sports biography debuts in 2022. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from National University, and her dual Bachelor of Science in Public Relations/Journalism from Utica College.


Cheryl Mendenhall –  Illustrator Coordinator

Cheryl is a longtime SCBWI member, Photoshop Geek, and lover of quirky, whimsical storytelling. She studied illustration at Washington University in St. Louis and Art Center College of Design. Her work has appeared in Highlights and other magazines, a cowboy-themed board book, beginning readers, and decades of educational materials. She lives on a lake in Germantown, MD with her physicist husband, a tabby named Spot, and whatever wild critters stop by to nibble on the garden. To see more check out her representative, Cornell & Company, or



Veronica Bartles – Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA)

Veronica Bartles, author of Twelve Steps (YA), and The Princess and the Frogs (PB), loves to ask “What If?” She believes there are many sides to every story, and she’s determined to discover every single one! She believes the best happily ever after is one nobody expects. Every princess deserves a frog (because princes aren’t pets!) and not every Cinderella wants a glass slipper. When not writing or reading, Veronica likes to invent new cookie recipes and knit things from recycled plastic bags. And she’s an incurable optimist who loves gray, drizzly days. That’s when rainbows come out to play! Veronica is the Assistant Regional Advisor for the MD/DE/WV Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the coordinator of the annual MD/DE/VA/DC Read Local Challenge. Find her at or connect on TikTok, Twitter, or Instagram: @vbartles.



Jen Eyre- Events Coordinator

Jen Eyre lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter, and incredibly hyper kitten. Her passion for writing stems back thirty years when she hand-wrote and “published” (shout-out to her Dad’s photocopier) a neighborhood newsletter composed of kid jokes, stories, and advertisements for her painted rock collection. While the newsletter’s circulation was short-lived, her love for writing only grew throughout the years. Jen joined the SCBWI in 2017 and is a regular attendee to both the national and regional conferences. She writes poetry, picture books, and young adult contemporary novels. Jen has also completed a variety of writing courses through Gotham Writers Workshop, Writer’s Digest University, and The Writer’s Center. In 2020, she took the plunge and joined the 12 x 12 picture book challenge and completed NaNoWriMo in 2018. Outside of writing, Jen’s talents include knowing every line to The Breakfast Club and being able to kill a houseplant in less than a week.




Meg Eden – Webinar Coordinator
Meg Eden’s work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO and CV2. She teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel Post-High School Reality Quest (2017), and the poetry collection Drowning in the Floating World (2020). She runs the Magfest MAGES Library blog, which posts accessible academic articles about video games ( Find her online at or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.



Tracy Gold – Published and Listed Member Coordinator Coordinator

Tracy C. Gold loves bringing characters to life. She is a writer, freelance editor, and mom living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her picture books include Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby from Familius and Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat from Sourcebooks. She also writes and edits short stories, essays, novels, and poems. Her work has been published in several magazines and anthologies. Tracy earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore and earned her B.A. in English from Duke University. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s playing with her toddler, or hanging out with her horse and dog, both rescues. You can find out more about Tracy at, by following her on Twitter and Instagram at @tracycgold, or by liking her Facebook page.



Kathy MacMillan – Mentorship Program Coordinator

Kathy MacMillan (she/her) is a writer, nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and signing storyteller. She writes picture books (The Runaway Shirt, the Little Hands Signing series), children’s nonfiction (She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World, Understanding Bipolar Disorder), middle grade fiction (The Chronicles of Cavallon series), and young adult fiction (Sword and Verse, Dagger and Coin). Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award. She has also published eight resource books for educators, librarians, and parents. She is represented by Steven Malk of Writers House. She lives in Baltimore, MD. Find her online at or on Twitter and Instagram at @kathys_quill.




 Sharada Vibhakar  – Volunteer Coordinator


Sharada Vibhakar (she/her) joined SCBWI in 2012, continually inspired to write by the creative insights of SCBWI’s regional events. She is a pre-published author of a middle grade fantasy, which was the winner of the Ink and Insights Competition and shortlisted for the A. Orr SCBWI Fantasy Grant. Born in West Virginia and raised in a Pittsburgh suburb, Sharada has lived with her family in Maryland for the past twenty years. You can find her on Twitter @SharadaVibhakar.




Jennie Moore – Delaware Liaison

Jennie Moore has evolved into a passionate early learning advocate through a providential path paved by a career change, marriage and motherhood. After studying fashion design and working in the apparel industry as a pattern marker, she spent several decades  supporting the care and education of young children in very diverse communities, ranging from a humble Head Start classroom to a prestigious private school Kindergarten  and at home full-time with her children. The local public library provided all the preschool curriculum she needed to prepare her children for school and she eventually fell in love with picture books and great storytelling. Now as a Children’s Room Assistant in the beautiful new library built in her town,  she continues to support families and young children, fostering early literacy  and a love of learning…”Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them…”


West Virginia Liaison – TBD




Brittanny Handiboe – New Member Coordinator/Social Media Coordinator

Brittanny Handiboe is an illustrator born and raised just south of Baltimore, Maryland.  She doodled in her picture books as a child because her dream was to simply add her own pictures to the words. That dream hasn’t changed much besides, well, doodling in other picture books… sorry Dr. Seuss.  As an illustrator, her works include Lullaby Land written by Rhonda J. Beard,  Holly and Her Heart by Ella Kunce, and Zomi ABC produced by Man Cing in the works! Brittanny loves to bake, play video games, and is a blessed wife and mom! 



Mike Karg – Critique Group Coordinator

Mike Karg is a picture book writer and a feline-exclusive veterinarian. In art and science, he caters to two “clients”, the vase-breaking, heart-melting child or cat, and the caregiver who pays the bills. Mike writes before breakfast, drawing upon the lives of his daydreaming children and impish cats.  He fancies himself a woodland gardener (whatever that means), a tinkerer of buildings and board games, and will always be about seven years old. 


Lois Szymanski – RA Emeritus

Lois Szymanski is the author of 27 books for children, including chapter books for young readers, middle grade novels, picture books and nonfiction for children and adults. She has two middle grade book series – Charming Ponies with Harper Festival and The Gettysburg Ghost Gang coauthored by Shelley Sykes and published by White Mane Kids. Szymanski was Regional Advisor of the MD/DE/WV chapter of SCBWI for over 10 years. She is a weekly correspondent for the Carroll County Times and teaches occasional writing classes at Carroll Community College. Her picture book, Surfer Dude, was released in the spring of 2017 by Schiffer Books.