Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekend on the Water Sneak Peek with Lisa L. Owens!

I can't wait to get to IslandWood and start soaking up the atmosphere, hobnobbing with you all, and marinating in all things KIDLIT & CREATIVITY until it's time to board that ferry back to reality.
I'm also excited to be leading a couple of exploratory sessions for anyone interested in learning more about Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. In addition to following this creativity practice on my own since 2010, I've participated in two full-program workshops and attended one phenomenal intensive weekend retreat led by Cameron herself. I find the program tools easy to incorporate into my routine and the program's underlying philosophy adaptable to different belief systems, so I really enjoy sharing info with anyone thinking about giving it all a whirl.

Here's the official description of what I've planned for our retreat:

The Artist's Way Mini Class
Julia Cameron's 12-week program consists of targeted exercises and strategies meant to help anyone cultivate a more rewarding personal creativity practice. Along the way, students confront negative patterns and learn how to more easily and consistently access their creative talents. This mini class will cover key Artist's Way principles and give attendees a taste of the program's simple but effective methods.

Saturday: Introduction to The Artist's Way  
We'll take a quick look at the progression of themes in a full Artist’s Way cycle (from reclaiming a sense of creative safety to embracing creative possibility and beyond). Then we’ll discuss Morning Pages, Artist Dates, and Walks — aka the program’s hallmark “creative recovery” tools. And we’ll end with a short reflection exercise to start challenging any self-limiting beliefs that might be keeping you from following your personal creative path. 

Important note about what Artist's Way techniques can help you discover and accept about your personal creative path: It's not my path or someone else's vision of your path or a path Julia Cameron lays out for you or a facsimile of the latest Itcreative's path. It's all YOURS, and that's what makes it right.

SundayArtist's Way Hands-On Workshop  
This session will include two fun hands-on activities designed to help you connect with some of your deepest creative interests and tap in to your personal power as a creative being. 

Translation in case that didn't sound fun: You will (1) interpret a relevant topic through a stream-of-consciousness drawing activity; and (2) rip up paper goods and use glue to create something new.

Is The Artist's Way right for you? I have no idea! It wasn't right for me until ... it was. But I do believe taking it for a test run in this setting will offer concrete creativity-boosting strategies you can later use, and benefit from, regardless of whether you decide to further explore the program after the retreat.

Each session stands alone, and everyone is welcome at one or the other or, of course, both.

I hope some of you will join me!

Learn more about Lisa here

The deadline for the retreat is only a few days away. Register now

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September Events, and beyond!


Need a kick in the pants to write that novel? Lois Brandt is teaching her “Write a Novel in a Month” class at Bellevue College North Campus starting October 10th. 

Write Your Novel in a Month 
Tuesday Evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 
October 10th – December 5th

Is writing a novel one of your life-long dreams? Join this 8 week class as it hooks up with 100,000 writers worldwide for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The first classes prepare you for the noveling process, with practice in characterization, setting, plot, voice, and dialogue. Then we're off and writing our 50,000 word manuscripts. During the last class we plan for revision. This is a great way to write your novel in a supportive environment.  Cost:  $195

Questions?  Contact  

Book events!

September 23
Laurie Thompson will be telling truths and lies at Brick & Mortar.

September 26
Ben Hatke and Kazu Kibuishi will be talking about and signing graphic novels at University Bookstore.


September 26
Catherynne M. Valente will be might be circumnavigating fairyland to visit Secret Garden at 7 and talk about her newest, The Glass Town Game.

September 27
Will Hubbell will be reading Pumpkin Jack at Third Place Books.

October 1
Ryan Higgins is in town for Bruce's Big Move at Secret Garden.

October 1
Amanda Hosch celebrates her middle grade debut, MABEL OPAL PEAR AND THE RULES FOR SPYING, at University Bookstore

October 1
Toni Yuly talks about her newest, Thank You, Bees, at Elliott Bay. Cupcakes, Thank You Bees thank you cars, stickers, and more await!

October 3rd and 4th
Cressida Cowell stops training dragons to talk about a new series at Third Place Books LFP, AND  visits the peninsula to kick off a new series, starting with THE WIZARDS OF ONCE, at Liberty Bay Books and Sylvan Way Library.

October 7
Martha Brockenbrough launches Love, Santa at University Bookstore

October 21
Lisa Mantchev visits Secret Garden with her newest picture book, a companion to Strictly No Elephants,  Someday, Narwhal.

October 24
Kelly Jones will be at Third Place Books to talk about her new YA, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore.

October 28
Nidhi Chanani will be in town at Third Place Books, Seward Park to talk about Pashmina, her debut graphic novel. 

November 1
Caldecott winner Phillip Stead comes to town to read Mark Twain's, The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, illustrated by Phillip and Erin Stead. Find him at Secret Garden.

November 6
Renee Watson will be in town to talk about her wonderful debut at Third Place Books, Seward Park.

Double-check times and whatnot with bookstores before you set out for events. If you snap a great picture, tag us at @scbwiwwa on Instagram and/or Twitter, and we'll try to repost. If you have good news or an event coming up, let us know!

Support book culture.
Support independent bookstores and libraries.
Support authors.

Friday, September 15, 2017

2017-2018 Mentees Announced

We are pleased to announce our mentees for the 2017-2018 Mentorship Program. In the program's first year, fourteen writers will work one-on-one with a published author to analyze every aspect of their manuscript for a six-month period.

Thanks to all the entrants! It was difficult for the mentors to choose from so many excellent applicants. We look forward to reading more fabulous work by local writers next year and foster talent by establishing relationships with great mentors. More information on the mentors can be found here.


          SCBWI WWA Mentorship Program 2017-2018

Lisa Cach HeidegerDori Hillestad ButlerMiddle Grade
Faith ConlonDori Hillestad ButlerMiddle Grade
Rebekah HosmanKim BakerMiddle Grade
Sarah J. MendoncaKim BakerMiddle Grade
Dawn Marie HooksLaurie ThompsonNonfiction
Linda BuckLaurie ThompsonNonfiction
Connor DesaiLisa OwensNonfiction
Maria MarshallLisa OwensNonfiction
Shilpa AgarwalLois BrandtPicture Book
Amy PoffenbargerLois BrandtPicture Book
Kelly Rae BahrPeggy King AndersonPicture Book
Melissa KoosmannPeggy King AndersonPicture Book
Lenae NofzigerJeanne RyanYoung Adult
Aubri KelemanKevin EmersonYoung Adult

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017-2018 SCBWI WWA Meeting Passports available NOW!

Don't miss out on all the great programming Western Washington offers throughout the year. Get your SCBWI Western Washington (WWA) Meeting Passport  today!

Our Passport season runs from October to May and helps to support not only our fantastic monthly meetings at SPU and Bellevue College, but also an abundance of educational and professional opportunities: editor and agent events with manuscript consultations and master workshops; the Chinook blog; statewide Networks; Mentorship Program; Writer and Illustrator Retreats; Art Shows; KidLit Drink Nights; PAL programming; Great Critique and Critique Traveling Road Show; a new webinar series; and, of course, our fantastic 3-day Western Washington Conference.

Because our Western Washington chapter is self-supporting, when you subscribe to the Passport Program, you are supporting all the wonderful programming that makes our region's kidlit community so exceptional and vibrant.


2017-2018 SCBWI-WWA Monthly Program Passport
Non-Member Price$88.00
SCBWI Int'l Member Price$44.00

Attending even a handful of the eight meetings we’re holding this year makes up for the price of the Passport. Plus, only passport holders will be able to sign up for the Great Critique as well as additional opportunities for master classes and consultations with our special guest editors in October and February. Speakers include Liz Kossnar, Associate Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Independent Children's Book Editor Harold Underdown, and local talents galore!

The Passport saves you time and money, while also giving you access to special opportunities not available to the general public. So take advantage of this incredible bargain today, as options such as manuscript critiques and master classes often sell out quickly. 

Find all of the registration and season details here. Don't delay, master classes and consultations fill quickly.

See you soon!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Inside Story: Application deadline is FRIDAY!

Don't forget! The deadline to apply to be a panelist for the Fall 2017 Inside Story is Friday, September 15. The event will be held on Saturday, November 4 from 2:00pm until 4:00pm at the downtown Bellevue library (1111 110th Ave. NE in Bellevue).

To be eligible to present, you need to be able to say "yes!" to all of the following:

•    You are a CURRENT SCBWI member at the PAL (published and listed) level and your profile at is updated to reflect this.

•    You live in the official Western Washington region.

•    Your publisher is on SCBWI’s list of recognized (traditional) PAL publishers. You can double check here

Exception: If your self-published book is a continuation of a PAL published series and/or a Spark Award winner, you are still eligible to participate in Inside Story.

•    Your book is brand new (released between May 2017 and November 2017) and has never been published before. (Reprints and new editions do not qualify for Inside Story)

•    Your book is readily available through normal trade channels (e.g., Baker & Taylor).

The application form is here. Please fill in all areas. You will hear back a week or two after the application deadline with further information. Questions? Contact Dori Butler, Inside Story Coordinator at

Monday, September 11, 2017

Margaux Meganck: Featured Illustrator

Margaux Meganck is our Featured Illustrator for September/October! She was the 2nd Place Runner-up at the 25th SCBWI Western Washington Conference for Writers and Illustrators this past spring. Margaux is an illustrator living and working in Portland Oregon, and loves traveling, drinking tea, and eating all the chocolate. She also loves snuggling her friends’ cats since she doesn’t have one of her own.

Can you briefly explain your creative process, favorite mediums, etc?
I work in a variety of media, and I am always tweaking my process a little, but right now I love sketching with watercolor pencils and then painting over top of that with watercolors. The water color pencil does bleed a little but I like a less dark and solid line than pencil or just regular colored pencils provide. Then I like to go back over my paintings with colored pencils, pastel pencils, and sometimes ink. It’s all a mess while I am working on it, but I just have to push past what I call “the ugly stage.” Every piece goes through an ugly stage.

Where do you find your ideas? Do you have a process? 

I find my illustration ideas from challenges I give myself. My most recent illustration challenge was: animals and phones. I drew so many different animals talking on a slew of various phones and then I took my favorite sketches to final. You can see some of my favorites from that series up on my website right now (

I find my writing ideas by looking around me, looking at my sketches and seeing what characters or themes pop out to me. And then I write in a journal, a lot, even when I don’t want to, or when I don’t have any ideas, I just  write a journal entry from the perspective of a character, or I write a letter to a character, or I imagine a character in a scene and write that scene out. I find it best if I don’t think about the end result. I just use my journal to explore ideas with no objective other than to get to know my characters better. Or to process a thought or feeling I am dealing with. Then often times from that work arises an idea. Which I can then go on and explore more in depth.

How do you deal with creative blocks?
I work through them. Even if what I am writing or illustrating is trash, it has a purpose: to get me to the other side of the block. If you keep writing and drawing something good will come from it eventually.

Who are your illustrator heroes?
Oh, I have so many… The wonderful illustrators in my critique group (Deborah Hocking, Alison Farrell, Tracy Subisak, Meredith Crandall-Brown, Zoey Wagner, and Nicole Roberts) are an endless source of inspiration to me. My heart also skips a beat over the work of Erin Stead, Isabelle Arsenault, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen, Shaun Tan, Barbara Kooney, and Chris Van Allsburg and I could go on forever...

Did you have any favorite children’s books as a child?
Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg. I loved the idea of something as innocuous as a board game completely turning a brother and sister’s world upside down. It was magical, scary, and mysterious. With every page turn came a new adventure. Allsburg’s clean and tidy black and white drawings kept a hint of stability and realism throughout story, so no matter how chaotic the story got I always knew we would end up back in reality with both feet on the ground. Also, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig, is heart wrenching and wonderful.

What’s inspiring you and your work right now?
I listen to lots of podcasts while I work, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast about writing and the writing process is really inspiring to me right now. Elizabeth is a very good motivational speaker when it comes to creative pursuits, and one of her episodes from last season inspired the book I am working on right now.

How did you meet your agent, Danielle Smith, at Lupine Grove?
I had had my eye on Danielle when she was still working at Red Fox, but my work wasn’t ready to submit at the time. So when I saw that she was planning on leaving Red Fox to start a new agency, and would be actively seeking new talent I had to finally take the leap. So I did a lot of work on my portfolio, I posted work very actively on social media, and I followed her on instagram. Then I submitted a query letter to her.  An acquaintance of mine and a client of hers put in a good word for me. It was shortly after that that we spoke on the phone for the first time and she signed me.

Any words of wisdom you want to share?
I don’t feel wise enough to share words of wisdom. But keep working hard and if you still enjoy the work you are doing you are on the right path.

Thank you, Margaux!

Check out Margaux’s portfolio at