Monday, February 20, 2017

Webinar Coming to a Computer Near You!

We've got an exciting webinar coming up on March 14 with Peter Pearson, author of How to Eat an Airplane. I'm opening it up to everyone interested. The information can be found below. It would be great if you could share with your members. They can register at the following link:

Info on Webinar:

WEBINAR: HUMOR IN PICTURE BOOKS with Peter Pearson, author of How to Eat An Airplane, the first book in the Bad Idea Book Club. 

When: March 14, 2017, 7:00 – 8:30 C.S.T. (Central Standard Time)
Where: Any computer with a good internet connection
How much: $10 member, $25 non-member. 
We'll also be having a RAFFLE: Everyone who joins the webinar will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of How to Eat An Airplane! (Event if you live far away, we'll mail it to you!)

Tandy Ellen Gutierrez
Regional Advisor - Southwest Texas

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hear All About It!

Image result for cartoon graphic megaphone

Curtis Manley's JUST RIGHT: SEARCHING FOR THE GOLDILOCKS PLANET, an exploration of the search for an Earth-like planet, with illustrations by Jessica Lanan, again to Emily Feinberg at Roaring Brook Press, by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency for the author and Edward Maxwell of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (World). Publication Winter 2019


Submit your books to the Washington State Book Awards!
Did you have a book published in 2016? Make sure it was nominated for a 2017 Washington State Book Award! You can email the State Book Awards at and ask if your title was received yet, and we’ll let you know. Publishers or authors can submit four copies of a book, along with the entry form, in one of these four categories for books for youth: Picture books, books for ages 6 to 8, books for ages 9 to 12, and young adult books. 
The deadline isn’t until April 1 (for books published in 2016), but we would appreciate having entry forms for nominated titles and books in hand by February 10.
The Washington State Book Awards are administered by the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. SCBWI WWA member Linda Johns can answer any questions you have at
THANKS! And get those books in!
Linda Johns 
Librarian – Reader Services
The Seattle Public Library |  206.386.463
Currently reading: Malice by Keigo Higashino
Just read:: Dietland by Sarai Walker 
Schedule note: I work Sunday through Thursday each week.


Announcing the SCBWI WWA Inclusivity ScholarshipTwo scholarships, awarded to one author and one illustrator, will cover the full cost to attend the April 8, 2017, day of programming at our Spring Conference. Applications are open now. Click here for details.

Call for PresentersAre you interested in presenting at one of our 2017-2018 Monthly Meetings? Click here for details and application.

Call for ArtistsSubmit your work for an amazing opportunity to showcase your work in a juried group show of WWA SCBWI illustrators at Aljoya Thornton Place. Deadline for submission is March 10, so get drawing.

Stay Informed With the Chinook UpdateClick the “Join Our Blog” button at the bottom of our homepage to get to the Chinook Update blog. Scroll down to the “Get the Chinook Update by e-mail” box on the left. Enter your email address, hit “submit” and you will start getting local and relevant kid-lit news, including reminders of our monthly meetings and other SCBWI-related events sent directly to your in box.
Thanks, see you Wednesday night! You won’t want to miss it!
Dana Arnim and Dana SullivanCo-Regional Advisors, SCBWI Western Washington   
SCBWI-WWA Banner-black w/kite* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *If you do not wish to receive future emails from SCBWI Western Washington, please click the link below. Please note that you will no longer receive notification of upcoming events, including the annual conference, master classes, regional programming, and more.Opt-Out

Stay tuned for interviews of our conference faculty. First in the lineup is Patricia Hruby Powell, author or picture books, poetry, and middle grade - fiction and non fiction, and  dancer and choreographer! Ohhh, I can't wait myself to finally get the Skype with her.

That's all for now,


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sign-up Today! KidLit Class with Deb Lund!!

Starting this Thursday!

A Kidlit Class with Deb Lund

Are you a seasoned author? Or wondering if writing for kids is for you? No matter where you are on the kidlit spectrum, these six weeks will provide you with accountability, critiques, mini-lessons, writing exercises, group discussions, a safe place for asking questions, and a lot of laughs and snacks. We will explore strategies for finding ideas, getting stories on the page, evaluating and revising your writing, and keeping your writing going.

And the best part is —it’s an easy island outing!

Grab a friend or three, carpool to Mukilteo, walk on the 12:00 Whidbey Island ferry, hop on the free northbound bus, arrive at Bayview Park & Ride at 12:30, and Deb will walk you across the street to Bayview Senior Center.

Here are the Particulars:

Thursdays 1:00-4:00
February 16, 23 & March 2, 9, 16, 23

Limited class size

Cost: $240

Register now! Information at

SCBWI members who register receive a free Fiction Magic: Card Tricks & Tips for Writers card deck and guidebook set, or a pair of dinobooks.

Deb Lund is an author, teacher, and a creativity coach who partners with people who want more joy and meaning in their lives. Her master’s project a few decades ago focused on teaching writing, and she has taught teachers and writers of all ages ever since. For more information, contact Deb at

I tell ya, if I weren't working my day gig, I'd be on the island with Deb learning and writing. So, go in my place and I can experience vicariously.

Happy Writing,


Monday, February 13, 2017

Inside Story Is Coming To Town!

Check your e-mail! Invitations to apply for the Spring Inside Story have already gone out. In case you missed it, here are the event details:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 from 7:00-9:00pm
University Book Store
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA  98105

Please carefully read and follow the information below. To be eligible, 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. If you’re a member and uncertain which region you’re in, please email us and we’ll check for you.

•    Your publisher is on SCBWI’s list of recognized (traditional) PAL publishers. You can find the accepted publisher list by going to your SCBWI member profile page, clicking “Add” in the “Books” section under “Publications.” Find “Publisher” (not “Other Publisher”) and type in your publisher’s name in the box that says, “Start typing…”  
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 November 2016 and May 2017) and has never been published before. (Reprints/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. Deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 1, 2017. You will hear back a week or two after the application deadline with further information.

If you're not planning to present this time around, please mark this event on your calendar anyway. You won’t want to miss it!

Dori Butler, Inside Story Coordinator                                                      

ICYMI: February meeting with Claire Rudulf Murphy and Mark Cronk Farrell

What an inspiring and informative meeting we had last week!

First up was Building Great Sentences presented by Claire Rudolf Murphy. Claire showed us many different approaches to line editing and wordsmithing.

Some of the key takeaways from her presentation were:
  • Look at both the order of your words within a phrase and your phrases within a sentence. Try different arrangements to see which one works best. Every different arrangement contains a slightly different meaning, and the most important word and/or phrase should usually come at the end.
  • Nouns should be interesting and specific. Strong verbs activate a scene. Adverbial clauses can be used to great effect.
  • Use other poetic devices for impact, including the Power of Two (rhythmic sound bites like teeny-weeny), the Rhythm of Threes, Paradox and Oxymoron, Reflecting Sounds, Caesura (a strong pause within a line), Alliteration, and Assonance (repetition of vowel sounds).
Claire also recommended two books for writers who wish to explore these ideas further:
  • Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) by Brooks Landon, and
  • Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers

Next up was The Hidden Architecture of Compelling Nonfiction with Mary Cronk Farrell.

Mary says that although structure and form may seem boring, having a strong narrative arc helps readers connect with nonfiction and allows us to touch not only the minds of young readers but their hearts as well.

Mary reminded us that there are two pillars of every story: the action (what happens) and the emotion (why we care). What sparks emotions are small, but specific, details.

Mary shared examples from her award-winning nonfiction book for teens, Pure Grit. She showed us how almost every detail came from a different source, but then she synthesized them all into a single, compelling narrative.

How does a nonfiction writer turn a humongous pile of research into a well-put-together book? We have to find the narrative arc first, then we can choose the specific details that will spotlight the necessary moments in that arc. The form is necessary to make meaning from the mess.

To find that form, Mary recommends trying different things to see what works. Pay close attention to what drew you to the story in the first place and emphasize that in your arc. And most of all, trust your gut!

Thank you so much to Mary and Claire for coming from the other side of the state to talk to us! We so appreciated the lessons they shared and the wise words of wisdom gleaned from both of these fine writers.

Also, thank you to Milagros Welt for the amazing Valentine's Day-themed snack spread!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

ICYMI: Nonfiction Workshop with Mary Cronk Farrell

Last Wednesday, dozens of SCBWI-WWA writers (and illustrators!) attended a special workshop, Talking with the Dead… and Other Secrets to Writing Nonfiction for Today’s Readers, presented by award-winning author and former journalist, Mary Cronk Farrell.

Mary Cronk Farrell headshot

Mary started out by sharing an uplifting message for all of us:
“Story has made us who we are, and story can save us.”
But is nonfiction "story?" Indeed! Great nonfiction always comes from the heart, and kids often tend to seek out nonfiction specifically.

Mary shared some interesting data about how our brains our changing thanks to the internet. Whether this is good or bad can be debated, but what matters most is that we use this knowledge when we're writing in order to grab, and keep, the attention of our readers.

Mary then broke down how some of the big nonfiction award winners from 2016 succeeded in doing just that. She analyzed each of the following titles:

  • March: Book 3 by John Lewis
  • Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins
  • Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet
  • Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner 
  • Giant Squid by Candace Fleming 
  • I Dissent by Debbie Levy

She also talked about how to research and find the necessary details to bring our stories to life, including primary source documents and interviewing people, and how to synthesize a huge pile of information down into a coherent story arc.

It's not easy, but if you're following your passion and pursuing a story that matters to you, it will ultimately be worth it--to you AND to your readers!

A huge thank you to Mary for venturing over the pass to share so much of her knowledge and expertise with us! If you haven't yet, be sure to check out some of her fabulous nonfiction titles. You won't regret it!

Pure Grit coverFannie Never Flinched coverIrena's Children coverJourney to the Top of the World cover

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Git yer bookstore & library secrets here!

Open to all: Don't miss the March 4 Think Tank, "Romancing the Store: How to Make Bookstores and Librarys Love You!"

Designed for PAL members but open to all, this event still has a few spaces left. Read the details, then sign up here! (And remember to send your moola as instructed.) See you there!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Monthly Meeting Wednesday February 8th


7 – 9 p.m.
Monthly Programming (snacks and schmoozing start at 6:30)
Where: Seattle Pacific University, Demaray Hall 150 (#8 on the map)
: Free for Passport Holders
$10 for SCBWI members
$15 for non-members


Presentation 1: Claire Rudolf Murphy,  Building Powerful SentencesNo more boring sentences! Claire will share techniques to making our sentences sing, dance and jump off the pages. Bring three of your own sentences that could use a little jazzing up!
Presentation 2: Mary Cronk Farrell,  The Hidden Architecture of Compelling NonfictionIn writing non-fiction, you gotta get the facts right — and then knock some socks off with those facts. Mary will demonstrate how action and emotion reinforce the narrative structure of your story to reach the minds and hearts of your readers.

Hope to see you!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Writing Webinar!

Join Us For A Writing Webinar

The Real Writing: Techniques on Tackling Tough Revisions
by Author Susan AdrianThursday, February 16, 2017
12:00 Noon Mountain Time

SCBWI Members: $15
Non-Members: $25
(Webinar will be recorded and available for registrants to view any time for a week after the presentation)
“That’s the magic of revisions—every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.”
Kelly Barnhill
First drafts are where the story gets its start, but revisions are where it becomes something real, something whole and alive. But how do you tackle this seemingly impossible task? How do you simultaneously deepen characters and cut extraneous scenes, refine language and improve pacing? How do you even know where to begin? Whether you're working on your own or tackling a 10-page edit letter, this webinar will go over strategies for revision, for shaping that messy draft into a polished book.

Kiri Jorgensen
SCBWI Montana Regional Advisor


Monday, January 30, 2017

Scholarship Opportunity

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Western Washington, is thrilled to announce that it will award two inclusion scholarships, one for writers, one for illustrators, as part of this year’s spring conference. The award covers the cost to attend programming on April 8, 2017, at the Marriott Redmond Town Center.
Eligible applicants should be age 18 or older, write or illustrate for children, meet one of the criteria for diversity defined by We Need Diverse Books, and have financial need such that attending this conference would not otherwise be possible. Applicants do not need to be current members of SCBWI, nor do they need to live in the Western Washington region, although travel and accommodations will not be included in the award.
What is meant by “diverse”?
Writers and illustrators must identify as one or more of the following. The main character of the story must also identify as one or more of the following:
•       Person of color
•       Native American
•       LGBTQIA
•       Person with a disability
•       Marginalized religious or cultural minority in the United States.
Please note:
•       If the work does not include a main character, the subject matter must pertain substantially to diverse experiences and content.
•       Socio-economic status and class do not qualify as diverse for the purposes of this award.
Any submission received that does not meet these requirements will not be read.
To enter, applicants should provide the following information via email to, subject line Scholarship Application, by midnight on February 28, 2017:
Both writers and illustrators must provide a cover page that includes:
o   Full name
o   Address
o   E-mail address
o   Phone number
o   Diversity with which the applicant identifies
o   Whether the applicant is an author or illustrator
•       A one-page statement of work describing how attending the conference will help your career objectives and what your current project is about.
•       In addition, writers must also provide the first 500 words of your manuscript (or full picture book manuscript of less than 500 words).
•       In addition, illustrators must provide one to three illustrations from the work in progress (no more than 5MB in size).
Applicants will be chosen based on how well their work promotes and contributes to diversity in children’s literature.
Click here to download a printable flyer for the event.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sign up now for "Romancing the Store" Think Tank

Romancing the Store: How to Make Booksellers and Librarians Love You

Woo the people who can hand-sell and book-talk your book! Gain insights from our panel of eligible bachlorettes (all local and highly available, in this context), then spend time swapping notes and advice with your peers in an informal think tank. (Any topic whatsoever, including other launch, promotion, publishing, and career management issues, are fine in the informal portion of our event. Bring your current dilemmas.)

When? From 10 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 4.
Who? You! And panelists who will include Suzanne Perry from Secret Garden, Mary Harris from BookTree, Erin Ostrander from the King County Library System, and Deborah Sandler from the Seattle Public Library.
Where? Seattle Pacific University, Cremona Hall 102, in Seattle.

This brown-bag event is open to anyone, with PAL and Full SCBWI members receiving registration priority. Others welcome as space permits, but registration is limited based on room capacity, so don’t delay. The cost is $20 for SCBWI members or $25 for non-members.

Bring your own sack lunch or snacks if you like. We’ll provide drinks.

Interested? Sign up now using this two-part process:

1.     Enter the requested information in the form here:

Note that required information includes your SCBWI membership status as of March 1. (This will be confirmed, so if you need to check your renewal date or renew, do it now. Go to, click Member Login, and review your profile under “About Me.” Act accordingly.)

2.     Then use snail mail to mail a check for $20 or $25 (depending on your membership status), made out to SCBWI Western WA, to Joni at 58402 114th Street East, Enumclaw, WA 98022-7954. Alternately, you can send Joni the amount via PayPal to sensel (at) earthlink (one of those dots) net. Choose the “send to family/friends” option. (Hey, we’re friends, aren’t we?)

Registrations will be accepted based on the date of receipt of your payment. Your place will be confirmed in mid-February, and registration will close when our seating limit is reached or March 1, whichever comes first. Checks won’t be cashed until your seat is confirmed.

Questions or troubles? Email PAL coordinator Joni Sensel at the email above. And get your questions for booksellers and librarians ready!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

We Want You!

Call for Workshop Presenters

SCBWI Western Washington is seeking workshop presenters for our 2017-2018 year. Our chapter holds monthly meetings from October through May, and hosts an annual conference each spring. We welcome fresh and compelling workshop ideas for any of these events!

Workshops may address topics relevant to potential attendees that include (but aren’t limited to) the craft of writing and illustrating for children, book marketing, or the latest industry trends. As a presenter, you’re expected to share information and experience, but may not use our events as a platform for commercial sales, self-promotion, political discussions, or to criticize competitors or public figures.

Workshop Categories

         Mini-Sessions for our meetings should be approximately 30 minutes long, which includes 5- 10 minutes for questions and answers.
         Main Programs for our meetings should be approximately 60 minutes long, which includes 10-15 minutes for questions and answers.
         Breakout Sessions for our annual conference should be approximately 50 minutes long, which includes 5-10 minutes for questions and answers.

Presenter Benefits

         Complimentary access to other workshops on the day of your presentation
         Your books sold through our on-site bookstore and autographing time
         Enhanced reputation as a knowledgeable industry resource
         Improved profile for your organization
         The knowledge that you’ve helped writers negotiate obstacles you had to overcome to get where you are
         Significant discount on full conference registration (for conference presenters only)
   For main program presenters: $150, plus the following year of regional meeting programming. $75 if shared by two or $60 if shared by three panelists.
   For mini-session presenters: $75, plus the following year of regional meeting programming.
$40 if shared by two or $35 if shared by three panelists.
   For a split session of two 45 minute presentations: $100, plus the following year of regional meeting programming.

Deadline: May 22, 2017
To be considered as a workshop presenter, please complete the following application and return it to the address indicated by May 22, 2017. Your application will be reviewed by our Advisory Committee during our annual planning meeting in June. We’ll take into account your presenting history, the workshop’s relevance to the majority of our members and subscribers, and originality. We strive to balance our programs between craft, marketing, and topics of interest to the Kid Lit community, and we look for variety in speakers and topics from one year to the next.

If you are selected as a workshop presenter, we will notify you. We will only contact you if we are interested in your workshop (please don’t e-mail to inquire). Occasionally we roll over applications that have appeal but don’t work out for the current year, in which case you would hear from us during a different year to find out if you’re still interested in presenting the workshop.

Presenters of successful submissions will be required to confirm their participation within 30 days of being notified and must adhere to SCBWI Western Washington speaking policies.

Download our form in .pdf or .docx.

Best of luck!