Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cheers to Nina Laden!



Image of the author/artist from www.ninaladen.com.
Ballard resident Nina Laden is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of many books for children, from The Night I Followed the Dog to Peek-a-Who?. Secret Garden Books in Ballard commemorates her 20th year in print as well as the release of her first game, based on Peek-a-Who?.
The Night I Followed the Dog was released in August of 1994. It is exceedingly rare for a children’s book to stay in print for that long. New York Times bestselling Peek-a-Who? has been a perennial bestseller for Chronicle Books since it was released in 2000. It has spawned additions to the series, including last year's Peek-a-Zoo!, among others. Last month Chronicle Books also released a game based on it.
Come celebrate Nina's continued success and her books, which have charmed children and their parents for two decades. 

Congratulations, Nina!

WHEN: Thursday, November 6 at 7pm
WHERE: Secret Garden Books, 2214 NW Market St, Ballard

Quips and giggles

So a writer and a reader get into a car....

SCBWI co-founder and author Stephen Mooser is offering a webinar, FREE, which will explore ways to make the funnybone tingle when you craft a story. Via the Children's Book Academy, this special event will take place on Thursday, October 30 at 5pm Pacific Daylight Time. To learn more and for more details, please click here.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Inside Story is coming

'Tis the season...for Inside Story!

The Fall 2014 Inside Story will take place at Parkplace Books (348 Parkplace Center, Kirkland, WA 98033) on November 4 at 7:00 PM.

We hold this celebration twice a year for booksellers, librarians, teachers, and other children's book lovers so you can hear the "stories behind the stories" of new and upcoming books by our local authors and illustrators.
The following authors and illustrators will present their new books:
Brianna Caplan Sayres, Carly Anne West, Dan Richards, Dana Sullivan, Dori Hillestad Butler , Justina Chen, Kevin Emerson, Laurie Ann Thompson, Lin Kaymer, Lois Brandt, Loralee Leavitt, Lorie Ann Grover, Nina Laden, Randall Platt, Royce Buckingham, Stacey Campbell, Suzanne Selfors, Tom Brenner, and Toni Yuly. 

Please RSVP with Parkplace Books:  parkplacebooks@integra.net

Making the (Middle) Grade: Essential Elements of the MG Novel with Brianne Johnson

Writers House agent Brianne Johnson shared a talk with us last Friday afternoon about writing middle-grade novels. She discussed plot, character, voice, beginnings, and theme in middle grade, using examples from some of her clients' books, The League of Beastly Dreadfuls and The Only Thing Worse than Witches, as well as from Harry Potter, A Single Shard, and Matilda.

She started out by sharing Aristotle's definition of plot, "the change of good fortune to bad, or bad fortune to good." Then she said there are three basic types of plots: conflict, mystery, and/or lack. A middle-grade novel may have one, two, or all three of those plot types, but each plot must have its own complete story arc (stasis, inciting incident, escalating complicating events, climax, resolution). 

Some of the most common problems she sees with character are in the dialog. Her advice? "Read it out loud!" She also recommends using the worksheets and checklists in Cheryl Klein's book, Second Sight, for both plot and character development.

Some common themes in middle grade that she discussed in the workshop include challenging the status quo and learning that not all adults are kindly caregivers looking out for their best interests. "You can be really dark in middle grade," Brianne said, "but at the end of the day… there does need to be hope." She ended her presentation with this quote from Richard Peck: "A children’s novel ends not with happily ever after, but at a new beginning, with the sense of a lot of life left to be lived." 
Finally, we had time to read some of the attendees' first pages aloud and discuss as a group what was and wasn't working in each of the pieces.

— Reported by Laurie Ann Thompson

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fabulous Fall Kickoff!

SCBWI Western Washington's first 2014-2015 season Professional Series Meeting with agent Brianne Johnson of Writers House took place last night, Oct. 16. It was a packed event with a lot of laughs and a lot of interesting pointers from Brianne for everyone in the audience.

Writers House, with more than a dozen agents, is one of the biggest agencies for children’s literature. Brianne, who's been at Writer’s House for about five years, says she started as an intern, “clawing her way up” to the position of senior agent. 

She receives about 120 queries a week and told us she starts her day weeding through her slush pile, which is where she said she’s found most of her clients. “Younger agents are hungrier," she noted. "They read the slush pile.” After telling the audience what she’s looking for in PB, MG, and YA submissions, Brianne walked us through her current book list, which included the first book she sold as an agent, Albie’s First Word.

Brianne generously spent more than half of the evening answering questions from the audience, from what she’s looking for in a nonfiction book to what sorts of manuscripts keep her up at night. Calling herself a very editorial agent, Brianne gave us a sneak peek into her daily life as an agent and gave the audience very practical tips for scouting new agents and getting noticed.

Even if you missed this great event, it's not too late to attend next month on Thursday, Nov. 20, when the presentations will include "Nonfiction is the New Black" and "Marketing for Introverts." Better yet, get yourself a series passport and attend them all!

— Reported by Alison Weatherby

Registration open for WWU Children’s Literature Conference

Registration is now open for the 12th annual Children’s Literature Conference at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Many SCBWI members have attended this event over the years, particularly Northern Region regulars, and they always have good things to say about it.

The conference will take place i, and feature Newbery medalist and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo, Pura Belpré medalist and acclaimed young adult novelist Matt de la Peña, Newbery Honor recipient and NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award winner Joyce Sidman, and three-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award medalist Yuyi Morales. Rates for early registration are $95 or $85 if you can register as a group of three or more.

Places for today's events

Last night's fall kickoff went swimmingly! And for those who will be meeting with Writers House agent Brianne Johnson today, just to eliminate any confusion:

  • The agent consults (for those already registered and confirmed for them) are in the library, conference room A from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.. 
  • The master class is from 3 - 5 p.m. in Bertona Hall, room 1. It is # 65 on this campus map.
See you there!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NaNoWriMo & PiBoIdMo & Drink Nite, Oh My!

Deb Lund and Jan O'Neil, the only two women who would be so brave, will be hosting a kick-off event for both National Novel Writing Month and Picture Book Idea Month and THEN follow it up with a Kid Lit Drink Night

Can you think of a better way to begin your November? Nope, neither can we.

WHEN: Saturday, November 1, 2–6pm

2–4pm (the writing and creating part)
4–6pm (the creating and imbibing part)

WHERE: Diamond Knot Craft Brewing, Mukilteo

Spooky KLDN on Oct. 22

Bring out your "spirits" for a pre-Halloween KidLit Drink Night at SCBWI WWA favorite Blue Star Cafe and Pub in Wallingford next week on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 p.m. to whenever. See you there!

Monday, October 13, 2014


Hear ye, hear ye!

In THREE (count 'em!) DAYS, our first monthly programming meeting will take place. Which means, dear SCBWI-ers and valued guests, that it is going to be a fabulous season ahead!

If you are still without a passport––which will get you in for our entire programming year––
please click HERE. Not only will this save you some dough, it will also simplify and enrich (oh, yes it will!) your life.

Long story short:

This Thursday. SPU campus, Demaray Hall. 7pm. Agent. Art show. Conviviality. Networking. Be there!

Congrats to our state book award winners!

Kudos to SCBWI Western Washington authors and illustrators honored at last week’s Washington State Book Awards!

The winner of the Scandiuzzi Book Award for Books for Middle Readers (ages 9-12) was member Suzanne Selfor's The Sasquatch Escape!

And the Scandiuzzi Book Award finalists included, for picture books, members Nina Laden, writer, for Once Upon a Memory, and Julie Paschkis, illustrator, for Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar; and for early reader books (ages 6 to 8), author Kirby Larson for Duke. Way to represent us, superstars!

Graphic Arts Guild workshop on social media

The Graphic Artists Guild will present a workshop at noon on Wednesday, October 29, called "Social Media and Getting (a Little) Geeky with Your Self-Promotion." It'll be led by Steve Broback, about whom the Guild says, "Several years ago, Steve Broback showed us what blogging offered creatives in the realm of self-promotion. Between then and now, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and scores of other platforms have exploded over both Web and mobile media. So come learn about the current technologies, tools, and techniques Steve uses to drive awareness and conversions for himself and his clients."

The event will be held in at the Seattle Design Center's EAFA Gallery, Suite 292, 5701 6th Avenue South, 98108. Get tickets, which range from $10 to $20, depending on how cool you are.