Monday, March 2, 2015

Conference faculty profile: Christa Heschke

Christa Heschke will demystify the process of writing a mystery.

Christa Heschke started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. As an agent at McIntosh & Otis, where she has been in the Children's Literature Department since 2009, she is actively looking for picture books, middle grade, and young adult projects. She graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology.

Twitter: @ChristaHeschke


Christa's conference schedule:

––Saturday, 8:30–9:15am
Agent/Editor/Art Director panel 

––Saturday, 10:20–11:20am
Breakout session 1-E, "Writing an Engaging Mystery: Atmosphere, Tension, Pacing, and Premise"

––Saturday, 1:05–2:05pm
Breakout session 2-D, "Picture Books 101: From Coming Up With an Idea to Querying"

Conference faculty profile: Rachel Orr

Rachel will turn your Flat opening pages into Fab ones!

Rachel Orr is celebrating her eighth year as an agent at the Prospect Agency, celebrating her eighth year there. She previously worked for eight rewarding years at HarperCollins Children's Books, and uses those editorial skills to help prepare her clients’ work for submission. Her clients include a wide-range of picture- book authors, illustrators, and middle-grade/YA novelists, including Kit Alloway (Dreamfire), Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!), Cori Doerrfeld (Matilda in the Middle), and Jennifer Latham (Scarlett Undercover). Rachel also teaches an online course on middle grade novel writing through She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two young children. She has no spare time but, if she did, she would spend it dancing, running and reading, of course.

Twitter: @RachelOrr

As the Eraser Burns
Wading Through Words 
The Wardrobe Journal

Rachel's conference schedule:

––Saturday, 8:30–9:15am
Agent/Editor/Art Director panel

––Saturday, 1:05–2:05pm
Breakout session 2-E, "Beginnings: From Flat to Fab"

––Saturday, 2:20–3:20pm
Breakout session 3-A, "The Critical Art of Revision"

Conference faculty profile: Jennifer Rofé

Agent Jennifer Rofé is looking for "adorkable" heroes.

Jennifer Rofé, an agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency, represents projects ranging from picture books to young adult, with middle grade being her soft spot. Some of her representative titles include: the middle grade novels The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice and How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen; the young adult novels Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, which won the Pura Belpré Award in 2014, and Finding Paris by Joy Preble; and the picture books 123 Versus ABC by Mike Boldt and The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha Vamos. Jennifer also represents illustrators Eliza Wheeler, Wes Hargis, and Mary Peterson. Jennifer is always looking for fresh and distinct voices; smart, layered, and complex worlds; stories that simultaneously tug at her heartstrings and make her laugh out loud; and "adorkable" heroes. For more on Jennifer’s interests and the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, please visit

Twitter: @jenrofe


Literary Rambles: Agent Spotlight
The Brown Bookshelf
Middle-Grade Ninja

Jennifer's conference schedule:

––Saturday, 8:30–9:15am
Agent/Editor/Art Director panel

––Saturday, 10:20–11:30am
Breakout session 1-B, "Strong First Pages"

––Saturday, 2:20–3:20pm
Breakout session 3-B, "Don't Be Weary, It's Just a Query"



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jennifer's great news!

 How about THIS to start the month off right?

Way to go: Jen scores a two-book deal!

Chelsea Eberly at Random House has bought Six Feet Over It author Jennifer Longo's Up To This Pointe, in a two-book deal. In the novel, a girl who is the descendant of an explorer who died in a race to the South Pole knows that big dreams come with big risks. When her dream of becoming a star ballerina dies, she's willing to go to the ends of the earth (literally to the South Pole) to chart a new path. Publication is slated for spring 2016; Melissa Sarver White at Folio Literary Management did the deal for world rights.

New member, new book!

 New SCBWI member Charlotte Riggle is a bit of a late bloomer. Although she's been a (technical) writer for many years, her first children's book, Catherine's Pascha, was published just last month.

Charlotte will be reading Catherine's Pascha on Saturday, March 28 at A Good Book Cafe, 1014 W. Main St, Sumner. Come by yourself, or bring a child, or a group of children! Charlotte will be reading at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm, to make it easy for you to find a slot in your busy Saturday schedule!

Sumner might be a bit of a drive for you. If you want to make a day of it, plan to grab lunch at Berryland Cafe across the street (their homemade pies are legendary) or the Buttered Biscuit (across the street and through the alley), and shop at some of the cute stores that line Main Street.

You can learn more about the book, and about the Orthodox celebration of Easter, at the book's website. Come, to welcome a new member and celebrate a new book!

March author/illustrator events

YA = young adult
MG = middle grade
PB = picture book
NF = nonfiction

University Book Store
Third Place Books
Elliott Bay Book Company
Secret Garden Books
Seattle Central Library

Tuesday March 3, 7PM 
––Carson Ellis, Home (PB)
Third Place Books, Ravenna; also: FRIDAY, MARCH 6 at 7pm, Secret Garden Books

––Randy Henderson, Finn Fancy Necromancy (YA)
Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park

Friday March 6, 7PM

Lesley Walton, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (YA)
Elliot Bay Book Company

Monday March 9, 7PM

Alma Alexander, Random (YA)
University Book Store, U-District

Wednesday March 11, 11:30AM

––Ashley Rhodes, Courter Three Little Words (YA)
Washington State Convention Center
, 800 Convention Place, Seattle 

––Jane O’ Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, Fancy Nancy (PB)
Secret Garden Books

Friday March 13, 7PM

Sharon Manteca, B in the World (MG)
Secret Garden Books

Wednesday March 18, 7PM

David Vann, Aquarium (YA)
Elliot Bay Book Company

Saturday March 21, 2PM

Julie Paschkis, P. Zonka Lays an Egg (PB)
Secret Garden Books

Wednesday March 25, 6PM

Northwest YA Authors Panel / University Book Store, Bellevue:

Martina Dalton, The Sixth Sense of Jenny Crumb (YA)
Ava O'Shay, Serenity (YA)

Rori Shay, The Elected Series (YA)

David A. Davies, The Potential (YA)

T.M. Franklin, The More Trilogy (YA)
Angela Darling, The Last of the Delacroixs (YA) Thomas W. Everson, R.E.solve (YA)
Billie Grable, The Weeping Willow Sings (YA)

Maren Higbee, Lana Fray and the Grand Plan (YA)

David Alan Morrison, Guild of Immortal Women (YA)

Thursday March 26, 6PM

Brandon Mull, Crystal Keepers: Five Kingdoms Book 3 (YA)
University Book Store, Mill Creek

Friday March 27, 7PM

Paige McKenzie, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (YA)
University Book Store, U-District

Saturday March 28, Noon

Owen Curtsinger, Myths of the Tusk (NF)
Third Place Books, Ravenna

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Conference faculty profile: Kristen Nobles

Kristen Nobles, art director at Candlewick Press.

Kristen Nobles joined Candlewick Press as Art Director in 2004. As an art director, she has worked with award-winning illustrators Leslie Patricelli, Sophie Blackall, Yuyi Morales, John Rocco, Matt Myers, Ed Young, and Carson Ellis. Kristen loves a strong character, a unique style or retro look made new again, and looks for a new spin on traditional themes in children’s books. Before returning to the East Coast, Kristen was a senior designer at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Her passion for children's books has been passed down from her mother, an elementary school teacher, and her grandmother, a librarian.

Twitter: @Kristen_Nobles

Interviews: Children's Illustrators (2012), My Daytime Drama (2011)

Kristen's conference schedule:

–Saturday,  8:30–9:15am
Editor/Agent/Art Director panel

–Saturday, 10:20–11:20am
Breakout session 1-C, "The Illustrator As Illuminator"

–Saturday, 2:20–3:20pm
Breakout session 3-C, "Nice to Visually Meet You"

–Sunday, 1:30–4:50pm
Art Director Intensive, "Illustrator Be Nimble"

Conference faculty profile: Michelle McCann

Michelle McCann CAN show you how to tell, and tell you how to show!

Editor at Beyond Words, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Michelle McCann is a graduate of Brown University and has an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College. She has been working as a children’s book editor and art director for more than twenty years, shepherding hundreds of titles into print—from board books to young adult novels. She taught Children’s Book Publishing at Portland State University for thirteen years and currently acquires middle-grade and young adult nonfiction for Beyond Words Publishing/Simon & Schuster. She also edits and art directs children’s books for Graphic Arts Books and Trackers Earth Books. Michelle has written numerous children’s books of her own, including Girls Who Rocked the WorldFinding Fairies, and Luba: the Angel of Bergen-Belsen. Her honors include the Oregon Book Award, the Jewish Book Council’s Best Illustrated Book, the IRA’s Notable Picture Book, and Simon Wiesenthal’s Once Upon A World Award.


VivaScriva, 2014 (women's writers collective blog, and MM wrote a whole slew of posts that you will find extremely useful)

Michelle's conference schedule:

–Saturday, 8:30–9:15am
Agent/Editor/Art Director panel 

–Saturday, 10:20–11:20am
Breakout session 1-D, "Extreme Makeover: Proposal Edition" (Nonfiction track)

–Saturday, 1:05–2:05pm
Breakout session 2-C, "Down and Dirty: An Author and Editor Talk About Teens, Sex, and the Edge in YA" (with author Amber Keyser)

–Sunday, 8:50am–12:10pm
Nonfiction Intensive, "Too Cool For School: Creating Nonfiction That Reads Like Fiction"



Conference faculty profile: Carter Hasegawa

Carter Hasegawa will share his book sense with you!

Carter Hasegawa, associate editor at Candlewick Press, came to children's publishing in a roundabout way. After a decade of working in the grocery business, followed by a two-year stint in textbook publishing, he left everything behind to follow his passion for children's books and went back to school to get his MA in Children's Literature from Simmons College. Since 2008, he's been a children’s bookseller at various independent bookstores in Seattle and in Cambridge, which he still continues to do part-time when not at Candlewick. Some of his favorite non-Candlewick books include: The Notorious Benedict Arnold, Jellicoe Road, Ready Player One, Three Times Lucky, and many, MANY more. Basically anything that has a great voice, is a good story, and is "unputdownable." Two of the recent books Carter has worked on are Wild Things by Betsy Bird, et al, and The Twyning by Terence Blacker.



Carter's conference schedule:

–Friday, 1:30–4:40pm
Fiction Intensive, "Ship Shape, Shape Up: The Picture Book and Its Forms"

–Saturday, 8:30–9:15am
Editor/Agent/Art Director panel

–Saturday, 1:05–2:05pm
Breakout session 2-A, "Redshirting 'The Other': Not a Victimless Crime

–Saturday, 2:20–3:20pm
Breakout session 3-D, "The Candlewick Editorial Process"

–Sunday, 1:30–4:50pm
Fiction Intensive, "Killer Robots, Time Portals, & Wizards–Oh, My!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Northern Network March meeting

When the Muse Refuses: Dealing with Writer’s Block

You’ve been there. Staring at a blank page that stubbornly resists words. Your Muse must be on vacation, because you’ve got a bad case of Writer’s/Artist’s Block.
Come explore what to do when your pen is stuck in neutral and your word processor refuses to process any words.

Date: TUESDAY, March 3, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Bellingham Barnes & Noble (4099 Meridian Street)
Questions? Call Rebecca Van Slyke at (360) 354-5797, or email at [That’s rebecca(underscore)vanslyke(at)hotmail(dot)com.]

March meeting madness!

We're marching toward March, and our next meeting is going to be magnificent!

From Critique to Collaboration will feature two children’s authors discussing their path to creative partnership which resulted in a two-book deal with Simon Spotlight.  

Jennifer Bradbury

 Jennifer Bradbury and Stephanie Guerra, both authors of young adult and middle-grade fiction, began as critique partners and decided to jointly write a picture book manuscript.
Stephanie Guerra

These two prolific authors will share what they learned about the process of creative collaboration, what they wish they knew before beginning, and concrete strategies for a successful writing partnership. 

The main session of our March meeting will feature a panel of five awesome local Kid Lit librarians from schools and branches of the Seattle Public Library. We plan to cover a variety of topics from tips for planning an author/illustrator visit, to strategies for getting your books on their shelves. Don’t miss it!

Jessica Lucas has been a teen services librarian for the Seattle Public Library since 2006, and worked with teens in volunteer roles for years prior to that. She is an avid reader of YA fiction and adult non-fiction, member of Netgalley and Edelweiss, as well as a Board member of the Children’s and Young Adult Services (CAYAS) Interest Group of the Washington Library Association. Jessica can be found riding her bike or sailing in her free time.

Erin Moehring is currently a Children’s Services Library for the Greenwood Branch of the Seattle Public Library. She grew up in northern Indiana and received her MLS from Indiana University at Indianapolis. She’s worked in libraries for over 6 years, and believes libraries are some of the best places on earth.

Besides being a librarian at Eckstein Middle School, Erin Sterling runs a year-round program called the Literacy Lab, a non-profit that does literacy programs and gives away books to children and families. And if her decorative car is any indication, she may be mildly obsessed with mad scientists and robots.

Nancy Fisher-Allison is the librarian at John Rogers Elementary in NE Seattle. Though her original training was in Russian Studies and Geography, an earlier career in health care research led her to elementary education. Happily, her work allows her to combine a boundless love for children’s literature with information-seeking personality traits, all in the service of K-5 students and teachers.
Pat Bliquez is currently the librarian at McDonald International Elementary School in Wallingford, but was previously at Roxhill Elementary for 20-some years. Pat is highly skilled in a teaching method known as Visual Thinking Strategies. She has helped train many in this way of looking at images, which proves very useful when reading picture books with students.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Conference faculty profile: Nina Laden

Crystal WHO? Nina Laden, this year's Crystal Kite Award winner.

SCBWI Crystal Kite Winner Nina Laden lives in Seattle and on Lummi Island, WA, but mostly she lives in her imagination. She grew up in the New York City area, the daughter of two artists, and received a BFA from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She has over a dozen books in print including The Night I Followed the Dog, When Pigasso Met Mootisse, and Roberto the Insect Architect. Peek-A Who? has sold more than a million copies, and there is a new OWL plush toy for sale. Her latest books are Once Upon A Memory from Little, Brown & Company, and Peek-a Zoo! and Daddy Wrong Legs, both published by Chronicle Books. Nina also visits schools, libraries, and speaks at events. She loves to inspire children and adults to be creative. 

The Styling Librarian blog, 2013 

Nina's conference schedule:

–Saturday, 12:05–12:45pm
Crystal Kite Award Keynote Address, "Once Upon a Career: An Author/Illustrator Remembers the Journey"

–Saturday, 2:20–3:20pm
Breakout Session 3-E, "Conceptual Journaling: Big Ideas"