Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TLCWorkshops - Professional Art Series 2012

SCBWI member Tara Larsen Chang is an experienced illustrator who was looking for more opportunities to hone her skills at a higher level and hence took it upon herself to organize a professional-level series of workshops here in the greater Seattle area. She managed to twist the arm of some of the best and brightest talent in the illustration industry to try out teaching here to very small, exclusive, highly-interactive classes of experienced students.. Their 'practice run' in late 2011 was a smashing success and she's thrilled to be able to announce TLCWorkshops - Professional Art Series 2012.

You can see all the details here. For more information on Tara, and her work, you can visit her website and art blog.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 SCBWI WWA Annual Conference: Keynote Speaker Bonny Becker

Have you registered yet for the 2012 SCBWI WWA Annual Conference? Make sure you head to the webpage for more information and to register.

We're excited to share information about the conference and amazing faculty and up first is Bonny Becker! Bonny is an fellow SCBWI WWA member, our region's very first Crystal Kite Regional Award winner and a keynote speaker at the conference.

Bonny's A BEDTIME FOR BEAR won the Crystal Kite Award and is the third in her series of best-selling Bear and Mouse picture books. A VISIT FOR BEAR won the E.B. White Read Aloud Award and was Amazon’s Picture Book of the Year. Her middle-grade novel, THE MAGICAL MS. PLUM, won the 2010 Washington State Children’s Book Award. In all, she’s published 12 books for children.

Bonny was gracious enough to answer some questions for us about her writing and winning the Crystal Kite Award.

When did you start writing?

I wrote my first “book” in the second grade. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. But I started writing specifically for children about 24 years ago.

What is the best and worst advice you were given when you started in children's literature?

Hmmm, that’s a hard one. Maybe the best was to join SCBWI. That sounds like a “suck-up” answer, but it was a simple single doorway into so much information and support and contacts.

The worst? I don’t know if it was advice so much as an impression I got, which was that somehow there was a special, magic destiny for those who got published. It seemed like they “just happened” to get that story idea, meet that editor, have a friend of a friend. Like there was this lucky chain of events for the chosen ones and I worried about missing that moment of luck. What if the gold was behind Door Three and I forgot to open it? Now I know that the old cliché is true—the harder you work the luckier you get. And that there is no one magic way to get to the goal. If you do the work and write something good, get your work out there, stay in the flow, then a number of doors will open for you over time.

What was your inspiration for your Bear stories?

I was musing about the idea that we tend to get the same problems over and over in our lives and the idea of a mouse who wouldn’t go away popped into my head. I quickly settled on a grumpy bear as the perfect victim for my little mouse. Then the characters became so distinct and so fun, I couldn’t resist going on to create more stories of aggravation for Bear.

When did you join SCBWI? And how has being part of SCBWI influenced your writing process?

I joined SCBWI very soon after I started writing for children, so about 1989. SCBWI

SCBWI has been incredibly important in my career. When I first started out I was in awe at being in the same room as published authors. I was so jealous when they showed sample art for their books and complained about their editors and agents. I would have given my eyeteeth to complain about “my” editor! It offered so much information and support as a beginner and, now, as one of those published authors, it’s a place to connect with friends and fellow writers and for continuing support in this phase of my writing. It’s my number one recommendation to people who say they’d like to write for children.

What do you like most about writing? What do you like least?

The thing I dislike the most is getting started writing. It takes a lot of effort for me to finally, actually, sit down and just write!

What I like the most is the whole process of creating—once I’m actually writing I like wrestling with ideas, researching things, thinking of something cool I can do in a plot, writing a good line, making myself laugh. I love the sheer fun of creating something.

Can you explain what winning the Crystal Kite Award means for you as an author?

It means a lot to me because it was voted on by my peers here in the Northwest. I get such a lift out of hearing from another writer about how much they enjoyed the book. Only other writers really know what goes into something as “simple” as a picture book!

What's your writing environment look like? Where do you do your best writing?

Now that my kids are gone and we have a couple empty bedrooms, I have my own office at home. I have nice views into the side yard and back yard and lots of bookshelves and a big desk. Bottom line, though, it’s fairly messy. I’m a “piler” rather than a “filer.”

Are you part of a critique group? If yes, how has that helped you as a writer? If no, where do you get feedback for your work?

I belong to a great critique group including local writers Kirby Larson, Dave Pateneude, Kathryn Galbraith and Slyvie Hossack. I can’t imagine writing without feedback and these guys really know what they are doing.

What's next for you? What are you working on?

I have two more Mouse and Bear books in the works. I’m also working on two other picture books. One I’ve sold but I’m working on rewrites. And the other is going the rounds. Both are very different from Mouse and Bear. I’m also working on an older middle-grade fantasy. It’s really fun to work on different genres and writing styles.

As you know, those who are in children's literature tend to have lengthy discussions on the important topic of snacks (usually it's a baked good). What's your favorite snack?

Top Pot chocolate sandcastle doughnuts!

Thanks to Bonny for her wonderful answers! It'll be wonderful to hear more from her in April!!

Classes with Rollin Thomas and Doug Keith

Pratt Workshop: Creating Your Own Graphic Novel
This class begins February 1, Wednesday and 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Instructors: Rollin Thomas

Explore how pages fit together and tell stories sequentially. Find out how fun it is to write dialogue using the back-story-method. Structure stories, characters, and action to carry the story in each panel. Work in pencil, pen and ink, or on the computer. We will also cover the reproduction and publishing industry and all of the many ways you can get your graphic novel to market.

Ages: 16 Yrs. and over
- Non-member $340.00
- Master Member $316.00

Register on line here (scroll down to find the course).

Introduction to Children's Picture Book Illustration

Begins February 1, Wednesday and 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Instructors: Rollin Thomas & Doug Keith

Do you have a children's picture book idea just waiting to develop? This class will give you creative tools to help with visual storytelling, character development, and making story boards and book dummies. Learn how to find your place in the children's book market and create original art for a professional portfolio. Writers, hone your craft by learning more about visual storytelling and enrich your stories with some fun techniques.

Prerequisite: the desire to create children's Picture Books.

Ages: 16 Yrs. and over
- Non-member $370.00
- Master member $333.00

Register on line here (Scroll down to find the course).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sad you're not in NY?

Get a flavor of the SCBWI International Conference in New York through live blogging posts from TeamBlog (three-fifths of whom are SCBWI WWA folks you know and love!). The reporting includes session highlights, video interviews, photos, and more great stuff. It's the next best thing to being there yourself.

Good News for Joni Sensel

Congrats and a big round of applause to our own Joni Sensel!! Joni is one of five winners for the She Writes "Young Adult Novelist" contest.

The five winners will get feedback on their synopses and excerpts, as well as guidance about next steps toward publication from agents ELIZABETH KAPLAN (Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency) and KIRBY KIM (William Morris Endeavor), and editors MICHELLE H. NAGLER (Bloomsbury), LANIE DAVIS (Alloy), and STACEY BARNEY (Penguin Putnam).

You can visit She Writes here. You can also visit Joni's website to find out more about Joni, and her work.

A Few Goodies for the Illustrators

A few great links for illustrators to check out! Thanks to Laurie for sending!!

Illustrators should head on over to Steven Salerno's blog for an amazing post about his artistic process in the development of his latest book project!

Here's some required reading for anyone who thinks picture books are easy. Laurie's agency posted this fascinating account of the process of a recent picture book sale. Check out the link.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Washington State Book Awards

The Washington Center for the Book administers the annual Washington State Book Awards (formerly the Governor's Writers Awards), given for outstanding books published by Washington authors the previous year. They are looking for more children's authors to honor for 2012. The deadline for 2012 submissions is April 1.

You can find the 2011 winners, entry guidelines and submission form here on the Seattle Public Library website.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards

The Crystal Kite Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators each year to recognize great books from the 70 SCBWI regions around the world. Along with the SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, the Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers. Each member of SCBWI is allowed to vote for their favorite book from a nominated author in their region that was published in the previous calendar year.

For information how to nominate your book and more visit the SCBWI Crystal Kite webpage.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Graphic Novel Panel with Seattle Graphic Artists Guild/SPGA

Reminder, there's a great event happening this weekend for you comics fans! Taken from their email invite:

You're invited to register today.
It's more at the door and it's cash or check only.

Graphic Novel Panel 2012
for Artists and Writers

Saturday, January 28, 2012 1-6 pm

Seattle Design Center & Fantagraphics Bookstore

Take advantage of the collective wisdom of some of our region’s top graphic novel artists and writers as they reveal how they go about creating, publishing and marketing the Graphic Novel. The panel will be held at the Seattle Design Center followed by an After Party at Fantagraphics Bookstore. Both venues are in gorgeous Georgetown.

The Panel:

Matthew Southworth - comic artist: Stumptown
Brandon Jerwa - writer: Battlestar Galactica. Highlander, G.I. Joe
Megan Kelso - writer, illustrator of Girl Hero
Chuck Messinger - owner: Comic Evolution, Editor-in-Chief at Creator's Edge Press
Emi Lenox - writer, illustrator of EmiTown
Moderator Mark Monlux - illustrator: The Comic Critic Presents Seldom Seen Films

Event Schedule

1-4 PM-Panel Discussion. Doors open at 12:30 PM
Seattle Design Center
5701 6th Avenue S.
Plaza Building
Suite 370
Seattle, WA 98108

4:30-6 PM- After Party
Fantagraphics Bookstore
1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.)
Seattle, WA 98108

Preregister at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/219132
Guild and AIGA members-$18

At the door, CASH or CHECK only
Guild and AIGA members-$25

More info: www.seattleguild.org
Questions: seattleguild@gmail.com

The Bison v. Woman Skating Contest

Check out Darcy Pattison's new book trailer for PRARIE STORMS, a nonfiction picture book about how animals survive the storms on the prairies.

This new video is an example of a YouTube Aesthetic Book Trailer, an informal, humorous video that only addresses the content of the book tangentially, but nevertheless, creates interest. The humor is meant to be shared! So please send your friends to see it.

Darcy will be speaking at the 13th Annual Winter SCBWI Conference in New York City on January 27 at the preconference Marketing Intensive on the topic of book trailers. Join her in a discussion of appropriate aesthetics for your book trailer and many more practical tips.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Keep Calm and Query On

Luke Reynolds wrote a brilliant essay about breaking down our writing walls that was recently featured in Vermont College's Hunger Mountain. Here's an excerpt:
"No matter how little you feel like it, no matter how futile it sometimes seems, you must keep writing. You must continue to send out queries. You must continue to make contact, believing that the words you write do possess all the possible power and beauty in them to affect one life."
"And should you choose to wade through the waters of fear, worry, criticism, and lack of discipline, you may find that the words you craft do, indeed, end up making a difference in one life.
(And that life may be your own.)"
Read the full essay here.

Piecemeal Publishing Submission Call

Piecemeal Publishing is calling for poetry submissions from authors, published and unpublished! If you would like to contribute to Piecemeal Publishing’s anthology of poetry, please submit two children’s poems suitable for ages 5 – 11 yrs. Deadline is February 20, 2012.

Send all submissions and questions to piecemeal-submissions@hotmail.com. Please include your submission in the body of the email. Here's the website to check out for more information.

Make sure when you're submitting your work that you read through all the guidelines and information.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What really makes a happy ending happy?

The New York Times recently ran a story about how movie producer Lindsay Doran is trying to get Hollywood to think differently about storytelling by applying the ideas of positive psychology. If you're a writer, it's well worth your time to read the full article here, but here are some of my favorite quotes to whet your appetite:
"Audiences don’t care about an accomplishment unless it’s shared with someone else. What makes an audience happy is not the moment of victory but the moment afterwards when the winners shares that victory with someone they love."
 The protagonist may be happy at the end, “but his smile,” she said, “is laced with the loss that’s come before.”
...Instead, she said, “the accomplishment the audience values most is resilience.”
Thought-provoking stuff, to be sure!

Mindy Hardwick News

Mindy Hardwick is talking about her new upper middle grade book, STAINED GLASS SUMMER, and mentoring at-risk kids on Carrie Pearson's Mentor Monday Blog Series. Carrie Pearson is a Michigan SCBWI member and hosts a weekly blog series about mentors. Here's the blog link to check out.

To find out more about STAINED GLASS SUMMER, including a free teacher's guide, visit Mindy's website.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Questions? Tips? What are You Looking Forward to at Our Region's Annual Conference?

I'm so excited for the upcoming SCBWI WWA 21st Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children Conference! You can register now! To get you even more excited about the conference we'll be previewing conference events, faculty and so much more in the upcoming weeks!

First up we'd love to know what you're looking forward to if you've been to our annual conference before. Any tips for getting ready? If this will be your first conference let us know what you're excited to do at the conference or any questions you might have. Leave a comment and we'll answer it the best we can. Make sure you read all the information about the conference on the webpage.

Patricia Haines-Ainsworth Musical

Fellow SCBWI WWA member Patricia Haines-Ainsworth has a musical coming out soon. Her musical for young audiences, "The Dancing Princess", is being produced by Second Story Repertory and will open on March 9 of this year. It is loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen story of 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses' and the music was composed by Terence Alaric Levitt.

Might be fun to get a group together for one of the performances. The show runs on Friday nights with two matinees each Saturday and Sunday for three weekends. For more information about Second Story visit their website.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Authors and a Sounder Book Event

You and your friends are invited to a special soccer event for kids and families this coming Saturday, January 21 from 3-5 p.m. at Secret Garden Books in Ballard featuring Sounders FC star Steve Zakuani, Clare Hodgson Meeker (author of SOCCER DREAMS: PLAYING THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC WAY) and Jesse Joshua Watson (author and illustrator of HOPE FOR HAITI).

Steve will autograph books and talk about his Kingdom Hope Foundation and its mission to "inspire greatness through soccer." Jesse and Clare will share stories from their soccer books and show kids how to make soccer balls out of recycled plastic bags and rags like the characters in their stories. Come join the party and welcome Zak back to the upcoming 2012 season!

Here is a link to the event.

Katherine Schlick Noe Book Event

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Conference Registration Notice

Three things:

#1:  We're already over 50% registered! Yowza! We're filling up on intensives and consultations, so don't wait to register if you wish to partake in those additional opportunities. Or at all, really. Why wait?

#2:  Cvent, our registration software, will be down for maintenance Friday at 6pm until Saturday at 1am. Plan your registering accordingly.

#3:  And last but not least, we had a little typo in the session descriptions. Some strike through font got lost in the design layout. Tammi Sauer's session during the second breakout should have read:

Writing Slice of Life Grandma Stories Picture Books that Sell!
Tammi shares her top 10 writing secrets for creating irresistible picture books.

Apologies to any disappointed grandmas.


Due to snow and flu we have had to reschedule the DRAGONSWOOD Book Launch Party. The Party will now be held on Saturday February 25th, 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the same venue Parkplace Books in Kirkland.
Same food, same dragon dance, same mask making and celebrating -- just a new date to pop onto the calendar. The party is open to fellow writers and illustrators in SCBWI. Families welcome.

RSVP Janet Lee Carey at jlcarey@hotmail.com
For more information about Janet, and her work, you can visit her website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


We invite you (yes, YOU!) to register now for 
SCBWI Western Washington's 21st Annual Writing & Illustrating for Children's Conference!
April 21-22, 2012 in Redmond, Washington

We have a jam-packed (not to be confused with jelly-packed) weekend full of opportunities for 
writers AND illustrators. 
Everything from picture books through YA.
With a slew of additional opportunities (That go on a first-come-first-served basis. You've been warned.) 
for the choosing. Don't delay! See all the details and...

Blogoversary with Cool Prizes!!

Happy 4th Blogoversary to The Bookshelf Muse blog! What celebration isn't complete without presents and The Bookshelf Muse has a few for lucky contest winners!!

One of the prizes is a chance to have a character named after you in fellow SCBWI WWA member Marilee Brother's final book, MIDNIGHT MOON, in her UNBIDDEN MAGIC series. Not only that, you get to choose if your character will be good or bad.

Marilee did this before for her book, SHADOW MOON and the winner, Angela Ackerman (who by the way, chose to be bad and is an SCBWI member) happens to be one of the ladies behind the Bookshelf Muse!! A great idea in how we can support one another as fellow artists. For more information on Marilee, and her work, you can check out her website.

WLA Legal Arts Workshop: Laying a Solid Foundation: Business Fundamentals for Artisits

Panel & Networking Opportunity!

Whether you are thinking about starting your first business or a seasoned, serial entrepreneur, having a thorough understanding of how to setup and structure your business will maximize the potential of your venture. In Laying a Solid Foundation: Business Law Fundamentals for Artists, business attorneys Theresa Simpson and Gary Swearingen will take you through a whirlwind seminar of legal issues in setting up and operating your business. They will discuss business entities, license requirements, having employees, and working with your advisors (lawyers, accountants, psychotherapists). Overarching the discussion will be protecting your intellectual property and using the IP of others. If you are an artist, creative entrepreneur or an attorney who represents them as clients, this Workshop is not to be missed as it will provide an excellent fundamental framework for understanding how to recognize and resolve the legal issues involved with setting up and operating a business.

Thursday, January 26

TIME: (includes 1.5 credit CLE & networking opportunity)
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (registration begins at 5:15 p.m.)

Garvey Schubert Barer
18th Floor
Second & Seneca Bldg
1191 Second Avenue, Suite 1800
Seattle, WA 98101

FEE: (includes snacks & drinks!)
$50 Attorneys (includes CLE credit); $15 Artists, Students and Others

1.5 CLE credits

To register, visit Brown Paper Tickets, or phone 24/7 at 800.838.3006. To pay at the door, RSVP to Washington Lawyers for the Arts at 206.328.7053. Please note that the event is subject to cancellation; visit the website or call 206.328.7053 for more information.

Monday, January 16, 2012

WWU Children’s Literature Conference Early Bird Registration until January 27!

For complete information on the conference, visit our website.
Questions about the conference can be directed to Sylvia Tag: sylvia.tag@wwu.edu

Good News for Suzanne Selfors

Good News and happy times for Suzanne Selfors!! Suzanne's book, SMELLS LIKE TREASURE, has been named a Best Book of 2011 by School Library Journal. Congratulations Suzanne!!!

For more information on Suzanne, and her work, you can visit her website.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Write Path Review and Giveaway

Fellow SCBWI WWA member Dorine White has posted a review of Joni Sensel's new book, THE SKELETON'S KNIFE, on her blog. Plus, she's giving away a signed copy! Here is the link. The contest runs for eight more days. Thanks Dorine!!!

To learn more about Joni, and her third book in the Farwalker Trilogy (which I can't wait to read!), you can check out her website.

Registration for the 2012 SCBWI WWA Conference Starts THIS WEEK!

2012 Conference Registration Opens to the Public on January 17th!

It's coming! Take a peek at the speakers and new opportunities we'll have at our conference happening April 21-22, 2012  at the Redmond Town Center Marriott. Complete details will be available in the next couple of days, but here's a peek:

SCBWI Western Washington's 21st Annual Conference: 
A Parade of Words and Pictures

Keynotes! Top L-R: Sweet, de la Peña, Becker, Vail, Hale
Keynote illustrator Melissa Sweet has won many awards, including a Caldecott Honor. Check her out on the Martha Stewart Show!

When keynote author Matt de la Peña isn't writing award-winning novels and picture books, he's teaching creative writing to adults and talking to kids all over the place

Winner of oodles of awards and accolades, including SCBWI’s first Crystal Kite Regional Award for “A Bedtime for Bear,"keynote author Bonny Becker is a local treasure.

Keynote author Rachel Vail wowed us at SCBWI International. And we're thrilled she's written for every age,  from toddlers to teens, including those elusive beasts,lower elementary.

With an unrivaled flare for humor in his popular middle grade series, The Chet Gecko MysteriesBruce Hale is also a pro at reaching his target audience, whether it's at school visits, in workshops, or on Skype.

Art Directors & Illustrators! L-R Cummins, Magoon
Lucy Ruth Cummins is all over Simon & Schuster's pages! As an award-winningart director on the colophon page, and on the half-title page (and cover!) of THE TAKING TREE, which Lucy illustrated.

When he's not busy running for charities, Scott Magoon runs the risk of being too talented. He's a fantastic art director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Boston, as well as an award-winning illustrator and author of numerous picture books. 
Editors! Top L-R: Karre, Chang, Welch, Conescu
Andrew Karre is the editorial director of Carolrhoda Books, Carolrhoda Lab, and Darby Creek, divisions of the Lerner Publishing Group in the currently cold and snowy (odds are, right?) lands of Minnesota.  He has an omnivorous appetite for books for all ages.

Senior editor with Tor books, Susan Chang acquires fantasy and science fiction middle grade and YA novels for the Starscape and Tor Teen imprints.

Andrea Welch, fellow West Coaster, edits at Beach Lane Books's beautiful La Jolla headquarters. She adores picture books, and it's no wonder—she gets to work with the amazing Mem Fox!

Executive Editor Nancy Conescu at Penguin's Dial BFYR is a dynamo with a heart and loads of experience. Read about one of her recent acquisitions here.
Agents! Top L-R: Bent, Pfeffer, Gamarra, Richman
Whether it's commercial fiction or heart-warming picture books, Jenny Bent has made representing bestsellers a habit. Learn more about her at Literary Rambles orThe Bent Agency.

With 35 years in the publishing industry before donning the agenting cloak, Rubin Pfeffer has the eye and experience it takes to find the diamonds in his submissions box. Find out more at East West Literary and see a clip of him on an editor/agent panel.

Former professor and current smarty Eddie Gamarra is a literary manager/producer with The Gotham Group, representing screenwriters, directors, animators, authors, illustrators, publishers, and animation studios around the world. He specializes in children's and family entertainment, of course!

Chris Richman, agent with Upstart Crow Literary, loves books for boys, unforgettable characters, and fantasy that doesn't take itself too seriously. 
Distinguished Faculty! Top L-R: Landalf, Sauer, Sun, Lawrence
Seattle writer, dance teacher, and SCBWI WWA member, Helen Landalf's YA debut FLYAWAY, debuted this month from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!

Tammi Sauer is a picture book dynamo (TWELVE and counting!) who has worked with Bob Shea, 2011 keynoter Dan Santat, and fellow faculty member Scott Magoon!

Senior Publicity Manager at HarperCollins, Caroline Sun's recent campaigns include Carson Ellis and Colin Meloy's Wildwood, Shel Silverstein's Every Thing on It, and 2011 National Book Award winner Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai.

Tricia Lawrence is an energetic star on the rise. As the newly minted associate agent at the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, where she is also the social media strategist, Tricia is currently building her list as well as tweeting and blogging her way around the internet.


Incredible Friday (April 20, 2012) extras:

  Hands-on Collage Workshop with Melissa Sweet!
Illustrator Master Class with TWO Art Directors!
Fiction Intensive with Matt de la Peña!
Non-fiction Intensive with Andrew Karre!
Published Pros Workshop!

It's going to be another, incredible conference—won't you join us? Registration opens to the public on January 17th! Watch this blog, @scbwiwwa, and your inbox for news. Don't forget to make sure your SCBWI International membership is up to date to receive any and all conference tuition discounts!