Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
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!!
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
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
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
"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."Read the full essay here.
"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.)"
Sunday, January 22, 2012
"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!
To find out more about STAINED GLASS SUMMER, including a free teacher's guide, visit Mindy's website.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
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
Thursday, January 19, 2012
#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:
Tammi shares her top 10 writing secrets for creating irresistible picture books.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (registration begins at 5:15 p.m.)
$50 Attorneys (includes CLE credit); $15 Artists, Students and Others
Monday, January 16, 2012
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
2012 Conference Registration Opens to the Public on January 17th!
|Keynotes! Top L-R: Sweet, de la Peña, Becker, Vail, Hale|
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 Mysteries, Bruce 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|
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|
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|
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|
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.
Illustrator Master Class with TWO Art Directors!
Fiction Intensive with Matt de la Peña!
Non-fiction Intensive with Andrew Karre!
Published Pros Workshop!