Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happening in 30 minutes: LEAP with Deb Lund!

Western Washington, you know her and you love her, spend this once-in-every-four-year's morning virtually with Deb Lund and get rid of your inner critic!

Deb Lund photo by Celeste Mergens

Here's Deb's note to us all:

Today (Leap Day) at 10:00 am PST (1:00 pm EST), I'd love to have you join me for a short presentation on inner critics. I'll be on Shindig, and you can even "raise your hand" on your computer if you want to comment or ask questions. Some of you have heard me read MISS MIDGE, the rhyming negotiation with my inner critic. I'll be sharing the latest version when we get together. We'll talk about those nasty inner voices that stop us, take a pledge, and hopefully help each other be more creative!

If you have contacts at schools or appropriate lists, please let them know. This would be great for grades 3 and up. And it's free! You'll hear about more free visits soon.

Also, if you're not on my list and would like to be, you can find the link on the left-hand side at or on my website where it says "Keep in Touch" at

Best wishes on all your projects...

 Thanks, Deb!

Congratulations, Jennifer Shaw Wolf!

We're a bit behind with conference prep, but we wanted to send out a big congratulations to regional member Jennifer Shaw Wolf on her most recent sale!

Here's the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Author of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL Jennifer Shaw Wolf's next dark young adult mystery, SHARDS OF GLASS, about the mystery surrounding the death of a teenage girl and the message she left for her best friend, to Mary Kate Castellani at Walker, in a nice deal, by Sara Megibow at Nelson Literary Agency (world).

Congratulations, Jennifer!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MG Mystery Short Story Contest

Children's Writer is having a middle grade mystery short story contest. First prize is $500 and publication. Submissions are due April 30.

Current Contest:
Middle-Grade Mystery
The contest is for a well-constructed fictional mystery that will engage readers 9 to 12, to 900 words. Entries will be judged on structure, appeal for the audience, use of the best elements of the mystery genre, and an interesting protagonist.
Among the possibilities are a scary but age-appropriate story, a puzzle the reader is asked to solve using problem-solving skills, or a mix of mystery with another genre, such as historical, inspirational, or humorous fiction. The judges will look for originality, and publishability.

For more information visit their website (go to the writing contest tab and read through the criteria- there is a $15 fee for non-subscribers that will get you an 8 month subscription to the online magazine). Thanks to Lois Brandt for sending the link!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Help Bruce Hale with his Keynote!

Bruce Hale would like to customize his keynote speech at our upcoming annual conference (isn't he a peach?), and he needs your help. If you're planning to attend the conference and you have a few minutes, we'd appreciate it if you could shoot Bruce an email with a couple of quick responses to the questions below:

What do you feel is the major roadblock keeping you from being published (if you're unpublished) or reaching wider success (if published)?

What burning question (aside from "Will you publish my book/introduce me to your agent?") would you most like answered at the conference?

If it's different from the previous two answers, what is your biggest concern in your writing life today?

Please reply to Bruce Hale at <>.

Thanks! And have you noticed that we have less than thirty seats left to this shindig?! If you've been procrastinating about registering... it's time to get it done! Details here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Find a Trusted Reader for Your Middle-Grade Novel

Writing the middle-grade novel means writing in that fine line between the mind of a child and the uncharted territory of an adolescent. At the Whole Novel Workshop, we offer trusted readers on our faculty who are also published authors and editors working on fiction targeted for middle school children. If you have a manuscript that you think deserves a trusted reader, join Tami Lewis Brown , Sarah Aronson , Melanie Kroupa, Kent Brown -- and our own Joni Sensel -- in July for the Whole Novel Workshop for Middle Grade Fiction. One of the faculty will read and critique your novel to tell you what's working and what needs work. Then, we'll spend a week writing, talking, and working together to make your story better. After it's all done, we'll send you home with a plan to keep the good work flowing.

For more information about the Whole Novel Workshop, which takes place near Honesdale, PA, contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192, or email Jo at or visit their website.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Come Meet the New Kids on the YA Block!

Please join Northwest debut YA authors Helen Landalf (FLYAWAY), Kendare Blake (ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD), Kiki Hamilton (THE FAIRIE RING), Megan Bostic (NEVER EIGHTEEN), Carole Estby Dagg (THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS), and special guest Kathy McCullough (DON'T EXPECT MAGIC) for an evening at Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. Activities include an author panel, a Speed Reed, prizes, and goodies. We'd love to see you there!

New Kids on the YA Block will also be appearing at Timberland Library in Olympia on Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. and Garfield Books in Tacoma on Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Good News for Lois V. Harris

Good News and Happy Days for fellow SCBWI member Lois V. Harris! Lois received a lovely surprise! Her book, MAXFIELD PARRISH: PAINTER OF MAGICAL MAKE-BELIEVE, was reviewed, and the reviewer provided research tips and created a nature-inspired activity. Thank you Jackie Castle of The Castle Library! Check out the review here!!

Congratulations Lois! For more information on Lois, and her work, visit her website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

WWU Children's Literature Conference THIS Saturday!

What you're probably doing this weekend:


What you should be doing:

It's not too late to sign up for Western Washington University's Children's Literature Conference happening this Saturday. Gary Schmidt! Patrick Carman! AND Laura Kvasnosky! Talking about books and writing! Details and registration can be found here.

Looking to carpool? Leave a comment and maybe someone is going your way!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Big Sur Writing Workshops

For the past fourteen years, writers have come to the Big Sur Writing Workshops for an intensive weekend of working on manuscripts with publishing professionals who are dedicated to helping new writers. The workshops are designed for writers (Picture Books - Young Adult) who have a finished or partially finished manuscript that needs critiquing, revisions, editorial help and guidance.

Visit online here:
March 2 - 4, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Field's End Roundtable talk at Bainbridge Public Library

February 21, 2012 | 7 - 8:30 p.m. | Bainbridge Public Library | Free Event

Reading, Living, and Writing Cross-Culturally

with Margaret Chang

How do writers shape and inform stories depicting a culture other than their own? Margaret Chang, who married into a Chinese family, offers insights based on her experience as a writer, teacher, critic, librarian, and member of a supportive community that advocates for cross-cultural understanding.

Margaret Chang, a former children’s librarian, holds an MA in Children’s Literature and for 17 years taught college courses in children’s literature. With her Chinese-born husband, she has published four children’s books set in China, and an introduction to the Chinese language. A longtime reviewer for School Library Journal, she served on two American Library Association award committees: the 2005 Caldecott and the 2007 Batchelder. Chang was also a judge for the 6th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards. She is now on the Board of Directors for USBBY, an organization promoting international understanding through children’s books. Her most recent book is Celia’s Robot. Listen to a podcast with Margaret Chang.

The library is located at 1270 Madison Ave. N., Bainbridge Island, WA

Friday, February 17, 2012

Opportunity for Authors

Opening Windows to the World, Seattle, November 16 and 17, 2012

An invitation from the National Council for the Social Studies: The nation's largest professional organization for social studies education will hold its annual convention in Seattle on November 16 and 17, 2012. Authors of middle grade and young adult contemporary fiction or historical fiction are invited to submit a proposal for a one-hour session on their book. The format for “Conversation with an Author” is a brief presentation on the book and then a dialogue with the audience. Authors selected will be invited to sign/sell their books immediately following their presentation at an exhibit booth or other pre-designated area. Conference registration is not required for authors selected to be part of this series.

Proposal forms will be available from March 1 – 31, 2012. Here is the website for more information.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Musical Members!

We know our members are multi-talented and creative, but did you know that some are also musical? We don't usually feature non-kid lit ventures but we thought you might need something new on your earbuds to get through your draftingsketchingrevisingpaintingbrainstormingplayingwordswithfriends this afternoon.

Middle grade and YA author Kevin Emerson's band, The Board of Education, has released a new Stars Wars-rific song. You can listen to Why Is Dad So Mad? here.

And picture book author and illustrator Nadia Krilanovich's new band, The Lady Crooners, made this very sweet video:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Inside Story: almost full

The Inside Story panel of presenters is almost full. (After a day! Yikes!) If you're hoping to present, do fill out the application as soon as possible. We're taking qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. The application form and info are here. It's going to be lots of fun--April 25 at Mockingbird Books.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

REMINDER: No Professional Series Meeting tonight!

This is just a friendly reminder that there is no Professional Series Meeting tonight. Please don't go to SPU, as the only people who will be there (besides the students) are other SCBWIers who also forgot about the schedule change. But, hey, maybe you can get together and draw? Write? Form a new critique group? Grab a brew and discuss the industry? OR... you could enjoy an evening with your Valentine instead. See you in March!

Apply to the Inside Story

Do you have a new book coming out in the next few months? If so, it's time to apply to the Inside Story, our region's twice-yearly celebration of new books. Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, April 25, 7 p.m.

Where: Mockingbird Books, 7220 Woodlawn Ave. N.E. in Seattle

Who: In addition to our authors and illustrators, we're inviting booksellers, librarians, and members of the general public.

We have room for 15 or so presenters, and we will take applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The application deadline is Feb. 29.

You need to be able to say "yes!" to all of the following:
  • You are an SCBWI member at the PAL 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 lists of recognized (traditional) publishers; (found in the SCBWI Market Surveys or on the registration pages of the SCBWI website). 
  • Your book is released between four months before or three months after April 25. 
  • Your book is readily available through normal trade channels (e.g., Baker & Taylor).


Monday, February 13, 2012

Good News for Trudi Trueit

Good News and a big round of applause for Trudi Trueit! Ruckus Media Group and Scholastic, which teamed up in September of 2011 to launch a new children's transmedia imprint, has optioned the rights to sell her Julep O'Toole series in e-book! The digital books will be part of Ruckus' 2012 spring list, and includes all three books in the series: CONFESSIONS OF A MIDDLE CHILD, MISS INDEPENDENT, and WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO IS DIRECT. Trudi is over the moon about this opportunity. So be sure to look for Julep O'Toole for your e-reader coming soon! Wonder if she'll become an animated app?

Here's the link to the Ruckus site. Congrats to Trudi! For more information on Trudi, and her work, you can visit her website.

2012 NCSS Annual Conference in Seattle

The National Council for the Social Studies will be holding its annual conference in Seattle on November 16-18, 2012, with the theme "Opening Windows to the World." They invite you to think about how you can open one of these windows by submitting a conference presentation proposal. Keep in mind that the 2012 conference will draw attendees from both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, as well as other countries. They will be looking for proposals that speak to the conference subthemes while also addressing the common concerns of social studies educators everywhere.

The deadline for submitting proposals is Monday, February 20, 2012.

2012 Conference Sub-themes include:
I. Windows to Literacy in a Digital Age
II. Windows to the Past
III. Windows to a Sustainable Future
IV. Windows to Excellence in Equity
V. Windows to Global Interdependence
VI. Windows to the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Rim

If you have (or will have) a book out (fiction or nonfiction) that addresses a social studies topic and/or speaks to one of these sub-themes, it might be worth your while to submit a proposal. More information is available here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Going, going...

There are still just a few spots left for the March 3 Published Pro Think Tank. PAL-level members, if you're interested, see more information here or in your email inbox!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Round One Crystal Kite Voting is Open!!

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. You can find out more information here on the SCBWI website.

Here's the link to log in and then click on "Crystal Kite" on your Regional Chapter Homepage.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A nice reminder of what's important

E-readers, e-books, as publisher, B&N saying no...

This article reminds us, gently and firmly of the most important thing amidst all the raucous noise:
"Books are not sexy compared to ereaders. They don’t do anything but provide words on a page. And that is a wonderful, wonderful thing."


A Single Shard on stage with Linda Sue Park!

Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park, who led our recent SCBWI WWA Weekend on the Water retreat, will be in Seattle again on Saturday, March 10th! She'll be attending the 5:30 p.m. performance of her Newbery-winning novel, A SINGLE SHARD, as it's performed at the Seattle Children's Theater. Support this amazingly talented writer and beloved SCBWI board member by attending the show that night, too. What's more, get A Single Yard (or more!) of creative inspiration in seeing how a children's novel is transformed from book to stage!

Sara Easterly has scored a group ticket discount for SCBWI members who'd like to see the show with Linda Sue on Saturday, March 10th at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are usually $29 for children, $36 for adults -- both with a $3 processing fee. But with the SCBWI group deal, tickets cost only $25 -- adults or children alike (plus the $3 processing fee). To guarantee yourself a seat now, call the SCT box office at 206-441-3322 and let them know you're with SCBWI. The box office opens every day at 11 a.m. Note that you must call the box office; the SCT website won't work for this special promo. Seats are limited so act fast to take advantage of this screaming deal.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February PSM Last Night with Jolie Stekly and Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for a dash of Scrivener and a dollop of Portfolio Critique! We were minus a few of our Adcom volunteers due to illness, including Co-Regional Advisor, Kim Baker, here's a get well message for her:

We missed you all! Giant gobs of thanks to Laurie Thompson, Brenda Winter Hansen, Erik Pulkka, and Dana Sullivan who filled in for our sick comrades. The middle name of all our Advisory Committee members is DEDICATED.

And thanks to all attendees for being patient while we were low on volunteer hands. And for putting up with just me MC-ing the meeting. Gazing out at the audience, I know what the faces of Romans looked like in 476 A.D., the year the Roman Empire officially declined (at least they didn't look like the faces of Pompeiians circa 79 A.D.!) I can only promise we are working on attaining even a hint of the panache and smarts exhibited by our former Co-RAs.

If you missed last night, you missed YA author Jolie Stekly. She's not only a panache-y/smarty former Co-RA of SCBWI WWA, she's also a fantastic blogger, and an instructor for the University of Washington Extension's Writing for Children certificate program. Jolie gave us a live demo of Scrivener, and if you attended last night's meeting, you had a chance to win one of six Scrivener licenses. All attendees also left with a discount code for Scrivener, thank you, Jolie and Literature and Latte.

Jolie (and offscreen, her giant arrow)

We also had the privilege of hearing Caldecott Honor Winner Margaret Chodos-Irvine lay down the portfolio law. Margaret's Portfolio Tune-Up had us looking at the portfolios of members (submitted in December) and Margaret's critiques of the pieces were helpful for all artists trying to build a perfect, focused children's book illustration portfolio.

SCBWI Western Washington is TOTALLY STOKED to see a new blog being run by Margaret, Julie Paschkis, Julie Larios, and Laura McGee Kvasnosky! We can't wait to see all their future posts, please be sure to check out Books Around the Table:

Thanks again to speakers Jolie and Margaret, and to Dana Arnim for wrangling the portfolios.

Hope you will join us MARCH 13th for our next Professional Series Meeting!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Holly Cupala Book Trailer and Giveaways!!!

Fellow SCBWI member Holly Cupala's second novel, DON'T BREATHE A WORD, just came out, and today they are unveiling the DBAW trailer on YouTube along with a huge party finale swag giveaway, including five grand prize packs and ten runner-up prizes!


Five Grand Prizes:

Signed copies of DON'T BREATHE A WORD, TELL ME A SECRET, the TMAS special edition audiobook, bookmarks, stickers, and other swag*

Ten Runner-Up Prizes:

DON'T BREATHE A WORD flyers, bookmarks, stickers, and a TMAS button*

Plus the first forty people who buy the book at this link between now and Valentine’s Day get DBAW bookmarks, stickers, and undying book love from me!*

*Must include mailing address with entry. (US + up to 20% international winners)


1. Click here to go to the DBAW trailer link, then click the Share button to send to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+,MySpace, blog, or other social network. 5 pts each

2. Buy the book at this link for more chances to win!

3. Click here to tell us where you posted and to enter!

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

Monday, February 6, 2012

Good News for Samantha Vamos

Check out all this good news that Samantha Vamos has received!!!!

Her book, THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED was recently named:
-A Pura Belpré Illustration Honor Book (ALA, 2012)
-A New York Public Library "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing" Selection (2011)

-A Texas Library Association “2012 Texas 2x2 Reading List” Selection

-A Fuse #8 Production “100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2011” Selection

-A Read On Wisconsin 2011-2012 Booklist Selection

Rafael López, illustrator of THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED received a Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration at the ALA's midwinter meeting this week.

Congratulations to Samantha!!! For more information on Samantha, and her work, you can visit her website.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A book jacket's worth a thousand words...

"First, as everyone will tell you, a book jacket is a poster. It will be (if you are lucky) face out on the shelf in a bookstore and it needs to sing a siren song to anyone walking by. It needs to crook its finger at the buyer. It needs to wiggle its beautiful rear. It needs to seduce."

Read this wonderful post from the empress of children's literature, Jane Yolen, discussing the finer points of book jacket-ry!

quote taken from ""

El dia de los ninos, El dia de los libros

How would you like to celebrate books and reading, promote literacy, meet some wonderful children and families, and support your libraries and communities all at the same time?

Come join Dia! This national festival to celebrate literacy and reading is sponsored locally by KCLS, and we would love for you to be a part of it! Come read your stories, sign some books, connect with children, and be a part of an amazing event. And if you can't make it, we can especially use donations.

Events take place at King County libraries around the area starting the last week in April, 2012.

Visit here for more information about the organization and the event. And please contact me (Liz Mills) at or the organizer, Jose Garcia, at We hope to see you there!

El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), is a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

SCBWI WWA Winter 2012 Published Pro Think Tank: Feeding Your Creative Heart

Are you a published author or illustrator overwhelmed by promotional tasks... wondering what happened to your inspiration... or feeling caught between the commercial demands of the business and the creative impulses of your heart?

Time out!

Take a breath and join published members of SCBWI Western Washington on Saturday, March 3, 2012, for our Winter 2012 Published Pro Think Tank with award-winning poet and teacher Julie Larios.

With Julie’s expert guidance and insight, we’ll talk about how to maintain your creativity and sanity despite the demands of publishing and promoting. Topics will include feeding your artistic soul, finding creative and emotional support, weathering ups and downs, and capturing the passion again if it’s slipped away.

PAL members, see your email inbox for an invitation with more details, or email joni (at) jonisensel (dot) com with questions. You must be a PAL (Published and Listed) member of SCBWI to register, and advance registration is required, as space is limited. Confirm or update your membership status as needed on your profile at We’ll hope to see many of you on March 3!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Helen Landalf Book Signing

Next stop on Helen Landalf's FLYAWAY tour: Moonraker Books in Langley, Whidbey Island, Sunday, February 12 from 1 - 3 p.m.

This will be a joint signing with Amber Kizer, author of the Meridian saga. Pre-Valentine's-Day ferry trip, anyone? For more information on Helen, and her work, you can visit her website.