Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Devine" itinerary

Speaking of spreading the good news, which is one of my many job descriptions, Martha Brockenbrough's debut YA novel, Devine Intervention, has traveled far and wide since its June 1 release date and after receiving multiple thumbs-up reviews.

Now, not only has it been spotted in the shelves of the Biddeford Pool, Maine community library, but it has also crossed oceans.

Joni Sensel thoughtfully shared Martha's novel's latest stop, appropriately enough, in Rome.

The Vatican, to be exact! Ah, Devine meets the divine. Holy frequent flier miles, Martha––where on earth will your book pop up next?

Children's authors at Northwest Bookfest 2012

What better way to celebrate the beginning of a Northwest summer than to look ahead to fall? I mean, come on, people. Fall is the most reliable season around here. Take the quiz, and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Fall means:

1) leaves, apples, harvest-y festivals
2) back-to-school mayhem
3) butts in chairs, books in hands
4) Northwest Bookfest
5) TV season premieres
6) all of the above

If you answered #6, you've won!  
(Prize: My deep respect.)

The second iteration of #4, our local bibio-ganza, themed "It's Raining Books!," is slated for September 22-23. It's going to be the hottest ticket to hit Kirkland since, well, that Kirkland-based dude who was on The Bachelor and who broke up with his fiancee on live TV and subsequently married the runner-up he really loved all along.

But I digress.

This year's Northwest Bookfest will feature children's authors in a special tent in Peter Kirk Park in downtown Kirkland, and if you or someone you know is interested in presenting, contact Deborah Schneider, Public Programming Coordinator with the King County Library System.

Each author will receive, apart from glory and adulation from fans of all ages, a half-hour time slot for reading and interacting with their audiences. Children will be drawn to this particular area, since there will be kid-specific activities and puppet shows stationed nearby.

As before, the fabulous ParkPlace Books will serve as the anchor of the weekend, supplying the bookish with all manner of genres and editions, as well as the site of author signings.

For all the scoop on this year's bookishness, and more complete information on how it's all going to go down, check out the Northwest Bookfest website.

In the meantime, catch some rays (if even vicariously), and start planning your Kirkland getaway weekend in September!

Vote for your favorite Ben Clanton trailer

Ben Clanton's picture book Vote For Me! features an elephant and a donkey duking it out on the campaign trail. It's a timely, visual mudslinging match, fun for all ages and now... drum roll, please!... it has TRAILERS.

Check out the video below and enjoy this political satire as it comes to life.

Vote For Me! Extended Trailer from Kids Can Press on Vimeo.

For two more videos, as well as information on Ben's work, take a look at Ben's website. Nice job, Ben--can't wait for the impeachment sequel!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lynn Hooghiemstra's short story

Time for some good news, since the weather isn't exactly cooperating....

Lynn Hooghiemstra's short story "The Fountain Pen" just got published by the digital publisher Untreed Reads. As she describes it, it's a look at life during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. To find out more about it, click here.

In addition, Lynn's blog is up, and she promises to update it regularly. She is using the blog to post primarily about writing from a bilingual and language perspective, and how she works as a writer. To follow her, go to

Workshop added to summer lineup

 Tara Chang sends news that The TLCWorkshops has added a workshop to its summer schedule, "The Magic Art of Visual Storytelling with Ian McCaig & Brom."

WHEN: Friday-Sunday, August 17-19

To register, or for more information, click here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Rules according to Pixar

Summer's here, the sun is shining, the creative process is in full bloom.

Or not.

'Tis the time of year we're willing to ditch our writing corners when we can't squeeze out another paragraph, or when the kids' whining reaches Eleven. Or whatever comes first. In other words, it's MOVIE SEASON. Which usually means, as it does this summer, Pixar. If you, like me, have a daughter who ooohs and ahhhs over commercials for today's latest release, Brave, then you'll soon be sitting in a dark theater, watching the story of a girl who's skilled in archery and who overcomes a variety of obstacles in the gloom and doom of her homeland in the gloomy Scottish Highlands. (And no, Suzanne Collins did not write it.) 

Somewhere during that hour and twenty-three minutes, you'll have serious pangs of frustration. You could have written that story! You wished you could have written that story! Why didn't you write that story?

Sorry, but you didn't write that story. The overflowing idea factory that is Pixar did. Pixar has people. And they have people.

After the popcorn and the resultant sense of failure that lingers en route to the parking lot, you get it. It's all good. In fact, it couldn't be better. Not only were you entertained, your daughter is throwing her own trash away and is humming one of the songs from the movie.

And you got socked with a dang good story. Because that's what we all crave, right? A good story. That's what we try to create ourselves, and seeing a story take on the mammoth proportions of an IMAX screen in 3-D glasses serves only to remind us that it all starts there. On the page.

Which brings me to the helpful email I received this week from Laurie Thompson. It could be the single most important list you read this summer. It could make you roll your eyes, but mostly it is a clear, concise, and useful list of the 22 Rules of Storytelling, According to Pixar.

You will not be disappointed. Though you might wish you were one of the Pixar's people's people.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Online Seminar: Selling Your Book in Today's Marketplace

Want to know how to get a publisher's attention with your a good way? 

Twolocal industry experts are hosting an online seminar this week that can help you get that proposal ready to match current expectations.

What Every Publisher Wants You to Know: Selling Your Book in Today's Marketplace

Kerry Colburn and Jen Worick are fresh back from BEA, where they got all of the latestintel from publishers and agents. 

The 90 minute seminar on June 27th will cover:
  • The proposal components that are crucial to landing a publishing deal
  • Rookie mistakes to avoid during the submission process
  • The aspects of an author platform that matter most
  • Fine-tuning your proposal to address today’s publishing climate
  • The one thing that agents and editors want you to know
More information can be found on their website, The Business of Books!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Karen Robbins book launch

Come help author Karen Robbins launch her picture book, Care For Our World, with illustrations by Alexandra Ball. Some of Karen's characters will also be there to help celebrate, so the same zoo-going rule applies: Don't feed the animals!

Karen also has some good news to share: the Care For Our World playkit has been named the  Playset of the Year and Top Toy of the Year by Creative Child Magazine. Congratulations, Karen. Well done. 

WHEN: Saturday, June 30 from 11am-2pm
WHERE: Simplicity ABC, 107 Park Lane, Kirkland, 98033

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Need an agent? Start your bidding now!

Hold the phone! This just in from illustrator Dana Sullivan:

An online auction is afoot, which closes this Friday, June 22.

Literary agent Anna Olswanger, of Liza Dawson Associates, has donated a manuscript consultation via telephone to benefit the international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation
To bid on this one-of-a-lifetime opportunity, click here. But remember: The auction closes this Friday, so act fast!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Deb Lund's Dino-launch party

For her third picture book featuring those lovably extinct dinosaurs, Deb Lund ventures beyond the train tracks (All Aboard the Dinotrain) and the deep, blue sea (Dinosailors), and looks to the sky. In her latest, Dinosauring, where will they go next? They'll be catching some air. As in skydiving.

Come show your support and share in the fun with Deb and the kind folks at Secret Garden Books in Ballard. Congratulations, Deb!

WHEN: Sunday, June 24 at 3pm

WHERE: Secret Garden Books, 2214 NW Market St, Ballard, 206-789-5006

Graphic Artists Guild workshop

For those far more artistically inclined than I, Kim Bateman, the Chapter Administrator for the Graphic Artists Guild Seattle is holding a workshop called "CS6–What's New: InDesign & Illustrator" with Steve Laskevitch. Specifics can be found below.

WHO: Seattle Graphic Artists Guild; Steve Laskevitch (Adobe Certified Instructor in Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, and InDesign), is the curriculum director and lead instructor at Luminous Works. Luminous Works has built production workflows for many companies and regularly helps Adobe Systems prepare Certified Expert exams.

WHAT: A fun and eclectic tour of the new, exciting, and sometimes scary features in our favorite applications of Adobe Creative Suite 6: InDesign, Illustrator [and Photoshop]. Whether one is focused on electronic or print publication, layout or illustration, there's something for everyone. Since Steve doesn't work for Adobe, he'll share the bad news with the good.

WHEN: Monday, June 25, 2012 from 7-8:30pm

WHERE: Luminous Works, 1406 NW 53rd St. Suite 3A, Seattle 98107


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Giveaway: Win Deb Lund's new picture book

Dorine White, YA author and blogger of "The Write Path" is offering a special book giveaway, featuring picture book author Deb Lund. Deb's soon-to-be-published picture book, Dinosoaring (Harcourt), can be yours if you 1) click on the above link and 2) you're the lucky winner. Here's hoping, right?

Kirby's summer plans

Current and future followers of Kirby Larson's blog ( should know that she's taking things a bit slower this summer. Well, sort of: The Newbery Award-winning author (2007's Hattie Big Sky) will still be posting, but only twice a week. Tuesdays she'll dispense her spot-on writing tips and Thursdays will feature a favorite quote.

Wendy Wahman's New Book Trailer

Cheers to Wendy and Joe Wahman on their forthcoming book with Henry Holt, SNOWBOY 1, 2, 3:

SNOWBOY 1,2,3 releases Oct. 16th, 2012. Launch party will be the same day at Secret Garden Books in Ballard.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ready or not, here I come!

Greetings, SCBWI-ers. Let me introduce myself. Ahem.

My name is Emily Russin, and I am happy to be taking the reins from Rebekah as your new Chinook Update-er. From local events to news, tips, and other tidbits, I solemnly vow to provide a variety of informative, inspiring, and sometimes wacky bookish fun. (Okay, not too wacky....don't worry!)

Sit back, relax, and....wait. I'm still catching my breath, so please bear with me. I will try to keep up with everyone's items and emails, but again, I am just getting up and running. Your patience is not only hoped for, it is appreciated. (I used to play the viola, if that gives you an analogous indication of my technical abilities.)

More about me? I'm a Seattle native who took an East Coast detour for close to a decade. I'm working on my first novel, a YA, and I am a former managing editor at Seattle Weekly. I work as a freelance writer and editor, when not making Indian food or watching MI-5. I have a daughter. I volunteer at said daughter's school library. I've blogged for entertainment and business sites, and my favorite color is gray-blue.

But enough about me. It's nice to make your acquaintance. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you all, and to getting to know our amazing SCBWI chapter from a different vantage point.

Happy summer! It's just dreary enough to keep our Butts in Chairs....

So let's start things off with a general question: What are you reading right now?
Not that amazing tome you polished off yesterday. I'm talking about the one you just started but aren't quite sure about. Anything on your summer reading list you'd care to have me compile and share? Don't keep it to yourself––send it on.

Friday, June 8, 2012

100 Free and Useful Apps for Writers

How many apps do you have on your phone? How many help you with your writing? You can check out this article on on 100 Free and Useful Apps for Writers! There are some great apps that include inspirational, publishing, organizing, writing and more! Check it out! Thanks to Brenda for sending this in!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


We love a book event for a good cause! Anna Davies is in Seattle doing readings for her YA novel Wrecked! 

First event:
Secret Garden Books in Ballard, 7pm on Friday, June 8th. 10% of book sale proceeds from this event will go to Camp Goodtimes West, a camp for children with cancer and their siblings. 

Second event:
Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, 4pm on Saturday, June 9th.

Anna is also an editor at Cosmopolitan magazine and ghostwrote a few Gossip Girl novels and Vampire Diaries books and (off-the-record!) is happy to discuss all of these at the signing. 

Tweet annakdavies with questions—and there will be cupcakes at the events! 

Location: Secret Garden Books, 2214 NW Market St, Seattle, WA
Time: 7pm, Friday, June 8th

Location: Liberty Bay Books, 18881 Front St NE
Time: 4pm, Saturday, June 9th

Good News for Laurie Thompson

Good News and Happy Days for our own amazing Laurie Thompson!!! Laurie has sold her debut nonfiction picture book (about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah) to Anne Schwartz at Schwartz & Wade!!! Here is the official announcement for you to peruse! Congratulations Laurie! You inspire us all and we are so excited to celebrate with you!!!

For more information on the very talented Laurie Thompson, and her work, you can check out her website

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TU Books Contest

Here's a publication contest to check out. 

TU BOOKS, the fantasy, science fiction, and mystery imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, is pleased to announce the first annual NEW VISIONS AWARD. The NEW VISIONS AWARD will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500. 

You can click here for more information on TU Books and their contest. Please make sure you read all the rules before submitting your work. Thanks to Nina Hess for passing this along! 

Here's to You!!!

SCBWI WWA is an amazing region!!! Not just because we live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest or have an incredibly talented and hard working Advisory Committee (which we do...they are truly wonderful), but because we have the most amazing people that make up our region. 

I'm getting married this summer and moving to Idaho (which puts me in the Inland Empire Region). I'm sad to go but excited for a new chapter in my life. I'm handing the Update reins over to Emily Russin who will field all your e-mails and keep the Update running smoothly for all of you. You can get in touch with her through the same update(at)scbwi-washington(dot)org address. 

I joined the Advisory Committee two years ago and have had a fantastic time getting to know people by being the Update Editor. It's so fun to see people at conferences and say, "Oh, nice to put a face with the name" and hear all your good news, ideas and celebrate with you on your writing adventures. I'm very thankful for my time as the Update Editor and want to say thank you to each of you for making the experience unforgettable. Many blessings to each of you and Happy Writing!!! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Writing and Revision Resources

Here are some great resources to help with your writing and revision process! Thanks to Laurie for always sharing her amazing resources!!

This blog post on A Totally Random Romp (by Jean Reidy) offers a quick exercise to use with your critique group or critique friends. A great tool for novel writers!

Here's a post for What Writers Need To Know About Formatting (FAQs) on Writer's Digest. This is a great resource for those new to writing or a refresher for those who need it.

On writeoncon there's a great post on the whys and hows of revision called Revising Your Way to Success. Need I say more?

ETA: Joni's pirating in here to add these don't-miss "before and after" revision views gathered by YA novelist Maggie Stiefvater.

Would You Like to Win a Free PB Critique?

Thanks to Amber J. Keyser (from neighboring SCBWI OR) for sending this link! is hosting a contest to win a free critique of a picture book manuscript (3,000 words max) or any other manuscript or piece of writing, again with a limit of 3,000 words. All you have to do is come up with the best new word that describes something related to the writing or critiquing process. Here's the link to check out! Make sure, as with any contest, that you read all the rules before you enter. 

Good News for Judith Ross Enderle

Good News and a big YAHOO for fellow SCBWI WWA member Judith Ross Enderle (who's up in Bellingham) and her California writing partner Stephanie Jacob Gordon. They received the Pewter Plate Award from Highlights High Five Magazine for SURPRISE which was chosen the story of the year. SURPRISE appeared in the July, 2011 issue.

Congratulations!!! For more information on Judith, Stephanie and their collaborative work,  you can check out their website 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Interesting Items to Check Out

We have so many amazing members in SCBWI WWA and they are so good about sending interesting items to share with our members!!!

Here's a few to check out!

Holly Black's Live Journal Page 
A great post by Holly Black (one of our 2011 Annual Conference Faculty) where she discusses word count and part of her process of writing her new MG book DOLL BONES. 

Thanks to Kevin Cain for sending this in! You can find out more information on Kevin, and his work, by checking out his blog and website

NPR Article on the Artistry of Children's Picture Books.

Thanks to Mara Pina who found this through the SCBWI LinkedIn group. You can check out Mara's blog, the writing blues

A very interesting post with links to check out. Thanks to our fabulous Joni who passed this along. You can find out more about Joni, and her work, on her website

A really great blog by SCBWI New Jersey RA Kathy Temean that features an illustrator every Saturday! This post features our own SCBWI WWA member Kathleen Kemly (and some of her wonderful illustrations). 



Good News for Karen Robbins!

Good News and Happy Monday to fellow SCBWI WWA member Karen Robbins! Karen's first picture book, CARE FOR OUR WORLD (illustrated by Alexandra Ball from the U.K. and published by Compendium) recently released at the NY Stationary Show and this week will be at BEA at the Javits Center in NYC. Compendium also created an adorable CARE FOR OUR WORLD play kit with punch out animals, for hours of imaginative play.  Compendium's booth at BEA will have life sized cut outs of the animals from CARE FOR OUR WORLD.  Karen's book has also recently won Runner-Up at the Green Book Festival in S.F. in the children's book division.    

             Karen has been a member of the SCBWI for 26 years, and has published several books and over fifty magazine articles. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Picture Book Apps

For those of you who attended the SCBWI WWA Annual Conference the subject of picture books and technology came up at our editor/agent panel. It was really interesting to hear different feedback from our amazing and diverse faculty. Fellow member Lois Brandt sent this link to an interesting article about what makes a good picture book app. Worth a read, especially because it's such a current topic of discussion in the children's literature industry. Thanks Lois!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Call for Presenters for our 2012-2013 Season!

SCBWI Western Washington is seeking workshop presenters for our 2012-2013 season. Our chapter holds monthly Professional Series Meetings from September through May. We welcome fresh and compelling workshop ideas for any of these events! Details and application form after the jump: