Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Catch these January events

Members Suzanne Selfors and Patrick Jennings, both recipients of our state book award in the middle grade category, will be visiting bookstores in January to kick off the new year by celebrating the release of their newest titles!

Next Top Villain (Little, Brown) kicks off Suzanne's new series based in the world of Ever After High, a boarding school for the sons and daughters of fairytale characters. Hissy Fitz (Egmont USA) is Patrick's new book about a cat that makes Grumpy Cat seem pleasant. Both books release on January 6. Catch up with either or both authors here:

Just Suzanne
  • January 7, Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park (check their website for the time)
  • January 9, 7 p.m. at Secret Garden Books in Ballard
  • January 17, 7 p.m. at Writer's Workshoppe & Imprint Books in Port Townsend

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

More chances to learn kidlit illustration from Craig

Still need a last-minute gift for an artsy someone in your life? Member Craig Orback, the illustrator of Gifts from the Enemy (speaking of gifts) and many others, will be teaching another round of his popular children's book illustration classes starting in January. (And we promise he's not an enemy.) The introductory course, Illustration 1, starts January 17 at Bellevue College and January 20 at Edmonds Community College. Basic drawing skills are helpful but, unlike homework, not required.

The intermediate course, Illustration 2, which gets into the making of storyboards and dummies, starts at Bellevue Community College on January 17. All classes run multiple weeks. For more information or to register, click the respective links above.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday meeting recap, part 2

And so we come to the place where we talk about our guest speaker,

Martha Brockenbrough!

She is, as Dana Sullivan wrote in an email,
"a force."

Those of us who've known Martha for a while know how hard she works, and how wonderfully she works a room. Those of us who were lucky enough to listen to her last night knew, from the moment she began with references to her literary nemeses (complete with hilarious Power Point visuals), that we were in the presence of someone special.

Martha is, as we all strive to be, a storyteller. So when she plugged her own path into her magic formula for capturing an audience, we were putty in her hands.

She inspired us, she cracked us up, and she even made references to, ahem, certain parts of feline anatomy. But that's Martha. She tied it all together and delved into the heart of the matter (or the anus, but who's checking?).

Her career has taken her on a roller-coaster ride that she shared in captivating and sometimes heartbreaking detail, and we whirled along with her every failure and success. She made us feel, from that squidgy stomach-drop of being rejected rudely to that glorious relief of having her 31-times-drafted manuscript find a home, like we were all on the same team. And how very human it is to experience these highs and lows and try to keep our passion alive.

Decked in splendid holiday finery––check out THOSE SHOES!––Martha gave us a precious gift last night. It was greater than a few nuggets of inspiration. It was a humble, funny, and fiercely emotional perspective on her journey through frustration and success. She embodied the artistic process, and what it means to live in pursuit of one's dreams despite its messy, unpredictable and fulfilling results. To keep up with Martha's ups and downs (and ups!), as well as her comings and goings, please go to her site.

Holiday meeting recap, part 1

With apologies to those who couldn't make it, last night's "meeting" was [GUSHING ADJECTIVE HERE!]. It was, if I dare put a mere word to it, MAGNIFICENT.

The annual Cookie Contest was more spectacular than ever, with bakers' dozens of offerings of all stripes (and sprinkles and frosting, if you know what I mean). Never before have the judges been so willing to throw their doctors' advice out the window and dig in.

The judges worked hard, and gave it their gustatory all. Each and every one woke up in the middle of the night after it was all over, a sheen of sweat coating their foreheads and their legs scratching against stray crumbs, panicking, with a single question: Did we do enough?

For it was close to impossible to pick a few from the glorious many entries. Congratulations to all of the incredible bakers––thanks for sharing your treats with us! How can we ever top THAT?

In the end, the winners were crowned and duly applauded, and they were:

Most Delicious Cookie: 
Dawn Simon, for her chocolate-dipped toffee confections. Simply, WOW!
(Sorry, they're the round ones at the right of the photo and are a little blurry––
they were so delicious we got misty-eyed! Also pictured with Dawn, center, are
Jennifer K. Mann on the left and Stasia Ward Kehoe on the right.)

Most Beautiful Cookie:
Rowena Russell, for her stunning gingerbread snowflakes.

And, in an unprecedented and bold move
by our judges––the Danas Arnim and Sullivan,
Tina Hoggatt, guest speaker Martha Brockenbrough, and with "palate proxy" Emily Russin
conferring for the dairy- and gluten-challenged––there was a THIRD WINNER crowned this year.

Because, well, it was the...


Most Un-"Bear"-ably Cute Cookie:
This new award went to the intrepid Hamblins, for making adorable, edible art with their
gingerbread bear "pillows" (stuffed with apple butter––whoa, now!).
Needless to say, these cuties caused a lot of commotion.

Thus ends Part One of last night's meeting recap. See you in the second post! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tonight! 10 reasons why you should....

...get to TONIGHT'S SCBWI WWA Monthly Meeting! See you at 6:30!

1. Martha, Martha, Martha! The author of Devine Intervention and the upcoming The Game of Love and Death, Martha Brockenbrough knows a thing or two (or 10!) about a thing or two (or 10!).

2. Cookies. Enough said!

3. Bring a book, take a book. Bring seven, take seven. You know the drill....

4. Networking.

5. Did we mention already how amazing our speaker, Martha Brockenbrough, is going to be?

6. The cookies you forgot you grabbed and stashed in your SCBWI tote bag during your mad scramble to write down Martha's pearls of wisdom. (Nom, nom, nom!)

7. Good news––because really, who actually likes bad news?

8. Holiday cheer means a fun, happy, and celebratory reason for just coming together.

9. Martha Brockenbrough knows how to work a room, people. And how!

10. The sad, stray cookies people didn't have a chance to gobble up the first part of the night. You know the ones, that lone bar on an island of powdered sugar, or the flourless chocolate crinkle cookie deflated and dejected on its plate among shards of crushed candy canes? Have at 'em! We won't tell!

Wait, before you submit...

Got a NaNoWriMo project you're enthused about? Great! Don't forget to revise... and check out the insights and tips in this Chronicle Books editor's blog before getting too hasty with the postage stamps.

Come to a Dream launch party

Member (and former co-RA) Laurie Ann Thompson will celebrate the launch of her picture book, Emmanuel's Dream, at the Bellevue UBS on January 6 at 6:00 p.m. Find more details here, and Laurie requests RSVPs, if possible. (But show up regardless!)

The book tells the inspiring true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who was born in Ghana with one deformed leg. He eventually became a cyclist, riding an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana to spread a powerful message: disability is not inability.

The book, illustrated by Sean Qualls, is a Junior Library Guild selection and made the Winter 2014–2015 Kids’ Indie Next List! (Yay, Laurie!) Get yours!

Monday, December 15, 2014

C is for COOKIES!

It's also for CAN'T WAIT! (Cookies are my favorite!)

Are you all busy baking out there? C'mon, we want LOTS of samples of LOTS of cookies! We can't say it too many times!!



See you on Thursday, December 18. For: Meeting, Schmoozing, the fabulous Martha Brockenbrough, and...



In case you forgot The Rules, here you go:

1. Cookies will be judged in two (2) categories: Most Beautiful and Most Delicious.

2. Bring at least a dozen (12) cookies to share with your fellow SCBWI-ers.

3. On a SEPARATE plate, place four (4) cookies for judging. LABEL them so we know who baked them, and what kind they are. Please indicate if they are a special dietary variety, so that all can enjoy (e.g., gluten-free, nut-free, etc.)!


April is the coolest month

Think April is a mere speck on the horizon?

You're right. [Sort of!]

It's also the time for SCBWI Western Washington's 24th Annual Writing & Illustrating for Children Conference in Redmond, WA. Your job, given that registration won't be happening for a couple of months, is to:
SAVE THESE DATES: April 17 – 19, 2015

Because this is the holiday season, how about the gift of a sneak peak of some of our conference faculty? (Aw, shucks, we love you, too!)
  • Sharon Flake (author) 
  • David Wiesner (picture book author/illustrator)

  • Carter Hasegawa (editor at Candlewick)
  • Christa Heschke (agent at MacIntosh & Otis)
  • Kristen Nobles (art director at Candlewick)

  • Rachel Orr (agent at the Prospect Agency)
  • Jen Rofe (agent at Andrea Brown Literary)

Whoever said April was the cruelest month was certainly NOT an SCBWI member! Stay tuned for updated information as we get closer to conference registration.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Season's meeting to all!

Fa-la-la-la-la! It's our annual Holiday Meeting!
We're decking our (okay, Demaray's) halls with general merriment, holiday schmoozing, and COOKIES. Mark those calendars for NEXT THURSDAY, December 18, at 6:30 p.m.

The night begins with our much-anticipated Cookie Contest (see *RULES, below) and Book Exchange––so get those recipe engines revving, and come with books you'd like to pass along while picking up some new titles. Book Exchange rules are simple: Take as many books as you bring.
Want to simply donate books? Wait for our annual conference in April! Thank you!

Did we forget to mention that, at 7:30––after the gorging, and just as our sugar highs are peaking––the one and only Martha Brockenbrough, author of Devine Intervention (a Kirkus Reviews Top 100 books for teens in 2012), Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, and April 2015's much-anticipated The Game of Love and Death, will talk about literary living and learning.

Martha, who has volunteered for SCBWI in many different positions for many years, is the author of two books for adults and five for young readers. She's the founder of National Grammar Day (every March 4), has written game questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit, and is the former editor of MSN.com. Her work has been published in a variety of places, including The New York Times. She also wrote an educational humor column for the online encyclopedia Encarta for nine years.


There are two categories: Most Beautiful and Most Delicious. (The judges will decide which category yours fall into.)

1. Bring at least a dozen of your cookies to share with your fellow writers and illustrators. 
2. ON A SEPARATE PLATE, place four of your cookies separately for judging. (Label your cookies CLEARLY so the judges know who you are!) If your cookies are of a special dietary variety, please also label them as such, so your fellow dietary-restrictive writers and illustrators can eat them without suffering horrible dietary-related consequences. 
Good luck and good baking. There will be FABULOUS PRIZES!!

Dorine White's book launch

Dorine White announces the launch of her YA fantasy novel, The Awakening
Come on out to help her celebrate this Saturday, December 13 from 6–7pm at the Wit's End Bookstore (1530 Grove St, Suite A, Marysville, 98270).

The more, the merrier!

Dork and stormy nights

Frank Portman, a.k.a., Dr. Dork and the author of the YA cult hit King Dork and also Andromeda Klein, has just released King Dork Approximately, the continuing story of the Catcher In the Rye-obsessed teen musician Tom Henderson, a.k.a., King Dork.

Portman, who is also a musician, will appear at Secret Garden Books on Friday, December 12 at 7pm, and again at University Book Store in Seattle on Saturday, December 13 at 9pm.

Heads up north––to Bellingham!

Save the date!

The 12th annual Western Washington University's Children's Literature Conference will be held on Saturday, February 28, 2015.

The lineup, you ask? It's a doozy!

How does this sound?

Kate DiCamillo, Matt de la Pena, Yuyi Morales, and Joyce Sidman will be the visiting dignitaries, ahem, speakers.

Music to our ears! And they're coming THIS WAY!

To learn more about this event, or for details on registration, please click here.

Sign and send your books to Ferguson

The Ferguson, MO Public Library is hoping to build up their children's section while there is still unrest following the protests and school closures of recent weeks. In her blog, best-selling children's author Joelle Charbonneau show how PAL writers can provide signed copies of their own books to add to the collection––and also show support to a community's children who have faced a great deal of upheaval.

The Art of Dr. Seuss

Before January 3 creeps up on you, head to the Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery, where the featured exhibit is "The Art of Dr. Seuss," a many-sided look at the whimsical and the fantastical characters of the beloved author.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 10 is a Holiday Open House at the gallery, from 6–8pm. Items for sale, or for ogling.

As for transportation, you can hitch a ride on a fox, come in a box, jump in your car, or pop out of a jar!

Great online opportunity: picture-book dummy workshop

SCBWI's Midsouth chapter is offering 10 online seats in their "Developing Your Best Dummy" workshop with Simon & Schuster editor Alyson Heller, and members from other regions can sign up.

They say, "The professional feedback in this workshop replicates the editorial process to help you develop your best picture book dummy, ready for submission." The "online only" version of the workshop will have you busy from June through May over two revisions of the same manuscript.

Don't miss out on this unusual opportunity to learn from an acquiring pro and work with her in an editorial relationship. Get more information or register.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kid Lit Drink Night This Saturday!

Here's a timely reminder that our roving Ohio reporter will be in Seattle for an early-December Kid Lit Drink Night on Saturday, Dec. 6, starting about 7:00 p.m. (and earlier if she can swing it). We'll gather at the Elliott Bay Brewhouse and Pub in Burien (on the back side of Sea-Tac airport, kinda, so Joni can whisk herself and her good-looking companion away to a redeye that evening.) And EB (Brewhouse, not White) is even expecting us!

Get a head start on your holiday imbibing while getting the latest scoop from the Far Foreign Republic of Ohio from expat member Joni Sensel. Please plan to come say hi, meet some new friends, and pass hugs around to old ones. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Indie Firster: Queen Anne Books

Add member Suzanne Selfors to the list of local authors appearing at local bookstores this Saturday — in this case, Queen Anne Books at noon. Catch all you can!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Members at Page 2's version of Indie First

Among the delights this weekend at Indie First's Small Business Saturday will be a couple of members, Wendy Wahman (at 2:30 p.m.) and Mindy Hardwick (at 4:00 p.m.), at Burien's Page 2 Books. Other (ya know, grownup) authors will be there all day, too.

Wendy says, "A P-I colleague bought the store, waaay out in the nether fields of Burien., and I want to support him, If anyone can come by, please do!"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Golden Kite Award deadline reminder

Don't let the tryptophan stop you!

The 2014 Golden Kite Award submissions are due

Since 1973, The Golden Kite Awards are the only literary awards judged by a jury of your peers. Over 1,000 submissions are expected in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration.

For detailed information, please click here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Indies First/Small Business Saturday!

Whether you call it Indies First or Small Business Saturday, November 29 is a great day to shop your local, independent bookstore! Sherman Alexie came up with the idea for writers to support their local indie by working at the store on Small Business Saturday 2013. The day was a huge hit. Thousands of authors across the country acted as guest booksellers and the Indies First movement was born. 

Secret Garden's guest salespeople will include Jaime Temairik, Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Toni Yuli, Dana Sullivan, Kim Baker, Julie Paschkis, Kira Brady, Kevin Emerson, Bonny Becker, Linda Johns, Laurie Thompson and Margot Page.

University Bookstore, Bellevue will get sales help from Janet Lee Carey, Justina Chen, Samantha Vamos, Robert Dugoni, Dana Sullivan, G. Elizabeth Kretchmer, Dan Richards, Claire Gebben, Kazu Kibuishi, Christina Dudley, William Dietrich and Laurie Thompson.

Check out YOUR local indie to see which of our author/illustrators will be on site giving you suggestions for your holiday (or any time) gift giving. Shop local and remember to get some signatures!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yay, Stasia!

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association has released the shortlist for their 2015 Book Awards, and member Stasia Kehoe's book, The Sound of Letting Go, is on it! The awards recognize excellence in writing from the Pacific Northwest (from Alaska to Oregon and Montana). Nearly 300 books published in 2014 were nominated, and the final awards are typically announced early the following year.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Attend the reception this Saturday!

Join the illustrators of SCBWI Western Washington at a reception to open our exhibition at the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma on November 22. Come see the artwork and the artists, enjoy light refreshments, and try your hand at an illustration or two! Free museum admission is available to all who attend between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on that day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November nudge

Are you ready for our next monthly programming meeting?

You won't be disappointed. This coming month––
Thursday, November 20, to be exact––SCBWI WWA presents:

moderated by Laurie Ann Thompson (Be a Changemaker) and featuring nonfiction and fiction authors Lisa L. Owens (The Great Chicago Fire), Jim Whiting (NFL Today: Seattle Seahawks), and Trudi Trueit (Stealing Popular).

As if that wasn't amazing enough on its own, Lois Brandt (Maddi's Fridge) will discuss Marketing for Introverts. It's sure to bring you out of your shell!

As before, all the magic happens at Seattle Pacific University, Demaray Hall 150.
TIME: 7–9pm

Passport holders: FREE
Non-passport holders: $9/SCBWI members; $15/non-SCBWI members

Mark your calendars! It's the second-most important Thursday of November!

Save a spot for a Dec. 6 KLDN!

Warning: Unauthorized post! (Exciting, isn't it?)

Your roving Ohio reporter will be in Seattle for an early-December Kid Lit Drink Night on Saturday, Dec. 6, starting about 7:00 p.m. (and earlier if she can swing it). We'll gather at the Elliott Bay Brewhouse and Pub in Burien (on the back side of Sea-Tac airport, kinda, so Joni can whisk herself and her good-looking companion away to a redeye that evening.) And EB (Brewhouse, not White) is even expecting us!

So whether you need to celebrate your NaNoWriMo success (or failure), drown your Thanksgiving-family-gathering sorrows, get a head start on year-end eggnog imbibing, or get the latest scoop from the Far Foreign Republic of Ohio from expat member Joni Sensel, please plan to come say hi, meet some new friends, and pass hugs around to old ones. Hope to see you there!

(And hey Mr. Sullivan, aka co-RA D2, we need a reusable KLDN arty bit, don't you think?)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Member art exhibition: Mark your calendars now!

Join the illustrators of SCBWI Western Washington at a reception to open our exhibition at the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma on November 22. Come see the artwork and the artists, enjoy light refreshments, and try your hand at an illustration or two! Free museum admission is available to all who attend between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on that day.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Monday night delight

On this Monday, November 10, Seattle's Poetry on Buses: Writing Home program kicks off a year of poetry with music, poetry, the poetry buses — and maybe you? — at the Moore Theatre in Seattle. Celebrate the 365 poets whose poetry will be "going round and round" on busses. Several are SCBWI WWA members. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30. Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Brand yourself

Check out the Graphic Artists Guild lunchtime workshop on "Your Brand, Your Way" with Susan Straub-Martin, which will be held November 19, 2014, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Consider yourself a brand, a commodity. What would you like people to know about you? In this workshop, identify who you are as a brand, write a brand statement, and start crafting materials such as a business card or social media image.

The event will take place at the Seattle Design Center, 5701 6th Avenue South, 98108. Get tickets here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Get the Inside Story tomorrow night!

Plan to come to Inside Story tomorrow night at Parkplace Books (348 Parkplace Center, Kirkland, WA 98033) at 7:00 PM. It'll be a great chance to get ahead on (or finish up) your holiday gift buying!

We hold this celebration twice a year for booksellers, librarians, teachers, and other children's book lovers so you can hear the "stories behind the stories" of new and upcoming books by our local authors and illustrators. Participants introducing their new books this time include local members Brianna Caplan Sayres, Carly Anne West, Dan Richards, Dana Sullivan, Dori Hillestad Butler, Justina Chen, Kevin Emerson, Laurie Ann Thompson, Lin Kaymer, Lois Brandt, Loralee Leavitt, Lorie Ann Grover, Nina Laden, Randall Platt, Royce Buckingham, Stacey Campbell, Suzanne Selfors, Tom Brenner, and Toni Yuly. Go, team!

If possible, please RSVP with Parkplace Books:  parkplacebooks@integra.net. We'll hope to see you there!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Art reception on Monday

Join Blanca Santander Monday, November 3 for the closing of her exhibit with Rene Julio, Between Love and Death. Jacque Larrainzar will be making music. Festivities will be at the M. Rosetta Hunter Gallery at Seattle Central College on Capitol Hill from 5-8 pm. Come one, come all!

NaNoWriMo at SPL

Are you, or is anyone you know, participating in this year's  

National Novel Writing Month?????

Instead of doing your due dilligence in a vacuum, how about some writing sessions with like-minded and determined individuals at Seattle Public Library's Write-Ins, Mondays at the Central Branch location in downtown Seattle? These three-hour sessions are geared toward the writer, with built-in support and networking, as well as performance art by an author working on her own book.

For more information on NaNoWriMo, please see the national web site. For the Seattle Public Library events, please click here.

Ready, set....GO!

Good luck to all, and many happy thousands of words to you!

Authors love libraries

Recognize some familiar names? If so, and if you're in the north end or happen to be near Mukilteo in a couple of weekends, come show some love for your local SCBWI-ers on this panel.

Updating Weekenders-on-the-Water

Weekend on the Water is rapidly approaching! 
If you are going to the retreat, you should have received emails by Co-Directors Allyson Schrier and Lois Brandt about reading prep and what to bring. If you have not heard from them, please check your spam folder.  For questions, contact Lois (Lois@LoisBrandt.com).
Looking forward to this exciting event!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

SCBWI Northern Network: Marketing Mania!

So you have a story finished, polished, and perfected! Now… how do you market it?

Join the Northern Network for a discussion on marketing with the fabulous Barbara Jean Hicks, the author of over 20 books ranging from adult to picture books. She will give us her secrets for successfully promoting your books and getting the most bang for your publicity buck.

Date: Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Bellingham Barnes & Noble (4099 Meridian Street)

Questions? Call Rebecca Van Slyke at (360) 354-5797, or email at rebecca(underscore)vanslyke(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grace Lin coming to the Shaw Series

Award-winning author and illustrator Grace Lin, who presented at our annual conference a few years back, will be delivering the University of Washington Information School’s annual Spencer G. Shaw Endowed Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. in Kane Hall on the UW campus.   

The creator of more than 20 books, including The Year of the Dog, Ling & Ting, Starry River of the Sky, and 2010 Newbery Honor Book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace will be speaking about the path of a multicultural author. Go welcome her back to Western WA and give her a few recognized faces in the crowd!

Attendance is $10, or $5 for students, and registration is necessary; register now or call 206-543-4794 with questions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cheers to Nina Laden!



Image of the author/artist from www.ninaladen.com.
Ballard resident Nina Laden is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of many books for children, from The Night I Followed the Dog to Peek-a-Who?. Secret Garden Books in Ballard commemorates her 20th year in print as well as the release of her first game, based on Peek-a-Who?.
The Night I Followed the Dog was released in August of 1994. It is exceedingly rare for a children’s book to stay in print for that long. New York Times bestselling Peek-a-Who? has been a perennial bestseller for Chronicle Books since it was released in 2000. It has spawned additions to the series, including last year's Peek-a-Zoo!, among others. Last month Chronicle Books also released a game based on it.
Come celebrate Nina's continued success and her books, which have charmed children and their parents for two decades. 

Congratulations, Nina!

WHEN: Thursday, November 6 at 7pm
WHERE: Secret Garden Books, 2214 NW Market St, Ballard

Quips and giggles

So a writer and a reader get into a car....

SCBWI co-founder and author Stephen Mooser is offering a webinar, FREE, which will explore ways to make the funnybone tingle when you craft a story. Via the Children's Book Academy, this special event will take place on Thursday, October 30 at 5pm Pacific Daylight Time. To learn more and for more details, please click here.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Inside Story is coming

'Tis the season...for Inside Story!

The Fall 2014 Inside Story will take place at Parkplace Books (348 Parkplace Center, Kirkland, WA 98033) on November 4 at 7:00 PM.

We hold this celebration twice a year for booksellers, librarians, teachers, and other children's book lovers so you can hear the "stories behind the stories" of new and upcoming books by our local authors and illustrators.
The following authors and illustrators will present their new books:
Brianna Caplan Sayres, Carly Anne West, Dan Richards, Dana Sullivan, Dori Hillestad Butler , Justina Chen, Kevin Emerson, Laurie Ann Thompson, Lin Kaymer, Lois Brandt, Loralee Leavitt, Lorie Ann Grover, Nina Laden, Randall Platt, Royce Buckingham, Stacey Campbell, Suzanne Selfors, Tom Brenner, and Toni Yuly. 

Please RSVP with Parkplace Books:  parkplacebooks@integra.net

Making the (Middle) Grade: Essential Elements of the MG Novel with Brianne Johnson

Writers House agent Brianne Johnson shared a talk with us last Friday afternoon about writing middle-grade novels. She discussed plot, character, voice, beginnings, and theme in middle grade, using examples from some of her clients' books, The League of Beastly Dreadfuls and The Only Thing Worse than Witches, as well as from Harry Potter, A Single Shard, and Matilda.

She started out by sharing Aristotle's definition of plot, "the change of good fortune to bad, or bad fortune to good." Then she said there are three basic types of plots: conflict, mystery, and/or lack. A middle-grade novel may have one, two, or all three of those plot types, but each plot must have its own complete story arc (stasis, inciting incident, escalating complicating events, climax, resolution). 

Some of the most common problems she sees with character are in the dialog. Her advice? "Read it out loud!" She also recommends using the worksheets and checklists in Cheryl Klein's book, Second Sight, for both plot and character development.

Some common themes in middle grade that she discussed in the workshop include challenging the status quo and learning that not all adults are kindly caregivers looking out for their best interests. "You can be really dark in middle grade," Brianne said, "but at the end of the day… there does need to be hope." She ended her presentation with this quote from Richard Peck: "A children’s novel ends not with happily ever after, but at a new beginning, with the sense of a lot of life left to be lived." 
Finally, we had time to read some of the attendees' first pages aloud and discuss as a group what was and wasn't working in each of the pieces.

— Reported by Laurie Ann Thompson

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fabulous Fall Kickoff!

SCBWI Western Washington's first 2014-2015 season Professional Series Meeting with agent Brianne Johnson of Writers House took place last night, Oct. 16. It was a packed event with a lot of laughs and a lot of interesting pointers from Brianne for everyone in the audience.

Writers House, with more than a dozen agents, is one of the biggest agencies for children’s literature. Brianne, who's been at Writer’s House for about five years, says she started as an intern, “clawing her way up” to the position of senior agent. 

She receives about 120 queries a week and told us she starts her day weeding through her slush pile, which is where she said she’s found most of her clients. “Younger agents are hungrier," she noted. "They read the slush pile.” After telling the audience what she’s looking for in PB, MG, and YA submissions, Brianne walked us through her current book list, which included the first book she sold as an agent, Albie’s First Word.

Brianne generously spent more than half of the evening answering questions from the audience, from what she’s looking for in a nonfiction book to what sorts of manuscripts keep her up at night. Calling herself a very editorial agent, Brianne gave us a sneak peek into her daily life as an agent and gave the audience very practical tips for scouting new agents and getting noticed.

Even if you missed this great event, it's not too late to attend next month on Thursday, Nov. 20, when the presentations will include "Nonfiction is the New Black" and "Marketing for Introverts." Better yet, get yourself a series passport and attend them all!

— Reported by Alison Weatherby

Registration open for WWU Children’s Literature Conference

Registration is now open for the 12th annual Children’s Literature Conference at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Many SCBWI members have attended this event over the years, particularly Northern Region regulars, and they always have good things to say about it.

The conference will take place i, and feature Newbery medalist and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo, Pura Belpré medalist and acclaimed young adult novelist Matt de la Peña, Newbery Honor recipient and NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award winner Joyce Sidman, and three-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award medalist Yuyi Morales. Rates for early registration are $95 or $85 if you can register as a group of three or more.

Places for today's events

Last night's fall kickoff went swimmingly! And for those who will be meeting with Writers House agent Brianne Johnson today, just to eliminate any confusion:

  • The agent consults (for those already registered and confirmed for them) are in the library, conference room A from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.. 
  • The master class is from 3 - 5 p.m. in Bertona Hall, room 1. It is # 65 on this campus map.
See you there!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NaNoWriMo & PiBoIdMo & Drink Nite, Oh My!

Deb Lund and Jan O'Neil, the only two women who would be so brave, will be hosting a kick-off event for both National Novel Writing Month and Picture Book Idea Month and THEN follow it up with a Kid Lit Drink Night

Can you think of a better way to begin your November? Nope, neither can we.

WHEN: Saturday, November 1, 2–6pm

2–4pm (the writing and creating part)
4–6pm (the creating and imbibing part)

WHERE: Diamond Knot Craft Brewing, Mukilteo

Spooky KLDN on Oct. 22

Bring out your "spirits" for a pre-Halloween KidLit Drink Night at SCBWI WWA favorite Blue Star Cafe and Pub in Wallingford next week on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 p.m. to whenever. See you there!

Monday, October 13, 2014


Hear ye, hear ye!

In THREE (count 'em!) DAYS, our first monthly programming meeting will take place. Which means, dear SCBWI-ers and valued guests, that it is going to be a fabulous season ahead!

If you are still without a passport––which will get you in for our entire programming year––
please click HERE. Not only will this save you some dough, it will also simplify and enrich (oh, yes it will!) your life.

Long story short:

This Thursday. SPU campus, Demaray Hall. 7pm. Agent. Art show. Conviviality. Networking. Be there!

Congrats to our state book award winners!

Kudos to SCBWI Western Washington authors and illustrators honored at last week’s Washington State Book Awards!

The winner of the Scandiuzzi Book Award for Books for Middle Readers (ages 9-12) was member Suzanne Selfor's The Sasquatch Escape!

And the Scandiuzzi Book Award finalists included, for picture books, members Nina Laden, writer, for Once Upon a Memory, and Julie Paschkis, illustrator, for Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar; and for early reader books (ages 6 to 8), author Kirby Larson for Duke. Way to represent us, superstars!

Graphic Arts Guild workshop on social media

The Graphic Artists Guild will present a workshop at noon on Wednesday, October 29, called "Social Media and Getting (a Little) Geeky with Your Self-Promotion." It'll be led by Steve Broback, about whom the Guild says, "Several years ago, Steve Broback showed us what blogging offered creatives in the realm of self-promotion. Between then and now, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and scores of other platforms have exploded over both Web and mobile media. So come learn about the current technologies, tools, and techniques Steve uses to drive awareness and conversions for himself and his clients."

The event will be held in at the Seattle Design Center's EAFA Gallery, Suite 292, 5701 6th Avenue South, 98108. Get tickets, which range from $10 to $20, depending on how cool you are.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Attention WoW retreat applicants

Allyson Schrier and Lois Brandt, co-directors of our upcoming Weekend on the Water Retreat, which is scheduled for November 7 - 9 at the Dumas Bay Centre, say that retreat status notifications have already been sent. But apparently there have been a few cases of applicants not receiving their notifications — so if you applied to the retreat but have not heard from us, please email Lois immediately at Lois@LoisBrandt.com.  Thanks!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Master Class spaces available

Brianne Johnson, literary agent at Writers House, is doing triple-duty in Seattle next week!

Her one-on-one consultations filled up in a matter of hours, and her talk at our first monthly program meeting on Thursday, October 16 at SPU is something we're all eager to hear. But wait! She's also giving a middle-grade Master Class, and there are still available spots for those who might not have gotten a chance to have a consultation.

Here's the scoop:

Master Class: Essential Elements of the Middle Grade Novel

On Friday afternoon, October 17, 2014, from 3–5pm in Bertona Hall, Room 1, on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, Brianne Johnson of Writers House Agency will discuss the enduring elements of the successful middle grade novel. Select attendees will then have an opportunity to read their first pages aloud for commentary by Brianne and the group. Bring the first 500 words of your middle grade novel. (There will not be time for everyone’s pages to be read, so please be prepared to learn from the critique of others’ work if you are not selected.) 

Cost: $45 (SCBWI members), $55 (non-members). To register, contact Martha Brockenbrough

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bargain online class with Darcy Pattison

Lots of SCBWI Western Washington members have taken advantage of the sessions writer and instructor Darcy Pattison has previously presented in our region. They can tell you what a great teacher Darcy is — and that's why I'm telling you that Darcy's new online course is a great bargain.

Starting in November, she'll be teaching a course called "30 Days to a Stronger Novel" through the online Udemy.com site. The fee is only $59 (and there are discounts available even from that). She says, "The on-demand format allows you to fit the courses into your schedule; start any time and access the videos day or night. And group discounts available, so your critique group could take the class together and focus your group energy and accountability for a month."

Learn more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Get to the Point of Entry!

Three SCBWI members will have their work displayed publicly starting October 11 in the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art show called Points of Entry. Julie Paschkis, Nikki McClure, and Jennifer Mann will have work on display along with that of another local illustrator.

The show, which lasts until February 22, 2015, will be unusual in that it will also display artists' sketches and false steps, as well as finished book illustrations — which is why it's called Points of Entry. As Julie notes, "It is an unusual opportunity to show the whole, interconnected process."

A public opening for this show and the museum's other fall displays will be held Saturday, Oct. 11, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. It's free. If you can't make the show until later, the museum is generally open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Books for literacy needed by October 11

And now, from the Good Cause Corner:

The worthy Northwest Literary Foundation is celebrating 25 years, and is hosting an auction on October 11, 2014. As part of their Fill the Shelves program to get books into the hands of schoolchildren whose schools offer 80% of their students free/reduced lunches, they are hoping to secure enough book donations to fill, well, a bookshelf––or many shelves! The books the NSF needs are new, popular and as locally authored as they can get. (Which is where we come in....)

The NLF also supports an Authors in Schools program, as well as Global Reading Challenge grants of $5,000, and school libraries in need of sets of books for class discussions.

Rene Kirkpatrick, who sits on the NLF board, has asked if SCBWI WWA members––as well as any other friends, authors, and publishers––could donate signed books to fill shelves.  

Of course, the event is ticketed and there are seats available! Tickets per seat are $175 or a table of 8 donation of $1400. (Please see the NSF link above for details of the event.)

If anyone is interested in donating their own books (please sign them!) in time for the October 11 event (held in Seattle at the new Museum of History and Industry), or can get access to books for donation, please contact Rene Kirkpatrick directly to make delivery arrangements. No matter where you are, there's a way if there's a will! To reach Rene, please email her directly.

Don't forget your passport to fun and career education!

Okay, now that the idyllic summer weather is fading and the back-to-school rush is over, don't forget to get your passport to all of SCBWI Western Washington's 2014-2015 monthly events, which will start on October 16 with a perennial favorite, our fall kickoff with an agent. (Specifically, Brianne Johnson of Writers House, who you can read more about here.)

News flash: Believe it or not, there are a few spots still left for Brianne's master class, "Essential Elements of the Middle Grade Novel." SCBWI members pay only $45 for this great opportunity to learn from an agent (and get an enhanced sense of her taste and personality).  

Annnnnd, a few illustrators can also still sign up to get their art in front of Brianne via our annual Keep It Simple Art Show. Get either opportunity while the getting's good!

Don't be a slow-poke!
Our first event of the season is often crazy-busy with lines as people who procrastinated pay to get in. Avoid the lines now so you have more time to peruse the art,  munch on snacks, and catch up with writer and illustrator friends you haven't seen all summer! More details about the whole year's program — which will include a movie night, panel discussions, and arty videos — plus the link to register for your very own passport are here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another perk of the Author's Guild!

We've posted before about the advantages of Authors Guild membership, but member Lois Harris has another example to add: free publicity.

She explains, "In 2006, I joined because I needed a website and didn't have a clue about how to get or build one, and the Authors Guild had a Sitebuilder software program for members. You can play around with different themes, colors, design, etc. I am not a computer type but found the program easy to use, and I'm happy with the results.

"Was I surprised the other day when the AG's marketing communications manager emailed, saying they liked the looks of my website and wanted permission to use it in an ad on the back cover of Poets & Writers Magazine's November/December issue.

"Of course, I said yes —unexpected publicity for my books! I'm tickled. If anyone out there gets or sees the magazine, please email me and let me know how the ad looks."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dash over to the 1940s

Member Kirby Larson is hosting a Seattle celebration of her new book, Dash, on October 5 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Hall (1212 South King Street, Seattle, WA). She says, "We’ll have some 1940s fun — with prizes for the best vintage attire — and meet the family of the woman who inspired me to write Dash. Secret Garden is generously donating a portion of book sales to the Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation. It won’t be a celebration without you!"
If you can attend, RSVP to Kirby at kirby@kirbylarson.com with the number of people in your party. Can’t attend? Help support this great cause by ordering a copy by phone at 206-789-5006.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Get classy with Craig

Illustration class-y, that is. Member Craig Orback will be teaching his introductory and intermediate illustration classes in Seattle and Bellevue soon. He says this will be his last time teaching at North Seattle Community College before moving to Edmonds Community College this winter, so if you're a northerner, don't miss out! Craig is the award-winning illustrator of over 15 children's books, including his recent Gifts from the Enemy, written by Trudy Ludwig.

Children's Book Illustration 1

Children's Book Illustration 2
  • NorthSeattle Community College starting 10/09/14

An idyllic summertime Great Critique

Amidst rumors of 15-mile freeway backups, many participants set out tentatively to last weekend's Great Critique in Olympia, only to arrive early at the Evergreen State College campus on a pristine late summer morning, ready to share a few pages of their latest project. The soothing breeze blowing in from the north served everyone well as the sun heated things to a perfect 75 degrees.

By noon most everyone had arrived and small knots of people conversed noisily while seated on lawn chairs or plastic and steel numbers provided by the college. They brought brown-bag lunches, potluck desserts, sandwiches and fresh veggies, or Starbucks drinks to prepare for soul-baring critiquing. 

At 1:00 p.m., organizer Tony Dorrough introduced faculty members and then each group split off. “One group disappeared down a flight of concrete steps and behind a building, another found the shade of an exquisite tree, and still another climbed a manicured bluff overlooking all of the others,” says Tony. “My group decided to hang fairly close to others that remained in the college’s famed Red Square. We spent the rest of the afternoon in idyllic conditions, surrounded by the park-like scenery and summer smells, listening to stories, and discussing illustrations and layouts. It was a sunny slice of writer heaven, and I can't wait for next year.”

Among the positive feedback the event received afterward was this comment, “Thank you for putting together a really great critique. I've been to quite a few, but have not enjoyed any as much as I did ours today. I got very valid and useful feedback. And it was fun.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Only got a weekend?

SCBWI Oregon has opened weekend-only spots for their Oct. 16-19 retreat. (In other words, for Oct. 18 and 19, which means you could still hit Western Washington's kickoff on Oct. 16 and book down to Oregon for even more fun.) For those who can only come Saturday & Sunday, the SCBWI member cost is $250. That gets you all meals on Saturday, a shared room Saturday night, breakfast on Sunday, and retreat sessions both days.

The registration deadline is September 30th. Check it out.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Inside Story is coming!

Do you have a new book or one coming out soon? If so, you may be eligible to present at Inside Story, SCBWI Western Washington’s twice-yearly celebration of new books.

We invite our members, area booksellers, and librarians to view three-minute presentations from eligible PAL (Published and Listed) members. The application deadline is September 30, 2014, and the event will be held Tuesday, November 4 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Park Place Books.

A limited number of applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To be eligible, you need to be able to say "yes!" to all of the following:
  • You are an SCBWI member at the PAL (published and listed) level and your profile at SCBWI.org is updated to reflect this.
  • You live in the official Western Washington region. (Check your profile if you're uncertain.)
  • Your publisher is on SCBWI’s list of recognized (traditional) PAL publishers. You can find the accepted publisher list by going to your SCBWI member profile page, clicking “Add” in the “Books” section under “Publications.” Find “Publisher” (not “Other Publisher”) and type in your publisher’s name in the box that says, “Start typing…” Exceptions to PAL published books include self-published books that were originally published by a PAL publisher, books that are a continuation of a PAL published series, and Spark Award books.
  • Your book is released between three months before and three months after the month of the Inside Story event (August 2014 to February 2015).
  • Your book is readily available through normal trade channels (e.g., Baker & Taylor).
Find the application form here. And even if you're not planning to present this time around, please mark this event on your calendar. You won’t want to miss it!