Friday, February 28, 2014

AWP Kid Lit Drink Night TOMORROW!

It's here. It's huge. And it's calling your name. We're talking about the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference. It's going to bring a bevy of writerly folk into our midst. Go for a day, or an afternoon. But whatever your plans, don't forget about us! We're hosting a special AWP Kid Lit Drink Night just up the hill on Pike Street from the Washington State Convention Center, at Rumba, from 7–9pm.

You heard that right: Tomorrow night, Saturday, March the First. Come socialize with locals and out-of-towners alike. We hope to see you there!

Get a six-week draft

Member Rebecca Agiewich, the author of BreakupBabe: A Novel, will be teaching a six-week class at Richard Hugo House in Seattle starting March 20. The class is called "Roughing It: A Draft of Your Book in Just 6 Weeks," and students will meet Thursday nights from 7:10 to 9:10 p.m.

She says, "There are just six spots left in this popular class. As Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, even the most successful authors write crappy first drafts. So why not write it fast and get it over with? The class is geared toward beginning fiction writers, but memoirists and writers of all levels are welcome." Get more information or register, or learn more about Rebecca here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Member Anne Belov announces that she has a project called "Pandamorphosis: A fable of magic, cats, and pandas" that is currently funding on Kickstarter. She says, "While the initial goal has been met, and so the scanning of the artwork and a small print run of the book is assured, if more people sign up in support of my project, there are some additional goals that could be achieved. Check out the project here, or read more about it on my blog, The Panda Chronicles. Thank you so much for your support of me and my work."

Conference faculty profile: Tricia Lawrence

Tricia Lawrence, agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency (EMLA), is one of few agents working here in the Seattle area. She's also one of the agents who'll be providing roundtable critiques* as part of the additional opportunities available to attendees of SCBWI Western Washington's 23rd Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children conference, which will be held April 12-13, 2014, at the Marriott Redmond Town Center.

The roundtable critiques are available at an extra cost and will take place on Saturday, the day before the conference itself. (Get more information here.) Tricia, who's originally from Oregon, spent many years as an editor and worked as a social media strategist for EMLA for a time before becoming an associate agent.

You can learn more about her tastes and personality in several interviews online, including:
You can also gain insight from her inspirational images and thoughts here.

*Note that faculty members for the roundtables are not required to accept post-conference submissions, but may at their option. Registered roundtable participants can find out Tricia's submission policies at the event.

WHO? Nina!

In case you didn't see it, our very own Nina Laden, the author of Peek-a-Who?, has written its sequel, titled Peek-a-ZOO! after a decade. Publisher's Weekly took notice in a great article all about it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Northern Network meeting

It was the best of lines…
                It was the worst of lines…
We always hear about the importance of great beginnings. Come to SCBWI Western Washington’s next Northern Network meeting to discuss the opening lines of books and how to craft a great one.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 5, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Bellingham Barnes & Noble (4099 Meridian Street, Bellingham)
MORE INFO: Call Rebecca Van Slyke at (360) 354-5797 or email her.

Conference faculty profile: Renata Liwska

Renata Liwska, the acclaimed illustrator of ONCE UPON A MEMORY, THE QUIET BOOK, and THE LOUD BOOK as well as the author/illustrator of LITTLE PANDA and THE RED WAGON, will be one of three keynote speakers at SCBWI Western Washington's 23rd Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children conference, which will be held April 12-13, 2014, at the Marriott Redmond Town Center. (Get registration info.)

Renata's ONCE UPON A MEMORY (written by local author Nina Laden) was released in December. It was selected as an Amazon book of the month and received a starred review from Kirkus. THE QUIET BOOK and THE LOUD BOOK were both New York Times bestsellers and Junior Library Guild Selections. THE QUIET BOOK also won a 2010 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. THE RED WAGON received starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus. Renata has drawn all her life; you can catch some glimpses of her amazing sketchbooks on her website and learn about other books she’s illustrated at her blog. She is originally from Warsaw, Poland, but now lives in Calgary. Check out a few interviews with her here and here.

—Contributed by Kjersten Anna Hayes

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Story structure class coming in May

Member and award-winning children’s book author Clare Hodgson Meeker will be teaching a six-week class called "Writing for Children: Introduction to Story Structure" at Richard Hugo House in Seattle on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon starting May 3.

She says, "Through class discussion, in-class writing exercises, and weekly reading assignments, students will learn how develop a plot around choices a character makes and build a story arc that will hold a young reader’s interest. We’ll study how the pros do it — from picture books by author Mo Willems to a young-adult mystery by Elizabeth George. Students will receive written feedback and come away with a concrete piece of writing. I'm looking forward to helping them turn writing ideas into real books."

Get more information or register here or through her website.

New book from Suzanne Selfors (shh!)

Author and member Suzanne Selfors would like to let us in on a little secret: today, Feb. 25, marked the release of her first pseudonymously written novel, THE SECRET BOX (Harper Collins) under the name Whitaker Ringwald. This middle grade mystery, which is about a powerful ancient relic that lands in the hands of three kids from New Jersey, has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection and is number five on the top 10 list for the spring 2014 Kids' Indie Next List.

A few reviews thus far:
  • "Fresh voices make this story a winner." — Kirkus
  • "Ringwald delivers a smart balance of comedy, endearing characters, and high-stakes escapades." —Publisher's Weekly 
  • "We loved this book!" —Junior Library Guild

Book launch grit

Spokane member Mary Cronk Farrell will read from her new book, True Grit, at the Secret Garden Bookshop on Monday, March 3. The fun starts at 7:00 p.m., and Mary will share more about her book, which recounts the story of 101 American Army and Navy nurses who served in the Philippines, worked in jerry-rigged jungle hospitals, and then were captured as Japanese prisoners of war during World War II. Yikes! Go find out if there's a happy ending!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The art of Andrea K. Lawson

Andrea K. Lawson announces the opening of her upcoming art exhibit, "Edge of Day," at Max Grover Gallery in Port Townsend, as part of Port Townsend's Gallery Walk. Andrea will be showing recent paintings. For more about Andrea's show and other information, please see her blog here.
WHO/WHAT: "Edge of Day," paintings by Andrea Lawson
WHEN: Saturday, March 1, 5–8pm (gallery hours are Mon–Sun, 11am–6pm)
WHERE: 630 Water St, Port Townsend WA, 98368


The SCBWI Winter Conference: Abridged

For those of you who couldn't make it to New York City this past weekend for the annual Winter Conference, our intrepid members Jolie Stekly, Martha Brockenbrough, and Jaime Temairik blogged, tweeted, and schmoozed so you wouldn't have to. For the whole blog-o-rama, click here. For the Twitter frenzy, click here.

Thanks to the SCBWI Blog Team (Lee Wind, Jolie, Martha, and Jaime) for keeping those of us way out here in the loop!

Friday, February 21, 2014

PiBo posts

Tara Lazar, the founder of PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) and our very own Deb Lund teamed up for two very special joint posts in this blog entitled Write Wild, about high-concept picture books. To read the posts, click here. I think quite a few of you out there will find it relevant as well as interesting. Thanks, Deb!

All hail Hank Z!

Many thanks to Karen Robbins, who graciously shared her photos taken at this week's BIG event: the talented, dedicated, and fabulous co-authors of the worldwide bestselling Hank Zipzer series at the University Book Store. 

Not surprisingly, the placed was packed, both so folks could catch a glimpse of the SCBWI co-founder Lin Oliver (right) and her friend Henry Winkler, a.k.a. "The Fonz" (above).

Karen writes, "It was a fun, inspiring night to say the least.  The Hank Zipzer series of 17 books has sold millions around the world! Children from the Hamlin Robinson School were special guests in attendance."  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Girl Who Heard Colors

Author Anne Marie Harris will read from her new picture book, The Girl Who Heard Colors, at the Secret Garden Bookshop on March 1. The book introduces readers to their five senses and to synesthesia, a condition in which one sense triggers another. For some people, sounds or tastes have colors, for instance. The event will be held at the bookshop at 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Spindly early writings and other embarrassing juvenilia

Secret Garden Bookshop hosts four bestselling YA authors at the Seattle Public Library Central Location at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. Adele Griffin, E. Lockhart,  Sarah Mlynowski, and Robin Wasserman will give sneak peeks at their upcoming titles and share their fledgling literary attempts.

Secret Garden's Suzanne Perry says, "All writers have skeletons in their closets... but do they read them to you? Not usually, but it will happen that night. Come cringe with us and eat cookies while we listen to their weird and spindly early writings!" Get more information here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Conference faculty profile: Kim Baker

Local girl Kim Baker, the acclaimed author of Pickle and the winner of an SCBWI Crystal Kite West Award, will be one of three keynote speakers at SCBWI Western Washington's 23rd Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children conference, which will be held April 12-13, 2014, at the Marriott Redmond Town Center. (Get registration info.)

Pickle was also one of the New York Public Library's Best Books for Reading and Sharing and a finalist for the 2013 Children's Choice Awards Book of the Year for 5th and 6th grade readers. Kim helped run our region for a number of years as co-regional advisor and assistant regional advisor, and she's known for her dry wit and outgoing personality. Go laugh at her website (wait, that didn't come out right) and learn more about her via this interview or this one, which was posted before Pickle came out, so it's like a little Kimberly time capsule. Fun!

Hurry and grab a virtual seat!

SCBWI MI introduces its latest live webinar, to be held on Thursday, February 27 at 7pm EST (4pm our time). Hurry if you want to join, as there were only 20 "seats" left for the taking. The webinar is titled "Put Your Best Foot Forward: Introducting Your Work to the Industry."

Nonfiction author and former Regional Advisor for Michigan Monica Harris will present in-depth how-tos on the dreaded duo: the QUERY and COVER LETTERS. Besides showing how they're different, Monica will take you through the dos and don'ts.
 Fee for the webinar is $15/SCBWI members, $20 nonmembers. To register, click here.

Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler TUESDAY!


Our very own Lin Oliver, intrepid co-founder of and executive director of SCBWI, will be at University Book Store in Seattle tomorrow night, Tuesday, February 18, along with her co-author Henry Winkler (aaaaaaay!). The dynamic duo presents the latest in their Hank Zipzer series, Here's Hank: Bookmarks are People Too!, about a boy who doesn't let ADHD and dyslexia stop him (based on Winkler's childhood experiences).

The authors, Oliver and Winkler.

WHO: Lin Oliver, Henry Winkler

WHAT: Their latest Hank Zipzer book

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7pm

WHERE: U Book Store, University District, Seattle

Friday, February 14, 2014

Think you're ready to submit?

Member Wendy Wahman shares this good post about submissions and how to answer the question, "Is it ready yet?" The post includes answers from a round-up of writers and illustrators, all with slightly different perspectives. If you're wondering this question yourself, check it out.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Call for artists

Are you listening, all you talented masses?

The city of Kent is gearing up for a summer of art exhibits, art purchases, and art awards. The deadline for submission is March 16, so click here for all the details and registration information (the application system was generated by 4Culture, and only this system may be used to apply).

For submission guidelines and other specifics, please click here.

Get ready for the Crystal Kites!

Voting for SCBWI's 2013 Crystal Kite awards will begin in March. For now, published members should be sure to get their books in the running by listing them in your member profile at and clicking the box to submit the book(s) to the competition. (Remember that only books published in 2013 by a PAL publisher are eligible.)

And then get to reading some of your fellow Western Washington members' books so that when time comes to vote, you'll be ready! (One way to find them is to scan back through old Update posts for launch events, or search by the "author event" tag.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Drawing from the imagination class

Illustrator Charles Vess will teach a TLC Workshops class called "Drawing from the Imagination (and Using a Big Eraser)" from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all  weekend starting Friday, Feb. 28, through Sunday, March 2, near Bothell. At $500, it's not cheap, but the course description says, "This workshop will help you develop drawing skills that are based on your imagination and not constrained by the use of photo reference. We will also discuss the importance of collaboration between the artist and the written word." Get more info.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Conference registration is now open!

Registration for SCBWI Western Washington's 23rd Writing & Illustrating for Children Conference, which will be held April 12 – 13, 2014, is now open!

This year's event will feature:
  • 3 award-winning & bestselling keynote speakers, 3 publishing staff members, and 3 agents
  • A Kid Lit Drink Night on Friday
  • A variety master classes on Saturday
  • Roundtable critiques on Saturday
  • Conference keynotes and breakout sessions on Sunday
  • New lower rates and the opportunity to attend only on Sunday
  • Art portfolio displays and published attendee celebration
Get all the details and register here.

Conference faculty profile: Franny Billingsley

Franny Billingsley, most recently the author of Chime, will be one of three keynote speakers at SCBWI Western Washington's 23rd Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children conference, which will be held April 12-13, 2014, at the Marriott Redmond Town Center. (Get registration info.)

Chime, a National Book Award Finalist, received six starred reviews, and Franny's also the author of three other books. Her website's full of fun tidbits such as the year she spent in Denmark; check it out to start getting to know her before the conference.

You can also read interviews with Franny here and here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

AWP comes to Seattle

If flying to New York for the mid-winter SCBWI conference is out of your budget, you might want to consider registering for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference here in Seattle for a fraction of the cost. It's happening this month at the Washington State Convention Center from February 26 through March 1 and registration is open NOW. There are loads of breakouts geared toward writing for children and amazing faculty including E. Lockhart and our own Laura McGee Kvasnosky and Tina Hoggatt.

Even if attending the conference is not in your plans, join us for Kid Lit Drink night on Saturday, March 1, at Rumba from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ready for conference registration?

Registration for SCBWI Western Washington's 23rd Writing & Illustrating for Children Conference, which will be held April 12 – 13, 2014, is right around the corner! We expect registration to launch this weekend or early next week. In the meantime, refresh your memory about who will join us:

Award-winning & bestselling keynote speakers:
Kim Baker, author
Franny Billingsley, author  
Renata Liwska, author/illustrator

Publishing staff:     
Justin Chanda, publisher, Simon & Schuster BFYR
Claudia Gabel, executive editor, Katherine Tegen Books
Lauren Rille, associate art director, Simon & Schuster 

Alexandra Penfold, agent, Upstart Crow
Susan Hawk, agent, The Bent Agency
Holly McGhee, agent, Pippin Properties

This year's event will feature:
  • A Kid Lit Drink Night on Friday
  • A variety master classes on Saturday
  • Roundtable critiques on Saturday
  • Conference keynotes and breakout sessions on Sunday
  • New lower rates and the opportunity to attend only on Sunday
  • Art portfolio displays and published attendee celebration
Watch your email inbox closely over the coming days for your registration invitation; the most popular opportunities typically fill quickly.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

More award-O-rama goodness onscreen

Last week we brought you links of interest for this year’s Caldecott winning and honored illustrators. This week? Check out these great  links of interest for this year’s Newbery winner and honored authors — we'll bet there's plenty here you've never seen! 

Kate DiCamillo
Holly Black

Kevin Henkes

Amy Timberlake

Vince Vawter

Contributed by Street Team Member Kjersten Anna Hayes

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Join the phun!

Illustrations by Dana Sullivan
Are you ready for our Phantastic February meeting this Thursday? Besides the usual catching up with friends and sharing our good news, you don’t want to miss:
  • April conference announcements
  • Deb Lund sharing how you can "Be a Fiction Magician! Tips & Card Tricks for Writers"
  • A final raffle for free tuition to our April conference
  • Screening of the documentary film, The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations
Thursday, February 6
Schmoozing at 6:30 p.m.
Program starts at 7:00 p.m.
Demaray Hall 150, Seattle Pacific University
Pay at the door: Members $8, Non-Members $10

See you there!

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's February, when hearts turn to love...

... and the villains we love to hate! Come take a closer look at those vile villains who strengthen our protagonists by thwarting any attempt to achieve their goals. See how creating an awesome villain can make a fantastic book!

Villainous But Lovely Northern Network Gathering
7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Bellingham Barnes & Noble (4099 Meridian Street)

Questions? Call Rebecca Van Slyke at (360) 354-5797, or email at

Mustache & prodigal son alert!

Former SCBWI WWA member Ben Clanton, who abandoned us for Boston, will be back signing his new book, Mo's Mustache, at Secret Garden Books on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 7:00 p.m.

The scoop about the book: Mo is a monster with a big, black, beautiful mustache that everybody likes. Soon everybody has a mustache! But now how will Mo (and his mustache) ever stand out? A wonderfully silly book about style and individuality. Irresistable, right? So drop by the bookstore — with your 'stache or without — and say hi!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Posting your book events

Are you an SCBWI member at the PAL level* with a new book coming out? Hooray! Let the Chinook Update know, and we'll help you announce it.

  • Please try to email launch or signing event information at least a week, and preferably two, before the event. We'll try to accommodate shorter lead times, but a day or two beforehand really isn't sufficient.
  • A book cover, headshot, or similar image is welcome; email it as an attachment. Images with a lot of text (e.g., posters) are harder to use legibly.
  • We'll post any event (and any public invitation information that applies) on this blog once per event and do our best to add it to our region calendar. (If our brains overflow, like toilets, and we forget, feel free to remind us.)
  • You're also welcome to post the event and any reminders yourself on our region Facebook page.
*For now, by SCBWI policy we post launches and other events for PAL members only. All members are welcome to put new book and event information on our Facebook page per the fourth bullet above. Self-published members can also submit their work for the new Spark award.

Questions? Email us. And congratulations!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Test materials — call for submissions

The Kansas Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) is looking for quality poetry and prose for use on state assessments. (CETE is a research center at the University of Kansas that administers the Kansas Assessment Program on behalf of the Kansas Department of Education.)

 CETE is accepting poetry, fiction, and nonfiction texts for consideration. Accepted materials will be used on reading assessments for grades 3 through 12. CETE, which buys exclusive assessment rights and non-exclusive other rights, pays $250 upon acceptance. Previously published work is acceptable, but the author must hold the copyright and include prior publication information when submitting.

Get more details or submit work here.