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!