Friday, April 28, 2017

Announcing our Flagship 2017 SCBWI Western Washington Mentorship Program!

SCBWI WWA Mentorship Program

Do you have a completed manuscript that needs help with revision? If yes, then do not miss out on our new mentorship program. For a six-month period, writers will work one-on-one with a published author to analyze every aspect of their manuscript.

Eligibility: This program is open to SCBWI WWA members.

Tuition Cost: $650 covers six months of one-on-one work with a published author

Application materials:

Middle Grade/Young Adult: A one-page pitch or synopsis and 20 standard double-spaced manuscript pages of one completed, polished work.

Nonfiction: A bibliography plus either one full standard double-spaced manuscript of up to 1500 words you intend to work on or, if completed manuscript will be more than 1500 words, the first two chapters plus an overview and outline.

Picture Book: Up to three full standard double-spaced manuscripts of up to 1000 words or dummies.

Please mention which category you are applying to. Send your application materials as a Word or RTF document (or PDFs for dummies/illustrations). Applications should be sent to with Mentorship Application in the subject line. Applications will be accepted May 15- June 15.

Here is the tentative timeline:

May 15, 2017 – June 15, 2017 –  Application period
June 2017 – September 2017  – Applications review and selection
October 2017–  Mentees announced and mentorship begins.
May 2018 – Mentorship Reception

Categories and mentors:

Middle Grade
Kim Baker
Middle Grade
Dori Hillestad Butler
Young Adult
Kevin Emerson
Young Adult
Jeanne Ryan
Lisa Owens
Laurie Thompson
Picture Book
Peggy King Anderson
Picture Book
Lois Brandt

Meet the mentors:

Middle Grade:
Kim Baker’s debut middle grade novel, Pickle, was a Children's Choice Awards Book of the Year finalist, one of Mamiverse’s Top 50 Latino Children’s Books, and the recipient of an SCBWI Crystal Kite award. She is a former SCBWI Western Washington regional advisor and a longtime SCBWI lover. Kim has worked as a teacher and crisis counselor, but now makes up stories and teaches the occasional writing workshop from Seattle. She can often be found in the woods, despite a chronic fear of bears. Learn more at Hillestad Butler is an award-winning author of more than 50 books for young readers, including the Haunted Library series, the Buddy Files series, and the King & Kayla series. Her Buddy Files #1: Case of the Lost Boy won a 2011 Edgar Award and her books have appeared on numerous children's choice and teen award lists, including Washington's new Otter Award list. Dori would love to mentor an SCBWI WWA member who is interested in easy readers, chapter books, series books, mysteries, and/or MG/YA novels. See more at, on Facebook, or on Twitter at @DorihbutlerYoung Adult:
Kevin Emerson is the author of sixteen novels for children and young adults, most recently LAST DAY ON MARS, BREAKOUT, and the ATLANTEANS series. His books have been published in ten different countries, and you could say he’s big in the Czech Republic. Formerly a science teacher, Kevin has taught with Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program and Richard Hugo House. He has won a spelling bee, lost a beauty pageant, and once appeared in a Swedish TV commercial. Learn more at Ryan writes young-adult thrillers that could take place next week--but let's hope they don't! Her first novel NERVE, about an online game of truth or dare taken to dangerous extremes, was adapted for film by Lionsgate, spent six months on the NYT bestseller list, and has been published in twenty countries. Her second novel, CHARISMA, is about a cripplingly shy girl who accepts an underground gene therapy to transform herself from meh to magnetic, with unintended, and possibly lethal, consequences. You can find out more at

A former software engineer, Laurie Ann Thompson writes for young people to help them better understand the world we live in and make it a better place for all. She strives to write nonfiction that encourages imagination and fiction that reflects universal truths, as seen in Be a Changemaker, an inspiring how-to guide for teens; Emmanuel’s Dream, a picture book biography of a man who changed perceptions of disability; My Dog Is The Best; and the upcoming Two Truths And A Lie series for middle grade readers (co-authored with Ammi-Joan Paquette). Learn more at, and on Twitter at @lauriethompson.

Since 1998 Lisa L. Owens has authored nearly 100 books for young readers. About two-thirds of those are nonfiction, and among her most popular are Space Neighbors, a picture book series about the solar system; American Justice I & II, which examine the cultural impact of famous 20th-century trials; and Frenemies: Dealing with Friend Drama, a self-help book for teen girls. As a former reporter, Lisa loves chasing the facts and shaping them into high-interest narratives that cultivate further curiosity. And, as a veteran in-house and freelance editor of thousands of published works, she also enjoys helping other writers make their own stories shine.  See more at, on Twitter at @LisaLOwens, or Instagram at @llowriter.

Picture Book:
For 35 years, Peggy King Anderson has taught writers of all ages. She loves it!  She was awarded the SCBWI (W. WA) Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. She’s taught creative writing both in colleges, and in conferences ranging from SCBWI, to the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop in Chautauqua, New York. She has four published books, including THE FALL OF THE RED STAR (co-author, Helen Szablya), featured on Children's Book TV. Her MG historical fiction novel, TWO MOON JOURNEY, is due for publication in fall of 2018. She writes a monthly fiction series, TREE FROG TRAIL, for Pockets Magazine. Check out Peggy’s website at   

Years ago, Lois Brandt peeked into her best friend’s refrigerator and found empty shelves and one small carton of milk; her friend’s family didn’t have enough money to buy food. Maddi’s Fridge, Lois’ first picture book, is the result of that moment. Maddi’s Fridge has been universally praised by teachers, librarians, parents, and --most significantly -- young readers. It is the recipient of a 2014 Christopher Award and the International Literacy Association’s 2015 Book Award for Primary Fiction, among other honors. When she is not working on her own projects, Lois teaches writers of all ages, helping her students tell the stories they hold close to their hearts. Learn more at

Monday, April 24, 2017

South Sound Network May meeting

South Sounders, don't send out your query until you know it is ready. How about meeting up with some peers to workshop and make those queries shine? Mark your calendars for the next meeting!

Query Submission: 
  May 2, 2017
How do you put your best foot forward? What parts about your story do you include and what parts aren't so necessary? Come join us and bring in a draft of your next submission for critique and discussion.

Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Time: 7:00 - 8:30p.m.
Location: West Side Panera Bread (2525 Capitol Mall Drive, Olympia) 
Contact: Tony Dorrough at 

A Call to Adventure: The Northern Network May Meeting!

Writers of Bellingham, Skagit Valley, and everywhere else, too. What do Eragon, The Hobbit, A Wrinkle in Time, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe all have in common? They all follow the Hero’s Journey, a form as old as storytelling itself.

Your quest is to get to Barnes and Noble in Bellingham on May 3rd for the Northern Network's next meeting on the Hero's Journey story structure. Overcome whatever obstacles may come your way and cross the threshold. Meet allies and learn new skills to use these patterns in your own writing, from picture books to novels.

The Kid With a Thousand Faces:
The Hero’s Journey
May 3, 2017
What do Eragon, The Hobbit, A Wrinkle in Time, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe all have in common? They all follow the Hero’s Journey, a form as old as storytelling itself. 

Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Bellingham Barnes & Noble (4099 Meridian Street)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Upcoming Webinar and Class

SCBWI Montana invites everyone to participate in their upcoming webinar with author and writing teacher, Darcy Pattison. Darcy has helped whip many an SCBWI WWA writer's manuscripts into shape at past events (Novel Metamorphosis FTW!), so we're excited about another opportunity to learn with her. Learn to see the overall structure of your novel with simple tools. Darcy will help confirm that your major plot points fall in the right places, and events lead to a dramatic climax. A single chapter is easy to write, but to make a novel work, sequence and events are crucial for the reader to stay engaged. Sign up and learn simple exercises to help see your novel from a drone's eye view.

Darcy Pattison
Webinar: A Drone’s-Eye-View of Your Manuscript
By Darcy Pattison
Thursday, May 11, 2017, 5:00 p.m. PST

Learn to see the overall structure of your novel with simple tools. Author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison helps you confirm that the major plot points fall in the right places and events lead to a dramatic climax. A single chapter is easy to write. But to make a novel work, you must sequence the chapters in the right order and with the right events to make readers refuse to put the book down. Come and learn simple exercises to help you see your novel from a drone's eye view.

For more information and to register, click here.

Probably not Al.

And Al Rubeck will be giving a two-part class, May 9th and 16th, at Green River College on writing for children. Find registration information here. Al Rubeck has been published in Teen, Nuthouse, Highlights, and Jack and Jill magazines.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

SCBWI Books for Readers seeking nominations!


SCBWI members, now is the time for you to nominate organizations or causes in your region that have readers in need of books. Books for Readers is our new promotion designed to provide kids and young adults access to all types of books created by SCBWI members. 

Two recipient organizations and/or causes will be chosen from all the nominees by a panel of judges comprised of members of our Board of Advisors, and our national headquarters staff. 

Submit this entry form by Sunday, April 30 for your nominee to be eligible for the promotion. 

Thank you for taking the time to help. 
Get those nominees in by April 30!

Friday, April 21, 2017

SCBWI Western Washington Call for 2017-2018 Presenters!

Want to give back and help the writing community learn and grow? SCBWI Western Washington is seeking workshop presenters for our 2016-2017 year. Our chapter holds monthly meetings from October through April, and hosts an annual conference every other spring. We welcome fresh and compelling workshop ideas for any of these events!

Workshops may address topics relevant to potential attendees that include (but aren’t limited to) specific elements on the craft of writing and illustrating for children, book marketing, or the latest industry trends. As a presenter, you’re expected to share information and experience, but may not use our events as a platform for commercial sales, self-promotion, political discussions, or to criticize competitors or public figures.

What if you've sent a proposal before that wasn't accepted? Try again! Your proposal may have just not fit into that season's balance of topics. We aim for variety, and a lot of good proposals fall by the wayside (no matter how much our advisory committee tries to fit everything in). Resubmit, and/or try another focus. We want to hear from you! Click here for full details and an application.  
Deadline: May 22, 2017!

**Important note!** Did you submit a presentation proposal already to an email address that isn't We probably never received it. We apologize for the error, it was totally Dana 2's fault. Don't worry, we're giving him the old heave-ho tout suite.

Thank you so much for keeping our SCBWI chapter so vibrant and amazing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Upcoming events for April and beyond...

Book events! Book events! Book events! Get your calendars ready.

April 22nd
Mark Maciejewski launches his middle grade debut, I AM FARTACUS, at University Bookstore! Yay, Mark!

April 25th
Special storytime at University Bookstore with Brenda Guiberson and Jessixa Bagley!

April 29th is Independent Bookstore Day
Celebrate independent bookstores on the last Saturday in April by popping into your neighborhood store for fun and events. OR...
Do you like a challenge? Do you like adventure? Do you like discounts on books?? If you're booklover enough to go hard, grab a stamp card, a couple of friends, and some snacks. Try to visit all 19 stores participating nearby. Get your card stamped. Stay hydrated. If you make it, there are riches to be had. Sure, there will be glory, AND you'll get 25% off at all participating stores for the whole year. Even if you only make it to 17 or 18, there are contests, barbecues, authors posing as to be had.

May 2nd
Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and Lisa Brown introduce GOLDFISH GHOST at University Temple, through University Bookstore. Ticketed event, but one ticket gets you a book and admission for your whole family, maybe even your goldfish.

May 11th
Jenny Han will be at Third Place, Lake Forest Park for ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN.

May 13th 
Suzanne Selfors launches her newest middle grade novel, SPIRIT RIDING FREE: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS at Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo. A Netflix animated series called Spirit Riding Free will launch the same week.

May 18th
Kate Beasley is at Third Place, LFP for GERTIE'S LEAP TO GREATNESS.

May 25th
It's a threefer! Head up to Village Books for an author panel with Kevin Emerson, Suzanne Selfors, and Garth Stein at Village Books!

May 27th, read hard.
Drew Dewalt will be at Secret Garden for THE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS.

May 27th, read harder.
Martha Brockenbrough and Lish McBride talk YA and probably weird stuff (in a good way) at Liberty Bay Books.

Double-check times and whatnot with bookstores before you set out for events. If you snap a great picture, tag us at @scbwiwwa on Instagram (We're on Instagram now!) and/or Twitter, and we'll try to repost. If we missed something, or you have an event coming up, let us know!

Support book culture.
Support independent bookstores and libraries.
Support authors.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalists announced!

The second round of voting for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award is open now through the end of the month, but don't delay in casting your vote! Members can vote by signing in and clicking on "Crystal Kite" on the left sidebar.

The four finalists for the West region are.....*drumroll*......

Kate Berube of Portland, Oregon for HANNAH AND SUGAR!

Ben Clanton of Tacoma, Washington for NARWHAL, UNICORN OF THE SEA!


And Jennifer Longo of Seattle, Washington for UP TO THIS POINTE!

A picture book, a graphic novel, a middle grade novel, and a YA novel! What a rounded group of wonderful books. Read all four! You can find more information and vote on the SCBWI website. 

Congratulations, finalists!
Confetti, cupcakes, and cheers all around. 


Monday, April 17, 2017

New class with Katherine Grace Bond--right around the corner!

We had some technical difficulties, so forgive the late notice. We swanted to let you know about a new class starting week with the warm and wise Katherine Grace Bond.

Through her teachings I started to open up, with not only my writing, but my heart. --Cassy Hollan
  Sharing your work is an act of courage.

  If you've been in my classes, you know there is never any forced sharing.

  You share work when you feel it will benefit you and the work.

  What I find is that it benefits the group as well.

If you are ready to help other writers with your work, consider signing up for the WIP Smart Master Class. 

WIP Smart: Works-in-Progress Weds 12:30-2:30, 4/19-5/31, Notewordies, Kirkland
This master class focuses on your work-in-progress: novel, picture book, poetry—it’s up to you. Each session is an in-depth look at significant portions of student WIPs, submitted in advance. Lessons are built around the manuscripts. You get intensive feedback; everyone learns from your book.

Katherine Grace Bond is a YA author and poet, who has been creating mayhem with writers young and old for the last 25 years. She’s the author of THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, LUKE’S JOURNAL, THE LEGEND OF THE VALENTINE, and many other stories. She’s also the founder of EpicWrite, combining live action role-playing, writing, and storycraft. She has been a Jack Straw Writer, and the recipient of a 4Culture grant for her work-in-progress (a time-travel novel in verse), and is looking forward to a residency at Camac Centre d’Art in Marnay-sur-Seine, France.

See more information about this, along with Katherine's other classes, here

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our 2017 Art Show Winners!

A jury of faculty judges reviewed all of the portfolios for our 2017 SCBWI Western Washington Juried Portfolio Show.  We heard over and over how impressed faculty and attendees alike were with the overall level of artistic talent. While voice, flow, and execution came through across the portfolio show, our jury found that the following artists especially stood out in their presentations.

Congratulations to the 2017 SCBWI Western Washington Juried Portfolio Show Award winners! Take a look at their work.

Booster Award winner: Faith Pray

2nd runner up: Margaux Meganck

1st runner up: Alexander Mostov

Grand Prize winner: Tracy Subisak

Kazu Kibuishi Keynote: Failing Safely--Learning from Mistakes

Kazu Kibuishi never set out to be a graphic novelist.

His career started when he was only five years old, two years after arriving to the states from Japan. Once he had relieved the cash register in his grandparent's restaurant of all its quarters for video games, he was left with nothing to do to ward off boredom. Nothing to do but draw cartoons. As a child, he drew on Garfield and Mad magazine for American references. He drew movie characters, and studied Bill Peet and Jim Davis. He assumed that liking cartoons meant, inevitably, that you were a screw up and assumed he wasn't as smart as the other kids until a high school English teacher encouraged him with an A+++++ on an essay. It was the first time he envisioned himself as a writer, and for the millionth time, we send silent thanks for the good teachers of the world that foster and encourage creativity.

He attended film school at UC Santa Barbara, and thought he'd end up a find editor someday, but he drew cartoons at the school paper  It drew him back into comics while supporting his burrito habit, and was so influential he now encourages all collegiate inspiring comic artists to do it. He noticed people using his cartoons beyond the paper, on picket signs at protests, and began to think of art as an ecosystem, with a balance between creators and readers. Alternatively, aspiring graphic novelists can post webcomics, like Kazu did with his Copper series after college while working as a graphic designer at an architectural firm.

Kazu thought of Copper as a hobby, but it grabbed the interest of the esteemed comics dynamo, Scott McLeod, who made a point of finding Kazu at a con to offer encouragement. It also led Kazu to editing the Flight series, later repackaged as the Explorer series by Abrams.

Kazu didn’t know what middle grade fiction was when he pitched Amulet to his esteemed agent. Now working on the eighth book in the acclaimed and beloved series, he embraces the publishing adventure and the chaos of book production.

He still practices drawing characters all the time, and compares the practice to shooting free throws. Graphic novels are especially labor intensive, as anyone who's attempted one can tell you. Kazu's best advice for being able to go the distance?

Learn to draw fast. Work on your free throws. Make the books so we can all enjoy them.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Nonfiction that Reads Like Fiction with Stephanie Pitts

Stephanie Pitts, editor with G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, feels that there are many nonfiction opportunities within the school and library market, thanks to Common Core, STEM, and STEAM.

The most common type of nonfiction in picture books is the straightforward biography. Stephanie cautions that rather than a birth to death timeline of someone's life, writers should choose a particular time, or important event, in their character's life. If it resonated with the author, it can resonate with readers.

Like in fiction, writers should make sure that their characters, whether main or secondary, are well developed and interesting. Stories should have conflict, shape, and direction.

What does a nonfiction picture book look like if it's not a biography? Many authors choose to focus their stories on fascinating historical events and periods.

The approach to middle grade nonfiction is similar, with more depth within characters and details. There should be strong voice and style. Writers can find a marketable topic that shines a new light on a subject. Something should need to be overcome. Regardless of the approach, writers should immerse themselves in research and think about the best conceptual approach. Consider the organization of information. Stephanie says many nonfiction middle grade and YA pieces are leaning toward the narrative, and away from the sidebar, more textbook-like structure. Seek to go beyond informing to engaging. 

Candace Fleming's books always include backmatter on how she chose and researched a topic-- a valuable model for aspiring nonfiction writers.

Dispelling myths is an essential factor in writing nonfiction for kids and teens. Fun fact: No part of the Lizzie Borden rhyme is true. Want to know the facts? Check out:

Go forth, engage readers, dispel myths, and shed light on new information!