Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Author Interview: Debut middle grade author, Amanda Hosch!

Describe Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying in one sentence.
Daughter of spies realizes that the odd occurrences in her small town may be a big problem.
What made you want to become a writer?
Not sure that I had a choice. I’ve always written, whether it was for my college newspaper or long letters to my grandmothers, aunts, and mom while I lived overseas for almost a decade.
When my grandmother died, someone gave me a shoebox of the letters and postcards that I had sent to her. Apparently she liked to pull them out and share them with visitors. Rereading them was so much fun for me because they were time capsules of my life in Asia and Europe.
What did you like to read as a kid?
Mysteries/detectives like Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and Agatha Christies. I also adored Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, the Wizard of Oz stories, pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I was an avid reader.
Tell us about your cover. Who is the artist?
I have to gush here because I had absolutely nothing to do with the cover and feel like I won the lottery. The artist’s name is Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde and she captured Mabel and the setting of Silverton so well. The book designer, Tracy McCabe, did amazing work with the entire layout, especially the blue endpapers printed with the Rules. I could go on all day about the awesomeness of the Capstone team. 
What surprised you the most about writing Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying?
Trying to find one definitive list of the world’s counties and their official names was impossible. International politics and diplomacy dictate formal recognition, which sometimes does not reflect a particular country’s own given name. For MOPRS, I used lists from The United Nations and the US State Department.
How did you find your agent?
The slush pile! No secret handshake here, just querying. Lots and lots of querying.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I usually write about 30 pages to see where the voice and hook will take me. If it sustains my interest, I’ll plot out the novel. 
Do you have a regular writing routine/spot/playlist, etc?
Depending on the day, I usually write at home for a few hours once the kids go to school. I have a dedicated spot that has my notes and research. I also write in a coffee shop, while sitting with other writers. There’s something very energizing knowing that great art is being created next to me. It propels me to try harder.
Trying to work...
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on a YA historical, that is slowly taking shape and is less of a hot mess everyday I revise (yay!).
I also have a fun MG in the pipeline, whose protagonists keeps tumbling into my thoughts, but they’ll have to wait.
AND, I want to say…
 Thank you to the SCBWI. This is an amazing organization and the Western Washington chapter is so rich in talent and generosity. I can’t imagine a better place to be a MG/YA writer. And thank you to my writing group: you guys rock!

MABEL OPAL PEAR AND THE RULES FOR SPYING, Capstone Young Readers, is on sale October 1, 2017!

Find out more about Amanda on her website, or join her for her debut book launch at University Bookstore this Sunday, 3pm! We are told there will be cupcakes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Attention PALs: Don't forget to make your BookStop page!


The SCBWI BookStop (formerly known as Book Blast) is a fantastic way for SCBWI members to boost your newly published book's outreach. You design a one-of-a-kind, online page that gives visitors an inside look at you and your book, and SCBWI will put out extensive social media postings and incentivesFor just $25 you can choose from one of seven beautiful pre-designed templates, customize it for your book, and have it hosted at for the general public to browse, enjoy, and even purchase from! 
SCBWI BookStop will go live to the public on starting on October 16 and will end on November 27, so you'll want to have your page designed and ready to go before October 16 to take full advantage of this promotional opportunity

  1. Login to by clicking on the "MEMBER LOGIN" button on the homepage.
  2. When you go to your "MEMBER PROFILE" page, click on "My SCBWI BookStop" link in the left-hand column
  3. You will then be taken to the page to purchase your SCBWI BookStop page (cost is $25).

Here are links to the pages to get more information regarding page creation:

We look forward to seeing your new SCBWI BookStop page! In fact, when yours goes live, please post it on our private Facebook group so we can all admire! :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend SCBWI WWA's Weekend on the Water

Retreat registration closes this week! Don’t miss out. Register by Wednesday, September 27th.

Still on the fence? Here are five reasons why you should come to the SCBWI Western Washington Weekend on the Water Retreat, October 13-15:

PAL Liaison, Laurie Thompson: “For as long as I've known Joni (which is a LONG time now!), she's been a serious student of creativity in all its forms. I would pay good money just to listen to her talk about her vast acquired knowledge and personal thoughts on the topic, but to get to spend a whole weekend knee deep in the middle of it all with her AND some of the most creative folks from our awesome region? Priceless. I can't wait to see what might come out of that!”

Inside Story Coordinator, Dori Butler: “I can't tell you how excited I am about this retreat! I always enjoy hearing editors and agents, but there's value in authors and illustrators coming together without editors and agents, too. Conversations flow differently if there isn't an editor or agent sitting at your table. This is an opportunity to let go and explore our authentic, creative selves (and our stories) away from life's distractions and in the company of creative friends. It's a true retreat in every sense of the word.”

Past RA, Dana Sullivan: “For me, at retreats, the most creativity and energy comes from the participants themselves - be it from peer-led exercises, discussions or just the example set by everybody sitting their butts in chairs and working. It’s been too long since I had the time and quiet to delve deep and get some new stuff rolling. I’m really looking forward to Islandwood’s beautiful and quiet setting. And those pastries!! Oh yeah.”

Past Retreat director, Allyson Schrier: “The busy-ness of life has caused writing to take a back seat, and as a result my writing brain seems to be sleeping. I am so excited for the retreat because I think it'll help zap me back into a writing flow. A weekend of delving into creativity is exactly what I need to jumpstart my writing. I can't wait!!”

Co-Regional Advisor, Julie Artz
: “I've been noodling an idea for a dark fantasy that's very different than anything I've ever written before. So I'm really looking forward to the retreat as a weekend devoted not just to kicking off the drafting of this new story, but as a way to stretch myself in new directions creatively supported by expert guidance from Joni and fellowship with my SCBWI pals.”

For questions, visit our website. View complete information, a tentative schedule of breakout sessions, and more details by clicking here.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekend on the Water Sneak Peek with Lisa L. Owens!

I can't wait to get to IslandWood and start soaking up the atmosphere, hobnobbing with you all, and marinating in all things KIDLIT & CREATIVITY until it's time to board that ferry back to reality.
I'm also excited to be leading a couple of exploratory sessions for anyone interested in learning more about Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. In addition to following this creativity practice on my own since 2010, I've participated in two full-program workshops and attended one phenomenal intensive weekend retreat led by Cameron herself. I find the program tools easy to incorporate into my routine and the program's underlying philosophy adaptable to different belief systems, so I really enjoy sharing info with anyone thinking about giving it all a whirl.

Here's the official description of what I've planned for our retreat:

The Artist's Way Mini Class
Julia Cameron's 12-week program consists of targeted exercises and strategies meant to help anyone cultivate a more rewarding personal creativity practice. Along the way, students confront negative patterns and learn how to more easily and consistently access their creative talents. This mini class will cover key Artist's Way principles and give attendees a taste of the program's simple but effective methods.

Saturday: Introduction to The Artist's Way  
We'll take a quick look at the progression of themes in a full Artist’s Way cycle (from reclaiming a sense of creative safety to embracing creative possibility and beyond). Then we’ll discuss Morning Pages, Artist Dates, and Walks — aka the program’s hallmark “creative recovery” tools. And we’ll end with a short reflection exercise to start challenging any self-limiting beliefs that might be keeping you from following your personal creative path. 

Important note about what Artist's Way techniques can help you discover and accept about your personal creative path: It's not my path or someone else's vision of your path or a path Julia Cameron lays out for you or a facsimile of the latest Itcreative's path. It's all YOURS, and that's what makes it right.

SundayArtist's Way Hands-On Workshop  
This session will include two fun hands-on activities designed to help you connect with some of your deepest creative interests and tap in to your personal power as a creative being. 

Translation in case that didn't sound fun: You will (1) interpret a relevant topic through a stream-of-consciousness drawing activity; and (2) rip up paper goods and use glue to create something new.

Is The Artist's Way right for you? I have no idea! It wasn't right for me until ... it was. But I do believe taking it for a test run in this setting will offer concrete creativity-boosting strategies you can later use, and benefit from, regardless of whether you decide to further explore the program after the retreat.

Each session stands alone, and everyone is welcome at one or the other or, of course, both.

I hope some of you will join me!

Learn more about Lisa here

The deadline for the retreat is only a few days away. Register now

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Autumn Events!

Meet ups

The SCBWI WWA Peninsula Network hosts KidLit Sunday in the Park with a Pen 
Chetzamoka Park, Sunday, October 1st, 1pm
900 Jackson St. Port Townsend , WA

For writers and illustrators, plus children and families are welcome! 
Bring a sketchbook or notebook, or just schmooze.
Optional: Bring a sack lunch, picnic, or food to share, plus something to sit upon. 
Meet at the gazebo in the park, rain or shine (In case of storm, check the Facebook group for updates.).

The Peninsula Network will also meet up at The Pourhouse in Port Townsend for Kid Lit Drink Night on October 25 6pm, and November 15 6pm. 

New! Eastside Network Writing Craft Book Club
Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 10am-12pm
Come join us for a craft book discussion and writing exercises in Kirkland. Read the book first, and come prepared to participate. After the discussion, we will delve into a few writing exercises to explore the topics covered. This new SCBWI Eastside Network group kicks off the year with the book WIRED FOR STORY by Lisa Cron. The book club is open to all and free of charge. 

Please RSVP to, so we can get a head count for expected participants.


Write Your Novel in a Month 
Tuesday Evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 
October 10th – December 5th

Need a kick in the pants to write that novel? Lois Brandt is teaching her “Write a Novel in a Month” class at Bellevue College North Campus starting October 10th. Is writing a novel one of your life-long dreams? Join this 8 week class as it hooks up with 100,000 writers worldwide for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The first classes prepare you for the noveling process, with practice in characterization, setting, plot, voice, and dialogue. Then we're off and writing our 50,000 word manuscripts. During the last class we plan for revision. This is a great way to write your novel in a supportive environment.  Cost:  $195
Questions?  Contact  
Register through Bellevue College continuing education

Writing for Children Class: Put Pizzazz Into Your Story! with Lois Harris
Learn tips for engaging readers, and how to shape, structure, and style your manuscript. Practice using them on your story and if desired, share your results. Oct. 19 and 26, 6:30 to 8 PM at Skagit Valley College, $49. 

Register for CENGL 6098 by calling Community Education at 360-416-7638 or email

Book events

September 23
Laurie Thompson will be telling truths and lies at Brick & Mortar.

September 26
Ben Hatke and Kazu Kibuishi will be talking about and signing graphic novels at University Bookstore.


September 26

Catherynne M. Valente will be might be circumnavigating fairyland to visit Secret Garden at 7 and talk about her newest, The Glass Town Game.

September 27

Will Hubbell will be reading Pumpkin Jack at Third Place Books.

October 1

Ryan Higgins is in town for Bruce's Big Move at Secret Garden.

October 1
Amanda Hosch celebrates her middle grade debut, MABEL OPAL PEAR AND THE RULES FOR SPYING, at University Bookstore

October 1
Toni Yuly talks about her newest, Thank You, Bees, at Elliott Bay. Cupcakes, Thank You Bees thank you cars, stickers, and more await!

October 3rd and 4th
Cressida Cowell stops training dragons to talk about a new series at Third Place Books LFP, AND  visits the peninsula to kick off a new series, starting with THE WIZARDS OF ONCE, at Liberty Bay Books and Sylvan Way Library.

October 7
Martha Brockenbrough launches Love, Santa at University Bookstore

October 17
Dusti Bowling blows into town to talk about Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus at University Bookstore.

October 19
Read for the Record with Jumpstart and Liz Wong at University Bookstore! It's the largest shared reading in the world, and what better choice than Quackers??

October 21
Lisa Mantchev visits Secret Garden with her newest picture book, a companion to Strictly No Elephants, Someday, Narwhal.

October 22
Caldecott winner Jerry Pinkney will be at Secret Garden Books! *Flailing Muppet arms!*

October 24
Kelly Jones will be at Third Place Books to talk about her new YA, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore.

October 26
Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis come to town to talk about their collaboration on The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid at Third Place LFP.

October 28
Nidhi Chanani will be in town at Third Place Books, Seward Park to talk about Pashmina, her debut graphic novel. 

November 1
Caldecott winner Phillip Stead comes to town to read Mark Twain's, The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, illustrated by Phillip and Erin Stead. Find him at Secret Garden.

November 6
Renee Watson will be in town to talk about her wonderful debut at Third Place Books, Seward Park.

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 and/or Twitter, and we'll try to repost. If you have good news or an event coming up, let us know!

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


Friday, September 15, 2017

2017-2018 Mentees Announced

We are pleased to announce our mentees for the 2017-2018 Mentorship Program. In the program's first year, fourteen writers will work one-on-one with a published author to analyze every aspect of their manuscript for a six-month period.

Thanks to all the entrants! It was difficult for the mentors to choose from so many excellent applicants. We look forward to reading more fabulous work by local writers next year and foster talent by establishing relationships with great mentors. More information on the mentors can be found here.


          SCBWI WWA Mentorship Program 2017-2018

Lisa Cach HeidegerDori Hillestad ButlerMiddle Grade
Faith ConlonDori Hillestad ButlerMiddle Grade
Rebekah HosmanKim BakerMiddle Grade
Sarah J. MendoncaKim BakerMiddle Grade
Dawn Marie HooksLaurie ThompsonNonfiction
Linda BuckLaurie ThompsonNonfiction
Connor DesaiLisa OwensNonfiction
Maria MarshallLisa OwensNonfiction
Shilpa AgarwalLois BrandtPicture Book
Amy PoffenbargerLois BrandtPicture Book
Kelly Rae BahrPeggy King AndersonPicture Book
Melissa KoosmannPeggy King AndersonPicture Book
Lenae NofzigerJeanne RyanYoung Adult
Aubri KelemanKevin EmersonYoung Adult

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017-2018 SCBWI WWA Meeting Passports available NOW!

Don't miss out on all the great programming Western Washington offers throughout the year. Get your SCBWI Western Washington (WWA) Meeting Passport  today!

Our Passport season runs from October to May and helps to support not only our fantastic monthly meetings at SPU and Bellevue College, but also an abundance of educational and professional opportunities: editor and agent events with manuscript consultations and master workshops; the Chinook blog; statewide Networks; Mentorship Program; Writer and Illustrator Retreats; Art Shows; KidLit Drink Nights; PAL programming; Great Critique and Critique Traveling Road Show; a new webinar series; and, of course, our fantastic 3-day Western Washington Conference.

Because our Western Washington chapter is self-supporting, when you subscribe to the Passport Program, you are supporting all the wonderful programming that makes our region's kidlit community so exceptional and vibrant.


2017-2018 SCBWI-WWA Monthly Program Passport
Non-Member Price$88.00
SCBWI Int'l Member Price$44.00

Attending even a handful of the eight meetings we’re holding this year makes up for the price of the Passport. Plus, only passport holders will be able to sign up for the Great Critique as well as additional opportunities for master classes and consultations with our special guest editors in October and February. Speakers include Liz Kossnar, Associate Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Independent Children's Book Editor Harold Underdown, and local talents galore!

The Passport saves you time and money, while also giving you access to special opportunities not available to the general public. So take advantage of this incredible bargain today, as options such as manuscript critiques and master classes often sell out quickly. 

Find all of the registration and season details here. Don't delay, master classes and consultations fill quickly.

See you soon!