Friday, March 24, 2017

Kid Lit Drink Night: Mountlake Terrace Edition

The next Kid Lit Drink Night will be Thursday, March 30th in Mountlake Terrace!

Diamond Knot Brewpub 
5602 232nd St. SW
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
3/30/17, 6:30-9:00

Drop in, belly up to the bar for an IPA or Shirley Temple neat, and hang out with authors and illustrators. We are a fun, if odd, bunch.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Every Picture Tells a Story- Era Living art exhibit update

You guys are amazing! Era Living is impressed with the submissions and your great response. Thank you for showing how awesome our chapter is!

Folks have been asking me what’s up with the call for art at Era Living. Well, I went to the source and here are the details: If you submitted a piece for inclusion in the show, you will receive an email from the curator this weekend. Since they received close to a hundred pieces, there will be a second venue! Along with Aljoya Thornton Place, the other venue will be at University House Issaquah. Most art, if not all, will be shown between the two. Man, think of all those eyeballs seeing your work!

Below are the updated details:

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators - Every Picture Tells a Story
Aljoya Thornton Place, 450 NE 100th Street, Seattle, WA 98125
May 8th - Sept 10th 2017
OPENING:     Wednesday May 10th 4:30 - 6:00pm  

University House Issaquah, 22975 Black Nugget Road, Issaquah, WA 98029
September 24th 2017 - January 21st 2018 
OPENING:     Friday September 29th  5:00 – 7:00pm


Details regarding art drop-off and pick-up will be emailed to you. Again, a big thank you to those who submitted.

Dalton Webb

Conference Faculty Interview: Laurie Thompson


DISCLAIMER: It is impossible for us to write an unbiased profile on Laurie Thompson. We just adore her, just like you probably do, too. Or you will. You may know Laurie from her time as co-regional advisor for our SCBWI chapter, or from her continued volunteer work as the nonfiction coordinator. Maybe you love her picture books, are eagerly anticipating her upcoming middle grade series, or are inspired by her YA. She can do anything. Plus, she will sit by you on airplanes, subways, and at meetings, events, and restaurants, etc.--even if she knows you do embarrassing things and/or are prone to injury. She's a wonder. We are OVER THE MOON that she won our region's SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, AND will be giving a keynote and talk at our sold-out conference. 



What are “two truths and a lie” about your road to publication?

Ha! Let’s see… My first published article appeared in ParentMap magazine in August of 2004. I joined SCBWI in 2005. I was an overnight success!

What are you most excited to be sharing with conference participants?

I want to empower conference participants to write from their hearts and to fully embrace their callings. So often, we don’t write the story we truly want to write, either because we’re afraid or because we feel like it won’t be marketable. It is scary to really open up and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, but that authenticity is exactly what will make our writing great and what readers crave, need, and deserve.  


It seems there are zillions of interesting potential nonfiction stories or topics out there… is there a consistent theme that tends to draw you, or what makes you want to not just nod and say, “interesting,” but actually commit the time and passion to pursuing it?

That’s a great question! Yes, the world is an interesting place, and I run into potential nonfiction stories every single day. Sometimes I write them down right away: I just know they might be pursuing at some point. Many others I pass over for whatever reason. But sometimes the ones that stick in my head and start to grow in my subconscious are ones that I initially passed over. That’s when I know I’ve found a gem--when it’s something that my mind just doesn’t want to let go of for some reason! 

How did the writing and publication of My Dog Is the Best differ from your nonfiction titles? What felt the same and what different?

I wrote My Dog Is the Best as part of an assignment for an online class I was taking about how to write easy readers. So, one big difference was that it was assigned rather than being completely self-directed. It was also extremely freeing to be able to play with language, rhythm, and story--without worrying about getting any facts right! It also required a lot more imagination and visualization than my typical nonfiction work, which was fun. But the process was surprisingly similar in some ways, too. I think one of the most important elements of good nonfiction writing is structure, and there’s definitely a strong structure element to My Dog Is the Best as well. Crafting nonfiction (because of content) and picture books (because of form) feels to me like putting together a tricky jigsaw puzzle. That aspect is what I love most about the writing process.


What’s one helpful book or lecture or class that you wish you’d encountered sooner?
One book that stands out for pointing me in the right direction is Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher. I’ll be talking about that one quite a bit in my breakout session on Saturday afternoon. I think I probably came across that one at just the right time, though. I think my life wouldn’be been very different if I’d encountered BrenĂ© Brown’s ideas on vulnerability much sooner than I did. You can watch her TED Talk on it here, or check out her book Daring Greatly.

What book character (in your books or someone else’s) would you most like to be?
Well, I’d like to think I most closely resemble Hermione (who wouldn’t, right?), but I’d rather not be in the middle of a battle for life and death. So, I guess I’d most like to be one of the young people I profiled in Be a Changemaker. I wish I’d had that kind of confidence, courage, and power when I was their age.

What’s your favorite/most helpful/impactful takeaway from an SCBWI conference?

I guess the most important takeaway was from a critique I had with an agent, probably in 2008 or so. She suggested I try writing Emmanuel’s story as a picture book (she had seen it as a chapter in a young-adult nonfiction). I had never thought about writing picture books before, and had no idea how! So, I spent a year reading literally hundreds of picture books to try to figure them out. In the process I fell in love with the picture book format, and I not only came up with the manuscript that became Emmanuel’s Dream but also found a whole new genre to play in!


What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on the second book in the upcoming Two Truths and a Lie series. Once that is turned in, I have several picture books  (both fiction and nonfiction) in various states of revision and a whole slew of nonfiction picture books ideas that I want to explore!

Thanks, Laurie! See you at the conference.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2 Speculative YA Book Events this Week!

Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park is the place to be this week for speculative YA lovers. Funny YA lovers. Romantic YA lovers. Everybody, really. Third Place have TWO great events with favorites Lish McBrideLaini Taylor, AND Marissa Meyer.

First up is Lish, celebrating her newest release (LOOK at that gorgeous cover.), PYROMANTIC, on Friday, 3/24 at 6:30 p.m.





Then on Tuesday, 3/28, 7 p.m., Laini Taylor is in town to talk with Marissa Meyer about her newest release, STRANGE THE DREAMER.



More details on Third Place's website. See you there!

Monday, March 20, 2017

46th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference Registration starts TOMORROW (3/21)!

Set your alarms! The 46th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference registration opens tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 10 a.m. Intensives usually sell out fast, so if you're planning to add one on to your registration, you'll want to sign up toot sweet.



New dates, new location, same wonderful summer conference where likeminded children's book creators come together from all over. Palm trees! Inspiration! Craft workshops! The keynotes alone look dynamite, and flights are currently pretty low.

Find all the details here. Want to find a roommate and split room costs? Try coordinating with other SCBWI Western Washington members on our Facebook page

Conference Faculty Interview: Jessica Anderson


I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am so looking forward to this conference. Just 18 days and counting to our SOLD OUT conference! I was fortunate enough to chat with Jessica Anderson this week. Jessica is with Christy Ottaviano Books and she’s on the lookout for lyrical picture book biographies, hilarious middle grade diary fiction, and gritty contemporary realistic YA.

Dori: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Jessica. Could you tell us a little about your career path. How did you come to be an editor of children’s books?

Jessica: Books have been a great comfort to me for as long as I can remember; as a child, I spent hours purging a linen closet in order to set up my own library, coding each book with a special number and collecting 10-cent late fees from anyone who didn’t return their books on time—a ruthless (if entrepreneurial) policy that my family kindly abided by. Years later in high school and college, I took a sharper interest in the unlimited modes of storytelling; this lead me to creative writing and literature classes, but also toward studies of music, film, and the fine arts. By the time I got out of school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to engage with stories that might emerge from a dialogue between different mediums (words and illustrations, for example). I also knew that as an adult, I still hadn’t stopped buying the latest Jeff Kinney or Dav Pilkey every time one came out. At this point, I had the great fortune of connecting with a thoughtful and accomplished mentor in the children’s book world, and I dove head first into the joys of editing children’s books.

Dori: Oh, my gosh! I did that, too! I had all my books in alphabetical order and I would check them out to my friends. But I never collected overdue fines. I did nag, though, if someone kept one of my favorite books longer than I wanted them to. What are some of your favorite books (and they don’t have to be children’s books)?



Jessica: I think this is a tricky question for most of us—but as of right now, my three favorite books would be: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, and the Silverwing series by Kenneth Oppel. Each of these has made me cry, and I come back to them every few months because they have incredible moments of beauty and heartbreak that leave me with a stronger sense of empathy with each read.

Dori: Is there a book you wish you’d had the opportunity to work on?

Jessica: I would have loved to work on any of Roald Dahl’s books—especially The Witches. I’ve always been curious about the workings of his imagination and the way he and his editor parsed through settings, characters, and ideas in order to distill so many unique, whimsical stories.

Dori: What do you like to do when you’re not reading or editing children’s books?

Jessica: Though I was not much exposed to dance as a kid, I’ve recently fallen in love with beginner ballet and modern dance classes. I also love to roam around lively dog parks and take in conceptual art exhibits; lucky for me, New York is never in short supply of either!

Dori:  Have you ever been to Seattle before? Is there one thing you’re hoping to see, do or experience while you’re here?

Jessica: I have heard such great things about Seattle but have not yet had a chance to visit. If nothing else, I am committed to experiencing the famous coffee culture.

Dori: Can you give our Western Washington members a sneak peek at one of your sessions? What is one thing you’re excited to be sharing with us?

Jessica: I’m excited to talk about the evolution of a middle grade book—from the moment it is acquired, to the various steps of production. There are so many different ways that editors envision a book: pitching it to a sales team through the lens of comparative titles, and nailing down just the right specs for the finished book, only to name a few. I look forward to bringing this discussion to the group! 

Dori: That sounds great, Jessica. Thanks again for talking with me. We’re all looking forward to meeting you!



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Join CAYAS for Books and Brews!

Washington Library Association's Children And Young Adult Services (CAYAS) group will be hosting a Books and Brews event where librarians and book lovers come together to chat about books and enjoy a warm cup of tea or coffee!  Really, what could be better?! 
This event's theme will center around book awards. Now that you've had a moment check out some of the award winners, what do you think? Do you wish something else had won? Do you wish there was another award category? Do you have a classic award winner that you think needs some extra love? Bring some books and share your thoughts! 
Who: Anyone who is interested!
What: Chatting about books
When: Saturday, March 18th 2:30-4:00pm
Where: Bookend Coffee Company in the Everett Public Library, 2702 Hoyt Ave, Everett, WA 98201

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Conference Faculty Interview: Alison Weiss



Your 2017 Conference Team is thrilled to add to our bouquet of faculty speakers the fantastic Alison Weiss, senior editor at Sky Pony Press. Alison picked up on our conference theme of Spring blooms and beginnings, and is offering attendees the choice of a Saturday breakout session on “The Life of a Book,” as well as an optional Sunday intensive workshop on crafting great beginnings, “Let’s Get It Started.”

And speaking of great beginnings, let’s get this interview started!

Jen: Tell us about the first book you edited, and how you knew it was special.

Alison: Well, the first book I edited was not the first book I acquired. So, perhaps I should answer those questions separately? The first book I was editor on was probably Kate le Vann’s Things I Know About Love, which we had acquired North American rights on from her British publisher—I say we, because my publisher at the time brokered the deal with me to edit or, rather, Americanize. The YA is a wonderful, sweet story about a girl who has cancer, so she’s missed out on a lot of the usual teen experience. Now that she’s been in remission for a year, her mom lets her go visit her brother, who’s studying abroad in the U.S. She meets a college boy there and, of course, they have a whirlwind summer romance. I loved it because it was so gorgeously sweet and the voice was outstanding and I felt it perfectly captured that feeling of falling in love and having your first epic romance. It went on to be chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection, very exciting for the first book in a young editor’s career!

The first book I acquired was New York Times bestselling author Jessica Verday’s Of Monsters and Madness, a horror-retelling mash-up of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and Edgar Allan Poe’s works that envisions Poe’s Annabel Lee and Poe, himself, as the main characters. I felt a lot of affinity for
the project from the start. I was an 18th/19th century English Literature concentration in college and had always loved Poe’s work, as well. The story was set in Philadelphia, where I went to school. Verday’s previous books had worked off of themes from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” set in the town where I grew up. It felt like kismet. And this was a very exciting first acquisition for me as I acquired it in an auction.

Jen: Give us a glimmer of what you’re looking for in submissions.

Alison: I’m always looking for the great trifecta when I take on a project—great characters, killer voice, and a plot that sweeps me away. But often a first page, even a first line, can give me a thrill that means that there’s something great here; I know I’m going to be reading this manuscript beginning to end, sneaking bits in at every chance I get throughout the day. (I’ll actually be doing an intensive on the importance of openings, so please come check it out.) I definitely got chills when I read the opening line of Tara Sim’s Timekeeper: “Two o’clock was missing.” What does that mean? Where will this story go? Well, you have to read to find out, and the journey Sim leads her reader through along the way is dynamic and fresh and fascinating. And then you reach the end, hungry for more. Which is good, because there are two more books coming.


Jen: Any fave genres?

Alison: I read across all genres or else I get bored. I have to admit, I’m not a big non-fiction reader.

Jen: Any books that you’ve reread too many times to count?

Alison: I’m not really that big on rereading, except when it comes to editing, of course! Probably something in the Austen cannon. Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are my favorites.

Jen: What are you reading right now?

Alison: A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Jen: Not to sound creepy or anything, but will you let us peek at what books are on your bedside table?

Alison: You mean on the floor next to my bed? There’s definitely no room on my bedside table! I actually try to keep out only the books I’m reading. My bookcases are bursting with books to be read, though. In my limited apartment space, I rarely keep already-read books on the shelves. They get shipped off to my parents’ house where my dad and (occasionally) my mom read them, and then they are either packed up and stored in the attic or donated to their local library.

Jen: Are you willing to bare your soul and confess what famous books you’ve never read?

Alison: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret or The Bridge to Terabithia and The Fault in Our Stars. Plus many others I won’t admit to not reading.

Jen: Any fave books of all time?

Alison: Barkbelly  by Cat Weatherill, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Owl Service by Alan Garner, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. Oh, and so many more!

Jen: If you could be any character from any book, who would you choose?

Alison: Anne from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books, well, in the earlier books. One reason: Gilbert Blythe