Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Registration extended! WWU Children's Lit Conference

Two presenters for the upcoming WWU Children’s Lit Conference  just won major awards!

Brian Pinkney’s wife, Andrea Davis Pinkney, won the Coretta Scott King award for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, but he did the illustrations so we are very pleased! Katherine Applegate of Animorphs fame, who has written over 212 books in her career, was just awarded the Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan.  

In honor of this timely news, early-bird registration for the conference has hereby been extended until MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4! Come help us celebrate the 10th anniversary of the conference, and come interact with these award-winning authors and illustrator, as well as fellow faculty members Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Michael Grant. 

Conference date: February 23, 8am-3:30pm. Cost: $85

February events

Sat, Feb 2:

Kristin Halbrook
Teen Book Brunch: Kristin Halbrook appears in support of her YA novel, Nobody But Us.
University Book Store, Mill Creek, 11am


Tues, Feb 5:

Cory Doctorow
Hugo- and Nebula-nominated YA author, columnist, and web guru (okay, the guy's a smarty-pants) Cory Doctorow appears in support of Homeland, the sequel to Little Brother.
Seattle Public Library, Central branch, 1000 Fourth Ave, 6:30pm [COME EARLY!]


Wed, Feb 6:

Northern Network Meeting: "He Said/She Said: Let’s Talk Dialogue!"
If you’re writing for children (or adults, for that matter), chances are that your characters are talking to each other at some point. How do you make them sound natural? How can you use dialogue to propel your story further along? Come hear what everyone’s talking about: how to write effective dialogue! Questions? Email or call Rebecca Van Slyke (360-354-5797)
Barnes & Noble, Bellingham (4099 Meridian St), 7pm


Sat, Feb 9:

5th Annual iYouth Conference: "Common Ground: Engaging Diversity and Building Community in Youth Services," which will address ways in which we can build community around and meet the needs of children and young adults. To register, click here. For more information, click here or contact J. Elizabeth Mills.
UW campus, Mary Gates Hall, 8am-4:45pm

Helen Landalf

YA Author Panel: Helen Landalf, Jennifer Shaw Wolfe, Carole Estby Dagg, Jillian Anderson Coats, Kimberly Derting, and Megan Bostic - lots of SCBWI WWA members!
Fairwood Library, Renton, 2pm


Carole Estby Dagg
J Anderson Coats
Megan Bostic


Sun, Feb 10:

Social Media Workshop, "Using Social Media to Further Your Professional Reputation"
Taught by kidlit agent/social media strategist Tricia Lawrence, this fun,
hands-on workshop is designed to help writers, editors, and other publishing
pros create a workable plan for using social media to their professional
advantage. You'll come away with a greater understanding of what your social
media focus should be, the best tools for your different messages, and how
to create a social media schedule you can live with. Sponsored by the Editorial Freelancers Association. For full details and to register using EFA's secure online system, click here
Cost is $39 for EFA members and $54 for nonmembers.
Stadler Meeting Room at Third Place Commons, 17171 Bothell Wy NE, Lake Forest Park, 3-5pm

Mon, Feb 11: 

Professional Series Meeting, SCBWI-WWA
Royce Buckingham, "How To Save a Year of Your Writing Life"
Lee White, "Narrative Techniques for Illustrators"
Seattle Pacific University, Demaray Hall 7-9pm

Thu, Feb 14:

Mindy Hardwick
Book Signing: Mindy Hardwick, Weaving Magic (YA Romance); Pamela Greenwood, In Disguise: Undercover with Real Women Spies (Middle Grade Non-Fiction)
Uppercase Book Shop, Snohomish, 3pm

Sat, Feb 23:

Karen Finneyfrock
Teen Book Brunch: Karen Finneyfrock reads from her debut, The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door.
University Book Store, Mill Creek, 11am


Monday, January 28, 2013

And the winner(s) is (are)....

In case you weren't glued to your computers this morning for the live presentation of numerous youth media awards from the ALA mid-winter conference, the full list of winners can be found by clicking here.

But, to provide a spoiler or two, in case you're feeling impatient:

Michael L. Prinz Award: In Darkness, written by Nick Lake

John Newbery Medal: The One and Only Ivan, written by Katherine Applegate

Randolph Caldecott Medal: This Is Not My Hat, illustrated and written by Jon Klassen

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award: Up, Tall and High!, written and illustrated by Ethan Long

ALA Kid Lit Drinks. A recap.

Where could you find writers, agents, publishers, and a menu full of rum? At our chapter's ALA Kid Lit Drinks Night, at Rumba on Pike last Friday night. With a convivial group over two dozen strong, conference attendees rubbed shoulders with visitors far and wide.

Writers, writers everywhere!

Kim and Danielle catch up.

Don't hate us because we're schmoozing....

Saturday, January 26, 2013

SCBWI work-in-progress grants

Set your timers, mark your calendars (if you, like me, still do that!), and pay attention!

Between February 15–March 15, applications will be received for this year's SCBWI Works-In-Progress grants.

For more information, click here.

We'll be circling back and reminding all you as the deadlines get going. But for now, start imagining what you'll do with a little extra money, as well as a much-needed boost in your creative confidence.

Fingers crossed!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dynamic duo

Martha and Eliot ad-libbed and Mad Libbed at Secret Garden Books on Tuesday.

Tuesday night, Secret Garden Books. It was better than a rumble, better than CSI retreads, better than Pop Rocks. For those of us who experienced the double-threat appearance of Martha Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention) and Eliot Schrefer (Endangered, nominated as a finalist for a National Book Award), it was generally agreed that they're both wicked smart and enjoy a good joke or two.

In what might be the dawn of a new trend in author appearances/readings, they got the ball rolling with audience-participation Mad Libs based on their inside-jacket blurbs. Between learning about swampy sweaters and chapped hindquarters from this exercise, the lucky attendees were primed for the real readings.

Both Martha and Eliot are quick, witty, and warm speakers. While the settings of their books couldn't have been more different––Heaven, or some facsimile thereof, and a Congolese bonobo monkey sanctuary––they stirred up vivid images and only just a little trouble (those Mad Libs!).

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards

For those of you who had books published in 2012, make sure your book is in the running for this year's Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards.

DEADLINE: January 31

To make sure your book is eligible for consideration, click here.

Familiarize yourself with the guidelines, and please read all the rules for entering, below:

ALA ! Kid Lit Drinks! What a weekend!

If you happen to find yourself with not a lot going on this weekend, hoof it on down to the Convention Center's Exhibition Hall, where the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting (January 25-29) is going to fill the place to the rafters with librarians, authors, agents, publishers, bloggers, and general groupies and fans of all of the above.

For more information, click here.

To celebrate this momentous confluence of people, we're hosting a Kid Lit Drink Night at Rumba, on Capitol Hill tomorrow (Friday), from 6-9. It's within walking distance of the Convention Center, so there's no excuse not to take a load off and join us!

It's going to be quite a weekend, people. Be part of it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Conference faculty sneak peek

Are you feeling discombobulated because you haven't registered for SCBWI WWA's annual conference yet? Are you counting the days until registration launches? Are you waffling over which manuscript or art to bring to the roundtable consultations?

To help tide you over, here's a sneak look at the visiting faculty who'll make our 2013 conference great:

Keynote speakers
Author Mac Barnett       
Illustrator Sophie Blackall       
Author Kelly Milner Halls       
Author Robin LaFevers   

Publishing staff        
Patti Ann Harris, art director, Little, Brown
Kendra Levin, senior editor, Viking
Taylor Norman, editorial assistant, Chronicle
Tamra Tuller, children's editor, Chronicle
Colleen AF Venable, author and designer, First Second Books
Stacy Whitman, publisher and editor, Tu Books

Julie Just, agent, Janklow & Nesbitt Associates
Ammi-Joan Paquette, author and agent, Erin Murphy Literary
Abigail Samoun, author and agent, Red Fox Literary
Joanna Volpe, agent, New Leaf Literary & Media

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekly wrap-up

Registration for the 10th annual Western Washington University's Children's Literature Conference ends next Friday, January 25. Faculty includes Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Brian Pinkney, Katherine Applegate, and Michael Grant. Conference date: February 23, 8am-3:30pm.

Redmond Association of Spoken Word (RASP) presents Wendy and Joe Wahman, who will read from Snowboy 1, 2, 3. Friday, January 25 at 7pm. Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 NE 80th St, Redmond. 

Children's book illustration classes with local illustrator Craig Orback begin in January, both in Seattle and Bellevue. Check his website for details on Children's Book Illustration I and II, to be held at Bellevue College (Saturdays, January 19–March 9) and North Seattle Community College
(I: Tuesdays, January 15-March 5; II: Mondays, January 14–March 18).

From Carnegie Hall:
For those of you who might not have seen or heard, The Fault in Our Stars/Paper Towns/ Looking for Alaska author John Green, along with his Nerdfighter sidekick sibling Hank, sold out Carnegie Hall on January 15 for a variety show-cum-literary hootenanny. Special guest Neil Gaiman! For the video of the very entertaining proceedings, click here.

From Lois Brandt:
I wanted to make sure that everyone saw this tweet from Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary Agency: GHL moving strongly into picbooks with @JuliaChurchill developing a new US & UK PB list. She'll be open to US PB subs from next week. 2/2

From Lynn Hooghiemstra:
I've added a new feature to my blog, a monthly interview with either an author, illustrator, editor or agent. This month's guest is UK YA author Richard Hardie, writer of the Temporal Detective Agency series. He also shares some good advice he received early in his career from an agent.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kid Lit Drinks Night recap

A fun evening was had by all last Tuesday at the Elysian Brewery in Seattle. Here's proof that this monthly occasion is as much fun as it looks:

Waiting for the others to arrive (book: Edge of Nowhere, by Elizabeth George)

The illustrators

Two writers, one illustrator

Again, to repeat from this morning's announcement: Come to next weekend's ALA Kid Lit Drinks Night, at Rumba on Capitol Hill, Friday the 25th from 6-9pm. Hope to see you there!

ALA Kid Lit Drink Night!! All welcome!


Friday, January 25


Rumba (Capitol Hill, Seattle)

Everyone is welcome!

Please forward to anyone you know who is attending ALA 

and might want to stop by to cheer on kids' books!

*American Library Association

Monday, January 14, 2013

Picture-book illustrating class


Do you have a children's picture book idea just waiting to be discovered? This class will give you creative tools to help with visual storytelling, character development, and making story boards and book dummies. Learn how to find your place in the children's book market and create original art for a professional portfolio. SCBWI's Dana Sullivan took this class three years ago and will have two books published this year. You can too!

Where: Pratt Fine Art Center, Seattle
When: Wednesdays, 10 am - 2 pm, Feb 6 - Mar 13
Cost: $256
Prerequisite: None
Questions? email Dana at

Saturday, January 12, 2013

More January events

Tuesday, January 22, 7pm
Join National Book Award Finalist Eliot Schrefer and everybody's favorite guardian angel chronicler Martha Brockenbrough for a night of conversation about their books. 
Secret Garden Books

January 26
Graphic Novel Panel
Graphic Artists Guild presents the 3rd annual Graphic Novel Panel at the Seattle Design Center with an after-party at Fantagraphics Bookstore! Make Your Own Comic in the morning workshop.
Learn the ins and outs of the Graphic Novel in the afternoon.
Need more info? Click here.

January 26 at 1pm 
Lois Harris (Maxfield Parrish: Painter of Magical Make-Believe)
Wind & Tide Bookshop
790 S.E. Pioneer Way
Oak Harbor, WA

Peggy King Anderson's classes

I guarantee that the rest of winter will be snow and ice-free! So I'm inviting you all to sign up for one of my two Magic of Writing for Children evening series. Come join me and your fellow writers for a fun, hands-on series of writing classes.

THE MAGIC OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN (Beginning) Bellevue College, North Campus Location, beginning Tuesday, January 15th, 6:30-9:30 PM, 6 week series. A winter bargain, at $189

Have you always wanted to write for kids?  When you try, do you run into ogres, trolls, and wicked stepmothers?  (otherwise known as writer's block, wandering plot lines, and cardboard characters)  We may not have a fairy godmother, but we DO have help for you!  In this eight week class we'll cover the basics of writing for kids, with tips for getting past the dragons you meet along the way.   
In addition, classes will include writing exercises, and the opportunity to get feedback on your own writing.   By the end of these six sessions, you will be joyfully writing!

THE MAGIC OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN  (Intermediate/Advanced)Bellevue College, North Campus location, beginning Wednesday, January 16th, 6:30-9:30, 6 week series. A winter bargain at $189

So now you’ve taken at least one writing class, and you’re ready for more. Join Peggy in this second level class to work on your current writing project. We’ll still have lots of fun writing exercises, and learn some more advanced writing techniques, such as how to put VOICE into your writing. But there will be lots of time for feedback on your writing project, whether it be a short story or article, or the brave start of your novel.

Contact Bellevue College at, or call 425 564-2263
Questions?  Email Peggy at

(Okay, so I can’t really guarantee a snow and ice-free winter, but all the rest of the above is absolutely true!)

Kid Lit Drink Night!

In case you haven't heard, now hear this!


Tuesday, January 15

The Elysian Brewery


on Seattle's Capitol Hill





Please come! Join your fellow SCBWI-ers for a pint! Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Person of the Week: Lisa Yee

If you want a great study in voice, just look to Lisa Yee. Her first book, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award. It was followed by two more books featuring other characters from the book, told in their own voices: Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, and So Totally Emily Ebers. She has written a young adult novel, Absolutely Maybe, and has two books in a new chapter book series: Bobby vs Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes). Her newest book, Warp Speed, is about a Star Trek geek.

Lisa Yee at a book-signing

Lisa Yee currently lives in South Pasadena, California, with her husband, two children, and a rambunctious dog. To learn more about her, please visit her website and check out her blog for (practically) up-to-the-minute details on all her exploits.

1. What is your definition of a productive day?

When no one cries. Also, if I can meet my writing goals. I set them for myself daily.

3. What is the most helpful advice you ever received, and from whom?

When I was writing my first novel, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, I kept asking my editor Arthur Levine about the target audience, demographics, etc. (I had come from a career in TV and advertising).  He told me, "Just write the story it needs to be." So I stopped thinking and started writing.

4. What book do you wish you'd written?

The one that I am working on now.

5. What is your most consistent work habit?

I always start with an outline.

Baby Lisa with Santa

"Lightning" Round: Pickles: Sweet or sour?

Sour. Of course.

––Interview by Rebecca Van Slyke

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Great Critique recap

Group led by Ann Gonzales

Monday night's Great Critique was a huge success! It was fun to listen to the buzz as the groups dispersed... people talking about revision ideas, manuscript problems solved, (or at least identified,) and new friendships made. 

Group led by Karen Lee Schmidt

A big hearty thank you to this years leaders: Holly Cupala, Ann Gonzalez, Janet Lee Carey, Helen Landalf, Kevin Emerson, Trudi Trueit, David Patneaude, Liz Mills, Peggy King Anderson, Meg Lippert, Tom Brenner, Donna Bergman, Wendy Wahman, Deborah Reber, Richard Jesse Watson, Julie Paschkis, Karen Lee Schmidt and Craig Orback. 

Group led by Wendy Wahman

AND we were able to collect about 100 books for our Sandy Hook Elementary Book Drive. Thank you to everyone who donated. We truly have such a generous region!

Some of the books we collected for Sandy Hook

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Calling all writing groups!

Are you in a writing group?

Then I'm talking to YOU.

If you and your group would like to be featured in the Chinook Update blog, spilling your group-dynamic successes and challenges, the story of your formation and longevity, your inspirational/motivational/hysterical writing exercises, or your advice for the rest of us groupies, then:

Please email me.

I am going to use this space to include an ongoing feature on writing groups within the chapter, and the stories behind the scenes. It's time for us to stop hiding out at coffeehouses, and come into the open!

Thanks so much, and PLEASE share your group with the rest of us.

With gratitude and anticipation,

Emily Russin
Chinook Update blog

Monday, January 7, 2013

January Events

Saturday, January 12
Jeanne Ryan, Nerve
University Book Store, Mill Creek, 11am


Friday, January 18
Annameekee Hesik, The You Know Who Girls (gay/lesbian-themed YA)
Elliott Bay Book Co., 7pm

Saturday, January 19
OUT OF TOWN EVENT: The Great Critique, hosted by SCBWI-Oregon
For complete information go to and click on the EVENTS tab.

Saturday, January 26
Clare Vanderpool, Navigating Early
Seattle Public Library, Northeast Branch, 2pm

Saturday, January 26
Jennifer L. Holm, Squish No. 4: Captain Disaster and Babymouse 17: Extreme Babymouse
Secret Garden Books, 2pm

Saturday, January 26
Amy Novetsky, Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys (appears with novelist Whitney Otto, Eight Girls Taking Pictures)
Elliott Bay Book Co., 5pm

The Monday Scoop.....

Happy Monday. Here's a smattering of things to get your brains percolating....

First, if you are all signed up, don't be late for tonight's Great Critique!
When: 7pm 
Where: Seattle Pacific University, Demaray Hall
This event is closed. If you didn't register this time around, start working on something for next year. It's one of those amazing events that our chapter offers, but you have to register ahead of time.

Second, here's a lovely (if not sarcastic) link found on Twitter today. Don't we all just really need to know what The Next Big Trend in YA is?

Thirdly, Rebecca Van Slyke reports the following news from the Northern Network:

Last Wednesday the Northern Network was treated to an inspiring talk by Barb Davis-Pyles. She talked about “Bringing Balance into the Writing Life.” Those darn “little things”—laundry, house cleaning, surfing the ‘Net—keep pushing our “big things,” like writing and illustrating goals, aside.  How do you have time for both? Barb recommends these steps:
1.      Label the “big rocks” that fill up your jar: family, job, writing/illustrating goals, etc.
2.      Be specific with your goals: “I will complete a picture book manuscript by the end of this month.”
3.      Then think very small. Break your goal into smaller steps: “I will make a dummy of my book this weekend.”
4.      Commit to working toward your goal for 15 minutes a day. Remember, “I can do ANYthing for 15 minutes. “ Then if things go well, you can keep going. If not, quit after 15 minutes.
5.      Schedule your 15 minutes into your day. Studies show that earlier times evolve into habits easier.
6.      Stay on track. Get an accountability partner or reward yourself for goals met.
7.      If you fall off the wagon, get back on again.
Remember, a balanced life is all about creating good habits!

Dana Antrim shares an important link for all illustrators on how to price your artwork. It's well worth the look and listen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

SCBWI Oregon's Great Critque and more down south

Happy New Year from your neighbors to the south! If you live in the southern part of the state or want an excuse to visit Portland (food- cart phenomenon!), SCBWI Oregon has two events that might be of interest to you.

Can't make The Great Critique in Seattle? Oregon has taken a leaf out of WWA's book and is doing a similar event.

January 19, 2013 - The Great Critique - a writer's critique event. (Sorry, early-bird registration ended on January 1.)

February 23, 2013 - Wearing Two Hats - an event for illustrators who write, featuring Kristine Brogno, Design Director at Chronicle Books and author/illustrator Caroline Conahan. 
(You're in luck: Early-bird registration ends on January 15.)

For complete information on both of these events go to and click on the EVENTS tab.

Questions? Need more info? Contact Sue Ford, SCBWI Oregon, Co-Regional Advisor and Newsletter Editor

Critiquing 101

by Kerri Kokias, SCBWI-WWA Critique Coordinator

The Great Critique, coming up this Monday, January 7, is full!
With so many eager participants, it seems timely to have a brief post on Critiquing 101.

Why Critique? The purpose of a critique is to enable authors/illustrators to further develop their work. Receiving critiques provides authors/illustrators with non-biased feedback, and concrete suggestions for improvement. Giving critiques helps authors and illustrators to develop analytical skills that they can also apply to their own work.

The Job of the Author/Illustrator is to introduce the work and then sit back and listen to feedback without being defensive. It’s useful to take notes on everything, even if a piece of feedback doesn’t initially resonate. Ask questions for clarification. And later, decide which advice to take.

The Job of the Critiquer is to encourage the author/illustrator to do their best work by pointing out what works in a piece, as well as areas for development.

Specifics to consider when critiquing manuscripts….
·     Is the title effective? Does it arouse interest and hint at content?
·     Does the beginning grab and hold attention? Does the story begin at the appropriate time?
·     Is the point of view consistent? Is it the most effective one?
·      Is the material appropriate for the proposed audience?
·      Is the setting (time and place) clear?
·      Is the theme fresh and important?
·      Does the story move with good pacing and transitions?
·      Is the content focused? Does it show, not tell? Are sensory details woven in?
·      Are characters interesting, well-rounded, and believable?
·      Does the plot develop with credibility? Are character’s motivations clear? Is there sufficient conflict and growth?
·      Is the voice fresh, original, compelling and age appropriate?
·      Does the dialogue seem natural? Does it show character and advance the story? Do individual characters have a distinct way of talking?
·      Is word choice effective? Is there clarity, rhythm and power in the language?
·      Do chapter endings make you want to read on? Does the end of the story leave you satisfied?

Specifics to consider when critiquing illustrations:
·      Is the composition strong and interesting?
·      Is the chosen medium the best for the artist and subject?
·      Do the text and illustration support AND supplement each other? (Does the work illustrate the text and then contribute even more?)
·      Is there fluid movement and rhythm in shape and line?
·      Is the point of view effective? Does it vary to avoid monotony?
·      Does the layout contribute to the text?
·      Are characters fully developed? Consistent in appearance throughout?
·      Are the gutters free of important information?
·      Are page breaks effective?
·      Does the work break down into the correct page specifications according to its form (picture book = 24, 32, 40, etc.)?

In summary, critiquing is an essential part of making your work be the best that it can be!
Need a Critique Group? For tips and suggestions, see this recent blog post!