Thursday, October 27, 2016

Judges Needed for Elementary School Reflections Competition


My name is Fiona O’Connor and I am the program chair for the Reflections Program at Creekside Elementary here in Sammamish.
Reflections is a PTSA cultural arts competition intended to encourage students artistic and creative talents in 6 different areas – Visual Arts, Photography, Literature, Film Production, Music Composition and Dance Choreography.  Students have the opportunity to create original artwork, dance, film, photography, music compositions and stories and the winning students get to move on to the district and state and eventually national competitions!! 
We are looking for local professionals who may be interested in donating their time to judge our entries this year and thought your group would be a great place to look for judges in the Literature and Visual Arts categories.
Our entry deadline for students is October 31st and on that day I will know how many students have entered in these categories.  Judging will be held during the week of November 7th and involves reading the Literature entries and/or stopping by the school to view the Visual Arts entries and scoring them based on a provided rubric and criteria. 
Do you think you may have members who may be interested in this?
We will be recognizing all judges that participate in our Reflection Night booklet and on our school PTSA Facebook page.
Let me know if you have any questions and think you may be able to help us out,
Many thanks,
Fiona O’Connor
Reflections Program Chair 
Creekside Elementary
775 338 5147

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BOOK LAUNCH for Jay Asher

A reminder that Jay Asher is coming to town.

"Jay Asher’s first book, Thirteen Reasons Why was and is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s been translated into 35 languages, spent over 200 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and sold nearly 2.5 million copies since its 2007 debut, making it a contemporary classic with staying power. It’s been named a Children's Best Book by the Association of Booksellers, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and has appeared on 16 state award master lists. Netflix is adapting it into a 13-episode series. Selena Gomez is set to produce the project from Anoynymous Content and Paramount TV, with a pilot penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal).
Described by Asher as the answer to Thirteen Reasons Why, his new book, What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and unforgettable. Early praise:
"A beautiful story of love and forgiveness."—Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

When:        Tuesday, November 1, 2016
                      7 PM

Where:       Secret Garden Books
                   2214 NW Market St.
Questions: Suzanne Perry
                      Events / Public Relations Manager

Visit Jay's website at:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jennifer March Soloway and Book Launch for Jay Asher

How To Be a Guest at Jennifer's Dinner Table

WOW! What a Kick-off to our SCBWI season. Jennifer March Soloway was our guest agent from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and she was truly one to listen to. Immediately, she captured the audience in Demaray Hall at SPU last week with her charisma for books, the authors and illustrators behind the books, and those of us who are either dipping our toes into the craft to those of us who are so close to getting an agent. No matter where you are in the process, Jennifer was rooting for each of us!

Jennifer talked about her methods for reading through submissions and the slush pile. But the nuggets of her talk that never get old no matter where you are in the "getting published" process, Jennifer says that "... every rejection is a choice: to keep going or to quit." If you are enjoying the ride, you keep on going. If you are in the process of revising your work, this is the time to embrace the magical transformation of your manuscript or picture book dummy to that of published book. Here are a few key points from Jennifer's presentation that are must haves:

  • A dynamic opening line
  • A strong, engaging voice
  • An intriguing premise that feels different from anything else
  • An opening scene filed with drama that has enough context to immediately ground the reader in the world
  • An irresistible character with high stakes
  • An additional story thread that is also compelling

On Thursday, Jennifer taught a master class with more awesome information for perfecting our crafts. In a nutshell, there are three stages of writing:
  1. Writing for story - here is where you just write. No editing. Only writing.
  2. Revise for structure, plot, clarity, and character.
  3. Polish language at the line level - POV and word choice.
To summarize, per Jennifer:

Recipe for page-turning best seller!

Thank you, Jennifer, for spending two days with us here in Seattle. We are all looking forward to seeing you again - as our agent!

On another note, let's give a "SHOUT OUT" to Milagros Welt, aka Mili, aka Snack Mistress! First time out of the gate and she put on a spooktacularly delicious Halloween themed spread of snacks and beverages. I can't wait to see what November brings. Mili, awesome and thank you!


Now, on to something that is super cool. Jay Asher is coming to town. And what's more, he is a client of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

"Jay Asher’s first book, Thirteen Reasons Why was and is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s been translated into 35 languages, spent over 200 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and sold nearly 2.5 million copies since its 2007 debut, making it a contemporary classic with staying power. It’s been named a Children's Best Book by the Association of Booksellers, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and has appeared on 16 state award master lists. Netflix is adapting it into a 13-episode series. Selena Gomez is set to produce the project from Anoynymous Content and Paramount TV, with a pilot penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal).
Described by Asher as the answer to Thirteen Reasons Why, his new book, What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and unforgettable. Early praise:
"A beautiful story of love and forgiveness."—Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
When:            Tuesday, 1 November 2016
                      7 PM
Where:           Secret Garden Books
                   2214 NW Market St.
Questions:     CONTACT Suzanne Perry
                      Events / Public Relations Manager
Visit Jay's website at:

Hope to see everyone at Secret Garden Books on November 1st and at our next SCBWI meeting on Wednesday November 9th.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Kid Lit Drink Night - Kicking Off the New SCBWI Season!

This first Kid Lit Drink Night will be at the Dumas Bay Centre to coincide with the Weekend on the Water Retreat. However, you don't have to be part of the Weekend on the Water writing retreat in order to attend this month's Kid Lit Drink Night. It will, however, be held in the same location.

Come hob-knob with fellow authors, illustrators, and children's books enthusiasts. Oh, and this is a BYOBoC (bring your own beverage of choice) which can be anything from wine, beer, orange juice, smoothie, whatever rocks your writer and illustrator boat.

Time:   7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Where: Dumas Bay Centre
             3200 SW Dash Point Road
             Federal Way, WA 98023

I'll be there and we all hope you will be, too!




Friday, October 14, 2016

Kid Lit Classes at Green River College

Saturday Kid Lit Classes at Green River

Two of our tribe are teaching at Green River for writers AND illustrators

Dana Sullivan is teaching Illustrating Picture Books
When: Saturday Oct. 22 and 29             9 a.m. to noon.
This crash course includes manuscript formatting, storyboards, making a book dummy and illustration techniques. Working with agents and editors and ultimately getting published will also be discussed. Great for any level of illustrator, from beginner to pro.
See Dana’s work at Give him a shout with questions:

Al Rubeck is teaching Writing for Children and Getting Published
When: Oct 29 & Nov 5
              Feb 11 & 18
9 – 11:30 a.m.
Learn how to get ideas and turn them into stories as we discuss plot and character development, story structure, point of view, dialogue, where and how to market your work, and how to get published. Short writing exercises included.
Details and registration:

Al Rubeck has been published in ‘TEEN magazine, Holidays & Seasonal Celebrations, The Best Of Holidays & Seasonal Celebrations, Nuthouse magazine, Highlights for Children, and Jack And Jill magazine.  Al has also taught writing for children for the Kent Parks Department.

Al's contact info is:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? Jennifer March Soloway - Interview Part 3

By now, we've gotten to know a bit of Jennifer's personal side - she loves ice cream and Peet's coffee and running. And we know how she works - diligent about reading manuscripts and committed to the read. And overall, a person who wears her agent/editor hat passionately and with a humanistic realness that even the most introverted writer will be propelled to strike up a conversation with her. As our interview was winding down, I felt there was still something missing that I wanted ... no needed to know about Jennifer. I asked her to think back to her teen-self, then I asked, if she could invite any YA character to a party, who would she invite? Without skipping a beat, she said she would have loved to invite Deenie from Deenie by Judy Blume, the anonymous protagonist from, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, John and Loraine from, The Pigman, by Paul Zindel, and Willa from Early Disorder by Rebecca Josephs. Oh, Jennifer's poor mother should she have had to entertain these teens for real!

Then, I asked Jennifer the same question but as an adult, who would she invite to a dinner party? Her faves are Olivia and Henry from The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters, Hope and Dess from Peas and Carrots by Anita S. Davis, Junior from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Alana from Night Speed, by Chris Howard, Jack from The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith, and Cadence from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Whew! This would be quite the dinner party. I would most definitely want to be the fly on the wall!

Jennifer has been a voracious reader even from a young age. Ever since her teen years, Jennifer has been obsessed with the problem novel. She says her inner rebel surfaced in her reading by getting her hands on any book her mother "deemed inappropriate and off-limits" such as Forever by Judy Blume and Flowers In the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Jennifer read these titles when she was 11 or 12!

My one last burning question was, "What is on your nightstand begging to be read?" Unlike her sister who loves the slasher thriller, Jennifer loves the "... is the premise real or all in your head?" psychological thriller. One of Jennifer's all time favorites is Carrie. It is the "... perfect scary coming of age teen girl ..." thriller. Another favorite is, The Cure for Dreaming, by Cat Winters. It's a fun read and keeps you guessing, " ... is it in your head? Or, wait, no, it's real! No, it's just all in my head." Sounds like the perfect read with a flashlight under the bed covers when the rest of the house has gone to sleep. Another favorite author is Andrew Smith, in particular, Marbury Lens. Lest you think Jennifer is all about the dark psychological thriller, Jennifer does love a good literary read. At the time of my interview Jennifer was reading, Girl In the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse.

This concludes my interview with Jennifer. I hope you now have a few "ice-breakers" for when you introduce yourself to Jennifer because you will introduce yourself at the SCBWI meeting on October 12th. Jennifer has specifically expressed her interest in meeting people - the authors and the illustrators alike. This is not the time to be shy. Tell Jennifer I said so.


Kathleen A. Hunter

Friday, October 7, 2016


This Saturday, October 8, 2016, 7 – 9pm!
Seattle Central Library

The Washington State Book Awards recognize outstanding poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and children's and teen literature published in 2015 and penned by a Washington writer. The four adult literature categories are: poetry, fiction, biography/memoir, and history/general nonfiction for adults. The Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award honors a children’s picture book and one book each for early readers (ages 6 to 8), middle readers (ages 9-12), and young adults (ages 13 to 18). 

We’ll begin the evening in the Microsoft Auditorium for the awards ceremony where we’ll announce the winners and hear brief readings from the winning titles. A reception, book sales and signing will follow in the Central Library Living Room on Level 3. Both the awards ceremony and the reception are free and open to all. 

A panel of independent booksellers and librarians will select the finalists and winners. Finalists will be announced in mid-September.

The Washington Center for the Book administers the annual Washington State Book Awards (formerly the Governor's Writers Awards), given for outstanding books published by Washington authors and to bring attention to the quality of writing being produced in Washington. Books are judged on literary merit, lasting importance and overall quality of the publication. 

For more information on the awards, criteria and previous winners, please see the Washington State Book Award page.

Library events and programs are free and open to the public. Tickets and reservations are not required.

Note: The Library will close at its regular Saturday time of 6 p.m. and will reopen at the Fourth Avenue entrance at 6:30 p.m. for this event. Parking in the Central Library garage will be available for the $7 weekend rate. 

The authors of the award-winning books and the illustrator of the picture book will receive a $500 honorarium, thanks to generous support of The Seattle Public Library Foundation, Eulalie and Carlo Scandiuzzi, The Elliott Bay Book Co., Third Place Books, and University Book Store. 

This event is presented in partnership with the Elliott Bay Book Co. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Jennifer March Soloway Interview Part Deux

Aaaack! the dreaded red pen. Don't let her smile fool you. Just kiddin'. Jennifer is all smiles - how do I know? Because we Skyped. And, Jennifer is as Jen-uine as they come.

What is Jennifer's Process?

We all like to know what's going to give us an edge with an agent who receives hundreds of submissions. Well, Jennifer has a process to the madness of reading through manuscripts. As we all know, these days, everything is submitted through e-mail. She receives manuscripts via submission and queries. She reads every single day - whether on her computer at her desk, or on her portable device of choice. With this kind of schedule, words can become blurs on the page like those of a Rorschach test. When this happens, Jennifer will give that manuscript a "maybe" and then she'll read it again, which is not unusual for her to read something several times. If she's still not sure, she'll ask for a partial, then a full. If the manuscript is really good, then she's in for the duration. If it's still on the fence, she will consider why and she won't pass on something unless she's sure.

Once she requests a full manuscript, then she'll download it on her iPad and read it like a novel. This is when she'll put on her super editorial hat and go to town, the old fashioned way, via pen and paper. Then she'll type a letter with page number references and send to the author.

If she receives a submission that is not quite ready for representation, she'll provide critical feedback, suggestions for what is needed along with an invitation to resubmit in six months. Whoa! Did I really write that? You can resubmit to Jennifer? Yes sir-ee! Awesome! Also, if Jennifer meets you at a conference or a meeting and you submit to her, she will personalize her letter to you. Hey, better attend the SCBWI meeting on Wednesday October 12th and meet Jennifer. Just sayin' ...

Okay, so you've submitted and now you are crossing of the days on your calendar. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Still, no ping from your email. No ring from your brand new iPhone you bought just because you didn't want to risk missing Jennifer's call on your not so brand new  other phone. Here's the scoop. If you've marked off enough days to equal six weeks, consider it a pass. Now, start crossing of days for six months and resubmit a better, more polished manuscript to either Jennifer or even a different agent at Andrea Brown Literary. However, all this being said, Jennifer suggests you not query your first draft. And maybe not even your third draft. Be readier than ready. More polished than polished. 

Manuscript Consults - Here's the skinny for those attending on
Thursday the 13th:

* Use Jennifer to your advantage. Yes, she actually said this.
* It's okay to 'riff' on story with Jennifer, or
* Ask how to best position your story, or
* Whatever you want to talk about - well, within reason.

Oh, and ladies, it's okay to talk to her in the bathroom. See, is Jennifer 'real' or what! Guys, I got nothin', sorry.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of my interview with Jennifer. I'll share what's on her reading list and who's coming for dinner!


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sugar Says ... 

Here's what you'll get but only if you sign-up:

Jennifer March Soloway Master Class
Preparing for Submission: Pitches and Opening Pages
Streamlining and polishing your novel or picture book manuscript.


When:  October 13, 2016
              3 to 5 p.m.,

Where: Seattle Pacific University,
             Bertona Hall, Room 6 (#65 on the map)


Topics covered:

·       Grabbing an agent’s attention

·       Queries

·       Writing a great pitch

·       Rejections and offers


·       Reviewing a sample first page

·       Hooking the reader by amping the tension

·       Getting the drama moving

 Picture books:

·       Strong opening lines

·       Clever language and surprising twists

 Crafting a pitch to:

·       Hook the reader

·       Tantalize without giving away the plot


·       Tips for revision and tightening prose

Now that you're hooked, here are your next steps if you've already registered for your Passport:

Open your Passport confirmation email, click on the link provided, paste your confirmation number into the SCBWI Western Washington cvent web page and hit “OK." Click the “Modify” button, scroll to the bottom and click “next” where you will find the Additional Opportunities, including the “October 2016 Master Class with Jennifer March Soloway.”

Here are your next steps if you have NOT registered for your Passport and you want to take Jennifer's Master Class:

You need to have a Passport in order to register for Jennifer's Master Class. Remember, our first meeting is Wednesday October 12 from 7-9pm. Don't delay, go to the SCBWI-WWA website using this link to register for your Passport and Jennifer's Master Class:

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday for the beginning of a season filled with awesome writing and illustrating and networking, and fun!


Classes and Workshops for Writers

Lois V. Harris offers Writing for Children: Which Type of Biography is Best for Your Subject?

Where: Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon campus
When:  October 13 and October 20, 2016, 6:30 to 8 PM.

The class will look at five biography categories found in books and magazines for younger readers, middle-graders, and young adult, and you will learn the best approach for your subject. Register for 6093 CENGL 020, $49, online or by calling the college at 360-416-7638.

Kendra Levin, Senior Editor, Viking Children’s Books, is coming to Seattle to do a couple of events for her book, THE HERO IS YOU. It’s a self-help book for writers, drawing on her experiences as an editor and life coach, that aims to help with process.

The first is a workshop 

When:  November 12  from 1-4pm

The second is a shorter (free) workshop and signing

When:  November 13 from 12-2pm.

Check out her full schedule of events at her website:

Happy writing!

Monday, October 3, 2016

"Darn that Greedo! He ran off with my 8 X 10 glossies! But heeeeeere's


Also known to us mortals with feet planted firmly on Earth as Jennifer March Soloway, Associate Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

I had the pleasure of Skyping with Jennifer and it was like chatting with a friend I've known for many years. Conversation was easy, informative, encouraging, and, well, fun!

You might think I wanted to jump right in and pick her brain about submissions, what kind of projects is she looking for to add to her list of clients, and all the usual "oh my gosh I'm talking to an agent" type of questions. But no. For those who know me, I had to ask Jennifer about Sugar. Yes, I love to bake, but this is a different kind of sugar.


Meet Sugar, an English Bulldog. A pup of this stature named Sugar begs the question, "Was she named after the character in Some Like It Hot? But, alas, no. Sugar is a compromise name between her two sons. One wanted to name her Cupcake. The other wanted Toothpaste. So, it only makes sense that Sugar would follow. Is there a cupcake-flavored toothpaste? If not, maybe there should be.

Before I jump head first into the inner workings of Jennifer's agent psyche, I want to share some of her fun facts:

Jennifer is an avid runner. And when I say avid, I don't mean the weekend warrior out to run a 5K. That's chump change for Jennifer who has run the Boston marathon and has qualified to run again in 2017. She runs five days a week to "clear her head." Eeck gatts! My head is getting foggy just thinking about traveling these distances -- on my feet and with some semblance of speed. Hats off to Jen Solo!

But with a running schedule like this she can enjoy her favorite foods, guilt-free. Some of her favorite things are steak, sushi, Greek, Italian, and Thai. I'm getting jet lag just writing this list. Jen also has a "horrible sweet tooth" and she loves ice cream. Wait, no, that's not right. She lu-HUVs ice cream - her all time "great weakness." As if that wasn't a vice enough, she also admits to drinking too much coffee. In particular, a blonde bitter latte. Psst, I'll clue you in on what that is ... a regular latte, no sugar, low fat. And don't even think about treating her to Starbucks. Jennifer is a Peet's kinda gal. As in she loves Peet's almost as much as she loves ice cream. Oh, and beer or wine? Neither. Jennifer prefers good ol' fashioned H2O.

When Jennifer is not running she likes to ride her bike all around the city of San Francisco. There was a time when she taught spinning classes. She loves to engage in races for the camaraderie with a group of like-minded individuals. And when she wants to opt for more wheels, she drives a Mini Cooper.

A super fun-fact is that Jennifer is a retired amateur boxer with a 1-1 record. She even fought a lady who eventually went pro. After boxing for a year, she taught boxing as an aerobics class.

Jennifer had the opportunity to live in Denmark for three months and consequently, loves all things Danish - including Danish and Scandinavian literature and commercial fiction and television. She suggests checking-out the Danish show, The Bridge, on Amazon Prime.

One of Jennifer's previous jobs was working for a toy company. She worked with toy inventors, touring the country listening to their pitches and attending toy inventor workshops. Once she found a toy she liked, she would then pitch the toy to her company, and if they liked the toy, then Jen would negotiate the contract. Eventually, she left the toy industry and went back to school to get her MFA in creative writing. But it's agenting that is her passion.

Stay tuned for more from my interview with Jen Solo. I'll share her thoughts on what she's looking for, what she likes, what her pet peeve is, and who she's inviting for dinner!

Cheers --