You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

NPR archives short interviews with kid lit litererati like Mo Willems, Jeff Kinney, and Jon Scieszka.  

Jarrett J. Krosoczka stars in a gripping tale of the picture book making process.


One more thing that’s not directly related to writing, unless you’re like me and you like to listen to music while you write but get distracted with selecting the right songs for the mood.  Pandora is awesome.  You type in bands or songs you like and it will create a steady ad-free “station” of music with similar characteristics.  Great for setting mood and tempo for background music, AND for discovering new music.  Did I mention it was free?

Writer’s Digest featured a list of Seattle Literary Hot Spots.  They included 3 coffee shops conducive to writing- in Capitol Hill.  What about the rest of the city, hmmm?  Extra points for anything open after 10.

If it’s ambiance you crave, how about penning your prose in Hogwarts the Suzzalo Library Reading Room at UW?


Quite a contrast from our downtown library.

Sara O’Leary (who wrote the endearing picture book When You Were Small) writes about Amy Krouse Rosenthal (who wrote the awesome Little Pea) and her Amelie-like amusements.  Nice.

Slayground has a very impressive archive of author interviews.  

2008 KidLit Bloggers Conference!  September 27th in Portland.  Yay!

I just registered for the 37th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A.  Woohoo!

I am bewildered why The Puzzling World of Winston Breen has not been getting more buzz.  It’s a clever middle grade mystery full of suspense, great suspense, plot twists and actual puzzles.  I was hooked.  The website can be found here.

Ooooh.  Boys Blogging Books.  More posts, boys!

Bookslut has a bit about more books with kids solving mysteries.

It’s a year old, but it’s still relevant.  Cheryl Klein lists the Principles of Line Editing.  You’ve probably seen it, but just in case, her website Talking Books has oodles of helpful info.

Not so secret Super Agent Nathan Bransford is having a dialogue contest that ends tomorrow with PRIZES.


Looking for some visual stimluation?  I stumbled across some photo sets on Flickr that use mini toys and perspective to skew reality.  Excellent.

Fuse #8 reminded me of another awesome photo series

 by Jan Von Holleben.  I love these. 










Through the Tollbooth is racking up the posts lately, and there is good stuff.  This week has a series of posts on setting time in novels (like this one), as well as interviews with Linda Urban and Micol Ostow.  


Speaking of Linda Urban, there is another interview in the the new edition of The Edge of the Forest.  


Laini Taylor has set a very high bar for school visits.

I’m off to pack cds from the conference (Fear not!  Your audio files are coming soon!) before becoming inspired by our most recent local success stories at Inside Story.  If you can tear yourself away from the sunshine, I will see you there.



One writer’s quest for representation.  A pro-active search for a literary agent with a happy ending.

Audrey, Wait! by Robin BenwayThis week I read the debut YA novel Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway.  This book has been getting so much buzz.  It’s got a fabulous hook (Girl breaks up with boy. Boy writes hit song about break up.  Girl inadvertently famous), but then the story goes on to have a great voice with fleshed out characters, laughs, suspense, and a satisfying ending.  It was really well done and I didn’t want to put it down.  I can’t imagine the zeal 16 year old me would have for such a tale.  

An interview with Robin can be found here.




Would you like to go to the 2008 SCBWI Summer Conference this August in L.A., but you just don’t have an extra $1000 under the couch cushions that will get you there?!?  Fear not!  Fairy Godsisters Ink would like to pay your way.  They have created a SCBWI Summer Conference Grant.  All you have to do is right a 250 word essay on what you would gain at the conference and email it to them.  Details are here.  What an awesome way to spread good writer karma.


Just so it’s not all about SCBWI (again!), here is a summer reading list from the Horn Book.  


AND some good pointers on writing a synopsis.


Type in a title and this handy tool will help you with word count, grade level etc.

and then I’ll shut up about it.  It was really great.  Elizabeth Bird from the beloved blog Fuse #8 has a rather eloquent review of all three days.  I had the good fortune to introduce Betsy for one of her break out sessions, which was inspiring and informative.  AND she hosts a mean Kidlit Drink Night.  It ended a little early with all the jet lag for the New Yorkers and the meeting at the conference center at 6 a.m. for the Advisory Committee- but it was still good fun.

If you’re interested in SCBWI Western Washington our next professional series gets underway in September.  Until then, look for conference pictures, updates, discussions, etc. on the SCBWI Facebook page, and don’t forget the Inside Story celebration May 18 from 4-6 at University Bookstore.

 By the way, I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules tonight on Betsy’s recommendation.  It was awesome.  I think it was even funnier than the first book.  If I was 10 again I would cherish these books with the same passion I had for Bunnicula and The Goonies. Jeff Kinney is a hoot.



I am not an illustrator.  I am a doodler and I doodle a lot in my notebook when I’m writing.  If YOU are an illustrator you might find it helpful to see what Keri Smith says about how to start as an illustrator, OR what Cheryl Klein (of Arthur A. Levine Books) says you should have in your portfolio.

There are all kinds of illustration, and kid lit needs all kinds of illustrators.  There are a lot of groovy illustrators that went to art school and do an amazing job.  The pros always tell you that it’s crucial that you go to art school.  I’m sure it helps, but if any formal training at all was required than two of the biggest names in kid lit illustration- Mark Teague and Mo Willems would be names you didn’t associate with dinosaurs and pigeons and the world would be a little grayer. 

I write stories for kids while volunteering as the Assistant Regional Advisor and Conference Coordinator for the western Washington chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

I live in Seattle with my family and a small zoo of animals. I drink copious amounts of coffee and assign complicated life stories to passing strangers. I'm currently working on a middle grade novel.

There's a wee bit more on my website. You can also follow me on twitter.


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