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What writers write when they 1) aren't writing, 2) are avoiding writing or 3) need a word count to convince their spouses they are writing.

Origami n' Stuff 4 Kids

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Writers on Writing: Ian McEwan on Finding Confidence

A revealing interview by author Ian McEwan (Atonement):
“I don't feel confident at all. No I don't. Sometimes I pick up some work I finished fifteen years ago and think, am I as good as that now? Could I do that again? No, I think you'll find most writers are not confident they can just turn out books...There's a great difference between that all that public world of prizes and interviews and public readings and the private world of the closed door, and the hiss of silence--and here we are again, and what can you make come out of this of silence. And you can't relax about it, you can't be certain that you can do it again."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

SWARMING DADDY LONGLEGS! The explanation behind the creepy phenomenon

So, fellow nerds, what's with this video circulating on Facebook and Youtube?

First of all, these are not spiders. They are harvestmen or daddy-longlegs. For those of you who remember the ol' mnemonic device for taxonomy, King Philip Can Order Fresh Green Salad (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species), these critters, like spiders, scorpions and ticks, are in the class Arachnida. However, harvestmen belong to their own order, Opiliones.

So what's the difference?
  1. Harvestmen have a single cephalothorax and a single pair of eyes. True spiders have a narrow "waist" that creates two segments, the cephalothorax and abdomen.
  2. Harvestmen have a single pair of eyes. True spiders most commonly have eight eyes, however they can have no eyes, or as many as 12 eyes.
  3. Harvestmen are nonvenomous.
  4. Harvestmen have no spinnerets, so they do not spin webs.
  5. Harvestmen are older than spiders--the oldest fossil, from Scotland, is at least 400 million years old. True spiders are about 300 million years old.
  6. Harvestmen are omnivores--they eat dead stuff, bird droppings, fungus and small arthropods and slugs.
Finally, the question every one is asking. WHY DO THEY DO THIS? They mass for defensive purposes, and to keep themselves warm. Harvestmen possess a pair of stinky glands called ozopores; when they mass, the combined smell can be quite disturbing. Swarming also makes them appear larger. When disturbed, the entire throng will sometimes bob and sway--a truly unsettling effect.

Learn more about harvestmen/daddy long legs:

Friday, June 19, 2015


Video step-by-step directions for folding patterns from my new book, "Easy Butterfly Origami" featuring 30 bold full-color patterns designed to accurately portray the dorsal and ventral sides of some of the most beautiful butterflies from around the world!

Fun facts about behavior and distribution accompany each butterfly model!

From the vivid green Cairns Birdwing to the striped Tiger Swallowtail and the Blood Red Glider, these beautiful butterflies feature a kaleidoscopic array of colors and patterns. Includes simple instructions for folding, and perforated pages for easy removal.

Many butterflies have iridescent patterns on the top, and drab undersides for camouflage while they rest with their wings folded up. The origami patterns in this book are specially designed to highlight the diversity of species--when folded, the models accurately portray the variation in the insects' top and bottom views.

Each butterfly model is accompanied by fun facts about behavior and distribution. For example, did you know that the Mountain Alcon Blue butterfly tricks ants into feeding and protecting its caterpillars? Other caterpillars, like the Moth Butterfly, are carnivorous and feed on ant larvae and pupae.
List of butterflies included in the book:
  1. Apollo
  2. Black Swallowtail
  3. Blood Red Glider
  4. Blue Morpho
  5. Boulder Copper
  6. Cairns Birdwing
  7. Chestnut Tiger
  8. Claudina
  9. Cleopatra
  10. Colorado Hairstreak
  11. Common Buckeye
  12. Dead Leaf
  13. Emperor of India
  14. Malachite
  15. Malaysian Clipper
  16. Mocker Swallowtail
  17. Monarch
  18. Moth Butterfly
  19. Mountain Alcon Blue
  20. Noble Leafwing
  21. Painted Beauty
  22. Painted Lady
  23. Pansy Daggerwing
  24. Peacock
  25. Purple Spotted Swallowtail
  26. Queen Purple Tip
  27. Red Flasher
  28. Shining Red Charaxes
  29. Tentyris Forester
  30. Tiger Swallowtail
You can order your copy at:

More information:

Monday, June 15, 2015

SCBWI Authors at the 68th Annual Friends of the Library Book Sale

The 68th Annual Friends of the Library Book Sale starts this weekend on Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21 at McKinley High School! Authors and illustrators from SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) will be selling and signing their brand new children's books and art work in the blue tent in front of the the cafeteria. A portion of sales will be going to support Friends of the Library of Hawaii.

The FLH Book Sale is an island tradition that attracts over 20,000 readers of all ages and backgrounds and features bargains and a selection of titles to rival any bookstore. Stock up on your summer reading, or just stop by to say hello!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Free Discussion on Writing Children's Books (SCBWI Hawaii)

Saturday, May 16, 2015, 2:00-4:00pm
So You Want To Write A Children's Book?
At the Hawaii State Library, 478 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813

Are you working on a picture book, an early chapter book fiction, middle grade fiction, young adult fiction, poetry or non-fiction? Join us for a free discussion for beginners on what you should know about writing and illustrating for children. Hear how voice, language and content are affected by stages of childhood development and learn about various categories of children's books, so you can develop a sense of who your target audience.

Presented by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), featuring Leslie Hayashi, Sue Cowing, Kirsten Carlson, Nancy Reynolds and Tammy Yee.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Interested in Writing and Illustrating Children's Books?

Registration is now open for the 
SCBWI-HAWAII (Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators) 

MARCH 6-7 

This year's annual craft workshop and conference will feature three special guests: authors Susan Fletcher and Sarah Ellis, and Associate Editor Kat Brzozowski. The optional craft workshop, led by Susan and Sarah, will help you hone your skills in plotting. The full-day conference will feature breakout sessions by Susan, Sarah and Kat, first-page critiques, optional manuscript and portfolio critiques by professionals, and ample networking opportunities. Space is limited, so sign up now!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Book Signing!

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Native Books in Ward Warehouse
1050 Ala Moana Boulevard

Spinning a Tale as Old as Time: Writer’s Workshop with Tracy Barrett

Date(s) - 01/10/2015
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Aina Haina Public Library
5246 Kalanianaole Hwy - Honolulu, Hawaii 96821

Non-Members $50; SCBWI Members $25
Advance registration required.
Limited Seating.

Interested in writing nonfiction or historical fiction for children and young adults? Tracy Barrett, an award-winning author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers, will be holding a writer's workshop on January 10, 2015 at the Aina Haina Public Library. The workshop will be a combination of lecture/presentation and participant involvement.

Tracy holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She taught at Vanderbilt University for twenty-eight years. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works.

A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her award-winning young-adult novel, Anna of Byzantium(Delacorte). Her most recent publications are Dark of the Moon (Harcourt) a YA retelling of the myth of the minotaur, King of Ithaka, a YA novel based on Homer's Odyssey; the popular middle-grade series The Sherlock Files (both Henry Holt) and The Stepsister’s Tale (Harlequin Teen, 2014) which received starred reviews from both Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus and was a PW Book of the Week.

Read more about Tracy Barrett at her website:

Registration and information:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Aspiring Keiki Artists at Our Lady of Good Counsel

Mahalo to the keiki at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pearl City! It was fun sharing my books and art with eager students. And special thanks to all the aspiring artists who drew pictures from my books!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lee & Low's New Voices Award Contest

Lee & Low's New Voices Award writing contest is now open for submissions! The deadline is September 30, 2014, so get those manuscripts in ASAP. The New Voices Award is one way to help new authors of color break into publishing.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Family Book Night Interview

Interview on Family Book Night Blog:

An Interview with Tammy Yee

Tammy Yee is the author/illustrator of more than 24 children's books set in the Hawaiian Islands. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview Tammy about her projects and what she enjoys most about being an author and illustrator. You can read more about Tammy and her many projects at

You've written and illustrated a number of books. Do you have a preference for either writing or illustrating?

I love both writing and illustrating. I tend to be very visual as I create--a book develops like a movie or a storyboard in my mind, with different parts of my brain toggling on and off. As a writer, I begin with a blank canvas that I must fill with interesting characters and a fresh, compelling story. As an illustrator, I'm given a story and I must create a visual world that doesn't merely interpret, but adds to that story. Because writing is more intellectually and creatively challenging, it can be tempestuous. Because illustrating (32 pages of art) is more physically challenging, it can be arduous. Both are just as gratifying.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Is This Where Puget Sound Starts?

Video featuring my dear friend, fisheries biologist and author Ron Hirschi. We've worked on a number of projects together (Including "Swimming with Humuhumu" and work for the Trust for Public Land in Puget Sound), and I have never met a more genuine, dedicated, and tireless conservationist. We're always scheming together. The sketch in the beginning of the video is something he and I are working on. 

Visit Ron's website for more information about his books, school visits and stream conservation projects. You can also learn about Puget Sound ecosystems and download coloring pages!

Looking forward to creating more sketches for his next project. Mahalo, Ron!

Is This Where Puget Sound Starts? from John F. Williams on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Read To Me International’s The Write On! Writers’ Conference

Australia’s best-selling children’s book author and literacy advocate Mem Fox will open Read To Me International’s The Write On! Writers’ Conference with an interactive presentation covering today’s most interesting and important literacy and writing topics. Her engaging half-day session will cover reading to children using the highest standards, identifying what makes a good story for young children, how teachers can inspire writing in children at any age, and tips on what not to do when teaching writing.

Renown Hawaii children’s book author and illustrator Tammy Yee is the featured conference luncheon speaker. Her more than 24 books, which reflects the beauty and aloha of Hawaii, include the Tsunami Quilt, A Is For Aloha, Lullaby Moon, and Baby Honu’s Incredible Journey

Thursday, June 5, 2014, at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i

Pre-registration is required to attend. Attendance is limited to 200 participants. Download the registration form online: 

Children's Literature Hawaii Biennial Conference

Children's Literature Hawaii will be holding their Seventeenth Biennial Conference "Beyond the Moon: Journeys Imaginary and Real" on June 5-7, 2014 at Chaminade University. Special guests include Kathi Appelt and Grace Lin. 

For more information, visit and

Thursday, March 6, 2014


This writing competition is open to all writers in the fields of Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry.

Cash awards will be presented in the following categories:
            First Place                               $125
            Second Place                           $100
            Third Place                              $75
            Honorable Mention                  $25

You may submit one entry only in each category.

Entries should not have been previously published.
Authors retain all rights and may submit their entries elsewhere.

Maximum Length:

  • Fiction and Nonfiction: 8 pages, double-spaced, using standard 12-point font
  • Poetry: 40 lines, single-spaced, using standard 12-point font

Place the title and page number ONLY on each document page. Do NOT include your name, as judges will receive unmarked entries.

Submit a separate cover page for each entry with:

  • Full title of entry
  • Author’s full name (no pen names)
  • Mailing address, phone number, and email address.

EMAIL ENTRIES to the 2014 Lorin Tarr Gill Chair Susan Killeen:

Entry fee: $10 for each entry (Since only one entry is allowed per category, the maximum fee would be $30 for one entry in Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry.)

MAIL CHECKS for entry fees, payable to "NLAPW-Honolulu" to:
Susan Killeen
1570 Bertram St.
Honolulu, HI 96816
DEADLINE: March 31, 2014

Winners will be notified in advance.

Awards will be presented at the May 5th, 2014 Honolulu Pen Women meeting at the Pacific Club, 1451 Queen Emma Street, Honolulu 96813.

Presented by

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