Monday, November 12, 2012

Welcome Nutschell!

I'm thrilled to feature an exclusive interview with Nutschell Windsor on my blog today. Nutschell is one of the kindest, most generous bloggers I've had the privilege to meet in this wonderful online community. She has lots of interesting stuff to share with you. First alittle about her:

Nutschell (pronounced new-shell and not nut-shell) is a middle grade/ young adult fantasy writer who
hails from the Philippines and now lives in sunny Los Angeles. When she’s not masquerading as an
accounting clerk, or busy with her SCBWI or CBW-LA duties, she pursues her many curiosities. A Jane-of-all-Trades, Nutschell’s interests include traveling, taking pictures, sketching, playing the guitar and drums, playing basketball, badminton, billiards, and singing in the shower. She also practices the Filipino Martial Art of Escrima, and bakes yummy marshmallow cloud cookies.

Nutschell haunts twitter@nutschell and blogs at

You started a writing group, CBWLA. Can you tell us something about that and
what do the letters stand for?

CBWLA stands for Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles. We aim to provide
education and inspiration for published writers and writers on the road to publication.
On my website, I have a tab that tells the story of how CBW-LA got started, and gives a
links to our meetup summaries. I’ll share a few excerpts here:

In June of 2010 (partly because I was missing our SCBWI Westside Schmooze and
partly because I wanted to join a writing group close to home), I went on
and looked for writing groups near where I lived. I found a couple of groups that seemed
interesting and helpful, but I wanted something more focused on writing for children.
Toni Morrison said: “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written
yet, then you must write it.” I thought the same idea would apply to a writing group.
Since I couldn’t find writing groups for children’s books writers close to home, I decided
to organize one, and the Torrance Children’s Books Writing Group was born.
Now we’re known as the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles, and are officially a
nonprofit group.

Writing is a solitary affair, and sometimes our doubts and fears get to us. Being part of
a writing group, means we have people to reach out to for support and guidance—other
writers who understand exactly what we’re going through, and who can give us the help
we need.

Writing groups can help us improve our writing skills through creative writing sessions,
give us important feedback for our manuscripts through critiques, and expand our
knowledge of the craft through various writing workshops and conferences.
Networking is also a big benefit of belonging to a writing group. We can make new
friends who might eventually become wonderful critique partners or writing buddies. And
writer friends are valuable. They brainstorm story ideas with us, help us iron out plot
problems, share information about upcoming writing events or contests we might enter,
even give tips about which agent to query. More importantly, they give us that extra
push and encouragement we often need to keep us focused on our writing dreams.
Being part of a writing group means we won’t have to trek the long and sometimes
lonely road to publication alone.

What things should a writer look for when searching for a group to be part of?

Location is one thing to consider. Having a writing group close to home will encourage
us to attend sessions often.

We should also make sure that the writing group we choose is the perfect fit for our
needs. Looking up a list of the group’s past or upcoming events gives us clues as to the
kind of services they provide. Do they facilitate social events that help us network with
other writers? Do they provide workshops, conferences, or classes and other mentoring
opportunities? Do they have critique sessions so we can get some feedback for our

Attending a session or two also helps us get a feel for the writing group. We have to
make sure we’re comfortable not only with the group’s organizational format, but also
with fellow members.

How about some quick facts about you:
What do you write?

Middle Grade and Young Adult Fantasy.

Morning/night/or anytime writer?


Favorite baked good?


Holiday movie favorite?

Miracle on 34th Street.

First book you owned?

I remember reading a lot of Little Golden Books when I was younger. My first ever
favorite book was Richard Scarry’s book of 365 poems.

Where you buy your reading material?

Everywhere I can buy books—whether it’s online or in store. I also like to support local
indie bookstores whenever I can.

A magazine you subscribe to?

I subscribe to Writer’s Digest and The Writer. SCBWI also has a quarterly magazine
free for members.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Susan! I enjoyed the interview a lot.

Thanks so much for sharing some professional advice and some personal fun facts with us, Nutschell.
Please remember to check out Nutschell's site and say hello.


  1. So glad to have you here, Nutschell. I so admire what you've done with startig a writing group. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Nice posting! Also a great list of Facts. I also thought that it was "Nut"shell too so I learn something new everyday! :)

  3. Great interview, ladies!

    You have so many unique and varied interests, Nutschell. And I love that you started your own writing group. Terrific!

  4. That's cool you decided to start your own group. You've posted photos and it looks quite large now.

  5. Wow you're busy! What a great idea to check for local writer's groups, and wonderful that you've started your own.

  6. i always admire when people just go ahead and start something--sounds like a great group :)

  7. Great post. A local group would be good, but a group in sunny California sounds better.


  8. Hi Susan - Happy Birthday ... and I couldn't agree more about Nutschell being the most amazingly helpful person out - and boy is she thorough - love the way she's put herself out to create help all round for new and aspiring authors ..

    Cheers to you both - Hilary

  9. HI, Susan...

    Happy Birthday! I hope you have something super fun planned!

    Nutshell... What a inspiring writing group. I think this is an amazing venture and your success is quite clear.

    I agree that writing groups are so important, but with so many of us across the globe, to find the time to actually gather a group is almost impossible. That is why your accomplishment is so incredible.

  10. Starting your own writing group is a big deal, but if you can't find on that's local, it's a great idea.

  11. thank you for this post! I am always learning...never even thought of these things...

  12. I always wanted to know more about Nutschell, mostly because the avatar she chose is so intriguing. Now I know more and shall have to remember to bring cookies should we ever meet.

  13. Thanks for Birthday wishes.
    Isn't Nutschell amazing.

  14. Hey Susan! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Oh this was such a nice surprise. I thought I'd be on here tomorrow, as I wanted you to have a wonderful, stress/blog-free birthday. Now I feel like it's my birthday. haha. Thanks for having me on here! And go enjoy your birthday! Have a nice slice of cake for us. :D

  15. @Gossip_girl - I'm used to people calling me nut-shell. :D My name's a conversation starter, for sure.

    @Ava-Quinn - thanks! I am a Jane of all trades, master of some. haha.

    @Alex- Thanks! WE have about 266 members now. Crazy! I never dreamed we'd get that big.

    @Lynn Proctor - thanks, Lynn. It's hard work, but i get huge rewards.

    @Mood - sunny California is the perfect place for a writing group. ALthough today, it feels more like chilly California.

    @Hilary--awww..Thanks! Writing is a journey best traveled with friends. I enjoy helping out when I can!

    @Michael de Gesu - Thank you! I guess it is an accomplishment--it's hard to find time for my own writing but I still feel that forming this group is such a great reward on its own.

    @L. Diane Wolfe - I think having a writing group close to where you live is important--writing groups help you stay on track with your writing goals.

    @Annmarie - Thanks! I'm an eternal student myself, always learning something new every day.

    @Michael Offutt - Thanks! I loved creating my avatar (i used inkscape, in case you're wondering). And yes, I will expect those cookies next time i see you!

  16. How wonder to learn a little more about Nutschell!! I also love Miracle on 34th Street. One of my favourites.

  17. Great interview, ladies! I'm a morning writer, too.

  18. It was fun to learn more about Nutschell - for example, I learned I've been pronouncing her name wrong all this time!

  19. Very interesting. I've been in several writing groups, but not ones that held conferences or socials, etc. Will keep that in mind.

  20. Oh my gosh, I've been pronoucing your name wrong! Now I know better. :) Great interview, though. Now I know a little bit more about you. And Susan is right. You are one of the most generous and kind bloggers I've ever 'met' :)

  21. Great interview, Nutschell! That's a great writing group you have there.

  22. Ambitious starting your own group. Good for you! Yikes, I've been pronouncing Nutshell wrong all this time. *bows head*