Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 21, 2014

The Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize – No Fee


DEADLINE: 10-31-2014.


Black Balloon Publishing will accept submissions for the 2014 annual Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize between October 1st and October 31st, 2014. The winning author receives $5,000 and a Black Balloon book deal.* There is no reading fee.


Black Balloon Publishing invites entries of finished, unpublished and original fiction manuscripts of over 50K words to The Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize. The winning author receives a $5,000 cash prize and a book publishing deal with the company.Submit only unpublished fiction manuscripts (50,000 words and up) written in English. Short stories, previously published as collections, are still eligible. The initial entry process requires you to submit a partial manuscript of under 4,000 words.Black Balloon Publishing is a well-known author-friendly indie press based in New York, NY. The company publishes crossed genres of creative fiction, narrative, and nonfiction that showcase experimental forms of strong storytelling.

Black Balloon will announce a winner on Monday, February 2, 2015.**

Submission Guidelines:

  • Fiction manuscripts only, please (novels or short story collections)
  • Manuscripts must be complete, unpublished and original. Prior print or digital publication of individual stories from an unpublished collection is acceptable; please ensure your submission acknowledges all outlets in which individual stories have been previously published (if a work is discovered to have been posted or published elsewhere—and not openly acknowledged by the author in advance—we will remove the manuscript from consideration).
  • Self-published novels and story collections are ineligible, including work that has been published digitally.
  • Manuscripts must be over 50,000 words in length
  • International English-language submissions are welcome
  • Submissions must be received between October 1st and October 31st, 2014

DEADLINE: October 31, 2014

Use the link below to submit (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 20, 2014

Polis Books Actively Seeking Submissions


Polis Books is an independent digital publishing company actively seeking new and established authors for our growing list. We are currently acquiring titles in the following genres. Submissions in the following genres should be to

We are currently acquiring:

• Mystery

• Thriller

• Suspense

• Procedural

• Traditional crime (i.e. ‘cozies’)

• Science Fiction

• Fantasy

• Horror

• Supernatural

• Urban Fantasy

• Romance

• Erotica

• Commercial Women’s Fiction

• New Adult

• Young Adult

• Humor/Essays

We are not currently acquiring:

• Children’s Picture books

• Graphic novels

• Short stories or stand-alone novellas

• Religion

Submission Requirements:

• Query Letter

• Three Sample Chapters

• Author Biography (include information about personal blogs, Twitter handle, or other social media outlets you feel we should be aware of)

Query letter and sample chapters should be emailed as attachments (not in body of email) to:

They will reply requesting more information on a submission-by-submission basis. 

They give a small advance and 40% royalties.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 19, 2014

New Writing Video Series by Lauren Oliver – Free

need writing advice


free video series


Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 18, 2014

Illustrator Saturday – David Harrington

Harrington, DavidDavid Harrington’s affinity for art began at an early age, when he enthusiastically drew on floors, walls, furniture, and other inanimate objects. A native of southern California, Harrington pursued a career in illustration by enrolling in the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he earned a BFA with honors. As a student, his favorite classes were figure drawing and painting. 

In his professional career, Harrington has illustrated numerous children’s books. He believes that they open a door to a new world, and he admits that he studied books for hours on end as a child. In addition to children’s illustrations, Harrington creates advertising images for toys, games, food packaging, educational materials, medical equipment, and various other products. 

Bold lines, sharp contrast, and vibrant colors render Harrington’s images stunning and memorable. He portrays real emotions such as fun and excitement through playful and accentuated cartoon images. The clarity of detail that Harrington gives to the page can bring a child’s imagination to life. He is the recipient of a WWA Spur Awards Storyteller Award for his illustrations in Pecos Bill Invents the Ten-Gallon Hat. David lives with his wife and children in Laguna Hills, California.

Here is David sharing his process:

This illustration is from a book I’m currently working on where some bandits steal all the ice cream in town during the middle of summer!

Whistling Willie illus 1


First, very rough, fast sketches trying to capture the energy, mood, emotion etc. Once I have a rough sketch I like then I keep tracing it and making revisions until I get to the final sketch.

Whistling Willie illus 2

I put the final sketch on a medium value, textured background. I keep it on a separate layer so it can be removed later.

Whistling Willie illus 3

Starting with the face, I put down a thin, base skin tone letting the background texture show through. Then I start building up the dark tones adding just a little red color to the nose and cheeks and a few high lights.

Whistling Willie illus 4

I keep building up the darks and start introducing some blues, purples and greens into the shadows.

Whistling Willie illus 5

When I have the colors and values of the face where I want them, I’ll start on the rest of the figure working from light to dark.

Whistling Willie illus 6

For the ice cream, I put down a medium tone trying to let the background texture show through. I then added a lighter color to one side and hit the other side with a faint shadow.

Whistling Willie illus 7

Lastly, I added the background, leaving some of the original texture untouched. I removed the sketch and then I add fine line detail.


Spaghetti Smiles by Margo Sorenson – published by Pelican Publishing Press (September 15, 2014). How many books have you illustrated for Pelican Publishing?

Spaghetti Smiles was just released and that was the fifth book I’ve illustrated for Pelican Publishing and I’m working on another right now.


How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating professionally for about 25 years.


How did you decide to attended At Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA to study fine art?

During high school I took some Saturday classes at Art Center and fell in love with the school.


You say in your bio that figure drawing and painting were your favorite classes? Is that still a favorite thing for you to illustrate?

Absolutely, anytime there are figures in an illustration, whether they are stylized or realistic, it’s always fun and they bring life to the piece.


What was the first art related work that you were paid?

I painted store windows at Christmas time when I was a teen.


Did the School help you get work?

Yes they did, I got some work doing movie poster concept sketches for Warner Brothers right after graduation.


Do you feel the classes you took in college have influenced you style?

I don’t know, my style has been changing over the years.


What type of work did you do right after you graduated?

About six months after graduating I took a full time job as an art director/illustrator at a small company doing mostly sports art.


How did you make the decision to jump into freelance work?

I had been trying to make the transition to freelance by working at night but then when I got laid off unexpectedly from my full time job, I decided that -Now is the time.


When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I did a lot of soft drink advertising work for a good client and he asked me if I could illustrate a Children’s book, so I gave it a shot- and loved it!


When and what was the first children’s book that you illustrated?

It was called Gabby, about a little girl and a science fair project that went wrong resulting in a giant bubble-gum monster.


Do you consider that book to be your first big success?

No, but it opened my eyes to how much fun Children’s book are to illustrate. I love creating characters.


Do you have an agent or artist rep.?

No, I don’t have a representative but am not opposed to one either.


Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own picture book?

Yes I have written some books and hope to be an Author/illustrator someday.


Are you the same David Harrington who does fantasy art?

No that is another David Harrington, although I have done some fantasy art over the years.


How did you get the contract to illustrate, Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book at Sky Pony Press?

I don’t remember how I got that contract, but I remember it was two books.


How long did you have to illustrate each one?

The whole process from sketches to final illustration takes about four to five months.


Would you be willing to work with an author who wants to self-publisher their picture book?

Yes I would if I like the story.


What illustrating contract do feel really pushed you down the road to a successful career?

I did about a dozen Book covers for Pee Wee Scouts from Random House and that led to more work.


When is the title of the pirate book that you are working on and when is it coming out? Is that your next book that will hit the book shelves?

It’s a cowboy book titled Whistling Willie and should be released in the Spring of 2015.


Have you done illustrations for any children’s magazines?

Yes, mostly Club House magazine.


What materials do you use to paint your color illustrations?

Well it started with acrylic paint and pencils and over the years has transitioned to a Mac computer, graphic tablet and Photoshop.


What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

Once or twice a year I send out promotional post cards to publishers. But word of mouth is how I get most of my work.

lady in red

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

My Mac!


Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I try to find time to experiment and learn new techniques or try different media. I love oil painting and sculpting!


Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Yes I do a lot of on-line research and look for inspiration.


Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, it has changed everything about this business, from research to communication to the way finished projects are delivered.


Do you use Photoshop, Illustrator, or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

Yes, Photoshop and sometimes Illustrator. I have tried painter and that’s a good program too.


Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, Wacom Cintiq, it’s amazing!


When did you start using the computer to paint your illustrations?

That was a very slow transition, about 15 years ago I would just add the final details to an illustration in Photoshop. Then at some point I would finish a painting half way and then complete it with the computer using a mouse. Now, all or almost all of the art is created using a Graphic Tablet.


What are you working on now?

Right now I’m jugging about 12 different illustration jobs including Whistling Willie from Pelican Publishing.


Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

My favorite is Winsor & Newton oils on canvas, from Art Supply Warehouse in Westminster, CA


Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Yes, I would like to illustrate the stories I’ve written.


Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

You must be persistent, never give up and always strive to improve.


Thank you David for sharing your journey and process with us. Please let us know when your new picture book comes out , in addition to all your future successes. We’d love to see them and hear about them, so we can cheer you on. You can visit Daivd at:

If you have a moment I am sure David would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if I don’t always have time to reply. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 17, 2014

Free Fall Friday – Heads Up

The Paper Lantern Lit people at The Studio have given us the opportunity to get a free sample of four teen novels about friendship, adventure, and the devastating consequences of falling in love. I’ve already downloaded my free copy. Don’t miss out – Links below:

samplebooksAmazon Link – for Kindle users

Barnes and Noble – for Nook users


The four winning first pages will be sent to Liza Fleissig this month for her critique. PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO HAVE YOUR CRITIQUE POSTED.

Here are the guidelines for submitting a First Page in October: In the subject line, please write “October First Page Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Plus attach your first page Word doc. to email. Format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Guidelines must be followed. Four first page will be critiqued and the results posted.

DEADLINE: October 24th.

RESULTS: October 31st.

Talk tomorrow,



Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 16, 2014

The Laura Dail Literary Agency, Inc

The Laura Dail Literary Agency, Inc

Incorporated in 1996, represents commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction. They are located in NYC.

They represent: Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult, Fiction, Non-fiction, Historical, Romance, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Screenplays, and Poetry.

Two authors they represent that we all should know: Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Mass and Whatever After – Sarah Mlynowski, plus too many others to list here.

Laura Dail


Laura Dail graduated from Duke University and received her Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has served on the board of the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR) and currently chairs the AAR Royalties Committee.

Over the years, the agency has represented just about every kind of book. We’ve sold hundreds of books and represented dozens of bestsellers. Laura’s now especially interested in historical and high-concept fiction, funny YA, humor, and serious non-fiction. She’s interested in totally escapist entertainment or important books about the things from which we’re trying to escape.

Laura also edited a gift book about adoption called TRULY YOURS.

None of us handles children’s picture books. No new age. We do not handle screenplays or poetry. We do not consider unsolicited Spanish-language material.

Tamar Rydzinski

TRTamar Rydzinski worked at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates prior to joining the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She graduated from Yeshiva University in 2003 with a major in literature and a minor in business.

Tamar is not interested in prescriptive or practical non-fiction, humor, coffee table books, or children’s books (meaning anything younger than middle grade). She is interested in everything else that is well-written and has great characters, including graphic novels. A fantastic query letter is essential – “you need to make me want to read your book, and be excited to read it,” she says, “with those first couple of paragraphs.”

Follow her on twitter @trydzinski

Tamra wants some really great series. Here are my top two:

  1. YA and/or MG fantasy. I want my fantasy to be epic. And while trilogies are great, I’d be even more excited by fantasy set in a world that can handle six, seven, or even more books.
  2. A YA and/or MG thriller series — a kid who has a plausible reason to be involved with crimes (parent in the FBI? Parent a Medical Examiner? He or she regularly hacks into the police computers?) and solves interesting cases. I want this series to be really smart, with twists and turns I don’t see coming.

As with everything I take on, I’m looking for a strong protagonist and a fabulous cast of supporting characters.

If this sounds like your manuscript, please send it my way!

Tamar’s Wish List:

I will tell you what I am ALWAYS looking for. I need strong, feisty,
smart female characters. I like protagonists who know their worth.

Relationships in which the members respect each other, whether they are
romantic or platonic relationships.

In women’s fiction, I want my heart to be pulled out of my chest, thrown
around for a bit, then put back whole and happy.

In fantasy, make sure your world is unique, interesting, and well
thought out. I want to be able to imagine living there.

In nonfiction, I am generally obsessed with medical breakthroughs. Like,
I love reading about a new drug that helps fight ___.


Please send a query letter — or email — telling us about your book and convincing us that we want to read more. If you would like, you may include a synopsis and no more than 10 pages. If you are mailing your query, please be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope; without it, you may not hear back from us.

To save money, time and trees, we prefer queries by email. Please send your query or proposal to:

We get a lot of spam and are wary of computer viruses, so please use the word “query” in the subject line and include your detailed materials in the body of your message, not as an attachment.

350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2003
New York, New York  10001
Tel:  212-239-7477

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 15, 2014

Let’s Talk Point of View

rivet your readersI added Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View to my writing library and want to recommend that you check it out. The information is good and the price is right – $3.99 on Kindle and $5.39 in paperback. You can take a look at Jill’s romantic suspense novels by clicking this link to her website.

Below are just a few things that Jill explains in her book. She gets more in depth during the book.

In fiction writing, the position from which anything is considered in any given scene should be the character through whose head we are viewing events. That character’s psyche – his or her very soul – is the standpoint from which everything else in the scene is presented and evaluated. This particular character is the point-of-view character or POVC.

In order to remain firmly inside the POVC’s head, nothing in a scene can be presented for reader consideration that is outside that character’s awareness.

First Person:

Requires that nothing can be heard, seen, or experienced except through the senses of the character relating the story. However, a first-person narrative does allow for the viewpoint character to skip ahead in the sequence of events, and make a comment like, “If I had known…”, but you should weigh the moment and decide if the segue into telling is worth the loss of immediacy.

You may ask, “Isn’t first person automatically deep POV? No. It is possible to write “Shallow” and “telling” first person.

Second Person:

This viewpoint character is “you”. It is a problematic and difficult POV. Reader want to identify with the characters in a novel; they don’t necessarily want the writer to point the finger at them as the “you” character. Usually is an awkward presentation. Though writer will use this when describing a step-by-step “How to book”.

Third Person, Single POV:

Reqguires the author to remain inside one character throughout the story (much like first person). This creates an excellent opportunity for reader to identify with the main character. A drawback is the limitation in what can be shown. Events that happen outside the POVC’s experience must either be told to him by another character or discovered by that character in another way.

Third Person, Multiple POV:

Using this method, the writer puts the reader into the heads of more than one character during the course of the story. Romances do a lot of this by telling the story through the POV of the male and females protagonist. A scene with multiple POS’s is hard to pull off, unless you are a season writer. Head hopping can be confusing, so you are better off not ping-ponging around in everyone’s head. You will be better served by staying in one POV throughout the scene and conveying the subtleties of the reaction, attitude, and emotion emanating from other characters by employing body language, voice inflection, and mannerisms. By staying in one person head, they can misread the situation, and the misperception creates additional conflict valuable to the story.

Third Person, Omniscient POV:

The viewpoint character is an omniscient narrator who tells a story about a cast of character from an all-knowing position. The narrator himself becomes an unseen character that can share things that even the characters do not know about themselves, so may have a god-like feel. Sweeping epics like Lord of the Rings employ this POV to good effect. The advantage is that this POV helps manage the length of the story and the sheer number of characters. Book Thief with its narrator being Death comes to mind.

Are there any areas where I violate the basic Point-of-View by inserting comments that the POV character cannot know?

Example: Dan turned away and didn’t notice Harry slip out the door. (Dan would not be able to see Harry’s sneaky retreat.)

Here is a rewrite:

Fists clenching and unclenching, Dan gazed around the kitchen. Where was that Louse? He had to be here somewhere.
“Harry, I need to talk to you. Now!”
Silence answered Dan’s shout.
He strode toward the living room. A gentle whoosh of air behind him stopped him in his tracks. Dan whirled. The screen door was settling back in place. The coward was on the run.

Now the reader knows that Harry slipped out the door, but we haven’t left Dan’s POV in order to convey that information. Plus, by refusing to take the lazy way out and “tell” the information through a POV violation, the story becomes much more immediate and exciting.

Love her examples. I think you will, too.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 14, 2014


kelly calabrese headshot2Sunday night I was walking the Season Premier of The Walking Dead (Yes, I’m guilty of watching a show with Zombies – who knew?).

Anyway, they always have great commercials that tie into the theme of the show and KELLY CALABRESE was the main female in the commercial. So exciting! Kelly is an actress and writer from NYC and someone who is very active with volunteering with the NJSCBWI. Congratulations, Kelly!

If you have Cable TV and have on demand, you could watch it to see Kelly. She is the redhead in the first or second commercial.


Garden_StateEileen Cameron and Doris Ettlinger’s new book RUPERT’S PARCHMENT, Story of Magna Carta! on the granting of Magna Carta will be available in bookstores on February 2015 to help celebrate the 800th Anniversary on June 15, 2015.

Eileen and Doris’ book, G IS FOR THE GARDEN STATE, has been chosen by the NJ 350th Anniversary Committee as one of the best 101 books on NJ for the Anniversary.



Mamalode is a magazine. A website. A movement. Their readers and writers are moms—with a smattering of dads, kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.

On October 8th, Mamalode(Parenting/Motherhood Website) Magazine published Jennifer Reinharz most recent blog post, “The Day I Deleted Minecraft; a letter to my son.” She is very excited about the opportunity of becoming a contributing writer for the magazine.  

From October 8th-November 8th Mamalode will track the number of “unique views” of Jennifer’s essay on their site. The number of views, likes, comments, and shares is directly tied to her recognition (financial and otherwise :-).

Jennifer wrote saying, “Like many of us, my dream is to be a published Kidlit author with agent representation. However, the contest and writing opportunities, or as I like to call them “nuggets” that you often share are worth pursuing.  My path to Kidlit author has yet to be a straight line, but I can’t help but think that getting a chance to connect and share one of my stories with the Mommies, etc. is an example of heading right direction.

So help Jennifer and please click this link to her article:


sara dotts barley my-harper-id-pic1

Sarah Dotts Barley

Sarah Dotts Barley has joined Flatiron Books as senior editor, focusing on YA crossover. Previously, Barley was an editor at Harper Children’s/HarperTeen.

Anne Heltzel has joined Abrams as editor, primarily acquiring books for its middle grade and teen imprint, Amulet Books. She worked previously as an associate editor at Razorbill and is also a published author.

At Scholastic, Liza Baker has re-joined the company as vp, executive editorial director of Cartwheel and Orchard Books. She was most recently executive editorial director, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 13, 2014

Two Books to Read


This weekend I read my friend Yvonne Ventresca’s GREAT novel PANDEMIC. It is so much fun to read a book where you have been part of the journey and to see it take flight. With that in mind, I truly believe my review is dead-on and not misleading in anyway.

Even though this book came out in May (of course written a few years before that), Yvonne has linked into the current Ebola news of the day. This is a real gift for her, so I hope she takes advantage by contacting radio shows, who I know would like to talk about such a timely topic.

Yvonne has managed to write a dark tale woven around a contemporary coming of age story. The book shows the dark side and the light side of humanity. Lil, the main character, struggles through the death of friends and family, deals was past demons, overcomes grief and sorrow, and helps the community, all while her parents are away and can’t get home.

The book is a great read. The reader don’t want to put the book down. You can tell that Yvonne did her research on pandemics, medicine, medical protocol because she is dead-on about how quickly society could spin out of control if a contagion hits us and sweeps the globe. I never once found myself saying, “really?” and you know how often someone reading as a writer will do that.

There are great page turning chapter endings and very nice similes and metaphors throughout the book. So if you like books with a great mix of dark elements, sadness, sweetness, love, sexual tension, and suspense, then you will enjoy this book. It might be YA, but adults will love it too, just like they did another YA book, THE HUNGER GAMES. I give this a 5 out of 5 stars.


Note: Please read to the bottom.

I thought I would write about another book I read this week, FLAT OUT LOVE by Jessica Park. This book came out two years ago and was on the NY Times Best Seller List. I bought it on my Kindle, back then and just found the time to read it last week. Why did I buy it? I liked the cover, the sample that I read, and the price was right ($3.99).

This is another contemporary book that I really enjoyed. It is about an 18 year old girl from Ohio who arrives in Boston to start her first year of college and realizes the room where she is supposed to live does not exist and there are no rooms left to rent.

The thing that is interesting is that this is another example of a successful self-published book. I took the time to type out what Jessica said at the end of her book because I think it will give you food for thought.

Here is Jessica Park:

Amazon has changed my life, and without them I might not be writing anymore. I’m not a fan of playing by rules, and knowing that I might self-publish through KDP let me write. I got to write FLAT-OUT LOVE with total abandon. I got to write the story that I wanted to – the one I believed in – not the one that I thought legacy publishers would want me to. Deciding to self-publish this book was the smartest thing I’ve done. Now that I’ve signed with Amazon Children’s Publishing, I get to hold on to so many of the benefits that I’ve had, but now with the added support of a dynamic team. ACP not only supports writing outside of the box, they embrace it, and signing over FLAT-OUT LOVE and my next book to such a stupendous team is pure joy. Associate Publisher Tim Ditlow and the entire publishing team at Amazon are outstanding: their belief in me and in my career is deeply humbling, and I am deeply grateful. I have true partners now, and there is no better feeling. Amazon my be a massive company, but I know without a doubt that my team has heart, dedication, and a drive to try new things. They run to unchartered territory, and those are my kind of people.

My agent, Deborah Schneider, has been devoted to this book from the beginning, and she took the repeated this-book-will-never-sell rejections from traditional publishers as hard as I did. When I decided to self-publish, she cheered me on. “Give ‘em hell!” she said. And I did. We did. Finally. Deborah, thank you for everything that you have done for me, and most of all thank you for letter me yell, “Congratulations! You’re still my agent!” and not hanging up on me.

Before you rush out and change direction, understand that Jessica did her homework. She had a lot of people help along the way (she talks about them too at the end of the book. She had a professional design her book cover (a very important part of marketing) and she spent the time to polish her manuscript.

Oh, you will find a couple of typos, but I have seen that in books from major publishers. I don’t even know Jessica and I am very proud of her. She has helped everyone who might decide to self-publish by putting out a book that rivals what the major publishers put out because she did not let herself lower the bar and diminish the future of the self-published book. If you decide to go that root, I hope you will work hard to do the same.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 12, 2014

Pockets Magazine Accepting Articles



Pockets® is a 48-page devotional magazine for children ages 6-12, published by The Upper Room®. They pay $.14 a word. If you want to write for children and are open to writing for a Christian Magazine, then this could be an opportunity to get published and earn some money. The themes for articles are listed at the bottom of this post.

Launched in 1981, the magazine began as a response to parents and grandparents who wanted a devotional magazine especially for children. The magazine is published 11 times per year. (January/February is a combined issue). Pockets is designed for the personal use of children to help them grow in their relationship with God. The magazine is distributed by individual subscriptions and standing orders to churches, which provide the magazine to the children in their congregations. Pockets includes full-color photos, stories, poems, games, mission-focused activities, daily scripture readings, non-fiction features, and contributions from children who read the magazine. Writer’s Guidelines

What is Pockets?

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine offers wholesome devotional readings that teach about God’s love and presence in life. The content includes fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, poems, recipes, colorful pictures, activities, and scripture readings. Freelance submissions of stories, poems, recipes, puzzles and games, and activities are welcome. The magazine is published monthly (except in February).

The purpose of Pockets is to help children grow in their relationship with God and live as Christian disciples. It is written and produced for children and designed to help children pray and to see their faith as an integral part of their everyday lives. The magazine emphasizes that God loves us and that God’s grace calls us into community. It is through the community of God’s people that we experience that love in our daily lives.

What should I write about?

Each issue is built around a specific theme with material that can be used by children in a variety of ways. Submissions should support the purpose of the magazine to help children grow in their faith, though all submissions do not need to be overtly religious. Seasonal material, both secular and liturgical, is appropriate. Most of the magazine’s content is written by adults, but we also welcome submissions from children.

Copies of our themes are also available by mail with a SASE. Please note deadlines for each issue; late manuscripts cannot be considered.

Pockets is inter-denominational, and our readers include children of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. These differences should be reflected in the references that are made to lifestyles, living environments (suburban, urban, rural, reservation), families (extended families, single-parent families, and blended families as well as more “traditional” families), and individual names. Stories should show appreciation of cultural differences.

What ages are Pockets readers?

The magazine is for children 6–12. Though some children may share it with their families or use it in church group settings, Pockets is designed primarily for children’s personal use.

What type of material should I write?

Fiction and scripture stories should be 600 to 1000 words. Our primary interest is in stories that can help children deal with real-life situations. We do not accept stories about talking animals or inanimate objects. Fictional characters and some elaboration may be included in scripture stories, but the writer must remain faithful to the story.

Stories should contain lots of action, use believable dialogue, be simply written, and be relevant to the problems faced by this age group in everyday life. Children need to be able to see themselves in the pages of the magazine. It is important that the tone not be “preachy” or didactic. Use short sentences and paragraphs. When possible, use concrete words instead of abstractions. However, do not “write down” to children.

Poems should be short, not more than 20 lines. Both seasonal and theme-related poems are needed.

Non-fiction articles that are open for submissions include: theme-related quizzes; Kids with a Mission profiles of children involved in charitable, environmental, community, and peace/justice issues; biographical sketches of persons, famous or unknown, whose lives reflect their Christian commitments and values; and Family Time activities for families to do together (seasonal or theme-related). The length of these features varies greatly, and we strongly suggest sending a SASE (please send 6 x 9 size envelope) to receive a sample copy of the magazine if you are interested in submitting any of these.

Editorial Philosophy

The primary purpose of POCKETS is to help children grow in their relationship with God and to claim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ by applying it to their daily lives. POCKETS espouses respect for all human beings and for God’s creation. It regards a child’s faith journey as an integral part of all of life and sees prayer as undergirding that journey.

Special note: In addition to receiving regular submissions, Pockets sponsors a fiction contest each year.

How should I submit my writing?

Contributions should be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2″x 11″ paper, accompanied by a SASE for return. Writers who wish to save postage and are concerned about paper conservation may send a SASP for notification of unaccepted manuscripts, and we will recycle the manuscript. Please list the name of the submission(s) on the card. Because of the volume of manuscripts we receive, we do not accept manuscripts sent by FAX or e-mail.

How will I know if my submission will be used?

If we use your submission, we will notify you before publication. Along with your letter of acceptance, you will receive a contract and a W-9 (IRS form) that must be completed, signed and returned in order for us to process your payment.

Submissions not chosen for publication will be returned only if they are accompanied by a SASE. Because of the number of submissions we receive, we are unable to check the status of submissions.

Send all submissions to:

Pockets Magazine
ATTN: Editor
PO Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004


Upcoming Writing Deadlines


June 2015

Deadline: 11/01/2014

Caring for Creation

Being good stewards of God’s creation is not only a matter of our self-interest or good intentions. It is a basic way of honoring our Creator. The aim of this issue is two-fold: a celebration of the wonder of creation and a challenge to look at practical ways we can address the earth’s problems. Typically this theme draws many stories on recycling and litter pick-up. While these are certainly important efforts (and we may feature one such story), we encourage writers to think more broadly about realistic ways children can have a positive impact on the environment. The tone should be hopeful and show that we can accomplish great things when we open ourselves to God’s power working through us.

More Info

July 2015

Deadline: 12/01/2014


Competition for Pockets readers could be many things: striving to make the best grades, wanting to have the coolest clothes, trying to be the best player on the soccer team or in the school orchestra, or consistently vying to be the center of attention. Competition can be healthy when it encourages us to do our best, but it is unhealthy when it causes us to make “winning” too important. We want this issue to help children examine their motives for competing and the role of competition in their lives. Does competing make them feel energetic and excited? Do they like to be with other competitors because of their shared interest? Or does competition make them anxious or cause them to dislike those with whom they are competing? Do they find themselves thinking that being first or best is more important than anything else? We want to invite children to view the competitive arenas of their lives (as we want them to view all of their lives) in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

More Info

August 2015

Deadline: 01/01/2015


One of the paradoxes of our age is that we are, arguably, both more connected and more isolated than ever. One of our Kids’ Advisory Board members reported that other children she encountered in an on-line game (with the benefit of anonymity) made comments questioning whether anyone truly cares about them and expressing the wish that someone would love them. Sad as this is, it’s perhaps not surprising. In our highly mobile, extremely busy, increasingly impersonal society, many people are lonely. Many of us live far from extended family and may not even know our neighbors. Technology encourages us to interact with others through devices instead of face-to-face. Violence causes us to spend more time behind locked doors, and even then we may be suspicious of others. Consequently, we find ourselves increasingly isolated from one another. Children do not escape this phenomenon. Perhaps they have difficulty making friends. Perhaps their families are too busy or in too much turmoil to offer comfort and companionship. Perhaps the families themselves are isolated from the larger community. Through this issue we want to help children understand that they are never truly alone, that God is with them always. We want to offer them comfort as well as creative ways to deal with their loneliness.

More Info

Talk tomorrow,


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