Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 21, 2018



Carol Murray attended the Avalon Writer’s Retreat last September and has signed with Agent Jennie Dunham of Dunham Literary.

Laurie Wallmark attending Bombshell:The Hedy Lamarr Story at the Hopewell Theatre, wearing her Hedy shirt celebrating her new picturebook contract for, HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE, which is scheduled for spring 2019.

COVER REVEAL: Robin Newman new book NO PEACOCKS! Coming out this fall.

Charlotte Benardo’s two books in her Evolution Revolution trilogy have won awards- the first book, Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines, won Bronze in the Feathered Quill Book Awards, and the third book, Evolution Revolution: Simple Lessons, won gold! Both books illustrated by Cathleen Daniels.

Wendy Greenley has a picture book titled LOLA SHAPES THE SKY, illustrated by Paolo Domeniconi, being published by The Creative Company for publication in the Spring 2019.

COVER REAVEAL: Here is the cover for Christy Mihaly new picture book HEY, HEY, HAY! Illustrated by Joe Cepeda and coming out in July.

COVER REVEAL: Here is the cover for Patricia Keeler’s new picturebook coming out this April.

Do you have something to share. Please send me your success story. I’d love to shout it out! If you sent me something that I missed please send it again. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 20, 2018


On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Cat Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.


While the children’s book Industry was celebrating some of its’ most prestigious awards, it was hit with a flood of allegations of mistreatment of women with the #MeToo Movement – all very shocking.

Here’s Chris trying to make sense of all this and guide us through this difficult time:

The Big Question: WHY?

The Answer: Because they could.

The Ultimate Answer: Only we can stop it and prosper

I have been shocked and dismayed for some time now, but particularly in recent days, learning about the abuse and harassment charges being brought against several highly talented and very well-known men in our industry. Like us, these writers and illustrators have worked long and hard to produce work that we respected and even deeply loved. Then they chose to use this adoration to take advantage of others trying to also work hard to be a part of this special industry. Kidlit strives to bring knowledge, truth, love, safety, beauty, imagination and often alternative solutions to young ones trying to understand a world too big and often unsure and unsafe for them. It is a gift and also a responsibility to be part of this process. Yet these few men have then used their earned esteem as ‘power’ to do harm to other adults striving to learn and become a part of this worthwhile endeavor and share their stories and talents with each other and our children.


That question has no acceptable answer, but of course it has a counter action. Thank you to all who have and will speak out loudly about these offensives. It takes bravery and the right atmosphere to successfully do this….this is the right time. Perhaps, in time, we can find a way to admire their work (books) without any longer admiring them. I hope we can regain our footing and our balance soon. After all, the vast majority of professionals in this industry are fine, giving, supportive men and women working so hard without overblown egos and ulterior motives. This very incredibly good-hearted, expansive, creative community is the one we need most right now.

I truly hope others will not run from these bad experiences and deprive themselves of the people and conferences that are there to teach and support them. Please don’t stop writing or painting because of being traumatized. PRODUCE MORE… show the world! Take back the power! Help others do the same. Don’t put yourself alone in situations that can be compromising. Walk away from any situation that feels wrong, and report it! Get deeper involved in existing groups and organizations to be sure they are what we need and deserve. A few spoiled lemons are easily detected once one looks and listens (and smells!). But the lemonade can be as sweet as ever by blending the best.

The answer? Join, work, share and celebrate Kid Lit any way you can and as often as you can. We need you!

Thank you Chris for your efforts to on how navigate these troubled waters and go forward.

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.


Hope this illustration by Nicole Tadgell will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. Nicole was featured on Illustrator Saturday April 2, 2011. Take a look.

Send them to kathy(dot) and put ASK CAT in the Subject Area.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 19, 2018

Agent Looking for Clients – Kieryn Ziegler at DG&B


Kieryn Ziegler joined DG&B in 2017 as the assistant to Michael Bourret in the West Coast office. She grew up in central Pennsylvania and moved to LA to study at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she graduated with a BFA in Writing for Screen & Television. She loves books about exciting new worlds, found families, fantastic female characters, and stories with diverse POVs — especially YA & MG. Aside from good books and good TV, she’s a big fan of dogs, road trips, and coffee shops with lots of outlets.

She’s seeking: Kieryn is accepting queries for all genres. In fiction, she especially loves books about exciting new worlds, found families, fantastic female characters, and stories with diverse POVs, and would love to see more LGBTQ+ characters in sci-fi and fantasy.

How to submit: Please send queries to, along with the first 25 pages (or nearest chapter break) of your manuscript.

DG&B Submission Guidelines



  • Do send your query letter via email, and include the full query in the body of the email, not as an attachment.
  • Do include a writing sample of the first 25 pages of your manuscript (fiction) or your proposal with sample chapter (nonfiction) in the body of the email below your query letter.
  • Do proofread carefully and double-space your materials if possible.
  • Do be sure to query only one agent at this agency. We will not review queries sent to more than one of us.
  • Do resend your query email if you haven’t heard from us in 8 weeks, noting the date previously sent. Our goal is to read and respond to every query in that time frame.



  • Don’t send attachments with a blank email or an incomplete query – we will not open them.
  • Don’t send materials as a shared file or download link (such as Dropbox or Google Docs). We will not open these files.
  • Don’t submit to more than one of us at once, whether in the same query or separate queries, or requery another agent here after getting a pass. We share queries with each other frequently, so a no from one is a no from all.
  • Don’t send a query for a novel until the manuscript is complete, polished and ready for review. We do not accept partial manuscripts for novels. Nonfiction can be queried with a proposal.
  • Don’t pitch projects or follow up on queries via social media. Pitches made via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, will not be considered except as part of a planned pitch event.


Query Tips:

We like our unsolicited queries to be concise, well-written, and well-proofed, and as devoid of gimmicks as possible. Here’s what to include:

  • A professional, personalized greeting.
  • A mention in the first paragraph of why you’re querying us: you admire a client’s work, you met us at a conference, you read a great interview, etc. Be brief and specific!
  • Key stats for your project: title, genre, word count, and comp titles or authors.
  • Your pitch: a paragraph or two summarizing your novel or nonfiction project that will hook us on your work. For fiction, please include genre, word count, and comp titles.
  • Your bio or credentials: your expertise in the topic, your previous publication credits, your social media platform.

See our FAQ section for more information on a strong query and what to expect when you’ve queried.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 18, 2018

SCBWI: Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award

The Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award is for authors over the age of fifty who have not been traditionally published in the children’s literature field.

The grant was established by Newbery Award winner and Newbery Honor Book recipient Karen Cushman and her husband, Philip Cushman, in conjunction with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

The award is open to unpublished children’s book authors or author/illustrators over the age of fifty, and one winner will be chosen from the pool of those who have submitted material for the SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grants. 

Deadline: Submitted in conjunction with the Work-In-Progress e-mail submission from March 1-31, 2018.

Award: $500 and free tuition to any SCBWI conference anywhere in the world. (Conference tuition includes tuition to the general conference, and does not include transportation, hotel, and expenses.)


1.    You must be a current member.

2.    The award is open to unpublished writers and writer/illustrators fifty years of age and older.

3.    Applicants send an additional e-mail with the same Work-in-Progress grant submission they have already submitted to: Send your Cushman submission with “Cushman” in the subject line and your full name in the body of the e-mail. (You will be sending two e-mails to the same address with the same attachment but different subject lines)

4.    The applicant cannot have been published or have a project under contract in the children’s book field.

5.    All Work-In-Progress Grant guidelines apply.

7.    The final judging will be by a committee including Karen Cushman and Lin Oliver.

Questions? Contact Grant Coordinator Sarah Diamond.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 17, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Cristian Bernardini

Cristian Bernardini is an artist from Argentina. He studied to be a designer but when he finished (graduated as a Graphic Designer from Buenos Aires University), he decided to be illustrator. He likes illustrating many different topics specially when they include children, animals and monsters (he loves last one).

Cristian enjoys working with a wide variety of media including acrylic paint and watercolours as well as creating combined traditional and digital artwork. His illustrations are used for fiction and non fiction children’s books, novelty books, educational books and have appeared in many graphic media like magazines, multimedia, newspapers and advertising over the last 15 years.

Nowadays he works for clients in all over the world, with several books published by very well known editorial houses such as Macmillan, Scholastic, Pearson, Harper Collins, Norma, Sudamericana, SM, Darakwon, Capstone or Eudeba among others. He also, has contributed to many animation productions, developing in the creation of characters, makeing storyboards, animating or designing.


I have worked for several techniques, painted in watercolor or acrylic, also purely digital, vector … although I am changing for each project, it depends what is needed in each one, Although currently one of the methods that I do not only like the result, but also I am very comfortable, is the following:

First I sketch a very small size (usually the whole story if is a book), in that instance I defne the volumes of the things that appear, characters objects backgrounds. Once I have the layout, that is, a basic composition, I start with a more defned sketch.

Then I do a color test digitally, if it is a book with all the squares together to see how the color works throughout the whole project. Not to be repetitive both with images and with color.

The next thing is to print the sketches (which are digital) and I pass them to ink, in this part I work a lot on the detail, the expressions and small things that I know that they will see a lot.

I like to show the texture of the  granulate that generates the graphite.

I continue scanning everything and retouching if necessary, in high resolution (400dpi) to have room to spare.

The painting is digital but adding textures, sometimes or using irregular brushes that give me the feeling of hand painting (photoshop).

The drawing in line, I usually have it in one layer, and the background in transparent. then I’m coloring the line and in some cases I eliminate it or cover it with the brushstrokes.

This is one of the roads, which amuses me in some other projects, the past to ink includes the shading with watercolors and then the digital color is using flters in photoshop.


How long have you been illustrating?

When we are children, we all draw. It is like one of the frst forms of expression, without flters and with a lot of sincerity in the strokes. Many never stop doing it, only we are fling it a bit or perfecting it. In my case as well as others, the point that we never stopped doing it, and did not interest us so much that we dedicate many hours to be able to tame this form of language.

I think the concept of illustrating something, I had it in the frst school works, where I had some situation … with time more and more loaded with details. I remember that all my classmates loved my drawings and asked me to draw them animated cartoons known.

What and when was the frst painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

When I was  child, I would be 8 years old or a little older. Very close to my house there was a little store, where they sold school supplies, the seller, although he knew me, was quite bad humored, I remember him as very grumpy. One day I drew him, something like a caricature from my vision and I give to him. It was funny to me,  To my surprise he liked it so much that he gave me a box of markers (many colour and they look expensive), ohhh I can consider that  was my frst payment hehe 🙂

Professionally, the frst paid job was the design of a character for a company. It was a pretty bizarre idea, because it was giving personality to the mascot of an electricity company.

It was because with an acquaintance,  got together, to give communication solutions to this company. The  illustration was a great way to say complex things. The client love the idea to add art to his  ads.

These were the frst steps where I saw refected the potential of the drawing applied to the business world, an interesting experience.

What made you choose Buenos Aires University to study Graphic Design?

I always had a facility for drawing, and I understood that these felds were related. Although it is a very diferent discipline, it has many m

eeting points. Over time I found ways to interrelate both worlds and I am continually exploring this encounter.

When I fnished the secondary, I knew that graphic design had something to do with the idea to comunicate throught the image, although I did not have much what it was about. My ease with drawing helped me to decide. At frst, I could not get them together, and I found them very diferent but with time I was fnding the meeting points.

My great passion was always the illustration, but the design formed me in many aspects, in the “how” to tell it so that the communication or the message is efective. Although I do not dedicate myself fully to graphic design, it gives me many resources that were very valuable in my career.

Did you also take some illustrating course in addition to Graphic Design?

Yes, when I was young I learned the classic techniques of painting, watercolor, pastels or acrylic based on still lifes. I found it a bit boring. That’s when my parents sent me to a Caricature course. I defnitely loved it, in this courses is where I discovered, games of deformations in the drawing that marked me with fre. That funny reinterpretation of reality, although it was something that one always did, now had a structure. I loved studying things in their realistic representation and then being able to deform them with a personal criterion.

Over time, I was modeling that distortion characteristic of the caricature, the abuse of this is grotesque and unnecessary for my way of working. So I’m reguing it based on what I want to tell and how.

I also studied comics, animation … I’m always on the move, for example, I recently completed an animal anatomy course and I’m already looking at the possibility of starting another one in 3D.

Did the school help you fnd illustration work?

Not in a direct way, but if my studies were a support in the knowledge that gave me more consistency in the drawing and security at the time of facing any project. That security is essential to get any illustration work.

Do you feel studying graphic design infuenced your illustrating style?

Yes absolutely. My drawing is constantly in morphological searches, sometimes more classic or realistic and other more vagrant. But all this is the product of this professional deformity of adapting a design to a way of communicating. This is very characteristic of graphic design.

Another important element is the distribution of information, the “how” to comunicate.

There are many meeting points between design and illustration, I’m crossing them on my way.

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

When I was fnishing my degree and after graduating, I continued working as a graphic designer, developing websites or in a printing or in publicity.

Many times I was in a ofce as part of the design team, learning a lot… but I was sure that it wasn ´t my destiny.

At the same time, I began to make simple in charges of illustrations, the change to full time in illustration was gradual.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

When I started in this career, at the beginning I was infuenced by the comic or the illustration in relation to this. I made my portfolio based on the things that inspired me, but evidently I already had a strong inclination to the world of the fantastic and humorous. This made my style adapt well in the language for young people. So I searched through that feld and soon discovered a new world that I had not previously contemplated.

Also at that time, the business of children’s literature was taking fight, and the demand for more elaborate and attractive books was growing more and more.

How did you get the job to illustrate your frst picture book?

My frst participation in a children’s story was not a complete book, it was a story I illustrated that was part of a school manual. All my frst works were in the feld of editorial illustration, basically in the educational area.

A short time later I contacted an editorial that was pulling out a collection of short books and wanted me to illustrate a couple of these stories. Although it was short stories without a good publicity, it was a great stimulus for me.

Was Trust Me, Jack’s Beanstalk Stinks! your frst picture book?

Actually that was the second, my first book with Picture Books was “No Lie, I Acted Like a Beast !:The Story of Beauty and the Beast as Told by the Beast (The Other Side of the Story)”

A collection that has a particular twist in its history, takes classic stories and are told but not in the conventional way, but by another of the secondary or evil characters as is the case of Jacks’ Beanstalks.

Like the side B of the story, in this case,  I feel that the idea was very fun and orginal, I just had to add a little personal touch.

How many picture books have you published with Picture Window Books?

Luckily once they started testing how my style would work for their collection. Soon I came other books to illustrate. They like to work with me, just like me with them.

With them I illustrated the following titles:

-No Lie, I Acted Like a Beast !: The Story of Beauty and the Beast as Told by the Beast,

-Trust Me, Jack’s Beanstalk Stinks! ,

No Lie, Pigs (and Their Houses) Can Fly! ,
Believe Me, I Never Felt a Pea !: The Story of the Princess and the Pea as Told by the Princess,- Gertrude and Reginald the Monsters Talk about Living and Nonliving And some books by several authors.
Honestly, Our Music Stole the Show!
Listen, My Bridge Is SO Cool!

This 2018, at least two new books with my art will come out.

How many picture books have you illustrated?I have more than 40 books illustrated by me, several are in my country Argentina and many others from other parts of the world; Australia, South Korea, USA, England, Chile, Puerto Rico and New Zealand among others.

Do you have an artist rep.? If so, who and how long have you been with them? If not, would you like to fnd one?

No, I haven´t one, always handle me on my own. On one occasion I went to the fair in Bologna, and saw that many editorials were only work with Representatives, at the time I found out but I continued alone.

Therefore I haven´t any experience in this feld, maybe it can be interesting, I do not rule it out, I am always open to these new possibilities.

It looks like Listen, My Bridge Is SO Cool! Just came out. How long did it take you to illustrated that book?

The editorials usually give me a grid to complete a deadline for the sketches, and then for the fnal painting. We adjust it together depends on the convenience of each. For that particular project, I think it was just over 2 months.

Are there publishers in Argentina that you publish books?

Yes, luckily, most of my work is from Argentina, in children’s literature for books or in educational didactic material. Also as an illustrator I take diferent works that involve drawing and design, in advertising, storyboards, whiteboards, in animation (designing characters and backgrounds).

Have you done any book covers?

Yes, in some occasions for novels, or some specifc subject. In general, they are for novels that require not only the cover but also some interior images as well.


Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

I imagine that in many cases this is a key point, although I am thinking and developing ideas every time I can, the reality is that I never get to realize them. I am always with the illusion of completing an integral story, written and illustrated by me. But for now it is a pending matter. I hope that it will soon become real.

Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?Yes, on several occasions, I participated in projects that were self-published.

They have their pros and cons. As positive is creative freedom, sometimes it can only be limited by what one as an illustrator wants to limit.

The downside is that sometimes there are not clear things, for example essential things like the world of printing or graphic communication, that’s where I take my spirit of graphic designer and prop it up so that the project can be viable and leave to market.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

I worked for diferent publishing houses in the publishing feld, in fact as I mentioned before, they were my frst steps. As you can see I am an illustrator of all terrains on occasion, I worked in these areas.

Designing characters for plays, desingning costumes for transcendent musicals of Buenos Aires, scientifc illustration for educational publishers, animation (presentation of TV shows), live drawing of animals for advertising events, among other things.

Even, as a curiosity of the diversity of formats where my drawings appear, a couple of years ago, one of the books that I illustrated, was part of the happy box of a well-known international hamburger company.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

Yes, many years ago in Argentina I worked doing a comic for a children’s magazine, AZ10 it was at fnal of  90´s .

I had any appearances in local magazines but no so much .

Have you illustrated a graphic novel?

I made some graphic novels for collections of educational material, principally of pre-adolescent public. I enclose samples of Corrascosa Summits and Sherlck Holmes and Pahntom of the Opera.


What do you think is your biggest success?

It is a very broad question, which I would not answer focusing on a particular project, I take it as  something more general.

Undoubtedly my greatest success is to have my desire to illustrate and never lower my arms to get this purpose is part of my daily life and a livelihood for me and my family.

Working on something that gives me pleasure is the greatest success.

What type of things do you do to fnd illustration work?

I’m in some portals related to children’s illustration (

or At some point I also went to specialized fairs like the Bolgona Fair in Italy. If you are a children´s illustrator, it´s an interesting option to know diferents publisher from any country, and you have the possiblity to have a metting directly to the Art Editor sometimes. Nowaday I am currently testing with some freelance work sites, I am seeing if this system is available to get any work, although in these types of markets the low price is often valued more than the quality of the work.

I also seek to show my work through my personal site,, facebook Cristian Bernardini or instagram Bernardini_Cristian.

Although I have to admit that I’m not very good at spreading my stuf, for example, to get this interview, I’m sure that it wasn´t easy for Kathy. (So sorry !!! I’m Guilty!)

Has that changed over time?

At first, my painting process was extremely handcrafted, with watercolor or acrylic fnishes that gave me some pleasure. With time and the idea of practicality, I went to fnish them digitally with touch-ups. To the point where all my work went through the digital world, dispensing with even paper.

Which made me click, because I was leaving aside something that I enjoyed a lot, which was the whole craft process, the drawing on paper for example. Now I’m going back to the sources but renewed, a mixture of the two artisanal and digital worlds.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

No, I work in my studio that is about 20 minutes from my house. I have my diferent work materials there and I can concentrate and dedicate my time to personal assignments or projects.

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

I do not usually have such a stipulated timetable, what is clear is that I have to dedicate a good part of the day to be satisfed with the drawing, I usually change my views several times to arrive at a result I like.

Sometimes it is very convenient to get out, to think about the process and to come back with new ideas.

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

Yes, I usually do some research, if required, for example if it is some specifc place, some specifc animal to know more about it and its characteristics. Other thing that inspired me is … to  see illustrators with diferent styles. In my freetime, I fnd  many talent people and then I save it in my mind, studing how they get this climax or how use the colour… etc

I fnd very useful is to start drawing quick sketches of characters or situations to go fnding the right personality or the style that best fts with that project.

In those frst steps where things arise and one as a creator makes decisions about how the characters will be as well as the climate of the story.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Undoubtedly, the internet is not only a source of inspiration to see other colleagues (incidentally your site is a great contribution to the profession). It is also a fundamental tool to be seen in diferent parts of the globe.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Mostly I use photoshop, combining a good range of brushes can get very interesting results, exploring with textures and forms of painting. Although sometimes I seek to get in touch with Painter, and after a while I return to the known and I stay in photoshop. Another of the interesting programs that I have known is the Manga studio, it depends what kind of graphic search is needed, this last one, can be of great help.

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

As I was saying, I am very incorporated into the digital world, I have a Wacom Cintiq tablet, it is an artifact like a screen with a sensitive pencil that allows me to draw directly on it,  it is like to draw on a paper. Its make me draw and paint like the traditional way.

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

I am constantly looking for new forms of expression, or painting to look for graphic alternatives. These days it is crossing my mind, developing designs in 3d, perhaps for graphics or for other felds of design. And in this search, I found very interesting software and with a good result like  Zbrush. It is a program for 3D modeling, with a brief learning one can take their creations in pencil to a tangible object in 3 dimensions (if it is printed).

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a new book for a new collection for Capstone / Picture books. About Aesop’s fables. I particularly love drawing animals, and giving them personalities with their gestures and expressions.

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 tried – A how to tip, etc.

A material that I would like to highlight, for the illustrative colleagues who work with ink. It is the Penbrush (pentel), there are also other brands. It’s like a marker with synthetic hairs that serves as a brush, is very docile and practical. I presume that it was developed to be used in Chinese calligraphy, but for lovers of drawing it is a marvel.

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

This may be an advice that seems silly, but I think it is essential to understand ourselves as creators who want to contribute something with what they do.

As far as possible, before facing a new project (of those projects that give you pleasure to do them), my advice is to take some time to think about it, simply that, to think abotu what I want to tell and how, looking to challenge oneself and try not to fall into the common places. Maybe it can be a while a couple of days but the important thing is to be able to see the big picture  and not just a fraction.

Many times this industry is subject to very limited times, that is why one tends to follow a work inertia, fnish it and take another job, and after a while fnds that it only made the same thing over many years … and the same, as if one were a page decorator.

My advice is to think, to be more analytical with our work, withoutbelitting the audience to which it is directed.

Thinking what new thing to tell, what are my strengths and weaknesses and challenge me, if necessary or what one believes best…  always understanding that this profession not like a  maker of beautiful images, if not as a creator of worlds that deserve to be explored .

Thank you Cristian for sharing your talent, process, and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Cristian’s work, you can visit him at his blog:

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Cristian. I am sure he’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 16, 2018

Agent of the Month: Scott Treimel – Interview Part Two

Scott Treimel is February’s Agent of the Month.

He is closed to unsolicited submissions, but if you are a follower of my Writing and Illustrating blog you can submit a full picture book manuscript or a query with the first three pages of a chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel in the month of February.

PLEASE NOTE – changed information in green:

To take advantage of this opportunity, please use this email address: kathy(.)temean@gmail(.)com. You MUST put SCOTT TREIMEL FEBRUARY SPECIAL SUBMISSION in the subject box and note you are a follower.

Of course format your submission using one inch margins, 12 point New Times Roman font, double spaced, plus don’t forget your name, address, and contact information.

DEADLINE: February 28th. Please check last Friday’s post for the first page guidelines.

See bottom of the page for guidelines to participate in the First Page Critiques.

S©ott Treimel NY is a full-service boutique agency representing the intellectual property rights in the work of authors and illustrators of books for children and teens, only: Picture books – Chapter books – Middle Grade books – Young Adult novels – Non-fiction and fiction – all genres. He also represents selected children’s illustrators.


We ended with this question last week. Any pet peeves? and Scott saying, “Lordy, do I ever!”

Scott, will not have time to write up his list of pet peeves, since he is very busy with all the submissions I have been forwarding to him. So here is a tidbit of information that I think you will find useful.

Here is Scott with an opinion on narration and verb tense, simple past vs. present. 

I find present tense asserts a lighter, lesser hold on readers, almost as if the narration disappears. authors choose present tense thinking to enhance the immediacy of a story. in fact, present tense lightens the storytelling’s architecture, taking a measure of gravitas with it. Simple past tense narration memorializes something that happened and, by implication, merits telling; present tense records what is happening, which may or may not be equally worthy. 

Do you let people know if you are not interested in what they sent?


How long does it usually take to respond to requested material?

From one hour to six months.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

They are too close to their work and cannot understand it as a reader does. They detail physical movement needlessly. They do not imagine as deeply or freely as they might.

Do you have an editorial style?

Suffice to say I dislike logy (lacking physical or mental energy or vitality; sluggish; dull; lethargic) writing .

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?


Have you ever represented a children’s book illustrator?


How long is your average client relationship?

STNY is twenty-four years old, and clients rarely leave us (although sometimes we let clients go), so I cannot answer: it depends when our client relationship begins.

What is your typical response time to email/phone calls with your clients?

From immediately to a couple days.

How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)? And how often do you communicate during the submission process?

Email and phone, the frequency being case-by-case.

What happens if you don’t sell this book?

I retire it. Rarely, a ms might get a second chance if, say, a writer’s career takes off and editors clamor for him or her or an element in the ms. (characters, theme, setting) experiences a boom when it was previously a bust.

How many editors do you go to before giving up?

From a few to twenty-five(ish). Some projects, by their nature, have few prospects than others. Novelty books, e.g., generally have fewer prospects than middle-grades.

What do you think of digital books?

I am rankled by the royalties publishers pay.

Do you handle your own foreign/film rights contracts or does your firm have someone else who handles those contracts?

We might work in concert with our foreign and film sub-agents or, on occasion, we will handle the business directly.

Do you see any new trends building in the industry?

I am an authors advocate. Over time I have seen the power of editors and the value of authors diminish.

You have poured so much of yourself into helping the writers at the Avalon Writer’s Retreat improve their manuscripts. It seems like you have a real passion and a hands on skill in pushing a manuscript to the next level. Would you like to be invited to other writer’s retreats, workshops, and conferences?

Right now I would consider, in order of preference, Retreats, Workshops, and Conferences. I relish working with writers with a ms in front of us.


In the subject line, please write “FEBRUARY 2018  CRITIQUE” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: February 16th.
RESULTS: February 23rd.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!


Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 15, 2018

Book Giveaway: THE TRAITOR’S KISS by Erin Beaty

Just by accident, I noticed Erin Beaty’s new book, THE TRAITOR’S KISS (the first in a series) and took a chance picking it up. As soon as I finished reading, I emailed Erin and asked her if she would like to be featured on my blog with a book giveaway. She said, “YES!” I Loved the storytelling – The characters – The romance – The adventure – The tension – The Espionage, lies, and the writing in this book. I’m sure you will, too.

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a proper lady—which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for a suitable marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls—and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust—and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

With secret identities and a tempestuous romance, Erin Beaty’s The Traitor’s Kiss is full of intrigue, espionage, and lies.

An Imprint Book

“One of the most hotly anticipated young adult fantasy reads of 2017” —Bustle

“An action-packed, expertly plotted story, drenched in double crosses and intrigue, with an irresistible heroine and a sweet and sexy romance.”—Publishers Weeklystarred review


I had never considered myself a writer. English was consistently my weakest subject in junior high and high school, but I didn’t care because I loved science and math. Writing was only valuable to me as a tool for expressing ideas. I was an avid reader, gobbling anything that caught my interest, from non-fiction to sci-fi to fantasy to historical. I studied engineering in college, but in the navy I found few ways I could apply the technical knowledge I’d acquired. On long watches on a ship’s bridge, you can’t read, so I often amused myself making up my own stories. They were only ever for me, though, and they never left my head.

Eventually I resigned my commission to take care of my growing family. Isolated in a tiny Kansas town, I took to writing funny kid vignettes on a blog so our distant family could keep up with us. I still made up my own little stories, but still only for me. Several moves later, all five kids were in school and suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands. For a while I was kind of lost, trying to decide what to do. Then, literally one day, something sparked in my brain while watching a movie with my girls. I still don’t know what possessed me to think Maybe I should actually write this one down.

I spent a few weeks tooling around in notebooks, drawing maps and thinking of names for characters and places. A plot began to solidify, and I became more determined to jump into this, but I wanted to do it 100%. My son’s first communion was coming up, though, so things were hectic with family and planning and rehearsals. I looked at the calendar and decided when it was all over I was going to sit my butt down and do this for real. That’s how on Tuesday, May 7th, 2014, I found myself opening up my laptop and creating a Word document.

I had no clue how to write a book. I knew nothing about agents and publishing. I had no idea how hard any of it would be. All I knew was this character and her situation wouldn’t go away. Outwardly, the tale sounded rather tropish: an orphan tomboy who loves books finds her guardian is setting up an arranged marriage. But I didn’t want her to just run away, I wanted her to feel lost and unsure enough (and obligated) to try to make this work. Like me, however, Sage has a hard time pretending to be something she’s not. I figured surely the woman judging her to be matched would see right through it and declare her unfit for marriage.

Sage originally began as a Cinderella-like character, put upon and looked down on by everyone. I intended to make her try to apologize to the matchmaker only to be rebuffed, then find some way to help the matchmaker which would cause her to reluctantly hire Sage as an assistant. But that wasn’t what happened. Instead, the matchmaker revealed herself to be a shrewd but kind woman who knew exactly what she wanted, too.

That was the first time a character surprised me, but not the last. Did I know the “big twist” of the story going into it? Yes, but most other details were vague. The other parts took root and grew pretty quickly, though, which was reassuring when I wondered whether the ideas I had for the next books would fill out. (They have so far, thankfully.)

So I stumbled through the next year, learning a lot of writing lessons the hard way, steadily improving the manuscript. I signed with an agent in June of 2015 (the querying is another story entirely), went through some revisions with her and went out on submission in early November. By January we had competing offers of publication. After several months of intense and painful edits, all the while terrified my publisher would suddenly wake up to the fact that they’d bought a horrible mess of a book from a neurotic neophyte, The Traitor’s Kiss hit bookshelves on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017, three years almost exactly from when I started writing it.

Though living through the process seemed interminably long, that is almost unbelievably, incredibly fast.

When other writers hear that, they ask whether I wish I’d started writing sooner, and the answer is no, not really. I wasn’t ready until now. The carefree blog I had for years served the huge purpose of making me a better story-teller and developing my voice. I learned how to make events clearer, more concise, and at least half-way entertaining. My time in the navy and raising kids made me an observer of people and predictor of events, both of which served me well. I also didn’t really have the time to write until now, because it’s a job. A really freaking hard one, too. Most of all, at this age I’ve discovered my limits and what was most important to me in life. I don’t think I could’ve weathered the criticism that came at me until now, either.


The Traitor’s Kiss stands out among fantasy novels to some extent because it lacks magical elements. I have nothing against magic-it just didn’t seem to have a place in this story. The absence, I think, is a reflection of one of my core values: I believe in the power of ordinary people. Sage doesn’t have dormant abilities, a mysterious origin, lethal skills, or some god’s special attention. I don’t ever want to trash those elements in other stories, though, because I love them. In this case, I just wanted to show teen readers they could be amazing without any of that. The man Sage falls in love with is just as ordinary as she is; what makes them extraordinary is what they strive to be. But putting all that in the story was all unconscious, which goes back to why I’m glad I didn’t start writing until I was nearly 40: I know who I am, and that bleeds into everything I do. Like Sage, I’m not able to hide it.


Erin Beaty was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which means she can’t drive a tractor, but she won’t eat veggies that come from a can.

She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2000 with a BS in Aerospace Engineering (Astronautics) and German. After serving as a weapons officer on a combat destroyer, she did a tour at the Center for Naval Leadership as a junior officer leadership instructor. Her first novel, “The Traitor’s Kiss,” was published by Imprint, Macmillan in May 2017. A sequel “The Traitor’s Ruin” will be released in May 2018, and a third book in the trilogy in May 2019.

Erin and her husband have five kids, two cats, and a vegetable garden and live wherever the Navy tells them to go.

Thank you Erin for sharing your book and its journey with us. So happy that I can introduce your book to everyone. I can’t wait for book two to come out in July.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day



by Eileen Spinelli

A Hug is a great gift. One size fits all and it’s easy to exchange.

Tea–a hug in a cup.

Sometimes we push people away when all we really want is for someone to hug us and tell us “It’s going to be okay.”

You can never have too many books or too many hugs.

Hugging is a silent way of saying you matter to me.

Hugs–not ughs!

Sometimes a hug is all we need to feel better.

You can’t wrap love in a box but you can wrap a friend in a hug.

Hugs are like a warm blanket on a frosty morning.

If hugs were snowflakes we’d send you a blizzard.

LESLEY BREEN WITHROW: Featured on Illustrator Saturday October 21st 2017

BARBARA DILORENZIO: Featured on Illustrator Saturday April 14, 2012

ANNIE WILKINSON: – Featured on Illustrator Saturday August 30th 2014.

AMALIA HOFFMAN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday September 18th 2010.


LISA FIELDS – Featured on Illustrator Saturday September 27th 2014

MARIA BOGADE: Featured on Illustrator Saturday February 9th 2013



Brian Bowes – Featured on Illustrator Saturday May 12th 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 13, 2018


Q:  I’ve heard speakers mention ‘mentor texts’ or ‘mentor books’ at writing workshops.  What are they and how do I use them?

A: The term ‘mentor’ is Greek in origin. It refers to a mythological character in The Odyssey, called Mentor, who is entrusted with the education of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, while Odysseus is away at sea.  Over the ages, the word ‘mentor’ has become defined generally as someone who guides another to greater success.  A teacher or coach is a good example of a mentor.

A mentor book functions much like a human mentor:  it shows you, the writer, how to guide your manuscript in the direction it must go to achieve narrative success.  Through careful selection of a book or books to serve this purpose, and a close study of the same, writers can learn many things that will inform and infuse their own writing. It’s not that you will copy another writer’s work; rather, you will find the underlying structure which gives the mentor book its successful results, and helps you develop the skills with which you can mirror the same results in your own manuscript.

How to select a mentor book?  You’ll want first to match it in the broadest of categories to what you’re writing, so first search for published books with the same or similar topic, subject and/or theme as the project you’re writing.

Then fine tune the search:  Is it a nonfiction book for what level of reader, from toddler to teen, that you hope to write?  If fiction, is it a novel for YA or MG reader?  Or is it a Picture Book, Step into Reading, Early Chapter Book, etc.? Once you’ve defined that, move on to matching your genre, if appropriate:  romance, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary, science fiction, humor, etc.?

Now narrow your search to the thing that’s at once the most crucial and most tricky to match:  the voice or tone or mood that you hope to achieve with your WIP (work in progress). If all else is equal with the format, topic, and reading level of prospective mentor books, go with your gut on this one.

Once the book is selected as your mentor text, read it like a writer: analytically.  Take notes on how the author of your mentor book uses narrative elements to create the desired effect in the book.  These include: characterization, plot tension, setting, scene-building, pacing, dialogue, action, setting, voice, tone, word choice, sentence structure, back matter, and so on.

Some ways, for example, to analyze a picture book would be to type the text out in entirety to get a feel for the structure and flow needed for such a manuscript to succeed without the help of illustrations on the page; do a book dummy of the typed-out words to get an idea of pacing and page turn success; and to read it aloud to get an idea of what sounds and cadence make this a fun read-aloud…so you can make yours ‘sing’ too.

Another example, for longer works:  to dissect a novel that is a potential mentor book for your WIP, you might do a chapter by chapter outline of what happens, when, and why.  How did this author effectively foreshadow and surprise the reader in a satisfying way? Study and learn…so your chapters will do the same.

At all turns, ask yourself:  how did this writer handle the challenges I’ll face in my own WIP? What have I learned from this particular strategy for narrative success? How does my newfound knowledge from another writer’s work translate to the manuscript I hope to write?

One last question: is it worth all this time and effort to find, and study, a mentor book?

Yes.  You’ll learn much of genuine use to you as a writer in pursuit of elevating your craft even if you decide in the end that there isn’t one that quite fits the bill as a true mentor book for your current WIP.  The mentor book selection process forces you to precisely define your own writing project in its hoped-for narrative structure, as well as your hopes for its overall effect on readers.  Now THAT is quite a lot of useful information have in hand as you write and revise your WIP!

As always, happy writing—- Dianne

Dianne, thanks for sharing your expertise with us. Another great article.

REMEMBER: To send in your questions for Dianne. Use Kathy(dot)Temean(at) Please put ASK DIANNE in the subject box.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 12, 2018

Agent Looking for Clients at MacKenzie Wolf

ELIZABETH RUDNICK has joined MacKenzie Wolf. The newly merged literary agency of Gillian MacKenzie Agency and Wolf Literary Services.

Elizabeth has been working in the publishing industry for over fifteen years. After attending Middlebury College where she majored in American Civilization, she completed the Columbia Publishing Course and discovered a passion for editing young adult and middle grade fiction. A ten year career at Disney/Hyperion followed, during which she worked with best-selling authors such as Melissa de la Cruz, Lisa Papademetriou, Melissa Kantor, and Kathryn Williams and helped bring box-office hits such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Tron, Enchanted, and Prince of Persia from big screen to the page. As a Senior Editor she worked with Miley Cyrus to develop her New York Timesbestselling memoir, Miles to Go, and edited Jennifer Lopez’s original series, Amigas. She was also responsible for developing a line of original fiction based on the worlds of Prince of Persia and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Elizabeth also writes her own children’s books, including her original novel, Tweet Heart, as well as bestselling novelizations based on films such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Maleficent, Frankenweenie, and Frozen. To keep her finger on the pulse of the middle-grade reader, she has spent three years working as a 6th grade teacher, while continuing her writing and freelance editing.

Her interests primarily lie with middle-grade and young adult fiction of all types—from realistic fiction to fantasy (with a special soft spot for horse- and dragon-related titles). In addition to building her client list, she is focusing on packaging efforts, pairing high-concept ideas and story-lines with strong writers.

Talk tomorrow,


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