Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 28, 2017

First Page Results – Holly McGhee

Holly M. McGhee still carried MADELINE around in 3rd grade — until Mrs. Carrier, her school librarian, tricked her into reading longer books by giving her one with her name on it, HOLLY IN THE SNOW. After college, Holly headed straight into the book world of New York City, where she has enjoyed being a secretary, an advertising manager, a sales rep (for one month), and in the six years prior to opening the doors at Pippin, an executive editor at HarperCollins. Now, as the President and Creative Director of Pippin she is dedicated to shepherding books that make a difference into the world. Someone once told her, “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” and that has proven true for her.

Holly is interested in literary fiction (middle-grade or YA) and simple picture books that say something we need to hear.

Pippin Properties has the editorial expertise required to help bring each project to its full potential, prior to submission, and they place nearly every project they submit. They are avid caretakers of their clients’ projects, marketing plans, and careers, be it picture books, middle-grade, young adult, graphic, novelty, and adult trade projects.

HERE’S HOLLY AND THE FIRST PAGES:

BABY Kathleen C. Elken – YA

Giving birth to me in a Port Authority toilet bowl was the second best thing my mother ever did for me. The best thing was when she left me there.

“Nobody, not nobody, should be with somebody who don’t love them.” At least that’s what Nell said when she told my story, and she’s the one who found me.

Hitting that cold water? Nell said that must have been like the slap most babies get because I was bawling like a banshee when she opened the stall door. My head was just barely poking up above the brown water line. I couldn’t have looked much prettier than one of those squirrel-sized rats you sometimes see scurrying around the subways, but Nell swore I was the most beautiful thing she ever saw. She didn’t think twice about the urine, the stink, or even the blood when she stuck her hands right in and scooped me out. Then she used a ribbon from the flowers she was carrying to cut my cord and ordered a homeless lady huddled by the door to go get help. Wrapping me up tight in her coat, Nell rocked me back and forth, back and forth, praying someone would believe the homeless woman and not just think she was crazy.

When the transit cops rushed in, they said I was so blue, so cold, I’d never make it.

“Hush!” Nell said to them. “Just get us to a hospital, and find this baby girl’s mama!”

And they did.

They followed her blood trail out of the bathroom, past those bronze statue people, down the steps, all the way past Hudson News, and right up to the Greyhound ticket counter. She was just getting off line, gripping a ticket to Pittsburgh. They took hold of her by the arm at the very moment her knees buckled, so we all ended up at Bellevue. We were there a whole week, and every day the nurses asked my mother if she wanted to see me. She never did say yes.

But Nell? She didn’t leave my side, not once, when I was in the hospital. And she didn’t catch the bus to the Bronx to visit Henry like she was planning to do that day.

HERE’S HOLLY:

BABY–Kathleen C Elken

This book has an interesting premise, the narrator tells the story of how she was born into a Port Authority restroom toilet / her birth mother deserted her but was found further on in the bus terminal. There is a caring adult named Nell who finds the baby and is showing signs of loyalty & compassion to this baby by the end of the first page. For me the story caught hold of all my senses in a very graphic way; but I was actually distracted by the sheer and very graphic depictions of blood / urine / the toilet bowl / the baby—to the point where I couldn’t get a handle on my emotions as I read. It felt like too much too fast.

I think a more successful approach might be to show more of the mother as she decides to get rid of her baby so that we have a human connection, whether or not we agree or disagree with her choice. I was also wondering how the mother could have given birth without calling attention to herself, so that made me question whether I could believe the premise or not. In a nutshell, I think the first page might be the “flight” but the author should create a “runway” before take off. The voice is energetic, first person but I’d like to see more layers of emotions rather than just vivid descriptions . . . how does this girl feel as she tells the story of her entry into the world? Ashamed / Sad / Angry??

An idea: I did wonder if perhaps it might make sense for Nell to be telling the story, that might add some tenderness and make the graphic nature of the first scene easier to handle.

****

Gabe’s Garage of Goodies by Andrea R Huelsenbeck (picture book)

Mike sprayed his truck with the hose, whistling while the suds washed away. The sunlight shone through the spray, creating rainbows if he looked at just the right angle.

He rewound the hose and grabbed his pair of car towels. With one, he quickly wiped off the water droplets; then he polished the surface with the second until it shone, reflecting his happy face.

“Hey, Mike! Look at this!”

Mike’s smile turned upside down at the sound of his neighbor’s voice. He looked up to see Gabe towing a huge canister behind him.

“This is my new Car Vac Plus! Want to see how powerful it is?”

“No, that’s okay. I’ve seen car vacs before,” said Mike, trying to avoid one of Gabe’s disastrous demonstrations.

“Not one like this! It has the suction of a black hole! Here, let’s vacuum out your truck.”

“No, really, it’s okay, I already vacu…”

But Gabe wasn’t listening. He unwound about a hundred feet of cord from the vacuum and walked to Mike’s front porch to plug it in. Then he returned to the canister, flicked a switch, and swoosh, the vac vibrated into action. Gabe grabbed the vacuum hose and, opening the passenger door, began vacuuming away. “You see that? Look at this puppy pick up!”

“Yeah, Gabe, very cool, but I’ve got to finishing polishing the truck before…”

“Don’t you worry about a thing. We’ll have this truck detailed in no time at all! Hey, why don’t you come over tonight for a barbecue?”

“Thanks, but I have a busy day today…”

HERE’S HOLLY:

This is a funny story about an annoying neighbor named Gabe, who interrupts Mike’s zen moment of car washing. We all know people like Gabe, who want to be helpful but don’t pick up social signals 🙂 I am not sure where this story is going or how old Gabe and Mike are. They seemed like adults. It didn’t come across as a picture book, it felt more like the opening of a chapter book. I think it could move faster so that we understand what’s going on more quickly, especially given how short most picture books are. In a nutshell, give us more detail on the characters and get to the point more quickly.

****

THINGS YOU FORGET by S. K. Van Zandt Young Adult

It’s late November and lousy cold. Wind mixed with sleet gusts across the parking lot. Jordan Rutherford crosses to his truck, yanks the door hard against the freezing blasts, and climbs in. Engines start around him. Headlights blink on. Cars pull slowly away from the church for the long drive to the cemetery. Jordan looks toward the front of the line at the white limo, a foggy stream of air pouring from its exhaust. His mother wants him to ride with her and his grandmother, but forget that. He wants to be alone.

He pulls in somewhere near the end of the line of cars, and they drive onto the main road. People steer their cars onto the crusty edge of the pavement to let them pass. Some stop completely. A little kid leans out the window of a parked car and smiles and waves, like he’s watching a parade or something. Jordan wants this to be over.

When he finally gets to Woodland Memorial Cemetery, a crowd has already gathered, huddled beneath a dark green funeral tent that bends with every burst of wind. Several friends from school hang at the edge of the crowd, including Jordan’s best friend, T. J. Bradley.

Jordan stands on a nearby hill, apart from everyone. He looks past the crowd, at the rows and rows of graves dotting the icy ground, then back to the funeral tent and the waiting grave beneath. If he narrows his eyes just right, everything blurs. As the pastor begins talking, Jordan walks back to his truck, climbs in, and drives away without looking back.

THINGS YOU FORGET–S.K. Van Zandt

I was really moved by this one; it grabbed my attention and I wanted to know more about these characters and what Jordan’s role in the death was. I felt genuine emotion coming through the words. I think this is a strong first page. My only comment is to choose every word carefully, and where there is an opportunity for an appropriate extra detail, grab it. (I’m thinking of the line with the little kid leaning out the window, that seemed like a chance to add a telling detail and use fewer words as well.)

****

Vera Truley Gets Real—A Middle Grade Novel by Mary Zisk

If Dad hadn’t lost 203 pounds, I wouldn’t be standing in my backyard right now facing the famous and gigantic Dog Wizard, his reality TV video crew wouldn’t have their cameras pointed at me like a firing squad, my mother wouldn’t be beaming hopeful messages at me with her eyes, and Sylvester Bragg wouldn’t be…well, he just wouldn’t be.

But Dad did lose 203 pounds on From Flab to Fab and won the Grand Prize of $350,000.

And according to Sylvester Bragg, Dad’s loss is our family’s gain. “There are big bucks to be had in the Reality TV game,” Bragg had said when he got Mom and Dad to sign the contract making him our family’s talent agent. “Reality TV is everywhere! It’s your turn in the spotlight. I just know the Truley family are the kind of fascinating, charismatic characters that America will become obsessed with.”

Since then, Mom sees our family as a rich, untapped goldmine waiting to be cashed in.

I’m not totally convinced. Yeah, I can see my little sister Anjelica shining like a diamond, especially in talent and beauty pageants. Jeli loves the spotlight.

Mom imagines herself as a major fashionista, but her taste is somewhere between Ringling Brothers and a bad ‘80s music video. Dad’s already proven he’s mediagenic with his Grand Prize win.

And Henry? To me, my big brother is just a pimply lump of teenager who only cares about his car, his phone, and his girlfriend (in that order). I don’t see any star potential there.

And that leaves me—a dog lover on the edge of teenager-hood with a mouthful of braces trying to show my worth during this taping of The Dog Wizard.

Pookie wags his tail and smiles up at me. His leash slides in my sweaty hand and I pat his shaggy beige head to relax him and me. Well, maybe more me than him. He whines as if he’s saying “not again!”

HERE’S HOLLY:

VERA TRULEY GETS REAL—Mary Zisk

This story is told in first person by an “almost” teenager. The father has won a weight-loss contest and the family is given their own reality show. It seems like a funny premise but I think there are far too many ingredients in this first page; I was also confused by the name of the tv show—The Dog Wizard. I didn’t understand how we went from weight loss to a show called The Dog Wizard in a few paragraphs. I didn’t see the relationship. I think the mistake here is that the author tried to create more of a synopsis than a first page. It’s very hard to introduce every character in the first 250 words. I would advise this author to take her time and give us a full and funny depiction of each character. Perhaps the entire first page could be devoted to Dad’s 203-pound weight loss. It seems like a good opportunity to have some fun and show some humanity. From there you can roll into the victory and offer more nuance about the name of the show and the other characters.

In a nutshell, breathe . . . take your time . . . flesh out your characters before you start moving them around. Get inside their heads, don’t just describe, go from the outside to the inside and show us who they are.

****

Thank you Holly for sharing your time and expertise with us. Everyone can learn something even if there work was not critiqued. Also, good luck with your new wonderful book MATYLDA, BRIGHT & TENDER.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 27, 2017

Avalon Full Manuscript Writer’s Retreat

Many of you know I run a writers retreat in Avalon, NJ each year at the end of September. There is one retreat in the beginning of the week and another one that fills the end of the week. The nice thing is it’s a small retreat with eight writers and two agents, so everyone gets a full manuscript critique with one of the agents and a 30 page critique with the other. We also have a first page session during the retreat and their is plenty of time to talk about and revise your manuscript if needed. Space is limited to eight writers.

Cost of $830 includes critiques, housing, and food. Please send an email if you would like to secure a spot. Put “Avalon Writer’s Retreat” in the subject area and let me know what you have written – Grade level – Genre – Word Count – brief description.                        

The first session of the Avalon Writer’s Retreat is September 24th – 26th, checking out on September 27th. The agents for the first session are:

Andrea Cascardi – Andrea is currently seeking submissions in Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Women’s Fiction (commercial women’s fiction).

Fiction: Andrea says she has eclectic taste, so her submissions wish-list is broad-ranging, but any fiction submission must, first and foremost, have a compelling voice driving the story. Beyond that, she’s look for smart writing, and amped-up emotions: for example, if you’re writing a warm, heartfelt story, she wants it to leave her emotionally spent at the end. Ditto for romance: She wants to feel the heat! She’s hoping to discover funny books that literally make me snort with laughter throughout. And books that take unexpected turns that surprise or shock me in a good way. She look for unique yet relatable characters, and she wants those characters to come from a full range of diverse backgrounds and time periods. More specifically, she’d love to see boundary-pushing stories, dark humor, literary, and clever commercial fiction.

Andrea is open to nonfiction for young readers of all ages, and is keen to find innovative presentations and compelling, creative nonfiction that illuminates a broader topic by viewing it through a smaller lens. She’d like to see some “out there” nonfiction ideas that dazzle with their brilliance yet connect immediately with kids.

Author-illustrators: She is excited to bring new storytelling talent into the field, as well as to work with artists who have experience in other fields such as animation or editorial work and are ready to send their own projects into the world.

Adult fiction: She’s a voracious reader, and is looking to represent what she loves to read, which for lack of a better term she calls commercial books that beg to be discussed. As with children’s fiction, it must be superlative in one or more ways: smart, fierce, commercial, emotionally-hooking, clever, heart-pounding, diverse…the bar is high but she is eager to discover exciting new voices.

Second Agent to be confirmed shortly.

Second Writer’s Retreat is September 28th to September 30th, checking out October 1st. The agents are:

Scott Treimel – Scott represents authors from PB to Young Adult and crossover books. He also represents selected children’s illustrators at his full service boutique agency he founded in 1995. S©ott Treimel NY sells and administers intellectual property rights– print, electronic, audio, foreign, dramatic, film, composition, broadcast, merchandise, promotion– for children’s book creators. STNY upholds the Association of Authors’ Representatives Canon of Ethics.

Scott helps his clients revise as needed, edits manuscripts for submission, and likes to work with authors on developing their careers.

Jennie Dunham – Jennie represents authors of quality fiction and nonfiction books for adults and children and some illustrators of children’s books.

She likes Literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, biography, memoir, history, parenting/family, politics/current affairs, relationships, science/technology, picture books, middle grade, young adult, illustrators.

Ms. Dunham has been a literary agent for over 20 years, is a member of the AAR and SCBWI, and continues to attend conferences.

Over the last five years, this retreat has seen many writers find an agent and go one to getting their manuscript published. Hope to hear from you.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 26, 2017

Book Giveaway – Cricket in the Thicket – Carol Murray

Congratulations to author Carol Murray on her new book CRICKET IN THE THICKET.
It makes its debut on May 9th, 2017. It’s a picture book that uses the happy combination of poetry and non-fiction. Each of the twenty-nine light-hearted poems is accompanied by a text box at the bottom of the page, filled with interesting facts about the bug, be it insect, arachnid, or crustacean. Information can also be found within the poems and in a glossary in the back of the book. The beautiful and eye-catching illustrations of Melissa Sweet build on the words of the poems, adding both charm and substance. Suddenly, learning about bugs becomes painless!

Carol has agreed to participate in our book giveaways. 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.

cricket

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A nonfiction picture book of poetry about fascinating insects with accompanying facts, notes, and illustrations by the Caldecott-winning Melissa Sweet.

Pray tell us, Mr. Mantis,
Do you pray or simply prey?
Do you scout about for victims
Or fold your hands all day?

In addition to the playful rhyming poems, the supplementary text highlights surprising facts about bugs of all kinds―from familiar ants to exotic dragonflies, cringe-worthy ticks and magnificent fireflies. Melissa Sweet’s collage-inspired mixed-media illustrations beautifully render these creatures and compliment the poems’ whimsical tones. This is an enchanting and informative look at a perennial topic of interest for kids―cool bugs!

A Christy Ottaviano Book

BOOK JOURNEY:

I recently looked through my old email files, searching for my first submission of poems about bugs. Actually, I had to look further – into my collection of old three-ringed notebooks. My first attempt on the subject was delivered before email was the accepted way to send submissions. I snail-mailed a collection of poems entitled, Creepy Crawlers, to an editor I met at a summer workshop. The year was 1997. I’m happy to report that twenty years later, Cricket in the Thicket is finally coming out in the world! The book is being published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. My editor, not the first one I sent to, is the fabulous Christy Ottavanio, whose insight, suggestions, and good humor have been just what I needed.

The manuscript has gone through many changes. The first was the addition of “factoids” on each page; the second, a glossary in the back of the book with more extensive information about each bug. I researched material and especially looked for unusual things about each creature – something to make the information different and fun. My information was fact-checked by many experts in the field, a procedure that I appreciated since my scientific knowledge about bugs was shallow, even though I had tons of first-hand experience.

I’m an outdoor person and live in the wide open spaces of Kansas where most of these critters are readily available. The book is dedicated to my two grown sons. Our family always lived in the country with horses and dogs and cats and all sorts of prairie creatures, including a large assortment of bugs. I have a thank-you in the front of the book to our Dillon Nature Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, which has always been a source of great inspiration.

There were also many changes in the poems themselves. I’m a big believer in revision and have found that revisiting a poem produces better work. “Make Every Word Count” is especially important in poetry. The text is spare, and one word came make a huge difference. (cont.)

Mark Twain said that it can be, “the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” So, I’m happy to rethink a word or rework a line, based on suggestions from an editor, a friend, a fellow writer, even a child. Often the second or third version is better than the first.

Getting this book in shape for publication has been a great experience.  Check out my website it you have some time. It’s www.carolmurray.net, created by the expert webmaster, Kathy Temean. There’s more information and a catchy little video book trailer. I’m even having good times creating songs out of some of the poems. It’s a thrill to have Cricket in the Thicket in hand and ready to be launched. I hope you like it!

CAROL’S BIO:

I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t reading and writing poetry. Actually, it was an unwritten requirement when I was growing up. In my family, we wrote poems for all occasions. Usually they were humorous with something heart-tugging near the end. The tradition continues to this day and has been passed on to the next generation. Such fun!

I studied English and French in college and taught Speech and English half-time at our community college for about twenty-five years. I was writing all along, just because I loved doing it, with no goal toward publication. That all changed when my husband, Max, and I found ourselves with an empty nest. I went back to school, got a Masters in English, and fell in love (again) with classic poetry – not just hearts and flowers and drama, but the humorous, sometime outlandish poems that “real poets” wrote, usually found in letters in the back of the Norton Anthologies.

That led to lots of reading and the discovery of so many gifted writers of poetry for children. I kept writing, still loving it, but this time with a different goal – a children’s book or two or three – or more. I’ve had some nice successes, plenty of rejections, and have met so many wonderful people. I’m still enjoying the ride!

Best wishes to all of you. Perseverance is the name of the game!

Carol is a published poet and author of several books for children. She has been a teacher for over thirty years with students, aged three years (Wee Wigglers) to ninety-three (Elderhostel). She taught English and Speech at Hutchinson Community College for twenty-five years and has also taught Creative Writing, Poetry, Interpersonal Communications, and Children’s Literature.

She has a BA degree from the University of Kansas, with majors in English and French. Her MA degree is from Wichita State, in English, with an emphasis in British literature and poetry.

Carol lives in Kansas, the heartland of America. She is currently working on a middle grade novel entitled, Cloverleaf. It’s about a rodeo barrel racer named, Angie, and her horse, Lucky.  Her publications include poems in magazines and anthologies, including Highlights for Children, Guideposts for Kids, Phonics through Poetry, Bless the Beasts and Western Horseman.

Carol, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Good Luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 25, 2017

Agent Looking for Clients

Joanna MacKenzie  Literary Agent – Nelson Literary Agency

I owe my love of books to the librarian of my childhood bookmobile, who, after I had worked my way through The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, lifted the velvet rope and let me in to the grown-up section, where I discovered V.C. Andrews. And to my father, who gifted me Cat’s Cradle, Wuthering Heights, and One Hundred Years of Solitude for my 15th birthday.  In 2002, I got my start in publishing at a Chicago-based literary agency and while there, I successfully placed numerous manuscripts that have gone on to become critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling novels.

I love working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revisions) and am committed to the stories my clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers the build.

As a Chicago-based agent, I am excited to join the Nelson Literary Agency team and to expand my list in both adult and YA. I’m looking for the epic read that, at its center, beats with a universal heart.  In particular, I’m drawn to smart and timely women’s fiction, as well as absorbing, character-driven mysteries and thrillers – both, ideally, with a little edge.  I have a weird obsession with, what I call, “child in jeopardy lit” and can’t get enough kick-ass mom heroines.  On the YA side, I’m interested in coming of age stories that possess a confident voice and characters I can’t stop thinking about.

Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, I’m all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are – parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.

Follow Joanne on Twitter: @joannamackenzie.

How to Submit:

Send a query via email to queryjoanna@nelsonagency.com. Please remember:

  • In the subject line, write QUERY and the title of your project. This will help ensure that your query isn’t accidentally deleted or caught in our spam filter.
  • In the body of your email, include a one-page query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript.
  • No attachments

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 24, 2017

New Imprint & Kudos

Margaret Ferguson will join Holiday House Publishing in May as publisher of a Margaret Ferguson Books imprint, reporting to editor-in-chief Mary Cash. It’s the first time Holiday House has created an eponymous imprint. Ferguson was publisher of a Margaret Ferguson Books at Farrar, Straus Children’s.

Laurie Warchol won the Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award for her nonfiction picture book DRAGONFLY: WAITING FOR WINGS.

Every year the Children’s Book Committee honors emerging writers and writer/illustrators with the Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award. Winners present their work to the public at Discovery Evening in May and editors at major publishing houses will read the winning manuscripts. In past years, editors from Knopf, Candlewick, and Houghton Mifflin have read the winning submissions.

The winners will present their work and receive their awards at the 19th Annual Discovery event on May 7th. Free and open to the public.

Laurie lives in Maine with her husband, Scott, and her infamous Facebook cats, Buzzz and Maisy. A commercial banker by day, she enjoys bird watching, golfing, and appreciating “anything nature” in her spare time.

Amalia Hoffman signed with Lerners Publishing House/ Kar Ben Publishing for a Chanukah board book, which she wrote & Illustrated.

 

Publication date is Fall, 2018.

The title is titled, Dreidel Day.

Congratulations, Amalia!

 

www.amaliahoffman.com


Jennifer Reinharz’s blog, Red said what? was nominated as a finalist for a TODAY Parent’s Choice Award which will be given out in conjunction with an annual award for those who create parenting related content called The Iris Awards. 

Voting is open now until May 4th.

Here’s the link to vote: TODAY Parent’s Choice Awards / Iris Awards

Congratulations to Beth Ferry for having her book being nominated for the Crystal Kite Award.

Remember to vote on your SCBWI Member Page.

 

INDUSTRY CHANGES:

Bethany Buck has joined Bloomsbury Children’s as editorial director. She was editorial director at Skyhorse’s children’s imprint Sky Pony Press.

Andrea Hall has been promoted to associate editor at Albert Whitman.

Stephany Evans has joined Ayesha Pande Literary as an agent, where she’ll continue to represent her list of adult fiction and nonfiction. Previously, she was a principal at FinePrint Literary Management.

Emma Berry has been promoted to editor at Crown.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 23, 2017

Book Winners & SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Voting

BOOK WINNERS:

Emily M. Bailey won Matylda, Bright & Tender by Holly McGhee

Cathy Ballou Mealey won Why Did the Farmer Cross the Road? by Brooke Herter James

CONGRATULATIONS!

Please send me your addresses – Thanks!

Holly McGhee signing at BOOKS OF WONDER in NYC – Today!

The second round of voting for your favorite book for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award is in progress. You need to be a member to vote. Log in to http://www.scbwi.org and go to your member page. It will only show you the books for your region. I would have liked to shown all the books for all the regions, but could only find the Atlantic Region. If you are in another region and can take a screen shot of the page, I will add it to the list to show off your region. Voting end on April 30th. Make sure you vote. You will want people to do the same when your book shows up on this list someday.

MIDWEST NOMINEES:

Southeast:

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 22, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Pat Achilles

Pat Achilles is an award-winning illustrator with over 20 years of experience in corporate, advertising, book and editorial illustration. Her styles range from highly realistic to humorous cartoons to children’s literature. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, where she was taught by the delightful Beth and Joe Krush and Bob Byrd. Pat is a co-founder of the Bucks County Illustrators Society and gives presentations on ‘What Authors Should Know about Book Illustration,’ geared especially for children’s book writers, and ‘Marketing for Illustrators.’

Here’s Pat explaining her process:

In planning my illustration of the Pied Piper leading the rats out of Hamelin, I started with compositional pencil sketches. In my own fanciful retelling of the story the Piper will have one comrade-in-arms among the rats, so I wanted those two characters in the forefront of the image, but I also wanted to highlight the 3 figures of the town mayor and his counselors. I roughed out a very general composition of the big shapes in the scene and shaded it in pencil for basic tones and contrast.

I did a lot of pictorial research for this illustration, and probably the most interesting part was the architecture of medieval German towns. The most fun was giving a lot of action to the crowd and especially the rats. I drew the separate parts of the busy scene in detail on tracing paper.

Then I put all the tracings together into one drawing.

After tightening up it somewhat, I transferred it all to illustration board and made the foreground more prominent by outlining in prisma pencil.

I then painted it in using acrylic paint washes. I took a few pictures of the stages.

And here is the finished art.

Interview Questions for Pat Achilles

How long have you been illustrating?

I interspersed illustration with working in publishing and graphic design ever since I graduated from college, which is over thirty years ago. I have had more opportunity for children’s book illustration for the past nine years.

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

Soon after I graduated I drew some spot illustrations for the Weekend section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. After 4 or 5 illustrations for them, that art director moved on, and unfortunately so did my assignments from them!

What made you choose to attend Moore College of Art in Philadelphia?

I visited Moore in my college search and was impressed with their facilities and center city location. It had a strong illustration program and I did have my sites set on a career in that field.

 

What was your major?

Illustration.

Do you think Moore influenced your style?

Yes, surely. My teachers in illustration included Andy Snyder, who was great at historical illustration, Robert Byrd, whose wonderful sense of humor in his art is still winning awards for him today, and the delightful Beth Krush, who with her husband Joe created the lush and memorable world of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers series. All of them were excellent teachers with years of knowledge and skill, and I was kind of a sponge, soaking up everything I could of their experience and dedication.

What type of job did you get after you graduated?

I was hired by the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to illustrate text books – I had worked there as an intern during my senior year at Moore. After that I became a graphic designer and assistant to the Curriculum Art Director at Westminster Press, a small religious publishing house in Philadelphia; when the Senior Art Director there retired, I was promoted to her position. It was a great job because I learned how editors work and got a basic education of the publishing industry.

When did you start the Bucks County Illustrators Society and what inspired you to start it?

The idea for the Bucks County Illustrators Society started when I met Monika Hinterwaldner, another Moore graduate, who suggested it would be wonderful to get other illustrators together to share experiences. Both Monika and I had children in school at the time, and that made networking with other groups complicated, so we co-founded our own network. My husband’s church in Doylestown has graciously permitted us to meet there monthly for about 6 years. (cont.)

Our BCIS mission is to promote the art and business of illustration and to give illustrators an opportunity to meet other professionals in the field. We fulfill that through regular, informative meetings, hosting talks by top illustrators in the area and mounting illustration exhibitions. We have members ranging from recent art school grads to pros who have been illustrating for decades; and each meeting is a surprise as to what sketches, finishes, media or stories of Assignments Gone Wrong we will share! Our website, http://www.bcillustrators.org, has information on our members and a gallery of their work.

 

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I’ve always loved children’s literature and theater, and with the outstanding teachers I had at Moore, who worked mostly in children’s books, illustrating for children was always an attraction for me. I’ve acted for years in community theater and assisted at shows when my children acted as well, and the tools of theatrical storytelling with their costumes and props roll easily into the making of storybook art.

Do you have an Artist Rep. to represent you? How did you meet and how long have they represented you?

I’ve never had a representative. I would not be averse to having one, but I do magazine work and graphic design when I am not illustrating for children, so my work flow is fairly steady and I haven’t seriously sought a rep. Of the other illustrators I know, several have representatives and consider them a valuable resource in their negotiations with clients.

What was the first picture book you illustrated?

The first picture book was Mommy’s High Heel Shoes by Kristie Finnan, a self-published author. I illustrated Green Andrew Green by Isabelle Holland for Westminster Press before I worked there, but that was a middle-grade level book, so it was black/white illustrations inside and a color cover, not technically a picture book.

How did that come your way?

I took on Mommy’s High Heel Shoes when I met the author at a women’s networking group, the Women’s Business Forum, in my home town. The author was very motivated to self-publish her story and a good marketer, and her book was a success. For Green Andrew Green, a former Moore classmate of mine was working in another department at Westminster Press and kindly helped get my portfolio in front of their children’s book art director. If you look at the art from Green Andrew Green you would notice how similar my style was back then to my Moore teacher Beth Krush.

 

Is The Case of the Missing Steak Bone & Who Let the Dogs Out? your latest book?

My latest book is also by Chrysa Smith, and it’s a picture book for young children – Once Upon a Poodle. Chrysa does a number of author visits to schools and she saw that her characters were quite popular with very young children, so she wrote a prequel picture book story to her Poodle Posse series, to appeal to that age group. Before that I illustrated the picture book Let’s Visit New Hope, for the New Hope Historical Society. The style I used in that book is a tribute to the wonderful 1960s books by M. Sasek such as This is Paris and This is London.

I see that you have illustrated a few books written by Chrysa Smith. How did the two of you connect?

Chrysa and my husband happen to attend the same church, so we became friends there first; and she had so much success with her first Poodle Posse book that she has asked me to continue illustrating her series.

Are you open to illustrating self-published picture books from writers you don’t know?

All of the self-published authors I’ve worked with I have known previously. A new self-publishing author would have to demonstrate they understand the time and skill that goes into illustration, that they have worked with an editor on their manuscript, and that they have thought through the marketing part of making a successful book. And of course, I would have to be intrigued and excited about their story!

Have you illustrated any book covers?

I have illustrated and/or designed a number of book covers, mostly for business and self-help books, shown on my website.

Would you like to write and illustrate a children’s picture book?

It is a goal of mine, yes.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

I have not attempted that, although I do love poring over books like those by Chris Van Allsburg.

 

Have you worked with any educational publishers?

I did sketchwork for a time for Houghton Mifflin, for middle-grade textbooks. The textbooks, which dealt with world history, had chapter head pages that were to be illustrated by photo-illustrators – but before they would do their photo work, complex compositional sketches involving many figures had to be created. I was assigned to draw sketches for composition of these scenes, upon which the photo-illustrators built their art.

Have you ever illustrated anything for a children’s magazine?

I drew numerous story illustrations for Children’s Health Publications, in the first few years that I was freelancing, for magazines like Humpty Dumpty and Children’s Digest.

Have you ever illustrated a graphic novel?

No.

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

I get a lot of my work now from repeat business and word-of-mouth. One of the best kickstarters for my career early on was joining the business networking group I mentioned earlier. That helped me form a base of clients, some of which I still do work for, and it also connected me with knowledgeable business people – my expertise in business was minimal after college, and I learned a lot from the Women’s Business Forum. (cont.)

I also recommend finding – or forming – an illustrators’ networking group, like we have started with the Bucks County Illustrators Society. We have great camaraderie in BCIS, and when someone has overflow work there is usually someone else who is happy to pick up the job or assist – it’s been a win-win in that way. Social media is of course very important too. I have a website , a professional Facebook page, a blog, LinkedIn, Behance and Twitter, and I post on them regularly.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I most frequently use acrylic paint, either opaquely or in washes, with a prisma pencil for outlining and some details, on illustration board or watercolor paper.

Has that changed over time?

I’ve used that combination for most of my career. I used to do much more black and white work, and for that I like prisma with india ink washes. I’ve drawn a lot of gag cartoons and I find the prisma/wash style fast and fun for those.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Yes – my husband sings with choral groups so we also have a piano in there, it’s sort of our Art & Music room.

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

Well, at this point in life, it’s my glasses! But in looking around my studio I see I’ve accumulated quite a few bookshelves stacked full of picture books – Carl Larsson, M. Sasek, N.C. Wyeth, Charles Santore – I often look for inspiration among other authors & illustrators. So I think my bookshelves and books are quite important.

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

Recently I am fitting in more time to study writing and skills with computer painting in Photoshop. I will always enjoy creating art by hand most, but I feel the need to be more technically proficient; and I’d like to improve my writing to get going on writing and illustrating some stories.

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

I always search out photographic reference for the books I illustrate. I feel the characters and locations should have authentic details to make them more interesting, specific and three-dimensional. I have a collection of favorite books on costume, animals, history, foreign countries, flowers, cartoons, musical instruments . . .

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

It has certainly made research easier, and I’ve watched many online tutorials on art techniques. I have had a few clients in England, Canada and across the US, so the internet does get your work in front of customers you’d never otherwise have met. When I think back to drawing art for Humpty Dumpty before the internet, I remember the A.D. had to mail me layout pages, I had to mail him back my rough sketches in place on the sheets, then he’d mail them back to me with corrections noted, then I’d mail him the finished art – it took forever! So now with the internet, art directors can get things much more quickly – so is that a bug or a feature . . .?

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I am just now learning Photoshop drawing and painting, and have not done a professional assignment with it yet. All of my illustration work previously is hand-drawn, although after I scan my hand-drawn work I do usually clean it up electronically. Among my BCIS friends, a number of them work digitally and their work is beautiful, so I don’t have the prejudice against digital work that I used to have.

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

I am experimenting with Photoshop on a Microsoft Surface 3 Tablet. It’s handy to carry around, but it is a small screen compared to Wacoms or Cintiques.

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

I would like to illustrate my own stories, and then also transfer the stories into a children’s play. In my experience, live theater engages children’s imagination like nothing else. And also, with my husband’s musical background, I’m a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and would like to paint a show poster illustration for every one of their plays. I love their characters, language, wit and glorious music – and I’ve done five of the shows already you see, so I might as well strive to get all fourteen in there!

What are you working on now?

I am between children’s books, but on the docket are an illustrated map of New Hope, PA, logos for two businesses, and a monthly feature illustration for a trade magazine. I’m also looking forward to meeting up with some BCIS members to see the Howard Pyle exhibit currently at Drexel University, which is on loan from the National Museum of American Illustration.

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.

One tip on books for reference – among my books are a few about operas and theater – it’s not only because I enjoy those particular performing arts. The photos from these productions often show beautifully designed props, scenery, movement and lighting and can be great inspiration for dramatic visual art.

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

I’ve always been aware that we illustrators should practice our drawing skills, study masters of illustration and explore new media. I think the networking I’ve enjoyed with other artists in the last few years has special bonuses in the friendships and inspiration it creates, and I really recommend it to creative artists.

Thank you Patricia for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Pat’s work, you can visit her at her website: https://achillesportfolio.wordpress.com/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Pat. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 21, 2017

Part Two of Interview with Featured Agent Holly McGhee

Read about Holly’s new Middle grade novel, MATYLDA, BRIGHT & TENDER. Click link and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. I read the whole book and I think it is destined for a Newbery Award. Perfect example of a literary middle grade book. Reminded me of a Kate DiCamillo book.

The amazing Holly McGhee is our Featured Agent for April and will critique four first pages.

Holly M. McGhee still carried MADELINE around in 3rd grade — until Mrs. Carrier, her school librarian, tricked her into reading longer books by giving her one with her name on it, HOLLY IN THE SNOW. After college, Holly headed straight into the book world of New York City, where she has enjoyed being a secretary, an advertising manager, a sales rep (for one month), and in the six years prior to opening the doors at Pippin, an executive editor at HarperCollins. Now, as the President and Creative Director of Pippin she is dedicated to shepherding books that make a difference into the world. Someone once told her, “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” and that has proven true for her.

Holly is interested in literary fiction (middle-grade or YA) and simple picture books that say something we need to hear.

Pippin Properties has the editorial expertise required to help bring each project to its full potential, prior to submission, and they place nearly every project they submit. They are avid caretakers of their clients’ projects, marketing plans, and careers, be it picture books, middle-grade, young adult, graphic, novelty, and adult trade projects.

Interview with Holly McGhee April Featured Agent (Part One)

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes. If I see something in the story that wins my heart, I’ll edit it until it’s polished enough to secure a publishing deal.

Does an unpublished writer have any chance with landing you as their agent?

Yes. I just took on a debut YA writer last month. It’s not often that I take on new clients, as my list is very full and I need time also to write my own books, but I do take on people, maybe one or two per year.

Do your other agents discuss submissions they receive with you before offering representation?

We are a close-knit group and are all aware of what each other is taking on. Further, if one of us receives a submission that we think is a better fit with someone else, we share internally.

What is your typical response time to email or call your clients back?

It’s not often that an email sits for more than two days. Only if I’m out of town or swamped. Phone calls are generally scheduled, although unscheduled calls are fine if I’m open.

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

I use both email and phone. I think it’s important to connect every so often voice to voice, rather than just email. I generally do phone calls on Wednesdays, when I’m in Maplewood. However, during a submission, I’m on the phone and email with my client constantly. It’s an exciting time and I like to share it with my client.

What happens if you don’t sell this book? Do you keep trying? Do you go back to the drawing board? When do you tell the client to work on something else?

It depends. If we receive consistent feedback from a number of publishers, we do a revision. Other times, it’s not the right project for the current marketplace, so we shelve it until its time comes around. Usually I just keep going until I sell it, because if it’s something I’m sending out, I believe in it.

How many editors do you go to before giving up?

If I believe in the project I don’t usually give up. It just becomes a “rolling” submission, meaning I keep on sending it out when I meet editors who I think might like it.

How long is your average client relationship?

Many of my clients have been with me since the beginning (18 years!). I only part ways if I feel like I am working harder than my client, or if there is a project that I don’t think I can place but the client wants to submit anyway.

Are you open to authors who write multiple genres?

Sure!

I know you have many famous author clients. Maybe you could share some of the fun parts of those relationships.

I remember screaming on the phone with Jandy Nelson the first time we made the New York Times Bestseller List for I’ll Give You the Sun! I was in New York Penn station and I could hardly hear her but it didn’t matter ‘cause we were both screaming anyway. Taking the #1 subway uptown with Ken and Kathi Appelt after the National Book Awards in all our finerie. We’d all worn blue for The True Blue Scouts of the Sugarman Swamp. Popping open tiny cans of Sofia Coppola champagne in the car with Kate DiCamillo and the Candlewick gang on the way to the NBA awards for Raymie Nightingale. Stuff like that makes me grin.

Stop back next Friday to read Holly’s critiques.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “April 2017  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: April 20th.

RESULTS: April 28th.

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,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 20, 2017

Entangled Publishing Wishlist

The editors at Entangled Publishing are always looking for the next breakout hit. Could that be your book? Make sure to read until the end as we have some special calls as well. Each month, we have a new wish list from our editors. Watch for them as they’ll change monthly. Let’s discover each other today! All submissions can be sent through our Submittable system. The link can be found here:

http://www.entangledpublishing.com/submission-information/

Entangled-EditorWishList(476x286)

Alycia Tornetta, Editorial Director for Bliss, Ignite and Select Suspense

Special Call: I have several openings for authors interested in writing on spec for Bliss. Spec projects, by Entangled’s definition, are project concepts that are conceived by the editor and written to spec by an author. The world and characters belong to Entangled, but the rest of the contract is standard. To be considered, you must already be traditionally published. Submit your cover letter and a 30-page writing sample (preferably 30 pages that haven’t been professionally edited) that demonstrates the voice I could expect in your Bliss writing.

Please title the submission SPEC CALL and submit your sample via this link: https://entangledpublishing.submittable.com/submit/19011/bliss

Additionally, Ignite and Suspense are looking for the following:

Romantic suspense with search and rescue, coast guard, or other team-like heroes.
Romantic suspense that has strong tropes, like enemies to lovers, coworkers, etc.
Romantic suspense featuring heists. Think Entrapment and the Thomas Crown Affair.
Romantic suspense about finding a serial killer. Something with a forensic anthropologist or FBI agent.

Bliss is looking for:

Sweet romance that features animal-lovers, e.g. vets, dog walkers, shelter volunteers, etc.
Sweet romance with marriage of convenience
Sweet romance featuring quirky towns and strong tropes
Sweet romance with single dad heroes. Maybe falling for nanny, or his kid’s teacher.

Brenda Chin, Editorial Director for Brazen and Scorched

Scorched:
Imprint info:
Single title erotic romance.
Can be any length – serial, novella, full-length novel
Can be any genre – contemporary, historical, paranormal
Must be a romance!

We’re looking for:

Books of more than 50,000 words
New Adult Romances, written in first person, present tense
Naughty Regency/Victorian/Highland/Viking historical with high level of explicitness

We’re also looking for traditionally published authors to write to concept for the following miniseries premises:
Forbidden fantasies (sex with a stranger, voyeurism, forbidden relationships).
Time sensitive relationships (example: 9 ½ weeks)
Sexual awakenings

Brazen:

Imprint info:
Contemporary category romance – 45,000 – 55,000 words
Very sexy stories featuring characters in their 20’s or early 30’s.
Sensual hooks/tropes are a must.

We’re also looking for new miniseries with the following themes:
Hockey
Stories set in unique (but popular) settings – Australia, UK, Alaska
Unique heroes with family ties – i.e. a miniseries featuring three brothers who grew up in NY’s Little Italy. Hot guys with fun families.
Firefighters

We’re also looking for books with heroines our readers can connect with:
Girl next door
Curvy heroines

Candace Havens, Editorial Director for Embrace

Embrace is looking for stories that are heart-pounding in multiple ways. A first job in a dangerous field, not law enforcement, but maybe spies or something like the Thomas Crown Affair. We’d also like some hot British and Scottish dudes at a European university and maybe the females are American studying there. First jobs that are somewhat exotic, maybe in a foreign land. And we could use some romantic comedies with first jobs, first time at college, or internships.

Heather Howland, Editorial Director for Lovestruck

For Lovestruck, we’d like to see:

fresh twists on the following tropes/stories that allow readers (and us, as your editors!) to escape for a few hours: beauty and the beast, best friends to lovers, fish out of water, forced proximity (especially with enemies to lovers), women traveling to exciting foreign locales, hot men with accents here in the states, hockey/baseball/football teams, interoffice romance, and online dating gone hilariously wrong (but it’s for the best!)
– NOTE: we’re looking specifically for heroines who are relatable to the average reader, and who we’ll love and understand from page one.

At this time, we prefer NOT to see:
weddings, fake relationships, PR firms repairing reputations, bakeries/restaurants/food-related professions, specific apartment building-centric stories, politicians (unless they’re the small town, everyman/woman mayor), or women fixing up men.

Outside of Lovestruck, I would like to see:

Sexy-as-hell police/firefighter/FBI series for Embrace. Young cops/firemen/FBI agents straight out of the academy, falling in love while maneuvering through dangerous jobs.

Adorable, swoony teen romance for the Crush or Teen lines. Bonus points for broody heroes being blindsided by heroines who are relatable, yet forces of nature in his eyes.

Near future, artificial intelligence YA sci-fi chock full of the swoony romance I love. I want the AI to be unnerving and a little too close for comfort. If you’ve seen Humans on AMC, you know what I’m talking about.

High concept YA sci-fi, paranormal, or twisty contemporary that makes me think.

Heidi Shoham, Editorial Director for Select Contemporary and Indulgence

I’m specifically on the lookout for books for the Contemporary Select and Indulgence imprints (but I also acquire imprint wide).

For Select Contemporary, I want layered, emotional stories with series potential, strong romances with large, likable casts of characters; hot, confident heroes, cowboys (swoon), men in uniform, the hero who stands just a little bit taller than the regular/everyday guy. I want likable, relatable heroines, authentic dialogue, and conflicts that will knock me off my feet and carry the book from beginning to end.

For Indulgence, I want to be swept away by the ultimate fantasy alpha hero who may be hard, tough on the outside, but who is hiding a heart of gold. Send your heroine to exotic setting to meet an exciting, multi-layered billionaire intent on making the heroine his. I want to fly to private Greek islands, villas in Spain or Italy, extravagant ski resorts in France or Switzerland. The heroines must likable and relatable, they’re the everyday woman (think about the women in your own circle of friends) who get swept away by alpha heroes who can make all their dreams come true…even if they’re going to drive the women a little crazy first.

Imprint wide, I’m always looking for:

High concept plots that can grab me in one sentence.
Would love to see a single dad doing his best to be what his kid needs.
Looking for sexy contemporaries featuring everyday, relatable heroines, and above-average heroes (don’t have to be billionaires, unless you’re writing an Indulgence).
Make me blush with your hottest, most erotic romance (it’s takes a lot to really make me blush!).
Cowboys, cowboys, cowboys
Men in uniform/veterans/first responders
Shifters – especially wolves and bears, with that strong family/pack element to it
Good secret baby plot, angsty heroes with a snarky sense of humor (a la Dean Winchester).

Special Call: I have several openings for authors interested in writing on spec for Indulgence. Spec projects, by Entangled’s definition, are project concepts that are conceived by the editor and written to spec by an author. The world and characters belong to Entangled, but the rest of the contract is standard. To be considered, you must already be a published author. Submit your cover letter and a 30-page writing sample that demonstrates your voice. Please title the submission: “SPEC CALL” and submit your sample via this link:

https://entangledpublishing.com/index.php/indulgence-submissions/

Karen Grove, Senior Editor

Academies—military, coast guard, police, fire, swift-water rescue, search & rescue, etc.—they’re all ripe for strong, hot heroes willing to serve and the close-knit friendships and forced proximity that creates an instant sense of family/loyalty.
High-concept plots that demand to be made into movies. If you can make me see the film in my head with just a few lines, you’ve got me.
A rugged, strong hero establishes a ranch for abused, unwanted creatures and/or trains therapy animals—horses, dogs, pot-bellied pigs, whatever—and his one-day-at-a-time, quiet world is disrupted by a vivacious young woman who either takes a job on the ranch, works as a veterinarian, or arrives to learn about what he is doing there. (Any line.)
Small-town sweet romance a la Nicholas Sparks. Men who own businesses and work with their hands—cowboys/ranchers, builders/construction workers, etc. The guys who are rugged and not afraid of hard work, but who are oh-so-gentle with their heroines.
The ultimate book boyfriend—strong, on the alpha side, protective, encouraging, and who’s not afraid to let his guard down and be silly with the one he loves.
Romantic suspense—law enforcement, terrorism, biological agents. Make my heart race to stop a major catastrophe.
Things that will always capture my attention: great banter—characters who keep me on my toes; hockey (ice or inline), and lacrosse; dogs and horses; military academy; quirky characters with big hearts; law enforcement, bodyguards, and special forces; enemies to lovers, forced proximity, friends to lovers, opposites attract, bad boy reformed.

Lydia Sharp, Editor

YA fantasy or sci-fi with “ill-fated lovers.” Why would it feel devastating on an epic scale for them to be together romantically? And how do they overcome that to be together anyway? Looking for unique worldbuilding that plays into the conflict.
YA contemporary romance that centers on the high school experience and the relationships formed within those locker-lined walls. Humorous situations and witty banter is a plus. Looking for a fresh spin on tried-and-true romance tropes like “brother’s best friend,” “fake relationship,” “hidden identity,” “rivalry,” and “enemies to lovers,” to name just a few.
In adult contemporary romance—alpha males, alpha males, alpha males. Looking for stories that are just as fun and thrilling to read as they are sexy; stories that take us on a physical journey as well as an emotional one; would like to see more foreign settings and sharp character conflict.

Tera Cuskaden, Editorial Director for Select Otherworld and Covet

Otherworld
High-concept plots I can sell in one sentence.
Paranormal romance with great romantic tension between alpha males and strong heroines.
Fresh voices and amazing stories that will suck me into the world and keep me up past my bedtime reading.
I’m open to all genres and themes, though I am specifically looking for shifters (wolves, big cats, bears, and dragons in particular), vampires, and science fiction/fantasy with crossover elements, such as shifters and/or vampires.
Menage paranormal and sci-fi romance. Think fated mates and/or a woman bonded to two men. The sex can be hot (and should be!), but make sure the story doesn’t revolve around the sex.
I’d love to see large paranormal worlds with many different paranormal elements, such as vampires, shifters, witches, angels and demons, etc.
Contemporary-based sci-fi. Think DNA-enhanced soldiers, super soldiers, medical issues, military, artificial intelligence, hackers and international espionage, and Outbreak.
I would love to see sci-fi stories in the style of 12 Monkeys, Firefly, and Star Wars.

General submissions

High concept plots that will sell in one sentence.
I’d love to see romances with single dads that will melt my heart.
Romantic suspense/thrillers that make my heart race in more ways than one. Would love to see stories with a more psychological basis.
– Sexy contemporaries featuring every day, relatable heroines (think teacher, nurse, veterinarian, etc.), and above-average heroes (though they don’t have to be billionaires, unless you’re targeting Indulgence).
Erotic romances that make me blush.
Manuscripts targeted toward the Indulgence imprint (Here’s where those billionaires come into play!)
Men in uniform or veterans.
Women on vacation.

Special Call: I have several openings for authors interested in writing on spec for Otherworld or Covet. Some of these openings include m/m and menage. Spec projects, by Entangled’s definition, are projects that are conceived by the editor and written to spec by an author. The world and characters belong to Entangled, but the rest of the contract is standard. To be considered, you must already be traditionally published. Submit your cover letter and a 30-page writing sample that demonstrates the voice I could expect in your Otherworld or Covet writing.

Please title the submission SPEC CALL and use this link to select Otherworld or Covet:
https://entangledpublishing.submittable.com/submit

Wendy Chen, Editor

Wendy Chen is looking for a sweet Bliss story. I would love to see your fresh twist on a relationship of convenience or mistaken identity trope. I have a soft spot for pets and an even softer one for a hero who works with animals.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 19, 2017

Book Giveaway: Do Fairies Bring the Spring?

Congratulations to author Liza Gardner Walsh and Hazel Mitchel on their new book DO FAIRIES BRING THE SPRING? They have agreed to participate in our book giveaways. 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.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

After a long winter’s rest with little to do,
are the fairies ready to start something new,

Do they use tiny brushes and oil pastels
to paint crocuses, lilacs, and daffodils?

Everyone knows fairies love spring flowers and summer sun, but is it the fairies who wake up the earth as the snow melts? Do they entice the trees to turn green and the flowers to grow? In this charming follow up to Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows, Liza Gardner Walsh, acclaimed author of the Fairy House Handbook and Fairy Garden Handbook, explores the matter in a children’s picture book of rhyming questions. Combined with delightful illustrations by Hazel Mitchell this whimsical book will help children discover the world of fairies and learn to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors.

LIZA’S BOOK JOURNEY:

After Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? The big question was if we were going to do all four seasons. Our publisher gave the green light so I knew I needed to write a spring book to follow winter. The winter book had a central message about kindness and empathy so when I began thinking about spring, I immediately focused on growth and taking care of the earth through tending the plants around us. Fairies and flowers are so intertwined that it was easy to think in general about spring fairies but the trick was asking exactly how they would bring they about the flowers? By tapping their feet? By painting them? By ringing bells?

I have so much fun asking these questions. The hard part is knowing when to stop! I find that the nature of talking about fairies begs questioning. It goes with the nature of belief … could this be? Let’s imagine. What if?

I keep coming back to the idea that for me fairies represent creativity, imagination, kindness and wonder. And I think by encouraging kids to think in this way, to get outside, to take care of the world around us, we are hopefully creating caretakers of the earth and future citizens of the world.

HAZEL’S BOOK JOURNEY:

I was excited to be asked to illustrate the next book in Liza Gardner Walsh’s fairy picture book series. The winter fairy book was a lot of fun. Because the premise of the books is to ask questions and get children thinking, (they don’t have to believe in fairies at all!), it makes me ask questions too … just what are the fairies up to? What do they look like, where do they live, what do they wear and how could I bring the theme of helping each other into the book and still keep it fun for young readers (and older readers as it turned out!)? So, when the manuscript for spring landed on my desk and I realized there was going to be lots about helping plants grow, tending  to and enjoying nature – I couldn’t wait to get started!

As in ‘Where Do Fairies Go When it snows?’, ‘Do Fairies Bring The Spring?’ features a main character fairy. At the end of the winter book there’s a spread with four fairies who represent each season (it happened unconsciously). They turned out to be a diverse range of characters and so I already had my ‘spring’ fairy! That she’s a fairy of color fits well into the current climate we are living in. There’s no ‘agenda’ in this – this is just a little fairy going about her spring business and she happens to be of African descent. I believe this is great for the reader – characters of any ethnicity just doing normal things! (Which in this case is helping spring along.)


I love to garden and it was easy for me to imagine a miniature world where the fairies are planning a garden – sitting around in the dark evenings of winter with seed catalogs and garden plans. Then off to the woods to rake and plant! Of course there are fantastical elements in the story, this is fairyland after all, like coloring the flowers and waking up the plants. However this is almost a representation of what nature does. The over riding theme is that we can all help things grow and look after nature and our world. (This would be a great book to help celebrate Earth Day). The fairies are lucky, because they have little creatures helping them too. I like to think that the fairies are the adults in the book and the animals are the children. Humor is important in my work and the animals add a lot of that, I think. I really would love to do a book about just the little creatures and what they get up to when the fairies are away doing their fairy things. (No hints to Liza, here!)

The end spread in both the winter and spring books shows ‘our’ world’ with the fairies looking on, in spring book there is a family of mixed ethnicity enjoying a picnic in a spring flower meadow. I deliberately chose to do this to reflect the diverse fairy world I created. All children should be able to see themselves in books they read!

LIZA’S BIO:

Liza Gardner Walsh has written numerous books for children , including Muddy Boots, Treasure Hunter’s Handbook, Fairy Houses All Year, and Where Do Fairies Go When it Snows? illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. Liza has been a children’s librarian, high school English teacher, a Museum Educator and she holds an MFA from Vermont College. She lives with her family in Camden, Maine.

HAZEL’S BIO:

Thank you Liza and Hazel for sharing you book and your journey’s with us. Looks like another great picture book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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