Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 24, 2017

Agent Looking for Clients – Roseanne Wells

Roseanne Wells

Associate Agent

Roseanne Wells joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2012. Previously with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency, she has also worked as a proofreader and a special sales/editorial assistant. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with degrees in Literature and Dance. An avid reader, Roseanne discovered her passion for book publishing during her internship at W. W. Norton, and she approaches agenting as a writer’s advocate, editor, and partner. She is a member of SCBWI and a volunteer for Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho, NYC. You can find her on Twitter @RivetingRosie.

What I’m looking for:

In all categories, I’m eager to see diverse and underrepresented authors, marginalized stories, and crossing or blending genres.

Adult Nonfiction: I’m looking for authors who have a unique story to tell, have built a strong platform, and are dedicated to reaching their audience. I like narrative nonfiction, select memoir, science (popular or trade, not academic), history, religion (not inspirational), travel, humor, food/cooking, pop culture, and similar subjects. I’m also interested in fresh, modern self-improvement that not only inspires but energizes readers to action in this rapidly evolving world.

Adult Fiction: I’m interested in strong literary fiction that emphasizes craft and style equally, and doesn’t sacrifice plot and character for beautiful sentences; science-fiction and fantasy; con/heist stories, especially featuring art, jewelry, or tech; and smart detective novels (more Sherlock Holmes than cozy mysteries).

Children’s: I’m eager to see diverse voices and marginalized stories, unique narrative structures that support the story, and unreliable narrators. I’m looking for young adult and middle grade of all genres that connect me to a strong main character and a singular voice. I’m also open to picture books, especially from author/illustrators. I love cranky, mischievous characters that grow throughout the narrative, and stories that are fun and hilarious for children (and the adults who will read them 500 times). Nonfiction picture books in STEM, science, arts, and biographies are a big plus for me. I’m not interested in rhyming picture books or overly sweet and sentimental stories. 

How to submit

Please email a one-page query letter to Please include “Query” and your title in the subject line of the email, your contact information, and the first 20 pages pasted into the body of the email below the letter. Picture book authors should send one manuscript; I may request more if I’m interested. Illustrators should copy and paste artwork into the body of the email and send an expanded link (no type of links) to an online portfolio. No attachments will be opened. You will receive an automatic message once you submit. I only accept email queries, and any queries sent by regular mail will not be considered.

Talk tomorrow,


Laurie Warchol is the winner of Cricket in the Thicket by Carol Murray
Please send address.

The submissions period for the second annual Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is now open! The prize was founded in 2016 to honor the legacy of author Louise Meriwether by publishing a debut work by a woman or nonbinary author of color. The prize is granted to a manuscript that follows in the tradition of Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner, one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young black girl as the protagonist. Meriwether’s groundbreaking text inspired the careers of writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis, among many others. The prize continues this legacy of telling much-needed stories that shift culture and inspire new writers.

The inaugural prize was awarded to writer YZ Chin for her short story collection, Though I Get Home. The Feminist Press will publish Chin’s collection in spring 2018.

First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction or nonfiction, of 30,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive a $5,000 advance and publication by the Feminist Press.

Finalists will be notified in October. One winner will be announced in February 2018.


The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women of color and nonbinary writers of color who are residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. Candidates may not submit the same manuscript in subsequent years unless specifically invited by the Feminist Press. Employees of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter.


There will be two (2) rounds of judging, as follows:

Round 1: All entries will be reviewed by a group of judges made up of staff, board members, and allies of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine. Finalists for the prize will be notified in October.

Round 2: The top five (5) submissions chosen in the first round will be reviewed by acclaimed authors Bridgett M. Davis and Ana Castillo, along with a Feminist Press representative and TAYO Literary Magazine editor-in-chief Melissa R. Sipin. The panel will choose one manuscript as the winning entry from that group. The winner will be announced in February 2018.


Contest entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01:01 AM (Eastern Time) on May 1, 2017, and all entries must be received no later than 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time) on July 31, 2017. Entries submitted prior to or after the entry period will not be considered.


All manuscripts should be sent to louisemeriwetherprize [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line “First Book Prize” followed by your name and book title. Please send manuscript as a PDF, and also include a cover letter as a separate attachment with author statement, a brief bio, how your work fits with the Feminist Press, your manuscript’s word count, and a brief list of writers (up to three) you consider are part of your writing lineage.

The work submitted for consideration may not be under contract elsewhere.


One winner will be awarded a $5,000 advance (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication) and a contract to publish their book with the Feminist Press in print and digital editions in spring 2019. We expect to work closely with the winner and provide editorial guidance on their manuscript.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 22, 2017


Congratulations to author Kathleen Burkinshaw on her new book THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM. She 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.


Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don’t report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bombs hit Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.


The Question That Began My Journey of The Last Cherry Blossom

I always enjoyed writing from the time I was old enough to write little poems for my home-made holiday cards. In school, I loved researching for reports, and blue book exams (Yes, I was one of those people).  But my college years and my career after college didn’t involve creative writing.

But, when my daughter was four-years-old I was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a neurological, progressive, chronic pain disorder of the sympathetic nervous system. I had spent quite a bit of time in hospitals and my career as a health care executive ended. I returned to creative writing to write stories for my daughter and deal with this sudden life change.

However, The Last Cherry Blossom(TLCB) journey wouldn’t begin until nine years later when my daughter was in seventh grade.  She told me that her class would be ending their chapter on WWII that week, and she overheard some students saying they couldn’t wait to see that ‘cool picture of the mushroom cloud’. This is where the question came in- she asked me if I would talk to her class about the people under the famous mushroom cloud, people like her grandmother.

When I was younger, my mother told me about losing her family and home in Hiroshima.  But she had not given me any specific details of this event, because the memories were still too painful for her to discuss.

After my daughter’s request, my mother bravely decided she was ready to tell me more of what happened on the most horrific day of her life.  She hoped by sharing her experience with students who were around the same age she was at the time (12-years-old), they might relate to her story. As future voters, they’d realize that the use of nuclear weapons against any country or people, for any reason, is unacceptable.

The following year I was invited back and began presenting to other schools. Teachers began to include my presentation in their history curriculum and asked if there would be a book.

I had begun writing about the life of a 12-year-old girl in Hiroshima during the last year of WWII, based on events in my mother’s life.  I began what would turn into many, many hours researching what life was like in Hiroshima during WWII, as well as interviewing my mother. I wanted to give readers new insight into how the Japanese children lived during the war, the culture, and mindset.

I attended Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators annual conferences since they were in the same city I lived in. In 2012, I submitted 20 pages for a critique with agent Anna Olswanger.  I wasn’t offered representation, but she gave me meticulous advice and suggestions.  Four months later I asked if she might read my revised version. We did many revisions over the next 7 months. But in September 2013, she offered me representation. Three months later she began submitting my manuscript. In November of 2014 I was offered a contract from Sky Pony Press!

It was bittersweet because my mother passed away two months later. However, she did get to see the contract and knew the book would be published. I’m grateful that she also had a chance to read one of the drafts of The Last Cherry Blossom.

That summer of 2015, my family visited Hiroshima to honor my mother at the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims. Standing on the same ground where she experienced so much loss and destruction when she was only twelve-years-old, broke my heart.

I then had to throw myself into the first round of revisions with my editor. Throughout this process, I had to deal not only with grief, but with pain flare ups.  If it wasn’t for my husband, daughter, and friends’ help and encouragement I could not have made this journey.

There were many days when I felt that I couldn’t write a tweet, let alone a novel. But the thought of my mother’s strength to endure all she had lost on August 6th, and still have so much love in her heart for my daughter and me; then I could create through my pain and write her story.

I hope that TLCB not only conveys the message that nuclear weapons should never be used again; but also reveals that the children in Japan had the same love for family, fear of what could happen to them, and hopes for peace as the Allied children had. I want the students to walk away knowing that the ones we may think are our “enemy” are not always so different from ourselves. A message that needs to be heard now more than ever.


Kathleen Burkinshaw is a Japanese American author residing in Charlotte, NC. She’s a wife, mom to a daughter in college, and owns a dog who is a kitchen ninja.  Kathleen enjoyed a 10+ year career in HealthCare Management unfortunately cut short by the onset of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Writing gives her an outlet for her daily struggle with chronic pain. She has presented her mother’s experience in Hiroshima to middle schools for the past 6 years. She has carried her mother’s story in her heart and feels privileged to now share it with the world. Writing historical fiction also satisfies her obsessive love of researching anything and everything. The Last Cherry Blossom, is a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Finalist (southeast region) and 2016 Scholastic WNDB Reading Club selection.

Thank you Kathleen for sharing your book and journey with us. It looks like a “must read” book.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 21, 2017

Preparing Your Synopsis: Questions – Format – Checklist

This illustration was created by Katherine Tillotson for NICE TRY TOOTH FAIRY. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here’s the link:


1. Who is my main character. Do I have more than one Main Character? Is my main character a heroine/ hero. Do I have both a heroine and a hero?


2. What do they want? What do they need?


3. What brings the hero and heroine or the two main characters together?


4. What problem do they encounter at their first meeting or shortly thereafter?


5. How do they overcome their initial problems and achieve some measure of success?


6. What happens to spoil the initial success?


7. Where does this new problem lead?


8. What risk do they take to deal with this new challenge?


9. What is their ‘dark moment?’


10. How do they overcome this last obstacle?’

Asking these questions should help you structure your synopsis. Remember, standard format is 3rd person present tense.

How to format your synopsis.

Use a one inch margins on the top, bottom and sides. Justify text at the left margin only. Use Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Type your name, address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address, each on a separate line single-spaced at the top left margin on the first page of your synopsis.

If you can fit your synopsis on one page, then you can single space the text with a space between paragraphs . If it goes over one page, then double space your text. Editors generally want one or two pages, but if you must go longer than you must – just keep it tight. You should always check a publisher’s submission guidelines, just to make sure you are following their rules before submitting.

Here are some things to help guide you through the synopsis writing process:

• You want to briefly tell what happens. This is one place you can ignore Show, Don’t Tell.

• Your goal should be to give an escalating series of turning points, a strong central crisis, a dramatic climax and a satisfying resolution.

• Introduce your main character first. Type a character’s name in all CAPS the first time you use it in the synopsis. Why? It helps the editor remember or find your character names.

• Remember your synopsis should showcase your unique voice.

• The synopsis should reflect your story. If it is humorous, be funny, etc.

• Start with a hook.

• Use present tense. This gives the story immediacy.

• Write the high points of your story in chronological order. Keep these paragraphs tight.

• Always answer basic who, what, where, when, why–early in the synopsis.

• Don’t waste words or time describing settings, unless crucial. Sometimes it’s enough just to put the date and place at the top, then start your synopsis.

• Omit unimportant details.

• Only include backstory if it is necessary to give the editor the information they need about the character’s motives.

• Always resolve the external plot question before you resolve the internal and/or relationship question.

• If it’s not a turning point, it doesn’t belong in the synopsis.

• Don’t use secondary characters in your synopsis, unless they are absolutely critical to the emotional turning points of the relationship. Even then, try to get by with the using the secondary’s relationship to the major characters (sister, teacher, boss.) They are too hard to keep up with and only add clutter. Only name them when necessary.

• Clearly convey the central question of the story, and what the resolution looks like. And resolve it at the end — don’t leave the editor guessing. They hate that, so spell out the story, including the ending.

• Rewrite your synopsis until each sentence is polished to the point of perfection. Use strong adjectives and verbs. Make every word count.

Synopsis Checklist:

1.   Is your synopsis between one and three pages?  Double spaced if more than one page?

2.   Does the opening paragraph have a hook to keep the editor or agent reading?

3.   Did you use capital letters the first time you introduced a character?

4.   Did you show your characters goal, motivation, conflict, and growth?

Your synopsis should give a clear idea as to what your book is about, what characters we will care about (or dislike), what is at stake for your heroes, what they stand to lose, and how it all turns out.

5.   Have you hit on the major scenes, the major plot points of your book, and include the ending?

6.   How you gotten to the who, what, where, when and why in your synopsis?

7.   Do you keep the interest level up throughout the synopsis?

8.   Is there good flow between  paragraphs.

9.   Have you avoided all grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes?

10. Do you think you captured the flavor of your manuscript?

Talk tomorrow,




Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 20, 2017

Illustrator Saturday: Xindi Yan

Xindi left behind a small city in China to realize her dream of being a published artist. She has travelled thousands of miles to study, live and work in New York. Xindi received her BFA in Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2013 and has since worked as an illustrator for the gaming industry and children’s media. Having always wanted to illustrate children’s books, she buried herself in countless books and drawings, collecting them even today. Her ambition keeps her painting day and night. Xindi currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dreams about having a puppy in the near future.

Here is Xindi discussing her process:

I started by exploring some ideas in rough sketches. The one on the left was drawn on the iPad Pro. The one on the right was on my Cintiq.

I liked my initial idea. So I imported the image from iPad to my computer, and drew a final sketch before coloring. I sometimes also do a black and white sketch and color sketch before coloring. But since this piece is small and simple I skipped that step.

I had a color palette in mind already, so I went ahead and filled in all the bigger shapes. There were some adjustments and experiments at this point. A lot of times I would use Hue/Saturation or Color Balance menus to help me explore and adjust the colors to the palette I wanted. I was using Kyle Webster Gouache Brush Set.

Now I started filling in the details before going into shading. I like to use line work in adding details.

During this process I experimented with some different lighting directions and shadow intensity and finally settled on this one. I mainly used Hue/Saturation and Color Balance adjustment layers because they were easy to edit and fast to apply to multiple layers. There were also some painted in shadows and lights, some with overlay or multiply effect.

I added in the crows at the back because they are companions for Sailor Mars. I also gave the background a bit of color variation so it doesn’t look too flat.

For the final touch, I added the flame shapes because commanding fire is Sailor Mars’ super power. This detail from the story allowed me to bring pops of color into the image. I used lasso tool and set the layer to “Overlay”. I also did a final value and color adjustment with Curves and
Color Balance adjustment layers.

Finally, I found a paper texture image from online and applied it in “Overlay” to the whole image. There were some value and color adjustment to the texture layer as well. Then I put in the signature and it’s all done! 

You can find more process videos of my work at

How old were you when you moved from China to the United States?

I came to the US in 2009 to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I studied illustration and received my bachelors degree in 2013.

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember. My dad is and architect and my mom is an art lover. They’ve always encouraged me drawing, painting everyday. I was trained traditionally with lots of life drawing and painting, and didn’t start “illustrating” stories until 2008/2009 when I was preparing my portfolio for college application.

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

I think it might be a portrait commission from a girl after I graduated college. It was drawing of her and her sister for $20. Hehe.

Did you know you were going to attend Pratt Institute for art when you lived in China?

Yes. I actually got accepted into China Academy of Art in 2008 after high school. It’s one of the best art schools in China. But after one year, I realized that I didn’t learn anything new. I have also attended the summer school in 2008 at the University of Arts London. It was my first time abroad and I was shocked by the inspiring way art education was in the western countries. So I knew China Academy of Art was not going to be enough for me.

What made you choose Pratt?

I received acceptance letters from both Pratt and SVA. But Pratt offered me scholarship. Also for my mom Pratt has the advantage of a closed campus, which offers much better security for her 19-year-old daughter, going alone to the new strange country.

Did Pratt help you connect with Art Directors before you graduated?

Pratt held a lot of career fairs, which is where I got my first couple internships in college. Pat Cummings was my professor. She is the most wonderful woman who’s never shy to share her connections in the industry. I also got my first 2 full time jobs from the Pratt show at graduation.

Do you think the art school influenced your style?

Professors at Pratt are very careful with not influencing the students too much with style. I definitely got to develop my own style freely while in school.

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

I got a full time freelance job at Center Stage Productions in New Jersey. I designed kids soft play parks. It’s the kind of play area in malls and airports, where you would see slides in the shape of a butterfly, or animals for kids to climb on. It was a very long commute. I left there after 2 months and worked at High 5 Games for two and a half years.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

When I was in High School. I bought this book written by faculty at University of Cambridge children’s literature program. It’s my first book about illustration and I instantly fell in love with the narrative aspect of it. I’ve always liked children’s products. They are just so much fun and with so much imagination. Children’s book illustration definitely satisfied my love for narrative and lovely whimsical images.

How did you meet and connect with Chrisy Tugeau? How long has she represented you?

I got in touch with Christy from the SCBWI Conference in 2016. I think Priscilla Burris saw my portfolio at the showcase and sent it over to Christy. We talked on the phone a couple times before we signed contract. She’s been representing me for about 9 months now.

Since you live in the NYC area, do you try to set up appointments with art directors to show off your work?

I actually have never done that myself. I’ve worked full time jobs before I signed with an agent, so I never went out to look for freelance before. But I did attend some portfolio reviews with Pat Cummings. And I’ve been going to SCBWI Conferences almost every year.

Have you made a book dummy of a children’s book story?

Yes. My story was written when I was in college. I’ve been working on editing and re-drawing every since. It’s a personal story about my grandma and I drawing together when I was little. And the setting is Chinese New Year, so I can introduce the Chinese culture as well. I’m currently working on a new story idea.

Have you illustrated any book covers?

No I haven’t yet.

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

Of course! I don’t consider myself the best writer, but I would love an opportunity to work with editors and art directors to polish up my own story and see it published.

Would you be open to illustrating a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

It really depends, unfortunately mostly on the budget. I’m a freelancer living in NYC. As much as I would love to help with a good story, I have to be able to make my rent. But if the story is really capturing and the budget is not a problem, of course I would not hesitate to work on it.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

I have done some small wordless comics in school. It’s a very interesting idea I would love to explore.

Have you worked with any educational publishers?

No I haven’t.

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

No I haven’t.

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

I don’t go out that much to find work directly. My agent sends out postcards and email blasts to art directors every couple of months. I personally try to maintain active social media channels. Behance is a very good resource. Most of my freelance work, other than the books from my agent, came from Behance. The employers I’ve worked for before always would look for freelance illustrators on Behance as well. Instagram is also good for advertising yourself.

What is your favorite medium to use?


Has that changed over time?

Definitely. Like I said I was trained traditionally. And for a long time in college I painted mainly with watercolor and gouache. But digital is just so convenient for editing. And I believe good art is not about medium. A good painting would be good no matter it was done traditionally or digitally. There are a lot to learn on both sides.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Yes. I have my iMac and Cintiq on the work table. I also collected a lot of figurings that I keep around my workspace as well. My husband is also a freelancer, so we have our tables next to each other in the studio.


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

My computer! Haha. But other than art supplies, a cup of hot tea for sure.

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

I do when I don’t have tight deadlines. I spend the first hour or so in the morning warming up with figure drawing or color studies.

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

Yes. It’s religious for me. No artist can or should draw without references. All my professors and artists I’ve met told me that over and over. Our brains have limited informations. I would be researching, or taking reference pictures as I’m doing thumbnails. So many times researches have inspired me to new ideas or compositions I haven’t considered before. So I have all the information that’s need to proceed to the finals.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Ohh definitely! So many things became easier. Research for information, photograph, art style, influences. I love that I can connect with artists all over the world, seeing their newest work and keeping up with the news from the industries. And there are so many ways for artists to reach out to employers, connect with fellow artists. Not to mention all the unlimited amount of classes and tutorials you can find. It can become very overwhelming some times, but it’s definitely a huge pro for me.


Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I mainly use Photoshop, sometimes Adobe Illustrator.

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

I use a 22inch Cintiq. Sometimes I also use my iPad pro.

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

Yes. I just recently fulfilled my dream of illustrating a picture book. My next big dream is to be able to work at a major animation studio, like Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, Bluesky, etc.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a picture book with Tilbury House and a chapter book series with Little Simon. There are also some small illustration projects coming in every now and then.

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.

I am a sucker for online classes. I don’t ever want to stop learning. Schoolism, The Oately Academy and Skillshare are some great online art schools that I’ve learned SO MUCH from. Graduating art school was just the beginning of my learning journey. I can’t be the artist I am today without these online resources.

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

Always be humble and learn from everything around you. And always LOVE what you do. Believe in yourself and work HARD, no matter how far you are from your goal. I know it sounds cheesy, but the passion and love you put into your work is what makes you unique from others.

Thank you Xindi 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 Xindi’s work, you can visit her at her website:

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

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 19, 2017

May’s Featured Agent – Jennie Dunham Interview Part Two

Jennie Dunham owner of Dunham Literary Agency has agreed to be May’s Featured Agents and will critique four first pages from the submissions sent in this month. She has been a literary agent in New York, New York since May 1992. In August 2000 she founded Dunham Literary, Inc.

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

She has been a member of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) since 1993 and is a member of the SCBWI. She served on the Program Committee and was Program Committee Director for several years. She was also a member of the Electronic Committee.

In 1996 she attended the US/China Joint Women in Business conference in Beijing where she gave a presentation about literary agents in the US. She also attended the NGO Forum at the International Women’s Conference.

She attended international meetings as the AAR representative to create the ISTC (International Standard Text Code) which is being created to ISO (International Standardization Organization) specifications. This business and tracking system will be based on titles not book formats (as is the case with ISBN) and will work in tandem with ISBN.

She started her career at John Brockman Associates and then Mildred Marmur Associates. She was employed by Russell & Volkening for 6 years before she left to found Dunham Literary, Inc.


Any pet peeves?

If someone calls me on the phone to pitch a manuscript, I get turned off.

I also don’t like when someone pretends to know me and doesn’t.

If I don’t know the person who is referring you, then it is not much of a referral.

My name is Jennie, not Jenny. I’ve been saying “IE not Y” all my life.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes, I give a lot of editorial feedback even to the experienced authors of many books. My role is to help the author get the manuscript in shape to sell.

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

Absolutely! One of the great joys of working as an agent is helping a writer’s dream of becoming published come true. Every sale is exciting, but a debut author’s first sale is a special thrill.

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

Yes. We have a good team feeling in the office. We talk about what is going on with each other and have a collegial atmosphere. If a submission isn’t right for one of us but might be right for someone else, we share the submission.

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

It depends if I need to find out something before responding. If I need to get information from someone else, then it might take me longer. I try to keep my email managed efficiently.

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

I like phone, email, video chat, and meeting in person. Email is good for setting up phone conversations. I communicate when I have news to share. News can range from sending out submissions to follow ups to responses from editors.


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: May 25th.

RESULTS: June 2nd.

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 | May 18, 2017

Agent Looking for Clients

Since graduating from Wesleyan University with a focus on literature and theory, Blair Wilson has fallen in love with the voices of new and emerging authors. She is actively seeking middle grade and young adult fiction, as well as MG, YA, and adult nonfiction at Park Literary. In nonfiction, Blair is interested in narrative nonfiction, crafting/instructional, true crime, pop culture, lifestyle, sexuality & identity, design, and STEM topics.

A contract master, Blair works alongside our co-agents to negotiate publishing agreements outside of the United States with a focus on Eastern Europe, South Korea and the Baltic states. After a day of executing foreign taxes for authors or assisting with submissions, you might just find this North Carolina native teaching textile arts classes at the American Folk Art Museum and Textile Arts Center in New York City. This creative studied Victorian Literature but has truly fallen in love with the voices of new and emerging authors, making PLM a perfect fit for her. She is actively building her own list of clients in the areas of middle grade and young adult fiction and adult non-fiction with a focus on D.I.Y., lifestyle, pop culture, pets, and books dealing with issues of sexuality, identity and culture.

How to Submit: Send your query and accompanying materials to Put “Blair Wilson” as well as the category and genre of your book (Example: “Blair Wilson – YA Fantasy”) in the subject line of the email. All materials must be in the body of the email. For all fiction submissions, include a query letter and the first chapter or approximately the first ten pages of your work. For non-fiction submission, send a query letter, proposal, and one sample chapter or approximately ten pages.

Talk tomorrow,



Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 17, 2017

Book Giveaway – In the Red Canoe

Congratulations to author Leslie A Davidson on her new book IN THE RED CANOE. She 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.


Ducks and frogs, swallows and dragonflies, beaver lodges and lily pads―a multitude of wonders enchant the child narrator in this tender, beautifully illustrated picture book. A tribute to those fragile, wild places that still exist, In the Red Canoe celebrates the bond between grandparent and grandchild and invites nature lovers of all ages along for the ride.


The first draft of In The Red Canoe found its way into my notebook, early in my retirement, as a writing exercise, a rhyming catalogue of all the wonders our family had seen and delighted in, as we paddled our old red canoe.

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and my husband developed symptoms of a younger onset dementia – we were later to learn it was Lewy-Body Dementia – my writing took on a new urgency, especially this particular piece, with all its emotional attachment to memory, what we were losing, and my dream of leaving a legacy for our grandchildren. I hauled out the manuscript, added to it, revised and polished it, and began submitting it to publishers. At the time of its acceptance by Orca Books, there was one tiny grandchild. There are now three more little ones. Our two daughters and their families live in the same beautiful little mountain town and share the old red canoe. (cont.)

I am a retired Kindergarten teacher and school-librarian. I have bought and read hundreds of picture books but had very little knowledge about the publishing process. Two and a half years after signing the contract, I was sent a photo of Laura Bifano’s cover, my first look at the gorgeous illustrations for the book. I burst into tears. Laura’s Grandpa could easily be my husband and the child in the bow of the canoe, looks very much like our elder daughter when she was small. Serendipity is a wondrous thing.

In the same week that In The Red Canoe was released, CBC Radio announced that Leslie A Davidson had won the Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction Prize for Adaptation, a personal essay about her life with her husband, and their journey with Lewy-Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.


I have always been a writer though sometimes much more in my head than on paper. I firmly believe that time served in the imagination counts.

In retirement, I finally found the time and energy to set down on paper the stories that had been impatiently tapping at the edge of my consciousness throughout the chaotic years of teaching and parenting.

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, just months before learning that my husband was living with a younger-onset form of dementia, writing became an urgent need. Nothing focuses brain cells more effectively than the fear of losing them.

My writing celebrates the things that matter most to me: family, friendship, and the natural world. It is how I make sense of a life that feels, at times, uncomfortably unpredictable; it is how I express gratitude for the abundant beauty in the world around me and in the hearts of those I love.

My husband and I lived in Grand Forks, BC for 34 years. We recently moved to Revelstoke, BC where three young grandchildren fill our days with joy.

Thank you Leslie for sharing your book and journey with us. Laura did a beautiful job on the illustrations. I will be featuring her in June on Illustrator Saturday.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 16, 2017



On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Catugeau Artist 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.


Here’s Chris:

Questions are starting to POP now, and we’re thrilled! Keep them coming!

Danette, an author/illustrator, asked about the protocol with showing images from a book dummy on your site portfolio and other social media.  This is actually a very good question and one that needs looking at thoughtfully.  It matters if it is YOUR written and illustrated story that YOU are trying to sell, or one you have illustrated for another, or sold to a publisher. First, if the copy rights are still yours, you CAN show it certainly…. doing so might even help you sell it if a buyer sees it there and is interested.  But you run the risk of someone ‘borrowing’ the idea if you show too much. (doesn’t happen often…very trustworthy industry…but it does happen) Second, if you have illustrated someone else UNSOLD ms you should get their permission before showing a couple of pieces or characters. Remember, showing sequential, same character images is what helps buyers know what you can do with a narrative story, so you want to show that.  Third, if the images are from a SOLD ms with a publisher you MAY NOT show the images (without their permission) until the book is printed! This is very important to know and respect – and legally upheld!

A related question from Lyn is about her transition from traditional to digital, which she feels she has ‘mastered’ but finds she can’t get work with it.  She is wondering why and if she should show both on her site.  Now without knowing how much work she got before, and not seeing either of the styles, it’s hard to know the ‘why’ it’s not selling. I would encourage her to show both styles, separated, on her site.  If one has been selling of course show it.  And then group the new digital work and show that too..maybe two different pages on the same site? or at least separated some how.  Is the style VERY different? this might help the buyers transition to the new look.  I wonder why she feels she must transition at all?  Traditional work is very much still in demand, though not as much for educational work. And many publishers do expect all artists to be able to SEND them work digitally.  So some comfort with this is important.  Lyn also asked about writing herself to have the ms to do samples. If I’m understanding that- sure!  it’s always good for artists to make up a story, or part of a story, to do images for that and show them off.  Not necessary to write a whole manuscript as you probably wouldn’t want to illustrate the whole dummy (two color finishes and rest rather tight sketches is norm).  But if you do write a whole ms and feel it is good and ready to show, DO SHOW IT.  And as I mentioned above, showing two or three from this story finishes is a good way to drum up interest in your story and in your work!  Go for it!

This month we thankfully have input from partner Christy Ewers about the question to define the term “CUTTING EDGE” that I used last month:   “It’s hard to define “cutting edge” in any regards – as we don’t know what it is until IT IS!! But to try to answer the question of “can you please define “cutting edge” in respect to children’s book illustration”, I guess we have to start with the most classic of The Classics: GOODNIGHT MOON. It is one of the most iconic and well-known (and best-selling) picture books of all time! Clement Hurd’s illustrations are still ‘cutting edge’ to this day! The BOLD colors, the great green room, the tomato-colored carpet?! Think about those choices he made! And then to juxtapose that with the grayscale vignettes on several of the pages?! So different. And obviously genius! That was as cutting edge then as it is now. And the most amazing thing is that although the “story” is somewhat (very) old-fashioned now (rotary telephones? mush? mittens and socks on drying racks by the fire?!), children of all ages gravitate to it. My 17-month-old has loved it since he was an infant, and it’s the only bedtime book that grabs his attention every time. And my now 4-year-old still loves to find the mouse in every bedroom spread. Cutting edge!

Think of ANY Dr Seuss book – and those very specifically “Dr Seuss” characters he created. They are all a little odd, a little “off”, even The Cat in the Hat didn’t really look like a cat. But they are so different and were/are still so cutting edge that they broke the mold forever.

One more recent illustrator to be cutting edge (in my opinion) is Oliver Jeffers. He has written and illustrated many many great books but the one I am thinking of as an example is The Day the Crayons Quit (written by Drew Daywalt). The way he illustrated Drew’s hilariously witty text with his simple, yet full-of-expression crayons – almost looking like child’s drawings themselves was genius! And to then integrate the “note” from them on the left side of the spread – perfection. I’d never seen anything quite like it. And that kind of thinking outside the box of crayons (hardy har!) is cutting edge.

The double edged sword about being cutting edge is that once you are, you get imitators – but I suppose that is proof positive that you have innovated! I can’t tell you how many Jon Klassen lookalikes I have encountered!

Perhaps the best way to describe cutting edge in children’s illustration is being innovative and different – and unique! Whether it’s with medium, style, use of perspective, color choices, characters that are uniquely yours…there are several ways to set yourself apart from the crowd. And who knows – maybe you’ll start a new “trend”. But speaking of trends – another way to explain “cutting edge” is to say that it’s not falling into the latest trend, but doing just the opposite; not conforming to what one THINKS people will respond to, given their response to work like it – but creating something that will make people go “WOW!….that is….WOW!!!”. And if one happens to create the next GOODNIGHT MOON, then one be cutting edge in perpetuity! “

Thank you from both of us for your thought provoking and learning potential questions…. we love them! and I’m sure other artists do too.

Thank you Chris and Christy for more great answers.


Hope this illustration by Katy Betz will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. Katy was featured on Illustrator Saturday July 23, 2016. Take a look.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 15, 2017

Book Giveaway: IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU

Congratulations to author Rosie J. Pova. She has a new book IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU and has offered to giveaway a free copy of her book. 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.


“Mama, if I weren’t born, what would you do?” Willy starts a conversation with mama Bear while he’s on the move, acting like a natural youngster. In a series of simple and direct questions, the bear cub seeks and receives his mother’s reassurance of love and security as the two take a walk in the forest. Mama Bear uses imagery of the forest to communicate her feelings to her cub.

The Book’s Journey 

I wrote this story in the spring of 2013. Since it was a quiet story, I didn’t query wildly with it because I knew it will be difficult to attract an agent’s attention with that type of story, especially for an unpublished writer. But I did send it out a few times and I remember one agent’s reply–a personalized rejection–where he said the manuscript reminded him of The Runaway Bunny. I was not familiar with that book. As I grew up in Bulgaria, it wasn’t one of my childhood reads, as it probably was for many people. So I had to look it up.

I was surprised to find out it had been published so long ago but it was still in print. I thought, the fact that this agent had compared my book to a classic was both good news and bad news: on one hand, it would be tough to compete with an established book, but on the other hand, clearly there was still a market for similar stories. Plus, mine was different enough not to be confused with that title.

Staying  on the positive side and with a healthy dose of wishful thinking, I mused that maybe my book would get published one day, maybe the world needs another quiet story about mother’s love, and maybe my book will find lots of readers, too . . . Hey, they say dream big, right?

The story went through a few rounds of revisions with my critique group and a couple of  freelance editors. I did get some positive feedback, but not much happened for a long time. But like I said, it wasn’t my first choice to submit to an agent. However, if I saw an opportunity to submit to an editor who I thought was a good match for quiet, lyrical stories, I sent it out.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016 when I discovered a small local publishing house and submitted the story to them, along with another manuscript that she had invited me to send. The publisher replied in two days and this is what she said:


Thank you so much for sharing these with me! I absolutely adore “If You Weren’t Here”. It reminds me a lot of a book I would have read to my youngest son. I often referred to him as my baby bear.”

She offered me a contract to publish it.

The original title changed and the manuscript went through many many more revisions and tweakings since that time (I did not keep count but when people say they went through a hundred drafts of edits I can now completely relate).

And that’s how the book came to be. Now it’s out in the world and I’m excited to share it with everyone!


Rosie J. Pova is a children’s author, poet, wife, and a mama bear of three. Ever since childhood, Rosie has been fascinated with the power of words. Her passion for writing took her on a long journey of discoveries, learning, and growth through the ups and downs but she is grateful for all experiences.
With her stories, Rosie dreams of inviting many readers into her make-believe worlds, hoping to touch them with her words. Visit her at

Thank you Rosie for sharing your book and journey with us. We wish you the best!

Talk tomorrow,


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