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.

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

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 18, 2017

ASK CAT

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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.

chrisandchristy

Here’s Chris:

LOCAL PUBLISHER QUESTION:  Julie has a most interesting question actually = She has written and illustrated a book almost ready to publish with a local publisher, but she’s been getting advice that is might hurt her chances of getting it published by a national publisher later.

Without knowing WHAT the story is (local interest only?) and the reason the local publisher is so interested initially, it’s hard to answer this.  Generally though, when you publish you share/sell the copy rights to the publisher so they can market the project and make money.  They the pay you your % of the royalty if it’s that sort of project, or if it’s flat fee, you get only the initial payments up front.  In either case the copy rights, as I’m generally understanding this, will be with the publisher to use.  You can not resell the rights until the publisher’s contracted time frame is complete, or book is OUT OF PRINT.  You can possibly negotiate to limit this time frame (say two to three years etc.) and the have the copy rights revert to you …if they are willing.  National publishers do sometimes buy another’s project because it’s timely, or has done exceptionally well in the market with the smaller publisher (or self publisher ) but I believe this is rather rare.  Again, it depends on the story and sales record.  But if it meets the National Publishers needs I’d think they’d have been interested initially.  If you haven’t tried to sell it to National Publishers you might want to do this before letting the local pub. print the book.  Unless, of course, they have been paying you to complete this project for them.  If the subject matter is more a local interest then publishing locally might be the best plan.

Julie also asked about 1. traditional vrs. digital means of illustrating and 2. She wonders ifrealism’ is appropriate in picture books and where usually used.  

#2 first – OF COURSE it is!  oh so many books have been illustrated in a very realistic manner even this year!  Trends now lean heavily on more ‘cutting edge,’ highly unique styles of illustration that are less ‘realistic’ perhaps.  They are very personal and emotive and wonderful, but even Realism (and there are SO many ways to be realistic!) can have some of these elements in them.  Ads interest.

We see more realistic styles in nonfiction often because the FACTS of the image are important for the information shared in the story, or with more ‘classic’ sort of stories.  But any story has MANY appropriate styles of illustration possible for it.  Give the same manuscript to 10 different editors and they will pick 10 different artists to illustrate it! and ALL might possibly be just wonderful! Work in the style YOU feel is right for the story and you.

#1….  When I started out in this industry 25 years ago MOST all Trade picture books (those by big publishers for bookstores mostly) were done in traditional means i.e. watercolor, pastel, oil, actual cut paper etc. Digital styles were used most often for educational projects. This very quickly began to change as the quality of the digital art improved and the artist was able to do more with it artistically.  I remember visiting NYC one trip and showing of a then new illustrator who is still with our agency, Patrice Barton.  Patty works digitally, but  her work has a soft, spontaneous, adorable quality that the trade editors and art directors, and buyers, just love.  I’d let them gush over her work, and THEN state “oh, and did I mention she is digital?”  EVERY TIME, they’d pull the samples closer to their eyes as if that would make a difference in what they were seeing.  I had to laugh! and so did they….then they signed her up!

Today a majority of even trade books might be done digitally, but many are still done in traditional painting methods as well.  Some times changes are made digitally to these pieces which can be helpful, but there IS original art that can hang on the wall!  Often this art is still physically sent to the publisher to be scanned for printing …. with the color being very carefully matched to the original work.  If you have this situation as illustrator you want to be sure to get the ‘color proofs’ sent to you to ‘OK’ as well.  As a fine artist myself, I just love the traditional mode of illustrating, but I’m MOST appreciative also of the creative doors digital manipulation can open for artists and publishers.

Again, an artist wants to work with the tools with which they can best express what they wish to make visual.  It is the story being told and shown that is of upmost importance today….not the method by which it is developed.

Thank you Chris and Christy for more great answers.

NOW SIT DOWN AND WRITE UP YOUR GUESTIONS FOR “ASK CAT.”

 

Hope this illustration by Lauren Gallegos will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. Lauren was featured on Illustrator Saturday in 2016. and 2012. Take a look.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 17, 2017

Agent Looking for Clients & Book Winners

CONGRATULATIONS! BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNERS:

Carol Foote – Principal Kidd: School Rules by Connie Colòn

Claire Lordon – Lucy Loves Sherman by Catherine Baily

Deborah Amadei – Queen of Likes by Hillary Homzie

Please send your addresses to Kathy.temean(at)gmail.com

Bridget Snith began her career at Dunham Literary, Inc. in June 2011.

Previously, she was an intern at Don Congdon Associates, worked at a secondhand book store in Connecticut, and evaluated short story submissions for Tor.com under Liz Gorinsky and Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

She graduated from Brown University in 2010. While there, she studied anthropology and archaeology, worked as a radio DJ, fenced on the varsity team, and helped design an experiment that she later performed in microgravity at NASA.

A lifelong fan of children’s books, she’s looking for middle grade and young adult novels in a range of genres, including fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, romance, and contemporary, plus anything that bends the rules of genre. She is actively seeking books with underrepresented or minority characters.

She is also seeking fiction for adults, especially fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, and literary women’s fiction.

In accordance with her college degree, she’s interested in informational, literary nonfiction, especially science or history written by experts for a general audience.

To send her a query. She prefers email queries and asks that you include the first five pages of your manuscript in the body of your email and her name in the subject line.

Click here for more submission details.

Bridget is a member of AAR and the SCBWI and she is available to speak at conferences.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 16, 2017

Happy Easter: Illustrations and Poems

LIELA NABIH: www.leilanabih.com

EASTER RABBIT

Hippety-hopping,
nearly stopping traffic as he passes,
Two long ears are bouncing, bopping,
popping through the grasses.
Balancing his basket as he’s jumping through the air,
Such a grand, important, extraordinary hare!
Making children happy is the way he got his fame.
Now, kids across the land can shout:
The Easter bunny came!

Carol Murray

SARAH BEISE: http://www.catugeau.com/sarahbeise/ 

LINDA SWINGLE: Linda writes humorous Children’s picture books and lives in Southern California.

PENNY WEBER: Penny was featured on Illustrator Saturday.

KIRSTIE EDMUNDS: Kristie was featured on Illustrator Saturday.

ANNA OCHOA: Ana was featured on Illustrator Saturday.

ROGER ROTH: Roger was featured on Illustrator Saturday.

OLGA LEVITSKIY: Olga was featured on Illustrator Saturday

BOOKWORM SPRING

It’s spring and I walk past the broom
instead of sweeping every room.
A toppled shutter needs repair.
A wintry quilt needs April air.
It’s time to scrub and dust and weed.
But all I want to do is
read!

 

 

HAPPY EASTER AND PASSOVER TO EVERYONE!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 15, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Shiho Pate

Shiho Pate is a New York based Illustrator. She is originally from Japan and has lived in USA for 10+ years now. A Japanese artist living in America, Shiho Pate is passionate about creating art for children. A graduate with honors from Savannah College of Art and Design – and a winner in the International Award Citta di Chioggia put on by the Associazione Culturale Teatrio of Venice – Shiho started her career as an artist for several indie gaming studios in NYC. In her ten plus years in that industry, she published many social games and mobile games but her passion has always been children’s book illustration. Now, with her recent move to Southern California, she has turned her focus to breaking into our industry. (Break out is more like it!) With a playful, bold style that combines all of her talents – gouache, watercolor and digital media – Shiho creates both warmth and a kind of simplistic imperfection in her Work that is both endearing and enduring. Support and inspiration comes from her daughter, husband and an old yet still very energetic Jack Russell Terrier.

Shiho Pate’s Illustration Process:

I start with thumbnails, then…

After thumbnail sketches and couple of rough sketches, I do one tight sketch to use as a guide.

Using the lightbox, I trace the sketch and create shapes. I use brush and ink for bigger shapes. I usually leave them uneven to give it more texture. For small or intricate areas, I use pencil. I also create textures.

I scan in all of the pieces and start laying them out over the sketch in Photoshop. I have a color palette on the side as a guide, but I also love happy accidents when I use different blend mode in layers.

Once all the pieces are in place, I add textures and look at the balance of the illustration.

Interview Questions for Shiho Pate:

How long have you been illustrating?

I graduated from SCAD in 2008. I wanted to start my career as a freelance illustrator but needed a full-time job to get a working visa, I started work for an indie game company. I worked there and two other game companies for almost 10 years, where I got “scads” of experience as a lead artist, a UI designer, a character designer, an animator and illustrator … all at the same time. Since my move to California, I am slowly transitioning to becoming a full-time children’s book illustrator.

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

Right after college, when I was looking for full time job, I did a freelance job for an education company: twenty plus illustrations of beans themed in holidays, historical eras, science etc.

Why did you choose to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design?

I attended a SCAD summer program during high school. I fell in love with everything about the illustration department, from the small lopsided historic building (which I hear is not used anymore to the quirky professors who are brutally students to the beautiful city of Savannah itself. I didn’t apply to other colleges, which now that I think about it, was a scary, risky move.

What did you study there?

I majored in Illustration.

Do you think art school influenced your style?

I would use the word “refined.” My style changed a lot during college. I focused more on how to communicate with illustration rather than finding my style. I also learned different techniques and mediums which changed my style, too. I settled in with my current style after college.

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

I did a couple of freelance illustration jobs right after college but my full-time job as an game artist at an indie game company is officially, my first job.

How did you get decide to move to NYC to be a gaming artist?

I did not want to drive and I wanted to be in the city so the New York subway system was perfect for me. My college boyfriend (who is now my husband) came to help me with the move, and got a job offer as an animator the next day. So, that was a big reason and motivation to stay and find a job in New York. I almost accepted a job as a textile artist, but I really liked the people and atmosphere of the indie game community. The games ndustry s very unique and tight, and it seemed an ideal way to connect to children, which is and has always been my goal.

What did you do to win the International Award Citta di Chioggia?

The theme, “Beyond the Mirror,” intrigued me, and I thought it was fun. made sure that the “having fun” feeling was part of the illustration.

What caused you to leave NYC for sunny California?

My husband got a job in California, and it was the best choice for my daughter.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I think I officially accepted it as a career during high school. I always casually thought about it since my mother was in a children’s book-making class, but my initial passion was to become a children’s therapist using dolphins. When I was looking for colleges, I thought about how reading children’s books had helped me. I lived in the U.K. for 3 years at a very young age. I moved back to Japan, then moved to the U.S.A. during high school. Living between different countries is a great experience ut it’s challenging all the same. My mother tried to keep something “the same,” and that was our family’s tradition of reading from our library of children’s books. Her book collection was my escape. I wanted to create a world like that, myself, for children.

On your website you say you are an UI Designer. Can you tell me what that is?

I included “UI Designer” as a title since a game company, especially those bigger companies, rarely hires a artist who can’t do everything. A UI Designer designs user interfaces, anything that the player will see and interact with. It’s a big role since the designer has to understand UX (user experience) design and game design to create a screen that a player can easily understand and respond to. We consult with the engineers to make sure the design is easy to implement and works smoothly, so you have to be a good communicator, and a team player. We define and influence the mood and pacing of the game, sounds, type, animation, illustration etc. In addition, we help with cutting up assets, implement and animating the UI.

Is that your daughter reading the book in the video on your website? And did you make that book?

I think you are referring to my instagram post? If so, yes! My daughter was telling me the stories about each page. I made the book as a self-promotional piece.

Did you take classes on book design and book making?

Yes, at SCAD, with my awesome professor Allan Drummond.

Have you done any book covers?

Not yet but I would love to!

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

Yes — I’m working on it!

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

I would like to focus on illustrating books from traditional publishers first, but I’d be open to it, yes.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

Yes, but it’s so hard not to fill in the gaps!

Have you worked with educational publishers?

Yes; as above, with the beans illustrations. I also created an educational game for Ad Council that was played by thousands of high school students.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

I love everything about the children’s industry, and would be delighted to participate in any way … so yes!

How did you connect with your artist rep Deborah Warren of East/West Literary?

I was introduced by my amazing mentor (although he probably won’t like being called a mentor because he is so kind!)Aaron Meshon.

What types of things do you do to find illustration work before you found an agent?

I enter competitions and the 3×3 directory. I find connections through friends in the game industry and send self-promotion pieces through snail mail.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Brush, ink and Photoshop combination. I often get puzzled looks when I say this. The Artist who uses only traditional medium says I’m cheating, and the Artist who uses only digital medium says I’m being inefficient. But to get the look I want, all three — brush, ink and Photoshop — works the best for me.

Has that changed over time?

Yes. I used to hate Photoshop. I loved the process and look of traditional medium and thought Photoshop was only to piece together scanned images. I learned to love Photoshop and Illustrator by being a game artist because each client wanted a different style. Now that I know the tool, I love to use Photoshop, along with my brushes and ink.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Yes I do, filled with art supplies, books and toys.

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

What a difficult question … just one thing! My instant reaction is “good music” but I do love my art keeps me from having back pain.

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

Since I have a 2-year-old daughter, I have to be efficient with my time. It is fun when my daughter wants to sketch or paint with me, though 🙂

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

Yes, I’m inspired by research because it makes me think about things differently.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes — not only to stay in contact with friends and family all over the world, but for the many podcasts and resources which are available and that I find useful for my career.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Yes I use Photoshop.

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

Yes I use the very old Wacom tablet.

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

I would love to write and illustrate my own books, books that would be available in bookshops for generations of children to enjoy.

What are you working on now?

I am working on self-promotion illustrations. OH; and another secret project!

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.

Hmm this one is hard… I usually do a tight pencil drawing and trace over it with brushes using a lightbox. The tight pencil drawing is to make sure the proportions and placement is correct so that I can be more loose when I’m going over it with a brush.

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

What’s helped me is being open to honest critiques from others, including my daughter. Without that input, I would be lost.

Thank you Shiho 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 Shiho’s work, you can visit her at her website: http://www.shihopate.com/

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

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 14, 2017

April Feature Agent: Holly McGhee Interview Part One

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 just read the first two chapters – What a great beginning!

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)

Are there any genres that are less interesting to you?

How about more interesting??! I am most drawn to distinctive works of For literary fiction, think of Kate DiCamillo and Kathi Appelt for middle-grade and Jandy Nelson or An Na for YA. Picture book authors and artists on my list include David Ezra Stein, Peter H. Reynolds, Sean Qualls, Doreen Cronin, and Peter McCarty, Betsy Lewin . . . The voice is more important to me than the plot, because plots are fixable; voice is harder to solve. Good dialogue can win me over too!

Do you have any story or theme that you wished someone would submit?

Something beautiful and serious too, tender & funny at the same time, about our planet amidst the universe. Or something that explains an idea I’m obsessed with: What Is Matter?

What do you like to see in a submission?

I like to see a story that is the very best the writer is capable of submitting. I’m not interested in reading until the writer has taken the story as far as he or she can . . . it’s important to remember that a literary agent only gets a first read ONCE. Make it the best it can be.

How important is the query letter?

I think it matters quite a lot. If the writer has carefully researched our agency and my personal taste, and it’s clear why she or he is submitting to me, the project moves near the top of my always-tall pile of manuscripts. If the writer offers me an exclusive look for six weeks, the manuscript goes straight to the top because I appreciate the trust in me and the careful research the writer has done.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

The writer usually includes the first chapter with the query. If I like it I’ll undoubtedly ask to see more.

How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

3 pages.

Would you lose interest in a submission if the writer missed correcting a few misspelled words?

No, some of my best writers are bad spellers. But it’s easy enough to catch typos so do the best you can.

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

No, not unless it was a close one and I wanted to let them know. Sometimes I’ll suggest a different agent if I think it’s right for somebody other than myself.

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

I’ll request the material very quickly. After that, I try to get back to the writer within four weeks.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

I call it the “Play by Play.” When an author writes in first person present tense and walks me through every move the character makes. For example: “I walk to the window, take a paper towel, spray Windex with my left hand while rubbing the glass with my right hand when the phone rings and I set the Windex down on the shelf, ball up the paper towel and put it in my pocket as I walk over to the couch where my cell phone is . . .” You get the idea!!

Any pet peeves?

Biggest pet peeve is not numbering the pages. Or sending a pdf instead of a word doc. Referring to me personally as “Holly” throughout the pitch letter. For some reason that really annoys me!

Stop back next Friday to read Part Two of Holly’s Interview.

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

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