Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 23, 2017

Opportunity: Middle Grade Online Course


Middle Grade novels are hot, hot, hot. They’re the number one thing so many editors and agents are looking to add to their list. Have you gotten a critique for a picture book or chapter book and were told your story would work better as a middle grade novel? During my ten years as an SCBWI Regional Advisor, writers shared with me that this is what they were told.

We all love picture books. Their wonderful – the pictures draws us to them. Plus, they are short, so everyone thinks they are easy to write and they won’t have to spend as much time writing one – wrong!

Writing a middle grade novel is scary. I remember myself saying, “Oh, I could never write a novel.” Now I have written two YA novels, a middle grade novel and two more WIP, in addition to my picture books. So I was wrong and it wasn’t true. Once I started writing, so many wonderful story ideas poured out of me. I am sure some of those picture books you have in your drawer would be better off as a middle grade novel. Those extra words will give you room to let your tiny story bloom into a gorgeous living thing by enabling you to spend more time with their characters and go deeper into their lives and world.

In addition, publishers pay writers more for novels than they do for picture or chapter books. Plus, more middle grade novels are made into movies, so that is another incentive to try your hand at writing a novel. 

The Children’s Academy has a superb middle grade e-course. It happens only once a year  and you can enjoy the course from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace. They have live webinars, but don’t worry, they are recorded in case you miss one.

Dr. Mira  Reisberg students now have over 110 contracted or published books and many others have agents. Many of Hillary’s former students have also been published!

With Middle School Mastery you will:

  • Learn from award-winning teachers Hillary Homzie and Dr. Mira Reisberg who are passionately committed to your success!
  • Access insider knowledge from exceptional authors, editors and agents who are leaders in the Children’s Book Publishing Industry.
  • Get Feedback to improve your writing and step-by-step guidance on how to become a successful, published author of Middle School literature.
  • Many unique submission opportunities.
  • Opportunity to sign up for an hour critique with Mira or Hillary.
  • Entry into the Golden Ticket skip-the-line pitch fest contest where editors, and agents will look at your work and choose students to connect with further.

Start Date: April 3rd.

Cost $525: Includes an hour critique with either Mira or Hillary, but use Early Bird code by March 6th and save $100: 2017MGM100.

There are too many opportunities and bonus features to mention. Use this link to read everything:

Instructors Bios:


Hillary Homzie Hillary’s career is zooming! She is the author of the middle grade novel, THE HOT LIST (Simon & Schuster/M!X) which Booklist says “captures the angst of young teen friendships and fragile identities.” She’s also the author of the middle grade novel, THINGS ARE GONNA GET UGLY (Simon & Schuster/M!X), a Justice Book-of-the-Month, which was just optioned by Priority Pictures, and the forthcoming  QUEEN OF LIKES (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X, April 2016), which is about social media, as well as the humorous chapter book series, ALIEN CLONES FROM OUTER SPACE (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin), a Children’s Book-of-the-Month Best Books for Children. Emmy-nominated Suppertime Entertainment developed the books to become an animated television series and it was sold to ABC Australia. Hillary’s young adult fiction has been published in TEEN MAGAZINE and anthologized (MUDDVILLE DIARIES, Avon Books). She has sold non-fiction and fiction projects to Klutz Press/Scholastic Books, The Learning Company and John Muir Books. With her frequent writing partner, Steven Arvanites, she has had film projects developed by Brooklyn Weaver’s Energy Entertainment. Hillary got her start performing and writing sketch comedy Off-Broadway, and was a Heideman Playwrighting Award Finalist. Hillary holds a master’s degree in education from Temple University and a master’s of arts degree from Hollins University in children’s literature and writing. Besides teaching at the Children’s Book Academy, Hillary is a visiting professor of children’s literature and writing at Hollins University. Visit her on the web at and follow her on twitter @HillaryHomzie. She is excited about co-teaching this course and sharing her expertise to help others succeed with their work.



Dr. Mira Reisberg is a multi-published award-winning children’s book illustrator and author whose books have sold over 600,000 copies. She has helped and continues to help many children’s book writers and illustrators get published. Mira has worked as an editor, art director, designer, university professor teaching kid lit writing and illustrating, as well as a literary agent. She has a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on kid lit. While writing her 370 page dissertation on children’s literature, she developed a Pedagogy of Pleasure, Persistence, and Patience, which she has implemented throughout the Children’s Book Academy. Follow Mira on Twitter @ChildrensBookAc or see her personal website at Hillary and Mira have infused this course with tons of instruction, humor, heart and meaning for what will be a once in a lifetime experience.


Registering for Middle Grade Mastery is a genuinely useful investment in your career with a priceless return on this investment and it comes with a money back guarantee that if you fully participate and do the work, if at the end of a year you don’t feel that you learned a lot, we’ll give you your money back!

Talk Tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 22, 2017

Book Giveaway – Hold Your Temper, Tiger by Carol Roth

Congratulations to Carol Roth for her new book, HOLD YOUR TEMPER, TIGER coming out on March 7th. Available now on pre-order at Amazon.

Carol has agreed to give do a book giveaway. 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.



A playful look at managing tempers for tigers of every age.

Little Tiger has a temper! He stomps his paws, cries, and growls when he doesn’t want to do something. But when his mom says “Hold your temper or else,” Little Tiger has to make some changes. Where will he hold his temper? In his pocket . . . in his underwear?



When I was a little girl growing up in the Bronx, I spent many days going back and forth to the library. We didn’t have a car, and the library was not nearby, but my mother bundled me up and we walked there, rain, shine or snow! Why? Because when we got there, we were transported into the world of books, which could take us to warm places and anywhere we wanted to go. The library was my biggest treat. I felt like I could pick out new presents and take them home for free! So this started my love of books. But I never dreamed at the time that some day I would become an author. I became a teacher, because that was something I always wanted to do, but later in life, when my children were grown, I decided to embark on a new career. I went back to school and took courses in Children’s Book Writing, and a new world opened up for me. (cont.)


I always loved books with a sense of humor. My favorite children’s book was Caps For Sale because it made me laugh. Keeping that in mind, I decided to write stories that would bring a smile to little faces. I usually get my inspiration from life around me. For example, my very first book, Whose Mess Is This? was about two sisters who had to share a room. One was messy and one was neat. That’s exactly how it was for me sharing a room with my sister. The inspiration for Hold Your Temper Tiger came from one of my experiences as a Literacy Volunteer. I was tutoring a twelve year old Korean boy and I asked him if he was familiar with idioms. He told me he was, for example: “When Pigs Fly!” That opened up a whole new discussion for us, and I thought how funny it would be if someone took an idiomatic expression literally. So that led me to select the idiom, “hold your temper” and my latest book was born. Of course, who is better than a little tiger to have a temper? Once I get inspired, the writing comes easily. I am not involved with the selecting of an illustrator, that is the job of the publishing company, but I have always been more than thrilled with the beauty and genius of the illustrations in each and every book. I wonder where my next inspiration will come from. I always keep my eyes and ears open!



Carol Roth was born in New York. She received her B.A. and Masters degrees in early childhood education. After teaching kindergarten for several years, Carol embarked on a new journey 29 years ago where she fell in love with the world of picture books. She is now a published author of thirteen children’s books, the most recent, being Hold Your Temper Tiger. Other fun-filled books include Five Little Ducklings Go To School, Five Little Ducklings Go To Bed, Who Will Tuck Me In Tonight? – a Children’s Choice book for 2005 (IRA-CBC) and a nominee for the 2005 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Awards; The Little School Bus, which won the Missouri Building Block Award for Best Picture Book 2003; and Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night, which won the Parent’s Guide To Children’s Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Books in 1999, and was an IRA-CBC book for 2000 and an Honor Book in the 2000 Storytelling World Awards. She is a mother of two and grandmother of four. When not writing, Carol enjoys taking ballet classes, teaching English as a Literacy Volunteer of America, and traveling. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband.


Thank you Carol for sharing your journey with us and offering one lucky winner your new book, HOLD YOUR TEMPER, TIGER. Can’t wait to read it. Here is the link to Carol’s website: 

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 21, 2017

ASK CAT: Chris and Christy Tugeau Answer Questions


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.



Hello again! We are thrilled to be back on Kathy’s blog; this time answering all those artist and industry questions you are dying to ask! We have a unique perspective as Artist Agents (and we love artists who write as well!). Do write Kathy your questions for us and she’ll pass them on. Remember – the only ‘stupid’ question is the one you didn’t ask!

We recently wrote a post on our “THE WAY TUGEAU” blog about portfolio prep for the NYC SCBWI Midwinter Conference early this Feb. Hope we were helpful, and hope those of you who went got TONS out of it. Christy attended the Portfolio Showcase and was extremely impressed! You might have questions particularly for her about her experience and thoughts? If so, ask! Meanwhile, it seems appropriate we start with some presentation questions that might be on your minds:

First, how about various styles and how to present them all in a portfolio?

General rule = LESS IS MORE. Don’t over play your hand and try to show everything. Pick the style, or possibly two (plus black and white if you do it and place in back of your book) that is most “YOU”. This should be the one you want to truly be hired for and known for at this point. After you have your drawing hand in the door, you can show your editor and AD other styles you think they might be interested in. You will change and grow over time of course, but one big purpose of a portfolio is to present YOU. If you don’t know which style is YOU, how will they? Memorable is a key word.

Second, how to best promote your style to AD’s and Editors?

One rule = POSTCARDS. We hear so very often how AD’s and Editors (yes!) love getting larger format postcards (5×8-ish) with artwork (color) on both sides, one with contact information and a website to visit to learn more about you. They can see these easily and clearly and the larger size feels almost like a page from a book! Often these will get tacked on their bulletin boards if you’ve intrigued them. It can take years before the perfect project comes up for your work! Really….we have proof! Or you might get a call right away for a job. If interested, they will visit your site to see more, so make sure there are similar ‘back up’ images there for them to find. We advise sending a new postcard to your well-researched list 3-4 times a year. Vary the characters and themes, but try to keep the same general style so they’ll again remember you. It’s a good idea to use the same characters on the front main image and back secondary image. Have them show different expressions, perspectives and interacting with other characters. This shows buyers so much more about YOU than unrelated ones might.

Be sure you research and curate your list of recipients thoroughly. And keep it updated!! It’s important to get names and positions correct. And you don’t want to waste a stamp on someone who has moved on!

Third, is going to expensive Conferences worth the time and Money?

One word = YES! But you have to invest in yourself first in order to make the experience really worth every dollar. Study up beforehand on who is presenting and critiquing. Prepare your presentation to be remembered, with good “keeper” postcards for buyers to take (use your strongest piece that best represents the rest of your portfolio). WORK IT! Walk up to people and introduce yourself – to other artists of course, but also editors and AD’s you might see. They expect it, but be polite…and never in the restrooms!! Plan to attend everything, listen well, ask questions, and take notes. The more detailed notes the better, as there is so much information to digest, there’s no way to remember it all!

Conferences, big and small, are focus opportunities for everyone there. You are allowing yourself to be immersed in your professional field! It’s like going to camp, or a retreat, with friends-to-be and real life ‘stars’ in your industry! You will learn, grow and expand personally and artistically. You don’t have to go every year, but try going to smaller events like a presentation by an industry pro, or local workshop. Intimate events can be wonderful and inspiring as well.  BUT YES! Save up…and GO!! You won’t regret it.


Christina A. Tugeau Artist Agency LLC is the first mother/daughter agency in the business! A trained artist herself with a BA in Fine Art, Chris Tugeau has been in the children’s illustration industry for over 25 years. Since opening her own agency in 1994, Chris has enjoyed representing many talented artists, and has been an active part of the illustration community; writing and presenting for SCBWI regions around the country. She is also the author of SCBWI Illustrator Guidelines. A veteran artist and rep, Chris is an advocate for ethical fairness and the bright future of children’s publishing. She’s also a mother of 3, a grandmother to 8, and best friend to husband, Bill.

Chris and Christy, Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and helping everyone trying to build their careers in the children’s publishing industry.

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

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 20, 2017

Critique vs. Edit: Heather Alexander Editorial

heatherapicMany of you know Heather Alexander, since I asked her many times to conduct writing workshops during my ten years as New Jersey’s Regional Advisor. Everyone loved her for her talent and her caring personality. This year she started Heather Alexander Editorial.

For nine years, Heather has worked with authors and artists in children’s book publishing to shape their stories into the best books they can be. She was most recently an agent with Pippin Properties, representing authors and artists for their picture book, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novel projects. Before that, she was in editorial at Dial Books for Young Readers at Penguin Random House where she worked with award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors and illustrators. Heather lives in New York City, where I love to explore everything.

Besides letting you know about the move and wishing her the best of luck with her new company, I thought I would share this article she wrote about the difference between a critique and an edit. Once you understand that you will better understand the pricing for an edit.

Here is Heather:

Critique Versus Edit

Happy New Year, everyone! I know it has been a while since I’ve shared anything new with you, and that’s because I’ve had some exciting changes. I’m back on the editorial side of things again, where my heart lives, and where I can get my hands all wordy (and nerdy). You can find me at for more information about that.

I have done critiques for many of you at conferences, retreats, and through KidLit College. And some of you have been wondering, what is the difference between a critique and an edit. Here is my attempt to explain.

A thoughtful critique will quickly help the author focus on the essentials of writing: Character, plot, pacing, dialogue, and any inconsistencies the reader comes across. A critique is an honest commentary on what is and isn’t working. It may offer a little feedback on how to improve, but doesn’t necessarily focus on the big, structural or thematic stuff.

An edit, however, takes the plunge. A good editor will go beyond the surface issues and offer suggestions when she can to improve the overall work. It will have margin notes to identify themes, help develop voice, pinpoint specific places that can be developed or eliminated, ways to reconstruct the plot, call out characters that might be superfluous, all accompanied by a big, fat letter to communicate all of these things.

Imagine it this way. You’ve just seen a movie with your best friend. On the way out of the theater, you both mention things you liked and didn’t like about the movie. The conversation may last until you’ve ordered dinner, but then you move on to other topics. That’s critique.

The edit is the 4 page New Yorker review of the same movie. (This analogy doesn’t totally hold up, since the author of the New Yorker review isn’t asking the filmmakers to revise, but in terms of depth of analysis, I think it’s pretty accurate.)

Or maybe it’s like House Hunters: Critique is when the couple is walking through a house, hating the countertops and cabinets, but loving the finished basement. Editing is when they begin tearing down walls to make the perfect home.

Here is the link to Heather Alexander Editorial.

Talk tomorrow,



Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 19, 2017

YA Submission Guidelines

The winner of the audio version of Jerry Spinelli’s THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER is Stephanie Jordan – Congratulations! Please send address.

Teen Crush Submission Guidelines


Crush, one of Entangled’s first teen category romance imprints, is all about engaging, irresistible first-love stories set during the characters’ teen years. We specialize in heart-stopping feelings and never-ending drama, ranging from funny to emotional, flirty to dark.

Whether set in the halls of a high school, beach resort, or studying abroad, and whether it features a girl falling for her brother’s best friend next door, a forbidden summer camp romance, or a nerd pretending to date the star quarterback, our teen category romances will leave you grinning…and in love with your next book crush!

 Specifically, we are looking for:

  • Contemporary, modern romances featuring characters that are 16-18 years old.
  • Stories that are 45-60k words in length. We will consider novellas if they are tied to an existing Crush series or are a prequel to another Entangled series.
  • Trope-driven stories with at least one strong primary trope and two more secondary tropes. Think boy/girl next door, ugly duckling, opposites attract, wrong side of the tracks, best friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, mistaken identity, etc.
  • Stories must follow the traditional category story arc focused on the romance. High conflict and high tension are a must!
  • Dual point of view. Third-person point of view is preferred, but we will consider first-person POV on a case-by-case basis.
  • M/F, M/M, and F/F are all welcome, and we’d love to see diverse characters.
  • Sex is allowed in the stories, but nothing graphic. Heat level can range from sweet to suggestive.
  • Tone can be anything from light and funny to heavy and dark, though we particularly love stories that can be both.
  • Crush-esque authors we love: Jennifer Echols, Simone Elkeles, Mandy Hubbard, Katie McGarry, Miranda Kenneally, Elizabeth Scott, Susane Colasanti
  • Pop culture teen romances we love: Pacey/Joey (Dawson’s Creek), Kat/Patrick (10 Things I Hate About You), Kurt/Blaine (Glee),Hannah/Caleb (Pretty Little Liars), Baby/Johnny (Dirty Dancing), Lloyd/Diane (Say Anything), Laney/Zack (She’s All That), Logan/Veronica (Veronica Mars)
  • We accept both agented and unagented submissions.

To submit a manuscript for consideration, please use the following link:Submit to Teen CRUSH

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 18, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Rashin Kheiriyeh


Rashin Kheiriyeh is an internationally recognized, award-winning illustrator/author, animation director, and painter who has published Sixty children’s books in countries such as France, Italy,United State,Japan,Germany,Spain, South Korea,China, India and Iran.

She has received Fifty national and international awards for the books and animations including recently being selected for the Honor List of IBBY 2014. She was also the winner of New Horizon Award from Bologna Book Fair, Italy and the winner of Golden Apple Award at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB), Slovakia.

Rashin has Ph.D in Children’s Book Illustration from Tehran, Iran and MFA in Graphic design from Alzahra University,Tehran,Iran as well. She also studied at School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York.

Rashin is a professor of department of art, University of Maryland and enjoys illustrating for the New York Times and many other publication houses around the world.


I started with reading the story by Carol Roth and I loved it. I took my time to live with the story and even dreamed about it.
After couple of weeks, when I created the Tiger character in my mind I start sketching it with gesture lines.


Then I worked on the compositions and layout.
Then I make a dummy book with drawings and texts.
I share it with the design team of NorthSouth Books and after a lot of back and forth the final dummy approved. I try different techniques to get the best result.
I tried acrylic and oil paint then I set up a scene with little paper models for photography.
Finlay I came up with mixture of oil,ink, carved Lino technique, and collage.


Now it was time to find a proper painting style to fit with the story.


Finished piece.


Interview Questions for Rashin Kheiriyeh

How long have you been illustrating?

It has been 20 years.



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

In 1999, my first illustration published in a popular children’s magazine in Iran called “Keyhan Bacheha”.


What made you go on to get your Ph.D in Children’s Illustration after finishing your MFA in Graphic Design from Alzahra University,Tehran,Iran?

I was interesting to emphasize on Persian children’s literature and I received the scholarship for that.


What made you leave Tehran, Iran to come to the US? What year was that?

In 2011, I was invited to SCBWI annual conference in LA and at the same time I got a chance for taking part at the artist in residence program at School of Visual Art in New York. I had a 6 months visiting plan until I met my husband in NY and my life changed completely.


Do you think art school influenced your style?

Yes, I believe that I found a right direction to what I loved to do in school. I always grateful for having great teachers in Iran.


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

As soon as I stepped in the university in 1999 I started to work as a freelance illustrator. At the beginning I was only working with different magazines and news papers but gradually the Iranian publishers found my art interesting and I became the illustrator for many picture books for children and young adults in Iran. Later on by receiving many international awards, Foreign publishers become interested in my art as well. Years later, I got into the animation industry as a character designer and eventually I experienced working with galleries as a painter too.


Did you study animation while living in Iran?

Yes, I trained for 2D animation in an animation studio in Tehran in 2002 but I didn’t follow that direction until 2006 when I design the popular characters for an animation series called “Sugar land” for National Iranian TV. After that success I made my own animation film “The cunning tailor”.



What type of software do you use to create your animations?

I usually use After Effect, Moho and Premiere.


When did you illustrate your first picture book. What was the title and what year was that?

My first picture book was “ Joint Two Oceans” published by Kanoon edition in Iran in 2001.


How did that opportunity come your way?

I won the first prize from Tehran Illustration biannual in 2001. That was a very important award which made my art visible to the all Iranian children’s book publishers. Soon after that I received multiple offers to do book projects for kids.


Was THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY your first book with a US Publisher?

No, Two Parrots was my first book in the United States in 2013.


I see your newest book, HOLD YOUR TEMPER, TIGER is coming out on March 7th. Did you get that contract from doing other books with NorthSouth Books?

Yes, That’s correct. I have a good experience working with NorthSouth Book. They know my design style very well and always support my story ideas too.



How long did it take you to illustrate that book?

Almost 8 months.



How did you find your way to the University of Maryland as Professor of Art?

It has been three years that I am teaching animation at department of language literature and culture at the University of Maryland. Recently, the dean of the Art department invited me to teach Drawing course – I love it.



What type of classes do you teach?

It is a basic drawing class.



How many books have your own books have you written and Illustrated?

I have written many stories but only 4 of them has been published yet two in France and two in the United States. And one is coming out next year with Scholastic.


Have you illustrated any book novel covers?

Yes, I did. “Night Letter” and “Anahita’s Woven Riddle” are two novels by Meghan Sayres which I have designed the covers and published by Nortia Press in the U.S.



Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

No I didn’t but I really would like to try that.



Have you worked with educational publishers?

Yes, I did many illustrations for text books for national schools in Iran and I also cooperate with couple of Korean publishers for making the educational children’s books in South Korea.




Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

Yes I did when I was in Iran. Now I am working with the new York Times art directors to illustrate for Op-Ed page articles.



Do you have an Artist Rep. to represent you?

Just very recently I have joined an agency in New York.


Do you expect to continue to illustrate children’s books for foreign publishers?

Yes, I do. I would like to continue working with publishers around the world specially with Iran.



What did you do to receive the New Horizon Award (RAGAZZ I) from Bologna Book Fair; Italy?

The jury liked the unusual design of one of my books called” Arang,Arang. Tell me what color?” which was published in Iran in 2009.That book printed on a special paper that they liked it too.

I also experienced to designed a new Persian font for that book which I named it “Rashin”.


What is your favorite medium to use?

It is Oil.



Has that changed over time?

Yes, I started with water color and ink. Later I tried Acrylic. In depends on what kind of story I am working on I choose my medium and technique that would fit better.




Do you have a studio set up in your home or do you use the university to create?

I have a home studio. Very small but it works for now.



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


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

I don’t take pictures but I would look at many pictures before visual brainstorm.

Sketching and making the book dummy is the part that takes most of the time in my book projects process. I always need to visual study about the characters of the stories to get connected with.




Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, of course.



Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

I try not to. Because I need to create original art works to send to the competitions, festivals and exhibitions.



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

I use it when I want to lay out a book and put the text in a right place and also for color corrections before printing.


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

Yes, I do. I love to design characters for Pixar.


What are you working on now?

I am working on writing and illustrating a new book called” The Saffron Ice Cream” witch is going to be published with Scholastic next year.


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.

The spray paints and real feathers are my new hobbies to play with, I am trying to find a right way to use them in my art.

I usually buy my art supplies from Michaels and Plaza Arts in Virginia.



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

Persistence and hard working are the keys to become successful in Art.

Find a field of art that you love and stick with it to the end.




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

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

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 17, 2017

Free Fall Friday – Deborah Warren – Part Two Interview


Any left over Valentine’s Day cookie batter at your house? If so, you could make some doggy bone cookies for your favorite person or pet. This fun illustration was sent in by Meg Walters.

Please Note: Deborah is closed to submissions, but will be open to anyone following this blog. Just make sure you mention this in your email. Thanks!


Deborah Warren founded East West Literary Agency in 2000. After 17 years at Harcourt, she has a strong background in sales and marketing. She is a strategist, incorporating long-term goals to help E/W clients not only grow their career, but to flourish within that career. With over 35 years’ of experience in the publishing industry, and over 16 years at the helm of the Agency, Deborah not only represents authors and illustrators of picture books including Jim Averbeck (One Word for Sophia), Anna Dewdney (of the Llama Llama franchise), Kimberly and James Dean (of the Pete the Cat franchise), Gianna Marino (Night Animals) and Antoinette Portis (Best Frints in the Whole Universe), she represents authors and illustrators—both debut and established–in the board book, concept, novelty, multicultural, non-fiction, middle-grade and young adult markets.

Deborah’s looking to fall in love with character-driven stories with heart, enhanced by a hook, told in a unique, fresh or distinctive way. Her sweet spots: short, quirky picture books and smartly layered, memorable and insightful MG and YA fiction. And she LOVES finding debut talent – in fact, it’s a bit of a specialty for the Agency.

As an example, we’re thrilled to have helped launch and grow (among others) the careers of authors Kwame Alexander, whose debut MG, The Crossover (HMM) was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor; Dave Butler, whose debut MG, The Kidnap Plot (the first in a trilogy), has recently been released by Knopf/RH; NYT-bestselling Alethea Kontis and her debut YA Fantasy novels launched by the YALSA nominated and Gelette Burgess Award winner Enchanted; and author/illustrator Sarah Aspinall, whose debut picture book, Penguins Love Colors, has recently been released from Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, with a companion volume, Penguins Love Their ABC’s, to come.

She’s particularly drawn to author/illustrators and appreciates a wide range of illustration styles. Deborah also connects with the look and feel and concept of classic “Star Trek” and “Twilight Zone” episodes … so she’s up to see anything in that genre. OH; and re-imaginings of fairy tales, too, like Beauty and the Beast and The Princess Bride. And anything that offers diverse points of view.


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

I endeavor to read each full submission; that said, every manuscript is different. If it struck me as outdated (out of touch with today’s #kidlit market or young readers), or hastily created (bypassing a much-needed critique group, for example), then that would serve as a sign that it’s not submission-ready. But please don’t take any rejection personally. We mold our client list from the many submissions we receive every month, and the process is both subjective and based on the direction of the Agency.

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

Lose interest in a fabulous submission with one typo? Possibly not. Lose interest in a manuscript wherein the author has not respected the process enough to have others read it first and then edit and revise, including correcting any careless errors before it’s submitted? Yes. Would you wear pajamas to a job interview, I ask?

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

Other than opportunities like this, and conferences wherein we’re specifically open to queries, E/W only accepts submissions through referral.  So, assuming our guidelines are followed we strive to respond to each and every submission.

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

We endeavor to respond within 6 to 8 weeks. However, as per our web site:

*If additional work is requested following the query letter, we prefer exclusive consideration of the requested work for one (1) month.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

When we reject a submission, it is primarily because it’s not a good fit for our agency. Just as an editor must truly adore your manuscript to want to champion it from submission to published book, so must your agent. One of the most common mistakes is not taking the time to be sure we are the “write match” for you. Study our monthly newsletter. Note who our clients are. Read their books. Each Agency has a personality. Does your personality fit ours?




In the subject line, please write “February 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).

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: February 16th

RESULTS: March 3rd.

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!

Check back next Friday for Part Three of Deborah’s Interview.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 16, 2017

Query Tips

The winner of the audio version of Jerry Spinelli’s THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER is Stephanie Jordan – Congratulations!

Since I know so many of you are busy working on your query letters, I thought this information from Pub(lishing) Crawl might help you to write a good query before you send it out.

Tips for Best Query Practices

  • Emotional distance from your work is best (we know this is hard!)
  • Don’t go too broad; the more specific the better
  • You don’t need to include absolutely everything about your book in your query—just enough to entice the agent into wanting more
  • The shorter, the better: sweet spot is 250 to 400 words
  • Let your story speak for itself; don’t talk about your book (show, don’t tell!)
  • Try to limit the number of characters you’re naming in your query (they generally say no more than 3): the protagonist, the antagonist, major ancillary character
  • Also, you may write a flawless query, but the agent may still pass because it’s simply not their taste

The “Formula”

SETUP: A brief “laying of the scene”: setting, premise, etc. The “status quo”, as it were.
INCITING INCIDENT: A disruption of the status quo (e.g. a stranger comes to town)
CONSEQUENCES OF INCITING INCIDENT: How the world has changed after the Inciting Incident


All of this together gets across what the stakes are, and that’s what generates tension and interest in a story.

Hope this helps!

Talk tomorrow,



Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 15, 2017

Book Giveaway – Dolls Eyes

Congratulations to Marina Cohen for her second book THE DOLL’S EYE hitting the bookshelves on Feb. 28th. You can pre-order on Amazon.

Marina has agreed to give do a book giveaway. 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.



All Hadley wants is for everything to go back to the way it used to be—back when she didn’t have to share her mother with her stepfather and stepbrother. Back when she wasn’t forced to live in a musty, decomposing house. Back when she had a life in the city with her friends.

As Hadley whiles away what’s left of her summer, exploring the nearby woods and splitting her time between her strange, bug-obsessed neighbor Gabe and the nice old lady that lives above the garage, she begins to notice the house isn’t just old and creaky. It’s full of secrets, just like appearance of a mysterious dollhouse and the family of perfect dolls she finds.

Oh, how she wishes her family were more like those lovely dolls! Then one day, Hadley discovers a lone glass eye rolling around the floor of the attic. Holding it close one night, she makes a wish that just might change her world forever.



I wrote The Doll’s Eye before I wrote The Inn Between. It was the manuscript that garnered the attention of my amazing agent, John Cusick, and for that I’m so very grateful. I spent nearly a year revising it for him, but when it was finally submitted it didn’t sell. Devastated, I set it aside and wrote The Inn Between. When it sold in a two-book deal, I decided to have one final look at The Doll’s Eye before giving up on it entirely, and wham! It hit me. I finally knew what was wrong with the story. I tore it apart and rebuilt it word by word. The plot changed dramatically. I am not only extremely grateful to my editor, Emily Feinberg, for loving it, but to those who passed on it because they forced me to write a better story.



Marina Cohen was born and raised in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. She has a Master’s Degree in French literature and is an elementary school teacher.

THE DOLL’S EYE is Marina’s seventh novel, her second book published by Roaring Brook Press – the first was INN BETWEEN. Her novel, GHOST RIDE was voted 2011 Ontario Library Association Red Maple Honour Book. From a young age, Marina delighted in creepy tales set in dark forests, deep wells, decayed and derelict buildings—stories that presented a meaningful human experience via the magical and the macabre.


Thank you Marina for sharing your journey with us and offering one lucky winner your new book, THE DOLL’S EYE. I know we will enjoy it as much as INN BETWEEN.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day



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



BARBARA DILORENZIO: Featured on Illustrator Saturday April 14, 2012

valentine-by-sue-ann-erickson-rosie-and-magee-loveSUE ANN ERICKSON:


MEG WALTERS: www.crazydogdesign.comvalentine1-seal-and-african-penguin-valentine-m-kogan-2-11-2017

‘Twas in contrary

February you swept

away my heart. I

swooned for you and you for

me, forever we’re true! 

© 2017 Michelle Kogan

MICHELLE KOGAN: Look for her poem and cover art in The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2014-2015,  poetry anthology.


CHERYL KIRK NOLL: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.


by Eileen Spinelli


Love can find us
on a bus or bench
or chair,
in the sunlight,
walking through
a city park,
climbing up
a snowy hill,
like a haunting song
or poem
love will bring
each heart
back home.



kirstenphoto 13

KIRSTEN CARLSON – Featured on Illustrator Saturday June 8th 2014




AMALIA HOFFMAN: Amaila was featured on Illustrator Saturday.

       by Eileen Spinelli


Blest be hearts of paper–pink and red.
Stone hearts lifted from the river bed.
Sticker hearts on hand-made envelopes.
Heart-shaped candy, pillows, cards and soaps.
Blest be hearts that light our lonely eyes.
Tender hearts of little ones and wise.
Blest be broken hearts. And wild. And bright.
Worried hearts that shape the darkening night.
Hearts of gold. And weary hearts of clay.
Hearts so brave they take your breath away.



ROB McCLURKAN – Featured on Illustrator Saturday June 7th 2014


LISA FIELDS – Featured on Illustrator Saturday September 27th 2014

Bogade Cats ValentineCard_small

MARIA BOGADE: Featured on Illustrator Saturday February 9th 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Talk tomorrow,



Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: