Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 26, 2021

Book Giveaway: ROCK AND VOLE

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Little Vole plans her time very carefully. Each day starts with the same exercise routine. Each day she eats the same stinky cheese snack. And each day ends the same way, sleeping on the left side of her cozy bed. Day in and day out, this is Vole’s routine. But one day Vole wakes up and wants something different. She wants an adventure–a trip! So Vole starts to plan. She draws a map. She picks the ideal halfway spot to eat her snack. And she knows exactly what she will say at the end of her trip. “This is just as I imagined it.” Vole sets out on her perfectly planned adventure and things are going well. But sometimes perfectly planned adventures don’t go perfectly. Unexpectedly, Vole comes to a ginormous, selfish, refuses-to-move rock that is blocking her way to her lovely adventure. How unfair! But is it? Maybe life can be better when some things don’t go according to plan. From the author/illustrator of One Red Sock.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Rock and Vole has a special place in my heart. I really wanted to do a book that did two things:
First, I wanted to use landscape as a character. The character of Rock in this book transforms, not because it’s literally changing, but because Vole starts to change the way she sees and interacts with it.

When it doesn’t ‘answer’ her in the beginning, she assumes it’s ignoring her. Then she interprets its silence as “listening” to her. And eventually they sit quietly together. I began my career as a landscape painter and I really wanted to go back to my love of sitting
in a field or in the woods, painting. I dedicated this book to a close friend of mine who is also an artist. She and I would go all over and paint together outside. Some of those landscapes have made it into this book.


Secondly I wanted to write a book about one of the most important things I’ve learned:
That sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way I planned. And as much as I want to just fight and argue with what IS, it won’t change it.
(Actually, sometimes , it turns out better than what I thought was going to happen.)

I think kids can see the ridiculousness of arguing with a rock, but personally? I do it all of the time. Most of the grown -ups I know do it too. I never want to preach to kids. I think as soon as you set something up as “a lesson” it falls on reluctant ears.

So, if I can make a funny little story that rings true (although, you might not understand why) but that feels somehow bigger than the little story itself, then I’m happy.

JEN’S BIO:

Jennifer Sattler is the award-winning author and illustrator of many children’s books, including Sylvie and Uh Oh, Do Do!, and the Chick ‘N’ Pug and Pig Kahuna series. She grew up outside of Philadelphia and then went on to study painting and drawing at the University of New Hampshire, followed by the Hope School of Fine Arts at Indiana University in Bloomington. In 1996, she won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her books have won The Mockingbird Award for Picture Books and The Georgia Children’s Book Award. Jennifer lives in upstate New York.

Jennifer Sattler didn’t always want to be an author and illustrator. When she was in third grade her teacher, Teacher Marty, mentioned that she was 40 and had never had a cavity. Jennifer thought that Teacher Marty was “ the bees knees” so she decided that she would be a dentist when she grew up and vowed never to have a cavity.

Jennifer went on to become an artist. She pretended to be a grown up for several years, teaching college students how to paint and draw. But when her kids were born, her inner goofball could be contained no longer!  Her passion was making kids laugh and making picture books.

She’s not a dentist. But… still no cavities!


Jen, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love all your books. They are always so much fun. This one is another winner. Love the little vole and your color palette for the illustrations. And those big eyes and facial expressions are bound to have kids laughing off their chairs. Good luck with the book! Keep them coming!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 25, 2021

Illustrator Saturday – Bethany Crandall

Bethany Crandall is an Illustrator and designer based in Burbank California. Bethany has worked illustrating children’s books and illustrating for magazines. She has also worked doing designs for children’s television. Bethany studied at Brigham Young University Idaho and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in illustration. She enjoys drawing and reading. 

Here is Bethany discussing her process for the illustration below:

I had just gone on vacation to the beautiful Marble Colorado and I wanted to do an illustration that evoked the feeling I had while staying there. The cabin I stayed at was really unique so I wanted to start there.

Once I had a cabin design I liked I started designing a scene to go around it.

Once I had a scene that I liked I did a more detailed cleaned up drawing and really figured out where everything was going and how the perspective was working. You’ll notice I also did some small changes to the composition like removing the trees on the left to make the cabin more of a focal point. I try to really nail down the composition at this stage so I can just concentrate on color when it’s time to paint.

Next I do color comps. This many color comps is probably a bit excessive, but I really enjoy doing color comps, so I get a bit carried away.

Once you’ve done all that work all that’s left is for you to get in there and take your time painting everything.

Interview with Bethany Crandall:

How long have you been illustrating?

I have been illustrating since 2014 so about 7 years.

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

I did a work study at my local library my first year of college. They knew I did art and they thought it would be fun to put a mural in the children’s library. So as part of my work study I painted the mural. I was getting paid for the work study, so I guess technically that’s the first time I got paid for my art.

How did you decide to attend Brigham Young University to get your BFA? 

My parents attended Brigham Young University. My grades weren’t good enough to get into Brigham Young University but I was able to get into its sister school, Brigham Young University Idaho. Also, BYU Idaho is really cheep, tuition is only like $4,000 a semester, and that’s really great value for a fully accredited college. Also BYUI has a really amazing Art Program with some really great professors!

What was your major? Did you take any illustrating courses?

I majored in illustration with a Bachelor in Fine Arts so I took lots of illustration classes.

Did you plan to teach art after you graduated from BYU? 

I wasn’t planning on teaching, but the year I graduated college the art teacher position at my old high school was open. I decided to try my hand at teaching. After teaching for a year I realized I enjoy teaching, but not teaching at a high school.

Did BYU help you find work when you graduated?

I was able to make some good connections with friends from college that have gone on to do awesome things. I was able to start building a good network.

How did you end up teaching English as a second language while illustrating?

My mom was teaching English and they needed more teachers. It takes a long time before you can start making a living off of illustration so teaching English was a great job to supplement my income. It was really fulfilling work.

What type of work do you do at Universal Studios?

I was a face painter and caricature artist. It was really fun! I’d never done face painting before, but it wasn’t that hard to learn.

How did that opportunity come your way?

I saw the job on Indeed and applied.

Have you had a chance to illustrate a book, yet?

I’ve had the chance to illustrate an author’s self published children’s book, it was about starfish, it was fun!

I noticed you mention doing murals. What type of Murals have you done?

I have done a lot of community murals in my home town in Fort Morgan Colorado. I’ve done them for libraries and schools. 

What is a background painter?

A background painter is someone who paints backgrounds for animated television and film. The animation industry is interesting, there a a lot of very specialized jobs.

How did you connect with Chad Beckerman at The Cat Agency?

I did a few comic pages of Michael Buckley’s The Sisters Grimm just for fun. I think Michael saw it on social media and then told Chad to check out my work. So I’m really grateful that I made those pages and that people shared my work!

Do you still work on your portfolio?          

Yes! I think I’ll always be working on my portfolio. Every new piece and project is an opportunity to show what I can do!

Do you think you want to illustrate children’s books?    

Yeah, I think that illustrating children’s books would be really fun!      

What do you feel helped develop your style?

Hmm, a lot of the media I consumed growing up, things like Disney movies, Sailor Moon and Pokémon. I think things that interest you as a child have a very foundational effect on your art. Also all the things that I learned from my professors at BYUI.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate a picture book? 

I think it would be really cool to write and illustrate a picture book, but I know it’s a lot harder to write a good picture book than it looks. Still, I think I’d like to try.

Do you attend conferences where your can sell you art?

Sometimes, I have tabled at Salt Lake City FANX in the past. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also really fun! I would love to do more.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book? 

I’ve never tried that, it sounds like a really fun challenge. Growing up, I would read wordless picture books like the ones by David Weisner and Chris Van Allsburg over and over again, I loved them. It would be really special if I could make something as inspiring as those books were to me.

Have you illustrated anything for children’s magazines? 

I have done an illustration for The Friend Magazine. It was a really fun opportunity.

Do you have studio in your house? 

I don’t have a studio, but my bedroom is really big, so I’ve converted a corner of that into my studio. But mostly I just end up working on the couch.

Do you ever exhibit your artwork?

I have never had an exhibit of my artwork, unless you count putting it on social media.

Do you work full time as an illustrator? 

This past year I was able to start working full time as an illustrator!

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

I’ve done it before. I would say if someone wants to self publish, they should be really committed and do their research. I would want to work with that kind of client.

I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

Recently I was asked to do some commission work as a prop designer on Disney’s Big City Greens. So now I can claim that I’ve officially worked for Disney. Getting to work for Disney is a pretty big deal for an animation nerd like me, and it’s really fun working on a cartoon show!

What is your favorite medium to use?

I usually use Procreate on the iPad. I love that I can do so much while sitting on my couch, or do my work in the mountains if I want! I love the flexibility it gives me. For traditional media, I love watercolors. I’ve been using them since I was a kid and you can do some really cool stuff with them.

Has that changed over time?

In college I mostly used watercolor and Photoshop, but they both tie you down to being in one spot or having to carry around your supplies. When I got my IPad I was able to complete work so much easier anywhere I wanted! Also, Photoshop is very expensive.

What type of Graphic Drawing Tablet do you use when illustrating?

I use the IPad Pro and Procreate with the Apple Pencil.

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

Now that I’m working full time as an illustrator and making my living doing art I try to spend 40 hours a week. I want to treat it like I would any other job, I also try to make sure I’m making time for other things and not just drawing all day.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

Yes, I try to research everything that I draw, being accurate is important to me. I’m not able to take as many pictures for personal references as I’d like, sometimes it’s impossible for me to take photos of certain creatures, poses, and places, but there are a lot of great resources for reference on the internet.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Definitely! I think almost all of my job opportunities have come from people finding me on the internet.

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

Well, one of them was working for Disney, but now that I’ve done that I would like to illustrate a graphic novel. I’m working on doing that too! I would love to make graphic novel adaptations of some of the books that I read as a kid!

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on Big City Greens, and I’m talking with someone about possibly doing a graphic novel. We’ll see where it goes.

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.

If you want to get into digital art I would suggest you get an iPad. It’s a bit expensive, but in the long run it is much cheaper than getting a photoshop subscription and a drawing tablet. I do full illustrations on my iPad, so I personally think it’s just as good as photoshop.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators? 

Believe in yourself. You may think that you’ll never be good enough for a certain job, but art is all about time, practice, and persistence. Just be persistent and eventually you’ll get there.

Bethany, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone.

You can visit Bethany using the following links:

WEBSITE: http://www.bethanycrandallart.com/
INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/bethanycrandallart/?hl=en
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BethanyCrandallArt/
TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/bethanycrandall
AGENCY: https://catagencyinc.com/#/bethany-crandall/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Keely Boeving is an Agent with WordServe Literary. After receiving her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia, she went on to attend the Denver Publishing Institute and then began her career in New York working in the editorial department at Oxford University Press, where she acquired books for the trade history list. She moved back to Colorado in 2014 and began her own freelance editorial company before joining WordServe in 2016. She lives in Denver with her husband and their twins. You can find out more about her editorial work at www.keelyboeving.com.

She is passionate about partnering with clients to develop books that connect with readers, find success with publishers, delight our imaginations, and create real change in the world. She is drawn to books that bring new ideas and voices to the table, change our perspectives, and broaden our experiences.

In the children’s market: Keely represents select picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She represents a wide range of genres and subjects and loves stories that feature characters who are quirky and complex. She is drawn to contemporary stories that take on perennial questions in a new way, excite the imagination, and allow children to see themselves in the book’s pages, perhaps for the first time.

For Non-fiction Books: Keely is looking for well-researched nonfiction books in the areas of health and wellness, business, parenting and family life, social justice, and religious studies; as well as projects from diverse and under-represented voices and is also seeking narrative nonfiction and memoir, and occasionally represents smart, well-crafted contemporary and literary fiction.

For the Christian market: She is seeking books in the areas of Christian Living, spiritual transformation, devotion and worship, and women’s topics including motherhood, relationships and marriage, work-life balance, and calling. She represents a wide range of genres and subjects, particularly in the areas of Christian living, spiritual transformation, the intersection of faith and culture, physical and mental health, embodiment, social justice, business and entrepreneurship, and motherhood, parenting, and family life. She is always seeking projects from diverse and under-represented voices.

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HERE IS PART THREE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH KEELY:

Do you have any plans to represent a children’s book illustrator? Would an illustrator have to write before you would represent them?

I represent several illustrators, although they are all author/illustrators. Ideally I’m looking for illustrators who also write, but I do negotiate illustration-only contracts for some of my clients.  I’m not seeking out sole illustrators at this time.

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

Email is my main form of communication, but I’m on the phone with clients every day as well. Text message, too. Basically I want to work with clients in whatever manner works best for them. I like to have frequent communication, so that everyone knows where we are in the process and we’re all on the same page. I pass along all responses I get from editors during the submission process to my clients, and I’m frequently in touch with them about how things are going and whether we need to adjust our approach.

What happens if you don’t sell a book and the author wants to self-publish a book? Would you be okay with that?

Absolutely. I don’t want to prevent anyone from getting their book out into the world. My primary goal is to sell your work, but if we aren’t successful in doing that, I support authors in taking whatever route they want in order to make sure their work gets out there.

Do you seek help from other agents at your agency to get suggestions on editors and/or publishers to submit to for the clients you sign up to represent?

On occasion. I have been very lucky to be mentored by WordServe’s president, Greg Johnson, who helped me learn the business and gave a lot of insight early on as far as which editors and publishers to approach with which projects. Now I have strong personal relationships with a large number of editors, so I usually have a sense of where I want to send things, but I always ask my colleagues if I’m unsure or feel like someone might have insight on a specific project. We’re a very open, collaborative agency in that way.

Would you ever send a manuscript to another agent at WordServe if it was good, but not your style?

Not typically. In general, if I’m turning down a project, it’s not right for me, and I don’t necessarily have an idea in mind of who it would be right for. I’m not in close contact with other agencies about what they’re looking for, and I don’t want to steer people in the wrong direction. I also don’t want to pass projects along to colleagues that didn’t meet the mark in my opinion.

What do you think of digital and audio books? Are they part of every sale these days?

Absolutely. Audio books continue to gain a larger share of the market, and I consider them essential. The same is true of ebooks, of course. While these formats don’t sell as well in the children’s market as they do in the adult, they still do make up a portion of sales, and I think almost every book should have an ebook and audio book released simultaneously, where possible.

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

We handle film rights for our clients. We have a number of contacts in the industry, and we partner with producers, packagers, and others to get projects optioned and made.

Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, secure an agent, and get published?

Writing is improved by working your craft. Keep writing, keep taking workshops and participating in writers groups, work with an editor to develop the manuscript further. When it comes to securing an agent, it’s about doing your research—figuring out which agents are right for you and what they want to see—and building your platform. We want to know that you’re the real deal. And keep reading! Know what’s out there, know what’s not being said, and consider how you can add something new to the landscape. I’m always looking for new ideas and fresh spins on concepts I’ve seen before. Surprise me!

Would you like to attend other conferences, workshops writer’s retreats?

I attend a fair number of conferences, most of them online at the current moment. I enjoy participating in them but also have to balance how much time and energy I spend at conferences / traveling versus being in my office and getting the work done. I do love to meet with aspiring authors, though, and I’m always happy to take pitch meetings—you just never know what might come out of them. I love getting to talk with creative people who are passionate about their work—which is why I love this job so much.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR FIRST PAGE RESULTS.

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HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR SEPTEMBER 2021 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “SEPTEMBER 2021 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, 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).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2021 September  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

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: SEPTEMBER 20th. – noon EST

RESULTS: OCTOBER 1st.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Nancy Churnin’s picture book A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE, THE STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD, FOUNDER OF HADASSAH, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg and published by Creston Books/Lerner Books is coming out on October 5th.

Nancy has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner in the U.S. mailing territory. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Nancy and Yevgenia.

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS:

Henrietta Szold took Queen Esther as a model and worked hard to save the Jewish people. In 1912, she founded the Jewish women’s social justice organization, Hadassah. Henrietta started Hadassah determined to offer emergency medical care to mothers and children in Palestine. When WWII broke out, she rescued Jewish children from the Holocaust, and broadened Hadassah’s mission to include education, youth development, and women’s rights. Hadassah offers free help to all who need it and continues its mission to this day.

BOOK JOURNEY:

My book journey with A Queen to the Rescue began with an opportunity.

In 2019, PJ Library, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, dedicated to providing Jewish-themed books to Jewish children for free, accepted my application to work on a new manuscript in an all-expense paid week-long TENT program at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts with amazing kidlit creators, educators, and editors.

I was thrilled!

But what should I work on? A Jewish subject, of course – but who should it be? I thought about the books I would have liked to read as a child. That got me thinking about how few books there were about women who did great things. I didn’t want to do a book about a Jewish woman that already had books written about her. And then, suddenly, maybe because my sister, Sharon Churnin Nash and I are lifetime members of Hadassah, I started thinking about Henrietta Szold, who founded that charity in 1912, with the mission of providing healthcare, food, and assistance to all residents of all faiths in Palestine.

Were there any picture books about Henrietta? No. And then I found she hadn’t written an autobiography either. That was unusual. There were some longer biographies about her and lots of news articles. A picture started to emerge of a woman who was concerned about doing tikkun olam – the Hebrew expression for healing the world – but with no interest in her own fame or fortune. Henrietta didn’t feel the need to get credit or acclaim for founding the first night school in America so that immigrants could learn the language and customs they needed to succeed in their new country or for becoming the first and for a long time only editor of the Jewish Publication Society, bringing books of Jewish interest into the world. No, she was just the kind of person who came up with solutions to problems that usually involved creating organizations that could ultimately exist on their own without her.

I was amazed to learn that Henrietta did so much good even before she founded Hadassah, the first charity founded and run by women. But Henrietta’s list of accomplishments led to another problem – too much information. How could I cram so much information into a picture book and keep a young reader’s attention?  I had my aha! moment when I realized Hadassah is the Hebrew name for Esther and that Esther was the Biblical Queen that Henrietta admired for speaking up and risking her life to save her people.

Now, armed with that connection, the pieces began to adhere to a kid-friendly theme.  Every year, Jewish children celebrate Queen Esther’s story at festive Purim events where they dress in costumes, eat hamentashen – a delicious cookie – and shake groggers – noisemakers. I began the story with a young Henrietta during Purim, wishing that she, too, could one day save her people as Queen Esther had.

I was very lucky that editor Marissa Moss at Creston Books secured Yevgenia Nayberg to do the illustrations. From the opening page, she captures an image of the young Henrietta thinking – always thinking! – while her sisters are laughing and shaking their groggers. She shows the determination of the young woman as she grows older and puts her plans in action, founding Hadassah and saving her people – and all others in need — through providing health care, food, and programs in what was then Palestine.

When Henrietta was in her seventies and thinking of retirement, she learned about Jewish children at risk in Nazi Germany. Like Queen Esther who speaks up to a powerful and dangerous king, Henrietta booked a trip on a ship to Berlin. She begged children’s parents for permission for them to come to Palestine where she would care for them. She pled with people in power for visas for the children.

How did she pay for the boat passage, for the housing, for the schooling, for the food for these children? The women of Hadassah, the charity founded by Henrietta, worked tirelessly by her side raising funds to save and care for the children. Henrietta may have been an unstoppable force in coming up with ways to make things better. But her true brilliance and greatness lay in her ability to organize and inspire others to work together to do good things.

Henrietta saved 11,000 children with the help of Hadassah. She checked up on those children regularly to make sure they had what they needed to pursue their dreams.

Henrietta and Hadassah, the organization she named for the queen she admired, saved their people just as Queen Esther had. I knew from my research how important it was to Henrietta to also save the children’s spirits and fill their lives with laughter and hope. She danced the hora – a Jewish circle dance – with the children on their first night in their new country– with a joy that Yevgenia Nayberg captures on one of my favorite pages. Henrietta loved seeing the children celebrate Purim, too. Because Henrietta had the courage to speak up and take action as Queen Esther had in her day, now children had this holiday of laughter and play.

Henrietta never married or had children of her own, but she is honored as the Mother of Israel. I began and ended the story with Purim to show how Henrietta lives on as an inspiration to a new generation as they ask themselves what they can do to be like Queen Esther today.

I am very grateful to PJ Library and the Yiddish Book Center for their support and encouragement as I worked on this book. Like Henrietta, they’ve set up organizations that encourage others to do their part to help heal the world. I have tried to do that by sharing Henrietta’s inspirational story and by creating a project called Heal the World, where I am asking kids to share photos and captions of ways in which they have helped others because every time we help others, we help heal the world. With parental permission, these good deeds will be posted on my website on my Heal the World page: https://www.nancychurnin.com/healtheworld

You will find out more about the holiday and what it meant to Henrietta in the back matter. And, as with all my books, you’ll find free teacher guides and resources on my website.

NANCY’S BIO:

Nancy is an author of seven books. She is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University. She loves hanging out with friends and fellow children’s book authors as a member of the Ink Think Tank, the Nonfiction Ninjas on Nonfiction-Ninjas.com, the Nonfiction Chicks organizing the annual nffest.com and the Book Meshuggenahs, organizing annual Chai-ku and Be a Shamash contests.

Nancy is proud to be a Writing Barn instructor, a member of the Texas Library Association, 12X12 and Rate Your Story, and the PALS coordinator for the North Texas chapter of SCBWI. She enjoys virtual and in person Author Visits. Book her through Authors and More, or on her Contact Page.

She is represented by Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary

Nancy Churnin is the author of THE WILLIAM HOY STORY, HOW A DEAF BASEBALL PLAYER CHANGED THE GAME (Albert Whitman), on the 2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids and Bank Street College Best Children’s Books list, the 2017 Texas Library Association’s 2X2 and Topaz lists, 2017-2018 Kennebec Valley Book Award Books, the 2018 Illinois School Library Media Association’s Monarch Award Master List, Connecticut’s 2018 Charter Oak Children’s Book Awards list, the 2018-2019 Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice awards and the 2017-2018 Armadillo Readers’ Choice Awards list.

MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN, on the 2021 Sakura Medal shortlist, 2020 Greenwich Reads Together Elementary School Selection, winner of the 2019 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award and 2018 South Asia Book Award, a 2018 Children and Teen’s Choice Book Awards finalist, a 2017 Junior Library Guild selection, a Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018, a Silver Eureka Award-winner, a Little Free Libraries/Children’s Book Council Pick for the Action Book Club and Ezra Jack Keats Award finalist and on the Wisconsin School Library Association’s Picture This list.

CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT: HOW CHARLIE SIFFORD BROKE THE COLOR BARRIER IN GOLF is a Silver Eureka Award-winner, on the Wisconsin School Library Association’s Picture This list and a Ruby Bridges Reading Festival selection at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, featured at International Literacy Association’s Children Literacy Day in Austin.

IRVING BERLIN, THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING is a 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book and 2019 Social Studies Notable Trade Book for Children. It was featured in the 2018 GREAT BOOKS FOR KIDS by Elizabeth Bird and the Evanston Public Library, in the 31 DAYS, 31 LISTS: 2018 UNIQUE BIOGRAPHIES by Elizabeth Bird and School Library Journal, in the 31 DAYS, 31 LISTS: 2018 NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS by Elizabeth Bird and School Library Journal; THE BEST JEWISH CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2018 by Marjorie Ingall and Tablet Magazine; the 7 BEST JEWISH BOOKS FOR KIDS by The Children’s Book Review and RONNIE’S AWESOME LIST OF BOOKS that teach about social justice and activism.

THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE was picked for A MIGHTY GIRL’s 2018 list.

MARTIN & ANNE, THE KINDRED SPIRITS OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND ANNE FRANK, a 2020 Books for a Global Society Notable from the International Literacy Association; on the 2020 New York City Department of Education Civics for All list; a 2020 Wisconsin State Reading Association Picture This! pick; a 2020 Wassmuth Center for Human Rights pick; selected for the 2020 Social Justice and Children’s Literature list of The Pirate Tree, a collective of children’s and young adult writers interested in children’s literature and social justice issues; presented at the NYC School Librarians annual conference in NYC and the Museum of Tolerance in LA; on the 2020 PJ Library’s Jewish Books to Read in Honor of MLK Jr. Day; a 2019 March Book Buzz pick for the eMissourian, Children’s Book Council’s Hot Off the Press list and Ruby Bridges Reading Festival selection; 2019 featured book at Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair at African American Museum in Fair Park, Dallas; a 2019 pick for the Brave Bookshelf, a list of books that build moral courage in children, by ParentMap; a Civil Rights and Race reading list selection by the Jewish Book Council.

BEAUTIFUL SHADES OF BROWN, THE ART OF LAURA WHEELER WARING, released Feb. 4, 2020, a Silver Eureka honoree from The California Reading Association, A Mighty Girl pick on the Mighty Girl 2020 Summer Reading List, a Civic Nebraska selection.

On April 1, 2020: FOR SPACIOUS SKIES, KATHERINE LEE BATES AND THE INSPIRATION FOR ‘AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL’ A Mighty Girl pick on the Mighty Girl 2020 Summer Reading List.

In Fall 2021: A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE, THE STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, published by Creston Books/Lerner Books

In Fall 2021: DEAR MR DICKENS, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe, published by Albert Whitman

She lives in North Texas with her husband, a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats.

Website: nancychurnin.com

A Queen to the Rescue: https://www.nancychurnin.com/a-queen-to-the-rescue

Facebook: Nancy Churnin Children’s Books

Facebook: Nancy Churnin

On Twitter: @nchurnin

On Instagram: @nchurnin

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YEVGENIA NAYBERG’S BIO:

Yevgenia Nayberg is an illustrator, painter, and set and costume designer. Her illustrations have appeared in magazines and picture books, and on theatre posters, music albums, and book covers; her paintings, drawings, and illustrations are held in private collections worldwide. As a set and costume designer, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts/TCG Fellowship for Theatre Designers, the Independent Theatre Award and the Arlin Meyer Award. In 2018 she received a Sydney Taylor Silver Medal for her illustrations for Drop by Drop by Jaqueline Jules. Her debut author/illustrator picture book, Anya’s Secret Society, came out in 2019 and received a Junior Library Guild Selection Award.

Yevgenia Nayberg was born in Kiev, Ukraine. After graduating from The National School of Art in Kiev, she began working as a freelance illustrator and an assistant art director for, UkranimaFilm, an animation studio. Yevgenia moved to the United States in 1994, where she studied theatre design at Carnegie Mellon University. At the age of 23 she received her MFA degree in Theatre design from California State University, Long Beach. She has since enjoyed a successful career as a painter, scenic – costume designer, and illustrator. Yevgenia’s dedication to theatrical arts is clearly manifested in her illustrations which rely on color intensity, fantastic landscapes, and dramatic light and shadow to tell a story. When illustrating, she likes to look for a visual equivalent of a word, for metaphorical translation into the language of visual art.

Nancy, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I always love reading your book journeys. I also always love Yevgenia’s illustrations. I’m a big fan of her art. The illustrations look like they are perfect for your book. You did it again by providing us a well written, well researched, interesting book about a strong woman who made a big difference in our world. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 BOOK WINNERS:

Cathy Ogren won I AM SMOKE by Henry Herz

Roberta Abussi won HOW TO RETURN A MONSTER by Charlotte Offsay

Marla Yablon won ETTY DARWIN AND THE FOUR PEBBLE PROBLEM by Luaren Soloy

Please send your address to Kathy(dot)temean(at)hotmail(dot)com Thanks!

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SPACES STILL AVAILABLE! FOR THE WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING Full Manuscript Virtual Writers Retreat Nov. 13th – 14th 

TWO AGENT CRITIQUES – ONE FULL/ONE HOUR AND ONE 30 MINUTE/ 25 PAGE CRITIQUE, PLUS  FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE

Cost: $780

Click here for more details.

Please email: Kathy.temean (at) hotmail.com Put 2021 Fall Virtual Writer’s Retreat in Subject Box. Please include a little blurb about your manuscript – what you write and what you plan to submit – I will reply. 

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Congratulations to agent Liza Fleissig and her client author Isabella Maldonado. You know you made it when your book shows up in lights in Time Square. A Different Dawn (Nina Guerrera Book 2), which came out last month is Isabella’s second book in this thriller series. I read the first one and loved it. I belong to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and if you do, too, you can read and listen to this book for free.

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INDUSTRY CHANGES:

Astra Publishing Forms Children’s Division

Astra announced the launch of its children’s division, Astra Books for Young Readers, which will house one new imprint–Astra Young Readers–and five existing imprints: Calkins Creek, Hippo Park (Jill Davis’s newly-named imprint), Kane PressmineditionUS, and Wordsong.

Astra COO Ben Schrank said: “Astra Publishing House now has six very special children’s book imprints that cover books for all ages and children’s interests, from board books for babies and toddlers and picture books to nonfiction and history, poetry, middle-grade, and young adult books and so we felt it was time to identify and celebrate them with a new children’s book division: Astra Books for Young Readers.”

Harold Underdown has joined Kane Press as executive editor.

Abrams Children’s: Mary Jones has joined as editor of the Magic Cat imprint. She was previously a freelance editor.

Sterling: Laura Schreiber has joined as executive editor. Most recently, she had been editorial director at Jimmy Patterson.

Simon & Schuster Children’s: Alyza Liu has been promoted to associate editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Knopf: Vanessa Haughton and Todd Portnowitz have been promoted to associate editor. Marc Jaffee and Rob Shapiro are promoted to assistant editor.

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Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Author Beth Anderson has a new picture book, “TAD LINCOLN’S RESTLESS WRIGGLE: Pandemonium and Patience in the President’s House, illustrated by S.D. Schindler and published by Calkins Creek. Beth is giving away a copy to one lucky winner in the US.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping people know about Beth and SD’s new book.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it’s delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Tad Lincoln’s Restless Wriggle: Pandemonium and Patience in the President’s House

Tad Lincoln’s restless wriggle just wouldn’t quit, much to the delight of his father, President Abraham Lincoln—if not so much to anybody else! This picture book brings to life the famous first son who coped with a disability and other challenges while showing compassion, intelligence, and wisdom beyond his years.

Tad Lincoln’s boundless energy annoyed almost everyone but his father, President Abraham Lincoln. But Tad put that energy to good use during the tough times of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln guided Tad’s wriggle on visits to hospitals, to the telegraph office, and to army camps. Tad greeted visitors, raised money for bandages, and kept his father company late into the night. This special and patient bond between father and son was plain to see, and before long, Tad had wriggled his way into the hearts of others as well. Beth Anderson and S.D. Schindler follow Tad’s antics during the Civil War to uncover the generous heart and joyful spirit that powered Tad’s restless wriggle.

BOOK JOURNEY:

My journey with this book began with a boy in the White House and a turkey named Jack. When I learned that young Tad Lincoln was responsible for the first presidential turkey pardon, I began exploring to see if there was a story to tell. Though I’d found an interesting event, when I searched for the “heart” of the story, I struggled. But the endearing and entertaining Tad Lincoln had already wriggled into a corner of my heart. I couldn’t let go. I wanted to know more. About him. And WHY—what motivated that merciful act for the turkey? What was the story behind that story? I dug in. And when I learned that Tad and Abraham Lincoln were each the “saving grace” for the other, that very special idea grabbed me. THAT was the “heart”—the story I wanted to tell. Digging into character and Tad’s experiences allowed me to see the turkey pardon in a new light. There was so much leading to that moment when Tad uses his voice to vouch for the innocence and goodness of the animal. Though I cut much of the turkey pardon story, I was able to put it within the meaningful context of  an incredibly tender and important relationship of father and son at a crucial time in history. The story became larger in scope with a more powerful emotional arc.

All sorts of themes hit me, about unspoken rules and inappropriate behavior. Again I asked WHY. As I learned more about Tad’s behavior and his learning difficulties, the story deepened. This was a boy with a partial cleft palate, learning differences, and boundless energy. The initial opinions I’d encountered of Tad as a “spoiled” child gave way to a better understanding. He was creative and capable, joyous and generous, wise beyond his years and in need of encouragement instead of criticism. For all the so-called “difficult” children I’d had in class over the years, I had to tell his story!

In researching, I found the transformative arc in the events of 1863. Using that year also allowed me to focus the story on Tad and Abe and develop their relationship without getting sidetracked by the myriad of other events before and after. I collected potential scenes, looked for cause and effect relationships and connections, and chose events that would move Tad’s story forward. With a series of scenes and my “heart” thread, I began drafting.

To bring Tad’s character to the page, I pushed from scene to scene with energy, a repeated “racing” path, and an array of vivid verbs. I found a pattern of what teachers would call “I do, we do, you do” in Abe’s guidance and built my arc with that. I tried to see life in the President’s House through ten-year-old Tad’s eyes and his emotional needs. First we see Tad’s unruly behavior, then Abe modeling, and a process of lovingly moving Tad toward sharing his goodness. Tad watches, makes mistakes, and finally finds his voice, surprising those around him with his potential. Throughout the story, Tad’s wriggle showcases his boisterous energy, and the twinkle in Abe’s eyes lets the reader know how much Papa cherishes the joy his son offers. Tad, a child, was the one who gave his father, the President, what he truly needed.

With all that was going on with the Lincoln family and the times, there were multiple challenges in providing enough context without dumping too much information. How much was needed to understand Lincoln’s job during the war? How much need I say about Tad’s partial cleft palate, jumbled words, and unintelligible speech? And so much more. Through lots of trial and error, lots of revising, I worked to weave context into the action and emotional arc of the story. Important details that were cut went to back matter to extend understanding and provide opportunities for curious readers to investigate in the classroom and with parents.

At the suggestion of my agent, the wonderful Stephanie Fretwell-Hill, the final shaping of the story involved framing the story more intentionally around Tad as a differently-abled learner. With that, Tad’s challenges and talents came through more clearly and made the story resonate more strongly. The manuscript was quickly acquired by Carolyn Yoder at Calkins Creek. With her expert guidance, my final revisions trimmed, smoothed, sharpened, and strengthened the story.

TAD was off and running! And S.D. Schindler’s illustrations brought the story to life with humor, tenderness, and fabulous details! On October 5th, Tad Lincoln’s Restless Wriggle gets loose, and here’s to hoping he wriggles his way into your heart, too!

BETH’S BIO:

Beth Anderson has always been fascinated with words and language. After earning a B.A. in linguistics and a M. Ed. in reading, she taught English as a Second Language for more than 20 years. Surrounded by young people from all over the world, with literature as her favorite tool, Beth experienced the power of books to teach, connect, and inspire.

From the start, with poems, plays, and puppet shows, Beth’s elementary teachers encouraged her to write. With stories, memoir pieces, and research papers, she continued to mold words into text. Her itch to write followed her through Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, and into Colorado. In 2013, she began writing for children. Combining her love of writing with the joys of discovery and learning, she found her niche with narrative nonfiction and historical fiction picture books.

To Beth, writing is mining. It’s digging deep inside for special memories, emotions, and meaning. It’s burrowing into history for inspiring characters and moments that change the course of events. It’s delving into the how and why and what if and seeing how the past relates to where we are today. Then the search for just the right words begins—words that will create voice, bring characters to life, and reveal the heart of the story.

When she’s not writing, Beth might be weaving, gardening, exploring nature, or playing with her grandkids. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives near the mountains in Colorado. Beth believes in laughter, learning, and…though we can’t change history, history can change us.
You can learn more about Beth Anderson’s writing journey, read posts from other kid lit people, and get book recommendations at her website: https://bethandersonwriter.com.

Beth Anderson, a former English as a Second Language teacher, has always marveled at the power of books. With linguistics and reading degrees, a fascination with language, and a penchant for untold tales, she strives for accidental learning in the midst of a great story. Beth lives in Loveland, Colorado where she laughs, ponders, and questions; and hopes to inspire kids to do the same. She’s the award-winning author of “Smelly” Kelly and His Super SensesLizzie Demands a Seat!, and An Inconvenient Alphabet. Beth has more historical gems on the way.

S.D. SCHINDLER’S BIO:

S.D. Schindler embraces the inventive spirit every time he illustrates a book–and he has illustrated many! An award-winning and best-selling illustrator, his recent titles include: We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt by Susan Pearson, Hornbooks and Inkwells by Verla Kay, and The Unforgettable Season by Phil Bildner. His books have won a Parents’ Choice Award for Illustration, a Smithsonian Award for outstanding natural history title, and a Best Book selection by School Library Journal. Visit: sdschindlerbooks.com

Beth, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. And thank you for writing a book that let’s us see Abe Lincoln with his son. I didn’t know Tad Lincoln was responsible for the first pardoned turkey at the White House. I’m so happy to read about Tad and the joy he brought his father. Nice to know President Lincoln had someone who took his mind off the problems of the world. SD’s illustrations seem perfect for this story. Good Luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 20, 2021

CONTEST: Two Opportunities

31st Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize

$5,000 Fiction | $5,000 Nonfiction $5,000 Poetry 

CONTEST NOW OPEN!

Winners receive publication, invitation to a reception and reading in their honor, and a cash prize.

Guidelines

  • Submit one piece of fiction or nonfiction up to 8,500 words or any number of poems up to 10 pages. Please double-space fiction and nonfiction entries.
  • Multiple submissions and simultaneous submissions are welcome, but you must pay a separate fee for each entry and withdraw the piece immediately if accepted elsewhere.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished.
  • Standard Entry fee: $25. Each entrant receives a one-year subscription to the Missouri Review in digital format (normal price $24) and a digital copy of the fifth title in our imprint, TMR Books, Private Lives, a short story anthology by former Editors’ Prize-winners and contributors (normal price $7.95).
  • “All Access” Entry fee: $30. In addition to the one-year digital subscription to the Missouri Review and Private Lives, the “All Access” entry fee grants access to the last 10 years of digital issues and the audio recordings of each digital issue.

Eligibility

  • Previous winners of the Editors’ Prize and current University of Missouri students and faculty are ineligible.
  • Previous Editors’ Prize finalists are welcome to enter again.

Submit

DEADLINE: October 1, 2021

Winners will be announced in early 2022.

Questions? E-mail contest_question@moreview.com

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Ends on 

 $25.00 USD

The Fiction Collective 2 (FC2) Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize is open  to writers of, from, or in the US writing in English with at least three  books of fiction published. Submissions may include a collection of short stories, one or more novellas, or a novel of any length. There is no length requirement. Works that have previously appeared in magazines  or in anthologies may be included. Translations and previously published or self-published novels and collections are not eligible. To avoid conflict of interest, FC2 authors and employees of FC2, as well as former or current students or close friends of the final judge, are not  eligible to enter.
FC2 remains dedicated to recruiting new and diverse makers of the images of tomorrow and to forging an ever more representative and provocative collective to challenge and overwrite the brutal conventions of our insufficient now. We particularly encourage submissions from writers who dismantle assumed points of view and dominant narratives.

PRIZE
The Prize includes $15,000 and publication by FC2, an imprint of the University of Alabama Press. In the unlikely event that no suitable manuscript is found among entries in a given year, FC2 reserves the  right not to award a prize.

JUDGES
Finalists for the Doctorow Prize will be chosen by the FC2 Board of  Directors. The winning manuscript will be chosen from the finalists by our final judge, Cristina Rivera Garza. Selection criteria will be consistent with FC2’s mission to publish fiction considered by America’s largest publishers too challenging, innovative, or heterodox for the commercial milieu, including works of high quality and exceptional ambition whose styles,  subject matter, or forms push the limits of American publishing and  reshape our literary culture. For more information on FC2’s mission,  history, and aesthetic commitments, please visit our About page.

DEADLINES
Contest entries will be accepted August 15th through November 1st. All entries must be submitted by the end of the day (11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) on November 1st, 2021. The winner will be announced in May 2022.

GUIDELINES
1) Submit a previously unpublished manuscript of any length through our electronic submissions manager. Electronic submissions only.

2) The manuscript must be anonymous. The author’s name or address must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. The title page should contain the title of the manuscript only. Pages should be numbered consecutively. Files should be uploaded as a MS Word document or PDF.

3) Please include a cover letter/biography with your name, contact information, and a list of three previously published books of fiction with ISBN’s and publishers in the space allotted on the submission form.

4) Include a $25 submission fee. Submission of more than one manuscript is permissible if each manuscript is submitted separately and accompanied by a $25 submission fee. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers are permitted, but FC2 must be notified immediately if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

SUBMITTABLE SIGN IN

GOOD LUCK!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 19, 2021

Agent: Hannah Andrade – Bradford Literary

Bradford Literary Agency

Hannah started as an agency assistant before moving on to acquire her own clients. She’s been with Bradford Literary Agency since 2017 and has had the privilege to work with a number of bestselling authors across a variety of genres. She likes to think of herself as an editorial-focused agent and is particularly wanting to acquire BIPOC/underrepresented voices. She is prioritizing stories of joy where identity isn’t the focus and is especially excited about stories rooted in history, mythology, and legends, particularly those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.

Hannah started as an agency assistant before moving on to acquire her own clients. She’s been with Bradford Literary Agency since 2017 and has had the privilege to work with a number of bestselling authors across a variety of genres. She likes to think of herself as an editorial-focused agent and is particularly eager to acquire BIPOC/underrepresented voices. She is prioritizing stories of joy where identity isn’t the focus and is especially excited about stories rooted in history, mythology, and legends, particularly those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.

As someone who’s spent a large portion of their life outside of America, Hannah is very interested in stories that explore the intricacies of multicultural identities. She loves stories of immigration (not relegated to America) and of first/second generation Americans who struggle balancing the values of their country with the culture and heritage of their parents (as in the tv shows Ramy or Gentefied). As a Mexican-American, she would particularly love to see the stories that she grew up with showcased in new and creative ways.

Hannah loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres. She’s a huge fan of expansive world building and atmospheric settings, dark and transporting fantasy in YAs, and MGs with macabre elements and dark humor. One of her favorite tropes is the “found family”—especially if the family is found through crime. She has a soft spot for any kind of retelling or spin off of “classic lit” or fairy tales (like Lauren Blackwood’s WITHIN THESE WICKED WALLS or Lilliam Rivera’s NEVER LOOK BACK). She’s looking for stories with quirky characters/voices and love ones that feature dysfunctional families (like SAFFY’S ANGEL by Hilary McKay). If your story involves ghosts, riddles/puzzles, and/or whimsy, Hannah would love to see it!

In nonfiction, she is looking for something that takes the mystery out of everyday life/occurrences (a lá Malcolm Gladwell or Atul Gawande) and investigative journalism-esque stories with a strong narrative hook.

What she’s Looking For

I am currently looking to acquire middle grade, young adult, and select commercial nonfiction. As someone who’s spent a large portion of their life outside of America, I am very interested in stories that explore the intricacies of multicultural identities. I love stories of immigration (not relegated to America) and of first/second generation Americans who struggle balancing the values of their country with the culture and heritage of their parents (as in the tv show Ramy or Julie Tieu’s THE DONUT TRAP). As a Mexican-American, I would particularly love to see the stories that I grew up with showcased in new and creative ways—send me your Latinx folklore-inspired MG and YA!

I love strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres. I’m a huge fan of expansive world building and atmospheric settings, dark and transporting fantasy in my YAs, and MGs with macabre elements and dark humor. If you’ve got a MG version of The Addams Family, I would absolutely love to read it!

One of my favorite tropes is the “found family”—especially if the family is found through crime. I have a soft spot for any kind of retelling or spin off of “classic lit” or fairy tales (like Lauren Blackwood’s WITHIN THESE WICKED WALLS or Lilliam Rivera’s NEVER LOOK BACK). I’m looking for stories with quirky characters/voices and love ones that feature dysfunctional families (like SAFFY’S ANGEL by Hilary McKay). If your story involves ghosts, riddles/puzzles, and/or whimsy, send it my way!

I’d like to see stories that aren’t afraid to tackle darkness as long as there’s the light of hope at the end. I appreciate a bittersweet ending—because sometimes the best endings are the ones that leave a few unanswered questions.

In nonfiction, I’m looking for something that takes the mystery out of everyday life/occurrences (a lá Malcolm Gladwell or Atul Gawande) and investigative journalism-esque stories with a strong narrative hook.

Fiction

  • dark and transporting Young Adult fantasy
  • atmospheric and whimsical Middle Grade
  • clever retellings of folklore/legends/myths
  • stories that feature diverse voices and multicultural experiences
  • Graphic Novels

Non-Fiction

  • Narrative non-fiction for both children and adult
  • Investigative journalism/true crime stories with strong voice
  • Psychology with strong commercial hook

Hannah is NOT looking for:

  • Inspirational
  • Poetry
  • Screenplay
  • Erotica
  • Political/medical thriller
  • Cookbooks
  • Horror

Please note that I am not the best fit for works centered on suicide, eating disorders, and/or drug addiction.

For fiction and non-fiction, see our agency submission guidelines.

Submission Guidelines

Please query me through my Query Manager page.

Guidelines & Details

Vital Info



Website

Hannah started as an agency assistant before moving on to acquire her own clients. She’s been with Bradford Literary Agency since 2017 and has had the privilege to work with a number of bestselling authors across a variety of genres. She likes to think of herself as an editorial-focused agent and is particularly eager to acquire BIPOC/underrepresented voices. She is prioritizing stories of joy where identity isn’t the focus and is especially excited about stories rooted in history, mythology, and legends, particularly those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.

Fiction

  • dark and transporting Young Adult fantasy
  • atmospheric and whimsical Middle Grade
  • clever retellings of folklore/legends/myths
  • stories that feature diverse voices and multicultural experiences
  • Graphic Novels

Non-Fiction

  • Narrative non-fiction for both children and adult
  • Investigative journalism/true crime stories with strong voice
  • Psychology with strong commercial hook

Hannah is NOT looking for:

  • Inspirational
  • Poetry
  • Screenplay
  • Erotica
  • Political/medical thriller
  • Cookbooks
  • Horror

For fiction and non-fiction, see our agency submission guidelines.

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 18, 2021

Illustrator Saturday – SHAUNA LYNN PANCZYSZYN

SHAUNA LYNN PANCZYSZYN (PAN-CHEZ-EN) is a lettering artist and illustrator with a passion for cold brew, wine, and figure skating, located in the Chicago area where she works out of her home studio with her studio pup, Teddy Bear. She’s been working professionally since 2010 and has worked with clients such as Dear Evan Hansen, Adobe, Facebook, and many others. In her free time you can find her at the local ice rink skating, drinking chai lattes in the local coffee shop, snuggling her dog, or obsessively playing her switch (animal crossing and Splatoon 2 are her go-to’s). Shauna Lynn has been drawing since she could hold a pencil and created her first mural on her parent’s condo wall at the age of 3. Through the years her parents helped foster her love of illustration, and after a short detour where she went to the University of North Florida to study Opera, she switched over the graphic design, and then post-graduation she finally settled into illustration. She is very excited to be a part of the CAT Agency family.

CLIENTS INCLUDE:

Dear Evan Hansen, Samsung, Facebook, Prudential, Seventeen Magazine, The Knot, Microsoft, Adobe, HarperCollins Publishing, Publix, Playtex, Maidenform, Hanes, Fortune Magazine, International Delight, Wall Street Journal, 3M Post-it Brand®, BJ’s Supermarket, Walter Foster Publishing, Random House, Scholastic USA, American Greetings

HERE IS SHAUNA LYNN DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

I started out this piece with a really rough sketch, knowing I wanted it to fit my artist database profile for Lightbox Expo. So the composition was kept really loose, and I drew the children separately and popped them in after I refined them.

From there I cleaned up the sketch a bit more, got a little more detailed and then began blocking in color. This is where I like to solidify my color palette because once I start throwing in details and textures, it gets more tedious to change color at that point. Little things will get changed as I add in color just to make things work a little more harmoniously, but where I was here, I was pretty happy with the color choices. I wanted it to scream autumn.

I feel like this step is a little bit like the How to Draw and Owl meme… “Draw some circles. Draw the rest of the f*cking owl”, but at this stage it was adding all the little details and textures and playing with adjusting colors as needed. I kept some areas flat with just line details and others I added texture under the line details. To finish it off, I added leaves on the ground, trees in the distance and added some mounds to the hills in the back so it looked like there were trees in the distance. I also added some lettering that can either sit there or be taken out and not hurt the composition.

HERE’S MY INTERVIEW WITH SHAUNA:

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I really started focusing my illustration work instead of focusing lettering work about 3-4 years ago and more recently just in the last year and a half (aka the pandemic times).

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

That’s… that’s a great question. I am sure I did things in my late teens/early twenties, and it’s probably something commissioned by my best friend. But my first paid freelance illustration was in October 2011 for OC Weekly and I got to do a cover illustration where I drew lettering and such around Dita Von Teese.

You mention that you graduated from college in 2010, but you didn’t say where. What school did you attend and what did you study? Is this where you perfected your lettering skills?

I graduated from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, with a bachelors in fine art with a concentration in graphic design and a minor in painting, drawing, and printmaking (that was one combined minor that they added just before I graduated and a bunch of us declared it; they weren’t going to let me until they saw I had enough art classes in my records so my major and minor didn’t overlap and I only had one art history to take to fulfill the minor). I did some lettering in college as well as growing up, but I didn’t truly focus on it until 2011. I went to UNF because I had earned a scholarship to a state university and it was the only one that wasn’t focused around football. It also was located on a nature preserve area, so lots of trees and such.

What did you do once you graduated from college?

Just before I graduated, I secured an internship at Brunet-García in Jacksonville, Florida. I was an intern there for six months, and then they kept me as a freelancer for a short while afterwards until I was hired at Body Central as a junior graphic designer. While at BG, I had the opportunity to illustrate lettering for a poster (The World of Foote), which they submitted to Communication Arts and credited me as the illustrator. It was accepted into CommArts Type Annual 2 and that helped launch my freelance career, especially because when people would reach out to them for lettering work, they’d point them to me.

Did college help you find work when you graduated?

It didn’t help me find work per say (though I do believe others may have), but my web professor knew I was looking for an internship and forwarded the Brunet-García one to me and that was a huge blessing. He said “I think you’d be a really good fit there.” 

How many Calendars did you do with Circle Studios?

I only illustrated one, but they have the source files so they’ve renewed it I think 3 times and changed the colors each year. I just get a royalty payment at the beginning of each year if they do.

How did that opportunity come your way?

I reached out to them on their contact form. Then the job had to go through my agent at the time. I still get quarterly royalties from the calendar sales, and that agent still gets a cut, so I’m only making about $20 a quarter now, haha. It supports my coffee habit.

What type of work did you do once you do before working as a freelance illustrator?

I had plans to work up to creative director for an agency, but I got fired from an agency I moved to Orlando for, so I jumped head first into freelance illustration and it’s been the best path for me. I’m significantly happier and realized I don’t work well on a 9-5 schedule. I do well on an 8-11 and 3-6 schedule with a break at lunch time to go ice skating, even if that doesn’t happen every day. Currently I’m just trying to make it there 3 times a week for at least an hour and a half when I can swing it. I’m only 2 months back in from an ankle injury so it’s been slow going while I build strength back up. I did, though, work as a Learn to Skate coach during those times as well, so while it didn’t really supplement my income, it did give me free ice time and that was worth it. Kinda tangented, but eh, haha.

Was Fandom: Fic Writers, Vidders, Gamers, Artists, and Cosplayers the first book you illustrated?

Gonna be honest, I barely remember this job. I know it was not the first book that I illustrated. I believe my first professional one was a cover for “Secret of a Heartnote” from Harper Collins Publishing.

Twenty-First Century Books ™ published the book on January 1, 2018. How did you connect with them to get this job?

When I was represented by my former agents, the project came through there. I just went to look through my files, and back then it was through Lerner Publishing Group and they hired me in June 2017 to create the cover. 

Fandom is 120 pages. How many illustrations did you do for the book?

Just the cover. 

How long did it take you to illustrate this book? How did you get that job?

I honestly cannot remember, it was maybe a 4 week turnaround. They wanted me to create the cover and that was it. 🙂 Edit: Just confirmed, I sent sketches on April 21, 2017, the final was sent on June 16, 2017. So more like a 5ish week turnaround.

You mention you use Photoshop and Adobe Fresco. What does fresco do that you can’t do using Photoshop?

I can use Fresco on the iPad. Photoshop on the iPad is more focused on photo editing whereas Fresco was made to be a drawing program. I’m able to use my own brushes in the program and my files sync to Adobe Creative Cloud, so I can jump between Photoshop and Fresco as I work.Have you illustrated any other book or cover?

I’ve done a few covers; Secret of a Heart Note and Fandom. Shortly after the Pulse shooting in Orlando, several Orlando artists came together to donate art to a book that was written about the aftermath and how to handle it with children called Mi Tio’s Pulse. Last year I had the opportunity to collaborate with DC Comics and create the logotype for their Arkhamaniacs series by Art Balthazar and Franco, which was a really fun, really awesome experience. 

How did you connect with Chad Beckerman at The Cat Agency?                      

I met Chad several years back when I was in NYC for the first Typographics conference. I was meeting up with a friend who was an art director at Abram’s Kids and she introduced me to Chad who was the Creative Director at the time. Over the years I made the switch from lettering to a mix of lettering and illustration with the goal of working in kid lit at some point. I saw Chad was an agent at The CAT Agency earlier in 2020, and I reached out to Chad in October 2020 and we set up a time to chat. At the time it was a “not right now but work on a, b, and c, and then let’s touch base.” During the following few months, I hyper fixated on getting more comfortable with character work and scenes, and in early February reached out with a PDF of everything I’d done since we talked in October. He wrote back and said “This is excellent” and said he would love to represent me. So I signed the contract that day and popped a bottle of champagne with my family.           

Do you want to illustrate a children’s book?

Very much.                     

How many picture books have you illustrated?

Currently working on my first one ever. 

What do you feel helped develop your style? 

Constant practice and experimenting. I have a bad habit of not stopping work (find your work/life balance, kids!). I tend to spend my evenings drawing and trying new things so I often have to force myself to put my iPad down and play a video game. This has been how I am for years though, I get to do what I love for work, but it’s also what I love to do no matter what.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate a picture book?

Sure do! I have a bunch of ideas, but have to narrow down one to focus on, though hoping to get working on that soon.

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book? 

Sounds like a fun challenge I would like to try, but no, I have never tried that before.

Have you illustrated anything for children’s magazines? 

The closest I’ve managed to get to children’s magazines is Seventeen and Brio Magazine. Two very different magazines with two very different audiences. Though I’d love to illustrate for American Girl, Highlights, Kazoo, and Bravery Mag. 

Do you have studio in your house? 

My studio is half of my bedroom at this time. I’m living in my parents’ basement apartment so the room I’m in functions as the studio, too, though I overtake the living room down here in the evenings. Prior to this, I lived in Orlando, and my studio was in what was supposed to be the dining room in the apartment. It was nice because there was a half wall that separated the living room from that area so when I was done with work for the day, I was able to step away and feel like I was away from my work.

Do you ever exhibit your artwork?

Yup! I’ve been fortunate to be a regular participant in Light Grey Art Lab shows and more recently in Gallery1988 shows.

 

Have you written or illustrated for any children’s magazines?

I have not, though I would love to at some point.

How long have you been work full time as an illustrator?

Since February 2013, so around 8 years now.

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

If the project feels right, yes.

I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

Chad agreeing to represent me. Seriously though, the fact that I get to do what I love to do every day, that’s enough for me. But if we need something tangible? Speaking at Adobe MAX last year.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Digital brushes, I make my own for Photoshop and Procreate (creativemarket.com/shaunaparmesan) and I have them honed in on the perfect amount of crunchiness that I enjoy.

Has that changed over time? 

I used to do my sketches on paper in colored pencil and would scan them in. Then I got an iPad and that’s been my main mode of sketching. Though I’ve never done traditional mediums for clients, as it is much easier to make edits when it’s on layers and digital. I was known early on for chalk lettering that looked like real chalk but I was able to achieve it in Photoshop.

What type of Graphic Drawing Tablet do you use when illustrating?

iPad Pro 3rd gen 12.9” and a Wacom Cintiq 24”. 

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

I end up drawing pretty much every day. It’s rare to find me without my tablet in tow. There’s no specific amount of time, but if I’m working I try to set aside an hour or so just to do personal drawing and get my hands warmed up because my hands literally get cold very easily if they’re not moving constantly.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I try to do some research as needed, but I try to work from what is in my head first. In cases like a recent promo The CAT Agency did, I chose Mary Blair as my subject and dove headfirst into research about her and her work, so in cases like that I absolutely will. Personal work where I’m just drawing for fun, I try not to use a reference until I’ve tried to draw whatever I’m trying to draw.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely. When I graduated in late 2010, it was still the age of postcards and getting into annuals to get noticed. Instagram changed that. For the better? Not entirely sure. But I have had clients find me through Instagram and Twitter just by putting it out there that I was available for work. Due to the fact that I post a lot of personal work, I have had that work against me with potential clients thinking I was unavailable for work, so I try to share on social media that I am open and available for work so there’s no assumptions.

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

Write and illustrate my own children’s book (multiple honestly). Illustrate a book with my mom (she has an idea for one, I’m the hands) and get it published. Create artwork for Disney’s WonderGround Gallery. Work on a Little Golden Book.

What are you working on now?

A new promo for CAT, two online courses, and custom vinyls for my cousin’s wedding, new cards for Postable, and new prints and stickers for my Etsy shop.

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.

If you’re using an iPad Pro, I highly recommend putting an anti glare screen protector on, you can find them on amazon in a pack of 2-3 for about $9. I hate the feeling of drawing on glass and the protector gives it just a bit of grip. I’ve also heard good things about Paperlike brand screens. 

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators on ow to find clients or an agent?

Put the kind of work out there that you want to get hired for, and don’t be afraid to try new things, even if it doesn’t work. Always be open to learning. Clients will hire you for the kind of work you make, and if you’re putting things out there that you don’t want to do, then you’re not going to be happy getting hired for them.

Shauna Lynn, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone.

You can visit Shauna Lynn using the following links:

Website: https://shaunalynn.com/

Agency: https://catagencyinc.com/shauna-lynn-panczyszyn

Behance: https://www.behance.net/shaunaparmesan

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shaunaparmesan/?hl=en

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 17, 2021

September Agent of the Month – Keely Boeving Interview – Part Two

Keely Boeving is an Agent with WordServe Literary. After receiving her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia, she went on to attend the Denver Publishing Institute and then began her career in New York working in the editorial department at Oxford University Press, where she acquired books for the trade history list. She moved back to Colorado in 2014 and began her own freelance editorial company before joining WordServe in 2016. She lives in Denver with her husband and their twins. You can find out more about her editorial work at www.keelyboeving.com.

She is passionate about partnering with clients to develop books that connect with readers, find success with publishers, delight our imaginations, and create real change in the world. She is drawn to books that bring new ideas and voices to the table, change our perspectives, and broaden our experiences.

In the children’s market: Keely represents select picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She represents a wide range of genres and subjects and loves stories that feature characters who are quirky and complex. She is drawn to contemporary stories that take on perennial questions in a new way, excite the imagination, and allow children to see themselves in the book’s pages, perhaps for the first time.

For Non-fiction Books: Keely is looking for well-researched nonfiction books in the areas of health and wellness, business, parenting and family life, social justice, and religious studies; as well as projects from diverse and under-represented voices and is also seeking narrative nonfiction and memoir, and occasionally represents smart, well-crafted contemporary and literary fiction.

For the Christian market: She is seeking books in the areas of Christian Living, spiritual transformation, devotion and worship, and women’s topics including motherhood, relationships and marriage, work-life balance, and calling. She represents a wide range of genres and subjects, particularly in the areas of Christian living, spiritual transformation, the intersection of faith and culture, physical and mental health, embodiment, social justice, business and entrepreneurship, and motherhood, parenting, and family life. She is always seeking projects from diverse and under-represented voices.

*******

HERE IS PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH KEELY:

Would you have a sample of a good query letter or a link to one you saw on the Internet?

I’m sorry, I don’t have a great sample.

Do you have any tips on how to find comps of book to use in a query letter?

Read! You have to be reading in your genre—know what’s out there, what’s upcoming, what authors your target audience is reading. If you have one good comp, go on Amazon and see what suggested titles they offer when you look it up. Often these will point you in the direction of similar comp titles.

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

Really great writing! An original idea—and convince me why it’s original and why it’s needed. And show me that you’ve been honing your craft. Have you published elsewhere, are you a member of SCBWI, what else can you tell me about the work you’ve put in to this?

Will you let people know if you are not interested in their submission?

I try to, but unfortunately the number of queries we receive prevents us from responding to every one. Our agency policy is that if you haven’t heard back after eight weeks, you can consider it a “no.”

After you request more of a book, how long do you think it will take to respond?

I try to review materials fairly quickly, but it all depends on my workload and what I’m reviewing. If it’s a full middle grade novel, it will be several weeks or a month; if it’s a nonfiction proposal or a shorter picture book, I’ll respond in a week or two.

Do you have any pet peeves, yet?

Spelling my name wrong, or writing in the name of another agent! And telling me that you’ve written a mega-bestseller that will undoubtedly be a major motion picture and sell millions of copies. Having realistic expectations of your work and the publishing process is important.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

They don’t always look carefully at submissions guidelines or read up on what we’re looking for. I frequently get pitches for books in genres I don’t represent.

In terms of the actual writing, I think dialogue is something that can really trip writers up. That’s something I focus on: does the dialogue read naturally? Does this give me a good sense of the characters and their relationship? Is it appropriate to the age, time, place of the character?

 What are your feelings about prologues?

Prologues can be great if done well! It really depends on the project. If it serves a purpose, such as setting up the framing of the book or piquing our interest about what’s to come later in the novel, great. If the novel would be better served by just jumping into chapter 1, then there’s no need to add a prologue for the sake of having one.

For nonfiction books, an Introduction is almost always necessary.

Do you have a place where you keep writers up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

I have a website—www.keelyboeving.com—which I update on occasion. I’m also listed on manuscriptwishlist.com, and I periodically update what I’m looking for on the WordServe website, www.wordserveliterary.com.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Absolutely. I see this as one of the key places I can add value as an agent. I work with my clients on manuscripts, sample chapters, and proposals from day one; we won’t send anything out on submission until we both feel that it’s in the best place possible, and has the best chance to sell.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART THREE.

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HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR SEPTEMBER 2021 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “SEPTEMBER 2021 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, 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).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2021 September  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

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. Sending it to my hotmail account will probably keep me from seeing it and including you in the running.

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: SEPTEMBER 20th. – noon EST

RESULTS: OCTOBER 1st.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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