Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 2, 2015


library JournalScreen-Shot-2015-05-01-at-10_13_46-AM

Library Journal honors the best self-published ebooks in the following genres: Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy.

ATTENTION: If your book in not in one of these genres, you can still submit to SELF-e using our standard submission form. 


There will be one winner and two honorable mentions in each genre. Each genre Winner shall receive $1,000.00 USD from Library Journal. All winners and honorable mentions shall also receive:

  • A full LJ review, published in print and online
  • A promotional ad featuring all award winners honor books in LJ’s December “Best of Books” issue
  • Recognition at LJ’s Self-Published Ebook Awards Reception to be held during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Boston, MA (date & location TBA)


Judging committees will be composed of Library Journal editors and public library collection development & acquisition librarians who are responsible for selecting content suitable for their libraries. They will select one winner and designate two honorable mentions in each genre.

A few notable judges include:

  • Stephanie Chase, Director, Hillsboro PL, Oregon
  • Stephanie Anderson, Head of Readers’ Advisory, Darien Library, CT
  • Robin Nesbitt, Manager, Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH
  • Robin Bradford, Collection Development Specialist, Timberland Regional Library
  • Corinne Hill, Director, Chattanooga PL, TN

…and more.


The open submission period begins on May 11, 2015 at 12:00 A.M. Eastern Time (“ET”) and will close on August 31, 2015, at 11:59:59 P.M. ET (“Contest Period”). There are no fees for submissions, nor limits on the number of submissions an individual author can make.

NOTE: Only digital titles may be submitted. Any physical titles sent to Sponsor will be discarded without review or notification.


The competition is open to all English-language self-published ebooks for which the author is the copyright holder and holds the rights to digital distribution. Entries will be evaluated on content, writing quality, and overall quality of production and appearance. There are no restrictions on date of publication. (Library Journal may demand proof of eligibility of semifinalists.)

Review our full Terms & Conditions before submitting your entries.

Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 1, 2015

The Power of YA

Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here on…

Writing for Teens – the unique power of YA 


They’re known for being difficult to live with, filled with angst, and even defiant or manipulative.

Hmmm.  You know… I remember my mother telling me that when people put me down, it was because they were jealous.  Does this negative portrayal perhaps come from the same place?

Aren’t we all just a little bit jealous of the intense relationship teens have with their world?

I know I am.

It’s one of the reasons we may find ourselves drawn to the world of YA.  Our visions of reality are redefined.  Transformation is at the tip of our fingers.  Words like freedom and self-expression have a taste and a texture.

The arch of any good story involves transformation.  Sometimes upon close inspection, much of the surroundings are surprisingly similar to the opening chapters.  It’s them that has changed.

It’s not what the world brings them, but rather, what they bring to the world.

Maybe an early teen breaks away from a sheltered childhood, or a 16-year-old falls in love for the first time and sees completely new possibilities.  Maybe a single high school senior saves the world from threat to destroy Earth to make way for an intersection between Jupiter and Venus.

A wide range of topics, yet with similarities.  Decisions will have a large-scale effect. Big emotions, and a sense of emerging SELF is at the heart of many successful YAs.

Yes!  Yes!  I want my manuscript to resonate with this age group.  To be a part of the representation of the coming of age of humanity ITSELF!!

Too dramatic???   Perhaps.  But ah-well, I guess that’s part of the point.  An almost obsessive sense of importance is embedded into almost every decision a teenager makes.

This is powerful stuff.  And it ain’t easy!!

Here are a few key points I try to keep in mind:

The STORY must come FIRST

You want not only the concept, but the writing itself to have the engulfing power of a teenage transformation.  But there must be a story first and it mustn’t be overshadowed by angsty indulgence that often fuels self-discovery.

This is a piece of LITERATURE first, and a YA novel second.  I want the “coming of age” aspect to be woven throughout my plotline.  Not the other way around.

Plus, a YA novel is a common read for adults.  You don’t want to turn off an entire sector with droning memoirs of whatever the drama of the day happens to be.

Cut the Slang

It can be tempting to try to throw in some hip lingo (oh yes, I said “hip lingo”).  But even if you manage to not sound like you’re faking it, terminology changes fast.  By the time the novel is released, those words may have gone the way of wazzzup, or NOT!.  Scary to say it, but by then, current slang will be SO 2015 and who knows what the “new black” will be by then.

Trust Your Audience

Kids are smart.  And remember that most of the kids who read your book will be… well… readers.

Pause before you over explain a situation or waste a paragraph interpreting the conversation that preceded it.  Your audience is knowledgeable, resourceful and longs to be challenged.

Be Real and Be Yourself

While this holds true for any writing, teenagers are often highly skilled at sniffing out when something isn’t genuine.

Teen years are beautiful.  They hold something uniquely timeless.  Something we can all relate to.  Something draws us to their struggles and fulfillments over and over again.

There is nothing more raw, nothing more passionate, and often, nothing more unabashedly human, than a teenager.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  What are some of your tips for writing for teenagers or balancing the layers of a good YA novel?

I believe that seeing the beauty and power in teenage transformation can be both overwhelming and enchanting.  Challenging that energy into a novel is a great challenge, and in many ways, a great honor.

And us as writers, and our manuscripts, are worth it.


Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for another great post. We all enjoy your posts.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 30, 2015

Debut Authors: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Querying

carly-watters-p-s-literary-agencyCarly Watters is a VP and senior literary agent with the P.S. Literary Agency has a very good post on Debut Authors and querying. Thought you would like to read it.

Here’s Carly:

Many debut authors are nervous about their credentials (do I have enough? do they mean anything?), their contacts (who do I have to know? what if I don’t “know” anyone?), and their book (what if it’s not good enough? what if it’s the best I’ve got?).

I think it’s time debut authors gained their confidence and started to tap into the excitement that agents feel for them.

Here are 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Querying as a Debut Author:

1. Agents look forward to your work. Any agent who is building a list is looking for work. Not all agents are building a list however, so save yourself the heartbreak and query agents who advertise that they’re looking for new talent.

2. Your credentials aren’t holding you back. No bylines? No problem. I never brush off writers who haven’t been published in literary journals or newspapers. Everyone starts somewhere. And, as an agent whose talent is breaking out authors, I’m looking for writers at the early stages of their careers. It’s okay to tell me in your query that this is your first novel.

3. You don’t have to know anyone. Yes, referrals get you in the door, but agents still have particular tastes. The best way to get an agent is to query properly. The only people you need to know are authors whose work you love and then see who represents them. Start there.

4. You’re the best advocate for your work. (Don’t hire a company to query for you.) I feel sad for writers when I see that someone has queried on their behalf. If you’re too busy/scared/uninformed to query your own book then agents aren’t inclined to work with you. You, the writer, are always the most passionate about your own work so why would you outsource it? You can’t outsource ambition.

5. Someday you won’t be a debut anymore. Yes, I’m sure you knew this, but what I mean to say is right now it feels rough. But, the most important thing is making good business decisions early on in your career to set you up for success later. Don’t be swayed by short term gains for the sake of your future career goals. A bad agent fit (either not passionate about your work, doesn’t have time for you, or doesn’t share the same vision) is worse than no agent.

Carly is interested in the following categories:

  • Smart Book Club Fiction
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Upmarket Adult Fiction
  • Commercial Adult Fiction
  • Literary Mystery & Thrillers
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Pop Science and Pop Psychology
  • Cookbooks
  • Unique Memoirs
  • Lifestyle Non-Fiction: health, nutrition, relationships, parenting, lifestyle
  • Platform Based Non-Fiction: must have demonstrable expertise and a quantifiable market
  • Select children’s: picture books and YA

She does not represent Middle Grade, Chapter Books, Religious Texts, Poetry, Screenplays, or Novellas.

LGBTQ friendly.

Submit to query(at)psliterary(dot)com

Check out Carly’s blog at:

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 29, 2015

Agent Looking for Clients

Sulaiman-copySaba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Literary: After double majoring in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies at Wellesley, I studied modern Persian Literature at the University of Chicago, where I got involved with editing our department’s academic journal. And it finally hit me—working closely with writers to hone their craft; seeing a piece of writing from its inception through to its eventual publication; and advocating for what I believed was stellar prose worthy of recognition—this was my calling. So I interned at various newspaper and magazine publications, worked as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, and then wound up at Talcott Notch, where I’m excited to begin my career as a literary agent.

I’m currently open to the following genres:

Adult: up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir.

Young Adult:/New Adult: She seeks all subgenres except paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. She’s particularly interested in contemporary realistic stories, fast-paced mysteries, or lush historicals. paranormal and sci-fi.

Middle Grade: Fiction. Think Roald Dahl.

Non-fiction: humor.

I’m looking for strong voices and unconventional narratives that really make me sit up, pay attention, and move me. Introduce me to unforgettable characters with complex, deep relationships, and show me worlds where things aren’t necessarily as they seem. Intelligent, sharp writing with soul is my biggest weakness, and if you can offer a fresh perspective on top of that, I’ll probably be sold.

Saba was drawn into the world of literature by default when my sister’s growing collection of books in our tiny room began to overflow onto my bed. Bewildered by her fascination with these musty, decaying volumes, I decided to experience them for myself—and instantly fell in love. Born to Pakistani expatriates in Sri Lanka, and knowing how to express myself only in English for the first fifteen years of my life, I found comfort in reading about other culturally displaced people, unable to communicate in their native tongues, and hesitant to assert themselves in environments where there were few examples of people like them. Moving to Pakistan and absorbing what it meant to be an educated woman in a traditional Islamic society contributed greatly to my desire to learn more about similar narratives, especially from other women. In an effort to understand how it felt to be surrounded by other ambitious women with the desire to shatter patriarchal restrictions, I enrolled as an undergraduate at Wellesley College. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Also—and this deserves its own paragraph—I’m all about diversity, in all its various forms. Bonus points if your book contains multicultural perspectives, and themes of immigration, displacement, and cultural adjustment.

When I’m not reading, you’ll probably find me learning another foreign language, playing Scrabble, watching a Bollywood movie, or singing in the bathroom (the acoustics, am I right?)

Saba Sulaiman on Twitter:

You can follow Saba on Twitter at @agentsaba.

How to submit: Send a query in an email to and paste the first ten pages of your manuscript in the body of your e-mail.  Saba only accepts email queries. Please put “Query: Then insert Title and Genre” in the subject line to catch my attention.

Please send me a short (no longer than a page) query, along with the first ten pages of your manuscript included within the email. I don’t open attachments unless I specifically ask for them later.

Open with a sentence with the following details: your project’s title, genre, and word count. Then, in 1-2 sentences, describe the core conflict of your project, and make it stand out—this is your chance to really draw me into your query. Try to include a hook that can convey certain aspects of your project immediately; something like A CLOCKWORK ORANGE meets PITCH PERFECT (also if you have this project, query me!) Then, tell me a little bit about your setting and the primary characters. Expand on the conflict of your story in a few sentences. And end with a short author bio, writing credits, and anything that is relevant to the project you’re querying.

I try to respond to all of my queries within 6-8 weeks. If you haven’t heard from me and it’s been over 8 weeks, please feel free to nudge me, and I will respond as soon as I can. If you have an offer of representation, please let me know and I will look at your query immediately.

“If it’s been longer than 8 weeks, feel free to follow up with me.”

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 28, 2015

Free Fall Friday on Sunday


This woodland playground illustration was sent in by Michelle Kogan. Michelle teaches art, and in the summers spends a good amount of time painting plien air in gardens and nature venues in the Chicago area, including the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

Personal Update: YAY! The electricity and the cable was restored on Saturday. Thank you to everyone for all your notes and well wishes. Nice to know someone reads my blog. Glad to be back with you.

Here are this month’s four first pages that were sent to Agent Alexandra Penfold.


Chapter OneImportant Mission

I know the note is serious, because it has the Ultimate Code Letters. Written in Frankie’s clear, even hand, the paper I hold tells me two things. One, she has something to tell me. Two, it is something secret and exciting. I know all this from just three letters: KCM.

I quickly drop my response into the plastic bucket tied to the double looped laundry line my parents let me rig between our two bedroom windows. Every summer, Frankie’s family rents the same cottage, the one closest to my house, a.k.a. the Home Away Inn. They just got here two days ago, but Frankie and I are already right back to where we left off last August. I send my note back the way hers had come to me, pulling the cord hand over hand while the bucket sways and the pulley squeaks. Soon, she reaches out her window and my note is whisked inside.

Frankie looks at me and points to her wrist. The KC Meeting is now. I have to move fast.

“Whoa, hey, where ya headed, Parker?” asks Mom as I round through the living room on my way to the back door. She has a cookbook on her lap and is planning this week’s menu. People come to the Home Away Inn for two things: the view, and the food. At least that’s what our online blurb says.

“To play in the woods with Frankie,” I say. This is my own version of an Ultimate Code for getting mom to let me do what I want. She’s powerless against it.

Here’s what Alexandra had to say:


The first line has the makings of a great hook, but it doesn’t quite deliver. The first part of the sentence is drawing the reader in, but when you get to the “ultimate code letters” as a reader that casual reference broke my suspension of disbelief. You want your reader to be reading along saying to themselves “and then what happened…” not “wait, what happened?” A lot of your first page feels like back story, so moments like where you say “People come to the Home Away Inn for two things: the view, and the food. At least that’s what our online blurb says” is great because it gives you a solid sense of the character’s voice without just explaining. While I don’t feel completely hooked here, I think you’ve allowed until white space and mystery on the page that I would likely read on.


Steevi the sophisticated seagull by Cate Williams – PB

From the moment he hatched, Steevi knew that he was different. And it wasn’t just because of the way the feathers stuck up on his head.

At dinner, while his brother and sister fought loudly over left overs, he would sit in the corner of the nest with his wings over his ears.

“He’s a very sensitive seagull,” his mother would say.

Steevi would only eat snails, so every evening his mother sat outside the French restaurant.

“I don’t want you hanging about there, it’s dangerous. You can get him snails from the gardens,” said Steevi’s father impatiently.

“But he likes them cooked in garlic. He’s a very sophisticated seagull,” his mother insisted.

When the young were ready for flying lessons, Steevi took to the sky with confidence.

“Look at Steevi fly! He’s a very stylish seagull,” his mother cried, proudly clapping her wings.

She told everyone who would listen that Steevi took after his Great Uncle Jonathan Livingston Seagull. “On the maternal side,” she would add whenever Steevi’s father was within earshot.

Once they could fly the young gulls were allowed to scavenge for food at the rubbish dump. But Steevi didn’t want to be part of a squabble of seagulls. He preferred to be alone and flew off in the opposite direction to admire the flowers at the Botanic Gardens.

Instead of fighting with the other gulls outside fish and chip shops, Steevi would perch on the railings of the boats in the harbour and listen to classical music while he waited for oysters.

Most nights he would go to the French restaurant at closing time to collect l’escargot from Pierre, the waiter. His family barely saw him.

Here’s what Alexandra had to say:

Steevi the Sophisticated Seagull (Picture book)
By Cate Williams

Your sense of humor shines through in this text, I do wonder however where the story is going I don’t know that I get enough of the sense of conflict yet and in a picture book I think that I want to have a sense of that conflict sooner. While the way that Steevi’s mother explains away his behaviors does feel familiar and true to life, as I was reading it I couldn’t help but think of Ame Dyckman’s recent book WOLFIE and how one of the big ongoing jokes is how the parents praise away realistic concerns about the wolf baby. It might be worth looking into that. I would likely read on to see where this is going.


THE DESTINY MATRIX by Chris L. Owens   YA SciFi

The shivering was the worst. I couldn’t stop it. I struggled to sit up, but restraints bound me to some kind of table. A killer migraine got worse with every move I made.

I yelled, but a weak croak was all that came out. It took several tries to find my voice.

“Hey! Where am I?” A puff of steam punctuated each word.

No response came at first, but someone was listening after all.

“That Jason Martyr kid just woke up,” a male voice said in the distance. “He doesn’t sound bad off though. Sometimes they wake up blubbering like babies.”

After my eyes adjusted to the lack of light, I turned my head to one side. A body lay on a gurney a few feet away. A girl’s body, covered with a sheet from head to toe.

Panic set in, and I screamed again. My skull wailed in agony.

“Yo, dude! There’s a dead body in here! C’mon man, get me out!” Laughter was the only response.

After a few minutes, I gave up hope. But then a second voice whispered nearby. “Is it true what they said? He resisted her?”

“Yeah, he’s not a normal case. Quinn drugged him before she brought him in.”

Then I remembered how I got to this place. It all started with Lorelei Quinn. I should’ve known she was trouble the first time I met her.

Three weeks earlier

“Dude, that’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen,” Boyd said.

I didn’t argue with my best friend this time. For once, he was right.

Here’s what Alexandra had to say:


Watch out in that first paragraph for the repetition of “worse” and “worst” as that can distract the reader and take them out of your storytelling. These are great lines: “Then I remembered how I got to this place. It all started with Lorelei Quinn. I should’ve known she was trouble the first time I met her.” They really hook me as a reader and make me want to read on. This first page does a great job providing just enough clues to orient your reader to the situation while still leaving plenty of space for mystery and intrigue. Nice work!


Wiggin’s the Lonely Mailbox by Lucille Lantz – MG

In the middle of the block stood a big white house surrounded by a beautiful garden of flowers. Inside the house was empty. The patio furniture was gone. The large umbrella that gave shade on a sunny summer day was gone. The bicycle wasn’t in the backyard shed. There was not even a ball lying on the ground. Suzy’s jump rope was no longer hanging on a tree branch. On top of a tattered white post in front of the house sits Wiggins the mailbox.

Wiggins could remember the days when he was filled with letters, invitations, bills, advertisements and his favorite, Suzy’s report cards. Wiggins enjoyed peeking into the windows on the envelopes. Now that the house was empty, Wiggins was empty too.

It had been a very long time since Marty the letter carrier lifted Wiggins’ red flag. Wiggins latch was old and rusty and Marty would carefully unhook the latch, place the mail safely inside, and lift Wiggins’ flag. The red flag let the family know that there was mail delivered.

Wiggins’ bright yellow paint was beginning to chip. The white paint on the post that held Wiggins firmly in place was worn, but Wiggins didn’t care what he looked like. His tattered and worn paint did not bother him at all. Wiggins was empty, so very empty inside. “There is nothing worse than being a mailbox without mail” thought Wiggins.

Marty passed the empty house everyday on his mail route. Wiggins could hear Marty’s familiar happy whistle. Every day Wiggins hoped there would be something for him. How he longed to see the joy on Suzy’s face when she saw his red flag standing straight up. However,

Here’s what Alexandra had to say:

Wiggins the Lonely Mailbox

I’d like to see you open with more of a hook. Something like this:  “Wiggins could remember the days when he was filled with letters, invitations, bills, advertisements and his favorite, Suzy’s report cards” is nostalgic, it gives us a sense of how things were while hinting that it’s no longer the case. Reading through the page I feel like the tone and voice seems younger than middle grade so I’m curious with where you’re going to take the story and how you’re going to pull it off. Having a (typically) inanimate object as your protagonist can present a challenge in terms of relatablity to your reader. I’d like to see some more action and sense of conflict here to hook me in.

Thank you Alexandra for taking your valuable time to help the writers out their to hone their writing skills.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 27, 2015

Illustrator Saturday – Janet Kusmierski


Illustrator Janet Kusmierski was the winner of the NJSCBWI Art Show in the Published Illustrator category. She worked at the Whitney Museum, was a motion picture projectionist at Film Forum, interned at the Museum of Modern Art in the Design Department, was Associate Art Director for the Scholastic Book Group in Cartwheel and Club Originals, written and illustrated her own picture book, worked as a freelance book designer, and exhibited her art in many of the top art galleries in New York.

Here is Janet Kusmierski describing her illustration process.


First I sketch the scene with pencil on vellum. Next I place the sketch as a layer in Adobe Illustrator and then trace/redraw with multi layers.


Once all of the work is done I delete the sketch layer and I am left with a final piece of work.

How long have you been illustrating?

My entire life, from childhood to adulthood.


What was the first thing you painted where someone paid you for your work?

It was a black and white fine art piece.


Where did you go to college?

Hunter College of the City University of New York, MA
Parsons School of Design and the New School for Social Research, BFA

spread10.11new text

What did you study there?

Fine Art/Painting/Art History at Hunter College. I studied Illustration/Fine Art at Parsons and Fine Art/Painting/Art History at Hunter College.


Do you feel College helped develop your style?

Style develops over time by working but there were many technical skills I learned in school.


What type of work did you do after you got out of school?

After the Hunter program I wanted to concentrate on painting exclusively. My biography follows.

For employment, I worked at various jobs starting at the Whitney Museum. For example, one of my positions was motion picture projectionist at Film Forum.

Next, I was offered a one year internship at the Museum of Modern Art in the Design Department. My intention was to transition into the field of graphic design.

Scholastic hired me as a Junior Designer in the Book Group, where I remained for 15 years. I designed under Edie Weinberg and Patti Ann Harris in Cartwheel. My last position was Associate Art Director working under Jennifer Rinaldi in Club Originals.


Did the college you attended help you get work?

Eventually, but it happened over a period of years while employed in other fields.


Have you seen your work change over the years?

Absolutely, work has changed frequently.


Somewhere I read that you had been an Art Director? Where was that and how did that come about?

I started at Scholastic in a Junior Design position and upon leaving I was an Associate Art Director in the Book Group.


When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

While designing books in Cartwheel I was developing my skills in children’s illustration.


How many picture books have you illustrated?

Three books: Snowman’s Big Job, Scholastic Inc., My Alien Friend, Yeowon Media

  • Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Childcraft


Was Snowman’s Big Job with Scholastic your first picture book?

Yes, for Cartwheel Books and Club Originals.

tweed2covernew text

How did that contract come your way?

I made a pitch to Ken Geist, the Editorial Director of Cartwheel at the time. We worked through many ideas and eventually I was offered a contract. The publication of this book was also guided by Gina Shaw, Editorial Director of the Book Clubs, and Elizabeth Bennett, Editor.


Do you still create 3-D characters to make your illustrations?

Yes, I will if requested.


Was Snowman’s Big Job the first book that you wrote and illustrated?

Yes, but the manuscript was rewritten by Elizabeth Bennett. This was a classic example of the collaborative process in publishing. Thank you Elizabeth!


What has been your biggest success? 

My one person show at Elizabeth Harris Gallery in Chelsea, my 3 children’s books, and most recently the “Winner” prize, 2015, for a published illustrator at the NJSCBWI.


Have you ever thought about doing a wordless picture book?

I have some ideas but I have not sketched it yet.


Do you have an artist rep? If so, who and if not, would you like to find one?

I do not have a rep but I am actively seeking representation.


How did it feel to win the Artist Showcase Award for the best piece by a published illustrator at the NJSCBWI Conference?

I was thunderstruck! I never expected this so it was a complete surprise.


2015 Winning NJSCBWI Art Show Illustration in the Published Illustrator Category

It looks like you do a lot of book design. How do you find those jobs?

Most of my art direction and book design was done on staff at Scholastic. Freelance design was through referrals.

Currently, I have been illustrating and not designing.


Have you ever worked with a self-published author? Would you be open to that?

If the idea is interesting I am open to it.


Do you do any other type of illustration other than for children books?

No, but I am open to other types of work if offered the opportunity.


Have you ever worked with a self-published author? Would you be open to that?

If the idea is interesting I am open to it.


Do you take research pictures before you start a project?

Google images are my sources, I then finalize the drawings. Pencil sketches on vellum, then traced into Adobe Illustrator as a final vector.

janet monkey2

Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?

Yes, for the 3-D sewn figures.


Do you have a studio in your house?Is there anything in your studio, other than paint and brushes that you couldn’t live without?

My husband, Greg Singer. He is my toughest critic. Thank goodness for Greg!
Yes, Greg and I have a live/work loft in TriBeCa for many years. We are very lucky to be able to live here.


Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?

Work everyday to keep “the pilot light lit”. Greg’s favorite words of advice.

janet az5_4-illus

Any exciting projects on the horizon?

Additionally, I am beginning to write my own narratives. This is very new and exciting endeavour.
At the moment, I am working on a few collaborations. One with fellow designer, Kevin Callahan and another with a friend Anne Morra.

janet tweed5_7-illuscover

Do you think the Internet has opened any doors for you?

Yes, since people can puruse your work internationally.

janet tweed5_7-illus2

What are your career goals?

I aspire to create beautiful, meaningful and humorous work.


What are you working on now?

I have three works in progress in their early stages. That’s all I can say at the moment.


Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencils on Vellum for sketching and Adobe Illustrator for final art. Yupo paper, Flashe paint, and fabric for my Fine Art pieces.You can see more on my website:


Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

“A line is a dot that went for a walk.”  Paul Klee


Thank you Janet 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 Janet’s work, visit her Web site,

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

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 26, 2015

Free Fall Friday Delayed

I know many of you are waiting for the first page results, but I can’t make that happen. As soon as the Internet comes back on and the electricity, I will be able to access my files and get it up. So it might be  Free Fall Sunday and illustrator Monday. At least I can update you using my slow typing skills on this tiny screen.

Bought a generator to keep my basement dry and the food from spoiling. Plus now I can blow dry my hair and have some light at night. So things are looking up.

Talk tomorrow


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 25, 2015

Stormy news

Hit by storms – think they were tornadoes – two  huge trees down – cars turned over – electrical wires down everywhere – Trees blocking roads – no Internet connection – No phone – no electricity – just trying to let you know why there is no blog post today.

If you don’t hear from me tomorrow you’ll know I still don’t have electricity or the Internet. They are saying we’ll probably get electricity back Saturday afternoon.

For those who know Anita Nolan, I just wanted to let you know her husband, Jim, passed away on Sunday morning. There will be a memorial service for Jim on July 15th in doylestown, Pa. at the Covanent Church at 1:30 pm.

Talk tomorrow, hopefully?


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 24, 2015

Kudos and Opportunity

annie silvestroAnnie Silvestro’s met her agent, Liza Voges from Eden Street LLC as a result of meeting her at the NJ SCBWI craft day in November 2013. Liza Voges turned around and found a home for her picture book. On May 19th this year, Publishers Marketplace announced the sale:

BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB, written by Annie Silvestro and illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss, the story of a book-loving bunny who sneaks into the town library and borrows books for all his forest friends, to Frances Gilbert at Doubleday Children’s, for publication in Spring 2017, by Liza Voges at Eden Street for author (World).  Congratulations! Annie.



Bruce Arant wrote and illustrated a picture book titled, Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep! He wrote to let me know all the good things that have happened since its release in October of 2013.

Here is part of Bruce’s letter:

The publisher, Peter Pauper Press, is doing a fourth printing this summer. For me, the most enjoyable aspect of the book has been doing presentations at schools. To date, I’ve done over 50 presentations, mostly at elementary schools, and it’s really been a blast.

One of the factors that is currently fueling the school visits, is that Simpson’s Sheep is a nominee for the 2015-2016 Golden Sower Award here in Nebraska. As I’m sure you’re aware, each state has a literary award program in which students across the state vote on their favorite books, which have been selected by a statewide committee of librarians. The students will be casting their votes in April of 2016, so I am looking forward to many more school visits in the coming school year.

bruce arant

Along with prospects for the Golden Sower Award, the book has won two categories in the Nebraska Book Awards last fall, sponsored by The Nebraska Center for the Book (an affiliate of the Library of Congress). The book won the Children category and the Cover/Design/Illustration category.

On a related note, Simpson’s Sheep has been selected to be featured at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. in September. The book will be featured along with books chosen from every state for the “Great Reads About Great Places” brochure. The brochure lists the book chosen from each state–showcasing a work of fiction or non-fiction, either a book about the state or by an author from the state, to point children or young adults to good reads from each state. It will also be available for sale to the public at the festival.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to Google the book’s title and saw Hillary’s name come up and discovered that Hillary Clinton was shopping for her granddaughter and purchased Simpson’s Sheep, along with some baby clothes.   It was on several news feeds where the full title of the book was actually mentioned. That was fun.

Besides all the activity surrounding Simpson, I’ve been busy with other illustrating and writing projects. In fact, Marie submitted my sequel to Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep! last week, so hopefully it will be picked up. I would be happy to return to the drawing board with Farmer Simpson and his flock.

Please say “hello” to all of my friends at the NJSCBWI.


anna olswangerfLG_1433177727136Every summer, Agent Anna Olswanger (Olswanger Literary LLC) donates a manuscript consultation (10 pages of a manuscript for a 20-minute phone consultation) to The Born Free Foundation online auction. Born Free is an international wildlife charity that works throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering.  It’s a great chance to get feedback from an agent. So, please consider making a bid this week (the auction closes on Monday, June 29th, at 5:00 p.m. EST).

Anna represents children’s fiction and nonfiction, adult nonfiction, and selected adult fiction.

We all fall in love with animal characters in books. Now it’s time to help them in real life and help get wonderful feedback on your manuscript.

Here’s the auction link:

Anna’s clients have won the Newbery Honor, Asian Pacific American Award for Literature Honor, Flora Stieglitz Strauss Award for Nonfiction, Orbis Pictus Honor, PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing, Parents Choice Gold Award, Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book, Sibert Award Honor, Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Honor, and been on The New York Times Bestseller list.

She has sold to all the major publishers, including Bloomsbury, Chronicle, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

You can view her full client list on Pinterest:

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 23, 2015

Stoneslide Books Submissions open July 1st

dow sending gifts in the night

When Dow Phumiruk sent me this lovely illustration it made me think of all the writers and illustrators sending their talented projects off into the universe for someone to discover.

Dow is an aspiring children’s book illustrator. She won the 2013 SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award that promotes diversity in children’s books. Please visit her portfolio site at or her blog at to see more of her work. Thank you Dow for sharing.

Maybe Stoneslide Books will be the right place to send off your project into the universe, but don’t do it today, just get it ready to send on July 1st  when they open for submissions.

Stoneslide Books welcomes unsolicited submissions. They read them blind, and your work is judged, not your reputation or publishing history. Only when they complete the selection process do they reveal to themselves what your name is and who you are.

Our submission form.

The Stoneslide Corrective

The Stoneslide Corrective pays for stories upon publication. Authors will be paid $250 for short fiction and short narrative non-fiction, and $100 for flash pieces up to 1,000 words.

Stoneslide Books

Stoneslide Books pays a modest advance and a very competitive revenue sharing arrangement after publication.

We like novels with strong character development and narrative thrust, brought out with writing that’s clear and expressive. If you have a manuscript like that, we’d like you to send it to us.

Fiction is the driving force behind what we do. However, we don’t draw distinctions where they aren’t needed. If you have a book-length work of non-fiction, memoir, or something else that seems to fit with our approach, please send it.

We do not read simultaneous submissions of book-length works.

Information for agents, and authors whose work is agented

How to Submit

The short answer: Use our submission form.

The details: We accept unsolicited submissions for all departments in The Stoneslide Corrective, including “Correctives,” “Stories,” “A Life Examined,” “Frontiers of Knowledge,” and “The Cynic’s Notebook.” We accept short fiction of any length. If it works as a short story, it’ll go in the magazine. If it works better as a book, we’ll make it a book. If it’s something else, we’ll invent the form for it.

For The Stoneslide Corrective we read simultaneous submissions of works up to 7,500 words in length. If you’re submitting simultaneously, please tell us that it’s a simultaneous submission in the comments section of our form. And of course, should it be accepted elsewhere while it’s still under consideration with us, let us know immediately through the submission manager.

For very long works, send us a good representative chunk from the beginning of the piece. Include a few sentences describing the rest of the piece in the cover letter box. What kind of beast is it? Why should we read the rest of it?

Again, please use our submission form. You will paste your submission into the form. Please use plain text, with multiple returns between paragraphs.

Talk tomorrow,


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