Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 28, 2013

Writer’s Retreat – Sharing Tips

stephenfraser2You may have noticed that I had mentioned doing a Weekend Writer’s Retreat this past weekend. We had eight authors and Agent Stephen Fraser from the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency mentored us for the weekend. Getting your full novel critiqued is such a wonderful thing and we each had a full hour to discuss our manuscript with him.  We worked very hard as a group on our manuscripts, which was very valuable to everyone.  On Sunday we spent the morning picking Stephen’s brain and then he got us working on our pitches for the story.  Since we all had read each other’s manuscripts we could all throw in our two cents on what worked and what needed more work.

Doug Anders_96 dpiBut the big exciting news from the weekend is Stephen signed up Doug Anders and his sci-fi manuscript. It is excellent and Stephen is good at spotting talent. When I asked Stephen about his clients, he said you could actually tell which conferences and workshops he had attended around the country, when you looked at his list of clients and their locations.  I point this out to you, to drive home how important it is to get yourself out there to meet editors and agents.

Even if you aren’t planning to attend a conference, you should work on your pitch. In the past, my pitches have been too long. Stephen told us to get it down to one or two sentences and commit it to memory. We never know when we’ll bump into someone who wants to know about our book.

I know writers who were published, because when they walked into a elevator and met an editor, they had an “elevator pitch” ready to use. I know writers who met a publisher on an airplane. I know writer’s who have met editors in some very strange places and it was that prepared pitch that initiated the spark for their books success.

Thought I would share some of our pitches from the weekend to give you an idea on what you should strive to achieve.

Doug Anders: As soon as 12-year-old Peter enters the Star Trials, a riot ensues. The reason? Peter is human.

It’s Men in Black meets The Hunger Games in this middle grade, sci-fi, adventure-mystery called The Star Trials.

Dee Falvo: The Bookmark, a Young Adult fantasy, portrays a time traveling Joan-of-Arc-esque heroine, who discovers the power of the four elements while in military school.

Think Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander meets Menahem Golan’s Delta Force.

Jody Staton: My Father’s Moccasin is the story of a middle-grades boy playing spy to avoid thinking about a family tragedy.

Think Harriet the Spy meets Confessions of a Part-Time Indian.

Patricia Alcaro: Stuff Touching Cousins is a picture book about annoying but lovable cousins. Through tenderness and patience a young boy learns to cope with the onslaught of 5 younger cousins.

Think of Cynthia Rylant’s Caldecott Honor book The Relatives Came meets Ezra Jack Keats Peter’s Chair.

Susan Amesse: The Body Under the Osprey Nest is the first book in the middle grade November Sinclair mystery series.  November, a wannabe actress/city slicker is plopped in the Adirondacks with wild animals, no Starbucks, and a murderer on the loose.

It’s Nancy Drew meets Glee meets Green Acres.

Kathy Temean: Shaken by the death of her mother, tormented teen turns father’s US Senate campaign upside down when she is caught on camera pole dancing – causing a media frenzy in this YA novel titled POLL GIRL.

Think Coyote Ugly meets Clueless meets Scandal.

Keep an eye on Doug. He is a very nice guy who is a really good writer – a great combination. CONGRATULATIONS! Doug.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. You know, I actually spoke to Kathy when she happened to be reading Doug’s book prior to the retreat and told me he was very good and thought he could be successful. Kathy, you should be a “talent scout!” lol Congrats to Doug and Stephen 🙂


    • Donna,

      See your memory is working fine.



      • lol I DO have my moments 🙂 Then again, some things are more memorable than others 😉


  2. Thanks so much, Kathy. The examples you gave on pitch is very helpful!


    • Romelle,

      Thanks for popping me a note. Wishing you the perfect pitch.



  3. I’m glad all of you had such an intense and successful retreat!


    • Mary,

      Have you signed up for the conference in June? I guess I will see you there. I am going to start setting something up for the Fall in Avalon. Maybe you can make it this year.



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