Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 6, 2014

Free Fall Friday – June’s Guest Critiquer & Book Give-A-Way Winners


This month we had three give-a-way books:

A picture book titled S IS FOR SEAGLASS written by Poet Richard Michelson and illustrator Doris Ettlinger
A Young Adult novel titled, PANDEMIC written by Yvonne Ventresca
A Young Adult thriller titled, KILLER INSTINCT written by S.E. Green

Here are the three winners:

Nancy Furstinger
Heather Ayris Burnell
Karen Lee Hallam

If you are a winner, please email me your name and address and list the three books in order of preference. Number one being your first choice. First come first serve.

Sarah LaPolla from the Bradford Literary Agency is our Guest Critiquer for June. If you are attending the NJSCBWI Conference make sure you look for her. She is on the faculty.

See Submission Guidelines at the bottom of this post.

Sarah-Bradford-Lit-photoSarah LaPolla joined Bradford Literary Agency in May 2013. Prior to joining forces with Laura and Natalie, Sarah worked for five years in the foreign rights department at Curtis Brown, Ltd., and became an associate agent there in 2010. She received her MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) from The New School in 2008 and has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Ithaca College.

Sarah represents YA and adult fiction. On the adult side, she is looking for literary fiction, science fiction, magical realism, dark/psychological mystery, and upmarket commercial and/or women’s fiction. For YA, she is interested in contemporary/realistic fiction that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of adolescence. YA sci-fi, horror, mystery, and magical realism are also welcome; and she would love to find a modern Judy Blume for the MG market. No matter what genre, Sarah is drawn to layered/strong characters, engaging narrators, and a story that’s impossible to put down.

Sarah is not looking for: picture books/children’s, inspirational/spiritual novels, romance, or erotica


Twitter: @sarahlapolla

Grabbing Sarah’s attention:

There are two things I’ve been searching for in my submissions and am having a hard time finding lately. The first is the element of surprise. I’m not talking about a shocking plot twist, necessarily. Or at least I’m not just talking about that. I need to be surprised by what I’m reading. That could mean a plot twist I didn’t see coming, but it can also mean a number of things. Am I feeling a range of emotions I didn’t expect to experience? Has the main
character grown and changed in a way they didn’t seem capable of at the beginning of the novel? Did the writing itself surprise me in its style, quality, or form? I like knowing what type of novel I’m getting into when I request a submission, but the last thing I want that manuscript to be is predictable.

The other thing I’m not seeing as much of lately are strong male characters. We talk a lot about what makes a female character “strong.” I, for one, talk about it a lot. But, the boys in YA are being forgotten. I see too many perfect boyfriends, perfectly imperfect bad boys, “nice guy” best friends, and sassy gay friends. Maybe it’s because I read a lot of submissions with female main characters, and boys are generally cast as friend, enemy, or love interest to the main character. That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t mean they have to be one-dimensional. Whether it’s a male or female character, I need them to be strong… meaning, they should be able to stand on their own and have just as many complexities as humans in real life.

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in June:

Please put “June First Page Critique” in the subject line. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Besides pasting it into the body of the email, please attach your first page submission in a Word doc using one inch margins and 12 point font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines and e-mail and send it to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. So it should be cut and pasted into the body of the e-mail and then also attached as a Word document to the email.

DEADLINE: June 19th.

RESULTS: June 27th.

Use inch margins – double space your text – 12 pt. New Times Roman font – no more than 23 lines – paste into body of the email and attach.

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Still need illustrations for summer. Would love to show off your illustrations during one of my daily posts. So please submit your illustrations: To kathy (dot) temean (at) gmail (dot) com. Illustrations must be at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about you that I can use. Put Summer Illustration in the subject area. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Talk tomorrow,



  1. Oh my gosh, I won! I’m so excited! Thanks so much. And what a great critique opportunity. 🙂


    • Heather,

      Make sure you send me an email with the books listed in preference order and include you name and address so I can forward it to the author.




  2. Congrats to the winners! Kathy, thank you for coordinating.



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