Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 16, 2014

Avalon Full Manuscript Writer’s Retreat

Each fall I put on a Writer’s Retreat in Avalon, NJ. The nice thing about this retreat is that it consists of a small group of advanced children’s writers with two children’s publishing agents, plus everyone receives:

1. A full manuscript critique from one of the agents

2. A full manuscript group critique

3. A 30-50 page critique with the other agent

4. A first page session with agents,

5. Additional fun group activities, plus lots of time with the agents.

I have two available spots, if you are interested.

There are Two Retreat Sessions – Each with two groups of five –  All agents are interested in MG and YA. Here are the main details.

Place: An upscale house with 8 bedrooms, 7.5 baths, heated pool, and elevator in Avalon, NJ

Cost: $795 – $910 according to room. Cost includes room, food, and critiques.

First Session Dates: Arriving noon on September 21st – departing by 10 am on September 24th.

carly-watters-p-s-literary-agencyAgent Carly Watters from PS Literary

Carly is actively looking for new Middle Grade and Young Adult clients. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career.

Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial fiction, literary thrillers, upmarket non fiction, and all genres of YA. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

She has sold 5 books 2-YA(both two book deals), 1-MG(two book deal), and 2-nonfiction in the past year. They were all very nice deals. Visit for a more extensive list of books sold.

Sarah-Bradford-Lit-photoAgent Sarah LaPolla from Bradford Literary

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 has sold 4 books in the last six month 3 YA and 1 MG, which was a two book deal

Second Session Dates: Arriving noon on September 25th – departing by September 28th by 10 am.

ammi-joan-paquette-150Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette from Erin Murphy Literary

Amy specializes in children’s publishing. She has sold 12 MG’s and 4 YA’s and numerous picture books in the last year.

She also is a published author and her new book, PETEY AND PRU AND THE HULLABALOO was on the Kirkus Review 2014 Nominated books.

Heather AlexanderAgent Heather Alexander from Pippin Properties

Heather who was an editor at Dial just started with Holly McGhee at Pippin Properties and of course is looking for clients.

Heather is looking for new talent from a broad range of children’s book authors and illustrators, from picture books through young adult, including graphic novels. She’s most interested in unique characters, strong voices, and quirky humor.

Each year I open a few spots to new writers. If you are interested in joining us, please email me if you want one of the open spots. I will need to know what you will submit – MG, YA, NA, genre such as sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, romance, thrillers, mystery, etc. The first five pages and a synopsis (if you have not written a synopsis, then just write something up about the story).

Please email me with a little blurb about you, two pages and a synopsis, plus what you are writing. Example: MG Contemporary Time travel book – 40,000 words – 160 pages. If you are interested in joining the group. Click here to see pictures from last year:

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a fabulous opportunity you provide. I would love to join this someday. Not this year, but hopefully, the next. Fantastic.


  2. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for such valuable daily posts!

    Do you still have room for this retreat? I’ve hesitated to respond because I have Celiac disease and it always makes traveling and meals (gluten-free / no cross-contamination) a challenge. But I can’t get the opportunity out of my mind, so I thought I’d check in with you to see if there is still an opening.

    I have a contemporary middle-grade novel ready for agents to look at. It’s 26,318 words, 107 pages. I’ll send you the synopsis if you respond that there is still room for one more.

    I also have several picture book manuscripts and a folktale/trickster chapter/picture book I’m excited about.

    And, I have a memoir. I know that Carly Watters is interested in memoir so that’s a possibility, unless you are keeping this retreat focused on writing for children.

    I’m a member of SCBWI-FL and have worked for years with a writing coach (Michael Kaye) for the memoir, and then a writing mentor (Joyce Sweeney) for children’s books and my memoir.

    I look forward to hearing back from you!



    Lori Norman, MSLS, MPS, MSW

    Children’s Writer

    Twitter @LadyLori_FL



  3. Hi Kathy!
    I’m interested in learning more about your writer’s retreat also. I have a 60,000 word YA contemporary urban fantasy that I’d love to bring. It’s about 203 pages long. If you have room, I’ll send you my synopsis and two pages as well.

    I’m a PAL member of Nebraska SCBWI and a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature course. I have a B.A. in psychology and English from Simpson College and a BSOT from Creighton University. I currently work as an occupational therapist in the public schools as my day job.


    Shelly Nosbisch
    @ShellyNosbisch (twitter) (email)


    • Shelly,

      Look for my email that I send you. Please let me know if you don’t receive it.



  4. Hi Kathy,

    Could you tell me if you still have a spot available for the Avalon retreat? I already know both Heather and Joan, so I have a slight preference for the first session. I could send you all of my info by Monday.

    The short version is I was selected as one of 12 authors for the SCBWI UK Undiscovered Voices 2014 Anthology for a YA crime novel. Several agents read my manuscript and requested revisions, so I’d love to have the newly revised draft reviewed during the retreat.

    Very best, Tioka RA France

    Sent from my iPad


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