Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 8, 2022





This is the sixth Writing and Illustrating Full Manuacript Writers Retreat. Everyone who attends receives two agent critiques: A full manuscript critique and a 25 page critique, plus a group first page session with two agents. Plus optional participation in an assigned writer’s group.

Novel Writers Receive: A One hour full manuscript novel critique up to 72,000 words – Plus, one 30 minute 25 page critique with a second agent. Also includes a first page session, plus an optional critique group (must read the other writer’s manuscripts to participate.)

For PB Writers &/or Illustrators: A One hour, four picture books critiques not over 25 pages total – Plus, one 30 minute picture book critique with a second agent. Also includes a first page session, plus an optional critique group (must read the other writer’s manuscripts to participate.)

Critique Groups are forming now for any attendee who would like to work with a group before submitting to the two agents assigned from the below list. Please note: This is optional. No one is required to participate in a group, but not participating does not lower the cost of the retreat. 



Kelly Van Sant has over a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She cut her teeth in New York working at esteemed literary agencies before relocating to Minnesota, where she spent years as a contracts manager for various publishers. She uses her platform as a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center and as the co-host of the Pub Crawl podcast to empower writers to become informed and take creative control over their work and the trajectory of their careers. Kelly’s own career came full circle when she realized that her true passion was advocating on behalf of authors. She is now an agent and actively building a client list, as well as kt literary’s contracts manager.

Kelly is seeking primarily Middle GradeYoung Adult, and limited non-fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. She loves character-driven stories with intricate plots, and is always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. She’s expanded on her interests within each category below.

Middle Grade

I am seeking Upper MG only. Chapter books or early readers are not for me. My ideal middle grade needs to be whimsical, funny, and full of adventure. My tastes lean away from contemporary in this genre, and more toward fantasy, speculative, science-fiction, or magical realism. I like intricate world-building and MCs with gumption. Give me a quest, give me steadfast friendships, give me insightful, magical parallels with the real world, and make me laugh. No books with an educational thrust; I want to have fun!

Young Adult

I dearly love fantasyscience-fictionspeculative, and other magical elements in YA stories. Even better if mixed and matched with other genres. YA historical fantasy? Yes, please. Alternate universes, fictional worlds, your very own hometown with a secret or sinister twist. If the world-building is original and intricate, if you’re either dismantling existing tropes or executing them exceptionally well, if your characters are complex and come alive on the page then what are you waiting for? Send me your query.

Let’s talk about romance in YA. I prefer romance in my YA to be an undercurrent (even an urgent one) but not the main point. Something needs to be going on in universe and in your characters’ lives beyond their love story. Instant love is not for me; I appreciate when characters grow together over the course of a book. Attraction can happen instantly, but intimacy takes time.

I am selective about YA contemporary. A strong voice is vital, and again, I love to see a complex web of relationships beyond just romantic (though romance can be included): especially friendships and family relationships. More often than not you need to break my heart or make me fall head over heels in love with your characters in order for me to be the right agent to rep a contemporary book. But my heart longs to love and be broken! These books above all else must absolutely be character-driven.

I am exclusively seeking non-fiction books on the subjects of magick and the occult, with a strong focus on tarot in particular. Please be aware that within both the modern and historical practice of tarot there are issues of cultural appropriation, and I am not interested in projects that continue or condone that appropriation. I am especially interested in working with tarot readers who are Indigenous, Black, POC, LGBTQIA+, or from other marginalized communities, and with anyone who brings a unique perspective to the cards that is welcoming for all.



Regina Bernard-Carreno joined Martin Literary Management in 2021. She holds a PhD in Education from the Graduate and University Center at the City University of New York, and graduate degrees in African American Studies from Columbia University and Philosophy from the Graduate Center (CUNY). She holds other degrees in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). Alongside writing and teaching, Regina facilitates Reader Discussion Groups, Private Reading groups and has served as a reader and sometimes editor for both literary and academic journals. She has published widely in academia as well as in trade magazines. The work she hopes to accomplish as and Agent and a literary manager is to help writers, as well as author-illustrators, think through their projects, see multiple opportunities where perhaps they don’t readily exist and help shape their work into successful books. Ultimately, she looks forward to championing great ideas.

Regina is looking for:

Picture Books: Regina is looking for picture books that deal with a little magical realism, immigrant stories, bilingual picture books, and stories that deal with children and their relationship to animals, earth, and the environment. She’d love to see folktales from a wide variety of places reimagined, especially from authors-illustrators.

Middle Grade: Regina is seeking chapter books and middle-grade novels dealing especially with adventures, solving mysteries, and facing/overcoming hardships and developing friendships.

Graphic Novels: Regina is looking for Middle Grade, Young Adult, and adult graphic novels. She’d love to see more writers of color telling stories of MG & YA and has her eye out for BIPOC creators in this genre. For adult graphic novels, Regina is interested in projects in the vein of Marjane Satrapi’s work and projects in that spirit telling of immigrant stories.

Young Adults: Regina would love to receive rom coms of all kinds. Think Hallmark cards and movies geared towards young adults, complete with heartbreak, friendships, and triumph.

Non-Fiction: In non-fiction, she’s open to seeing true crime projects (No crimes against children or graphic gore against women/children) as well as memoir. Regina also loves cookbooks that help the reader travel to new places. She wants to see cookbooks that have personal narratives tied to them, whether that’s a personal story woven throughout, cultural traditions and practices, and/or dishes that tie together cultural memories. She is also accepting submissions for artisanal projects such as crafting (think knitting, sewing, crafting, home-gardening/homesteading, apothecary/healing, and alternative health practices).



Bethany Fulk – Holloway Literary

Bethany Fulk is a junior agent at Holloway Literary. Prior to being promoted to her current position, she has been with the agency as an intern and then an assistant for the past two years.  She graduated from Davis and Elkins College cum laude in 2017 with a BA in English. Following graduation, Bethany worked as a public relations assistant and most recently as an editorial assistant. Before joining Holloway Literary, Bethany interned with North Star Editions and Foundry Literary and Media.
What she is seeking: MG, YA and adult fantasy Historical Fiction/Fantasy, Retellings (myth, folklore, legends, fairytales), Mysteries/Speculative/Suspense.

*he loves strong characters, unique and diverse voices, and new takes on favorite tropes.*

Please know that this list isn’t comprehensive.

Middle Grade

Fantasy (all types)
Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Adventure stories
Retellings (myth, folklore, legends, fairytales)
Friendship stories

Young Adult

Fantasy (all types)
Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Gothic/Horror (more suspense, less gore)
Retellings (myth, folklore, legends, fairytales)
Romance (Rom-Coms!)

Special Requests

Lore, myths, and fairytales from around the world
Something that makes me feel like I’m on vacation
Theme parks
Paranormal (witches, ghosts, werewolves–give me all of them!)
Fun sports stories (I love lacrosse and soccer)

Not Interested In

Picture/Chapter books
Anything with excessive gore
Political stories
Incest, suicide, rape, or abuse
Super scary stories (I like creepy and suspense, not being scared to go to bed).



Spots are limited. Please email: Kathy.temean (at) Put 2022 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 – where you live/what time zone – and I will get back to you. 

Cost: $800

Deposit: $400

Manuscripts due: August 19th

Writers can choose to be assigned to a critique group prior to submitting their manuscripts. Writer’s in groups will read each other’s manuscripts. Each writer will get an hour to discuss their manuscript with the other writers in your assigned group. I will try to limit a group to four writers. Can’t tell until people start signing up how the groups will lay out. Group participation is optional. Please note: If you want to be assigned a critique group, you will need to sign up in time to work with a group. It take time to read each others manuscript and then take that feedback and revise before the manuscript deadline. So sign up early.

Talk tomorrow,


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