Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 21, 2020

Book Winners – Cover Reveal – Kudos


Lauri Meyers won THE CASE OF THE BAD APPLES by Robin Newman  

Carol Gwin Nelson won SATURDAYS ARE FOR STELLA by Candy Wellins

Holly Smiles won Penny and the Plain Piece of Paper by Miri Leshem-Pelly

Sarah Matthysse won FLIBBERTIGIBBETY WORDS by Donna Guthrie

Ashley Congdon won TWO DOGS AND A TRIKE by Gabrielle Synder

Blair Ortman won CLYDE LIED by Keith Merantz

Michelle Kogan won SOAKED by Abi Cushman

Rebecca Gardyn Levington won ALIEN TOMATO by Kristen Schroeder

Penny J Taub won TIP AND TUCKER: PAW PAINTERS by Sue Lowell Gallion

Maria Marshall won THE NINJA CLUB SLEEPOVER by Laura Gehl

Winners, please send your mailing addresses, so I don’t have to spend time hunting you down. Thanks!


Breathe. Stretch. Wiggle. Dance. March. Stomp. Reach! New Poetry Anthology coming out on October 15th and being featured on Writing and Illustrating that day. 

HOP TO IT: Poems to Get You Moving contains 100 poems that incorporate a wide variety of movements—including deskercise! You’ll find poems on “2020 topics,” too, such as life during a pandemic, virtual learning, staying connected with friends, and standing up for what you believe in. 

CONGRATULATION’S To Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for making this book happen. Please check back on October 15th for a chance to see more and win a copy of the book.



Amalia Hoffman’s new book MY MONSTERPIECE coming out next year. Here is the cover:

A celebration of imagination, creativity, acceptance, and art that will delight children of all ages.

Ever tried to make the meanest, wildest scariest monster?  What if even a green tongue, pointy horns, creepy sharp teeth, and claws won’t scare frighten anyone away?

Join the frustrated artist on a hilariously hair-raising adventure where the scary and not scary mingle and lead to the discovery that overcoming fear and prejudice can bring about a wonderful FRIENDSHIP.

CONGRATULATIONS AMALIA! Can’t wait to show off your book in February 2021.


Natascha Morris joins The Tobias Literary Agency as literary agent where she will rep picture books, middle grade, and YA. She was previously a literary agent at Bookends.

Kim Lindman has been promoted to associate agent at Stonesong, representing young adult and adult fiction and narrative nonfiction.

Georgia Bodnar has been promoted to senior editor at Viking Penguin.

Stephanie Sinclair will join CookeMcDermid as literary agent. She was at Transatlantic Literary Agency.

Patrice Caldwell joins New Leaf Literary & Media as literary agent. She was at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

Mekisha Telfer has been promoted to editor at Roaring Brook Press.

Mara Delgado-Sanchez has been promoted to assistant editor at St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

Veronica Park has been promoted to agent at Fuse Literary.



Talk tomorrow,


Author/illustrator Jennifer J. Merz has a new picture book titled, STEADFAST: Frances Perkins, Champion of Workers’ Rights. Jennifer has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Jennifer!


Frances Perkins gasped in disbelief when she visited a factory and saw the horrific conditions that workers endured. Moved by the injustice, she felt compelled to help, setting her on a path of social work.

But, when Frances witnessed New York City’s terrifying Triangle Factory fire in 1911, her desire to assist the American worker transformed into a lifelong mission. Determined to fix the problems that led to the tragedy, Frances worked to change a catastrophically broken system at a time when women were discouraged from speaking up, let alone having careers. She saw the potential for radical workplace reform, if she could persuade her male colleagues to listen to her. Rather than shrink from challenges, she followed her beloved grandmother’s advice to embrace life’s opportunities and walk through open doors. In truth, Frances kicked them open along the way.

With courage and integrity, she became the first woman ever to serve in a U.S. Presidential Cabinet, creating an enduring legacy. As Secretary of Labor, she was the force behind the New Deal and Social Security, vast programs that protect American workers to this day, including a minimum wage, a forty-hour workweek, and an end to child labor. This is the inspiring story of a heroic trailblazer. She’s the most important woman you likely haven’t heard of – yet.

In her third picture book, writer/illustrator and Children’s Choice award winner Jennifer J. Merz introduces readers to the bold visions of Frances Perkins. This book will delight children and parents alike with gorgeous, handcrafted, cut-paper illustrations on every page and engaging, yet sensitive, prose.

Features fully annotated back matter, providing a perfect opportunity to learn more about this shining female role model and her steadfast fight for justice. Empowering, inspiring, and informative, this picture book biography should not be missed.


The seeds of Steadfast were planted when I was doing my MFA in Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. It was 2011 and F.I.T., with its long connection to textiles, was commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, a tragic workplace disaster that Frances Perkins witnessed as a young social worker.

I created a handcrafted collage for that Triangle Anniversary, a work that spoke to the 1911 narrative. It incorporated the fabrics and trimmings of my own textile background. I used cut and torn papers, laces and trims, to make a shirtwaist collage to honor the 146 workers, mostly girls and young women, who lost their lives in that fire.

Little did I know that my participation in this event would ultimately lead to my book on Frances Perkins! As I researched, whom did I find – who found me – but Frances! She was everywhere I looked: pushing for workers’ rights, women’s rights, safety reforms, abolishment of child labor, and immigration reform. She later became the first woman ever in a Presidential Cabinet and the force behind the New Deal and Social Security. Why had I never heard about this woman? Why had so many people not heard about this remarkable woman?

I was bitten by the Frances bug and she wouldn’t let go. I needed to create a picture book on this American hero and role model. I had to get the word out to children. Children, girls in particular, needed to know the empowering, inspiring story that is Frances Perkins. Her strength of character, her integrity, her determined nature – all beckoned me to create this book.

Of course, the path to publication was not as straightforward as I’ve just described. My book started as Sew Strong, about the conditions leading up to the Triangle Factory fire and the subsequent groundswell for change. My agent at the time was excited to share this version with many of the major New York publishing houses. Many editors took my dummy and manuscript into acquisition meetings, but ultimately, those earlier versions didn’t get picked up. It was only when I found Frances and her incredible story of steadfast achievement that I knew I was truly onto something special. Hers was a story that needed to be told. I continued to work.

Quite by accident, I discovered the Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta, Maine. I met Tomlin, Frances’ grandson and remaining living relative. I met Sarah, the fantastic Board President who read and approved my manuscript. I was invited to the film premiere of Summoned, a documentary about Frances Perkins created by esteemed PBS filmmaker Mick Caouette. All the while, I kept creating: writing, editing, revising, sketching, and cutting buckets and buckets of collage papers.

Steadfast, praised by reviewers, was released Sept. 1st. It’s available at and through the Frances Perkins Center. It’s also on Amazon. Art prints and cards will also be available soon, both at the Frances Perkins Center and on my website.

This has been an incredible journey, and I’m delighted to have shared it with you today. Thank you, Kathy, for inviting me to share my personal book journey with your audience. If anyone has any questions, please visit and leave me a message. I’d be happy to hear from you. And, of course, if you’d like me to sign a copy of my book to you, I’d be happy to do that, too.

All best! Jenn


Winner of the Children’s Choice Award, Jennifer J. Merz is back with her third picture book, an engaging biography on American trailblazer Frances Perkins. With stunning, cut-paper illustrations, STEADFAST: Frances Perkins, Champion of Workers’ Rights will delight and inform children and parents alike.

Previously published by Dutton (That Dancin’ Dolly) and Clarion (Playground Day!), Jenn creates intricate, handcrafted collage illustrations. Inspired by the work of Matisse and Romare Bearden, she builds her pictures using the special papers, fabrics and trims of the textile world that is part of her personal and family history.

Jenn received an MFA in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Elem Ed, and an MA in Art Ed. She enjoys giving author presentations and is a member of the SCBWI, CBIG, and the Author’s Guild.

A longtime resident of Allendale, NJ, Jenn divides her time between the NY-Metro area and the Maine coast. She resides with her husband and their pug. They are the proud parents of two spirited women who, like Frances Perkins, bristle at injustice and walk confidently through open doors. Jenn invites you to learn more at

Jennifer, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This is such a great book. Kudos for finding an little known women who made a difference in the lives of working women. The book is great inspiration for children and all the details will hold teachers and parents attention and keep everyone reading. Plus, you did a wonderful job creating the collage illustrations with your expert use of special papers and fabrics. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 19, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – METTE ENGELL

METTE ENGELL is an illustrator represented by the Bright Agency. She grew up watching Jacques Cousteau and David Attenborough with her parents, and from a very early age she knew she wanted to become a marine biologist.

Mette Engell is a self-taught children’s illustrator and a surface designer. She grew up in the northern part of Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. She studied biology at the university of Copenhagen, where she earned her masters in marine biology. She has always loved coming up with stories and characters, so after her first child was born, she picked up her pencil and hasn’t put it down since. Today she lives by the ocean with her husband and their 3 kids, 2 cats, and a lionhead bunny in a blue house filled with art supplies, picture books, and Lego.

However not long after getting her masters in Biology, she picked up a copy of “On my island” by Marie-Louise Gay, and fell in love with picture books.

She has illustrated several books and magazines for publishers in the US, the UK, and other European countries – and she hopes that one day, she can add author to her portfolio.

Mette lives in a small town by the ocean in the north east part of Denmark, where she enjoys life with her husband, 3 kids, and their 2 cats.


Interview with Mette Engell:

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been illustrating professionally for 5 years, but the journey started long before that.

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

Oh gosh, I’m not entirely sure, but I think it must have been while studying biology and my neighbor bought two charcoal drawings I had made.

Did you take any art classes while getting your degrees in Biology and a Master in Marine Biology at the University of Copenhagen?

Studying at a university in Denmark is much different from in the US. Once you get there, you have chosen which specific area you want to study, and you then either study that for 3 years and get a bachelors or you continue 2 more and get a masters (cand.scient). After that you can continue 3 more years, and there by earn a PhD. So, no, all my classes where strictly science classes.

What did you study?

I studied biology at the University of Copenhagen, and my thesis were on marine biology more specifically on the reproductive cycle of sea anemones in the north east Atlantic Ocean.

Have you taken any children’s illustrating courses since graduating?

Yes, I’ve taken several online classes on illustrating for children, and drawing and painting in general.

Did the school help you find work when you graduated?

Yes, but that was not related to illustration at all.

Do you feel studying biology helped you develop your style?

I think that knowing about anatomy has helped, yes. And the fact that I love nature and science has influenced my style. I love doing research on the characters and places before starting a new project.

What type of work did you do when you started your career?

I worked as a network designer before starting my illustration career. The first type of job in illustration were designing for websites and small businesses. I then moved on to surface design, before I finally found the Bright agency.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?

Just after my daughter was born, I picked up up a picture book by Marie-Louise Gay.  Before I was halfway through the book, I knew that I had found my calling.

How did you connect with the Bright Agency and how long have you been with them?

Illustrating and writing my own picture books have been a long time dream for me, but I always put off applying to agencies, thinking that I wasn’t good enough. Then one day, I was talking to one of my friends about it, and she convinced me that it was time. So I spend the next 2 months working on a complete new portfolio, and once I felt I had enough samples, I emailed Bright and hoped for the best. A few weeks later, Bright invited me to join them, and I couldn’t have been happier. That was back in 2017, which makes it  3 years with Bright.

Was 10 Things I Love About You published by Yoyo Books September 1 2018 your first illustrated book?

No, my first picture book, was Hello, I’m home by Beth Bowen, which were published in 2016.

It looks like you have other books with this publisher. Did you sign a multi-book contract?

The yoyo books contract was for 4 books.

How did you get that contract?

I think that  was the first contract that I got through the Bright agency.

How did you book Hello Family, I’m Home end up on The Today Show.

That is a good question. As far as I recall, the authors sister, send the book to the show, and it got picked up. That was amazing seeing my first picture book on the today show.

Who published the book and is it still available to purchase?

It was a self published book, and I’m not sure if it’s still available.

Were the following books: Matzah Belowstairs, Cat on the Mat, I’m Feeling Outrageous Orange: A Halloween Book (Crayola), Snow Day, Up the Tree, and Huggle Wuggle, Bedtime – all board books?

No, only Outrageous orange and Huggle wuggle bedtime snuggle. The others were regular picture books.

Was Get a Move On! A Bloomsbury Young Reader and Lily and the Brachiosaurus the two books you illustrated in 2019.

Lilly and the brachiosaurus was illustrated in 2018, it is one of four  books about a group of kids meeting their favorite Dinosaurs.

Get a move on (Bloomsbury), was one of many books I illustrated in 2019.  Alien tomato by  Kristen Schroeder being another. I also worked on another 4 book series with yo-yo books, and on a book called When a t.rex comes to play by Helen Cane-Hardy,  a truly hilarious story about what could happen if you bring home a T.rex that just got released this July.

Did you have any spare time in 2019 with 8 books to illustrate?

Hahaha I have been kept very busy ever since I signed with Bright in 2017. It’s amazing how many books you can make in one year.

Is Lily and the Brachiosaurus 2019 (Dinosaur Stories) only available in Europe

I actually don’t know anything about this series, like I mentioned before, I’m not sure if it has been published yet.

I featured Alien Tomato by Kristen Schroeder on Writing and Illustrating. You did a great job with the art. How long did it take you to create the illustrations?

Thank you. I began working on the sketches in Early March of 2019, and the final artwork was done by the end of August, early September as far as I remember. However I did take the entire July of to spend time with my family, I always do that.

It looks like you have another board book Christmas Makes Me Feel Pine Green!: A Scratch-and-Sniff Holiday Story (Crayola) coming out in September. Was this part of a multi-book contract with Simon Spotlight?

Yes, it is part of the series that began with Outrageous Orange.

Valentine’s Day Makes Me Feel Razzle Dazzle Rose!: A Sweet Scratch-and-Sniff Story (Crayola) Simon Spotlight comes out in December. Is the art finished for that book?

Yes, both the valentines day book and the Christmas book in the crayola series from Simon and schuster were finished in early May this year.


Is Double the Dinosaurs: A Math Reader (Step into Reading) coming out in September 15th, your first book with Random House?

Yes, this is the first book with them. Hopefully it won’t be the last, it was a lot of fun working on this book, and I enjoyed working with the people there.

Have you done any illustrations for children’s magazines.

Yes, I’ve worked with both Highlights magazine and a Cricket a couple of times.

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

My first picture book that I worked on, Hello family, I’m home. Was with a self-published author, and that went very well. Everything was just as professionally handled as all my contracts with Bright. Today all my contracts go through Bright, but that doesn’t exclude self-published authors,  I’m actually working with one as we speak.

I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

Thank you. To be honest I think my greatest success so far is that I have a picture book to work on every morning I get up. I had never in my wildest dream imagined that I would end up being represented by such an amazing agency as Bright, doing what I love every day.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Pencil and paper and Procreate on my iPad Pro.

Has that changed over time?

No, not really.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

Yes, I own a iPad pro 12.9, and a wacom 22hd, and I love them both. However I do prefer my iPad over the wacom, but that has more to do with the fact that I absolutely love working in Procreate, it’s so easy and intuitive to work with in comparison to Photoshop, which I have used for decades.

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

I love getting my paints (watercolor and acrylics) and pencils out, but for practical reasons, I mainly use my digital devices for finished artwork, since it makes it so much faster to make adjustments in. I might scan something I made from real life materials and use them in my digital work.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

My illustration is a full time job. I do work out of my studio in my home, so very often it extend beyond normal work hours, but I do try to keep it within a regular day job.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

Yes, all the time, the amount depends on the project on hand of course.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely, without the internet it wouldn’t have occurred to me that I could actually make a living from my illustration, and I would never have found Bright, my agency, without the internet and thereby all the wonderful projects that have come my way.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I’m glad you asked, my dream is to write and illustrate my own stories.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on several projects at the moment, one is with a self-published author, and the other is a early reader book, and I’m working on two manuscript of my own, that hopefully will become published books some day.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I think my main tip would be try everything you can, and see what you like. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive brand or product from the get go. …just don’t buy the really cheap stuff, most often it cause unnecessary frustration. Get the student quality in the beginning, and that goes for digital equipment as well.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

Believe in yourself, follow your dream and be proud of what you make – it might not at first be the masterpiece you had in mind, but give it time and practice. Everyone can learn how to draw.

Thank you, Mette for answering the interview questions and sharing your expertise with us. Please let me know your future successes so I can share it with everyone.

To see more of Matte’s work, you can visit her at:





Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 18, 2020

September Agent of the Month Kelly Peterson Interview: Part Two

I am happy to announce that Kelly Peterson at Rees Literary Agency is our Agent of the Month for September. Scroll to bottom to learn how to submit a first page for a chance to win a critique with Kelly. Please note: September is a short month, so the deadline to submit is September 17th.

Kelly Peterson is a West Chester University graduate with a B.S.Ed in English and Literature. She worked as a Junior Literary Agent for two years before moving to Rees Literary Agency, continuing to champion her authors and the manuscripts she loves. Kelly seeks manuscripts in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. In Middle Grade, she loves fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. Her Young Adult preferences vary from contemporary to high fantasy, sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!), and historical all the way back to rom-coms. Kelly is proud to continue to represent Adult manuscripts in romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies.

Kelly is excited to be expanding her client list and finding new authors who have a strong story to tell. She only accepts queries through Query Manager at and requires a query, synopsis, and the first five pages of your work to submit. Follow her Twitter or her blog for more information on writing, the industry, and MSWL updates.

What I’m looking for:

Kelly is looking for voice driven fiction in the MG, YA, and Adult age ranges. She loves stories with strong world building, characters that are quirky and witty, and writers that have a natural understanding for relatable dialogue and pacing. Kelly is always seeking to promote #OwnVoices stories and authors who have a strong story to tell, including POC,  LGBTQIA+, and neurodiversity.

MG: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Contemporary, leaning towards heartwarming stories and adventures that showcase the tough issues that need to be read by young readers.

YA: Fantasy (all sub genres of fantasy accepted), Steampunk, Sci-Fi (futuristic, not space!), Paranormal (Ghosts, please!), Historical, Contemporary (all the rom-coms!), and any combination of the above with strong, female main characters.

Adult: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Contemporary Romance (Cowboys, anyone? Sexy and somewhat geeky entrepreneur? Sports? Yes?), Historical Romance, or any combination of the above.

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Children’s, Fantasy, Historical, Humor, LGBTQ, Middle Grade, Military, New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult
Favorite sub-genres: #ownvoices, Adult, Contemporary Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary YA, Diversity, High Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, LGBTQIA, MG, MG adventure, Paranormal, Steampunk, YA, YA Science Fiction

Not The Best Fit For:

Non-Fiction, Mystery/Crime, Children’s Picture Books, Emotional Turmoil (i.e. stories that revolve around depression, anxiety, rape, etc.), as I prefer my books to help me escape. Characters that have some of these traits but it doesn’t overwhelm the story are okay.


Any pet peeves?

Opening the manuscript with the weather. Get that morning sun peeking through the windows out of here. I see that every morning, and I don’t need to see it in your manuscript. Throw me at your character and in the middle of some action!

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

Always, but one of the most common ones I continuously see is when writers don’t follow guidelines or are just plain rude to people in the industry. We all work hard for very little pay, and with COVID and emotions running high, we can all understand the frustration. Taking that frustration out on agents and editors isn’t the way to go about being a professional in the publishing industry, though. I, too, along with many co-workers and friends wish we could change the industry to make it easier for everyone, but screaming and sending rude emails to us won’t do anyone any good. Please just treat everyone with respect!

 What are your feelings about prologues?

Hate. Them. They aren’t needed! Maybe a few short sentences or poems, but most of the time…I just skip the prologue and go right to the beginning! What can you say in a prologue that can’t be said in your manuscript?!

Do you have a place where you keep writers up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

My website has plenty of information on my MSWLs, and you can always find my Manuscript Wishlist page, as well! My website is: . If you go to the “submissions” page and scroll down, you’ll see a large gathering of all of my MSWL tweets with what I’d like to see in my inbox!

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes, I try to go through two rounds of editing with each manuscript. I’m not a re-reader, so my editing is rather intense in both rounds. I leave a lot of comments, do a lot of talking with my clients, and I try to fix and edit as much as I can in as little reads as possible. It can make life difficult for certain types of writers, but it’s been working really well for me and my current clients at the moment. I will normally do a heavy content edit, and then the second round will be double checking the content edit applications and doing a heavy line edit. After that, it will be double checking any and all changes and hoping I don’t need to read it a third time (not because I don’t love your story, but it will take me 20x longer to read it when I’m not a re-reader).

Have you ever represented a children’s book illustrator? Are you only interested in representing writer/illustrators?

I have not, though I’ve always been open to learning that side of the industry too! Maybe one day. =)

What is your typical response time to email/phone calls with your clients?

My clients actually have a very open, professional relationship with me. We don’t just communicate through email and phone, and most of the time, my clients are messaging me through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to check on things and get updates. We even have a Twitter group DM so that we all can talk and I can post updates to everyone when needed. It also allows for a more open environment for my clients to become friends and betas and problem solvers for themselves. I adore my clients, and they know that I don’t have an off switch (seriously), so my response times are usually pretty quick. Even late at night or early in the morning. Who needs sleep?!

How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)? And how often do you communicate during the submission process?

I prefer to communicate through texts or DMs in all honesty. I KNOW, I know, I’m such a millennial. When it comes down to it, I like using both email and phone though. Email is for everything you want to confirm and have in writing. It’s all the dates and times and assurances you can look back on and remind yourself that you did this. Phone calls are better for quick decisions, exciting news, or tough editing and submission conversations that need to be had with a sense of humanity and emotion. Phone is great with editors when you can’t meet them in person, too, though emailing with editors makes everyone a bit less nervous, I think! With the submission process, I do, however, have a separate Google Sheet for each of my clients with updates on submissions, dates, people, responses, etc., so that my clients can see what’s happening in real time, at any time they want.

What happens if you don’t sell a book? Would you drop the writer if he or she wanted to self-publish a book you could not place?

Definitely not. I signed them because I love their work and I like them as a person! I usually have a conversation about shelving the book or going to smaller presses to see if we get any luck. Most of the time, authors choose to shelve their books with the assurance that when the time is right again, we will come back to it!

How many editors would you go to before giving up on a manuscript?

As many as humanly possible in the span of publishers that myself and the author are alright with. This can sometimes be only 15-20 editors, or as high as 30-40 editors depending on the age range, genre, and marketability of the book, as well as the author’s leniency with small presses and where they want to be published. It’s different for every client! Every person is different, and every book is different, so how could we ever treat them all the same and have a uniform answer in numbers for this? =)

Would you ever send a manuscript to another agent at Andrea Brown if it was good, but not your style?

Absolutely! We share a lot of things at Rees Literary Agency, and we plan to share more! We swap manuscripts a lot if we’re not feeling it, and luckily for all of us right now, we’re all in the mood for very separate genres and age ranges!

 What do you think of digital and audio books? Are they part of every sale these days?

They are definitely a part of every book deal. It’s an agent’s job to negotiate a lot of those rights for you! Audio books and e-books still seem to be doing really well, though most people in this industry will still tell you that they can’t hold a flame to having a real book in your hands. I’m not an audio book person myself, but I know a lot of people are really loving them during their long drives! It’s also become much more convenient to download a book on your Kindle than to find space for it on our already overflowing bookshelves. There is definitely a thriving market in audio and e-book sales, and even though COVID has put a damper over the industry as a whole, I am sure they market will come back with a vengeance!

Do you see any new trends building in the industry?

None of us are fortune tellers, but most of what I’ve been talking to editors about recently are Rom-Coms and Thrillers, surprisingly! Opposite sides of the spectrum! Many people just want more light hearted escapes from reality with a solid Rom-Com, and since Fantasy doesn’t seem to be selling as well according to publishing house marketing teams, Thrillers seem to be making a comeback both on the screen and in book form. I’ve had a lot of editors asking for Thrillers or darker books set in a more contemporary setting. I do, however, truly wish that Fantasy comes back once COVID is over. I’m an escapist reader at heart, which to me means that I love becoming immersed in completely separate worlds than my own when I can see my world crumbling around me. Oddly enough, I have seen an uptick in some Vampire paranormal novels, but please don’t send them to me. Again, send them to Rebecca Podos! I’m your local werewolf girl, not your vampire girl.

Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, secure an agent, and get published?

Wow, this is a loaded question! The best I can offer in a short answer is research, read, practice, and be kind. You need to research your craft for your genre and age range. So much of that research involves a lot of time on Google and down publishing industry rabbit holes on the internet, but it also involves just reading recent releases in your genre and age range. Find similarities and differences in your writing and theirs, and find comp titles. Be an active member of the community and find your people because trust me, you will need them! You need the support in this industry because it’s so lonely! Remember that writing is not a individual activity! It takes a very large team to get every book you’ve ever read on those shelves. So just be kind to everyone and don’t burn your bridges either. You’ve got this!

Would you like to attend other conferences, workshops writer’s retreats?

I love attending conference. I’m a talkative and social person by nature (can you tell?). However, COVID has made me stationary for the time being. I have recently gotten into online conferences though, and am always happy to participate in those until we can get this pandemic under control! My favorite part of conferences, workshops, and writer’s retreats is teaching though. Once in a while I really miss teaching, so should you need someone to teach or workshop or lecture on any aspects of the industry and writing as a craft, I’m your person! =)




In the subject line, please write “SEPTEMBER 2020 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2020 September  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED! Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.

Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: September 17th. – noon EST

RESULTS: September 25th.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 17, 2020

Book Giveaway: TAILS FROM THE ANIMAL SHELTER by Stephanie Shaw

Stephanie Shaw has a new picture book, TAILS FROM THE ANIMAL SHELTER, Illustrated by Liza Woodruff and published by Sleeping Bear Press in August. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, talk about it on Facebook with a link, or if you follow my blog and have it delivered everyday, and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Stephanie and Liza!


Did you know that more than six million pets arrive annually at community animal shelters in the United States? Of that number over three million are dogs. But of course it’s not just dogs and puppies that need homes. Shelters take in cats, kittens, birds, reptiles, and even domestic farm animals. And there are many reasons why these animals need to go to shelters. Some of the animals are strays and some are lost; some are rescued from natural disasters or from mistreatment. Some have been given up because their owners could no longer care for them. Using poetic back stories and informative text, Tails From the Animal Shelter shines a spotlight on the good work of community animal shelters. Ten different fictional animals, including a handicapped dog, a magician’s former rabbit, and a pot-bellied pig, represent the millions of pets brought to shelters every day. Whether they’re known as Humane Societies, rescue services, or other names, these organizations and their caring work remind us all of how a loving home can change the life of a vulnerable animal.

The book is made up of page after page of various (fictional) animals seeking adoption. There’s Lucky the three-legged, one-eyed dog; Pooter the skunk, Hamlet a pot-bellied pig and many more. It’s also packed with non-fiction information about various rescue organizations. There are guidelines to consider before adopting and ways to support shelters if adopting is not possible.


About four years ago, my husband and I decided it was time to downsize and try living in another state (away from my beloved native Oregon). I could write anywhere, right? But it turned out I could not. And days and weeks and then months began to pass without any writing.

One healthy writing habit I managed to hold onto was a daily walk. I would trudge up a long hill and back down. Sometimes I took unfamiliar routes on my walk. I came to dead ends. I had to carefully retrace steps to get back home.

Also, as I walked, I berated myself for not coming up with a new story. Why was writing suddenly so hard? It felt like the harder I tried to write, the less creativity I had.

Then one day it occurred to me to go back to what I did in the very beginning of my years in writing:  small poems. I didn’t have to write long paragraphs. Just little snippets. Surely, I could do that. And I did. I gave myself the task of writing a tiny poem each day. Each turned out to be about animals. And each one was searching for a home.

This led me to research how Humane Societies began. I tucked that information in with the poem collection and sent it to my editor at Sleeping Bear Press where I had four other picture books in publication.

It was my good fortune that Sleeping Bear loved it but they saw it as the basis of a non-fiction story and wanted the text expanded considerably. This was new territory for me. It was time to back up again and try this new route.

I learned so much. I read and read and read. I developed relationships with animal shelter workers. I picked the brain of a newspaper columnist who writes about dogs.  More than anything I developed a huge respect for non-fiction writers. This non-fiction writing was no walk in the dog park!

When I was stuck and thought I’d never have an idea (let alone a whole book), I went back. Since that time, I’ve also completed three concept books for Read Your Story and a picture book (Sylvia’s Way, West Margin Press, 2021). I’ve asked for help. I’ve taken classes, attended workshops, connected with a great agent. Oh, and we moved back to my beloved Oregon.

My journey is a testimony to my theory that writing is not a straight path. It is a maze. The ‘birth story’ of Tails From The Animal Shelter is just that.

I’m looking at a copy as I write this. It will forever be a reminder that writing is a labyrinth; a route under construction with lots of detours.

But I love what it led to.


Stephanie Shaw completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Education at Oregon State University and her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at Lewis and Clark College. Her career has included being a teacher of children with severe emotional disabilities, school counseling and school administration.

Stephanie says she had the great privilege of being born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Although she enjoyed many years of working in the field of education, she now happily helps little forest and farm critters fall asleep, casts magic spells to vanquish vampires and dresses up cows in high heels. Okay, maybe she doesn’t do those things, but her stories do!  You can learn three (true) things about Stephanie regarding lambs, licorice and the third grade by going to her website at  Oregon SCBWI has been her chief source of encouragement and guidance along the path to publication. She is represented by Marisa Cleveland of The Seymour Agency.

Stephanie has been writing and publishing books for young children since 2013. You might recognized some of her other books:

Piece by Piece

“Once upon a time a weaver tucked a memory into her collection basket.” Drawing inspiration from the natural world around her, a weaver woman with a magical touch crafts exquisite fabrics. And from the fabric she fashions a wondrous dress, with a bodice that sparkles of starlight and lace like the foam of an ocean wave. The weaver envisions the food and clothing she will be able to buy for her children from the sale of the dress. But when she takes the dress to a local shopkeeper, the weaver is told her work is not saleable. And so she starts over again. [Sleeping Bear Press, July 2017]

Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts

Schnitzel is an apprentice to a wizard. Reluctant to do his household chores, he accepts help from a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. But, this is no ordinary dust buster. And, did mention the salesman is a vampire? What could go wrong?

The Legend Of The Beaver’s Tail

This book is perfect for the classroom and school library as it combines a ‘just so’ type story with biological facts. It fits well in both legend and animal science studies. Sleeping Bear Press, April 2015.

A Cookie for Santa

In this clever twist on ‘The Night Before Christmas’, a Gingerbread Boy is carefully decorated and placed on a plate for Santa and wonders if he is brave enough to face his holiday duty. Sleeping Bear Press, 2014

Moo la la! Cow Goes Shopping

Silly Cow demands many things, and Pete (the very patient farmer) indulges her every whim. Does she really want shoes because Horse has shoes? And what about that wool coat of Sheep’s? Now she’s heard the turkey gets some sort of dressing! Cow will learn the hard way that maybe she shouldn’t whine for things she knows nothing about. Simon & Schuster UK, 2016

Bedtime in the Meadow

A gentle bedtime lullaby. ‘Hush, baby, hush. Now close your sweet eyes.//Stars are all blinkong in sleepy, dark skies.’  Join the littlest animals in the mead as they settle down into sweet slumber.

By the Light of the Moon

It’s bedtime in the forest and Fawn wants to stay up.”Does Fox stay up late? Are squirrels still playing up high in the trees? But, as night falls, Fawn finds that his friends are already fast asleep.

Under the Sleepy Stars

On a star-sprinkled night, Owlet watches the animals settle down. “Who tucks Fawn in? Who cuddles Cub?” asks wide-awake Owlet. But as night turns to dawn, it’s Owlet who needs a goodnight hug. Tiger Tales US/Little Tiger UK, 2015

Lullaby Farm

It’s bedtime on the farm. Sleepy chicks nestle close to mother hen and piglets snore in their pen, but will mama sheepdog ever get her wriggly puppies to bed? Spot the pup in each picture beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Harry.


As with many illustrators, mine was a long and winding path to publication. Along the way, I could be found scooping ice cream, counseling at summer camp, waiting tables at a dude ranch or operating a chairlift at a ski resort. At one point I even hoped to become a veterinarian! Of all my varied experiences, though, my favorite was at a children’s book review magazine–The Horn Book– where I fell in love with children’s books. After earning my BA in Art and French and my BFA in illustration at the Art Institute of Boston, I dove into children’s books and have since illustrated twenty-three of them.

It has long been a goal of mine to write my own stories to illustrate. My first authored book, EMERSON BARKS, was published by Christy Ottaviano Books in August of 2016. Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House then published A QUIETER STORY in July, 2019, and will publish ONCE UPON A WINTER DAY, in October of 2020.  

My home is in Vermont, nestled between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. When not working in my studio, I can be found on the lake, on the side of a mountain or deep in the woods with my family and/or two dogs.

Stephanie, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This is such a cute book. Kids love animals, so reading about an animal shelter is surely something that will thrill them. Liza’s illustrations are the icing on the cake. All the animals are adorable. It makes me want to visit the animal shelter to see and pet all of them. Good luck with the book. It is sure to be a winner.

Talk tomorrow,


After reading Darlene’s middle grade book, WISHES, DARES, & HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY, which was written in verse, I asked Darlene if she could talk about how someone who wrote in prose was inspired to write a novel in verse. I asked if she could included things that would help you if you were interested in trying you hand in writing a novel in verse. If you missed reading part one last week. Click here.  Below is part two of her article:

Writing Novels in Verse Part 2: How to Get Started: by Darlene Beck Jacobson

During my previous visit to Kathy’s blog I talked about how my MG novel-in-verse WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston) came about and some things to consider if you are thinking of writing a novel using the free verse format.

Today I want to share some prompts and exercises in writing free verse, and a few poems highlighting them. These techniques are taken from the workshop I present to students and at writing conferences.


  1. The difference between free verse and poetry that rhymes:
  • In rhyming verse, you have to follow meter and can get stuck finding the exact rhyming word to fit into the poem.
  • FREE VERSE allows you to use ANY WORDS that convey the feeling or tone you are trying to establish.
  1. How is free verse different from prose?
  • More WHITE SPACE on the page
  • You don’t have to use quotations for dialogue.
  • You don’t have to always use complete sentences.
  • It “cuts to the heart” of emotion and gets right into a character without spending a lot of time on background and scene setting.
  • You are also free to arrange words on the page in a different way.

(In Writing Novels in Verse Part 1, I showed the poem LONG and how it was arranged on the page.)

  1. How do we write a story in free verse?

Here is the poem introducing the main character from WISHES, DARES, & HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY:


I jiggle the rod, trying

to interest a fish.

Pops expects some level of


He gave up his day

to bring me here.


I wish the fish were biting

like last summer, he says.

We’d have caught a dozen by now.

In our bucket,

one sorry fish stares out.

If it was a fish that granted a wish

I’d ask it to bring

DAD home.


I wouldn’t waste my wish on

another fish.

Here’s another example:


My sister makes me laugh,

even when I feel like crying.

She spins in a circle,

pigtails swinging around,

and around, until she falls drunk with dizziness,

a pile of laughter in the grass.


This time do it with me, Jack.

She grabs my hand. We twirl and spin.

Katy remembers Dad

in a little kid kind of way.

Not the staying up late to talk and sneak ice cream

when everyone else sleeps way.


If he came home,

he would be like a stranger.

Katy wouldn’t grab

a stranger’s hand and take him for a spin.


When we land in the grass,

a thought pokes me

like Katy does with her elbow

when I try to ignore her being a pest.


Will Dad someday seem like

a stranger to me, too?

How many spins does

it take to make

bad thoughts go away?

  • You can also begin with a WORD that evokes emotion: FEAR, HOPE, LOVE, ANGER,


Jill forgets to ask me about

my safe place. I’m glad

because once I start talking about Dad,

I might never stop.


When Jill runs out of words,

she closes her eyes, snores.

I lay awake with a new ache

next to the one Dad made when

he went away.


It comes from knowing

bullies aren’t born, they’re made.

Can they be unmade?


I think about how having a Dad who’s

missing is the



worst thing for me.


For some kids, like Jill and Cody,

having no dad

might be

the best thing.

  • Begin with a PLACE that has something special about it. Maybe it’s scary, dark, lonely, quiet, unlike any place else. Maybe it’s a place a character DOES NOT want to be, or a FAVORITE place, or a place she misses.


We hide our bikes in the bushes, then

climb to the top branch of our favorite tree,

where we can see anyone who comes close,

but they can’t see us through all the leaves.

For a





time we don’t say anything,

like we forgot how to talk.


I listen to

leaves brushing against

each other and my heart beating like it’s

in my head. A thumping so loud,

everyone must hear it.


Jill breathes fast next to me.

Her hair smells like coconut,

and the freckles on her nose

are darker than I remember.


She pokes me with an elbow and says,

Okay, I’m ready to forget trouble

dressed up like Cody because I want to know

what happened here.


What makes you forget how to talk?

Her eyes are so wide.

Tell me, she says


  • Begin with an INCIDENT or ACTION (strong verbs always move a story forward). Something that happened and sets the story in motion. A conflict or action that creates a problem or tension.

(See PUSH poem below)

  • Write down some IDEAS that come to mind when you see these words. These may not stay in the poem, but are meant to spark things and get more information about what you are trying to say.
  1. Don’t forget about FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: Using techniques such as ALLITERATION, SIMILE, METAPHOR, ASSONANCE, ONOMATOPOEIA, REPETITON OF WORDS FOR EMPHASIS, as well as incorporating the senses, add richness to the poems.


Things you push:





a wagon, which you can also pull.


Most of the things you push

move, give way a little

loosen up with the pushing.


When one kid tries

to push another with

hands or words,

a kid can


give in

or stand tall

and refuse to take a push as the

final answer.


When Cody tries to push,

I figure the best thing for me to do

is take root, stay put

because sometimes

it takes more than a


to make something or someone,

to make me,



I hope these examples will get you started on brainstorming your own ideas for a novel in verse.

Try a few of your own. Maybe you’ll find something worth pursuing. If you want a story that cuts to the heart of the matter and gets right down to business…try writing it in free verse.


Darlene Beck Jacobson is a former teacher and speech therapist who has loved writing since she was a girl.  She is also a lover of history and can often be found mining dusty closets and drawers in search of skeletons from her past. She enjoys adding these bits of her ancestry to stories such as her award-winning middle grade historical novel WHEELS OF CHANGE (Creston 2014) and WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston 2020).

Darlene lives and writes her stories in New Jersey with her family and a house full of dust bunnies. She’s caught many fish, but has never asked one to grant her a wish. She’s a firm believer in wishes coming true, so she tries to be careful what she wishes for.

Her blog features recipes, activities, crafts, articles on nature, book reviews, and interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators.

Twitter: @DBeckJacobson

Thank you Darlene for taking the time to share your expertise with us. Good job! I am sure it will make things clearer for those writers who are toying with the idea of writing in verse.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 15, 2020


Today we have a real treat and opportunity. Illustrator, Will Terry, has published an illustrator’s guide to making money and developing a successful career illustrating. The book is titled, WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH IN ART SCHOOL.

Will has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about the book on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Even if you are not an illustrator, you can still share on Facebook, Twitter, or reblog. This really helps spread the word and you can always gift the book to one of your illustrator friends. Thanks for helping Will! Tell your illustrating friends, too. 

Illustrators. Stop Starving. Start Thriving.

Discover how you can turn your art skills into your own thriving career in Illustration.

FACT: Being an Illustrator is tough!

You have hopes and dreams to make it big as an artist; but you don’t know how to make it happen. Still, you push along doing the best that you can. Yet, as you move forward you can’t help but feel stress & anxiety about the future. “Will I actually succeed with my art?” “Is it even possible to find an art career that will pay my bills and fulfill me creatively?” To make things worse, you sometimes cave into your fears because of social distancing and/or your past.

Well, listen up! If you want to earn a solid living with your art skills, if you want to be recognized for your brand/content, or if you simply want to land your dream art job, then you need to read what I’m going to say…


The story behind the book: “What They Don’t Teach In Art School”

Sometimes in life you only get one chance to do something you really want to do. What I’m talking about is rare because even with some of the most important decisions we make like who to marry, or what home to buy, or even what career to pursue – we get second, third, and even more chances to change our choices. I had a decision to make and I had been delaying it for about a decade because I just didn’t want to do it wrong.

The decision I’m talking about is how to make the book I just finished that is now being sent off to the printer as I write this. What They Don’t Teach In Art School is an Illustrator’s guide to making money in the real world. 

I had wanted to make this book for the past 10 years but was afraid to do it poorly or afraid that I wasn’t ready to make it. I knew that once created I wouldn’t get a second chance to write it again. I had been compiling topics and ideas for this book for the past 3-4 years borrowing from the videos I had made for my youtube channel, my UVU lectures to my illustration students, talks I’ve given online and in person at different art schools, and from discussions I’ve had with colleagues. 

In addition I wanted  my book to show some of my work from my 30 year freelance illustration career. I gathered permissions from some of my publishers as well as selections of my best work over the years. Most business/marketing books are quite thin on visuals and the kid in me reasoned that I would love to read a self help book with pictures! So there are lots of illustrations throughout the book.

I also wanted to include advice from many of the illustrators I’ve looked up to over the years. In the end I’m an art geek who fans on many many artists and this was a good excuse to gather them in. I invited a really solid group of artists to lend their advice and art for the book and ended up with a great mix from pop culture artists to portrait artists – comic illustrators to gallery artists contributing to the book. I believe their contributions will really help up and coming artists gain important varied messages from top working artists.

Why did I want to make this book you might be asking yourself? Well, I have been a little frustrated with our system of art school education over the years. Art schools hire art teachers and many of them are really good at doing what they were hired to do – teach art. What they often lack is the ability and knowledge to teach the business side of art. The good teachers find people who are good at teaching their students the business side of art but that rarely happens and if it does it’s usually one or two guest lectures.  Instead, students graduate knowing how to make good images but know very little about the markets they need to sell their work in.

When I finished school it was no different – and I scrambled to find professional illustrators that would talk with me about and share their business knowledge with me. I found it odd that it was up to me to flesh out what I call, “the other half of an art education”. I thought we should have been talking about the business side of art a lot more in my schooling experience. This lack of education is what has fueled me for the past 15 years to incorporate business lectures in my University classes and to create my youtube channel. I’ve almost exclusively used my youtube channel to teach business related topics to artists who want to sell their work.

So, I was bumping along in life – everything going according to plan and then my wife died unexpectedly last year. I was fairly public about this event on my youtube channel as I knew that a lot of people would find out and want to reach out to me. It was the worst time of my life and I didn’t know how to cope or get through it – then I found out you don’t “get through it” – you learn to live with it. In learning to live with it I found that I just had no motivation to make art. For months I had nothing – I didn’t want to draw or paint and each time I tried I found myself depressed. 

I needed something to work on and that’s when I thought, “maybe I can start writing my book” – after all, I had all the resources, notes, outline, and material just waiting to be compiled. I quickly found that writing this book gave me purpose. I found that I could focus on the end user and their needs rather than my own and it was wonderful. I could feel fulfilled at the end of each writing session and I knew that my wife would be proud that her death gave new life to something good. 

After about 4 months I had my first draft. In subsequent weeks I was able to refine it to the point that I could share it with Kim MacPherson, my editor. The rest is kind of boring as far as getting it ready to give to my designer Maralee Nelson but for me the exciting part is that I was able to launch a successful kickstarter and follow up Indiegogo campaign and all totalled I was able to pre-sell about 7000 books! We are now in the production phase as files are being proofed and getting ready to send to our printer. We should have books back from the printer in late October/November. We will send out the books to all of our crowdfunding backers at that time. 

To grab a copy of the book, the best way is to visit and sign up for our mailing list. Before we get books you can be placed on the “notice” list and then after we get books you’ll be able to order a copy at our site and in the future we plan to also sell them on Amazon. 

In this BEAUTIFUL 300-page fully illustrated hard cover book; you’re going to learn:

Industry Insights

You will learn the most relevant professional practices I use in my career to this date. To name a few: How to find clients, how to price effectively and close deals, how to figure out which industry your art is best suited for, how to correctly invoice, industry mistakes you should avoid, and more…

This means you will be fully prepared to find and secure the right opportunities that will fulfill you creatively and pay you fairly.

How To Land Your Dream Art Job

For some of you, landing that nice prestigious illustration job at a famous company like Disney, Riot games, or DreamWorks is your dream. In this guide you will learn how to network effectively, how to get yourself & your art noticed, how to nail an interview, and much more.

This means that you will have a competitive edge over all the other illustrators out there trying to get the top jobs in your industry.

How To Get Freelance Work

For those of you looking for the thrill of freelancer life, I’ve got you covered. You will learn how to get the best freelance work, how to get your work discovered to attract more clients, how to correctly structure your portfolio, best practices to follow as a freelancer, and more…

This means that you will be able to create the freelance work-hard/play-hard lifestyle you want, earn a living, and still have time for conventions and games.

How To Create Your Own Brand

As artists, what we want most is to be known for our accomplishments and abilities. In this guide, you will learn how to combine your talents and establish your own personal brand; what it takes to get your brand off the ground, and how to get your brand to scale.

This means you will have the groundwork to expand your influence so you can gain the recognition & wealth you desire.

How To Create Your Own Products/Services

Some of you have always wanted to create your own games/products/services and sell them online via Kickstarter, Shopify, or Amazon. In this guide, you will learn how to start your own line of products/services, how to fail fast & improve, and how to sell your products/services profitably.

Understanding & applying the lessons from this section means you will be on the fastest road to 6+ figures.

How to Develop The Successful Illustrator Mentality

You will learn how to think like a successful illustrator and see the world as yours to make & create. You will develop a growth mindset that will enable you to try hard things and accomplish great feats.

This means that you will be able to see opportunities that you weren’t previously able to see and you’ll have the courage to reach out and grab them.

And so much more…


Will Terry has been a freelance illustrator for 23 years. He was horrible at math, English, and science…luckily he found art. After finishing his BFA project at BYU he began working for magazines and newspapers not far from where he grew up in Washington D.C. His early clients include publications such as Time, Money, Wall Street Journal and ads for Sprint, Pizza hut, M&M Mars, Fed Ex, and Master Card. He has illustrated about 30 children’s books for Random House, Simon Schuster, Scholastic, Penguin, Klutz, and Albert Whitman. He has created several indie ebooks that have sold tens of thousands of copies and has started a story app series with Rick Walton beginning with Gary’s Place. He also co-owns – online illustration classes for children’s book illustrators selling in over 80 countries.

Will Terry and I am a successful  illustrator. – He has illustrated over 30 children’s books for publishers like Scholastic, Penguin Random House, and Simon Schuster. He co-founded the wildly popular illustration podcast – 3 point perspective and co-founded with Jake Parker and Lee White where they teach illustrators all over the world. He created a thriving comic convention brand and has taught illustration and business practices for 9 years at UVU. He has been giving entrepreneurial advice on his popular YouTube channel  for over 10 years!

The point is, he has made his own successful illustration career. He, along with 12 other award winning illustrators, will show you how to make yours.

Will has an Early Bird Special of $29 for a softcover version and $39 for the Hard cover version. 

Click here to view Will’s Illustrator Saturday feature.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 14, 2020


I am sharing this, just in case you haven’t seen this on the Internet.

If you haven’t you might want to read and keep.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 13, 2020

Book Giveaway: RACCOON’S PERFECT SNOWMAN by Katia Wish

Author/illustrator Katia Wish has a new picture book titled, RACCOON’S PERFECT SNOWMAN published by Sleeping Bear Press. The book came out a few weeks ago. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy of the book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Katia!


Raccoon loves making snowmen. He practices all winter with his rolling, his stacking, and his decorating. He doesn’t overlook any detail and his snowmen are perfect. When his friends come by, Raccoon is certain that they will also want to build snowmen. And they will need his help. But following Raccoon’s directions aren’t that easy. Poor Rabbit can’t find the right snow (someone has used it all); Fox doesn’t have the right tools (someone isn’t sharing them); and Mouse can’t decorate her snowman (someone has taken the best items). And that someone is Raccoon. When his friends have decided they have had enough, Raccoon realizes too late the error of his ways. But is it too late? Will his friends give Raccoon one more chance to work together to build a totally different kind of perfect snowman? This ideal-for-every-time-of-the-year story celebrates the bonds of friendship and the power of forgiveness.

Inspiration photo

Another inspiration photo

Book Page layout


The journey with RACCOON’S PERFECT SNOWMAN was long and not linear.

It all started with thinking about childhood experiences and what brought me joy. I wrote things down and doodled different scened from my childhood.

Then I focused on memories of building a snowman. It’s such a sensory experience – changing color of the snow in the light, the warmth of the hat, the coldness of the snow, the sounds of the wind, the crunchiness of the snow.

After that came the character – Raccoon. The story wasn’t there just yet. All I had was a character and the feeling of a winter day and all kinds of fun activities you can do on a snowy day.

When you start from a character, it’s really quite a challenging experience. You try different stories on, try different directions. What you are doing at that stage is not developing the story yet, but getting to know your character.

This is something my wonderful agent coached me on through all the years I have worked with him. If the story comes from the character, the character is so strong and so alive and so believable. And it doesn’t matter what kind of story the character will live in, it will still be true and relatable and honest.

So we went through many many many drafts getting closer to the heart of the story. The first 5-7 drafts were not even close to the final book at all. But with each draft the true character was revealed.

It’s an exhausting experience to build stories this way, but it’s worth it. If the story relies on one joke or one trick, it will not have re-readability.

When we were ready to submit, we found a great publisher for the story – Sleeping Bear Press. The editor and the art director there are wonderful. They had even more suggestions and ways to improve the story and the artwork. They came up with the most brilliant solution to the ending of the book. Even though their solution was so obvious and so undeniably best, I didn’t see that solution even through so many drafts of the story. The fresh set of eye does makes such a difference in any kind of creative project or any situation in life!

I am so grateful for all the help and feedback from my critique partners, my agent and the editorial team at Sleeping Bear Press!


Katia Wish is a children’s book author-illustrator based in Boston, MA. She enjoys creating her own stories as well as illustrating manuscripts of other authors.

Katia grew up in Belarus enjoying cloudy, rainy, snowy and occasionally sunny days, playing outdoors, reading books and painting with watercolors. Now she lives in Boston with her family. All of them enjoy having nature adventures in any weather and reading picture books together. Katia prefers solitude when writing books and creating her illustrations in watercolor and pencil in her cozy studio.

Katia is the winner of the 2011 Tomie DePaola Award from SCBWI. In addition to working on children’s books, Katia teaches illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Katia, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I have been watching your career for the last nine years. It is wonderful to see your progress. I have a copy of the book and the artwork is wonderful. Great job! I love the theme of friendship and working together. Good luck with the book!

Katia was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here is the link:

Or visit her on her website:

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 12, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Srimalie Bassini

Srimalie lives and works in Mantova, Italy in 1986. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts, and later was selected for a Master’s degree in Illustration Editorial “ARS in FABULA” in Macerata. Her work is always full of surprises and she likes to diversify her style based on the story she is illustrating.

Since Srimalie was a child her mother gave her the passion for drawing and painting, and she had always encouraged her artistic expression.
Srimalie attended the art school and the Academy of fine arts, and later was selected for a Master’s degree in Illustration Editorial “ARS in FABULA” in Macerata.

She enjoys drawing in pencil, and then applying color with the graphic tablet. The result is much more immediate than traditional techniques.
Some of her drawings were selected from the monthly magazine “LOGOS” in 2012. That same year she published with Bacchilega Editore the book titled: “La storia più bella”, and in 2014 she will publish two books for Lantana Editore, and she will publish children’s book titled: “il maialino salvadanaio” for Gilgamesh Editions in September 2014.

Here is Srimalie discussing her process:

Finished cover

Below are a few covers of her many books.

Interview with Srimalie Bassani

How long have you been illustrating?

Since 2012, several years ago!

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

The very first piece was a picture book for an Italian Publisher “Bacchilega Edizioni”, the title was “La storia più bella” tells about a story really happened set in the 1920s, about a travelling Circus that was blocked by a snowfall. Kids and locals people helped the Circus to stay safe.

Does Mantova, Italy have a community of children’s illustrators that stay connected?

Mantova is a little city, and the Artist does not have many opportunities to stay in contact.  I’m connected with different illustrators throughout Italy, my virtual collegues and friends.

What made you decide to attend the Academy of Fine Arts located in Macerata, Italy?

I was looking for an illustration course after my Bachelor’s degree in Pictorial Decoration in Verona. At the time there wasn’t many school of illustration and when I was selected for Ars in Fabula Master I felt so happy to have been taken!

What was your main area of study?

I dedicate several time to study characters and view design.

Did you take any children’s illustrating courses?

Yes of course! Before to be one of alumns of Ars in Fabula I did many courses: illustration in watercolours techniques, acrilycs, life drawing, digital painting, and storyboarding.

You say you were selected a Master’s degree in Illustration at the Academy of Fine Arts. What did you have to do to get selected?

I had to do a test, I had to showed my portfolio to a professional commission, and then an oral interview.

Did you take time off before starting your studies for your MFA?

No, in 2009 when I had the degree in Decoration at Academy of Fine Arts, I signed up immediately for do different courses in another School of illustration Sàrmede, based in Treviso, Italy.

Do you feel school helped you develop your style?

Absolutely! They push me to develop my personal style, but I need to change it every time to searching for different way to give my interpretetation to the story.

Did the school help you find work when you graduated?

Unfortunately the project, Hansel and Gretel, that I made during the Master was not published by the house publishing partner. This project remain of one my dream. I hope soon or later to publish it.

What type of work did you do when you started your career?

Before to be an illustrator I usually paid my bills doing coffee and ice cream into a chocolate shop. After my first published book I quit that job and I decided to spend all my time for my passion (illustration)!

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?

During the Academy of Fine Arts I went to an illustration exhibition of different illustrators and I fall in love with this kind of Art! So I promise to myself that I will be an illustrator.

What is the title of your first illustrated book?

Was it a picture book? How did you get that opportunity? Like I said before, the first picture book is “la storia più bella” published by Bacchilega Editore. The writer contacted me after saw my portfolio online.

How many books have you illustrated?

I lost the exact number! I guess Less than 100 but more than 50!

How did you connect with Astound.US? How long have you been with them?

My collegues tell me about Advocate Art Agency. I send to them my portfolio and a while time after I start a collaboration with them. One year later they passed my contact to their colleagues, a new agency based in New York, called Astound Inc. From that moment start a very good relationship between us!

I saw Santa in… Did you illustrate all 50 states for the series published by Sourcebooks?

It was a very huge commission, I worked together Nadja Sarell. That months was like playing piano with four hands.

How did you get?

My Illustration Agency give me the opportunity to work at these books.

Is Red Light, Green Light (I Help My Friends) a board book?

Nope, is a picture book.

Looks like Red Light, Green Light (I Help My Friends) is a series. How many of these have you illustrated?

Yes, is a Series for Rourke Publishing! I illustrated eight books for this series.

I notice you have a number of your books are available on Kindle Unlimited. How does that work? How did you get your books in there?

OMG! This is a very strange question. I usually send my arts to graphic department and then they set up the illustrations for print, ebook etc.

Do you think having your books available on Kindle Unlimited is a good way to get noticed?

Yes, it’s a new way to be noted.

How many books have you done for Flowerpot Press? How did you connect with them?

I have meet them by Astound, as usual. I did many books with them, I have doing 2 differents series and I keep going to paint them and I am so happy for that!

I just featured your latest picture book Waiting Together by Danielle Duyfayet. Was this your first book working with Albert Whitman & Company? Did they give you instructions of what they were looking for or did they give you the text and leave it to you to come up with the look?

It’s my first book! And it’s a pleasure for me working with one of the most important picture book publisher in the world. They just give me the manuscript split for spreads. I do the rest with my imagination.

Was Albert Whitman & Company your first US publisher?

No, I have done my first activity book with Quarto Children’s Books.

Have you done any illustrations for Children’s magazines?

I was selected with two illustrations for an Italian magazine “Illustrati” by Logos Edizioni.

How long have you been working full time as an illustrator?

I guess 7 years, I usually work for 8-10 hours by day, then I quit!

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

Yes, in the past I worked with many self -Publisher Author.

I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

Definitely the latest book published by Albert Whitman! It’s really a huge goal for me!

What is your favorite medium to use?

Absolutely my Cintiq!

Has that changed over time?

When I start to illustrate, I used many techniques, acrylic, crayons, watercolour, every type of colouring technique! Now digital is the only way if you want to work faster.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

Yes, I changed many graphic tablet, now I’m feeling very well with a 13” Cintiq

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

Cintiq and Photoshop are my favourite tools (sorry pencils!)


Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

For every new project that come to me I spent a lot of time to learn new paint techniques and figure it out to develop my style.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

Yes, it’s very important spent time to research. I usually made a folder of references that help me to build the illustrations and find new inspirations.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes, absolutely! I can reach more publishers, authors, and I can always be informed about what I have to know.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

One day I would like to publish my cook book, with my illustrations and recipes! Bakery is my second passion!

What are you working on now?

I finished in these days a collaboration with I See Me Books (little spoiler: it’s about football), and now I have to start a collaboration with an italian game publisher.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

For electronic supplies the best moment to buy them is, obviously, the black friday! For papers and pencils I usually buy them to an italian fine arts shop named Amicucci.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

Reading, study, and repeat! Your dreams are very close to you if you want! Nothing is impossible!

Thank you, Srimalie for answering the interview questions and sharing your expertise with us. Please let me know your future successes so I can share it with everyone.

To see more of Srimalie’s work, you can visit her at:





Talk tomorrow,


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