Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 12, 2019

Illustrator Saturday – Jill Weber

JILL WEBER doubles as a children’s book illustrator and designer. She began her education at Rhode Island School of Design and completed her BFA at The New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she taught children’s book illustration. Jill collaborated with author Julie Salamon onThe Christmas Tree, a New York Times best seller. Their newest collaborations include, Cat in the City (Dial Books 2014) and Mutt’s Promise (Dial books 2016).

Other works include—Christmas Tree Farm (Holiday House 2006), a Jr. Library Guild Selection and a New York Time’sChristmas pick in 2006. Even Higher: A Rosh Hashanah Story (Holiday House 2009) written by esteemed author Eric Kimmel received an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award. The Story of Hanukkah (Holiday House 2011) by David Adler, was a New York Times holiday pick and the original art was on exhibit at the Danforth Museum Nov. 2011 to Jan. 2012. When Jill is not at her drawing board, she can be found in her garden.

HERE IS JILL DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

How long have you been illustrating?

More than 40 years

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

Right out of school, I worked for an independent publisher as an assistant to the trade, college and children’s department. I did an illustration for the cover for a series on composers and the composer was Delius. I have to say this job was the best education I had.

Have you always lived in New England?

I grew up in CT commuting distance from New York City. And moved to NYC right out of school. I moved here to NH with my husband (actually we were married here) to live what Helen and Scott Nearing called the “Good Life”. We were hippies determined to live a self-sustaining life. We had chickens, pigs, and milk goats and then a baby. All these years later, we still grow our own food, but have a dog instead of farm animals.

Did you go to college to study art?

I went to Rhode Island School of Design right out of high school. But didn’t finish and was in New York working my first job at 20. I would go to a drawing class to get out of my studio at the New Hampshire Institute of Art which ended up getting its accreditation and I decided to finish my BFA almost 30 years later. It was such a wonderful gift to go back and now I am an adjunct illustration teacher there.

Did the school help you find illustration work?

No, but in all fairness to RISD, I did not graduate, and I have been working all this time.

Do you feel art school influenced your illustrating style?

Yes, but also my father had been spoon feeding me art and illustration since I was a child. I also feel that different projects have called for different style solutions, but at the end of the day—it is still me.

Was Who Was John F. Kennedy published in 2004 your first illustrated book?

I did a series of fun Penny Whistle activity books which led me to The Christmas Tree, a NY Times bestseller and then got my first call for a bona fide picture book, called Harp’O Gold for Holiday House.

What type of illustrating were you doing before that first book?

In the 90’s I did a lot of gift books and cookbooks, sprinkled with educational work.

Were you excited to illustrate The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle in 2011?

Who doesn’t love Madeleine L’Engle!

How did that job come about?

I have a sneaky suspicion my editor from Holiday House might have recommended me.

I see you have published a few books with Holiday House. How many books have you published with them?

9 or 10?

How did those opportunities come your way?

I used to take my portfolio to New York a few times every year and usually a project would follow. I do feel that I have maintained relationships along the way which   have led to these wonderful opportunities. Some I have initiated with the author.

Are Mutt’s Promise and Cat in the City middle grade books?

Yes, they are middle grade books, written by Julie Salamon and published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

Did you do black and white interior illustrations for those books?

Cat in the City was full color and Mutt’s Promise was black and white.

How long did it take you to illustrate your next picture book, Pippa’s Passover Plate?

Roughly 3-4 months

How did that contract come your way?

Vivian, the author and I are in a critique group together and she brought this charming manuscript to our group. I was so sure this is just what Holiday House was looking for that I asked if I could bring it with me to New York when I went to have lunch with my editor. She bought it on the spot!

How many books have you illustrated?

Several dozen

Do you have an artist rep. to represent your illustrations? If so, who and how long. If not, would you like to find one?

I do not have a rep but I am open to it. The art of getting work has changed significantly over the years.

Have you done any book covers?

I have. I have also worked as a designer.

Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

It would depend entirely on the circumstances.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

I have, but such a long time ago. I believe it was Pearson, D.C. Heath and Brown Network, though I am not certain who is still in business.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

I have illustrated for Cobblestone which used to be located here in Peterborough New Hampshire, Cricket, Ladybug and Faces.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

What a wonderful idea!

What do you think is your biggest success?

I think my biggest financial success was The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon published by Random House, which now has a new life with Open Road Media. The picture book that has keeps on giving is The Story of Hanukkah by David Adler, published by Holiday House. That art lead to a solo original art show at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, Massachusetts and just came out as a board book. But I consider my most successful achievement is being able to live the life I want and doing the work I love.

What is your favorite medium to use?

My new favorite medium is acrylic gouache.

Has that changed over time?

It’s a relatively new product, but I have used acrylics and gouache so I consider this the perfect marriage.

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

This last year, I have been so busy that I am trying to just keep up! When not quite so busy, I keep a sketchbook handy.

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

Always!

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes and no. I have mixed feelings. Of course, it is helpful to have a website presence, but I am not sure it is how I get the work. It does make research easier. And I love keeping a visual scrapbook on Pinterest.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Though my method is generally traditional, Photoshop is a wonderful aid. I may use it to rearrange compositions, add a pattern to a traditional piece that I have scanned in or even make last minute corrections. At the risk of sounding old fashioned, there is no replacement for standing in front of a beautiful painting, rather than viewing it on line. Or getting dirty with paint. We are missing the tactile element of making art. I love getting my hands dirty in the garden and getting dirty in my studio. It is a sensory experience that doesn’t happen in digital art.

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

Not yet! I am going to treat myself to an IPad Pro when I finish this book.

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

To write AND illustrate my own book.

What are you working on now?

A really fun Hanukkah picture book.


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 love Strathmore 400 and 500 series papers, vellum finish. I am trying to convince this new generation of students that quality paper and quality of paint matters. The pigments are richer. I shop at Blicks online, but miss the local art supply store where I bumped into new mediums and could actually touch the paper.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

There is no question that how I came to be an illustrator, might not be the best way now.  I worked two staff jobs in publishing before I went freelance. It was there, that I met almost everyone I have worked with over the years. I do know that making lots of work, posting often, sending postcards, learning your audience and most of all nurturing relationships are key ingredients.

Thank you Jill for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Jill’s work, you can visit her at: Website: https://www.frajilfarms.com/ 

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Jill. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 11, 2019

AGENT OF THE MONTH – MARLO BERLINER – Interview Part One

CONGRATULATIONS, MARLO!

Last March Marlo started  at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship with The Bent Agency. In November, she moved up to Associate Agent and has agreed to be January’s featured Agent of the Month. See Submission Guidelines at the bottom of this post. Submit a first page and get in the running for a critique. 


Marlo Berliner
Associate Agent

Marlo Berliner is an award-winning young adult author, freelance editor, and bookseller. She joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in March 2018 as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship with The Bent Agency. Now, she is actively building her list as an associate agent. She is a member of SCBWI, RWA, NJ-RWA, and YA-RWA. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Marlo was an accounting manager for a Fortune 500 company. She holds B.S. degrees in Economics and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

What Marlo is looking for:

Marlo believes the best stories have both compelling characters and tight, emotionally involving plot-lines. If your writing can translate emotion to the page and give her a visceral reaction of humor, fear, joy, sadness, intrigue, or romance, then she will keep turning pages.

Middle Grade and Young Adult: I am interested in all genres of MG and YA fiction, with particular emphasis on adventure, psychological thriller, suspense, mystery, paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, speculative, and romance. I enjoy magic, magical realism, unusual settings, pirates, dark elements, gothic tone, secrets or secretive characters, treasure hunts, and unreliable narrators. Also, if you can take a story or intellectual property (in TV or books) that is popular with the adult crowd and give me it’s MG or YA version, then I will give it a look because I believe these types of stories may have strong potential for the market. Stories told by #ownvoices, and stories with diverse characters of all kinds, including neuro-diverse and LGBTQIA+ are all welcomed. I am also open to coming-of-age stories set in college that walk the line between upper YA and NA. While I do like contemporary tales, I may not be the best fit for ‘issue’ books where the central conflict revolves primarily around rape/rape-culture, drugs, or illness. I will also consider some select non-fiction projects in MG and YA, particularly if they involve pop-culture or current events.

Adult: I am interested in all genres of Romance, except inspirational, historical and erotic. I am also open to women’s fiction, mystery, thriller, and suspense.

Some favorite titles on my reading shelf include One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab, and Nevermoor, The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.

For more, follow me on Twitter @MarloBerliner.

How to submit:

Please submit your query and first 20 pages of your finished and polished manuscript via my Query Manager: http://QueryMe.Online/marloberliner

You will receive an automatic response from Query Manager which lets you know your submission is in my inbox, and you can track your query’s progress. I’ll respond within 6 weeks, but only to projects that interest me.​

PLEASE NOTE: Marlo only accepts Query Manager submissions; any queries sent by email or regular mail will not be considered.​

For non-query related matters only, please email me at Marlo.jdlit@gmail.com

HERE IS PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH MARLO:

What influenced you to become an agent?

I’ve been involved in publishing now for over twelve years, as a publishing conference chair, an author, a freelance editor, and finally a children’s lead bookseller for Barnes & Noble. As a freelance editor, I’ve always enjoyed helping other writers develop their stories. After a while, I realized I was able to recognize which stories in my inbox had more potential than others. So when I saw an opportunity to intern at The Bent Agency I jumped at it. I learned a great deal from that first internship with Molly Ker Hawn, and then even more from my second internship with Colleen Oefelein at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. I will always be grateful for what I learned from both of those amazing agents. Being an agent is a great fit for me because I’ve had a nearly 360 degree view of publishing – as author, agent, editor and bookseller.

Do you have a number of clients you plan to represent?

I won’t limit the number of clients I take on, but I do have a general number in my mind that I believe I will be able to successfully handle. For me, the most important thing is doing the best job for my clients that I can. That will mean balancing the workload of the clients I already represent versus taking on new talent.

What are your favorite genres?

My favorite genres are paranormal, urban fantasy, magical realism, horror, light science fiction, mystery, thriller, and suspense.

Any story or themes you would like to receive?

A well-rounded MG or YA story about a group of kids who find themselves entangled in a mystery they must solve, either with or without an element of paranormal, sci-fi, or magical realism. The kind of story where the friendships become as big or bigger than the mystery itself. As a bookseller, I was approached countless times by kids of all ages looking for ‘just a really good mystery.’

What would you do if you had a client who wrote a picture book? Would they have to look for another agent for those books?

No, they wouldn’t. In fact, very shortly I plan to open up to picture book submissions from author-illustrators. I just didn’t want my query inbox to be inundated at the outset.

Do you think it’s okay for an author to write picture books, middle grade novels, and YA novels? Or do you feel it is better to focus on one age group and genre?

I absolutely think it’s fine to write whatever moves you, or whatever is going to grow your skills as a writer. Along the way you might discover that the younger YA you think you’re writing is better suited as a MG with younger characters, or conversely, that the themes you’re writing about in MG would resonate better for a YA audience. I do think it’s absolutely essential however, to read widely in the genre and age group you’re trying to write for, and also to know what the trends and expectations are for those as well.

How important is the query letter? 

A well-written query letter is definitely a plus, because it shows me you’ve done your homework, but ultimately it is your pages and your concept which must sell me.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask for more?

You only have twenty pages to get me to ask for more. So in those first twenty, show me a well-thought-out original concept, with memorable characters, a great voice, and solid, polished writing. Draw me into your story, your world, and your character’s dilemma immediately. Make those first twenty pages so great I simply have to ask for more. And if I do, then send me a full manuscript that has all of the above through to the very last page.

How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

I usually read the entire first twenty pages of a query, unless there are just so many flaws in the sample that I am simply forced to stop reading. The same goes for full submissions. I will keep reading for as long as there is a reason to. In most cases, I do give manuscripts a full read just to be sure I am not being too hasty. But if I’m starting to skim, that’s usually a bad sign.

Any pet peeves?

Querying more than one agent at our agency at the same time. If you receive a pass from one of our agents, you are free at that point to submit to another. All I ask is that you wait for that first pass. Nothing is more annoying than when a writer submits to two or more of us within a few minutes or days. (And believe me, we know.) Please give one agent at a time, ample time to consider your work.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART TWO OF INTERVIEW WITH MARLO.

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR JANUARY 2019 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “JANUARY 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).

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: January 25th.

RESULTS: February 1st.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH MARLO.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 10, 2019

Book Giveaway: Mirabel’s Missing Valentines

Author Janet Lawler has a new picture book titled, MIRABEL’S MISSING VALENTINES. It is available in bookstores now. Janet 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 Janet!

BOOK’S DESCRIPTION:

When Mirabel’s valentines fall out of her bag on the way to school, the shy little mouse panics. But those lost cards brighten some days . . . before making their way back to her. 

“Mirabel was very shy.
She’d always been that way.
She trembled at the thought of
giving Valentines away.”

Poor Mirabel! It’s almost Valentine’s Day and the shy little mouse trembles at the thought of giving cards away. Yet she carefully crafts her valentines, drawing a heart on every one. In the morning, Mirabel forces herself to hurry to school. But, in her nervousness, she doesn’t notice her bag becoming lighter and lighter: her valentines are falling out! By the time she realizes what’s happened, they’re all gone. It turns out, though, that these lost valentines bring joy into the lives of all who find them. Then, with her valentines back in her pack, and some newfound friends, she musters up the courage to celebrate the holiday after all! This wonderful tale of overcoming insecurity will make its way to the hearts of all young readers.

BOOK’S JOURNEY:

Two of my most recently published picture books took over ten years each to find their way to print. Their writing, revision, submission, and acquisition journeys had so many twists and turns that you’d need a GPS to find your way from my idea to publication! I share this, not to discourage anyone, but rather to encourage writers to stay ever hopeful. Markets change, editors move, our craft improves, and a story-in-a-drawer will find a home one day—unless you have put it in that drawer for good, like I did with my first version of a Valentine’s Day story.

I began brainstorming Valentine’s Day ideas in early 2016. I had written books for several holidays, but none for the day of “love.” Looking back, I realize that I didn’t really have a clear plot as I started writing Mousey’s Missing Valentines. But one came to me as I wrote, or so I thought.  My plot idea? Mousey absolutely loves Valentine’s Day, but her classmate Kid (who is a goat) is a Valentine’s Day Grinch. He doesn’t bring a decorated box or cards to school, and he chews up Mousey’s valentines while everyone is out at recess. Just as Christmas comes without the presents in Seuss’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Valentine’s Day comes in this story without Mousey having cards to hand out. Kind Mousey still enjoys the class party and even makes another card for Kid. He comes back the next day to apologize and share with the class a post-Valentine’s Day pinata in the shape of a heart, giving Mousey an arrow-shaped stick for the first whack. And if you are laughing at this improbable plot, it’s okay. I am laughing as I type!

But I wasn’t laughing as I wrote it. I loved my story, just as I love all my stories. I thought it had great pacing, a good story arc, an endearing protagonist, and an antagonist worthy of reform. What happened next? I took this manuscript to my weekly critique group. Needless to say, I got a lot of comments. I re-wrote the story, trying to address most suggestions, and I read it to my group at least one or two more times.

I felt I had a pretty good manuscript several weeks later when I sent it to my then agent. But—she raised even more good questions about plot, character motivation, current Valentine’s Day school parties, and overall story message. I was very discouraged. After mulling for a few days, I finally realized that nobody loved Mousey as I did. So I decided to let her go—to the drawer.

I quickly took a completely different approach with MIRABEL’S MISSING VALENTINES. First, Mousey’s name morphed from Mousey to Marmalade (already taken by a cute UK story mouse) to Mirabel. Also, I began writing in rhyme instead of prose. My new story had “heart” and hearts, as shy Mirabel loses her valentines out of a hole in her bag on her way to school. The townsfolk who find them are cheered up and return them just before she heads into the building. She has a great time at her class party, and her new town friends tuck more valentines into her bag on the way home. The simple plot touches on social anxiety and shares a subtle message that “the more love you give, the more you get back.”

I made countless small revisions to refine the text after sharing this version with my critique group and agent. MIRABEL’S MISSING VALENTINES received early interest from Sterling Children’s Books. I did one pre-offer revision that involved targeted re-writing of text showing the townsfolk finding the valentines. Sterling felt that my efforts to create tension in the story made these scenes come across as too negative. For example:

A lady at her mailbox slumped,

appearing rather glum.

But after Mirabel went by,

she hummed a happy hum. 

I revised these lines to:

A lonely lady looked inside

her empty mailbox twice.

But after Mirabel went by,

She smiled and thought, how nice!

Once the manuscript was acquired in early 2017, I undertook more revisions following exchanges of editorial comments and replies. During an editorial conference call, the last remaining outstanding issues were resolved, including how best to portray the lonely lady who finds the first valentine. We had a long discussion about whether people wait for mail at mailboxes these days, since so much is done by e-mail. Should I change the lonely lady’s first lines? Perhaps those lines might read:

A lonely lady sat outside

and checked her e-mail twice.

Ultimately, we agreed that the mailbox lady was lonelier and would be more cheered up by Mirabel’s dropped valentine (after all, waiting with a computer might not be so lonely, since the lady could be browsing the internet while waiting on the porch for her e-mail…). As it turned out, the delightful art of Olivia Chin Mueller has a delicious, retro, small-town feel that makes the traditional mailbox scene exactly the right choice.

I was gratified to have opportunities to review and comment on preliminary cover and interior sketches once the text was finalized. My comments were filtered through Sterling editorial and art departments, and Olivia did a great job finalizing the art. Her end-papers and final pages guide the reader to understand that the townsfolk are sharing a unique Valentine’s Day journey and cards with Mirabel.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about MIRABEL’s path to publication. If you visit the book’s page on my website, you can download a sheet of cute, free Valentine’s Day cards featuring Olivia Chin Mueller’s illustrations. And I’ve also posted a free CCSS Curriculum Guide for educators and parents. https://janetlawler.com/book/mirabels-missing-valentines-picture-book/

Thanks so much, Kathy, for helping to spread the love of children’s literature and MIRABEL’S MISSING VALENTINES, and for all your terrific, helpful posts on Writing and Illustrating!

JANET’S BIO:

Janet Lawler is a prolific author specializing in children’s literature. Her critically acclaimed books have appeared in Scholastic Book Clubs and the Children’s Book of the Month Club. Her recent works include Ocean Counting, Love is Real, and Leaves. She loves sharing the humor of everyday life with young readers.

Janet’s books have been published across the globe and have been translated into several languages. Lawler received a BA in government and American studies from Connecticut College and went on to complete her JD at the University of Connecticut. She lives in Connecticut.

Thank you Janet for sharing your book and journey with us. A Valentine’s themed book – so much fun and so lucky to have Olivia Chin Mueller illustrate the book. Olivia was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 9, 2019

Industry Changes – Kudos – Book Winners

BOOK WINNERS:

Carol Baldwin won WHICH ANIMAL IS THE FASTEST? By Carolyn Le

PTL Perrin won AN ORANGUTAN’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Laura Boldin-Fournier

Winners please send me your name and address


Here is an illustration by Bob Mcmahon to help us celebrate our winners and all the industry professionals moving up. Bob was featured on Illustrator Saturday in 2014. Here’s the link.

Congratulations to Carole Gerber. Her book, LITTLE RED BAT (Arbordale Publishing, 2010), has been translated and is being sold in China. In the process she learned from a Chinese-American author that bats are symbols of good luck in Chinese culture and she told me that the words for “bat” and “good fortune” are homophones.

INDUSTRY CHANGES:

Claire Eddy has been promoted to executive editor at Tor/Forge Books.

Carina Guiterman joined Simon & Schuster. She was previously at Little, Brown.

Jackson Howard was promoted to assistant editor at Farrar, Straus.

Caroline Eisenmann has been promoted to agent at Frances Goldin Literary Agency.

Lindsey Rose will join Dutton as executive editor, acquiring commercial fiction including thrillers and suspense, starting January 22. Most recently she was senior editor at Grand Central.

At Crown, Meghan Houser has been promoted to editor; Rose Fox to associate editor; and Jon Darga and Jillian Buckley to assistant editor.

Donna Loffredo has been promoted to senior editor for Harmony Books and Rodale Books, and Michele Eniclerico moves up to associate editor for the two lines.

Lisa Yoskowitz has been promoted to editorial director, nonfiction at Little, Brown Children’s.

Charlie Ilgunas has been promoted to associate editor of Little Bee Books and Yellow Jacket, and Rebecca Webster has been promoted to senior editor of BuzzPop.

Cara Bedick joins Chronicle Books as executive editor of Mark Tauber’s yet-to-be-named new imprint that will publish six to eight titles per season with a focus on narrative, practical, and inspirational nonfiction. She was most recently a senior editor at Touchstone.

Ashley Collom is joining Thompson Literary Agency as literary agent January 7. She was previously an agent and the head assistant at DeFiore and Company.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 8, 2019

The SLF $500 Older Writers Grant

The SLF $500 Older Writers Grant

The SLF $500 Older Writers Grant is awarded annually, since 2004, to a writer who is fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. We are currently offering two $500 grants annually, to be used as each writer determines will best assist his or her work.

This grant will be awarded by a committee of SLF staff members on the basis of merit. Factors considered will include:

  • a short (less than 500 words) autobiographical statement, describing the writer and his/her work thus far; be sure to include date of birth
  • a writing sample (up to 10 pages of poetry, 10 pages of drama, or 5,000 words of fiction or creative nonfiction — if sending a segment of a novel, novella, or novelette, please include a one-page synopsis as well)
  • a bibliography of previously-published work by the author (no more than one page, typed); applicants need not have previous publications to apply

If awarded the grant, the recipient agrees to provide a brief excerpt from their work, and an autobiographical statement describing themselves and their writing (500-1000 words) for our files, and for possible public dissemination on our website.

PLEASE NOTE: This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working within speculative literature. Speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more. Any piece of literature containing a fabulist or speculative element would fall under our aegis, and would potentially be work that we would be interested in supporting.

Older Writers Grant Application Procedures

  1. Send the three items listed above to our older writers grant administrator Malon Edwards as attached .doc files, to olderwriters@speclit.org. Include a brief cover letter with your name and contact info (e-mail, phone in case of emergency). If you have questions, direct them to that same address.
  2. Older writer grant applications will be considered from January 1st to March 31st, annually. Applications received outside that period will be discarded unread.
  3. The grant recipient will be announced by June 1, annually. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by that date.

Grant Winners

To see a list of all previous Older Writers grant winners, click here.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 7, 2019

Opportunities on Writing and Illustrating

Illustration by Barbara Johansen Newman. Barbara was featured on Illustrator Saturday. 

Here are the opportunities available on Writing and Illustrating. I hope you will take advantage of them in 2019.

ILLUSTRATIONS FOR DAILY POSTS: This is a good way to get your work seen and you name out there. Not many illustrators utilized this in 2018.

365 daily posts, provides illustrators many opportunities and I always need illustrations for holidays. You do not have to wait for the holiday to send. I will save them in a folder for the right time. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com. Put “ILLUSTRATION FOR BLOG” in the subject area. Remember all illustration need to be 500 pixels wide. Include a blurb about yourself, too.

ASK THE EXPERTS: Dianne Ochiltree answers all your writing and publishing industry questions and Christina Tugeau have been providing advice to illustrators about the industry, promotions, and techniques for last couple of years. Since, we have not had many submissions, so both are taking a break until April. Please send in your questions if you want to encourage them to keep sharing their expertise.

This is an underutilized feature. Try to write down your questions when they come to mind and then send them in. Put Ask Cat or Ask Dianne in the subject area.

KUDOS POSTS: This is where you get to tell everyone about your success stories. Have you won a contest, gotten an agent, sold a book or an article? If so everyone wants to hear about it. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com. Put “SUCCESS STORY” in the subject area.

BOOK GIVEAWAYS WITH AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS FEATURED BOOKS: A great way for authors and Illustrators to promote themselves and their books.

I always ask for the author and/or illustrator to write up the books journey, because I feel it helps unpublished authors and illustrators learn how others have walked that road to publication and gain inspiration to do the same.

Self-published book authors can participate. You must agree to doing a book-giveaway.

If you are interested, please send me the following things using Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com. Please put BOOK PROMOTION in the subject area:
1.A .jpg of the cover at least 500 pixels wide.
2.A picture of you.
3.Your bio
4.The story of your books journey to publication.
5.Description of your book and the story.

ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY: If you are an illustrator and would like to be featured on Illustrator Saturday, then send me a note with some samples and a link to your work. Please use the gmail address above and put “Illustrator Saturday Consideration” in the subject area. Remember I can’t be everywhere to see all the great artwork out there.

If you were featured previously on Illustrator Saturday and have at least 20 new illustrations, then email about your desire to show your new work. Please put “Previous Featured Illustrator” in the subject area. Only two illustrator took advantage of this in 2017.

AGENT OR EDITOR OF THE MONTH: FRIDAY INTERVIEWS – LIKES and DISLIKES – FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

Each month an industry professional will critique four first pages from the pages submitted.

In the subject line, please write “(the current month) First Page Critique” and 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 your first page).

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.

GUEST POSTS: I am always looking for articles about writing and illustrating that I can share with my followers to help them improve their skills, etc. It is a good way to get your name out there and promote your books, too. Send me an email with your ideas to: Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com. Another under used opportunity.

HERE ARE OTHER REGULAR FEATURES:

AGENTS LOOKING FOR CLIENTS: Trying to help you do your homework before submitting.

PLACES TO SUBMIT: Sharing information from various places.

CONTESTS: I try to point these out because submitting to the right contest and getting feedback or winning can be a big boost to keep you writing and illustrating.

CONFERENCES – ONLINE WORKSHOPS – RETREATS: Great way to continue your education of writing and illustrating better. These are also a wonderful way to network and make new friends.

INDUSTRY NEWS: Obviously, we all need to keep up with what is going on in the industry.

HOW TO ARTICLES: Always looking for things to help improve our writing and illustrating skills. Sometimes all we need is a reminder of something we know but may not be using.

Please let me know if you have any new ideas for this coming year. 

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 6, 2019

Opportunity: AWP Annual Competition for Publication

About the Award Series
AWP’s Award Series is an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works. The competition is open to all authors writing in English regardless of nationality or residence, and it is open to published and unpublished authors alike.

The Award Series conducts an evaluation process of writers, for writers, by writers. AWP hires a staff of “screeners” who are themselves writers; the screeners review manuscripts for the judges. Typically, the screeners will select ten manuscripts in each genre for each judge’s final evaluations.

Eligibility Requirements
Only book-length manuscripts are eligible. The Award Series defines “book-length” as:
• Poetry: 48 pages minimum text;
• Short story or creative nonfiction collection: 150–300 manuscript pages; and
• Novel: at least 60,000 words.

Poems and stories previously published in periodicals are eligible for inclusion in submissions, but manuscripts previously published in their entirety, including self-published manuscripts, are not eligible. As the series is judged anonymously, no list of acknowledgements should accompany your manuscript.

The AWP Award Series is open to all authors writing original works in English for adult readers. Mixed-genre manuscripts cannot be accepted. Criticism and scholarly monographs are not acceptable for creative nonfiction, which the Award Series defines as factual and literary writing that has the narrative, dramatic, meditative, and lyrical elements of novels, plays, poetry, and memoir.

To avoid conflict of interest and to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, friends and former students of a judge (former students who studied with a judge in an academic degree-conferring program or its equivalent) are ineligible to enter the competition in the genre for which their former teacher is serving as judge.

Current staff of AWP and members of AWP’s Board of Trustees may not enter the AWP Award Series, and previous staff and Board members may not enter for a minimum of three years after leaving AWP or rotating off the Board, respectively.

AWP makes every effort to vary the judges by region, aesthetic, and institution so that writers, if ineligible one year, will certainly be eligible other years. If a contestant wins in any genre, he/she may not enter the competition again in the same genre for the next five consecutive years.

You may submit your manuscript to other publishers while it is under consideration by the Award Series, but you must notify AWP immediately via Submittable if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

AWP cannot consider manuscript revisions during the course of the contest, but the winning authors will have an opportunity to revise their works before publication. Please read the entry requirements and guidelines carefully before submitting your work.

Winners will be announced on our website and via email in the Summer of 2019.

Terms & Conditions
• Your submitted manuscript must be an original work of which you are the sole author.
• The decision of the judge is final. The judge may choose no winner if he or she finds no manuscript that, in his or her estimation, merits publication and the award.
• Your manuscript must be submitted in accordance with the eligibility requirements, format guidelines, and entry requirements or it will be disqualified.
• No entry fees or manuscripts will be returned.
• This competition is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Manuscript Format Guidelines
Manuscripts must be typed and double-spaced. Poetry manuscripts may be single-spaced. Each manuscript must include a title page with the manuscript title only. If the author’s name appears anywhere on the manuscript, the submission will be disqualified. Do not add a page with acknowledgement of previous publications or a biographical note. Please upload your manuscript to our submission system as a doc, docx, txt, pdf, or rtf document.

Entry Requirements
Please upload your manuscript to our submission system as a doc, docx, txt, pdf, or rtf document at awp.submittable.com/submit
• You will be required to remit an entry fee—$30 for nonmembers and $20 for AWP members—at the time of submission. All entry fees are nonrefundable. Students and faculty who have been registered by their program directors as members of AWP are eligible for the member fee.
• You may enter in more than one genre, and you may also enter multiple manuscripts in one genre, provided that each manuscript is uploaded separately as an individual entry.

Deadline
Manuscripts must be uploaded to awp.submittable.com/submit between January 1 and February 28, 2019.

2019 Prizes, Judges, and Presses

Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
$5,500
Judge: Natasha D. Trethewey
Publication from the University of Pittsburgh Press

Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
$5,500
Judge: Dan Chaon
Publication from the University of Massachusetts Press

AWP Prize for the Novel
$2,500
Judge: TBA
Publication from New Issues Press

AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction
$2,500
Judge: Debra Monroe
Publication from the University of Georgia Press

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 6, 2019

Writing and Illustrating Opportunities

LOOK FOR THIS POST TOMORROW (Monday)!

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 5, 2019

Illustrator Saturday: Snow and Snowmen

KARLEN TAM: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

JIM STARR: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

CAROLYN LE: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SUNDAY.

PRISCILLA ALPAUGH: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

CARRIE ANN BRADSHAW: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

LORRAINE ROCHA: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

ANNI BETTS: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

LINDSAY WARD: FEATURED ON ILUSTRATOR SATURDAY

CHERYL NOBENS: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY 

AMALIA HOFFMAN: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

OLGA SKOMAROKHOVA: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

JIM STARR: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

ANNE WERTHEIM: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY. 

DANIELA VOLPARI: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

RAHELE JOMEPOUR BELL: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

KEVIN BARRY: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

OLGA SKOMAROKHOVA: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

KATHRYN HOWARD: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

 

CARRIE ANN BRADSHAW: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

LEILA NABIH: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY. 

snowmanski

MICHELE NOISET: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY 

marknewyorker500

MARK MEYERS: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

SUSAN DILLARD: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

LISA FALKENSTERN: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

JENNIFER ZIVION: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

MIRKA HOKKANEN: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

Enjoy the snow this winter. Wishing everyone fun in the snow, time to watch it fall from a toasty room, and none shoveling or icy roads.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 4, 2019

Agent of the Month – Marlo Berliner

CONGRATULATIONS, MARLO!

Last March Marlo started  at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship with The Bent Agency. In November, she has moved up to Associate Agent and has agreed to be January’s featured Agent of the Month. See Submission Guidelines at the bottom of this post. Submit a first page and get in the running for a critique. 


Marlo Berliner
Associate Agent

Marlo Berliner is an award-winning young adult author, freelance editor, and bookseller. She joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in March 2018 as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship with The Bent Agency. Now, she is actively building her list as an associate agent. She is a member of SCBWI, RWA, NJ-RWA, and YA-RWA. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Marlo was an accounting manager for a Fortune 500 company. She holds B.S. degrees in Economics and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

What Marlo is looking for:

Marlo believes the best stories have both compelling characters and tight, emotionally involving plot-lines. If your writing can translate emotion to the page and give her a visceral reaction of humor, fear, joy, sadness, intrigue, or romance, then she will keep turning pages.

Middle Grade and Young Adult: I am interested in all genres of MG and YA fiction, with particular emphasis on adventure, psychological thriller, suspense, mystery, paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, speculative, and romance. I enjoy magic, magical realism, unusual settings, pirates, dark elements, gothic tone, secrets or secretive characters, treasure hunts, and unreliable narrators. Also, if you can take a story or intellectual property (in TV or books) that is popular with the adult crowd and give me it’s MG or YA version, then I will give it a look because I believe these types of stories may have strong potential for the market. Stories told by #ownvoices, and stories with diverse characters of all kinds, including neuro-diverse and LGBTQIA+ are all welcomed. I am also open to coming-of-age stories set in college that walk the line between upper YA and NA. While I do like contemporary tales, I may not be the best fit for ‘issue’ books where the central conflict revolves primarily around rape/rape-culture, drugs, or illness. I will also consider some select non-fiction projects in MG and YA, particularly if they involve pop-culture or current events.

Adult: I am interested in all genres of Romance, except inspirational, historical and erotic. I am also open to women’s fiction, mystery, thriller, and suspense.

Some favorite titles on my reading shelf include One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab, and Nevermoor, The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.

For more, follow me on Twitter @MarloBerliner.

How to submit:

Please submit your query and first 20 pages of your finished and polished manuscript via my Query Manager: http://QueryMe.Online/marloberliner

You will receive an automatic response from Query Manager which lets you know your submission is in my inbox, and you can track your query’s progress. I’ll respond within 6 weeks, but only to projects that interest me.​

PLEASE NOTE: Marlo only accepts Query Manager submissions; any queries sent by email or regular mail will not be considered.​

For non-query related matters only, please email me at Marlo.jdlit@gmail.com

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR JANUARY 2019 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “JANUARY 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).

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: January 25th.

RESULTS: February 1st.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH MARLO.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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