Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 8, 2018

Industry Changes

This fun illustration was created by Rachel Dougherty. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday

Rachel Ekstrom Courage has moved to Folio Literary Management as an agent representing adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction and select nonfiction projects. Previously she was an agent at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

At Sterling Lord Literistic, Laurie Liss has been promoted to executive vice president and managing partner, and Nadyne Pike moves up to chief operating officer. (Doug Stewart and Celeste Fine were both made vice president, as well.)

At Knopf Children’s, Marisa de Novis has been promoted to assistant editor.

Macmillan Children’s announced a number of promotions: Liz Dresner has been promoted to associate art director; Rebecca Syracuse has been promoted to associate designer; and Celeste Cass is now assistant production manager. At FSG Children’s, Grace Kendall moves up to senior editor and Nicholas Henderson is assistant editor. At Roaring Brook Press, Emily Feinberg has been promoted to editor and Megan Abbate is assistant editor. At Feiwel & Friends, Emily Settle has been promoted to assistant editor to the publisher. At First Second Books, Calista Brill is editorial director; Kiara Valdez becomes an ​assistant editor; and Gina Gagliano has been promoted to associate director, marketing and publicity.

Editor of book review site Forever Young Adult Jennie Kendrick will join the literary agency Lupine Grove Creative.

Whitney Ross has joined the Irene Goodman Agency, representing middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction across all genres, with an emphasis on historical, SF & fantasy, romance, and contemporary fiction. She is also open to non-fiction submissions in the areas of design, cooking, and fashion. She was a senior editor for Tor Teen, Tor, and Forge, working at Macmillan for the past decade.

Janine Perez has joined Random House Children’s as marketing manager. Previously she was a marketing manager at Simon & Schuster Children’s. In addition, Kelly McGauley has been promoted to assistant director, trade marketing; Hannah Black moves up to marketing manager; Jules Kelly has been promoted to assistant marketing manager; Audrey Steuerwald moves up to design manager; and Andrea Comerford has been promoted to marketing coordinator.

At Chronicle Books, Jennifer Tolo Pierce has been promoted to design director, children’s publishing; and Julia Patrick has been promoted to associate editor. Madison Killen has joined as children’s marketing manager. Previously she was manager of creative content at Penguin Young Readers.

Lucy Cummins has been promoted to executive art director at Simon & Schuster Children’s and Paula Wiseman Books.


Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 7, 2018

Audiobooks on Google Play

“Read more.” Every year it’s one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But with all the time spent battling traffic, working out, or picking up groceries, there often doesn’t seem to be a minute to simply sit down with a book.

Now you can listen to audiobooks without a subscription on Google Play and get a 50% discount off the current store price of one audiobook on Google Play. Open to participants who have never purchased an audiobook on Google Play. Offer ends February 26, 2018. Discount applied at checkout. Redeem by March 1, 2018. Limit 1 per user. Valid in United States only. 

With audiobooks on Google Play, rolling out today in 45 countries and nine languages, you can turn your time stuck in traffic, on the treadmill, or waiting in line into reading time. Find your next great read at an affordable price, and enjoy it across Android, iOS and the web with Google Play Books, as well as on devices that include the Google Assistant, like Google Home and many others. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Listen without a subscription. On Google Play, you can buy a single audiobook at an affordable price, with no commitments. You can also get a free preview of the book to make sure you’re hooked by the story and enjoy listening to the narrator’s voice. And share your favorite audiobook with everyone in the family through Family Library for no additional fee—even if they’re using a different device.
  • Enjoy your audiobook with your Google Assistant. Just say “Ok Google, read my book” to listen to your favorite audiobook hands free with the Google Assistant on your phone or speaker, like Google Home. Try “Ok Google, who is the author?” if you need a refresher, or “Ok Google, stop playing in 20 minutes” to set a timer for bedtime reading. For now, the Google Assistant integration with audiobooks is available on Android phones and smart speakers globally in English. It will be coming soon to the Assistant on Android Auto in the U.S.

If you like audio books, you might as well get 50% off. Their prices look pretty good, too.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 6, 2018


Scott Treimel is February’s Agent of the Month.

He is closed to unsolicited submissions, but if you are a follower of my Writing and Illustrating blog you can submit a full picture book manuscript or a query with the first three pages of a chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel in the month of February.

PLEASE NOTE – changed information:

To take advantage of this opportunity, please use this email address: kathy(.)temean@gmail(.)com. You MUST put SCOTT TREIMEL FEBRUARY SPECIAL SUBMISSION in the subject box and note you are a follower.

Of course format your submission using one inch margins, 12 point New Times Roman font, double spaced, plus don’t forget your name, address, and contact information.

DEADLINE: February 28th. Please check last Friday’s post for the first page guidelines.

These instructions are for this limited opportunity with Scott.

Thank you for you patience,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 6, 2018

Emerald City Literary Agency: Mandy Hubbard


Emerald City Literary Agency launched at the end of 2015, by agency founder Mandy Hubbard.

Mandy began her publishing career on the other side of the desk–as an author. Her debut novel, Prada and Prejudice,was published by Penguin’s Razorbill books imprint in 2009, and went on to appear in TIME magazine and Entertainment Weekly. She has since written 10 other novels, published by Harlequin, Flux, and Bloomsbury. Her work has been translated into a half dozen languages and optioned for film.

Soon, Mandy found that she was just as drawn to the business side of publishing as she was the creative one. She considered a career as a literary agent, and tested the waters by interning for an established New York City agency. The internship confirmed she’d found her passion, and soon after she sought out an agency interested in adding a new agent to their roster.

Mandy joined D4EO Literary Agency in February of 2010, where she began building her list. A few months later she sold her first book in a 4-way auction. The following year, she brokered her first six figure deal. By the end of 2015 she’d sold nearly 70 novels to major publishers, and was ready to launch Emerald City Literary Agency.

Mandy still juggles writing with agenting, and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Mandy maintains a Goodreads list for all of the titles she’s sold. You can view her bookshelf here.


Mandy will consider anything within MG, YA, and genre romance (NOT adult fiction with a “love story.”)

Some of her current “gimme” items are:

-Epic fantasy and Sci-Fi for teens

-Contemporary romance (dark or light) with a great hook for YA

-Historical or Contemporary romance for adults, the sexier the better. (Including Erotica!)

-Unreliable narrators, mysteries and thrillers

-Historical MG or YA inspired by or based on real life tragedies/historical events (Example: BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, CHAINS, etc).

-Anything with royalty

-MG or YA with unusual formats or timelines

-MG or YA survival stories a la Oblivion Road, Hatchet, Etc.

When in doubt, simply send a query letter! Mandy will let you know if it’s right for her.


Mandy represents only Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Genre Romance.

Do not query for children’s books, non-fiction, screen plays,  short stories/novellas, or books for adults which would not be published into the romance section.

Mandy is actively looking for projects by POC authors or with LGBTQ+ themes.


Send your query letter + the first five pages of your novel pasted into the body of an email to:

Mandy responds to every query received. If you do not have an answer to your query after 12 weeks, feel free to status query by forwarding the same query and leaving the body of the original email unchanged.

If Mandy requests your full manuscript, please allow up to 12 weeks for response before emailing for a status check.

If your receive an offer while Mandy has your query or your manuscript under consideration, please notify her at the same email address and give us one week to request/read your material.


Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 5, 2018

HMH Announces New Children’s Imprint

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s will launch the Versify imprint in spring 2019, “curated” by author Kwame Alexander — working will executive editor Margaret Raymo, editorial project manager Erika Turner and an advisory council of students from across the country.

Versify will publish innovative creators with fresh stories. The imprint reflects Alexander’s vision that accessible and powerful prose and poetry—in picture books, novels, and nonfiction—can celebrate the lives and reflect the possibilities of all children. Seeking new authors and artists as well as established writers and illustrators, Versify will publish books that explore the beauty, hurdles, and hopefulness of life . . . books that will engage, entertain, and empower young people to imagine and create a better world.

“I get asked what will make Versify different from other imprints,” says Kwame Alexander. “The truth is we are not reinventing publishing. It’s the same ingredients in our kitchen as everyone else’s: we want to publish books for children that are smart and fun, that inform and inspire, that help children imagine a better world. My goal is just to make sure there are more chefs in the kitchen, more voices in the room, that create unique and intelligent entertainment that electrifies and edifies young people. So yes, I too am looking for the next Mo Willems and Jacqueline Woodson. It’s just that I plan to look far and wide in places unseen to most. As Langston Hughes said, ‘Life is a big sea full of many fish. I let down my nets and pull.'”

Working alongside Alexander will be his editor, longtime HMH Sr. Executive Editor Margaret Raymo, Editorial Project Manager Erika Turner and an advisory council of students from across the country.

Versify will launch in spring 2019. The inaugural list will include This Is For Us, a picture book that pays tribute to the sacrifices and triumphs of African-Americans, written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by acclaimed artist Kadir NelsonThe Last Last-Day-of-Summer, a middle-grade modern day Phantom Tollbooth, written by founding member of We Need Diverse Books, Lamar Giles; ¡Vamos! /Let’s Go! the first in a new bilingual picture book series by Pura Belpreaward-winning illustrator Raúl the Third; and White Rose, a young adult novel in verse that tells the true story of Nazi resistance leader Sophie Scholl, by YARN Poetry Editor Kip Wilson.

Catherine Onder, SVP and Publisher of HMH Books for Young Readers said, “We’re thrilled to partner with Kwame on Versify. From The Crossover to his international touring to his extensive literacy work with students and teachers, he brings an extraordinary vision, passion and outreach that will surely resonate with readers young and old, long into the future.”

About Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 25 books, including REBOUND (Pub Date: April 2, 2018), the follow-up to his Newbery Medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. Kwame writes for children of all ages. Some of his other works include THE PLAYBOOK: 52 RULES TO HELP YOU AIM, SHOOT, AND SCORE IN THIS GAME OF LIFE; picture books, ANIMAL ARK and OUT OF WONDER; and novels, SOLO and BOOKED. A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of several awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. He believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people around the world through his Writing Workshop. He’s led cultural exchange delegations to BrazilItalySingapore, and to Ghana, where he is training teachers and building a library and health clinic, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. The 2018 NEA Read Across America Ambassador, Kwame is also the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch.

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 4, 2018

Book Winners and the Superbowl – GO EAGLES!


Kristen Donohue won Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen

Lisa Billa won BunnyBear by Andrea J. Loney

Laura Hartman won A Place to Start a Family: Poems About Creatures That Build by David L Harrison

Vicki Willow won: Stoked – 1969 by Helene Forst

If you are a winner, please send me your address.

Fly Eagles Fly!

On the road to victory!

Fly Eagles Fly!

Score a touchdown!

1, 2, 3!

Hit’em low!

Hit’em high!

And watch our Eagles Fly!

On the road to victory!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 3, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Daniela Volpari


Daniela Volpari is a freelance illustrator currently living in Rome, Italy. She graduated from the International School of Comics in Rome. She mainly uses traditional techniques in her illustrations.  Daniela has participated in several exhibitions in Italy, Los Angeles, and Paris. Her picture books are published in Italy, France, New Zealand, Spain, Russia and America.

Here is Daniela discussing her process: This is an illustration from “Un Amour Américain” book. 

Storyboard: you can see my first idea, very simple lines. In the middle the fold of the book. horizontal lines on the left are the text space.

Pencil: all characters and objects are defined. Many of them are studied separately before being included in the final illustration. To do this I have been inspired by many films, like “The Godfather”.

Colortest: here I do different color experiments with Photoshop, as long as I’m not satisfied with the result. This serves me as a guide before painting.

Final: Here the final result, with traditional technique tempera (or gouache) painting.   The original illustration is made on Arches paper satin 300 gr,  size: 31 x 54 cm.

Part: a zoom on the particular. My illustrations are not all so large and complex. In this case I took about 2/3 weeks to complete everything, but normally a medium-sized illustration takes about 4/5 days between design and coloring. Unfortunately, my time is above all about coloring. But I love it!



How long have you been illustrating?

Since I finished my studies I immediately started working, so I’m an illustrator from about 8-9 years. but passion has always been there.

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

My first real paid job was “La Bohème” illustrated book. It was a very strong emotion. I had an indescribable enthusiasm. I am always enthusiastic and excited about starting new projects of course, but obviously the first one is never forgotten.

What made you choose the International School of Comics to study illustrating?

I have always wanted to do this job but here in Italy there were still not many schools and the information was poor. By chance, I stumbled into an illustration show of the students who came out of this school. I was very impressed because they were very good and it was just the kind of design that I wanted to do.

Did the school help you find illustration work?

Yes, let’s say that as much help as possible, it’s you who have to work alone to look for a job. In the school I have been able to refine the technique and have a portfolio in line with market demand. Proposing oneself to publishers then inevitably must be an individual job. In the school I have had many advices.

Do you feel studying art school influenced your illustrating style?

Not the school. My taste has influenced my style. I absorbed what I liked best.

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

I worked in a bar to keep up my studies, I continued for a while, at the same time I was illustrating the first books. However, I immediately started to illustrate books for children.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I had dreamed of this profession since I was a child, but growing up I thought it was impossible. A bit like when you think you want to become an astronaut. Then I began to realize that I could really do it.

How did you get the job to illustrate your first picture book, “La Bohème”?

I collected my best illustrations in an online portfolio. Then I did a search for publishers that could be compatible with my style and I sent email with my portfolio. The publishing house was really very small, maybe that’s why he answered me 🙂

Do think “La Bohème” influenced the publisher of Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile into hiring you for Cleopatra?

The first job was fundamental for all that came later. Other publishers have been interested in me seeing how I have dealt with a complete project, because not a few beautiful images are enough to say that you are able to make an illustrated book. For Cleopatra they did not ask me for a specific style, they simply had good expectations about my skills.

How many picture books have you published?

10 illustrated books and about 10 other collections, fiction books, illustrated novels and various other projects.

How many picture books have you illustrated with US publishers?

I’m working right now on my first illustrated book with an American publisher. Maybe it will come out in September. For now in bookstores in the US there are only a few translations of my books exported from Europe.

How long have you been with Shannon Associates and how did the two of you connect?

I’ve been collaborating with them from a year. They had contacted me several years before but I still did not feel ready to entrust myself to an agent. Then last year I contacted them hoping that the proposal was still valid, and here I am.

Are there publishers in Rome that publish your books?

Not in Rome, but scattered throughout Italy.

Is Alice in Wonderland you latest book?

my last book is “Topi ne abbiamo” (Mice we have), published in Italy with DeAgostini. It’s not a real illustrated book but more a novel illustrated with some internal illustrations.

Have you won any awards for your illustrating?

I have been selected for a couple of competitions in which I participated years ago. And I won an illustration contest in 2010 (Tapirulan, in Italy) and it makes me very proud to have received the award from jury president Sergio Toppi.

Do you ever have to turn down work to illustrate a book?

Yes, I have refused a few stories because I did not feel suited to me. I have also refused some proposals not suitable for my processing time, or not paid properly.

Have you done any book covers?

Yes and I admit that I still feel very distressed because it is really difficult to find the best way to represent it. In this case the teamwork between art director / author / illustrator / graphic is very important.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

Yes, it’s a project that I’ve been keeping in the drawer for a long time, but sooner or later I know it will see the light!.

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

Why not, if the project is good and the commitment is from the whole team could be done.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

I have worked on educational books that teach foreign languages. “Alice in Wonderland” for example is one of these, as well  “The Secret Garden” and “The Three Musketeers”. At the end of each chapter there are training questions (ELI readers, Italy). Lately I have just worked on educational books for elementary school children, but it is still in the process of being published for Pearson Italy.

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

No, this not yet.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I do not know how to answer this question. I always try to improve myself and face new challenging projects. I always try to give my best.

Now that you have an agent, do you spend any of your time promoting your art?

Actually, I believe it is the opposite. Now that I have an agent, I have more work to do and I have less time for promotion and social media.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Traditional technique always. I love paper and pencil, and paint with brushes and tempera colors.

Has that changed over time?

I have always preferred traditional technique. At first I used acrylics, then I rediscovered tempera colors.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

Yes, a space of my own where to organize everything. Sometimes I miss having no company or colleagues around, but social networks are sometimes a good virtual coffee break with them.

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

It depends on the period. Unfortunately, the more time passes, the more difficult it is to find the right concentration for personal work. However, even if little, I always try to find it.

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Very very much. Research is fundamental to me. Relying only on what you know in my opinion is limiting and does not stimulate creativity. If I have to draw a house for example, I look for a thousand photos of a thousand different houses to create something new.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Certainly. The Internet has been fundamental to finding work and letting oneself be found. Even collaborating at a distance between different continents is not a problem. It is also an immense library of data, information, photos and anything that is needed for research.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Only photoshop sometimes, for some very fast and simple projects or for minor tweaks or changes. I use photoshop much more for color tests personal study before painting by hand.

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

Yes, I have a bamboo fun from about 8-9 years.


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

My greatest aspiration would be to publish for the major publishers of the world with beautiful and stimulating books and stories. I think it’s the dream of all us book illustrators.

What are you working on now?

Now I working for two very different illustrated books. One for a French publisher, it is a very nice and sweet story, of an Italian author. The other book, however, as I said before, is for a US publisher and speaks of the childhood of a historical figure.

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 only have my favorite paper to paint that I love: Arches 300gr satin. I can’t live without, I think it’s magical.

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

I believe I say banality, but it is the truth. Talent is not enough, you have to work hard, improve and try many times. If you want to become a book illustrator you have to browse through it, study and grow up. The important thing to understand well is: if there’s a publisher refusal we need to understand where we can improve and not get down. Don’t give up!

Thank you Daniela for sharing your talent, process, and expertise with us. Make sure you share you future successes with us. To see more of Daniela’s work, you can visit her at her website:

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

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 2, 2018

February Agent of the Month – Scott Treimel

 I am happy to announce that agent Scott Treimel has agreed to be February’s Agent of the Month and critique four first pages submitted. 

He is closed to unsolicited submissions, but if you are a follower of my Writing and Illustrating blog you can submit a full picture book manuscript or a query with the first three pages of a chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel in the month of February.

PLEASE NOTE – changed information:

To take advantage of this opportunity, please use this email address: kathy(.)temean@gmail(.)com. You MUST put SCOTT TREIMEL FEBRUARY SPECIAL SUBMISSION in the subject box and note you are a follower.

Of course format your submission using one inch margins, 12 point New Times Roman font, double spaced, plus don’t forget your name, address, and contact information.

See bottom of the page for guidelines to participate in the First Page Critiques.

S©ott Treimel NY is a full-service boutique agency representing the intellectual property rights in the work of authors and illustrators of books for children and teens, only: Picture books – Chapter books – Middle Grade books – Young Adult novels – Non-fiction and fiction – all genres. He also represents selected children’s illustrators.

STNY’s client list includes well-known talent and novice creators they believe can sustain long-term careers and are especially proud of the original talent they’ve discovered and the careers they’ve launched.

As members of the Association of Authors Representatives, the Authors Guild, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, they adhere to the principle that our clients’ interest is always paramount. Our chief responsibility is to maximize the value of our clients’ work and protect their fiduciary interests. They maneuver their clients’ careers within the context of the quickly shifting book market. Here is how they do it.

    • STNY provides hands-on editorial expertise to refine concepts, fine-tune projects, and pre-wash manuscripts. We want to present editors the very best work. Scott Treimel’s long tenure in New York-centric children’s publishing means they target projects to the right editor(s) and the right publishing house(s)— those best able to push they’re authors and illustrators and projects and properties to fulfill their promise.
    • STNY negotiates deal terms with care and negotiates the most protective and advantageous contracts in the business. They oversee all phases of the editorial and publishing process and confirm the accuracy of royalty statements, where mistakes are common enough. They administer the detailed terms of publishing contracts, monitoring how a publisher performs its responsibilities. They offer marketing advice and random support, although we are not in the business of public relations.
    • Finally, STNY exploits the subsidiary rights— film, foreign, electronic, commercial branding, audio, dramatic, promotion, and serial— in their clients’ work, either directly or in association with our network of sub-agents, giving STNY properties a worldwide presence.


In the subject line, please write “FEBRUARY 2018  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 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: February 16th.
RESULTS: February 23rd.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!


Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 1, 2018

Book Giveaway: Gazpacho for Nacho by Tracey Kyle

Tracey Kyle has agreed to give away a copy of her new book GAZPACHO FOR NACHO to 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 did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


Nacho likes to eat only one thing—gazpacho! Gazpacho for breakfast, gazpacho for lunch, gazpacho for dinner, for snacks, and for brunch. Nacho won’t even try other dishes—until he discovers miles and piles of mouthwatering vegetables at the market. This lively rhyming story, sprinkled with Spanish, will delight little chefs. A recipe for Gazpacho and a Spanish glossary are included.


I was living in Madrid in 2004 with a group of Spanish teachers, studying art at the Prado and reading Spanish plays in cafés at the beautiful plazas around the city. It was hot. The sun in Spain is strong and while the heat is dry, it’s still 100 degree heat—or higher. And unlike Americans, the Spanish aren’t obsessed with air conditioning. Businesses prop open their puertas and everyone sits outside people-watching. I craved a cool breeze.

I had lived in Madrid as a college student many years earlier and had fond memories of my dear Spanish madre making a cold, tomato-based soup for me called gazpacho. Gazpacho varies in the different regions of Spain but the basic recipe is a mix of tomates and fresh vegetables. It’s delicious. It’s cool. It was the perfect sopa to eat that summer in Madrid.

At the local supermercado, they sell gazpacho in cartons like orange juice, so I bought a container and ate a cup for breakfast each day. At lunch, I ate another bowl, and at dinner yet again I ordered more gazpacho. “You should just take a bath in gazpacho,” a fellow teacher told me. By the end of the summer, I was back home blasting the aire acondicionado, frequenting our air-conditioned restaurants and driving my air-conditioned car.  But I still wanted gazpacho.

The idea for Gazpacho for Nacho didn’t come to me right away. I enjoyed writing, and had published a few books for Spanish teachers. I knew it was a long and frustrating process, but I had spent my childhood writing poemas and stories. While the idea of creating a children’s book was always there, it took a back-seat to my teaching responsibilities and my family. I realize now that I wasn’t ready.

“Gazpacho for breakfast, gazpacho for lunch,
gazpacho for dinner, for snacks and for brunch.”

These lines came to me in the middle of the night. I wrote them down in the notebook I’d been using to keep track of ideas as they occurred to me. That weekend I wrote the first of many drafts of Gazpacho for Nacho. It combined my love of Spain, the Spanish language and food. I spent the summer writing and rewriting. I joined the SCBWI, devoured books on “writing for children” and researched publishing companies. After six months, I submitted the story for publication to ten editors. By spring, I had received two rejections and hadn’t heard from the others. I told myself that I obviously wasn’t meant to be a writer and went back to planning lessons for my students, who at this point were the recipients of every creative idea I had. I was happy teaching, but the profesora in me was determined to teach kids about this yummy, cold sopa!

It was my husband who pushed me to dig out the story. A heavy snow fell that winter and we were out of school for a week. “You need to take out that manuscript,” he ordered, “and start writing again.” For eight hours a day, I worked on the story and researched editors who were interested in food, travel or multicultural picture books. Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish was one of those editors. Her letter arrived that spring, saying that she thought it would make a “cute story.” Have you sold it yet? she asked. It took two years of revisions and the process was slow, but Gazpacho for Nacho was finally published with Amazon Children’s Publishing (who eventually bought Marshall Cavendish) in 2014.

For a very long time, when people asked me what I did for a living, I said I was a middle-school teacher. “And I write when I have time,” I would add, as if the hours spent thinking about my story didn’t count, or the months spent writing and revising didn’t take up too much of my time. As I started going to conferences and attending writing workshops, I realized that I was a writer long before I was published.

As Nacho would say……Olé!


Tracey Kyle grew up in New Jersey and spent much of her childhood reading and writing poems. After seeing the boy band Menudo perform on a Latino TV station in middle school, she decided to learn Spanish fluently. Eventually she studied in Madrid, Spain where she discovered a tasty soup called gazpacho! She spends most of her time as “Señora Kyle,” teaching Spanish to a fun group of 8th graders. Currently she lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, and when she’s not writing lesson plans or working on a new story, she loves to read, cook and practice yoga.

Visit her website at

Tracey, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I can’t wait to see it in the bookstores. I am sure the winner will love it.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 31, 2018

The Irene Adler Prize: A $1,000 Scholarship for Women Writers

The Irene Adler Prize: A $1,000 Scholarship for Women Writers

Below written by Irene Adler:

Writing has given me a rich and exciting life.

I’ve traveled the world from Sweden to South Africa, from the Golden Globes to the Olympic women’s hockey finals. I’ve photographed a mother polar bear and her cubs and profiled stars like ABBA, Jennifer Garner and Katarina Witt. And I couldn’t have done it without women.

I’ve been very fortunate, and it’s time for me to give back. With the Irene Adler Prize, I’m awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition.

My mother is a journalist and my sister works in publishing. The editors who gave me my big breaks with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Geographic Traveler are all female. Nearly every story of mine that’s won an award was assigned by a woman. Teachers, librarians, publicists, literary agents, fellow writers…I could go on. Women have had a huge impact on my career.

In today’s challenging climate, I want to let my female colleagues know – past, present and future – that they and their work are respected and valued. This is not to minimize men. It’s to help maximize the talents of the other 50 percent of the world’s population, which is too frequently shortchanged. The time is right.

The 2018 Irene Adler Prize essay competition runs from January 30 to April 30.

The Irene Adler Prize: Competition Guidelines

1) Entry is free of charge.

2) There is no age restriction.

3) The Irene Adler Prize winner will receive a $1,000 US scholarship.

4) The competition is open to women commencing or continuing to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the United States or Canada in 2018-19.

5) Applicants must be U.S. citizens or Canadian citizens.

6) The application period begins on January 30, 2018. The deadline is April 30, 2018. No late applications will be accepted.

7) Each application consists of two (2) elements:

  1. A) A 500-word essay in English on one of the following three topics:

“Which female writer has influenced you the most?”

“What is the biggest improvement in women’s lives that you’d like to see in the next five years?”

“What is your most important writing project for 2018?”

Each essay must have its own original title. The applicant’s name, mailing address, phone number, and email address must appear on the first page. All personal information will be kept strictly confidential.

  1. B) A completed entry form (see below)

8) The essay and entry form are to be emailed as separate attachments to:

The essay and entry form must be in Microsoft Word format.

In the email subject line, include the title of the essay and “(Irene Adler Prize application).” Example: “Why Margaret Atwood Is My Favorite Author (Irene Adler Prize application).”

9) There is a limit of one (1) entry per person. Multiple entries by the same person will be disqualified.

10) Entries will be judged on content, originality, structure, and overall writing quality by Lucas Aykroyd, the prize administrator. The administrator’s decisions are final.

11) Plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

12) The winner will be announced on August 1, 2018. Honorable mentions will be awarded at the judge’s discretion.

13) The prize administrator reserves the right to publish the winning essay and the author’s name on and to publicize it through various media channels.

14) Proof of enrollment at a recognized post-secondary institution for 2018-19 must be supplied before the prize is paid out. This can consist of a) a proof of enrollment letter or certificate from the institution’s registrar’s office b) an official tuition bill c) a schedule of classes.

15) The $1,000 US prize payment will be applied to educational expenses. It will be made directly to the winner’s post-secondary institution. In the event that the post-secondary institution will not accept it, payment will be made directly to the winner.

16) Payment of any applicable taxes is the responsibility of the winner.

17) The Irene Adler Prize is a one-time award. Past winners are not eligible to compete again.

The 2017 winning essay and honorable mentions

The Irene Adler Prize: Entry Form 


Mailing Address:

Apartment Number/P.O. Box Number (if applicable):



Zip/Postal Code:


Phone Number:

Email Address:

Name of Recognized Post-Secondary Institution:

Degree (bachelor’s, master’s, Ph.D):

Program of Study/Major:

Please date and sign the following statement with a scanned image of your signature.

I have read the Irene Adler Prize Competition Guidelines and agree to fully abide by them.




For other inquiries, email

Talk tomorrow,


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