Call for Manuscripts/Lodestone Books

Call for SubmissionsI just found out about a new imprint that is looking for young adult and new adult novels.

Lodestone Books is an imprint of John Hunt Publishing.  They accept The sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal, steampunk, crime, contemporary romance, and more.  The publisher is Maria Moloney.

I’m not sure if anyone else handles submissions and publicity like this, but I found the following from their site interesting.

A criterion for getting published with us is being able to use a database, and to be willing to contribute to it. Manuscripts and proofs are exchanged through the database rather than by post or email. Your book will have several pages of its own on our database, with the scheduling and copy visible, you can add to it and amend it, monthly sales figures will be there, and all the marketing on every title is visible for you to see. We add around a thousand new ‘activities’ a month to the database, several hundred new contacts, and send out about a few hundred review copies a month.” 

Find out more by reading their guidelines.

Good luck!



Fall Conference Registration Open

MissouriHear ye, hear ye!   Registration is now open for the Missouri SCBWI fall conference.  The even will be in September this year so deadlines are earlier than in the past.  The deadline for critiques is July 18 so don’t dawdle.  Below is the schedule for Saturday (9/6) and Sunday (9/7).  For more details, go here.



8-8:30 Registration and breakfast snacks /Newbie Orientation in Room 4185 led by Sue Edwards

8:30-8:45 Opening Remarks Main Conference Room 4080

8:45-9:30 Main Conference Room Deborah Halverson: State of the Market

9:30-9:45 Break   Illustrators move to separate room.

9:45-10:30  Keynotes

Authors in main conference room: Cecily White: The Space Between Us: Layered Romantic Tension in Young Adult and Middle Grade Whether it’s Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or Bella Swan, most of today’s beloved characters will face some element of cross-gendered romantic tension. There are, however, key differences in the way various age groups engage this tension, and the meanings readers make from it. This talk examines, from a psychologist’s perspective, the development of relational intimacy in Middle Grade vs. Young Adult relationships.

Illustrators in room 4105: Dan Yaccarino: “Say Yes.” By meeting challenges and opportunities with the simple 3-letter word, YES, Dan has enjoyed a successful 25-year career as a children’s book author/illustrator, television creator/producer, commercial illustrator and public speaker. In this funny, yet inspiring presentation, Dan shows through slides and animation how he was able to reach the next level of his career by saying YES!

10:30-10:45 Break  Move to breakout session rooms.

10:45-11:45 Both groups attend breakouts:

1. Cecily White : Conflict and Voice: Clawing Your Way to the Keeper Shelf. Room 4190

2. Steve Sheinkin: Structuring the Non-Fiction Page Turner  Room 4185

3. Jodell Sadler: Pacing Picture Books: move Yourself, Your Story, & Your Reader Room 3105

4. Panel Discussion: Josh Stevens and more at Reedy Press: What we do & the pitfalls/perks of signing with a small press. Room 3020

5.  Giuseppe Castallano: A Children’s Book Art Department: An Inside Look  Room 4105

11:45-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1:00 Contest winner art & flash fictionAnnounce 2015 Mentee Winner & 2016 Mentor/ PAL Recognition Slideshow

1:00-1:45 Main Conference Room Debbie Gonzales Topic: Teachers Need Us In The Worst Way.  Let’s face it, our goal is to keep our books in the hearts of readers and in the hands of those who teach them. Find out how we can be of tremendous support to educators simply by sharing our passion for the craft and our love of reading through the presentation of well-crafted Curriculum Guides or academically sound school visits.

1:45-2:00 Silent Auction Winners/Break Illustrators move to room 4105

2:00- 2:45 Keynotes

            Illustrators in Room 4105: Giuseppe Castellano : Just Start: “The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started.”—Mark Twain The hardest part to any creative endeavor is starting it. In this keynote address from multi-award winning Penguin Group art director Giuseppe Castellano, attendees will hear how some of the greats got their start. Whether you’re starting something as grand and undefinable as “becoming an illustrator”; or something more focused like writing that perfect book you have in your head, Giuseppe will discuss the simple steps to simplygetting started.

Authors in main conference room: Steven Sheinkin Topic: Research or Detective Work I’ll talk about the stories behind the stories in my books, and why I think the research process is the best part. It really is a kind of detective work – admittedly, a nerdy kind. Using specific examples from my books, I’ll show how I tracked down clues and followed leads until I had learned enough to tell the story in my own way.

2:45-3:00 Break  Move to breakout rooms

3:00- 4:00 Breakouts

1.Dan Yaccarino  From Inspiration to Publication: The Essentials of a Picture Book DummyRoom 4105

2. Nancy Pollette: Topic: Writing Biography That Sells: From PB to YA Room 4190

3. Nancy Gallt, Topic: So You Think You Need An Agent? Room 3105

4. Debbie Gonzales Topic:Common Core Standards Decoding 101: Making it Work for Your Promotions & School Visits Room 4185

5. Heather Brewer: Whatever Dude—Reaching Kids on The Fringe Room 3020

4:00-4:15 Break Authors Move back to main auditorium, illustrators move to room 4105

4:15-5:00 Authors: First Five Lines with Halverson, Gallt, Sadler & Stevens in Main Conference Room:

     Illustrators: Postcard Evaluations with Castellano & Yaccarino in Room 4105

5:00-5:30 Faculty book signing


7:30-8 Cocktail hour with presenters at hotel. Sunday attendees only invited to join us.

8-9:30 Peer critique groups meet at hotel led by PAL members.

1. Margo Dill   2. Peggy Archer         3.Marilyn Quigley       4. Suzanne Walker-Pacheco    5. Jeanie Ransom

Sunday Workshops

8:30-11:30 Intensives

1. Jodell Sadler: Ten Tips Workshop for Writing Your Heart into Picture Books.

2. Giuseppe Castellano: A Children’s Book Art Department: An Inside Look

3. Deborah Halverson: How To Build Your Own Teenager: Techniques for Writing Believable MG/YA Characters

4. Debbie Gonzales: The Anatomy of A Teacher’s Guide: A Hands On Approach to CCSS Project Creation

Missouri SCBWI
2014 Fall Conference “Seeds of Success” Faculty

Author Heather Brewer
Heather Brewer grew up on a diet of Twilight Zone and books by Stephen King. She chased them down with every drop of horror she could find—in books, movie theaters, on television. The most delicious parts of her banquet, however, she found lurking in the shadowed corners of her dark imagination. When she’s not writing books, she’s skittering down your wall and lurking underneath your bed. Heather doesn’t believe in happy endings . . . unless they involve blood. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two children. Visit Heather at

Art Director Guiseppe Castellano
Giuseppe Castellano is an award-winning designer, illustrator, and art director at Penguin Group USA, with fifteen years of experience in book publishing. He oversees the imprints of Grosset & Dunlap, Price Stern Sloan, Frederick Warne, and the Penguin Young Readers. Read more from Giuseppe, including his popular #arttips series for illustrators, on Twitter: @pinocastellano <;

Photographer Sharon Davis
Sharon Keeling Davis is an award-winning photographer, middle grade fantasy author, current president of Ozarks Romance Authors and member of SCBWI. She lives in Nixa, MO with her husband and two rambunctious little boys. You can view her photography at and learn about her writing at

Author Amanda Doyle

Author Amanda Doyle is the author children’s book, To the Top: A Gateway Arch Story. She has also written two authoritative, St. Louis-centric guidebooks (the first Finally! guidebook and 100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die). She has been the associate editor of Wheremagazine in St. Louis for more than a decade.

Agent Nancy Gallt
Agent Nancy Gallt is the founder of Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. Nancy attended Williams College where she received a BA in English. For nearly 25 years, she worked in subsidiary rights at Viking, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Morrow Junior Books, Greenwillow, and Lothrop Lee & Shepard. She is committed to representing a wide-ranging list of authors and illustrators.

Agent Elena Giovinazzo

Elena Giovinazzo joined the literary agency of Pippin Properties June 2009. Having begun her publishing career in subsidiary rights, moving on to children’s book marketing with a stint in audio, she realized that a position in agenting would enable her to continue to be involved in the many aspects of publishing about which she is so passionate from one place. She is thrilled to be pursuing her love of children’s literature and the industry from her seat at Pippin and especially enjoys the treasure hunt that is sorting through the daily query emails.

Curriculum Specialist Debbie Gonzales
Debbie Gonzales is the author of eight “transitional” readers for New Zealand publisher Giltedge. Deb earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults for the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A Montessori teacher, former school administrator and adjunct professor, Debbie devotes her time to crafting teacher guides, writing novels for middle grade readers, and various other freelance projects. Former Regional Advisor for the Austin SCBWI Chapter, Debbie now calls beautiful Ann
Arbor, Michigan home. Access to find out more about her exciting and varied projects.

Editor Deborah Halverson
Deborah Halverson spent a decade editing books for Harcourt Children’s Books before becoming the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, the upcoming Writing the New Adult Novel: How to Write & Sell ‘New Adult’ Fiction, the two teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth (Delacorte/Random House), the picture book Letters to Santa, and three books in the “Remix” series for struggling readers. Deborah has been working with authors—bestsellers, veterans, debut, and aspiring—for over fifteen years. The books she’s edited have garnered awards and rave reviews, and many of the aspiring writers she’s coached have landed agent representation and lucrative book deals. Deborah is now a freelance editor, author, writing instructor, and the founder of the popular writers’ advice site She speaks extensively at workshops and conferences for writers and edits adult fiction and nonfiction while specializing in teen fiction and picture books. For more about Deborah, visit

Editor Krista Marino

Krista Marino is an executive editor at Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books) where she acquires and edits Young Adult and middle grade fiction. Some of the books on her list include the Maze Runner series by James Dashner, the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott, and the upcoming Nightmares! series by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Other books include Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, and the Young Adult works of Frank Portman, Matt de la Peña, and Rosemary Clement-Moore. Krista is always looking for strong new voices, innovative concepts, and great stories for her list. She is currently seeking YA and MG mysteries, contemporary fiction that skews on the darker side, and she is always looking for fresh fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction.

Author/illustrator Carolyn Mueller

Carolyn Mueller is the author and illustrator of three children’s picture books: Bubbles the Dwarf Zebu: A Story about Finding a Home at the Saint Louis Zoo, Lily: A True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado, and Happy Birthday, St. Louis! She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she works as a zookeeper.

Author Nancy Polette
Nancy Polette is the author of numerous books for children, including the Rookie Reader biographies for Children’s Press, the collective biography series Fact or Fiction of the Famous winner of the Texas Legacy Award, and The Spy with the Wooden Leg. She has won numerous awards, including the Midwest Book Award, the Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal, and the International MOMS Award gold medal for outstanding juvenile nonfiction.

Agent Jodell Sadler
Jodell Sadler has authored many articles and tutorials with Writer’s Digest on Writing Picture Books: Picture Book Pacing, Editing, and Avoiding Burnout Tutorials before launching her literary agency in 2011: Sadler-Caravette Children’s Literary. Having earned her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Hamline University in 2009, she hosts a variety of online writing workshops, serves as the BOOK LOOK columnist for the, The Prairie Wind newsletter, and is available to speak at conferences and events as a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). For more information on picture books, visit, and more information on Sadler-Caravette Children’s Literary, please visit

Author Steve Sheinkin
A former history textbook writer, Steve Sheinkin is now trying to make amends by writing nonfiction that kids and teens will actually want to read. His 2012 book Bomb was a Newbery Honor book, National Book Award Finalist, and winner of both the Sibert Medal and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Other recent titles include The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which won the YALSA Award in 2011, and Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. His newest book is the Port Chicago Fifty, World War II civil rights story. Steve lives with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Publisher Josh Stevens Josh Stevens is the owner of Reedy Press, a company that specializes in publishing local interest and historical books. He manages acquisitions and marketing for Reedy, which he co-founded in 2004. The company publishes 30-40 titles annually including books for the trade and for cultural and educational institutions. Prior to his work with Reedy, Josh was senior editor at the Missouri Historical Society Press and a script consultant for a television production company. He earned a BA in English from Knox College and an MFA in Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and four kids. Author Chris Stuckenschneider Chris Stuckenschneider, a Washington, Missouri, resident for more than forty years, is the author of two children’s books—Twist of Fate: the Miracle Colt and His Friends, a Show-Me Award Winner, and Patriot Pals: Tails of Civil War Dogs. A newspaper columnist and book editor, she also coordinates Book Buzz, a newspaper column distributed nationally.

Author Cecily White

Cecily Cornelius-White, Psy.D. is a part-time university coordinator, part-time party-planner, and full-time mom who loves messing with her characters’ lives. Her myriad past careers include: hand model, GAP salesgirl, movie projectionist, psychotherapist, yoga instructor, dance choreographer, psych diagnostician, rock n’ roll drummer, book reviewer, and copy editor . . . none of which are as fun as writing novels. She can swear in Klingon, take down alien aggressors using only her mind (or chopsticks), and kill spiders without getting schmutz on her shirt. Cecily currently lives in Missouri with two children, one hamster, and a schizophrenic yet well-mannered cat, where she spends her time creating new worlds and thinking up ways to make this one better. Visit her at

Artist Dan Yaccarino

Dan Yaccarino’s artwork can be found in children’s books, the TV series Oswald (Nick Jr), Emmy-winning Willa’s Wild Life(NBC and Qubo), character designs for The Backyardigans(Nickelodeon), as well as his many illustrated toys, games, and other children’s products. His bold, stylized illustrations add wit and energy to the work of such prestigious authors as Margaret Wise Brown, Jack Prelutsky, Kevin Henkes, Patricia MacLachlan, in addition to his own stories. Dan’s internationally recognized art style has earned him a large following in Japan, exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Bologna, and a visit to the White House. Dan’s awards include the Bologna Ragazzi, The New York Time 10 Best Illustrated, ALA Notable and the Parents Choice Award. Over 1.5 million of his books have been sold to date. Dan lives with his wife and their two children in New York City and creates his quirky characters in his studio full of vintage toys.

Work for Hire: What I Learned

SuccessMonday, I submitted my Ancient Maya book to my editor at Red Line.  Yes, Monday.  It was due on Memorial Day.

I’m still a little amazed that I managed to pull this off.  Red Line approached me on April 16.  I had my assignment that same day.  The first chapter and an outline were due on May 5th.  The entire book — 14,500 words — on May 26. This means that in 6 weeks, I researched, outlined, wrote and rewrote 3 times 14,500 words.

Working this fast will never be my favorite way to write but I’m really glad that I did it and would definitely do it again.  I’m not nearly as tapped out as I thought I’d be.

My biggest lesson from all of this was that I can write more and faster than I thought possible.  Before I could start this project, I had to finish another biggie that was due April 30.  I also went out of town one weekend on a retreat, attended a Boy Scout Eagle Court of Honor, blogged, worked a high school fundraiser one afternoon, attended a high school concert, finished my part of the paperwork to hire a new pastor at our church, rekeyed a play, finished crocheting a baby blanket, and kept up with my blogging.

Would I want to be this busy all the time?  Again, no.

But it has influenced what I expect from myself.  The editor I met on retreat will accept work from us through September 1.  The piece that has the best chance with her is still an idea in my head, but I have The piece I want to submit is in my idea file, but counting this week, I have 14 weeks to work it up.  It’s nonfiction so I know that once I research it and choose an approach, I can fly.   Two months ago, that would have been daunting.  Now?  Not so much.

Will I manage to do it?  Only if I try.


Call for Manuscripts: home/school/life Magazine

Call for SubmissionsFirst of all, note the slightly tricky capitalization on the name of the magazine – home/school/life.  

This is a magazine for homeschooling families so keep that in mind when you query with an idea.  They don’t want anything on AR, the Common Core or standardized tests unless you can make it really matter to this particular client base.  

Amy Sharony, founder and editor-in-chief, welcomes pitches for feature articles, travel narratives, personal essays, and front-of-book pieces.

Shelli Bond Pabis, Sr. Editor, is interested in reviewing profile pieces, health and harmony articles, career pieces, and nature topics.

Your pitch should include:

  • A synopsis of the proposed story
  • Specifics about how you will write it including sources
  • Why the story is relevant for this audience
  • Why you are the person to write this piece
  • 3 clips

Payment is negotiated on an individual basis depending on the assignment and the writer’s experience.

Click here to read the complete guidelines and good luck submitting your work!


Story Ideas

Where do you get your ideas?

I have to admit — wherever I happen to be, I find ideas.  It might be because I’m curious about so many things.  It doesn’t matter if I’m reading a book, watching aDSCF4199 movie or out with my family even if we happen to be strolling through a cemetery.  Yes, we do sometimes stroll through cemeteries.  Check out this awesome inscription that we found on a headstone in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, KY.  Here is definitely a story to be told.

Where can you find a story this Memorial Day?



Free Courses

I admit it — I’m a sucker for a great list of free classes.  I’ve taken two so far through Coursera.  Classes are a great way to brush up on what interests you but are also a way to learn about things that interest your character (remember, she isn’t supposed to like only the things that you like).

I recently found this list of 950 Free Online Courses at Open Culture.  The listings are by discipline, starting with archaeology and going through public health.  Somewhere around the middle of the list is more or less 50 literature classes on a wide range of topics.  No matter how wide ranging your interests are, take a look at this list. It didn’t take me long to find several classes that interested me including:

  • Darwin and Design – James Paradis, MIT
  • Epics of Rome – Rhiannon Evans, LaTrobe University-Australia
  • Faeirie and Fantasy – Corey Olsen, Washington College
  • Introduction to Theory of Literature – Paul H. Fry, Yale
  • Old English in Context – Stuart Lee, Oxford University
  • Science Fiction and Politics – Courtney Brown, Emory University

Some of the courses offer free online audio, others free online video and still others free iTunes video.

The last course that I took was a lot of work but I learned so much that I find myself itching to sign up for something new.


Call for Manuscripts

Call for SubmissionsSpellbound, a speculative fiction magazine for middle grade readers, has a call out for its Fall 2014 issue, themed “Magical Cats.”

Raechel Henderson, fiction editor, wants protagonists who actively resolve story problems and conflicts.  Word length up to 2500 words.

Marcie Tentchoff, poetry editor, wants short poetry, whether free verse or traditional, with elements of speculative fiction. Length 8-36 lines.

Payment: 2.5 cents/word for stories, $10-$20 for poems.

Deadline:  June 30.

Read complete guidelines here.




Writing Advice from one of the Greats — Jane Yolen

I love it when I find inspirational videos from big deal authors.  Here’s a fun one from Jane Yolen that touches on such a wide variety of topics including:

  • Why you should both read and listen to your work.
  • How to better deal with rejection letters because even Jane gets them.
  • How to work from a critique.
  • Why you should write what you want to write.

And, because she’ll say it so much better than I would, here’s Jane —

I’ll have to see if I can find some more of this kind of video.  If any of you have any favorites you’d like me to share, let me know!



Call for Manuscripts

Call for SubmissionsThis isn’t a children’s publication but Shades of Romance Magazine, SORMAG for short, has an upcoming Children’s Books (Dec/Jan/Feb) issue.  The deadline for this issue is September 1st.

They publish 2 articles on each theme and then other pieces as detailed in their guidelines.  These pieces include inspirational pieces called Devotionals (500 – 800 words), fillers which are tips on various things writing related (200 – 500 words), humor, essays, and romance stories.

Query before sending manuscript.

Read the full guidelines here.



Blog Tour

My Shadow cover
One of Susan’s nonfiction projects.

This post is a part of the #mywritingprocess blog tour. I was tagged by writing buddy Susan Uhlig.  I met Susan when we were both regional advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Susan is one of the most remarkably diverse authors I know wring picture books as well as readers and for religous and trade magazines.  You can find out all about her published work here.

Current Project

As many of you know, I tend to work on two or three things at a time.  When I get stuck on one piece, I move to another, unless a deadline approaches. When that happens, amazingly, I write on one project and only one project.  Right now (other than blogging), I am writing a book on the Ancient Maya for Red Line.  It is due May 26 so, although I may break away for a bit of this or that, I am devoting my energy to this one project.

How Does My Work Differ

While I usually strive to be unique and let my individual way of looking at the world shine through, the Maya book is for a series.  That means that I am having to make sure it fits with the other books in voice, reading level and tone.  While a lot of writers find this suffocating, for me it is a puzzle.  What can I do to make it just so?

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Some people seem surprised that I actually chose this culture.  Yep.  They gave me a whole list, and I picked the Maya.  In part, I chose them because I know a little something about them but that’s because they facinate me.  They built such huge, magnificent cities and then POOF! I’m all about puzzles and mysteries and this one is huge.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

That’s a tough one.  I noodle things over and then I write.  It seems pretty straightforward to me but I’m not sure that’s actually true.  My first drafts vary from pretty solid to frightening.  Then I rewrite.  While I do some rewriting on screen, I do at least one draft on paper.  Old fashioned but dependable in that I always catch a few things on paper that I’ve consistently missed on-screen.

I know that this isn’t how everybody works and next week you’ll have the chance to see how two of my fellow writers handle their craft.  Sioux Roslawski, Elizabeth Humphrey and I all blog at the Muffin so this is pretty exciting to be doing this as a group.
Sioux will be blogging on May 26, 2014.  You can read her post here.
Sioux Roslawski is a 3rd grade teacher in St. Louis, a dog rescuer for Love a Golden, and she freelance writes. She is one of the five founding members of the infamous writing critique group, the WWWPs (Wild Women Wielding Pens). Sioux’s stories can be found in nine Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as several volumes in the Not Your Mother’s Book series. More of her writing can be found at .
Elizabeth Humphrey will post on May 24, 2014 at the Muffin.
Elizabeth King Humphrey, a North Carolina writer and editor, teaches online copyediting courses for the University of California San Diego Extension and is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Her writing has appeared in The Writer, Scientific American Mind,,, Greater Wilmington Business Journal, and the Wilmington StarNews. Her book credits include Idiots Guide: Gluten-Free Eating and The Feminist Movement Today.