Updated: May 15, 2020
I am so crazy excited for today!! Today I get to reveal the incredibly generous donors who are making this #CoronaCritiqueGiveaway possible! I can't believe that I'm going to be able to give away 45 critiques thanks to each of these 38 donors. Editors, agents, and authors came together to shine a little light in what could be a very difficult time. I hope you'll show them each some love and follow them, subscribe to their sites, even buy their books! Let's show them how grateful we are. Because I seriously can't thank them enough!
If you missed yesterday's post about choosing hope, make sure you catch it here.
The giveaway goes live on Thursday, March 26th on Twitter.
And now, without further delay... our amazing donors! I hope you'll take the time to read each of the donor bios and follow them on social media. I know life is crazy right now, so I've also included a quick list reference, but don't forget to come back and show these donors some love when you have a moment.
James McGowan: Query Critique
Since interning at BookEnds as an undergrad in the summer of 2015, James has (basically) never left. He's just continuously level-up-ed inside of BookEnds. Now he is the Literary Assistant and Social Media Manager for the team.
James is a Staten Island native, and holds a Master's Degree in English from the College of Staten Island. He’s been a reader since his mom gave him the first A Series of Unfortunate Events book, and ordered the sequels regularly through Scholastic book orders. He only recently learned he could be a writer... now, his debut picture book, GOOD NIGHT, OPPY, publishes in Fall 2021 from Boyds Mills Kane Press. When James is not reading/working/writing, he can usually be found watching an unhealthy amount of sitcoms. Follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/jmcgowanbks or instagram at www.instagram.com/jmcgowanbks.
Clelia Gore- Query Critique
Clelia Gore is Vice President of the Seattle-based agency, Martin Literary & Media Management. She represents authors of books for children and teens including Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, authors of the New York Times-bestselling and award-winning picture book, RESCUE & JESSICA: A LIFE-CHANGING FRIENDSHIP. She tweets as @MadmoiselleClel and you can read more about her and her agency at www.martinlit.com.
Lynnette Novak: PB Critique
Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent seventeen years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Lynnette earned a bachelor of education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent.
Although Lynnette was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortmentof crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.
In adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy).
In young adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary.
In middle grade fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, action/adventure, mystery, contemporary, horror, and humor.
In children’s fiction: picture books (non-rhyming preferred).
Find Lynnette on twitter: @Lynnette_Novak
Kaitlyn Sanchez: Choice of PB, Dummy, or Query Critique
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is a mom, wife, high school math teacher, picture book author, co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest, creator of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest, and is learning to become a literary agent by interning at Olswanger Literary, and she had just signed her first clients. In her free time, she loves to play soccer, binge-watch shows on Hulu and Prime, and, of course, read. Her favorites are historical fiction, short stories, dramas, fantasies, mysteries, and of course picture books! She especially loves it when her husband, daughter, and her all cozy up and read together.
Find Kaitlyn online:
Tina P. Schwartz: 3-Query Critiques
AgentTina P. Schwartz admits to being a reluctant reader as a child. In fact, she says she is still very picky when it comes to choosing a book, and isn't afraid to judge one (at first) by its cover!
Ask her kids, and they won't believe you! They'll tell you her nose is constantly in a book, or staring at her Kindle Fire, her iPad mini, or even reading mss on her phone! When not reading manuscripts, marketing website, social media, or industry blogs, you can find Schwartz on her laptop enjoying her own writing time.
Schwartz is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Tina says, "I'm thrilled to have founded The Purcell Agency, LLC and look forward to reading many wonderful submissions from talent all over the world!"
Bonnie Swanson: 3-Query Critiques
Bonnie Swanson is a twenty plus year elementary teacher. She shares her love of literature with her students and even tests out her own books on them. (And everyone thinks agents are tough!) Using her experience as a teacher, she has been a mentor for many authors through the WriteMentor program started by author Stuart White. Some of her mentees have gone on to publishing and best-selling success with their titles.
A short sample of her favorite authors are Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, S.A. Stovall, Suzanne Collins, Jen Mann, Danielle Paige, Christopher Paolini, Neal Schusterman, and Ally Condi. She’ll try just about anything, but romance is her true jam and the HEA (happily ever after) is a must!
She is an active member of SCBWI and a co-rep for her local chapter. When she’s not teaching, reading, or spending time with her three kids & husband, she’s busy creating her own stories. You can also find her covered in fur and playing with her three cats Milo, Winter and, Mira—when they tell her to.
You can follow Bonnie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BonnieS_agent
Catherine Hedrick Armstrong: 5-Query Critiques
Catherine Hedrick Armstrong is a prolific reader of many genres. Among her favorite authors are Harper Lee, Rainbow Rowell, Nicola Yoon, S.E. Hinton, Judy Blume, Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, Kate Morton, Victoria Laurie, Cathy Lamb, William Bernhardt, Patricia Cornwell, Rachel Van Dyken, Brighton Walsh, Julia Quinn, Lorna Landvik, and Diana Gabaldon.
Though her reading tastes are somewhat eclectic, Catherine is especially drawn to issue-driven Young Adult and New Adult fiction, ranging from the heart-wrenching stories of kids trying to navigate the difficult hallways of their high schools to the heartbreaking, yet empowering, stories of overcoming the odds when life throws you a curve ball. Favorite Young Adult books include, To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Ask Alice, The Outsiders, Hopeless (by Colleen Hoover), and a lesser-known title by Ann Head she read in 7th grade entitled Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones. The story and themes in Head’s book still resonates with her today, some 35 years later. In the New Adult category, she can’t get enough of Jamie McGuire’s “Maddox Brothers Series,” and anything written by Colleen Hoover or Rachel Van Dyken.
When she’s not actively reading, Catherine is doing her own writing and editing; cheering for her beloved Oklahoma Sooners Football team; or catching up on her favorite television or Netflix dramas--The Crown, Outlander, andThe Walking Dead.
Tweet to Catherine on Twitter at @CathieHedrick
Chrysa Keenon: PB Critique
ChrysaKeenonhas always loved stories—both reading and writing them.
Her degree from Taylor University’s acclaimed Professional Writing
program helped her learn a thing or two about the craft, and she set
her sights on working in the publishing industry. She has published
over 400 pieces of fiction (including poetry, short stories, and stage
plays) and nonfiction (book reviews and journalism articles). She has
multiple first-place awards for her writing, including 1st Place in
Sci-Fi/Fantasy for the Blue Seal Award. Setting her sights on the
industry, Chrysa kick started her career in publishing by interning
with GenZ Publishing and The Seymour Agency. By day, she works in
editorial for a prominent bridal magazine. By night, she is an agent
at the Cyle Young Literary Elite agency, helping writers achieve their
publishing dreams, one query at a time.
Learn more about her at chrysakeenon.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @Chrysa_Keenon
Alayne Kay Christian, Blue Whale Press: 1st Impressions PB Critique
Alayne Kay Christian is the content and developmental editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and teacher of a picture book writing course, Art of Arc. She shares more of her knowledge and tips for writers through Writing for Children Webinars and Courses. She has been a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer since 2014, and she worked as a
12 X 12 critique ninja for three years. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature. In addition, she has spent the last eleven years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature. Alayne’s focus at Blue Whale Press is content editing, creative direction, and working with authors and illustrators to coordinate the path to quality books.
Follow her on Twitter: @alayne_kay
Tara loves children’s books. Her goal is to create books that children love.
She writes picture books and middle grade novels.
Some of her books include:
How To Trap A Leprechaun (Harper Collins, January 2020)
The Upper Case (Disney*Hyperion/Little, Brown, October 2019)
Your First Day Of Circus School (Tundra/Penguin Random House Canada
June 4, 2019)
In November 2009, Tara created PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) as the picture book writer’s answer to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). In 2017, PiBoIdMo’s name was changed to Storystorm and it’s now held on her blog every January…with nearly 2,000 participants from around the world.
Find Tara Online:
Alastair Heim: PB Critique
Alastair Heim is the author of the picture books LOVE YOU, TOO (Little Bee Books – 2016), NO TOOTING AT TEA (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion – 2017), THE GREAT PUPPY INVASION (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion – 2017) which won the 2019 Oklahoma Redbud Read-Aloud Award, HELLO, DOOR (Little Bee Books – 2018) which was chosen as one of The New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2018 and listed on The 2019 Best Books for Family Literacy by The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the upcoming QUIET DOWN, LOUD TOWN! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion – 2020) and IF I HAD YOUR VOTE – BY THE CAT IN THE HAT (Random House/Dr. Seuss Enterprises – 2020). He lives in Kansas City and is represented by Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Find Alastair online:
Diana Murray: PB Critique (specialty in rhyming verse)
Diana Murray is the author of over a dozen books for children, including GOODNIGHT VEGGIES (HMH, March 2020), a Jr. Library Guild Selection; FIVE FUZZY CHICKS (Imprint/Macmillan, February 2020), an Amazon Book of the Month; and UNICORN DAY (Sourcebooks, 2019), a National Indiebound Bestseller. Her poems have appeared in magazines such as Highlights, High Five and Spider, as well as anthologies like THANKU: POEMS OF GRATITUDE (Millbrook, 2019), an ALA Notable Book. Diana grew up in NYC and still lives nearby with her firefighter husband, two children, and a smarty-pants cockatiel named Bean.
Find her Online:
Bea Birdsong: PB Critique
Bea Birdsong is the author of I Will Be Fierce, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani and published by Roaring Brook Press, and the forthcoming picture book Sam’s First Word, illustrated by Holly Hatam, which will release from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She is also a writer for the education market and a former teacher who believes in the awesome power of books to educate, entertain, and empower. Bea is represented by Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency. She invites you to follow her on Twitter, @BeaBirdsong, and visit her online at beabirdsong.com.
Jorge and Megan Lacera: PB Critique
Artist Jorge Lacera was born in Colombia, and grew up in Miami, Florida drawing in sketchbooks, on napkins, on walls, and anywhere his parents would let him. After graduating with honors from Ringling College of Art and Design, Jorge worked as a visual development and concept artist for major gaming studios and entertainment companies. As a big fan of pop culture, comics, and zombie movies, Jorge rarely saw Latinx kids as the heroes or leads. He is committed to changing that, especially now that he has a son.
Megana and Jorge are available to do critiques for hire (interested folks can email email@example.com for prices/details)
Writer Megan Lacera grew up in the
suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, with a book always in her hands. She became a writer and creator of characters and worlds for entertainment companies like American Greetings, Hasbro, and Goldieblox and later formed her own creative company where she creates original content and consults on marketing, social media, and strategic direction for start-ups and large corporations. After reading many stories to their son, Megan realized that very few books reflected a family like theirs--multicultural, bilingual, funny, and imperfect. She decided to change that by writing her own stories.
Amy Sparkes: PB Critique
Amy keeps herself busy writing stories for children of all ages. Her first book, Hodge the Hedgehog, appeared on CBeebies storytime and other books have been shortlisted for several book awards, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 and the Booktrust Best Books Awards 2014.
Just in case writing books isn’t enough to keep her out of trouble, Amy also visits schools, produces the ‘Writing for Children’ pages for bestselling Writing Magazine, writes short stories for Aquila magazine, and runs author events for children and writing workshops for aspiring children’s authors.
In July 2017, Amy launched the Writing Magazine Picture Book Prize for aspiring, unpublished picture book authors, in conjunction with Writing Magazine and her agent, Julia Churchill.
Visit her online:
Brian Gehrlein: PB MS Critique
Brian's debut picture book, The Book of Rules, is set for publication with FSG for fall 2021.
Brian teaches high school English and lives in Liberty, Missouri with his wife, Katherine, his son, Peter, and two corgis, Toby & Harry. You can follow Brian on twitter @briangehrlein, subscribe to his site, or contact him here.
Kjersten Hayes: choice of PB MS Critique or Dummy Critique
Kjersten Hayes lives in Bellingham, Washington, in a century-old house full of color, books, pottery, art, music and happy kid noises. She has spent many years creating and selling collage work, greeting cards, and handmade journals. She loves adventure, crafting, and teaching art classes for kids. Her first picture book THE ELEPHANTS' GUIDE TO HIDE-AND-SEEK hits shelves April 7, 2020. Find her at www.kjersten.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kjerstenhayes.
Stacey Corrigan: PB Critique
Stacey is a second-grade teacher in Saginaw, MI and author of the debut picture book THE PENCIL EATER. Stacey is a member of SCBWI and of Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 Picture Book Challenge. Stacey is represented by Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary.
Find her online:
Elizabeth Brown: PB Critique
(choice of fiction—under 1000 words, or NF—under 1600 words)
Elizabeth Brown is a children's book author, writer, film producer, and college teacher. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College as well as a Post-MFA Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles where she was a TA to author Emily Rapp.
Elizabeth's debut picture book DANCING THROUGH FIELDS OF COLOR: THE STORY OF HELEN FRANKENTHALER was published by Abrams Books for Young Readers - March 2019. She has other picture books to release soon after, including TWINKLE LITTLE STAR (Bloomsbury, 2022) and THE WORLD ENTIRE (Chronicle, 2022). Elizabeth Brown is a member of SCBWI and is represented by Sean McCarthy Literary Agency.
Find her onTwitter: @ebrownbooks
Jodi McKay: Non-rhyming PB Critiqu
Jodi McKay lives in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan with her husband, son, and two furry friends. She has two books published by Albert Whitman & Co., WHERE ARE THE WORDS? (2016) and, PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE (2019). Jodi is co-regional advisor for SCBWI-MI and is represented by Linda Epstein of Emerald City Literary Agency.
Lori Degman: PB Critique
Lori Degman writes in rhyme, most of the time – but not always! She is the author of the award-winning books: 1 Zany Zoo, Cock-a-Doodle Oops, and Just Read, as well as Norbert’s Big Dream, Like a Girl, and the upcoming Travel Guide For Monsters. She was a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. Lori lives in Vernon Hills, Illinois, where she spends her days writing, visiting schools and playing with her grandkids.
You can find her online at:
June Smalls: PB Critique (800 words or less) with query letter
June Smalls has been making up stories since she only had pets and stuffed animals to share them with. With her first poem published in first grade, June got the writing bug and never quit. June is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and a lover of literature. She resides in Northern Virginia with her hubby, The Kid, and an ever-growing assortment of animals.
She is the author of
She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch (Familius, April 2020)
Odd Animal ABC's (Blue Manatee, April 2019)
Find her on Twitter @June_Smalls
Kathleen Doherty: PB Critique
Kathleen Doherty is a Reading Specialist and an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s written standardized test items for Pearson, Inc. in alignment with the Common Core Standards. She’s also won the Highlights Pewter Plate Award, the Highlights Celebrate National Poetry Contest, and a letter of merit from SCBWI’s Magazine Merit Competition.
She is the author of Don't Feed the Bear (Sterling, 2018).
Kathleen donates 100% of her author earnings to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Find her online at:
Katy Duffield: PB Critique
Katy Duffield is the award-winning author of more than 40 books for children including the picture books Farmer McPeepers and His Missing Milk Cows (illus. Steve Gray, Rising Moon Children’s Books, 2003),Loud Lula (illus. Mike Boldt, Two Lions/Amazon, 2015), Aliens Get the Sniffles, Too (illus. K.G. Campbell, Candlewick Press, 2017),Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals (illus. Mike Orodán, S&S/Beach Lane, 2020), as well as a forthcoming book from Viking Children’s Books.
Find her online:
Pam Calvert: PB Critique
Pam Calvert is an award winning children's author of many nationally acclaimed picture books. She is best known for her Princess Peepers series--the only princess who wears glasses. Her other titles include her funny math adventures--Multiplying Menace and The Multiplying Menace Divides. She has a new series illustrated by Liana Hee entitled, Brianna Bright Ballerina Knight.
Because she used to be a science teacher as well as a writing instructor/UIL coach, she speaks to thousands of children every year, encouraging them to achieve their dream and to love math through the use of literature. When she is not speaking or writing, you can find her having fun with her family in Texas.
Find her online, and take her Picture Book University Course:
Anna Lazowski: Non-Rhyming PB Critique
Anna Lazowski has storytelling in her blood. The daughter of a foreign correspondent and an English teacher, the value of reading and sharing stories was instilled in her from the very beginning.
Anna is an award-winning Senior Producer at CBC Radio. She has an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a BFA (Hon) in Photography from the University of Manitoba.
She started writing for children after being inspired by her kids, Silas and LIla. Her journalistic work has been published in various newspapers and magazines, and she has been a nationally syndicated radio columnist covering music and health. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband Mike, their kids, and their dog Jackson.
Anna's debut picture book, T. Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes, will be out in the summer of 2021 on Doubleday/Penguin Random House.