Here are my current Giveaway Contests

Berry Good Giveaway Hop through June 15th

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Analieze Cervantes Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/14/2021

Mary Cummings Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/21/2021

Allison Hellegers Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/26/2021

Sera Rivers Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/11/2021

Renae Moore Agent Spotlight Interview on 8/25/2021

Nicole Eisenbraun Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/15/2021

Agent Chloe Seager and Author Brianna Bourne Guest Post and Query Critique and You and Me at the End of the World Giveaway on 9/20/2021

Crystal Orazu Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/22/2021

Kristin Ostby Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/11/2021

Agent Spotlight Updates

All agent spotlights and interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated again in 2023.


Happy Wednesday Everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic rest of August and are ready for Fall. I'm looking forward to resuming my regular blogging schedule and am starting out today with a fantastic post today by Jessica Lawson and her agent Tina Wexler. Before that, I'm going to start with my IWSG post.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of the month is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.
The co-hosts this month are Co-Hosts: Tyrean Martinson,Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!

This Month's Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre that you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?

I haven't written enough to try a new genre, but I am happily surprised with my writing after picking it up again after four years. I'm finding that I'm a braver writer willing to make more radical changes when things don't work right. And I'm figuring out the problems quicker on my own. I've submitted to my critique group twice now. They have some suggestions but the basics of what I'm doing are working. At least that's how it's going so far--less than two months since I started up again.

What about you? How have you surprised yourself?

Now, onto my guest post today. I'm super excited to have follower and friend Jessica Lawson and her agent Tina Wexler back on the blog to share about Jessica's new MG mystery UNDER THE BOTTLE BRIDGE. I love mysteries and this one sounds intriguing with the mysterious messages in the bottle. And Jessica is really an inspiration to me because ever since she had her debut novel come out in 2014, she keeps on writing and publishing more books every year. Some in different genres. And they all sound so good! It gives me hope that I could be that productive some day and maybe be able to continue to sell what I write. 

Here's a blurb of UNDER THE BOTTLE BRIDGE:

In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her?

Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.

Now here's Jessica and Tina!

A huge thanks to Natalie for having us back on Literary Rambles! In Under the Bottle Bridge, Minna Treat finds mysterious bottle messages beneath a covered bridge built by her ancestors. The book is about impossible searches and expectations and the meaning of family. It’s a story about a girl on the cusp of becoming a teenager, and how she deals with the uncertainty ahead.

My agent, Tina Wexler, is a bridge builder. As of this month, she and I will have been together for five years. With the creation of each manuscript from first sentence to final draft, Tina and I are journeying together, setting planks down one by one as we navigate the blank space in front of us. Sometimes we get to the other side and achieve publication, sometimes not. There’s a lot of hand-holding and “don’t worry, you’re not going to fall!” and “it’s okay, let’s turn around and try building at a different spot.” The gap between idea and publication can be a scary place, full of ambiguity and doubt.

There is a larger career bridge as well. Natalie asked me to speak about continuing sales and how authors keep selling their books. I wish I could answer that. I feel lucky to have a fourth book in the world, but as I’ve continued in my career, I’ve come to realize that the uncertainty will never go away. I will always think about things like:

Am I growing or regressing as a writer?

Is there a “big picture” destination I’m supposed to be aiming for?

Why do my characters TALK SO MUCH???

There are a lot of things that can potentially distract a writer from what they’re supposed to be doing
—finding worthwhile stories to share with readers. I think the most important thing that Tina has offered me over the years is a foundation of support—an expressed belief that I’ve got stories inside me that are worth sharing… and a willingness to continue helping me bridge the small gaps and the larger one to find them.

Tina was kind enough to answer a few questions about the agent/client relationship.

What is the biggest challenge in managing many different clients and their different “bridges”?

One challenge is figuring out what each author needs while crossing any particular bridge. If I have
an author who is struggling to make a deadline, am I better off asking the editor to extend the deadline? Should I give the author mini-deadlines that feel more manageable? Should I nix the deadlines completely and send gentle encouragement instead?

If I have an author who is writing in a genre that has fallen out of fashion, should I encourage them to try another tack or should we forge ahead in the same genre, knowing trends are cyclical and that the current project will take months to write?

It all comes down to this: How can I help create an environment in which my authors can do their best work? It’s different for each author, and for each project, and at each new stage in their career, and it’s something I take very seriously.

What are three key elements in maintaining a healthy and productive agent/client relationship?

Open communication—We can’t solve problems we don’t know about; we can’t celebrate successes we haven’t shared.

Commitment—My authors impress me every day with their commitment to their craft, their careers, and to the children’s book community, and they should expect an equal commitment from me.

Respect—Because always.

You act as an editor, a mentor, an advisor, and a cheerleader. How can your clients make your job easier?

Ha! Good question. But you see, I work with really talented, personable, hard-working writers. Just by being who they are—who YOU are—my job is easier. And more importantly, it’s more enjoyable.

Thanks so much, Tina! Tina has been kind enough to offer a query critique to one lucky person who comments. I’ll be giving away a hardcover of Under the Bottle Bridge to another.

You can find Jessica at:

As Jessica said, she is offering UNDER THE BOTTLE BRIDGE and Tina is offering a query critique for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through September 23rd. If you do not want to be included in the critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The book giveaway is U.S. and Canada and the critique giveaway is international.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday September 11th I have an interview with debut author Katherine Locke and a giveaway of her historical YA THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON

Monday September 18th I have an interview with debut author Lindsey Miller and a giveaway of her YA fantasy MASK OF SHADOWS

Monday September 25th I have an agent spotlight interview with Danielle Burby and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!


  1. it sounds as though it is a lovely book and a very enticing cover. I struggle to keep writing, looking after a disabled husband, but reading Jessica's thoughts encourages me to keep writing, Natalie.

  2. It's good to hear you've picked up writing again.

    An agent has so much to balance for each client - and she has multiple clients. That's a lot to handle.

  3. I saw this book somewhere else and thought it sounded like fun. My niece and I would both love it :)

  4. It's great when when can look back at old work and get excited about it again. And fresh eyes are always good for finding new ways of writing something.

  5. Love hearing that your writing is picking up again, Natalie, and that it's going well. Thank you again for having us on the blog and supporting kidlit in general!

  6. It is fun to start writing again after a small break! I'm looking forward to fall too. Thanks for the wonderful interview.

  7. Tina sounds like a great agent.
    I stopped writing for almost thirty years. That should give you hope, Natalie.

  8. No need to enter me in the giveaway, just stopping by to say hi and wonderful interview. Can't wait to read Under the Bottle Bridge, I've enjoyed each of Jessica's books tremendously. Hope you have a lovely week Natalie.

  9. It's wonderful you came back to writing, Natalie, and to see how you've grown. I've become a bigger risk taker over the years too.

    Fantastic interview. Loved hearing how an agent works with various authors.

  10. So good you're writing again! I'm glad it's going smoothly for you. Good luck.

    Congrats Jessica and Tina! The book sounds so fun and your author/agent relationship sounds perfect.

  11. It's fun to go back to some earlier work and see how much we've grown as writers.

  12. I have periods of 'stopping' then an idea pops into my head. We writers have no choice but to be brave, I fear. We constantly put our hearts out there for critique.

    Keep writing and stay brave!

  13. Great interview. Under the bottle bridge seems like a great book, and good to know that every author struggles with insecurities. Tina Wexler sounds like a great agent that supports a clients career, not just their current work. I would love to win a critique from her! Glad to so you're writing again. It is so rewarding and fun!

  14. Natalie - so glad to hear you're writing again! Thanks to Tina and Jessica for sharing their experience.

  15. What a great thing to pick up something you wrote a while back and find that you find pleasure reading it. I'm glad you're returning the project and look forward to hearing more about it.

    The Wexler-Lawson team sound as if they are a perfect match.

  16. I don't need a query critique at the moment, because I'm past that hurdle, but the book sounds amazing, and I'd love to win a copy! Thanks for the excellent post!

  17. It's wonderful you resumed your writing! We often emerge as stronger writers after a hiatus like that. Oftentimes, we're also in a stronger place to make edits and revisions to older drafts too.

  18. A fascinating interview. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Under The Bottle Bridge sounds like so much fun! Thanks for the tip :)

    Good for you with your writing, Natalie!! Taking those risks is such a big step (at least it is for me!!) :)

  20. Thank you for the great interview! And thanks for the opportunity for the critique. :)

  21. Good for you, Natalie, for getting back into writing again. Keep going!

    What a fun interview. I can't wait to read this book! The query critique would also be amazing. I tweeted:

  22. Good luck to Jessica. Tina sounds like a smart, caring agent. We all need someone like her in our corner.

  23. Glad you're writing and being braver. That's awesome news.

    Cute story and lovely cover. Good luck to Jessica.

  24. Ah yes, being braver with changing and fixing is a great thing.

    I love that cover!!

  25. Sounds like a great agent-writer relationship. I'd love the chance for a query critique. Thanks!

  26. Yay! Jessica I'm so excited to see you've got another book out! We miss you at RMC SCBWI!

  27. Tina and Jessica work so well together. The results speak for themselves. Jessica's new story has all the elements MG kids will adore.Thanks for the super informative interview.

  28. I love Jessica Lawson's books, and this one sounds like another fabulous read. I enjoyed learning about the agent/author relationship and Tina's approach.

    As for trying something new? I finally wrote a cozy mystery for adults and really enjoyed doing that—to the point that I want to write a sequel.

    1. I loved your MG mystery! I bet your adult one is wonderful!

  29. Wonderful interview, and UNDER THE BOTTLE BRIDGE sounds like such a fun read.
    I'd love a query critique from Ms. Wexler! Thanks much.

  30. Love this honest and informative interview. Thank you! It's good to read and learn about the business of writing - and relationships. Congratulations on the book! It sounds wonderful, and I would love to read it!
    Sharing on Twitter :)

  31. Jessica and Tina have a wondeerful relationship. They obviously have found the secret to writer-agent success!

  32. Sounds like a fascinating read, Jessica. And thanks for your insights, Tina! I'd love to be included in the drawing . . . thanks!

  33. Great interview, and I'm excited about the upcoming content as well! I'd love a query critique, and have tweeted the post :)

  34. I love to read mysteries and this book sounds fascinating. Friendship stories are also so much fun. Thanks for the interview today. I would love to win a copy of this book, but please don't include me in the query critique. I have shared this post on tumblr:

  35. Glad your writing is going well. Being brave when it comes to editing is a good thing to have.

  36. Great interview. Loved learning.

  37. Sounds like a wonderful MG mystery! I've tweeted the contest.

  38. I'm always in awe of mystery writers, master plotters that they are! I also tweeted about the contest: Thanks for entering me for a query critique and the book!

  39. This is a great post. Thanks to all of you for sharing your wisdom and thoughts.

  40. As usual, a terrific, informative interview. Thanks for this one. I do love a good mystery.

  41. Its nice that you picked up your writing after four years. Being brave make things easy. Love the cover.

  42. Congrats on getting back to writing again! Sounds like you're off to a good start.

  43. What a great post, so informative and Jessica's book sounds great! And it's very helpful to hear Tina's side of the story!

  44. I'm glad you're back to writing Natalie! Hopefully you spin some gold.

    I think having that support and guidance in navigating a world that can just be brutal to the writer's soul.

  45. Happy writing Natalie! This MG sounds great. Have shared on Twitter :)

  46. Glad to hear your writing is picking up, Natalie!

    Congrats to Jessica!

  47. Lovely interview - sounds like a fun book. Thanks for sharing so much about your author-agent relationship.

  48. Great to hear you're back in the saddle with writing and that it's going so well. Liked the interview too - nice that Tina is so hands on in helping their authors in their careers.

  49. Natalie - Have fun with your writing, and good luck!
    Thanks for the honest description of agent-writer relationships.

  50. Congratulations to Jessica on her new book!

    Glad to hear you started up on writing again, Natalie!

  51. Jessica, I love your writing style and wit; Tina getting a critique of my work from you would make my day (actually much more than that at least the whole year of 2017) Thanks for all your helpful comments.
    Mary Sandford

  52. Thank you so much for such a lovely post and the chance at a critique from Ms. Wexler. Can't wait to reading Under the Bottle Bridge. It sounds like a book I would recommend to my students who loved Three Times Lucky or The Maypop Kidnapping. TY!

    {I tweeted as well} : )

  53. Hi, Natalie,

    Happy you're back and writing!

  54. What an interesting post! Cute cover too! :)

    Natalie- Yay that you are back to writing.

  55. Great post! Off to B&N to buy Under the Bottle Bridge!

  56. Book looks great and thanks for the query critique opportunity--would love that!

  57. I agree about looking at your previous work with a fresh set of eyes. Great news. Under the Bottle Bride sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing. :)

  58. Great information from Jessica and Tina. Thanks for sharing and since I'm back in query mode, I hope I win a critique. :)

  59. In case I got picked... remarzullo11 (at) :)