#HLS2017 – Hook, Line, & Sinker Writing Challenge ROUND 1 Results Complete

Hello Anglers,

Results are in! But first a few notes on how the fish made decisions:

  • If the entry was difficult to understand or confusing at first glance without some serious fish food for thought, your entry may have gotten the boot.
  • The fish did cut some entries a break for punctuation errors or minor awkwardness if the line held enough interest. But just know they won’t be so lenient if the first 125 words are riddled with clunkiness.

#HLS2017 – Hook, Line, & Sinker ROUND 1 OPEN until Wed 11/1/2017 @11:59 PM CST

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING, read the Official Rules.

Once you’ve got that all figured out, cast your first line! Failure to follow the rules could result in an automatic sinking of your ship. Please make this easy for our skippers and deckhands!

Round 1 will close at the date and time (CENTRAL) listed in the title of this post.

New entrants can enter anytime though as long as the entire challenge is still going, even if you miss Round 1.

Hook, Line, and Sinker Challenge Rules #HLS2017


The Hook, Line, and Sinker (HLS) Challenge is open to all (ages 18+). Eligible submissions must comes from your children’s or teen FICTION work (board books and early readers excluded) and should not already be published or under contract. Got it? NEW WORKS ONLY.

RLGL – Red Light, Green Light Official Rules and Regulations

It’s your favorite time of the year again: RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT!

We’re back for another exciting, nail biting, keyboard crunching round, and we’ve made improvements to make RLGL much easier for Kissy to shred your manuscripts!


And remember, anyone can enter the contest, no matter what round we are on (FICTION WORKS ONLY, PLEASE targeted for the major trade market. No short stories.

RLGL Wrapping Up: Round 7 Results COMPLETE, Final Round Deadline for Existing Entries ONLY April 23 11:59PM CST

Dear Tiquees:

Thank you for your monumental patience while Kissy deals with a whole host of tasks related to bacon consumption, chew-toy destruction, and every pooch’s favorite time of the year: Spring Break! We are back and it’s time to start closing down RLGL in preparation for summer. This means there will be no new entries for RLGL.

RLGL Round 6 Results COMPLETE, Round 7 deadline, 11:59PM CST April 8, 2014

UPDATE: Round 6 Results are now complete. If you sent in your submission after March 27, 11:59PM (provided you have followed all of our insane rules), your submission rolls into Round 7, which ends on April 8, 2014.  Thank you all for your incredible patience. We hope you found that good chew toy to chomp to smithereens while waiting for these results.

This next week is extremely loaded for the pooch.

RLGL Round 5 Results COMPLETE, Round 6 Deadline Extended Mar. 27, 11:59 pm CST





3) DID NOT GET A NUMBER for Round 5 and


please forward your email to the Cynthea address so we can get your entry processed.

Round 5 Results are COMPLETE.  The next deadline for existing entries and new entries is now March 27, 11:59PM CST.

RLGL Round 4 Results COMPLETE


Round 4 Results are now complete.

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND RLGL ENTRIES TO THE SUB ADDRESS. Woof! Cynthea’s personal email box is for addressing issues only. Put it this way: To get in line, you need to stand in the right line. Nothing worse than getting to the front of the line after waiting for days, only to realize you were in the wrong line the whole time.

Also make sure you submit the correct # of words. If you are on the first page, 125 words.

RLGL Round 3 COMPLETE, Round 5 Deadline March 20, 8pm CST


PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND RLGL ENTRIES TO THE SUB ADDRESS. Woof! Cynthea’s personal email box is for addressing issues only. Put it this way: To get in line, you need to stand in the right line. Nothing worse than getting to the front of the line after waiting for days, only to realize you were in the wrong line the whole time.

If you do not see a response next to your number, please verify that your entry was sent to the correct address in the proper format, etc.

RLGL: Round 2 COMPLETE, Round 3 deadline Wed. Mar. 12, 8pm CST

NEW ENTRANTS: Wanna play? Read the rules here. You may enter at any time.

EVERYONE: Round 3 officially closes on Wednesday, March 12, 8pm CST. Submissions received after this deadline will roll into Round 4.

UPDATE: We have two Free-tique winners! Winners, do not contact Kissy until RLGL is completely over. We will let you know what to do when we come up for air.

RLGL: Round 1 Results COMPLETE


If I received your submission by 9AM CST on March 6, your results have been posted. If you did not receive a number and you did turn in your submission to the sub address before the aforementioned deadline, please email me at cynthealiu AT gmail DOT com, and forward your email submission that you sent AND explain what’s wrong.

*Do not send new submissions to Cynthea’s personal email address, only inquiries if something is wrong.

Important RLGL Update

Wowowow! Kissy has a lot of entries to gnaw on and he thanks you in advance for the glowing compliments. Please don’t hold it against him if he eats your ms.

Hang tight. We will post results gradually as we go through them. Do not email to ask about your result until we declare that all results have been posted. Doing so may subject you to complete elimination since it really screws up our mojo if we spend more time answering emails than reading submissions.

RLGL Prize Update

*UPDATE:  All query crits submitted before the deadline have been returned.  If your query was turned in on time and you did not receive reply, please contact me directly!

Happy Holidays!  My apologies for the delay with free-tiques associated with RLGL. I’m a bit backlogged at the moment so please enjoy your holidays while I get through all of the tiques. Thank you! Woof!

RLGL Prize Announcement

Hello, everyone!

If you are a free-tique winner for novels, please submit up to ten pages (max 2500 words) of your work for critique to sub at wfcat dot com, attached as a word document.  You may also include a synopsis. The synopsis will be read for content to help inform my critique.  It will not be critiqued itself.  Title your email: Free-tique Winner #XXX: MS Title, Format.  E.g. “Free-tique Winner #999, MY MS ROCKS, MG”.

Round 10 Update; RLGL Coming to a Close

Hello everyone,  unfortunately,  our Round 10 goal was not met, HOWEVER we see no reason to disappoint people, given all that you’ve done to help our furry friends.  Kissy and I are going to keep the Round 10 and drop the Round 11 instead. The deadline to submit to Round 10 is tonight (9/24/2012 11:59pm CST).  Please be patient with us on Round 10 results.  It may not be until after October 1st before we get finished reading them all.

Goal 7 set, Round 7 Results COMPLETE, Round 8 open

UPDATE: Round 8 deadline AND the fundraising goal has been pushed until Sunday, 09/09/12 at 11:59pm CST.  We are so sorry it is taking us this long to get through Round 7 results! Now you should have time to get in your Round 8 pages and donate to keep a furry friend and RLGL alive.

Help us get to Round 8 by saving a furry life and clicking on this link and donating! We are still $200 short.  If everyone kicks something in, we should clear the goal.

Goal 5 and Round 6 Status

Unfortunately, we did not make last night’s goal deadline, and now we have to end–

Woof, woof, woof!!!

What is it, Kissy?

Arf, arf, arf!

Say what? You want to give everyone a second chance?

Uhnnnnnn, Uhnnnnnnnn…

You think humans should get a second chance, just like homeless dogs and cats?


I don’t see why not. I think we humans did a terrific job with a fantastic goal, and $45 should not bring RLGL to a halt.

Round 5 Results COMPLETE: Round 6 open

New Entrants and those of you who have received Round 5 Results, you may submit for Round 6 until Tuesday 8/28/12 at 11:59pm CST.  Have no idea how to play? Read the rules here and come back.

Kissy and I are shaking in our boots over here. This is tense.  Currently, we are $100 short of TONIGHT’S GOAL 5 DEADLINE.  If you haven’t dropped a fiver (or more!) yet in this competition, better do it now.

Round 5 In Progress: Goal 5 set!

Entrants, you may submit for Round 5 until tonight 8/26/12 11:59pm CST.  Have no idea how to play? Read the rules here and come back.

First, THANK YOU for your contributions.  We are doing so much for our furry friends. Kissy and I have been dancing around all weekend, knowing that all of your efforts  are going to help out a wonderful cause!  Arrrooooooo!

But it doesn’t end here. No, no.

Round 4 Results COMPLETE: Goal 4 deadline set


New Entrants and those of you who have received Round 4 results, you may begin to submit now for Round 5.  Have no idea how to play? Read the rules here and come back.

Want Round 5 to play out? 

Our next fundraising goal is now set at $800 by  Saturday, 8/25 11:59pm CST. Help us get there by clicking on this link and donating!

Round 5 Deadline is expected to be Sunday 8/26/12,  11:59pm CST.

Round 3 Results COMPLETE: Goal 3 deadline/surprise tonight!

Congratulations #207 PB. You’ve just won a free-tique!  But never fear, PB/ER contestants, you can still compete to win another free-tique in the PB/ER category.  #207, go jump for joy. Ask Kissy about redeeming your prize AFTER RLGL is totally over. He’s got a lot in his bowl right now.

New Entrants: Round 4 is open for New Entrants and those who have received their Round 3 results.  Don’t know how to play?  Read the rules here.

Round 2 Results: COMPLETE, Round 3 open until 8/21 11:59pm CST!

New entrants: Wanna play, but you have no idea what to do?  Read the rules and come back here.


First thank you to everyone for their contributions!  We are only $75 shy for tonight’s goal! 

To donate, visit our PAWS page here.

If the goal is not met by midnight tonight, Kissy is putting his reading glasses away; he’ll save his special surprise for the next RLGL game which may happen whenever he feels like getting around to it. Woof.

Round Two Extended until Saturday, 8/18 11:59pm, results in progress


Hot-diggity-dog. It’s the weekend, folks, and we just realized we can’t get to this many entries by tomorrow with the weekend upon us, so we are extending Round 2 until today, Saturday, August, 18th 11:59pm CST. This means if you haven’t already submitted something for Round 2, you may do so until the deadline. ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND and stay away from your computer. We promise you won’t start round 3 until Monday morning at the earliest.

Arf! Arf! Arf: Please follow the rules for submission, new goal set for RLGL

Arf! Arf! Arf! Woof, woof, woof woof!

Kissy has an important announcement.

Kind, Generous Life-Saving Humans,

Many of you are sending your subs to Cynthea’s email address.  Cynthea’s inbox is mostly filled with loads of irrelevant email that no dog would ever want to read.  So, I’ll beg on my hind legs if I have to, please send your submission to the email address listed in the RULES so that I can sniff your submission.

Round 2 is Open until 11:59pm CST, 8/18

Round 2 is now officially open.  If you sent in something before the round opened, Kissy gives you a warning bark for failure to wait. That said, we’ll count your early entry toward round 2. But please don’t do it again. Our inbox becomes a huge mess when we do RLGL.  Anything you can do to keep us sane would be greatly appreciated.

This round is now open until 11:59pm CST on Saturday  8/18.

Round 1 Results: COMPLETE

First, thank you for helping us reach our first fundraising goal and then some. A new goal will be posted when Round 2 opens.

Here are round 1 Results.  *****RESULTS ARE COMPLETE*****

An asterisk means Kissy is contemplating sending your work back. So try to turn it around if you can.

For code definitions, see our free-tique feedback code list.  For those of you with later numbers, Iskipped the codes to get you the results faster. So just read the notes.

Round 1 Results will be posted soon: Free-tique feedback codes

Hello, everyone,

New participants – get your first half-page submission ready. A new round will be announced tonight. Do not send it though until the next round is open. (Round 2)

Existing participants – results for Round 1 will be posted soon.  In the meanwhile, familiarize yourself with our free-tique feedback codes.

If your work is eliminated in this round, you will receive one or more of these codes.

A Free-tique Round is Open: Free-for-All for First Pages

UPDATE: THIS FREE-TIQUE ROUND IS CLOSED. I’m responding to submitted pages as fast as I can. Please be patient as I return your free-tiques! It may take me a few days, given the number of submissions.  If you missed the free-tique round and you’d like to have a paid critique, I am booking slots for 2012.  Do sign up for the paid-critique list for rates and submission instructions.

RLGL feedback has been returned!

Hey, everyone,

Snoop and I are happy to report that we’ve finished all feedback for this last game of RLGL. If we missed yours somehow, please forward your WHY WHY WHY email to sub at cynthealiu DOT come or leave us a comment. If you missed the deadline to formally request feedback, we’re sorry, but Snoop and I need to move on with other important writerly matters at this time. Like catching up on our favorite reality TV shows and stuff.

RLGL is officially over: how to get feedback

Well, we’ve read, we’ve mulled, we’ve chewed.

The winner for RLGL in the longer-work category is #102! #102, you do not need to do anything to receive your free-tique, other than to remind Snoop on July 1st that we promised to finish it by June 30th!

All other SUDDEN DEATH players, all of you will receive some quick criticism – in-the-style-of-“brief-and-to-the-point” automatically.

RLGL Sudden Death Results

Snoop is having trouble deciding which entry should win sudden death. He has decided to sleep on it, knowing that tomorrow will shed new light. Please hang tight – we will re-read the entries tomorrow and make a determination. Based on Snoop’s schedule, it is likely we shall have result’s by 1PM CST. Thank you! (Sorry for the torture!)

Round 7 RLGL Results, Sudden Death in effect

Snoop says, RED LIGHT!

All entries submitted before June 2, 11:59PM CST have been reviewed.   We have a winner for the longer-work category. A number of people have cleared page 7 (some, just barely).  We have a six-way tie. If you see, SUDDEN DEATH next to your #, this means you are now competing for the win.

Everyone else, the game is over for you. Please hold off on contacting Snoop for feedback until SUDDEN DEATH is complete.

RLGL Round 6 Results complete, no more new manuscripts

Snoop says, RED LIGHT.  Round 6 results are complete.

Existing racers: PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR ENTRY NUMBERS in the subject line as well as the correct page # for this contest (not what’s in your manuscript).

After page 1, do not send  more than 250 words or less than 250 words.  This ensures everyone competes equally.  We don’t care if a sentence has been cut off or if you’ve ended a chapter.  250 WORDS (including chapter titles, etc.

RLGL Round 5 Results Complete, New Racers must enter by June 1

Snoop says, RED LIGHT! Round 5 Results are complete.

RACERS: This is your last chance to enter. After Round 6 closes, Snoop will NOT be issuing new entry #s.  You have until June 1st, 11:59PM CST.  After that, only existing entries will be able to play.

Read this post for full details on how to enter.

If there is an asterisk by your X, it means Snoop is just waiting to chomp on your manuscript.

RLGL – next round is last one for new entries

Hey all,

NEW RACERS: Visit this post for full details on how this game is played.

Snoop and I are packing for Mem Day weekend and doing all sorts of crazy stunts to get ourselves together. We anticipate Round 5 judging will occur late tonight.  No worries though, you will have plenty of time to turn in Round 6 pages.  Snoop thinks the next deadline will be on Monday.  Anything sent after the last deadline (May 26, 11:59PM CST) will be rolled into Round 6.

RLGL Round 4 Results complete, New Racers may enter at any time

Snoop says, RED LIGHT! Thanks for your patience. We had quite a full day today.  Round 4 judging is now complete!

We have a winner in the PB category. *PB entries may still compete for the glory of making it the end and getting some feedback when this whole thing is done. *

NEW RACERS: Visit this post for full details on how this game is played.

An asterisk next to your X means Snoop is just looking for reasons to eat your work.

Please hang tight for results of Round 1, RLGL DEADLINE EXTENDED

Dear Freetiquees,

This is a quick update to let you know that Snoop’s once-clear calendar got royally-screwed up by some mission-critical items. And tonight, he is scheduled to man the fort while Cynthea attends a network SCBWI event. Because of this, we are extending this first round until 11:59 PM CST tonight (May 19, 2010).

Rest assured, we will do our very best to turn around results tomorrow.  We apologize for making you wait.

A free-tique round is open: Red Light, Green Light is here!


My email server is playing lots of fun games with me. It send out an old message about a free-tique round that should have gotten to you way back in May. As a result, a bunch of people, yourselves included, never got the notice about the free-tique round when it was actually occuring.

We are so sorry this happened. At this time, we can’t get another round started because of our schedule.

Another Give-Tique Opportunity: 60 min Q&A with The Snooper and moi

Hello everyone,

It must be raise-money-for-a-cause month or something! After Nashville, I was approached to offer a unique prize for bid to help keep Evanston Public Library open. So Snoop and I put our heads together and came up with … “Pick a Children’s Book Author’s Brain!” 60 minutes on the phone to discuss anything you like about the field, AND Snoop and I will offer our feedback on a 2500-word writing sample if you so wish.

Tag, you’re it! Free-tique round results

Hey everyone,

Snoop had a great time munching through your entries (over 250, way to go!). We took the liberty of modifying some of your ideas. Here is what was passed up to my publisher. If your entry was the first to inspire the final version, you were emailed already to notify you of your win.  Here are the final results.

We would love it if you could vote which ones you like best.

Freetique round: Tag, You’re it! Updates available on Twitter

Hey everyone,

The taglines are rolling in, and man, this is soooo awesome. Snoop and I are going to post our thoughts about which ones we like and offer more guidance. To see those thoughts, “hop” on over to http://www.twitter.com/thesnooper

BTW, this is really a great exercise for everyone when they think about titling and query letter pitches. A great tagline can really help sell your manuscript before it’s sold, if you know what I mean.

Outstanding Free-tique Update

As of today, I have finished all outstanding free-tiques owed to participants from the Take the Dare: Show You Care launch. Thank you so much for supporting Tulakes Elementary and my book PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE.

If you did not receive yours, check your spam box. If you can’t find it, contact me!

RLGL We Love Libraries Update

All Why, Why, Why feedback has been returned for those who have requested it. If you have not received yours, please let Snoop know and forward ALL the pages of your ms (PASTED in the email) to whysnoop@cynthealiu.com. Snoop will return your feedback via Twitter for any remaining works that have not received comments.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 10 results, new racers may enter at any time

Looks like a good chance that Round 11 will never come to fruition without your help. Help us make it to 300 comments, and the race is on!

The challenge post is here.  Please leave a comment (one per person!).


THIS JUST IN: Round 10 Twitter Thoughts from Snoop are posted.  http://www.twitter.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 9 Results, new racers may enter at any time

I want to thank everyone who has participated and spread the word so far, but seriously? We can do WAY better. Get your mom, your kids (13+), and your spouses involved to keep RLGL alive. While the challenge will continue until the goal is met, RLGL won’t if it’s not bringing in more supporters. We’re not doing this for nothing, yanno.

The challenge post is here.  Please leave a comment (one per person!).


RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 8 Results, new racers may enter at any time


Snoop and I really want to make our Library Lovin’ challenge goal, and we can’t do it without your help.  Sooo…. this is your warning (or your kick in the pants), once the comments stop on our challenge post, so do we.  We’re not doing this just for thrills, you know. There is a library-in-need that would like to receive our moolah, and we’d like to give it to them before the year 2015.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 7 Results, new racers may enter at any timet

Having fun? Please spread the word about RLGL: We Love Libraries. Remember: EVERYONE WILL RECEIVE FEEDBACK ABOUT EACH WORK ENTERED IN RLGL, regardless of their standing in the race. Support a library-in-need!

Here are the full rules: http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/2009/03/26/918/red-light-green-light-we-love-libraries-begins-tonight/

Reminder: Snoop is returning feedback now.

RLGL: We Love Libraries: Round 6 Results, New racers may enter at any time

***BREAKING NEWS:  We have TWO novelists at the finish line.  Snoop missed #88’s entry which was submitted prior to the deadline.   This means both novelists will fight to the death for the free-tique in a page-off competition.  Any other novelist who makes it through page 7 will not be able to win a free-tique. However you can still go on past page 7 if our leading novelists are still playing each other.

This will be exciting, folks.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 6 Results. New racers may enter at any time, DEADLINE EXTENDED, April 9, 11:59PM

THIS JUST IN: Snoop and I had to delay this round a bit since we just got done with a school visit and WE ARE WIPED. Thought we could go through everything tonight, but realize now that this is impossible! We want to be fresh for your work, so we will be delivering results tomorrow beforeSnoop has to do his thing for Easter. So please bear with us! Good news is THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED. You have until TONIGHT, 11:59PM CST to turn in your stuff.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 5 results. New racers may enter at any time

Someone asked Snoop a great question in this last round. “If I get sent back to start, what does it really mean?”  Here’s the answer: Snoop and I look at your work from several different aspects, much like we do when we a full critique, too. We look for fit in the overall market (does the writing and premise fit the target age range?), do we find the basic premise appealing? (i.e.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 4 Results. New racers may enter at any time

THIS JUST IN: Snoop will be telling all RLGL entrants why their pages were sent back to the starting line after RLGL is completely over. Unfortunately, we will not be able to go into it at great length but we will provide “reason codes” to help you understand what might have been the problem.  So everyone will walk away with feedback.  YES!!! If you are interested in participating in RLGL, read the original post for full rules and details: http://www.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 3 Results. New racers may enter at any time

Snoop says, “RED LIGHT!” Snoop has examined everyone’s work that was submitted prior to last night’s deadline. New and old racers with new works, you will receive entry numbers when Snoop reviews all entries for the next round. YOU DO *NOT* HAVE TO WAIT TO RECEIVE AN ENTRY NUMBER TO SUBMIT YOUR FIRST HALF-PAGE. Just send it in.

The following racers interested Snoop enough to see where your work is headed.

RLGL: We Love Libraries, Round 2 Results! New Racers may enter at any time.

Snoop says, “RED LIGHT!” Snoop has examined everyone’s work that was submitted prior to last night’s deadline. New racers, you will receive entry numbers when Snoop reviews all entries for the next round. YOU DO *NOT* HAVE TO WAIT TO RECEIVE YOUR ENTRY NUMBER TO SUBMIT YOUR FIRST HALF-PAGE. Just send it in along with your registration.

The following racers interested Snoop enough to see where your work is headed.

Red Light, Green Light: WE LOVE LIBRARIES free-tique contest

ALL RLGL ROUNDS ARE NOW OFFICIALLY CLOSED. Thanks for playing, everyone!

If you miss any round, YOU CAN ENTER THE RACE AT ANY TIME. You never know how this will turn out. Also, the results of each round are posted anonymously and your work will not be shared with anyone besides Cynthea and Snoop.

Snoop will also be giving feedback on entries submitted after the race is over, regardless of the entrant’s standing in the race.

BEHIND THE BOOK: How to write for a children’s or teen book series – Part V (sample chapters cont’d)

Yesterday, we talked about how to study writing style. The next thing you’re going to do is examine what happens in the first few chapters of other books in the series so you know what you should cover in your own sample chapters. How?

Read the first few chapters (or roughly 25 pages of books in the series). If you want, write a simple paragraph about each chapter you read.

Drive-by free-tiquing at Kidlit Central News

Snoop just did some drive-by tiquing over at Kidlit Central News for Fun Friday.  The round was so small that Snoop didn’t feel good about sending all of his free-tiquees an email about it.  (So, sorry if he didn’t email it to the list!).

At any rate, you might find it interesting to see what a short version of Snoop’s free-tiques look like.  And bonus, you just might learn something new about Writing for Children and Teens.

Want a huge dose of inspiration? Check out AuthorsNow!

Hey everyone,

Okay, I can’t apologize enough about how much Snoop and I have been in hiding lately, but seriously, we have lots of good reasons. This latest one though is pretty good. Need some major inspiration? Check out what we’ve been working on at http://www.authorsnow.com.  I hope that by browsing through this site, you’ll get a good idea of where you could be in a blink of an eye.

NAME THAT BOOK: Winner announced!

And we have a winner for the contest to name Josh’s book….. drum roll please…… (Snoop?  A bit louder.) brrrrrrrrmmmmm, brummmm,  brummmmmm!


Thanks you so much to all of you for playing “Name Josh’s Book!” I feel really fortunate to have the collective brain of such a fun & creative group working on titling my book. There were so many great titles and kind messages.

NAME THAT BOOK: A free-GUEST-tique round is open!

Here it is: an opportunity of a lifetime—win a critique from Josh Berk and a chance to name a real book coming out from Knopf. But first you ask …

Who is Josh? Josh Berk is a librarian and author from Allentown, PA who signed a two-book Young Adult deal with Knopf. The first book comes out in early 2010 and he needs a title! And he promises he will deliver a brutally honest critique of the first three chapters of your children’s or teen novel (25 pages max).

What’s up, Doc? Free-tique office hours from 9 – 11PM CST tonight


Hey everyone,

In this special free-tique round, Snoop puts on his white coat and stethoscope and steps into his office. You may ask him anything about fiction children’s writing or your work. Your question must also be specific–something Snoop can answer with one quick peek and a written prescription in his bad handwriting.

Free-tique round ends today 4PM CST


Just an update:

Thanks to everyone for their title submissions. The contest is closing soon (4 PM – CST TODAY). Keep them coming! I have nearly 500 entries. You’d be surprised that some of the “bad” titles are actually quite good. Don’t afraid to be silly with them. But keep in mind 1) play-on-words 2) the country 3) the character or plot.


Hi everyone, the crits are complete. If you did not receive yours for any reason, feel free to forward me your original email again and let me know.   Stay tuned for another free-tique round next month!

still working on it!

I’m still working on the quick-crits. They’re supposed to be quick, but with so many entries it’s hard to be THAT quick!  I hadn’t expected to get nearly one hundred entries! Yowza.
Have patience–your crit is coming soon.


We’re baa—ack! A free-tique round is open…



First, a big thanks to those of you who wished Baby Liu a warm welcome to the world. Your messages were lovely, the presents divine, and the good vibes were very much appreciated! With that said, I can’t wait to get back into writing-mode, and what better way to start off the year than with a free-tique round for everyone. Woohoo!

Traffic Cop is going on now.

Results of the Free-tique Contest with Agent Jennifer Jaeger!

Snoop would like to announce the results for the Free-tique Contest with Agent Jennifer Jaeger of ABLA!

FINALISTS – (you have won a quick-crit)


* Sarah Tregay, YA, A KISS IN PARIS
* Steve Arnold, YA, TRIPLE THREAT
* Gregory Stephen Fields, MG, BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE
* Cherie Colyer, YA, BLOOD TIES

Free-tique contest with Jennifer Jaeger of ABLA is now open!

Free-tique contest with agent Jennifer Jaeger of Andrea Brown Literary Agency is open for Entries!

Why do you want to enter?
1) It’s a chance to see how you stand among your competition FOR FREE.
2) If you pass Snoop’s muster, it’s another way to get yourself in front of a notable literary agent QUICKLY!
3) It’s just plain fun, y’all.

Submissions are open from now until 11:59PM (CST) Friday, October 26th.

Q&A: Is winning a free-tique round something I should include in my query letters?

Question: So a fellow tiquee has asked, “is winning a free-tique round a credential for a query letter?” Good question.

Answer: As much as Snoop would like everyone to believe that he is world-famous, Cynthea must deflate his ego and say, “No, you should not include any mention of your success in a free-tique round in your query letters.

A special free-tique round is opening!

A SPECIAL FREE-TIQUE round will be opening on Wed, August 8th. But if you want to participate, you’ll need to jump on my freetique list between now and then (that’s August 8th, 11:59 PM) to find out the details. There will be a special contest to qualify and this one should be fast and fun and informative for those writers who want to know if their work can grab the attention of an agent or editor (or Snoop’s!) from page 1.

Good luck!

Cynthea and Snoop

The easiest-free-tique round-ever is open!


Well, I promised one and here it is. A free-tique round is open, but before you spazz and madly try to locate the file you want to send, READ THIS FIRST.

All you need to do this time is just add your email address to my free-tique list. You will automatically be entered in a drawing sponsored by Snoop. The winner will be announced no sooner than Friday, 5PM (CST), June 29th. And remember, CHILDREN’S FICTION work only, any genre.

In deep concentration…(free-tiquees, listen up)


There has been a lot going on in C-LIU-land and I am going to need to go into a deep state of concentration. Free-tiquees waiting to redeem slots may turn them in during this time. However, the usual speedy turnaround may no longer be in effect. In addition, I am happy to extend expiration dates if asked. Now excuse me while I hole myself away. I may re-emerge now and then to say Hi and let you know I am still alive.

Take care, everyone! I’ll miss you.

RLGL winners announced!

Snoop read and read till he couldn’t read no more.
The winner of the FULL-TIQUE is #5-YA, exceeding 12 pages.
The winner of a free-tique slot, stopping at 12 pages is #24-YA.

Winners, you may redeem your tiques no sooner than May 1st (due to various reasons) and no later than August 31st.
Congrats to everyone. We hope you had fun playing the game!


Bon voyage!

RLGL: round six

Woah, we have five, not four, entries that cleared page six.

I have one PB entry clearly in the lead in the last round.

Because this contest has to end tonight, at least the semi-real-time portion of it, we have to make some decisions here.

Novelists: The five entries that cleared page six, you will play SUDDEN DEATH. Submit your first 25 pages by tomorrow 9PM CST and Snoop will announce the winner as soon as he can read your manuscripts. (Probably Friday).

RLGL: Round 5

Do no be eliminated because of a technicality. Please include your entry number, your page number, your MS title in the SUBJECT of your email. If you have just entered, don’t worry about your entry number. Snoop will give you one.

Coming down the home stretch. Because we lost a round due to the email glitch, Snoop and I have conferred and we’ve decided that SIX pages will be the limit to qualify for a free-tique. And bonus play.

RLGL: round 4

Do no be eliminated because of a technicality. Snoop is going bonkers trying to find entries that are improperly labeled. So please include your entry number, your page number, your MS title in the SUBJECT of your email. If you have just entered, don’t worry about your entry number. Snoop will give you one.

A word of warning: Novelists: some of you are taking the long way to tell your story. Uh-oh….

RLGL: round three

Please remember to include your number, genre, page number, and your MS title in your email subjects. If you’re just joining us, don’t worry about the number. You’ll get one. Anyone who fails to do this will be subject to elimination!

If your number is missing from the results, do not hesitate to let us know.

Finally, PB people, you must clear your last page to win a slot.

New Entries: 41-51.

RLGL results: round two

Just an FYI: Please remember to include your number, genre, page number, and your MS title in your email subjects. If you’re just joining us, don’t worry about the number. You’ll get one.

Lots for Snoop to keep track of.

Oh, and if your number is missing from the results, do not hesitate to let us know.

Finally if you are on page 2 or higher, please send FULL pages (dbl-spaced). Don’t worry about formatting when it’s pasted into email.

SPEED Red Light, Green Light begins!

First Red Light: Today, 9PM CST. This means get your stuff to me before then. Results of Round 1 should be announced soon after.
Here are the revised rules for SPEED RLGL.

SPEED RED LIGHT/GREEN LIGHT (not to be confused with TRAFFIC COP) is open to all tiquees – new and “re”. Also you may be agented and/or published (plenty of you guys already participate), but the work you send in should not already be published.

The ending won’t write itself!


Well, well, well, after over a month of complete insanity, I have just realized one thing: the ending to my latest ms won’t write itself. I can take care of my loved ones, see my writing buddies, deal with a gutter thief, redesign my entire website, open all my mail, and pay my bills…but….the ending won’t write itself.

So I guess you know what that means…
I’ll be holding one giant Red Light, Green Light round soon.

A word about free-tiques…


Just an FYI: my schedule will be a bit tight in the next couple of months. Free-tique rounds will be few, I imagine. If I do hold a round, I’ll probaby do something like Traffic Cop or RLGL. I know many of you enjoyed that the last time. If you like to be notified of a round in advance by email, you may subscribe to my free-tique list.

Less free-tiques rounds? You’re going to let me starve?!

a free-tique round begins…


DOORS ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Remember how this works?

  • You ATTACH your first three chapters or your full PB. CHILDREN’S FICTION ONLY.
  • You vow to the Solemn Tiquee oath.
  • You answer this question: Who is the fairest rabbit of them all?
  • Then you email your entry to SNOOP AT CYNTHEALIU DOT COM.
  • I am accepting 1 retiquee and 1 new tiquee.

    Whassup, Doc?



    Snoop is in the office to take your questions. If you can’t remember how this goes….you may ask Snoop any question (about children’s fiction writing) between 11AM CST and 1PM CST.

    Only one question at a time. Please paste any sample work, if necessary, in your email to SNOOP AT CYNTHEALIU DOT COM.

    For more details, see OFFICE HOURS rules.

    The doctor is in.

    Everyone say, What’s up, Doc?


    DOORS ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You might have heard there’s a new free-tique round called OFFICE HOURS. Here are the guidelines to participate…

    1) You may only ask one question at a time….Be as specific as possible. You can not ask another question until your first one is answered.

    2) PASTE your children’s fiction sample in an email.

    Vote for this year’s best Snoop carols!

    Alright, folks, tune up the singing voice in your head, OR sing them out loud. We need two winners! One from the new-tiquee category and one from the re-tiquee category. Votes must be placed by 11:59PM CST. Place them by commenting below with the appropriate numbers. Good luck, contestants (you may also vote, but please don’t vote for your own. No cheating)! In the event of a tie, Snoop will decide.

    Isn’t it about time…

    It’s Friday night. The perfect time to admit you have nothing better to do than win a free-tique slot. I am only giving two away. One for a new-tiquee, one for a re-tiquee (see my free-tiques page on my website if you don’t know what I mean). To win, you must re-write at least one STANZA of any holiday song for Snoop, about Snoop, (cuz he really likes that kind of stuff).

    Congratulations, Tamarak! and who wants a free-tique for Christmas?

    Well if this isn’t another piece of fabulous news from one of my esteemed critique buddies! Who had any doubt she’d hit yet another homerun in the picture book category?! (that makes three, in the last twelve months, baby. Count ’em. THREE! Holy cow.) And they said the PB market was bad. WhatEVER!


    Who wants a free-tique for Christmas to celebrate Tammi’s good news? GET READY. Doors are not open just yet. But they will open today.

    Five vet visits, thirty-six dumplings, and a 20-hour plane trip later…


    Look, guys, I’m back. Just wanted to say…five vet visits, thirty-six dumplings, and a 20-hour plane trip later, things are finally under control.

  • Snoop may have a bacterial infection of sorts but the good news is, it doesn’t look like he’ll be a reliving the movie ALIEN. (Initially, the vets thought he might have cuterebra. Google the word and prepared to be horrified.
  • Calling all free-tiquees…


    If you’re a free-tique winner and waiting for a tique from me, please drop me a note and attach the latest version of the work. If nothing has changed, drop me a note anyway so I can find your original email. Thanks!


    My paw hurts, I hate my medicine, and I don’t want to go to the vet again (her hands are cold). Please brighten my spirits by sending “get well soon” gifts to Snoop AT cynthealiu DOT com.

    shameless promotion for Yoo and a free-tique round

    People, will you quit it with the good news?!

    I have one more announcement to make. David Yoo’s GIRLS FOR BREAKFAST is out in paperback. If you haven’t read this book, well WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? This one is a must-buy, must-read! And NO, Dave and I are not related (but we might look alike.) And yes, he did pay me to say this–somewhere there’s a free fountain pen in it for me.
    And now Yoo’s brilliant novel can be yours for $5.99.

    me? trying to do too much?

    Yes, I think so.

    I can no longer keep up with the free-tiquing as I have been. I need to scale back (Snoop says so). However, I’ve become quite fond of working with all of you and I know I can’t give it up entirely. My free-tique rounds will probably be announced more sporadically. Less frequently. Or I may change the format altogether to free up more time for Snoop and myself.
    People who have reserved slots, no worries. I will honor those slots.

    free-tiques: traffic cop round begins!

    DOORS ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!!! 

    Before you send anything, read this post in full and carefully (the email address has changed among other things).

    I know many of you have been killing to send me stuff already under consideration with agents and editors. SO guess what? I WILL ALLOW IT FOR TRAFFIC COP. Since it’s only a 1/2 page look. You may not send work under contract or published work (DUH!).

    what’s here

    Under [free-tiques->http://www.cynthealiu.com/category/freetiques], you’ll find all my announcements and updates on free-tique round openings, contests, and so on. Get your “send” button finger ready. You never know when your turn has come. Muhahahahaha!

    firedrill results: congratulations!

    Here it is folk, the results…

    BUT FIRST, let me say (for Snoop), that this was a very hard decision to make. Snoop saw the time and care that went into each of these scenes. And Snoop wants to remind you: everything is subjective. What Snoop may be drawn to may not be the very best writing OR the very best story. But he might be attracted to a little something-something he sees in that scene that makes him want to work with it again.

    free-tique round anyone? something new. it’s called FIRE DRILL

    DOORS ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    Hey, everyone. Dude, I've been so busy. Congratulating all the W.I.Nners and getting back into the groove takes a lot of work. Also I just finished another revision today. So yay to that. But now here's the part you've been waiting for. FREE-TIQUES! Unfortunately I don't have much time to do really heavy stuff so I'm ruling out PB manuscripts for this round.

    top ten things Snoop learned from red light, green light


  • Some of you have not been reading Cynthea's Revision 9-1-1 articles. See them here: http://www.cynthealiu.com/category/revision/
  • The most common reason Snoop rejected a PB? a PB that read like a novel/chapter book. Snoop estimates at least 50% of the PB entrants fell under this category.
  • The second most common reason? a rhyming PB that didn't scan (probably another 25% of all entrants, and 80% of all rhyming entries).
  • red light, green light sudden death results

    Snoop read the remaining standby submissions and noted where he decided to stop reading. When two contestants surpassed the highest pages, he marked them as winners for the two reserved slots available.

    These slots expire at the end of September. If you can't remember what a reserved slot was, it is a three-chapter look at your manuscript. The first chapter will be line-commented and the rest will be read for perspective.

    final results: red light, green light

    Artwork provided by fellow tiquee Jack. Everyone ooo and ahhh!

    WE HAVE A FULL-TIQUE WINNER. Snoop is so happy he has literally taken off for the heavens in a permanent state of green-ness (as indicated by the picture. He's not dead, guys. He's just floating, okay?)

    The winner is entrant #23. You made it at 19 pages. Congratulations!

    Now that RLGL is over, entrants, feel free to out yourselves if you so wish. And pat #23 on the back.

    round nineteen results: red light, green light




    YA-18, please go back to start. Snoop wants you to know he is crushed to have to do this. But he hopes you will view this as an accomplishment, not a defeat. Please do ask Snoop why. He hopes to hear from you.

    PB-80* proceed to page 2.

    MG-48*, YA-82 – proceed to page 4.

    MG-74 – proceed to page 7.

    MG-41 – proceed to page 16.

    round sixteen results: red light, green light

    Congratulations #55! You have won the remaining PB/ER slot. Go dance with your bad self. Phew! 




    YA-5, YA-81 – please go back to start.  YA-5, SNOOP IS VERY VERY SAD to see this number go back to start. He hopes you'll view this as an accomplishment to get this far, not a defeat.  You may ask Snoop why he made this decision, of course.

    red light, green light entrants: you may ask Snoop WHY?! now

    An important message from The Snooper:

    My workload has lightened considerably now that Red Light, Green Light is down to a handful of entrants (I have eaten about 70 entries so far). I am opening my doors to questions about WHY I found your manuscript so edible.

    So if you participated in RLGL and were asked to go back, please send your WHY (Feel free to put WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! in the title) along with the pages you subbed (PASTED, PASTED, PASTED INTO THE EMAIL).

    round eleven results: red light, green light

    Congratulations 24 and 41!  You may proceed to page 8 for Bonus Play. OR STOP here and standby to win a reserved slot if others who came before you go down. What will it be?

    New entries:



    PB-63,YA-67, PB-68- go back to start. Snoop says, "I'm sorry but it just wasn't right for me."

    69,70 – proceed to page 2. 

    MG-66 – proceed to page 3.

    round eight results: red light, green light

    We have another winner. 1 novel reserved slot goes to #18. Congratulations!

    (Art work provided by fellow tiquee Jack.  Everyone ooo and ahhhh!)  

    Also #5 is participating in Bonus Play!

    #18, you may continue to sub so long as you do not get the "go back to start" command (herein, known as Bonus Play). If this happens, you forfeit your reserved slot. But if you win Bonus play, you earn a FULL-TIQUE.

    round seven results: red light, green light (two winners!)

    We have two winners. 1 PB slot goes to #37. 1 novel/chapter book slot goes to #5. Congratulations!

    Note: the above drawing was created by Jack, a fellow tiquee, and I think it is highly appropriate for the occasion. It’s gorgeous!

    #5, you may continue to sub so long as you do not get the “go back to start” command (herein, known as Bonus Play). If this happens, you forfeit your reserved slot.

    round six results: red light, green light

    Hi everyone, two new rules:

    When you see the password protected page, please hold off on asking me for a password. I'm working on the results and your emails slow me down. When the results are ready, you will not need a password. Just refresh the page until the results appear.  🙂

    Also, when you're subbing a new page one, I assign it a new number. So please don't include old entry numbers with new entries. I number the entries, not the people.

    round five results: red light, green light

    Hi everyone, PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR ENTRY NUMBERS AND BOOK TYPE in your future email subject lines (if you have a number). I will begin disqualifying participants if this rule is broken. I'm starting to get irritated. 🙂 

    Also let me know if I missed you somehow. 

    New entrants:



    29,33,34,35,36,38 – go back to start.

    37,39,40,41,42 – proceed to page 2.

    27 – proceed to page 3.

    round four results: red light, green light

    If you held back from sending me your next page after third round results (20,21,24,26), please go ahead and send page 2 and 3. Let me know you are behind one round because of the disruption.  I will let you catch up to the others (if you clear the pages).  

    If you do not see your number posted here, let me know.  

    Do not forget to put your entry # and the book type in your email titles.

    third round results: red light, green light

    New entrants:


    All partcipants: please add entry numbers and book type to your future email titles. Like so: entry #29, MG novel, page 3, MS TITLE. Something like that. It helps me tabulate things faster and I'll be able to post what type of books have made it as far as they have. If you're just beginning the race, something like, "page 1, Chapter book, MS title" is fine.

    free-tique round: red light, green light!


    Hi everyone, just back from a wonderful holiday. I am caught up on my emails, my voicemails, etc., AND I got a major chunk of work done. So guess what it's time for…

    A FREE-TIQUE ROUND! Woohoo! Read on…Snoop has planned something special.

    It's called RED LIGHT/GREEN LIGHT (not to be confused with TRAFFIC COP). This round is open to all tiquees – new and "re".

    coffee with cynthea: talking animals and free-tiques


    Today on Coffee with Cynthea, I discuss talking animals: Snoop's favorite subject.


    ***Also, I am closing shop for a week to do some INTENSE relaxation.***



    A SPECIAL "RESERVED" FREE-TIQUE ROUND IS OPEN AS SOON AS YOU READ THIS ENTIRE POST. Five slots people. First come, first "reserved".

    june jumanji justice, part two

    DOORS ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!

    You saw what happened yesterday. Cynthea offered RESERVED slots for free-tiques. Unheard of. Well guess what? Our friends overseas gave up TWO slots when the doors closed. That means, we can do a BONUS ROUND.

    BUT WAIT – before you email me, YOU MUST READ THESE RULES. If you already have a reserved slot, you cannot participate. I am offering 1 retiquee slot. 1 new-tiquee slot. You will not need to attach anything as this is a reserved slot.

    attention tiquees: if you’ve sent in chapters…


    Oh dang!  What have I done? I'm just now realizing a lot of my subs are chapters. Whoo-wee, I've got some reading to do. If you're a tiquee who's waiting for a chapter tique, please send me a synopsis or brief run-down of your work. I will look at these and compare them to your three chapters so I can make decent big picture recommendations.  Do not worry about how good this synopsis is – I just need to know what happens.

    may manuscript madness continues!

    DOORS ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I promised another small round this morning.  But please keep in mind, if you made it into the last round, you can not sub to this one. I hope to return all tiques next week. Some of you from the last round may get them back today. I'm going to open only TWO more slots.  Just TWO. 1 new-tiquee. 1 retiquee.

    You know the rules- if not, see my free-tique page at my website http://www.cynthealiu.

    May Manuscript Madness: FREE-TIQUE ROUND


    DOORS ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It’s time for freetiques. THREE SLOTS. ONE ONE slot for a retiquee and TWO for new tiquees. First pages don’t count. So if you’ve only had a traffic cop tique, you may participate in this round. Three chapters or full PBs. Get moving folks!

    ATTACH your file. (note: only send ONE file.) One work per person.

    email to cynthEaliu AT yahoo DOT com