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In early April 2013, I became an full-time literary agent at JABberwocky Literary Agency. In late April 2013, I received a query from an author seeking representation for his YA dystopian manuscript. According to Everyone™, dystopians were extremely hard to sell, a feeling that hasn’t changed much in the intervening three years. But the concept was fresh and unique: in a world where words and gestures have all been copyrighted and you have to pay for the privilege of speaking. After working on some revisions with the author, I was honored to sign him and his amazing manuscript.

Which brings us to now:

Sale announcement for All Rights Reserved by  Gregory Scott Katsoulis

I’m so, so excited to have found a home for both Greg and All Rights Reserved. He was one of my very first clients, All Rights Reserved is one of those stories that sticks with you long after you’ve finished, and I look forward to working with Greg on many more thought-provoking novels!

Several exciting things happened this summer (and they say publishing is slow in the summer, ha!) in book-land: three books by two different clients published, and one client had a cover reveal/excerpt appear on the B&N SFF Blog!

Gentlemans Guide to ScandalFirstly, three books published!

Kathleen Kimmel’s second novel in her Birch Hall romance series, A Gentleman’s Guide to Scandal, published in June. As is common for romance sequels two supporting characters from Kimmel’s debut, A Lady’s Guide to Ruinget to star in a story of their very own! Gentleman’s Guide is Elinor Hargrove and Colin Spenser’s story, and has been called “Great fun from start to finish” (Kirkus), “a delightful, fresh voice in the genre” (Romantic Times in a 4-star review), along with “sizzling chemistry” and “a fearless heroine” (Publishers Weekly). For those who love second chances or enemies*-to-lovers tropes, be sure to take a look!

*more like bickering-to-lovers, but close enough!

K. Eason had not one, but two books publish this summer: her debut fantasy Enemy in June, and its sequel Outlaw in July. These are epic fantasy, in the vein of Kameron Hurley and N. K. Jemisin: dark but not too bleak, playing with gender roles, complete with complex magic systems and multi-layered politics, as well as a whole lot of action. It takes two of my favorite fantasy character types (assassins and outsiders/loners) and does so much with them. The female protagonist (Snowdenaelikk) is a half-breed assassin, which means she gets dumped on by almost every societal class, but she excels at what she does regardless. The male protagonist (Veiko) is outlawed from his (Scandinavian-esque) tribe for doing the wrong thing for the right reason. He and Snow make an unlikely partnership, pulls it all together flawlessly.

outlaw mediumEnemy skyrocketed to the #1 slot in multiple Amazon Kindle categories, including sword & sorcery and dark fantasy, and stayed in the top 100 in the Kindle store for just over a month. With hundreds of 4- and 5-star reviews at Goodreads and Amazon, it’s easy to see why readers have taken to Eason’s work so quickly.

Secondly, cover art!

The B&N SFF Blog had the honor of presenting the fantastic cover of K. C. Alexander’s “nanopunk” thriller, Necrotech! They also have an excerpt up, so go check it out in advance of its September publication date. The many amazing quotes K. C. has already received from SFF powerhouse authors makes it difficult to add anything new, so suffice it to say, Necrotech is a really fun, fast-paced read with a really kick-ass, take-no-prisoners heroine.

Necrotech

April was a very busy month for me. In addition to signing a contemporary middle grade author, I’ve also signed a great writing duo, Corry L. Lee and K. G. Jewell!

JOCASTA AND THE PURPLE GEMFIRE is a zany-yet-grounded sci-fi middle grade about the titular Jocasta and her adventures with aliens on a space station “nexus” that connects all the far-flung galaxies together. Think Stargate meets Percy Jackson, or Alice in Wonderland in space.

I particularly love how all of the characters, from Jocasta the science-minded Earth girl to Sam the rambunctious alien flying squirrel (though don’t let him hear you call him that) to more truly alien creatures, are all extremely relatable despite their extremely different backgrounds and species.

I also really appreciated that Jocasta herself has agency throughout. Sometimes she makes bad decisions (or the best of many bad options), but it’s always clear that she’s making decisions and not letting the plot push her around. And despite some heavier plot elements, JOCASTA has a lighthearted and fun tone throughout. It’s clear that Corry and K. G. had a lot of fun with this project, and it really shines through.

Corry is an SFF writer recently escaped from academia, and the 2011 winner of Writers of the Future. K. G. is a prolific short fiction writer and a 2009 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate. They’re extremely talented writers, both together and individually, and I’m stoked to be working with them!

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve just signed Heidi Stallman, a fantastic middle grade author! She queried me* with OPERATION MAGIC, a contemporary middle grade story about a girl who’s struggling to come to terms with the fact that her relationships with her dad and her BFF are changing as she gets older.

I really love how realistically those changes are portrayed. Her dad isn’t a two-dimensional villain, and her BFF isn’t the stereotypical “mean girl.” They’re just people who are also changing and growing, and not necessarily 100% in-line with the main character. She and BFF don’t tear each other down, but they do fight with and lie to each other the way friends do, especially at an age where they’re trying to determine who they are as individuals. A multi-layered coming-of-age story, Heidi does a fantastic job of making each character the hero of their own story.

Heidi herself has published numerous articles and short stories in such magazines as Missouri Conservationist and Green Prints, as well as placing third in Writers of the Future. She’s also a Pitch Wars alum; I’d just signed another Pitch Wars alum before reading her query, so I was hopeful magic would strike twice — and it did!

Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be working with Heidi and OPERATION MAGIC!

*A slush pile success story! Fun fact: I find the vast majority of my clients from queries.

Debutatens Guide to RebellionA very happy publication day to Kathleen KimmelA Debutante’s Guide to Rebellion is a companion novella to her Birch Hall Regency romance series and set chronologically before A Lady’s Guide to Ruin, the first book in the series.

While it’s populated almost entirely with new characters, fans of A Lady’s Guide to Ruin will appreciate the appearance of a few tertiary characters, including Lady Copeland and her infamous diamonds! For those who haven’t read Lady’s GuideDebutante’s Guide works perfectly as a standalone read, and there are no spoilers in either the book or the novella.

Ramblings From This Chick called A Debutante’s Guide to Rebellion “adorable” and “too cute.” Rachel McMillan, author of the Herringford and Watts series, says it’s “a gem” and “probably the best novella” she’s read. (I humbly agree; also, I’m totally not biased at all. ;) ).

A bashful botanist and a reluctant debutante are about to discover that there may be a science to seduction after all…

London, 1815: Lady Mildred Weller (Eddie to her friends) has few prospects for marriage. If she can’t attract the available—though considerably older—Lord Averdale, she may be doomed to spinsterhood. She’s even willing to enter into that loveless union, if only to escape her mother’s stifling and increasingly desperate dominance. And she may have found the perfect person to help her achieve that goal.

Ezekiel Blackwood is a botanist as well as Lord Averdale’s nephew and heir. He is also a social disaster. Cross-pollination he understands; the fairer sex not at all. But in Lady Eddie, he discovers a kindred spirit. When she asks for his assistance in assessing Lord Averdale’s interest in her, Ezekiel is crushed. But naturally, he thinks, she could never fall in love with someone like him. Ezekiel’s matchmaking cousin  is only too happy to arrange a discreet rendezvous for their conspiracy—a greenhouse. Of course in such a setting, it’s only natural that feelings might begin to bloom…

This is a sweet* Regency read for those looking for an afternoon treat. Also features two adorably awkward leads, terrible dancing, and botany! And, fun fact, there’s an excerpt for the second Birch Hall novel, A Gentleman’s Guide to Scandal, at the end!

*A Debutante’s Guide to Rebellion is clean, focusing on the courtship (and a wonderful first kiss). Kimmel’s novels are decidedly more explicit.

Long story short: In mid-December, an author came to me with a publication offer pending for her novel, and after a whirlwind of reading and emailing back and forth (deadlines, man), I was thrilled to offer her representation and take over the negotiation process. That process has finally officially concluded, and I can finally share the exciting news!

K. C. Alexander and her cyberpunk novel, NECROTECH, has sold to Angry Robot!  It’s a transhumanist masterpiece of cyberpunk and technology run amok, complete with an in-your-face female lead who doesn’t take no shit from nobody. Stephen Blackmore (Broken Souls) and Jason M. Hough (Zero World) summed up my own thoughts perfectly, calling it a “tight, violent thrillride” and “vulgar, vicious, and very very good,” respectively. And, lucky readers, the novel is currently slated for publication this September!

K. C., who you may know as Karina Cooper for her award-winning steampunk urban fantasy series, has made the leap into SFF, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with her.

SF Signal and Angry Robot have more information about NECROTECH (including a fantastic guest post from K. C.), so be sure to hop over!

The Theater

A friend of mine was interning with a independent theater group, the New York Neo-Futurists. Since Saturday was her last day as an intern and my life had not yet been consumed by my publishing course, I figured I should go see what they were all about. The Neo-Futurists do 30 plays in 60 minutes at the Kraine Theater, with audience participation similar to Rocky Horror (except unscripted and not as frequent). The vignettes are very short, and run the gamut from quite humorous to moving. If you’re in Manhattan on a Friday or Saturday nigh, I recommend checking them out. (Worth mentioning: The KGB Bar is upstairs, and you’re allowed to bring your beverage into the theater.)

The Reading Series

After hearing on twitter that I was at the KGB, two writer/twitter friends mentioned that I should look into the monthly KGB Fantastic Fiction reading series. Hosted by editor/anthologist Ellen Datlow and author Matthew Kressel, the reading series features authors sharing (I assume) excerpts from their recently-published or soon-to-be-published works.

This month’s readers are E.C. Myers, author of Fair Coin (who I mentioned in my previous post), and Jack O’Connell, author of The Resurrectionist (among others).

The date coincides with the halfway point of my publishing course. My roommate and I are planning to attend as a reward for surviving the first three weeks and the culmination of the magazine section.

Free Fiction

On a different note, have you heard of Goldfish Grimm? It’s an monthly webzine dedicated to speculative fiction, with a partiality for dark fantasy and horror. Issue 4 went live a few days ago. Stop by and take a peek.

photo credit: Nightmare Magazine, Creeping Hemlock Press

The amazing anthologist and editor John Joseph Adams has decided to Kickstart a new online magazine, Nightmare Magazine, featuring stories of horror and dark fantasy. Like Adams’ other publication, Lightspeed Magazine, Nightmare will have both original fiction and reprints every month. The first issue will feature stories from Laird Barron, Sarah Langan, Jonathan Maberry, and Genevieve Valentine. Assistant editors were announced two days ago (I saw via twitter, they may have been announced elsewhere, as well): E.C. Myers, author of Fair Coin, and Erika Holt, an Inkpunks contributor. The magazine has been fully funded, but there are still a few days left to get in on the first issue! (Note for writers: Nightmare is not yet open for submissions. The Kickstarter page says it’ll be open to submissions shortly after it’s funded, so make sure to check its website for further updates.)

photo credit: Fireside Magazine, Patrick Garvin

Another Kickstarter project to look at is Fireside Magazine, Issue 2 (and beyond). Fireside Magazine is a quarterly magazine that publishes short fiction and comics. If successfully funded, the second issue will feature stories by Stephen Blackmoore, Damien Walters Grintalis, Kat Howard, and Jake Kerr, and a comic by Steven Walker and the magazine’s editor, Brian White. The cover artist for issue 2 is Galen Dara. Contributors for issue 3 will be Daniel Abraham, Elizabeth Bear, and Mary Robinette Kowal, with the comic written by Rachel Deering. Fireside 2 is almost 50% funded, with a litte over a week to go. The line-up for issue 2 (and 3) are all stellar writers; if you enjoy speculative short fiction, you won’t be disappointed.

The Things by Peter Watts is a 2011 Hugo Award Nominee, 2010 BSFA Award Finalist, 2010 Shirley Jackson Award Winner, 2011 Finalist: the Locus Award for Best Short Story, 2011 Theodore Sturgeon Award Nominee. I’ve not seen John Carpenter’s The Thing, the movie Watts’ story is based on, but I found Watts’ story captivating nonetheless. It’s available for free over at Clarkesworld Magazine.

Something else that’s currently available: an excerpt from The Siren Depths, the third book in Martha WellsRaksura series. I read and enjoyed the first two books, The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea earlier this year. The Siren Depths is one book I’ll be looking forward to this December!

I noticed a number of awesome-sounding conventions and workshops happening in my neck of the woods (Northern California-ish) in the near future. I thought I’d share, even though I’ll be out of the state for most of them.

  • EFA NorCal Chapter Meeting: Editor’s POV book discussion: The Hunger Games, May 21, Sacramento, CA. They’ll be discussing the book from a writer/editor point of view, not a literary point of view. Questions that may be considered: Why is this book so successful? What techniques does the writer use that have created such emotional responses from readers? Does the writer break writing “rules,” and if so how does it work for her?

    I’m actually quite interested in this topic, especially since I’m still in Sacramento! Whether I can go depends on if my apartment is 85% packed by 6pm. Let’s just say I have a lot of stuff. ;)

  • Bay Con 2012, May 25-28, Santa Clara, CA. The San Francisco Bay Area’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention since 1982. Guests of honor include Brandon Sanderson, Stephan Martiniere, Scott and Cathy Beckstead, Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin.

    Conventions are a great place to meet authors, editors, and fans of the genre. The panels offer a range of topics, from writing to the business of writing to topics of related interest (like Dr. Who and Joss Whedon). BayCon also offers regency dances and a Magic: The Gathering tournament with Brandon Sanderson! Check out the programming.

  • Cascade Writers Workshop, July 26-29, Vancouver, WA. This is a Milford-style workshop, meaning you read and critique each person’s story in your workshop group. Workshop leaders include Beth Meacham (Tor Executive Editor), Michael Carr (literary agent), Ken Scholes (author), Tina Connolly (author), Jay Lake (author), and Barb & JC Hendee (authors). Guest speakers include Sheryn Hara (topic: self-publishing), Spencer Ellsworth (topic: pitches), Karen Weatherall Davis (topic: copyright and contracts), Mark Teppo (topic: outlining your novel), Shelly Beber (topic: taxes for writers).

    Looks like a great line-up of very knowledgeable and friendly people! Registration is open until June 15th, or the last 8 spots are filled.

  • Westercon 65, July 5-8, Seattle, WA. Guests of honor include Robin Hobb(!), Art Bozlee, Frank Wu, Chaz Boston Baden, and the filk duo Vixy & Tony.

    Not only is Seattle a gorgeous city, but Robin Hobb is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I’m pretty bummed I won’t be able to attend, but I’ll be in the middle of my summer publishing program. There are too many interesting things happening all at once!

  • Mythcon 43, August 3-6, Berkeley, CA.The conference discusses myths and legends from Europe and Asia. Guests of honor include Professor G. Ronald Murphy, SJ, and YA author Malindo Lo.

    If you’re interested in European and Asian mythologies, take a look!

  • Westercon 66, July 4-7, 2013, Sacramento, CA. It looks like they haven’t yet settled on guests of honor or programming, but given that it’s more than a year away, that’s not surprising.

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