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Archive for May, 2016

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!

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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.

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