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1. Five years!

2009 isn’t all that far back, but sometimes it can seem like a lifetime ago. Lady Gaga was a breakout artist, and Kanye West was stealing Taylor Swift’s microphone. Barack Obama hadn’t yet served a full year—but had already hosted a beer summit. Steve Jobs was alive (if not well), and the iPad hadn’t yet been introduced. Legitimate journalists wrote about things like Farmville and sexting and the Gosselins as though these things were “news.” And Upstart Crow Literary opened for business. We were four agents who’d met at another, short-lived agency, and we joined forces and announced ourselves that August. So much has happened since! Far too much to adequately cover in this post. So a quick summary with lots of links. We moved from a PO box to an address on Fifth Avenue; we bid farewell to one agent (we miss you, Chris) and welcomed another (the fabulous Alexandra Penfold). Our authors have published wildly acclaimed debut novels—both stand alones and series entries; New York Times bestsellers, much lauded award-winners, and much-loved entries on best-of-the-year lists. They’ve published cookbooks and memoirs, self-help and guides to helping...

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2. Five years!

2009 isn’t all that far back, but sometimes it can seem like a lifetime ago. Lady Gaga was a breakout artist, and Kanye West was stealing Taylor Swift’s microphone. Barack Obama hadn’t yet served a full year—but had already hosted a beer summit. Steve Jobs was alive (if not well), and the iPad hadn’t yet been introduced. Legitimate journalists wrote about things like Farmville and sexting and the Gosselins as though these things were “news.” And Upstart Crow Literary opened for business. We were four agents who’d met at another, short-lived agency, and we joined forces and announced ourselves that August. So much has happened since! Far too much to adequately cover in this post. So a quick summary with lots of links. We moved from a PO box to an address on Fifth Avenue; we bid farewell to one agent (we miss you, Chris) and welcomed another (the fabulous Alexandra Penfold). Our authors have published wildly acclaimed debut novels—both stand alones and series entries; New York Times bestsellers, much lauded award-winners, and much-loved entries on best-of-the-year lists. They’ve published cookbooks and memoirs, self-help and guides to helping...

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3. A Fond Farewell to Publishing

Hello!

Chris Richman here. After many months of consideration, I’ve decided to leave the book world. This isn’t a decision I make easily—for years I wanted to work in publishing, and it was a literal dream come true when I landed a job as a literary agent. I loved finding new talent, working with my clients, and sharing in their triumphs. I enjoyed connecting with writers across the country and the world, and being a part of people’s roads to success.

I’m especially proud to have worked with so many talented people over the years, from my wonderful roster of clients, to the editors who helped shape good stories into great ones, and especially to my colleagues both at Upstart Crow and Firebrand Literary way back when. The biggest debt I owe is to Michael Stearns, who served as a wonderful mentor for me when I was just starting, and now has become a friend. His guidance, sense of humor, and occasional tough love helped me in too many ways to count.

In the end, however, I’ve decided to seek a different route, and I’m happy to announce I’ve started a job in PR and marketing in Philadelphia, and look forward to a shift in careers.

Thank you to everyone who helped along the way, including the writers who shared their work with me. I wish I could have responded to every query more quickly, or signed more clients, or met more people at conferences. But hey, it was a pretty good run that I’ll remember fondly.

Best of luck to you all out there!

Chris Richman

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4. A Fond Farewell to Publishing

Hello! Chris Richman here. After many months of consideration, I’ve decided to leave the book world. This isn’t a decision I make easily—for years I wanted to work in publishing, and it was a literal dream come true when I landed a job as a literary agent. I loved finding new talent, working with my clients, and sharing in their triumphs. I enjoyed connecting with writers across the country and the world, and being a part of people’s roads to success. I’m especially proud to have worked with so many talented people over the years, from my wonderful roster of clients, to the editors who helped shape good stories into great ones, and especially to my colleagues both at Upstart Crow and Firebrand Literary way back when. The biggest debt I owe is to Michael Stearns, who served as a wonderful mentor for me when I was just starting, and now has become a friend. His guidance, sense of humor, and occasional tough love helped me in too many ways to count. In the end, however, I’ve decided to seek a different route, and I’m...

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5. A Fond Farewell to Publishing

Hello! Chris Richman here. After many months of consideration, I’ve decided to leave the book world. This isn’t a decision I make easily—for years I wanted to work in publishing, and it was a literal dream come true when I landed a job as a literary agent. I loved finding new talent, working with my clients, and sharing in their triumphs. I enjoyed connecting with writers across the country and the world, and being a part of people’s roads to success. I’m especially proud to have worked with so many talented people over the years, from my wonderful roster of clients, to the editors who helped shape good stories into great ones, and especially to my colleagues both at Upstart Crow and Firebrand Literary way back when. The biggest debt I owe is to Michael Stearns, who served as a wonderful mentor for me when I was just starting, and now has become a friend. His guidance, sense of humor, and occasional tough love helped me in too many ways to count. In the end, however, I’ve decided to seek a different route, and I’m...

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6. The Key & The Flame Comes out Today!

katfWe at Upstart Crow Literary are very excited to announce the publication of Claire Caterer’s debut novel The Key & The Flame, published by Margaret K. Mcelderry books! Claire is a wonderfully talented author who worked long and hard to bring this story of magic and mystery into the world.

The Key & The Flame follows eleven-year-old Holly Shepard, a bookish girl who desperately seeks some escape from her boring life living in the middle of Kansas. When her family takes a trip to England, Holly gets more than she bargained for when she receives an old iron key that unlocks a door to a secret world, and also the potential for magic within her.

Holly is joined on her journey by two tagalongs—her younger brother Ben, and Everett, an English boy who hungers after Holly’s newfound magic and carries a few secrets of his own. Holly, Ben, and Everett go from being ordinary kids in our world to extraordinary guests in a new world–but can Holly and friends be able to muster the courage and rise above her ordinary past to become an extraordinary hero?

When I first read the pitch for Claire Caterer’s story, I was immediately drawn in by the classic feel of the story, but particularly by Claire’s wonderful voice as a narrator. Seemingly without trying very hard, Claire was able to infuse the narration with humor, intrigue, and mystery, and make her characters stand out in a wonderful way that will appeal to reader’s of all ages.

I’m so excited for others to experience the adventure of The Key & The Flame. And once you’ve fallen in love, the story will continue next year with a sequel!

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7. The Key & The Flame Comes out Today!

We at Upstart Crow Literary are very excited to announce the publication of Claire Caterer’s debut novel The Key & The Flame, published by Margaret K. Mcelderry books! Claire is a wonderfully talented author who worked long and hard to bring this story of magic and mystery into the world. The Key & The Flame follows eleven-year-old Holly Shepard, a bookish girl who desperately seeks some escape from her boring life living in the middle of Kansas. When her family takes a trip to England, Holly gets more than she bargained for when she receives an old iron key that unlocks a door to a secret world, and also the potential for magic within her. Holly is joined on her journey by two tagalongs—her younger brother Ben, and Everett, an English boy who hungers after Holly’s newfound magic and carries a few secrets of his own. Holly, Ben, and Everett go from being ordinary kids in our world to extraordinary guests in a new world–but can Holly and friends be able to muster the courage and rise above her ordinary past to become an extraordinary...

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8. The Key & The Flame Comes out Today!

We at Upstart Crow Literary are very excited to announce the publication of Claire Caterer’s debut novel The Key & The Flame, published by Margaret K. Mcelderry books! Claire is a wonderfully talented author who worked long and hard to bring this story of magic and mystery into the world. The Key & The Flame follows eleven-year-old Holly Shepard, a bookish girl who desperately seeks some escape from her boring life living in the middle of Kansas. When her family takes a trip to England, Holly gets more than she bargained for when she receives an old iron key that unlocks a door to a secret world, and also the potential for magic within her. Holly is joined on her journey by two tagalongs—her younger brother Ben, and Everett, an English boy who hungers after Holly’s newfound magic and carries a few secrets of his own. Holly, Ben, and Everett go from being ordinary kids in our world to extraordinary guests in a new world–but can Holly and friends be able to muster the courage and rise above her ordinary past to become an extraordinary...

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9. E. M. Kokie’s PERSONAL EFFECTS Releases to Rave Reviews

A few years ago I was searching very hard for a gripping YA for boys, something with an authentic voice, issues teen boys could relate to, and a plot that grabbed me and didn’t let go. When author E.M. Kokie sent me the query and sample pages for her novel Personal Effects, I knew within five minutes of reading I’d come across something special. The voice was outstanding, the plot immediately grabbed me, and it took only a few days of reading the full story to realize I had to work with this author. I remember stepping off a plane on my way to an SCBWI conference, pulling out my phone, and emailing Kokie while still standing on the runway to say “I’m loving this book! Stay tuned!”

Nearly three years later, I’m happy to report my love of this novel is shared by others, as the response to Personal Effects book has been overwhelmingly positive. Just check out some of the great blurbs Personal Effects has received!

  • PERSONAL EFFECTS is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time—it’s complex, moving, and beautifully written. I want everyone I love to read this book.” —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award Finalist, Coretta Scott King Award winner, and Newbery Honor winner
  • “A fine addition to the literature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” —Kirkus
  • Timely, passionate, and political, PERSONAL EFFECTS is a story that needs to be told. Heartbreaking and heart-opening at the same time. —James Howe, author of The Misfits and Totally Joe
  • “Well written and heartfelt, Personal Effects provides much to discuss after the covers are closed. . . . This title is highly recommended for teen readers.” —VOYA
  • “PERSONAL EFFECTS is a smart, rugged, hugely insightful book that elevates an already soaring genre. E.M. Kokie glides along that fine line between comedy and tragedy to tell a sensation story.” —Chris Crutcher, a Margaret A. Edwards Award-winning author
  • . . . Kokie has written a no-holds-barred contemporary YA novel that is right up there with my all-time favorites of the genre.” —Richie’s Picks

Finally, we just learned that PERSONAL EFFECTS earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it an “outstanding debut.” To read the complete review, HEAD HERE.

But you know where you should really head? To your local bookstore, so you can pick up a copy yourself! I promise you, this book will impact you, and is a great read for teens looking for challenging, gripping work. Grab a copy today!

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10. E. M. Kokie’s PERSONAL EFFECTS Releases to Rave Reviews

A few years ago I was searching very hard for a gripping YA for boys, something with an authentic voice, issues teen boys could relate to, and a plot that grabbed me and didn’t let go. When author E.M. Kokie sent me the query and sample pages for her novel Personal Effects, I knew within five minutes of reading I’d come across something special. The voice was outstanding, the plot immediately grabbed me, and it took only a few days of reading the full story to realize I had to work with this author. I remember stepping off a plane on my way to an SCBWI conference, pulling out my phone, and emailing Kokie while still standing on the runway to say “I’m loving this book! Stay tuned!” Nearly three years later, I’m happy to report my love of this novel is shared by others, as the response to Personal Effects book has been overwhelmingly positive. Just check out some of the great blurbs Personal Effects has received! PERSONAL EFFECTS is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time—it’s complex, moving, and...

Add a Comment
11. E. M. Kokie’s PERSONAL EFFECTS Releases to Rave Reviews

A few years ago I was searching very hard for a gripping YA for boys, something with an authentic voice, issues teen boys could relate to, and a plot that grabbed me and didn’t let go. When author E.M. Kokie sent me the query and sample pages for her novel Personal Effects, I knew within five minutes of reading I’d come across something special. The voice was outstanding, the plot immediately grabbed me, and it took only a few days of reading the full story to realize I had to work with this author. I remember stepping off a plane on my way to an SCBWI conference, pulling out my phone, and emailing Kokie while still standing on the runway to say “I’m loving this book! Stay tuned!” Nearly three years later, I’m happy to report my love of this novel is shared by others, as the response to Personal Effects book has been overwhelmingly positive. Just check out some of the great blurbs Personal Effects has received! PERSONAL EFFECTS is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time—it’s complex, moving, and...

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12. Congrats to Antony John!

Rejection. Redemption. Romance.

Now that the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I for one am itching to take a road trip. And if you are too, why not start with a dazzling new read by one of teen lit’s best writers?

Antony John.

Antony’s last book, FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, was the recipient of brilliant reviews, lavish praise from authors and readers alike, and the prestigious Schneider Award for Teens.

NowThou Shalt Not Road Trip Antony brings us a fantastic new story: THOU SHALT NOT ROAD TRIP!

When sixteen-year-old Luke’s book, Hallelujah, becomes a national bestseller, his publishing house sends him on a cross-country book tour with his older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. But when irresponsible Matt offers to drive Luke’s ex–soul mate, Fran, across the country too, things get a little crazy. On the trip, Luke must loosen up, discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves.

Told with Antony John’s signature wit and authenticity, and featuring smart, singular characters who jump off the page and into your heart, this story is a spiritual awakening and rockin’ road trip in one.

To learn more about Antony, visit him on the web at www.antonyjohn.net

Now start reading!

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13. Congrats to Antony John!

Rejection. Redemption. Romance. Now that the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I for one am itching to take a road trip. And if you are too, why not start with a dazzling new read by one of teen lit’s best writers? Antony John. Antony’s last book, FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, was the recipient of brilliant reviews, lavish praise from authors and readers alike, and the prestigious Schneider Award for Teens. Now Antony brings us a fantastic new story: THOU SHALT NOT ROAD TRIP! When sixteen-year-old Luke’s book, Hallelujah, becomes a national bestseller, his publishing house sends him on a cross-country book tour with his older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. But when irresponsible Matt offers to drive Luke’s ex–soul mate, Fran, across the country too, things get a little crazy. On the trip, Luke must loosen up, discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves. Told with Antony John’s signature wit and authenticity, and featuring smart, singular characters who jump off the page and into your heart, this story is a spiritual...

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14. Congrats to Antony John!

Rejection. Redemption. Romance. Now that the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I for one am itching to take a road trip. And if you are too, why not start with a dazzling new read by one of teen lit’s best writers? Antony John. Antony’s last book, FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, was the recipient of brilliant reviews, lavish praise from authors and readers alike, and the prestigious Schneider Award for Teens. Now Antony brings us a fantastic new story: THOU SHALT NOT ROAD TRIP! When sixteen-year-old Luke’s book, Hallelujah, becomes a national bestseller, his publishing house sends him on a cross-country book tour with his older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. But when irresponsible Matt offers to drive Luke’s ex–soul mate, Fran, across the country too, things get a little crazy. On the trip, Luke must loosen up, discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves. Told with Antony John’s signature wit and authenticity, and featuring smart, singular characters who jump off the page and into your heart, this story is a spiritual...

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15. Books, Books, and more Books

This winter has been unusually warm here in New York—no doubt that is because some of our favorite Upstart Crows have been heating up the bookshelves with their latest releases!

Yvonne Woon has followed up her debut novel, Dead Beautiful, with a haunting sequel called Life Eternal, continuing the epic journey of star-crossed lovers Dante and Renée.

Kirkus raves for Life Eternal, saying that “Renée’s story is romantic, suspenseful and far from over. A solid read, this one will leave readers wanting more.”

And if you haven’t read Dead Beautiful (which Publisher’s Weekly said has a “Harry Potter start and a Twilight finish”), what are you waiting for? It’s out now in paperback!

Learn more about Yvonne and her fabulous writing at: www.yvonnewoon.com

***

Have you ever wanted to go sleuthing?

Suzanna Show did in her first adventure, The Midnight Tunnel (now out in paperback!) and she’s at it again in The Mastermind Plot.

Kirkus says, “The suspenseful plot unfolds from Zanna’s first-person perspective, punctuated by her pithy observations. Fans of Suzanna Snow’s first mystery will cheer her latest adventure” and School Library Journal tells you to “add Zanna Snow to [your] list of quirky, bright, and determined female detectives.”

Angie brings the city of Boston to life with intriguing characters and a suspenseful mystery perfect for any middle grade reader. Will Zanna solve the case of the warehouse fires while uncovering secrets about her family’s past? You’ll have to buy a copy of The Mastermind Plot to find out!

To learn more about Suzanna Snow and Angie Frazier, visit www.angiefrazier.com

***

The saying “March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb” takes on a whole new meaning with this next release. And by lion we mean werewolf, of course!

If you’re anything like us, you’re practically salivating to get your hands on a copy of The Savage Grace, the conclusion to Bree Despain’s blockbuster Dark Divine trilogy. Action, suspense, and a heartbreaking romance are all on line—will Grace and Daniel make it, or not?

Translated into over fifteen languages, and optioned for the big screen, you won’t want to miss The Savage Grace, which is available on March 13th.

Visit Bree for more information at www.breedespain.com

***

March 13th also brings us the publication of Josh Berk’s highly anticipated GUY LANGMAN: CRIME SCENE PROCRASTINATOR.

Josh’s debut, THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN, received multiple starred reviews, awards, and landed on more than a few “Best of 2010” lists.

This new novel follows Guy Langman as he is unwittingly drawn into a murder investigation as part of the Forens

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16. Books, Books, and more Books

This winter has been unusually warm here in New York—no doubt that is because some of our favorite Upstart Crows have been heating up the bookshelves with their latest releases! Yvonne Woon has followed up her debut novel, Dead Beautiful, with a haunting sequel called Life Eternal, continuing the epic journey of star-crossed lovers Dante and Renée. Kirkus raves for Life Eternal, saying that “Renée’s story is romantic, suspenseful and far from over. A solid read, this one will leave readers wanting more.” And if you haven’t read Dead Beautiful (which Publisher’s Weekly said has a “Harry Potter start and a Twilight finish”), what are you waiting for? It’s out now in paperback! Learn more about Yvonne and her fabulous writing at: www.yvonnewoon.com *** Have you ever wanted to go sleuthing? Suzanna Show did in her first adventure, The Midnight Tunnel (now out in paperback!) and she’s at it again in The Mastermind Plot. Kirkus says, “The suspenseful plot unfolds from Zanna’s first-person perspective, punctuated by her pithy observations. Fans of Suzanna Snow’s first mystery will cheer her latest adventure” and School Library Journal tells you...

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17. Books, Books, and more Books

This winter has been unusually warm here in New York—no doubt that is because some of our favorite Upstart Crows have been heating up the bookshelves with their latest releases! Yvonne Woon has followed up her debut novel, Dead Beautiful, with a haunting sequel called Life Eternal, continuing the epic journey of star-crossed lovers Dante and Renée. Kirkus raves for Life Eternal, saying that “Renée’s story is romantic, suspenseful and far from over. A solid read, this one will leave readers wanting more.” And if you haven’t read Dead Beautiful (which Publisher’s Weekly said has a “Harry Potter start and a Twilight finish”), what are you waiting for? It’s out now in paperback! Learn more about Yvonne and her fabulous writing at: www.yvonnewoon.com *** Have you ever wanted to go sleuthing? Suzanna Show did in her first adventure, The Midnight Tunnel (now out in paperback!) and she’s at it again in The Mastermind Plot. Kirkus says, “The suspenseful plot unfolds from Zanna’s first-person perspective, punctuated by her pithy observations. Fans of Suzanna Snow’s first mystery will cheer her latest adventure” and School Library Journal tells you...

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18. Say Hello to Cole Gibsen’s KATANA

Katana final CoverI’m thrilled today to announce the publication of KATANA, a sexy, fun, and engrossing story by my client Cole Gibsen. KATANA, published by Flux books, tells the story of Rileigh Martin, a skater girl who suddenly finds herself with the fighting abilities of an ancient Japanese samurai.

From the publisher: “Rileigh Martin wants to believe that adrenaline gave her the strength to fend off three muggers in the mall parking lot. But adrenaline doesn’t explain the voice in her head giving her battle tips and warnings.

While worrying that she’s going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she’s harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana–a deadly Japanese sword that’s also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she’s always been and embracing the warrior inside her.”

Antony John, author of the 2011 Schneider Family Book Award for his novel Five Flavors of Dumb, says “Prepare yourself for a smart, sassy heroine and seriously swoony romance…with a little butt-kicking thrown in for good measure. A cracking debut.”

School Library Journal says, “This action-packed novel has a unique and compelling plot…Fans of Carrie Asai’s “Samurai Girl” series (S & S) will be particularly interested, but even readers who dislike supernatural story lines will enjoy this tale of modern samurais.”

I originally pitched KATANA as a mix of Kill Bill and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and wrote about it some time ago in my post on pitching projects in 25 words or less. KATANA is the very definition of a high concept, commercial project, and I think teen readers everywhere will love it! If you’re in the mood for a sexy tale with plenty of action, find KATANA online or at your local bookstore!

  • For more information about Cole Gibsen and the book, head to: http://www.colegibsen.com/ or follow her on Twitter at @ColeGibsen
  • To read a great interview with Cole, head to: http://carlybennett.blogspot.com/2012/03/interview-cole-gibsen-katana.html
  • For an interview with me about what made me sign KATANA, head to LS Murphy’s blog: http://lsmurphy.com/2012/03/08/5-questions-with-chris-richman/

What are you doing still reading this blog? Go out and buy the book already!

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19. Sarah Ockler Bakes A New Novel … To Perfection!

There’s certainly nothing to be “bitter” about now that Sarah Ockler’s latest novel has hit the shelves.

With her unique mixture of romance, witty one-liners, and, of course, hopefulness mixed with a dash of heartbreak, Sarah has delivered a confectionary delight-of-a-novel that I am so excited is out in the world. The perfect way to start out 2012!

A little about the book:

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life—and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last….

I am so incredibly proud of Sarah–she has whipped up what may very well be her tastiest book yet. So get your copy now! And visit Sarah at: www.sarahockler.com

What are you waiting for? Didn’t you see the part about cupcakes?!

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20. Is Jonathan Franzen Right?

Are e-books damaging society? I’ve been thinking a lot about the piece that appeared in the Telegraph this week citing Franzen’sexploding-earth-bomb-clip-art-thumb2794671 hatred of e-books.

I was fully prepared to be annoyed by the article when I read the headline. While I’m not fatalistic enough to link the downward trajectory of society to e-books (or at least not solely to e-books), I enjoyed some of Franzen’s points, particularly this one about permanence of physical books:

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.”

I like thinking about books this way. Sure, I own an iPad and a Kindle, and I have a slew of e-books on both of ‘em. I love being able to purchase books on a whim–in the middle of the night, on a rainy Sunday, whatever– from the comfort of my own home. But I often feel a certain hollowness when I’ve completed a download. I like the way a real book takes up space in my life the way an e-book can’t. If I download a book,  visiting friends can’t pull it off of the shelf and thumb through it. My infant son can’t grab it and chew on the corner, leaving little dimples in the jacket (which annoys me now and which I will feel nostalgic  about later when he stops chewing on things).  I can’t slip a piece of paper into the book to mark my place, or tuck the paperwork I’m carrying around with me between the front cover and the title page. I can’t scrawl a friend’s phone number on the inside back cover.

I asked my interns to share their thoughts..”I actually bought both of Jonthan Franzen’s books on my Kindle,” one intern said sheepishly. ” They’re 600 pages long! Who wants to lug that around with them all day?”

Ha ha. Touché, Jonathan Franzen.

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21. Say Hello to Cole Gibsen’s KATANA

I’m thrilled today to announce the publication of KATANA, a sexy, fun, and engrossing story by my client Cole Gibsen. KATANA, published by Flux books, tells the story of Rileigh Martin, a skater girl who suddenly finds herself with the fighting abilities of an ancient Japanese samurai. From the publisher: “Rileigh Martin wants to believe that adrenaline gave her the strength to fend off three muggers in the mall parking lot. But adrenaline doesn’t explain the voice in her head giving her battle tips and warnings. While worrying that she’s going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she’s harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior. Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana–a deadly Japanese sword that’s also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she’s always been and embracing the warrior inside her.” Antony John, author of the 2011 Schneider Family Book Award for his novel Five Flavors...

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22. Is Jonathan Franzen Right?

Are e-books damaging society? I’ve been thinking a lot about the piece that appeared in the Telegraph this week citing Franzen’s hatred of e-books. I was fully prepared to be annoyed by the article when I read the headline. While I’m not fatalistic enough to link the downward trajectory of society to e-books (or at least not solely to e-books), I enjoyed some of Franzen’s points, particularly this one about permanence of physical books: “I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.” I like thinking about books this way. Sure, I own an iPad and a Kindle, and I have a slew of e-books on both of ‘em. I love being able to purchase books on a whim–in the middle of the night, on a rainy Sunday, whatever– from the comfort of my own home. But I often feel a certain hollowness when I’ve completed a download. I like the way a real book takes up space in my life the way...

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23. Sarah Ockler Bakes A New Novel … To Perfection!

There’s certainly nothing to be “bitter” about now that Sarah Ockler’s latest novel has hit the shelves. With her unique mixture of romance, witty one-liners, and, of course, hopefulness mixed with a dash of heartbreak, Sarah has delivered a confectionary delight-of-a-novel that I am so excited is out in the world. The perfect way to start out 2012! A little about the book: Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been. So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life—and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done....

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24. Say Hello to Cole Gibsen’s KATANA

I’m thrilled today to announce the publication of KATANA, a sexy, fun, and engrossing story by my client Cole Gibsen. KATANA, published by Flux books, tells the story of Rileigh Martin, a skater girl who suddenly finds herself with the fighting abilities of an ancient Japanese samurai. From the publisher: “Rileigh Martin wants to believe that adrenaline gave her the strength to fend off three muggers in the mall parking lot. But adrenaline doesn’t explain the voice in her head giving her battle tips and warnings. While worrying that she’s going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she’s harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior. Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana–a deadly Japanese sword that’s also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she’s always been and embracing the warrior inside her.” Antony John, author of the 2011 Schneider Family Book Award for his novel Five Flavors...

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25. Is Jonathan Franzen Right?

Are e-books damaging society? I’ve been thinking a lot about the piece that appeared in the Telegraph this week citing Franzen’s hatred of e-books. I was fully prepared to be annoyed by the article when I read the headline. While I’m not fatalistic enough to link the downward trajectory of society to e-books (or at least not solely to e-books), I enjoyed some of Franzen’s points, particularly this one about permanence of physical books: “I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.” I like thinking about books this way. Sure, I own an iPad and a Kindle, and I have a slew of e-books on both of ‘em. I love being able to purchase books on a whim–in the middle of the night, on a rainy Sunday, whatever– from the comfort of my own home. But I often feel a certain hollowness when I’ve completed a download. I like the way a real book takes up space in my life the way...

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