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1. Creating Your Own Flourish List

Now that I’ve outed myself as the secret author of books by Elizabeth Ruston, I can freely talk about one of the concepts in the book Love Proof.

We writers always hear “Write what you know!” Well, I’ve known many of the things I wrote about in Love Proof, including the life of a striving law student, the beginning uncertain years of practicing law, the sometimes disgusting personalities of some of the lawyers you have to deal with, and yes, even the unexpected excitement of accidentally falling in love with your opposing counsel. Yeah, that happens.

But I’ve also known the kind of poverty Sarah Henley experiences in the book. And that was really interesting for me to write about, because I know I still have some vestiges of that poverty mentality deep inside my brain. And I have to actively make choices to move myself past that way of thinking.

One of the things Sarah does in the book to deal with her own poverty mentality is to create a Flourish List. It’s an idea that came to me a few years ago, and something I tried for myself before ever putting it into my fiction.

The name comes from both definitions of flourish: “an extraneous florid embellishment” (or as Sarah puts it, “something I want, but don’t actually need”), and “a period of thriving.”

I don’t know about you, but at times I am MUCH too stingy with myself. I call it frugality, but sometimes it’s just being harsh for no great reason. Perfect example from last night: I was down to maybe the last half-squeeze on my toothpaste tube, and I could have forced out that last little bit, but I decided to make a grand gesture of actually throwing it away–that’s right, without it being fully empty (call the frugality police, go ahead)–and treated myself to a brand new tube. I’ve had to give myself that same permission with bars of soap that have already broken into multiple parts that I have to gather together in a little pile in my palm just to work up a decent sud. Lately, out they go, fresh bar, and if I feel guilty, I know it will pass.

So where did this new radical attitude come from? A few summers ago while I was backpacking in a beautiful section of the South San Juan mountain range in Colorado, I had an afternoon to myself when I sat out in a meadow, my faithful backpacking dog at my side, while my husband took off to fish. And as Bear and I sat there looking at the small white butterflies flitting over the meadow flowers, the thought occurred to me that those butterflies were not strictly necessary. Not in their dainty, pretty form. They could have been ugly and still done the job. Or they could have left their work to the yellow and brown butterflies–why do we need the extra? But having pretty white butterflies is a form of nature’s flourish.

And that led to the companion idea that if flourish is allowed in nature, wouldn’t it be all right to have some of it in my own life?

So right then and there I pulled out pen and paper and started making my Flourish List. Spent an hour writing down all the things I’d wanted for years and years, but never allowed myself to have. I’m not talking about extravagances like a private jet or a personal chef, I’m talking about small pleasures like new, pretty sheets (even though the current ones were still in perfectly good shape); new long underwear that fit better; a new bra; high-quality lotion from one of the bath and body shops; fancy bubble bath. The most expensive item on my list was a pillow-top mattress to replace the plain old Costco mattress we’d been sleeping on for the past twenty years.

I gave myself the chance to write down everything, large or small, just to see it all on paper. And you know what? It wasn’t that much. I had maybe fifteen items. Then, still sitting out in that meadow, I did a tally of what I thought it would all cost. I knew the mattress would probably be very expensive, so I estimated high (no internet connection out there in the wilderness, otherwise I could have researched actual numbers). I think I ended up estimating about $3,000 for the whole list. And that sounded pretty expensive to me. So I just put the list away and promised myself I’d start buying some of the cheaper items when we got home.

And I did. New underwear. Vanilla lotions and bubble baths. New sheets. And finally, a few months later, a pillow-top mattress, on sale, less than $400. By the time I checked off the last item on my list last fall, I had spent less than $1,000. That might still sound like a lot, but in the greater scheme I felt like it was too small an amount to have denied myself all those little pleasures all those many years. Especially if I had bought myself one of those items every year–I know I never would have noticed the cost.

So that’s my suggestion for today: Create your own Flourish List, just like Sarah and I have, and give yourself the pleasure of writing down every small or large thing you want for yourself right now. All the little treats. Maybe they’re not so little–maybe this is the year you need a new car or some other big-ticket item. But that’s a “Need” list. This is your Flourish List–everything you want but don’t necessarily need.

And then? Treat yourself. Choose one item every week or every month, and give it to yourself. And if you feel strange about replacing something you don’t like with something you know you will, then remember to pass on that other item to someone else who might love it more than you did. I’ve done that with clothes, kitchenware, books: it feels so good to take everything you don’t want and give it to a thrift store where someone else can be happy to have found it, and found it so cheaply. Maybe there’s someone out there with a Flourish List that includes a pair of boots like the ones that have just been gathering dust in your closet. Stop hoarding them. Move them on to their new, appreciative owner.

And by doing that, you make room in your own life for things you’ll appreciate and enjoy. It’s hard to invite abundance when you’re chock full of clutter. Make some room. Make your list. And then start treating yourself the way you deserve by no longer withholding those little items that you know will make you smile.

I felt pretty great throwing out that nearly-empty tube of toothpaste last night. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. But I didn’t really realize that until I sat in a meadow and enjoyed the simple sight of some unnecessary butterflies.

0 Comments on Creating Your Own Flourish List as of 4/13/2014 2:17:00 PM
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2. New Literary Agent Alert: Holly Lorincz of MacGregor Literary

Reminder: New literary agents

(with this spotlight featuring Holly Lorincz of MacGregor Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.



About Holly: Agent Holly Lorincz spent her youth mainlining salmon, venison and books while sitting, shivering, on a dock on the Columbia River. She’s never recovered from her book addiction, moving instead to making and distributing her literary drug of choice. Holly has a degree in Journalism as well as a MAT focused in writing and literature. She was the editor of the literary magazine Perceptions, and then became a high school and college instructor. During that fifteen year run, she was named Teacher of the Year in Oregon, won two national awards from the National Federation of Schools, coached her high school speech team to two State Championships and nine individual Champions, began an editing service, and published various short works.

(How much money can you expect from selling your first book?)

After an extended illness, Holly has redefined herself, now living the dream of every college graduate with an English degree: she’s published a novel, her editing service is thriving, and she is a full time MacGregor Literary

agent. Residing on the Oregon coast with her son, Holly works out of the MacGregor Literary office one block from the Pacific, huddled next to the heater and coffee pot. She is well aware of the shifting role of a literary agent. While seeking traditional publishers for her authors, she also closely works with clients on alternative publishing options, career development, marketing plans, and media training.

She is seeking: “I am currently only accepting general market submissions in these areas: historical romance, literary or classic westerns, political or conspiracy thrillers, women’s fiction, or literary fiction.”

(Hate writing synopses? Here are nuts & bolts pointers for you.)

How to contact: Please note that while MacGregor Literary, as a whole, is closed to submissions (as per their website), Holly confirmed to me personally that she is open to new queries & clients. In order to submit, authors can email queries to holly [at] macgregorliterary.com. Please include the genre in the subject line.



The biggest literary agent database anywhere
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Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:Interview With Agent Laura Dail, Who Reps Fiction and Nonfiction.
  • 5 Tips For Writing a First Draft.
  • How Debut Author James Markert Found Agent Dan Lazar.
  • Advice via Author Elisa Lorello. First tip: Ask “What Would Aaron Sorkin Do?” 
  • Sell More Books by Building Your Writer Platform.
  • Why You Should Reach Out to Successful Authors For Advice.
  • Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter
  • or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.


    Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
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    3. Interview with A. R. Tally, Author of David’s Song & Giveaway


    A. R. Talley (April R Talley) received her Bachelor of Arts degree in mass media communications from the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio. Previous to the completion of her degree, she was employed by Osmond Productions working on the production staff of The Donny and Marie Show and several other shows produced at Osmond Studios in Orem, Utah. She later worked as vice president and part owner of a dance and sportswear clothing boutique. She has been married for over thirty years, the mother of seven children, and grandmother to six. Now, she keeps herself busy caring for the two children she still has at home, volunteering for her church, reading and writing.  David’s Song is her debut novel and the first of a trilogy. You can follow April on her blog – talleyar.blogspot.com, or on twitter – A.R. Talley@ARTalley13, or on Facebook – ARTalley7 

    Thank you for joining us today, April. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

     Well, as the bio said, I am a wife and mother and grandmother…although I don’t think I’m old enough to be the latter. I was born in the month of April, that’s how I got my name.  My mother was very original – good thing I was not a boy.  I live in Ohio with my husband and two of my children who are still in school. I am relatively new to the writing game.  I started writing about 5 years ago. I wish that someone would have told me when I was much younger that I could write down all those stories I had floating around in my head, because I LOVE doing it.  I also love music and reading. I play the piano.  I also enjoy poking around in the garden, decorating, and traveling (especially cruises because I can sit on the deck of a ship and read…best of both worlds!)

    When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

     Like I said above, I started writing about 5 years ago. And I guess you could say that the bug bit hard. In the last 5 years I have completed 4 novels and have the beginnings of 2 more.

    Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?davids song

     I don’t consider David’s Song a YA novel, but I have written one.  I wrote it after finishing the David’s Song Trilogy.  And I decided to write in the YA genre for two reasons. 1. I enjoy reading YA fiction. And 2. I really like teenagers.  I think they are  interesting and fun to be around. 

    What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

     My favorite part of writing for the YA group is also the most challenging part – and that is getting the language right. Teens and Young Adults speak very differently than I did when I was that age.  I found myself asking my teenagers and college age kids if I was getting right.  When I did, it was fun to play with the language.

    Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

     By latest book, I assume you mean David’s Song.  This book is about a young woman, Annie, who while in college meets and falls in love with two men. One breaks her heart and the other marries her.  Several years later, while on a get away with old college roommates, Annie meets up with David, the boy who broke her heart. At this time, she’s having some marital difficulties and is feeling insecure and vulnerable.  David feeling a spark of old feelings, courts and attempts to woo Annie away from her troubled marriage.  The story culminates as Annie is faced with the choice of her marriage – or a chance at lost love.  You’ll have to read the book to find out which she chooses.

    What inspired you to write it?

     I was inspired to write the story after meeting up with a man who I had a crush on in college.  We were nothing more than casual friends at the time.  But I started wondering what would have happened if things had worked out differently.

    Where can readers purchase a copy?

     Readers can purchase a print or ebook copy online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon (look for it under the author name of A.R. Talley), or at Authorhouse.com.

    What is up next for you?

     Up next is getting the second book of the trilogy printed.  It’s titled Jeremy’s Promise, and readers can actually get a sneak peek at the end of David’s Song.  I’m hoping to release Jeremy’s Promise this fall. 

    Do you have anything else to add?

     Just want to thank you for this chance to share a little bit about me and my work.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

    Thank you for spending time with us today, April. We wish you much success.




    2 Comments on Interview with A. R. Tally, Author of David’s Song & Giveaway, last added: 5/2/2013
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    4. A Southern Place by Elaine Drennon Little

    Southern PlaceHello readers! I have another WOW! Women On Writing blog tour to participate in today. If you missed yesterday’s review and giveaway of BEYOND BELIEF: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions, go to it now!

    Today, I am hosting Elaine Drennon Little, and her novel from WiDo Publishing, A Southern Place. This is a terrific,  heart-wrenching novel–it’s being billed as a southern saga.

    Read my review and then enter to win a copy of the book through the Rafflecopter form below! This is the last stop of the tour AND the last chance to win. Plus, check on the entry form for a special FRIDAY THE 13th entry!! (Insert scary music here. . .)

    Elaine Drennon Little introduces readers to a dysfunctional family full of misunderstood souls in her debut novel, A Southern Place. The pages of Little’s novel are filled with characters readers will feel like they could reach out and hug—that’s how much detail and work this talented author put into her first book. It’s a character-driven ride, mostly through the late 1950’s South, focusing on hard-working, proud individuals who can’t catch a break.

    Little chose to tell the story through the eyes of five characters, and this is where the strength in the book lies. When the novel opens with Mojo, the youngest of the cast, beaten almost to death and in the hospital in the late 1980s, the sheriff reveals how awful her background is and how she really hasn’t got anybody left in the world. Readers will be forming an opinion on Mojo’s family before finishing that beginning section; but as the author spends the majority of the book in the point of view of Mojo’s mother, uncle, and father (whom she doesn’t know), opinions will soon change. That’s the beauty of Little’s first novel—she drives home the point that appearances are not always the truth; life is seldom what it seems. No one knows what happens behind closed doors.

    Once Little flashes back to the past to the late 1950s, readers meet Phil (Mojo’s daddy, even though it’s a huge secret), a rich kid whose learning disabilities are an embarrassment to his successful and powerful father. Calvin, Mojo’s uncle, works on Phil’s daddy’s plantation, and is well-respected—that is until a farming accident leaves him with a hook instead of a hand. Then, there’s Delores, Calvin’s younger sister and Mojo’s mama. She, like Mojo, is a good, kind woman who just wants to take care of her family and do the right thing. She’s willing to take just about any job she can and lend an ear to any poor soul. This is how she gets together with Phil, starting a short and passionate affair. ElaineDrennonLittle

    Once all the pieces of the plot are in motion, Little alternates point of view between the three main characters, showing readers how one choice can lead to a life full of heartache. Sometimes, though, the characters’ misfortune isn’t a result of their own choices, like when Cal is involved in the farming accident. If readers are a fan of Les Miserables, they may be reminded a bit of this classic novel while reading A Southern Place. Not because it takes place in 19th century France, but because these Georgian 20th century characters are down on their luck and often wind up in poverty and sickness.

    Little grew up on a farm in southern Georgia, where much of her novel is set. She taught music for 27 years in public school and graduated with an MFA in 2008. She currently lives in northern Georgia with her husband, and she blogs at http:// elainedrennonlittle.wordpress.com/.

    When the novel ends, readers have a real understanding of how the beginning could happen—just how did young, innocent Mojo wind up beaten to a pulp in the hospital? Little brings the plot full circle and even ends with a bit of hope. This Southern saga is sure to leave readers wanting more from Little soon.

    Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

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    5. New Literary Agent Alert: Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary

    Reminder: New literary agents

    (with this spotlight featuring Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.



    About Claire: Claire Anderson-Wheeler is the newest agent to join the team at
    Regal Literary Management

    . Prior to that she worked at Anderson Literary Management in New York, and at Christine Green Authors’ Agent in London, UK. She holds an LLB from Trinity College, Dublin, and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, UK. Claire is Irish, was born in DC, and grew up in Dublin, Geneva, and Brussels. For more on Claire’s tastes, you can read an online interview here.

    She is seeking: YA with a strong voice (realistic or high-concept), works of narrative non-fiction and pop culture/pop psychology, literary fiction, and commercial women’s fiction driven by strong contemporary issues.

    How to submit: Please email your query letter, attaching a full synopsis (i.e. please include spoilers) and the first three chapters as MS Word documents. Thanks!

    What could be better than one guide on crafting
    fiction from wise agent Donald Maass? Two books!
    We bundle them together at a discount in our shop

    Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:Word Counts Explained: How Long Should a Book Be?
  • Notes to the First-Time Novelist
  • .
  • NEW Literary Agent Seeking Clients: Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch
  • .
  • Your Novel’s Missing Ingredient? It Could be YOU
  • .
  • Sell More Books by Building Your Author Platform
  • .
  • Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter
  • or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.


    Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
    Create Your Writer Platform

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    6. Inside These Walls by Rebecca Coleman (Review, Interview and Giveaway)

    From the moment you open Inside These Walls by Rebecca Coleman, you're transported to the world of a women’s prison and introduced to Clara Mattingly who is serving a life sentence for murder. Rebecca’s writing is superb, and Clara is instantly a likeable and sympathetic character, whom you will cheer for, even though she’s also a cold-blooded killer.

    Rebecca isn’t tricking the reader into liking Clara. It’s obvious that there’s more to the story than just murder—that Clara has the proverbial skeletons in her closet. After twenty-five years behind bars, she’s choosing to forget the past and stay focused on her present, which in prison means keeping her head down and staying out of trouble.

    The problem is Clara’s famous, and so other inmates love to pick on her, which often results in serious injuries. Her crime, along with her boyfriend Ricky, was made into a movie. Hollywood turned their story into an almost Charles Manson type of drama, where Ricky led Clara and his other friends into a 24-hour crime spree that resulted in several murders.

    Clara lives her prison life helping her blind cellmate and working on Braille textbooks, while remembering her life as an artist and her love for ballet before the night that changed her life forever. You'll keep turning pages because of the author’s set-up, trying to discover how did this bright, young, talented girl follow her boyfriend and murder people?

    Rebecca reveals the true story once an unexpected visitor appears to see Clara in prison, and her heart immediately yearns for love and freedom. At the same time, a reporter writing a book about Ricky asks Clara for information, even though she has never before granted an interview. Because of the visitor, Clara decides it’s time to reveal the truth; and as the book progresses to the end, you discover the circumstances leading up to the crime.

    Themes in this book include religion—Clara is Catholic and does follow her faith in prison, including going to confession and taking communion; forgiveness; self-preservation; abuse; independence and freedom; friendship; loyalty; love; truth and more.This is the perfect book club choice, as readers will debate Clara’s crimes, her confessions, her circumstances and even the ending. On Rebecca’s website (http://www.rebeccacoleman.net), book clubs can sign up for a possible Skype or phone visit from the author.

    Inside These Walls is one of those novels that will keep you up past your bedtime because you want to discover the secrets Clara has kept and what landed her in one of the worst places imaginable—prison. Here are a few words straight from Rebecca about her novel and writing career: 

    WOW: What made you want to write about a woman in prison--and then in a high-profile case?

    Rebecca: Once the story started taking shape, it became more interesting to make it a high-profile case because it would make sense why someone would want to interview Clara for a book. But as to why I wrote it in the first place--the only truthful answer is. . .because it's the story that showed up in my head! I never start out with a specific topic in mind--I want to write about an emotion, and then I find a story that gives a structure and a progressive arc to that emotion. With Inside These Walls, it was about the feeling of being given a second chance at something very, very important and how far a person would go not to squander that chance. And what could challenge that more than being in prison?

    WOW: Thanks for explaining how the story took shape. It's always interesting to hear from successful authors how their brain works. How did you get your agent, Stephany Evans (in other words--meet at conference, slush pile, etc)?

    Rebecca: I sent her a query letter by e-mail, but it was an unusually nervy move for me. Normally I'd go to an agency's website, look to see who the newest agents were, and query them, thinking they were still building their lists and would be more open to a new, untested writer. I'd gotten stacks and stacks of rejections. Then my first book, The Kingdom of Childhood, became a semifinalist in Amazon's ABNA contest, and that gave me the courage to query higher up the food chain. I have to say, Stephany is the perfect agent for me. She is conscientious and tenacious and attentive. I ended up feeling glad for all the rejection because in the end it gave me the opportunity to work with Stephany.

    WOW: The advice we all hear is that finding the perfect agent should fit like finding the perfect spouse or mate. We're so happy that has happened for you. What's up next?

    Rebecca: Thanks for asking! I'm working on a new story that features a character my readers have seen before--that's all I can say.

    WOW: Now, that's a teaser. I can't wait to find out about that! How do you balance writing and marketing?

    Rebecca: It's a serious challenge! You have to schedule the business part, so the creative aspect doesn't eat all your time. It's easiest for me to spend the first hour of a work day dealing with Twitter and e-mail, then set myself free to write for the rest of the day. It's tough because writing asks you to lock yourself in a room with your imaginary friends, and marketing requires you to go out there and take risks with real people. A lot of writers write specifically because they don't want to do that.

    WOW: Very true! What's one piece of advice you would give to new writers?

    Rebecca: Don't be a diva. To succeed in this business, you need to be able to take criticism, be enjoyable to work with, be flexible, and make many more friends than enemies. If you can do all that and be true to yourself as a writer, then nothing can hold you back.

    WOW: Thank you for that wonderful advice. Please keep WOW! readers informed on your next book. We'd love to hear about it. 

    Readers, don't forget, you can enter to win a copy of this wonderful book, Inside These Walls, by entering the Rafflecopter form below! Good luck!  

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    0 Comments on Inside These Walls by Rebecca Coleman (Review, Interview and Giveaway) as of 2/27/2014 9:54:00 PM
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    7. Win a signed copy of Julie Drew's DAUGHTER OF PROVIDENCE!

    It's August--the perfect time to curl up with a great new novel. Enter DAUGHTER OF PROVIDENCE, the debut novel from Julie Drew, on sale today.

    is the story of Anne Dodge, raised by her old-money father in a small town in Rhode Island. When Maria Cristina, the half-sister she never knew she had, comes to live with them, Anne sets off on a journey of discovering truths about her family--and herself.

    A wonderful read for book clubs or anyone looking for a beautifully written novel told by a character that Publishers Weekly called "a memorable heroine and narrator."

    - comment on our blog
    - like or comment on our Facebook
    - retweet or reply on Twitter

    You can also find Julie at www.juliedrew.com and @JulieDrewAuthor.

    Good luck! Winners announced next Thursday.



    "[A] terrific debut novel...a great summer read." --The Akron Beacon Journal

    "Set in a decaying industrial town during the Great Depression, Daughter of Providence is an engrossing story of discovery, tragedy and redemption. Julie Drew is not just a skilled storyteller. She's an historian who creates a rich background of a city in the throes of unionism, class breakdown, and social and sexual upheaval. This is a book that stays with you." --Sandra Dallas, New York Times best-selling author of The Bride's House

    "In real life, binding societal expectations take over the show. ‘Success' is first class, and the heart is second class. In this moving tale, Daughter of Providence , we get to see the first class price tag is paid with those hearts." --Carolyn Chute, author of The Beans of Egypt, Maine

    "First novelist Drew draws a careful portrait of both social and family problems." --Kirkus

    "With a dead body in the opening pages, the upward sweep of a family drama, and assured, lyrical prose, Julie Drew leads us deep into a time and place -- Depression-era New England -- and takes us through an unforgettable summer of loss and understanding. The story is brisk and compelling, channeled through Drew's magnetic protagonist, 24-year-old Anne Dodge, a charming, confident focal point for this exceptional debut novel." --David Giffels, author of All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-down House

    1 Comments on Win a signed copy of Julie Drew's DAUGHTER OF PROVIDENCE!, last added: 8/4/2011
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    8. Face-Lift 968

    Guess the Plot

    Dandelion Teeth

    1. When a love spell gone wrong shrinks Lizzie to 3 inches high she wonders how she'll ever impress hunky Brad from next door. But that's the least of her problems when she discovers the vampiric weeds in her back garden orchestrated the whole thing for one purpose...dinner!

    2. Just as dandelion leaves have tiny teeth that annoy you if you lie on them naked for a while, Julia Marsh's family have kept secrets from Julia, secrets about family members Julia didn't even know existed. Which annoys Julia. See, it's an analogy.

    3. A new serial killer leaves a bizarre signature - he hacks out his victims teeth and puts dandelions in the gums. As investigators waste time arguing over whether his nickname should be "dandelion mouth" or "the floral dentist," he manages to kill three more times.

    4. Going to Lewanski School for Witches wasn't that hard for Megan. Dragon Handling, Wand Making, Potion Brewing--all cake. But when Mr Larch, orders them to get deadly dandelion teeth from the Troll Swamp, suddenly that nursing school all the other girls went to doesn't look so bad.

    5. What's a witch to do when alien plant monsters invade, cats go on strike, and the town council condemns her condo? Create a better love potion with the help of an Egyptian zombie. Also, illicit fertilizer usage.

    6. 10-year-old Lizzy loves Dandelion wine. Too bad some of the crushed dandelions get stuck in her teeth. Too bad—for her parents—that they decide to make fun of her for it. And . . . maybe they should have hidden the family axe.

    Original Version

    Dear EE,

    23-year-old Julia Marsh gets a mysterious voice mail from her father: he must talk to her face-to-face and is catching the next plane to Chicago. When his plane crashes, Julia returns home to mourn and find out what her father thought was so important. Coming home isn’t what she expects. Instead of comforting each other, her mother turns to a friend and her younger sister keeps pushing her away. [But all] her attempts to learn why her father had to see her [questions] are met with deflections.

    Julia discovers an old version of her father’s will that divides his assets between her and Amy, a girl listed as his eldest daughter. [Nothing to his wife? Easy to guess when that marriage hit the skids.] The more Julia pushes to learn about Amy, the more her mother retreats and the angrier her [younger] sister becomes.

    An estranged uncle crashes the memorial service, revealing an extended family Julia’s parents worked hard to hide. Desperate to hold onto her father through memories, hers and other’s, [others'] Julia seeks out her uncle,

    14 Comments on Face-Lift 968, last added: 11/5/2011
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    9. Understanding Women's Fiction

    I've been trying to wrap the basic marketing language around the book I'm close to finishing, and am having a tough time classifying it. My main character is a tough, no-nonsense, middle-aged woman who kidnaps her granddaughter, and the story takes place in large part on the road in rural Alaska. It's edgy and stark, a little frightening in places, though it isn't horror/crime/mystery, and while the heart-warming moments are few and far between, it DOES revolve around this woman's relationship with her son and daughter-in-law and the tough choices we make as parents.

    As I get ready to query, would calling this women's fiction, since the primary market would most likely be women, throw an agent off since it seems to depart from the loose definitions of women's fiction I'm seeing? Is there a better way to wrap it?

    As I often say, it's all about the voice. Women's fiction is not simply a book whose target audience is women. It's also a book about a woman's personal growth and change and it tends to be strongly emotional. It sounds like your book is women's fiction, but without reading it I have a hard time judging.


    6 Comments on Understanding Women's Fiction, last added: 11/18/2011
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    10. Karen Berner, author of A Whisper to a Scream, launches her blog tour

    & book giveaway contest!

    Does it drive you crazy to happen upon the third or fourth book in a fabulous series? You love the book but aren't sure if you're "getting" it all. Who are these people? Why do they keep talking about landscaping or Shakespeare or pineapples? Well, today's your chance to get in on the ground floor of an up-and-coming book series the Bibliophiles with Book One: A Whisper to a Scream. Don't miss it...Book Two will be released early next year!

    How are friendships created? Shared history. Common interests. Membership in the same community, whether it be an actual community, a work community, even the "we ride on the same commuter train every morning" community. What if the only tenuous tie binding you together was a once a month meeting at a Classics Book Club? Could you create a friendship? Could you confide the secrets in your heart...even if you each want what the other has?

    In A Whisper to a Scream, Annie and Sarah are two women who become unlikely friends after both joining a book club. For a long time each of them has held secret wishes in her heart, just whispers really. But those secret wishes have been growing more and more insistent, the call to change her life screams to each woman. Can these polar opposites help each other decide whether to choose new lives or settle for the old familiar ways?

    Paperback: 278 pages (and e-formats)
    Publisher: CreateSpace
    ISBN-10: 145659365X
    ISBN-13: 978-1456593650
    Twitter Hashtag: #Bibliophiles1

    A Whisper to a Scream, the first book in the Bibliophiles series is available for purchase in both print and e-formats at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

    Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of A Whisper to a Scream, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, December 15 at 11:59 pm PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #Bibliophiles1, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post on the following day Friday, December 16. Good luck!

    About the Author:

    Karen Wojcik Berner lives a provincial life tucked away with her family in the Chicago suburbs. It was good enough for Jane Austen, right? However, dear Miss Austen had the good fortune to be born amid the glorious English countryside, something Karen unabashedly cov

    23 Comments on Karen Berner, author of A Whisper to a Scream, launches her blog tour, last added: 12/14/2011
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    11. Lisa de Nikolits, author of West of Wawa, launches her blog tour

    & book giveaway contest!

    Remember those car trips of your childhood? Trapped in a vehicle with people (also known as siblings) who wouldn't stop talking or kicking your seat or flicking your ear? Eating cold lunches at picnic tables and greasy fried food at questionable diners? Feeling if you didn't escape the Midwest flatness (or the mountains or the shoreline) you would go crazy? Would you voluntarily take that same trip today?

    West of Wawa is about taking that seemingly endless car trip except instead of family you're traveling with a revolving cast of complete strangers and instead of a few days the trip last for weeks. Loveless and jobless, Benny thinks maybe she'll find what she's looking for on a bus trip across Canada. Her adventure—like life—is a mixture of humor, horror, the unexpected, and boredom that readers won't soon forget.

    Paperback: 260 pages
    Publisher: Inanna Publications
    ISBN-10: 1926708245
    ISBN-13: 978-1926708249
    Twitter Hashtag: #WestOfWawa

    West of Wawa is available online at Amazon and Indigo as well as at your local bookstores.

    Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of West of Wawa, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, March 1 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #WestOfWawa, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post on the following day Friday, March 2. Good luck!

    About the Author:

    Originally from South Africa, Lisa has been a Canadian citizen since 2003—although she still retains a lilting voice that causes fellow Canadians to ask, "You aren't from Canada, eh?" With a Bachelor's of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy, Lisa has also lived and worked in the United States, Australia, and Great Britain.

    Lisa thought she was on her way to fame and fortune when the South African edition of Cosmopolitan bought two of her poems in 1986. Sadly, the road to being a published writer was not as easy as she hoped! Throughout her writing career, Lisa has tried her hand at everything from children's picture books to short stories to novellas to feature magazine articles. Her first novel The Hungry Mirror, which won an IPPY Gold Medal for Women's Fiction in 2011, was inspired by her work as art director for magazines including Vogue and Marie Claire. Lisa is now working on her next novel Between the Cracks She Fell.

    Find the Author Online:


    9 Comments on Lisa de Nikolits, author of West of Wawa, launches her blog tour, last added: 2/29/2012
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    12. Overlook Readers Roundup: Women's History Month

    It is widely believed that March is the cruelest month, boasting thirty-one days of wet and chilly weather, not one of them a holiday. Arguably its one redeeming factor may be the opportunity given to society to celebrate one of its most outstanding, intelligent, and beautiful groups of the population—women, of course. Since its official U.S. origination in 1981, Women’s History Month has been

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    13. THE FOREVER MARRIAGE by Ann Bauer Arrives

    We have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ann Bauer's upcoming novel THE FOREVER MARRIAGE in our office.  The compelling and irreverent story about an unfaithful widow coming to terms with the death of a husband she never really loved sparked stellar early reviews, and has media and bloggers clamoring to get their hands on a copy. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly has said, "With

    1 Comments on THE FOREVER MARRIAGE by Ann Bauer Arrives, last added: 5/6/2012
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    14. What Editors Have Bought Recently - Women's Fic and Literary

    STATUS: It's BEA time! Oh crazy schedule

    What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

    Obviously I'm not just talking to children's editors while in New York. So here's a little snippet of what editors have been buying in the adult realm:

    1) Literary novels with some sort of magical element (i.e The Night Circus)
    2) Multi-cultural literary novels by non-American writers
    3) Voice-driven literary novels that shed light on the contemporary modern landscape for protagonists in their 20s or 30s.

    In women's fiction and romance
    1) contemporary stories with small town settings
    2) southern contemporary women's fix
    3) looking or romantic comedies in romance (haven't heard that desire in a while!)

    Off to the Javits Center!

    22 Comments on What Editors Have Bought Recently - Women's Fic and Literary, last added: 6/9/2012
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    15. Book Review of Rumor Has It:In a town this small, a secret is hard to keep by Jill Mansell

    Welcome to the Book Blog Tour of Jill Mansell's Rumor Has It!

    Rumor Has It: In a town this small, a secret is hard to keep
    The blurb:
    This man doesn't seem to match his reputation. . .

    Newly single Tilly Cole impulsively moves to a small town, only to find she's arrived in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue, and rampant rivalry for the most desirable man -- irresistible Jack Lucas, whose reputation is beyond bad.  Tilly has no intention of becoming another notch on his bedpost.  But the thoughtful, caring guy she comes to value as a friend doesn't seem to fit the town's playboy image.

    Till doesn't know what to believe -- and Jack's not telling.

    In Rumor Has It: In a town this small, a secret is hard to keep, Jill Mansell comes up with another hilarious madcap and satisfying read!  In the best British chicklit tradition, Mansell creates slightly spacey but sympathetic women romantic lead characters.  When Tilly comes home to find her apartment ransacked, it takes a while before she realizes that her boyfriend has left her.   Tilly's response is to take the commuter rail to the small town of Roxborough -- to visit her best friend, Erin, for cheering up.

    Tilly comes across an ad for a "Girl Friday" job in Roxborough just as she decides that she's ready for a change of scenery.   A string of events make it possible for Tilly to chuck her old life and start anew, surrounded by a new set of friends.  Among the different characters, we meet:

    • Max - a loving father, who has recently come out of the closet and separated from his wife;
    • Kaye - Max's ex-wife, a famous daytime television star in the US, based in California;
    • Louisa - Max and Kaye's teenage daughter, ginger haired, pale, lively, and fun.  Louisa draws everyone together and decides quite early on that Tilly would be a good addition to the household;
    • Jake - Max's best friend, the most sought-after bachelor in the area, deadly good looks, wealthy, and not looking for a serious relationship; and
    • Erin - Tilly's best friend from college, the owner and manager of a vintage/high end thrift shop in Roxborough.
    As Tilly, Max, Louisa, Kaye, and Erin are upbeat and supportive of each other as they each face their personal crises.  Coincidences, misunderstandings and mishaps abound to create a fun, romantic comedy.   Mansell's humor, sense of timing and wit come together so well to make Rumor Has It a surefire hit!  If you're looking for a hilarious and satisfying read in the realm of women's fiction, I highly recommend Rumor Has It!

    ISBN-10: 1402237502 - Trade Paperback $14.00
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (May 1, 2010), 416 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

    About the Author, in her own words:
    Jill Mansell lives with her partner and children in Bristol and writes full time.  Actually, that's not true; she watches TV, eats gum drops, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the Internet marveling at how many other writers have blogs.  Only when she's completely run out of ways to procrastinate does she write.

    Thank you so much to SourceBooks for this review opportunity!

    2 Comments on Book Review of Rumor Has It:In a town this small, a secret is hard to keep by Jill Mansell, last added: 6/1/2010
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    16. Successful Queries: Agent Rebecca Strauss and ''Stay'' by Allie Larkin

    This new series is called "Successful Queries" and I'm posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents.  In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked. 

    The 37th installment in this series is with agent
    Rebecca Strauss (McIntosh & Otis) and her author, Allie Larkin, for the women's fiction novel, Stay (which was just published this week by Dutton!).

    Dear Ms. Strauss,

    What happens when you find love and he finds your best friend instead?

    If you're Savannah Leone, you tear off your orange satin maid-of-honor gown, get drunk on Kool-Aid and vodka, and buy a German Shepherd from Slovakia off of the Internet.

    In Stay, Savannah, "Van," struggles with the marriage of her best friend to the man she's secretly in love with, the loss of her mother to cancer, and all the confusion that goes along with the "now what" stage of twenty-something life. She's lost her sense of which end is up, so she's acting on impulses that lead her to love, strength, and a ninety-five pound dog named Joe.

    Her inexperience with dogs leads her to consult Dr. Alex Brandt, a vet with floppy blond hair and a winning smile. But just as things are starting to heat up with Alex, the newlyweds come home from their honeymoon, forcing Van to decide between past relationships and the promise of new ones.

    Stay is women's fiction and is approximately 80,000 words. I've also written an outline for a sequel.

    I live in upstate New York with my 95-pound German Shepherd, (who is from the Catskills, not Slovakia), and write AlliesAnswers.com, a daily eco-friendly blog. My short story, "Bathtub Mary," will appear in the March 2008 issue of The Summerset Review.

    I've enclosed the first two chapters and a synopsis. Thank you for taking the time to review my materials.

    Best regard,

    Allie Larkin

    Commentary from Rebecca

    So, what grabbed my attention? Well, in addition to doing everything right in terms of process (she spelled my name correctly and wrote in a professional manner), Allie looked at my submission guidelines
    —and followed them. Huge points! She did her research; she saw which genres I represented and what materials I requested. This set Allie's letter apart from many others. I know, I know. This all sounds

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    17. Face-Lift 795

    Guess the Plot

    Love Like the French

    1. Hot sticky buns dripping with white sauce from a well packed sausage amidst the moans of “ooooh”, “ahhhh”, and “oo la la”; the smells and sound of Rococo delight permeating throughout the entire hall. Nobody knows food love like the French!

    2. Celie La Belle has sold millions of books about her life in a little French town. But when a disgruntled ex decides to expose her as Sherry Brewster of Dayton, well, c'est la merde.

    3. Dana is obsessed with romance, foreign movies, and Paris. When she gets a shot at studying abroad, she's determined to fall in love - but quickly discovers none of the French boys has any idea what a proper courtship should look like.

    4. Cate's life is perfectly sensible compared with the French, who are all wack-jobs. But when she falls for the hunky Monsieur Brousseau, she learns there's a lot about the French she didn't know--like the real reason French women don't get fat.

    5. Jean-Claude and Henri are both in love with Isabelle but she burns with love for Anne-Marie who is enamored of Laurent. When Isabelle organizes a surprise party for the friends, alcohol and swimming lead to tragedy and all of their lives are changed. Especially Henri because he's dead.

    6. Klutzy Francophile Sally Merton has the best of all worlds until a witch puts a mix-up curse on her. Now she's eating like the English, loving like the Germans, and dressing like the Russians. Kill me now, she thinks.

    Original Version

    Dear Mr. / Ms. Agent,

    Cate has been wearing her G-string back-to-front all day. She hasn’t felt especially uncomfortable. [You wanna know uncomfortable? I once wore my shoes front to back all day.] No more than usual anyway. But she’s had a lot on her mind lately.

    It’s not just that her husband is dead. That happened two years ago. It’s mostly just the day-to-day chaos of her life. This week alone her brown-nosing colleague has been defaming her at work, her flatmate has turned her spare room into some kind of hostel, and of course, there was that sweaty indiscretion with the office mail-clerk… [We don't need to know that Cate isn't any more uncomfortable than usual, or that her husband being dead isn't what's mostly been on her mind. That's wasted space. Combine the first two paragraphs into something like:

    Cate has been wearing her G-string back-to-front all day. Forgive her; she’s had a lot on her mind lately. This week alone her brown-nosing colleague has been defaming her at work, her flatmate has turned her spare room into some kind of hostel, and of course, there was that sweaty indiscretion with the office mail-clerk…

    All that leaves out is the dead husband, but you tell us she has a dead husband later on.]

    If only she’d gone to St. Marc earlier, Cate would have felt much better about things. [What is St Marc? A spa? A

    14 Comments on Face-Lift 795, last added: 7/14/2010
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    18. Face-Lift 818

    Guess the Plot

    The Burning of Issobell Key

    1. The tragic story of how the first annual Pyromaniacs Anonymous meeting at Issobell Key went terribly, terribly wrong.

    2. Issobell accepts fiance David's invitation to move to an island colony in his home state of Washington. But the religious sect he grew up in acts weird, all this talk of the "Burning Woman" festival. She's getting a baaad feeling.

    3. Vacationing in Scotland, Lou takes an interest in the 300-year-old case of Issobell Key, who was burned as a witch. Lou tries to prove Issobell didn't commit all those murders. Not that exonerating her will bring her back to life . . . unless she really was a witch.

    4. Salem-born Issobell has it tough. Saddled with illiterate parents, warts and a fondness for newt-eye soup, it was only a matter of time before the mob turned on her. As the flames rise, she wonders how life would have been different if only she'd preferred minestrone.

    5. Hundreds of years ago, she was convicted of witchcraft as a teenager and burned at the stake. Now her ghost is back for revenge. The first thing she has to get used to in the American suburb where she's been reincarnated is 21st-century spelling. "Issobell"!? Now she feels like roasting someone.

    6. When her neighbor in the tiny Cotswold village of Boring-on-End meets an untimely end as result of an exploding gas cooker, amateur sleuth Amelia Pettipants knows it wasn't just because Issobell made one mean curry. Or maybe it was, and someone's out for revenge . . . someone with a history of stomach problems. Which means 75% of the village are suspects.

    Original Version

    PLEASE be brutal! Thanks. [Sure, you say Be brutal, but later when you're in tears because I've suggested you give up this hopeless writing pipe dream and become a pole dancer in some skid row dive, how do I know you won't send your ex-con boyfriend over to teach me a little etiquette, Attica-style?] [On the other hand, how often do I get the opportunity to tell people, Be careful what you wish for?]

    Dear Evil Editor,

    The Scottish highlands have a rich history of magic and romance, but 26 year old Lou wasn’t looking for either when she traveled there with her best friend. Recently unemployed, Lou [Better to say "Unemployed"; if you call her "recently unemployed" we might think she is no longer unemployed. "Recently laid off" is okay, as is "recently fired." Even better, however, is to not mention her employment status at all, as it has nothing to do with the rest of the sentence or the rest of the query.] wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, [If you're gonna tell us in sentence 2 that she wasn't looking for anything in particular, there's no need to tell us in sentence 1 that she wasn't looking for magic or romance. However, I recommend keeping the romance and magic and ditching the anything, as I much prefer in particular to vague.

    17 Comments on Face-Lift 818, last added: 9/11/2010
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    19. Women's Fiction, Chick Lit, and Other Thoughts on Labels

    Why is women’s humor subject to so many labels?

    When I wrote my first novel, The Journal of Mortifying Moments, I didn’t think about genre. I didn’t think about how my book would be marketed, where it would ultimately reside in the book store, or what color the cover would be. I just wanted to tell a story with heart and humor; a story that would be fun to read and fun to write.


    Robyn Harding is the author of Chronicles of
    a Midlife Crisis, (Sept. 2010), a new novel Publishers
    Weekly called "hilarious." She has written five
    other books, including the novel, The Journal of
    Mortifying Moments. She lives in Vancouver, BC.


    In 2003, I submitted my manuscript to various agents and publishers and got my fair share of rejections. But one day in August, I received calls from an editor in London and an agent in New York. They were both excited about my book because it was funny, well written and "chick lit" was such a hot genre.

    Chick lit? Wasn’t that gum? I’d never heard the term before. But I thought it was kind of cute, and kind of clever. And I was excited to be a part of this hot new trend. The Journal of Mortifying Moments ultimately sold to Ballantine Books and was released with a very pink cover. I’d published a chick lit novel. I was over the moon!


    But around the time my pink book hit the shelves, I noticed that there were a lot of other pink books out there. Perhaps it was this saturation that led to something of a chick lit backlash. This cute and clever term had suddenly become an insult. The genre was sniffed at by critics and journalists who dismissed it as mind numbing fluff. I soon realized that books with a female protagonist, a sense of humor, and a pink cover, were somewhat marginalized.  

    In 2006, an anthology was released called “This Is Not Chick Lit, Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers.” In the foreword, ironically titled “Why Chick Lit Matters,” editor Elizabeth Merrick wrote that chick lit “numbs the senses” and “reduces the complexity of the human experience.” One of her contributors, Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep, American Wife) was an even more vocal critic. In the New York Times, Sittenfeld wrote that calling a female writer’s novel "chick lit" is catty, not unlike calling her

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    20. Face-Lift 843

    Guess the Plot

    Trial of the Heart

    1. Jennifer is a family lawyer who specializes in divorce. David is a family lawyer who specializes in fathers' rights. Can they somehow overcome all odds while--oh, screw it. They hop in the sack the minute they meet and spend the rest of the book bitching about it.

    2. Emily's family was killed by egotistical Conway Duke. As she fights for justice, Duke becomes seriously ill. Should she ease his suffering by forgiving him, or should she try to get his trial date moved up?

    3. When a donor is found for her husband Mark, 51, Sarah is elated- until the next person on the list begs them to let her have the heart for her 13 year old son. Sarah is all set to flatly refuse, but Mark isn't. Can Sarah live with either decision? Can Mark? Can the reader, without barfing?

    4. Detective Swanson says the murders were caused by the heart of Ignatius Trematode, which has been beating in a jar at the medical school for 28 years. But Prosecutor Umbridge is skeptical that a heart could poison Mrs. Trematode and cause her boyfriend to jump off a bridge . . . until Umbridge, himself, sleepwalks to the railing of that very same bridge. Then he schedules a trial and seeks the death penalty!

    5. Internet scammer Joseph Nwoye falls in love with one of the rich American ladies he's been fleecing. She's sure to discover his deceptions--unless he can cover his lies by actually getting a job as CEO of the Bank of Nigeria. One man finds redemption through the love of a woman.

    6. The Spleen had enough malice to commit perjury. The Kidneys were too bashful to take the stand. The Liver (“Lily”) refused to testify, even though she was the key witness. The Spine was nowhere to be seen. Only Large Intestine had the guts to speak out about what happened, at the . . . Trial of the Heart.

    Original Version

    Dear Evil Editor,

    Emily Hennas has the power to ease a man’s suffering. Yet, that same man is responsible for murdering her family. After her husband, son and daughter are killed by a drunk driver, the egotistical Conway Duke, Emily is left alone to raise her youngest son. [While drunk drivers deserve no sympathy, we generally reserve the term "murder" for those who kill intentionally.] She moves to New York and faces the most difficult decision of her life: keep fighting for the justice her children deserves [deserve], or forgive Conway Duke for causing their deaths. [I don't think we need the first two sentences. They vaguely state what we get with more specificity later on. What we do need is an idea of what kind of justice Emily is seeking. Was there a trial? What punishment has Duke received? Surely he would have been charged with manslaughter.]

    Driven by anger and survivor’s guilt, shadowed by the memory of her emotionally abusive husband, Emily engages in a legal fight hindered by an obsession for hoarding, [I don't know how a hoarding obsession hinders a legal fight, and the query is no place to explain it, so leave out the hoarding.] fears for her surviving child, and an overprotective brother. She forges an unlikely friendship with Nicho

    8 Comments on Face-Lift 843, last added: 11/22/2010
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    21. Successful Queries: Agent Shira Hoffman and ''The Weird Sisters''

    This series is called "Successful Queries" and I'm posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked. 

    The 49th installment in this series is with agent Shira Hoffman (McIntosh & Otis) and her author, Eleanor Brown,
    for the novel, The Weird Sisters (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam; Jan. 20, 2011). The Weird Sisters was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly and named one of Amazon "Best Books of January 2011."

    Dear Ms. Winick:

    Because you represent upmarket and women’s fiction, I hope you will be interested in my novel, The Weird Sisters.

    The Andreas sisters are failures: in love, in career, in life. And so they have come home to the small college town where they grew up: to their professor father, whose devotion to Shakespeare freezes their communication in the words of a man who has been dead for 400 years; and to their quiet mother, who is fighting breast cancer.

    The prototypical oldest sibling, Rose (Rosalind) was sure that if she followed all the rules, she would have everything. Instead, she has nothing. She has lost her job, her fiancé has abandoned her, and she is trapped by the safety she has spent her life seeking.

    Always afraid that she would be lost in the middle, Bean (Bianca), escaped to the glamour of New York. Her return is anything but glamorous; she was fired for embezzling funds from her employer. Praying that the love of a holy man will wipe her sins clean, she seeks forgiveness by pursuing the town’s handsome new reverend.

    For seven years, Cordy (Cordelia), the baby of the family, has been a ghost. She dropped out of college to take to the road, skipping from place to place like a stone on water, trading passing love for shelter. But that life has lost its luster, and she has come home with only one thing to show for her time on the road: a pregnancy of uncertain paternity.

    My writing has been published in anthologies, magazines and journals, including the Philadelphia City Paper and Crab Orchard Review. In 2005, I won the RWA-sponsored “Get Your Stiletto in the Door” contest. I hold an M.A. in Literature, and teach English in South Florida.

    The Weird Sisters
    is comple

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    22. Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris, Blog Tour & Book Giveaway!

    We're thrilled to introduce Kristina McMorris, an amazing author and new friend. Inspired by the true story of her own grandparents' courtship during World War II, Kristina captures the heartache and sacrifice of love and war in Letters from Home, an award-winning debut novel that is timeless, tender and unforgettably moving. It's the must-read novel of the season!

    Kristina has such a fantastic video for her book that we wanted to share this with you first so you can get to know her a little better. [If you're reading this via Feedburner e-mail and can't see the video below please visit www.tinyurl.com/McMorris or click on blog title link.]

    Book Giveaway Contest: If you'd like to win a copy of Letters from Home, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, February 24th at 11:59 PM, PST. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post the following day, Friday February 25th. Good luck!

    ----- More about the book:

    In the midst of World War II, a Midwestern infantryman falls deeply in love through a yearlong letter exchange, unaware that the girl he's been writing to is not the one replying...

    Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn't need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she's set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief conversation--cut short by the soldier's evident interest in Betty--but Liz can't forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.

    Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from "Betty" are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn't know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.

    Beautifully rendered and deeply touching, Letters from Home is a story of hope and connection, of sacrifices made in love and war--and the chance encounters that change us forever.

    Letters from Home is scheduled for release in trade paperback from Kensington Books (2-22-11; U.S.) and Avon/HarperCollins (5-5-11; U.K.). Various book club rights have been sold to Reader's Digest and Doubleday, and the film rights are represented by the prestigious Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles.

    It's available for purchase at Amazon, B&N, IndieBound,

    58 Comments on Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris, Blog Tour & Book Giveaway!, last added: 2/25/2011
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    23. Successful Queries: Agent Jennifer Schober and ''Letters From Home''

    This series is called "Successful Queries" and I'm posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked. 

    The 51st installment in this series is with agent Jennifer Schober (Spencerhill Associates, Ltd.) for her author, Kristina McMorris, for the novel, Letters From Home (Feb. 2011)
    a book Publishers Weekly called "Ambitious and compelling...[a] sweeping debut novel;" while RT Book Reviews said "Letters From Home is a beautifully told story."

    Dear Ms. Schober,

    Jane Porter referred me to you and your agency. As a 2007 and 2008 RWA Golden Heart finalist, I am seeking representation for my novel. (Please see attached sample chapters.)

    LETTERS FROM HOME is a 90,000-word WWII love story with a twist, aptly summarized as The Notebook meets Saving Private Ryan. Original Film (producer of Made of Honor, Vantage Point) has expressed interest in optioning the film rights, an avenue I look forward to exploring upon securing new representation. I understand you are a fan of both historical and women's fiction, and therefore believe your agency would be a great fit.

    Set against the emotionally charged backdrop of World War II, poetic university student Liz Stephens falls deeply in love through a yearlong letter exchange with infantryman Morgan McClain. Equally enamored, the Midwest soldier stationed in Europe relies solely on their correspondence to survive the gruesome realities of war. Yet between the scrawled lines of familial hardships and heartrending tragedies lies the one secret Liz must keep, or risk losing everyone she holds dear. As the nation nears victory, each will learn the price of freedom while uncovering the deceptions of love and war.

    LETTERS FROM HOME is a story inspired by my grandparents' epistolary courtship. I have already garnered blurbs for the manuscript from such notables as New York Times bestselling author James Pratt, screenwriter Mike Rich (Finding Forrester, The Rookie), and the Honorable Lynn "Buck" Compton (author and famed WWII veteran from Band of Brothers).

    From 2001-2008, I was the host and a writer for the WB’s weekly televi

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    24. Literary Agent – Michelle Wolfson Information

    Michelle Wolfson: Agent, Wolfson Literary

    Michelle Wolfson formed Wolfson Literary Agency in 2007. She holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from New York University. Prior to forming her own agency, Michelle spent two years with Artists & Artisans, Inc. and two years with Ralph Vicinanza, Ltd. Before that, she spent several years working outside of publishing, in non-profit and then finance, and she brings the skills she learned there plus a lifetime love of reading to the table as an agent. 

    Website:  Wolfsonliterary.com
    She is seeking: mainstream fiction, mysteries, thrillers, suspense, chick-lit, romance, women’s fiction, and young adult. She is drawn to well written material with strong interesting characters. She is also interested in practical and narrative nonfiction projects, particularly those of interest to women. 

    Recent Sales Include

    You might want to give Michelle a try in your quest for an agent.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Publishers and Agencies Tagged: Agent, Michelle Wolfson,

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    25. New Agent Alert: Jessica Alvarez of BookEnds, LLC

    Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they're likely building their client list; however, always make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you're just wasting time and postage.

    About Jessica
    Jessica Alvarez joined BookEnds, LLC in April 2011. Mere days after graduating from New York University with a B.A. in English Literature, Jessica began her publishing career in 2001 as an editorial assistant at Harlequin Books. There, she had the opportunity to acquire and edit a wide array of women's fiction, specializing in historical romance, romantic suspense, and inspirational romance.

    She is seeking:
    women's fiction, erotica, urban fantasy/paranormal, romantic suspense, and single title and category romance submissions. A New Jersey native, Jessica resides in the Garden State with her husband, young son, two energetic dogs, and an indeterminate number of fish.

    How to submit: Query jalvarez[at]bookends-inc.com. "BookEnds agents do reply to all submissions and e-queries and hope to do so in a timely manner. Our response time goals are 4 weeks for queries and 12 weeks on requested partials and fulls. Unfortunately, at times circumstances mean we fall behind in our responses. We do try to post status updates through Twitter, Facebook, and occasionally on the blog. If you haven't received a response to a query after 8 weeks, we ask that you simply resend the query. It's possible that it was eaten by a spam filter either on our end or yours."

    The biggest database of agents anywhere is
    the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents.
    Buy it here online at a discount.

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