Agent Monday: Oh the Horror!

MP900309567Happy Agent Monday everyone!  I know – it’s been a while…  I’ve been traveling a ton for conferences and been on so many planes and through so many time zones it’s a wonder  my eyesballs aren’t spinning in my head. Which leads me to today’s subject: HORROR! Hey, it’s Halloween week, right? And Halloween is one of my very favorite times of the year. I love a good fright. But I don’t represent horror, and yet…in some ways I do.  Let me explain..

Drawn-ebook cover final Jan 12Here’s the thing – I LOVE a good ghost story. Truly. The kind that make you shiver and wonder or perhaps feel heartsick, the kind that are steeped in a sense of history or folklore. My own YA novel DRAWN taps into that, adding a dimension of timeless longing and injustice. I also adore well-drawn characters – so important to me.

What I don’t want to see? Gratuitous violence or gore. No thank you. Yeah, I love Halloween, but for me the shivers has nothing to do with psychos wielding chainsaws. God I hate when they wreck a good haunted house with blood-soaked rooms. #notforme

So that’s how I say “no horror” yet I represent awesome author Gregory Frost who is working on a novel about a haunted White House in the 1800s. Yup, there are some touches of horror in that novel for sure, but the book is all about the characters and the time, plus the writing is beyond gorgeous. And that’s how I represent Jim Kristofic, whose short story horror collection is beyond creepy, BUT is steeped in Native American lore and awesome writing and NOT all about blood and guts. There’s more of a psychological thing going on. And it’s how I fell for my client Tracey Baptiste’s THE JUMBIES, which is a middle grade horror set in the Caribbean, and features monsters that snatch children. That one is elegant and heartfelt and folkloric, and very much set in a time and place.

So bloody horror? Nope. If your book were made into a movie, would it be a slasher film? Then please don’t send it my way. But spooky and even terrifying lit that is elegantly written and has strong characterization? Yup. Ghosts. Meaning. Not just cheap scares. That’s the distinction. That will get me interested.

And now, for your Halloween reading pleasure, here are three client books now available that are perfect for a spooky evening read:

TTTCoverTURKEY TRICK OR TREAT, a fun new picture book written by Wendy Silvano and illustrated by Lee Harper (Two Lions). This one is hilarious and the illustrations will draw you in! Check it out by clicking here. (Also, a Scholastic Book Club title.)

jumbies500_THE JUMBIES, highly praised spooky middle grade novel by Tracey Baptiste (Algonquin Books for Young Readers). This creepy Caribbean tale will have you looking over your shoulder and snuggling deeper under the covers. Full of fun and feisty kids that best the beasts! Find out more here. (And available now through Scholastic Book Clubs.)

Harvest Party cover 300 B dpi 9-14-15HARVEST PARTY! This fun picture book is written by Jennifer O’Connell and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Scholastic Cartwheel). It’s a perfect fall read for the little ones in your family who love to laugh. (Can be purchased now through Scholastic Book Clubs.)

Happy Halloween! And send me some treats…

*Marie is an Associate Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. To keep up with all her Agent Monday posts, subscribe to her site by clicking on the Follow link located on her page on the upper left margin.

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Harleysville Books Bash – 18 Authors and Some Wine

Harleysville Books in Harleysville, PA is one of those special independent bookstores that are so dear to my heart.  A treasure of a shop filled with carefully selected titles, and that features a continuing series of great events. At the heart of it all is owner Shelly Plumb, a person who loves books and who also loves to support local authors!  To show her support, each year Shelly has been throwing an author reception, highlighting writers from the region.  Exceptionally cool.

This year you can mingle with 18 published authors at the Third Annual Author Reception, being held on Thursday, March 11th from 6-8 p.m. at Harleysville Books. The store is located at 674 Main Street, Salford Square in Harleysville.  The reception, which is free and open to the public, features something for everyone with food, fun and authors of titles ranging from picture books, to young adult novels, to adult fiction and nonfiction.  And yes, for those who are of age, there will be wine provided by Country Creek Winery.

The informal gathering is full of opportunities for visitors to mingle and chat with all of the authors present. Among the featured authors are a number of members from the Philly Liars Club,  a group of critically acclaimed professional writers who provide events to support libraries, bookstores, literacy, and a love of books. I’m VERY proud to be a member.

Liars Club authors at the Harleysville Books event include New York Times bestseller Sara Shepard (The Pretty Little Liars series, HarperTeen, and The Visibles, Free Press), young adult author Marie Lamba…that’s me…(What I Meant…, Random House), New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, The Dragon Factory, St. Martin’s Griffin, and The Wolfman, Tor), best selling mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books), lauded contemporary novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press), debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), and historian, actor and storyteller Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing).

Visitors to the reception can also meet picture book authors and illustrators including Lindsay Barrett George (Alfred Digs, Greenwillow), Rob and Lisa Papp (P is for Princess, Sleeping Bear Press), and Mara Rockliff (Busiest Street in Town, Knopf). Children’s fiction authors will include:  2010 Scott O’Dell prizewinner Matt Phelan (Storm in the Barn, Candlewick), and Michael Townsend (Kit Feeny Graphic Novel Series, Knopf). Young adult authors include debut novelists Cyn Balog (Fairy Tale, Delacorte), Josh Berk (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, Knopf) and Jennifer Hubbard (The Secret Year, Viking). Wonderful debut horror novelist C.G. Bauer (Scars on the Face of God) has just been added to this event, and also on hand will be author MJ Ticcino (Valley Forge).  I’m happy to say that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting most of these authors before, and they are all really nice.  Interested in asking them about writing? About the author’s life? About their books? They’ll all be happy to talk.

For more information about the Third Annual Author Reception, or to reserve a copy of any of the featured author’s books in advance, contact Harleysville Books at 215-256-9311.

Between Books in Claymont, DE: Another Unique Indie

As the Philly Liar’s Club (of which I’m a member) has been continuing it’s “Truth Tour,” throwing parties for independent bookstores throughout the region, I’m really learning a lot. Especially since I’m the one who contacts each owner to interview them about what makes their store special. I then write a feature story based on this info and send it out to the world.  What I keep noticing over and over again is just how unique each Indy store truly is.

Okay, we know what to expect when we walk into any Borders or Barnes & Noble, right? We know where each section is, what sort of books and magazines we’ll see. And where that cafe is.  But walk into an independent bookstore, and you are always experiencing something fresh and new.  Books you’ve never seen before.  Staff who have picked out every single title for that particular store. And there’s more…the store has it’s own quirky personality.

Between Books in Claymont, DE is the next stop on the Liar’s Truth Tour.  Between Books isn’t just a bookstore. Oh no. This store specializes in sci fi, fantasy and horror, making it a Mecca for genre fans throughout the area.  The shop also carries new comics, board games, role playing games and card games.  It holds incredible events for fans…like the time that Beef Cake and Techno Destructo from GWAR played the GWAR miniatures game there in full costume!  Plus Between Books offer 10% discounts on just about everything. They definitely deserve this Liar’s Club party and our support, don’t you think?

Shopping at a locally owned business like Between Books benefits the entire community. “We buy most of our supplies and services from local businesses,” says Greg Schauer, who co-owns the store with Richard Schauer. “And we help to promote local authors, artists and game designers.”  As part of this, Between Books offers advertising space for community activities, and helps promote events at Arden Guild Hall with posters and ticket sales. The bookstore also runs plenty of author events, bringing writers and the community together.  And, in at least one instance, the store brought two very important writers together as well. “Author Joseph Gangemi met the writer John Passarella at our store,” Schauer says. “They then collaborated on the novel Wither, which went on to win the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel.”

Great service, unique selections, and exciting events have sustained this independent bookstore for many years. In fact, Between Books will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in November. And the store will be bringing writers together yet again, this time in the form of an anthology they are publishing. “We will be releasing The Stories in Between,” says Schauer. “It’s an anthology honoring a few of the artists and writers that have appeared at our store over the last 30 years, and we’ll be celebrating its release on November 14th.”  The anthology will include work from Philly Liar’s Club members Jonathan Maberry, Jon McGoran

Independent Bookstores for Independent Minds

Independent Bookstores for Independent Minds

and Gregory Frost.

“It’s an honor to be included in their anthology,” says McGoran.  “And we Liars are all especially honored to be throwing our party for Between Books.  Independent bookstores are so much more than shops. They are the heart and soul of a community.”

The Liar’s Club will be at Between Books throwing a wild and crazy party July 25th from 3-5 p.m….free, fun, zany and lots of giveways, too…everyone is welcome! Visitors to the celebration will get to play Truth or Lie games for prizes, and can smooze with the following Liars: Bram Stoker award-winner Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, St. Martin’s), fantasy author Gregory Frost (Shadowbridge, and Lord Tophet (Del Rey/Random House), young adult author Marie Lamba (What I Meant…, Random House), debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), historical author Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series), novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press), mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books) and social media guru Donald Lafferty. For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the event, call Between Books at 302-798-3378.

So join the fun, and support this local gem.  Have a special independent bookstore near you that you’d like to brag about?  Let me know. I’d love to hear what makes your Indy unique…