Posts Tagged ‘the knight agency’

Inspired by The Knight Agency’s April newsletter and the Agents of the Roundtable prompt, I decided to start a regular thing on my blog: “How I Met My Client”. Something like “How I Met Your Mother” only a lot briefer and, sadly, without the benefit of Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). To that end, I wrote to Christie Golden, the first author I ever sold (nearly right away and to two different publishers in the same week or very nearly!) to do a post on how we met and promised that I’d do the same. Well, she finished hers first and, as she has the tendency to do, she just blew me away.  My piece will in no way live up, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Or, at least, I think I will.  We’ll see how it goes.

I started working for Spectrum Literary Agency practically right out of college.  When I went for the interview, I happened to be reading (and loving) a book represented by the agency written by Ken Goddard, who runs the National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Lab out in Ashland, Oregon. There were people interviewing who had more work experience, but Eleanor Wood and I just clicked, and I was lucky enough that she gave me a shot.

Less than a year later, I was learning a ton and critiquing manuscripts and attending conventions and ready to take on my first clients.  Christie talks about how we met below—through the amazing Roger MacBride Allen, who I met in turn because he was a Spectrum client and because we were able to talk forensics and freak people out at SFWA Receptions—so I’ll mix things up by telling you how I came to love and represent her work.

Step one: She set it to me.  I know, crazy how that works. Christie followed up on our meeting and sent me one or two of her Ravenloft Books to read and I was hooked.  I believe the first one I read was VAMPIRE OF THE MISTS.  I absolutely fell in love with Jander Sunstar.  I mean, an elven vampire—do you get more conflicted or tortured or awesome than that?  I think not. Plus it had everything. The writing, the pacing, the tension…

instrument of fate She also sent me her original novel, INSTRUMENT OF FATE, which I fell for absolutely. A novel of Gillian Songespynner, a young bard on the run with a magical lute and a relentless enemy licking at her heels. There’s magic, romance, suspense…and again I was hooked.

st spirit walk Step two: Networking for the win. Not only did Christie and I network at that World Fantasy Convention, but I’d spent the year networking, meeting people in publishing—on the phone, in person, at the infamous Malibu lunches (the diner, not the beach), which I miss to this day.  One of the very first people I met was John Ordover, who was editing media tie-in books, particularly Star Trek, for Simon & Schuster. (Wait, I know John, and he’s going to give me a hard time if I leave out a superlative or six for him, so hmm…. Let’s say the gregarious, voluble, unique and, okay, okay, wonderful John Ordover.) He was looking for authors for the various Star Trek series.  Christie wrote awesome tie-ins.  It seemed a match made in heaven.  I was also, of course, sending out INSTRUMENT OF FATE to other fantastically amazing editors like Laura Anne Gilman, who was then at Ace/Berkley and who made us an offer for INSTRUMENT OF FATE and its sequel, KING’S MAN AND THIEF.  We were elated!  I’m pretty certain that it was that same week (or very closely thereafter) that we sold Christie’s first Star Trek novel to John at Simon & Schuster as well.

It was an incredible start.

Step three: Lather, rinse, repeat. Christie has an amazing talent for diving into other worlds, grabbing hold of the feel and the voice and the characters and building something wonderful out of them.  Plus, she’s fast, timely, personable and all good things.  Thus she’s been continuously under contract and under deadline ever since.  Christie has now written many more Star Trek novels as well as tie-ins for Star Wars, Warcraft, Starcraft, Assassin’s Creed and others.  She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list numerous times and won the Colorado Author’s League Award for Best Genre Novel of 1999 for A.D. 999 written under the pen name of Jadrien Bell, and again under her own name for IN STONE’S CLASP in 2005.

It’s been a wild ride, and it’s not over yet!  As Christie says below, ” Here’s to the next 23 years and 47 books!”

 

And now, the woman of the hour—Christie herself!

 

Lucienne and I first met as precocious childhood playmates. She agreed to represent me at the tender age of six, which is the only possible way to explain our incredibly youthful appearances.  That, or those portraits in our attics. Which you didn’t hear from me, no sir.

On an actual (and factual) note, we met at World Fantasy Con 1993, which was super awesome not just because it was “the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” but because WFC was held in New Orleans over Halloween.  She came highly recommended by science fiction author Roger MacBride Allen, who had kind of adopted me and was diligently steering me toward doing Smart Things with my career (like introducing me to Lucienne) and thus greatly reducing my learning curve. I had recently had my first highly disillusioning publishing experience (buy me a lemondrop martini and I’ll spill more details) followed by my first highly disillusioning agent near-experience, so I was a small, suspicious, feral kitten who grilled Lucienne about pretty much everything.  Which is funny, because I generally err on the side of being super-nice.

She took it in good stride, answering and asking questions, and I had a good feeling about her.  I sent her a copy of my first novel, Vampire of the Mists, and she “got” it at once. We were a good match when it came to my writing style, and we agreed to take each other on.

The rest, as they say, is history. She’s represented me on 47 of my 50 novels, and has gotten to greet me on the phone with insanely stupid and wonderful questions like “Do you like Star Trek?”and “How would you like to write for Star Wars?” Of course I want some Cheezy Poofs. She’s advised me when to walk away, encouraged my patience, and fought hard for my fees and my rights.

She’s also just an amazing person, and someone I’m proud to call a friend.  We’ve been “together” for 23 years, and I’ve never once felt the need to look elsewhere for representation. Here’s to the next 23 years and 47 books!

BTW, the Lemondrop Martini is the secret key to successful writing everyone is always hankering to know about.  It’s the preferred beverage of the Muse. I have it on excellent authority and, hey, you’re welcome.

 

london earls court London me and elaine

Last week, Elaine Spencer and I from The Knight Agency attended the London Book Fair to meet with editors from around the globe and the agents who work with our lists in various countries.  As always, it was enlightening to hear about the economics, business model changes, genre trends, etc. from other perspectives and very productive to pitch in person the books and series we’re excited about.  Traditionally, mysteries and thrillers have been more challenging than other genres to sell in translation, partly because of settings or set ups that might be considered “too American” and partly because the publishers are focussed on their homegrown authors.  However, “crime” and “thriller” were hands down the two big buzz words at this year’s conference…with the caveat that with so many household names for publishers to choose from, they’re still mostly drawn to big books.  Fantasy, romance (from sweet small town to the racier-the-better), young adult and other fiction are still doing well also.  (How well depends on the particular market.)  But even in those genres, the more thriller-esque and realistic fiction seems most in demand.

Elaine and I were also able to get in a bit of sightseeing, as you can tell from this second picture taken at the Tower of London with the Tower Bridge in the background.  The day we arrived, we did our best to stay up until evening to acclimate as soon as possible (for the fair the next day).  To that end, we visited the Tower and also took a hop on/hop off bus tour to view the sights.  The day after the fair ended, we also took a tour out to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath.  As soon as I catch up a bit, I promise to post pictures.

In the meantime, I wanted to shout from the rooftops that The Knight Agency’s Nephele Tempest is doing a Writers Digest webinar tomorrow on conquering the dreaded synopsis and is offering a critique along with the class.  Nephele, for those of you who don’t know, represents Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Shannon K. Butcher and many other wonderful authors.  Details of the webinar are here.

In other news, I’m pleased to congratulate Karen Whiddon for hitting the Bookscan Romance Bestseller list for the third week in a row with THE WOLF PRINCE!   For you mystery readers out there, I walso want to let you know about a great deal RIGHT NOW that Tammy Kaehler’s publisher Poisoned Pen Press is offering on her first Kate Reilly racing mystery novel, DEAD MAN’S SWITCH.  Currently, it’s only 99¢ on Kindle and Nook.  Or you can win a signed copy of the print edition by commenting here (ends tomorrow).

A few quick things before I introduce my guest blogger today:

1- The Knight Agency is giving away an iPad and thirteen free e-books to go on it to one lucky winner who signs up for our newsletter.  Details are here.  Good luck to you all!  (Wish I could enter.)

2- I want to wish a HUGE congratulations to P.N. Elrod, whose story “Beach Girl” won an Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Readers’ Choice Award!  To see what this means to her, you can check out her blog, written when the story was published.  So sweet.  So well-deserved!

3- The Knight Agency is also hosting a chat this Thursday, December 15th at 9 pm ET with THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS co-authors Cec Murphey and Marley Gibson, complete with giveaways…because we’re just that cool.  Details are here.

4- New in digital this week are reissues of Christie Golden’s wonderful Chronicles of Verrold, INSTRUMENT OF FATE and KING’S MAN AND THIEF (or click here for IOF on Kindle or Apple; here for KING’S MAN on Kindle, Apple).  She’s a New York Times bestseller for her Warcraft and Star Wars tie-ins.  Read her original work and see why!

Now, I’m pleased to present Beth Cornelison, whose new release, which I talked about earlier this week, is currently available at all etailers.  It’s a story that’s close to my heart, perhaps because my husband is also a hot, motorcycle-riding man.

A different sort of hero or why I love Kevin Fuller by Beth Cornelison

            After publishing umpteen (that’s a real number, isn’t it?) books with Harlequin and other mainstream publishers, I recently took the plunge into the indie publishing waters (via the services of The Knight Agency). TRUST IN ME is a small-town contemporary romance set in South Carolina and features a different sort of hero than the usual romance hottie.

In TRUST IN ME, after breaking free from her overbearing father and cheating fiancé, Claire Albritton wants nothing more than to take control of her life and learn to fight her own battles. Kevin Fuller believes he must rescue damsels in distress, and Claire is decidedly out of her element in small town South Carolina. When trouble inevitably finds Claire, Kevin’s white knight protection and heroics are exactly what Claire doesn’t want. But his kisses…that’s another matter.

I had mixed feelings as I wrote Kevin’s character. As much as I love, love, love him (did I mention how much I love him? 🙂 ), he’s not the typical romance hero. I wondered, Would readers accept him and fall in love the way I did? Would they dismiss him for the very things I felt made him special?

Don’t get me wrong, Kevin has plenty of the stuff that makes a hero sexy (he’s got the hot  body, the motorcycle, the killer smile, above average looks). He’ll also put himself in harm’s way to save the heroine, stand by his beliefs at all costs, and work relentlessly to reach his goals. Yep, he’s got integrity in spades. He also has a wry sense of humor that he uses as a shield to protect himself from personal pain, and soft spot for the underdog.

So what makes him so different? A few things. Kevin is no million mogul or Arab sheik. He’s a hardware store manager who’s deeply in debt and living paycheck to paycheck thanks to his mother’s medical bills. Kevin is a pacifist, more Boy Scout than warrior. He’s also mostly beta, a best friend and warm place to land instead of a brooding Alpha.

While plenty of romance authors, and subgenres for that matter, employ the beta hero with great success, Kevin represents my farthest venture into betaland, and so I’m holding my breath. Will readers love him as much as I do? Will they see that Kevin is just what Claire wants and needs, her perfect match, and fall for him as she does?

I hope so. For me, Kevin is much more down-to-earth and realistic than a millionaire entrepreneur or Alpha secret agent. He’s the nice guy we all wish for our daughters, the man of morals and a work ethic we admire in the news. He’s the good guy we cheer for when he wins in the end, the happy ending that gives us all hope. Frankly, he’s the kind of guy we need more of in this world…and that’s why I love him.

TRUST IN ME is available for Kindle, Nook and other ereaders from the usual ebook retail sites.

Beth Cornelison 
OPERATION BABY RESCUE– October 2011- Silhouette Romantic Suspense
TRUST IN ME- December 2011- Amazon Kindle & B&N Nook
SOLDIER’S PREGNANCY PROTOCOL- Black Ops Rescues Bk 1- June 2012
www.bethcornelison.com

We announced it over on The Knight Agency blog on Friday, but for anyone who missed it, I’m very excited to post our 2011 Romantic Times Award nominees.   Congratulations to all!

Career Achievement Nominees:
Sci Fi/Fantasy
Lynn Flewelling
Urban Fantasy
P.N. Elrod
Erotica
Joey Hill
Paranormal
Nalini Singh

Reviewers’ Choice Nominees:
Harlequin Nocturne:
Jessica Andersen: Lord of the Wolfyn
Nalini Singh: Lord of the Abyss
Steeple Hill Love Inspired:
Annie Jones: Home to Stay
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense:
Stephanie Newton: Point Blank Protector
First Historical Romance:
Monica Burns: Pleasure Me
Bronwen Evans: Invitation to Seduction
Historical Fantasy Paranormal:
Melissa Mayhue: Healing A Highlander
Historical K.I.S.S. Hero:
Jade Lee: Wicked Seduction
Best Romantic Suspense:
Shannon K. Butcher: Living on the Edge
Futuristic Romance:
Gena Showalter: Dark Taste of Rapture
Vampire Romance:
Blood Hunt: Shannon K. Butcher
Archangel’s Blade: Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance:
Kiss of Snow: Nalini Singh
Erotic Romance:
Kate Pearce: Simply Forbidden
Erotic Paranormal Fantasy:
Joey Hill: Vampire Instinct
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Beth Cornelison: Special Ops Bodyguard
First Historical Romance
Vicky Dreiling: How to Marry a Duke
Urban Fantasy Novel
Rob Thurman: Blackout
Urban Fantasy Protagonist
Diana Pharoah Francis: Max in Crimson Wind
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels 2011
N. K. Jemisin: The Kingdom of Gods

Over Labor Day weekend, I attended my first-ever Dragon*Con, and I just have to say…WOW.  Huge, amazing, such a sense of community.  Loved it.  Yes, there will be pics at the end of this post.  Before I get to that, a few things:

More than Publicity debuted the music video for my Vamped series at Dragon*Con.  You can view it here.  It’s not quite final yet.  As soon as it is, I’ll be blasting it out there, posing on my website…you name it.  I think the song is addictive, which I can say because while I had input, all the credit goes to the amazing artist, Catriona, and to Shannon Aviles at MTP.

I was up yesterday on Mike Kabongo’s Agent Incite blog with “The Real: Lucienne Diver.”  Hope my answers do justice to the spirit of fun inherent in the questions themselves.

Also yesterday, the amazing DEAR BULLY anthology released from HarperTeen.  This is a collection of essays and other non-fiction formats written by 70 young adult authors about bullying, complete with an index of resources for those who need to know how to reach out.  A portion of the proceeds to to the Stomp Out Bullying campaign.  Yes, I’m a contributor to the anthology.  Yes, this is a subject matter very near and dear to my heart.

Charles de Lint gave Steven Harper’s WRITING THE PARANORMAL NOVEL a nice write-up in his September/October “Books to Look For” feature in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

And now, some pics from Dragon*Con! (1-Magical Words gathering; 2-Rachel Caine and I as we begin booth set-up; 3-Jessi Vail, Kaylan Doyle, me, Samantha Sommersby, Melisa Todd and Sarah Weiss post booth set-up; 4-Part of The Knight Agency dinner (Marley Gibson, Deidre Knight, Tyler, Jennifer St. Giles, Jade Lee and Patrick Burns); 5- Another part of The Knight Agency dinner (Peter Wheeler, Kalayna Price, David B. Coe, Riley, Jud Knight and Faith Hunter); 6- Pete and I done up as Perseus and Andromeda for the masked ball; 7- The sith and I; 8- The Wizard of Oz (the first thing I saw upon entering my hotel!); 9- Zombie Cows; 10- Puppet Pal Snape & friend)

The Knight Agency has started up a very exciting program to facilitate e-book publication for those of our authors who want to take advantage.  To be clear, we’re NOT becoming a digital publisher.  We’re not taking a publisher’s cut or submissions or doing anything but working collaboratively with our authors who want to take advantage of the program.  We’re doing all the legwork in getting books scanned, putting together a database of copyeditors and arranging for cover art, ISBNs, new cover copy, etc., much of it at the agency’s expense and for only the agency’s regular commission.  And ONLY for our authors.

We are NOT giving up on traditional publishing.  Rather, this program is for backlist which is no longer available or had never been digitized to begin with or for projects that have not found a home with publishing houses but which the authors and agents agree should absolutely be in the hands of readers who will adore them as much as we do.  We’re not telling anyone they have to go through us.  Rather, we’re providing a whole lot of really exciting incentives, like marketing and promotion.

Our first titles will launch in September*.  We’ve got an incredible line-up, with backlist from bestsellers like Stephanie Rowe, Rachel Caine, writing as Roxanne Conrad*, Cecil Murphy, Susan Sizemore, Christie Golden and others.  You’ll definitely be hearing more about this as the launch approaches. (*New note 9/21/11: the launch has been pushed back to mid-October and Roxanne Conrad’s works will be in the third wave of titles, coming out in 2012, rather than the first to allow more time for covers and other logistics.)