Reading · Writing

Love Triangles

I’ve found myself thinking about love triangles in fiction lately. I admit I tend to associate them more with young adult books simply because I see them there more often than in adult. Love triangles can be very popular. Think Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Selection. Some people can’t get enough of love triangles, others hate them. Personally I love a well done love triangle, but I think they can very difficult to do in a way that feels natural. I’m going to discuss my personal tastes here with complete honesty and I’m going to use a few book examples, but don’t take them as gospel and remember it is my opinion and mine only. If you are considering querying me and your book features a love triangle, this post will help you decide if I’m a good match or not. And if you are a love triangle fan then this post might give you four more books to read.

Warning: Spoilers for the books below in regards to the love triangles. And remember, I’m probably way more critical than the average reader.

16071367In The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni, the author took an angle on a love triangle I really liked. One of the men involved isn’t actually in love with the main character (Verity), he is just trying to get close to her to manipulate her and protect his own self-interests. I also enjoyed the way the author used the triangle to explore how Verity isn’t sure how to recognize love. She also struggles with the love triangle and the feelings of being interested in two very different men and actively tries to pull away from the second because she feels it is the right thing to do. What made this romance captivating for me is that the first man is an arranged marriage, and the second isn’t, adding an extra layer of intrigue and character exploration to the triangle. Continue reading “Love Triangles”

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agenting · Editing · Writing

Being an Editorial Literary Agent

One of the questions I often get asked by potential clients is whether or not I’m an editorial agent. With my background in editing the answer is of course. That leads to authors wanting to know how much editing I do, which depends on the amount of work each individual project needs. Editorial agents are becoming more common and I think the increased competitiveness of the industry is going to lead to most if not all agents becoming editorial agents eventually. Honestly I’m glad I started on the editorial side first to work on editing since these days it’s an important skill for agents. While I don’t give specific edit notes until a client has signed with me, on the offer call I try to cover my expectations of what needs edited to clue the author in how many edits we’d be doing together.

When it comes to my clients, as an agent I tend to work with authors who don’t need heavy line edits and I tend to focus on developmental edits instead. By that I mean their overall style is polished and the changes needed are usually not grammatical issues that pop up throughout the whole story like passive versus active voice or too much telling. My clients are authors who have put in a lot of time to studying the craft and aren’t still learning the basics. They are also often experienced with taking critique as well. Continue reading “Being an Editorial Literary Agent”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Contagion

I’ve been reading a lot more science fiction lately and I find myself gravitating toward YA sci-fi due to the fast pacing. One of my latest reads was Contagion by Erin Bowman. This book was fantastic and I loved the tension and mystery of it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a creepy science fiction read and I would especially recommend it if you’re a Riddick Pitch Black fan. Overall this book has great tension and exceptional writing.

When a SOS message is sent from a mining site on a distant planet, a search-and-rescue crew is sent. However when they arrive there appears to be no survivors and not enough dead bodies to account for the missing. A note left behind by one of the dead proclaims “It Got In Us.” With no idea of what the note means they search for answers, but once they find the dead, they quickly wish they hadn’t. Continue reading “Book Review: Contagion”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a few years old (from 2013) and it was one of my first reads of the year. This contemporary book is a great reminder of why it’s so unfortunate that the New Adult category is all but forgotten by publishers. I wish I would have found this book when I was still in college because this is exactly the sort of book I wanted during those years. I always felt like those years are missing from fiction or purely romance, which is bad news for new adults searching for similar experiences in books. This book was great and I highly recommend it.

This book follows Cath during her first year of college and the struggles that come with the transition. Her twin sister Wren doesn’t want to be roommates, forcing Cath out of her comfort zone. And unlike Wren she isn’t as good at meeting new people or making friends, causing her to feel isolated at her new school as she drifts from her sister. She prefers to delve into the world of Simon Snow fanfiction and her popular fanfiction C. College brings new experiences and all Cath can do is rise to the challenges or fail. Continue reading “Book Review: Fangirl”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: The Royal Art of Poison

Who doesn’t enjoy stories about people dying due to unsavory plots to grab power or wealth? Stories of people being poisoned and dying young are all through history and this book explores the most famous cases as well as the poisons of the day. The full title of the book is The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul  and that title really is the best descriptor of this book. Let me tell you this book was absolutely fascinating! This is definitely one of my favorite recent nonfiction reads and I highly recommend it. Eleanor Herman has all kinds of interesting books on history.

This  book is great not just for those interested in poisons of the past, but any authors looking for information for their writing. This covers everything from how dirty the palaces were (men used to just piss everywhere apparently) to how they used mercury for medicine and in makeup along with arsenic. The makeup of the day was more likely to kill you than keep you beautiful. And if you wanted to die your hair red to be like Queen Elizabeth you might lose it all instead. Sometimes mercury could cure you, but only if it didn’t kill you first. Continue reading “Book Review: The Royal Art of Poison”

agenting · Publishing Life

Work-life Balance in Publishing

I think it’s pretty safe for me to say many if not all of us working in publishing struggle to have a healthy work-life balance. Our jobs can be time demanding so much so that it can feel like there’s never enough time to get everything done. As an editor I had to balance how many projects I accepted at one time. As an agent I keep a close eye on my client list and how many upcoming projects I have when I consider making an offer. My big goal for 2019 is to try to obtain a healthier work-life balance. Thankfully since I live in Pittsburgh instead of NYC, my cost of living is lower which means I can keep my client list smaller. So here’s some cold hard truth about my work-life balance as an agent.

Clients always come first, but because handling work for them takes up my regular work hours, reading to find new clients often gets pushed into personal time. Once you get behind on queries its difficult to catch back up without closing to new queries. I set aside a half hour a few times a week to go through queries. This keeps me on track, but as the number of queries in my inbox rises so does the time needed to get through them and read all the “maybes” I have marked. And really that’s why you really need to grab me with your query and first chapter because there are probably five or more other manuscripts being considered for a full request and I don’t have time to request and read them all. Continue reading “Work-life Balance in Publishing”

Reading

Book Review: This Is Our Story

This Is Our Story is a YA contemporary about a hunting trip gone wrong. Basically when it comes to YA contemporary this is the sort of story I’m searching for in my slush. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and romance. I grew up in a small town and found the small town setting of this to be pretty on the nose. Like any book there were a few spots that could be improved, but overall I really enjoyed the mystery ride this book took me on.

This Is Our Story is about five boys who go on a hunting trip only for one of them to end up dead from a gunshot. No one is willing to confess and the boys band together to protect each other. Kate ends up interning with the district attorney and gets caught up in the investigation and finds herself getting a little too close to one of the boys. With the case heading to trial it’s up to her to help prove who is guilty and who is innocent. Continue reading “Book Review: This Is Our Story”