Here are my current Giveaway Contests

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway through March 31st

GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL through March 31st

Ann Rose Query Critique through April 4th

THE SOUND OF STARS through April 4th

THE SILENCE OF BONES through April 18th

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Kristy Hunter & Author Loriel Ryon Guest Post & Query Critique Giveaway on 4/20/20

Lindsay Davis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/27/20

Erin Clyburn Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/20


Happy Monday Everone! I'm so excited for today because I'm interviewing the very amazing Marie Lu!

Before I get to her interview, I need to announce the winners of a few giveaways.

The winner of SHADES OF EARTH is JESS!


Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m beyond thrilled to have Marie Lu back to talk about her new book PRODIGY, which releases tomorrow. Marie has a hugely successful career as an author and is such a sweet, nice person. She was so generous to agree to come back here today and to help me get an ARC to share with you. If you want to find out about Marie’s debut as an author, see my interview with her on January 9th last year here.

Marie does everything right to make PRODIGY a fantastic second book. She takes us into a new part of the Republic—the rebels world. And we’re introduced to new characters that may have only been briefly mentioned in LEGEND, like Anden, the new Elector. June and Day are forced to make impossibly hard choices as June infiltrates the Republic’s highest powers and Day stays with the rebels. The plot is fast moving and filled with twists. I couldn’t stop turning the pages wanting to know what June and Day would do next. And to find out if they’d be together again so we could see more of that deep, real chemistry between them. 

Here’s a blurb of PRODIGY from Goodreads

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action

Hi Marie. Thanks so very much for joining us.

1.  You’ve had a fantastic year and I’ve seen on different blogs news that you’ve been touring with other authors like Beth Revis and went to the Bologna Book Fair last spring. Share about what’s been going on this year, including your book tours and attending the Bologna Book Fair.

It was a fun, if exhausting year! I spent a great deal of time traveling and touring, meeting lots of awesome readers and writers, and participating in a great writers' blog called PubCrawl ( I also collaborated with CBS Films, who own Legend's movie rights, and game studio Wicked Sweet Games on a Facebook game called Cities of Legend ( It felt great to dip my toe back into gaming.
2. It sounds fantastic, but exhausting. I love Publishing Crawl. It's a great blog filled with advice. I recommend everyone follow it. 

And I’ve heard that Legend’s movie is moving along. What stage of production is it? How involved in it are you and how often do you get news of it?

As far as I know, we are finished with the screenplay. I'm excited to see where we go from here!

3.  I can't wait until Legend comes out as a movie. In your acknowledgement page, you talk about how much harder PRODIGY was to write and that the process included anxiety and tears. Share some of the difficulties in writing this book and how you overcame them.

 Sequels are hard for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that you now have a deadline and expectations to meet. You're also done setting up a story and must now continue from a place that's not the beginning. It's a very different challenge!

4.  Yeah, I'll confess that's the scariest things for me in thinking of getting a book contract. The deadlines and your story being locked in to a point. I’m assuming you’ve written or are writing book 3 in this series. What have you learned about writing trilogies from this one? What advice do you have for the rest of us?

One thing I've learned is that the third book in a trilogy is, for me, by far the most difficult to write, considering all the loose ends and final climax that you have to tie up. Advice: each book is different, and takes a different approach to write successfully.
5.  Great advice, Marie, to tackle each with a different approach. Whose story was harder to write in PRODIGY—June or Day—and why?

June is always the more challenging one for me to write. She requires so much random research!

6.  Tell us about your writing schedule and how you stay productive while juggling writing on deadlines with your traveling schedule.

 One thing I've had to learn to do is to adapt to different writing environments. I had to learn how to be able to write on planes, trains, in hotels, etc. I never used to be able to do that.

7.  I haven't mastered that one. I can see why you'd need to do it with your busy schedule. For an aspiring author who gets their book deal, it can feel very overwhelming to handle the business aspect of writing. What steps should they take to prepare for that all important debut as an author and book release?

Well, social media is something that I think most writers must learn to embrace. Be yourself, do as much as you're comfortable with, but most importantly, don't let self-marketing take precedence over your writing.

8.  Great advice to keep the writing as the biggest focus. What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on a new high fantasy series. I'm excited to get back into the first genre I grew up writing in!
I LOVE high fantasy. I can't wait to read your new series. Thanks so much Marie for stopping by again. You can find Marie at:

Marie's publisher generously provided an ARC for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on February 16thI’ll announce the winner on February 18th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

Here's what's coming up. I hope you're as excited as me about it all

Next Monday I'm interviewing Miriam Forster and giving away a copy of and ARC of her debut book, A CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS. It's a fantasy and mystery. When I got it, I picked it up to look at and literary couldn't put it down. It was fantastic and I'm excited to share it with you.

Next Wednesday I'll post about my trip to China. 

The following Monday I'm interviewing debut author Elsie Chapman about her dystopian novel, DUALED and giving away an ARC of her book. It's about a world where everyone has a genetic alternate that you must battle at some point in your teenage years to the death. It is really unique concept and I enjoyed the book.

And Wednesday that week I have a fascinating interview with Chuck Sambuchino of Guide to Literary Agents about his new book, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM: THE KEYS TO BUILDING AN AUDIENCE, SELLING MORE BOOKS, AND FINDING SUCCESS AS AN AUTHOR, with a giveaway of his book. His book really got me thinking about how I can improve my platform and social networking. I'm really excited to share Chuck's advice and his book with you. Chuck's interview is filled with awesome advice whether you're an author or book review blogger. I can't encourage you enough to read his interview.

The following Monday, I have an interview with a high school teen for my ASK THE EXPERT series and will be sharing and giving away THE CADET OF TILDOR, a fantastic debut fantasy.

And Wednesday that week, Casey and I have a super awesome 3000 follower mega giveaway. You won't want to miss it. 

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

Agent Spotlight: Laurie McLean

This week's Agent Spotlight features Laurie McLean of Foreword Literary.

Status: Open to submissions.

Laurie9-231x300About: “Laurie McLean spent 20 years as the CEO of a publicity agency and 8 years as an agent and senior agent at Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco.

“Following her stint as the CEO of a successful Silicon Valley public relations agency bearing her name, Laurie was able to switch gears in 2002 to immerse herself in writing. She penned three manuscripts before deciding that the life of a literary agent was her destiny. Laurie has been writing professionally since high school–first as a journalist, then as a public relations agent, finally as a novelist. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the State University of New York and a Master’s Degree at Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Journalism.

“At Foreword, Laurie specializes in adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, horror, etc.) plus middle-grade and young adult children’s books. She does not handle non-fiction, or commercial, literary or women’s fiction, nor does she handle children’s picture books or graphic novels.

“Prior to founding Foreword, Laurie was also the Dean of San Francisco Writers University and on the management team of the San Francisco Writers Conference. In 2012 Laurie co-founded two ePublishing companies with two of her client partners: for vintage out-of-print romance books with Linda Wisdom; and for out-of-print classic tween and teen books with Douglas Rees.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“Foreword Literary is a full-service, hybrid literary agency based in the Silicon Valley with offices throughout the country. We blend the tried-and-true methods of traditional publishing with the brash new opportunities engendered by digital publishing, emerging technologies, and an evolving author-agent relationship.

“Foreword manages a wide variety of clients, from bestsellers to debut authors, working with fiction and non-fiction for children and adults worldwide. We combine technical efficiency with outside-the-covers creative thinking so that each individual client’s career is specifically fine-tuned for them.

“We are not an agency that sells a book and then washes our hands of the project. We realize that our ongoing success directly results from that of our clients, so we remain at their side to cultivate and strategize throughout the many lives of each book, both before and after the initial sale. Innovations, such as our FastForeword publishing program, help bridge the gaps between books, growing and maintaining the author’s fan base without lag.

“Laurie, Pam, and Gordon launched Foreword following tenures at established agencies, bringing with them experience in writing, teaching, professional editing, book marketing, blogging and social media, running high-tech companies, and marketing new technologies. A boutique, collaborative agency, Foreword provides each client with the expertise and forward vision of the group.

“We pride ourselves on our flexibility and passion for progression in an ever-changing publishing environment. We believe that the agency of the future will not just react to change but will actively create change, pushing markets and advancing formats to provide authors with the best possible outlets for their art.

“Foreword Literary, Inc. Moving Publishing Forward.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Foreward Literary website.

Foreward Literary blog.

Publisher’s Marketplace page.

Agent Savant.




SFWU Profile.



What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

“Laurie specializes in adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, horror, etc.) plus middle-grade and young adult children’s books.” (Link)

From an Interview (02/2012):

“…as long as the writing is stellar and the storytelling superb, pretty much anything goes. I’d like to see gritty contemporary drama, school dramas, romantic comedy, fantasy of all stripes, science fiction, literary YA, mysteries, thrillers with teen protagonists, anything dark and compelling that I can’t put down.” (Link)

From an Interview (08/2010):

“If you want to drill down to get granular, I am especially eager to find excellent steampunk, new weird fantasy, cyberpunk, space opera science fiction, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, non-traditional westerns that are more like the television show The Wild Wild West than Zane Grey, and anything with zombies in it.  I am also looking for romance manuscripts in the following subgenres: Regency historicals, Scottish historicals, medieval historicals, paranormal (especially vampires and shape-shifters with a new twist), futuristic and military (especially yummy special-ops heroes), romantic suspense and contemporary if it’s not chick lit.  And for the YA and middle-grade markets I am searching high and low for YA romance, anything post-apocalyptic or vampiric, dark fantasy (no sweet fairy tales), dark reality (dealing with contemporary issues) and anything interesting.  YA is super hot right now and I love the teen voice!” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

“She does not handle non-fiction, or commercial, literary or women’s fiction, nor does she handle children’s picture books or graphic novels.” (Link)

“She is also not too keen on WWII stories.” (Link)

“I DO NOT represent authors of picture books, board books, easy readers, chapter books, memoir, non-fiction, commercial, literary or women’s fiction. I also do not handle novels about serial killers, cozy mysteries unless the protagonist is unique and truly compelling, Louis L’Amour rehashed westerns, true crime dramas, biblical or religious-themed books, role-playing fan fiction, superhero fantasy, erotica, erotic romance, inspirational romance or books with talking animal protagonists. (Pshew!)” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“I have been an editor most of my professional career, so I believe I can always help an author make a book even better.” (Link)

Agenting Philosophy:

“I consider myself the business side of the creative-business partnership with an author. I mentor, guide, critique, negotiate, advise, help develop an author’s career, brainstorm marketing ideas, etc. I want a partner who is as strong and committed to developing their talents as I am. I want a book a year, minimum, for 5 years at least, from my clients. I want a civilized, respectful relationship. I want my clients to learn about and understand the publishing process. And finally, I want clients who embrace and actively use social media tools and techniques for promoting their author brand. The days of being a writer and that’s it are over. You need to market your work or you will not rise about the noise level.” (Link)


A list of current clients is available at Ms. McLean’s blog.

Children’s/YA clients include: Marni Bates, H. Scott Beazley, Shea Berkley, Eldritch Black, Karice Bolton, Rhonda Helms, Julie Kagawa, Alex Kahler, Bobby McDowell, Douglas Rees, Tori Scott, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, and Cecily White.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

“My assistant and I will consider queries in all types of science fiction,
fantasy, horror, romance, mystery, thrillers, children’s middle grade, and
young adult fiction if you email query us with the equivalent of the first
10 double-spaced pages (no prologues) and a very brief synopsis (1-2 pages)
in the body of your email at No
attachments, please. (Link)

Please see the submissions page at Ms. McLean’s blog or the agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines. 

Response Policy:

Writers who follow Ms. McLean’s submission guidelines will receive a response within 4-6 weeks (info via e-mail).

What's the Buzz?

Anyone who reads even a fraction of the interviews and posts listed below can see that Ms. McLean is an extremely knowledgeable, passionate, and proactive literary agent. Her clients seem happy with her representation and she is actively making deals with a variety of large, midsize, and e-publishers.  She has proven mindful of conflicts of interest in the structuring of her two epub companies and is keeping a careful eye on the evolving publishing landscape.

Worth Your Time:


First Five Frenzy with Laurie McLean of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents at Chasing the Crazies (02/2013).

Laurie McLean: Literary Agents in the New Publishing Era at The Fictorian Era (06/2012).

Agent Laurie McLean Answers Key Questions About Authors and Agents at The Indie Book Writers Blog (04/2012).

Agent Laurie McLean Answers MORE Key Questions About Authors and Agents at The Indie Book Writers Blog (04/2012).

Interview with Laurie McLean at Winningedits (2012).

Interview with Literary Agent Laurie McLean at Stacey O’Neil’s site (02/2012).

The AUTHORNOMICS Interview Series with Laurie McLean at the Andrea Hurst & Associates blog (06/2011).

INTERVIEW WITH LAURIE McLEAN at Victoria Scott’s blog (03/2011).

Q&A with Agent Laurie McLean at Scribe (03/2011).

The Indie Publishing Option, an interview with Laurie McLean at Ask the Agent (03/2011).

Interview with Laurie McLean, Literary Agent at Wanna Be Lit Agent (03/2011).

Interview with Literary Agent Laurie McLean at Kay Em Evan’s blog (08/2010).

Laurie McLean on Genre Fiction at Ask the Agent (02/2010).

The 7 Question Interview with Laurie McLean at Writing Raw.

Blog Stuff:

Read the archives and subscribe to Ms. McLean’s blog, Agent Savant.

Agent Secrets–Do Writers Need an Agent in the New Publishing Paradigm? at Kristen Lamb’s blog (01/2013).

Laurie McLean’s Crystal Ball, guest post at Anne R. Allen’s blog (11/2012).

Guest Post By My Agent, The Magnificent Laurie McLean at Kait Nolan’s blog (03/2011).

Agents in the Age of Digital Publishing by Laurie McLean at novelists, inc. (08/2010).

Podcast / Video:

Friday Interview with Laurie McLean via YARebels (04/2012).

Isle of the Arts – Broadcast of Laurie McLean on epublishing (02/2012).

Laurie McLean - Young Adult Fiction: Breaking Down the Market via Author Learning Center (11/2011).

Laurie McLean - Agent Communication via Author Learning Center (09/2011).

Literary Agent Laurie McLean Tells All! (08/2010).

Poscast Interview with Agent Laurie McLean at Tale Chasing (12/2009).

Around the Web:

Laurie McLean at P&E.

Foreword Literary thread at AbsoluteWrite.

See the “Conferences” page on the Foreword Literary website for upcoming conferences and events.

Subscription to the Foreword Literary Newsletter can be found here.

What Agents Hate, article with quotes at Writer’s Digest (09/2008).

Agent Appreciation Day post by client Julie Kagawa at her blog (12/2009).


Please see the Foreword Literary website and Ms. McLean’s blog for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 5/23/13.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 1/24/13.


Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's and/or teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.


Today I’m excited to have Michael Pierce with us today to share about his debut book, PROVEX CITY, which was released March 5, 2012. I’m excited to share this with you because it’s an urban fantasy told from the POV of a male character. That is so refreshing in the YA market that has so many female main characters.

Here’s what the book's about:

Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls?

Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: "When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls." And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.

Hi Michael. Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. 

I wrote a lot of short stories and poetry up through high school, but looked at it as a hobby. I wanted to be the next Stephen King, but I didn’t believe it was something I could really do. It wasn’t until a few years out of college, after reading the Harry Potter series straight through, that I had a moment of clarity—if I really wanted to do, I could! Then I wrote Provex City.

2.  I think the Harry Potter series motivated a lot of us to try writing. What are three unique things about your book that will make readers want to read it? 

Provex City has action for the guys, romance for the girls, and magic for the believers in all of us. I enjoy reading books that move fast and are filled with cliffhangers to keep you turning the pages, so that’s what I wrote. I also wanted to provide a positive message and revolved the book, and series, around advice Mr. Gordon gives to Oliver: “When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.” Oliver is on a journey to gain belief in himself. 

3.  I enjoy fast paced stories too. I love stories that combine genres. Yours combines urban fantasy with some contemporary issues. What made you decide to do this and what were some of the challenges you faced in plotting your story? 

I felt it was important to talk about some real teenage issues like suicide, peer pressure, and bullying. I wanted my characters to appear real, and real teens have to deal with a lot of stuff. I wanted my main character, Oliver, to make mistakes and learn from them. But the main plot of the story and series revolves around fantasy elements, so I tried to find a balance to present them both in an interesting and entertaining way. 

4. The combination of fantasy and contemporary issues sounds unique. You’ve self-published your book. It’s critical for a good self-published book that it be revised enough and edited in some fashion. How did you approach this and what did you learn about writing from this process? 

I am lucky enough to have my best friend be a professional editor. Unfortunately, his company publishes text books, so I couldn’t get a publishing deal, but I got his editing expertise. After he went through Provex City, he introduced me to a freelance proofreader, who also did a round of editing. So the book’s been through quite a few rounds of editing. And I’m still keeping a list of small adjustments I want to give to Createspace for an updated edition in the coming months. 

5.  You are lucky! You chose to write your book from fifteen-year old Oliver’s point of view. Share why you decided to make him the protagonist and some cool things you learned about him through your story. 

For my first novel, it seemed easier or more natural to have my protagonist be someone I could easily relate to. It was fun having him presented with situations I went through in high school, but deal with most of them differently. Oliver is unsure of himself in a lot of situations, but he usually comes through when he stops over analyzing and acts.

6.  What made you decide to self-publish your book rather than go with traditional publishing? 
I queried agents for about a year and decided I wanted to take control of Provex City, from the edits I wanted to make to the cover art. I wanted it to be mine no matter what the future held. It’s definitely not the easy road, but I’ve learned a lot over that past year about formatting, e-books, and blogging. 

7.  It's great how self-published authors are so willing to share advice. Were there any resources you found helpful in the actual publishing part of this journey, like designing the cover, formatting, deciding where to sell it, etc.? 

Blogging has been invaluable with finding new resources like artists, designers, reviewers, and for promotion recommendations. Right now Provex City is only on Amazon because I started with Kindle Select to let Provex City be borrowed for free by Amazon Prime members. The catch is you have to be exclusive with Amazon to do that. I’ve now canceled Kindle Select so I can put Provex City on other sites like Barnes & Noble and iBookstore, which I plan to do soon.

8.  I think it’s brilliant to go on a blog tour like you’re doing now, well after your book was released. What made you decide to do this and how did you connect with Candace’s Book Blog & CBB Book Promotions to organize your blog tour? 

When I started blogging a little under a year ago I had no idea what a blog tour was. After connecting with some bloggers, I was encouraged to do one for Provex City. It had been on my long list of things to do for awhile. I was overwhelmed with the idea of setting a tour up for myself—and then I found that there were freelance blog tour organizers out there! I found Candace through Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I made a great choice; Candace has done a phenomenal job with putting this tour together!

9.  I really like these blogs too. What are you working on now? 

I am making my final adjustments to the second book in the series, SUSY Asylum, before submitting it to Createspace. So it should be available by April. And I’ve just started the first draft for book three, which I’m very excited about! I have four books planned for the Lorne Family Vault series.
Thanks Michael for sharing all your advice. You can find Michael at:

Book Trailer:

And you can find the entire blog tour here

Here's details on the blog tour giveaway:

  •   Three winners will receive a paperback of Provex City and a $15 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
  •   Five additional winners will win paperback copies of Provex City. (INT) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's what's coming up next.

Next Monday, I'm interviewing Marie Lu and giving away an ARC of PRODIGY, her fantastic second book in her series. I'm SO excited to share Marie's book with you because it's so good. Marie is so kind to stop by for another interview, with her busy schedule. She's already had an amazing career as an author and I can't wait to find out what's been going on with her since she became a debut author a year ago.

The following Monday I'm interviewing Miriam Forster and giving away a copy of and ARC of her debut book, A CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS. It's a fantasy and mystery. When I got it, I picked it up to look at and literary couldn't put it down. It was fantastic and I'm excited to share it with you.

Wednesday that week hopefully I'll post about my trip to China. 

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!