Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Happy Monday Everyone!


A huge congrats to long time follower Jessica Lawson has sold two new books to Simon & Schuster. Here's the PW announcement:
Kristin Ostby at Simon & Schuster has acquired the next two middle-grade novels by Jessica Lawson, author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher and the forthcoming Nooks & Crannies. The first novel, Waiting for Augusta, follows an 11-year-old runaway as he travels from Alabama to Georgia in an attempt to make peace with his dead father. It is slated for summer 2016; Tina Wexler at ICM negotiated the deal for world English rights.

And I have a winner to announce. The winner of FERAL is Brittersweet!

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

Today I’m thrilled to have P.J. Hoover here to share about her new MG mythological novel TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE that releases tomorrow. P.J. was one of the first bloggers I started following and I’ve loved watching her branch out from a middle grade author to a YA author. And with her agent’s support, she self-published her first YA mythological novel SOLSTICE later sold to Starscape/Macmillan along with her new book.

Details on the giveaway will be at the end of the post. So here’s P.J. to share about how to figure out how much of your research to include in your story.

Hi, P. J. Hoover here, and I’m thrilled to be guest blogging here on Literary Rambles about my brand new novel, TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE (Starscape/Macmillan, September 16, 2014). It’s been a long road getting this novel published, and though it is now my fifth book published, it may be the one I am the most excited about.

TUT follows the adventures of an immortal King Tut who is stuck at the age of thirteen and has to repeat eighth grade over and over again (talk about perpetual puberty!). The first couple chapters are set in the past, in ancient Egypt, as we find out how and why Tut is immortal, but after that we switch to present day Washington, D.C. where the remainder of the book takes place.

With the settings of ancient Egypt and modern-day Washington, D.C. (two really awesome settings that I love), and the subject matter of Egyptian mythology, I did a ton of research for the book. I visited all sorts of cool places around D.C. (which is where I grew up) like the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Washington Monument, Meridian Hill Park, the Library of Congress, and Chinatown. I drove to Philadelphia to see the King Tut treasures (because, yeah, I saw them back in 1976, but mostly I just remember the shiny gold). I studied mummies at the Field Museum in Chicago. I read murder conspiracy theories about the boy king. I drew out family trees of the Egyptian gods. I bought the King Tut jigsaw puzzle!

Research is great. As we fall in love with our projects, the research helps inspire us. It makes us feel like we are moving forward. We are accomplishing. Everything we learn has value. But then it comes time for the finished book, and as an author it’s always hard to determine what of this research should actually stay in the book, and what needs to be cut. All that research we did . . . much of it turns into those “darlings” that we know we need to kill.

I tend to write my first drafts putting in every bit of research I can. In the book, Tut visits the King Tut treasures? Great! Let’s talk about each and every artifact that he sees (because this was his stuff back in the day; he’s bound to have a reaction to it). Let’s mention how the sarcophagus is no longer with the main tour here in the US and why. Let’s recount other cities where the tour has been. Yeah, but no. I’m writing a novel, not a non-fiction book on the King Tut treasures. Sticking all this information into the actual book isn’t going to keep any kid’s interest. The trick is to find the right balance. To intrigue people enough while they are reading my novel such that they want to learn more about King Tut or ancient Egypt. They want to do research of their own. And then, when they do their research, they’ll be able to appreciate the small details I have dribbled into my story.

It’s a hard balance. I admit it. And killing every single research darling is a tough job. This is where
critique partners and agents come in super handy. I have a few of the very best critique partners ever, and my agents, Laura Rennert and Lara Perkins of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, are fantastic at helping with my manuscripts. Also, as I revise, here are a few questions I ask myself when I stumble upon a research patch.

1) Does this information contribute to the story, or is it just cool? If it does contribute, then how?
2) Does this information evoke sentimental emotions inside me, maybe because I’ve visited the place myself? If so, it may need to go.
3) Does this information take up more than one sentence? If so, can it be trimmed to one? Can that one sentence be blended in to action itself instead of being dedicated solely to info-dump?

I’ve found, as I revise, highlighting these research sections can be useful. It’s hard to change them on the very first draft, and often times better to keep them, but if they’re highlighted, by the third draft (or maybe the tenth), they’ll be much easier to trim and remove as needed.

I’m totally not trying to say that research isn’t needed. It adds depth and beauty to our stories, and can breathe immortal life into them. The secret is to be the sprinkler, not the dumper. Do your research, and then blend it into your stories until it is seamless.
After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer, P. J. Hoover started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek. Her middle grade novel, Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life (Starscape/Macmillan, September 2014), tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who's been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat. Her first novel for teens, Solstice (Tor Teen/Macmillan, June 2013), takes place in a global warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.pjhoover.com.


You’d think it would be great being an Egyptian demigod, but if King Tut has to sit through eighth grade one more time, he’ll mummify himself.

Granted the gift of immortality by the gods—or is it a curse?—Tut has been stuck in middle school for ages. Even worse, evil General Horemheb, the man who killed Tut’s father and whom Tut imprisoned in a tomb for three thousand years, is out and after him. The general is in league with the Cult of Set, a bunch of guys who worship one of the scariest gods of the Egyptian pantheon—Set, the god of Chaos.
The General and the Cult of Set have plans for Tut… and if Tut doesn’t find a way to keep out of their clutches, he’ll never make it to the afterworld alive.

P.J. and her publisher Starscape/Macmillan generously offered a copy of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE 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 through September 27th. I’ll announce the winner on September 29th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US only.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find all the participating blogs at Shannon’s blog.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday I have a guest post by long time follower and debut author Joshua Bellin with a giveaway of SURVIVAL COLONY NINE, a YA sci-fi story.

On Thursday I'm doing a Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great book choices to choose from and will continue offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card if you don't like my choices. Look for this to post Thursday afternoon.

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Kendall Kulper and a giveaway of her YA historical fantasy SALT AND STORM. I really liked the 19th century setting and Avery is a great heroine.

The Monday after that I’ll be interviewing debut author Elissa Sussman with a giveaway of STRAY, her YA fairytale retelling. I really enjoyed her unique spin of fairy godmothers.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Beth said...

I'm so thrilled for Jess, one of my favourite bloggers. That's great news!
And congratulations to P.J. too - this book sounds terrific.

Jemi Fraser said...

Tut sounds awesome!! I know the kids at school will love it! :)
Congrats to both lovely ladies :)

Jessica Lawson said...

This sounds like an amazing book! I love Egyptian mythology, particularly when used/mentioned in children's fiction :) One of my favorite set of books is the Theodosia series by RL LaFevers (heavy on Egyptian gods/mythology), and PJ's book promises to be full of well-researched facts and fun. It sounds like a book that both students and teachers will adore!

(And thank you, Natalie, for mentioning my book deal :) You're so sweet :))

Dianne K. Salerni said...

This book sounds like a lot of fun! And I know exactly what you mean about research, having written several historical novels and one contemporary one that links to ancient legends. I get particularly caught out on #1: It doesn't contribute to the story, but I think it's cool, and I think everybody else will think it's cool. (They don't.)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

This book sounds really interesting!
(I'm not entering the giveaway as I'm not in the US) :)

Greg Pattridge said...

I liked her revision questions – I'll have to use those myself. The book has a very interesting premise which should capture many readers. Best of luck with its launch.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading this one and boy oh boy so true on the research...be a sprinkler not a dumper!

Stephen Tremp said...

Good luck P.J. with Tut! Finishing and releasing a book is a long journey. Feels great to get it out there and start promoting it.

And great news for Jessica. Tow books to a main publisher is a dream come true for any writer.

Bish Denham said...

I love the premise for P. J.'s book and would hope to read it. I can also relate to the research dilemma. I love doing it and have a hard time not putting everything I've learned into a story. I have to remind myself I'm not writing a history book!

Heather said...

Congrats to Jessica on her sale, and to P.J. on her new book! I'm with Bish, I love the premise too.

Brenda said...

Congrats on the release of Tut. This looks like a fun way to introduce Egyptian mythology, I especially love the details on the cover. (No need to enter me in the giveaway Natalie, I have some books to finish reading).

Anonymous said...

Congratulation on the MG book debut (I believe?)
I love her take on research. Sometimes I feel like I'm wasting time or stalling when I'm researching things for my wip.

Thanks for the generous giveaway.


Britt said...

Congrats to all the debut authors!! That is awesome! And yay to me thanks for Feral I've been dying to read this one. I've emailed Natalie but just in case my email is brittersweet83@aol.com. Thanks ladies.

PJ Hoover said...

Thank you for featuring me, and thank you all for the wonderful comments! <3

S.P. Bowers said...

I think being perpetually thirteen (or any age for that matter, but especially thirteen) would be the worst kind of torture there is. Great plot line for a book though. Congrats PJ!

Robyn Campbell said...

Heyya Tricia. The book sounds great. Research is NOT my cup of tea. But it MUST be done. The cover looks bodacious.
YaY Jessica. Woohoo.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to both Jessica and P.J.

The Tut book sounds fun. I wonder if my grandson would like it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations, PJ. I've found that most of my research never makes it into the book, but it does add to the depth.

Gwen Gardner said...

That's a lot of research P.J. The books sounds really good, too. Congratulations!

Hi Natalie! *waves*

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Congratulations to Jessica and PJ! It's always nice to hear good news on Mondays.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Having to repeat eighth grade over and over is just downright scary ;)
Tut sounds like a fun read.

Michael G-G said...

I'm a sucker for mythology, and this sounds like a goodie! Thanks for the giveaway.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Do enough research and you probably could write a non-fiction book after writing the fiction one.

mshatch said...

I can totally relate to #1, too. I did a ton of research for my time travel romance and I had to cut a whole chapter of my Pinkerton agents doing stuff. Okay, maybe it wasn't ALL that interesting to anyone sigh *sigh*

Congrats PJ, your book sounds awesome :)

cleemckenzie said...

I hear what she has to say about research. I love doing it, have trouble stopping, and really feel angsty when I cut half of it from the book. Oh well, I learned a lot, didn't I? Thanks for introducing us to the author and her books.

Christine Rains said...

I love mythology too. I tend to do the same thing in my first drafts. Sometimes it's painful to cut out that fun stuff, though! Congrats to PJ!

Carl Scott said...

How fun to see the legendary Tut as a kid in an adventure story. This looks like such a fun book, I'd love to win a copy.
I follow by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
I also tweeted a link: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/511909939128721408
and pinned for good measure: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/336573772125690476/
Thanks again!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Being stuck 3000 years in middle school is quite scary. Tut sounds fun. One-eyed cat is a creature I am intrigued by.

Rosi said...

Congratulations to Bittersweet. Prepare to be scared! Thanks for the P. J. Hoover post. Great info here. The book sounds terrific.

Donna said...

Three years of middle school is bad enough, I can't imagine 3,000. What a great premise! I wish you much success PJ!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Jessica and P.J. Tut sounds like an amazing read.

Danielle H. said...

Wow! I love all the research you did for your book! I find research can be fun, especially if I get to travel. Thanks for the giveaway. I will share on Facebook.

Kelly Polark said...

Hurray for Tricia!!!
I have the book already (yay!) so don't put me in for the giveaway. I know whoever wins will love it!