Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • 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! Hope you're having a great start to summer. Anna Li and I went through the orientation at University of Michigan. It made us even more excited she's going there. I'm glad that things are now going to get back to normal.

Follower News

M. Pax's new book PRACIPICE was recently release. Here's a blurb: The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it. Salvation comes at a price.
And here are a few links: Amazon / B&N / iBook / Googleplay / Other

I have a winner to announce.

Today I'm thrilled to have debut author Carolyn Adams here to share about her writing process in the midst of the challenges in life we all face and her YA suspenseful thriller RUTHLESS. It sounds like a real page turner.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

So here's Carolyn!

Here are some things that are awesome and some things that suck. Awesome thing – getting an agent like Mandy Hubbard, the Platonic Ideal of agents. Also awesome -selling a book to Simon & Schuster for six figures. Additionally awesome, spending my days writing and my nights as a stand-up comedian, performing all over the country. My life is almost entirely comprised of things that bring me joy.

Some things that suck – graduating from USC Film School with all the promise in the world and spending fourteen wandering in a manual labor wilderness. Watching my first novel fail to sell. Seeing my beloved second novel I’d spent a year writing (and rewriting) fail to connect with my agent. Experiencing a truly magnificent two-week period of suckage wherein my agent dumped me, my husband of ten years left me, my father’s cancer returned, and my grandmother-in-law developed pneumonia. I was her caretaker and the only one at her bedside as she received her Last Rites. I sat there, watching her 80 pound body struggle to stay alive, feeling profoundly alone and hopeless. I was 36 years old. I hadn’t had a job in two years. I had been, in all ways that mattered most to me, a failure. I had one thing going for me. A half-finished manuscript about a girl named Ruth. That night I went home, resurrected the manuscript, and began to write.

A month later, I’d finished the draft. A friend liked it, an editor friend gave me notes, I took a week to
apply those notes, and then a third friend said it was ready to go out. I went out to very few agents. Six weeks later, Mandy requested the full. Several weeks went by, but I didn’t worry. My dream agent had my book and we had so many things in common – we grew up in the same area, showed horses at the same venues, were both impacted by the presence of The Green River Killer in our neck of the woods. I believed the book would resonate with her, so I was patient. My patience paid off. Mandy had a handful of tiny notes. She suggested a new title – RUTHLESS – that I loved. Although I implemented her notes within a few hours, I reread the book many times over the next five days, looking for something to fix. It struck me as surreal that this draft, so very close to the original rough draft, would be good enough to sell. Mandy went out with it, five days later we had an offer, the following Monday we had a deal. My life, once dominated by a uniquely terrible two week period, now stood on the other side of a uniquely amazing two week period.

One could not have happened without the other.

I remember being so anxious as I worked on my first novel. I kept up with all the trends, as though my monitoring of such things would make an impact on the ultimate outcome. I was desperate for that book to sell. Not only for the obvious reasons, but because I thought somehow it could magically fix my marriage. Magically fix me. Selling novels does not magically fix anything, by the by, outside of magically fixing the launch of your writing career. By the time RUTHLESS came along, I’d let go of those sorts of anxieties. Just as importantly, I’d developed into a far better writer. I am so thankful I am debuting with RUTHLESS instead of my first novel.

What I learned is that I am an imperfect captain of this ship, that I don’t always know what is best. I came to believe that there are two ways to live life – you can paddle hard against the current, or you can let go and find out where you were meant to be all along. Life’s a lot easier when you work with your strengths, when you’re honest about where you are and what you’re feeling. Writing is a lot easier when you simply write from your gut and don’t worry about what’s on your neighbor’s page. Write what you’re passionate about. Follow your bliss. What brings you bliss will never steer you wrong.

All of that said, I certainly don’t have it all figured out. Over the winter, I didn’t write at all. Grief – and the death of a marriage is something to be grieved – comes in strange stops and starts. Success in writing comes in stops and starts. Everything is a process. Nothing is ever perfect. But if you find your current and keep moving toward that which brings you peace and joy, let go of the things that bring stress and anxiety, you’ll wind up writing the books you were meant to write. That’s what makes us writers. We have stories inside us that are unique to ourselves, stories we are meant to share. Write what only you can write and the rest will take care of itself.

Thanks for all the advice, Carolyn! You can find Carolyn at:

Carolyn Lee Adams on Facebook
@carolynleeadams on Twitter 

Carolyn has generously offered a copy of RUTHLESS for a giveaway. To enter,  you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through June 27th. I’ll announce the winner on June 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. This is an international giveaway.

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday I have a guest post with agent Tina Wexler and Jessica Lawson and a query critique giveaway by Tina Wexler and a giveaway of Jessica's new MG mystery NOOKS AND CRANNIES.

Then I'll be on a blog break until Saturday, July 4th when I'm participating in the I Just Couldn't Put It Down Blog Hop. I'll have lots of great new YA books to choose from or an Amazon Giftcard if you prefer that. FYI, while I'm on periodic blog breaks this summer, I will be visiting your blogs. I just won't be blogging as much while I work on my interview and guest post schedule for next year.

On Monday, 7/13 I have a guest post by Julia Durango and a giveaway of THE LEVELLER, her new YA science fiction book.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Beth said...

What an amazing and honest interview with Carolyn. It's hard to believe that two weeks could change your life so much, and she's had two such periods, back to back. I hope this book does brilliantly and she never looks back!
No need to enter me in the contest as I continue to swim in unread books!

Greg Pattridge said...

I love that through the turmoil of life Carolyn kept writing. It can be very therapeutic. Her newest novel has all the winning elements of a great story. Much luck with this one. I'll spread the word to my YA friends but I'm too busy reviewing in the MG world to win a copy of Ruthless.

Christine Rains said...

Carolyn is amazing. Through those horribly hard times, she kept writing and pushed on. A huge inspiration! Good luck to Carolyn. The book sounds amazing. Please include me in the giveaway.

K.R. said...

Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey with us, Carolyn. Of COURSE, I would love to be included in the giveaway. The book sounds amazing.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Whew! What Carolyn went through is devastating. I'm so impressed that she sat down and finished the manuscript instead of wallowing in grief.

And despite my staggering TBR pile, I'd love to read this book. Such a powerful premise.

Bish Denham said...

Wow. Strength of character and will to continue. It proves once again that humans are amazing creatures. Congratulations, Carolyn, on not only pushing through the trials but reaching the mountain top!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Six figures is incredible. That doesn't happen often. You were smart to focus on your strengths. Often, most people focus on their weaknesses, trying to make them better. But focus on strengths and it's like a tide lifting all the ships.

Brenda said...

What an amazing show of strength, courage and character, thank you for sharing your path to publication. Congratulations on your books release. Have a wonderful week Natalie.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Selling a novel doesn't fix it, but it does make it a little better.
Hope you continue to heal.

Eisen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eisen said...

Impressive and inspiring perseverance and strength! Thank you for sharing your experience behind the book and wise thoughts about working with one's strengths. Thanks Natalie for hosting the giveaway. I tweeted it here: https://twitter.com/eisen5585/status/610498894573649920

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Carolyn, and congrats on your success!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Carolyn!
I grew up in the area near where the Green River Killer dumped his victims and I remember a night when the police stopped my mom on the road because they had just found one of the bodies. We were coming home from a family gathering alone, the dark seemed to press in on the car, and the police lights were just comforting enough that when we were given leave to drive on - down a back country road with no lights - towards our home, I didn't want to leave those flashing reds and blues behind. The Green River Killer used to absolutely terrify me as a kid.

Anyway, from one writer to another - your blurb and premise sound chilling. And, as someone who grew up in a similar area - it sounds even more chilling.

Unknown said...

Thank you for all of your kind comments! It has been such a privilege to post here at Literary Rambles, the place where I learned just about everything I know about publishing.

Jessica Lawson said...

Thank you, Carolyn, for so honestly sharing things you've been through~ I'm so glad that RUTHLESS is a bright point to come out of all that hardship. Many, many congratulations!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the interview!! What an amazing 2 weeks :)
Book sounds great - good luck with it!

mshatch said...

What a great interview. It's amazing that so much could change in such a short period.

Rosi said...

Wow. Just wow. What a terrific interview. Ruthless sounds like a real page-turner. I can't pass that kind of book up. It's going right on my TBR list. Thanks for this post.

Unknown said...

Really appreciated Carolyn's honesty. A beautiful and inspiring post.
Thank you :-)


erin said...

what a great post! Congrats to Carolyn on her journey! Thanks for sharing :)
gfc: erin

Danielle H. said...

Excellent post once again! Thanks for the giveaway! I tweeted: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/610812524276006913

Unknown said...

When one dream dies--a marriage, for example--others come forward and pick us up, if we let them. Sounds like Carolyn did so, and I look forward to reading the results in Ruthless.

Erin Fanning said...

Thanks for sharing your journey and congratulations on the publication of your novel--it's on my to-read list.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great!

Karen Lange said...

So nice to meet Carolyn. Wishing her well on her journey. Appreciate the intro, Natalie.

Glad the orientation went well! I'll pass on the giveaway. Have a good week!

Mary Preston said...

I love being introduced to debut authors. It's exciting to be with them from the very beginning.


Valentina B-v said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Carolyn! An amazing and inspiring interview!
GFC: Valentina BV
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/ValentinaByVy/status/611183418857136128
E-mail: bv_byby27@yahoo.com
Thanks for the giveaway!

Adventures in YA Publishing said...

Carolyn, thanks so much for sharing your story! It's always encouraging when authors are up-front about both the successes and struggles behind their journey to publication. Aspiring author and debut authors need to know they are not alone in their efforts, and these honest stories make all the difference.

"Writing is a lot easier when you simply write from your gut and don’t worry about what’s on your neighbor’s page. Write what you’re passionate about. Follow your bliss. What brings you bliss will never steer you wrong." Love this! So true.

--Sam Taylor, AYAP Intern

Carmen said...

Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story!
The book sounds awesome!


M Pax said...

Thank you for the mention and congrats to Carolyn!

Liz Brooks said...

Ack, I need to read Ruthless now! :) It looks right up my alley. Carolyn, I liked the point you made about writing from your gut and not paying attention to what other authors are doing. I can never write when I'm worried about others, but when I'm just writing for myself--writing what I want--then I can manage to write something that I'm halfway pleased with. Anyway, congrats on your success (and I'm sorry about all the not so fun stuff that happened along the way).

Also, I tweeted about the giveaway (@adelethelaptop). :)

Unknown said...

Congrats to Mary on her new release! Carolyn's story sounds as amazing as her heroine's. I often believe that luck goes in cycles. (I've been waiting almost 2 years for my turn at the good luck portion though.) Wishing Carolyn much success!

Anonymous said...

I was shaken reading about those two bad weeks. I tend to write the most, and the most passionately, when I'm going through a bad time. It feels like therapy to me. Ruthless looks amazing.

Joan said...

Dear One, you have made it to the "other side," congratulations. From now on you will see yourself as an author, and rightfully so. Best of luck to you! I'll be looking for you in my public library and bookstores.