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Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino

Storyboarding For Success: Plotters vs. Pantsers


Where writers are concerned, there are plotters and there are pantsers. Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants when they write a story. They start off with no more than a kernel of an idea or a first sentence or a character, and away they go. They have no idea where they are going, but somehow the story takes over, and they make it—I would say, miraculously—to the end with a complete book.

Writing a book this way gives plotters hives. I’m a plotter and thinking about writing a book pantser-style puts me into a panic and gives me an irresistible craving for a pitcher of margaritas or a package of Oreos. Read more

My Daughter, Geneva Rose, Turns 3 Months Old (Cute Picture Warning!)

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Cute baby photo warning! My first baby — daughter Geneva Rose Sambuchino — turns 3 months old today. She was our precious Halloween arrival, and each day she continues to wow us with her absolute cuteness. Here are some pictures of this little angel growing bigger by the day. I figured I would share them for any readers who love baby pics. (I also posted pictures of her a few days after she was born.) Enjoy! Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Chris Howard


1. Write the book you want to read but can’t seem to find. Of course, by doing this, you run the risk of writing a book that no one but you wants to read! But what the hell, right?!? There’s no guarantee that anyone else will want to read your story anyway! And seeing as you’ll be re-reading it and revising it for months, maybe years, you probably ought to like it to begin with, if only for your mental health! I also like to think that this technique will help make your novel as unique and strange, and hopefully as interesting, as you are.

GIVEAWAY: Chris is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: ABLyttle won.) Read more

5 Reasons to Set Your Novel in a Famous Place


3. A Receptive Audience Will Await. Since Islandport Press released Strangers in October 2012, I’ve realized the extent to which people who love Old Orchard Beach (Maine) love the idea of a book set there. The town has only about 8,000 year-round residents, but the population swells to more than 100,000 in the summer. Since Strangers was released, I’ve been getting emails and Facebook messages from people who were previously … umm … strangers to me … saying they feel as though reading the book has allowed them to vicariously visit a place they love. Read more

Author Interview: Seth Casteel, Author of the NY Times Bestseller UNDERWATER DOGS


This author interview is with Seth Casteel, award-winning photographer and New York Times Best Selling Author. His series of Underwater Dogs photographs have been seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Seth’s work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times and in hundreds of other magazines, newspapers and calendars. You may have also seen him on Good Morning America, EXTRA, The Insider and Inside Edition. He has traveled the world in pursuit of his passion, working with animals on five continents. His non-profit organization, SecondChancePhotos.org, helps to increase adoption rates at animal shelters through better photography. He is based in Los Angeles and Chicago and is the proud “dad” to two dogs, Nala the mini-labradoodle and Fritz, the Norwich Terrier. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Lynne Raimondo


“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Lynne Raimondo, author of DANTE’S WOOD. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: Lynne is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: lanieww won.) Read more

New Literary Agent: Rachel Hecht of Foundry Literary + Media


She is seeking: As a domestic agent, Rachel seeks children’s projects of all stripes, from picture books through to young adult fiction, as well as select fiction and nonfiction projects for adults that are wonderfully written and completely absorbing. “In terms of adult fiction, the strength of the voice and quality of the writing is what is most important to me. I am seeking literary as well as upmarket/commercial projects, and would love to see projects with crossover potential as well as those that blur the boundaries between genres – especially in the thriller, fantasy, and historical categories (but a polite no thank you to straight genre writing)…” Read more

6 Reasons Being a Pirate is Like Being a Writer


Here are 6 things I learned from a pirate about writing. It turns out pirates and writers need the same things in their arsenal. Every pirate (and writer) needs:

1. A hook: Hooks grab the reader in the first few sentences or can be found at the end of a chapter to keep the pages turning. EXAMPLE: “Captain Hook stood on the edge of the plank. Below swam a wide-mouthed crocodile chomp-chomp-chomping at the air between Captain Hook and the sloshing sea…” Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Adam Schear of DeFiore & Company


Adam is seeking: Adam is interested in literary fiction and well-crafted commercial fiction; work that captivates the reader with its prose and its plot. He is also seeking humor, YA, smart thrillers, historical fiction, and debut literary novels. For non-fiction, he is interested in memoirs, politics, science, popular culture, and current events. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far: G.M. Malliet


3. Don’t invent a series character you wouldn’t marry. You may have to live with this character for a very long time. Agatha Christie famously wanted to throttle Hercule Poirot and his mustaches with her bare hands before she was done with him or he with her. By the same token, avoid Agatha’s mistake in inventing an elderly protagonist unless you yourself are elderly.

GIVEAWAY: G.M. is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Julia Munroe Martin won.) Read more

Agent Jennifer Laughran Teaches the Webinar “Catching and Keeping an Agent” (and Critiques Registrants’ Queries!) on November 21, 2013


This week, literary agent Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown Literary) is going to provide a ton of instruction in her brand new webinar for WD. The webinar’s instruction is about both the process of finding & pitching agents as well as what to do after you have an agent. But to round out the presentation, Jennifer is critiquing the query letter of all registants. Virtually no topic of the publication path will go unaddressed.

Jennifer will teach “Beyond the Query: Catching and Keeping an Agent” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, March 7, 2013. The webinar lasts 90 minutes, and each registrant gets their query critiqued by Jennifer. Read more

John Kenney: An Interview With the Author of the Debut Novel TRUTH IN ADVERTISING


I love interviewing debut authors on my blog. This interview is with author John Kenney, a writer well known for contributing to The New Yorker. This is the story of how he got published and how he found his literary agent.

John Kenney has worked as a copywriter in New York City for seventeen years. He has also been a contributor to The New Yorker magazine since 1999. Some of his work appears in a collection of the New Yorker’s humor writing, Disquiet Please! He lives in Brooklyn, New York. His debut novel, TRUTH IN ADVERTISING (S&S, Jan. 2013) was called an “outstanding debut” by Kirkus in a starred review, while Booklist said of it, “It’s a masterful blend of wit and seriousness, stunning in its honesty,” in another starred review. Read more

“Your Story’s First Pages: How to Engage Readers” — Jan. 24, 2013 Webinar With Critique by Agent Kathleen Ortiz


It’s no secret that the first several pages of your manuscript are of the highest importance. The truth is that agents and editors size up your writing within a minute at the most. If you don’t have their attention on Page 1, they stop reading. It’s that simple. Because it’s imperative that your work starts strong and avoids overused techniques or cliches, we’ve enlisted literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary to help. Kathleen is teaching “Your Story’s First Pages: How to Engage the Reader” – a new webinar (with a critique of your first 500 words!) on Jan. 24, 2013. Read on to learn more. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Scott Dominic Carpenter


“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Scott Dominic Carpenter, author of the short story collection, THIS JEALOUS EARTH. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. Read more

Literary Agent Jessica Regel of Jean V. Naggar Literary Seeks New Clients


It’s been 4 years since I featured an interview with literary agent Jessica Regel on this blog, so I thought now was as good a time as ever to touch base with her and ask what’s subjects and genres she’s seeking right this very minute. Seeing as how she is currently seeking new clients, she was happy to talk with us. Jessica is a literary agent at Jean V. Naggar Literary in New York City. Read what kinds of books she seeks on the full GLA page! Read more

13th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest (Young Adult and Sci-Fi)


Welcome to the 13th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing either a science fiction novel (adults or teens) or any kind of young adult novel, this 13th contest is for you! (The contest is live through January 31, 2013.) Read more

Elizabeth LaBan Interview: Meet the Author of the Young Adult Debut, THE TRAGEDY PAPER


I love interviewing debut novelists and authors on the GLA Blog. There is nothing like a first novel from an up-and-coming author. Read through to see the story of how debut novelist Elizabeth LaBan got published. LaBan’s debut novel, THE TRAGEDY PAPER (young adult) was published by Knopf on January 8, 2013. Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner called the story “a beguiling and beautifully written tale of first love and heartbreak.” Read more

How to Research a Novel: 7 Tips


1) You can’t do too much research. In the military, we often say time spent gathering intelligence is seldom wasted. The same concept applies in writing a novel. You never know what little detail will give a scene the ring of authenticity. In a college creative writing class, I wrote about how a scuba diver got cut underwater, and in the filtered light at depth, the blood appeared green. Though the professor didn’t think much of that particular story, he did concede he liked that detail. In fact, he said, “The author must have seen that.” And indeed, I had. Read more

New Literary Agent: Brittany Howard of Corvisiero Literary Agency


She is seeking: Her first love is YA– from High Fantasy to Paranormal to to soft Sci-Fi to Contemporary– she loves all young adult. She also likes high concept, adventure themed, and funny MG, but a strong voice is MUST for her in MG. She’s willing to look at Picture Books, but is very selective.

For adult fiction, she prefers stories that are a romance at heart– Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Historical are all genres she’s been known to enjoy. Anything with theatrical or artistic or interesting historical elements will probably catch her eye, too. Read more

A Literary Agent True or False Quiz


3. Your agent works for you. True. Your agent is your employee. She offers you a service—selling your writing to editors—in exchange for a fee. I highlight this because many writers, especially young writers, get this relationship backwards; they feel that the agent is the employer and they are the ones looking for a job. No, you’re hoping to hire someone. That said, notice that in the second paragraph of this post I wrote that my agent and I have been “working together ever since.” While it’s true that my agent works for me, it’s truer to say that we work together for both of us. We have the same goal—to launch my stories and novels into the world, to see them published with care and enthusiasm, and to help my books find their largest audiences possible. I trust her opinion—she knows the publishing world much better than I do—but she also trusts mine. She makes no decisions without me, and I make none—other than those related to the writing itself—without her. It’s a partnership. Read more

Charmaine Hammond Interview: Meet the Author of ON TOBY’S TERMS


This author interview is with Charmaine Hammond, international transformational speaker, best-selling and award-winning author and radio host — helping people live inspired, resilient lives and is a leading trainer in corporate North America helping transform workplaces. Charmaine is also an award winning and bestselling author of On Toby’s Terms (Bettie Youngs Books, Sept. 2010), which Jack Canfield, creator of the Chicken Soup For the Soul books, described as: “Simply a beautiful book about life, love, and purpose.” Read more

Let an Agent Help You Revise Your Novel: Michelle Brower’s Jan. 17, 2013 Webinar


They say, “Good writing is rewriting.” It’s true that your first draft is just that: your first draft. After the words are down on paper, you must begin the important process of honing, revising, and rewriting your work to eliminate weak writing and make your prose come to life. Rewriting is a process of polishing your words and eliminating all needless elements that can slow a manuscript down. Most work gets rejected simply because the novel/memoir is not where it needs to be in terms of quality. The writer just needed more revision and guidance! It’s with this important fact in mind that we’ve enlisted talented literary agent Michelle Brower of super-agency Folio Literary to teach a new 90-minute webinar called “The Art of Revision: Perfecting Your Book For Submission” on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Every attendee of the webinar gets a personalized critique of their work. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Trevor Shane


This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Trevor Shane.

1. Query in tiers. My most practical advice is to query in tiers. Everyone (myself included) will tell you to be careful to choose the right agent for your work. The problem is, when you’re trying to get your first book published, it’s really hard to turn down any agent who wants to represent you. The simplest solution is to query in tiers. Identify your top five dream agents. Send your initial queries to them and then wait (the waiting, as they say, is the hardest part). Only move on to tier two when you’ve exhausted tier one. Then rinse and repeat. Read more

Create an Awesome Premise That Hooks Readers (and Get Yours Critiqued) – New June 27 Webinar


The most common mistake writers make happens long before they ever set pen to paper. Author, instructor, and story expert Lisa Cron will unravel exactly what the brain is hungry for in her all new webinar, “Create an Engaging Premise in 4 Steps and Deliver the Story a Reader’s Brain Craves.” It happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, June 27, 2013. (Keep in mind you do not have to make the live event to get all elements of a webinar.)

Lisa will walk you through the four steps necessary to create a premise that delivers these much-craved-for elements. You’ll learn how to properly frame the “what if” that sparks every premise, how to zero in on exactly who your protagonist is, how to find an opening that instantly makes the clock start ticking, and how to unearth your protagonist’s internal struggle (which the plot will then put to the test). Stop writing blind. There’s no reason to spend months (or years) rooting around in your plot, hoping to find a story. Arm yourself with a little brain science, and a lot of story know-how. Go into your next novel more confident, in control, and inspired! Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Susan Hawk of the Bent Agency


This interview features Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency. She came to the agency from Children’s Book Marketing, where she worked for over 15 years, most recently as the Marketing Director at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, and previous to that as the Library Marketing Director at Penguin Young Readers.

She is seeking: Susan represents authors who write for children of all ages: babies to teenage. She is seeking young adult, middle grade books, and picture books nonfiction and fiction (especially literary fiction). Within the realm of kid’s stories, she likes fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and mystery. Read more

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