Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 2012 Debuts

Happy July and Happy Thrilling Thursday. The first of every month we will feature members of our Debut Authors Program. We are excited to announce that two members have books being released in July 2012. Please take a look and let’s celebrate their success!

J.C. Carleson - CLOAKS AND VEILS (Thomas & Mercer) July 2012

For disgraced CIA officer Dara McIntyre, a new assignment to monitor a troubled junior agent is yet another blow to her once high-flying career. Punished for her affair with a Jordanian spy, Dara is stuck in a dreary desk job at Langley headquarters when orders come down for her to assess whether recently widowed officer Caitlin Wolff is still fit to serve in the field.

Dara soon discovers that the grieving widow has dark secrets; Caitlin and her late husband, Jonathan, were running a lurid shadow operation. Convinced that the couple’s unsanctioned acts led to Jonathan’s murder, Dara investigates their final operation. Her mission to track the terrorists responsible for the murder and salvage her career takes Dara to the hedonistic playground of Dubai and the chaotic streets of Barcelona. But when the investigation takes a jarring turn, she can no longer be sure who—if anyone—she can trust.

Joy Castro - HELL OR HIGH WATER (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne) July 2012

It's 2008 in New Orleans, and hundreds of registered sex offenders who went off the grid during the Hurricane Katrina evacuation have never been found.

The sex-offender story is assigned to Nola C├ęspedes, an ambitious young reporter at the Times-Picayune, who tries to balance her investigation with taking care of her aging mother, seeing her girlfriends, mentoring a teenager, and meeting a mysterious stranger named Bento.

As her research progresses, Nola is gradually drawn in to an underworld of violent predators--a world she struggles to keep separate from her middle-class professional life.  Raised in poverty by a single mother in New Orleans' notorious Desire Projects, Nola has her own secrets to hide.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hurry Up … and Wait

image by S.D. Skye
I self published my first novel before a lucky break resulted in a two-book deal with a “Big 6” publisher. While I’d learned a lot about the publishing business through indie publishing, I knew zero, zilch, nada about the traditional process. Two years and two books later, I can tell you from experience that understanding The Waiting Game will save you lots of stress.
When you finally say yes to the brilliant editor who had the professional insight to recognize your brilliant prose for the literary jewel it is, the waiting game begins. From that point forward, be prepared to hurry. And wait. And hurry. And wait.
Your first wait will be a period of several weeks/months between the day you/your agent accept the offer and the day you receive the contract to sign. You’ll hurry to sign it…and then wait. Another few weeks/months will pass between the time you submit your contract and receive your first advance installment. Then you…wait.
Once “you’re in” and your book is on the schedule, there’s…well…more waiting. Your editor will first do a developmental edit to flesh out issues in your manuscript. You wait, hurry up to complete your revisions, resubmit, and…wait. Next your manuscript may go to a copyeditor who will provide your “first pass” pages (the pages that actually begin to look like your book). You’ll hurry up and revise, resubmit, and, yep, wait. You may receive second and third pass pages at which time you will…well…(see above). Concurrently, you will receive a mock up of your cover design. Requesting changes? You guessed it…more waiting. This could go on for several months, depending on your publication schedule.
During this time, it will be critically important that you conjure up every ounce of patience you can muster and just take the waiting game on the chin. Every author must endure it—even the bestselling ones. Understand that you aren’t your editor’s (or publisher’s) only author. Understand that depending on your publisher, they may collectively be working on tens to hundreds of books at the same time. Understand that the often deafening silence from your editor is not professional rejection, nor a personal slight. He (she) is busy purchasing and publishing books.
The traditional publishing process is a lot like giving birth. Yes, the labor can be arduous. But when you hold your beautiful baby in your hands all will be forgotten.

S.D. Skye is an award-winning romantic comedy author and a former Senior Intelligence/Operations Analyst for FBI Counterintelligence and other members of the US Intelligence Community. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Maryland Writers Association. The first book in her debut romantic suspense series, loosely based on her 20 year career in the U.S. Intelligence Community, is slated to be released in 2013. For more updates, please visit

The Seven Year Itch: A J.J. McCall Novel
A born lie detector, FBI Agent J.J. McCall is drawn into a desperate Russian mole hunt when a valuable source slated to identify an FBI turncoat mysteriously gets recalled to Moscow and her jerk boss is arrested for the unthinkable. Although she'd like nothing better than to let him rot in jail, her "gift" reveals nothing is what it seems, pitting J.J. and her sexy co-case agent in a race against time to save several lives—including their own.

Friday, July 13, 2012

An Agent's Update on Thrillerfest

by Josh Getzler


Agentfest was, as anticipated, fascinating. I met with more than thirty writers in 2 1/2 hours yesterday, and as always came out of it with an admittedly self-selecting and small sample-sized idea of What Folks Are Writing These Days.

1) Lots of financial thrillers. People in banks, businesses, large corporations dealing with financial malfeasance and conspiracy. Which is just fine with me! 

2) Somewhat unusual settings, frequently dealing with jungles in South America and Africa.

3) Still a TON of terrorism stories, mostly dealing with Islamists and the CIA. More often than before they're set in the US, and frequently have Muslim-Americans as the antagonists. These blend together, frankly, and need to be beyond-super in order to have a chance.

4) More YA thrillers--a good thing, in my opinion. Very fertile ground.

Now, for the other side: what I didn't see:

1) Nazis. Almost a complete absence of WW2 books.

2) Old-fashioned Spy novels. These days, it's mostly CIA agents or ex-CIA, often disgraced or alcoholic and not smooth or suave. Which is a shame--the new kind isn't as sexy as the old.

3) I didn't see any romantic suspense at all. Very few female protags, which, in my mind, is a real shame. There were several people who pitched me where I would have been a lot more excited if their protag had been a badass woman than a middle aged depressed guy.

As always, I was impressed and heartened by the general good cheer exhibited by the authors--everyone showed up with a smile and a handshake, and there was little grumbling over waiting time. Thanks to all the organizers for your hard work, and to the authors for your patience and perseverance.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thrillerfest: An Agent’s Perspective

By Josh Getzler

In around a half hour, I’m going to hitch up my pants, get on the subway, and head to the Hyatt above Grand Central Station. I’m going to Agentfest, the two-and-a-half-hour breathless sprint of queries that opens the three-day Thrillerfest conference with an event that combines the most harrowing elements of speed-dating (movement every three minutes, trying to look good and differentiate your story from everyone else’s) with the same odds of success. But as with speed-dating, what everyone hears is the success stories, and they do happen—every year a couple of authors stand out from the pack and receive offers of representation based on their presentations.

I always enjoy Agentfest. Yes, it’s a bit of a grind to sit for an extended period of time and be bombarded with pitches. And they do start to melt together after a certain point. But for several reasons I enjoy it nonetheless, and that’s what I want to write about today.

1)      It tells me, for better or worse, what people are writing these days. Every year I go to Thrillerfest, and every year at the cocktail party afterward, my agent colleagues and I have a drink and say “Yep, gonna see a lot of medical thrillers/Jack Reacher spinoffs/Basdass Tattooed women the next few months.” One year it was people searching for their Grandparents’ art which had been confiscated by the Nazis. Another year, bioterrorism.

2)      It tells me, for better or worse, what people aren’t writing these days. I’ve been surprised the last few years how few straight ahead spy novels I was seeing. Or historical thrillers. The worm had clearly turned on relic quests after all the years of Da Vinci wanna-bes.

3)      It’s always encouraging to see the community of crime fiction writers. I’ve had a certain amount of contact with authors in other genres. But I haven’t seen a group of people as consistently supportive of each other—and of prospective members of the Published Author club—than crime writers. They are, with very few exceptions, friendly and generous with advice, reads and blurbs. And while the Agentfest authors can sometimes look haunted, nervous and in need of a stiff drink (which they all get at the cocktail party, see above), they are an optimistic, interesting bunch.

4)      I know that I’ll get my money’s worth. For the two and a half hours I’m sitting at AgentFest, I know that everyone who’s standing in front of my will, at least theoretically, have something I could represent. I work on crime fiction. And while I like historical thrillers better than Key West procedurals, and Tudors better than the Civil War West, most of the people are at least playing in my sandbox. And so I go, hoping that I will be seduced, that my seventeenth three minute meeting (or my forty-third, or my sixth), will be the One I take home. My wife and kids might be a bit nonplussed, but, you know, metaphor…

I’ll update this post after I’m done with Agentfest, with Lessons Learned.

Josh Getzler is partner at HSG Agency, and represents more than 30 authors, including Joshua Gaylord/Alden Bell (THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS), Cali Yost (Work+Life Fit and TWEAK— forthcoming from Center Street), and Gerald Elias (DEVIL’S TRILL and DANSE MACABRE—Minotaur Books).