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2014 OWFI Agents, Editors, Publishers Appointments

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If you’re attending OWFI 2014 and are interested in booking an agent/editor/publisher pitch session, Natasha Hanova is your gal.  Feel free to repost and/or tweet if you or someone you know might be interested in this writer’s conference. Thanks!

Please email her at NatashaHanovaOWFI (at) gmail (dot) com with your top two choices to request an appointment or if you have any questions.

Sign up DEADLINE is Monday, April 28.

NOTE: These appointments are only for people who have registered for OWFI 2014. Click here for online registration or download registration.

See you in May!

Here’s a list of attending agents, editors, and publishers. Please be sure to check their websites for current wish lists.

Agents

Susan Brower from the Natasha Kern Literary Agency

I love finding and developing authors and connecting them with the reader.  Book publishing has changed dramatically over the past several years and it’s no secret that the novels that create buzz through their unique writing or concepts are the ones that become bestsellers.  Over the past 25 years in publishing, I have done marketing, editing, story development and acquisitions for Zondervan, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Most recently, I was Executive Editor and had the privilege of working with New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Tim LaHaye, Stephen L. Carter, and Terri Blackstock and was named ACFW’s Editor of the Year in 2010. And now I am fortunate to partner with Natasha Kern at the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

I’ve been an avid fiction fan since childhood and love the way stories are able to change lives, heal hearts, and bring joy to readers.   Today, I want to read and acquire women’s contemporary, any kind of romance, suspense, mystery and historical novels.  I would love to discover the next breakaway author in any of these genres.

I am originally from Arizona and now live in Michigan with my hubby, and three furry “kids,” Shep, Ollie, and Pepper.

Susan Bower Agency Website     •     Susan’s Website   

Dawn Michelle Hardy from Serendipity Literary Agency

Dawn Michelle Hardy has been called a “literary lobbyist” by Ebony magazine for her ability to help authors reach their readership using strategic promotions, win awards and garner national and local media attention.

She began her career in publishing in 2002, first as a assistant to a self published turned New York Times Bestselling author, then as an award-winning publicist and author consultant and now as an associate agent with Serendipity Literary Agency led by Regina Brooks.

While actively building her client list, she likes memoirists who can capture a larger narrative through their personal story and strong hook, best-in-class professionals in a variety of fields, the relatively unknown that has unique and incomparable life experiences, and the music, sports and pop culture enthusiasts with a ‘hip’ idea from an untold vantage point.

Her client list is diverse ranging from a veteran entertainment writer, to a single mother, to a Washington Post award winning sports journalist. Her first acquisitions as agent included a biography on the Grammy winning pop-star Nicki Minaj (Hip-Pop Moments for Life by Isoul Harris), a previously self published memoir that garned SyFy Channel docu-series fame (Forgotten Burial: A Restless Spirit’s Plea from Beyond the Grave by Jodi Foster) and a forthcoming narrative inspired by the #2 most shared news story in 2013 on NBA 16-time Allstar Allen Iverson.

As an agent she is continuously seeking acquisitions for platform driven general interest narratives that can spark debate and heavy conversation. She welcomes the process of collaborating with editors and authors on topics in the area of sports, pop culture, blog and trend, music, lifestyle and social science.

Dawn on Twitter  

Amanda Luedeke  from the Chip MacGregor Literary Agency

Amanda was a 2006 graduate of the acclaimed Professional Writing program at Taylor University Fort Wayne. Since college, she’s made her living as a writer, working as a freelancer for local newspapers and marketing companies, while operating her own writing business.

Her love for writing and her ability to think strategically landed her a full time job in marketing at an agency in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since starting there in 2008, Amanda has written web and print copy for Vera Bradley, Baekgaard, Brecks and Peg Perego. She’s also assisted in marketing strategy for these companies, conducting research, launching social media sites and proposing and working on major projects targeted at the online consumer.

Yes, she knows … she’s one of those people.

She met Chip at an author signing in Barnes and Noble in 2008. After realizing they had a commonality in Taylor University, one thing led to another, and before she knew it, she was helping him with projects, research, and all the little stuff she now assumes he just didn’t feel like doing. Shortly after, Amanda was hired on as Chip’s Assistant.

On board as an Agent since 2010, Amanda brings unique interests to the MacGregor Literary team. She represents general market and CBA projects, and her areas of interest include nonfiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction (all types except historical romance), paranormal and speculative fiction (including steampunk, fantasy, etc), YA, middle grade fiction, and twenty-something/post college-aged hip lit (think Joe Meno, Brett McCracken, Brad Land, JD Salinger).

Having lived all over the Midwest, from Iowa to Minnesota to Illinois, Amanda considers the Chicago suburbs to be ‘home’, though she’s currently settled in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband, Tad.

Amanda on Facebook     •     Amanda on Twitter

 Maria Vicente from the P.S. Literary Agency

Maria Vicente is an associate agent at P.S. Literary Agency. She is a creative and editorial agent, providing support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Maria is dedicated to managing authors’ literary brands for the duration of their careers.

Her reading preferences vary across categories and genres, which is reflected in her client list. She is actively looking for literary and commercial fiction, young adult, middle grade, illustrated picture books, and nonfiction projects in the pop culture, pop psychology, design, and lifestyle categories. She has affinities for literary writing, strong character development, and original storytelling formats.

Maria’s publishing career began as an intern with Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary Agency. She also interned at P.S. Literary before joining the agency as an associate agent. Maria has a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton University, a Bachelor of Education from The University of Western Ontario, and many years of experience editing and designing literary magazines. She is currently an editor for Underneath the Juniper Tree, a literary/art horror magazine for children.

Her blog, I Believe in Story (ibelieveinstory.com), features book reviews, advice for writers, publishing industry articles, and lifestyle posts inspired by literature. You can find Maria on Twitter at @MsMariaVicente.

Editors

Mari Farthing

Mari Farthing is a writer and editor with over 20 years of practical experience in private industry, government, media and publishing. Mari has worked with writers on technical documentation, procedural manuals, memoir, children’s fiction (middle grade, young adult), women’s fiction, suspense and horror.

Mari on Twitter     •     Mari on Facebook

Mary-Theresa Hussey

Mary-Theresa has been at Harlequin for nearly a quarter century—but it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

As an executive editor for Harlequin Books, she is surrounded by fantastic stories, terrific colleagues and has had the pleasure of working on thousands of entertaining, enlightening and exciting novels.

Mary-Theresa—sometimes known as Matrice—works with authors on both series and single title imprints, and is always eager to talk about books.

Publishers

Rhonda PendersRhonda Penders from Wild Rose Press

Rhonda Pender is President and co-founder of The Wild Rose Press, a publishing company that publishes books electronically and in print.  The company began in May 2006 and is home to over 1600 titles and 500 authors. The Wild Rose Press began as a romance only publishing house but in 2013 opened its submissions to other genres of fiction including erotica, women’s fiction, mystery and suspense including thrillers, and historical fiction.

TWRP prides itself on never issuing form rejection letters and on being a kinder and gentler publishing house.  Their web site, which is referred to as “the garden”, is truly a community garden where everyone feels as if they have a part in its growth.  Writers, authors, readers and editors come together in chats, loops, blogs, and email to discuss ideas, thoughts, concerns and plans for growing the company.  The editors and the owners are completely accessible to their writers. Currently they are accepting submissions in all lines and all lengths.  All submissions should be made electronically and specific guidelines can be found on their website at http://www.thewildrosepress.com.

Vivian Zabel from 4RV Publishing

Vivian Zabel has a degree in English and speech. She taught in public schools for 27 years, covering such subjects as English, composition, writing, yearbook newspaper, literary magazine, drama, debate adn speech. Vivian has published short stories, articles and poetry until she retired from teaching, and now has 7 published books. Vivian is the founder and president of 4RV publishing, a traditional, royalties-paying publishing house with over 75 authors, including many OWFI members.

Vivian’s Blog     •     Vivian’s Website

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Destination OWFI…Why?

My critique group attended a lot of writing conferences over the years. There were mediocre ones, good ones (which stopped unfortunately), and every possible point along the spectrum. We became masters at what to look for, how to evaluate in advance whether a conference would be right for us. In spite of that we still got it wrong on occasion. The one time we got it right, completely, was when we decided to attend Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc.’s conference the first time.

It was the first conference where complete strangers spoke to us and made a point of making us feel welcome. Most writers are introverts or at least reluctant in large crowds so being relieved of the burden of putting ourselves out there that first time made that first conference more relaxing. We had gone in full-bore and entered the writing contests and we all came away with wins of some kind and all of us in multiple categories. The funny thing was even without the contest the conference and that weekend felt like a win. We knew that we were going to make OWFI’s conference a yearly thing.

Selecting a conference requires a lot of research. How much does it cost? How far is it? Is it a genre or a general writing conference? Which do you need at this point in your career? Who are the speakers? What agents/editors will be there? The goal for writers, because we do not make a lot of money, is we want to get as much bang for the buck as possible. Weigh everything before making that decision.

We wanted a conference we could drive to and OWFI was in driving distance. (It didn’t hurt that it was held in the city where my boys live and I could see my oldest for his birthday) We traveled together so we shared expenses and hotel costs which are also discounted as conference attendees. OWFI had a history of national keynote speakers and that was more difficult to find in the Midwest.

Our sessions that first year were top-notch and the hotel was fabulous and friendly. The experience left us with little doubt that OWFI was our new home away from home the first weekend of May each year. There are a lot of conferences out there and always check out everything they have to offer. The big conferences may be our dream, but they aren’t always on our budget. Sometimes, looking closer to home brings us a new writing family.

eloisajames_webOWFI is May 1-3, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City. Eloisa James is the keynote and there are lots of dynamite speakers joining her. Definitely check it out. I am confident you won’t regret it. We didn’t. If you can’t make it this year, I KNOW you’ll want to come see next year’s! Just trust me.  😉

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02/13/2014 · 6:58 pm

What’s Up Wednesday

ButtonSmallNoBorder What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, which helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends to let them know what’s up. Join in by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

Crazy time again in the heartland. School is in session. My free time has whittled its way to nothing. And I met none of my long-term summer goals. The fact that I was sick the entire summer frustrates me, and I don’t let myself off the hook. Now, I enter my busiest time further behind than ever. Sigh.

Reading: I’m not going to address reading. First, I’ve left my Kindle at the university so I can’t tell you what I started reading. Second, who has time to read now?

Writing: The YA is still sitting in my tray. I am sooo close to completing these edits, but close simply doesn’t cut it. Argh! On top of school starting, we are also moving. We’ve been working on the house. We’ve been packing. Anyone get the sense that I’m overwhelmed? And as I speak lesson plans are screaming my name.

GOAL for August 22-27ready set write button

SURVIVE.

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Conventions, Classes, Degrees, Oh, My!

My dad once said I would be in school forever. He wasn’t referencing my inability to learn but my total love of it. And he was right. I became a teacher so I have been “in school” my entire life, either behind the desk or in front of it. The best thing about being a writer is that it feeds into my curiosity as well. Every day as I sit down to write I’m driven by inquisitiveness as all writers are. It is what sends us to the internet on research missions that last hours on end. Regardless of what people say, those trips to Pinterest are research, right?

A lot of people question the importance of education for writers. Let’s take these one at a time because each is unique. Conventions are a huge thing for writers for a couple of reasons. They provide opportunities for learning, marketing, and networking. Writing can be a pretty lonely proposition so take advantage of these chances as much as possible. Maximize by making sure that you choose conferences based on price, location, and offerings. These basics are important in determining how best to spend those hard-earned author dollars. Make the use of your writing connections. For instance, our group attends conferences together so we are able to split a lot of the costs. Expand your circle of influence by meeting new people and fostering those relationships beyond the conference. Today’s technology makes that possible no matter where you live.

Most communities offer classes in writing, plus these days the online offerings are endless. Again, it’s important to research before selecting something. Local universities often offer these types of classes. In person classes are good for meeting writers in your region, especially if you are wanting to start a critique group. A variety of sources offer online classes. They range from free to holy cow! Make sure you’ll get the most for your money AND that the instructor is reputable. If you belong to a critique group, share what you learn in these with each other. It’s another way of stretching your money.

Not every writer wants or needs a degree. It doesn’t guarantee publication. What are the reasons for seeking a degree then? I think those are as unique as there are reasons people write. For me, I had a couple of reasons I chose the degree route. As an educator, the degree offered me an opportunity to teach writing at the university level something I’d wanted to do all my life. Another perk of the program? I’d written most of my life, and I loved doing it. I’d written a couple of novels before I ever considered the degree. I’d never accomplished a short story successfully though. And I wondered if I was missing something in my writer’s tool chest. Spending four semesters with accomplished writers as my professors was exactly what I needed. Some writers will thrive in that environment. Others won’t.

University of Nebraska MFA in Writing

University of Nebraska
MFA in Writing

Of the three, a degree is the most personal choice. The first two are things every writer should do. But the degree is not for everyone. However, as a writer, never stop asking yourself questions. That curiosity feeds your art.

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Introducing C.D. Jarmola

One of the reasons to attend conferences is the talented people you meet at them. I am always humbled by the people I meet and their talent. Today’s interview is with Christine who I met at Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. (OWFI), an annual conference my critique group attends. She is not only an author but a director who puts on productions at a local university. Her delightful mystery is a fun trip down the cozy trail.

murder book coverTell us about Murder Goes to Church.

Murder Goes to Church is a fun, cozy murder mystery located in a South Georgian vacation Bible school. Chrissy Chronister, an unwilling amateur sleuth  is thrown into a murder investigation when the victim dies in her arms. What makes this mystery different from the billions out there, is all the clues are uncovered by Chrissy because of the mischievous things her eleven month old son, Lukas, gets into. Whether it is tipping over trash cans or crawling under church pews, his antics get Chrissy in situations that normal people with normal manners never would, and there she finds the secrets that someone has killed to keep quite.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Not as a child. Not as a teenager. It wasn’t until after I had my son, Darku, who by the way is the inspiration for Lukas, that I decided to write a book. I loved reading cozy mysteries and felt that would be such a fun life. Maybe I watched too many Murder She Wrote episodes. So I wrote a book. Sent it to an editor. She said no, and I put it on the shelf. Some fifteen years later, I picked it up and read it again and thought, hey this is actually pretty good. So I rewrote it. And then wrote some more.

Do you write in one genre or many? How do you pick the genre for your books/stories?

I originally planned to write murder mysteries as they are one of my favorite genres to read. But then I started reading YA books and then they were my favorite genre. So my second book to write, Do-Overs was to be a YA book. It wasn’t until I had finished it and was working through it in Bill Bernhardt’s writing workshop that it was pointed out to me that Lottie, my main character was over 18, so it wasn’t YA. Fortunately the publishing industry recently invented a whole new genre, New Adult, just so Lottie Lambert would have a place on the bookstore shelves. My most recent story, Jairus’ Daughters, is YA.

What’s the toughest thing about being an author? The best thing?

The toughest thing is not losing my motivation when all I seem to get is rejection letters. We’ve all heard famous authors say how they received hundreds of rejections before they sold their first book, but still with each rejection it’s difficult to not give up on the writing career all together and go get a real estate license. But then there is the best thing and that is when someone says they read something of yours and they loved it. Just this morning the receptionist at the doctor’s office introduced herself and told me she loved Murder Goes to Church. And last week I got an email from a man in Saudi Arabia telling me he was touched by my story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. That was the highlight of my month.

Tell us about the story you placed in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Finding My Way is a very short, but true, story of my first trip to Europe by myself. I was young, very naïve and very lucky that God was watching out for me.

What is your next book project?

I just finished the first draft of Jairus’ Daughters. It is a YA book about Brenna Birdsong who finds out on the day she gets her first period that she has the ability to heal one person even from the brink of death. The problem is she can only heal one and how does she decide who. The idea started as more a sentimental book, but it didn’t stay that way. It turned into an espionage adventure with hostage situations, spies and all sorts of counter intelligence working to but keep Brenna safe and exploit her power.

Do you have a character you can’t let go of? One you know you will have to write about again?

I must confess, I have a crush on Al Dansby from Do-Overs. There will definitely be a sequel on that one. Did-Overs? Maybe I need to spend a little more time working on a title for that.

Are you a plotter or a seat of the pants kind of writer?

I’m a here’s a problem now what would happen if that really took place kind of writer. With both Do-Overs and Jairus’ Daughters I started with a problem. In Do-Overs it was what would happen if I could instantly redo a mistake at anytime? How would that affect my life? With Jairus’ the thought was if only I could heal one person I’d never ask God for it again. Or would I? From those questions I invented characters to “act out” the stories. Instead of an outline I attempted to write a one-page synopsis before writing the book. Just as if I were telling a friend about a book I read. Then I write by the seat of my pants. Many things from the original synopsis don’t appear in the book. But one thing I most definitely have to have before I start is the ending. It’s like my plot point on the horizon that I have to know where I’m to drive the story to.

Last two–just for fun…

Favorite chocolate?

Any and all. Especially with nuts. Oh, and white chocolate is not chocolate.

Flip flops or bare feet?

Flip flops in every color imaginable.

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Post Conference High

There is nothing like a writer’s conference to give a writer a natural high. Spending time with writers and agents in an arena where it’s all right to discuss nothing but writing and writing related things is as good as it gets for us. I don’t have to defend my interest in a random person in a restaurant. My fascination with the way someone walks or the conversation at the table next to us (as interesting to me as the one at my own) is acceptable to everyone else in the conference world. They get it. I don’t get weird looks. No one calls men in white coats to bring jackets or nurses with medication to make me catatonic. My particular weirdness lets me fit in with everyone else. Phew!

OWFI is an awesome conference which is why we attend every year. It offers so many opportunities to attendees. The contests, the presenters, the agents, editors, publishers, authors, and the importance of opportunities to pitch to those publishing officials cannot be underestimated. This conference is a win for Novel Clique every year. This year was a blast. We enjoyed time with agents; Louise Fury, Jessica Sinsheimer, and Emmanuelle Morgen, at a buzz session on Friday night. We were also lucky enough to pitch to these ladies who made that nerve-wracking experience so easy and pleasant. It was an excellent adventure that I recommend to every writer truly seeking publication.

What conferences do you attend? What is it about them that gets your writer’s juices flowing?

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The Sweet Hereafter

A conference brings this storm swell of creative juices, and you’ll return home convinced that you are ready to conquer anything publishing throws your way. That glow will last if you’re lucky, 24 hours. A part of every conference prep should include planning for a return from the wonderful world of nothing but writers and writing to that world of diapers, bottles, teenage drivers and angst, or cranky hubbies. Whatever your daily world encompasses, it’s all waiting for you when you leave that sheltered world of the “conference”.

The first thing you need to do is prepare yourself emotionally for this return to your ‘normal world’ as Christopher Vogler describes it in The Writer’s Journey. My critique group has done this and we’ve learned new things every time. Here are suggestions for returning from the conference:

1. Hit the ground running when you get home by making time to email the contacts you made at the conference. Don’t wait. Don’t give them or yourself time to forget. If you followed advice, you wrote something memorable on the back of the business cards you collected.

2. Share what you learned. If you have a local group of writers you work with, share what you learned with them. If not, use your blog or website as a host for educating others about Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. (or your conference) and writing. If your entire group attended (as our group does), it is always a good idea to debrief after conferences. Go over what went well, what didn’t, what inspired you, what frustrated you, etc. As a group, we attend different sessions to maximize our attendance, then we share what we learned with each other.

3. When you enjoy a conference and find it worthwhile, spread the word! Let others in on what’s worthwhile about it. Give them publicity. We’re all in this together so help each other out.

4. We have a new goal for this conference. Since this is our third year, we wanted to do something special. Stay tuned to the Novel Clique blog for interviews with writer attendees at OWFI 2012.

5. Final evaluation: upon returning you need to do a final run down of the experience. Was the conference a good one for you? Just as you did when selecting a conference return to those important questions:

a. Location: Was the location good for you? Price certainly feeds into this these days because of the price of gas.

b. Genre: Did you find the things you needed for what you write? Were there agents who represent what you write?

c. Price: Consider the costs of everything from travel to hotel to food to cost of the conference. Was it cost-effective for you?

d. Presenters: Were the presenters good? Were they speaking about things of importance to you as a writer? Did you return with more than you left home with?

Once you’ve answered those questions you’ll know whether you want to attend that conference again or not. For us, after attending OWFI, all those answers were good ones.

What do you want to return from a conference having accomplished?

Be sure to check out Natasha’s post on what to do before the conference and Leatrice’s upcoming post on what to do during.

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