Friday, March 06, 2015

Terrie Moran's Cozy Reading Corner

This is my reading spot in the corner of a patio in North Fort Myers, Florida. Since my Read 'Em and Eat series is set right down the road in Fort Myers Beach, I like to pour myself a glass of sweet tea and relax in the sunshine with my pal "Fishy" and an entertaining cozy mystery. Speaking of cozies, I am busting my buttons becauseWell Read, Then Dead has been nominated this year for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. At the same time, the excitement is building because the next book in the series is Caught Read-Handeddue out July 7, 2015.

--Terrie Farley Moran
Well Read, Then Dead
Berkley Prime Crime

Thursday, March 05, 2015

JF Wishlist Updates

I posted on Twitter the need for blog ideas. It seems I've run out already.

@BookEndsJessica Hmmmmmm.... any changes to your/your colleagues' wishlists?
2/11/15, 9:44 AM

This is actually a great question only because these things change all the time. An agent can talk to an editor or read a great new book and get excited about something new.

While I'm always looking for the standards: Cozy mysteries, mysteries, suspense, romance, women's fiction and YA, there are those submissions I will drop everything for.

Suspense--a great dark suspense stand alone or series with, preferably, a female protagonist, romantic suspense and definitely YA suspense. Give it to me dark, make it gritty, and I require that it leaves me in a panic about what's around the corner.

Women's fiction with magical realism ala Sarah Addison Allen.

Contemporary YA with dark secrets and big story lines.

An entire week where nothing happens so that I can catch up on all the reading I want to do and need to do. If that week happens to be at the beach with margaritas at the ready even better.

A new talented agent knocking at my door. I'm looking to grow our BookEnds team and I really only have a few requirements: Smart, fun and someone we'd all like to have a drink with. Oh, and you'll need some experience as either an agent or an editor. Your areas of expertise can be just about any genre.

This new standing desk from Ikea

Image result for ikea bekant sit/stand desk

Richard Blais or either Voltaggio as a private chef.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

What I Wish You Knew About an Agent's Job

Recently I posted on Twitter that I had run out of blog ideas. Brilliant planning since I just restarted the blog. Well thankfully a few kind souls came to my aid with questions that they thought I might be able to answer. We'll see about that.

@BookEndsJessica @BookEndsKim What is something that you wish people who submit to you knew about your job?
2/11/15, 10:55 AM

Thank you @EmilieLoritch for your question. This is something I hope I convey regularly on the blog when it might feel like I'm really just kvetching. Of course a couple of things came to mind, but the very first thing I thought of has more to do with writers and their expectations than it does with me and my job. At least I think that's what I'm about to write.

The first thing I want people to know about agents is that the least important thing we do is actually sell the book. I think there is, understandably, a lot of emphasis on that sale and while that's not wrong (because without the sale none of the other stuff, the more important stuff, would really happen) it's probably, in some ways, the easiest part of an agent's job.

What an agent actually spends the day doing is dealing with all that other stuff which really amounts to planning the author's career. I would say the most important thing you agent does for you is negotiate the contract and I don't mean the advance and royalties. I meant he nitty-gritty details of the contract that will allow, or not allow, you to do other things in the future. With contract negotiations comes an eye toward the author's career. What will this author want to be doing next year or two years down the road and how can I make sure this contract doesn't prohibit that?

I'm going to keep this simple rather than go into the myriad of other things an agent does, but what I will tell you this, which I know you've heard before, is that one of the things an agent rarely does while in the office is read. That means submissions or otherwise. Between phone calls, meetings and contracts there's very little time to put my feet up and whip out a good book.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Word on Submissions

I know not every agent works this way, not even in our office, but I want to put it out there that if I send you a helpful rejection I am alway happy to see the material again should you make dramatic changes based on my suggestions.

In fact, my guess would be that most agents would rather see a query again than hear later how the book sold, with another agent, based on the suggestions she made.

So even if I fail to ask you send the book to me again, the door is open. Because I hate to lose out on something I liked enough to give revision suggestions on.


Monday, March 02, 2015

A Reader's Slump

On my post for How Much of the Book Do You Read? this comment came up:

Bonnie @ A Backwards Story has left a new comment on your post "How Much of the Book Do You Read?": 
I try so hard to read a book all the way through--especially if I've bought it!
If it gets to the point where I'm just skimming to read and don't care and am not retaining what I've read, I'll stop. Every once in a while, I'll skip to the end to see if it gets better (And I never read the end first!).
Sometimes, it's hard to say if the book isn't for me, or if it's because I'm headed into a slump. I think I'm headed into a slump now. I didn't love a major YA title that many other people are loving and buzzing about. I put down two other books without finishing them for the moment because I wasn't enjoying them, and I've been looking forward to both. I picked up the one again two days ago and managed to finish it BUT didn't really enjoy it and I normally love the author! 
So am I slumping? Did I just have three not-me titles in a row? I don't know! 

And I think it's a great question. Do you ever have a reader's slump? Those times when you seem to hate, or not like, or just are bored by everything you read?

Sometimes I think we need a change of pace and sometimes I think I read for my mood. I find that I read heavier things in the winter or crave classics (lately I've been craving both  Little Women and Pride and Prejudice). In the summer, I want a wonderful romance or a fast-paced suspense. Something quick and easy. When life is hard and busy and hectic and I want something that's going to easily take me away from it all. Other times I just need a good cry. In all of those cases where I need something from a book another genre isn't going to work. If I need a good cry, something light and funny is only going to aggravate me. 

But Bonnie, I've been there, I've been in a place where I'm fidgety and another book won't help. Is it a slump or just a reader feeling unsatisfied. 

I don't know the answer to your question. However, I would like to know if you ever finished and enjoyed those books.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Paige Shelton's Cozy Reading Corner

This is the reading chair. It’s huge and we all - husband, son, and I take turns reading or napping in it. It’s in a strange location though - a corner of the kitchen. We like the sun that comes in during the day but the lamp is good for night. It’s a good place to either read in while you’re preparing dinner or hang out with whoever is. 

Paige Shelton

Thursday, February 26, 2015

7 Things You Didn't Know About Jessica

So Kim tagged me in a post on Facebook. Apparently I'm supposed to share 7 things you don't know about me. Since I don't make it to Facebook as often as I would like I thought I'd share my things here, even though I find it hard to believe that there's anything left for longtime readers to learn. 

  1. One of the first cars I ever learned to drive was my grandfather's canary yellow 1967 Mustang convertible. My dad still has that car and I still love that car.
  2. I played both volleyball and softball in high school. Badly. Okay, I sat on the bench.
  3. Pitbulls are my dog breed of choice. I believe strongly in shelter dogs and will pick a pit or pit mix over anything else any day.
  4. My first pair of designer jeans were Gloria Vanderbilts with bright blue stitching. I sort of wish I still had them. 
  5. I prefer extreme temperatures. Give me hot or cold any day. It's the mild temperatures I can't stand.
  6. One of my dreams is to stay at the Ice Hotel in Sweden.
  7. My absolute favorite thing to do at Disney World is drink at Cava del Tequila in Mexico. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

More on Editing

Yesterday's post sparked a few new questions and you know how much I love it when blog post take on a life of its own.

Carolynnwith2Ns asked:

I have a question. When you begin the editing process are your notes and revision-suggestions based on a first read?
I'm thinking that if you have not read the entire book at least once you may make note of, or question something, which happens later on.
Copy edits pretty much jump right off the page but the other stuff, like plot holes filled, questions answered, twists and surprises may be further down the line because that's what the writer is intends, even though as a reader you may feel a little lost as the story builds.
Great post. I love learning how you guys actually do your job.

Typically my revisions are based on the first read. There is one exception and that's if the client is brand new and I just took her on. In that case, I read the manuscript first just to see if I love it and after the client agrees to become a client I read it for revisions.

Your question about what happens if later on I discover the author has done what I wanted is valid and it is definitely something that happens. However, in some cases I might think that it should have happened earlier. For example, if on page 25 I note that the heroine should have kissed the hero right here, but she does so on page 27 I might say, "ah, I see she does it here. That works." or I might say, "this works too, but I really do feel like you might want to consider moving this up a bit."

My feeling when making revisions/edits is that I want the author to see my thought process while I'm reading. If something seems off to me, tedious, over-written or lacking I want her to know. Maybe she cleared it up later or maybe she disagrees, but I think she'd rather hear it from me than reviewers later. Or at least I hope so.

If the writer intends for twists and turns to happen down the road that's fine, but if the reader feels lost as the story builds that's not a good thing. You never want your reader to feel lost because you only, typically, lose a reader once.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Editing Process

Just as writers often discuss the process they have when writing, agents and editors often discuss the processes they have when editing. I think part of this discussion is the hope that we'll come up with an easier way, but in the end we're all using the process that works best for us.

The way I edit is not only different from the way other agents or editors edit, but its even different from author to author or book to book. And sometimes I don't even know how I'm going to edit something until I start doing it. 

With some books I can sit down with my Kindle and a notebook. I read the manuscript in the same way I read a book, but with an editorial eye. Anytime something seems off to me or doesn't feel right I make a note in my notebook and when I'm done I work all of my notes into a revision letter. This kind of editing is usually done with books that need more general global changes. Things like, soften the heroine or more red herrings.

For other books I need to sit in front of my computer. I open the document, turn on track changes and leave the notes as I read. This means edits, cuts, word choice changes and, usually, a lot of sidebar comments. This kind of editing is usually done for those books where a global letter might not really convey what I mean, but leaving comments throughout can help shape the book in the same bigger way. So instead of saying soften the heroine I can say, "the heroine feels really nasty and unlikeable here" or "delete this line."

The thing about the editing process that I think most authors forget is that it takes a long time. Not as long as it does to write a book certainly, but a lot longer than it takes to read one. For an editor to give a good solid edit she needs to have a  little space and freedom to do so. In other words, trying to do it the week royalties are due or when there are five other things to be read won't work. Sort of like a speed edit or speedy revisions won't usually work for an author.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Kim's 2015 Wish List

Every January we have a meeting at BookEnds discussing our goals for the coming year and reviewing our performance over the previous one.  We talk about how many books we sold, how many new clients we brought on, and how we can grow even more in the near future.  These meetings always get me motivated, and make me stop and think about just what I want to see on my client list and how I can make it happen.

So this is my wish list for 2015.    Help me make it happen!

1)   I’d like to start attending more conferences again.  I backed off on them quite a bit while my kids were young, but now I’m ready to dive back in.  I’m specifically interested in attending conferences with romance, mystery and YA writers, and speaking at RWA chapter meetings.  Contact me at if you are looking for faculty for an upcoming conference.
 2)   I’m hungry for some emotional women’s fiction with a strong romantic element.   Something along the lines of JoJo Moyes.  I love her books because they’re unputdownable, but also very affecting.
 3)   Similarly, I’d like to see more intense, emotional YA and NA.  I’ve been seeing a lot of great NA lately with electric romantic chemistry (that doesn’t necessarily mean super explicit, but I’m okay with steamy).  Chemistry isn’t always the easiest thing to convey on the page, so when it’s done right, I can’t stop reading!  I especially like angsty characters.
 4)   Historical Romance.  It breaks my heart that historicals are a tougher sell these days, but they’re still my first love.  I’m not giving up on them.  It’s the first thing I want to pick up when I’m reading for pleasure.  When I have some screen time, I’m usually rewatching “Outlander”, “The Tudors”, or any one of the BBC Jane Austen productions.  And I’ve watched every “Jane Eyre” production at least 3 times.  I continue to look for strong new voices in historical romance.  I’m particularly interested in Regencies, Victorians and Scottish.  I just know that more readers will come back to them.
 5)   I’d like to grow my social media platform.  I’ve been very inconsistent on Twitter and Facebook.  My presence is sporadic.  I’m really going to work on contributing more regularly.  That said, I want my tweets/statuses to be meaningful and relevant.  I’m too busy working with my clients to tweet my every move.  What kind of agent tweets would you like to see more of?

Look forward to hearing from you!  I’ll keep you posted on how I do with my wish list!