Interview with Faith Hunter + How I Decide if Something Is Right for Me by Melissa Jeglinski
The Knight Agency Newsletter: Write. Read. Repeat.

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Top Announcements

» Faith Hunter's DARK HEIR rose to #15 on the New York Times eBook bestseller list, #19 on the print paperback list, #19 combined print & eBook, and #34 on USA Today’s bestseller list.

» Deidre Knight and Pamela Harty were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit the set of 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, which was filmed in Atlanta and is based on the bestselling memoir by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey.

Top Sales

» Robin Owens's next two books in her Ghost Seer series, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, in a nice deal by Deidre Knight
Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires Story Collection, a collection of all the previously published and six brand-new stories in the world of the Morganville Vampires, to Anne Sowards of NAL, in a nice deal by Lucienne Diver

In this issue

» Ask Deidre

» The Informer

» Agents of the Roundtable

» New Clients on the Block

» Sales Roundup

» Agency News

» Author Interview

» Author Tip of the Month

» New Releases

Ask Deidre

Every month, Deidre Knight picks a question submitted by Twitter and Facebook users. The reader who submits the winning question receives any two books of his or her choice from this page. To submit your question, simply post it on Twitter with the hashtag #AskDeidre.

And now for this month's winning question ...


What advice do you have for aspiring writers on dealing with query rejections?


Even as an agent representing projects and making submissions to editors, I look at the rejections I receive and try to process what I’m hearing. Usually query responses won’t contain advice or input, so you shouldn’t expect much feedback unless the agent wants to possibly see another project. But what you can do is see if you’re receiving rejections across the board. That may well be a strong indication that you need to revisit your query and ask yourself some questions.

Is your query engaging enough? Is it to the point? Does it state a strong concept/hook? Are you making sure to state your relevant qualifications in the opening paragraph? For instance, I once read all the way to the bottom of a query before discovering that the author had added, “I am multi-published with Random House.” That should have been in the opening line.

So if you’re receiving numerous rejections, revisit the query and look at overhauling it. And don’t fall into the trap of internalizing: instead of looking at these “passes” as a rejection of you—either as a person or as a writer—you should view them as a rite of passage. If you weren’t putting yourself out there and truly reaching for your goals, then you wouldn’t be hearing from anyone at all.

Writers collect numerous rejections over the course of their careers, whether from agents, publishers, or even reviewers. Learning to toughen up and not let these responses discourage you, but rather viewing them as opportunities for growth, can make them empowering instead of discouraging.


The Informer

How I Decide if Something Is Right for Me
by Melissa Jeglinski

This past weekend I attended a writer’s conference and spent the entire day taking pitches. A lot of pitches. This means I will be getting a great many submissions that I’ll need to be reading and making decisions about. Just how do I decide if something is right for me?
Why do I say no to a project?
It’s not in a genre I represent. No agent can represent every genre; we have core genres that we know the most about and have the best connections for. 
The project is full of errors. A misplaced comma is one thing, but when the text is riddled with mistakes, it tells me the manuscript needs an editor, not an agent.
All telling, no showing. I prefer that the story evolve through prose, not overwhelm the reader with fact after fact.   
The manuscript doesn’t live up to the first chapter’s promise. I see a lot of well- written and -edited opening chapters, only to find the rest of the work doesn’t show as much care and promise.
The protagonist is not likeable.  I have to really relate to and respect the main character, no matter what the genre.  If I can’t get behind them and their journey, the story will never work for me.
Why do I say yes to a project?
The manuscript holds my attention from beginning to end.  If I can’t stop reading, I know it’s the project for me.  

As you can see, there are a lot more reasons to say no than to say yes, but that shouldn’t be discouraging. It may not be easy to craft a winning manuscript, but it is simple: avoid the things I listed above, and put your energies into crafting a well-told story with compelling characters and an engaging plot. 

Agents of the Roundtable

Question: What are some book-related websites that you often visit and why?


Amazon, Goodreads,  Barnes&Noble, Publishers Marketplace (which I visit  almost daily), Book Country, and Dear Author.


I’m always on review and periodical websites, grabbing quotes and links for my authors: everything from Locus to Publishers Weekly to Romantic Times, Fresh Fiction, Literal Addiction, etc.  I love Dear Author both for reviews and for publishing news.  They’re not afraid of controversy and telling it like it is.  I like i09 for straight-up reporting of issues and news in the science/science fiction world, and Chuck Wendig’s site Terrible Minds for taking on issues in publishing in general and the SF/fantasy field in particular. There’s no agenda there; just the guts to say what needs to be said.  For what’s selling and what’s new on the market, I follow Publishers Lunch and Shelf Awareness in particular. 


I actually visit quite a number of book and writing-related websites every week. In part this is because I want to keep up with publishing news and what the new releases are, but I also post a weekly “Friday Links” feature on my blog and I’m constantly searching for entertaining and informative things to share. So these are just a few of my favorites. - For their weekly “Fresh Ink” roundup of new releases, lists of what their contributors are reading, great quarterly listings of upcoming YA releases, articles on diversity in publishing, and the wonderful “Reading Lives” podcast series. - To keep track of what my friends are reading these days, and to get recommendations. - For news on new releases. I visit the site occasionally, but they offer a great newsletter that I read pretty religiously. - A new favorite. They offer up both original articles on the bookish world and links to articles all over the web.


Bookrageous podcast - For occasional podcasts (monthly or so) where a group of book-industry folk talk first about what they’ve been reading, and second about books on a particular theme.


And on a more industry-heavy level, I visit and for up-to-date book information on the book business.

Cecil Murpey

Sales Roundup

» Denise Tompkins writing as Kelli Ireland's next two books in The Assassin's Arcanum series, IMMORTAL DARKNESS and IMMORTAL LOVE, to Ann Leslie Tuttle at Harlequin Nocturne, in a nice deal by Deidre Knight

» Tibby Armstrong's male/male romances—PUBLIC RELATIONS, NO APOLOGIES, ACTING OUT, FULL DISCLOSURE, OUTTAKES, NUMBERS GAME—to Steve Feldberg at Audible, in a nice deal by Deidre Knight

» Lisa Childs's FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE, the first book in her new Hot Shots series, to Kathleen Scheibling at Harlequin Blaze, in a four-book deal by Melissa Jeglinski

» Michelle Celmer's contribution to the Billionaires and Babies promotion and the launch of her American Idle series, to Charles Griemsman at Harlequin Desire, in a three-book deal by Melissa Jeglinski.

» Karen Whiddon and Beth Cornelison's COLTONS OF TEXAS Books 11 and 12, respectively, in the Harlequin Coltons of Texas continuity series, to Patience Bloom of Harlequin, in a four-book deal by Lucienne Diver

» Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires Story Collection, which brings together all the previously published stories (and six brand-new ones) in the world of the Morganville Vampires, to Anne Sowards of NAL, in a nice deal by Lucienne Diver

» Diana Pharaoh Francis's DIAMOND CITY MAGIC Books 3 and 4, to Debra Dixon of Bell Bridge Books, in a nice deal by Lucienne Diver

» Beth Cornelison's LONESTAR SHOWDOWN, a novella for a 2-in-1 volume with Colleen Thompson, to Patience Bloom at Harlequin, in a nice deal by Lucienne Diver

» Amy Woods's HEALING HIS SOLDIER'S HEART, to Carly Silver at Harlequin Special Edition, in a three-book deal by Melissa Jeglinski

» Kerry Schafer's DEAD BEFORE DYING, to Mary Cummings at Diversion Books, by Deidre Knight

» Kate Pearce's SACRIFICE, RETRIBUTION and TRIUMPH, a horror erotica trilogy, to Sarah Frantz Lyons at Riptide Publishing, by Deidre Knight

» Kate Pearce's new contemporary cowboy series, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a three-book deal by Deidre Knight

» Kate Pearce writing as Catherine Lloyd's next three books in her Kurland St. Mary Mystery series, again to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a nice deal by Deidre Knight

» Jill Monroe's A DATE TO REMEMBER and WAKING UP MR. HOT AND SEXY, to Kathleen Scheibling at Harlequin Blaze, in nice deal by Deidre Knight

» Robin Owens's next two books in her Ghost Seer series, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, in a nice deal by Deidre Knight

» Stacy Finz's contribution to a Christmas collection, featuring characters from her current Nugget series and new Glory Junction series, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, by Melissa Jeglinski

» Sierra Donovan's THE SILVER TREE, the next book in her Evergreen Lane series, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a nice deal by Melissa Jeglinski

» Maggie Black's THE MILITARY TRAITOR'S SISTER, to Emily Rodmell at Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, in a three-book deal by Melissa Jeglinski

Sales Roundup is a selective sampling of TKA's deals for the past month. For more info on our recent sales, visit
Agency News

» Faith Hunter's DARK HEIR rose to #15 on the New York Times eBook bestseller list, #19 on the print paperback list, #19 combined print & eBook, and #34 on USA Today’s bestseller list.

» Nalini Singh's next Psy/Changeling title,
SHARDS OF HOPE, received a fabulous starred review from Publishers Weekly.

» Amy Christine Parker’s GATED was nominated for both the South Carolina Library Guild Award and the Sequoyah Award.

» THE CLOSER YOU COME by Gena Showalter made USA Today's bestseller List.

» Gena Showlater's DARKEST KISS and Louisa Edwards's TOO HOT TO TOUCH were mentioned in a Buzzfeed article about romance novels you wish you'd known about sooner.

» The French edition of Ramez Naam’s NEXUS is a finalist for the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire, while Naam’s story “Water” is a finalist for the Seiun Award (a Japanese speculative fiction award for the best science fiction published in Japan during the preceding year).

» Nephele Tempest's blog was chosen for Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers list this year.
» Deidre Knight and Pamela Harty were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit the set of 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, which was filmed in Atlanta and is based on the bestselling memoir by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey. Some photos from the set are below:

Interview with Faith Hunter

DARK HEIRFaith Hunter decided to become a writer in high school, when a teacher told her she had talent. Now she is the New York Times best-selling author of the dark urban fantasy Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock. She also writes action adventure, mysteries, and thrillers under her pen name Gwen Hunter. As Faith and Gwen, she has more than 33 books in print in 29 countries. 

TKA: For readers who haven't read any of the Jane Yellowrock series, could you share a bit about how Jane came to be and where you first came up with the idea?

Faith: I was sitting with urban fantasy author Kim Harrison and we were exploring the idea of new books and series and I bounced this new voice off of her. Then I read the first Temple Grandin book and I was hooked on the animal brain as opposed to the human brain. And I began to remember the old Tarzan movies. You know, "Me Tarzan. You Jane." Between the two events, Jane was born, with her Beast inside her.

Of course it took a lot of work to hone Jane, and my editor at ROC was a huge help in getting the Beast-Jane voice right.

Their voices were difficult to find and even harder to let grow. To me, Jane is like one of those faceted crystal prism balls. It’s clear, but when you hold it up to look inside, it bends light around in strange and wonderful ways, and throws off rainbow hues. And if you drop it, it may shatter internally, while keeping its character and shape. Jane is like that. Violent, broken, tender, loving, giving, solitary.
Jane is a Cherokee Skinwalker—possibly the last of her kind. She is a modern woman who uses tech and rode a vintage Harley named Bitsa until a being of light crashed into Bitsa and broke her up pretty bad. Yes. A being of light. Jane’s world is ours, but not ours, and the “not ours” part means the presence of the occasional odd creature.

Jane is a warrior woman who accidentally did black magic once, very long ago, and now has the soul of a mountain lion inside with her, and that puma (panther, screamer cat, mountain lion) has her own voice, too. Jane is complicated, partially because so much of her own history was lost to her in a version of traumatic, protective amnesia that left her without language, social skills, and history. As I have written the series, the tangled knot of her past has begun to unravel to me, to become an open book. (Collective groan, I know.) But instead of growing less confusing, she is simply growing more complicated, and not only because of her coexistence with Beast.

Beast’s voice was even more difficult because Beast started out with an animal brain and learned the concept of language from Jane. This made her voice primitive, and language skills nascent at best, and her understanding of social skills… well, let’s be kind and call them minimalistic. But mostly with Beast, there is her growing fascination with all things human, vamp, witchy, and were.

If you are interested in trying her/them out, the first in the series is SKINWALKER.
TKA: Since Jane is a Cherokee skinwalker, have you always been interested in Native American culture or did it require a lot of research?

Faith: Just before I started the Skinwalker series, I discovered that I am part African American—20-ish %— and maybe as much as 40% mixed tribal American Indian, mostly Cherokee and Choctaw.
I was quickly fascinated with the Cherokee mythos, and especially the skinwalker mythos and its origins. I also know a Cherokee Elder and got a ton of info from her and her books. She was very helpful about the rituals and the “Christian-i-zation” of the Cherokee religion and people. She knows the early stories, the pre-Christian stories of the Cherokee, or the Tsalagi, also called the Chelokay.
I am equally fascinated with the language, which is lilting and flowing, like water in a river, and I try to use some Cherokee words and phrases.

That fascination led to a lot of delightful research and hours spent learning.
TKA: Jane is a great example of a three-dimensional character who is often conflicted yet always growing. What advice would you give to writers who struggle with creating believable characters?
Faith: Give your main character a history that is revealed slowly, like an exotic dancer, one piece at a time throughout the story. Give your character(s) internal and external conflicts. Give them someone to love and someone to hate, someone to protect and an enemy to be fought. Then twist them up in the plot until they should break, but don’t, because they grow and fight and overcome the obstacles in their paths.
TKA: What is a typical writing day like for you?
Faith: My day is pretty mundane. Up at 8-ish. Take the dogs out. Email and PR work get the juices going. Then I rewrite the previous day’s pages, adding new content where I left things out. Around 1 or 2, I’ll eat brunch. Yes, I know it isn’t really brunch by that time, but when you don’t have an appetite until 1 or 2 p.m., it’s a “whatever-meal”. So I call it brunch. Then I start writing (if I haven’t yet). I usually write about 8 hours, though there are days when I don’t stop for 12 hours. But except for hot deadlines, the family eats supper at 8-ish. TV and dogs and the Hubs get attention after that.

These days I’m in bed by 11 at the latest, so I can get more sleep.

Well… All this is true except when I’m on the water, kayaking, or on the road with the Hubby and rescued Pomeranians, Tommy and Tuffy, RV-ing. Then the schedule goes all to heck and back!

TKA: Finally, how many novels do you have planned for the series, and are you currently working on anything outside of Jane Yellowrock?

Faith: Dark Heir is book 9, and at the moment I am planning between 12 and 15 books. I know that sounds amorphous, but I really won’t know how many books until I finish Jane book 10 (currently untitled).

YES I have a new series!!! Squeeeee!

The Soulwood series is a spinoff, from a character that Jane Yellowrock met in the short story “Off the Grid”, Nell Nicholson Ingram. Here’s the blurb for BLOOD OF THE EARTH:

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out…

Visit Faith's official website, follow her on Twitter, and join her fans on Facebook.

Author Tip of the Month

WHAT A DEVILISH DUKE DESIRESVicky Dreiling is the triple RITA finalist author of The Sinful Scoundrels series, including her latest, WHAT A DEVILISH DUKE DESIRES.

Vicky's Tip: True confession: I spent ten years in corporate marketing. This means I have a fairly good grasp of how marketing and promotion actually work—or not. The number-one mistake I see writers making is what I call the “hit and run” approach on certain social media sites such as Facebook. While we hear a lot about visibility, the concept is not new at all. Furthermore, visibility alone is insufficient. In order to make the most of your post, you must engage with readers.

With a site like Twitter, it may seem impossible to create impressions, but it isn’t if you’re savvy. You can easily create a Yahoo group with other authors in your genre & promote one another. It’s super easy. The person(s) needing promotion post one or more tweets that others in the group copy/paste to Twitter. Every retweet extends your reach. Now how easy is that?

None of this should take more than ten minutes of your time. You can schedule a Facebook post the night before or early in the morning, and return later to comment on the readers’ posts. Even a simple “like” click lets readers know that you read their responses. The idea is to get the reader to take an action of some sort even if it’s only a “like” or an “I agree.”

For more information about Vicky, be sure to visit

New Releases

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