Friday, December 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A gorgeous gala for former Vogue editor turned OAfrica founder, Lisa Lovatt-Smith

Published this month from Weinstein Books, the memoir Who Knows Tomorrow tells the extraordinary, true story of Lisa Lovatt-Smith, who was handpicked by Anna Wintour to work at Vogue, rose quickly through the ranks as an international editor, then gave everything up to volunteer with orphans in rural Ghana. Finding the orphanage conditions appalling and abusive, Lisa founded OAfrica and dedicated her life and resources to improving conditions for hundreds of Ghanian children.

Lisa recently held a charity gala for OAfrica to coincide with her book launch at the Pierre Hotel in New York. It was full of celebrities, Vogue insiders, and fashion! All proceeds went directly to OAfrica (as do a portion of the book profits). OAfrica's mission, per its website, follows:

OAfrica empowers children and young people in need of care and protection because of institutionalization, abandonment, discrimination or abuse to become productive members of their communities. We accomplish this by strengthening families and reintegrating separated or at-risk children whose rights have been compromised due to poverty, violence, trafficking, and HIV/AIDS into safe, stable and loving environments. We work to keep families together, send children to school, keep mothers alive and protect children by transforming systems.

Gala Chair, actress Rosario Dawson opened the event, which was sponsored and hosted by Valentino. An auction followed, and all guests received copies of Who Knows Tomorrow. In her speech, Lisa Lovatt-Smith spoke movingly about her work, and about having battled the HIV/AIDS epidemic and now facing the looming threat of Ebola.

Rosario Dawson
Courtesy of

Guests in attendance included actor Ben Stiller, model and actress Selita Ebanks, Nylon magazine Style Director Dani Stahl, fashion photographer Kelly Klein, DJ and model Leigh Lezark, Vensette founder Lauren Remington Platt, Valentino brand ambassador Carlos Souza, and many more.

The New York Post's Page Six featured the event, as did Avenue Magazine. To view the celebrities in attendance and the stunning designers they wore, check out the photos here:

Pictured left to right, Valentino Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri, Ben Stiller, Lisa Lovatt-Smith, and Valentino Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli
Courtesy of

Friday, October 10, 2014

Newly minted NYT bestseller Sarah Waters's THE PAYING GUESTS is a "tour de force"

We are so excited that Sarah Waters's The Paying Guests (Riverhead, October 2014) is a New York Times bestseller! It debuted at #12 last week, hits #7 this week, and will be #9 next week! This marks the first time one of Waters's novels--perennial bestsellers in the UK--has hit the US bestseller lists. Congratulations, Sarah!

The Paying Guests is also a finalist for the inaugural Kirkus Prize (winners to be announced October 23) and is an Indie Next and Library Reads pick. It's hit #8 on the Indie Bestseller List and debuted at #3 on the UK Sunday Times bestseller list. The regional US has been taken by storm as well, with The Paying Guests recently reaching #4 on the New England list, #8 on the Southern list, #13 on the Mountains and Plains, #7 on the Pacific NW, #7 on the Heartland, #6 for SoCal, #8 for NoCA, and #9 for New Atlantic.

So just how did The Paying Guests explode across the literary scene?

Part of its success has had to do with Riverhead's publishing team, which garnered extensive national coverage (see below) and completely repackaged Waters's five-book backlist to echo The Paying Guests's gorgeous cover. But, really, their efforts have only served to illuminate for the nation something anyone who reads Waters's books already knows: Sarah Waters is immensely talented and writes amazing, haunting, heart-stoppingly good novels.

Slate's review describes Waters's particular talent perfectly:

Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.

While Waters's previous books have taken place in Victorian- or 1940s-era England, The Paying Guests marks her first foray into the 1920s. It was a particularly rich and complex time in England, as Waters explains in her New York Times interview:

“It’s that shift, that moment of modernity," Ms. Waters said. "The impact of the First World War was to shake things up enormously, loosening up old mores, fashions and behaviors. The early ’20s were like the waist of an hourglass. Lots of things were hurtling toward it and squeezing through it and then hurtling out the other side.”

In The Paying Guests, as with all her books, Waters captures historical details so precisely it feels like you're living and breathing the 1920s the moment you open the book. Waters describes how she achieves this in a recent Out Magazine interview:

“Just as we’re sitting here, the way our clothes feel, the things we can hear, all the food we’re eating—we don’t notice because it’s just a part of the fabric of our lives,” she says. “You have to think about those things that are so much a part of the fabric of your characters’ lives that they cease to notice them, and yet try to convey them to a reader quietly.”

While a central plot point in The Paying Guests revolves around a crime, the book is about so much more. “I wanted to write a love story that’s complicated by a crime, not a crime story complicated by love,” Waters told Vogue in her recent interview.

It's smart choices like this, combined with her retrofitting talent, historical precision, and more that have contributed to a simply must-read book. For a taste, check out the Wall Street Journal excerpt.

And if, somehow, you still need convincing, here are only a portion of the glowing reviews:

"Some novels are so good, so gripping or shattering that they leave you uncertain whether you should have ever started them. You open The Paying Guests and immediately surrender to the smooth assuredness of Waters’s silken prose. Nothing jars. You relax. You turn more pages. You start turning them faster. Before long, you resemble Coleridge’s Wedding-Guest: You cannot choose but read. The book has you in thrall. You will follow Waters and her story anywhere. Yet when that story ends, you find yourself emotionally sucked dry, as much stunned as exhilarated by the power of art." --The Washington Post

“Will keep you sleepless for three nights straight and leave you grasping for another book that can sustain that high.” --Entertainment Weekly, "A" rating

The Paying Guests was also ranked #3 on Entertainment Weekly's “Must” list; they called it “one of the year’s most engrossing and suspenseful novels…a love affair, a shocking murder, and a flawless ending."

The Paying Guests is a knockout… As alert as Waters is to historical detail, she's also a superb storyteller with a gift for capturing the layered nuances of character and mood….Spellbinding…The Paying Guests is one of those big novels you hate to see end.” --NPR

"Perhaps Waters’s most impressive accomplishment is the authentic feel she achieves, that the telling—whether in its serious, exciting, comic or sexy passages—has no modern tinge. ..The story appears not merely to be about the novel’s time but to have been written by someone living in that time, thumping out the whole thing on a manual typewriter." --The New York Times Book Review

[A] tour de force of precisely observed period detail and hidden passions.” --Wall Street Journal

An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex...Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight...As life-and-death questions are answered, new ones come up, and until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen. Waters keeps getting better, if that’s even possible after the sheer perfection of her earlier novels.” --Kirkus, starred review

“Dazzling. [Waters] can, it seems, do everything: the madness of love; the squalor of desire; the coexistence of devotion and annoyance; 'the tangle of it all'...At her greatest, Waters transcends genre...The Paying Guests is the apotheosis of her talent.” --The Financial Times

“Waters seems to revel in 19th and 20th century British history as a dolphin does in water: Her literary depictions of domestic life, manners, architecture, class structure, the weight of war and the volatility of love all appear as effortless as they are beautifully executed…Moving and delicately wrought.”--Los Angeles Times

“Waters turns to the 1920s and delivers what feels like three novels for the price of one…a meticulously observed comedy of awkward manners… a story of torrid, forbidden trysts conducted behind a facade of conventional feminine respectability…[and] a tense tale of crime, mystery and suspense that culminates in a nail-biting courtroom drama…Exceedingly difficult to put down, The Paying Guests should scratch the same big-novel itch that Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch satisfied last year.” --Salon

[A] delicious hothouse of a novel…There's palpable tension from page one, so buckle up and prepare for a wild ride--one that's under perfect authorial control…Somehow, Waters pulls off this improbable feat with fine-tuned prose that's by turns crisply cool and pressure-cooker hot. The Paying Guests channels the past via E.M. Forster, Dickens and Tolstoy, quickened with a dollop of contemporary Dennis Lehane noir…This is a fever dream of a novel—Waters' best—that will leave you all wrung out.” --USA Today

[A] pulse-pounder of a novel that feels…personal and raw…even while it delivers the genre goods…Waters remains a master of her genre, the historical novel rewritten as a dissection of the individual conscience…Undeniably fascinating.” --The Chicago Tribune

“The new Sarah Waters novel, which finds the author at the height of her powers, weaves her characteristic threads of historical melodrama, lesbian romance, class tension, and sinister doings into a fabric of fictional delight that alternately has the reader flipping pages as quickly as possible, to find out what happens next, and hesitating to turn the page, for fear of what will happen next.” --Boston Globe

“If you haven’t already embraced the novels of Sarah Waters, now is the moment. Don’t think twice. Collect all six and devour them with the same feverish abandon of the lovers who can be found between their covers…[The Paying Guests]  is no romance novel or mere thriller, but a well-wrought, closely observed drama of a tumultuous period in British history… Herein lies the deliciousness of this book, and the others Waters has written: As much as Frances longs to give her heart to someone who will cherish it, we can never be sure, when she opens the final door, whether she will find the lady or the gallows.” --St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“It's been a while since a book kept me up until 3:30 a.m., but The Paying Guests grabbed me and would not let me go until I turned page 566 and closed the cover with a sigh. The wonderfully melodramatic plot, the brilliant characterization of protagonist Frances Wray, the vivid depiction of the zeitgeist in post-WWI London--each of these elements was equally responsible for the kidnapping of this unsuspecting reader.” --Newsday

A singular novel of psychological tension, emotional depth and historical detail.” --BookPage

An absorbing character study [and] expertly paced and gripping psychological narrative...Readers of Water’s previous novels know that she brings historical eras to life with consummate skill, rendering authentic details into layered portraits of particular times and places...Breathtaking.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review

So brilliantly unexpected, and so nerve-shreddingly tense, that it keeps the reader guessing until the very last paragraph.” --The Bookseller

“A beautiful and turbulent novel about the complexity, and often futility, of personal and social change…With The Paying Guests, Waters has not only crafted a vivid portrait of class dissolution in post-WWI London, but also a look at the achingly human need for a sense of purpose and, if we’re lucky, a little intimacy.” --AV Club

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to Become an International Bestseller in 8 Steps!

1. Write novels about famous maligned women in history and Tudor spies.

C.W. Gortner tells the stories of famous historical figures as you've never heard them before. The Last Queen (Ballantine 2008) is about “Juana La Loca,” the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country's throne. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici (2010) is about the last legitimate descendant of the Medici line who became—according to some—a most ruthless queen of France. The Queen's Vow (2012) is about Isabella of Castile, the warrior-queen who sent Columbus to America. In 2016, Ballantine will publish a stunning, new Gortner novel about Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Italy's first crime family.

Gortner's The Tudor Secret (St. Martin's Press 2011), The Tudor Conspiracy (2013), and The Tudor Vendetta (forthcoming October 2014) follow the story of a spy in the Tudor court during the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.

Gortner's next novel, coming from William Morrow in March 2015, imagines the life of the woman who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century—Coco Chanel! Look out for Mademoiselle Chanel in the spring!

2. Make them good.

Simply put, Gortner's “meticulously researched,”1 “page-turner”2 novels “spi[n] grand tale[s] of opulence and deception, privilege and destruction, madness and fragile love”3 that “captiv[ate] audiences with their complexity,”4 “com[ing] together with a beauty and passion that can't be found anywhere in the pages of history books”5; they are “masterwork[s] by a skilled craftsman...that will delight romantics and historians alike.”6

1. Publishers Weekly on The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
2. Historical Novel Society on The Tudor Conspiracy
3. Historical Novel Review on The Last Queen
4. on The Tudor Secret
5. Romantic Times Book Reviews on The Queen's Vow
6. New York Journal of Books on The Queen's Vow

3. Sell your novels in 23 countries and counting.

Bulgaria * China * Croatia * Czech Republic * Estonia * Germany * Hungary * Indonesia * Italy * Latvia * Lithuania * Norway * Poland * Portugal * Romania * Russia * Serbia * Slovenia * Spain * Sweden * Turkey * United Kingdom * United States

4. Get a great Polish publicist—and a great Polish publisher and Polish coagent, etc, etc.

Above is Gortner (right) pictured with his publicist (center) from Polish publisher Znak.

5. Get sent to Poland on an international tour.

6. While in Poland, appear on popular TV and radio programs; speak at major bookstores; and get reviewed and interviewed in newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs.

Above, Gortner talks at Matras bookstore and answers reader questions about The Queen's Vow. Among many other places, he was interviewed at Newsweek Polska and!

And check out the gorgeous banner ad for The Queen's Vow!

7. Sign lots of people's books.

8. Congratulations, you are now an international bestseller!

The Queen's Vow rocketed up the bestseller list throughout Poland soon after its release, making individual bestseller lists at Matras bookstores, Empik bookstores, and many internet bookstore outlets.

Congratulations, C.W. Gortner!

Next Step: Repeat Steps 1 – 3 and look for another great opportunity!

Monday, July 21, 2014

TV rights to WONDROUS STRANGE series go to Shaftesbury

Apparently it's all TV/film deals, all the time! We've had a number of exciting TV/film deals announced recently (see The Clan of the Cave Bear and Olivia Kidney), and now we're delighted to announce another!

Leading producer Shaftesbury Films has acquired TV rights to Lesley Livingston's acclaimed Wondrous Strange trilogy, published by HarperCollins! The award-winning trilogy, which includes Wondrous Strange (2008), Darklight (2009), and Tempestuous (2010), follows the adventures of Kelly Winslow, a teenager whose life takes a dramatic turn when she learns she is the long-lost heir to the Faerie realm. 

Livingston will be part of the creative team behind the Wondrous Strange TV production, and as she says in Quill and Quire, "To say that I’m excited about this would be a galactic understatement. Galactic." Shaftesbury produced the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's long-running Murdoch Mysteries series, as well as the Canadian Television Network's paranormal police series The Listener.

The announcement was picked up by Deadline, Quill and Quire, and Publishers Weekly, among others.

Below is the full press release with additional details:


“With a marvelously refreshing heroine, a genuinely lovable hero, and a swift-moving, fascinating plot, Ms. Livingston gives a modern twist to the age-old epic hero’s 'coming of age’ story. Wondrous Strange shows that the world of Faerie can be updated and yet retain its age-old charm - as well as its aura of deadly danger. This is my kind of fiction, and my kind of heroine!”
-LJ Smith, author of The Vampire Diaries

TORONTO/LOS ANGELES, July 14, 2014 – Leading producer Shaftesbury has acquired the television rights to Lesley Livingston’s acclaimed Wondrous Strange young adult trilogy, published by HarperCollins Canada as well as HarperCollins U.S. Including Wondrous Strange (2009), Darklight (2010) and Tempestuous (2011), the book series follows the adventures of a young woman who discovers she is the long-lost heir to the Faerie realm.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bitten and Orphan Black have shown us that television audiences are hungry for genre series featuring strong female protagonists who are dealing with extraordinary circumstances in the real world,” said Maggie Murphy, Head, Shaftesbury U.S. “By putting a refreshingly darker spin on classic fairy lore, Wondrous Strange offers an entirely new fantasy world that has never been seen before, with empowering, believable characters who speak directly to the young female demographic.”

“I could not be more thrilled to hand this world and these characters over to Shaftesbury,” said Livingston. “This kind of creative, dedicated, professional team is one that writers wait a long time for and I’m so excited to see this story getting the opportunity to grow beyond the pages of the books.”

Shaftesbury has a long-standing, successful track record in adapting the best of Canadian literature for film and television, including the works of Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields, Mordecai Richler, Timothy Findley, Morley Callaghan, Michael Ignatieff, Dr. Vincent Lam and Maureen Jennings.

In Wondrous Strange, when the invisible membrane dividing our world from an unknown, other dimension is punctured, a young woman named Kelly Winslow joins a small Guard determined to stop the tide of evil…but soon discovers she is born of the very thing she has sworn to destroy. With the mysterious Sonny Flannery by her side, Kelly learns Faeries are alive and well and that she is the missing heir to their throne. As she falls desperately for Sonny, she wonders if the two can ever truly be together. In New York City, just off Broadway - amongst never-ending roadwork, digital overload and street meat - lies the battleground. The evil in Wondrous Strange hides in plain sight, often disguised in seemingly benign human form - always present, awaiting that split-second opportunity when we lower our guard. Late at night the parasites come to call, to snatch our innocent sleeping children. Can Kelly embrace her heritage in time to save the imperfect world she calls home?

Released in Canada and the U.S. in 2009 and multiple international markets including Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, Russia and Poland, Wondrous Strange was the 2010 Canadian Literary Association’s Young Adult Book of the Year and the 2010 White Pine Honor Book, and was also shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Speculative Fiction.

Lesley Livingston is an acclaimed Toronto-based author whose Wondrous Strange series includes Darklight (2010) and Tempestuous (2011). Livingston’s second trilogy, published by Penguin Canada, includes Once Every Never (2011), Every Never After (2013) and Now and For Never (2014). A spin-off to the Wondrous Strange series, Starling, was released by HarperTeen in 2012 and includes Descendant (2013) and Transcendent (forthcoming December 2014). Livingston’s middle-grade series with Jonathan Llyr, The Wiggins Weird, was published by Penguin Canada in 2013 and includes How to Curse in Hieroglyphics and The Haunting of Heck House. A principal performer and founding member of the Toronto-based Tempest Theatre Group, Livingston also regularly appeared on the Space network series, Spacebar. Livingston is represented by the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc.

About Shaftesbury
With offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, Shaftesbury is an innovative creator and distributor of original content for television and digital platforms. Sold in 120 countries worldwide, Shaftesbury's programming slate includes five seasons of The Listener for CTV, Fox International Channels and ION Television; eight seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for CBC, UKTV and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment; and the hit kids series Life with Derek. Shaftesbury's groundbreaking digital media division, Smokebomb Entertainment, creates convergent experiences for television and original digital content including the comedy series Backpackers for The CW and CTV Extend; tween series Totally Amp'd and Unlikely Heroes for and Hulu; and 3D sci-fi series State of Syn for Hulu and Google Glass. Shaftesbury recently launched shift2, an innovative agency that creates, manages and markets digital content targeting Generation C on YouTube. Visit us online at, and

For more information:
Katherine Wolfgang
416-363-1411 x163 or 416-669-2823

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jean M. Auel's THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR to become major TV series on Lifetime

We are thrilled to announce that Jean M. Auel's bestselling The Clan of the Cave Bear and Earth’s Children® series will soon be on TV! Lifetime has ordered a pilot for a potential 2015 launch, with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Allison Shearmur, and Linda Woolverton involved.

The Clan of the Cave Bear, the first in Auel's Earth’s Children® series, was originally published in 1980 by Random House. The sixth in the series, The Land of Painted Caves, came out in 2011. All six books are New York Times and international bestsellers, with over 60 million copies having sold globally.

In light of the heavy-hitters involved in The Clan of the Cave Bear pilot, people in the industry speculate this production could be the breakout series for a cable channel that has recently begun widening its viewer appeal and broadening its scope. Plans are also in the works for Lifetime to adapt the Stephen King novella Big Driver and V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic, among others.

Below is the full press release, which was picked up in Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, and Broadway World, among others:


RON HOWARD, BRIAN GRAZER and ALLISON SHEARMUR to Executive Produce and LINDA WOOLVERTON to Write Pilot Based on JEAN M. AUEL’S Series of Best-Selling Novels

LOS ANGELES, CA (July 9, 2014) – Lifetime has ordered the drama pilot The Clan of the Cave Bear, based on Jean M. Auel’s series of best-selling novels, it was announced today by Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Lifetime. A co-production of Fox 21 and Lionsgate in association with Imagine Television and Allison Shearmur Productions, the project will be executive produced by Academy Award®-winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Rush) and Oscar® and Emmy® Award winner Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, 24), along with Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Cinderella), Linda Woolverton (Maleficent, The Lion King), who is writing the pilot, Francie Calfo (Gang Related, Empire) and Jean M. Auel. The project is targeted for a potential 2015 launch.

“I’ve always admired Jean M. Auel’s timeless work,” said Sharenow.  “With the visionary creative team of Ron Howard, Linda Woolverton, Brian Grazer, Alli Shearmur, Jean M. Auel and Francie Calfo behind it, this project has it all--epic storytelling, great characters and a unique world that’s never been explored on television before.  This is exactly the type of top-tier creative talent and great stories we embrace at Lifetime.”

The first book of Auel’s Earth’s Children® series, The Clan of the Cave Bear, takes place at a time in prehistory more than 25,000 years ago when Neanderthals shared the Earth with the first early modern humans and a band of cave dwellers adopt blond and blue-eyed Ayla, a child of the “Others.” As Ayla matures into a young woman of spirit and courage, she must fight for survival against the jealous bigotry of Broud, who will one day be clan leader.

Auel’s book series has sold more than 60 million copies globally and all six books have been New York Times bestsellers.

Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. Lionsgate currently has over 30 television shows on more than 20 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show and the critically-acclaimed series Orange is the New Black.

Fox 21 is a cable production studio housed within Twentieth Century Fox Television devoted to making creatively ambitious scripted series for the cable television market, as well as unscripted shows for both cable and broadcast networks. Fox 21 currently produces the Emmy and Golden Globe winning Homeland starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, the critically acclaimed smash hit Sons of Anarchy (with FX Productions), Brannon Braga and Adam Simon’s freshman hit Salem, Howard Gordon’s dramatic thriller Tyrant, the animated comedy Brickleberry from Daniel Tosh and Witches of East End starring Julia Ormond and Jenna Dewan Tatum. The studio also produces the upcoming Rush from Jonathan Levine and Legends from Howard Gordon and Jonathan Levin, and is developing the drama series The Bastard Executioner (with FX productions) from Kurt Sutter and Imagine TV’s Brian Grazer.

Lifetime is a premier female-focused entertainment destination dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning scripted series, non-fiction series and movies.  As a result of the network’s aggressive programming strategy that has doubled the hours of its original programming, 2013 marked Lifetime’s second straight year of growth among Total Viewers.  Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks.  A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

A+E Networks Official Press Site:

Contact: Les Eisner

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hypocrisy suspected in school board's ban of THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST

This Monday, Cape Gazette announced that the Cape Henlopen school board in Delaware had decided to ban The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth from its summer reading list. The announcement coincidentally came just as LGBT Pride Month was ending and sparked a backlash against the school board on Twitter and the blogosphere.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a critically acclaimed young adult novel published by HarperCollins in 2012. It tells the story of a girl named Cameron growing up in rural Montana whose parents die in a car accident the same day she kisses a girl for the first time. Feeling a mixture of guilt and relief that her parents will never find out, Cameron moves in with her highly conservative aunt and eventually falls in love with her best friend, a girl. When her aunt discovers the truth, she sends Cameron to a religious conversion camp, where Cameron must decide the person she wants to be. You can read more about the book in our previous posts here.

Below is an excerpt from Cape Gazette:

Citing language deemed inappropriate for entering freshmen, Cape Henlopen school board has removed "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" from the district’s summer reading list.

The book was part of a 10-book list given to district middle school students entering high school in the fall and taking college prep and honors classes. The list, called the Blue Hen List, is a collection of books deemed age-appropriate by state librarians from across the state.

Yet, as noted on, the school board was not concerned with the same "inappropriate" language in other books allowed to remain on the summer reading list, including The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Hypocrisy, anyone? posits the real issue was not inappropriate language but rather homophobia.

Here's more on what had to say about Danforth's book:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth, published in 2012, was a YA tour de force, a book that older queers wished had been written when they were kids, lauded by numerous high-brow publications for the quality of its writing. It was also nominated for the much-coveted Morris Award, given by the American Library Association each year to the best new voice in YA. This wasn’t just a book that the gays were reading. Everybody was reading it! And loving it! called upon readers to "act now," and email the school board with complaints. They posted the complaint letter they sent themselves, as well as the email addresses of all the members of the school board. You can view these here.

Browseabout Books, a local Delaware bookstore, got in the action.  It has been working with to give donated copies of The Miseducation of Cameron Post to interested readers in the area. Find out how to donate copies to the cause here.

In a recent blog post, Danforth pointed out that other books on the Blue Hen reading list have been banned elsewhere due to their supposedly offensive language. To combat this censorship, she decided to celebrate all the books on the original list with a massive giveaway. In collaboration with Browseabout Books, she's giving away every single book on the Blue Hen list--including a signed copy of her own and possibly others' books. Here are more details:

All you have to do to enter is to use your twitter account (easiest for tech-challenged me to track and collate) to explain, in not very many characters, why you want/need these books. Use the hashtag #LeaveTheBlueHenListAlone so that I can find your entry. (The limited character count is part of the challenge.) And you have to do this by next Friday, July 11th. Feel free to tweet about this as many times as you’d like—the more entries the better.

Already, people have been putting out some great reasons why these books are so important:

And, in a very recent update on, it seems the emails coming into the school board may have begun having some effect.  One board member claimed he would make a request to reinstate The Miseducation of Cameron Post on the reading list.

We can only hope the other board members will be swayed--but in the meantime, more emails to the school board can't hurt, nor can donating more books to interested readers in the area and speaking out to prevent censorship like this from continuing to happen now and in the future.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Phenomenal praise for THE MAN WHO WALKED AWAY

Maud Casey's The Man Who Walked Away has received phenomenal praise. The novel, published by Bloomsbury in March, is about a man who walks across Europe in a trance-like state and the doctor from whom he seeks help.

Check out our publicity round-up below!

The New York Times Book Review published a rave review from Geraldine Brooks!  Brooks called The Man Who Walked Away "richly engaged with language...Poignant, touching." 

The book also appeared in the Editor's Choice column in The New York Times Book Review.

The Washington Post published a glowing review, praising Casey for "evok[ing]--with no shortage of verve and gusto--the romance of 19th-century Europe."

National Public Radio (NPR) called Casey's handling of her story "a feat as graceful as it is clever" in its stellar review!

The Washington Independent Review of Books released another rave review, calling the novel "intelligent, superb...a beautiful, poignant story worth considering and reconsidering."

Kirkus Reviews gave the novel a starred review, too, and listed it in their "Most Overlooked Books" and "9 Novels Based on Extraordinary True Stories" lists!

The Washingtonian named The Man Who Walked Away a "Top Ten Book for March"!

The Man Who Walked Away was named a Publishers Weekly Book of the Week and received a starred review!

And here are excerpts of the amazing reviews:

Lyrical in its style and fascinating in its psychology, Casey’s narrative provokes a host of intriguing questions beyond those the Doctor raises, and Casey is wise enough as an author not to provide easy answers.” --Kirkus, starred review

Haunting...unconventional and engaging...Though her plot is solidly rooted in the history of medicine...Casey’s true focus is human rather than clinical. Our need for stories, our relationship with time, the inevitability of loss, and our startling endurance all resonate through her beautifully crafted interweaving of image and observation, fairy tale and fact.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review

“If I were blurbing Maud Casey’s The Man Who Walked Away, I’d be hard pressed to avoid labeling it ‘luminous’ and ‘liminal,’ and maybe even ‘lyrical’ and ‘plangent.’ Casey is a consummate stylist, and her new book is so richly engaged with language, so profligate with glorious sentences, that at times the prose ascends to the level of poetry. This is a writer who pays a deep, sensual attention to the world...Poignant and touching.” --Geraldine Brooks, The New York Times Book Review

“Casey’s book is a vivid chronicle of the time, bringing alive the mysteries and joys of a fledgling science...Shucking the theme of contemporary angst, Casey evokes — with no shortage of verve and gusto — the romance of 19th-century Europe...The Man Who Walked Away is as compelling a portrait as you will find of the co-dependence between psychiatrist and patient.” --The Washington Post

“Intelligent, superb...Casey’s spectacular third a meditation on the elusive nature of time and life, the way they approach and leave us...Casey’s capable hands have elevated these ideas into a beautiful, poignant story worth considering and reconsidering...Her prose leaves rich morsels on almost every page, satisfying in both beauty and complexity of thought...Casey’s characters find companionship and anchors in one another, and we are fortunate to find such company in this treasure of a book.” --Washington Independent Review of Books

“If you're listening closely enough, you might just hear [Casey] pull off a feat as graceful as it is clever...Casey handles the story expertly.” --National Public Radio

“Maud Casey's The Man Who Walked Away is a haunting, deeply empathetic, and rigorously intelligent novel. It is also seamless marvel of construction and language. The Man Who Walked Away cast a spell from which I never wished to wake.” --Alice Sebold, internationally bestselling author of The Lovely Bones

“Pay attention, this lovely novel urges. As Maud Casey spins this mysteriously urgent tale of patient and doctor entwining, her quicksilver prose yields one astonishing image after another: each moment fleetingly beautiful, each character here—here!—and nowhere else. As this novel is like nothing else. Reading it is a singularly moving experience.” --Andrea Barrett, National Book Award-winning author of Ship Fever and Archangel

The Man Who Walked Away is a book of enchantments of an extremely intelligent kind. Dreamlike and sharply real, the novel unfolds in a nineteenth-century asylum where all the inmates have their own poetry of delusion, fear turned to metaphor. Wildly original fiction, with a particular melancholy magic.” --Joan Silber, bestselling author of Ideas of Heaven and The Size of the World

Friday, May 16, 2014

Celebrate Children's Book Week with some stellar recent releases!

Happy Children's Book Week!

Children's Book Week has been celebrated every year in May since 1919, making it the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. The movement is run by Every Child a Reader, an organization “dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children,” and is sponsored by the Children's Book Council (CBC), the association of children's book publishers. According to the CBC site, 2013 saw over 150 Children's Book Week events held in 58 cities across the US. This year, they've been aiming for even more!

In celebration of Children's Book Week, we decided to highlight some of our exciting recent (and some upcoming) kids' books!

This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, May)  

In a recent Publishers Weekly podcast, Morris talks about how the picture book came to publishing light—with some coercion from Morris's wife and agent, Alice Tasman, along the way! Lichtenheld joins the podcast to discuss how he helped the surprise ending evolve, and more. Listen to it here!

Morris has also been doing a number of readings since the book's release, accompanied by none other than the book's star moose himself! Mum's the word on who's actually inside that moose suit, but feel free to take a guess... :)

Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor (Bloomsbury, May)

A glowing review from Booklist noted, “In this 'reverse dystopian' novel, Cantor skillfully invites the reader to see our world and all its shortcomings and idiosyncrasies through Sky's questioning gaze.”

Count on the Subway by Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf Books for Young Readers, May)

Count on the Subway was spotlighted in The New York Times Book Review's Children's Books section! It was also named an Editors' Choice pick!

Now and for Never by Lesley Livingston (Penguin Canada, May)

This will be the third in Livingston's Once Every Never trilogy, which began with Once Every Never in 2011 and was followed by Every Never After in 2013. Livingston is hosting a fab launch party for anyone in the Toronto area! Details are below if you happen to live nearby.

Burn Out by Kristi Helvig (Egmont, April)

A rave from Kirkus said of Burn Out, "Helvig builds a rock-solid future world and provides enough staggering plot twists and turns to keep pages flying to the gut-wrenching cliffhanger. A scorching series opener not to be missed”!

Gabe and Izzy: Standing Up for America's Bullied by Gabrielle Ford with Sarah Thomson (Puffin, March)

Publishers Weekly praised this book in a big article on bullying several months ago. You can find out more about the book and the PW article via our blog piece about National Bullying Prevention Month here.

Otis Dooda: Downright Dangerous by Ellen Potter, illustrated by David Heatley (Feiwel and Friends, March)

This is the hilarious sequel to Otis Dooda: Strange but True (2013). Otis has his own website, which simply should not be missed by any kids' book lovers! There you can download original songs based on the books, as well as super fun activities--such as How to Make Fart Goop or How to Make a Ninja Mask. So go check it out!

The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson (Knopf Books for Young Readers, February)

School Library Journal named this their top Recommended Summer Read! But it's also gotten heaps of accolades and praise since its release, which you should check out in our previous post on the book here!

Neverwas by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed (Arthur A. Levine Books, January)

Kirkus named Neverwas to its "Smart Reads for Teens" list!  In a separate rave review, it said, “In this sequel to Amber House (2012), the creepy atmosphere of its predecessor segues into full-blown terror...A wild ride that leaves its readers breathless.”

So now go out and celebrate Children's Book Week with some great reads!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Breaking news! Film rights to OLIVIA KIDNEY go to Moonbot Studios

We're so excited to announce that film rights to the Olivia Kidney trilogy by Ellen Potter have been acquired by Moonbot Studios!

Ellen Potter's critically acclaimed children's novel Olivia Kidney was published by Philomel in 2003. Publishers Weekly likened it to Alice in Wonderland, calling it "an imaginative, original offering with a poignant and satisfying ending that may bring a tear or two." Potter followed the first in the trilogy with Olivia Kidney Stops for No One in 2005 and Olivia Kidney and the Secret Beneath the City in 2007.

Below is the full press release via Reuters:

OLIVIA KIDNEY Film Rights Acquired by William Joyce’s Moonbot Studios

Academy Award®-Winning Team To Develop Feature Film

Moonbot Studios announced today that it will acquire film rights to the Olivia Kidney trilogy of young adult books by award-winning author Ellen Potter. The series is published by Philomel (a division of Penguin/Putnam). Moonbot plans to develop Olivia’s Alice in Wonderland-like adventures as a live action film with significant animation sequences. The film rights deal was handled by David Lipman and Michael Siegel for Moonbot and for Ellen Potter by Alice Tasman and Jennifer Weltz of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.

“At Moonbot, we’re grabbing for magic and Olivia Kidney has captivated us,” said William Joyce, Moonbot co-founder and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. “Ellen Potter has crafted a unique and enchanting fantasy that we can’t wait to bring to life as a film.”

Moonbot Studios has also recently acquired film rights to The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli, published by Chicken House Entertainment. Both books will be come part of Moonbot’s slate for feature films, chosen because of their high caliber of storytelling, immersive worlds and charming characters. These are the first books optioned by Moonbot outside of their internally-developed IP including The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, The Numberlys and The Lollipop 3.

For more information about Olivia Kidney visit:


Moonbot Studios is a secret, zero-gravity colony inhabited by interstellar beings in Shreveport, La. Their mission is to create the best books, films, apps, games, and entertainment in the galaxy. Award-winning artists and filmmakers William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg, and Lampton Enochs cofounded Moonbot Studios in 2009. Since then, Moonbot has produced an Academy Award®-winning short film, New York Times bestselling book and iTunes Hall of Fame app, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Moonbot’s Annie Award-winning short film for Chipotle Mexican Grill, The Scarecrow has garnered over 12 million views on YouTube. The studio’s latest book, The Numberlys, will be released in May 2014. For more information, visit

Moonbot Studios
Sara Hebert, 318-213-0193

Monday, March 31, 2014

Celebrating amazing women for Women's History Month

There are all kinds of ways to honor Women's History Month. Here in the publishing world we like to honor it by reading books about amazing women—whether real, fictional, historical, or contemporary.

In taking a look at all our JVNLA books centered around amazing women, we realized we simply had too many to we created a Pinterest board! Check it out below.

One of the highlights on the adult fiction side is the prehistorical novel of a young woman, Ayla, who must learn to survive among a people who look and speak entirely unlike her in The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel (Crown; 1979, 2010). It's the beginning of a six-book saga that dramatizes the story of human survival itself.

On the adult nonfiction side, there's Natalie Zemon Davis's Women on the Margins (Harvard University Press; 1997, 2003) about the lives of three women from the seventeenth century whose daily dilemmas and turmoils reveal what it meant to be a woman during that period of history, and which also shed insight on women's lives today.

For the kids' fiction side, there's Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss (Skyscape, 2012) about a seventeen-year-old girl in Renaissance Italy who wants to find true love but is forced to enter a convent. She ends up falling in love with painting instead and journeys toward self-discovery.

Then on the kids' nonfiction side, there's the Newbery Honor Book and Boston Globe-Horn Award-winner Upon the Head of a Goat (FSG; 1981, 2004). Written by Aranka Siegal, this memoir tells the story of her childhood in Hungary as World War II starts, her father begins serving on the Russian front, and eventually she and her family are taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Click below to see the full Pinterest board!

These books are timeless, inspiring reads, so pick them up now--or any other month--and dive in!

Friday, February 28, 2014

"Eye-opening and insightful," THE TYRANT'S DAUGHTER is a must read

The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson has been having a great release month this February! It was named to the YA Movers and Shakers list on Goodreads where, according to Goodreads, it's been “racing up [their] popularity charts.” It was selected to the coveted position of “Amazon Best of the Month” in the teen category, one of only four total books. And it was named to Book Riot's list of hot new books to read in 2014.

Written by a former CIA officer, The Tyrant's Daughter tells the story of fifteen-year-old Laila, who has fled with her family from an unnamed Middle Eastern country after her father was killed in a coup. In Washington, D.C., Laila must adjust to a completely new life and new school, where she is shocked by girls who wear tank tops and shorts and where newspapers refer to her father as a “dictator.” Just as Laila's life begins to precariously balance amidst new friends, her mother's refusal to let go of the past threatens to upend everything in a new international crisis.

Central Ohio NPR's Shelf Discovery program recently spotlighted The Tyrant's Daughter.  They highly recommended the book, saying, “Although it was written for teens, The Tyrant's Daughter is an eye-opening and insightful short novel that has something to say to readers of all ages.” You can listen to the full review here.

Nearly every reviewer has praised Carleson's “beautifully written” prose (Booklist) and the complexity of Laila as a character. The strength of Carleson's writing is immediately evident when you pick up The Tyrant's Daughter. Take a look for yourself via the excerpt made available by Knopf Books for Young Readers here.

Below are some of the excellent reviews that have come in for The Tyrant's Daughter:

“Filled with political intrigue and emotional tension...Riveting...Raising as many questions as answers about Laila’s fate, the novel challenges social values close to home and abroad.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Absorbing, character-driven...Carleson shrewdly makes what has become a sadly familiar story on the evening news accessible by focusing on the experiences of one innocent girl at the center of it. Laila is a complex and layered character whose nuanced observations will help readers better understand the divide between American and Middle Eastern cultures. Smart, relevant, required reading.” --Kirkus, starred review

“This is more than just Laila’s story; rather, it is a story of context, beautifully written, and stirring in its questions and eloquent observations about our society and that of the Middle East.” --Booklist

“An amazingly gripping and honest tale. Carleson keeps her readers feeling as though they have just returned from traveling in a foreign land, making those faraway issues feel a little more personal—a feat few can achieve with words alone.” --BookPage

Timely, relevant, and fascinating, Laila’s story offers readers an accessible understanding of the seemingly intractable nature of Middle East politics.” --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Some books are entertaining, some books are eye opening, but it's a special book that's both...Insightful and honest, this book also delivers a powerful ending worthy of Homeland.” --Justine Magazine

“A touching, suspenseful story...Every American should read this book. It’s an eye-opener.” --Suzanne Fisher Staples, New York Times bestselling author of Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

Friday, January 31, 2014

Non-stop buzz for some phenomenal January/February releases

The past two weeks have seen quite a few of our books released, and this coming week will see even more! While book releases are always exciting, there's been nearly non-stop buzz for each of the below over the past few weeks. We decided to highlight some of our favorite promotions, publicity, reviews, and more.

Archetype by M.D. Waters (Dutton, February 6, 2014)

Archetype was named an Indie Next Pick for February by the American Booksellers Association (ABA)!  In the Indie Next write-up, Melissa Oates from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC, wrote, "This is a great futuristic novel that will lead readers to questions of ethics and provide lots of material for group discussions."

Dutton has also created amazing swag for the book, which was featured at ComicCon, the ABA Winter Institute, and the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting. Below is an image of the t-shirts that made an appearance. There were also tattoos and tote bags!

The back of the t-shirt says...
 The original pattern from which all things of the same type are copies.
What's yours?
Coming 2/6/2014

The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert (Riverhead, February 6, 2014)

Tattered Cover Bookstore named The Swan Gondola a V.I.B.--Very Impressive Book!

They say about their V.I.B.'s, "Every now and then we encounter a new book that we're so excited about we want to shout it from the rooftops, so we've created a special tag to distinguish it from the rest: TC VIB (very impressive book)! That means it’s a true stand-out in a season of many excellent and compelling new books."

The Swan Gondola was also named a "Most Anticipated Book of 2014" by The Millions, among great company like Lorrie Moore and Haruki Murakami. Check out The Millions's blurb below:

Worthy Brown's Daughter by Phillip Margolin (Harper, January 21, 2014)

Publishers Weekly
featured New York Times-bestselling author Phillip Margolin's latest in a huge, two-page spread! They also interviewed him about the writing process. Check out the first page below:

Worthy Brown's Daughter
was also named to USA Today's Hottest Books List! The article said, "This departure for best-selling thriller writer Margolin might appeal to fans of the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave."

by C.J. Sansom (Mulholland Books, January 28, 2014)

The boon of all boons came the day before Dominion's release, when the great Stephen King himself tweeted about how much he loved the book!

Someone must have thought his first tweet was a gimmick, because he followed it up with another tweet:

As Stephen King explained above, Dominion is an alternate history of what might have happened had the Nazis won World War II and occupied Great Britain. To play up this idea, Mulholland Books created fantastic mock-ups of the British newspapers The Evening Standard, The Daily Express, and The Times of London as they might have looked had this alternate history really occurred. The papers were giveaways at Bourchercon and went into publicity mailings as well. Check out The Evening Standard below:

The Vanishing
by Wendy Webb (Hyperion, January 21, 2014)

The Vanishing
was named a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association! In its write-up, the booksellers association called the book "another escapist bit of commercial fiction with a mysterious edge that remains popular with readers."

Webb has also been in the midst of a whirlwind book tour throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and New Orleans, themed "the Southern gothic meets the Northern gothic"--since Webb's books are contemporary gothic novels set in the Midwest and the South is so famous for their own gothic novels.  Unfortunately, given the recent weather that's shut down places like Atlanta, some of Webb's book signings were put in jeopardy.  She tweeted about it below:

A Life in Men
by Gina Frangello (Algonquin Books, February 4, 2014)

Like The Swan Gondola, A Life in Men was also named to The Millions's list of "Most Anticipated Books of 2014"The Los Angeles Times picked up The Millions's list too and gave a great shout-out to Frangello. Check out The Millions's blurb below:

Book Riot
also named A Life in Men to its list of "The Best Books We Read in January"!  Contributor Marisa Atkinson wrote, "Frangello has given us one of the most authentic depictions of female friendship that I've ever read...A Life in Men is an important and powerful novel, and one I won't soon forget."

futuristic novel that will lead readers to questions of ethics and provide lots of material for group discussions - See more at:
futuristic novel that will lead readers to questions of ethics and provide lots of material for group discussions - See more at:
futuristic novel that will lead readers to questions of ethics and provide lots of material for group discussions - See more at: