Author Archive

13 November, 2011


The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, by Kristi Hedges

These days leadership isn’t just expected, it’s demanded at every level. The problem is, it can feel overwhelming to try to be an effective leader and still remain authentic. Executive coach and leadership development consultant, Kristi Hedges systematically shows you how to develop a presence that that inspires followership and motivates others.


13 November, 2011

The Tin Ticket, by Deborah Swiss: Now In Paperback

Historian Deborah J. Swiss tells the heartbreaking, horrifying, and ultimately triumphant story of the women exiled from the British Isles and forced into slavery and savagery—and who created the most liberated society of their time.

27 April, 2011

GOOD ENOUGH IS THE NEW PERFECT, by Becky Beaupre Gillespie & Hollee Schwartz Temple

Filled with firsthand accounts from working mothers and drawn from the latest research, this book is a true roadmap for mothers who feel pulled in all directions at once. Publisher’s Weekly says: “Gillespie and Temple provide inspiring examples for contemporary mothers striving to find balance and happiness within work and family life.”

24 January, 2011

It’s no secret: Ms. Finkleman Rocks!

I’m thrilled to announce that Ben H. Winter’s THE SECRET LIFE OF MS. FINKLEMAN has been nominated for an Edgar Award for Juvenile Fiction!

The award, sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America, honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television and is named for Edgar Allan Poe. This year marks the 202nd anniversary of his birth.

THE SECRET LIFE OF MS. FINKLEMAN starts with a Special Project in Mr. Melville’s Social Studies class: Solve a mystery in your own life. For seventh grader Bethesda Fielding, one mystery is too tempting to ignore: Ms. Finkleman. She appears to be just the boring old mousy music teacher, but Bethesda is convinced there’s more to her story and she is determined to get to the bottom of it…

The LA Times says Winters “applies a light touch that fuses youthful, scholarly exuberance with the inspirational power of rock ‘n roll. Together, they’re a potent force for bringing together kids of disparate skills and temperaments in a fast paced and unjaded book that is sure to delight.”

Best yet, the next Ms. Finklman book, THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING EVERYTHING, is coming out next fall!

–Molly Lyons

3 December, 2010


Before You Try to Get an Agent, Ask Yourself:

As an agent, I see proposals and manuscripts at all stages.  Some of them are just a glimmer of an idea hidden inside a lot of text; some are polished to a gleam, ready to be sent out to publishers. Often it’s difficult to see the potential in the projects I’m sent because their authors haven’t asked themselves a few crucial questions.

So before you press the “send” button (or address that SASE), take a few minutes to answer the following. It may help your query shine – and get you an agent.  Or it may convince you that there’s a better way for you to go.

  1. What’s my end goal? Securing a publishing contract with a big publisher is only one way to get your story out into the world.  If your aim is to, say, record your family history for future generations, self-publishing may  make the most sense – and you don’t even need an agent for that. If you already know your core audience is a narrow interest group that congregates on a few websites, then it may make more sense to find a digital way to distribute your work.  Again, no agent needed.
  2. Who is my audience? Sometimes this is easy to answer — men with heart disease, for example. At other times, it’s trickier to know where your manuscript fits in. But if you can’t figure it out, it’s going to be that much harder to attract an agent. Spend some time researching those books and how to reach those readers before you send out your query.
  3. How can I reach my readers? Finishing a manuscript or a proposal is an accomplishment in itself, but unfortunately, it’s only part of your job as an author. You’ll also need to know how to effectively market and publicize the work once it’s on the shelves. This ability, known as your “platform,” is the first thing publishers measure after the book’s description. No one expects a first-time author to have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, for example (though it can’t hurt!). But make some efforts to reach out to potential readers before you send a query to an agent. A potential client who is at the very least aware of the need, and ready to take on the challenge, of building a platform will get a second look.
  4. Has my manuscript been read by sharp critics? Query letters that tell me the novel was written in three months, or that I’m the first to read it, make me wary from the start.   Sure, the proposal or manuscript may have been proofread by a friend or spouse, but has someone objective looked at it with a critical eye? Your work is personal, but it has to stand up to challenges at every stage. A trusted, critical reader can help point out weaknesses so you can submit the most polished manuscript possible.
  5. Have I done my homework? I get endless queries for horror, thriller and romance novels despite the fact that our website shows I don’t represent horror, thriller or romance novels. I know it’s tempting —especially in the age of email queries — to say, “Why not?  You never know, maybe this thriller will be the one for her,” but in the end, it just will mean one more rejection for me to write and for you to get — and no one likes rejection.  Each agency has different guidelines, and most agents have websites or carefully fill out their profiles in agency listings.  You should always check them out to see how they like to receive queries.  When I find a query that is well written, thoughtful and thorough, it’s like finding a piece of buried treasure in my inbox.

—Molly Lyons

29 September, 2010

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, by Ben H. Winters

Seventh grader Bethesda Fielding is convinced that her mousy music teacher is hiding a secret life, and she’s determined to find out what it is. But no one is prepared for what she learns.

29 September, 2010

The Tin Ticket, by Deborah Swiss

Historian Deborah J. Swiss tells the heartbreaking, horrifying, and ultimately triumphant story of the women exiled from the British Isles and forced into slavery and savagery—and who created the most liberated society of their time.

29 September, 2010

Amen, Amen, Amen, by Abby Sher

Now out in paperback!

4 August, 2010

Starting from Scratch: A Novel with Recipes, by Susan Gilbert-Collins

After the unexpected death of her mother, Olivia Tschetter plants herself firmly in her mother’s kitchen, where she pieces together the last issue of her mother’s home-grown mail-order newsletter Cooking with Vivian, and whips up the dishes of her childhood. A chance encounter with a former subscriber of the newsletter, a surprise sister-in-law, and a sibling’s secret help Olivia and her family get back on track.

16 July, 2010

The Best Law Book of the Year

Congratulations to John Temple, author of The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates, which has won The American Society of Legal Writers’ 2010 Book of the Year.

The book follows the story of Bo Jones, and begins in 1987 when an elderly bootlegger was shot to death in Duplin County, a poor rural region in eastern North Carolina. Nearly four years later, Bo’s ex-girlfriend–a sometime prostitute named Lovely Lorden (really)–told police that he was the killer, and on her testimony alone, Jones was convicted and sentenced to death. The Last Lawyer is the true inside story of how a disheveled legal genius named Ken Rose and his diverse band of investigators and lawyers thwarted Bo’s death sentence. Readers get to know Ken’s staff, like Sara, a social-worker-turned-investigator, witnesses like the lazy prosecutor who first tried Bo, Ken’s opponents like the colorful and sharp DA as well as Bo himself, a man who is difficult and delusional but a man who must be saved.

Intrigued? Find out more at the author’s website: