Monthly Archives: January 2014

Agents Anyone?

In the field of writing for children and young adults it is much harder to launch a career “over or through the transom”, the term that means going in without an agent. (History relates to old doors that had upper transoms, a small glass window into the  hall  between the door and the ceiling that could be opened for ventilation–and writers could toss their books through that even when the door was closed!).

A fellow blogger (see her information at the bottom of the list) has compiled a list of agents who deal in Christian fiction (among other types, for children and young adults), I have not checked out these links or sites, but it is certainly a great place to start.

Thank you, Suzanne Hartman.

#agents, #Christian writing, #young adult, #YA, #


Updated 8/09

The following literary agencies state on their website that they have at least one agent who represents authors of Christian fiction and/or who has attended a Christian writers’ conference. They may represent secular authors and non-fiction as well, but this list concentrates exclusively on Christian fiction.
The information below is accurate according to information on their websites. The fact that they are on this list does not constitute an endorsement of any kind.

Before you contact any agent, make sure to check their website for their submission guidelines. While I will try to update this list at least yearly, many things can change at an agency between updates. Agents come and go, what each agency is looking for changes regularly, and the status of accepting submissions may change. Make sure you have the most up-to-date information by checking the website before contacting any agency.
Alive Communications Website: Agents: Lee Hough, Rick Christian, Joel Kneedler, Andrea Heinecke Genres: Adult and YA, children’s gift books Only accepting queries from authors with at least one book commercially published (not self-published) or who are referred by an Alive Communications client. Andrea Hurst Literary Management Website: Agent: Judy Mikalonis Genres: adult and YA
Benrey Literary Website: Agent: Janet Benrey, Ron Benrey Only accepts brief e-mail queries from unpublished authors, queries and proposals from previously published authors, and queries and proposals from unpublished authors referred by current B-L clients.
The Blythe Daniel Agency Website: Agents: Blythe Daniel Genres: adult fiction, children’s books
Books & Such Website: Agents: Janet Grant, Wendy Lawson, Etta Wilson, Rachel Zurakowski Genres: adult fiction (Janet & Wendy), children’s fiction (Etta), YA & 20-30 something (Rachel)
Browne & Miller Literary Associates Web Site: http://www.browneandmiller.comAgents: Joanna MacKenzie, Danielle Egan-Miller Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, YA, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, General Fiction, teen/chick/mom/lady lit, Women’s Fiction,
Creative Trust Agency Website: Agents: Dan Raines, Katie Sulkowski Genres: not listed on their website Does not accept unsolicited manuscripts or book proposals from unpublished authors, but will accept unsolicited inquiries from previously published authors. Daniel Literary Group Website: Agent: Greg Daniel Genres: general fiction, inspirational, suspense/thriller (no Children’s, YA, Romance, or Science fiction/Fantasy

D.J. Jacobson & Associates Website: Agents: Don Jacobson, David Van Diest, Jenni Burke, Lauren Yoho Genres: all types of Christian YA and adult fiction, children’s literature Donald Maass Literary Agency Website: Agents: Donald Maass, Jennifer Jackson, Cameron McClure, Genres: all types of fiction
Dreisbach Literary Management Website: Agent: Verna Dreisbach Genres: literary and commercial fiction with a particular fondness for mystery and thrillers
Eames Literary Services Website: Agents: John Eames Genres: YA and adult fiction
Farris Literary Agency Website: Agents: Mike Farris, Susan Farris Genres: thrillers, suspense, mysteries, romance, mainstream, action/adventure, Currently only accepting submissions from referrals and writers conferences. Foundry Literary + Media Website: Agents: Chris Park Genres: character-driven fiction
Hartline Literary Agency Website: Agents: Joyce Hart, Tamela Hancock Murray, Diana Flegal, Terry Burns Genres: commercial fiction (no children’s)
The Knight Agency Website: Agents: Deidre Knight Genres: specializes in women’s fiction, romance, young adult, literary fiction, mystery, fantasy and science-fiction, as well as multicultural and inspirational/religious fiction
Leslie H. Stobbe Agency Website: None (should be able to see his guidelines for submission at but the link is currently broken) Agent: Les Stobbe Genres: all fiction except sci-fi and fantasy
Literary Management Group Agent: Bruce Barbour Website: Genres: fiction (no childrens’ books)
Living Word Literary Agency Website: Agent: Kimberly Shumate Genres: adult and YA fiction
MacGregor Literary Website: Agents: Chip MacGregor, Sandra Bishop Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, General Fiction
Mortimer Literary Agency Website: Agent: Kelly Mortimer Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Mainstream Fiction, Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, Thrillers/Suspense (without romance), Women’s Fiction, Young Adult Closed to submissions at this time (check website for the few exceptions listed) Only signs PRE-PUBLISHED writers (those who have yet to snag a contract with a traditional pub house), or haven’t had a book pubbed within the last three years. Nappaland Literary Agency Website: Agents: Mike Nappa, Alex Smart Genres: suspense, women’s fiction Currently not accepting any new authors for representation unless they are recommended by a current Nappaland author or editor.
Natasha Kern Literary Agency Website: Agent: Natasha Kern Genres: specializes in women’s fiction (including inspirational fiction, romantic suspense, contemporary and historical romances, and multicultural fiction) and currently seeking historical novels; contemporary fiction and a broad range of inspirational fiction (including suspense and mysteries, historicals, romance, and contemporary novels The Seymour Agency Website: Agent: Mary Sue Seymour Genres: any type of romance including: historical, contemporary category, contemporary mainstream, suspense, paranormal, regency or inspirational Spencerhill Associates Website: unable to find website, but you can find information about this agency at: Agents: Karen Solem Genres: Chick Lit, Christian, Commercial Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction, Thrillers/Suspense, Multi-Cultural Not currently accepting unsolicited queries. Sterling Lord Literistic Website: Agents: Claudia Cross Genres: “books for the CBA marketplace” Steve Laube Agency Website: Agent: Steve Laube Genres: Christian fiction in all genres
Three Seas Literary Agency Website: Agents: Michelle Grajkowski, Cori Deyoe Genres: inspirational romance
VanDiest Literary Agency Website: Agents: David Van Diest, Sarah Van Diest Genres: “While we mainly handle non-fiction, there are a select group of fiction writers who have a unique [Christian] message which is enhanced because of the format of fiction.”
The Waxman Literary Agency Website: Agents: Holly Root Genres: upmarket and commercial fiction, including women’s fiction, mystery, urban fantasy, romance, and YA
William K. Jensen Literary Agency Website: Agents: William Jensen Genres: all fiction except YA and sci-fi/fantasy
Word Serve Literary Website: Agents: Greg Johnson, Rachelle Gardner, Caleb Seeling Genres: all fiction
Winters, King and Associates Website: Agents: Thomas Winters Genres: specifics not listed on website
Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Website: Agents: Mary Beth Chappell Genres: historical fiction, inspirational fiction, Christian fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, Southern fiction, cozy mysteries and young adult fiction Not currently accepting unsolicited submissions of any kind.

Suzanne Hartmann – Suspense with a Twist –

Please feel free to share this list with others. All I ask is that you leave my name and contact information at the bottom of the list.

So, it’s already Thursday?

Wednesday food day, I got distracted from posting by cooking! My husband and I made home made pasta. Flour and eggs, a pinch of salt, and lots of push and pull. Great result, served with a simple marinara , more oregano than basil because that is what we had on hand, here are the pix


I’m a guest! Come to the party!

Guest blogging today

Snow day

Ooops! Late on this – should have been Monday, but as things go, I am having a snow day of my own.
We were schedules to go a lecture on Chagall. Possible ice on bridges here made it prudent to stay home–I cleaned out my refrigerator
and am also taking time to read a novel I wanted to finish.
A snow day is a gift of unplanned time. I chose to use my time for a task that needed to be done and I had procrastinated on and to sneak some time for myself in the hills of the west with one of my fave Tony Hillerman novels–re-reads are great.
#Hillerman, #snow

How to add a feature?

Am trying to find out how to add a feature to my blog.
Cannot get an answer from wordpress!


Add this to your site

What’s for dinner?

Really not the relevant question–

Better to ask, who are we dining with?
What is the conversation going to be?

Fine dining is great, but finer in good company.

So, a holiday

This was a very special holiday–to honor a man who gave his life for freedom–Martin Luther King, Jr

Honor him with words and deeds–education, kindness, serving as a volunteer for those in need.

Great News (well, I think so!)

Laura Lewis of the Brunswick Beacon just wrote a lovely article about my publishing an essay with chicken soup for the soul.

Here is the link:


Now, here is a copy of the article

Remembering Grandma: Brunswick writer’s story in new Chicken Soup book





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          By Laura Lewis, Reporter     
Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 10:22 am   

Forty years ago, Joan Leotta experienced one of the greatest losses of her life: the death of her beloved grandmother, Angelina Cuda.

<div>contributed</div><div>Leotta, right, is pictured at about age 8 with her beloved grandmother, Angelina Cuda, and cousin Diane, left.</div><div></div>

Leotta, right, is pictured at about age 8 with her beloved grandmother, Angelina Cuda, and cousin Diane, left.

“Grandma was the center of my childhood world,” begins one of the Brunswick County writer’s latest stories.

This one, titled “She Stopped to Say Goodbye,” is included in the newly released “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven.”

It recalls Leotta’s memories of her maternal grandma and the close relationship they had while Leotta was growing up in Pittsburgh.

“She was Italian, too,” Leotta recalled. “But her parents must have conceived on the boat, because she was born soon after they arrived (in America).”

Leotta’s recollection and tribute is one of 101 stories chosen for the new Chicken Soup book.

In addition to detailing the close relationship she had with Cuda, the story tells about a memorable visit Leotta experienced as her Grandma was dying in 1973 more than 200 miles away from her.

At the time, Leotta was out of college and graduate school. She was living and working as an analyst for the U.S. Labor Department in Washington, D.C.

“I don’t usually write nonfiction,” said Leotta, a longtime freelance writer and author who came across a call for Chicken Soup stories last spring.

The new book was to focus on miracles, sparking the Brunswick Plantation resident’s attention.

“I thought about when my grandmother died,” she recalled. “I always felt like she came and said goodbye to me. It was such a strong feeling.”

Calling her mom that indelible November morning back in 1973, Leotta learned her Grandma had gone into a coma. She died in a Pittsburgh hospital three days later.

When Leotta experienced the “goodbye” inside her Washington apartment that morning, “I felt like she had really gone on,” she said of Cuda. “I felt like she had come to say goodbye to me. I know I did feel her come and say goodbye to me. It was a very strong feeling. We were very close.”


‘Worthwhile just to get in’

Leotta has authored several books of historic fiction, freelances articles for assorted publications, and poems for children and adults. She also performs storytelling and history shows, complete with costumes.

She said it was exciting when her story was chosen for publication in the new Chicken Soup book. And she got paid for it, too, for an undisclosed sum.

“It’s worthwhile just to get in there,” she said, adding she can’t believe the reaction she has received from people who have read her story.

“I think I’ve gotten more response to that than anything else,” she said.

It’s gotten her to thinking maybe she should write more personal stories.

According to a press release from publicist Shelby Janner with Shelton Interactive/Chicken Soup for the Soul, contributors to “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven” each experienced painful losses “but were inspired and comforted by a connection from beyond.”

The stories “demonstrate that powerful and miraculous signs from beyond can happen to anyone.”

The accounts of “answered prayers, love that doesn’t die and heavenly messages will renew your faith. They are truly hopeful and inspiring — and wonderful for anyone who has lost a loved one.”


More about Grandma

For Leotta’s next project, she has a storytelling gig coming up at Art Museum of Myrtle Beach, where she’ll be telling Chinese stories in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

She’s also finishing up book No. 3, “Bowl of Rice,” in her historic-fiction eBook series and has sent a couple of other things for consideration by Chicken Soup publishers.

In addition to her current published Chicken Soup story, Leotta has paid tribute to her grandma in other writings.

“She appears in ‘Letters from Korea’ as the Gray Lady at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, the one who was the favorite of all the children,” said Leotta, citing one of her eBooks. “She volunteered there for many years.”

A fiction piece based on her grandma, titled “Voices from the Porch,” was also coming out this past December in an anthology from Main Street Rag.

So, it’s the end of the week!

Never the end of the week for writers and performers. Our days and brains continue on the creative trail every day…even when we are relaxing there are weekend performances to give and ideas and research to do for writing.

So, have nice weekend, but keep that notebook handy.

Making Mamool

The mold. It's wooden and the design inside signifies that this one is for dates

The mold. It’s wooden and the design inside signifies that this one is for dates

Forgive me for the spelling. This cookie has very special meaning for me. I made it over Christmas, but it is not a Christmas cookie. It is a memory. This cookie honors my Grandmother and all of the ways she taught me to love people from various backgrounds through her own friendships with many people–including the Syrian family who owned a restaurant in Pittsburgh. The family bought from our store so we ate there now and then–without my father, because he did not like lamb–their specialty. After dinner, my mother would go to the count

the dough. Needs to rest 2 hours to overnight

the dough. Needs to rest 2 hours to overnight

the raw cookies on a silpat, already stuffed with walnuts and dates

the raw cookies on a silpat, already stuffed with walnuts and dates

after the snowfall--cooked, cooled, and sugared

after the snowfall–cooked, cooled, and sugared

er to pay and my grandma would chat with the owner’s mother, another grandma. I was, of course, fascinated by the cookies in the counter display by the register. (The restaurant served triple duty as a Middle eastern Pastry shop and tea parlor). The other Grandma would always offer me a cookie–to take home because I never had room for dessert after the wonderful lamb (my favorite meat) dinners. Grandma’s friend told me the name of each cookie. I knew the baclava and liked it, but the powdered sugar of the mamool always drew me. I never learned the code–the design on the top tells you if they are date filled or walnut filled or something else, but I was never disappointed since I love all of those things.

I bought a mold in Pittsburgh’s Stripp District (fruits and veggies and ethnic markets) for “date” mamool. I transgressed the code and filled mine with dates and nuts. The recipe  was something else. I looked up recipes online ( I made some years ago but they had too much rosewater in them and I didn’t like them). My Syrian friend Muna contributed her recipe and I followed it with a few slight alterations. But with the mold, my friend Muna’s encouragement, and the thought of my Grandma close in my heart–even though I appeared to be alone, I enjoyed the company of my dear departed, my friend so far away, and the knowledge that my daughter would love these since they are full of sugar. Women laughing–past , present, future. Friends. Loved ones.

So, share with me now, the pictorial saga of my cookie making venture that stretched across cultures and across time to bring something sweet into the world. If only people’s thoughts could be as good.