Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cortney Radocaj of Belcastro Agency

Cortney Radocaj is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency.

Cortney grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and after spending her undergraduate years in downtown Manhattan at NYU, has firmly decided that’s where she’s staying. From the time she could hold a pen in her hand, she’s been writing everything possible, and quickly realized she wanted a career that allowed her to support and guide fellow authors on their journey. When Cortney’s not working, she spends her time spoiling her Lab-mix, Rhaegar, and her calico, Holly. She also enjoys consuming copious amounts of chocolate, binge-watching TV shows (particularly Supernatural and The Office), and watching horror movies (both the good and the very, very bad).

WISH LIST:

  • YA, NA, and Adult
  • LGBT (particularly F/F)
  • Neurodiversity
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Steampunk
  • Cyberpunk
  • Mythology/fairytale retellings
  • Gothic
  • Paranormal
  • Contemporary
  • Horror
  • Magical realism

As a member and advocate of both the LGBT and neurodiverse communities, Cortney adores seeing works that celebrate and normalize these experiences, particularly in YA. Compelling characters are what grab her the most; she loves books with strong, dynamic, complex characters that have complicated and nuanced relationships with others. She loves romantic threads that weave in seamlessly with the plot and characters’ motivations, particularly in science fiction & fantasy. In regard to POV, the closer, the better; she wants to live inside characters’ heads when she reads, and loves as little distance as possible.

Some of Cortney’s favorite books: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas; City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; The Shining by Stephen King; Tithe by Holly Black; Skinned by Robin Wasserman; This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Emmy Nordstrom Higdon of Westwood Creative Artists

Emmy Nordstrom Higdon is a literary agent with Westwood Creative Artists.

“I took a bit of an unconventional path to publishing. I am in the last stages of completing a PhD in social work at McMaster University, and I even studied professional circus arts in a former life, but I really fell in love with this industry while working as an indie bookseller at Another Story. Because of my background in social justice and the arts, I bring a deep appreciation and unique perspective to my work as an agent. When someone picks up a book, they are opening their mind to new ideas and feelings that they think are important and worth spending their time on. There is so much magic in that.

I am a book blogger at Books Beyond Binaries and a member of the planning team for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD). I am a trans non-binary colonizer originally from Newfoundland, now based in Tkaronto (Toronto, Ontario), which is unceded territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Mississaugas of the Credit. When I’m not reading, I keep busy with research projects, spending time with my family (including adopted dogs and cats), embroidery, slice of life anime, vegan cooking, and video games.

What I’m Seeking:

“I grew up on fantasy novels and 90s kidlit horror like Bunnicula and Goosebumps. I represent authors of literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction, and narrative nonfiction, for adults and young adults. I specialize in character-driven #OwnVoices projects that are devastating to put down, particularly from the LGBTQ2S+ and disability communities. Murder is my comfort read. I prioritize queries from trans, Black or BIPOC, and/or disabled authors. My clients can be found on Twitter as the #SpineSquad.

“I’m not the right fit for plague, virus, or pandemic themes; stories featuring law enforcement of any kind; novellas; comedy; erotica; or poetry.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Paul S. Levine of Paul S. Levine Literary

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.36.26 PM.pngPaul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney.

His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction.

His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports.

Paul has sold more than 250 fiction and nonfiction books.

As an entertainment lawyer, Levine has written the legal contracts for several books adapted as movies-for-television. With over thirty-seven (38) years of experience in the entertainment and book industries, Levine is one of the few lawyers on the West coast who also understands the world of book publishing; as such, he is able to act as both literary agent and publishing attorney for his clients.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ben Miller of Handspun Literary Agency

Ben Miller-Callihan joined Handspun Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2019, after working behind the scenes since the agency’s founding in tech support and bookkeeping roles. He spent more than a decade teaching high school English, and has (under Courtney’s oversight) begun taking on his own clients at the agency.

His interests include humor, YA and middle grade novels, speculative fiction (especially decolonial sff), mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky (B.A., English), and New York University (M.A., English Education), he lives in San Diego with his human, canine, and kitchen appliance families.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency

Literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan founded Handspun Literary Agency in 2016, after more than ten years with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Her eclectic list includes women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, romance, science fiction & fantasy, YA novels, humor, and practical nonfiction.

A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A., Literature), and Johns Hopkins University (M.A., English), she lives in San Diego with her family.

She is always looking for stories she can’t stop reading.

For adult fiction, Courtney represents only the following: mainstream fiction (including historical fiction and women’s fiction), romance (all subgenres except inspirational), mystery novels, and speculative fiction.

For nonfiction, Courtney represents work targeting all age groups (children and adults). Though she will consider nonfiction on any topic, work that deals primarily with issues of religion or spirituality is unlikely to be a good fit.

She is not currently accepting new middle-grade, early reader, or picture book submissions.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Tori Sharp of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Tori Sharp joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as a Literary Agent in 2020 after interning for two years. Tori has a BFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and her graphic memoir, JUST PRETEND, is forthcoming from Little, Brown in spring 2021. When she’s not reading, writing, or making comics, she can be found swing and blues dancing, playing tabletop games, or exploring coffee shops in beautiful Seattle, WA.

Tori represents all manner of children’s literature. You can learn more about her at http://www.noveltori.com

She is seeking:

Please send me all genres of children’s graphic novels. I love comics that are heartfelt and gestural, and I tend to like art styles that look animated and soft, but bright. I would jump at a raw but playful MG graphic memoir or stories that feel like fairy tales. Some of my favorite comics are Catboy, Crush, Nimona, Fake Blood, The Prince and the Dressmaker, On a Sunbeam, and Check, Please!

“See my #MSWL Pinterest board for examples of illustration styles I’d love to find in my inbox: https://www.pinterest.com/noveltori/mswl/comics-illustration/

For middle-grade and young adult prose, my heart is in SFF. PLEASE send me WITCHES! I adore magical realism, and I will consider portal fantasy if it has a strange and fun new take on the genre. Give me something that feels like a campy D&D game—or a TTRPG campaign that literally or metaphorically becomes real. I am also looking for contemporary stories dealing with school struggles, broken homes, mental health, transactional friendships, creativity, reconciliation, geekery, saying ‘no,’ and ambition. I would love a cool and clever spy, heist, or mystery story.

For nonfiction, I am exclusively looking for MG memoir and how-to books that introduce a craft.

Across all genres, I love to see humor, ‘hopepunk’ stories, chaotic/trickster characters, riddles and lateral thinking problems in the narrative, diverse #ownvoices, neurodivergent and LGBTQ+ characters, mental health advocacy, and themes about freedom, boundaries, or overcoming conditioned fear. If you’re not sure whether I represent your genre, feel free to query me anyway, but I’m not the right agent for adult, horror, stories of sexual assault, medical dramas, religious fiction or nonfiction, or comedies of errors.

My favorite novels include Saffy’s Angel, The School Story, Eliza and her Monsters, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spinning Silver, Skyward, Blood Water Paint, and Chaotic Good.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary

Eva Scalzo is a Literary Agent with Speilburg Literary.

Eva  was born in New Jersey, but has lived in Houston, Buenos Aires, San Juan, and Boston before settling down outside of Binghamton, New York. She has been reading romance since the fifth grade when she discovered the Sweet Valley High series. On inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage Harlequin Romances, she set a goal to someday finish reading them all on top of her already massive TBR.

Eva has a B.A. in the Humanities from the University of Puerto Rico and a M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. Since graduating in 2002, she has spent her career in scholarly publishing, working for Houghton Mifflin, Blackwell Publishing, John Wiley & Sons, and Cornell University in a variety of roles. She has been with Speilburg Literary since 2013, and started accepting clients in 2017. Eva is a member the AALA (formerly AAR), RWA, and SCBWI.

In Adult Fiction, Eva represents Romance (all subgenres but inspirational) and Science Fiction/Fantasy. She also represents all subgenres of Young Adult Fiction.

If you are a Diverse Author, please see Eva’s special call for manuscripts and, if interested, submit here.

Fun Fact: My name is not pronounced with a long E sound. I’m of Puerto Rican, Lebanese, and Spanish descent.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cecilia Lyra of P.S. Literary

Cecilia Lyra is an associate agent at P.S. Literary representing adult fiction and nonfiction.

She is particularly drawn to books centered around dysfunctional families, ethical or moral dilemmas, and taboo subjects. As a mixed race Latinx immigrant, Cecilia is passionate about representing under or misrepresented voices and stories that contribute to a larger cultural conversation. She began her publishing career through the Centennial College Book, Magazine and Electronic program and The Rights Factory. Cecilia is also a recovering lawyer but asks that you do not hold that against her. If you would like to send a query to Cecilia, please review our Submission Guidelines.

Cecilia is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction on the adult side.

In terms of nonfiction, Cecilia is seeking Psychology, Pop Culture, Science, Business, and Lifestyle from experts in their fields with an original angle, as well as compelling memoirs—both long-form and memoir-in-essays.

As for fiction, Cecilia is passionate about voice-y Literary Fiction and fast-paced Commercial Fiction. She adores reading about dysfunctional families from the point-of-view of a morally ambiguous protagonist. Books that are centered around feminist issues have a special place in her heart. Above all else, Cecilia is looking for a story she can’t put down.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 10.07.42 AM.pngNikki Terpilowski is a literary agent and founder of Holloway Literary.

After receiving a B.A. in English, Nikki worked in the marketing communications field for several years as a writer and editor. Deciding she wanted to align her professional career with her lifelong passion for reading and writing, she interned at the Elaine English Agency based in Washington, DC, and then moved into literary management, representing a small group of women’s fiction and romance writers, that has expanded to include a list of YA, literary, historical, southern, mystery and thriller authors. Nikki loves all types of fiction, but is particularly interested in finding fresh Southern voices and ethnically and culturally diverse fiction. Books she’s represented have been nominated for RITA awards, RT Book Review top picks, Starred Publishers Weekly reviews, bestsellers, and Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees.

When she’s not working or wrangling her three sons, she enjoys traveling to the beach, mountains and all historical sites in between.

Nikki is currently accepting pitches for:

  • Southern fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Young adult
  • Women’s fiction
  • Literary fiction
  • Mysteries
  • Thrillers
  • Romance – Contemporary, historical and romantic suspense
  • Cozy mysteries – Written in the vein of Ellery Adams, Eva Gates, Amanda Flower, Bailey Cates, Leslie Budewitz,, with book, food and beverage (wine, beer, coffee, tea, etc.), gardening/herbs, historical society/museum themes or magical realism.
  • Science Fiction – Including Afrofuturist fiction, written in the vein of Nnedi Okorafor and Octavia Butler
  • African-American – Fiction of all types that explore the African diaspora or African-American experience in a new or interesting way that goes beyond a focus on racism or oppression.
  • Nonfiction related to mindfulness, healthy eating (Paleo, gluten-free, etc.), regional/ethnic/fusion cookbooks, foodie subjects, travel, alternative simple living, i.e. homesteading, minimalism, etc, interesting self-help (personal and professional), military experiences, Civil War, Southern living, etc.
  • Key words that interest Nikki in pitches: North Carolina, Virginia, New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, Outer Banks, Napa, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Antartica, Mars, African-diaspora, Caribbean, African-American, Gullah, Native American, Indian, Japan, Food, Wine, Coffee, Beer, Bakery, Farms, Civil War, Revolutionary War, Southern, Mountains, Beach, Magical Realism, Spies, Espionage, DARPA, Treasure, Secret Histories, Aliens, Military, Conspiracy, Organic, Mindfulness, Yoga.

Do Not Pitch:

  • Stories that focus on chronic illness or dying
  • Erotica
  • Graphic horror (light elements of horror are acceptable)
  • Stories with graphic sex scenes
  • Police procedurals
  • Stories in which children are abused
  • Stories that explore sexual abuse and its effects
  • Stories in which racism or discrimination are the focus (unless it is historical non-fiction)
  • Fiction set in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Darlene Chan of Linda Chester Literary Agency

Darlene Chan is a literary agent with Linda Chester Literary Agency.

Darlene is interested in stories by and about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), women’s fiction, chick lit, crime fiction, YA, pop culture and books on film and the entertainment industry.

Darlene is a veteran of the film industry. She served as an executive for Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures (both times under Jeffrey Katzenberg), Davis Entertainment and as an independent producer. Among the titles she has been associated with are Grumpy Old Men, Beverly Hills Cop, Thing Called Love and Shattered.

In 2009, Darlene established Darlene Chan PR, which specializes in web PR and social media for authors. Among her clients are Live Talks Los Angeles, Daniel H. Wilson, Joe Ide, Elizabeth Brundage, Tara Ison and Denise Hamilton.