Don't be THAT author...

If you have written a book and are thinking about sending out queries to agents, there are blogs upon blogs with terrific advice for the unsigned (we have recommended Jane Friedman's excellent blog before).

But there are a few don'ts for the querying, too:

  • Don't call the literary agency. Just don't. We'll be nice to you, sure. But we'll just tell you what you should have already researched -- how to submit a proposal. It's on the website. I promise. Don't call.
  • Remember that we get a lot of queries; last week I got upwards of 50 in my inbox alone -- and this isn't counting the ones that go directly to the agents. I try to read and respond  to every query within a week, which is not something all agencies do. I think it's pretty cool -- so I really don't like it when I get a query with a deadline on it. Remember, we didn't ask you to send us your proposal, you're asking us to consider it. Deadlines? Just don't.

There are more, to be sure. But these two don'ts are enough for now. And please: go look at Jane's excellent blog. I guarantee you will learn something that will better your approach to agents and getting your book published.

Ready to submit that proposal? Read this.

If you're an unpublished author, you may turn to Google to begin your journey to getting published.

"how to get published" gets 427,000 results.

"get your book published" gets 132,000 results

That's over half a million choices to make, even taking duplicates into account. So, where does one really begin?

May I recommend a terrific website loaded with great advice written by Jane Friedman? I happened upon her site clicking through GalleyCat (another great site). Friedman has a deep background in writing and publishing, and her blog is a must-read for the author wishing to become published. She covers all the bases: self publishing, book proposals, and finding an agent are must-reads. Friedman also has terrific resources in every blog post, and you can choose to subscribe by email (daily or weekly), which is a bonus.

As you can imagine, we get quite a few book proposals and queries at PGS Literary Agency; there is a formula to getting noticed. Jane Friedman's advice is spot-on, so give her a look before submitting -- not just to us, but to anyone.

And good luck!


Knuckle-dusters, saps and spades: the London Crime Museum

If you plan on being in or near London this year, you have an opportunity to see never-before displayed selections from the Metropolitan Police's Crime Museum.

On display through April 10, the London Museum will have a special exhibition of objects from the Crime Museum. The collection is made of unclaimed property used in crimes, and the items are still used to train police cadets today.

Atlas Obscura has a full, illustrated article here. We envy anyone able to check out this one-of-a-kind collection!

James Lee Burke's CIMARRON ROSE 80% off at Amazon -- TODAY ONLY!

James Lee Burke's novel is a Kindle Daily Deal today at Amazon!

For only $1.99, you can read one of the Texas-based Holland Family novels.

From Amazon:

Texas attorney Billy Bob Holland must confront the past in order to save his illegitimate son from a murder conviction in this brilliant, fast-paced thriller from beloved New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke.

Lucas Smothers, nineteen and from the wrong end of town, has been arrested for the rape and murder of a local girl. His lawyer, former Texas Ranger Billy Bob Holland, is convinced of Lucas’s innocence—but proving it means unearthing the truth from the seething mass of deceit and corruption that spreads like wildfire in a gossipy small town where everybody knows everybody else’s business.

Billy Bob’s relationship with Lucas’s family is not an easy one. Years back he was a close friend of Mrs. Smothers—too close, according to her husband. But when Lucas overhears gruesome tales of serial murder from a neighboring cell in the local lock-up, he himself looks like a candidate for an untimely death, and Billy Bob incurs enemies far more dangerous than any he faced as a Ranger.

With the same electric language and hard-edged style that brought James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux novels to the forefront of American crime fiction, Cimarron Rose explodes with a harsh, evocative setting and unforgettable characters.

Congratulations, JP Smith!

JP Smith's book The Discovery of Light is being included in Amazon's Mystery & Thriller Deals* from Sunday, February 14th through March 15, 2016. (Link will be live on Sunday.)

Here's your chance to discover a great book for a low price!

From Publisher's Weekly:

This slim but ambitious novel, digressing continually into meditations on the relations between life and art, will ... enchant with its spare, limpid prose. Smith ( The Blue Hour ; The Man from Marseille ) circles around the kernel of a story: novelist David Reid brings his new wife Kate, a beautiful, blonde British editor/translator, to his Massachusetts home. Two years later, on a visit to New York, Kate either leaps or falls to her death under a subway train. Her unfinished translation of a work by French novelist Marc Rougemont, now in New York, stirs David's suspicion. He stalks the enigmatic Marc to his hotel room, accuses him of having had an affair with Kate and threatens him with a knife. Either he kills him or he does not, since in this narrative David is composing the web of his life as he might design a work of fiction. Intermittently, David reflects on several Vermeer paintings, including one of a woman weighing gold and pearls in a scale and another of a woman reading a letter by a window. The mystery of the women's thoughts causes him to query how much the artist ("by nature a voyeur'') can understand of his materials or an individual even of his most cherished relationships. Patterns form in his experience, as they do in lace, musical fugues or fiction. Meeting blonde Denise, David understands the pull of an adulterous liaison. himself becomes a guilty adulterer. Scenes of deja vu proliferate, hinting that life may rival art with echoing configurations of its own.


*US market only


Jeannette de Beauvoir gets reviewed for upcoming Deadly Jewels

From Publishers Weekly:

In de Beauvoir’s able sequel to 2015’s Asylum, Martine LeDuc, the publicity director for the city of Montreal, rarely finds PR pizzazz in academic dissertations, but she can’t resist researcher Patricia Mason’s claim to have proved the rumor that war-torn Britain stashed the crown jewels in Montreal. Martine accompanies the gawky grad student on an underground exploration, where they find macabre evidence that some of the jewels not only came but stayed: a skeleton with two jewels glittering against its ribcage. When Patricia is found murdered, Martine, aided by charming aristocratic police detective Julian Fletcher, resolves to find the girl’s killer, and in the process, she excavates the jewels’ provocative past of greed, war, and the occult. An overstuffed finale binds stories past and present in a slurry of coincidence, but even as the book reels toward the improbable, readers will enjoy the lurid, high-gloss history and the appealingly sardonic narration.


Each day, Amazon unveils Kindle book deals for adults and young readers; save up to 80% off list price on eBooks!

Cadillac Jukebox features recurring JLB character Dave Robicheaux:

Aaron Crown comes from a long line of shady Cajun characters, and rumors of Klan ties swirl around his family—so his arrest for the murder of a black civil rights leader would seem to be an open and shut case. But when the man who worked hardest to put Crown away ascends to the governor’s mansion, detective Dave Robicheaux begins to suspect that Aaron may be innocent of the crime. Soon key figures in high places start pressuring Dave to drop his investigation…but that only makes him more determined to uncover the truth at any cost.




Even in a quiet Vermont town, unspeakable acts of the past can destroy the peace of the present.

In the remote, pastoral hamlet of Canaan, Vermont, a high-profile legal case shatters the town’s sense of peace and community. Anger simmers. Fear and prejudice awaken. Old friends turn on each other. Violence threatens.
So when a young teenage girl is savagely murdered while babysitting at the house of the lead attorney in the case, Detective Sonja Test believes the girl’s murder and the divisive case must be linked.
However, as the young detective digs deeper into her first murder case, she discovers sordid acts hidden for decades, and learns that behind the town’s idyllic façade of pristine snow lurks a capacity in some for great darkness and the betrayal of innocents. And Sonja Test, a mother of two, will do anything to protect the innocent.

Critical Praise

“Gripping, topical, and wrenching- everything you want in a top-flight mystery. I didn’t see the gut punch ending coming, even as it tumbled into place. Great stuff.” — Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author

“A brilliantly crafted crime novel. Lie in Wait’s whiplash pacing and disturbing psychological profiles will grip readers until its startling conclusion.” — Lisa Turner, Edgar-nominated author of The Gone Dead Train

“Another gem. Rickstad invented his own genre with The Silent Girls and Lie In Wait ups the game. Gripping. Deft. Unexpected. Surprising. Readers will be glad he took them on this ride.” — Drew Yanno, author of In the Matter of Michael Vogel

“A flawless mystery, brilliantly told, with a twisted, spiraling plot that gets under your skin and sends your nerves into overdrive.” — Classic Book Reader

“Every bit as excellent as The Silent Girls. Engrossing, riveting, and re-readable. Don’t miss out — Mallory Heart Reviews, 5-star review

“Sure to be another bestseller. Eric Rickstad is back in force...clearly on his way to becoming a classic, master storyteller.” — Pop Mythology

Praise for Eric Rickstad’s — New York Times bestseller The Silent Girls:

“The Silent Girls is Vermont’s own True Detective...Three-dimensional characters, a moody rural-noir vibe, and a compulsively readable story make this a stunner of a crime novel!” — Steve Ulfelder, Edgar-finalist author of Wolverine Bros. Freight & Storage

“Eric Rickstad’s The Silent Girls is a bone-chilling mystery...This well-crafted book will have you staying up late, turning pages and afraid to turn off the light. ” — Paul Doiron, author of The Poacher's Son

“Finely drawn characters, a narrative that beguiles and surprises and stark, poetic writing make for a novel as dark and brooding as its rural Vermont setting. The Silent Girls is both an exceptional detective story and a terrifying meditation on good and evil.” — Roger Smith, international betselling author of Wake Up Dead

“The Silent Girls is a thrilling ride to very dark places. I kept turning pages, scared of what I’d find but compelled to look. It’ll keep you reading all the way up to its shattering conclusion.” — Jake Hinkson, author of Hell on Church Street and The Big Ugly

From the very first, a feeling of dread crept over me and stayed with me until the end, and remains with me days later. The Silent Girls is love and terror, a mix of intense feelings that seeps into your heart and does not go away. — Stephen Foreman, author of Watching Gideon and Toe Hold

Gordon McAlpine Nominated for Edgar Award

We are so pleased for our friend and author Gordon McAlpine, whose latest novel Woman With a Blue Pencil is among the nominees for Best Paperback Original Book at this year's Edgar Awards.

The Mystery Writers of America, celebrating the 207th birthday of Edgar Allen Poe for whom the award is named, will honor the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television produced in 2015 at a gala banquet in New York City April 28th.

Upon hearing news of the nomination, McAlpine posted the following: “I’m grateful to Phillip Spitzer and Lukas Ortiz, my agents, who helped me to hone and “find” the book in the first place, to Dan Mayer, a brilliant and courageous editor and publishing visionary, to Jake Bonar at Prometheus who got the word out, and to my friends and family who supported me all along — especially my three boys and my wife Julie.”

Woman With a Blue Pencil is McAlpine's ninth book. 


THE EX By Alafair Burke On Sale Tomorrow!

January 26th is the on sale date for Alafair Burke's new thriller, THE EX!

In this breakout standalone novel of suspense in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, a woman agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been framed for murder—but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated.

Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.

Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

 Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

 For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

From KIRKUS:  Burke has progressed a long way since her debut, which is fortunate for fans of crime thrillers. Her latest features smooth, engaging writing; a sharp, funny edge; and characters worth investing in. Burke has created some memorable female protagonists over the years, but Olivia might be the cream of the crop.