Laurie Abkemeier

I'm a Literary Agent with DeFiore and Company—blogging about authors (mostly my own) and publishing.


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    Yumi Sakugawa’s YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE… now available at bookstores everywhere!

    Visit Yumi at yumisakugawa


    NetGalley Cover Love - October

    Fall is in the air and it’s a great time to cuddle up with a book you love. Here are some beautiful covers that may just help you choose which one to settle in with, plus YOUR top-loved cover this month.

    Click through to read the full description, request…

    SOPPY is coming to bookstores in December! Visit Philippa Rice at

    INSIDE THE AUTHORS STUDIO: The Writing Life with Yumi Sakugawa


    Yumi Sakugawa is a graduate from the fine art program of University of California, Los Angeles, and a regular comic contributor to, The Rumpus, and Her short comic stories “Mundane Fortunes for the Next Ten Billion Years” and “Seed Bomb” were selected as Notable Comics of 2012 and 2013, respectively, by the Best American Comics series editors (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Her latest book, YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE, is now available from Adams Media.

    The Writing Life Questions

    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    I wanted to be a cartoonist, so where I am in life right now meets the approval of eight-year-old me.

    What are you doing when you’re not making comics?

    Reading a lot books and comics! Also, drinking coffee and taking many long brainstorming walks.

    What did you learn in school that helps you as an author and cartoonist?

    I attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as an art major with an emphasis in painting for my undergraduate education. The art program was very conceptual, with an emphasis on clearly knowing the intention behind your artwork over developing traditional technical skills. Though I don’t really paint anymore, I find that the art program gave me the confidence to trust my own intuition in art-making, which I feel informs the loose line work of my current comic style. I was also very involved in the Asian American campus theater group at UCLA, particularly in the writing aspects of theater, which was a great crash course in learning how to build a compelling narrative to an audience with very limited resources in a very short period of time.

    Do you share your work-in-progress with anyone other than your agent/editor?

    Every so often, I let my long-term partner David look at my unfinished work and sometimes bounce ideas off of him whenever I am feeling stuck or need a third perspective. He is my ideal reader and has no hesitation letting me know when an idea I have is not working. David has definitely helped me brainstorm my way out of creative ruts many, many times.

    What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

    One writer I know simply said, “Just get it done.”

    What was the inspiration for your new book?

    I am a bit of a self-help book junkie and self-help books have helped me through various periods of depression. I always found it to be unfortunate that there aren’t more self-help books told through a comics medium because so many people are visual thinkers and self-help books tend to have so many abstract principles. YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE is my way of creating a self-help book for readers who like self-help books but also enjoy reading comics and illustrated books, or for readers who don’t usually like the genre of self-help books but may be drawn to my book because of its unconventional illustrated format. It is always gratifying to hear from readers that my illustrated comics about mindfulness, meditation and inner peace have impacted them and helped them get through emotionally challenging periods of their lives.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I tend to take a very long time telling stories through comics because I have to have everything completely planned out in terms of panels and page layouts before I can even start drawing the story, and I am usually working within a specific page or space limitation. YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE is much looser than my usual visual narrative style, so it was really fun to let loose and be selfish with how much space every drawing and piece of text took up.  

    What is your favorite way to connect with readers?

    My work tends to be very solitary, so it is a breath of fresh air to have the opportunity to talk to readers in person at comic festivals or at bookstore readings.

    What is the last book you read?

    The last book I read was FOLLOW HER HOME by Steph Cha, a neo-noir, Los Angeles-based mystery novel starring a Korean-American female sleuth.

    Visit Yumi at, and read her earlier installment of Inside the Authors Studio here

    YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE is now available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold.

    [Yumi] Sakugawa would have to be extremely damned delightful, have to be almost effervescent with charm, to match her creations: YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE overflows with helpful, simple (yet cosmic) wisdom rendered visual in a scattered, page-spanning collection of delicate and sequential pen drawings.

    —Wayne Alan Brenner, The Austin Chronicle

    Visit Yumi at

    INSIDE THE AUTHORS STUDIO: The Writing Life with Linda Leaming


    Linda Leaming is a writer whose work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Mandala Magazine, Guardian U.K., A Women’s Asia (Travelers’ Tales), and many other publications. She has an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona, and divides her time between Nashville and Bhutan where she lives with her husband, the renowned Bhutanese thangka painter Phurba Namgay. Her latest book, A FIELD GUIDE TO HAPPINESS: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living. Loving and Waking Up, is now available from Hay House.

    The Writing Life Questions

    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    When I was in the fifth grade I wrote a poem about the wind and it was such a rush. I knew I would be a writer. It was a terrible poem, but the point is I’ve never had any ambition or any talent to do anything else.

    What are you doing when you’re not writing books?

    Knitting, teaching, walking, drinking coffee, reading, laughing, spending time with people I like, going to movies, picnicking, loafing (a word people use in Bhutan that I do a lot).

    What did you learn in school that helps you as an author?

    At the suggestion of one of my teachers in the M.F.A. program, I developed a hard shell like a turtle. Nothing anybody says about my writing can get to my soft underbelly.

    Do you share your work-in-progress with anyone other than your agent/editor?

    Heavens no! Why would I? I have the steady eye and pragmatic wisdom of Laurie Abkemeier, and I can’t imagine anyone who is more helpful, encouraging, and timely with comments. I pray every day for her long life and good health. No joke.

    What advice do you have for writers who have signed their first book deal?

    Buckle your seatbelt. Keep hydrated. Don’t let your ego keep you from enjoying your moment in the sun.

    How did you come up with the title?

    I think my editor kind of dictated the title after I turned in the first draft, and so during the rewrite I felt obligated to try like hell to live up to it.

    What was the hardest part about writing this book?

    Writing the proposal.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I stayed in a beautiful house in a remote part of Tennessee for 2½ months, and I’d write every day and send two or three chapters to Laurie every couple of weeks, and she’d comment. I wrote, walked, ate, slept, and swam. It was heaven. 

    What is your favorite way to connect with readers?

    I like it when they email and say they’ve been to Bhutan and found some of the places I write about. Or they tell me a story of something that happened as a result of their reading.

    What is the last book you read?

    A More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstein

    Visit Linda at, and read her earlier installment of Inside the Authors Studio here.

    A FIELD GUIDE TO HAPPINESS is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold. 


    The gnomes are coming!

    May 2015, to bookstores everywhere…

    Visit Jessica Peill-Meininghaus at

    Visit Keith at

    A Field Guide to Happiness ~ Book Trailer from Karen Linton on Vimeo.


    On sale October 1.

    Visit Linda at



    Greg Nichols is a journalist who has written for publications such as San Francisco magazine, Pacific Standard, and Pittsburgh Quarterly. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara and went on to complete his MFA in creative writing at Emerson College, where he was awarded the 2009 Cecil and Helen Rose Ethics in Communications award from the School of the Arts for his reporting on Braddock, Pennsylvania. His first book, STRIKING GRIDIRON: A Town’s Pride and a Team’s Shot at Glory During the Biggest Strike in American History, is now available from Thomas Dunne Books. 


    1. What is your favorite word?  Berserk 
    2. What makes you laugh?  My wife 
    3. What makes you cry?  Cheesy movies with a heavy-handed climax
    4. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Reading on a patch of grass in the middle of a Tuesday 
    5. What city or country would you most like to visit next?  Kenya  
    6. What was your favorite childhood book?  I was a big Hardy Boys fan, so I choose the series, which, taken as a whole, is sort of like a single masterwork. Right?   
    7. What is your favorite sitcom, past or present?  The Simpsons
    8. What is your favorite magazine?  Wired 
    9. What was your favorite movie of the past year?  The Grand Budapest Hotel  
    10. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Teleportation. One minute I’m here, the next I’m n—-  

    Greg’s Stats


    "Operating on infants is not as simple as learning how to sew in miniature, explains Musemeche in this fascinating, often hair-raising account of the state of pediatric surgery. Musemeche has been working in the field for three decades and writes with the kind of drama that feels as visceral as viewing a documentary.” 

    —Julia McKinnell, Maclean’s

    Visit Catherine Musemeche at

    Deal Announcement


    Debut author/illustrator Susan Farrington’s WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU, a timeless message about love and acceptance, featuring colorful creatures in the tradition of the author’s popular and omnipresent New York subway poster.

    Sold to Balzer + Bray.

    Visit Susan at and susanfarrington


    Deal Announcement

    Richard J. King’s MEETING TOM BRADY, an illustrated journal of the author’s humorous quest to meet the Patriots quarterback and have a game of catch, from training camp to the locker room, and from Brady’s alma mater to Patriots fan hangouts, including interviews with ESPN journalists and current and retired NFL players.

    Sold to ForeEdge/University Press of New England.

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