Laurie Abkemeier

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


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    Visit John Austin, the author of MINI WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, at


    Happy August, friends. My new book YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE comes out in exactly 2 months! 

    Available for pre-order on the internets. More details on the way. 



    Geoffrey Riley talks about How to “Commit to Win,” with Heidi Reeder, on NPR’s Jefferson Public Radio. 

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    INSIDE THE AUTHORS STUDIO with Ashley Wellington

    Ashley Wellington is the founder of Mint Tutors LLC, an online educational community that specializes in academic tutoring, college guidance, and test preparation. A graduate of Princeton University and St. Andrews University, she holds an MLitt degree in creative writing and lives with her husband and their daughter in Connecticut. Her first book, ADMISSIONS ESSAY BOOT CAMP: How to Write Your Way into the Elite College of Your Dreams, is now available from Ten Speed Press.


    1. What is your favorite word?  Persnickety 
    2. What makes you laugh?  Puns 
    3. What makes you cry?  Animal abuse
    4. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns 
    5. What city or country would you most like to visit next?  Machu Picchu, Peru  
    6. What was your favorite childhood book?  Green Eggs and Ham  
    7. What is your favorite sitcom, past or present?  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    8. What is your favorite magazine?  New York Magazine 
    9. What was your favorite movie of the past year?  I had a baby last year, so it’s been a while since I went to a movie! I did see Frozen on a flight and (of course) loved it. 
    10. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Fluency in every possible language—including dead languages and regional dialects.  

    Ashley’s Stats


    Lauren Scheuer’s ONCE UPON A FLOCK is available everywhere books and ebooks are sold.

    Visit Lauren at

    Satisfaction Times Two

    USA Network’s new series Satisfaction premiered last week, and authors Ty Tashiro, PhD, and Jenna McCarthy have contributed essays. 

    Read “’Til Death Do Us Part… Is a Really Long Time" by Jenna McCarthy and "Wanting It All and Too Tired for Sex" by Ty Tashiro. 

    Visit Ty at

    Visit Jenna at

    Are You Satisfied?

    Read Sean Braswell’s “The Science of Settling,” featuring author Ty Tashiro, on NPR.

    Visit Ty at

    INSIDE THE AUTHORS STUDIO: The Writing Life with Shaun Gallagher


    [My writing space is wherever I can find solitude. It’s 5:40 a.m. The sun’s just up, and the kids are still asleep. I’ve got 30 minutes to write.]

    Shaun Gallagher is a former magazine and newspaper editor and currently a software engineer. He runs the popular website and lives with his wife and young sons in Wilmington, Delaware. His latest book, CORRELATED: Surprising Connections Between Seemingly Unrelated Things, is now available from Perigee Books.

    The Writing Life Questions

    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    My interests spanned the Dewey decimal system. I knew I wanted to write, and I really enjoyed creative writing. But I also knew I loved math, science, technology, theater, and music. If I could have declared six different majors, I probably would have.

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

    By day, I write software. Outside of work, I love goofing around with my sons, who are 4 and 2, and going on dates with my beautiful and funny wife.

    How long have you been writing, versus how long have you called yourself a writer?

    While still in college, I got my first full-time writing job, as managing editor of a regional magazine. I was living out of a tiny dorm room and taking classes at night, online, and even by videocassette. That was in 2001, and I’ve been writing ever since.

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

    I’m privileged to have gotten to know Dennis Jackson and John Sweeney, who together edited The Journalist’s Craft: A Guide to Writing Better Stories. Jackson contributed a chapter to the book titled “Rhythm’s Cousin, Cadence.” Ever since reading it, I’ve paid special attention to cadence in my writing, and it’s helped a lot.

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

    My alma mater insisted, by way of academic requirement, that a semester-long course on Restoration-era British literature would benefit me as a writer. Forsooth, it did not!

    What was the inspiration for CORRELATED?

    The book is based on my site, which publishes one bizarre correlation each day. Both the website and the book rely on a massive data set, gathered from people who answer the site’s daily poll questions, but the book has all-new content, so even if you’ve been participating in from the beginning, the book will be a fresh spin on things!

    What was the hardest part about writing this book?

    Unlike with Experimenting with Babies, the biggest difficulty I had with CORRELATED was not writing the words … it was writing the code. It took 1,123 lines of code across several programming languages to parse all of the data, apply an algorithm to find correlations, generate natural-language results, and render the pie-graph images based on those correlations.

    Who are some of your favorite authors?

    I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries lately. I prefer traditional whodunits, and Agatha Christie is, of course, a master of those. I also really like G.K. Chesterton, not only for his Father Brown mysteries but also for his essays on faith, society, politics, and economics. More people should know about (and read) Chesterton. He was a huge influence on both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Everybody knows about them, but unfortunately, far fewer know about Chesterton.

    What is the last book you read?

    Fiction: I’m in the middle of Dumb Witness, one of Christie’s Hercules Poirot novels. Nonfiction: Dive Into Python, about the Python programming language.

    Visit Shaun at, and read his earlier installment of Inside the Authors Studio here

    CORRELATED is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold. 

    INSIDE THE AUTHORS STUDIO: The Writing Life with Jenna McCarthy


    Photo (c) by Sasha Coito

    Jenna McCarthy is an internationally published writer, TEDx speaker, former radio personality, and the author of several books. She has been a featured guest on NBC’s Today, Lifetime TV, Sirius Satellite Radio, and countless regional media outlets across the US. Her latest book, I’VE STILL GOT IT…I JUST CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE I PUT IT: Awkwardly True Tales from the Far Side of Forty, is now available from Berkley Books. 

    The Writing Life Questions

    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    For longer than I’d like to admit, I one-hundred percent assumed that I was going to be a teacher. This wasn’t out of any burning desire to educate; I’d somehow gotten it into my little head that I was at “teacher school” all day. (Presumably the kids who were going to be doctors were off at some hospital somewhere, the future actors were on a stage, and the dolphin trainers were at Sea World, damn it.) In my mind it wasn’t if, but when: “When I’m a teacher, I’m going to let the kids sit wherever they want and I’m NEVER making them do homework.” Imagine my disbelief/relief when I found out I wasn’t in fact born into a caste.

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

    I wish I could say something fabulous like lounging on a yacht recharging my creative battery, but the truth is, the writing of any book is the easy part for me. That’s the part that happens almost effortlessly and for the most part feels like pure joy. The other, larger chunk of my time goes to the sell-market-promote-promote-some-more-you’re-not-done-promoting-you-silly-bitch phase, which essentially never ends. During the rare work-day moment I’m not writing or promoting something, I’m probably on Instagram or Twitter or playing Scramble with Friends (shhhhhhh).

    How long have you been writing, versus how long have you called yourself a writer?

    I submitted my first short story to Highlights magazine when I was about eight. I never heard back. In college, I changed my major every semester, something my parents found thoroughly amusing (particularly when I announced my potential future in Leisure Studies). My first real job was as an advertising copywriter, a title I proudly wore even though most of my “writing” consisted of “Come on down to Winn-Dixie, where bananas are just thirty-nine cents a pound this week!” From there I landed a job as a staff writer at Seventeen magazine, and I upgraded myself to actual writer. I loved saying it, too. When I wrote my first book, I thought, I get to call myself an author now! I still get a thrill saying that.

    What time of day do you do your best writing?

    I’m what some people might refer to as an annoyingly chipper morning person. I’m generally up around five and more often than not I get my best work done before anyone else in the house is even awake. I have a table and chairs in my office, and if my girls wake up early they’ll come in and draw or read quietly. I love that they want to be with me, and also that they respect what I do.

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

    Ha! I love this question! I would never share a work-in-progress with either of those people! By the time I send something to my agent or editor, I want it to be as damn-near-perfect as it can get. (Of course, they both invariably make it better when they do see it, but I’m just saying I’m not inclined to sling rough drafts around like monkey poo or anything.) That said, I have a group of friends who read my early drafts. Most aren’t authors but all are insatiable readers and people I admire and respect and who I know won’t blow smoke up my ass; their feedback is always invaluable.

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

    Write the way you talk. Read everything you’ve written out loud to someone else, and note where you have the urge to change something that doesn’t ring true when you hear it aloud.

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

    “Never end a sentence with a preposition.” Do you want to read a book that has sentences like “About what is that movie you’re watching?” and “Upon what did you sit?” See previous note about the best writing advice I’ve ever received.

    How did you come to know about the subject of your book?

    Copious, painstaking, laborious research. I’m joking! It’s a book about midlife—I’m living it every day. And it turns out, it’s not all that bad, if you can keep your sense of humor about you (and rid your house of any and all magnifying mirrors).

    Who would be the lead(s) in a movie or television show of your book?

    Kristen Wiig as me and Will Arnett as my husband, Joe, not that I’ve thought about it much or reached out to their agents or anything.

    What is your favorite way to connect with readers?

    I love doing readings with Q&As afterward, and I do respond to every email I get. Well, not the nasty ones, or the ones from people who clearly have me confused with Jenny McCarthy, or the creepy “you can stay with me when you come to Spain” ones… but definitely all of the sweet, sincere, thoughtful ones.

    What is the last book you read?

    Allison Winn Scotch’s The Theory of Opposites. It had been a long time since a book sucked me right in like that, and I loved every minute of it.

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

    I’VE STILL GOT IT… I JUST CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE I PUT IT is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold. 


    Shaun Gallagher’s [EXPERIMENTING WITH BABIES] is worth picking up. Having a kid, raising a kid, is this long exploration of change and development. …Think of this book as a reminder of how much change a little person has to go through on the way to becoming a big person. How they see the world and understand the world is steadily becoming more similar to the way you perceive it. But, in the meantime, their experience can be deeply weird, almost alien. This book can help remind you of that fact and it helps get you thinking about your child’s world and trying to understand it more from their point of view, even as they try to understand it more from yours.

    Read Maggie Koerth-Baker’s full review of EXPERIMENTING WITH BABIES at BoingBoing here.

    Visit Shaun at

    Jerry Mahoney talks to Maggie Linton about MOMMY MAN on her show for SiriusXM: Urban View.

    Visit Jerry at

    So hilarious and endearing that it’s far from exclusive to LGBT people wanting to raise a family.

    He Said magazine book review of Jerry Mahoney’s MOMMY MAN 

    Visit Jerry at

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