Laurie Abkemeier

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


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    "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.

    Deal Announcement

    Surgeon and author of Small Catherine Musemeche MD’s HURT, a history of how trauma care and injury prevention advanced from before 9-1-1, EMTs and trauma surgeons to the state-of-the art trauma facilities that save countless lives today.

    Sold to ForeEdge/University Press of New England.

    Visit Kate at

    INSIDE THE AUTHORS STUDIO with Catherine Musemeche

    Catherine “Kate” Musemeche, MD, has been a practicing pediatric surgeon for more than twenty years and an assistant and associate professor of surgery at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute. Previously Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Director of Pediatric Trauma at the University of New Mexico, she has performed literally thousands of operations on infants and children. Her first book, SMALL: Life and Death on the Front Lines of Pediatric Surgery, is now available from Dartmouth College Press.


    1. What is your favorite word?  Perseverance 
    2. What makes you laugh?  The clip of Mark Sanchez running into his teammate’s backside 
    3. What makes you cry?  complications
    4. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? chocolate cupcakes 
    5. What city or country would you most like to visit next?  Italy  
    6. What was your favorite childhood book?  Anne of Green Gables  
    7. What is your favorite sitcom, past or present?  The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    8. What is your favorite magazine?  The New Yorker 
    9. What was your favorite movie of the past year?  20 Feet from Stardom  
    10. If you could have a superpower, what would it be? To write like Joan Didion  

    Kate’s Stats

    • Hometown: Orange, Texas
    • Birthday: May 26
    • Middle name: Anne
    • Website:
    • Twitter: @DrKateM 
    • How She Found Her Agent:

    INSIDE THE AUTHORS STUDIO: The Writing Life with John Austin


    John Austin worked as a senior toy designer in the Boys Research and Development Department at Hasbro Toys. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design and currently lives in Illinois with his wife and son. His latest book, MINIWEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: Build and Master Ninja Weapons, is now available from Chicago Review Press.

    The Writing Life Questions

    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    I was totally interested in movie special effects when I was young, purchasing tons of “The Art Of…” books, in which the pages of those books pointed me into the industrial design field. While studying industrial design, I took an internship for toy design at Hasbro and fell in love with the industry.

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

    Drawing toys, lots of them—toy vehicles, action figures, and anything with guns! Most of the projects I take on are for boy properties, concept sketching, pattern drawings, plastic colors and graphics… the complete package! I usually try to work on book projects between toy projects, fills the gaps and mixes up the creativity!!

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

    Presentation! While taking a variety of art, design, engineering, and one creative writing class, every project came down to presentation, which is probably my favorite part. I love putting a ton of elements together for an impressive package. Next to seeing the book completed, doing the first 30+ pages of a proposal is probably my favorite part, shaping a book out of thin air and translating the art, layout, and design of the book is really rewarding!

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

    I actually don’t consider myself an author or writer, which is kind of funny. When people ask me what I do, my first response is “toy design, and I work on some other projects on the side.” I rarely name-drop “writer” or “author” in a sentence.

    Do you have any superstitious writing practices?

    I have to start with a clean home office before any major project, and it may take days to clean (procrastinating). Once I start, I want time…10, 12, 14+ hours consecutively until I’ve broken the initial wall and start making progress. Trail mix is also recommended during this time.☺

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

    Outside my wife, I try to avoid divulging any information during the conceptual stages of any projects to avoid derailing the vision. It’s like telling a room of people your first choice for a baby name. Everyone knows a “Dan” they hate, dislike, or is just weird.

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

    “Put it on paper, talk is cheap.” If you want to write a book, do it. Don’t talk about it. When I first decided to try my luck at publishing, my early findings pretty much told me to just write the damn book… so I did.

    What was the inspiration for your new book?

    We’ve had great success with the first books in the series and wanted to venture into another great category, however we couldn’t decide if it would be Ninja or Military. We did a little voting on the Facebook page and Ninja stood out, and with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other various ninja toy lines coming out, we decided to go forward with Ninja, and the finished projects rock!

    How did you come up with the title?

    The title for the series has always been a double-edged sword. Kids love the aggressive nature of the title, while some venues shy away from the word “weapons.” Past the title, this series illustrates easy-to-do projects that “dabble” in innovation, experimentation, and material exploration with loads of engineering… skills kids can latch onto for life! Homegrown innovation is important.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I enjoy the process of building and testing the projects prior to starting the art. I lay out all the potential projects, then build several test MiniWeapons to perfect the design, reduce the materials, and have clear steps for anyone to follow. Some projects take hours, while others will be shelved and revisited over the month or so I’m in the phase. While doing the 40+ projects in each MiniWeapons book, I will sometime get hung up on designs but then the next day crank out four amazing projects, so I just ride the wave.

    What is your favorite way to connect with readers?

    I love fan mail! It’s pretty cool to receive physical mail forwarded by the publisher, with kids drawing up ideas and sharing stories of projects. Many of my projects have been used to win physics competitions, which is pretty cool! I’ve mailed MiniWeapon stickers to every fan that has ever written me! 

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

    MINIWEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: Build and Master Ninja Weapons is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold.


    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?

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