Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Pam van Hylckama Vlieg”

Because The Night: It’s Happening!

Today’s Brew: Champagne!

by Kristen

I am pleased, okay, over the moon to announce that my debut novel, new adult paranormal romance Because The Night, will be available in November.

It’s being published by (drum roll please)…me.

The time is right for this to happen.  I’ve already been doing publicity for  this book, even before the decision to self publish was in stone.  Seasons in The Sun, the prequel to Because The Night, will be published by Fast Foreward Publishing this fall.  Night Moves is the companion novel to Because The Night.  The book is being polished just as if it was being released by a traditional publisher.  This is not a case of being lazy or impatient.  Simply, it’s a case of moving forward.  I’m ready.  Self publishing wasn’t the path I planned to take, but the more I looked at things, the more sense it made for this series.  The best things in life happen when you take a chance. Nothing happens if you don’t.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on traditional publishing. When I told my agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, about my plan she thought I was an excellent candidate for self publishing. Since Pam was a book blogger before she was an agent, she’s got a good feel of what the public will be interested in.   Pam is going to help me with publishing this book as well as the next two in the series.  Publishing a book is so much more than just putting a book out, and I’m thrilled to have such talent in my corner.

Here’s what you can expect:

November 2013: Because The Night
Fall 2013: Seasons In The Sun (YA Prequel)
2014: Night Moves (Book 2) and We Own The Night (book 3)

A little more of what you can expect: a taste of Because The Night:

Instead of bringing us out to seats in the audience, Tony led us to the side of the stage to a spot just behind the curtain, feet away from Tristan. When he spotted me, he only winked at me like we shared a private joke, and continued with his performance. I sucked in my breath and held on for the ride.

It felt intimate to be so close to the band as they put on their show. I felt the heat of the flash pots and saw the sweat on the faces of the background dancers. We moved out of the way as the roadies scrambled to change instruments for the band. I could see all the notes plastered on the stage. I peeked around the curtain every so often to see the crowd, who were completely enthralled with everything the band did.

But mostly, I just watched Tristan. Tonight he wore his signature black leather pants, which clung dangerously low below his hipbones. They ended in black combat boots that were casually untied. He topped the outfit off with a black T shirt adorned with an intricate white pattern that clung like a second skin. His eyes were heavily rimmed with black liner and his hair hung in his face, down on his chest and back. It swung around him as he roamed all over the stage. His fingers moved over his guitar seductively, teasing it, bringing it to the brink of hysteria then coaxing it back down to a purr. Almost as if he was making love to it.

The thought made me flush all over. I could hardly bear to watch him, but I couldn’t look away.

The show seemed to end before I was ready to stop watching. Tristan came right over to me as he walked off stage.

Look who’s my date tonight,” he grinned triumphantly as he approached me.

You have a date tonight?” For a moment I was oblivious to the fact he meant me.

Yes,” he reached out and put his hands on my hips. Even after running around on stage under those bright lights for over an hour, he hadn’t so much as broken a sweat. Even his stage makeup was still perfect. He leaned in so he could speak close to my ear. “And she looks fabulous in her little black dress.”

Thanks,” I managed, but it didn’t seem like enough. It was all I could say though, looking up at Tristan, with his eyes just inches from mine. In the distance—it might as well have been in another universe–I realized the music on the stage had resumed. “Don’t you have to go back out on stage?”

He shook his head, his eyes never leaving mine. “It’s just his solo. And truthfully, Callie, the show will start again whenever I decide to go back out there. They can wait.”

Oh,” I gulped so hard it hurt. What was he going to do?


Fierce Appearances

Today’s Brew:  A “Deckari Daquiri.”  There are perks to lunch dates that double as business meetings.  Said lunch date/meeting was on a deck overlooking the ocean, too.

by Kristen

Two unexpected perks of being a part of the Twitter writing community:

  • Going to the bookstore (you know, when I’m in the mood for a road trip) and seeing books by people you talk to on a daily basis.
  • Finding out about all kinds of cool author events happening locally.

On Julie and I’s last road trip to Barnes and Noble (Seriously, we have to plan an afternoon.  At least it usually also involves Pinkberry.), I picked up Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  My agent loved this book.  We’ve already established what amazing taste Pam has in books–I mean, after all, she is my agent.  I also tried The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz on her recommendation.  And you know how I felt about that.

If you’re on the fence about a book, see what Pam and her team have to say about it on

Back to Shadow and Bone.  I immediately got swept into the world created in this book.  It was beautiful, sweeping, and complete.  You never question the mythology of the Grisha or The Shadow Fold.  You can identify with Alina’s struggles, always feeling a little less than what she should be, and that she has a hard time believing that she’s more than she could have ever imagined.  And The Darkling, hawt.  I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel this way or not, but I can’t help but root for him even though bad things will happen if he gets his way.

As a writer, I always check the acknowledgements and the about the author page.  Leigh Bardugo is a makeup artist.  Badass.  When I went to the website, it linked me to her makeup work.

Wait a minute, I know this work. Leigh and I both started out in makeup on the same networking site.  This made my heart expand three more sizes for her and her amazing book.

Some of Leigh Bardugo’s makeup work. In case you weren’t already convinced of  how ridiculously talented she is.

Seige And Storm, the second book in Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, released June 4.  It is on it’s way to me from Amazon.  To promote and celebrate the release of this and several other books, MacMillan Teen put together The Fierce Reads Tour, which stopped at the Cambridge Public Library on July 15.  (From what I can tell, Mac Teen does these tours every so often, so stay tuned to see if your favorite authors will be coming to a city near you!)

Fierce reads featured Emmy Laybourne, Jessica Brody, Anna Banks, Gennifer Albin, as well as Leigh Bardugo.  All of their recent releases are YA paranormal.  I love listening to authors talk about their books, watching their faces light up as they speak about their creations to total strangers who care enough to want to hear more. All of the authors were personable and actually very funny.  A good crowd turned out for the talk as well.  I would have expected mostly young and middle aged women, but there were teen boys, elderly people, adult couples without kids. And of course, me.

Emmy, Jess, and Anna. I’m going to start a new website called

Very simple things inspired all of the authors to write their books.  Emmy spends a lot of time in Target.  Jess was inspired by an article about a soul survivor of a plane crash.  Anna was captivated by a Spanish Surrealist Painting.  Gennifer watched a documentary about a giant squid. Leigh had a bad dream and woke up in a dark, strange place.  (She was on vacation.)   They asked themselves a lot of “what if” questions about these things and places until they came up with the meat of their books.

Each author had a specific way that they wrote.  Some of them made very specific outlines.  Some of them couldn’t write an outline to save their lives.   All of them gave their characters wiggle room to dictate if any changes need to be made.  They all agreed that momentum was the most important thing to keep going and to fight blockages.  They then would go back and see what was working and what wasn’t.  All of these authors now write full time, but Gennifer had recently just quit her job.  Again, everyone had their own way that worked best.  Jess wrote in the morning.  Gennifer had to get out of the house to fight distractions.  Anna had to tackle all of the distractions in her life before sitting down to write.  Leigh has to block the internet and talk her way through that day’s work.  I always like to see all the different ways that people create.  It goes to show that writing really is an art form and the only rules that should apply are the ones that work for you.  And don’t be afraid to break them when needed.


I was surprised how many questions the audience had about the writing processes that created these books.  When Julie and I went to see Tiffany, the audience asked more character and plot related questions.   One thing that was absolutely amazing is that almost all of these authors have had their books optioned for movies!  Of course, that doesn’t mean the movies will actually be made, but they are one step closer.

(Takes moment to lie back and daydream about Because The Night premiering on Big Screen…Who to walk the red carpet with?)

There must have been quite a few aspiring writers in the crowd.  I know there was at least one. The authors were asked for their advice to new writers.

  • Keep writing
  • All writing counts, including journals and blogs.
  • Don’t be afraid to write badly.  Crap writing makes great fertilizer.  Published books go through many edits and drafts.
  • Don’t censor yourself.
  • Do your own thing, all advice won’t work for you.
  • Know when to listen and when not to. (Sound familiar?)
  • Finish something so you can see the end.  You get confidence from completing a project.
  • Learn how to take critique.
  • Don’t hold back with your ideas.  Blow the doors off.  You will come up with more ideas.


I didn’t stay for the meet and greet portion of this.  It sounded a little strange, the librarian wanted us to write what we wanted the authors to put on our books on post it notes.  So I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of these lovely ladies myself.  If these books are as full of personality as their creators and and as entertaining as this appearance, you won’t be able to put any of them down.

When To Stop Listening

Today’s Brew:  Iced anything.  Dear Lord Jesus, it’s hot out there. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

by Kristen

“That one was not my fault, Ellie. How was I supposed to know he was a cokehead?”

“I don’t know, Kat. The constant bloody noses, the five inch long pinky nail, the bag of coke he always carried…”

–From Running Home

Our Twitter buddy Rob Kristofferson (@kristoffrable) posted these lines from Julie’s book today.  It pleased me for two reasons:  It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book because I feel like you learn a lot about Ellie and Kat’s relationship in this conversation. And someone told Julie to take this scene out.

Thankfully, she didn’t listen.  The person suggested it was an info dump, and that friends would never talk like that.  So maybe her friends didn’t talk like that.  But I know that my friends talk like that, so I suggested that the scene stay.  I’m glad Julie agreed.

I had entered my query for Because The Night, then Immortal Dilemma, in a critique form.  It got ripped to shreds.  Ripped.  Not only did the reviewer hate my query, she hated every aspect of my story.  I was dumbfounded.  I had sent the query out to an agent and entered it in another contest.  I finished second in the contest, and got a full request from the person who wound up being my agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg.  Now what if I totally changed that query around, or even worse, lost confidence in what I had to share?  Where would I be now?

Vampire books don’t sell, we all know that right?  Okay, so tell Julie that.  Tell my agent that.  Tell the publisher that I talked to who said “you can never be too thin, too rich, or publish too many vampires.”  Shitty vampire books don’t sell. I even take that back, since I’ve read some clunkers.  Right the best story you can, no matter what speaks to you.  It’s your voice that will find you an audience, not the hot genre of the moment.

Critique partners, editors, Authonomy reviews, contest leaders…everyone means well.  But it’s all just an opinion. Figuring out which ones to listen to is the hardest part of editing.  Because one person feels a certain way about your work doesn’t mean that everyone does.  It doesn’t even mean anyone else does. There aren’t any real answers to who has the best advice.  You need to follow your heart and do what is best for your story.  No one knows the story in your heart better than you do.

The Five Spot: Pam van Hylckama Vlieg

Today’s Brew:  I’m on straight Starbuckian Goodness.  Early day today.

by Kristen

We are unveiling a new feature on Deadly Ever After:  The Five Spot.  We ask people you care about five questions, and they answer.

To kick off this series, we chose my agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreward Literary.  Foreward is a new agency with a new attitude, so she was the perfect person to ask about what the heck is going on in publishing these days.

Many publishers are adopting a “hybrid” philosophy, but Foreward seems to be one of the first literary agencies to embrace this.  Can you tell us what a hybrid agency is what the advantages are?

We realize that clients want to publish in a myriad of different ways. Traditional, audio, self publishing, digital only, heck even video games. We want to make sure we can meet our client’s needs no matter what area of publishing they want to pursue.

Tell us about Fast Forward.

Fast Foreword is a digital short program. The books are almost novella length ranging from 15,000 – 25,000 words. We have a team in place to work with distributors and to get pesky things like covers and formatting handled. We believe that works like this are easy to produce and polish and can help build a fan base for a debut or an author who is already published. 

Do you think it’s more risky to be ahead of the trends or behind the trends as an agent or a publisher?

I think all things that are worth something are risky. But I think not keeping up with the times is dangerous. You don’t have to always be the first to do something, but being the very last usually means you’re losing whatever game you’re playing.

How do you feel that your background as a book blogger contributes to your success as an agent?

I think that as a blogger I came into agenting hyper aware of the market and who the key players are. I believe it gave me a different kind of education.

Publishing is changing rapidly.  What do you think we will see more of in the future?

More ways to exploit subrights!

Many thanks to Pam for these great answers!

About Pam van Hylckama Vlieg:


Pam van Hylckama Vlieg started her literary career as assistant to Laurie McLean in early 2012. By April Pam was promoted to Associate Agent at Larsen Pomada. In January of 2013 after selling twenty-one books in her first year of agenting Pam was promoted to agent. When Laurie McLean mentioned creating Foreword, Pam jumped at the chance to follow her mentor and create a new agency together.

Pam blogs at, and Brazen Reads. She partners her blogs with her local bookseller Hicklebee’s where magic happens daily.

Pam grew up on a sleepy little Podunk town in Virginia. She’s lived in the UK, several US states, and now resides in the Bay Area of California. She has two kids, two dogs, two guinea pigs, but only one husband. You can find her mostly on Twitter where she wastes copious amounts of time.

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!!

Today’s Brew:  Gypsy Cold Care Tea and OJ.  I’m siiiiiiick.

Kristen Strassel is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Larsen Pomada Literary Agency in San Fransisco.

Is that not the sexiest sentence you have ever read?  It’s all true.

It all happened very fast and I have to keep reminding myself this is for real!  Someone retweeted that Pam was looking for Paranormal Romance. That’s Immortal Dilemma, so I sent her a query and her requested amount of pages.  That night she requested a full manuscript.  I sent it off and sat on pins and needles, hoping that she would love my characters and story as much as I loved writing it.

Last night, I was working on Seasons In The Sun (the prequel to Immortal Dilemma) when the phone rang.  It was Pam, offering representation!  I accepted.  Now we begin a whole new journey.

I haven’t had a chance to celebrate yet.  When she called, I was sitting in my Muppet PJ bottoms finishing up my Walmart knockoff Kraft mac and cheese (not because I’m poor, because I’m sick and I wanted it.)  I spent a good portion of the night calling friends to share the good news and wandering around the house aimlessly not exactly sure what to do with myself.

I had to let Callie, Tristan, Blade, and the gang know that they have real jobs now and people are paying attention to what they do.  I’m sure they won’t improve their behavior just because you’re watching, and I’m sure you don’t want them to.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far on this journey!  All of your feedback and comments on Immortal Dilemma and all of the blog posts here mean so much to me and Julie.  Next mission:  Getting Immortal Dilemma perfect for sale and publication and readying Julie so she can make this very same announcement regarding Running Home!

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