BAD JOBS, Great Review!

Congratulations to J.R. Helton, whose Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions is on The National Book Review‘s list of “Five Hot Books”!



5. Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions: Dispatches from the Working Class by J. R. Helton (Liveright)

“Helton spent the Reagan years in Texas, stuck in an endless loop of menial, dead-end jobs, a shaky marriage, and a life dulled by marijuana and other recreational drugs.  While hauling firewood, selling pumpkins by the side of the road, and working with sad Vietnam War veterans, Helton banged out fiction on his portable Smith Corona manual typewriter — and dreamed of success as a writer.  After success with one short story, nothing worked out, and Helton re-enrolled at the University of Texas, threw himself into term papers and exams, quit drinking and smoking, and gained a perspective that makes this memoir about life in the trenches of the working poor particularly poignant and — given our current state of affairs — timely.”                                                                                         The National Review of Books


Film option for THE SHARK CALLER!


Film rights to Dianne Wolfer’s THE SHARK CALLER (Penguin New Zealand) have been optioned by Kerry Warkia & Kiel McNaughton of Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions Ltd.

THE SHARK CALLER is a gripping adventure story for middle grade readers, exploring what it is like to be caught between worlds – between urban life and an isolated tropical island; between modernity and traditional customs; between science and magic; between the calm waters of a sheltered reef and the wild mysteries of the deepest ocean.


Kerry Warika and Kiel McNaughton are producers and creatives who have been at the forefront of some of New Zealand’s most innovative content for both television and web. Passionate about telling Māori and Pasifika stories, they are now moving into feature films.

Sometimes authors visit us!

On Monday Canadian author, Vicki Grant, dropped by the office to meet her French publishers.

First, she met the editors from Milan, who will publish SHORT FOR CHAMELEON.Vicki Grant & Milan team (

Then the editors from Michel Lafon Publishing dropped by. Vicki Grant & Michel Lafon team (Bénédicte Lombardo & Maëlle Alan)

They will be publishing Vicki’s latest book, 36 QUESTIONS THAT CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT YOU.

And here’s Lora with Vicki.Vicki Grant & Lora Fountain (Paris 06-11-2017)

Obviously, the whole event was a terrible ordeal for everyone!


Two from First Second Are PW Best Books of 2017!

Publishers Weekly just published their Best Books of the Year lists, and First Second has not one, but two books on the lists! (And they are the only graphic novels on the children’s lists, by the way.)

On the Middle Grade list is REAL FRIENDS by Shannon Hale and illustrated  by LeUyen Pham.real-friends

Italian rights have already been sold (to Il Castoro), but French, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese rights are still free.





And making the Young Adult list was SPINNING by Tillie Walden.

spinningSo far, we’ve sold translation rights to this excellent coming of age story to France (Gallimard), Spain (La Cupula), and Italy (Mondadori).

Dutch and Portuguese rights are still available.



French rightsFilm rights to Natalie C. Anderson’s thriller, CITY OF SAINTS AND THIEVES, have gone to Universal Pictures. Read all about it here.

Variously billed as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl or The Hunger Games meets The Thief Lord, this enthralling murder mystery sdet in Kenya will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

CITY OF SAINTS AND THIEVES is published in the US by Putnam


and in the UK/ANZ by OneWorld. CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES











French rights have gone to Pocket Jeunesse and Spanish and Catalan rights to Planeta.

Other rights sold are Germany (dtv ); Poland (INITIUM Patryk Lubas ); Czech Republic (Albatros Media ); Turkey (Penguen Kitap ); Serbia (Vulkan).

All other translation rights are still free.

THE HUNTING ACCIDENT: Already Getting Great Reviews!

THE HUNTING ACCIDENTIt was just published by First Second, and already THE HUNTING ACCIDENT is garnering excellent reviews/

  • The Hunting Accident: A True Story of Crime and Poetry by David L. Carlson and Landis Blair was featured in GQ Magazine online:

“One of the Best True Crime Stories of 2017 Isn’t on TV (Yet)”

  • The Hunting Accident was also reviewed and excerpted in The AV Club:

“A killer explains his philosophy in this The Hunting Accident exclusive”

  • This Chicago true crime story was also covered in a 6 page print feature in Chicago Magazine:


  • The creators were also interviewed on WBEZ Chicago “Morning Shift” in a 13 minute segment:

“Graphic Novel Tells Fascinating Tale of Robber, Writer, Father and Prison Confidant”


  • And it was also announced in Paste Magazine:



The beautiful YA novel ONE WOULD THINK THE DEEP by Claire Zorn (UQP) has won the 2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award in the Older Readers  category.

ONE WOULD THINK THE DEEPSam has always had things going on in his head that no one else understands, even his mum. And now she’s dead, it’s worse than ever. 

With nothing but his skateboard and a few belongings in a garbage bag, Sam goes to live with the strangers his mum cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty. 

Despite the suspicion and hostility emanating from their fibro shack, Sam reverts to his childhood habit of following Minty around and is soon surfing with Minty to cut through the static fuzz in his head. But as the days slowly meld into one another, and ghosts from the past reappear, Sam has to make the ultimate decision … will he sink or will he swim.