Posts Tagged ‘Sally van Haitsma’


LA 8: Bound for Newport Beach

April 7, 2010

SCWC LA 8 - Newport BeachSo what are you doing come September? I’m thinking maybe the weekend of the 24th – 26th?

I don’t know, how does Newport Beach sound?

Sound good? Well, yeah. Because that’s the time and place for SCWC LA8, the eighth annual Los Angeles gathering of the Southern California Writers’ Conference.

And we would very, very much like to see you there. All of you. Every one of you. And bring a friend. Maybe we’ll buy bonus drinks, or something, if you don’t have to tie them up and hide them in your baggage. (No smuggling corpses, though; we will eventually figure it out. Probably sometime Sunday, but still ….)

So come on ’round and raise a glass. LA8 will feature some great talent assembled to teach you the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and surviving as a professional author. And, hey, how about this? If enough people sign up, maybe we can force MSG, Wes, and Decker to treat us to a sing-along of Beach Boys hits, including a serenade for our writing contest winners. (Come on, what would you give to see Michael on his knees, singing, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, or Decker crooning, “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”?)

Okay, okay, so that idea is going to take some work.

But I said something about talent, so here we go. Already confirmed is special guest speaker Ellen Bryson, whose forthcoming The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno (Henry Holt & Co.) is due in June. Also, we have award-winning writer and producer Erik Bork (HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and Rome) onboard, as well as the beloved Drusilla Campbell (Blood Orange and Bone Lake, from Grand Central Publishing), acclaimed horror novelist Mark Clements (6:02, Children of the End, The Land of Nod, and Lorelei, from Bushido Press), and the adored, revered, and treasured Judy Reeves (A Writer’s Book of Days and Writing Alone, Writing Together, from New World Library).

What? That’s not enough? Are you serious? I mean, come on, it’s only April, folks. What more do you want for early confirmations? Oh, right. Agents, editors, publishers, and all those cool folks from the business end of the writing and publishing gig.

Well, guess what? We’ve got those, too. Including Paul Fedorko (N. S. Bienstock), Mollie Glick (Foundry Media), Matt Hudson (William Morris Endeavor), Georgia Hughes (New World Library), Jill Marr (Sandra Dijkstra Agency), and she without whom we could not … er … um … do without, the newly independent and entrepreneurial Sally van Haitsma (van Haitsma Literary).

And if that lineup isn’t enough—really, what do you want?—we can always tempt you with more. We’ll post the news here as we get it, but also be sure to check in on the newly revamped SCWC website, with our great appreciation and deepest thanks to Jeremy Lee James and the folks at Write Click Media for their hard work and wonderful results.

Still with me? Well, you better be. Because here’s the good stuff. I mean, you know, if all that talent and the slick new look for the main site aren’t enough. Because we’re not at all insensitive to these economic times. (Really, ever wonder why MSG cuts his hair so short? It’s so he can’t pull it out.) That’s why we’re offering … you guessed it … a discount.

So register before June 1, 2010, and save $75 on your conference fee.

Wait, wait, wait. Let me try that again:

Register before June 1, 2010, and save $75 on your conference fee!

That looks much better with the exclamation point, doesn’t it?

And, of course, one final offer. Register today and I’ll stop bugging you about it.

For now. I mean, sorry, but I’ll have to harangue the slowpokes at some point.

Sign up. Write well. And we’ll see you in Newport Beach.



KYSL SD23: The Agents and Editors Panel

February 12, 2009

And now, for something completely different.

Introducing our Agents and Editors, who will enlighten and entertain you with insightful discussions with a regular feature of SCWC, the Agents and Editors Panels. There are two of these talks slated, one each on Saturday and Sunday, and if I’m not especially embarrassed that I’ve somehow managed to miss these events at the conferences I’ve attended before (only two!) it’s because I have plenty to be embarrassed about, and at least I’ll survive this.

But, as word gets around, these are very good talks, and I’m just an idiot for having skipped them before. (I’ll spare you the story.)

Thus, some people I really ought to be paying attention to:

  • Claire Gerus packaged her experience as editor-in-chief for two major publishing houses, and from years working for seven other major publishers into a literary agency. During her time in publishing, she oversaw the editing of the first biography of former First Lady Laura Bush, and was recently ranked among the nation’s best literary deal-makers.
  • Kathleen Gilligan works as an editor for Thomas Dunne Books, and has worked with many non-fiction writers on titles including Susan Konig’s Why Animals Sleep So Close, Senator Arlen Specter‘s best-selling portrait of live with cancer, Never Give In. In addition, she has a keen interest in women’s fiction, and to borrow a quote, “Particularly with curious, genuine narrators whose quirks resonate with my own, moving literary fiction, or nonfiction projects that inspire me to cook delicious food!”
  • Jacqueline S. Hackett is an attorney and member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives. She is also the founder of Literary Works, a full-service boutique literary agency. She brings a solid track record to our panel, with recent titles including Michael Schacker’s A Spring Without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply and Rachel Vassel’s Daughters of Men: Portraits of African-American Women and Their Fathers.
  • Jeff Moores represents writers for Dunow, Carlson & Lerner, a Manhattan literary agency with a diverse roster. Equally diverse are his interest, which include literary fiction, voice-driven sci-fi and urban fantasy, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, politics, current affairs, journalism, graphic novels, gay & lesbian, popular culture and popular science.
  • You’ve already met Lynn Price, although I’m sure there’s plenty to add. So let’s hear another round of applause for Lynn, eh? You’re wonderful. All of you.
  • Jennifer Silva Redmond is also adding the panel to her list of things to do. I don’t know, can I beg more applause?
  • Adrienne Rosado is making the trip out from New York, where she works for PMA Literary and Film Agency, a firm with a diverse roster including genre fiction, true crime, world history, even politics (including Vincent Bugliosi’s The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder).
  • And then there’s the lovely Karen Syed. I’ll just hold up a cardboard sign that says Applause. Yeah. Just like that. Thank you.
  • Sally Van Haitsma is making the trip out from Del Mar, home of the Castiglia Literary Agency, a publishing house with broad interests including commercial, literary, and multicultural fiction, narrative non-fiction, investigative journalism, pop culture, parenting, gardening, architecture and interior design, biography, business, investing, finance, cookbooks, sports, and more. It really is an impressive list. And Sally’s in on a bunch of those. And we so adore her. Er, I mean … just like everyone else.
  • Natanya Wheeler comes cross-country from Lowenstein-Yost Associates, where she specializes in narrative nonfiction including memoirs, women’s issues, alternative energy and green living, politics, and apparently she really likes stuff about birds. And she’s working to build a fiction portfolio, focusing on literary fiction, women’s fiction, “edgy character-driven thrillers”, “moody mysteries”, young adult, and stand-alone graphic novels.

And … wait a minute. Let me double-check. Okay, I don’t think I left anyone off that list. (Just watch.) But I’m surprised, because, well, aren’t we just dripping with talent?

And you know what? It’s not over yet ….



LA6: Clothing Optional

September 30, 2008
Sally van Haitsma, Stacey O'Brien, Rick Ochaki, Kathleen Gilligan and Andrew Peterson

From L to R: Sally van Haitsma, Stacey O'Brien, Rick Ochaki, Kathleen Gilligan and Andrew Peterson

In a noble effort to keep it real at our Irvine event, agent Sally van Haitsma, editor Kathleen Gilligan and authors Stacey O’Brien and Andrew Peterson join conferee Rick Ochaki for a late-night Rogue read & critique session in the hotel sauna where, as is clearly posted on the rules board, it’s “Clothing Optional.”

We may just implement this new rule in all Rogues at San Diego, come February. Whutcha think?



A NY Times bestseller!

September 17, 2008

Just got a call. Simon & Schuster reports that LA6 Saturday evening speaker Stacey O’Brien’s Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl will debut on The New York Times‘ nonfiction bestseller list this Sunday. No. 13, I believe.

I’m thinkin’ we got some celebrating to do in Irvine. Whoever brings the champagne, know that I’m showering Sally in it!



Andrea Portes’ query letter

April 29, 2008

Lest it be lost to the ether, the query letter Andrea Portes (Hick) wrote and submitted to Castiglia Lit’s Sally van Haitsma and garnered so much intense interest when discussed at SCWC*LA5 is online.  It’s about as perfect an unsolicited query letter to an agent as you’ll find.

Just another testament to Andrea’s fine writing voice and savvy for the business in general, check it out here.

Read it. Think about what it does and does not do.  Learn from it.



The picture that started it all

April 22, 2008

Just got a call from another longtime friend of the SCWC, movie editor John Rosenberg, who was a conferee at one of our LA events, and whose manuscript nabbed the attention of editor Jennifer Redmond and agent Sally van Haitsma (as usual). His novel is so achingly close to finding a home that I’m staking money on it being yet another LA-conference book published as a result of the collective effort of so many staffers. He won the SCWC Fiction Award for it, now fingers & toes are crossed that he’ll land the deal it warrants.

And this got me thinking about the LA conference history in general, and in particular how one of the upcoming LA6’s guest speakers (Stacey O’Brien) got her gusto after attending LA4, which was held in Manhattan Beach. Sally van Haitsma put it perfectly:

I’ll never forget that day when I first met Stacey at the conference and you spoke to me about the excitement her project inspired. The endorsements we’ve been receiving for Stacey’s book have been amazing. Here’s the latest, from one of the greatest naturalists alive:

Most “me and my bird” stories are mildly entertaining at best, but Wesley the Owl is a different animal altogether. Stacey O’Brien got to know this owl with a unique combination of deep scientific understanding and rare emotional intensity, and the result is stunning, unforgettable. Read this book and you will never see owls, or humans, in the same light again.

–Kenn Kaufman
author of Kingbird Highway and Flights Against the Sunset

How exactly did Stacey’s manuscript become the focus of so much attention? Well, truth be told, Stacey included the above photo of Wesley in her submission of manuscript pages addressed to conference assistant director and registration administer Chrissie Barnett, my wife, who was so smitten with it that she called me just before Saturday evening’s banquet and insisted that I introduce her to somebody who might become a passionate advocate of Stacey and Wesley’s story.

There you go. I just read the galleys of the book and it is a wonderful read. I laughed. I cried. I suck. I suck because of maintaining this simple perspective: The only rule in publishing is there are no rules!



Andrea’s “Hick” optioned for film

April 11, 2008

Courtesy of our own Sally van Haitsma, who negotiated the deal, comes this item fromThe Hollywood Reporter:

Siebert, Taylor option novel ‘Hick’
By Borys Kit

April 10, 2008

Producers Steven Siebert and Christian Taylor have optioned the best-selling novel “Hick,” by first-time author Andrea Portes.

“Hick,” published in 2007 by Unbridled Books, was recently named among the best adult books for high school students by the School Library Journal.

The coming-of-age story centers on 13-year-old Luli McMullen, who runs away from her ramshackle Nebraska home after being abandoned by her deadbeat parents and heads to Las Vegas. Along the way, she learns the truth about American rootlessness and discovers both the power and peril of her own sexual curiosity.

The producers hope to mold the project with a lead character in the vein of Addie Loggins of “Paper Moon” and Iris Steensma in “Taxi Driver.”

Portes is in talks to adapt the screenplay.

Taylor, via his shingle Taylor Lane Prods., is developing “Angela and Diabola,” an adaptation of a novel by Lynne Reid Banks (“The Indian in the Cupboard”), with writers Mike Deseve and Andy Rheingold of the Gotham Group and producers Jane Startz and Gillon Stephenson.

Siebert and his Lighthouse Entertainment recently produced the youth-oriented road comedy “Endless Bummer,” starring Khan Chittenden and Matthew Lillard. Upcoming projects include drama “The Lion’s Share” with director Bob Giraldi.

Congratulations Andrea and Sally!