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May - 2016: Upcoming, I'll be participating in Desert Sleuth's Donald Maass Workshop. I'm afraid it sold out months ago, but if you have questions, contact me.

Apr - 2016: A 2nd Kami Short will release in the Malice Domestic anthology in Bethesda MD. I'll also be moderating a panel with authors Karen Pullen, Sue Cox, and Gretchen Archer. Don't miss the fun! I'll have special edition signed copies of the 1st Kami Short from the SinC - Desert Sleuth anthology to hand out for free.

Apr - 2016: An adult short story, Big Horn Mountain Carnivores, was selected as the adult category winner in the Tempe Community Writing Contest loosely associated with Arizona State University! The e- & print release where I read a portion of the story was the greatest fun. Thank you everyone who came by! Free download here (scroll to bottom): 

Aug - 2015: Politics of Chaos was released at an event attended by the awesome NYTimes best-selling author Sara Paretsky! Also, a flash fiction entitled, "Lightning" was 3rd runner up in the national 2015 Writers Police Academy's contest.

July - 2015: NYC FBI headquarters. Many thrilling authors were there, the presentations were fantastic, and the experience was a solid 15 on a 10 point scale. Thank you to the International Thriller Writers for inviting me. Thank you to the men and women of the FBI.

MAY - 2015: The Poisoned Pen submitted Chaos Theory for the 2015 Edgar's young adult novel award. Please note that submission is NOT a nomination. Still, it is an exciting development.

MAR - 2015:Tucson Festival of Books booksigning! Great time by all.

FEB - 2015: CHAOS THEORY, released by The Poisoned Pencil, an imprint of The Poisoned Pen Press - one of the nation's largest publishers of hard-back mysteries.

MAR - 2013: Meg was honored to receive a year long mentorship from author Jan Blazanin through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators - Iowa. Ms. Blazanin praised Meg's multiple characters' distinct and age appropriate voices.

Her writing blog is located at megevonne.blogspot.com contains reviews and writing craft tools.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Value of Premise Statements

The following is from a discussion with a fellow poster concerning the market value of a manuscript. How do you decide if this manuscript deserves the time you plan on putting into it.

If you're concerned that you might be wasting time on it (and I interpreted that statement as - is this marketable, publishable, etc.) then I need a premise statement. It is the story you string upon the world and the dilemma you've created that helps me determine that.

Take a look at the Bourne Identity books/movies. They are about political corruption, but the heart line is about Bourne's need to discover the truth about himself, or protecting someone he loves, or revenging the death of his love. In the process the political is solved as well, but the STORY is in what and how Bourne grows and changes.

In other words, if you are moving toward publication goals, then I would need to see a premise statement, which is no more than two sentences (preferably one] that tells the human element, heart line, or emotional story within your neat world and your conflict. This sentence will be usually be your main character's journey.

Do not share premise statements on line. Those are too easily taken, especially if it's a great premise! The stories could be worlds different, but it WAS your intellectual property drawn down to one or two sentences. Thus the caution.

I've included 12 premise statements that authors and agent Michael Bourret successfully used to sell these books over the past 12 months. What better example than premise samples that worked? These were posted on Publisher's Marketplace, which is a great source for determining trends in publishing and agent research prior to querying. (You've heard about research, right? Don't waste an agent's valuable time if you don't write what they sell!)

From Publisher's Marketplace:
Young Adult Nova Ren Suma's IMAGINARY GIRLS, a tale reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's supernatural family dramas, it is the story of two sisters, their strong bond, and the dead body that threatens to break it, to Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton Children's, at auction, for publication in Summer 2011, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).
Posted: July 13, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern

Science Marcus Wohlsen's BIOPUNK, chronicling a rising geek underground that wants to do for DNA what the Internet did for information, exploring both the potential for innovation and for destruction, to Courtney Young at Portfolio, for publication in 2011, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World). I love this premise and it's science! Not sci fi!
Posted: July 16, 2009 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern

Young Adult Heather Brewer's THE SLAYER JOURNALS, a five-book spinoff from the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, centering on the character of the slayer that accidentally befriends vampire Vlad before learning of his true nature, to Maureen Sullivan at Dutton Children's, for publication in September 2011, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).
Posted: August 7, 2009 at 3:06 p.m. Eastern

Young Adult Dori Jones Yang's DAUGHTER OF XANADU, about a spirited young Mongolian princess who must decide between her growing attraction towards a young foreigner, Marco Polo, and proving to the Khan, and to herself, that she can be a bold warrior, to Michelle Poploff at Delacorte, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).
Posted: August 18, 2009 at 5:03 p.m. Eastern

Narrative Author of Blue Clay People and Whispering in the Giant's Ear William Powers's TWELVE BY TWELVE: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream, a twenty-first century WALDEN and meditation on globalization about the author's experience in an eco-community after returning from a decade as an aid worker in Africa and South America, to Jason Gardner at New World Library, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World).
Posted: September 9, 2009 at 9:49 p.m. Eastern

Young Adult Debut author Aaron Hartzler's RAPTURE PRACTICE, a humorous, poignant YA memoir about growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home while questioning one's faith and sexuality, reminding readers that sometimes life is stranger than fiction, and often in hindsight, just as entertaining, to Jennifer Hunt at Little, Brown Children's, for publication Spring 2011, by Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (world English).
Posted: September 28, 2009 at 11:23 a.m. Eastern

Film rights Suzanne Selfors's SAVING JULIET, to Disney with Peter Chelsom attached and the Gotham Group producing, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Power of a timely name. Julie and Julia, Letters to Juliet.. can it be that simple and trivial? yep Fun to grt the scoop on a film that won't come out for a couple years! Publisher's market place is fun!
Posted: October 20, 2009 at 3:13 p.m. Eastern

Cooking Brad Thomas Parsons' BITTERS, the history and mystery of how this concentrated alcoholic infusion of aromatic plant roots, bark, herbs, spices, and fruit was first used as a tonic to remedy ills, but has since gone on to be an essential element in quality cocktails, along with more than 100 recipes for homemade bitters and classic and contemporary cocktails using them, to Aaron Wehner at Ten Speed Press, for publication in Fall 2011, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World).
Posted: November 10, 2009 at 9:10 a.m. Eastern

Young Adult Joelle Anthony's THE RIGHT AND THE REAL, following a seventeen-year-old whose father throws her out of the house when she refuses to join the cult he's gotten involved with, forcing her to survive on her own; but when Dad finds himself in danger, she comes to the rescue armed with her newly acquired street smarts, again to Stacey Barney at Putnam Children's, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (world).
Posted: December 4, 2009 at 3:35 p.m. Eastern

Young Adult NYT bestselling author of Wake and Fade Lisa McMann's DEAD TO YOU, about a teenage boy who was abducted nine years ago and is now returning to his family, and THE UNWANTEDS, about kids who are exiled from their homeland when they display signs of creativity to a hidden world where they are trained to use their abilities and hone their magical skills, to Simon Pulse and Aladdin, in a four-book deal, by Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.
Posted: December 11, 2009 at 4:49 p.m. Eastern

Young Adult Erin Downing's ECLIPSED, about a girl who has always happily existed in the outer orbit of high school cliques, but is suddenly thrust to the center of the social universe after a mysterious occurrence during a Lunar Eclipse changes everything and flips life-as-she-knew-it onto a bizarre new axis, to Ari Lewin at Disney-Hyperion, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2012, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (NA).
Posted: March 4, 2010 at 5:06 p.m. Eastern

Young Adult The Dust of 100 Dogs author A.S. King's EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, about a teenage boy who, as he struggles to cope with a relentless bully, mysteriously communicates with his long-lost POW grandfather still missing in action in Vietnam, to Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown Children's, for publication in Fall 2011, by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World English).


  1. This is so interesting! Where did you get these stats? I agree with you that a book should have a premise that's unique and strong to make it stand out in the crowded market.

  2. Hello again. As you can see, I found the comment threads finally. This is the type of information that you get with a paid membership at Publishers Marketplace.com. Notice that it's a great place to find and explore those premise statements, see trends in the happening, find out what an agent is really looking for, who an agent represents, what houses they have made deals with.

    You can create your own deal tracker to follow the deals from agents, houses, editors that you want to know about. Also their lunch notes will give you publishing news including who has left what houses and where they set up AND it will tell give you same week, if not same day, notice of new agents in agencies. Never hurts to be one of the first in their new, shiny, almost empty mail box, right?

    Hugs Christina! meg