Bookseeker Literary Agency

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Attention screenwriters!

You may recall that in January 2015 we called for a screenwriter to help turn the short story ‘Axe’, by our client Marie Marshall into a drama for TV, or even a movie script. The story, told in a mix of Glasgow and Caribbean-British registers, follows a girl who has just moved from London to Glasgow, and who joins a ‘girl-gang’. The story sees everything through her eyes, and is strung together in a kind of stream-of-consciousness narration.

Following that appeal, a screenwriter was found. He and Marie have been collaborating on developing the script – he preparing the actual script, she providing extra narrative material – and between them they have fleshed out the protagonist and the supporting characters. The story that, hopefully, will eventually appear on screen somewhere, has grown well beyond the original short story, and is becoming a gripping drama with strong female characters.

girlgang

image: Mercury Press Agency Ltd.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen personal circumstances, the screenwriter has had to be excused from the project, and it is unlikely that he will be able to return. Along with Marie Marshall, we are exploring the way forward, and one possibility is trying to find another screenwriter to take over. That writer would have to ‘hit the ground running’, as there is a lot of pre-exisiting material to work with.

Are you that screenwriter?

The project is a speculative one, by which we mean that no payment can be guaranteed unless and until the finished script is taken up by a production company. Marie herself has waived any income, settling for the exposure of having her name credited as the originator of the story and provider of additional narrative, so royalty payments etc. would accrue to the screenwriter(s). This agency would be responsible for approaching production companies and would take its standard commission.

If this project appeals to you, please get in touch with us.

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A little touch of haiku in the spring…

1We have heard from our client Marie Marshall that the Spring 2016 Showcase of the zen space is now published. the zen space is of course the e-zine for haiku and other short, in-the-moment writing. This issue appears to be shot through with paintings by Vincent van Gogh. When asked why, Marie shrugs and says “Why not?” Can’t argue with that! Click on Vincent’s selfie to be transported to the zen space.

By the way, Marie also tells us that the editing process has begun for her novel KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE, the sequel to From My Cold, Undead Hand, with publication due later this year. Good news – we’re looking forward to it greatly!


Pitlochry, as the dread hour approaches…

theatre

Brightly lit though Pitlochry Festival Theatre might be at night, buzz though festival-goers might around such visiting celebrities as Ronnie Browne, Gregor Fisher, and Charlotte Green, there comes a time when a hush falls over the handful of brave ones who stay behind for the storytellers’ lock-in. Collars are turned up at the suggestion of icy fingers at the neck, and there are anxious glances over the shoulder at the hint of a presence walking through the River Room. Attention is then fixed on the storytellers – actors Dougal Lee and Helen Logan – as though to draw comfort from them. But there is no comfort there. They have us under their spell!

article2This is how it is at every ‘Fearie Tales’ event during Winter Words. Eight chilling tales are read to us in four late-evening sessions. The stories themselves are selected from submissions by contemporary writers from Scotland and beyond. On Friday 12th of February I was there myself. I spoke above of a lock-in, and indeed one of the stories told to us was set at a remote inn after drinking hours, where a stranger told the small company of the nightmares that had beset him since he was a child, as we feared for his mortal safety. The scene in the cold morning light, however, was a plot twist that stunned…

To an extent you never know what to expect at ‘Fearie Tales’. I was there in anticipation of hearing client Marie Marshall’s ‘The Ice House’ – was that you, Marie, lurking by the door of the River Room, flitting away when the applause came? Really you are too shy.

article1‘The Ice House’ was read by Helen, who put layers of character into her reading. The story itself was a tribute to M R James, arguably the greatest writer of ghost stories in the English language. James himself makes an appearance in the story, as an avuncular mentor to the narrator – a young, female, law student at the time of the action – and provides, though he doesn’t realise, the denouement in the form of a letter. The story takes us, via a discussion about humankind’s deepest terrors, a sense of dread in a lonely place, and the delirium of a fever, to the revelation of a brutal crime. The construction of the story is very Jamesian – a typical Marie Marshall emulation – and the sense of period and place is perfect. I do hope there will be some way in which this story can be read more widely, whether Marie places it on her web site, where she does showcase a handful of her stories, or in a collection.

I shall be back in the River Room at Pitlochry on Saturday 20th, when another client’s story is due to be performed. This time it will be by Lucy P Naylor, the Queen of Quirk, and the action will range from a Dundee ‘pletty’ to the city’s ancient Howff graveyard.

The canny short-story-writer knows to pen and submit something written with Dougal’s or Helen’s voice in their ear, to structure their story to suit reading aloud, and to consider each actor’s strength in characterisation. Nothing facile gets through the selection process at Winter Words, and you know that by the time each ‘Fearie Tales’ session comes, that you will hear what is probably la crème de la crème of the Macabre. The festival as a whole is worth a winter break here in the Scottish Highlands.


Client’s book reviewed

fmcuhHard on the heels of news of our client Marie Marshall’s success at Winter Words comes a review from an enthusiastic reader of her YA vampire novel From My Cold, Undead Hand. Here’s an extract:

“… Marshall does a fantastic job with creating an alternate world for us, where the action happens at a breakneck pace. From using technology that isn’t developed yet, to using weapons not designed yet, to using language and phrases not spoken yet, she creates a universe that is strangely familiar to us, yet it’s a place where you have to watch your back or you’ll be dead. Vampires aren’t glamorous, it isn’t romantic to meet a vampire in the alley behind the school, and they most certainly don’t sparkle. Marshall also does a remarkable job of tying in the classic vampire novel, Dracula, but makes you believe that it’s all real. This is a book that will leave you breathless for more!

You can read more about it here.


We told you August was going to be a busy month!

… and so it has turned out to be.

Carmen Capuano, as you can see from the previous update, has been busying herself arranging too have her brilliant new novel Split Decision in the window of WHSmith. Carmen actually found time to tweet “I’m so happy I am singing” a couple of days ago. She deserves to be!

Carmen recently featured on the ‘Silver Threading’ blog. Go here if you would like to read more about her and her writing technique.

1Marie Marshall has several things ‘bubbling under’ at present, so we won’t mention them until they come to the boil. However, if you would like to read eight of her poems that have never been published before now, either on line or in print, you might like to take note of this. Marie accepted an invitation from the Texas-based Poets Collective to contribute to their new anthology Collect the Day, in which more than thirty poets have written about various times of day. If you are a follower of Marie’s daily blog of poetic fragments, you will be familiar with her A dem●n’s diary series; well, there are four new poems in that series included in her eight.

Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

Meanwhile Paul, the mainstay of this agency, has been out-and-about at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and will be until the end of the month. In Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, Paul has been rubbing shoulders with authors, poets, publishers, actors, academics, TV personalities, and other festival-goers. He was thrilled to meet Professor David Crystal, the UK’s foremost expert in Linguistics, and to have a long chat with his son, Shakespearean actor Ben Crystal, of whom Paul is a great fan.

Paul may write an account of his Edinburgh fortnight later in this update column. He has still to see Meera Syal and to attend a one-woman version of Richard III at a Fringe venue, amongst other things.

The August busy-ness continues!


News from P’kaboo

We picked up the following news of planned publications from the personal blog of Lyz Russo, who heads P’kaboo Publishers:

dsc_0446Split Decision by Carmen Capuano is only a proof-edit and a cover short of e-publication.  The cover artist will be available only at the end of June; however this gives us time to raise some publicity.  Split Decision is YA, though I’d actually like to classify it as YA crime fiction; a girl (Natalie) is faced with a choice of two dates, and decides to…  go on both.  That is, the author follows this young lady down both possible decisions, and while the one date very quickly turns sinister, the other, apparently sweet and halcyon, has its surprises too, things that in an ideal world, a young girl just short of sixteen should never have to encounter.  Capuano manages to balance these two contrasting paths with delicate skill, not losing traction in either for even a moment.  A manuscript I could not put down, even though it was long past midnight and I was overtired.

Carmen Capuano is also a popular indie author, which makes P’kaboo very proud to publish her.  Her science fiction series, “The Owners”, is regularly attracting attention.  Read more here about Carmen.

pink-wish-catPink Wish Ice Cream by Andrea Kaczmarek, illustrated by Eva Kuenzel, is due for e-publication – a last proof-edit, and then some publicity, and this lovely children’s book will be on its way.

Pink Wish Ice Cream deals with a sweet, rounded, good-natured Polly Pink Witch teaching some brats to be nice.  It is a classic kiddies book with classic morals, the type your mom, grand-mother and aunt would have instilled in you.  It’s really simple:  Say “please” and “thank you”, and your wish will be granted; be rude and obnoxious and you forfeit your wish.  This even applies if you’re a mommy trying to bend the rules a little for the sake of your kid…  I’m curious which lessons the other witches will be instilling in potential sequels.

The illustrations are simply delightful.  We’re very happy to be introducing these two fresh creative spirits to our readership.

durbslaunchles1Darx Circle by Leslie Hyla Winton Noble has been waiting far too long, and many of you have been following its development from the very first idea, on Colonialist’s blog.  It is darker and far more serious than the light-hearted YA fantasy we are used to from this versatile author.  I’m almost tempted not to place it in YA at all but into general fantasy; but it would be doing it an injustice as firstly the protagonists are young teenagers, and secondly it relates closely to the fantasy worlds he created in “Baa Baa Black Belt”, “Regina” and “Forest Circle Quest”.  Tyrannical young Tyrentia accompanies the dreamer Hugh and his friend Dengana onto a quest to discover what is going wrong in the Darx realm.  Their epic journey, laced with danger and heartbreak, leads them into the dark heart of the realm, and straight into the palaces of the evil forces trying to corrupt the very core of nature.  During this journey Tyrentia also undergoes an inner journey, coming to terms with the evil that lies in her own personal past…

morrigancoversmfrontlThe Morrigan (Solar Wind 5) by yours truly, Lyz Russo – is not yet ready.  It has been professionally edited; notwithstanding this, I am still going to go through it in the July holidays, because something about it bothers me.  I’ll find it, and then the first cycle of Solar Wind can (hopefully) finally receive its final volume – no promise yet as to the time frame!  (After all I don’t know yet what it is that I’ll find to fix.)

The Morrigan:   The Solar Wind is headed into space, on a helter-skelter trip chasing after a “Morrigan Treasure” that may or may not exist – Dana’s treasure.  But things get weird pretty quickly.  The limited experience of space the crew has from Captain’s Earth-based Space Base falls far short.  A species of “space crawlers” starts colonizing the ship; interstellar phenomena are not what they are supposed to be; and an evil entity with a deity-complex demands blood.  The politics aboard the ship get loopy as Dana, Perdita and Captain wrestle for the command.  Federi’s mission is to keep himself and Paean sane and the Captain on his toes.  The return to Earth fails to shake off the Morrigan, leaving Federi with a riddle to solve.

fmcuh-bookseeker-imageAnd then there is Marie Marshall’s gripping new YA vampire novel,

From My Cold, Undead Hand.  Two generations on, and darkness has fallen (quite literally) over the world.  Vampires rule supreme; there seems to be no escape whatsoever.  In KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE, the grandson of the brave heroine Chevonne Kusnetsov from the first volume grasps at a lifeline that is thrown to him, and makes his near-lethal way right across the American continent to find out if there is any hope for the survival of humankind.

Drowned in the kind of bathos we have come to expect from Marshall, the ending – no, I’m not going to spoil it!  You will have to be patient – barring fires, floods and it being found by a larger house, we’re looking at October.

storm2


Something for the haiku-minded.

rose2Over on the site for the e-zine the zen space (edited by our client Marie Marshall) spring is stirring. What has stirred it is a collection of haiku and ‘short-burst’ poetry by some of the best modern exponents, plus a translation of a classical greek fragment, and a collection of marker-pen mandalas.

Do you write haiku, or any form of short poetry? Would you like to submit something? Marie says “I am always on the lookout for fresh talent.” She told us, “Contributors should email me if they have something for my consideration. Please don’t leave a contribution in a comment box – I have to delete those, I’m afraid, as they don’t go through the editorial process. Anyhow, I tell people be bright, be light, be dark, be profound, but be brief!”

the zen space Spring Showcase may be found here.