sweet sixteen

We could call this a surprise party because it sure surprises me to realize it: Today I’ve been an agent for 16 years! So virtual cupcakes all around. With some balloons and streamers thrown in.

In celebration… I will be giving away one ARC or book per day this week in a random drawing. All you have to do to enter is to comment on this entry (between now and Friday, 5pm EST) and tell me, in 20 words or more, about a book by one of my clients that you’ve read and whether you liked it or (fate forfend) not, and why. One entry per person, please. For a list of clients you can look at the sidebar of http://www.jenniferjackson.org/

Please be sure to leave your name in your comment if you are commenting anonymously, so I can announce the winner and get contact information.

Available ARCs/books:

Donna Ball, A Year on Ladybug Farm (trade edition)
Elizabeth Bear, Blood and Iron / Whiskey and Water (set of 2 paperbacks)
Anne Bishop, The Black Jewels Trilogy (omnibus trade edition)
Amanda Downum, The Drowning City (ARC)
Laura Anne Gilman, Flesh and Fire (ARC) – Tuesday winner: ruford42
Alison Kent, No Limits (paperback) – Thursday winner: empress_maeuve
Chris Knopf, Hard Stop (hardcover)
Jay Lake, Green (ARC) – Monday winner: peanut13171
Cherie Priest, Fathom (hardcover)
Laura E. Reeve, Peacekeeper (paperback)
Ken Scholes, Lamentation (hardcover)
Ekaterina Sedia, The Alchemy Of Stone (trade paperback)
Loreth Anne White, Manhunter (paperback)

FAQ:

#1 : Yes, as it happens, I was quite precocious and was an agent prodigy at a young age, say 12 or so.

#2 : Yes, I will mail the prizes internationally. Anyone is welcome to enter.

#3 : Yes, one prize per person.

#4 : Yes, if your comment has excessive spoilers, it will be screened. But it will still count as an entry.

#5 : Yes, I will add to this FAQ list if you have another question about the contest.

194 responses to “sweet sixteen

  1. Elizabeth Bear’s Worldwired made me remember why I loved sf, and it humanized characters, something often lacking in SF.
    wow, that was 20 words… I fail.. 😦 I loved that series, and the final book was such an awesome ending.

  2. Not an official entry; just had to say that this:
    1 : Yes, as it happens, I was quite precocious and was an agent prodigy at a young age, say 12 or so.
    cracked me up.

  3. Book I liked and why
    I enjoyed Jay Lake’s book, “Mainspring” because it was very different and he built a completely new world.

  4. Happy Agent Day!

  5. Congrats to you and your clients! I’ve read nearly all of Cherie Priest’s books and absolutely adore them and her. 🙂 Have had to read Fathom slowly, though, b/c it is scaring me to death!!

  6. Happy 16th, and congratulations!
    Hm … so many good authors to choose from. I’m going to go with Priest, I think. I read Four and Twenty Blackbirds a while back. Very much enjoyed the setting, and Eden & her ghosts made great characters. After reading a lot of more epic fantasy, this was a nice change of pace.

  7. Happy 16th!!
    I’ve read all of Jim Butcher’s Dresden books, except for the last one. But that’s only because my husband is hogging it. And that really is telling of why I like Butcher’s books so much. My husband and I rarely agree on anything in the lit spectrum, so it’s nice to have a common ground series that we are both really into.
    We even liked the sci-fi series!

  8. Elizabeth Bear reminded me of the sort of writing I used to find more often: smooth, but operating on several levels. I like having to look things up to get the full picture, and I like that her writing lets me come back to the story easily.

  9. Fave Books
    Have to go with the Dresdan Files books. Can be any of them really. Harry is just a fun guy to hang out with. What’s not to like about a modern day wizard?

  10. Happy Agent Birthday!

  11. I’ve read the majority of Cate Murphy/Dermody’s books. I own them all, though. I recently read HANDS OF FLAME and really enjoyed how everything from the last two books got interwoven (And Eliseo bite it). I kept thinking about it for a few days afterward, always the sign of a good book (I tend to read books in one day XD)

  12. Happy Agent Anniversary!

  13. Happy agent day!
    (I remember when you were a wee newbie… even then, of course, I knew you were gonna be a star! *grins*)

  14. Happy Agent Birthday!

  15. I loved Carnival, by Elizabeth Bear, because it had fun characters with complicated relationships, intricate political situations, and because it played with feminist sf conventions. And most of all, because she didn’t do that thing at the end that so many books like that do. She set it up to do that, we all expected that, and then, poof! she didn’t do it, and I cheered.

  16. Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy is an emotionally challenging but rewarding read, and one of the best allegories of a D/s relationship ever written. (I didn’t even realize that aspect of it until another kinky friend pointed it out.) It does not flinch away from the ugliest sides of humanity, but reminds us of its best qualities as well. I’ve read them again and again.

  17. I had the pleasure of reading Elizabeth Bear’s novels Blood and Iron and Whiskey and Water both in the past year. They delighted me, engaged me and I was sad to leave the world they introduced me to.
    Happy Agenty Bday!

  18. Loved No Limits by Alison Kent
    I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of NO LIMITS. I loved the way Alison captured the flavor of the Louisiana bayou..the heat, the smells. I loved that both main characters were damaged and needed the support and love of the other. I also loved that the husband of the missing BFF of heroine was so dedicated to his wife. I cannot wait to read King’s story.
    I’d love to get my hands on Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy after it was recommended to me by Deb Dixon

  19. Wow, happy agent-versary!

  20. I love P. C. Hodgell’s books. I particularly enjoy how Jame’s story starts out with all the trappings of bog-standard secondary world fantasy (amnesiac heroine blah mysterious powers blah strange city blah Thieves’ Guild blah blah fishcakes), and then goes off in entirely new directions. I also enjoy how the problems between Jame and Tori, while frustrating to the reader, are entirely consistent with each character and the history between them – they’re not ‘not talking’ because the plot demands it, they’re not talking because they really *wouldn’t*. Also, because the chaos that gets left in Jame’s wake is frequently hilarious. (Gronk?)

  21. Liaden books
    I really enjoy the Liaden books by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee (Particularly Agent of Change). I love the humor interspersed throughout, as well as the intricate and interesting world-building.
    Drop my name in the hat for the drawing, please. I’m always in favor of free books. 🙂

  22. Anne Bishop
    I first noticed Anne Bishop’s work as a short story in an anthology of magical mysteries which I had picked up in order to read the stories by Charlaine Harris and Jim Butcher, but it was the story about Surreal and Rainier that I re-read, not once, but several times before returning the book to the library. The mythos she created intrigued me so much that I had to find out more – it was an imperative. I am struck with awe with the way she weaves in elements both of horror and hilarity. She makes me cringe with some scenes and laugh out loud with delight with others. She’s an author whose works I expect to read again and again.

  23. I love eBear’s books, especially the Promethean series. I think Whiskey should have his own spin-off set. Whiskey rocks.

  24. The choices…the variety…
    Anne Bishop, The Black Jewels Trilogy (omnibus trade edition)
    An author is a weaver of imagination fabric. That said, Ms. Bishop has provided me a lush landscape of a world and characters that can (and has) given rise to further tales. It isn’t just that the central story is the focus, but the extended relationships of the characters leave room for more tales to be pursued.
    Happy Agent Anniversay!! May the coming years be as fascinating and productive as the past 16 have been!

  25. Happy anniversary! To pick one of your clients whose book I’ve read is hard, you have so many great clients! I’d have to go with Elizabeth Bear’s Blood & Iron. It was a wonderful story filled with action and intrigue that had me zipping through the pages. I love that it centered around powerful female characters and how it never really slowed its pace. Excellent book! -Heather McCorkle

  26. Oh my goodness… I have so many favorites. I love Elizabeth Bear’s writing for it’s complexity, beauty, and impact. Her stories linger long after you close the book, and I love the smooth incorporation of myth into contemporary life.
    I love Cherie Priest’s Eden books because the setting is lush and the tone is deliciously creepy. Eden is a fantastic character and the ghost stories are completely compelling.
    And Ekaterina Sedia is so talented… she takes stories in unexpected directions and makes them feel so real.
    Happy Agent Birthday!

  27. Happy Career Anniversary!
    May there be many more.

  28. Happy Agent Day!
    A friend convinced me to read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books and I fell in love with the mythology she had created around the inhabitants of Hell. I love the interaction between characters in a world that is so foreign, yet so familiar at the same time.

  29. I’m half-afraid to write this…
    …but for the possibility of Free Stuff™? I’ll write it.
    I tried to read Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered, but I found it uncomfortable. I enjoy reading Elizabeth’s journal and commentary, so I figured I would enjoy reading her work. I can’t really describe my discomfort, aside from part of me wondering why I was reading this – it wasn’t “crap,” the world was full, the character fleshed out, I just didn’t find the subject or storyline appealing. I still have my copies of Hammered and Scardown on the shelf (and within reach, as I type this). Since I have changed a fair deal in the last 18 months, I might give them another go, but my fading memory of Hammered was one of “WTF?”

  30. I found this post through the friends list of a friend, and couldn’t resist giving it a shot. I recently read the first chapter of The Drowning City and am now completely hooked. I love how strong Isyllt is; even without relying on magic, she has a presence and a power that I really admire. Also, a combination of spy and necromancer? Awesome. I can’t wait to see what she’s capable of.
    Happy Agent Birthday!

  31. Jim Butcher
    I just recently read Storm Front for the first time and I loved the story, the characters and the interactions. The storytelling drew me in and I cared about the outcome of the characters. And who doesn’t want a Bob the skull?

  32. I can only write about ONE! Well crud, I read several of your witers and each of them hits a different place in my soul.
    Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series, are the best description of the breaking and putting back together of a person after a mental/emotional/physical trama. You see it from the perspective of one who loves and is loved.
    Mary

  33. Sweet Sixteen
    Jennifer – Congratulations on your “anniversary”. Sixteen years is an impressive accomplishment. Best wishes for many more.
    Chris Knopf’s first novel – The Last Refuge – is a favorite of mine. His portrayal of Sam’s disenchantment with Corporate America is dead-on (particularly in today’s world), and I find his characters wonderfully eccentric. Add a compelling mystery, and the package makes for a great read.
    Regards,
    John A. Mackie

  34. I’m a couple chapters into Elizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars (which, btw, is one of the coolest novel titles I’ve ever seen) and enjoying it in that “well, well, what is she going to do with this? kind of way. It’s an emotionally complex story with a delicious mix of myth and science. I’m also really digging Shadow Unit.

  35. I just finished CE Murphy’s Pretender’s Crown last night. It was wonderful. I love what she’s done with the story and how she’s threaded science fiction elements with alternate history. I’ve also been in love with Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy for years now. I actually have two copies of the original three books. Congrats on your anniversary!

  36. Happy agent anniversary!

  37. I was gifted Bear’s Dust. i liked that it surprised me that there were gay characters; it didn’t feel the need to wear that on it’s sleeve or make a big deal of it as a story, it was just there and very normal for it. I loved her treatment of the future and of nanotech. Even if it wasn’t pretty or idealised, it was a world I ended up wanting to know more about. And I love that it introduced me to her Livejournal, which is generally very interesting and entertaining even if the faeries and space have been replaced by a big Muppet-like dog.

  38. Although a few details of Storm Front seemed derivative, most of the story struck me as original, and Harry Dresden had a keen sense of humor.
    Congratulations on a productive sixteen years. Many readers and writers are in your debt.

  39. Bear
    I really liked the Jim Butcher I read, ‘Storm Front’ was lots of fun, and it felt polished and smooth.
    But I have read more Elizabeth Bear, and will continue to do so. Her books are not necessarily easy to read but they are fantastic journeys with characters, whom although I often don’t actually like, feel very real. There are no rehashed archetypes, but real characters suffering and causing suffering.
    The Promethian age is fantastic. But I would have to say ‘UnderTow’- with multiple plotlines incorporating everything from a detailed description of an alien specis with socio-biological with make sense (frog people), conspiracies assasins, probability ‘wizards’ and so much more.
    NickJ

  40. Loreth Anne White
    Loreth Anne White writes the most amazing romantic suspense stories. MANHUNTER was set in the gorgeous Canadian wilderness–a character in itself. And the romance was beautiful, the hero and heroine both strong-minded people; the villain someone I wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night (or at any other time for that matter). Loved the storyline and the dark brooding atmosphere.
    Toni Anderson.
    PS. Congrats on your 16th anniversary 🙂

  41. Happy Agent Day!
    OMG! So many great authors! E-Bear, Cherie Priest, Anne Bishop…
    I have to say, I got an ARC of one of Cherie’s books, and did not expect to like it. It was an unexpected joy to find her novels as rich and deep as they were, because I am not generally a fan of scary things. But her worlds are so deep and rich, and her characters are so well-written, I have continued to love her books.

  42. I loved Elizabeth Bear’s Dust–its world was a delightfully weird evocation of technology so advanced it was indistinguishable from magic, and I loved the dynamic between Perceval and Rien. The end broke my heart, but Bear does that a lot.

  43. Congrats!
    Sixteen years! Wow. I wish upon you a super-sweet one, replete with glittery banners and a pony (mayhap one of those snazzy mods that sometimes pop up on Kameron’s blog).
    Also, I’m a big ol’ fan of a bunch of your clients, but as I am one as well, I’m inclined to buy ’em in the usual way.

  44. Elizabeth Bear’s four (so far) novels of The Promethean Age made me believe there are still good writers being published, not just popfic drivelmeisters. Her ability to touch all five senses with her words engaged me immediately but it is the development of her characters that kept me reading. She isn’t afraid to break traditional molds or your heart but never in a gratuitous way. More please.
    I’m really looking forward to reading Amanda Downing.

  45. Congratulations!
    Elizabeth Bear’s Whiskey and Water is near and dear to my heart. Her writing is complex yet feeds my need to cheer on the underdog.

  46. Mary Robinette Kowal
    Alas, I haven’t read most of the authors on your list so I can’t compare or contrast them. I have ordered a book by Elizabeth Bear that I’m looking forward to after following her on Twitter for a while now.
    I can say though that I am thoroughly enamored with the writing of Mary Kowal. I’ve read may of her short stories and I have read her book, even though it isn’t out yet, in its rough form on her blog as she wrote it. She is inventive, imaginative and paints a grand picture. She is a fantastic storyteller as well and I find that I am quickly stuck into a story and loathe to be freed.
    Plus she is a rather nice person and a great friend. (I *might* be slightly biased)

    • Re: Mary Robinette Kowal
      Sorry, didn’t realize that I didn’t put WHO I was (tchansen@gmail.com).
      chris

  47. Hammered was the first book that got me into Elizabeth Bear’s work. It is a fantastic mix of action, intrigue, and technology. Elizabeth takes characters from very different backgrounds and places and intertwines their lives into one amazing story.
    And Happy Agent-versary!

  48. Happy Agent Day!
    For a chance to win a copy of Fathom, let me say a couple of words about Those Who Went Remain There Still.
    First of all, like all of her books, Cherie Priest has a terrific command of the characters’ voices. She really captures two men who start in the same place but lived very different lives. Plus: monsters. Plus: ghosts. Best of all, that’s a killer title. I have complete title-envy for that title. Everyone should read it, while trying not to look at the artwork.

  49. Jay Lakes Mainspring hit me at a point a few months ago when it just felt like I needed that book. I needed that book to hit me where it hit me, as a person and as a writer. I can’t say that I loved it or even that I liked it, but I needed to read it.
    Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  50. I cannot chose between all the books I have loved and so will wish luck to the winner and a happy anniversary/agent-birthing-day to the wonderful Ms. Jackson. Thank you for your agent-ing of so many of my favorite writers. *salutes*

  51. I adore Martha Wells’s books. I’ve read Death of a Necromancer multiple times, including back-to-back the first time I picked it up (got to the end, closed it, said “that was great, let’s do it again,” and started over again.) I’ve put off reading her most recent book because I don’t like ending series that I love that much. There isn’t a single one of her books that I’ve read that I wouldn’t reread or recommend to friends.

  52. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is one of my absolute favorite series. Okay, I had to force myself through the first three books because they weren’t that great, but the rest of them I gobbled up as quickly as I could.
    Harry isn’t a Gary Stu, he gets into trouble, he’s often wrong, and he has some serious flaws. The world is colorful and rich and makes you actually believe that it could be true.

  53. I loved Lamentations, because it had that intensely woven feel of epic fantasy without involving the massive commitment of, say, a Wheel of Time book.
    I also read an earlier draft of Green, and fell utterly in love with it — not just with the setting and main character, but even with all sorts of side characters — and can’t wait for it to come out so that I can touch and feel it and read it for real. 😀

  54. After Harry Potter, I was skeptical of another wizard named Harry. Fought through that and read Jim Butcher. I’m hooked.
    Exactly 20 words! wOOt! I can follow directions.
    C

  55. I have spent many hours traveling through the Liaden Universe with Sharon Lee and Steve Miller as my guides. Heroic, suspenseful, romantic, all the “good stuff” one wants to read in a book, especially when that one book leads to many more!

  56. Dresden Firles
    I don’t have a liveJournal account, so I’ll just have to give you an e-mail astaryth at aol ;p
    As a matter of fact, I just finished the Harry Dresden Book, Small Favor by Jim Butcher a couple of days ago. I just adore -all- of the Dresden Books. This one was awesome, definitely in my top 5 of his books. His books are exciting, keep you guessing, and laughing. He ROCKS!

  57. I first read Elizabeth Bear’s work in Blood and Iron. I loved it and everything I’ve read by her since. Bear writes fairy tales in which there are no good choices nor happy endings; they resonate with Truth. And I kind of like that…

  58. I forget where I first was referred to Cherie Priest and the unusual circumstances surrounding her first book. I checked out her LJ and liked the way she writes about writing (incidentally, it was her writing about writing that first got me interested in Elizabeth Bear, and I’ve loved every book by her that I’ve read) and purchased her first book. “four and twenty blackbirds” does, in fact, feel like a first book. There’s something a little awkward about it, knock kneed and wrists sticking out, but more than that was something compelling: the delicious horror, the finely painted characters, the non-white protagonist, the thick and almost smothering setting. Each book in the Eden Moore series has been better and better; more creepily thrilling, more solidly trenched in a specific location, characters more and more real feeling. I’m very glad I took a chance and picked up that first book, and feel lucky to live when there are so many young and vibrant authors like Priest (and Bear) writing and being published.

  59. I recently read Cherie Priest’s “Those Who Went Remain There Still.” It’s a wonderful, spine-chilling blend of myth and history and a thing that goes bump in the night. I really appreciated the emotions she brought to each character and that you felt something for and about each of them. It’s a wonderful tale of heredity, history, and horror, and I enjoyed it very much.

  60. Happy Anniversary!
    Several of your clients have found a permanent place on my bookshelves, and Jim Butcher is a personal favorite. Butcher’s contemporary fantasy novels transcend genre with fluid prose, crisp dialogue and dramatic turns. I recently had the pleasure of reading both Small Favor and Turn Coat during a holiday weekend, and I eagerly look forward to my next foray into Harry Dresden’s magical Chicago.

  61. White Night
    Jim Butcher’s WHITE NIGHT. I absolutely enjoyed it, just like I enjoy most of the books in the Dresden Files. Mostly, I like the humor laced into the story, as well as Harry’s character. He is so full of righteousness, and in the scariest situations, he never shows his fear.
    – Shelly Li

  62. I read Ken Scholes’ book, Lamentation, as a review copy for work.
    I *adored* this novel. I could not put it down. This doesn’t happen often for me anymore, I’ve read more books in my life than I can count, and since becoming a reviewer I am particularly jaded about SF/F. The truly good novels, with innovative concepts and plotlines, are more rare than I used to think. Scholes is not only talented as a writer, his concepts (particularly Isaak, as you well know) are fascinating and very captivating. I can’t wait for the next installment.

  63. I’m currently reading through all of the Dresden books at a rate of one or two a year. I am enjoying them, though I probably wouldn’t have stuck past book four or five if two of my best friends weren’t COMPLETELY obsessed with them. 🙂

  64. Alison Kent’s Maximum Exposure, which I loved because it’s AK and AK is amazing.
    Okay, I can do better than that.
    I loved Alison Kent’s Maximum Exposure because it was a fun, sexy read that totally hit the spot at the time.

  65. Elizabeth Bear’s short stories drew me in and her novels hooked me line and sinker. All the Windwracked Stars had the perfect mix of tech, magic, myth, and of course, beautiful, strong prose. Plus, her blog is a like digital encouragement for a young writer.

  66. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files were highly enjoyable! (Well, still are. I’m still reading through them.) Harry is a good protagonist, as he’s not perfect, and he’s not all-powerful, but he manages just the same. I like that.
    And, of course, anything Elizabeth Bear writes is gold.

  67. Anne Bishop, The Black Jewels Trilogy (omnibus trade edition)
    I got this as a christmas present and I must say it was a great one. The charcters were strong, the worlds were fantastic. It explores the truth about our own world. I’d love to explore more of her work and see more of her fertile imagination.

  68. First, I would like to say that I am amazed at the number of authors I currently love that I find on your client list. So much so, I’m definitely going to have to read the rest! Your taste is commendable, and the fact that their books are making it to me? (exposure + nominations) You are obviously an expert in your field, and I thank you for it! My world is personally a better place because of you, and I hadn’t even realized it before today.
    Most recently I got Blood and Iron on the Kindle. But I made the mistake of starting it shortly before beginning a week at the beach. The Kindle is NOT a beach book. I spent a day inside devouring the words rather than enjoy the waves, sun, and sand. The next day was then given over to Whiskey and Water. Luckily, my family is used to my being anti-social.
    I’ve read (and enjoyed) other books of Bear’s, but these appeal to me in ways none of the others did. (I’m now engaged in Ink and Steel) She’s spun a world of urban fantasy that I feel is unique, and draws in more “true” mythology than I’ve ever seen in such accessible prose. Admittedly the most obvious reasons they hooked me are because they touch upon so many of my core interests, (literature, the ugly side of myth, and majik du modernity) yet are combined in a fashion that I still feel I can recommend to the masses.
    I think I certainly managed the “or more” part of the criteria

  69. Happy agent day!
    Elizabeth Bear’s New Amsterdam sat me down, tied me up, and lured me into intoxicated fascination and deep appreciation. I love Bear’s alternative history, depiction of a magic-infused Victorian society, and spunky female detective-sorceress. Seriously, Lady Abigail Irene is one of my literary girlfriends, although the idea would probably mildly offend her.
    Now if only the affordable hardcover of Seven for a Secret wasn’t sold out at Subterranean Press!

  70. I don’t particularly want an ARC,
    but whomever wins: Sedia’s Alchemy of Stone is wonderful. Dense, lyrical–lovely. The cover makes some claim about ‘steampunk,’ but I don’t think’s really true. If you wanna read something you haven’t read before, choose AoS.
    (On the negative side, I thought it ended too-abruptly; that I’m still recommending it this highly shows how good it is otherwise!)

  71. I found Elizabeth Bear online several years ago. I can’t even remember when or where at this late date; there were random comments on somebody else’s lj, and I decided that this person was pretty interesting. She had a pretty clear perspective, and made good points, so I friended her. Several months later, I realized that she was a writer (I being a bit slow on the uptake) and began to hunt up her books.
    Lo, there was a release date for Blood & Iron about this time, and a purchase was made. It was like falling into a world inside my head; one where all the Fantasy, SciFi, and Noir had coalesced into a single cohesive world. It was simply a MOMENT …like when you’re 7 (or 12 or whatever age you were) when you read that first all-important book that propelled you to strech your imagination and beliefs. I was a kid again, and it took me to places that my mind hadn’t even begun to image on its own. Her characters are briliantly, achingly human – flawed, scarred, fragile; but still unwilling to bow down and surrender to anything. Bless you, Bear, for giving me back the gift of F&SF. I’d come pretty close to losing it for a while

  72. I loved Jay Lake’s “Trial of Flowers” because it captured the essence of an ancient and gigantic city. The plot was intriguing and really well balanced, but it was the fact that the city was alive and not just a backdrop that sold me on his books.

  73. Reading Susan R. Matthew’s An Exchange of Hostages right around the time I was developing a conscious ethical set served to push me towards some of the grimmer experiences in my life. Finding a lack of permission to be the determining factor in, “Is this torture?” Placed me in the interesting position of having to defend the use of a prison system while limiting the ways in which such a definition applied. While presented as an extremist approach, Matthew’s book resulted in my finally saying, “Not without my consent,” And having to defend that on a scale of best-of-bad-choices. Never finding a socially acceptable effective answer to such a juxtaposition of perceived societal needs and lack of consent means Matthew’s book is nearly always in the back of my mind when arguing against torture – or simply watching the news of what humans insist is acceptable treatment of each other.

  74. Martha Wells
    Martha Wells is one of the few authors on my must-buy-new-in-hardback-always!!! authors. She is superb at creating interesting, likable characters with snark and attitude. Best of all, Martha has my kind of sense of humor.
    Hard o pick a fave, but I’d have to choose the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. I subscribed to Black Gate magazine just so’s I could read more about the main characters in the series.
    Wish she wrote more/faster. But genius can’t be hurried.

  75. I regularly read a few of your clients, but the last thing I read by one of them was ‘s Turn Coat, which as is regularly the case with anything of his, I loved quite a bit. Particularly liked how, in this presumed mid-point of the series, we’re setting the stage for darker conflicts to come.

  76. Happy (Precocious) Agent Day!
    Hmmm… having just finished grad school, I have had shockingly little time to read fiction in the past several years. Which, of course, means that I am greedily grabbing onto this list with both hands as a guide to Things I Ought To Read This Summer (Whether I Win or Not). *grin*
    This also means that, whilst many of these things look terribly shiny and interesting, the number of books I can actually comment on is miniscule. In fact, I think it might only be one thing, since my attempt to read Bishop was derailed by my having to read about, err, well, bishops.
    Therefore, I will comment on “Companion to Wolves,” which I would probably never have read if I hadn’t already been reading Elizabeth Bear’s blog, and which I’m tremendously glad that I did take the time for. The authors do an amazing job taking conventions of “companion animal” fantasy and turning them on their head, which, for somebody who grew up on Pern and Valdemar, was a wonderfully thought-provoking experience. The characters were three-dimensional people (and wolves, and trolls, and elves…), and the attention paid to linguistic and historical research made me gleefully, geekily giddy. Read it, recommended it to roommate, and continue to pass it along to folks I think would enjoy it.
    JD

  77. Happy anniversary!
    Elizabeth Bear’s Blood and Iron reminded me of the power the genre can have, and one line in Whiskey & Water changed me on a very deep level – “Some of us aren’t meant to go through life unbranded.” It made some things ok that I never thought could be. It’s the small things that save us. So, thank you for your part in getting that out!

  78. Having never gotten deeply into the publishing side of things, I never knew much about agents until recently, but now I find that one person has been instrumental in the publishing of so many books I love? Awesome.
    I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden books so much I had to go back and read the private detective-half of the tradition he’s writing in (being already familiar with the pulp-fantasy half), so Jim Butcher managed to introduce me to Rex Stout and Daschel Hammet. And to me there is no greater success than when a book makes me love not only that book, but many other books as well.

  79. This one is easy
    One of my favorite books this year has been Jim Butcher’s Turn Coat. Normally I love the series, but I’m not too keen on Harry himself. This book changed it. Maybe it’s because of the story in Many Bites Return, but the relationship between Harry and Thomas really sung this time and the ending had me screaming.
    Let me tell you how I read it. I got the book, but was unable to read it since I had a writer’s conference. Then I went to my in-laws and kept sneaking away to read it. The next day we went to a hockey game. I read the entire way there. I was almost done (they were on the island) and we had to go inside. I promised the kids weeks ago that Mommy wouldn’t bring a book to the game, so it had to be left in the car. When we got out, it was dark. I had the book inches from my face trying to make out the words.
    From the backseat: Mommy do you want to borrow my book light (each kid has their own we keep in the car for trips).
    I was unable to speak and just nodded.
    OMG was it incredible! I ordered all my friends to immediately read it. One of the highlights this past week was seeing a friend from on-line and getting to discuss it in person.

  80. One book? So hard to choose!
    I’ve read all of Anne Bishop’s books and loved them, but my favorites have to be the Black Jewels trilogy and the Tir Alainn trilogy. Her worlds are terrible and beautiful. Her books are romantic (and, to me, dark) fantasy but she also manages to include hints of high fantasy that imbue her trilogys with amazing plotline arcs.
    One word: Amazing.

  81. Congratulations!
    You represent several of my favorite authors (EBear, JButcher, LAGilman, etc.) But I think I’ll rave about Kristine Smith’s Jani series. Rules of Conflict explored what is alien, what is human, and gave us fabulously interesting and complex characters with differing agendas all having to deal together. Marvelous stuff.

  82. One of the things I liked about Kan Scholes’ Lamentation is how well the title fits the book. And it only gets better from the title.

  83. Happy Anniversary!
    The thing that first made me love Elizabeth Bear’s Blood and Iron (all of this applies to Water and Whiskey too) was the utterly mad, bizarre, and brilliant plot. I’d never read anything so complex and satisfying. I’d never read anything with faeries and werewolves and hell all butting heads. And I’d never read anything so subtle, with so many layers. There are things that I didn’t pick up on until I read it a second time. And still others that showed up the third time. I think that’s the reason I love it so much. I can reread it and still find something new or see something in a new way. To me, that’s absolutely amazing.
    –K. Teagle

  84. Elizabeth Bear’s “All the Windwracked Stars” is the most recent of your clients’ books I’ve read (not counting any Jim Butcher), and I truly enjoyed it.
    The relationships between characters–human, not, valkyrie, not–are possibly the best part. The interaction between Muire, the Grey Wolf, and Cathoair is so dense with emotion and history it’s often painful (in a very good way) when they speak to each other. There’s a definite weight behind their relationship. I’m terribly interested in seeing where the next book goes with the Grey Wolf’s ending in AtWS.(Not to mention my horribly huge soft spot for Norse mythos; the weaving of traditional myth into a whole new world was absolutely spectacular in AtWS.)

  85. Godstalk, PC Hodgell
    PC (Pat) Hodgell has been one of my favorite writers since I bought the paperback of Godstalk lo these many years ago. Jame is now so firmly entrenched in my personal fantasy canon that I’m always suprised when someone doesn’t know about her or the Kencyrath. I’ve probably hand-sold more of her books over the years than just about anyone else I can think of (even when I’m not working in a book store).
    I re-read all of them and am eagerly awaiting the next book, but I return to Godstalk over and over, because it was my first exposure, and I dare anyone not to fall into Tai-tastigon.

  86. Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels
    To describe it as my husband would sum up my own writing: “It’s good. More?”
    But seriously, the idea of a world where women are truly the leaders is refreshing. There’s a slight flavor of the old saying “men may be the head, but women are the neck,” in the fact that her Princes have such an overwhelming desire to protect the women, thus often doing as the women wish.
    The layers of society are complex and intriguing, as are the characters. You get the feel you could walk out the door and see any of these people walking around.

  87. Laura Anne Gilman
    I read the first two Retrievers novels by Laura Anne Gilman and…
    Um. Didn’t like them.
    Not that this is anything to worry about! The reason I read the books is because my brother kept raving about the series. He thinks they’re fantastic novels. I found them well-written, but very slow-moving–however, I am an impatient reader.

  88. Fathom
    I very much enjoyed Cherie Priest’s Fathom. It had two of my favorite types of writing, which usually aren’t seen together: Lovecraftian horror from the depths, and girl coming of age–and of magic.

  89. Happy anniversary! I read the Black Jewels trilogy a few years ago (loaned to me from a friend in college) and have been trying to track down a used copy for a while now. I hadn’t realized there was an omnibus! I enjoyed it quite a bit. I read so much fantasy that the more generic worlds blend into each other, but that one absolutely stood out!

  90. There’s a pleasant amount of crossover between your client list and my reading list. I’ve read a bit from Elizabeth Bear, Cherie Priest (including Fathom), Ekaterina Sedia (including The Alchemy of Stone, and Anne Bishop (including The Black Jewels Trilogy, all from the top of my head. All of them appealed to me though not all were complete successes…
    But of them all, Bear’s Dust turned out to be my favorite. It fell a outside of all my expectations—for genre, for characters, for writing style—all in a delightful way. Such a distinct and different book demanded a pleasant amount of effort and thought to read, and rewarded that effort by being on the whole transcendent—delightfully breaking the boundaries of the literary and social constructs which I was expecting. (My full review is here, back from when I read the book.)
    Happy sixteen years!

  91. I read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy after a friend loaned me the books. It was a very different reading experience for me, because I tend to prefer a ‘lighter’ fantasy. Even though some of the scene shocked me, I was unable to put the books down.

  92. Picking one is really hard.
    Now I know who is the real power behind the throne for some of my favorite authors. Everybody knows how much I love EBear’s work, so I’m going to Kristine Smith in hopes of winning Amanda Downum’s book. I loved the Jani series, the character was compelling. I have a special category of books I love where the protagonist is not a “sweet young thing”. Jani, with her secrets and her imperfections, certainly fit that category, and the world-building ROCKED.

  93. My husband and I both adore the Dresden Files. We love wry, sarcastic Harry as a character. Harry’s finally let me hook my husband on urban fantasy and given us something besides Harry Potter to talk about.
    I love Anne Bishop’s books as well. They’re one of the few that I can just pick up and start reading and read over and over.
    Happy anniversary!!

  94. I’ve read Mainspring by Jay Lake and liked it even though I don’t consider myself a clockwork/steampunk type of lady. I know I’m going to love Ken Scholes “Lamentation” because I’ve loved the three short stories of his that I’ve read. Lamentation is on my to-be-read shelf. And I’ve read several of Mary Robinette Kowal’s short stories and know her novel is going to be awesome!
    Can I win now, please? 😉

  95. You represent such a wonderful group of authors, so I shall mention a random book from one of your clients. I don’t think Ekaterina Sedia’s “A Secret History of Moscow” receives the attention it deserves (seems overshadowed by “The Alchemy Of Stone”) and warrants a read just for the utilization of Russia as a backdrop. Makes a nice diversion from the norm.

  96. I’ll choose Green by Jay Lake as the book to talk about, mainly because I’m (briefly) in it. Tuckerization is a wonderful thing!
    Green is a great book that, in my opinion, blends Jay’s excellent prose, his skill with flavor and settings (see Trial of Flowers), and his gift for characters (see Escapement‘s Paolina) to create what’s probably his best book so far. Jay Lake fans need to pick this one up, and it’d make an excellent place to start for people unfamiliar with his novels.

  97. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this…
    I sure hope Catie Murphy’s comic Take a Chance counts, because I’ve had guilt issues over buying new books for years and I don’t have anything else by anybody else on the list! To save money, I’ve bought anthologies – Laura Ann Gilman is in Did You Say Chicks?!, but that’s it for the list.
    I love Take a Chance, because Catie takes a classic idea from the superhero comic genre – superhuman powers – and turns it on its head, giving an idea of what the world would really be like if superhumans existed. Chance’s voice is distinctive and compelling, which is not so easy to do when so little space is devoted to text. The writing is pared down, not to the barest essentials, but to the deepest and most essential details. Snatches of dialogue and a few terse reminisces aren’t usually enough to build an entire world and fill it with characters that are more than cardboard, even with fantastic art to accompany them, but Take a Chance proves it can be done. The characters resonate with truth and depth, and fully inhabit their world rather than merely react to situations.
    Paula Richey

  98. Jumping Into the Hat
    I’ve actually read a couple of your clients: Elizabeth Bear (who’s blog I found this link through), Jim Butcher and CE Murphy.
    I read, I think, “Heart of Stone”, by Murphy, and fell in love with the gargoyles. Really, I fell in love with the fact that there were neither werewolves nor vampires, and also that, when the vampire showed up, it was something completely unexpected. As much as I love the current crop of “inspired by Anita Blake,” I’m much more interested in something different.
    Bear is, of course, brilliant, but the book I’ve like best so far has been Carnival. She handles “world run by women” with a minimal creep factor, and a great deal of complexity and sensitivity.
    Butcher is just fun. I find the “LOOK AT ME I’M CHIVALROUS” to be incredibly annoying, but that aside, he’s funny, Harry is really likable. It’s the perfect “I just need 15 minutes away from the world” sort of series. I just finished Storm Front, and will likely be getting Fool Moon from Fiction wise tonight.
    Have I mentioned you’re made of awesome for doing this?
    Well, ya are.
    Jess

  99. Actually, I’m a huge Anne Bishop fan. I love the concept of darkness being a good thing instead of always evil. I’ve read most of her books.

  100. Wow! Congrats! Happy Agent Day. 🙂

  101. Hard to pick which of several clients I read or have had recommended (Not hyperbole, believe it or not), but I’ll try Ekaterina Sedia.
    I picked up The Secret History of Moscow on the strength of Neil Gaiman’s blurb alone, something I never do.
    I was well rewarded, with a vivid city, psychologically real characters, and a fabulously disturbing underworld. But I think Mr. Gaiman was wrong in one thing; it’s decidedly a better book than Neverwhere.

  102. Happy anniversary, here’s wishing you many more happy years agenting!
    You have a lot of great clients, but I absolutely love Catie Murphy’s books. They’re all great and make me want more, but there’s a very special place in my TBR pile for anything with Jo. The characters from the Walker Papers are all great, some of the best characters I’ve read (woo for multi-dimensional characters rather than those cardboard cutouts that are out there) but Jo in particular is just so much fun to read. I can’t wait for the next book!

  103. Anne Bishop
    Anne Bishop is fascinating because of her unique view on male/female roles/power in her Black Jewels World . Hers are the only books where I have laughed until I cried and hurled the same book into the wall in frustration! I love her stories and I cannot wait to see what her characters will do next!

  104. I liked Elizabeth Bear’s New Amsterdam because the characters are smart – they scheme and problem-solve and live a life that is of the mind as well as the body.

  105. Happy Agent Birthday!
    I’ve read a couple of your authors, but I have to say that I really liked Elizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars. While I found all the characters appropriately intriguing (and, in the case of Muire, unutterably sympathetic), what really got me was Bear’s worldbuilding, how she segued from a mythic time of the Valkyries to a modern society to a post-apocalyptic city-state without any difficulty and a great deal of beautiful prose. And at the end Muire fights the Technomancer with a hardangr fiddle. Really, that’s enough said.

  106. happy 16th drawing
    Well Jim Butcher, of course. Harry Dresden is the archetypal anti-hero – bruised, battered, brainy. Why would we love such a man? Take three guesses – and the first two don’t count.

  107. Our family went through the Dresden series this year–me, husband, and 13-year-old son. Tell Jim we need more.

  108. Favorite books by your authors!
    I read the Black Jewels Trilogy this past winter for the first time and was entranced from about the tenth page of the first book … the dark overtones help create a chaotic but evocative storyline, and the power and emotion underlying the actions of the characters made it hard to put down. I really enjoyed these books and will be looking for future works from Ms Bishop!

  109. PC Hodgell’s GODSTALK
    Well, it just so happens that PC Hodgell’s GODSTALK is one of my two favorite books of all time. I have never read another book with such an intriguing, vivid, and many-layered setting as Hodgell’s city of Tai Tastigon. The city becomes a dark and complex character in and of itself, worthy of its bizarre residents and, of course, of Jame herself. If you haven’t read it, DO SO! Right away! And then go read DARK OF THE MOON, SEEKER’S MASK, and TO RIDE A RATHORN. And (please please please!) whatever the next book in the series will be.
    PS — If I ruled a Renaissance Italian city-state, I would invite PC Hodgell to my court and offer to be her patroness. 🙂

  110. You represent Jim Butcher! Cool. I remember when I first read Storm Front. It made me realize that it was possible to take everything I love about Raymond Chandler’s noir and mix it together with my abiding affection for wizards and produce pure, joyous fun!

  111. I own all of Cherie Priest’s books. I love how she’s created a strong character in Eden Moore, her touches of humor (Eden driving the “Death Nugget”<–there's a statistically improbable phrase), and her style is just unique.

  112. Jim Butcher
    The eldest Billy Goat Gruff and the magic doughnut in Small Favor had me rolling on the couch. Literally. The dogs are now advertising for a new owner.
    Suzan H.

  113. not looking to score an ARC, but I did want to pop in and wish you a happy anniversary/birthday.

  114. I’ve read and love Alison Kent’s book (Not her new one tho NO LIMITS, that one I need to get!). I so recommend her The Smithson Group (SG-5) Series books. You can start anywhere with them! I say to start with THE BANE AFFAIR (or AT RISK). Christian is one tortured hero that I really got so connected with! It was hard not to get emotionally involved with these stories!
    Caffey

  115. I really enjoyed Elizabeth Bear’s “Jenny Casey” trilogy. It’s been a while since I read them (in fact, I think it’s time for another re-read!), but the thing that I liked best about them was how fully-formed her characters are. Her heroes are realistically flawed, and her villains have very real human qualities (without trying to use them to make excuses for the characters’ actions).
    The trilogy has a lot more going for it than that, of course (interesting story, creative world-building, etc), but the characters are what really stand out the most to me.
    EDIT: After posting, I noticed that another one of my favourite authors, Cherie Priest is also on your list!

  116. love alison books
    they are hot and great love her blazes
    great giveawys
    kh
    kimehak@yahoo.com

  117. I’ve been reading many books from your client list, including Elizabeth Bear and C. E. Murphy, and already I have Laura Gilman and Ken Scholes on my to-read shelf.
    I’d have to say C. E. Murphy’s Walker Paper books have been among my favorite books this year. Despite my substantial backlog of books to read, I HAD to order the 2nd and 3rd books in the series (and loved them) – and I’m very, very happy that another book is coming out later this year. I’m planning to force the books on my brother when he visits next.

  118. I read and enjoyed Cherie Priest’s Not Flesh Nor Feathers. I liked the melding of the Southern Gothic and the Horror genres. I also appreciated the strong, very human, female lead. I definitely want to read more of her work.
    Thanks!

  119. I don’t think I can pick just one of Anne Bishop’s books, although her Black Jewels ones are my favorite. I love those books (and the newest, The Shadow Queen) because the world building and characters are so intense. They make me laugh, they make me cry and, most of all, they make me read them over and over again while I wait for the newest to come out.

  120. Cherie Priest’s “Those Who Went Remain There Still” was my favorite of her works thus far, with the possible exception of her short story “The Heavy”, which may be the greatest piece of fiction in human history. (There’s an inside joke to that statement. You’ll have to ask Cherie about it.)
    At any rate, “TWWRTS” was a carnival ride of a horror story; fast, intense, and short enough to make you immediately want to take it for another spin. Also, she did a fantastic job of creating characters from the same town without making them sound like the same person, a feat with which I was quite impressed.

  121. P.C. Hodgell’s Godstalk blew my tiny mind when I was just discovering speculative fiction; a family friend handed it to me and said, “Read this. You’ll like it.” I don’t think he’s ever been more right about anything, and he makes his living from being incredibly (and obnoxiously) right. A strong female character! A city that fascinated me so much that for years I couldn’t create a city in a RPG without in some way referencing it! Finally a world with as many gods as I wanted!
    Okay, there’s a part of the book that breaks me, that I can’t ever re-read, but other than that, I re-read this book every two years or so. It’s what fantasy should be.
    One final note: when I gave it back to the family friend (and at that time you couldn’t get a copy of it, or at least I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I was extremely reluctant to do so), I burbled something about how awesome it was, and he said, “Yeah. I don’t think she’s writing anymore, though. I think she went to the dark side.”
    I was so happy, years later, to learn that he was wrong.

  122. Bear all the way!
    I am a huge Elizabeth Bear fan and I’ve only read two of her books :S. That’s insane. Carnival and Dust (the latter of which was freaking awesome). I don’t even know why I liked it, now that I think about it. Maybe because it was weird and cool at the same time. One of the things I have always loved about Bear’s work is that she’s not afraid to use unusual characters (Carnival had a gay couple, and Dust had some hermaphroditic folks). Really fun and fascinating in my opinion.
    I don’t know if my OpenID links to an email, so I’ll just list it: arconna[at]yahoo[dot]com

  123. Happy Anniversary
    Love. One of the reasons, but one full of brilliance. Ekaterina Sedia’s The Alchemy Of Stone surprised me completely for when I found myself at the middle of the read, instead of a lag, there was a complication of the character and plot which pulled me forward, racing, to the novel’s completion. Yes.

  124. Ekaterina Sedia’s The Secret History of Moscow showed me a city I knew nothing about, gave me folktales I’d never heard, made me laugh and keep turning its pages until the end. A strange and beautiful little book.

  125. Ack. I missed this yesterday, but at least I have a good excuse that dovetails nicely into this contest. I was out of town buying books. I’ve been working my way through the earlier Dresden Files novels, and yesterday I scored #4 (which was hard to find) and #5. Yay me. As of last night, I’m halfway through Summer Knight.
    I came late to The Dresden Files, starting with White Knight, but it sucked me right in. Jim took two of my favorite genres and wove them together into one hell of a series. I love Harry, but I’m smitten with Bob. I mean, who wouldn’t love a smart-aleck skull? Thanks for introducing me to the books.

  126. Happy Anniversary
    Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. I first heard of Jim through your blog and was so intrigued I had to buy the book. Got it home and just ate it up. Harry reminds me of a grown up Harry Potter. I’ve already bought the next two books in the series and plan to read them all. Brilliant stuff.
    Su Kopil
    http://www.earthlycharms.com

  127. I recently ran across ‘Mainspring’ and ‘Escapement’ by Jay Lake, and devoured them. I’ve been interested in steampunk and alternate reality fiction for years, but his re-imagining of the world left me watching the skies for hints of bronzework and gears.

    • I ought to mention, too, that I read lots of the authors whom you represent. It’s just that I just (last week) read the Jay Lake books.

  128. Congratulations on 16 years as an agent!
    I love Alison Kent’s books. I have read several of her Blaze books and I love her SG-5 series. I am never disappointed with an Alison Kent book.

  129. I’ve read several books by Elizabeth Bear, and liked them all, but my favourite, the one now on my read-once-a-year list, is Dust. I love everything about it – the characters, the chivalry, the setting, the story – the only thing I regret is being too old to have read it when I was sixteen. (Not that I love it any the less now than I would have. Just that it’s exactly the kind of book I really wanted and couldn’t find enough of back then!)

  130. I loved CE Murphy’s Urban Shaman, since it is a great story with compelling characters. Also, it was one of the first Urban Fantasy Novels I read.

  131. Congrats on 16 yrs!
    CONGRATULATIONS on a wonderful career! I have read Anne Kelleher “Once and Future Love.” I love historicals and time travel. I am waiting to receive No Limits by Alison Kent and then I can read it and let you know! 🙂 I have just looked at several other of your clients with familiar names and now I have more authors and books for my TBB list!! mesreads[at]gmail[dot]com

  132. Congratulations!
    Oh no? Just one book? That could be tricky as I’ve enjoyed a few of Bishop’s works from the Dark Jewels universe and burn through everything and anything I ever come across from Gilman, Butcher and Murphy…actually Catie’s books sort of stay on the list of ‘Must Have Gifts’ between my fiancee and myself..
    Soo…my choice would have to be:
    CE Murphy’s _Heart of Stone_ — Because of my girlfriend’s reaction to Albion flying… I know, not the most literary reason, but it’s under twenty words 🙂
    Alternative title choice:
    Jennifer Jackson’s — _How_To_Make_a_Living_Reading,_Reviewing_and_Promoting_Great_Books:
    __while_deleting_and_ranting_about_incomplete_queries_and_random_blog_comments_
    🙂

  133. It’s hard to choose which book is my favorite of the authors you represent, but I think I’ll choose Martha Wells’ _Fall of Ile Rein trilogy. I love the romance and the unique setting and the fascinating puzzles that Tremaine has to solve. Martha, like most of your clients draws strong, well developed characters and writes a tight, well crafted plot.
    Adrianne
    adriannemiddleton@mac.com

  134. Any book that grabs me by the guts enough to make me cry is a winner to me, which is one of the reasons why I love Ekaterina Sedia’s “The Alchemy of Stone” so much (well, that and it has a totally awesome title). I’m looking forward to whatever book she puts out next. 🙂

  135. Who to pick…I read quite a few of your clients which is why I make you suffer through my queries from time to time figuring if you represent all these people I love to read surely you’ll like what I write. *grin* Ahh well…
    First client I read was ebear Hammered, Scardown, Worldwired my husband and I both read through them as rapidly as they arrived on bookshelves. I’ve read everything Patricia Bray has written, couldn’t put down Anne Bishops Black Jewel trilogy and have read most of her other books as well. I adore Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, and own every one, Harry’s a guy who’s just fun to spend time with. There are more that I’ve read but these are my favorites.

    • I have read Allison Kent and really enjoyed her books. Some are intense and some are comfort reads.
      Robyn
      yourstrulee(at)sasktel(dot)net

  136. Happy Agent Anniversary!
    Elizabeth Bear’s Whiskey and Water made me see characters, and by association, stories themselves, in a whole new way. I’m on my second reading and still learning from it.

  137. Your list includes a few of my favorite authors!
    I adore Sharon Lee and Steve Miller beyond all reason; their combination of Regency romance and stuff-blows-up-real-good space opera tickles most of my genre fancies. If they threw in a heist of some sort, I might explode on the spot like a fangirl firecracker.
    I admire Elizabeth Bear’s genre-hopping and her talent at crafting broken but sympathetic characters. My writer-brain disagreed with some of her choices in the Jenny books, but by the time she killed off [spoiler] in Scardown, she had me. That was a fearless move. And Ink and Steel is pure crack for English majors.
    I just read Cassandra Chan’s The Young Widow over the weekend and am now waiting for the bookstore to call me and tell me the next two have arrived. Loved it to pieces.

  138. 16 years congratulations to you and a happy angenting b-day!

  139. The toughest part is choosing *one* client; the second toughest, choosing one book. My faves include Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake (though I prefer his short stories; I think Dickens’ orphans have it easier than his character in Mainspring), Laura Anne Gilman/Anna Leonard, C. E. Murphy, Patricia Bray (LOVE Devlin!), Craig Shaw Gardner . . . okay, yeah, pretty much any of them whose books I’ve picked up.
    I’m going to go with C.E. Murphy’s Heart of Stone. In some ways it reminded me of the old Disney cartoon (gargoyle in love with a human), but it really played with who gargoyles are and how they’re connected to each other. I also thought the dragon was clearly not human, for all that he looked like one. She put several races together, and the way they interact is terrific! My love of this book is definitely not “irrational.”

  140. Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series is one of my favorites (I’m eagerly awaiting “First Lord’s Fury!). The mix of action with real characters is great, and the world is quite unique and fun. I also recently read “Storm Front” and liked it, too, though I haven’t managed to catch up on the rest of that series yet.

  141. I never much liked science fiction until I read Elizabeth Bear’s book, Dust. Now I’m hooked to sci-fi! I read all her science fiction, and sci-fi by other authors. But I can never find someone who satisfies me with both scientific detail, plot, and character development the way Elizabeth Bear does.
    Emily Teng

  142. I loved The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia because it immersed me in an unusual setting for English language fantasy, which was both gorgeous and sad. I cried at the end, partly for the characters I had grown attached to, and partly because it was clearly the right ending.

  143. I’d have to pick the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher as my favorite. This was the first time I’d ever read a book where the lead character was not perfect. It was such a refreshing change to read about a funny, sarcastic, smarty-pants who would periodically get beat up, didn’t have the perfect answer to every problem, and who just happened to be a wizard. What a great find!

  144. Free books! Yay!
    And happy anniversary.

  145. While there’s a half-dozen of your writers that I routinely read, I think I’ve been reading Martha Wells’ books for the longest. I picked up ‘City of Bones’ in hardcover in early 1996, and then hunted down an HC of ‘Element of Fire’. She’s great at world-building, and then populating her newly-birthed worlds with intriguing, quirky characters. While it’s hard to pick a favorite, at this moment I’ll tag ‘Death of the Necromancer’, as it tells an engaging stand-alone story in her wonderful Ile-Rien, while seamlessly setting up connections that strengthen both earlier and subsequent novels.

  146. As an agent you rock – I love so many of the authors on your list.
    However I guess Anne Bishop’s ‘Pillars of the World’, ‘Shadows and Light’ and ‘House of Gaian’ are my favourites. She is such a good author who keeps me glued to the page and caring for the characters.
    Congratulations on 16 years of great work – keep it up as I am always after a good read 😀

  147. First off–Happy Agent Day/Week! I really enjoy reading your posts, and it always helps me when I submit my work!
    Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear was a book I enjoyed tremendously. As a playwright, I especially loved the portrayals of Will and Kit, and how their friendship threaded through the intrigues of both the Faery and Elizabethan courts. She showed me a world that might have been, and I believed it and immersed myself in it.

  148. You know how I love the Butcher books, my obsessive accounting of “Hell’s Bells” aside. I enjoy them because Dresden never really comes out on top. He gets the crap beaten out of him again and again and again and just won’t stop. He probably *will* die doing the right thing, and as far as role models go, that ain’t half bad. So I’ll always enjoy the Dresden Files (and I’m looking forward to the eventual arrival of Turn Coat from Amazon….)

  149. Fathom, please. 🙂
    I read 4&20 to my family during a drive from Ohio to Virginia and back and they loved it. Fan ever since.

  150. Happy anniversary! I love most of Elizabeth Bear’s books, but am particularly attached to Blood and Iron, which is such a perfect tragedy that it didn’t even depress me, in spite of the lack of even a single gleam of hope in it. Although Dust may be my favorite, with its crazy ideas and exquisite little word-jewels.

  151. C.E. Murphy’s Walker Papers….now I have to narrow it down to one…I guess it has to be _Urban Shaman_ because I love Celtic mythology and Native American life. Also because I love reading stories of tricksters like Coyote.

  152. On initial glance, though your agency reps so many familiar names, I’d only read the Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. I enjoyed the complex relationships and the unique world.
    But on closer research, I discovered an older favorite in client books. It was before your time as an agent, but I loved reading April Fools by Richie Tankersley Cusick. I remember reading most of it while waiting for my first orthodontist appointment. The book totally freaked me out, but kept the nerves off the dentist.

  153. sweet sixteen book giveaway
    With every new Harry Dresden book, I am amazed how Jim Butcher changes, improves and makes me want to keep on reading to the very end and wish for much more. He is an auto buy forever.

  154. You represent quite a few authors I like, so picking one book is tough!
    I’ll go with Jim Butcher’s STORM FRONT. I hadn’t been into any sort of noir, cop, or detective story in ages, and modern-day fantasy is very hit-or-miss for me. I’d heard lots of people praising this book, and feared it was being overhyped. I was delighted, when I finally purchased it at ALA last year, by the voice: a gripping blend of grit and humor. There was a good mix of action, magic, and characterization, and overall I found it very enjoyable

  155. I am a Black Jewels Trilogy fan. I love the story, I love the plot, characters, intrigue, all of it! I am in love with Lucivar.
    The Invisible Ring was okay, but Dreams Made Flesh was awesome. The Marion/Lucivar story made me happy because I love Lucivar, and the Zuulaman story makes me cry because I consider Saetan some kind of a personal hero.
    As for Anne Bishop’s other series, Tir Alainn was fabulous. It was original. I like Ephemera, but I wish it wasn’t so predictable.

  156. I read Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher a couple of years ago. This is what I remember about it:
    I didn’t like it. While the world-building was interesting, it felt like the constant plot-twists were forced. And the ending was a cliche that I’ve always hated: “young kid instantly solves a problem with a little bit of thinking that other people, including their best and brightest, couldn’t figure out over hundreds or thousands of years.”
    Miguelito

  157. Congratulations on your 16 years of agenting! I really like C.E. Murphy’s Negotiator novels. I like the gargoyles, her twist on vampires and I LOVE the dragonlord, Janx. His personality is exactly like what I imagine a dragon’s would be.

  158. Contest Entry
    I really enjoy Anne Bishop. She has a way of writing her characters so that they are “real” to me. There’s also humor in unexpected little places that sometimes show her characters personalities more than many authors can do in pages of description.
    (I like to reread the Black Jewels trilogy often.)
    Adele Dawn

  159. I thoroughly enjoyed Peacekeeper by Laura E. Reeve. I love (and write about) kick-ass female protagonists, so this was right up my alley. And I’m looking forward to a sequel. I hope one is in the works. Seeing books like Peacekeeper getting published gives me hope that my manuscript will find a home soon.
    Lisa Iriarte

  160. It would have to be Storm Front
    Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Because he has a wicked sense of humor that always wakes me up. “… just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.”
    D. Coleman

  161. I would have to say that one book is Storm Front by Jim Butcher because it was thoroughly engaging and entertaining read that introduced me to Harry Dresden, one of my favorite series now. It really helped me get back into being an avid reader.
    Jeff C.

  162. Jim Butcher is one of my very favorite authors. Harry is a great flawed protagonist, but I like the company of characters that keep him in check almost as much as I like Harry himself. Of course, it’s Dresden Files I’m talking about.
    I didn’t care for Alera so much, but I think it’s great that he was able to write a popular series that combines Pokemon and a lost legion (his words, not mine).

  163. I have to weigh in on Dresden too. I started the series when someone recommended it after I said how much I loved Simon R. Green and I loved Harry at first read. But, for me, the book that guaranteed my loyalty forever was the one that introduced Mouse.
    Over twenty years ago, I had a pup named Mouse who was HUGE and scary smart. So when Harry got a pup named Mouse who was HUGE and scary smart — then I knew he was a character after my own heart. I love Harry and his flawed nobility and I love all the minor characters especially Murphy since I always aspired to be small but fierce.

  164. First, Happy Belated Agent-Day!
    I’ve read Ekaterina Sedia’s The Secret History of Moscow and Alchemy of Stone, and I enjoyed both very much. I could go on about Secret History‘s setting and use of characters types we just don’t see enough of, but it was Alchemy of Stone that really knocked my socks off. The reviews and publicity seemed to focus on the alchemists vs. mechanics most of all, but I thought Mattie’s story was by far the most intriguing part of the book, from her struggle for autonomy to her thoughts about herself as a woman/female. The book arrived as a Christmas present, I read it in a day, and I’m still thinking about it at the start of summer.

  165. I’ve read Scardown by Elizabeth Bear, and loved the world building and character development, and the joy she evokes for flying her ships. She makes me care about Jenny and the people she cares about. I felt the ending was a little sugary pat and rushed, but nothing’s perfect. I had the same problem with Undertow…like she’d fallen in love with her characters and couldn’t give them their logical fates. Having said that, I don’t mind feel-good endings, just surprise credulity-stretching ones. Which is a minor quibble. In Undertow, she created a fantastic world with a marvelous premise, so completely new that it delighted me. I loved the amphibian culture development, Andre’s descent from confident expert to stumbling novice, and the conflict within the corporation … not pure evil, but levels of villainy. I have Worldwired but haven’t started it yet.
    I thought at first we had to limit this to 20 words. That would have been more difficult!

  166. Cherie Priest’s, Fathom, which I bought after you posted the release day post for it, was my first MONSTER book. I didn’t think I liked monster books, but I loved it so much, I’ve been stalking her online since. (Kidding, I don’t stalk…really…ask her…though I did just try to name her fish.)

  167. I absolutely loved Shelley Adina’s It’s All About Us. A witty, clever YA book with a Christian twist that wasn’t overdone, nor thumpy. I loved the voice and the message that you could be hip and clever and yet still be true to your beliefs.
    It is not my normal genre choice (I’m primarily a fantasy reader, and yes, I love the books of several of your other clients). I picked Ms. Adina’s book up at my grad school program’s alumni signing, and I’m glad I did. I’ll be picking up more of Ms. Adina’s work this June, since I enjoyed her first one.

  168. Bear’s Dust is one of my favorites, because all the amazing concepts boggle me… angel Engineers with machine-oil blood? The epigrams all circling back to Dust? I think the one that really hit me in the face, though, was the idea of Jacob’s Ladder as a DNA Helix. I was like, oh, wow. Oh, wow. That makes so much sense.

  169. The Dresden Files: Strom Front
    I love Jim Butcher’s work, that’s a given, and the Dresden Files perfectly exemplifies the urban fantasy genre at its best … in my humble opinion. In many ways, I see Storm Front as almost a perfect novel. “Down these mean street a man must go,” Chandler said, and that’s exactly the kind of thing Butcher delivers with his reluctantly heroic protagonist, Harry Dresden.
    Storm Front was a great book to start off a series with!

  170. I’d have to go with Martha Wells, either Wheel of the Infinite, City of Bones, the Element of Fire, or Death of the Necromancer; because she has a really deft touch with worldbuilding, and fascinating characters and plots. Wheel of the Infinite and City of Bones have unique, intensely interesting worlds; and Element of Fire and Death of the Necromancer have character tropes I’m a total sucker for, plus political machinations that add to the book rather than take it over; an extremely rare event in my experience. Really, just an excellent writer overall.

  171. Martha Wells’ stand-alone novels are among my favorites fantasies, period. Her characters are real enough to walk off the page, and her worlds are wondrous and believable. Best of all, there are no elves, orcs or vampires to be found in her books, and she’s given a fresh look at the tired wizard/magic tropes all too common in fantasy. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with City of Bones (were you her agent back then?) because I loved the desert setting. More fantasies should be set in deserts!
    Should I be one of the lucky winners, call me Kade Carrion.

  172. Wow! I had no idea that so many of my favorite authors share an agent!
    I don’t see anyone (on the first page of comments) mentioning Steve & Sharon yet, which made a difficult choice slightly easier.
    I was introduced to their Liaden Universe many years ago by a then-boyfriend. He had the first three novels, and loaned them to me. I loved them! And wanted more. Alas, that wasn’t to happen for many years. BUT as soon as they did come out, I got my own copies of them (Partners in Necessity, my all-time favorite comfort reading volume) and all that followed. We’re an entire family of Korval lovers now.

  173. Alison Kent
    I’ve been a follower of Alison’s books for many years. My favorite is the first book of her SG series The Bane Affair. The chemistry between Smithson Group counterspy member Christian Bane & the scientist’s goddaughter, Natasha is so intense! I liked the danger element as he goes up against the evil Spectra organization and actually assumes the traitor Deacon’s identity. It’s an edgy, fastpaced suspense filled romance! I loved the beginning to her SG series!

  174. Alison Kent’s Bane Affair follow up post
    OOPS forgot to add my name in the comment
    Laurie Gommermann

  175. Happy anniversary!
    I loved Lamentation by Ken Scholes
    It’s got an intriguing mix between post-Apocalyptic SF and traditional fantasy tropes, a variety of very strong characters with good story arcs, and a lovely exploration of the role of (true or false) religions, mythologies and prophecies–a focus I’ve seen before in fantasy but never with such thoughtfulness and intensity.

  176. My wife handed me Long Walks, Last Flights, and told me I’d love it. She was right. Specifically, she was right about “Last Flight of the Goddess,” which was the sort of wonderful love story that the genre needs more of. It’s easily one of my favorite reading experiences of this year.

  177. Congrats to you and your clients.Have a great weekend.Emma

  178. Wow – so many great choices it’s hard to choose.
    I’m going to go with Reeve’s Peacekeeper. Ari was a great heroine – but not perfect. Her flaws and problems made her all the more real and believable for me. The final twist, which I won’t reveal, took me by surprise – which isn’t all that easy to do.

  179. Anne Bishop is a goddess!!! I love her. The Black Jewels Trilogy is a must read for me at least once a year. I reread it after losing something very precious and it became a touchstone for me, a way to let out my pain and grief. I have enjoyed the subsequent additions to the Black Jewels world. So in a nutshell, thank you for being an agen and finding Anne Bishop. Happy Anniversary!

  180. Happy anniversary
    I’ve read quite a few of your clients works but I think my favourite would have to be Elizabeth Bear’s Dust, which I read in pretty much one sitting. I enjoyed the philosophical aspect of the story and the characters were wonderfully drawn. Mankind’s struggle to cure the damage we do to our environment is also a very timely concept.

  181. Goodness, I have been in the bunker all week madly editing and am only just catching up, hence I missed this. Let me simply add my congratulations to all the rest. Happy sixteenth and may there be many more.

  182. I LOVED Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy. It was dark, sexy, romantic, and an interesting new idea in the world of fantasy. I especially like the discussions that could result from the matriarchal society and abuse of power in the story!
    Suzie

  183. I recently finished reading the entire Promethean Cycle by Elizabeth Bear and adored it. The richness of description, intricate plotting, and depth of characterization have made them a series that I’ll end up re-reading at least once a year.

  184. I’m late, but trying anyway! I enjoyed CE Murphy’s Negotiator Trilogy recommended by a friend recently when I was bemoaning how urban fantasy is turning out to be the same ole thing blenderized and regurgitated. Loved the world building, the gargoyle, the character development, and the mixed racial background of the main character.
    I’d LOVE to win Amanda Downum’s, The Drowning City (ARC)
    It’s a beautiful cover, btw!
    Happy Agent-versary!

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