Friday Feast: Prizes, Agents, Books, Oh, My!

As you may know, Dead Darlings, “the site for everything novel,” is a production of GrubStreet’s year-long program, the Novel Incubator. Founded by novelist and GrubStreet’s artistic director, Christopher Castellani, and developed with novelists and Grub instructors, Lisa Borders and Michelle Hoover, the Incubator takes 10 students per year and focuses intensively on the novel. Forty-nine Incubees have graduated since its 2011-12 pilot.

2016 saw four more Incubees agented, four more earned prizes, two more published novels, and two additional Incubee books are due out in 2017. And it’s still January. Watch this space!


Incubees win prizes! Lots of them. In 2016,


Getting an agent, a capital A Agent, is a significant accomplishment all by its lonesome. Writers query anywhere from 50 agents to 150 agents before getting to Yes, is the reported “industry standard.” In 2016,

  • Rachel Barenbaum secured agent Eve Attermann at WME for her novel, The Measure of Time.
  • Robert Fernandes signed with Erin Harris of Folio Literary Agency, for his novel, A Big Box Full of YEAH! a story about what happens when a man who is stuck in the mud of his daily existence develops an infatuation with his new neighbor and is then presented with proof of the fast-approaching end of the world.
  • Sharissa Jones is with Liz Darhansoff of Darhansoff & Verrill for her novel, Husked.
  • Tracey Palmer signed with Ayesha Pande of Pande Literary Agency in November for her novel with the working title of The Eight-Sided Heart.


The Holy Grail, Oz, as it were, is publication! From 2014 to 2015, The Incubees published nine novels to terrific reviews:

  • Confetti and high-fives to the authors of our first Incubee babies: E.B. Moore published two historical fiction novels, An Unseemly Wife and Stones in the Road, both with New American Library/Penguin. Emily Ross published true crime novel Half in Love with Death. Jennie Wood published A Boy Like Me, named one of the 10 Best Indie YA Novels of 2014 by Foreward Review, as well as graphic novels, Flutter I and Flutter II. Lisa Borders came out with her second novel, The Fifty-First State. Patricia Park’s Re Jane, a contemporary take on Jane Eyre, and Stephanie Gayle’s mystery, Idyll Threats: A Thomas Lynch Novel, the first of a series, rounds out the list through 2015.
  • In 2016, Louise Miller’s debut novel, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, came out in August, the first of a two-book deal with Pamela Dorman/Viking/Penguin. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is the story of a train wreck pastry chef who finds the family she didn’t know she was looking for while competing in the cutthroat world of county fair baking contests. Want to know more? Read Publisher’s Weekly review.
  • Michelle Hoover’s second novel, Bottomland, also arrived in 2016. Bottomland follows the Hess family in the years after World War I as they attempt to rid themselves of the Anti-German sentiment that left a stain on their name; but when the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night, the family must piece together what happened while struggling to maintain their life on the unforgiving Iowa plains. That brings the count to 10.

New Year, More Incubee Books!

And here come the 12th and 13th.

  • Jennie Wood’s newest Flutter (Volume Three: Hey Mom, Why So Tense?) comes out August 19, 2017. It will be the last volume in the series. For more on Flutter, check out Jennie’s site:
  • Kelly Ford’s debut, Cottonmouths, arrives June 6, 2017 from Skyhorse Publishing. Pitched as Winter’s Bone meets Sarah Waters, a young woman returns to her backwoods hometown and reconnects with the woman she loved as a teen, only to be ensnared in a dangerous world of drugs and small town suspicions.

I’m off to make a pot of coffee and curl up in my favorite chair, a pile of Incubee novels at my side. Ahhh.


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