Tuesday, May 25, 2010


WIN a manuscript critique by agent Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency!

WIN a signed copy of A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY!

WIN Stella’s favorite OPI Nail Polish in “Charged Up Cherry,” “Yes…I Can-Can!” and “I Don’t Do Dishes”!

Are you looking for a literary agent? Need a professional evaluation of your work in process?

Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency will read and critique one winner’s synopsis, query letter, and first thirty pages.

How it works:

• Click “Leave a Comment” below and post the title, genre, and first five sentences of your fiction manuscript in your comment. Email entries will not be accepted; all entries must be made in the comments section of this blog.

• Semifinalists will be selected for each of three weeks. The semifinalists for round one will be posted on the blog on June 2. Round Two will begin on June 2 and semifinalists will be posted on June 9, and Round Three will begin on June 9 and semifinalists will be posted on June 16.
The semifinalists will be invited to send their first chapter and/or synopsis to Sophie.

• One overall winner will be selected on or before June 23. That winner will be invited to send his/her synopsis, query letter, and first thirty pages to Barbara Poelle, who will read it for possible representation.

• If you aren’t a writer but would like to win the signed book or the nail polish sampler, just sign up for my newsletter any time before June 8.

• Questions? Feel free to go to the contact page and send them in. I will respond as quickly as possible.

Genre: Mystery
First 5 sentences:
 “This’ll put hair on your chest,” Sheriff Goat Jones said, handing Stella a little spice jar. His legs were so long that his knees brushed against hers under the old pine table, causing a feathery quiver to flutter through her body.

“Hot….pepper flakes,” Stella Hardesty read, squinting at the label, as she accepted the uncapped jar. Her reading glasses were home on the bedside table. She wasn’t planning on needing them tonight.

The fine print:
You must be 18 years of age or older to enter this contest; no purchase necessary; void where prohibited. Judging is subjective, and judges’ names will not be revealed. By entering this contest, you agree to be added to my newsletter list, which is sent out to subscribers quarterly. Personal information and email addresses are kept private and never shared. The semifinalists and winner’s names will be posted on this blog.

Friday, May 21, 2010

She May Have a Gun But Stella's Still a Gal

Next week the paperback version of A BAD DAY FOR SORRY will be out, followed a couple of weeks later by the release of A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY. And to celebrate, I am having a really fun contest. (I'll post details next Wednesday.) The big prize is geared for aspiring authors and just might feature a manuscript review by a certain crazy-good agent...

but there are a couple of other prizes I threw in for fun. One's a signed copy of PRETTY. The other one is really girly. (Guys, hint - if you want to enter, I can guarantee you that a lot of ladies would love to receive this.) It's a collection of OPI nail polish in Stella's three favorite shades.

Yeah, I know Stella's not real, but she lives in my head and over the last few years I have gotten to know her pretty damn well and I can say with authority that she loves OPI. I mean, who wouldn't? It's got the weirdest/greatest shade names in the business, and it stays on better than any other brand.

(Stella's also a big fan of White Diamonds and I guess I could have offered that as a prize, but I gave a little bitty bottle of it to my first publicist and she reported that her boyfriend thought it was the Worst Smell Ever.)

Anyway, what shades does Stella love?

Well, of course her all-time favorite is "I Don't Do Dishes," a rich red.
Sometimes she wears "Charged Up Cherry," which is a hot coral pink.
And on the cover of A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY, I am pretty sure she is wearing "Yes...I Can-Can!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Joy Needs Our Help!!

I'm not really big on asking for help, but something has happened recently to change that.

I didn't know about the national bone marrow registry until my dear friend Joy found out that she needed a transplant to save her life. Now I am trying to spread the word so that she and others have a chance to receive the help they need.

My husband and I met Joy more than twenty years ago, when they were first-year MBA students. I have many memories of the three of us combating the grad school hardships - endless studying, East Coast winters, being broke - with bad wine and good conversation. We stayed in touch through the years, and we are proud of how "our" Joy combined an impressive career with a life full of love, fun, and adventure. About two years ago, Joy had breast cancer, which she got through quite well with a lumpectomy, chemo & radiation. Unfortunately, she has now developed leukemia as a complication from the chemo treatments. This is a very rare complication, occurring in <1% of patients. Her only hope is a bone marrow transplant (which they currently do through donor blood -- not bone marrow -- meaning it is much less onerous on the donor that it has been in the past. If matched, you're asked to give blood several days in a row. That's it!)

Since Joy doesn't have any brothers & sisters, she has to go through the national registry. There is no match in the database at present. The chances of any given person being a match for Joy are 1:10,000 -- so there is a lot of work to do to get the word out.

We are not asking for money - we are hoping that you will consider signing up to be a possible donor. The process takes only a few minutes (We know, we did it ourselves.)

The first step in the process is to log onto the ‘Be the Match’ site. After completing the qualifying questions (toward the end of the process), enter JJ1605 into the field labeled “Promo Code”. When you complete this process, a donor testing kit will be sent to you. Once it arrives, you will simply need to swab your cheek and send it to the donor matching center. If you are identified as a potential match, you will be further tested and, ultimately, asked to give blood (NOT bone marrow) for a few days in a row (it is much the same as giving blood to the Red Cross).

For more information, please contact Kate Farley at kfarley01@comcast.net or Mitch Toub at MToub3@verizon.net.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Best First Mystery....Reviewers Choice Award from RT

I kind of forgot to post this here, which is kind of embarrassing considering how big a deal it was to me and how much hopping up and down and screaming I did. RTBookReviews chose A BAD DAY FOR SORRY as the Best First Mystery novel of 2009. You can see the list of mystery-genre winners here. I have a beautiful crystal award to show for it, and - being a quite terrible photographer, a couple of photos that don't do it justice.

In other news, my finished copy of PRETTY arrived! Yay! Here's Junior and my sister, clearly absolutely *enthralled*:

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Buzz On AFTERTIME series

Well, this was pretty damn exciting. Charlie Jane Anders, amazing blogger/author/gal-about-town, noticed the AFTERTIME announcement in Publishers Marketplace and decided to interview me and my agent, Barbara Poelle, about it for I09.

You can read the interview here - and I love the illustration she chose! Don't you think this looks *exactly* like me? And that is for sure my minivan...

Zombie art by Julie Coulter on Flickr.

Booklist Review

Thanks Booklist for this!

Issue: May 1, 2010

A Bad Day for Pretty.
Littlefield, Sophie (Author)
Jun 2010. 304 p. St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne, hardcover, $24.00. (9780312559755).

Still healing from the gunshot wounds she got on her last case, Stella Hardesty is trying to spur on her budding relationship with Sheriff Goat Jones when his long-estranged-but-still-not-ex-wife, brassy and manipulative Brandy Truax, appears. So Stella has a potential rival for Goat, adding to the concern that her vigilante method of gaining justice for women abused by the men in their lives is diametrically opposed to his. And when a tornado turns up a woman’s mummified body in her hometown of Prosper, Missouri, and Stella sticks her nose in the case because a friend is implicated in the murder, the sheriff is downright annoyed. As former client Chrissy Shaw brushes up her IT skills and becomes Stella’s associate, Stella finds her concerns intertwining and discovers that her far-flung reputation has its downside. Even not fully recovered from her injuries (in A Bad Day for Sorry, 2009), fiftyish Stella is a force to be reckoned with in this second outing in an entertaining series.

— Michele Leber

Monday, May 10, 2010

Introducing....Sophie Crane!

Oh, am I ever excited about this - as of last Friday I'm a split personality, and my "newer" half writes dark dystopic fiction for Harlequin Luna! Yep, with the help of my amazing agent Barbara Poelle, we've got a three-book series that will debut next March.

Here's the deal report from Publisher's Marketplace:

Fiction: Debut
Sophie Crane's AFTERTIME, set in post-apocalyptic America, where a woman wakes up in a field missing her memories and badly scared, realizing that somehow she's just recovered from being a zombie and must find her 2-year-old daughter in a desolate land populated by small bands of humans who are no longer the top of the food chain, to Adam Wilson at Luna, in a three-book deal, by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency (world).

And you all know how much I love my web designer, right? Well, check out what she's put together as a "place-holder" until she can build my new site for real:


My new Harlequin editor is Adam Wilson, and I can hardly wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work on this. At the risk of getting a little sloppy, I have to tell you that I never dreamed this day would come, because I submitted each of my four earliest books to Harlequin/Silhouette and received rejections. I now understand many of the problems those earlier books were burdened with - they truly weren't ready for publication - but over the course of those early years I slowly accepted that my voice would not fit with the romances I was trying to write.

Fast forward a decade and several more books. I read all kinds of things, and I write all kinds of things too. Right before my Stella Hardesty series sold, I had written a women's fiction novel that I really loved. I submitted it to the Golden Heart contest, which is the Romance Writers of America's highest honor for unpublished authors. I didn't place, but I looked forward to the judges' comments, hoping for an affirmation that I was on the right path. When my scores came, I found out I had placed in the BOTTOM 25%. I was devastated. Of course someone has to be in the lowest quadrant, but I had been trying so hard for so long and it was far from my first effort...on that day I decided that while I would never leave RWA, I would give up on the idea of ever writing a romance.

Funny how things work out, though. I believe that if you write the proper way - which is to say, without holding back - the stories that you are meant to tell will be impossible to suppress. It's kind of like the oil stain on my old kitchen's ceiling: I did everything I could think of to obliterate it, from scrubbing to sanding to priming and painting over it, and it came back every single time.

So while I pretended I would never write another romance, they crept and elbowed and inveigled their way into my stories. And while I don't think anyone would call AFTERTIME a traditional romance, and while the romance is far subordinate to the rest of the story, to me it is a true and legitimate one and as real as I can possibly make it.

Dare I say it...I am proud of it. Damn proud.

Just moments ago I got my first "welcome" note from a fellow Harlequin author and it gave me a real thrill. I love all my publishers and I am honored to work for them, as they are the finest anywhere. But with this new series I join a group of writers who I never thought would be my colleagues, and I'm just so happy to be there.