Agent Savant

The musings of literary agent Laurie McLean

FUSE Literary Acquires Penumbra Literary and Adds Jennifer Chen Tran as Associate Agent

Written By: laurie - May• 26•15

May 25th 2015 – San Francisco, California – FUSE LITERARY, the hybrid literary agency that brings technology and innovation to the more traditional aspects of book publishing, today announced the acquisition of Penumbra Literary LLC and the addition of its principal and owner Jennifer Chen Tran as an Associate Agent at the firm.

Jennifer Chen Tran

“We are always on the lookout for people and technology that will further our vision to create the literary agency of the future,” said Laurie McLean, who formed Fuse Literary (formerly Foreword Literary) two years ago alongside her business partner Gordon Warnock.

Gordon and Laurie were impressed by Jennifer’s entrepreneurial spirit and professionalism, as well as her wide-ranging client list and background in publishing law. Penumbra’s focus on books that can change the world also fit right in with the Fuse Literary mentality. Prior to establishing Penumbra Literary, Jennifer served as Of Counsel at The New Press and interned at Zachary Shuster and Harmsworth literary agency.

“We’ve always sought to not only be the change in publishing but to do so in a socially responsible manner,” Gordon said. “We’re very excited about what Penumbra brings to the table.”

“I’ve been following Fuse for awhile,” Jennifer said, “and after Jen Karsbaek stepped back from being an agent to being the agency’s Midwest scout, I reached out to Gordon and Laurie, and things just developed from there. The timing was right for me both personally and professionally and I can’t say enough good things about Laurie, Gordon, and everyone else at Team Fuse.”

“Fuse Literary is at the forefront of continual changes in the publishing industry, and their motto of ‘Igniting Author Careers’ is progressive and in perfect alignment with my core values for my author-clients. I am elated to join Team Fuse and continue to grow and champion my authors’ careers, and to assist them in publishing books that entertain, delight, and make a difference in the world.”

As a Fuse agent, Jennifer is now seeking a balance of nonfiction and fiction, specifically: literary fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction, upmarket fiction, mature Young Adult, New Adult, graphic novels, memoir, narrative fiction, lifestyle books, narrative non-fiction, and commercial non-fiction (particularly in the areas of biography, current affairs, medical, history, pop-culture, social entrepreneurism, and psychology). As a second-generation Taiwanese-American, Jennifer is particularly drawn to fiction that represents diverse characters from marginalized and under-represented communities. As for non-fiction, Jennifer loves to work with passionate individuals in shaping book proposals that are both inspirational and instructive.


Fuse Literary is a new type of hybrid literary agency, blending the knowledge and skills of traditional book publishing with the brash new opportunities engendered by digital publishing, self-publishing, ebooks, social media, and technology. The company has agents in California, New York, Vancouver, and Chicago. Founding partners Laurie McLean and Gordon Warnock are joined by agents Connor Goldsmith, Emily Keyes, Michelle Richter, Sara Sciuto, and Jennifer Chen Tran, as well as book scout Jen Karsbaek, in house publicist Estelle Hallick, and a wide-ranging group of interns and readers. For more, visit or follow us on Twitter @FuseLiterary.

For more information contact:
Gordon Warnock, Fuse Literary, 916-549-5864
Jennifer Chen Tran, Fuse Literary 516-350-1653

Big News Coming

Written By: laurie - May• 18•15

Fuse Literary is making a big announcement on Monday, May 25th: Memorial Day holiday. It will be memorable. Stay tuned…

Under His Spell

Written By: laurie - Apr• 07•15

Happy Book Birthday to Linda Wisdom for Under His Spell from Joyride Books. It’s a contemporary romance that takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, where two local kids “conjure” up a husband for their divorced mom. While the hero is all flesh and blood, the romance is pure magic. Touches of gothic haunts abound, as well as Wisdom’s classic snarky humor.

Pitch-O-Rama March 28th!

Written By: laurie - Feb• 25•15


Join me and 11 other agents and editors for the 12th annual Women’s National Book Club, San Francisco Chapter’s Pitch-O-Rama from 8 am to noon on Saturday, March 28th! At $65 for members and $75 for non-members, that comes out to around $6 a pitch. I would say I feel cheap, but instead I’ll say, “What a bargain for all you San Francisco Bay area writers!”

The details can be found by downloading this 2-page flyer! or by visiting the WNBA-SF website:

Half-Million Dollar Deal for Michael J. Sullivan

Written By: laurie - Feb• 25•15

I am so proud to tell you all that we just inked a $540,000 deal for epic fantasy and science fiction author Michael J. Sullivan of Riyria fame. Hadrian and Royce would be so proud of their Creator. Read the anatomy of the deal here:

Michael J. Sullivan

Happy Book Birthday, Riding the Odds!

Written By: laurie - Feb• 02•15

Riding the Odds by Lynda K. Scott

I love science fiction. I love romance. I love adventure. And, apparently, I also love sentient tattoos! This book has it all. And it’s a rollicking ride to boot. Give it a try. It’s only $1.99, but that price won’t last.

Vote for The Forever Song!

Written By: laurie - Jan• 13•15

Forever Song

Happy Holidays!

Written By: laurie - Dec• 17•14


Congrats to Toby Neal!

Written By: laurie - Oct• 23•14

Not only has self-published mystery author Toby Neal sold a million copies of her Lei Crime series police procedurals, she’s blazing a trail in audiobooks too. Today she sold her 8th and 9th books to Audible in a nice deal. Here’s the Publishers Marketplace deal announcement:

Toby Neal’s FIRE BEACH: Hawaii is cane fires, lush jungles, and feuds that won’t die until everyone’s dead. In this eighth of the Lei Crime Series, a detective and her policeman husband find out just how far love and hate will go, and RIP TIDES, to Lee Jarit at Audible, in a nice deal, for publication in 2015, by Laurie McLean at Fuse Literary (World). Dramatic: Brandy Rivers at ICM

Find out more about Toby and her thrilling series at

Fire Beach by Toby Neal

Foreword Literary Becomes Fuse Literary!

Written By: laurie - Oct• 10•14

October 10, 2014—San Francisco Bay Area—Foreword Literary, the hybrid literary agency launched in March of 2013, is rebranding as Fuse Literary following an out of court settlement with Fore Word Magazine, Inc. Fuse Literary will continue to operate as normal, focusing on customized blending of traditional and emerging aspects of book publishing for their author-clients. All pending author submissions will remain under consideration.

Fuse Literary represents authors of all stripes, including New York Times Bestsellers like Julie Kagawa and Dr. Stephen Gullo, hybrid successes like Michael J. Sullivan and Nina Amir, and debut stars like Indie Next Pick Amy Zhang. Their client list totals over 76 authors with more than 160 titles in print.

“The owners of Fore Word Magazine, Inc. felt that people in publishing would be confused by the similar sounding names of our literary agency and their quarterly review magazine. We vehemently disagreed, but a lengthy court battle was untenable in terms of time and money wasted, so we decided to change our name,” says founding partner Laurie McLean. “But you know, sometimes when bad things happen to you, something better emerges. We feel that way about the name Fuse Literary. It embodies our new tagline, ‘Igniting Author Careers’ as well as the other meaning of fuse: bonding two or more things into a stronger whole. We feel stronger and are excited about continuing to explore the fusion possibilities of hybrid authors.”

Fuse Literary will continue to operate as a virtual agency with offices in New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver. Highly flexible and collaborative, the professionals at Fuse Literary thrive on the high-tech approach, embracing cloud-based technologies and new forms of communication and storytelling.

“We are at our core an agency that sells books to be printed by major publishers, but our heart lies in innovation, and that’s where the new name really represents us,” says founding partner Gordon Warnock. “We embrace that spark of creativity, that explosiveness of quick action, and the fusing together of what has worked for the publishing industry for centuries and wonderful new opportunities the industry has yet to see.”

Along with the change, the agency’s Fast Foreword digital-first publishing operation will be rebranded as Short Fuse Publishing. The program will continue to offer groundbreaking works in alternative formats and multimedia across all genres. Short Fuse is celebrating the launch with biweekly releases of Short Fuse Guides, free e-books on writing and publishing written by Fuse Literary agents.

About Fuse Literary

Fuse Literary, Inc. is a new type of hybrid literary agency, blending the knowledge and skills of traditional book publishing with the brash new opportunities engendered by digital publishing, self-publishing, social media, transmedia, and the cloud. The company has agents in New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver. Founding partners Laurie McLean and Gordon Warnock are joined by agents Connor Goldsmith, Jen Karsbaek, Emily Keyes, Michelle Richter, and Sara Sciuto, in-house publicist Estelle Hallick, and a small army of rock star interns and assistants. For more, visit or follow us on your favorite social media @FuseLiterary.


“Gordon’s support and attentiveness are positively unwavering; it has been his compassionate encouragement and unfailing literary expertise that have carried me through the arduous process of revising and pitching my manuscript. I can’t imagine where I would be without his guidance, and would never think of making a decision regarding my career without consulting him first. Gordon has many times over proven what an excellent agent, writer, reader, and editor he is. Above all else, he has become one of my dearest friends, and a welcome addition to my community of literary folk.”

Tanya Chernov
A Real Emotional Girl

“I honestly wouldn’t have gotten where I am without super agent Laurie McLean.”

NYT Bestseller Julie Kagawa

 Fuse Literary logo