Agent Savant

The musings of literary agent Laurie McLean

Fall Titles of Note

Written By: laurie - Aug• 24•15

Wow, everyone! Fuse Literary clients have a ton of great books coming out this Fall! Check out these titles and maybe something will excite your imagination as we head into the colder weather. Nothing like a hot beverage and an exciting book for a cold day or night.

  • A young adult Sherlock Holmes origin story with a female Moriarty as his crime-solving partner instead of his arch-nemesis. Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty.
  • An Aurealis-award winning epic fantasy from a talented new Australian novelist. A Curcible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan.
  • The final book in the bestselling YA Iron Fey series. Yes, we finally have to say goodbye to Ash and Meghan! (Nooooooooo…) The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa.
  • A Fight Club with werewolves paranormal romance. Harvest Moon by Lisa Kessler.
  • A spin off series in the bestselling Immortal Circus universe featuring Mab’s changeling assassin hunting in our world. Yow! Pale Queen Rising by A.R. Kahler.

See more here:


TEEN FUSE: Gideon’s War (Guest Blog Post)

Written By: laurie - Jul• 07•15

I have known award-winning children’s author, Douglas Rees, for a long, long time. When Fuse Literary acquired the assets of Ambush Books, a publishing company that Doug and I founded three years ago, we were thrilled that four of his young adult historical fiction titles would once again shine in the spotlight. Doug is a teen librarian in San Jose, California. And when he was informed recently that kids don’t want to read historical fiction, he got angry. “If we don’t understand history we are doomed to repeat it,” he said. Then he wrote this:   -Laurie


By Douglas Rees

Why write a book about the Spanish-American War, especially one aimed at teens? Because of how totally current it is. Today, the Middle East is full of young Americans slogging through mountain passes that deterred Alexander the Great, or risking their lives in semi-secret service on the plains of Iraq. Beyond these, there are over 400 overseas military posts in almost every corner of what we used to call “The Free World”. The majority of our young people, even if they are not in military service themselves, know someone who has been. Most often this is someone who is a veteran of the fighting in the Great War On Terrorism. (And Not At All For Oil.)

It goes straight back to 1898, to Manila Bay, San Juan Heights, and the coast of Santiago. In July of 1898, the United States was not an imperial nation. In December, it was. In between, in a hundred days of active conflict, at a cost of 365 battle deaths, the United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and title to the Philippines. It created a protectorate over Cuba, arrogating to itself the right to overthrow its government. To secure its Pacific dominions, it connived the takeover of Hawaii from some wealthy and seditious sugar planters who had overthrown the legitimate government. We were Imperial, with an imperial military. In 1898, the U.S. Army, such as it was, had no overseas garrisons. By 1901, it was fighting its way into the Forbidden City of Beijing.

It was a revolutionary change, and we today all live in the world it created. We rely on today’s young Americans to maintain it, and they will be stuck with the bill. It may be that some of them are wondering why. Gideon’s War is a book for them.


Gideon’s War, a previously unpublished historical novel about Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and the Spanish-American War, is out now from Teen Fuse. It joins three of Douglas Rees’ YA backlist titles: Smoking Mirror (a tale of Paul Gauguin in the South Seas), Lightning Time (a pre-Civil War story about the infamous John Brown), and The Janus Gate (a ghost story about a famous John Singer Sargent painting.) All are told from a teen’s point of view.

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