The HSW Literary Agency


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Commercial Fiction

Tell Everything
Sally Cooper
Dundurn Press, 2008

Rights: World, excluding Canada
Translation Rights available

It is the summer of 1985. Seventeen-year-old Pauline has just moved from northern Ontario to the Westwoods subdivision when she first meets Ramona, who looks like she just walked out of a ZZ Top video. Their friendship is intense and immediate, and they spend their time writing and acting out plays. Before long, their activities reach a climax that severs Pauline and Ramona’s relationship.

Tell Everything is a complex, innovative novel about characters so deeply involved in their macabre fixations that they need to live them out. Trial transcripts, tabloid columns and other alternative perspectives balance and challenge Pauline’s growing sense that she is not a victim; that submission and individual power may be contained in the same act.

Praise for Tell Everything:

Tell Everything is a tremendous accomplishment from a writer with a gift for complex character development, agonizing suspense and the occasional lyrical gem of a sentence.”

-- NOW Magazine, June 4, 2008, Vol. 27, No. 40

“Sally Cooper’s second novel, Tell Everything, is compelling….lyrical, intimate and horrifying. Cooper peels back layers in search of the real lives and motivations behind the media maelstrom of a sensational trial….By plunging deep into a difficult subject, Cooper takes a bold approach that allows her to craft a story that is both sensitive and insightful.”

-- The Globe and Mail, February 23, 2008

Tell Everything is not just a novel about a young woman facing her past but how unquenchable, obsessive acts from the past force themselves into the reality of the here and now. Cooper…has written a commanding and tender work that is both challenging and satisfying.”

-- The Hamilton Spectator, January 26, 2008

Author Bio
Sally Cooper is the author of two critically acclaimed novels: Love Object (2002) and 2008’s Tell Everything, which NOW Magazine heralded as “a tremendous accomplishment from a writer with a gift for complex character development, agonizing suspense and the occasional lyrical gem of a sentence.”

Sally’s short stories have appeared in Event, Grain, Hamilton Arts & Letters, McGill Street Magazine, The Nashwaak Review, and Shift. Ripple is her first collection.

Sally left Inglewood, Ontario, where she was raised, to study English at the University of Guelph, earning both her B.A. and M.A. She teaches at Humber College, and now resides in Hamilton, Ontario, with her partner and two daughters.

This One’s Going to Last Forever

Nairne Holtz
Insomniac Press, April 2009

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada and the U.S.

*Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction*

This One’s Going to Last Forever reflects both the naïve optimism of those who have yet to learn about love and the cynicism of those who feel that by now they should know better. Clara, a university student working at the McGill Daily, discovers that in love and politics, commitment is often more imagined than real. Kelly and Sonya share a bond that has less to do with love than with their dependence on each other and a succession of “friends” who supply them with heroin. A middle-aged man who performs drive-through weddings dressed as Elvis realizes, as he marries his first same-sex couple, that the only domestic partner he is ever likely to have is his ailing father. But when he ends his latest relationship, an unlikely friendship results. The characters in these darkly comic stories and novella may be searching for love in all the wrong places, but they are also able to find love in the most unexpected places. 

Praise for This One’s Going to Last Forever:

“...a funny, witty and original book.”
-- The Gazette (Montreal)

“Critically hailed Montreal author Nairne Holtz proves she's no flash in the pan with this collection of queer-themed short stories and a 100-page novella.... Darkly comic and deeply heartfelt."

“…marked by impressively energetic prose, deft characterizations and perfectly persuasive scenes of erotic realism that convey all the complex heartbreak and adventure of sex, without a hint of prurience or narrative awkwardness, the twin demons that haunt most attempts to capture our sexual lives on the page…. [The] quality and energy of the narratives are so outstanding that it is hard to pick a favourite…. Holtz is an author who can range from the erotic to the absurd to the tragic without a false note. She is clearly ‘a writer to watch,’ as Margaret Cannon observed in these pages in 2007.”
-- Globe & Mail

“More a finely crafted collage of vignettes d’amour than a compilation of short stories, the darkly comic collection is a splendid follow-up to her 2007 award-winning debut The Skin Beneath…. [This One’s Going to Last Forever] does well to skilfully manoeuvre its way through the maze of adult relationships, highlighting the choices we make and their ensuing consequences and complications.”
-- The Chronicle Herald (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

“Holtz’s work is rich and combines the personal with the political through characters that are engaged in real struggles and triumphs. Highly recommended.”

“Holtz's bravura fictional insights about young life and love are a tonic… she's a lesbian writer with delicious cross-gender appeal. None of the stories pall, but the standout is the longest, ‘Are You Committed?,’ which dwells on the political and sexual angst of college students with spot-on resonance.”
-- Between The Lines, Farmington, MI

The Skin Beneath
Nairne Holtz
Insomniac Press, 2007

Rights: World, excluding Canada and the U.S.

The Skin Beneath is both a taut, fast-paced psychological thriller and a literary novel that probes the nature of conspiracy, memory, and desire. 

Five years after her sister died of an alleged drug overdose; Sam O’Connor receives an anonymous postcard claiming that her sister Chloe was investigating a conspiracy. The unsigned card reveals new and troubling details of her sister's death. Sam decides to move to Montreal where she tracks down the beguiling and enigmatic players in her sister's life: a gangster, an exotic dancer, a conspiracy freak, assorted anarchists and fringe members of the extreme right. The more Sam discovers about the tattered world in which her sister lived, spanning Montreal, New York, Toronto and Detroit, the less she is able to discern whether the conspiracy is a fact or a fantasy, and in turn, whether her sister's death was murder or suicide. During her quest, Sam is forced to ask not only how well she knows the people around her, but also how well she knows herself.

Praise for The Skin Beneath:

“Holtz has produced a novel that cheerfully thwarts classification. Sam’s questions are deliberately left unanswered, but her grief is afforded some resolution. Does that make The Skin Beneath a mystery novel or lesbian fiction? The answer, one hopes, need not be either.”
-- The Gazette (Montreal)

“This book is a very promising debut from Montreal author Nairne Holtz. There are lots of red herrings and undercurrents, many questions to answer and clues to follow in this complex novel…a fine first novel.”
-- The Globe and Mail, July 21, 2007

“….The novel is ultimately a test of appearances, questioning what people are composed of beneath their facades, social codes and sexual appearances….The steady pace and eclectic collection of characters of this novel set in a convincing murky underground world and penned with a literary eye, make it worth the read. On her first time out, Holtz has certainly had a lot of fun.”
-- Maisonneuve, July 7, 2007

Author bio
Nairne Holtz is a Montreal-based fiction writer whose first novel, The Skin Beneath (Insomniac, 2007), won the Alice B. Lesbian Debut Fiction Award and was a finalist for Quebec’s McAuslan First Book Prize. This One’s Going to Last Forever, Nairne’s second book, is a finalist for the 2009 Lambda Literary Award for lesbian fiction.

Maggie O’Malley
Linda Torney

Manuscript available
Rights: World

It’s 1917, and young Maggie O’Malley anticipates spending another fun-filled Halifax Christmas with her large Irish family, but unbeknownst to her, the holidays will be unlike those in any other year. As Maggie begins another long day as the Schroeder family maid, the medical supply ship Imo collides with the explosives-laden Mont Blanc in the harbour across town. The Halifax community of Richmond is obliterated within minutes.

Nothing in her twenty years has prepared Maggie for the horrors she experiences as she, with a growing sense of responsibility, seeks her family in hospitals and morgues.
Maggie O’Malley is a brisk coming-of-age tale that grapples with the nature of loss and recovery, and the importance of families—ones that we’re born into and ones we create for ourselves.

Author Bio
Linda Torney has worked for almost thirty years in the Toronto labour movement. During her tenure as president of the York Region Labour Council, she co-chaired the Metro Toronto Days of Action, the largest demonstration ever to take place in Canada. Following retirement, she was contracted by the Labour Council to write an account of the Toronto Days of Action. Linda received a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 2002.

Sins and Long Shadows
Anne Marie Males

Manuscript available
Rights: World

When successful antiques dealer and Toronto home decorating store owner Janet Wilson discovers a twenty-year-old diary in an old box of books, she feels an immediate affinity for the author, Jean, an old woman living out her last years in Orillia, Ontario.  Janet becomes increasingly engrossed and disturbed by the diary whose entries record Jean’s loathing of her upstairs’ tenant, Rick Scott, and her insistence that there’s something sinister going on in his apartment.  Jean writes about hearing children crying in distress and mysterious midnight digging in the garden, but when she tries to report her suspicions, no one believes her. 

Janet, however, firmly believes Jean, but—like the diary’s author—finds that the people in her life chalk everything up to an overactive imagination.  After telling the story to fellow antiques dealer and ex-cop Terry Simms (who pretends, for reasons of his own, to dismiss her suspicions), Janet decides to investigate.   In the course of her amateur sleuthing, she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the tragic world of missing children—and the personal life of professional investigator Trevor Martin.  When their prime suspect is murdered in his Scarborough home, the case moves from cold to hot overnight, and Janet discovers that old sins can indeed cast long shadows...

Author Bio
Anne Marie Males has more than 20 years of corporate communications experience in both the public and private sectors, particularly in the areas of government relations, crisis communications, and strategic marketing.  Considered a leader in hospital communications, she was named the Ontario Hospital Association’s “Communicator of the Year” for 2006-2007. Anne Marie is a skilled presenter and trainer in topics that include crisis communications and media relations. 

Anne Marie is also an accomplished freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Toronto Star, the National Post and The Globe and Mail. She is currently the restaurant critic for the Toronto Sun

Kalin Thompson Mystery Book #1
Kristina Stanley

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World 

Small town, big news. During international race training, an up-and-coming Olympic skier, with an ego and attitude to match his talent, is murdered. Under unusual circumstances, Kalin Thompson is promoted to the director of security in this remote mountain resort and soon becomes torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty.

Kalin's boss wants her to investigate the murder. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Kalin wants to do the right thing. There are more motives than there are gates on the super-G course. The danger mounts as Kalin looks for the killer close to home.

Kalin Thompson Mystery Book #2
Kristina Stanley

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World 

Instead of exchanging vows with her fiancé, Ben Timlin, Kalin Thompson spends her wedding day trapped by a forest fire in the mountains of British Columbia—and the pregnant friend trapped with her has just gone into labour. Meanwhile, Ben hangs from the rafters of a burning building, fighting for his life...

When the cause of the fire that ruins Kalin’s wedding and levels half of her beloved ski resort is declared as arson, finding the firebug responsible becomes Kalin’s personal mission.

In the course of her investigation as director of security at Stone Mountain Resort, Kalin gets on the wrong side of small-town corruption and uncovers more than just arson. There are those who will go to extreme measures to keep Kalin from exposing their secrets. But Kalin will go to extreme measures to protect what is hers.

Kalin Thompson Mystery Book #3
Kristina Stanley

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World 

On a cold winter morning, deep in the Purcell Mountains, two hundred thousand dollars are stolen from Stone Mountain Ski Resort hours before Kalin’s brother, Roy, disappears in an avalanche.

Under normal circumstances, as the director of security, Kalin would lead the investigation into the theft, but Roy is the prime suspect.

The RCMP and the president of the resort turn their sights on Kalin. She’s told to stay clear of the investigation and risks her job to covertly attempt to clear Roy’s name.

Threats against Kalin escalate as she gets closer to the truth. Is her faith in her brother justified? Was the avalanche an accident or did something more sinister happen? And is it worth destroying her life for the truth?

Author Bio
Over the years, Kristina Stanley has called Ottawa, Kingston, Saskatoon, Panorama Mountain Village, Georgetown, Boston, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Friedrichshafen her home.

After a degree in computer science and mathematics took her around the world working for Nortel Networks, Kristina and her husband, Mathew, moved on board a Niagara 42 sloop in 1999 and spent four years sailing between Canada and the Caribbean.

In 2004, Kristina embraced fresh challenges as the human resources manager—and later as the director of employee, guest and security services—at British Columbia’s Panorama Mountain Village, a location that would come to inspire her writing. Stone Mountain, a fictitious ski resort located in the depths of the Purcell Mountains, features prominently in both of Kristina’s mysteries. Now writing full time, Kristina divides her time between Ottawa, Kingston and the Bahamas, and is hard at work on her third novel.

During her time in the Humber School for Writers correspondence course, Kristina was mentored by Joan Barfoot, and she studied under Mary Gaitskill at the 2009 Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop.

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