Thursday, February 8, 2018

50 Shades of Bland

So I went to a press screening of Fifty Shades Freed, the third installment in the Fifty Shades erotic romance saga last night with my movie reviewer friend.  It's been our pre-Valentine's Day date  for the past three years.

Now maybe it's that we've had a year of living in Trumpland and that's just dulled our reactions to everything, or that it was a cold and rainy night, or that anything to do with BDSM has become yesterday's thrill, but that movie was just tepid.  Sure, I got a few nice shots of Jamie Dornan's well proportioned ass, and there were multiple visits to the red room of pain, even one that involved glimpses of stainless steel butt plugs, but it was spectacularly forgettable, as was the music, and the acting by so many really amazing cast members (why did they even bother to hire Marsha Gay Harden and Rita Ora).

And they know it because before we get to the end credits there's actually a montage of the greatest hits form the previous movies set to a remix of the theme song from the first movie to remind you that this was once something that anyone cared about, or that millions of women throughout the world were obsessed with.

It was like a bad Hallmark movie, or the last installment of one of those made-for-TV movies from the late 70's and 80's where something that should have been two hours is stretched out to six.

The one truly amusing part of the film for me was the portrayal of Ana's publishing job.  There are manuscripts piled high on her desk (we ALL read digitally now - that is so 1990's).  The first novel she's acquired has a print run order of 200,000 (also so 1990's). But, hey, I have to remember that this is fantasy!

But I am glad I saw it.  I'm a completest that way.

If you're a real sucker for the this kind of thing, I hear some of the Alamo Draft houses are offering a Fifty Shades three-movie marathon tonight (my local one in Yonkers starts at 6:00.)  Enjoy!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Please Welcome New Agent, Ben Grange

(New York, NY – April 17. 2017) The L. Perkins Agency is thrilled to announce that Ben Grange, formerly the assistant at the JABerwocky Literary Agency, has joined the Agency where he will be representing authors of both fiction and some nonfiction.

Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Grange had a varied publishing experience.  He was a publishing intern at a small publisher in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then completed internships at three literary agencies before his most recent position as the assistant at JABberwocky.

At the L. Perkins Agency, he will be representing middle grade fiction of all types, and is particularly on the lookout for exceptional author-illustrators who write middle grade or young adult. Grange has a penchant for young adult science fiction and fantasy, particularly weird or slightly dark stories (à la The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). He loves epic fantasy and science fiction, and although his focus is on middle grade and young adult, he won't say no to a great fantasy or sci-fi. He is also interested in pop culture nonfiction for authors with established platforms.

  “I'm thrilled to take this next step in my journey as an agent, and can't wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work. There are big things happening in children's fiction right now, and I'm glad I get to be a part of it."

Said Agency founder and President, Lori Perkins, “We are excited to have Ben join the team, as his interests compliment those of the existing six agents.  This is going to be  wonderful expansion of the agency’s place in the publishing industry.”

About the Agency
Founded in 1987 by Lori Perkins, a former newspaper publisher and editor, the L. Perkins Agency specializes in many different genres with seven agents representing approximately 100 authors to the publishing industry. The agency also has agents in many foreign territories and works with an established film/television agency to maximize exposure for our clients. The L. Perkins Agency’s seven acquiring agents have a diverse range of tastes and are currently looking for material in a wide spectrum of genres and subjects.

Friday, February 10, 2017

50 Shades Darker: Exactly What You Want for Valentine's Day

I was lucky enough to go to screening, since I edited Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey (still a really good book in case you still have questions about why this novel series took the world by storm (  I was honestly a little trepedacious about the second film, because I knew the original director had been fired, and there was talk about a distinct lack of chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.  And all sorts of meddling by EL James.

But the movie is good in the way that Lindt chocolates and Nora Roberts novels are good - consistent pleasure givers, not necessarily the best you've ever had, but delightful nonetheless.

The movie holds no surprises.  It follows the plot of the second novel in the series to a T, right down to the Ben Wa balls and the lemon martini thrown in Mrs. Robinson's face (one of my favorite scenes in both the book and the novel).  And Kim Basinger as Mrs. Robinson is worth the price of admission alone.

And because I knew what was coming and what to expect, I could focus on other things that delighted me like the fact that Christian Grey owns an Edvard Munch Vampire painting which he hangs in his bedroom (it's a female vampire) or that the publishing talk in the movie is definitely a fantasy.

So if you loved or liked the books, ignore the bad reviews (because there are many of them), and go.

Personally, I am looking forward to the third installment, so I can binge watch the movies together.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Latoya Smith, Former Samhain and Hachette Editor, Joins the L. Perkins Agency as Literary Agent

 New York City – April 13, 2016 - The L. Perkins Agency is thrilled to announce that Latoya C. Smith, formerly the Editorial Director of Samhain Publishing and editor at Hachette and Kensington, has joined the Agency where she will be representing authors of both fiction and nonfiction.

As an editor, Latoya has acquired a variety of titles from hardcover fiction and non­fiction, to digital romance and erotica titles and has worked with NYT bestselling authors Carl Weber, Mary B. Morrison and Mimi Jean Pamfiloff to name a few. She was also the acquiring editor of Cecilia Tan’s award-winning Slow Seduction series. Smith was awarded the
Smith won  the 2012 RWA Golden Apple for Editor of the Year and has been featured in Publishers Weekly, USA Today and C­Span2.

Latoya started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to New York Times bestselling author Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University, where she graduated Cum Laude.
At the L. Perkins Agency she will be representing women's fiction, romance, erotica, erotic fiction, thriller/suspense and advice/how-to memoir.

I am really thrilled to be working with Latoya like this,” said LPA founder Lori Perkins. “I have worked with her over the years, especially with Cecilia Tan’s erotic romance series at  Hachette, and I am truly looking forward to developing new authors and series with her, as well as having her join the awesome LPA team.”

Latoya explained, “I am super excited about this new journey. So many fab things are happening right now in publishing. Plus, I am thrilled to be working with the LPA team (Lori just has a thing for attracting awesome personalities).“

About the Agency
Founded in 1987 by Lori Perkins, a former newspaper publisher and editor, the L. Perkins Agency specializes in many different genres with six agents representing approximately 100 authors to the publishing industry. The agency also has agents in many foreign territories and works with an established film/television agency to maximize exposure for our clients. In 2010, the agency broke new ground by being the first agency to hire a literary agent who worked exclusively in the digital marketplace. To this day, the L. Perkins Agency works hard to identify new publishing venues and makes it a priority to help our authors stay ahead of the curve. The L. Perkins Agency’s six acquiring agents have a diverse range of tastes and are currently looking for material in a wide spectrum of genres and subjects.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Confession of a Secret Romantic by Sandy Lu

For the longest time, I have specifically stated that I am not interested in representing romance. As an agent, I feel that I can only properly represent a certain genre if I also read it for pleasure, and I have not read a romance novel since my early teen years.

My first encounter with romance novels was when I was about thirteen, when a Harlequin salesman came knocking on our door in Taiwan and somehow convinced my father that getting a subscription was a good way for me to be exposed to American literature. Not knowing any better, since the covers of these novels usually featured classically looking, fully dressed couples in perfectly respectable poses, I had no idea what I was getting into.  Imagine my shock and thrills when I discovered what really happened behind closed doors between the lady and the duke! Growing up in a traditional Chinese family, our parents never gave us the birds and the bees talk. In fact, whenever there was kissing on screen, my mom would tell us to cover our eyes, and I, obediently, never peeked.

Needless to say, these Harlequin novels became my sex-ed primers. With no one else to turn to, I shared my new revelations with my best friend, and they became our obsession. We would read them under the cover with a flashlight way past our bedtime and sneak peek at passages under the textbook in class. Soon the subscription was not enough, and we started finding more in the neighborhood book rental store (that was actually a thing in Taiwan— for a nickel each, you can binge on all the manga and “trashy” novels the library wouldn’t carry), each one more scandalous than the last, and the lovers’ passions were appropriately reflected on the cover.

One night I didn’t turn off the flashlight fast enough when my mom came into my room and she snatched the book out of my hand, took one look at the cover, and almost had a heart attack. I was in serious trouble—the kind that required my father to deal with when he came home. It took all my wits to get out of that one: After she left, I buried the books with half-dressed heroines on the covers under a pile of fully clothed ones, hid the ones with the most debauched covers in bed and lay on top of them (my mom might come back to search under the mattress, but not under my sleeping body), then proceeded to wait. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do—lying there as the hours went by, heart pounding, pretending to be sound asleep when my dad finally got in and my mom showed him the evidence of the crime. He picked up the books from the top of the pile and laughed. These are nothing! They’re the Harlequin books from the subscription I got her. Whew!

But my mom was not so easily fooled. After that night she started looking at me like she knew what I was up to, like she knew I was no longer her innocent little girl. I suspect that was another reason why she sent me to an all-girls boarding school the next semester, as the school had a strict policy against any extra-curriculum reading materials. That was the end of my love affair with romance novels.

Perhaps it was the suppressed trauma caused by that sudden breakup, or I simply grew out of the puberty curiosity, or maybe because sex is so prevalent everywhere in America (we moved to New York when I was sixteen and it was quite a culture shock), I never renewed my passion for romance novels. On the contrary, as a lover of crime novels and male-center books like American Psycho and Lolita, I adopted the same prejudice many such readers have for romance novels and thought them too formulaic to be satisfying reads. I especially despised the love-at-first-sight convention, since I never believed in it. Therefore, after I became an agent, I proudly stated on my submission guidelines: no romance, please.

That is, until my recent conversation with Louise Fury, a big romance lover who never stopped trying to entice me to take on romance (and trust me, she can be very persuasive.) I don’t know how it started, but at some point she made me realize that despite my claims, many of my favorite YA authors—Robin LaFevers, Sherry Thomas, Laini Taylor, Morgan Rhodes, are all romance writers. And even though their YA novels are not necessarily romance in genre, they are romance in essence. This gave me pause.

I started to ponder why I love these authors so much. They write in very different styles, but what they have in common is that they are all experts at building mounting tensions between their characters with clever, twisty plotlines and misdirection that have me biting my knuckles, breathlessly turning the pages until the misunderstandings are elegantly resolved in the final act and the impossible conflicts give way to a happy ending I in principle don’t believe in but root for in secret anyway. Essentially, I love them for the same reason I love my favorite suspense writers. In that sense, I realize, romance is really not that different from mysteries and thrillers. In fact, given the restrictive story arc, romance writers have to be just as smart and innovative as suspense writers in order to come up with new and original stories.

And who was I to look down on romance as a lesser genre? After all, aren’t Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice classic literature just like Crime and Punishment and Dracula? Didn’t I adore them just as much, if not more? It’s about time I put aside my bias and open myself up to romance. So, romance writers, send me your submissions! I am ready to be seduced.

Please contact me at