Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leonicka Valcius of Transatlantic Agency

Leonicka Valcius is a literary agent with Transatlantic Agency.

Areas of interest:

“I am eager to work with people of color, including (but not limited to) trans people, disabled people, religious minorities, and queer folks.

“Adult and Young Adult fiction: I like books I can read on a beach vacation — fun commercial fiction, romance that ranges from sweet to steamy, otherworldly fantasy, and sweeping historical fiction. For reference, my faves include Kevin Kwan, Alisha Rai, N.K. Jemisin, Philippa Gregory, Nicola Yoon, Marie Lu, and Elizabeth Wein. I do not represent literary fiction, mysteries or thrillers.

“Middle Grade and younger: I love humour, adventure, and make believe. I also enjoy stories about children navigating their changing relationships with family and friends. I strongly prefer books with at least one human character. My faves include Jason Reynolds, Dan Santat, Dav Pilkey, and Christopher Paul Curtis. I do not represent picture books.

“Nonfiction: At this time I am accepting non-fiction proposals by referral only.”

Léonicka Valcius was that kid who got in trouble for reading past her bedtime… and while the teacher was talking… and while crossing the street. In 2011 she was able to turn this obsession into an actual career, much to her mother’s relief.

After completing the publishing program at Centennial College, Léonicka interned at HarperCollins Canada before working at Scholastic Book Fairs Canada for nearly 4 years as a book buyer and marketer. She then joined the Online and Digital Sales team at Penguin Random House Canada where she sold ebooks and audiobooks. Léonicka is eager to draw from these experiences to return to her original passion: working with writers.

As the founder of #DiverseCanLit and the first Chair of the Board of the Festival of Literary Diversity, serving readers and writers of colour is the core of Léonicka’s career. She brings this same mandate to her work at Transatlantic. As Assistant Agent, Léonicka will be working closely with Senior Agents with whom she will be coagenting new clients. Léonicka is interested in commercial fiction (especially fantasy, romance, and historical fiction), general nonfiction, and YA & children’s books.


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Shannon Snow of Creative Media Agency

Shannon Snow is a literary agent with Creative Media Agency.

In adult fiction, she seeks:

  • All romance fiction (including paranormal or magical realism) and all its sub-genres
  • Contemporary romance that can be cute, steamy, etc.
  • Historical romance (I have a warm fondness for medieval, and historicals set in ancient times/place such as Rome, Greece, or Egypt
  • Thrillers
  • Psychological
  • Koontz or similar writers
  • Speculative Fiction (especially with a touch, or a lot, of romance)
  • Fantasy (A touch of romance is great!)
  • Soft to Medium Fantasy stories a la David Eddings, or Margaret Weiss/Tracy Hickman
    Mythological stories or retellings
  • Science FictionSpace Operas are a favorite but I love it all
  • Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic (Is the world ending? Let me see!)
  • Horror (think more eerie/creepy rather than monsters, although I’ll consider those sparingly too)

In young adult fiction, she seeks:

  • Contemporaries (Love them all, but have a fondness for bad boy, unpopular person getting the unattainable character, enemies to love interests, and darker stories like One of Us Is Lying. Would love to see a trans character romance set in high school)
  • Science Fiction
  • Space academy or space outing stories in general, but love all types of sci-fi
  • Dystopian (Think Delirium, Divergent, The Atlantis Grail series, Matched, The Culling, etc. Oh, Marie Lu!)
  • Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic, in whatever form
  • Speculative Fiction (paranormal, etc. Think Richelle Mead, Jennifer Estep, Cassandra Clare, etc.)
  • Fantasy (Thinking Sarah J. Maas, Julie Kagawa)
  • Also, mythological retellings (Love Greek gods, Egyptian or Roman gods, etc also.)
  • Psychological
  • Suspense (can be straight thriller or have a touch of the paranormal)
  • Horror (more eerie/creepy type)

I especially love stories with compelling, well-drawn characters that pull me in and are memorable because I have to love the characters to love the book. Send me slow burn romances that keep me pining for the satisfying conclusion (either single-title or series where the romance is stretched across multiple books. Make me earn it!) Send me light-hearted stories that will make me laugh, and darker stories where the characters must overcome. Just make me feel, and if I reach for the tissue box, even better! I would love to see a one person survivalist psychological thriller. I’m also hunting for stories with diverse characters living every day life, and am actively looking for POC and LGBTQ+ authors. I want to see stories that push boundaries and deal with taboo issues.

I’m not looking for memoirs, nonfiction, stories with protagonists younger than 15 or 16, hard-core science fiction, very high fantasy stories, political, drug cartel or mobster thrillers, or historicals set in the 20th century. I’m drawn more to older history.

Some of my favorite non-client authors include: Dean Koontz, Jennifer Estep, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Elle Kennedy, Linda Kage, Beth Revis, David Eddings, Margaret Weiss & Tracey Hickman, Kristen Callihan, Julie Kagawa, Wendy Higgins, Jennifer Echols, Michelle Rowen, Rick Chesler, Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, Sherilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Ronald A. Lindsay, Kristin Hannah, and many more.
what kind of writing inspires me?

I love to find projects that are unique. Well-rounded characters I can root for are key to engaging me, as well as a writing style/voice that will captivate me. I need to love your work! Some specifics include:

  • New take on older tropes
  • Well-crafted and sparkling characters that engage me and make me root for them
  • A well-crafted story that keeps me enmeshed from start to finish
  • An engrossing author voice and/or a unique approach to storytelling



Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cindy Bullard of Birch Literary

Cindy Bullard is a literary agent with Birch Literary.

Prior to becoming an agent, Cindy had ten years of experience in working with editors, agents, and publishers on the “other side” of the desk as an author. Cindy opened Birch Literary to help other writers on their own path to publication.

Wish List:

In adult fiction, I’m looking for sweet romance (with happy endings), traditional mysteries (standard PI, classic detective or cozy), crime, police procedural, thriller, and suspense. I prefer stories with low levels of sensuality and/or violence. In children’s fiction, I’d like to see middle grade and YA (sweet, quirky, mystery, cozy). I’m not one for heavy or serious topics.

In nonfiction, I love books about nature (kids and adults), memoir, self-help, and personal narrative.

Not Seeking: At this time, please do not send picture books or middle grade/YA that have dark or heavy topics.


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: JL Stermer of Next Level Lit

JL Stermer is a literary agent and founder of Next Level Lit.

“I’m looking for voices reflecting the world as it changes and stories sharing the human experience of life, love, growth, and achievement in both fiction and nonfiction categories, YA and adult.

“A New York City native who lives for art, culture, I’m always seeking inspiration through creativity and connection. I love working with authors who have a clear vision of who they are and what they came here to do. I believe there is so much to learn from reading about other’s experiences because the intimacy of reading allows us to absorb new ideas in our own time and without outside judgment. Also love a book for escape and fun please! Food, culture, music, personal stories, social justice, intimate narratives with a compelling voice? I’m in.”

She is seeking:

Fiction: adult & YA, contemporary, upmarket, commercial: family stories, coming-of-age, rom-coms, general fiction that is giving readers a new perspective on a world they already know OR a peek into a world they wish they knew.

Nonfiction: prescriptive, narrative, memoir: style & fashion, art & culture, mental health, spirituality, self-help, sports, humor, pop culture/business/science/tech, social justice, human rights, feminist issues, men’s issues, projects that are on the leading edge of important conversations we are having today.

Queer, neurodivergent, POC, and all underrepresented voices are always welcome!