Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Wish List

I remember sitting in Matera, Italy last year. The weather was great, the wine fantastic and the people even better. In front of a room full of writers sat editors and agents discussing the infamous "TRENDS" in publishing. Someone asked Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester what she was looking for. Her answer, "Pass." When pressed even further she finally said, "I will never state the things I am looking for in a story. I want a fantastic story and picking the trends is something I never do." Her rationale was simple. Instead of people writing what they know and writing from their heart, they write to please an specific audience. In the end, the story may the genre but the passion is not there.

I fully agree with that comment and laugh that at every conference I attend, it is one of the most frequently asked questions of editors and agents.

Still, with that in mind, I do want to offer up what my "wish list" for submissions would be. Please understand that in no way do I want people to go out and rush through a story just to get what I want. I am looking for those gems you have sitting on your desk that might fall into those categories I list. If you don't have that story, but you know of someone that has just finished one but doesn't know who to send it to, send it to me.

I can't promise to be wanting these all of the time, but if during this month, you are one of those writers or you know of someone, get in touch with me.

So, without further discussion... the list:

  • WOMEN'S FICTION - A single title story that shows a woman understanding what it is to be a woman. This summer I just read 1000 Days in Tuscany. Loved it. I don't want heroines who are fighting through tons of traumatic things in their lives. We don't need murder and suspense. Just growth.
  • CONTEMPORARY - I would love a story that isn't a soap opera. I want one about two people, really learning to love. They can even be married. I think this would be a great challenge. To show people who are already in love and married find that deeper romance. I this case I think of that country song about the couple that sees a housefull of kids and happy meals as being "Paradise". Oh, and I want it serious, not in a chick lit style.
  • PARANORMAL - I want a time travel. I don't want just someone stuck in time and it is really a historical. I want the time travel to be a significant factor in the story. I also want a ghost story where the afterworld is involved in the romance. Not ghosts that ruin it for people.
  • YA - I want a historical romance perfect for the Harlequin Teen line.

So, how's that for a challenge?



  1. How about a paranormal womens fiction with romantic, historical AND time travel elements?

    Seriously. Great fun to write but I'm having trouble deciding how to query.

  2. Yeaaaaaa, I don't think so.
    Thanks for the laugh this morning.


  3. Trouble is, I'm not kidding. I'm writing something along the lines of "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane." (But not with witches.)

    Should I query as literary fiction?

  4. I have one of those!!! I have just finished a trilogy about time travel and the main character is not stuck in time, but jumps back and forth through history. Her ability is a key aspect of the trilogy.
    With shaking excitement I looked up your details only to find you don't accept YA fiction. Am I allowed to be sad?
    Good luck finding those gems.


  5. Melissa,
    If it works for the Harl. Teen line, sure. Send it my way either way.


  6. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I sent you a query letter last night. I look forward to hearing back from you when you get a chance.
    Thanks again!