- historical (adults, young adults, and middle-grade) – please query before you send
- inspirational (adult, young adult, and middle-grade) – please query before you send
- literary that leans a bit to the commercial side (adult) – or is that commercial that leans a bit to the literary side?
- mainstream (adult)
- mystery, suspense, thriller (adult, young adult, and middle-grade)
- romance and upmarket women’s fiction (adult)
- Please note: historical and inspirational works that are not first queried will not be considered.
- If it isn’t on the wishlist, please don’t send it. We don’t have a place – or the contacts – for erotica, graphic novel, poetry, science fiction, or short story.
- pop culture
Suspense, Thriller, and Mystery
- A supernatural mystery that feels like a long lost pal.
- There’s nothing “natural” about “supernatural” – so, you have your work cut out for you.
- Remember how “The X-Files” invited you to believe? That’s what I’m encouraging you to do, in mystery, suspense, and thriller form.
- Mind you, I’m not talking “fantasy” – I want real supernatural. It’s happening now, not in the year 2050 on a planet far, far away.
- I long for stories set “out West”
- This is in the USA, especially Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, and the southwest.
- I’m drawn to stories that tell me about life in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico
- Readers love small towns and rural locales
- I’ve heard, again and again, readers like those stories set in the mountains and prairies and deserts.
- International settings I’d like to see:
- I’m always interested in the UK, especially East Anglia, Cambridgeshire, and Scotland.
- Take me to the Mediterranean. Give me Spain (Costa del Sol), and Mallorca any day of the week.
- Just remember, these are the places I lived the longest, They are the places I call home, the places I yearn for, especially in the summer months, and the places I want to share with readers. So, I’ll be a tough critic.
- I want to know how a country is affected by a given crime than say, a heist set in Dublin planned by former convicts from Chile. I just made that up, so don’t quote me!
- I have an ongoing love affair with Morocco, and Liberia, and ever since third grade when I learned a song in music class about marching to Pretoria, I’ve held fast to the belief that I would find a lovely mystery set there. So, have at it!
- Suggested reading: Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out, not only because of the w-a-y ahead-of-her-time heroine, but the brilliant pacing, mastery of the language, and very fun way in which the author perhaps taught me to reconsider the value of my afternoon cup of tea. Not to mention the mystery itself.
- As usual:
- Capers (the more extravagant, the better!)
- Edge of my seat, the edge of my mind, spine-tingling excitement – please!
- Dogs! K-9, Super sniffers, etc. – and remember, “dog” is an inclusive word. Cats, parrots, and horses will all be given equal consideration. But, I love dogs.
- Particular subjects and settings I’d like to see
- Triple Crown
- Rumrunners – current day – which could include pirates
- Naughty royalty, not necessarily British
- Journalists who are fighting for or on the other side, whatever that may be
- Faroe Islands
- Malfa, Italy
Romance, Inspirational, and Women’s Fiction
- I’m still in search of this story that I told you about back in February! I recently read about a veteran-owned adventure business that featured extreme sports, extreme excursion, extreme activities, and extreme experience for PTSD overcomers and their families. I’d love to see such a place and/or characterization wound into a really lovely Romance, RomCom, or Women’s Fiction. Maybe it could even be included in Mystery.
- We’ve witnessed several royal weddings. I’d like to see (mostly contemporary) royal romance. We don’t require a curtsy, just a wonderful storyline, and HEA.
- Here’s a long-shot – Triple Crown, anyone? Or Puppy Bowl, or humans who are dedicated to performance animals of any sort. As I’ve mentioned before, I always want to see strong protags whose animals (dogs, horses, etc.) are an integral part of their lives. Does that include therapy animals? You bet!
Further, I’d like to see
- the Happily Ever After which involves issues of a more mature nature like adults raising their grandchildren, the next family, or later pregnancy. (Ooh, that’s a great storyline right there!)
- senior animals in those stories, i.e.; rescue dogs and cats over puppies and kittens, senior horses, and such
- enduring love, or stories about characters who are old enough to know better, whether they’re 18 or 81, but who remain quietly thrilled and optimistic by the belief and knowledge that real love is available for them, and maybe right around the corner
- a character who is confident of his or her ability to love and be loved. Everyone deserves to be loved, after all, and it’s okay to know it.
- a “this isn’t my first rodeo” sort of character, who’s been close, but never really fallen in love. Maybe it’s the “late bloomer” whose never allowed herself to fall for that perfect someone, or maybe it’s the character who’s been too available with too many someones to fall for the person of his dreams.
- the stories we love to watch on Hallmark because I am an absolute fan of everything Hallmark and I want to provide them with at least ten projects in the next year! AND everything produced by the Shonda Rhimes like How To Get Away With Murder etc.
We’re taking v-e-r-y little in the way of children’s these days because if I could, I’d just take it all, so I have become terribly selective. But, here’s what I want to see, just in case. Please query.
Picture Books need to be (primarily):
- As an editor recently told me, “Make me snort my almond milk out of my nose as I read it.” THAT’S how funny I want children’s material to be.
- Issues that need possible attention prior to hitting the send button:
- language that doesn’t ring true. Remember your audience
- obnoxious is not the same as funny
- I LOVE rhyming books, but I cannot convince an editor of how badly they need the book if the rhyme… doesn’t. Practice, practice, practice. Ask 30 friends to read your rhyming story to you before you send it to me. If they get stuck on the rhyme, I will too. Make it flawless and fabulous!
- Historical that’s been done so many times. Last month I counted nine submissions related to the Wright brothers. Sadly, each submission was vaguely similar to the next. Be unique!
MG needs to be (primarily):
- Funny (but it doesn’t have to be Captain Underpants – that’s already been done!)
- Read at least a hundred MG books before you tackle this genre. Children are way witty, way intelligent, and they see a set-up a mile away!
- I’d love: mysteries, capers, ghosty-fun, and kids from everywhere stories
- Dogs!! Or, did you know that? And, I really love cool animal books, adventure books, and “re-write the end of the story” books for MG!
- Real health, real empowerment
- Prescriptive that shows readers how to live their best lives, rather than stories about how the author “survived” since readers wonder about the “what’s in it for me” – provide it so I can publish it!
- Millennial mindset magic that will throw the industry into hyperdrive.
- Musicians, and others with a story to tell. A memoir from the well-platformed in the entertainment industry.
- Real faith
- Authentic lifestyles like that unique take on homesteading, gardening, living off the land, urban landscaping, realistic time management, etc.
- Did I mention dogs? I’ll reiterate that Sadie, our Director of Wellness, just so happens to be, ahem, a Great Pyrenees. Please send great accounts of exceptional animals and their people.
- My forever weakness: anything to do with Colorado and the wide-open West.