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Excited for Something New

One of the best parts of my job is the thrill of the hunt. Sure, I am frequently overwhelmed by the hundreds of queries I find in my in-box, but when time allows, there’s nothing more exciting than sitting down and sorting through them in the hopes of finding that one big thing. Think Indiana Jones and the search for the Ark of the Covenant. There’s no doubt that the pit of snakes was a little much, but in the end, the thrill of the hunt and the final prize were worth every slithery creature.

As I said earlier, I have had time to refresh myself, clean out my in-box, and take a deep breath. And I’m back at it with a vengeance. With the new year comes renewed excitement for something fresh, something that will make me stand up and take notice and a book I can sell with enthusiasm.

While of course I’m looking for every genre (within the confines of those I represent, of course) there are a few things that I’d really like to see right now.

Steampunk. Please, please send me steampunk of all sorts. Adult, young adult, romance, mystery. I personally love this genre and can’t get enough of it.

Historical mystery. I represent a lot of cozy mysteries, but very few historicals, which is funny since historical mysteries were what I cut my teeth on. I would love to see more historicals like the one I sold, Amy Patricia Meade’s Rosie the Riveter series featuring a real-life Rosie the Riveter in WWII-era New York City.

Contemporary romance with a sense of community and big issues. Books that face life head-on and prove love can be found. I have a couple on my list right now and I’m excited about this genre. Many of the books have a flare of women’s fiction in them and more and more editors are asking for these types of books. Examples of books in this genre are those written by Kristin Hannah or Susan Elizabeth Philips or Susan Mallery. Or, of course, our own Bella Riley (yet to be published).

Big fantasy romances. Romance that crosses over into the realm of fantasy, beyond simple paranormal. Worlds like J. R. Ward’s or our own Elizabeth Amber’s (although it doesn’t need to be erotic).

Historical romances. I really love this genre and would love to see more. I have to admit, my preference in historicals tends to still be Regency England. I love the sweeping historicals like those of Sharon Page as well as the lighter, more contemporary feeling historicals like those of Sally MacKenzie. And I suppose all of this ties nicely into my desire for more historical mysteries and steampunk.

And last, in nonfiction, I’d like to see more journalistic narratives like the one I’m currently representing about the animal control system in the United States.

Let me reiterate that I am still looking for all sorts of great mysteries, romances in all sub-genres, fantasy, women’s fiction, and nonfiction. These are just the subject areas I’m most excited to be reading in right now.


P.S. Somehow I totally missed Dystopian. Even Kim couldn’t believe it. So while I tweeted about that miss I know not all of you follow Twitter. I’m also looking for anything Dystopian–YA, Romance, Mystery…

Category: Blog



  1. Thanks, Jessica. One of the things I love about you is your varied interests.

    I'm hopeful this is the year to submit one of my finished works.

    And your blog is amazing. It's always on my short list of everyday must-reads.

    (I just wish I could be awake when you run the #askagent on Twitter. A little early for us west coast folks!)

  2. Ahhh, I'm being sucked into the steampunk world. There are some amazing Japanese Manga that are steampunk. I'm in the middle of a paranormal non-vampire novel, but the steampunk is calling me…

  3. Steampunk is still hot? Interesting. I have a Japanese steampunk short story that's just begging to be turned into a novel…

    Samurai fights on zeppelins, anyone?


  4. Lynn:

    Gail Carriger is great. There are many others, but my mind went blank. Start with her though.

    Jerri: Sure!

    Kirk: TY

    Terry: I used to love time travel, but haven't found anything that's wowed me lately. Kim might be better for this.

    Anna: Still very hot.


  5. You know, some of these genres (i.e. steampunk) are genres I have never written in or read, or frankly heard much about. Until recently. I've been hearing it mentioned quite frequently lately, and I think I'll have to check it out and see whats what. Thanks for this post 🙂

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  6. If I sent a query a long time ago that was rejected, and have since revised the book in question (and the query, of course), is it all right to resubmit, especially if it's one of the mentioned genres?

  7. I have a funny mystery that fits in the same category as Tori Carrington's Sofie Metroplis series. Would that be a good fit?


  8. I love steampunk and my agent has mine out on submission right now. That's great news that it's still hot, thought mine is also paranormal. It's not dystopian, but the alternate history story line has the world recovering from an apocalyptic disaster. The book dips its toes into a few areas that appear to be popular right now and I had no idea at the time I was writing it. Strange how that works.

  9. I think some genre folks are surprised Steampunk is still hot because in the genre scene it's sort of hit its apex. I know this because I'm attending a con where one of the panels is "What's next after Steampunk?". But in the "normal" world, that is to say outside of the SF/Fantasy world, it's still a new idea. In fact the layman still has no idea what the term "steampunk" means. Once that happens, maybe it will have hit it's peak, but until then. . .

    Anyway, I second the Steampunk literary suggestions already made, and would like to add another. Though the book isn't out until the spring, there's a YA Steampunk Romance anthology called CORSETS & CLOCKWORK (edited by Trisha Telep) that features some pretty awesome authors. It seems a little self serving to say so, as, um, I contributed to the anthology, but one of the first thoughts I had in being a part of it was "Woah, I'm with some pretty amazing authors here." (I'm talking the likes of Jaclyn Dolamore, Ann Aguirre and Michael Scott). I'm in awe of the company I'm keeping, is my point.

    Anyway, check it out. I think it might be a nice way to get to experience many different voices in one genre. And see what authors are doing and how different the stories can be, despite a seeming narrow focus.

    There's also the anthology "Steampunk" edited by Ann and Jeff Vandemeer which is a little older (published in 2008), and is for adults, but has some great stories and begins with some excellent essays about how the genre came to be.

  10. I have a light-hearted time travel romance that takes place in present day and 1783 Charleston, S.C. I would love to send it to you since you’re on the hunt for something different. It has the big sweeping feel of historical romance with a modern perspective. Not to mention the accusations of witchcraft, dungeons, and of course a love that transcends time. I’ll email a query to you. Look for “A Matter of Time.” Thanks for posting.

  11. World building is my favorite thing. Everything I do now is world-based. I need to take one of my WIPs, finish it and send it to you. Thanks for the heads up re what you're looking for.

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