Send me good stuff!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted what I’m looking for, so it seems like as good a time as any. Because let’s be honest, the idea that publishing shuts down in the summer is more or less a fiction. Things might happen at a slightly slower pace because vacations interrupt things and we have the option of cutting out a little earlier on Fridays, but the volume of work, judging by my inbox and Kindle certainly, never slows down all that much. And I’m always on the lookout for new talent.

I’ve long said that I’m not especially interested in historical fiction. Then a year or so back, I signed on a delightful historical romance author. And at BEA a couple weeks back, I snagged a copy of Amor Towles 1937-set novel Rules of Civility which I read in one sitting and tumbled head over heels in love with. It’s not that I’m not interested in novels set in the past, it seems. I’m just not interested in novels about history. Which is to say that if someone novelizes Napoleon’s life, I’ll still not be interested. If, however, someone writes a rollicking murder mystery set in an interesting past, then I’m right on board. So now I’m thinking I’d particularly love to find something rich and exciting set in an exciting period. My personal taste would lead more urban and plot focused than rural and ruminative. Think more The Alienist than The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

It would be a delight for me to find some young adult fiction set in the real world. I adore the paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi novelists I work with, and I’m certainly open to more, but with very few exceptions, I don’t have much real life fiction. I’d love to find some more—think Sarah Dessen or Lauren Myracle. Basically, I love what I do, but I’m always interested in expanding my boundaries and trying new things.

Has anyone read Swamplandia? I loved that book—the author depicts really unusual characters whose lives aren’t remotely mainstream, but she never relies on quirk or absurd humor to render them. It’s a beautiful book about people whose story isn’t necessarily relatable but whose feelings and thoughts are. It reminded me of Geek Love and made me want to find a novel about a bunch of misfits to call my own. Want to get started on a specific idea? In the early 20th Century, Coney Island was the home of “Lilliputia, the Midget City,” a self-contained village for little people that charged admission for visitors. I once gathered about 100 pages of information on this fascinating place thinking I’d use it some day before I remembered that I don’t write. So someone else: hop to!

And then, of course, I want to find the next astounding, jaw-dropping, brilliant, wonderful, high concept, bestselling, award winning novel in any category, adult or young adult. So if you have that, by all means, send it along!

Anything that you all would give your right arm to see on the shelves right now?

On a side note, an orange randomly appeared on the roof outside my window last week, and I’ve checked on it every day, waiting for decay to inevitably set in. I anticipated long weeks of IM’ing my colleagues updates on the state of the orange. If I’m being honest, I probably would have included State of the Orange updates in my blog entries. In fact, I just went to the window to photograph it—the beginning of the long saga of a lonely fruit. Alas, the orange has disappeared. I’m suspecting foul play. Now I’m going to need to come up with more new blog ideas. This is all very alarming.

12 Responses to Send me good stuff!

  1. Jim
    First up, sorry about taking the orange. I often have meals on people’s roofs and left it there after taking lunch on yours. Not wanting to litter, I of course returned to tidy my mess as soon as I realized I had left it there. If your really stuck for a blog, would you like me to a banana? I could also send you two monkeys, so you can watch them fighting over it.
    I also have a horror manuscript that has an absolutely original concept and a plot that; even though it gives all the clues; you wont find the end of until you get to the last page. And, you can saw my legs off and call me Shorty if I’m not being 100% honest in saying that. Style? I think that’s for the reader to decide, as it’s subjective and some will like it and others, not so much. But I’m not going to send it to you, because it is impossible to explain in a paragraph within a cover letter. And having reduced the synopsis from 12 pages to three an a half, it no longer represents the story appropriately. And so agents seem not to approach it with enthusiasm. Now, you should be thinking maybe agents don’t approach it with enthusiasm because it’s crap. That’s what I would be thinking as well, except the one agent who read it through, asked for an exclusive. He punted to publishers for a month, but with no result, then got back to me with some suggested changes. sadly, for both of us (probably more for him than me), due to work commitments, the changes took longer than anticipated and he died in the interim.
    I am now two weeks away from completing another novel; (a wacky horror/fantasy) add a month for editing; which is much easier to represent to an agent, and I hope will open the door for the first one. As this second one is also an original concept, maybe I’ll try you with it when it’s ready.
    Last, if you don’t fancy the banana and monkeys, how about I send you a second-hand tractor. Think of the endless hours of watching if rust away, until there’s nothing left but an orange stain on the sidewalk.

  2. Paula B. says:

    You know how sometimes you read something really fast and get the wrong meaning. Well, when I read about the orange, I thought, “What kind of bird is an orange randomly?”

    I have to admit that when I realized what you really meant, I was disappointed. I so liked the idea of this little orange bird appearing outside your window.


  3. Gilbert J. Avila says:

    I’m sure the orange disappeared due to fowl play.

  4. Kim says:

    I haven’t read Swamplandia yet but read what I believe is the short story that’s probably an excerpt of the novel from her collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. I love the title and the imagination she draws from for her work.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I think someone should write a novel about the orange. Something nefarious going on there, no doubt.

  6. You were recommended to me by Jac Carey. I will be querying you sometime this summer. Good luck with the Mystery of the Orange. Best,

  7. Melissa says:

    You’re on to something with that orange. I say toss another one out there.

  8. Jim says:

    I can’t throw another out there–my windows don’t open. Curses!

  9. Yahong says:

    Wish oranges appeared on the roofs up here. 😀

  10. Thanks for the recommendation on Rules of Civility. I am not much of a historical fiction fan (couldn’t finish some that came recommended by friends, including Pearl Earring.) but I am willing to try new ones. I’ve discovered how often I say I don’t like a category of something, only to discover something that takes my breath away in that very same category.

    Hmmm. Mystery of the orange. Time for a short story contest?

  11. Suzanne L. B. says:

    Maybe a ‘first paragraph’ contest? “A Rooftop Orange”?

    On my wishlist:

    1. The next Khaled Hosseini. But I get that these things take time.
    2. A short story collection that disturbs me as much as Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars.
    3. There are a ton of books that I wish could be first time reads for me again, but that would involve a manipulation of time and space that even writers can’t manage.
    4. And along the lines of fantasy, I wouldn’t mind seeing one of my own, post-edit, on the shelves.

  12. MBT Shoes says:

    I absolutely liked your post. It will always be good once you discover a thing that isn’t just educational however interesting. Outstanding.

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