April 24th, 2006
Desert Dreams Conference

I’m going to start by listing the agent and editors who were in attendance at this conference. We had Brenda Chin, the Associate Senior Editor for Harlequin Blaze, Lucienne Diver, agent for Spectrum Literary Agency, Raelene Gorlinsky, Managing Editor at Ellora’s Cave, Leah Hultenschmidt, an editor for Dorchester, Natasha Kern, agent/owner of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency, Miriam Kriss, an agent for Irene Goodman Literary Agency, Melanie Murray, associate editor at Warner Books, Pattie Steele-Perkins, agent/owner of Steele Perkins Literary Agency, and Paige Wheeler, founding partner/agent of Folio Literary Management, LLC.

I didn’t get to see as many talks as I would’ve liked because I was speaking and I also had an editor appt., but I did manage to glean some information that I think will be helpful.

I’m going to start with Brenda Chin’s talk about what Harlequin Blaze has in store over the next year and a half. First let me say that Brenda is extremely patient with confused authors. No, I won’t elaborate. *g* Blush. Now to the good stuff. Harlequin plans to add Temptations’ Wrong Bed to the Blaze lineup. They are also going to continue 24hrs and add Secret Santa, Valentine’s Curse, Under-construction (think Lucky Vanos (sp) in the diet Coke commercial), Forbidden Fantasies, Adrenaline Rush (action/adventures), Desperate Housewives, and a ‘Just’ series.

As if action/adventures weren’t cool enough, starting this year Blaze is going to release Gothics (written in 1st and 3rd person), a series called Perfect Timing (time-travels), Vampires, and a ‘Ground Hog Day’ (where the day repeats) sort of book. If these books do well, they will continue to buy more.

I’ll be honest, I was jazzed after listening to this talk. Brenda said she wants people to stop thinking about Blaze as a category line. She wants stories that read like single titles. The fact they’re open to first and third person POV in the same book is fantastic. Did I mention paranormals? Oh yeah.

My editor appointment was with Monique Patterson from St. Martin’s. She was such a lovely woman. I cannot say enough nice things about her. (And no, it’s not just because she told me I could send her anything I want.;) If you ever have a chance to meet her, do. I’d love to work with her.

Natasha Kern was quite a powerhouse. She seemed very involved with her clients’ books, so if agent editorial advice isn’t your thing, you may want to look at other agencies. I spoke with Lucienne Diver for a moment. One thing I wasn’t aware of was that Spectrum Literary is interested in erotic work. A good thing to know if you’re thinking about submitting to that agency.

Folio Agency is hungry for new clients. Paige Wheeler seemed very nice when I ran into her. I didn’t get to speak to her one on one, but that was my impression and I’m pretty good at reading people in person. As always read ALL contracts carefully.

Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora’s Cave announced that the company will be launching a Regency line in the fall. They aren’t interested in previously published books, only new submissions. These will NOT be erotic romances. We’re talking sweet Regencies. So if you know anyone who writes these books, give them a heads up.

Miriam Kriss is on the lookout for new clients. She’s especially interested in urban fantasy books. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet her.

Leah Hultenschmidt, from Dorchester, is on the lookout for romances, along with anything different that didn’t seem to fit into regular NY publishing houses. She stressed how willing Dorchester was to take chances on a long shot.

Pattie Steele-Perkins and Natasha Kern aren’t interested in anything erotic. Melanie Murray from Warner likes women’s fiction, particularly chick-lit and romance.

I guess that’s about it. Other than Harlequin’s big announcements, no one really said anything new. I personally wanted to attend this conference to check out temperaments and personalities of the various individuals. I believe I got a pretty good read on everyone. I wish I could’ve talked with a few more of the guests, but there is only so much you can squeeze into a weekend.

I forgot to mention one last thing. If you’re going to National in July, Harlequin is throwing a party on Friday at 3:00pm to celebrate I believe Blaze’s anniversary. To mark this occasion, they are opening the line up to suggestions. (Directions you’d like to see Blaze move in.) If your suggestion is picked, you get to send a full manuscript into Harlequin sight unseen. They will be picking ten suggestions from the group. That’s ten chances to win. Pretty cool, since it allows you to skip the whole query section of the process. 🙂

26 comments to “Desert Dreams Conference”

  1. Wow… EC is going regency! Now that’s a shocker considering that many NY publishers are dropping their regency lines. Interesting…

    So how did your talk go? *g*

  2. Can’t tell you how excited I am about the Blaze news! Thanks for the update. Great onformation!

  3. Silma, That’s why they’re doing it. They believe there is a market for Regency romances.

    Thanks for asking about my talk. It actually went very well. The time flew by because I had so much audience participation. I had several people come up to me afterwards to say they really enjoyed it. It was a HUGE relief. 🙂

  4. You’re welcome, Charlene. 🙂

  5. Thanks for all of the information – everything sounds so exciting. And I can tell you that our customers are lamenting the lack of Regency books.

  6. Eve, You’re welcome. That was the general consensus at the table too. Readers want them.

  7. EC does Regency? This I have to see. LOL.

    And thanks for the giving us the scoop. It’s really great, because a lot of us can’t go to them. 🙂

    Ugh. Sorry the spammers hit you, Jordan.

  8. Great info, Jordan! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad to hear your talk went well. 🙂

  9. Thanks for the information! I know I’ll be factoring all of that into my new batch of queries I’ll be sending out soon..

  10. Adding my thanks for the info, Jordan, and glad your talk went well. 😉

  11. Wow Jordan, thank you for posting all this wonderful information. And yeah for you and St. Martins. My fingers are crossed that Monique snatches up anything you send her!

    Good news about Blaze. I’ll have to check my portfolio and see if I have something for those new areas.

  12. I think we should all pool our money and send you to a whole bunch of conferences as our roving reporter. That’s one terrific post filled with oodles of info!

    And yay on your workshop going great.

  13. May, The Regencies probably won’t be under the EC banner, since as I mentioned in the post, these will be traditional Regencies–not erotic romances. I actually hope it catches on since there are so many readers looking for Regency romances. As for the spammers, here’s hoping their dangly bits shrivel.

  14. Thanks Patrice! 🙂

  15. Candice, I thought the info opened the field up quite a bit. Good luck with your queries. 🙂

  16. Thanks Raine! 😀

  17. Vivi, I think the Blaze announcements are quite promising. They are definitely looking for fresh blood. They said all their favorites are leaving them, so they need to build new authors. It’s a good opportunity. I’m grateful because there’s no way I could write a traditional category, but I’m quite capable of writing whatever pops into my head. LOL!

  18. Jo, LOL! Thanks! Brenda actually mentioned your book as one of the upcoming ones to watch for. I just grinned and thought that’s my buddy. 🙂

  19. This was well worth the wait. Glad you had a great time – THANK YOU for sharing the information. Lots to think about.

  20. Great writeup Jordan! Thanks for all the updates.
    Hope you don’t mind, I shared this over at Romance Divas with a link back to you.

    Hope to see you in July!

  21. You’re welcome, Sunny. I hope it helps. 🙂

  22. No worries, Karen. See you in July.

  23. They said all their favorites are leaving them, so they need to build new authors

    What? We’re all leaving? Where are we going? 🙂 I think what they mean is that most of the Blaze authors are now writing for second publishers and have single title careers, so we aren’t writing as much for Blaze as we used to. But yes, they are definitely looking to build new authors.

    Seriously, Jordan, great report. I wish I could have been there. Desert Dreams is one of my favorite conferences.

  24. Julie, That’s exactly what Brenda meant. I probably should’ve been more clear about that. *ggg* All her big authors are moving into ST and aren’t able to write as much. (She mentioned you too. 😉 Wish you could’ve been at the conference it was fun. 😀

  25. So does she mean that Blaze is looking for gothics as in old-school gothic romances in the vein of Victoria Holt and Phyllis A Whitney? But with erotic romance thrown in right? Contemporaries only?

  26. Camilla, *So does she mean that Blaze is looking for gothics as in old-school gothic romances in the vein of Victoria Holt and Phyllis A Whitney?*

    Yes, that’s exactly what she meant. They have to be hot like a Blaze, but as you know heat varies from Blaze to Blaze. Yes, they have to be contemporary.