Category Archives: Agents and Editors

My Weekend in A Bigger Pond


Greetings on a lovely Tuesday morning!  With all the rain behind us for the moment, I can calm down and think again about my fabulous weekend at WRWDC’s annual retreat, In the Company of Writers.

This is one of my favorite retreats. It’s small and relaxed, but still has the energy that comes from friends meeting for two full days to talk about writing and publishing, in every possible format.

What were my favorite parts of the retreat?

A serious moment - the Magic Crystal service award.

A serious moment – the Magic Crystal service award.

  • The food. Seriously. It just kept coming – although the Saturday night desserts caused a near stampede. One poor waiter saw his tray of cheesecake slices vanished before he could get them to the serving table.
  • The seminars – My favorites: Bella Andre’s Ten Tips to Indie Success, Elaine English on Copyright (yes, it really was interesting) and the Keynote speeches. I know I’m leaving something out, but everyone put on such a great presentation, and I couldn’t be everywhere at once!
  • The bar. Yes. Seriously. We all were given a ticket for a free drink to start the weekend off. Need I say more?
  • The Editor/Agent appointments – where we are ushered into a private room with our editors and have a chance to chat. I had a request!

    Mermaid Kerri’s first author basket – I won it!

    Raffle baskets. This is a big deal with WRW – the drawings took nearly an hour on Sunday afternoon. I won two baskets!

  • Camaraderie – Should I have listed this first? The dynamics of the retreat is that of meeting old friends, rekindling friendships, and making new friends. For me, it was my first retreat under my new pseudonym.  On one level, I expected someone to tell me, “Who are you kidding? That’s not your name!” Didn’t happen.

Last, the Elvis Romance Jeopardy game. Imagine 100 women, many dressed in varying degrees of Elvis-ness. You had to be there. You really did.


Wild and Crazy at Elvis Romance Jeopardy – at least we didn’t lose!

Seriously. You had to be there.




All-Time Favorite Heroes/Heroines

Valentines-day-valentines-day-22236757-2560-1600-300x187Happy Valentine’s Day from the Waterworld Mermaids!!!

We love Valentine’s Day so much that we are celebrating all week long. Today we ask some of our favorite industry professionals the question: Who is your all-time favorite hero/heroine?

Yesterday, the mermaids discussed why we write romance. Our celebration will wrap on Thursday with a gift card giveaway. Leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. You can also earn extra chances by leaving comments on yesterday’s and tomorrow’s posts!


Who is your all-time favorite hero/heroine?

Beth Miller, agent, Writers House:

My favorite hero (focusing on books) is Daemon Sadi from Anne Bishop’s gorgeous dark fantasy Black Jewels series.

In a world in which Jewels are a reservoir for power, and the darker the jewel means the stronger the power, Daemon Sadi is a Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince, the strongest man in the Realms—and yet, he is a pleasure slave, bound to serve at the whim of an evil corrupt Priestess who holds the life of the person he loves most in her hands to keep him under her thumb. A prophecy is made, that She is coming, the Dreams Made Flesh, the Queen all who are good have longed for, and Daemon knows he is meant to be her lover. So he waits—for centuries—serving evil, selfish women; tortured at their whims, barely suppressing the violence that lives within him. The only thing keeping him going is the knowledge that She is coming. But when he finally meets her, she is a child, and so he must continue to wait for her to grow up, in the meantime befriending this fragile, powerful child that is the hope of his race. Daemon endures unspeakable horrors for his Queen, horrors that could mean the permanent loss of his sanity, his family, his friends, and her, the woman he loves above all else.

I don’t want to be too specific, because this is such an amazing series that I recommend to everyone. Be advised that it’s pretty violent, but the world is so vividly drawn, the characters so remarkable, that I re-read the entire series (the trilogy and beyond) at least twice a year. Here’s the link to the trilogy:


Michelle Grajkowski, agent, 3 Seas Literary Agency:

Who is my favorite fictional hero?  What a delicious question!


To me, Rhett Butler is the ultimate hero.  His rough and tumble, bad boy past taught him to be the man he was when he first laid eyes on the woman he knew he must have.  On the outside, Rhett truly appeared to be a scoundrel.  Willing to do anything to get what he wanted.  (Truly, was he much different than Scarlett???)  He was the epitome of an alpha hero – determined, strong, stubborn, opinionated, dangerous and just a tad rough around the edges.


But, once Margaret Mitchell introduced us to the true, ooey-gooey, makes-our-heart-melt Rhett, raise your hand if you didn’t swoon!  When we met the Rhett who stood at the bottom of the stairs and knew, immediately, that Scarlett would be his.  That he would prove to her through kisses, gifts, passion and compassion that he would be there for her forever.  When he proudly cherished his daughter with the same intensity that he had for her mother.  When he finally realized that Scarlett truly would never love him for the man he was, and had the strength and courage to finally walk out the door…


Frankly, my dears, I DO give a damn.  Rhett truly, truly was a man of strength, honor, courage, passion and above all, love.  (Oh, and the fact that he was completely, 100% swoon-worthy doesn’t hurt, either!)



Nicole Resciniti, agent, The Seymour Agency:

Pick one–one–favorite hero? I think that’s why romance is my favorite genre, because I get to ‘fall in love’ with a new hero each time I pick up a new book. I have some faves that vary by genre.

RS– Frank Knight. He’s the hero of Julie Ann Walker’s second, BKI book, IN RIDES TROUBLE. He’s big and gruff and loyal. He has a heart the size of Texas and is a total badass. He isn’t your typical, pretty-boy perfect hero. Frank has scars and some inner fears. He reminds me so much of my hubby Frank, that it’s impossible not to adore him.

PNR– I have to say that I’ve found myself falling for Gideon. Y’all haven’t met him yet, but . . . damn. Gideon is the hero in Kate SeRine’s EVER AFTER (A Transplanted Tale Novel). He’s smart and gallant, and so . . . good. Look for it when it releases from Kensington.

HISTORICAL– Johanna Lindsey totally ensnared me with her Malory Family (and, as an agent, I’d LOVE to discover a family saga in this vein), especially James the ex-pirate/gentleman. His story, Gentle Rogue, is a go-to for rereads.

YA–This one goes to Aelyx. Of the planet L’eihr. Yeah. He’s a foreign exchange student–foreign, as in, another solar system. Raised in a complex society where emotions are not expressed, seeing that Aelyx has feelings (and they run deep) is just more incentive to L’ove this hero. Check him out in ALIENATED by Melissa Landers.


NA– Mateo from Cecy Robson’s new series ONCE PERFECT. Matteo is a bouncer who was dishonorably discharged from the military after he beats up the guy that raped his sister. He’s down on his luck, down on himself, and supporting his family through underground MMA fights. He’s a tough guy with the purest heart. He is . . . perfect. The author keeps talking about the hero in her second book ONCE LOVED, Brody, but I’m still team Mateo. The other NA hero that I’m crushing on is also former-military. In BROKEN, Paul Langdon comes home from Afghanistan scarred, crippled and as broken internally as he is physically. His journey is heartwarming and beautiful.


CONTEMPORARY– Kate Meader’s hero, Chef Jack Kilroy is H-O-T in the Chicago-set FEEL THE HEAT. He knows his way around women–and a kitchen. Shane August, the hero in Jessica Lemmon’s TEMPTING THE BILLIONAIRE has that same, powerful I’m-in-control sexy vibe going on.


Sandra Pesso, marketing direction, Evernight Publishing:

My favorite all-time hero is James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, better known as Jamie, from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Even though I read the first book in the series many years ago, Jamie has stayed with me as my number one. Jamie is the perfect hero without being too perfect.  He’s a fine blend of determination, wit, loyalty, humility and honor. He’s brave and willing to do anything for the people who are important to him, whether it’s living in a cave for years, having nails driven into his hand, letting the love of his life leave him, or even sacrificing his body to his enemy. To top it all off, Jamie is a Scottish Highlander complete with an accent and yes, a kilt. Men in kilts just seem to do something for me!

Jamie is the ultimate hero. But don’t take my word for it. I’ve selected a few of my favorite quotes to illustrate my love for Jamie Fraser…

“I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have.”

 “For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary. It is all. It is undying. And it is enough.”

 “It has always been forever, for me, Sassenach”

 “Ye werena the first lass I kissed,” he said softly. “But I swear you’ll be the last.”

 “You dinna need to understand me, Sassenach,” he said quietly. “So long as you love me.”



Stephen Morgan, editor, Entangled Publishing:

My favorite heroine is Anne from Anne of Green Gables.


Now it’s your turn! What do you think of the heroes/heroines our industry professionals picked? Who are some of your favorite heroes/heroines?

The Waiting Game

The line outside National Stadium

The line outside National Stadium

I’m frustrated. There it is, I’ve said it.

At the beginning of March my thirteen-year-old daughter, Brenna, was one of the lucky few selected to audition to sing the National Anthem before one of the Washington National’s baseball games this season. Let me tell you, auditioning is not a walk in the park. First, we got the e-mail on a Wednesday afternoon that she was one of fifty people who would be auditioning that Saturday morning. After chanting, “Oh crap, oh crap. Yay, this is so exciting! Oh crap, oh crap,” a few hundred times I rearranged everyone’s Saturday schedule so my husband and I could take Brenna to her audition. Brenna was incredibly excited and spent the next couple of days practicing with the Nationals audition guidelines in mind… You must perform a cappella and you only have ninety seconds, which is not a lot of time for that song.

We arrived bright and early at National Stadium on Saturday morning where we stood in line, freezing our butts off, for an hour and a half because auditions are first come, first served. But not to worry, the sky was a brilliant blue and we met a ton of nice people. The performers came from all walks of life. Some performed regularly, others only experience was singing in their church choir, but they were all incredibly talented and beyond brave to be there in the first place. The excitement was palpable by the time the gates opened at nine o’clock. After signing in, everyone was seated in the stadium—talk about an intimidating venue—where the performers are given instructions and told to expect an answer one way or another by close of business Monday.

Brenna waiting to sing

Brenna waiting to sing

I was practically having heart palpitations by the time Brenna walked out onto the field. She approached the microphone with purpose and—outwardly undaunted by the camera four feet from her face, the three radio stations recording her, the size of the stadium or the audience watching—she opened her mouth and began to sing. An interview with Brenna was featured on WTOP most of that day so I’ll let you be the judge on how she did. When you listen to the one-minute clip that is my baby girl singing in the background! 😉

Brenna WTOP Interview

If I had a nickel for every text I got from Brenna that Monday I would be a very rich woman. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear on Monday. Or Tuesday or Wednesday. In fact, it has now been more than six weeks since Brenna auditioned and we still haven’t heard anything from the Nationals. I have emailed twice but still no answer. I can only assume that no news means she wasn’t selected but I hate not knowing.

Not hearing is frustrating because there is no closure, but it is also a part of life. I can’t help but compare the experience to submitting a manuscript. You plot, you plan, you write, write, write. And then—when you think your baby is ready—you pitch it at a conference or send out query letters to editors or agents you think may be interested in the story you have to offer. Then you wait…

National Stadium

National Stadium

Most agents and editors will tell you to expect a six to eight week turn around, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I have heard horror stories of manuscripts being submitted, and then not receiving a response for six or eight months. At the Washington Romance Writers Retreat this past weekend I asked agents and editors their thoughts on following up on your submissions, because who hasn’t agonized over the do-I-follow-up-or-leave-things-alone-and-continue-to-wait dilemma.

Every editor or agent I talked to gave the same advice: If the guidelines say a six to eight week turnaround, wait at least three months and then if you haven’t heard anything… follow up. Just send a polite e-mail reminding them of your submission titled “A Great Story You Know You Want To Buy” (or whatever your title may be) sent in on such and such date, and ask what the status of your submission is.

Generally speaking agents and editors are not monsters hell bent on driving you to the crazy house. They are real people with real lives and a job to do, but life happens and sometimes they fall behind schedule or your manuscript gets lost in the shuffle. So if you find yourself in this predicament don’t agonize, wait at least three months and then follow up. 🙂