Dazed and Bruised in New York City

It’s a rainy, stormy morning in NY, where the weather was perfect all throughout the Romance Writers of America national conference until today. No matter. I can catch up on sleep, which I didn’t get much of during the conference. Plus, I’ve got a gigantic bruise penetrating the thickness of my right foot and I have nooooo idea how I got it. I just woke up with it this morning. Did I sleepwalk? Sleepdance? This might hamper my efforts to walk to the Chocolate Bar cafe later. But now’s a perfect time to interpret some of the hieroglyphic notes I took during the conf on YA news. 

Tor Teen

Editor Melissa Frain said she wanted to see a ghost-ship submission. She later amended on Twitter that she also wants a buried treasure book. Aside from those, she’s into character-based stories and books with romantic elements. I also have here a scribble that reads “Trends toward 15-to-17 age group.

Editor Whitney Ross is hanging out for a YA along the lines of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Her YA tastes run similar to Melissa’s. She likes not necessarily a happily-ever-after ending but a hopeful ending, and books that aren’t entirely dark.

Kristen Sevick, editor of A Dog’s Purpose, is not a YA editor per se, but she is horse crazy. (A woman after my own heart!) Loves Black Beauty (but is interested in books from a human perspective rather than a horse’s POV), any stories in which horses feature.

Editor Susan Chang, who was not at the spotlight on Tor Teen, takes care of younger/middle-grade fiction for Tor Starscape.

Tor Teen books to look out for: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton; Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake; Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers.

Pocket Books

Pocket has a limited YA focus at the moment, but RITA-nominated Jennifer Echols is their YA star.


My agent’s assistant, Beth, very kindly took me on a tour of Writers House lit agency. The building was once owned by the Astors. We went inside a vault the size of my hotel room. It used to house VIPs for the Astors. That is, very important paperwork like deeds and bonds, etc. I was too busy ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the bookshelves filled with Sweet Valley High, Stephenie Meyer, Nora Roberts and Ken Follett titles to take pictures, but you can see some nice shots of the Victorian interior on the agency website.

I didn’t get to all the YA events/workshops this time around, and at one very useful one that I did attend we were asked not to divulge info we learned there. But I will say a number of editors and agents said, submissions-wise, they often don’t know what they’re looking for until they see it. You just have to write a darn good book and if it happens to be a darn good vampire novel, then so be it.

Speaking of darn good books, my dear friend Erica O’Rourke celebrated the release of her debut YA novel, Torn, at the conference. Torn was last year’s Golden Heart-winning book. Erica’s beautiful new website went live, too. If you have one of her bookmarks, the QR code printed on it will lead you to exclusive content and extra scenes hidden on her site.

CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s Golden Heart winner, Suzanne Kaufman Kalb, and the 2011 RITA YA winner, Julie Kagawa, for The Iron King, which was the first book editor Natashya Wilson acquired for the Harlequin Teen line. For the full, stellar list of GH and RITA winners, see RWA’s announcement here.

Okay, the rain’s slowing down and I’m all out of Cheetos, so it’s time to venture out into the City. I ♥ NY!

Erica O'Rourke, me, Kim MacCarron - post awards, post deeeeelicious dessert


8 thoughts on “Dazed and Bruised in New York City

  1. I attended RWA nationals, but missed out on the spotlights due to volunteer commitments. So I really appreciated this group blog. Congratulations on your GH final, and kudos to Erica and Julie for their inspiring successes.

    • Hi, Clarissa! Congrats on being a GH finalist this year! I know just how exciting it would’ve been for you to be a finalist at Nationals. 🙂 Volunteering brings its own rewards, too.

  2. VANESSA!!! I miss you already, my friend!Thanks for the kind words and the wonderful chats and for being, as always, your most excellent self. Now ice that foot and have a safe trip back to LA and Oz.


    • Oh, you’re most welcome, Erica! Thank *you*. I can’t get over the fact it’ll be at least another year till we see each other again. I didn’t ice the foot today, but I bought a nice hunk o’ chocolate, and that helped. Really.


  3. Thanks for this Vanessa. You made me so jealous that I wasn’t there – there’s nothing quite like RWA Nationals…
    But living vicariously through you is better than not at all – and it sounds like you had a ball – so thankyou! LOL.

    Take care of the foot. We’ll miss you in Melbourne this year. xxx

    • Kerri, I’ll miss you in Melb this year, too! I’m afraid this NY trip and my Broadway habit put quite a bit of stress on the piggy bank.

      Congratulations again on your Allen & Unwin deal. I love your writing and I can’t wait to get my hands on your next book!

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