Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Jim McCarthy wants

Authors often ask what we’re looking for. The easy answer is that whatever it is, we’ll know it when we see it. But I thought I’d take a moment to mention just a few things I haven’t been seeing but would love to.

I’d love to find literary horror whether in the adult or young adult realm. There simply aren’t enough great ghost stories crossing my desk, which I think is a shame. I want the book equivalent of Paranormal Activity. If you can scare the bejesus out of me, I’d be delighted to sign you on.

I don’t know if steampunk is really the next big thing or whether people just expect it to be, but in either case, I think it’s a fascinating genre and would love to see more of it cross my desk. For those who don’t know yet, the definition of steampunk can be found here. And for those local to New York, there’s even a steampunk haunted house coming up which looks like it might be made of awesome. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you there.

I’d be more than happy to take a look at alternative histories. Whether it’s fantastical reimaginings of the past a la Diana Gabaldon or stories about ways that history might have played out like Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America. Robert Cowley’s What If? series provides endless food for thought. This site provides lots of examples of the sort of books that have been done in the category before. I think there’s room to bring the genre more into the mainstream, and I’d love to see it happen.


  1. Thanks for letting us know what you're looking forn Jim. As soon as my MS is polished I will be sending you a query for my alternate history with mainstream appeal!

  2. I just asked my kid if she knew what steampunk was, anticipating a big NO, and she immediately said yes and gave me a good definition. Live and learn: I had no idea she'd know that.

  3. Jim, thanks for the heads up and what a great list! I'd read anything on it.

  4. Chapter Thirty-nine, Beyond Control
    by Bob Weiner

    They are prepared, she thought.
    “Ladies, can you imagine a life force so strong it exists beyond death?”
    Carla opened one eye. “Explain what you mean.”
    “I used to think I understood the difference between reality and fantasy. I am no longer sure.”
    “About what?” Natalia said.
    “About Adam, my husband. I am talking about an extraordinary man who disappeared over nine years ago. About a man everyone thinks is dead.”
    Natalia sat up. “This is eerie. Adam is dead. I am sorry for sounding insensitive, but you raised the subject.”
    Laura reached toward her necklace and tilted an object upward.

  5. I love what Him McCarthy wrote. My 16 year old and her friends turn off their computers and tell ghost stories at night at their boarding school.

    When she brings friends home I tell her true scary stories about my own childhood in Dayton, Ohio--back in the 50's when Dayton was in its heyday and people like Charles Kettering were sitting in their basements creating secret things for the U.S. government---

    There were some powerful men back in Dayton who did some evil things too--like producing the trigger to the atomic bomb in a suburban "community playhouse"----Very few people who worked in The Runnymede Playhouse, lived to a ripe old age--and most on our street got cancer---Their ghosts are still there

    Kristin Kuhns Alexandre
    "Find a Great Guy: Now and Forever"


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