An Absence of Moral Ambiguity

November 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm (Random Thoughts, Writing)


So yesterday Montana and I are talking about my romantic comedy/paranormal lite. Currently, it’s with an agent and a few editors, but that’s it for now. My plan is to enter it in a few contests (including the Golden Heart) and then focus on my dark historical. Of course, once I start querying that, I’ll be swept up in a bidding war, and can ask my fabulous team of agent, editor and PR person about the rom-com-para-lite. Right? Of course, right.


But Montana was wondering if I should query a few more agents, get a few more lines in the water while I’m editing the historical. Curious, I start googling some agents just to see who’s out there. One agency has genre definitions listed, so I take a peek, curious if they have a breakdown of subgenres of romance, or even just women’s fiction compared to romance. Nope—they only have a straight romance definition, which states “…key to romance novels is an absence of moral ambiguity…sub-plots and minor characters are kept to a minimum; these are not multi-layered works…should be easy to read…marriage is almost without exception the desired goal of a romance plot.”


I have the urge to send them some Jennifer Crusie books.



  1. Melissa Blue said,

    Those people must live a sheltered life. From their definition Nora Roberts couldn’t query them. Sanctuary, anyone?

    “these are not multi-layered works…”

    Three words should multi-layer my final opinion of their definitions:


  2. Lainey Bancroft said,

    Hmm. Must have missed that chuckle in my agent searches! Although I did run across one the other day that had ‘proposal guidelines’ that made me twitch. Cover page,letter, table of contents, synopsis, a chapter outline, bio, first three chapter… and the formatting requirements? Bizarre-o!

    As Melissa said, WTF?

    Good luck with the Golden Heart entry!!!

  3. jeniferm said,

    Sounds like a dream agency.

  4. alyson noel said,

    Yikes, that’s actually kind of scary!

  5. Robin said,


    Yay on entering the Golden Heart! Best of luck!!

  6. pamwritesromance said,

    Oh, Melissa–I couldn’t get your voice out of my head when writing that post, so I’m so glad you were the first to comment. 🙂

    Lainey–thanks for the good luck. And good luck to you with your proposals. I know the twitchies of which you speak! 😉

  7. pamwritesromance said,

    Jen–oh, yeah. Dreamy. Yup. 😉

    Alyson–I know! I had to read it a few times to make sure that’s what was really printed there. Oy!

    Robin–I love this that so many people just don’t have the words for it. I was of the same stupification for a while. And thanks for the luck! 😉

  8. Marilyn Brant said,

    What??! Really??! (*mumbling under my breath*) That’s just…wrong.

    Wishing you much luck and vert best wishes on the GH! Go, you!!!

  9. Pam said,

    Marilyn–I know. I was just stunned when I read that. And thanks for the luck–may I follow your amazing success! 🙂

  10. Katie Reus said,

    Omg, I’ve seen that before and made a note never to query them. (I have to go pull that up again!).

    Good luck with the GH! 🙂

  11. Caryn Caldwell said,

    Oh, wow. Do you still remember which agency it is? I’d like to know NOT to send a book to them. That’s so rude! As for finding agents, I just got Jeff (?) Herman’s guide, and it looks very helpful. Good luck!

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