November 2013

“…the vital point to remember is that the swine who just sent your pearl of a story back with nothing but a coffee-stain and a printed rejection slip can be wrong. You cannot take it for granted that he is wrong, but you have an all-important margin of hope that might be enough to keep you going.” – Brian Stableford


I’m wrapping up my summary of the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers Convention in Atlanta, Georgia with a look at the Spotlight on Tor/Forge Books. 

Editors Whitney Ross and Kelly Quinn presented the Spotlight on Tor and Forge. They brought a number of books that Tor or Forge will be publishing or has published recently to show off. Tor and Forge are part of MacMillan, published by Tom Doherty Associates.  Tor publishes paranormal, science fiction and fantasy romance – including urban fantasy, alternate history and steampunk. The stories cover a wide range, from light and funny to dark and mystical. Forge publishes more general fiction, including contemporary and historical romance and women’s fiction, but also horror and YA.

Tor accepts submissions from both agented and unagented authors. If you would like to submit to them, they prefer to see a full proposal (synopsis and first three chapters) by snail mail. Check out the detailed submission guidelines here.


Cleis Press, an electronic publisher of LGBT fiction, has put out a call for male/male stories for an upcoming anthology “Take This Man.” These erotic stories should focus on two men who have been together a while and decide to make a commitment. Stories should be 3,000 to 5,000 words. The deadline for submissions in December 1, 2013. Payment is $60. For more, go here


Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is looking for steam punk stories for an upcoming issue.  Submit your 1,000 to 7,000 word story that combines steampunk elements with romance and a upbeat ending.  The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2014. Payment is $25 plus a 1/4 page ad in the magazine.  See the details here


I’m taking off next week for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. If you’re in the mood for a holiday story, I have a historical novella on sale for 99 cents. The Christmas Quilt is available at most e-tailers .


Feel free to share the information in this blog with others.  Please credit me as the source of the info, and include a link to this blog. Thank you! Cindi Myers

The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair“- Mary Heaton Vorse


More from the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta. This week I’m looking at the Spotlight on Ballatine, Bantam and Dell. 

Ballantine, Bantam and Dell is part of the Random House Publishing Group. They publish Janet Evanovich, Debbie Macomber, Karen Marie Moning, Danielle Steele, Sophie Kinsella, Diana Gabaldon, George R. R. Martin, Dean Koontz and many other best-selling authors.

Shauna Summers, Junessa Viloria and Sue Grimshaw presented the workshop. They spent most of the workshop reviewing upcoming books from their authors.

Shauna Summers started things with an overview of the company. Ballantine, Bantam, Dell publishes trade and mass market paperback, hardcover and digital editions. Their romance list is “focused and select.” They don’t have a certain number of slots to fill and can afford to be picky. They accept only agented submissions. They have signed authors who found success through self-publishing, such as Monica Murphy. They have also taken authors who’ve done well with other publishers and built them into best-sellers. They publish all types of romance, including erotica, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, historicals, young adult, new adult, and women’s fiction.

Sue Grimshaw talked about Loveswept,  BBD’s digital-first imprint. They publish a wide variety of romance, from sweet to hot, contemporary and all kinds of historical. She invited workshop participants to become part of the online Street Team for Loveswept. Go here for more information.

Flirt is the digital first imprint for new adult books.

Loveswept and Flirt DO accept unagented submissions. Submit a query for your completed manuscript between 15,000 and 60,000 words. This includes previously published work to which you own the rights. Get all the information here. 


I’m happy to report that Secret Santa, an anthology in which my novella “Room at the Inn” appears, along with stories by Fern Michaels, Marie Bostwick and Laura Levine, debuted at #25 on the USA Today Bestsellers List, and #15 on the New York Times Bestsellers List!



Cedar Fort Publishing is sponsoring a Christmas Writing Contest.  The editors are looking for 500 to 5,000 word short stories, to be published in pamphlets and 10,000 to 25,000 word novellas to be produced as small gift books for Christmas 2014.  Winners will receive a $100 advance for short stories and $400 or novellas, plus royalties. Cedar Fort publishes both fiction and nonfiction for an LDS (Mormon) audience. Fiction shouldn’t contain profanity, violence or the use of alcohol and should be uplifting. The deadline for entries is midnight, January 20, 2014. Find all the details here. 


Ebook publisher Carina Press has updated its Editor Wish List.

For 2014, Carina Press as a whole is especially interested in acquiring romantic suspense manuscripts of 70,000 + words; Scottish set and Regency historical romance; Erotic romance of 70,000 + words, with series potential; and more male-male, new adult and mystery fiction.

Editor Kerri Buckley would like to see some “contemporary romance with atypical heroines, snappy dialogue and significant external conflict; gritty New Adult; erotic romance of 70,000 words and up;  cozy or hardboiled mystery with dry wit; and contemporaries, historicals and alternate history set in Eastern Europe.

Editor Rhonda Helms would like LGBTQ in any genre Carina publishes; super-hot romance; stories with mythological elements; funny romantic comedies; a fresh take on an “Upstairs/Downstairs” story; a “regency or western featuring people of color”; a super-sexy gothic romance;  genre-blending stories; and stories featuring people of color.

Deborah Nemeth wants some “high-octane romantic suspense”; stories with political or palace intrigue, in any genre; mysteries and crime fiction with a strong hook, as well as caper and heist stories; and more science-fiction/fantasy.

Mallory Braus would “love, love, love” a contemporary romance or romantic suspense set among the Amish; stories with psychics; gothic stories; stories with nerdy/quirky characters; historical mysteries; and cross-genre stories.

Alissa Davis craves erotic with heroes and heroines who “rock at talking dirty.” She’d also like to see a male/male mystery; a foodie romance; medical romances; sports romances; and a teacher-student story.

Jeff Seymour is looking for speculative LGBTQ fiction; a male/male steampunk story; and a mystery series that plays with the conventions.

Melissa Johnson wants contemporary and historical romance series with connected characters.

Tina Burns enjoys New Adult fiction and would love to work on a Dystopian or post-Apocalyptic romance series.

Elizabeth Bass loves historical romance, especially Gothics, Regencies and Westerns. She also likes humorous contemporary romance.

Meredith Giordan would like an “angsty contemporary New Adult story; she’s interested in a Tudor or Colonial American historical; new retellings of old fables/legends/myths; and urban fantasy with superhuman characters.

Bryon Quertermous would like a romantic heist story, or a pulpy erotic story, pulpy space opera and “cozy mystery novels that break the rules.”

For more details, check out the blog post here. 


As always, feel free to share the information in this newsletter. All I ask is that you credit me as the source, and include a link to this blog. Thanks!  Cindi Myers

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”

– Jane Yolen


This week I’m continuing my series on publisher Spotlights from the Romance Writers of America national convention in Atlanta, Georgia, with a look at one of my publishers, Kensington Books.

Adam Zacharias, Director of Special Projects; Alicia Condon and Audrey LaFehr, Editorial Directors and Esi Sogah, Senior Editor presented the Spotlight.

Kensington is the largest family-owned publisher in New York. Adam Zacharias is the third generation of the Zacharias family to work at Kensington. They are large enough to have best-sellers on the NYT and USA Today list every week, but small enough that everyone knows the authors. They publish all genres of fiction in all formats – hard, soft, mass-market and trade paper and digital.  Next year they will celebrate their 40th anniversary. The company was founded in 1974 and they have been publishing romance since the 1970s. They publish all kinds of romance – contemporary, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, erotica, gay and lesbian, African American and women’s fiction.

eKensington is their Digital First imprint, which is especially open to submissions from new authors. This imprint pays not advance, but 25 percent royalties.

Esi Sogah spoke about why books get rejected – number one is the book bores the reader. It doesn’t stand out or grab attention. Sometimes a book gets turned down because they already have something like it on the list or it’s something that has been done a lot lately. The third reason for rejection is writing that is not up to par. The editor, sadly, doesn’t have the time to work with an author who needs a lot of editing and writing help. Another reason books get rejected is when the first three chapters are really well done and polished, but then the rest of the book falls apart.

Kensington is looking for authors who can write more than one book for them.

Editors fall in love with authors who have a great voice, who write well and create a world the reader can escape to. Esi likes “a fun take on a familiar concept.”

Esi is really looking for romantic suspense, mysteries – cozy mysteries, suspense and historical mystery; sexy contemporary romance and contemporary women’s fiction, which they publish in trade paper.

Audrey edits mostly contemporary women’s fiction, contemporary and historical romance, historical fiction, erotica and nonfiction.

Alicia edits every kind of romance, but would love to see some sexy, sports-themed contemporary romances and non-Regency set historical romances. She just bought a historical set in the old South that is not a Civil War book. She would love to see women’s fiction that plays up themes tied to current trends. She just bought a book called “The Divorce Diet.” She would love to see New Adult that has not been previously self-published.

Editors Peter Senftleben and John Scognamiglio would like to see more romantic suspense, both serial killer and women-in jeopardy books, as well as some black-ops type books.

Alica is also acquiring for the digital first line, e-Kensington. She’s interested in books that may not fit a definite niche in print channels – cross-genre stories, etc. “I am always open to being surprised.”

Kensington does promotion for every title, including a lot of online promotion through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They also do print ads, advanced review copies, book trailers, contests, blog tours and many other types of promotion.

The editors at Kensington accept both agented and unagented submissions, via email. You can find their email addresses on the Kensington website. Send a query with one paragraph about your book, and one paragraph about you, with your publishing history. They like an attachment of a Word document with the first three chapters. The response time varies widely, so don’t hesitate to follow up or even send your submission again.


If you want to check out some of the books Kensington publishes, you might start with my new releases:

The Mountain Between Us, the second book in my Eureka, Colorado series about the residents of the small mountain town of Eureka. It’s holiday time, but tough economic circumstances and an approaching winter storm force everyone to pull together.

Secret Santa is a collection of Christmas-themed novellas from Fern Michaels, Marie Bostwick, Laura Levine and myself. My story, “Room at the Inn” features some of the characters from the Eureka series, but you don’t have to have read the books to enjoy the novella.

Both books are available in paperback and digital formats from your favorite bookseller.   secretsanta


The Journal of Unlikely Cartography is looking for short stories to 5,000 words in all sub-genres that deal with geography, maps and map-making, GPS and all manner of elements related to cartography. Payment is five cents a word and the deadline for submissions is February 14, 2014. Find all the details here.


Alive Now is a devotional magazine looking for devotionals and short stories on the theme of Blessing, for its Sept/Oct. 2104 issue. Submit your story of up to 400 words by the deadline of January 3, 2014. Payment is $35. Get more details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Please give me credit as the source, and include a link to the blog. Thanks!  Cindi Myers