October 2014


“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”

Octavia Butler

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The podcast Selected Shorts is sponsoring the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize for 2015. Submit your short story of 750 words or less on any theme by March 15, 2015. There is a $25 fee to enter. I usually don’t include contests that charge fees in this blog, but since this is a fundraiser for Public Radio (and since Selected Shorts is one of my favorite podcasts) I’m making an exception here. The winner receives $1000, publication of their story on ElectricLiterature.com, a 10-week Gotham Writer’s course of their choice, and a performance of their story to be recorded and broadcast nationally on Public Radio. Find all the information you need to enter here. 

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Chicago-area writers may enter the Chicago Reader’s competition for inclusion in their 15th annual fiction reader. Submit your short story (preferred length, up to 3,000 words) in any genre. Use the online form and submit by November 15. The Chicago Reader pays for the stories it publishes and there is no submission fee. Find all the details here. 

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The Wyoming Arts Council is sponsoring a contest for women writers who live in Wyoming. Submit your poetry, prose, or screenplay by November 17, 2014 for a chance at the $1,000 first prize in the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry, 25 pages of prose or 25 pages of a screenplay.The first place winner will also receive money to attend the Casper College Literary Conference to read her work. Find all the details here.

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Darkhouse Books is putting together an anthology of historical mystery and crime stories. Editor Andrew MacRae is seeking stories from 2500 to 7500 words set in a time period “more than a few decades prior to the present.” The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2014. Get the details here. 

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Look for the new mass market paper edition of The Mountain Between Us on sale at a WalMart near you. With a new cover and a special low price, this is a great way to dive into my popular Eureka, Colorado series. (Think Northern Exposure in the Rocky Mountains.

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As always, feel free to share this information with others. All I ask is that you credit me as the source and provide a link to this blog. If you want to know more about me and my books, check out my websites here or here and like me on Facebook here

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“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.” ~Samuel Johnson

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This week I’m continuing my summary of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of American convention in San Antonio, with a focus on BelleBooks. The spotlight on BelleBooks was presented by Editor Brenda Chin and marketing director Danielle Childers. BelleBooks is 15 years old this year. The company was founded by Debra Dixon and Deborah Smith with a group of six women who were all established authors. They wanted to create a publishing house “by authors for authors.” BelleBooks began with a focus on Southern books. Now they publish all types of books. They produce about 150 titles a year in both print and digital format.

They offer a 40% royalty rate for ebooks. They offer authors editorial development, full marketing services, they publish print and ebook simultaneously and also sell sub-rights such as audio and foreign rights.

Deborah Smith primarily acquires women’s fiction and cozy mysteries. Deb Dixon acquires fantasy and paranormal. Dixon is the Editor in Chief of BelleBooks and oversees all imprints.

The primary focus of this workshop was on BelleBooks imprint, ImaJinn Books. ImaJinn was developed by Linda Kichline, who passed away last year. Debra Dixon, a friend of Linda’s, acquired ImaJinn as an imprint of Bell Books. Brenda Chin is the new editor of ImaJinn.

ImaJinn was originally known for paranormal romance. Now it is open to all romance – all types of romance except inspirational romance – contemporary, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense, sexy, and new adult. Brenda talked about what she looks for as an editor: She wants big stories – high concept, well-plotted and compelling. Nothing over 90,000 words (50,000 to 90,000 words) but not category romance, either. “I want books that guarantee that the reader will feel something – and not boredom.”

Your story must have a hook that will help them sell the story. You need to be able to tell what the story is about in one or two sentences. You also must have characters readers can relate to and want to read about. Finally, you need a strong voice. She recommended authors find their trademark – what is unique about your books that readers will identify with. No matter what you write, make sure that trademark is still there.

Think of your book as a movie. What kind of crowd would it draw? Strive to make it a blockbuster movie.

Brenda prefers to receive a partial over a complete manuscript.  You can find the submission guidelines for ImaJinn here.

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Mystery Writers of America and Minotaur Books have teamed up once again to sponsor their 2015 Best First Crime Novel Competition. Writers over the age of 18 who have never had a novel published (in any genre) may enter the contest. Manuscripts must be 65,000 words or longer and must feature murder or another serious crime at the heart of the story.The winner will receive a publishing contract from Minotaur books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press) and a $10,000 advance against royalties. The deadline to enter is December 15, 2014. For more details, go here.

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Look for the new mass market paper edition of The Mountain Between Us on sale at a WalMart near you. With a new cover and a special low price, this is a great way to dive into my popular Eureka, Colorado series. (Think Northern Exposure in the Rocky Mountains.

*********************************TheMountainBetweenUs

As always, feel free to share this information with others. All I ask is that you credit me as the source and provide a link to this blog. If you want to know more about me and my books, check out my websites here or here and like me on Facebook here. 

“Loafing is the most productive part of a writer’s life.” ~James Norman Hall

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This week I’m continuing my summary of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention, with a look at Harlequin’s Single Title program. The Spotlight on Harlequin Single Title was presented by Margaret Marbury, VP of ST editorial; Nicole Brebner, senior ed. of Mira;  Margot Lipschultz, senior editor; and Susan Swinwood, Exec. Ed. Of HQN. Each of these editors spent some time talking about the number of bestselling authors under their imprints. They also talked a lot about the editors and what Harlequin can do for authors.

Harlequin prides itself on excellent editorial. For single titles, they are very selective. They want to be able to support the book. Editors have a passion for the books they choose. “We recognize that publishing is a partnership, not a dictatorship.” Harlequin has “unmatched” distribution, according to Marbury. Harlequin books are sold world-wide, in 110 markets, in 34 languages. The books are available “where women shop.” They also have their own direct-mail bookclubs. They publish in all formats, including digital.

Ms. Brebner talked about Mira, which is Harlequin’s single title, general fiction imprint. They publish a wide variety of genres – romance, women’s fiction, historical fiction, thrillers and literary fiction. They publish mass market, trade paper, hardcover and digital. 2014 is the 20th anniversary of Mira Books. Mira publishes about 105 titles a year in all formats. Mira is looking for more contemporary women’s fiction and “a really great psychological thriller.” Margaret Marbury, who also acquires for Mira, would love to see “big, historical fiction that hasn’t been done before.”

Susan Swinwood talked about HQN. 2014 is the Tenth Anniversary of HQN. HQN focuses on single title romance. They publish approximately 80 titles a year. They publish contemporary, historical, erotic romance and romantic suspense, as well as new adult romance. They want to offer readers a wide variety of stories. HQN publishes in mass market and digital, but is also expanding into trade paper. Swinwood noted that romances that tend toward women’s fiction – “layered, modern love stories” – do best in trade paper. These are emotional, more sophisticated books. HQN is looking for new authors who can write these kinds of books.  In general, HQN is looking for “breakout editorial” and would like some new voices and stories they haven’t seen. They aren’t looking to copy their existing authors. They’d be interested in more suspense or romantic suspense.

Margot Lipschultz talked about YA Fiction under Harlequin Teen. Harlequin Teen is five years old in 2014. They launched in 2009 with four titles. They now publish app. 40 titles a year. They publish commercial young adult fiction, primarily in hardcover and trade paper, as well as digital. Their books are targeted to girls 13 to 18, but the readership extends far beyond that. The books are primarily 60,000 to 90,000 words. The editors who primarily acquire for Harlequin Teen are Natashya Wilson and T.S. Ferguson. They are constantly surveying teen readers about what they want to read. They have a Harlequin Teen panel that they consult for ideas and feedback. Harlequin Teen publishes contemporary, fantasy, paranormal and historical. The stories may include romance, but they don’t have to. They’re interested in YA mystery – Margot would love something in this vein “snarky, like Veronica Mars.” She also acquires for HQN and there she would love to see a contemporary romance set outside the United States.

All of Harlequin’s Single Title lines take agented submissions only. The exceptions would be if you already write for Harlequin and submit through your Harlequin editor, or if you pitch to an editor at conference and she/he asks for your submission.

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TheMountainBetweenUsLook for the mass market paperback release of The Mountain Between Us at a WalMart near you. With a new cover and a new low price, The Mountain Between Us takes readers along as the folks in Eureka, Colorado, prepare for the holidays under sometimes trying circumstances.  This book was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award this year.

“Fans of small town romances will enjoy visiting Eureka and its eccentric residents.” Library Journal

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Literary Wanderlust is a new digital and print publishing company devoted to genre fiction. Publisher Susie Brooks seeks to “bridge the gap between traditional and self-publishing” with this new venture. She is accepting submissions of romance, erotica, science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, and mystery. She is open to all sub-genres within these genres.  Find more details here. 

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As always, feel free to share this information with others. All I ask is that you credit me as the source and provide a link to this blog. If you want to know more about me and my books, check out my websites here or here and like me on Facebook here. 

 

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
– Edgar Rice Burroughs

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This week I’m continuing my look at publisher spotlights from the RWA National Convention in San Antonio, with Loose Id books. The Spotlight on Loose Id was presented by editor-in-chief Treva Harte and marketing and information officer Allie McKnight. Loose Id (pronounced Lucid) is a digital first company. They have been in business for ten years and have been profitable for all of that time.

Loose Id publishes primarily erotic romance. They don’t mean erotica – they want hot and sensual books with explicit sex scenes, but the conflict arises from character and there is a romantic arc to the story. Sex is important to the story, but it doesn’t have to be kink. Kink works in some stories, but what Harte is looking for is sex that’s important to the stories and important to the characters. Every story should have a definite romance hook.

Under the banner of erotic romance, Loose Id publishes a variety of stories – both heterosexual and GLBT romances. They welcome historical and contemporary stories, paranormal, fantasy, mystery and science fiction under that erotic romance umbrella.

They publish stories 20,000 to 120,000 words. Stories 55,000 to 70,000 words receive an advance and are eligible to print as well as e-release.  They pay 40% royalties (on gross sales) and retain electronic rights for three years.

Harte talked about the submission process. They sometimes ask for revisions from authors before they agree to buy the manuscript. They provide an assessment letter, which points out strengths and weaknesses, with the goal of helping authors to improve. They offer talks and online classes to help educate and inform authors. And they have an author development program, where an editor works with an author to improve a promising story.

Right now, they’ve issued some special calls for upcoming anthologies:

Christmas Menage – 20,000 to 30,000 word Christmas-theme manage stories, XXX rated. Deadline – Oct. 15.

Baby, What a Big Surprise! – Holiday novellas – any holiday between December and March, 20,000 to 35,000 words. The deadline for Christmas stories is past, but they’re still open to holidays after the new year.

Find all of Loose Id’s submission guidelines, contract terms, etc. here. 

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Liz McMullen Show Publications is assembling a Valentine’s anthology on the theme of “appetite.” Send your 3,000 to 4,000 word short story on this theme — any genre, although Editor Ila Goyane prefers that all stories have some element of romance or erotica. Payment is $30 plus two copies. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2015. Get all the details here.

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Young adult magazine Cicada has issued a call for stories, poems and comics on the theme of Tricksters and Thieves. Send your stories of pirates, charlatans, illusions, deceptions and trickery to editor Marianne Carus. Stories may be up to 9,000 words. Payment is 25 cents a word.  The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2104. Find more details here.

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New York based small press Black Balloon Publishing offers the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize for an unpublished novel of 50,000 words or more. The novel may be of any genre, and they welcome cross-genre and hard-to-define fiction. First prize is $5,000 and a publication contract. There is no fee to enter. They will accept submissions beginning October 1 to October 31. Find more details here.

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As always, feel free to share this information with others. All I ask is that you credit me as the source and provide a link to this blog. If you want to know more about me and my books, check out my websites here or here and like me on Facebook here.