Just a notice that I’m putting the blog on hiatus for a while. In light of an increased writing schedule (a good thing!) I’m reevaluating how I use my time and for now, at least, the blog is being set aside. Thank you to all my loyal followers. See you on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Only in grammar can you be more than perfect.” William Safire


This week I continue my recap of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City with a look at the Spotlight on Grand Central Forever and Forever Yours

Amy Pierpont, Editor in Chief began the workshop. She was joined by, Editorial Director, Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor Michelle Bidelspach, Editorial Assistant Megha Parekh,  Editorial Assistant Lauren Plude, Dana Hamilton, Associate Editor Alex Logan, and Editorial Assistant Jessie Piece. Grand Central is part of the Hachette Publishing Group, which publishes all kinds of fiction and nonfiction under a variety of imprints. Forever is the imprint devoted to romance and Forever Yours is the digital first romance imprint.The company is very open to new authors. In 2014, Forever and Forever Yours had 14 debut authors – never before published.

The editors on the panel were polled about what they are looking for in submissions. I was listening to a recording of this workshop and none of the editors identified themselves in the recording, so I apologize that I cannot tell you who said the following, but mentioned as likes were:

Books that make them sob.

Books that make them laugh out loud.

Books that shock them.

Navy Seals, Scottish Highlanders, Bikers, Bad-Boys, Billionaires, Cowboys “our next book boyfriend.” Hot guys are always in.

Page-turning stories – a book that will keep you up all night.

Emotional books

“Crack-alicious” books

Series with a strong hook across the series.

Forever publishes mass market and trade paperback, as well as ebooks. They are looking for full, single title length manuscripts (85,000 to 95,000 words). Generally, they accept agented-only submissions, however if you attend a session they give at a conference or pitch to them at a conference, you may email an editor and mention that and they will be happy to take a look at a query. For unpublished authors they want a full manuscript. If you are previously published, they will accept a synopsis and first three chapters. Only submit to one Forever editor. If your submission isn’t right for that editor, she will pass it on to another editor on the team if she believes the manuscript is better suited for that person.

Forever Yours publishes ebook first and Print-on-Demand. They accept manuscripts from 15,000 words to over 100,000 words. Books over 50,000 words are eligible for POD. You do not have to be agented to submit to Forever Yours. The editors like to see a proposal and sample chapters, but the manuscript should be completed and ready to go when the editor requests it.

Next followed a discussion of some of Forever and Forever Yours’ marketing efforts, which include online ads, interaction with bloggers, social media posts, reviews, ads in magazines, and activities on Goodreads. Hachette has a hug presence at BEA and lots of different conferences. They have two newsletters that go to readers and a newsletters targeted to reviewers.

The publicity department pitches books to media. Publicists work with authors to brainstorm potential media outlets and to plan blog tours and book blitzes. They do Q&As, excerpts and giveaways on blogs. They host Facebook parties and Twitter campaigns. They try to help authors with their promotional efforts. They tweet quotes and create quote-graphics from their authors’ books. They are also very active on Instagram.Hachette does paid placement for books in physical bookstores and with online retailers.

The editors encourage authors to follow them on Twitter. They tweet about stories they are looking for and have bought books authors submitted as a result of these tweets.


The Poisoned Pencil, an imprint of Poisoned Pen Press, is accepting submissions of Young Adult mysteries, 45,000 to 80,000 words. The books are published in both ebook and trade paper editions. The book’s protagonist should be between 13 and 18 years old. The editors appreciate “off-beat approaches” and also welcome submissions from teen authors. The company pays a $1000 advance. Find our more details here.


Arizona State University’s College for Liberal Arts and Sciences, and The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative are sponsoring the 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story contest. Submit your short story of up to 5000 words which offers a vision of a future Earth impacted by climate change. Stories will be judged by award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson. There is no fee to enter the contest. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000. The deadline for entries is January 15, 2016. Get all the details here.


My altar-ego, Cynthia Sterling, has a new historical romance for sale. The last pirate features a daring heroine, a handsome sea captain, a roguish pirate, buried treasure and a killer hurricane. And of course, romance!  Look for it wherever ebooks are sold. TheLastPirateOTHERSITES


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook

I refer to the need for learning to punctuate properly because in a work of art punctuation often plays the part of musical notation and can’t be learned from a textbook; it requires instinct and experience.” –– Anton Chekov


This week I continue my recaps of the publisher spotlights at the Romance Writers of America annual conference in New York City, with a look at the Spotlight on Harlequin Single Title

The session was moderated by Malle Valick, and was presented in a Q&A format. The panel consisted of Susan Swinwood, Executive Editor of HQN Books; Nicole Brebner, Executive Editor with Mira Books; and Natasha Wilson, Executive Editor for Harlequin Teen; Michelle Renaud, Director of Romance Publicity and Events; and Amy Jones Marketing Director for Mira and Harlequin Teen. Harlequin has three single-title imprints: Harlequin HQN, Mira and Harlequin Teen.

Mira publishes general fiction, including women’s fiction. In women’s fiction, they are interested in multi-layered, often multi-generational stories. Romance may be part of the story but is not at the central core of the story. HQN focuses on romance, publishing all sub-genres – historical, contemporary, paranormal, suspense, etc.

Susan talked about trends in romance – she sees sports heroes and heroes in the music business as well as the urban west as a setting. Billionaire stories are still very popular, and shorter editorial (novellas) are growing in popularity.

Nicole mentioned that very dark stories and psychological suspense remain popular, there an increased demand for lighter stories.

Natasha spoke about trends in teen stories – she sees science fiction and space opera, as well as environmental-disaster based stories as becoming more popular. Horror is popular with teens right now. Also, diverse characters are always welcome and popular with readers.

The editors next talked about things they see too much of that will have a hard time of being accepted. Mentioned were dystopian stories, paranormal stories, and new adult stories as things that will have a hard time standing out in the crowd and getting accepted in the current market. Urban settings are become more popular as the list of small-town romances and women’s fiction becomes saturated.

On the historical front, Mira publishes historical novels, while HQN publishes historical romance. The market for historicals is strong right now.

The next topic was pitching to editors. The panel stressed researching the publisher and knowing what they publish. Be able to summarize your story concisely (the 30-second elevator pitch was mentioned). Be able to tell the editor what makes your story unique. If a publisher already publishes five western romance authors, how are you different? What will attract readers to your book? Talk about your platform, if you have one – a blog with a lot of followers, a big social media presence, etc.

Malle asked the editors to describe a book they would love to publish. Nicole would love an epic historical novel that covers an interesting era in time and is filled with drama and emotion. Susan wants “a great big love story” – something modern, with a fresh voice, that captures the excitement and passion of falling in love. Maybe it’s told in a different way – in first person perhaps. Natasha would love to see something that feels different from anything else on their list.

The next question Malle posed was “Why publish with Harlequin?” The panelists cited Harlequin’s global reach, the company’s reputation as romance experts, and a team approach to producing books.

Most of the rest of the spotlight was taken up with questions from audience members, which included how to engage on social media, the author/editor relationship, would the editors be interested in a book about xyz? If you are interested in any of these things, by all means buy a copy of this workshop (available through RWA for members only). I’m not going to summarize all of that here because those things aren’t really the scope of this blog.


Evernight Publishing is a digital publisher of romance, erotic romance and urban fantasy. The editors are open to submissions of 5,000 to 10,000 words for anthologies, 8,000 to 14,000 words for their Romance on the Go series, 15,000 to 35,000 word Naughty Fairy Tales, 25,000 to 50,000 word Planet Alpha Stories and any other manuscripts of 15,000 to 100,000 words that fall into the categories of urban fantasy, romance or erotic romance. Authors in anthologies receive 50% net royalties; all others receive 45% net royalties. Check out their submission guidelines here.


Harlequin is having its biggest ebook sale ever through November 17th. Get all series backlist titles for only $1.99. You can snag all my backlist from Intrigue, Blaze, Superromance, Heartwarming, American Romance and more!



Blue Mountain Arts is seeking prose and poetry for Mother’s Day themed greeting cards. They want writing that captures genuine emotion related to relationships with mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers and mother figures, but they specifically do not want religious themed submissions. They accept both email and snail mail submissions and pay $300 per greeting card, or $500 is they decide to use your work in a themed gift book. The deadline for Mother’s Day submissions is December 12, 2015. For more details go here.


The Quantum Shorts contest invites writers to submit a short story of no more than 1,000 words, inspired by quantum physics. There is no fee to enter the competition, and the first prize is $1500. The People’s Choice winner receives $1000, a special youth winner receives $100 and the authors of second and third place stories receive $1000 and $500. You can read all the rules and link to a page of inspirations and read past winning stories here. The deadline to enter is December 1, 2015.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook

Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.

Hazel Rochman


This week’s recap looks at the Spotlight on Carina Press from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City.

Editorial Director Angela James presented this spotlight, along with personnel from the marketing, publicity and the Harlequin Author Network.

Carina Press is the digital-first imprint of Harlequin Books. In addition to being published digitally, select Carina Press titles are also released in print and audio versions. Carina celebrated its fifth anniversary in June 2015.

Carina uses a variety of channels to market its titles, from social media and the Carina website, as well as online advertising and other specialty campaigns. Carina also has resources to help authors promote their own books. Carina publicists works with traditional and online media, including bloggers and online influencers.

The Harlequin Author Network is an online portal for Carina and Harlequin Authors. They can check publication schedule, review book covers or publication schedules, track sales and know when foreign editions are coming out. HAN also offers marketing tools and training for authors and keeps authors up-to-date on what’s going on behind the scenes at Harlequin and what is coming up.

Kerri Buckley, senior editor of Carina Press also spoke at this Spotlight. She talked a little about the publishing process. Every manuscript goes through a minimum of two rounds of revisions and four rounds of proofreading. Authors have access to everyone in the company.

Carina publishes a variety of fiction, including New Adult, contemporary and historical romance, mystery and suspense, science fiction and fantasy romance, paranormal romance and erotic romance. They do not publish inspirational or young adult romance. Some of the best-sellers for them right now is sexy, urban, contemporary romance. They are not looking for small-town contemporary romance. They are very interested in sexy, paranormal romance – but no psychics, ghosts, angels or mermaids. Demons, shifters or vampires are okay. Paranormal needs a strong hook to succeed. They would also like to see an erotic science fiction romance (with aliens!). Romantic suspense sells well for them – stories can be either heavy on suspense or heavy on romance. The editors would love to see erotic romance over 75,000 words and more male-male romance.

Carina is happy to work with hybrid authors (those who publish both traditionally and self-publishing.) They want to know what you’re doing as an indie author and collaborate with you on career-building and schedule titles so as not to conflict. They will put a blurb for your indie books in the back of your Carina books.

Carina does not pay an advance. They pay a royalty rate of 40 percent (50 percent for titles sold through the Carina Press website or the Harlequin website.) Their time to market is approximately six to 12 months. They pay royalties quarterly. Carina is open to both agented and unagented submissions. They prefer complete manuscripts, but will also consider queries and proposals.  For more information, go here. 


Books to Go Now is a small press based in the Pacific Northwest. The company publishes both digital and paper editions of most titles, and focuses on romance, though they also publish Mystery and Suspense and New Adult. New Adult stories should be told in first person. In romance, the editors are particularly interested in contemporary, paranormal, erotica and erotic romance, steampunk, time travel and BDSM. They prefer work between 10,000 and 30,000 words. They promise a reply within six weeks. Get all the details here.


The Austin Chronicle is holding its Annual Short Story Contest. The contest is open to all writers, whether you are a Texan or not. Submit your short story of no more than 2,500 words by the deadline of November 11, 2015. Prizes totaling $1500 will be awarded to the top five stories. Read all the guidelines and check out some of the past contest winners here.


Patchwork Hearts combines quilting lore and romance for a rich, emotional love story set in a turbulent time in our nation’s history — just after the Civil War. Check out this title by my altar ego, Cynthia Sterling.



As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook


To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company.”

Andre Gide


This week I’m recapping the Spotlight on Harlequin Series Romance from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City. Joanne Grant, Senior executive editor from Harlequin’s UK office was joined by Susan Litman from New York and Johanna Raisanin from Toronto in presenting the spotlight, which featured a lot of trivia and giveaways, as well as information about Harlequin’s various series romance lines.

Susan Litman talked about how Harlequin builds careers. Harlequin has over 75 editors with a combined 700 years of experience, working with 545 Harlequin series authors. Harlequin publishes books around the world and has an internationally recognized brand. Harlequin distributes books in retail stores, as ebooks, and through their subscription-based book clubs. They have 15 editorial office world-wide and publish 800 international titles a month. Harlequin titles are translated into 34 languages.

Johanna Raisanin talked about Harlequin’s series’ program. Harlequin has seventeen series divided into several categories. The Passion category includes Presents, Desire and Blaze. These books have strong, seductive heroes; likable heroines and plenty of sex. Presents heroes are always Alpha males and have glamorous, international settings. The Presents editors would like to see heroines involved in traditionally male professions, on a more equal level with the hero. They would also like to see some stories featuring “other women.” Desire stories feature wealthy families and alluring settings, with larger-than-life conflicts. The Desire editors like stories with multiple, well-integrated hooks. Blaze is the sexiest contemporary romance series. Blaze heroes are ordinary buys with extra-ordinary appeal. Books that combine sexiness with humor are popular.

Home and Family includes Medical Romance, Heartwarming, Special Edition and American Romance and Harlequin Romance. All these stories feature “humor, emotion and community.” Medical centers around medical drama with a “heart-racing romance,” Medical would love to see a story featuring a child’s medical transplant, or stories with “royals or shiek doctors.” Special Edition is especially interested in seeing stories featuring parents of “differently abled children.” In Harlequin Romance, the heroine is key. This is her emotional story. The editors here would love more international heroes. Heartwarming stories are clean and contemporary stories that celebrate traditional values, family and communities. The editors would love to see characters with careers that can add external action to the stories. American romance is the place for small town and cowboy stories. The editors here love stories with “lots of babies – twins and triplets.”

The Suspense category is home to Romantic Suspense and Intrigue which combine danger and romance. Romantic Suspense focuses on the developing love story against a suspenseful background. Both heroes and heroines are strong and complex. Romantic Suspense editors would love to see legal thrillers with strong romances, and stories with pregnant heroines – always a favorite with readers. At Harlequin Intrigue, crime-solving and a complex mystery form the foundation of every story. Heroes and heroines work together in these high stakes, fast-paced stories. Intrigue editors love stories with western settings, babies or heroines in jeopardy, and undercover agents.

Harlequin’s Inspirational category is made up of Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical.  These stories all have a spiritual (Christian) component. Love Inspired is looking for Amish romances, stories with twins or tripliets, and stories with heroes and heroines in their 40s and 50s. Love Inspired Suspense is eager to see more secret baby stories, stories featuring mistaken identity, and amnesia stories. Love Inspired Historical romances are set in historical periods from Biblical times to World War II. The editors here would also like to see some Amish-themed stories.

Romance With More is home to SuperRomance – the longest category titles. These are layered stories with true-to-life plots, high emotion and deep romance. Stories often feature small towns and cowboys, but the editors also love the occasional vacation romance.

Kimani Romance features African-American romances and multi-cultural love stories. Kimana heroes may be high-powered businessmen or sexy cowboys. Kimani heroes are ambitious and wealthy. The editors would love to see stories featuring an ex-military hero who is now a successful wealthy businessman, or a story with a hero or heroine with royal bloodlines.

Historical Romance readers love rich, historical settings. Right now the editors are looking for stories set in World War I or World War II and would love to see a fresh take on the marriage of convenience theme.

Paranormal romance is where readers find Nocturne, the line that features sexy romance with paranormal themes. The editors love gothic stories and are open to new ideas.

To learn more about Harlequin series romance, visit their writing guidelines.  Another way to get the attention of Harlequin editors is through their annual So You Think You Can Write contest. You can find out more about that here. Harlequin also sponsors various series-specific contests throughout the year. You do not need an agent to submit to Harlequin.


Once again, Minotaur Books and Malice Domestic are teaming up to sponsor the 2016 Best First Traditional Mystery Competition. The winning entry receives a publishing contract with Minotau (a division of St. Martin’s Press) and a $10,000 advance. There is no fee to enter the contest. The competition is open to any previously unpublished author. You must have a complete manuscript of a story in which a crime is central to the story. The manuscript must be at least 65,000 words. The deadline for entering is November 1, 2015. Find out all the details here.


Vermont Magazine and Green Mountain Power are sponsoring the Vermont Writer’s Prize. The contest is open to all Vermont writers. Submit your short story of 1,500 words or less, which focuses on Vermont. There is no fee to enter and the first prize is $1500. The deadline to enter is November 1, 2015. Get the details here.


Dreamspinner Press is planning A Story a Day — A Walk on the Wild Side in June of 2016 and they are accepting stories now for this project. Submit your gay romance short story that features at least one character who is a shapeshifter. Stories should be between 5,000 and 18,000 words  The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2016. Find all the details here.


Do you enjoy western romance? Check out A Long, Sweet Ride, by me (written as Cynthia Sterling.) This story of two outcasts who find love in a Wild West Show in 1890s Texas features thrills, laughs and an emotional and sexy love story.



Untreed Reads is looking for short stories for an upcoming focus on holiday stories with horror. Stories may be any genre mixed with horror (except erotica, inspirational or children’s). Editor-in-Chief Jay Harman is especially interested in Kwanzaa and Hanukkah stories, but will also accept Christmas and New Year’s stories. Manuscripts should be between 1500 and 5000 words. The deadline for submissions is November 15. Get the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers — they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.” ~Sinclair Lewis


This week I’m continuing recaps of the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City with a look at Blushing Books. Blushing Books claims to be the oldest ebook romance publisher — publishing online since 2001. The company started in 1991, selling erotica through the mail. Until 2010 they were a small company with only 20 to 30 authors. Since 2010 they have grown from about 30 authors to over 200 authors. They publish 25 to 30 titles each month specializing in erotic romance and power exchange romance.

They publish all lengths above 22,000 words, in all time periods and sub-genres of romance. According to their website, “a romantic storyline with a strong D/s element and spanking will be most likely to appeal to our readers.”

Blushing Books pays advances of $250 – $500 on all titles except editor-generated anthologies and re-releases. After acceptance, the book will be published anywhere from six weeks to four months later.  They pay 50 percent royalties – up to 60 percent for established Blushing authors. They pay monthly royalties.

All books are initially released digitally. Many titles also go on to be produced as audiobooks.

Find all their guidelines here. 


Mysterious Press is sponsoring a contest for the Best EBook Original  Mystery Novel. The contest is open to both established and new authors, and your manuscript must be complete and not previously published in any other format. For this contest, submissions will be accepted only from established literary agents. Your story may be in any mystery sub-genre — hard-boiled, historical, traditional detective, humorous, noir, police procedural. The story must feature a crime or the threat of a crime. No horror, science fiction or fantasy will be accepted. There is no fee to enter the contest, and the top prize witll be $25,000. Submissions will open January 1, 2016 and the contest closes April 30, 2016. Find more details here.


The fun continues with my free online read for Harlequin intrigue. The final chapter is posted this week. Black Canyon Betrayal ties into my Ranger Brigade series for Intrigue. Read the entire novella free here.



Steam Romance is looking for stories between  15,000 and 100,000 words. Steam publishes romance and erotic fiction in all sub-genres, including contemporary, historical, fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, paranormal and dystopian. Stories should feature strong lead female characters, should have happy endings, and should include detailed love scenes. Steam is an imprint of Kennebec Press, based in Maine. For more information, go here.


HoldFast is a speculative fiction magazine looking for submissions for an upcoming issue devoted to the theme of Love, Sex, Romance. Submit your spec-fic stories that explore this theme — horror, urban fantasy, space opera, science fiction, etc. Stories should be between 100 and 5,000 words. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2016. Get the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves“. ~Anna Quindlen,


This week I continue my recap of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America conference in New York with a look at the Spotlight on Sourcebooks. Editorial Director Deb Werksman started off the session with an introduction to Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks is based in Naperville, Illinois and has been around 27 years. Sourcebooks Casablanca is their romance imprint. They also publish nonfiction, children’s, young adult and general fiction. Sourcebooks is the largest woman-owned independent publishing house in North America.

Sourcebooks publishes 8-10 mass market romance titles each month. They are open to working with hybrid authors, who want to publish both traditionally and independently. They are open to both established and brand new authors.

Sourcebooks accepts submissions from both agented and unagented authors. Deb Werksman is interested in acquiring women’s fiction with a strong hook. On the romance side, she likes strong heroines and heroes and is open to all sub-genres, but don’t send her anything dark and depressing.

Editor Mary Altman is interested in strong single-title romances, She likes all sub-genres of romance, but don’t send her women’s fiction or young adult.

Associate Editor Cat Clyne. She likes all romance sub-genres, but especially romantic suspense and contemporary romantic suspense. She likes damaged heroes.

For a look at the editors and their interests, go here.

Part of the spotlight was devoted to talking about the process for making the cover for the book and the publicity and marketing that Sourcebook does for its authors, including a dedicated publicist for each author, author branding, print and online advertising, social media campaigns and ARCs to reviewers.

Find out more about Sourcebooks here.


Crimson Romance, a digital publishing arm of Adams Media, has issued a call for LGBTQIA* romances. They are especially interested in male/male romances. They are interested in both novels of 55,000 to 90,000 words and novellas 20,000 to 50,000 words. The focus of the story should be on the emotional and romantic relationship between the partners. For more information, go here.


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The fun continues with my free online read for Harlequin intrigue. Chapter Seven posted this week — only one more chapter to go. Black Canyon Betrayal ties into my Ranger Brigade series for Intrigue. Read the novella free here.



Children’s publications Cricket and Spider have issued a call for stories about castles and knights. They’re looking for both historical and contemporary fiction that relates to the topic and welcome interesting twists on the theme. Multi-cultural stories and humor are welcome. Cricket appeals to children ages 9-14 and accepts stories between 1200 and 1800 words. Spider is for kids 6 to 9 and accepts stories between 300 and 1000 words. Payment is 25 cents a word. The deadline for submissions is October 26, 2015. For more details, go here.


The First Line is a quarterly story publication with an interesting twist — writers are asked to submit a story based on a first line supplied by the magazine. Currently, editors are looking for stories with the first line “George pressed the call button and said, “Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor.” Stories should be between 300 and 5,000 words. Payment is $25 – $50. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2015. Get all the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

“Do you realize that all great literature is all about what a bummer it is to be a human being? Isn’t it such a relief to have somebody say that?” Kurt Vonnegut


This week I’m continuing my recap of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City with the Spotlight on Ballantine Bantam Dell.

Shauna Summers began with an overview of Ballantine Bantam Dell, which is a division of Random House. They publish approximately 800 titles a year in all formats. About 200 of that number is e-original. They publish all types of fiction and non-fiction.

Sue Grimshaw spoke about their digital imprint, Loveswept, which is devoted to romance. St. Martins has three other digital first lines – Hydra for Science Fiction, Alibi for mystery and Flirt for New Adult stories. Loveswept has had multiple New York Times and USA Today best-selling titles. Loveswept accepts both agented and unagented submissions. There is an online submission portal. The editors would like to see a synopsis and the first few chapters.  Find out more here. 

Penguin Random House offers an Author Portal where any of their authors can log in to track sales of their books, access marketing tools and information, and other resources for authors.

Much of the workshop was devoted to talking about all the things Ballantine Bantam Dell does for authors in terms of marketing, author training, tools for promotion, etc. The speakers emphasized that they are happy to work with hybrid authors who want to combine self-publishing and traditional publishing.

BBD is open to all kinds of romance. With digital, they are open to all kinds of lengths. They prefer series because readers prefer series.


Blue Cubicle Press is compiling a collection of stories “Tales from the Construction Site” and wants stories and poems from woodworkers, electricians, plumbers, contractors — anyone who works in construction. Payment is $50 per story for stories of 500 to 5,000 words. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2015, or until the issue is full. Find more details here. 


The fun continues with my free online read for Harlequin intrigue. Chapter Six posted this week — two more chapters to go. Black Canyon Betrayal ties into my Ranger Brigade series for Intrigue. Read the novella free here. 



Dappled Things literary magazine is seeking stories in which memorable characters experience grace in ordinary settings and activities for the J.F. Powers Prize for Fiction. Dappled Things is a Catholic publication that explores “ideas, art and faith.” Stories may be up to 8,000 words. First prize is $500 and second prize is $250. There is no fee to enter. The deadline for submissions is November 7, 2015.  Check out all the details here and be sure to click on the links to read a couple of past contest winners.


Rhubarb is a Mennonnite publication based in Canada. The editors are seeking fiction, poetry and nonfiction on the theme of ability and disability from Mennonite writers. Stories may be up to 3,000 words, and the deadline for submissions is November 1, 2015. Payment is $50 per story. Get all the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

“I write because I’m afraid to say some things out loud.” ~Gordon Atkinson,


This week I’m continuing my overview of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in New York City with a look at the Spotlight on St. Martin’s Press.

Editorial Director of Romance Monique Patterson began the spotlight with an overview of St. Martin’s. The company was founded in 1952. It is one of the five largest trade publishers in North America and is dedicated to publishing commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction of all kinds. St. Martin’s has a diverse romance publishing program. They are always looking for new voices for the romance program.

Like pretty much every other publisher these days, St. Martin’s is expanding its digital publishing program with a new digital imprint, St. Martin’s Swerve. Swerve has an online submission portal here  and the first Swerve title will be published in January 2016. Authors who are selected for Swerve may choose from a royalty and advance arrangement or no advance and higher royalty rates.

The editors in attendance spoke briefly about the types of books they are each looking for. Senior Editor Rose Hilliard acquires all kinds of romance, but said she particularly loves small town romances, romantic young adult stories, humor, stories where animals are featured and she loves alpha males in romance.

Associate Editor Eileen Rothschild really loves romance with high concept plots and dark edges, but she also enjoys small town settings and humor. She likes “high octane adventure” and alpha males. Don’t send her historical romance.

Assistant Editor Elizabeth Poteet does not like dark romance. She loves Southern settings, sexy but emotional stories, small town contemporaries and humor, especially Southern humor. She’d love to see some romantic comedy or romantic suspense for Swerve. She also loves books with stalkers.

Associate Editor Holly Ingraham is looking for a strong narrative voice and emotional stories. She loves sassy heroines and humor in stories. She would like to acquire contemporaries, especially if set in a metropolitan area. She’s interested in acquiring romantic suspense with a strong, alpha-male hero, maybe military. She also loves cowboys. She is also looking for mystery – some cozies, amateur sleuths, and she likes a little romance in her mysteries. For Swerve she would enjoy some lighter paranormal, with humor.

Monique likes very emotionally intense stories and is open to darker stories. She doesn’t do lighter, sweeter romance. She is also interested in “very high concept” women’s fiction.

St. Martin’s does consider both agented and unagented manuscripts, though agented material takes precedence.


The fun continues with my free online read for Harlequin intrigue. Chapter Five posted this week — three more chapters to go. Black Canyon Betrayal ties into my Ranger Brigade series for Intrigue. Read the novella free here. 



Spider Road Press has issued a call for suspense novellas by women authors for an upcoming anthology. Approaching Footsteps will be released in 2016 and will feature four novellas. Editor Patricia Flaherty is seeking more literary suspense stories between 9,000 and 13,000 words by the deadline of November 1. Payment is $150.  Find all the details here.


Harlequin Books’ So You Think You Can Write program is nearing its close for 2015. The deadline for submissions is September 21. Submit your first chapter on Wattpad for a chance to advance further in the contest — perhaps all the way to a published book. Get the details here.


House of Erotica is seeking manuscripts for a variety of upcoming anthologies, including:

To Obey Her — stories of FemDom BDSM, 3,000 to 6,500 words. Contemporary settings, diverse characters, Deadline September 21, 2015.

A Dose of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem — Mystery, crime and murder mixed with romance. Any heat level. 5,000 to 15,000 words. Deadline October 31, 2015.

For more information, go here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
― Lloyd Alexander


This week I’m continuing my overview of the Publisher Spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City, with a look at Samhain Books. 

LaToya Smith, executive editor of Samhain Publishing, began this publisher spotlight. Samhain is celebrating its tenth birthday in 2015. Samhain publishes ebooks and POD paperbacks. Their books are distributed through all major retailers and etailers. They publish romance, horror fiction and erotic fiction. They publish all sub-genres and try to give their readers lots of variety. They pay royalties monthly. Samhain is a full-service publisher with editorial, marketing and art department professionals. Samhain works with the author to come up with a good cover that the author will be happy with. Most manuscripts are published within six months of acquisition. Samhain is not opposed to authors publishing with other publishers or self-publishing, in addition to publishing with Samhain.

Marketing coordinator Kaitlyn Osborn talked about Samhain’s marketing efforts. All books published by Samhain receive Facebook and Twitter banners. Romance and horror titles are sent out for review at over 150 places. They promote the reviews on social media. They send a weekly newsletter highlighting new releases and Samhain authors. All of Samhain’s new releases receive an ad. If authors want to purchase additional ads, Samhain is happy to provide artwork for the ad. Samhain is very active on social media. Samhain will also work with authors to come up with promotional ideas.

Samhain accepts both agented and unagented submissions.  They accept manuscripts between 10,000 and 125,000 words. Every published work over 50,000 words also goes into print-on-demand.  Send a query letter, the full manuscripts and a detailed synopsis to romance@samhainpublishing.com  Allow 12 to 16 weeks for a reply.  Find all of Samhain’s writing guidelines here.


Fireside Magazine publishes flash fiction in all genres — westerns, mystery, romance, sci-fi, fantasy — almost any kind of fiction. They are open to submissions now and will accept 1,000 to 4,000 words short stories until September 30, 2015. They pay 12.5 cents per word for accepted stories. Editor Brian White is looking for complete stories with a strong plot and compelling characters. The magazine strives to depict diverse characters and encourages submissions from writers who may have traditionally been excluded from publishing. Find the magazine’s detailed submission guidelines here.


For a limited time, my fictional autobiography of Jesse James’ wife (based on true events) is on sale for Kindle for only 99 cents. The regular price is $9.99, so this is a bargain. Get your copy of The Woman Who Loved Jesse James here.



Jerry Jazz Musician is sponsoring a short story contest with a first prize of $100. Editors prefer stories of up to 3,000 words, but will consider stories of up to 5,000 words. The magazine will accept stories on any theme for this contest, but the magazine’s readers are particularly interested in the jazz culture of 20th century America. There is no fee to enter and the deadline for entries is September 20, 2015. For more information, go here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint, retweet, etc. Please give me credit as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. For more about me, visit my websites here and here, or check me out on Facebook. 

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