“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.” – Harlan Ellison

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This week I begin my review of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in New York City. This year’s spotlights included a good mix of large and small publishers who publish a wide variety of romance and other fiction. Up this week: Kensington Books.

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Editor Alicia Condon started off the spotlight. The focus of the Spotlight on Kensington Books was on letting attendees know what makes Kensington different from everyone else. Ms. Condon noted that lLast year the company celebrated its 40th anniversary. It is the largest New York-based independent publisher in the U.S. Steve and Adam Zacharias run the family-owned company. Being small allows them to respond more quickly to changing market trends. They give personal attention to each author but are large enough to have books on the New York Times list almost every week. Kensington editors and departments work at a team. As a smaller company, everyone knows everyone else.

Senior Editor Esi Sogah presented an overview of the kinds of books Kensington publishes. They publish over 500 books annually, in all genres and all formats. Zebra is the main mass-market romance imprint, publishing historical, contemporary, erotica, sweet romances, romantic suspense, paranormal – everything romance. Lyrical is Kensington’s digital first publishing program. In 2016 Zebra will debut Zebra Shout, which will focus on debut authors. The books will be priced at $4.99. Lyrical authors will also have the opportunity to move from ebook only to print in the Zebra Shout program. Dafina, Kensington’s African-American and multi-cultural program publishes over 80 books a year in all formats and all genres. Dafina is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Pinnacle publishes thrillers, westerns and true crime. Sogah emphasized that Kensington is willing to take risks on authors.

Associate Editor Martin Biro talked about Lyrical Press, Kensington’s digital-first imprint. They publish 20+ books a month and are growing fast. They also release a trade-paper POD version of every Lyrical book that is 60,000 words and up. Lyrical publishes a wide variety of fiction. It is very romance focused, but they also publish mystery and suspense with Lyrical Underground and contemporary romance with Lyrical Shine. They publish mainstream commercial fiction and young adult in Lyrical also. Lyrical is actively acquiring and they are open to experimenting with a wide variety of fiction.

Tara Gavin is the newest editor with Kensington. She comes to Kensington after a long career with Harlequin. She spoke about how to submit to Kensington. Kensington accepts queries from both agented and unagented authors. She advised authors to study the market and think about where they fit in best. Read a lot and become familiar with what each publisher publishes. Send your query electronically and in your query let the editor know you have a complete manuscript. Compare your work to books that are already in the marketplace. This helps the editor understand the type of book you are writing and where it fits in the market. Summarize the story in a few paragraphs. Include a synopsis of a couple of pages with your query letter. Submit to only one editor at Kensington, but if the manuscript is not right for that editor and he or she believes another editor would like it, he or she will pass the submission on to them. Tara is actively acquiring and building an author base.

Alex Nicolajsen is the associate director of digital at Kensington. She works with Lyrical. She talked about marketing and Kensington. Vida Engstrom is director of marketing at Kensington. They develop a marketing plan for each book and have a dedicated communications person for each genre and imprint. They brainstorm ways to promote books.

The next section of the Spotlight was devoted to each editor revealing what is on their wish list.

Alicia Condon is looking for a “fantastic Amish romance” with a fresh theme or a fresh setting. She noted they have an Amish series that is set in Appalachia, which is the type of unusual setting they are looking for. She is looking for a mystery romance with a humorous, off-beat voice. She would love some “feel-good fiction” exploring the themes of friendship and family, on the sweeter side, verging on inspirational but not inspirational.

Tara Gavin loves historical mysteries. She would love to find some new cozy mystery series. She loves series and readers do too. She wants women’s fiction that focuses on community.

Alex would love to see a sexy cozy mystery for Lyrical, as well as contemporary romance with different settings, such as the French countryside.

Martin Biro said he’s looking for more mysteries for Lyrical. Personally, he loves historical romance from different settings and cultures. He also said if anyone wants to write “Dexter meets Murder She Wrote” he would probably buy it.

Esi Sogah is also very interested in sexy cozy mysteries. She would love to see more historicals with unique settings. She would also like an American romance set in the earlier part of the 20th century – roaring 20s or turn-of-the-century.

Alica Condon announced that Wendy McCurdy is joining Kensington as of August 3rd. McCurdy is a former senior editor at Bantam Dell and the former executive editor at Berkley. She is acquiring women’s fiction and romance.

You can find out more about what specific Kensington editors are looking for at their website 

The editors present briefly talked about their pet peeves. Do your research and confirm the editor you are submitting to actually works on the kind of book you are writing – don’t send your YA to an editor who doesn’t work on YA. Spell the editor’s name correctly, and verify their gender (Alex doesn’t want to be addressed as ‘Mr.’).

You can reach any editor at Kensington via email by addressing your email to them using the address of their first initial last name @kensingtonbooks.com

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Starting this week you can read a free story by me online at Harlequin.com. Black Canyon Betrayal is part of my Ranger Brigade miniseries from Harlequin Intrigue, and for the next ten weeks you can read a new chapter each week here. And check out all the books in the series. bookbanner

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The Dark City is seeking crime and mystery short stories, 1,000 to 7,500 words. Editor and Publisher Steven Oliver is interested in stories that explore the dark underworld of crime and the immoral side of human nature. Currently he is particularly interested in stories set in the western U.S. with a basis in reality. Payment is $25 per story. See the guidelines here. 

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CBAY Books (Children’s Brains Are Yummy” is seeking stories about giants and ogres for an upcoming anthology aimed at readers 13 to 18 years old. Editor Madeline Smoot is looking for science fiction or fantasy stories of up to 5,000 words which feature a giant or ogre from a classic fairy tale, re-imagined in either a re-told fairy tale or a new story. Payment is $30 per story and the deadline for submissions is September 18. Learn more here.

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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. 

Make everyone fall out of the plane first and then explain who they were and why they were in the plane to begin with.” Nancy Ann Dibble

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Romance website Heroes and Heartbreakers welcomes submissions of 15,000 to 30,000 word short stories and 30,000 to 50,000 words novellas for publication on the website. The editors are open to all sub-genres of romance — contemporary, paranormal, historical, chick-lit, romantic suspense, women’s fiction and erotica. The work must be previously unpublished. Payment is $1000 to $2000. For details, check their guidelines here
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If you’ve written an original Jack the Ripper story, editor Maxim Jakubowski is looking for you. Jakubowski is assembling the Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Tales and needs fiction based around the story of Jack the Ripper, but with your original twist. Stories should be between 4,000 and  7,500 words. Payment is $215 and the deadline is April 1. Find out more here.

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Meerkat Press has issued a call for speculative fiction romance stories for an upcoming anthology “Love Hurts”.  Submit your 1,000 to 5,000 words story dealing with broken love — cheaters, love triangles, dating haards, etc. All speculative fiction sub-genres are welcome, from steampunk to space opera and everything in between.  Payment is up to 4 cents a word and the deadline for submissions is April 30, 2015. Find more details here. 

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East of the Web publishes suspense and crime fiction short stories, 7,000 words and up. They pay five cents a word, or you may choose a combination of advance and royalties. They accept new as well as previously published stories. To find out more, go here.

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As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others — repost, reprint, retweet. Please credit me as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. Find out more about me on my websites here and here, or on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter@CMyersTex. Thanks!  Cindi

East of the Web publishes

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.” John Updike

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If you know anything about beekeeping or have an interest in the hobby, this may be the contest for you. WicWas Press is assembling a bee-keeping themed anthology and they are looking for short stories and articles revolving around beekeeping. Submit your story of up to 1,500 words by March 1 for a chance to win the $500 first prize. There is no fee to enter. Find more details here.

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One Teen Story is acquiring literary short stories for young adults. One Teen Story publishes nine issues a year and each issue includes one short story, 2,000 to 4,500 words. From their guidelines: “stories should deal with the teen experience (issues of identity, friendship, family, coming-of-age, etc.) and should be geared primarily toward an audience of teen readers. With that in mind, gratuitous profanity, sex and drug use are best avoided. We’re open to all genres of literary fiction” They are open to submissions now through the end of April. Submit your story for readers 13 and older. They pay $500 per story. Find the guidelines here.

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Ellora’s Cave is searching for novellas for some upcoming anthology collections. Ellora’s Cave is a digital publisher known for “romantic” – erotic romance. They’re interested in the following themed submissions:

Screamers – erotic horror, 10,000 words + . Deadline, March 1, 2015 for publication in October 2015.

Women With Whips – FemDomme, 10,000 words +. Deadline August 1, 2105 for publication in March 2016.

Windswept Women – Erotic Gothic Romance, 18,000 words +. Deadline December 1, 2105 for publication in July 2016.

Find more details here.

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Romance Writers of America is assembling its second anthology to showcase work by RWA member. If you are a member, you may submit your romance short story, 5,000 to 7,000 words by March 12, 2015. The stories may be in any romance sub-genre, as long as they follow the theme of second chances. Sylvia Day will edit the collection, which will be released in the Spring of 2016. All proceeds benefit RWA programs. For more information go here.

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Rocky Mountain Getaway, a novella in my Eureka series, will be released May 26, but is available for pre-order now. This story features seven original recipes from the Last Dollar Cafe. Don’t miss it!

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Bouchercon, the annual convention for mystery writers and fans, is assembling an anthology of mystery short stories, “Murder Under the Oaks.” The only stipulation is that the story must contain a crime, not necessarily murder. Award-winning author Art Taylor will edit the collection. Stories should be between 3,500 and 5,500 words and should be made as blind submissions (instructions are in the guidelines). The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2015. Profits from this anthology benefit Wake County, North Carolina libraries. Get the details here.

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Fictionvale is a quarterly publication devoted to genre fiction. Most issues feature two genres of fiction, though some are open to all genres. Currently, the editors are open to submissions for the September 2015 issue, which will be devoted to Horror and Humor. Submit your story of up to 5,000 words by March 15, 2015. (Changed from the original March 1 – see the home page for details.) Payment is 2 cents a word. Get the guidelines here.

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As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others — repost, reprint, retweet. Please credit me as the source of the information and include a link to this blog. Find out more about me on my websites here and here, or on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter@CMyersTex. Thanks!  Cindi

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”  Harper Lee

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Fiery Seas Publishing publishes a variety of fiction for adults and young adults, including romance, mystery and science fiction/fantasy. They publish both ebook and paperback editions of their titles.  Right now, the editors are particularly interested in holiday stories — Beach Reads (deadline March 1, 2015), Halloween (deadline May 1, 2015), Christmas (deadline August 1, 2015) and Valentine’s stories (deadline October 1, 2015). These stories may be romance, or any other genre Fiery Seas publishes, and should be between 15,000 and 45,000 words. Read the details for these Special Calls here, or fFind their submission guidelines here.

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Canadian romance ebook publisher Morning Rain Publishers is temporarily closed to submissions.

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Diversion Books publishes contemporary and historical romance, thrillers, mystery, young adult, new adult, science fiction/fantasy and women’s fiction in both digital and print. Their slogan is “Great reads to distract the mind.” The editors accept submissions from both agented and unagented authors. Their catalog includes both new material and previously published work. They pay quarterly royalties and do a lot of online marketing. Find out more here.

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ToLoveALadyOTHERSITES

The first volume in my Titled Texans trilogy, To Love a Lady, written under my historical pen name, Cynthia Sterling, is currently free at Amazon, B&N and most e-book retailers. Check it out, along with the two other titles in the trilogy,

Educating Abbie and The Runaway.

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Only a short time left to enter the Denver Women’s Press Club Unknown WritersContest. Previously unpublished Colorado residents 18 and older may enter a short story or nonfiction article up to 2,000 words or a poem of up to 40 lines. The deadline to enter is February 17, 2015. First prize is $125. The entry fee is $25 for fiction and nonfiction and $15 for poetry. For more info, go here.

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A heads-up for my UK readers — Author Christopher Fielden maintains a comprehensive list of short story and novel writing competitions for UK writers or all sorts. Many of these competitions are free to enter and some offer prestigious prizes. Check him out here.

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The Next Novelist hosts an online writing competition for aspiring thriller, mystery and crime novel writers. Submit your novel of between 50,000 and 150,000 words to be read and voted on by the online public in elimination rounds each week. The winner receives a publishing contract and $5000. The book will be published as an ebook and you will receive royalties. Get the details here.

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Thuglit ezine accepts original crime fiction stories between 3,000 and 5,000 words. Payment is $25 plus 50 percent of digital sales. Check out the detailed (and profane — just warning if you’re sensitive to foul language) guidelines here.

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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 this blog. To find out more about me and my books, visit my websites here and here. Or find me on Facebook.

“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” ~Robert Benchley

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Ravenous Romance is open to romance novel submissions of 50,000 to 60,000 words and short stories of 2500 to 5000 words. The editors are interested in erotic romance with a happily-ever-after or happy-for-now ending. They publish all sub-genres of erotic romance, including contemporary, paranormal, lesbian and menage. They look for compelling plots, interesting characters and hot sex. Ravenous is a digital -first publisher; some titles also go into print. They pay royalties. For more details, visit them here. 

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Siren-Bookstrand is a romance e-publisher that has been in business since 2006. They publish in both digital and print formats. They publish a variety of sub-genres under fourteen imprints, including contemporary mainstream romance, erotic romance, BDSM, menage, lesbian and gay romance. Word count: 20,000 words and up. They pay 40% royalties on a quarterly basis. Get all the details here.

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Publisher Supposed Crimes, LLC is assembling a new anthology, Young Love, Old Hearts, featuring LGBT May/December relationships. All sub-genres are welcome. Submit your 2500 to 8000 word story by the deadline of February 28, 2015. Payment is $40 per story. Find the details here.

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The Stoneslide Corrective is a new online literary ezine seeking submissions of short stories and flash fiction. The editors welcome stories in any genre. ” The important factor for us is that the work use story, characters, emotions, and other fundamental elements of storytelling to think, to ask questions, to move the mind forward.” You can read examples of stories they like on their site. Short stories may be up to 7,500 words. Flash fiction should be 1,000 and under. Payment is $250 for short stories and $100 for flash fiction. Read the submission guidelines here.

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While you’re at the Stoneslide Corrective site, be sure to check out their Rejection Generator. As they put it ” We at The Stoneslide Corrective have generously developed an online Rejection Generator, through which you can send yourself some of the nastiest, dream-crushing rejection letters imaginable. After that, real rejection will be no more stinging than a glass of lemonade.”

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ALong,SweetRideOTHERSITESI’ve recently re-released my previously published historical romances as ebooks, under my pen name, Cynthia Sterling. Check out A Long, Sweet Ride. A cowboy and a trick rider find love in a Wild West Show.

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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 this blog. To find out more about me and my books, visit my websites here and here. Or find me on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
—Catherine Drinker Bowen

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my US Readers. I hope you have a peacful, rewarding holiday. This is a slow time of year for market news, but I do have a few items to share:

 

For writers of horror fiction, Blumhouse Books is a new imprint of Doubleday books, set to publish dark fiction and horror from both new and established writers. They plan to launch in the summer of 2015 with an anthology, The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City. Right now they’re sponsoring a short story contest — the winner will be published in the anthology. Submit your urban horror story of less than 2,000 words by December 1, 2014. Six finalists will be posted online for the public to vote on, with the winner announced in early January. Get all the details here.

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Month9Books, a published of speculative fiction for teens and tweens, is accepting unagented submissions for its Month9 and Tantrum imprints. Month9 focuses on YA fiction,while Tantrum publishes for middle grade readers. The editors are interested in ” fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, steampunk, dystopian, etc.” Submit your query via Facebook. Find all the details here. 

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I’ve reissued all of my historical romances in new ebook editions, under my pseudonym, Cynthia ToLoveALadyOTHERSITESSterling. If you enjoy historical western romance, check out my titles on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other e-tailers. One title you might start with is To Love A Lady, the first in my Titled Texans trilogy, about three British brothers who establish a cattle ranch on the Texas plains, and the women who love them. Combining humor, emotion and rich historical detail, these books have long been fan favorites. To Love a Lady is only 99 cents, or you can purchase all three titles in a boxed set for $5.99. I also have a number of other Cynthia Sterling titles available, so check them out. And thanks!

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Do you have a romantic, post-apocolyptic story? Good Mourning Media is assembling a collection of post-apocolyptic romantic short stories for an upcoming anthology “No Place For Us.” Submit your story of up to 15,000 words by the deadline of January 31, 2015. Payment is $30 per story. Get the details here. 

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“Love in the Time of Coffee” is another anthology looking for romance short stories. Send your romantic story of 2,000 to 4,000 words that involves coffee — a coffee shop, brewing coffee, a coffee plantation — whereever you imagination takes you, to Frisky Feminist Press. Stories may have erotic elements, but it’s not required, and the editors want romance, not erotica. The deadline is December 1, 2014. Payment is $25 plus royalties from the anthology. Find out how to submit here.

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As always, feel free to share the items in this newsletter with others — reprint, repost, reblog. All I ask is that you credit me as the source, and include a link to this blog. If you want to know more about me, check out my websites here and here, or find me on FacebookT. Thanks!

 

If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~Toni Morrison

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Writers of traditional myteries may be eligible for the  William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grants Program for Unpublished Writers, awarded by Malice Domestic each year. Two grants will be awarded. Each grant consists of $1,500, to be used to offset the cost of attending a writers conference or workshop in the coming year. The winners will also receive conference registration and two nights lodging for the Malice Domestic convention. Unpublished writers must submit the first three chapters and a brief synopsis of a mystery manuscript, along with an application, a resume and a letter of reference. There is no cost to enter. The original deadline for entries (and the date still listed on the Malice Domestic site) is November 15, but the deadline has been extended to December 15. Get all the details here.

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The First Line publishes fiction created using first lines posted by the editors each quarter. Submit your story utilizing the designated first line and your story could be published in an upcoming issue of the quarterly fiction magazine. Stories should be 300 to 5,000 words, and payment is $25 to $50. The First Line is open to stories in all genres, but each story must begin with that quarter’s first line. They’ve posted the following first lines for 2015:

Spring:
Fairy tales hardly ever come true for quiet girls.
Due date: February 1, 2015

Summer:
Laura liked to think she was honest with herself; it was everyone else she lied to.
Due date: May 1, 2015

Fall:
The old neighborhood was nearly unrecognizable.
Due date: August 1, 2015

Winter:
George pressed the call button and said, “Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor.”
Due date: November 1, 2015

Find all the submission details here. 

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Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly is seeking story submissions for its next issue. Stories must include both science fiction and romance elements and must have an upbeat, romantic ending. Send your story of  2,000 to 7,000 words by the deadline of December 1, 2014. Payment is 2 cents a word. Find the details here.

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Riptide Publishing, a publisher of LBGTQ fiction, romance and erotica, is now open to unagented as well as agented submissions. Manuscripts should be from 15,000 to 115,000 words and must be complete. In addition to general fiction and romance, the editors have issued special calls for the following themes:

Shifters and Weres – 50,000 to 110,000 paranormal romance stories, any heat level. Deadline Jan 1, 2015

Lesbian romance — any sub-genre, 50,000 to 110,000 words. Deadline March 1, 2015

Shades of the Rainbow — stories featuring trans, bi, queer, etc — any orientation other than gay and lesbian, 25,000 to         110,000 words, Deadline March 1, 2015.

Sweet romance — stories featuring all types of characters, but no sex. Teen-appropriate, though characters don’t have to be teens themselves. 25,000 to 110,000 words, Deadline March 1, 2015

*punk — send your steampunk, diesel punk, cyber punk, etc story of 25,000 to 115,000 words. These should be romances with a HEA or HFN (happy for now) ending. Deadline March 1, 2015

Get all the details about these special calls here. 

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For a limited time, the ebook edition of The Mountain Between Us is on sale for only $2.99. Enjoy the holidays in the tiny mountain town of Eureka, Colorado, as the residents ban together to celebrate in style. This book was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award this year. Buy the book at Amazon here, for Nook here, and check your favorite ebook retailer.

Mountainbetweencoversmall

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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.