This week I’m continuing my recaps of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in New York City with a look at Pocket and Gallery Books.

The Spotlight on Pocket and Gallery Books featured videos, podcasts snippets, games and giveaways. Editorial Director Lauren McKenna, Executive Editor Adam Wilson, Executive Editor Miki Nuding and Editor Abby Ziedel presented the workshop.  Pocket and Gallery are divisions of Simon and Schuster.

Adam Wilson spoke about Gallery Books. Gallery publishes a number of best-selling authors. He spoke about these authors and their upcoming books. Gallery publishes a lot of pop-culture and celebrity non-fiction, but they also do a lot of romance, both historical and contemporary.

Lauren McKenna talked about Pocket Star, Pocket Gallery’s digital first division. They publish four to five titles a month. Each book has its own publicist and marketing plan. They do originals and reprints. They publish romance, erotica, urban fantasy, new adult and some mystery and thrillers.

Abby Ziedel talked about XOXO After Dark, Pocket’s romance website.  This includes a showroom for Pocket Star. The website encourages reader engagement with free reads and excerpts, contests, and author blogs. They also do a weekly podcast in which the editors talk romance, pop culture and anything that captures their attention. Sometimes they interview authors.

Miki Nuding talked about Pocket Books, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year. Pocket publishes all different genres of romance. She, like the other editors, reviewed a list of Pocket authors and their new releases.

The editors spoke briefly about their wish lists.

Abby doesn’t like kids in books, but she loves dogs, cats and horses. She would love to see a story about a virus in a submarine.

Lauren loves “hot, dark, screwed-up heroes” in any genre. She likes paranormal, though it’s a hard sell these days. She loves contemporary romance.

Miki loves a really good, emotional story – especially if you can make her laugh.

Adam also loves humor. He would like to see more stories out of geek culture.

Pocket Gallery accepts agented submissions only.


My free online read, Black Canyon Betrayal, continues this week with Chapter Two. You can read all the chapters posted to date at any time here. Black Canyon Betrayal is part of my Ranger Brigade miniseries for Harlequin Intrigue. bookbanner


Lee and Low Books is sponsoring a New Visions Award for middle grade and young adult writers of color. First prize is $1000 and a publishing contract with Tu Books, Lee and Low’s YA and MG imprint. There is no fee to enter. Manuscripts should be appropriate for children 8 to 12 or young adults 12 to 18. The work may be in any fiction genre, but the editors are particularly interested in science fiction and fantasy. Each author may submit up to two entries. For detailed how-tos and more about Lee and Low Books, go here. The deadline for entries is October 31, 2015.


Anderbo.com is sponsoring the RRofihe Trophy short story contest. Submit your previously unpublished short story of between 3,500 and 5,000 words by the deadline of October 15, 2015 for a chance at the $500 prize and the Rrofihe Trophy. There is no fee to enter the contest, which will be judged by multi-published short story author Rick Rofihe. For all the details 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. 

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” ~ Ernest Hemingway


I have lots of market news this week, so let’s get to it

First up, the Spotlight on Pocket Booksfrom the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City last month.

Pocket brought a variety of publishing personnel to this Spotlight. Among the speakers were Lauren McKenna, executive editor at Pocket/Gallery; Abbie Zidell, senior editor at Pocket; Meagan McKeever, editor at Pocket; and Micki Nuding, senior editor at Pocket. Pocket is the mass market imprint of Simon and Schuster. Gallery is the hard cover and trade paper imprint. 

Pocket publishes all sub-genres of romance. The editors spoke about some of their preferences: 

In paranormal, they prefer dark, sensual stories featuring vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters. Romantic Suspense does better for them if it is dark, gritty, steamy and sexy.  For historicals, they love Regencies, Medievals and Scottish settings. Sexy stories sell well in historical, but humor is also welcome. In contemporaries, they want small town appeal and big emotional drama  — “heart-warming and heart-breaking.’ These stories should be heart-tugging, with a powerful sense of community. 

Pocket publishes urban fantasy, which should feature a strong heroine, dramatic world-building and sexy action-adventure. These stories may be told in first person and may feature a character who continues across many books. They also publish paranormal romance, in which the focus is more on the romance.

 Gallery publishes both trade and hardcover women’s fiction that appeals to book club readers. They are looking for a special voice in these books.

 Pocket does not accept any unagented manuscripts or queries.


A new e-publisher will be opening its doors soon and is accepting submissions now. Musa Publishing is open to submissions of contemporary and historical romance, erotic romance, horror, historical fiction, mystery, all kinds of speculative fiction including fantasy, science fiction and paranormal and YA. They’re open to all lengths of stories. Check out their detailed submission guidelines here.

The team behind Musa have worked for other epublishers and some of them are authors also.  They pay royalties of 50 percent of the cover price for books sold on the Musa store and 50 percent of net for sales to third-party retailers such as Amazon, Diesel e-books, etc. They plan to release as ebooks first, then trade paper for some titles. Royalty on print copies is 15 percent. Find an explanation of their terms here.

Musa plans to release its first titles in October


The folks behind the movie The Help and Take Part.com have joined forces to host a Children’s Story Contest. Submit your children’s story of no more that 400 words that teaches positive values. Judge for the contest is Sesame Street writer Lou Berger. The winner’s story will be illustrated and published online.
But hurry — the deadline to enter is August 15. Find all the details here.


I received a couple of good reviews this week from Night Owl Reviews for San Antonio Rogue and A Willing Spirit. 

San Antonio Rogue by Cindi Myers is a sweet and energetic romance set in the American Southwest at the beginning of the Mexican-American War. The story is full of likeable characters and colorful dialogue. It’s a well paced tale with some light military action, and while there aren’t any “cowboys” we do get a battalion of “dragoons” (light infantry) and some Texas Rangers. ” Read the full review here.

And for A Willing Spirit: ” This historical romance is definitely worth reading. This book contains great elements of love, marriage, and tolerance.” Read the full review here.


Next week I’ll cover the Spotlight on Bantam, Doubleday, Dell, including their new ebook-only imprint, the reincarnation of Loveswept; as well as a new pro-paying speculative fiction e-zine and more!


As always, feel free to share the information from this blog with others. Reprint it, forward it and include it in your newsletter — all I ask is that you give me credit and include a link to the blog. Thanks.