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

– Jane Yolen


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.” David Sedaris


This week, I’m summarizing the Spotlight onsBelle Books and Bell Bridge Books from the Romance Writers of American conference in Atlanta.

Deb Dixon and Deborah Smith presented this Spotlight. Belle Books and Bell Bridge Books are a publishing house found by authors and are a very author-friendly publisher. They began as a print publisher and have expanded into ebooks. Everything comes out in trade paper and digital editions. Most of their sales today are in ebook. They have done very well, with many best-sellers. They pay 40% ebook royalties. They pay a small advance.

Their titles are available at all major retailers. They produce books in audio, sell to the library market and in the large print and foreign markets. They do extensive marketing – featuring books on Amazon, pricing promotions on Amazon and other e-tailers, sending out print ARCs, NetGalley, etc. They are also active on social media.

They have published debut authors and established authors. They have published side projects for best-selling authors who want to write in different genres, such as Jill Marie Landis’s mystery series and Sharon Sala’s YA books. (They also published my historical novel, The Woman Who Loved Jesse James).

They publish romance, fantasy, YA, cozy mystery, women’s fiction, urban fantasy, historical fiction, romantic suspense, paranormal, inspirational, and literary fiction. They also have published backlist titles that authors have regained the rights to.

After the presentation, they took questions.

They accept both agented and unagented work. They receive about 100 submissions per day. The wait time is from 2 to 6 months, generally, to hear back on submissions.

Though Belle Books started out publishing titles with a Southern emphasis, that is no longer a requirement for their books – they publish all kinds of books in all kinds of settings, from all types of authors.

Find out more about Belle Books and Bell Bridge here.  Submit romance, women’s fiction, cozy mystery, southern fiction to Deborah Smith. Pat Van Wie is the editor for non-cozy mystery, suspense and thriller. Send fantasy, science fiction, horror and young adult manuscripts to Deb Dixon. They want a full manuscript, a query letter and a full, detailed synopsis (12-24 pages).


Here’s a sneak peak at my February Harlequin Intrigue, Rocky Mountain Revenge:



Penumbra Magazine is accepting submissions for their 2014 issue Each issue has a theme, listed below.  Submit your short story of up to 3,500 words that explores this theme within any speculative fiction sub-genre: horror, fantasy, weird fiction, etc. Payment is five cents a word. Fine more details here. 

January: Winter Deadline November 1, 2013

February: Egyptian Mythology, December 1, 2013

March: A Night at the Villa Diodati, January 1, 2014

April: Isacc Asimov, February 1, 2014

May: Superheroes, March 1, 2014

June: Isolation, April 1, 2014

July: Hyperspeed, May 1, 2014

August: Pain, June 1, 2014

September: Lewis Carroll, July 1, 2014

October: Paranormal Adventures, August 1, 2014

November: Aliens, September 1, 2014

December: Arthurian Legends, October 1, 2014


If you’d like to read my novel, The View From Here before the sequel, The Mountain Between Us, comes out at the end of the month, you can grab an ebook copy for only $2.99 (normally $9.99) at the following e-tailers. The View From Here is set in a small town in the Rocky Mountains and follows the adventures of the sometimes quirkly residents. I call it “Northern Exposure comes to the Rocky Mountains.”

Barnes and Noble Nook http://bit.ly/15kn93R

Amazon Kindle http://amzn.to/1cDtAmZ

Sony Ebooks http://bit.ly/16PLZMg

Kensington ebooks http://bit.ly/15TvwG6

All Romance ebooks http://bit.ly/jMFA4

Amazon hasn’t dropped the price yet for the Kindle version, but I’m hoping they will. (If you want a Kindle Version, you might click the “Notify us of a lower price” button at the bottom of the listing for the book to enourage Amazon to price match. )

If you’ve already read The View From Here and want a copy of The Mountain Between Us, I’d appreciate it if you’d pre-order. Pre-orders really help my rankings and increase the chances that there will be more books in the series. Thank you!


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Repost, reprint and pass it on. Please give me credit as the source, and include a link to this blog. Thank you. Cindi

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.” Carol Burnett

This week I’m summarizing the Spotlight on Samhain Books from the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta.

Publisher Lindsey Faber, Editorial Director Heather Osborn, and Editor Amy Sherwood presented this spotlight. Samhain is a digital first publisher; titles appear in digital format and are released about a year later in print. Anything over 50,000 words goes into print in trade paperback. Shorter works may be grouped together for print titles. They publish romance, horror, and science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy with strong romantic elements. They started in 2005.

In addition to publishing original material, they publish a line of Retro Romance in which they reprint previously print-published books that are at least 10 years old or older, if the authors have the rights back to the work.

The Spotlight was conducted primarily as a Q&A. Some of the material covered in this section include:

It takes six to eight months from the time the author turns in the manuscript until publication. They release 4 to 6 books a week.

They love series – readers love them, too.

With a new author, they usually contract one book at a time. They don’t offer an advance, so why would you want to contract for six books at once with no advance?

They wouldn’t rule out contracting on proposal, but they prefer a full manuscript so that they can go to work on it right away.

They have sold very well in contemporary romance, particularly contemporary western romance. They’ve done well with paranormal romance in the past, particularly shape-shifters, although that market is tighter now. Paranormal is still selling well, but it’s not growing as rapidly as it was, though it is still very popular. They also sell very well with gay romance – male/male, particularly in digital sales. They are growing in historical and romantic suspense. They are working to develop a larger multi-cultural romance market. “We are still looking for things across all genres.”

There was a long discussion about trends. The gist was that digital publishing has been particularly successful in reaching readers who are fans of genres and niche markets that are not widely available in brick and mortar stores. Authors can make a living in digital publishing with books that appeal to niche markets.

Samhain accepts agents and unagented submissions. Anyone can submit to them, anytime. They prefer a full manuscript and a short synopsis. Fine more information here. 


If you’d like to read my novel, The View From Here before the sequel, The Mountain Between Us, comes out at the end of the month, you can grab an ebook copy for only $2.99 (normally $9.99) at the following e-tailers. The View From Here is set in a small town in the Rocky Mountains and follows the adventures of the sometimes quirkly residents. I call it “Northern Exposure comes to the Rocky Mountains.”

Barnes and Noble Nook http://bit.ly/15kn93R

Sony Ebooks http://bit.ly/16PLZMg

Kensington ebooks http://bit.ly/15TvwG6

All Romance ebooks http://bit.ly/jMFA4

Amazon hasn’t dropped the price yet for the Kindle version, but I’m hoping they will. (If you want a Kindle Version, you might click the “Notify us of a lower price” button at the bottom of the listing for the book to enourage Amazon to price match. )

If you’ve already read The View From Here and want a copy of The Mountain Between Us, I’d appreciate it if you’d pre-order. Pre-orders really help my rankings and increase the chances that there will be more books in the series. Thank you!


Alloy Entertainment’s book division — the folks behind the Gossip Girls and Vampire Diaries, to name a few — is launching The Collaberative, to work with authors who have complete young adult, middle grade, chapter books or women’s fiction manuscripts. Warner Brothers will retain the right to produce any projects acquired in film, television and new media. The Collaborative hopes to acquire works from 12 authors a year, and is open to submissions from both agented and unagented authors. If you are not agented, please submit a query with a brief overview of your book, a description of your writing background, and the first five pages of the manuscript to thecollaborative@alloyentertainment.com. Find more details here.


Entangled Publishing is seeking sexy historical romance short stories for an as-yet-untitled anthology to be issued under their Scandalous imprint. The editors are interested in stories set in hot and romantic stories in any historical setting up through World War II, with explicit sex scenes. Stories should be 15,000 to 20,000 words. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2013, and the stories will be published in fall 2014. Find all the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Reprint it, repost it and pass it on. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source, and include a link to this blog. Thank you. Cindi

“Write down the thoughts of the moment.  Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.”  ~Francis Bacon


This week I’m recapping the Spotlight on Sourcebooks from the RWA National Convention in Atlanta.

Leah Hultenschmidt, editorial manager and Dominic Racca, publisher and CEO, presented this spotlight. Sourcebooks has grown 200 percent over the last five years. They started as a nonfiction publisher in Dominic’s upstairs bedroom, but have expanded into fiction, including romance and young adult. They have been publishing ebooks for 14 years. They also publish in mass market and trade paper.

They have an online romance portal, Discover New Love. For $9.99 a month, subscribers get access to up to six featured selections per month for the one price.

Deb Werksman heads up the romance list at Sourcebooks. She was unable to attend the conference, but is acquiring authors.

Leah also acquires for romance and heads up the young adult imprint at Sourcebooks.

Sourcebook romance authors have been New York Times bestsellers, USA Today bestsellers, and have received many starred PW reviews. Leah and Dominic talked about how they have built new authors into bestsellers.

Sourcebooks also publishes women’s fiction.

Sourcebook publishes a lot of debut authors. They like working with new authors.

Leah is looking for a heroine the reader can relate to, a hero the reader can fall in love with, a world that’s created – whether that’s a historical or contemporary setting or a paranormal world, and a hook that allows them to sell the book. The hook should be one to three sentences that capture the flavor of the reader and differentiates it from other books on the market. The hook also helps them sell the book to retailers. They are also looking for an author who has a career arc. They want to buy more than one book at a time. You should have a plan to build yourself in a sub-genre.

They’re interested in historical and contemporary romance, erotica and romantic suspense. They also publish paranormal, but it’s very hard to break in here. They are interested in a wide variety of historical – Americana, westerns, Regency, etc. She’d love to see a contemporary cowboy story. They love contemporary military romance. She prefers romantic suspense based on a group of guys, ala Suzanne Brockman. They have a partnership with Excite, a UK publisher of erotic romance. They’re publishing these books in digital and trade paperback. Their Young Adult list is growing. They like contemporary romance and strong female protagonist. They’ve done some fantasy elements in YA also. They also like YA thrillers.

Leah is open to manuscripts from about 75,000 to 110,000 words. They accept both agented and unagented submissions and prefer to see the complete manuscript. Submit to Romance@Sourcebooks.com


Calliope, a history magazine for children ages 9 to 14, is seeking history/adventure stories around the theme of “Birth of Democracy and Citizenship.” Submit your story of up to 800 words. Payment is 20 to 25 cents a word. The deadline for submissions is October 25. Follow their writing guidelines here. 


Harmony Ink Press has issued a call for submissions of novel-length YA manuscripts that feature a memorable LGBT hero or heroine.  Stories should appeal to readers 14 to 18. They are open to lengths from  15,000 to 90,000 words. Stories under 45,000 words will be published in digital format only, while works over 45,000 words will be issued in both digital and print formats. Harmony Ink pays a $500 to $1000 advance against royalties of 30 to 40 percent.  See their guidelines here.


Crossed Genres magazine is seeking science fiction and fantasy short stories of 1,000 to 6,000 words on the theme of “Unresolved Sexual Tension”.  The editors are especially interested in hearing from LGBT writers, women writers and writers of color. Payment is 5 cents a word. The deadline for submissions is October 31. See their guidelines here.


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



This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it ‘to the editor who can appreciate my work’ and it has simply come back stamped ‘Not at this address’. Just keep looking for the right address.“- Barbara Kingsolver


This week, I continue my series summarizing the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta, with the Spotlight on Harlequin Series

Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor of American Romance and Blaze began the spotlight with an overview of Harlequin series romance. Harlequin has 19 series, from steamy to heartwarming. Though Harlequin publishes many types of fiction, they’re probably best known for their series romance. Harlequin books are sold in 35,000 retail outlets in North America in mass market paperback. They also publish every title in digital format.

Harlequin is always looking for new authors, and has signed 39 new authors so far this year. Harlequin is very easy to submit to – find the guidelines online and submit via email. You don’t have to have an agent to submit to Harlequin series. You can follow Harlequin editors on social media to learn what they’re like and what they’re looking for.

Melissa Endlich talking about the variety of series in Harlequin and specifically the types of heroes in the series. In the Passion category – Presents, Desire, Blaze and Kiss. Heroes are “seductive, confident, and commanding.” Alpha Males.

Home and Family – Harlequin Romance, American Romance,  Special Edition and Heartwarming and Medical. These heroes are warm and dynamic, caring but not wimps. The boy next door.

Inspirational – Love Inspired, LI Suspense, LI Historical and Heartsong – sweet but strong, with a core of faith that is important in their lives.

Romantic Suspense – Harlequin Intrigue and Romantic Suspense. These heroes are strong and protective.

Romance With More – Super Romance. The heroes are complex and relatable. They are true to life while facing high-stakes scenarios.

African American – Kimani Romance. These heroes are sophisticated and driven, compelling, ambitious and wealthy

Historical – Harlequin Historical – passionate, strong and swoon-worthy

Paranormal – Nocturne – mysterious and sexy

Malle Valick spoke next. She is the director of editorial digital submissions. Cosmo Red Hot Reads is a new series that launched August 15. Two books a month, digital first, 30,000 words – contemporary, fun and sexy. Contemporary heroines have a great romantic adventure with hot sex. Cosmopolitain Magazine is cross-promoting this line.

Harlequin E is Harlequin Series’ line of digital first books. The editors are actively looking for a wide variety of content for the digital lines. Check out the guidelines here

Joanne Grant talked about Harlequin’s annual contest “So You Think You Can Write.”  Contestants submit first chapters, which are voted on by the public. Editors read the semi-finalist manuscripts and the public chooses the winner from three finalists. The winner receives a publishing contract with Harlequin. But editors have also brought several non-winners whose entries they liked. Find out more at the So You Think You Can Write website.


Pelican Book Group, a Christian publishing house, is launching a new YA imprint, Watershed, and is seeking manuscripts. The editors are interested in Christian fiction that will appeal to readers ages 14 to 19, 25,000 to 65,000 words. Stories may be in any sub-genre, including romance, mystery, westerns, action-adventure, science fiction/fantasy, and coming-of-age stories. Watershed titles will be published in digital format. They do not accept previously self-published work. For detailed guidelines, click here.


In addition to Young Adult manuscripts, Pelican is also looking for novellas for a couple of themed collections.

Easter Lilies: historical or contemporary romance, 15,000 to 25,000 words, based on a defining scripture (listed in the guidelines. Heroes and heroines should be between 25 and 35 years old. The story should also incorporate Easter lilies. Deadline for submissions is September 30, 2013.

Christmas Holiday Extravaganza: Stories 15,000 to 25,000 words, either romance or general fiction. Christian fiction with a Christmas theme. Deadline for submissions in May 1, 2014.


Read Short Fiction, an online literary magazine, is looking for short stories in all genres except erotica. They’re open to stories between 1,500 and 4,000 words, with a particular interest in shorter works. They pay five cents a word, up to $150. They accept only previously unpublished submissions. Check out the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others — repost, reprint, etc. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source, and include a link to this blog.  Thanks!


Only six weeks until the release of The Mountain Between Us, book two in my Eureka County series. Find out more here. Check out this video for more.  Mountainbetweencoversmall








“I can’t help but to write, I have an inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down.” Kaari Utrio


This week, I’m continuing my summary of publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta. This week: St Martin’s Press.

Jennifer Enderlin presented this Spotlight with her usual enthusiasm. She stressed that St. Martin’s is very interested in finding new authors.

She began with an overview of St. Martin’s press. They publish all types of fiction in all formats – women’s fiction, romance, mystery, paranormal, historical, young adult, new adult, thrillers, etc, etc. They publish 3-4 mass market romances a month. They almost always offer a multi-book contract, even to new authors. They are interested in developing and growing careers. “We buy what we love.”

She talked about St. Martin’s as a company. They are owned by a German billionaire, and though it’s a huge, multi-national company, the focus is still on producing good books. “It’s a company run by human beings, not bean counters.” She talked about what she’s looking for. She edits historical and contemporary romance, suspense and women’s fiction. She’s not looking for anything in particular but “I want to feel something, and I want to be surprised.” She wants a book where the story takes over. She usually works with literary agents, but she is open to email queries from unagented authors – expect a reply only if she’s interested. In your query, say who you are, what the book is and why you think it’s right for her. For example, you could talk about other authors she has edited that are similar to yours. If she requests material from you, you will get a personal response from her.

Monique Patterson spoke next. She edits 30 to 35 authors in different areas, including women’s fiction, romance, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense and erotica. She’s not interested in sweet romance and inspirational, but she’s open to pretty much anything else. When she picks up a submission, she wants to be transported. Sometimes she’s captured by the author’s voice. If she sees something in your work, but the project isn’t right, she will ask for something else. She is open to submissions from unagented authors, but she prefers a full proposal (synopsis and first three chapters) over a query letter.

Rose Hilyard edits all sub-genres in romance, erotica, new adult and young adult. She recently bought a new adult author who was unagented and previously unpublished, who she met at a conference.  In young adult and new adult she likes “really romancy” stories. She prefers agented material, but will consider unagented material though she admits she’s prejudiced against unagented work.

Holly Ingraham edits romance and young adult. She likes the variety, and is open to everything in romance. She’s also looking to expand her mystery list and wants some really good cozy mysteries with strong female protagonists. She is also interested in emotional women’s fiction. She accepts unagented email queries.

Heather Waters is the site manager for HeroesandHeartbreakers.com, a romance community site utilized by several publishers, including St. Martin’s. She is looking for short stories in any romance sub-genre, 10,000 to 15,000 words, plus serials to publish online. They do pay for these. Find out more here

St. Martin’s is open to self-published authors, to previously published authors, to previously unpublished authors, to both agented and unagented authors.


Harlequin Intrigue is actively soliciting gothic suspense stories for it’s new Shivers line — a digital only line of stories in the spiriti of Phyllis Whitney, Barbara Michaels and others. Sr. Editor Denise Zaza outlined what she’s looking for in this blog post.  She’s looking for sensuous stories with dark and dangerous heroes and scary thrills for the reader. Stories would ideally be between 30,000 and 50,000 words, but since they’re digital, editors can be flexible about the word count. Find the guidelines for Shivers here (and know that they are still actively taking submissions, even though the fast track period mentioned at the top of the guidelines has passed.)


Scandalous, Entangled Publishing’s historical romance line, is looking for novella submissions for an anthology to be released in 2014.  They’ve designed a book cover, featuring a woman’s photo (which you can see here). The title of a collection will be “Who’s That Girl?” Write a story about who you think the woman in the story is. Your story should be 20,000 to 25,000 words and be set in the early 20th century. Submissions are due by February 15, 2014.  Find all the details at the above link.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Reprint, repost, retweet, etc. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source of the information. Thank you.  Cindi



“Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.” ~ From the movie Finding Forrester


This week I’m continuing my look at the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta with a summary of the Spotlight on Pocket and Gallery Books. The spotlight was presented by  Abbie Ziedel, Senior Editor of Pocket and Gallery Books; Miki Nuding, Senior Editor; and Lauren McKenna, Executive Editor of Pocket and Gallery Books and Editorial Director of Pocket Star.

Pocket Books is the mass market paperback division of the company. Gallery Books handles trade paper and hardcover releases, while Pocket Star is their e-original line, which publishes erotica, YA, urban fantasy, horror, choose-your-own adventure, as well as contemporary and historical romance.
They love hot alpha men — brave, protective, decisive and ready to love their woman. These editors are looking for stories with larger-than life heroes, and a heroine who is his equal. They want books with sizzling sexual tension. They like contemporary, historical, paranormal, erotica, romantic suspense, new adult and women’s fiction.

Abby spoke about XOXOAfterDark.com, Pocket’s revamp of the old Pocket After Dark website. The site is designed to be more user friendly. They offer a new free novel to read each week that you can read on your smartphone, tablet or online, available for 30 days.  Lauren said, “There’s really not much we don’t publishr” in Pocket Star. They have been more adventurous in Pocket Star, publishing YA and urban fantasy, for example.

The editors spoke a little about things they each especially like in a story. Miki said. “If it’s sexy as hell and funny, you’ve got me.” and “The kind of flaw I like best in the hero is a virtue carried to the extreme.” As an example, she mentioned a hero who is over-protective, to the point where he might come across as bossy and over-bearing, until he realizes the error of his ways.

Lauren likes dark and brooding stories, with emotionally tortured characters. Abbie likes women’s fiction, and loves animal stories.

Pocket usually only takes agented submissions, though if you pitch at a conference or capture an editor’s interest through a contest, you may be invited to submit, even if you don’t have an agent.


Jason Boog, a writer and editor of GalleyCat, has compiled a list of recent Tweets from editors and agents, talking about what they’re looking for right now from writers. You can find the list here. It’s interesting to see what’s on the radar of these publishing pros — heavy on YA and new adult, with some romance and fantasy/science fiction in the mix. If you see something you’re interested in knowing more about, sign up to follow that person’s Twitter feed.


Masque Books is a new imprint from digital publisher Prime Books. Masque will focus on science fiction and fantasy and science fiction and fantasy romance. Acquisition Editor Natalie Luhrs is interested in novellas of 30,000 to 50,000 words, and novels of 50,000 to 120,000 words. Each novel should stand on its own, though Masque is open to connected books. They’re interested in all sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy, including space opera, alternative history, steampunk, dark fantasy, etc. On the romance side, all heat levels are welcome, from sweet to erotic, and they are open to straight and GLBT relationships. Masque pays a small advance and royalties of 50 percent of net receipts. Check out their submission guidelines here.


The University of Iowa, known for it’s creative writing program, will host a free writing seminar online from September 16 to October 28, 2013. The course will consist of reading and writing contemporary fiction and will be led by Nate Brown, Deputy Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. “Students will receive brief written feedback on weekly exercises and fuller comments on a longer story or novel excerpt collected at the end of the course. ” Anyone is eligible to apply for the course, but participation will be limited to 15 people. The deadline to apply is September 6. You can find all the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Reprint, repost, retweet — all I ask is that you give me credit as the source and include a link to this blog. Thank you!


“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” ~Anne Lamott


I’m continuing this week with my look at the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America’s national convention in Atlanta in July. The Spotlight on Avon Books was presented by  Jesse Edwards, Assoc. Publicist;  Tessa Woodward, Editor;  Amanda Bergeran, Editor;  Shawn Nichols Sr. Director of Marketing and  Eric Tsang, Editorial Director.
Avon publishes historical, contemporary and paranormal romance and has a long tradition of publishing best-selling romances. “We’re always looking for different ideas in all genres [of romance.] We’re looking for the right story. We’re looking for good stories and we hope you’ll keep us in mind.”\
Avon began publishing new adult stories this year. Tessa Woodward talked about Avon’s new adult books. “drama filled fun stories that keep you reading.” Heroes and heroines between 18 and 26 or 28.
Amanda talked about Avon Impulse, Avon’s digital-first imprint that launched two years ago. They publish about one book a week, occasionally more. They publish authors who are new to Avon as well as established Avon authors. In 2013 they have published 13 debut authors so far. They can publish as quickly as in 12 weeks, though they can take more time also.  Impulse publishes everything from paranormal, romantic comedy, erotica, historical — pretty much everything. The same art, marketing, and editorial team works on Avon and Avon Impulse.
Sean Nichols in Avon’s marketing department talked about Avon’s marketing and publicity team. Campaigns are tailored to each book and start three to six weeks before the book is released. Examples of the kinds of things they do are free e-samplers with excerpts from upcoming titles; QR codes “everywhere”; Facebook; Twitter, as well as working with retailers to get books primary placement.
Jesse spoke about publicity. Every book has a dedicated publicist and a dedicated campaign. They also make heavy use of social media, especially Twitter. They’ve partnered with Little Black Dress Wines to sponsor events. They use Street Teams — the Avon Addicts — 25 super-readers who receive a package of swag and books each month.
The final segment of the workshop discussed submitting to Avon. On Avonromance.com you can post excerpts from your book and get feedback from other romance fans, writers and some editors, who pop in occasionally. AvonImpulse.com is the portal to submit your manuscript to the editorial team. Use the online form to upload your book. They accept anything from novellas to long novels. They accept agented and unagented submissions, and will accept simultaneous submissions.

The editors spoke briefly about some of their personal preferences:
Amanda –Contemporary romance with high concept and great new adult. Romantic suspense, serialized erotica
Tessa — more erotica, whether full-length of serials. “super dark and dirty heroines and heroes.” Historicals — would love a new historical series with “an amazing concept.” She’s also looking for contemporary and new adult.
Erica — “anything but zombies.” She does a lot of historicals, also likes paranormal. She also likes more emotional, gothic historicals and “dark, angsty stories.”
Tip: Follow the editors on Twitter. They sometimes issue calls for submissions via Twitter


Entranced Publishing is a Minneapolis-based e-publisher that publishes young adult, new adult, romance and erotica. They’re also interested in fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy with strong romantic elements. Entranced currently released three to four titles each month. YA and NA titles should be 50,000 to 90,000 words. Other manuscripts may be from 10,000 to 120,000 words. They pay royalties of 40 percent of net. Find their submission guidelines here.

Entranced is accepting novellas of 25,000 to 35,000 words for an upcoming anthology of contemporary takes on classic fairy tales. The editors are interested in stories with strong heroines who rescue themselves — or maybe even rescue the hero. “Simmering sexual tension” is a must. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2013. Find more details here.


Authornomy, a project of HarperCollins, is sponsoring a First Line contest. The winner will receive a package of self-publishing bennies, including a professional editorial review, a professional book cover, a book trailer and an e-press kit. Simply enter up to the first three sentences of your book (no more than 100 words) by September 8. You must be an Authornomy member to enter, but membership is free. All genres of fiction are welcome. Get the scoop here.


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


Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
– William Faulkner


This week I continue my look at the publisher spotlights from the RWA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, with a look at Grand Central Publishing.

Amy Pierpont,  editor in chief, presented this spotlight, along with editors Michelle Bidelspach, Alex Logan and Loren Plude. Forever and Forever Yours are the two romance specific imprints for Grand Central.2013 is Forever’s Tenth Anniversary, while Forever Yours is Grand Central’s new Digital First imprint.

Though Forever accepts only agented submissions, Forever Yours accepts unagented authors. Forever Yours publishes 10-15 titles a month. The editors who acquire for Forever also acquire for Forever Yours. They’re looking for all kinds of sub-genre stories — they’ve done sci-fi romance, male-male and other niche stories. Forever authors also do e-novellas for Forever Yours. Novel length stories come out as digital editions first, then are available as POD print editions. They accept novellas from 8,000 to 35,000 words, and novels from 35,000 to 100,000 words.

Forever and Forever Yours are looking for the following types of stories:

Historical romance that transports the readers to a different time and place. All levels of sensuality. Open to Regency, Victorian, Georgian and Scottish historicals.

Contemporary romance of all types, from sweet to sexy. Small towns are very popular, but they’re open to other settings. Family stories do well. Cowboys are always popular. Contemporary westerns set on ranches are popular.

Romantic Suspense — action, suspense, fear. Like the author to create a world and a family feeling with a group of firefighters, FBI agents, special forces operatives, etc.

Paranormal Romance — They are not tired of vampires yet, but also like other kinds of creatures and settings, including historical paranormal.

Erotic Romance — Hot, alpha heroes — BDSM, male-male, menage. “break boundaries. Anything goes.”

New Adult — “It’s all about the angst.”

A large portion of the Spotlight was given over to discussing the marketing and publicity efforts Grand Central makes for its authors. They try to target niche audiences that might be interested in the book. They encourage author blogging and participation in social media. They send books to reviewers and use NetGalley. They have done blog tours, giveaways and many other types of marketing and publicity.

Find out more about Forever here. And for more information about the editors and their particular likes and dislikes, check out this link.


This week, I’m part of a fun online scavenger hunt featuring the July and August authors for Entangled Indulgence. Each day, authors will post questions. Find the answers at the link the author also posts. Every answer enters you in a drawing for an Indulgent Gift Basket of goodies. The more answers, the more chances you have to win. The contest will run through Sunday. Play as often as you like. Check it out here.



Speaking of Entangled Publishing, the editors at Scandalous, Entangled’s historical romance line, are looking for sexy cowboy stories — particularly those set 1866 – 1890. 50,000 to 60,000 words. The deadline for complete manuscripts is January 31, 2014. Get the details here.


The First Line challenges writers to create a short story that begins with a first line they supply. This month, the line is “I came of age in a time of no heroes.” Submit your 300 to 3,000 word story. Stories may be any genre. If published, you’ll earn $30. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2013. Get the scoop here.


Panverse Publishing is an independent publisher founded in 2009. Panverse publishes both print and digital editions on its titles. The company released six titles in 2013 and plans 8 to 12 titles for 2014. Because it is a small company, Panverse accepts submissions only during limited open reading periods — one of which is going on right now. Panverse is accepting submissions from both agented and unagented authors until August 21. Manuscripts should be between 60,000 and 130,000 words (though they prefer under 115,000 words). The editors are looking for “Non-traditional romance”, historical fiction, mystery, crime, humor, science fiction, fantasy or humor. Panverse focuses on publishing character-driven, genre fiction. Get all the details here.


As always, feel free to pass along the information in this blog. Reprint it, repost it and share. Please credit me as the source and include a link to the blog. Thanks!  Cindi



“I wrote for twelve years and collected 250 rejection slips before getting any fiction published, so I guess outside reinforcement isn’t all that important to me.” – Lisa Alther


This week I’m starting my recaps of the publisher spotlights from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Atlanta in July. Of course, I’ll also include other market news and is comes across my desk, so stay tuned!

First up — Coliloquy. Coliloquy is a new digital-first publisher that is already publishing some big names — think Ridley Pearson and the members of the literary rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders.

Lisa Rutherford, CEO and Co-founder of Coliloquy, presented this workshop. Coliloquy was founded in January 2012 with the slogan, “Reading and Writing — Reimagined.” The company uses technology to enhance their books and create different kinds of stories. They’ve done interactive, “choose your own ending” stories; stories that allow readers to customize by choosing their own preferences for the types of characters and situations; and multi-media stories, such as a new release by the writers of the Rock Bottom Remainders that mixes prose and music.

Coliloquy started with five authors. Their books are available on all e-reader platforms and they now have 30 authors. They now have a staff of 18 and produce about 12 books a year.

In the romance genre they publish from middle grade to erotica and everything in between. To date, they have mostly done contemporary settings. They’ve also done mystery and suspense and comedy.

They have a content management system that allows them to publish books not as something static, but as active applications. When someone opens a Coliloquy book, they are running an application, like Microsoft Word or an application on the internet. “It looks like a book to anyone who’s reading it ,” Rutherford said.  This allows them to add extra features and even to unlock and change content to enhance the story. An example is a YA with magic spells that appear and disappear in the book. Or a story about memory loss in which the story changes.

They gather a ton of information on their readers, but the information is anonymous and aggregated. They used the information to change the plots of sequels, based on what readers have reacted to most strongly in first books. They have also used the information for marketing — to place brands in books based on sponsorships, to pre-sell books, and to offer discounts on titles.

Rutherford listed several reasons authors should pick Coliloquy over other publishers:

Their use of technology is unlike any other publisher.

They come from a Silicon Valley culture — the principals of the company are very open and available 24/7. They give weekly sales reports and updates.

“We have a start-up mentality” They’re focused on esting and measuring things and learning. If a book doesn’t sell well initially, they will regroup and try another approach and continue trying to find the market for that story.

They have experienced editors who come from traditional publishing — “top talent.”

They invest heavily in cover art, PR and marketing.

50/50 revenue share. They release funds within 30 days of receipt by the company.

They normally only take agented submissions, but will accept submissions during open calls. Rutherford prefers short query letters with a one-line hook. Attach a manuscript to the email. Their normal turn-around time is two weeks.

Coliloquy is open to all kinds of stories but wants strong story-telling, crisp, simple writing. They want writers and stories that fit their culture — modern technology, appeals to the audience that’s reading twitter and interacting online. They must see a market for the book.

Rutherford mentioned some things she would be interested in seeing: contemporary fiction, ensemble cast in a college setting, romantic suspense (legal thriller?). Interracial YA or New Adult, personal disaster and recovery stories (personal dystopian story). A claustrophobia story!

Their strongest sellers right now are Young Adult, New Adult and light women’s fiction.

Rutherford also loves multi-author books. She’d love a story where each author wrote a different POV.

They like authors who have a strong, existing fan base with which to engage.


Mad Scientist Magazine is looking for first person mad scientist stories. Think scientific papers as if written by a mad scientist. They’re open to all genres: humor, paranormal romance, horror, urban fantasy, pulp fiction, etc. They accept flash fiction, from 500 -2000 words; short stories from 2,000 to 8,000 words; and serial fiction with each installment from 2,000 to 8,000 words. Payment is $10 for flash fiction and $20 for short stories — up to $100 for seriels. In addition to these payments, you’ll receive royalties from the quarterly ebooks Mad Scientist produces. Check out all their guidelines here.


Ellora’s Cave has issued some new calls for submissions for themed collections:

Hot Pink — celebrating lesbian love. 20K to 45K. Deadlines for Submissions is Nov. 1, 2013.

VaVa Boomers — Over-50 heroines, 10K – 70K, Deadline Feb. 1, 2014.

Merry Menage — winter holiday themed erotica, 20K – 45K, Deadline April 15, 2014.

Get all the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog with others. Reprint, repost and pass it on. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source, and include a link to the blog. Thanks!  Cindi