Thursday, August 30, 2012

Open Calls for Romance Publishers

There are several more open calls I thought you might want to know about. Some of these have deadlines, some don't. There's a little bit of everything, though, so hopefully you can find something that calls to you.

Ellora's Cave is putting out several themed works in the coming months.

Ball and Chain:
Sexy romance stories for married characters.
- 18K - 70K words
- Deadline: September 15, 2012

On the Hunt:
Romance stories about bounty hunters.
- 18K - 70K words
- Deadline: November 30, 2012

Check out the link above for other open calls without deadline attached, including a call for multicultural romances, and their new line...for men.

No Boundaries Press has some holiday themed calls for anthologies (including a Christmas short story which I tried to do, but failed. Will have to extend it to a novel for it to work...drat):

12 Days of Christmas:
Pick any of the 12 days of Christmas and theme a sweet to spicy romance around it.
- 2K - 5K words
- Deadline: September 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day
Show them your Irish
- 2K - 5K words
- Deadline: December 10, 2012

Primal Lust
May / December romances where the woman is the older character
- 2K - 5K words
- Deadline: February 1, 2013

Click on the link above for more details.

Resplendence Publishing is looking for several novella-length stories for their signature lines.

Shivers involves paranormal pursuits.
Handcuffs and Lace are law enforcement romances.
Wicked is a modern day twist on old fairy tales and folklore.

There are no deadlines on these, but each have specific requirements. Click on the link for more info.

I think that's enough for now. There are plenty more, though, so I'll post again about this next week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review - N.P, Banana Yoshimoto

N.P.N.P. by Banana Yoshimoto
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read two short stories by Banana a few years ago, Hard Boiled and Hard Luck, and I was entranced by the simplicity and purity of her writing. That simplicity and purity was all but lost in her novel N.P., a far cry from her earlier writings (including Kitchen). Four characters swept up in a mystery that's not very compelling, she uses their dialogues to push the story forward and describe certain scenes. But that dialogue is unrealistic at best, and muddled and confusing, to be completely honest.

The book is set in Japan, and I couldn't tell you what the city looked like. I couldn't tell you anything other than the names of the main characters, and a brief synopsis of their "inner character" none of which made sense and all of which were shamelessly romanticized.

In my opinion, a 15-year-old could have written this book. But maybe it was the translation.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 24, 2012

Feature Follow Friday - 8

Time for Feature Follow Friday at Parajunkee's and Alison can read!

The question this week, is what is the worst book cover for a book you love.

I would have to say that I dislike any book cover that's been redone so that the cover reflects the movie made of the book. I much prefer original covers. As far as specifics go, I really don't have one that I can think of.


To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
Here's your linky list!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cover Reveal - Body Combat!

My next book, Body Combat, will be coming out on September 12th, 2012. And I've just gotten the cover!

I kind of love it, to be honest. Sure, the guy looks a bit like he photobombed the heroine's photoshoot, and I'm not sure why someone would wear purple eyeshadow to the gym, but I even love both of those things. I have the best cover artists.
Here's the blurb:
"Charles Whitaker is taking his fall from grace hard. Once the top architect in San Diego, his business partner stole his clients and ran off with all his earnings. When the money left, so did his wife. To help Charles' re-focus his energy on the future, he's taken a Body Combat course. Only he can't focus on anything but the beautiful instructor, Sammy Logan.

Sammy doesn't date clients. Even if she did, she's sure they'd run in the opposite direction as soon as they found out that she spends all her time protecting her mother from her drunken father. Still, the well-built man in the third row catches her eye and won't let her go without a fight. When her father crashes his car, Sammy has nowhere to turn and runs smack dab into Charles Whitaker.

Together they try to mend a 25-year family rift, caused by greed and stubbornness, by proving that love is more powerful than money.

But is it?"
Very exciting!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How and Where to Submit your Work

If you are submitting your work to publishers, it pays to research the house to see if they have a section that is relevant to you. Here are some examples of themed open calls for authors to check out. There are no deadlines on these. Next week, I'll post the open calls with deadlines.

Harlequin: Harlequin has started up a few new section that will launch this year, and a few older ones with an entirely different staff that you should be pitching.

Harlequin Digital First is looking for manuscripts and series to publish in ebook form. Anything over 10K words

Harlequin KISS: a contemporary, modern romance theme.

"KISS is sharply contemporary, glossy and chic, attracting readers who enjoy a short hit of romantic excitement with a thoroughly modern twist! Smart and stylish, sweet or sexy, these stories offer fun, flirty reads featuring smart, sassy heroines, equally matched by 21st century alpha heroes!"
50K words. Will launch Feb. 2013 in the States.

Harlequin Heartwarming: tender, emotional romances in the style of Sleepless in Seattle.

"Wholesome contemporary romances that celebrate traditional values, strong communities, family connections and true love."

70K-75K words. Will launch July 2013 in the States.

Kimani Press: fiction featuring African American heroes and heroines.

80K-85K words.

Harlequin Historical Undone: a short and snappy historical series.

10K-15K words.

Harlequin Nocturne: short paranormals.

10K-25K words.

Passion in Print: PIP is looking for the themed short stories right now.

The works must be:
10K-15K words in length.
Scorching heat factor (ie: EROTIC)
m/f or menage (m/f/m, f/m/f)

They also must follow regular submission guidelines.

The categories are as follows:
- Cupid's Arrow (Valentines Day Themed, must be menage)
- Summer Heat
- Cowboy Style
- European Vacation (Must involve a shifter)
- Fusion Series (Interracial)
- Spells of the Heart (Witches, wizards, etc.)
- Beyond the Horizon (sci-fi)
- Titillating Treat (Halloween)
- Holiday Spice (Christmas)

There are no submission date requirements on the website. Click here for more information.

ABOUT: PIP is the hetero offshoot publisher of MLR (Manlove Romance), owned by Laura Baumbach. It appears they've been in business since 2010 and have about 20 regular authors.

(I will post next week about open calls, which publishers put out when they are looking to fill an anthology or short series of works on a theme.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Feature Follow Friday - 7

A little late to the book blog hop this week, but hopefully there are still some people hanging around over there!

The question this week is what would you do over if you could start your blog from scratch. Since my blog is still a baby in my eyes, I don't really know. I'd like to put more resources up here for writers, and more book reviews...basically be more active. I write a daily parenting blog and that takes a lot out of me. Aside from actually parenting and actually writing books, I just don't have much left over. I'll have to work on that. Here's the linky list...Sign up!

What's in a (Character) Name?

In real life, you're pretty much stuck with the name you've been given, without choice. But when you write, you have the power to make your character's name fit them. To choose the wrong sounding name could turn readers away, so there is a bit of pressure when it comes to nomenclature.

The most important names belong to the hero and heroine, of course. What do you want to say about those characters?

When I wrote my first book, I named the hero Jake. No reason, really. It just seemed to fit the strong, silent outside, vulnerable inside that I was going for.

I was informed that Jake is the most popular hero name in romance right now. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, it makes sense.

Jacob is a very popular name in real life, reaching its peak probably just a few years ago. Writers are influenced by the world around them, so the name's occurence in their lives probably have a lot to do with it's popularity.

It's also a short, staccato name. Jake. It's strong. It's easy to say and recognize by sight. It doesn't necessarily show depth of character, but lengthen it to Jacob, and you have a brooding side to the name as well.

You'll see classic names for heroes that are perhaps a little bit older, and spunky names for heroes that are on the younger side. This shows both their conservative or liberal nature (but not necessarily) and also mirrors the time period in which they would have been born.

There are names that seem soft that can say a lot about a character as well. Miles, for instance, shows a brainier side of a hero. Lucas, Mark, Peter...these could all be more studious rather than adventurous, and when they do take a turn for the spicy side of life, it's all the more compelling, as it seems to go against their nature.

So far, I've chosen typical last names, those I hope will be memorable enough to last for longer than a page, but not so common that 20 pages of a phone book is dedicated to them. That seems to be a safe way to go.

However, a friend of mine, and successful writer, Tatiana March once named her main character Conrad Ungarreti.

Is that not amazing? Probably my favorite character name in recent history.

Heroines follow the same rules as heroes, for name choices. More historical, regal names show a conservative nature. Popular names from the 80s represent a slightly aging woman, perhaps shy and unsure (think Jen, Melanie, Jessica). Spunkier names or unisex names work well for badass characters.

But, again, if you choose right, a classic name can make the opposite characterization really pop. In a manuscript I just read, the head of an assassination association was named Jane.


Side characters can be a lot of fun because their ages range from toddlers to seniors, and you can name according to time period. You can also give out more comical, less likely names, like Burt (for example). Others I've written are Warren, LJ, Kenny, Henry, Mitch...can you guess which are good guys and which are bad? Which are old or young? Probably. That's part of the fun, though.

Most importantly, when you choose a name, you can make the character fit it. But don't. If the name you chose in the beginning always seems to ring a bit off when you read through, change it. Click Find and Replace All. It's easy and you'll thank yourself.

And so many times, there shouldn't even be a difference. I'm working on a novel right now where the main character is Steve. I renamed him Frank five years ago. I have no idea why. As Frank, the character just doesn't make sense to me. When I go back to work on it (eventually...this is one of those shelfers) he'll go back to Steve. Because that's his name.

What character names are you in love with, and why?

Friday, August 3, 2012