Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Just a quick post to say how much I really love epublishers. I mean, what's not to love? They accept electronic submissions meaning I save a bundle on stamps and envelopes and, if they accept my manuscript, it's usually out within a year.

So let's hear it for epublishers. And by way of celebrating them, here's a list of some of the more well known ones including the ones I've been published by.

Amira Press - And check out their blog for info about new releases -

Cobblestone Press - You can learn a lot more about them here -

Ellora's Cave - This is their sister site -

Samhain Publishing - And their blog -

New Concepts Publishing -

Liquid Silver - Read their blog here -

Loose Id -

Ravenous Romance -

And I've already mentioned Carina Press in another post.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Excerpt from For the Love of the Courtesan

Below is an excerpt from my manuscript, For the Love of the Courtesan, currently seeking a home with an epublisher.

The loud, firm knock on the door resounded through the atrium startling the yellow songbirds in their cage. They flew off their perch, chirping, their wings fluttering. Chloe’s own heart leapt though she had been expecting this summons, had been waiting for it. Belthus, her longest-serving slave, emerged from a side room but she waved him away and hurried to the heavy door. She knew who it was even before she opened it. A tall, slender man the color of burnt almonds stood in front of her. It was the third time he’d come. The third Monday morning in as many weeks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

more of Ovid's advice to lovers

"I advise you, if it is feasible, to have two mistresses at the same time, for thus one passion shall moderate the other. Rivers lose their force when they split and branch off, and the fury of a fire can be disminished by making several small ones out of a big one...If you have been so foolish as to retain the affections of but a single mistress, lose no time to find another immediately....If you are troubled to find them, read my Art of Love. Voyage out upon the sea of Love courageously and soon your ship will be laden with beautiful wenches." Ovid, The Art of Love

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Publisher in Cyber-Town

This post by Angela James, formerly of Samhain Publishing, and now Executive Editor at Carina Press, appeared over at Risky Regencies. I've taken Angela at her word about cross-posting!

Hoop skirts, brocade, feathered headdresses, kid gloves, kid slippers, horses, carriages, talk of locomotion (not Kylie Minogue's!), Queen Victoria, cowboys, discussion of women's suffrage, ratafia, corsets, chemises, calling cards, pelisses, peers of the realm, cutthroats, Mary Wollstonecraft, six-shooters, hothouse flowers, wallflowers, parties lit by candles, cowboy hats, bluestockings, hunts, hounds, masquerades, horses, operas and operettas, tours of Italy, grand tours, wars (Napoleonic, Crimean), revolutions (French, Russian)...

Do you love these things? We do, and we want to read more about them—and share them with our readers! Carina Press’s acquisitions team and editors have begged me to find more historical fiction and romance, so I’m putting out the call. If you have a completed historical manuscript, 15,000 words and up, Carina Press would love to see it. We’re looking for both historical romance and historical fiction (with or without the romance subplot) of any steam level (including none, none at all). Historical Victorian, Regency, Western, turn of the century or whatever other time period you’ve chosen to write in, we’re interested in publishing some amazing historical work. Our submissions guidelines can be found at and we’re working through submissions very quickly, due to the large number of us reading them, so you won’t be waiting until summer (or next year) for an answer!

We hope you’ll take this post and pass it on, post it on your blog, direct your friends to it and let them know: Carina Press is looking for historical fiction and romance!

Want to know more about the people behind the Carina Press acquisitions and their love of all things historical? I asked them to share thoughts about favorite authors, books and just what they love about historical romance and historical fiction in general.

I’ll start (Angela James, Executive Editor): I love historicals for the things I learn. When I was in sixth grade, I visited the junior high, as a kind of orientation for the next school year. We were all assigned a seventh grade buddy, who we attended classes with for the day. In her history class, the teacher asked, “What was Queen Mary’s nickname?” I was the only one who knew the answer was “Bloody Mary” and that was because of the historical romances I’d been reading (yes, in sixth grade). I got mad props from the seventh graders (upperclassmen!) for knowing that answer!

I adore Julie Garwood’s old historicals and have for many years. They’re some of my very favorite re-reads, and books I will never give up because, even after all these years, they still make me laugh out loud, smile, and fall in love with both the hero and the heroine. Despite historical inaccuracies and what some might call a wallpaper-historical effect, I love them and I continue to recommend them to friends for the fun storylines and relatable characters.

Amy Wilkins, Acquisitions Team: I love The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig for its incredible blend of adventure, comedy and romance.

(plus it amused me that the hero and heroine are named Amy and Richard -- my boyfriend's name is Richard!)

Melissa Johnson, Editor: I love Kresley Cole's MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy because one of the heroines is actually not from France or the British Isles, and Cole's heroes are all crazy-hot for the women they love. I don't even mind that the brothers are each crazy-hot in basically the same way.

Deborah Nemeth, Editor: I love the sparkling prose and witty dialogue of Eloisa James. In the Desperate Duchess series she went beyond the typical Regency to the Georgian period, one that I love.

I'd also love to get some historical manuscripts set in the Italian Renaissance and the Tudor/Elizabethan courts that feature political intrigue. The Roman empire between Augustus-Claudius (the setting of the I, Claudius series) would also be good for this type of political story.
I'd also love an adventure story set during the Crusades--perhaps from the Saracen point of view. A romance featuring a troubadour during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine. I also enjoy the roaring twenties, Paris during the Belle Époque, and England during both WWI and WW2.

Andrea Kerr, Acquisitions Team: You can quote me: "I admit it: I love historicals for the gowns!"

More seriously, one thing I really like about historical romance is that there is built-in conflict. Relationships between men and women were governed by very different and intricate social rules that simply could not be crossed. So it's believable to me that the hero and heroine in a historical can't be together because they are on different social levels, for example, or because they are unable to come out and say how they feel. In a contemporary romance, it takes a LOT more to convince me that two available people who are obviously attracted to each other can't just sit down and work through their differences and be together.

Gina Bernal, Editor: I love the emotional depth of Mary Balogh's historicals, because she takes characters to the lowest of low points and yet makes me believe time and again that love does conquer all. Lately, I've been hankering for a good harem romance and love all sorts of unusual settings and underexplored time periods--from Vikings, Romans and Celts to Caribbean pirates and WWII resistance fighters.
Emily Matheson, Acquisitions Team: I love Eloisa James. Everything she's written. Not only do I love her characters (they're always smart), but I always learn something-- be it about politics in Georgian England or how migraines were treated in the regency period. It's the best way to be educated.

Elizabeth Bass, Editor: I`d love to find an author who could single-handedly bring western historicals back into popularity!

Jenny Bullough, Acquisitions Team: Like most of us here at Harlequin, I'm a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn's MIRA historicals, because as much as I love Regencies it's a treat to read historical novels set in the Victorian era for a change! With Carina Press open to any and all eras and settings, I'm always excited to read submissions that are set in unusual or different eras or places -- from ancient Rome or Egypt to turn-of-the-century America or WWII Japan, from the Salem witch trials to Renaissance Italy!!

Kymberly Hinton, Editor: I love Judith McNaught's rich, evocative language because it makes me feel like I'm right there with the characters, and she's the first author who helped me to realize that "reformed rakes make the best husbands." I also adore Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series because she has a rare ability to make me laugh, cry, and jump for joy all in the same book.

the Horse of Hector

If you're writing erotica, it's always good to know about as many sexual positions as possible, isn't it?

In the Horse of Hector, the woman is on top with the man lying on his back with his knees up and his feet on the bed or ground. She sits on him with her knees on either side of him and leans back against his thighs. This position allows for really deep penetration.

Enjoy! (Umm, your characters, I mean, they should enjoy...oh, you know what I mean!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Conflict in romances

If you're writing a romance and have done your research into the elements of the genre you'll know that conflict is one of those necessary things that an editor or agent will be looking for in your work. Even though I've been published, I have to admit that I struggle with the whole concept of conflict - my characters often instantly like each other and I have to work at keeping them out of each other's beds! It's not easy!

Conflict creates the tension or the suspense between your hero and heroine, the will-they-won't-they quality that keeps readers hooked throughout your story.

There are two types of conflict you can employ - external and internal conflict.

External conflict first - And I'm not talking some simple thing like a misunderstanding that could have been easily cleared up by asking a simple question (my problem with Othello, btw!). No, external conflict is more along the lines of the hero is a spy for Queen Mary Tudor while the heroine's family wants to see Elizabeth on the throne, or, if you're writing fantasy, your hero is a wizard charged with eliminating shape-shifters and your heroine is a wizard whose brother is a werecat whom she will protect at all costs. External conflict gives your readers something to think about and your characters stuff to do!

But internal conflict can be even more interesting. Here is where you can layer the personality of your characters to show what they stand to lose and what they stand to gain depending on their relationship to each other and how they grow or evolve emotionally. A police officer who falls in love with the woman he is protecting from the murderous ex-husband trying to kill her must not only keep her safe but also overcome her natural fear of getting involved again, and her distrust of her own ability to make the right choice. If he, himself, is an arrogant, high-handed bastard then something in him must also change if he is to win her - maybe he can continue to be a bastard to everyone else but her.

And the central conflict between the hero and heroine dictates their actions, their reactions, how quickly the relationship moves and creates different obstacles they encounter on the path to true love. For example, maybe the couple above make some progress and are grooving on each other, that's great but thrown them a curveball - maybe the officer makes an important decision that affects her without asking her opinion - this reminds the woman of her husband's behavior and they're back at square one! So she loses a little bit of her trust in him and keeps a secret from him which puts her in greater danger and so on, and so on. Use the conflict to escalate the drama and add complexity to your characters so you keep your readers guessing till the very end!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

public sex

Great places for your characters to indulge in a bit of public sex - the beach, the park, in the backyard, in the office, under a waterfall, in a car, on the deck of a yatch, in the elevator! Go on, spice up their sex lives. They'll thank you for it and so will your readers!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bittenbybooks reviews The Mermaid's Mission

A lovely review of The Mermaid's Mission.

When Antalya proves to Gregory beyond a doubt that her tale is true, she tells him of the damage that his construction and his future plans will do to the environment. Her task as a Gift Prize was to get him to stop everything and let the island resort back to its natural state. Taking a fish eye view of the damage and potential destruction of the reef, the fish and other sea life, Gregory makes a decision that will hopefully keep both sides happy. Antalya must now give her father the answer that Gregory has made and leaves him to go back to her people. Whether this will be enough is now up to the city of Mereid and the King, but will another voice convince the populous that compromise and education of the dangers of urban sprawl can give them all hope to survive?

This short novella was a very smart and spicy tale with an twist. The combination of the paranormal creatures of the water with the cause and effects of urban expansion on the environment was skillfully written and entertaining

Monday, April 19, 2010

advice on seduction from a master

"If by chance you attend a feast and some charming woman shares your couch, whisper a prayer to the god whose mysteries are celebrated at night, that the wine may not too deeply affect your brain. This is the time when you may easily discourse with your mistress in symbolic terms, the meaning of which will be obvious to her. A drop of wine upon your finger will enable you to draw strange devices on the table, wherein she can discern some proof of your affection. Let your looks bear out the message of these hieroglyphs; the language of the eyes can be uncommonly persuasive.

When she has sipped from out her cup, then quickly seize her goblet and drink becomingly from the same spot that her lips have abandoned but a moment before. If she touches any food upon the common platter, lose no time in picking it for your own plate; and as you reach for it, your hand may softly brush hers. Be polite to her husband." Ovid, The Art of Love

Monday, April 12, 2010

More on Trying to Get a Man…oops, I mean Trying to Get a Publisher

Ok, so we're sticking with the theme of how trying to get a pubisher is kind of like trying to hook yourself a man and we went over some of the tactics. (Ok, I'm not trying to rewrite Sun Tzu's Art of War but stay with me here.)

You've worked on yourself, you're feeling and looking better than you ever did before. You've got some hot duds for your hot body. Now it's time to research the places where all the eligible (for you) guys hang out. Remember - if you want a mature man spending time at the local college clubs isn't going to hook you any fish you'll want to take home. Want a guy who likes jazz, make a list of the jazz clubs in your area. Interested in the alternative scene, do your research! Find those basement hideaways, warehouse digs, etc..

It's the same when looking for a publisher. Once you've polished your manuscript till it gleams, cut out all the extraneous stuff, made the love scenes zizzle, don’t undermine yourself by putting all your eggs in one publishing basket. Check out a wide variety, make yourself a list of twenty or thirty publishers and submit your queries or partials to them, in batches of five or six. You’re just looking, remember? You’re not out to get all serious and monogamous at this stage. Even if one requests a partial, don't stop sending your queries out. It's like with that hot guy at the club who took your number and, wonder of wonders, actually called on the second day. That's great but you just met, for God’s sake! Wait until signatures have been put on the dotted line before all your writerly hopes and ambitions you do endow.

Okay, so now you’ve been out on a few dates with Mr. Hottie. You’ve had a couple exchanges with a publisher and they’re reviewing the full. It’s a heady time so celebrate but don’t start turning down other dates just yet. Keep your options open until you get a solid offer. Oh, and now’s not the time to turn all needy and start emailing and calling the publisher (or Mr. Hottie, for that matter) to find out what the status is on your manuscript (or the relationship). If they’ve had it for three months without word, you can send a polite reminder. After six months, well, hopefully you’ve been continuing to date other guys, er, to send out queries so the neglect won’t sting as bad.

But what if they loved it and now the offer’s on the table? Now it’s time for you to do your due diligence and go over that contract with the finest tooth comb you possess. Read it over until you can quote it in your sleep. Check out websites for writers (like this one - and read any advice you can on publisher contracts. Network with other writers and ask them about any clauses you may be unsure of. You might even want to hire a lawyer who’s familiar with publishing contracts to look it over for you. Getting out of a contract can be even more difficult than a trip to divorce court.

Being single can sometimes suck but choosing the wrong man or the wrong publisher can be even worse. And then again, when you choose the right man and the right publisher, well, life can hardly get better, can it?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Avoiding Rejections or How Trying to Get a Man is Like Trying to Get a Publisher

Rejections are a fact of life for most writers but there are ways of reducing your chances of getting them. Think of a publisher like how you might think of a potential lover.

Let’s say you’ve had enough of the single life and you’re determined to change things around. One of the first things you might decide is that your usual tee-shirt and sweats wardrobe isn’t doing anything for you and yes, you could definitely stand to lose a pound or two, firm up those pecs and abdominals. You break out the credit card, buy an exercise DVD or two and some weights. After six months or a year, you’ve done it, you’ve reached your goal weight and it’s time to break out the credit card again for some hot duds. You are fit, you are fine, and you are ready to get yourself some!

But wait, you’re asking, is this some kind of Denise Austin pep talk? How does this relate to writing? Well, think about it, silly. You don’t just dash off a manuscript without revising and revising, do you? Do you? No, you don’t. If you want to attract a man, you’ve got to look like you want to – you’ve got to take care of yourself and, to use my grandmother’s phrase, put your best foot forward.

If you want to attract a publisher, it’s the same thing. You want a publisher to know that you care about writing, that you’ve crossed the t’s and know how to use proper grammar. That mean’s revising and revising and accepting useful critiques. A word of caution here – making yourself attractive to a man doesn’t or shouldn’t mean changing who you are. If you hate sky diving, don’t pretend you love it just to please him. In the same way, listen to your critique partners but keep in mind what is true to your story and to your voice and don’t change those things because you’ll be changing a story only you could tell into one your critique group would tell.

Okay, so you’re dressed in the latest designer fashion and you’re ready to paint the town red and collect some phone numbers while you’re at it. Now you’ve got to identify which nightclubs will give you the most bang for your money. Again, this is where being true to yourself comes in again. Target the kinds of clubs that play the music you like and the ones that attract the age group you’re looking for. In other words, you might like jazz but if the club you go to caters for college students and you’re in your mid-forties, you’re probably wasting your time.

Similarly, don’t send your dark paranormal romance off to a publishing house that explicitly states they don’t do paranormals or they don’t do romance. Check out each publishing house’s guidelines before submitting. If a house doesn’t do inspirationals, don’t send yours there. If they tell you they are closed for submissions, try other houses. If they only accept from agents and you don’t have one, skip them.

More to come. Keep tuned! Oh, and while you're at it, check me out on My Space -

Saturday, April 3, 2010

sexual tension

I'm working on a new novella at the moment and struggling with character development, pace, and all those good things. It's set in the ancient world, in and around the Mediterranean and researching life at that time was great. (I love the Eyewitness books for their great pictures and good overview of different time periods.)

But beyond the pace and the plot, what I am really trying to work on is improving how my characters come across and how the tension between them builds. Sexual tension in romances is crucial to how succesful the story is - it can't be too rushed, that is the number one thing to remember.

So in my novella hero and heroine meet in a crisis situation but they take notice of each other - nothing big, no long passages on how either of them look. It is a crisis situation after all but one or two sentences where they take note of something special about each other sets the tone or the foundation. From that initial meeting the chemistry between them builds and once they're out of the crisis and in a more relaxed setting they can begin to get to know each other better and savor the mounting feelings between them.

And them savoring those feelings is key - I've read a few stories where either the heroine is attracted to the hero but you don't really know why because the writer hasn't taken any time to explore the attraction beyond noting his bulging biceps or his piercing eyes or something. No, there has to be more than that. A lot more, at least for me. I like to have the heroine taking note of the hero's sense of humour, the way his veins cord his arms, how he fills out his trousers, how her touch affects him, etc., etc..