Lisa Whitefern

Lisa Whitefern writes The HOTTEST Paranormal Romance/ Market News for Writers of Fiction. What are editors and agents looking for?

Archive for the category “erotica”

The Seven Secrets of the Fastest Selling Paperback of all time. And a little more market news.

Breaking News for me! lol My novel Wicked Wonderland is up for Best Paranormal Romance in the Passionate Plume awards this year. http://www.passionateink.org/contests
Available for sale here! http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wicked-wonderland-p-7081.html

Maybe you’ve already read too many blogs about why 50 shades is so popular, but here is my perspective
There are several reasons for FSOG’s massive market appeal.

1. Billionaire/ Glamor ( long history of appeal in romance)
which combines with
2. Twilight connection after huge success of Twilight. (Readers get to see Bella and Edward have detailed sex and even better it’s light BD/SM sex!)
3. YA (young adult/ chick lit type) writing style that is easy and fun to read.
4.Sweet virgin gets corrupted and loves it. (long history of appeal as a romance trope)
5. Pretty Woman updated — Ana gets a LOT of cool shit, but it’s not just fashion and cars, there’s modern techno gadgets in there!
6 Dark, dangerous, tormented man meets Cinderella (huge history as a best selling theme in romance.)
7. A mystery….why is Christian 50 shades of fucked up?

And some market news…..
Harlequin Digital First is looking for Dystopian, and Alternate History novels of 70 thousand words or more and these could potentially go to print.
Stories should be inspired by the phrase “What If?”

What if the course of history had turned out differently? What if the world as we know it came to an end? What if humanity faced an apocalypse—and lived? This line is not intended for young adults. Romance or romantic elements are welcome, but not necessary. Books and films fitting this category might include: 1984, Brave New World, The Day of the Triffids, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Road, I Am Legend, V for Vendetta, The Book of Eli, The Walking Dead, Fringe.

As these stories should be rich with detail and these worlds highly developed, submissions should be a minimum of 70,000 words.

How to Submit:

Please submit only completed, fully polished manuscripts along with a query/cover letter and synopsis. In the subject line of your query, please type the manuscript title, your name and the genre of the manuscript. Queries must include the following and will not be reviewed if any piece is missing:

In the body of the email: a brief, introductory query letter including genre, word count and a short description of the book, as well as pertinent information about the author, including both legal name and pen name, full mailing address, and any writing credits.
As an attachment: the full manuscript saved as an RTF, DOC or DOCX file, with file name TITLE_MANUSCRIPT where you substitute your book’s title in place of TITLE.
As a second attachment: A 2–5 page synopsis of the book, detailing character development, plot and conflict/story resolution. Attach as an RTF, DOC or DOCX file with file name TITLE_SYNOPSIS where you substitute your book’s title in place of TITLE.

Please be sure to put the following information on the first page of all files: manuscript name, author pen name/legal name, email address, full mailing address, phone number, genre and word count.

Submissions should be sent to Submit_HDigital@Harlequin.com.

http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1734&chapter=0

Harlequin Digital First are also looking for Erotic Vacation Romance, contemporary erotic stories taking place while characters are on vacation.
Harlequin Erotic Vacation

Can one vacation change your life? Harlequin Erotic Vacation is all about exploring what can happen when you go on holiday and leave your inhibitions behind. Whether the hero or the heroine is travelling to an exotic resort for singles or going on an exciting adventure trek or completing a dream trip to Europe, the possibilities for romance are boundless. We’d love to see erotic romances where the hero and/or heroine are reaching outside of their comfort zone, and encountering love in exotic or faraway locations in the process. Characters can be tourists or ex-pats, guides or tour operators or resort staff. Stories can be novella length but must end happily—not necessarily with a proposal, but definitely with a promise that the relationship will continue beyond the holiday.

Word count: 15,000-50,000 words.

Sensuality level: Very high—these are definitely erotic romances. Sexual chemistry should play a large part in the development of the romance.

Films: Romancing the Stone, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Under the Tuscan Sun, Before Sunrise.

Do you like menage romance with a very high heat level? My paranormal MMF BD/SM menage is full of magic and published by the great publisher Samhain. You can buy it here http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wicked-wonderland-p-7081.html Or on Amazon here http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Wonderland-ebook/dp/B009H6WAXI/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1370743507&sr=1-3 http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wicked-wonderland-p-7081.html

Mary’s Menage Whispers Blog has moved. To read reviews of a wide range of menage novels please click below.
http://marymenage.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/marys-menage-whispers-blog-moved-welcome-to-my-new-blog-2/

The Magic of Animated Christmas Movies

Larger version of Wicked Wonderland banner

Today is Wicked Wonderland’s release day. It is now officially for sale. http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wicked-wonderland-p-7081.html

It is available for kindle from the Samhain website if you have a kindle.

You can buy it for Nook here Wicked Wonderland

The Magic of Animated Christmas Movies

If you were a child of the ‘70s, you’ll remember a time when there were no DVDs to watch at home, so if there was something special on TV, it was more exciting than it would ever be in this day and age.

How excited my little sister and I were by all those animated Christmas movies full of magic and wonder, that only came on TV on Christmas Eve.

I guess those stories are really ingrained in my psyche, because my first ever published story was one of those Christmas tales, and it appeared in the children’s pages in our city newspaper when I was 10 years old.

When I conceived of my erotic novel Wicked Wonderland, I also wanted to capture that magic. I wanted to capture it in an erotic romance.  The three goals I had for Wicked Wonderland were to write a magical paranormal Christmas story, an emotional romance between 3 people in a ménage, and an erotic story hot enough to jingle sleigh bells and curl your mistletoe!

For those of you wanting only market news  info from my blogs (shut up about your new release and your childhood, Lisa and give us the market goss!) I introduce to you  Riptide Publishing.

Riptide Publishing is a boutique purveyor of some of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer)  fiction, romance, and erotica . Created by experienced M/M authors who were hungry for more favorable contracts, editing, marketing support, and royalty rates, Riptide Publishing seeks to fill a critical niche in the LGBTQ market: quality books, pristinely packaged, that will satisfy readers’ desires for rich, plotty, well-edited stories for which the author is fairly paid.

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Although Riptide is an invitation only publisher for general submissions they give authors the opportunity to submit to Open Calls so you can get your foot in the door. Once you have a story accepted to one of their open calls you become an in house author. Their royalty rates are very good and they have some very fine authors  so Lisa Whitefern recommends this press.

To buy Wicked Wonderland click here. http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wicked-wonderland-p-7081.html

Specific Calls for Submissions in erotic romance and erotica this week.

This week I’m focusing on Calls for Submissions from well established publishers (mostly digital first). All the publishers I mention currently have a good reputation overall from authors to the best of my knowledge. (As usual all book covers are for illustrative purposes only and don’t indicate the book is published by the publisher mentioned. I often use Samhain covers.)

Loose ID

Loose ID is a digital first publisher with a reputation up there with Ellora’s Cave, Carina, Liquid Silver, Total Ebound and Samhain.  Loose ID unlike some of these publishers appears to focus ONLY on Erotic Romance and does not put all novels into print.

Call for Submissions from Loose ID

I Do…Unless I Don’t

Concept: Weddings and June go together. But does the couple? In this submissions call there has to be a wedding prominently involved in the story and some doubt whether the couple who is planning to marry will actually get married or if they will get married the way they planned. Whether they do or don’t is up to you but there must be a romance, lots of erotic heat and a HEA or HFN. Someone is going to end up with the right guy or girl at the end…and maybe even a wedding.

The bridesmaid might finally become the bride, the groom may run off with his best man, the couple who called it off years ago may change their mind again, the wedding planner may have to entirely switch the theme from over the top to an intimate wedding, the rehearsal dinner might poison the guests, the gold digger bride might end up a suspect in her fiance’s
murder at the eve of the wedding…it’s up to you.

Loose ID would like a complete manuscript in by Feb. 15. Novellas (20,001 words) and up are acceptable.  If you are not previously published with Loose ID then submit to  looseid.submissions @ loose-id.com and add I DO SUB CALL in the heading. (Those who already have a Loose ID editor submit to your editor of course.) Loose Id is particularly interested in I/R, LGBT (something with an unusual setting or scenario would be nice) or stories with a setting that really adds to the romance.

Dreamspinner Press

Dreamspinner Press is a respected publisher of gay male romance in all genres and of all heat levels.

Call for Submissions from Dreamspinner Press

Timeless Dreams

Dreamspinner Press presents Timeless Dreams: stories of M/M romance in historical settings. While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma. You can visit the rough and tumble Old West, travel the ancient kingdoms of desert sheikhs, see the black and red lacquer of the Far East, or dance in dramatic Regency England. No matter where or when, in the romantic worlds of Timeless Dreams, Dreamspinner gay heroes always live happily ever after.

Novels and novellas that fit this description may be submitted to submissions@dreamspinnerpress.com. Follow the general submission guidelines. Please include “Timeless Dreams” in the subject line of your e-mail. There is no deadline for Timeless Dreams Call for Submissions.

Total Ebound

Total-E-Bound Publishing is another royalty paying, full-service ePublisher  with a long term good reputation based in the UK.
Total Ebound Calls for Submissions

Whip It Up – BDSM Anthology

  • 10K to 15K word count per short story.
  • 9½ weeks or more please! Can you write a lush, rich and savoury D/s story of subs and Doms with an appetite for whips and cream, paddles and puddings, canes and cakes? We’re looking for some mouth-watering, tasty short stories to add to our culinary collection of dominating Doms and their subs.
  • We’d like to see M/F or MFM/multiple partners stories
  • Heat Rating: Burning/Melting (see our book rating info)

The Submission deadline is 1st March 2013 for release in September 2013
Submit the full story plus synopsis.
When submitting, please enter “Whip It Up Submission” in the email subject line.

Wanton Witches (Halloween 2013)

    • Give us some ‘wicked’ witches and ‘charming’ warlocks with plenty of sexy sparks, blissful brooms and wonderous wands! Conjure us some Halloween wicca stories – white witches, dark witches, earth witches and more. Divine rods are a must! Enchanting?
  • Send  M/F or ménage stories, 15 – 20,000 words please.
  • Submission deadline is 1st April 2013 for release in October 2013.
  • Submit the full story plus synopsis.

When submitting, please enter “Wanton Witches Submission” in the email subject line.

Elloras Cave Ellora’s Cave needs no introduction and though rumors abound that they aren’t the queen any more they are still among the best.

NEW Line launched January 2012:  EC for Men

Stories written specifically for heterosexual male readers.

EC is accepting submissions for EC for Men

~ 7,000 to 30,000 words

~ May contain relationships, but should focus more on the sex than the romance; Romantica is fine, Exotika is also encouraged

~ Realistic wording and dialogue for male characters (not the language women WISH men spoke); this extends to the male narrative

~ Written from male POV preferred

~ Should be aimed at male sexual fantasies (what men think of when they get off)
~ More of what men want or need from women: sex, love, acceptance, admiration, dirty talk; less of what they don’t need (judgment, drama, expectation of anticipating woman’s needs)

Call For Submissions

Cleis Press (print and digital erotica publisher)

Slave Girls: Erotic Stories of Submission
Editor: D. L. King
Publisher: Cleis Press
Deadline: January 15, 2013
Payment: $50 plus 2 copies of the anthology

D. L. King is looking for Master/Slave erotica that will turn her into a mass of quivering flesh.

DL King warns she is  a dominant woman.  It will take real work to make her go all gooey from stories of female submission, but you can do it.  She knows you can do it because she’s read fem sub stories that have really turned her on.

Stories should be between 2,000 and 3,500 words, double-spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman. Please indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch and do not include extra lines between paragraphs.

Send your story as a .doc (NOT a .docx. You can assure this by saving your story as a Word 97-2003 document.) attachment and include the title, pseudonym (if applicable) and your legal name and mailing address to slaveantho@gmail.com. The subject line should read: Submission: TITLE. Please include a professional bio of 50 words or less. Direct any questions to the same address. Original stories only. (If you are absolutely unable to send a .doc attachment, she will accept an rtf- but she won’t be happy about it.)

Read about D.L. King at:
www.dlkingerotica.com

That’s it for my blog on Calls for Submissions this week.

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Click if you wish to buy Wicked Wonderland my erotic  menage novel about bisexual  half-fae who fly around the world in Santa’s sleigh delivering sex toys while being pursued by an evil force bent on their destruction.  🙂

Agents and Editors Wish Lists

Click if you wish to buy Wicked Wonderland my erotic  menage novel about bisexual  half-fae who fly around the world in Santa’s sleigh delivering sex toys while being pursued by an evil force bent on their destruction.  🙂

Today I’m posting some agents and editors wish lists that I’ve hunted up, but please realize, just because your idea isn’t on an agent or editor’s wish list certainly doesn’t mean the agent or editor might not LOVE to have it.  Agents say they are constantly surprised by what they fall in love with. That being said, reading editors and agents wish lists is pure fun.

They are fun because they give us an idea of the kind of topics that people in the publishing industry think might sell. They also might give any of us ideas for a future book!

Kate Schafer Testerman with KT Literary is looking for
brilliant, funny, original middle grade and young adult fiction.
Both literary and commercial; witty women’s fiction. Quirky is good.

Alicia Condon ekensington‘s Editorial Director  is looking for 60,000-word contemporary romance with Alpha heroes or small town settings and high concept single title contemporary romance. She will also look at paranormal and fantasy romance, romantic suspense, historical romance, young adult paranormal romance of 80,000 – 100,000 words).(Click on her name for guidelines and contact email.) Do not send full manuscript.

Lucia Macro is crying out for contemporary romances of approximately 50-60,000 words. for Avon Impulse both funny novels and intense and dramatic ones. She’d love military men, cowboys, billionaires and other tropes.

Rochelle French of Entangled’s Dead Sexy Romantic Suspense catagory romance line wants to see:

  • A caper with quirky characters and a strong romance
  • A cozy romantic mystery that starts with a bang
  • A small town romantic thriller
  • A category length romantic suspense with a strong winter holiday theme for next winter.
  • Traditional tropes (best friends to lovers, reunion romance, marriage of convenience, intimate strangers), while exploring the depths of the human condition as the suspense and romance build.
  • Plotlines outside the usual realm of category romance, such as amateur sleuth, hard-boiled detective, cozy mystery, medical/science, contemporary gothics, super-sensual thrillers—as long as the story has a strong, committed DEAD SEXY romance

Submissions for the Dead Sexy editors can be sent directly to deadsexy-submissions (at) entangledpublishing (dot) com ATTN: Rochelle. Check out the Dead Sexy submission guidelines for specific instructions!

Two Editors Wish Lists and Emotional Punch why you need it in your romance novel

Oh my goodness my  novel Wicked Wonderland has somehow hit Samhain Publishing’s Paranormal Romance Best Seller list when it hasn’t even come out yet. (It is available for pre-order.) And it’s number 2 for Holiday Themed Romance! (These lists appear to be updated twice daily.)

Wicked Wonderland is discounted for pre-order and you can buy it here.

Today I’ll give you a little market news and then share a workshop I gave on Emotional Punch.  Next week my blog will be on agents and editors wish lists so stay tuned.

Ruth Homrighaus of Entangled’s  Indulgence line wants to see:

  • More funny books with strong tropes. She’d really like  a hilarious Vegas marriage of convenience.
  • Cowboys, cowboys, cowboys
  • Forbidden love of any sort!
  • A good falling-for-the-nanny book, contemporary or historical.
  • Road trip stories–U.S., abroad, contemporary or historical–you name it!
  • Historical submissions of all sorts, with bonus points for British empire (nineteenth-century Australia would be cool) or early-twentieth-century U.S. (think flappers, WWI or WWII, the Fifties).
  • Stories of love unrequited (and misdirected)

Submissions for Ruth can be sent directly to ruth (at) entangledpublishing (dot) com. Check out Indulgence submission guidelines for specific instructions!

Tracy Montoya of Entangled Publishing’s Dead Sexy line wants to see:

Fast-paced, sigh-worthy books for Dead Sexy. Anything that starts with a bang (literal or figurative) and keeps her up at night until the end qualifies! She’s also wishing for:

  • Dark, gritty stories.
  • Stories with lots of realistic forensic and/or legal detail.
  • Spies and other types of international intrigue/puzzles.
  • Reunion romances (I’m a sucker for a love-gone-wrong-gone-right-again story!)
  • Multicultural characters (and no, the Mexican drug lord with gold teeth does not count).
  • Historical suspense—the darker the better. Gail Ranstrom is a particular favorite.
  • Kick@$$ (in their own way) heroines—always.

Submissions for the Dead Sexy editors can be sent directly to deadsexy-submissions (at) entangledpublishing (dot) com ATTN: Tracy. Check out  Dead Sexy submission guidelines for specific instructions!

Why does Lisa Whitefern  think Entangled might be a good market? They have best sellers in the Romance category on Amazon.com They are getting a good name for themselves out there. I have heard the odd complaint about editors quitting suddenly, but other authors there report being very happy.

Emotional Punch and why you need it in your Romance Novel

One of the most common comments from editors rejecting romance manuscripts is “this story needs more emotional punch.” But what does this really mean?

Emotional Punch in a story is created by the emotional involvement, empathy and absorption the reader feels when caught up with the in your story. It is emotional rapport she feels with the characters and the steadily growing pace of the story and the emotional development that gives the story its page turning quality.

Romance author Barbara Hannay comments that sufficient emotional punch gives your story the “wham” that sets it apart from other stories.

In order to achieve emotional punch a writer must first give us characters we care about.  Characters need to grab at the readers emotions and make her care. To do this you need characters who come alive on the page.

Easier said then done right?

How do we create characters like that? Characters who stir a reader’s emotions?

Award winning Australian romance writer Valerie Parv suggests that at every separate stage of your story you ask yourself what the viewpoint character feels about what is happening. Both Valerie Prav in her book Heart and Craft and Stephen King in his book On Writing advise writers not to back off or skim the surface when writing but to dig deep.

Dig deep inside yourself for the deeper emotional truths that might be involved in any situation you are writing about.

Dig inside yourself for the emotions you would feel in the same situation then drag them out onto the page trough bodily sensations.

In order to make readers care about your characters you must know them as people.

Four ways to make a reader care more about you characters include having each of your characters have a “backstory wound” , a personal yearning, strengths and weaknesses and having clarity of theme.

A major back-story event that that bears directly upon the psychological story of your protagonist is referred to by professional book editor Elizabeth Lyon as “a back-story wound”

A back-story wound is a traumatic event in the character’s past that leaves its mark on the character.

In my novel Wicked Wonderland contracted by Samhain the heroine was found as a newborn baby in New York City dumpster so she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder about that.

She also has a relentless anonymous stalker who leaves her a lot of insulting messages referring to the circumstances of her birth.

In traditional fairytales Red Riding Hood is stalked by the ultimate predatory male while Cinderella grows up in the ultimate dysfunctional family. These characters go through hard times before they reach their goals and that tugs on our heart strings.

We can compare Cinderella’s miserable home situation with Harry Potter’s. Harry’s miserable downtrodden role in his own muggle family certainly attracted my attention and pulled on my emotions. Like many people I like to root for the underdog and Cinderella and Harry Potter are both timeless stories because their underdog status coupled with their quiet strength and ultimate determination to make something of themselves attracts our attention and involves our emotions.

My story Wicked Wonderland is in part a retelling of the fairy tale Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. My heroine’s mother is a gambling addict at risk of losing her home and at the beginning of Wicked Wonderland, my heroine Lillian Rudolph has taken a job as a stripper to help her mother pay the mortgage and keep her home.

However she’s really a classical musician so like Rudolph in the song she stands out like a sore thumb among the other strippers as someone very different. They decide because she is different she must be the unknown thief who has been stealing tips from their locker rooms and beat her up.

She is saved by two fae males who take her for a magical erotic ride in Santa’s sleigh.

So Wicked Wonderland is also an underdog story that pulls at our emotions by keying in to those universal emotions felt by anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, or been bullied and dreamed of being suddenly rescued through the approval of someone powerful. In Harry Potter that someone powerful is Dumbledore, in Cinderella it’s her Fairy God mother, in Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer it’s Santa Claus himself and in my story Wicked Wonderland it’s two extremely sexy half fae/half human men who fall in love with my heroine.

In all these stories the protagonist is an underdog going through very hard times before triumphing and finding their happy endings and this packs a powerful emotional punch.

Many beginning writers choose conflicts that are too light.  But to get emotional depth you need to crank up the emotional difficulties your hero and heroine have.

If when the two half fae whisked my heroine away in the sleigh there were no emotional difficulties between them and they lived happily ever after that would not be enough story and would not provide enough emotional punch.

But in fact my heroine knows both of these men from her past when they were posing as full mortals getting an education at the same university she went to. So this is a reunion story with many layered issues between the three protagonists as well as some very dark magical villains who have strong motivations for destroying their happiness.

To intensify emotional punch you must steadily increase the emotional problems of your protagonists in a story.

Think about your current heroine and hero. Are they troubled by internal doubts? Do they face self image problems? Do they have reasons for feeling they don’t deserve unconditional love?

My story is a ménage so we have two heroes. The back-story wound for the more Alpha of my heroes is that when he was a tiny boy his mother often left him to go on adventure holidays. She was an adrenaline junkie who died in a sky diving accident when he was seven. So he has some bitterness and abandonment issues.  My other hero has a scar on his thigh and the reasons for this are left a mystery that I hope has some emotional punch on reveal.

In order to achieve emotional punch you need to drop you guard when writing about your character’s backstory wounds or any other emotional event in your novel. Before you can share the characters emotions you really need to be in touch with your own most intense emotions and feelings. Analyze your own most painful memories.

Australian romance writer Valerie Prav even suggests that if you are a writer who has never visited a professional counselor, that you do so now in order to have a deeper understanding of your own emotions so that you can understand your hero, heroines and even your villain’s emotions in more depth.

New York agent Donald Maass gives similar advice when he comments that “Novels that change lives do so because their authors are willing to draw upon their deepest selves without flinching. These authors hold nothing back making their novels the deepest possible expression of their own experience and beliefs.”

To ensure your story is emotion based you need to look at the role each scene or chapter is playing in the development of the romance.

The emotional structure of a romance might go through the following steps

Step 1—The heroine and hero either have a first meeting in which they feel strong attraction for each other coupled with the warning signs of conflict or the hero and heroine are reunited and back-story revealing emotional conflict from their past is carefully woven in.

Step 2—-The hero and heroine begin to feel  admiration for each other but this is complicated by conflict.  Or in the case of a reunion story – memories of the past rear their heads which  increases emotional tension. In a mainstream romance sexual tension will be on the page, but they will not be making love yet because of the conflict. In contrast, in an erotic or very sexy romance the hero and heroine may move quickly to sexual intimacy, but they will both probably be trying to keep their emotions under wraps. The heroine may tell herself that she is capable of having casual sex like a man without emotion as she shies away from what is really true love.

Step 3

Hero and heroine meet several more times and one or both of them fight their desires and/or their feelings for each other because of both internal and external conflicts.

Step 4

They are thrown together repeatedly by the plot, but conflict grows between them. In a sweeter romance they may fight their sexual desire for each other, in a sexy romance they fight their emotions and feelings.

Step 5

In a sweeter romance this may be the stage where the couple finally make love and lovemaking is later regretted when the conflict seems stronger than before. In a sensual, spicey or erotic romance this maybe a point when the conflict grows and becomes so great that they do not make love for awhile, as all focus is now on the conflict. The Grey moment may occur. This is the moment when the couple confront some important issue that seems like the main crisis but they pass through this crisis and it is not as black and devastating as The Black Moment coming up.

Step 6 The hero may declare his love but the heroine suspects his motives.

Step 7 The Black Moment.  Your story should have a heart wrenching black moment. How do you go about creating that?

A  few tips on creating a heart wrenching black moment from Donald Maas include making one of your protagonists face his or her greatest fear. Working out what your protagonist would never sacrifice and forcing him or her to sacrifice it, and making your protagonist do something the reader would think they would never do. Using one of these moments can lend tremendous emotional power to your black moment.

Step 8 Because of the black moment a future together seems impossible. Decisions are made in an attempt to solve the conflict.

Step 9 The decisions made prove to be the right one. All loose ends are tied up and the couple are free at last to make a commitment to each other.

Throughout your novel you may want to concentrate on one consistent emotional theme. Make sure the emotions your character feels are consistent. They may go on a roller coaster ride of emotions but you still need a dominant theme for you book to be a coherent read. You need to decide on the main emotion you want your readers to feel in each scene and also the main emotion you want your reader to feel reading your book. There should be an emotional theme to your story overall.

Readers read romance for the emotional journey. The more complicated your plot is the more you run the risk of losing the emotional theme running through the book so you must always remember to come back to that theme. Your heroine and hero relationship must be central to everything and more important than other details.

Kate Walker comments that in a romance you have to concentrate on a central relationship and because of this of you need to make sure that what you are describing is a very special, deep, and heartfelt sort of emotion. My own novel Wicked Wonderland is a ménage but it is an erotic romance and so I took care to make sure that I portrayed a once in a lifetime love of the sort every romance should be. In the fantasy world I created the fae live in ménage relationships with their fated mates. The three protagonists in my novel are half human and half fae and so they are unsure if a fated threesome even exists for them.

The romance relationship in your novel should have real depth and real value. The romance should be so much more than a crush.  They need to be someone of real value to one another, someone you would want to spend your life with. Someone without whom the other protagonist or in the case of a ménage protagonists would feel hollow and empty if they didn’t have them in their lives. The relationship needs to be the ultimate in true love.

Kate Walker suggests asking yourself 12 questions about emotional punch

  1. Have I allowed time for my characters to explore their feelings between plot events?
  2.  Have I made sure that the plot doesn’t get in the way of the characters emotions.
  3.  Have I shown emotions through dialogue body language, the choices my characters make?
  4. Have I hinted at a subtext- thoughts and feelings below the surface?
  5. Have I allowed my characters to react with emotions true to their personalities?
  6. Have I used specific details to create a picture so vivid that my reader reacts emotionally?
  7. Have I created a conflict worth being divided over?
  8. Have I put my characters into the most dramatic situations possible?
  9. Have I raised the stakes to force my characters to make tough decisions
  10. Have I used dynamic verbs and adjectives?
  11. Have I used the environment to reflect, contrast with or illuminate my character’s emotions?
  12. Do I feel emotion when I read the most dramatic scenes in my book?

Think back over books you’ve read in the past –the ones you’ve enjoyed most and the ones that made your heart beat faster or made your eyes sting with tears. What emotions did they awaken in you? What is it about the story that appealed to you the most? What did you remember the most? It was probably an emotional moment.

For example in Wuthering Heights Heathcliffe’s outrage  at the way he’d been treated as an outcast. The passion and desperation between him and Cathy when Cathy is torn apart by misery because she didn’t follow her heart.

Personally I also feel emotional punch listening to the lyrics of Eminem’s songs. And considering how well they sell I think a lot of other people must feel that emotional punch too. Eminem’s fury at having been abandoned by his deadbeat Dad, and his angst about being brought up by a poor drug addicted mother. His anger about being bullied as a child and very poor as a young adult. His passionate love for his daughter and his fury at his exwife.

Nora Robert’s stories often pack a powerful emotional punch. For example in Nora Robert’s book Birthright thirty year old Callie Dunbrook finds out that she she was kidnapped from her stroller when she was only three months old.

In Public Secrets Emma McAvoy gets whisked out of poverty and into the glamour of rock-music at the age of 3, But when her baby half brother is tragically kidnapped, Emma’s new world changes again, and she must live with the guilt and the uneasy sense that she knows more than she remembers.

Think about novels, songs, and movies that really made you feel. This should help you concentrate on putting emotional punch into your own stories.

 

Then give your characters’ wounds, make your black moments really big ones, and be utterly ruthless to your characters then pull them out of that black hole with a happy ending that arises realistically from the choices your characters made.  That is what emotional punch is all about.

What is HOT right now according to editors and agents?

What’s hot right now according to agents and editors?

The following are some of the genres that Nelson Literary Agency are actively acquiring.

  • Middle grade with a new unusual fantasy or magical element. Not psychics or wizards, but how about inventors or  or dragon tamers?
  • Sara Megibow Associate Literary Agent of Nelson Literary Agency is actively hunting for  Historical romance, especially Regency and Victorian.
  • Creative science fiction that’s heavy on the fiction and lighter on the science.
  • And any  story in any genre for any age reader that deals with best friends and sweet first love.

Why would Lisa Whitefern recommend the Nelson Literary Agency?

This agency appears to have a solid reputation. To quote a little from their about page “Nelson Literary Agency was founded in 2002. In such a short time, the Nelson Agency has sold more than 150 books, landed several film deals, and has contracted foreign rights on behalf of our clients in all the major territories, including Germany, France, Holland, Japan, and even Russia and Indonesia. Nelson Agency authors have become national bestsellers, RITA-award winners, and have appeared on bestseller lists.”

Nelson Literary Agency are also looking for currently HOT genre New Adult Romance.

What else is HOT right now? — New Adult Romance

(Sexting the Limits is an Erotic New Adult Romance available at Ellora’s Cave.)


The publishing industry seems to be all a buzz about New Adult Fiction and New Adult Romance. What is New Adult Romance? It’s romance with  characters in their college years. The target audience is women age 18 to 25 who are looking for books with heroines they can relate to. Dialogue should be very current and casual, often sarcastic.

Carina Press is actively acquiring  New Adult Romance novels 50,000 words and up. They are most interested in contemporary but will consider paranormal, post apocalyptic, dystopian, etc . These stories must have a strong plot and “very definable protagonists”, 18 and above (or at an age eligible to enter college), in their early to mid-20s. While at least one protagonist should fall in this age range, it is possible the other protagonist may fall in their upper 20s.

Story elements should be targeted to an adult, not teen audience, and should contain adult contemporary themes, frank, modern language, high relationship drama and intense conflict. Characters actions, dress and dialogue should all be age-appropriate. Think of the relationship drama of the college years and run with that!

Other elements that work in this genre (but are not required to be considered for publication) include increased sensuality, love triangles, protagonists with traumatic events in their background.

What is HOT right now? Multicultural Romance for the Digital First Market

Ellora’s Cave has been actively looking to expand their range of Multicultural Erotic Romances.

This line is called FUSION
 
Fusion is about multicultural and interracial relationships. Their readers love African American/Caucasian, but in addition to more of these they want variety. Ellora’s Cave are actively acquiring stories that not only explore the trials and tribulations caused by cultural differences, but that celebrate those differences! They would especially like to see Latin and Arabian lovers in erotic romances with story lengths from 7K to 120K.

What else is HOT right now?–Contemporary Romance

For some reason plain contemporary romance without suspense or paranormal elements is topping all the best seller lists at places like Amazon, and Digital First Publisher’s websites right now.

LUCIA MACRO of Avon Impulse would like to see more contemporary romance featuring very good looking heroes and classic tropes especially bachelors, ranchers, and billionaires.

 What is HOT right now? Gay Werewolf Romance for the Digital First Market

Can you write a super explicit X rated male/male werewolf romance between 18,000 and 39,999 words before December 1st? Ambure Allure is actively acquiring these stories although I’m sure this genre would be just as hot at Loose ID Ellora’s Cave,, Dreamspinner, Carina, Liquid Silver, Resplendence, Samhain  Siren or any other of the best digital first publishers.

All the agents, editors and digital first publishers I have mentioned in this blog currently have good reputations and/or a solid history in the industry.

To read the blurb and an excerpt from my sexy paranormal menage Samhain Publishing click here  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wicked-wonderland-p-7081.html

Manic Readers review of Wicked Wonderland
http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=reviews&bookid=31987

 

Please note—-A publisher or agency who has to use Google ads to solicit your novel probably isn’t anyone you’d want to write for.
Please read this for more information on protecting yourself as an author. You should never pay anyone anything to produce your book for you. http://www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2013/the-author-exploitation-business/
Manic Readers review of Wicked Wonderland
http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=reviews&bookid=31987

Fresh Market News for October 26th. This week 3 actively acquiring markets discussed.

What’s different about my blog?  While there are a few other blogs publishing market news for writers of fiction,  I only post markets I believe have something of  a decent reputation behind them.  Of course I can’t guarantee that if you sign a contract with an e-pub or agent I recommend that you will have decent sales or a good experience. However  I  promise I won’t be publishing any news from markets that have no reputation at all.

Three Actively Acquiring Markets Discussed and Recommended this week

Samhain Publishing is actively acquiring horror novels

Black Lace- Erotica and Erotic Romance

Forever Yours Digital First Line

If you’re interested in publishing romance with a digital first publisher an incredibly useful place to do research is the blog of Emily Veinglory.

Emily Veinglory’s blog’s main serious purpose is to provide information about sales figures in digital first publishing. Just coincidentally I believe Emily is a New Zealander like me. Less coincidentally she is also published with Samhain. Emily’s research  led me to choosing Samahin as the best publisher for my novel.

So Fresh Market News from a publisher recommended by Lisa Whitefern? Samhain is REALLY interested in having a look at you horror novel!

Samhain is actively seeking talented writers who can tell an exciting, dramatic and frightening story, and who are eager to promote their work and build their community of readers.

Samhain is looking for novels—either supernatural or non-supernatural, contemporary or historical—that are original and compelling.  Authors can be previously unpublished or established, agented or un-agented.  Content can range from subtle and unsettling to gory and shocking.  The writing is what counts.

Criteria:

  • Between 12,000 and 200,000 words, for print eligibility length must be a minimum of 50,000 and  a maximum 120,000 words
  • A fresh premise that can be conveyed in a marketing hook of 2 – 3 sentences
  • Believable, three-dimensional characters
  • A gripping, suspenseful style
  • Credible world-building that can make even the strangest creatures believable
  • Within the horror genre, not fantasy or science-fiction, though borders often blur
  • http://www.samhainpublishing.com/submissions/#horror

Interestingly fact about Samhain- Samhain was  the first publisher ever to have a book that was still only available as an ebook hit the NYT Best Seller List. A western erotic romance by Maya Banks.

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More market news. Black Lace the famed UK publisher of erotic books who has been around since 1993 closed its doors to submissions in 2010. Now thanks to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena they reopened in 2012.

Black Lace are currently holding a short story contest

The winning entry will be published by Black Lace Books as part of a forthcoming eBook collection. Entries must be approximately 4,000 words and submitted by 31 October

Black Lace although reprinting a lot of classic Black Lace novels are also finally open again to general submissions. http://www.blacklace.co.uk/index.php/Contact%20Us

Why does Lisa Whitefern  recommend Black Lace? They’ve been established since 1993. Their novels tend to be almost literary erotica. Very beautifully written (don’t let that put you off they have plenty of story too!) Black Lace is a cut above.

Originally Black Lace novels were all about the woman’s sexual journey. They were erotica as opposed to erotic romance the equivalent of sexual women’s fiction as opposed to a story of one man/one woman. This changed as erotic romance gained in popularity and Black Lace even started printing the words “erotic romance” on the spines of their novels as part of their marketing.

Currently though Black Lace editors say “There is room for both erotic romance and erotica on the list and while every book should have a satisfying ending we don’t insist on a conventionally happy one.”

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Hachette Book Group (including Grand Central Publishing) is one of the Big Six traditional publishers. Mostly you need an agent to submit your romance to Grand Central Publishing. However they have recently opened a Digital First Romance Imprint. Books over 50,000 will have a POD print option.

This imprint is called Forever Yours

Why does Lisa Whitefern recommend Forever Yours? In all honesty I am not sure how these digital first imprints the Big Six are all starting up are going to pan out in terms of sales for individual authors. These lines are too new for there to be any sales data available to the general public. I have a fear that sales could end up being pitiful for SOME authors. Although this can happen with any digital first epub, and depends on many factors.

However the fact is that Forever Yours  is linked to a traditional publisher. Here are the reasons Forever Yours recommends you submit your romance novel to them.

Forever Yours offers a complete publishing package: editing by Forever editors, top-notch cover design from the Forever art team, a dedicated publicist, Netgalley review copies for bloggers/reviewers, social media tools and training, targeted marketing and advertising budget, and an experienced digital sales team with long-standing relationships in the e-marketplace.

What are they looking for?

Genres: Forever Yours is currently accepting romance submissions from all subgenres, including but not limited to: contemporary, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, western, historical, inspirational, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, futuristic, urban fantasy, steam-punk, time-travel, and erotica. We are not accepting YA, mystery, general fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

Word count: FY are accepting novella length works (8,000-35,000 words), as well as longer works from 35,000-100,000 words.

Forever Yours offer advances on projects over 35,000 words, 25% net digital royalties, and quarterly royalty accounting.

To read the blurb and an excerpt from my sexy paranormal menage Samhain Publishing click here  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/wicked-wonderland-p-7081.html

Authors Against Bullying— Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Bullying

Please check weekly for more market news for fiction writers and posts about what editors and agents are looking for.

(Check below my blog and excerpt for the other authors on the Authors Against Bullying Blog Hop.)

Last Christmas a special education professor named Dr. George Giuliani created a bit of a stir online when he accused the 1964 television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” of promoting bullying.

Part of Giuliani’s argument was that the story of Rudolph suggests victims of bullying and people with disabilities must do something extraordinary if they want to expect the bullying to stop.
Well maybe Giuliani does have something of a point, however as a bullied child I found the song and story comforting, exciting and magical.

cute 1960s Rudolph

The way I saw the story- it was telling people who were picked on that they could surprise everyone someday with their achievements. That story of the underdog’s surprising achievements is as traditional and popular as the story of Cinderella, and as contemporary as Harry Potter.

When I wrote Wicked Wonderland Wicked Wonderland small I wanted to write an erotic romance with the magic and excitement of a children’s Christmas movie, and Wicked Wonderland is a re-telling of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the difference being that in my menage romance the heroine gets to fly around the world in Santa’s Sleigh with two very sexy half-fae men.

Here is an excerpt from Wicked Wonderland in which my heroine Lilly Rudolph is bullied.
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The icy December winds whipped around them, stinging Lilly’s face, but the night sky was clear and full of stars. The cold bit through her flimsy costume, and her teeth chattered audibly. Sonya stopped by the trash cans, holding Lilly tightly around the waist from behind. Kandy grabbed hold of the chiffon on the front of her angel costume. Lilly shook and twisted violently to try to break their grasp, and part of her angel costume tore. “Let go of me, you assholes!” She jabbed backward with her elbow, connecting with Sonya’s stomach, and heard the taller stripper gasp with momentary pain, but unfortunately, Sonya didn’t loosen her hold. “Oooooh! Rudolph’ll pay double for that!” Kandy exclaimed.

Lilly didn’t know why she did it. Maybe it was a way of dissociating from a horrible situation, maybe it was because her heart always ached to make music when she was in pain, but she began to hum, the sound starting low in her throat. She closed her eyes and played a flute in her head, filling her mind with a rich and clear melody, which, for a moment, took her right out of her nasty situation. Then a vicious pinch froze the sound in her lungs. Lilly twisted around enough to look up at Sonya. Something frightening had happened to Sonya’s face. It became very still, and the stripper’s eyes narrowed into slits that showed too much amber and almost no pupil, like the eyes of a snake or some other reptile. A sharp chill ran up Lilly’s spine.

“Don’t fucking hum.” Sonya spat out the words.

“Who cares if she hums? She’s just a weirdo,” Bambi interrupted. “I don’t care what she does as long as she doesn’t take our money again.” The words of the other stripper somehow returned everything to relative normality.

I must have been imaging the whole thing. Must have been the cold messing with my brain.

“You steal our tips, Rudolph, and I’ll give you a red nose, all right.” Sonya’s voice seemed inhuman in its rage. Fear swelled around Lilly like a choking fog. The tall stripper swung Lilly around like a toy, then pulled her fist back. Before Lilly could react, the fist connected with her nose. Shooting pain accompanied a sickening crack. Blood ran down her throat, tasting like metal, and all she could see was an ocean of red.

“Enjoy, Dumpster Girl!” Sonya tipped her upside down and slammed her headfirst into an empty trash can.
“Remember, Rudolph, you’ll never fit in anywhere. You’ll always be an outcast left out of all the reindeer games.” The other strippers convulsed with laughter.

(From Wicked Wonderland —you can add Wicked Wonderland to your Samhain wishlist)

Or you can pre-order Wicked Wonderland for your kindle
Official release date for Wicked Wonderland is December 4th.

© 2012 Lisa Whitefern

Authors against bullying

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