Friday, November 18, 2011

Interview: Kiersten Cherry, Editor at Loose Id

I first met Kiersten Cherry in the bathroom at Seton Hill University. I was trying to read her tats (which looked like Deutsch and said something about blood), and she might have been contemplating a roundhouse kick to my face. Kiersten is badass but fiercely awesome, and I hear tell her editing at Loose Id is the total shiz. Welcome, Kiersten!

What does Loose Id publish?
Loose Id publishes erotic romance that pushes the boundaries to unleash our readers' innermost fantasies. We look for love, romance, and hot sex between any pairing: m/m, m/f, menage, f/f, or any combination. For specifics, check out our submission guidelines at:

What do you acquire?
I work with authors who write various genres and pairings. I have no bias because I feel that a good story is a good story and hot sex is hot sex. If asked to choose, I would say I favor epic fantasy and SF because of the intricate world-building, moral dilemmas, and high level of peril. Overall, I prefer character-driven tales where the heroines and heroes move and shape their worlds, where the risks are high, and the characters grow--both as individuals and as a romantic unit. I enjoy strong female characters of any sexual orientation. As a rule, I pass on stories where rape is presented solely as a means to torture a character.

What makes you want to cut a bitch when you see it in a submission?
To be honest, submitting your work is never easy. I'm an author as well as an editor, so I sympathize with how hard it is for a writer to put their beloved work into the hands of a stranger. That being said, the submission process is a necessary part of publishing and the business of writing, so it behooves a writer to learn the ins and outs. With the vast amount of reliable information on the Internet, there's really no excuse for a writer to be in the dark. Identify the successful writers, check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and put your social networking skills to use for your writing career. That being said, like most editors I find there are some things that raise warning signs that the author may be an amateur. First, let me qualify that statement by saying there's a difference between being a first-time author and being an amateur. A first-time author is one who takes the time to learn the process, submits appropriately, and presents herself as a professional, but hasn't been published yet. An amateur is someone who doesn't learn and/or follow the proper submission process, who blames the editor or the "publishing world" for their own ineptitude, and who refuses to learn from her mistakes. Here are some of the hallmarks of an amateur.
  1. They didn't follow the submission guidelines. This is the biggest offense, in my humble opinion, because there's no need for this kind of mistake. Every house that accepts submissions will have a guidelines page. Follow it! Your willingness to adhere to the guidelines shows 1. You can follow directions and 2. You are serious about your work and the time the house will spend developing it. 
  2. The synopsis is longer than the partial. Unless otherwise indicated in the submission guidelines, your synopsis should be one page, maybe two if direst need prevails. Stick to the main facts and main plot. Who are these interesting characters? What trouble do they get into? How is it resolved? My favorite reference book on this subject is Pamela McCutcheon's Writing the Fiction Synopsis. 
  3. The cover letter tells me what I should think/feel about the submission, or worse, rates the sensuality level of the story. Have you ever had a friend who sits next to you in the movie theatre and tells you everything that's about to happen and what you should think about it? Annoying, isn't it? Also in this category is mentioning what your mom, dad, girlfriend, and/or beta readers thought about your story. Without sounding too snarky, the editor is perfectly capable of forming her own opinions, thankyouverymuch. 
  4. Grammar and spelling errors abound, especially ones that Word. Has. Already. Flagged. Everyone misses a word here or there. That's not a big deal. That's why we have content editors, line editors, and proofers. But when it becomes obvious that the author made no attempt at spellcheck and did not heed the magical green line in Word that tells you what is wrong...yeah, that just hurts my brain. It's like wearing a chum suit in shark-infested waters. 
  5. The email address is something like: This is a minor peeve but worth mentioning since I've seen it a lot lately. Email addresses like this are fine for casual use, but for professional purposes you should use some form of your name or pseudonym. Think of it as 1. a way to show you're serious about writing as a business and 2. another way to get your name in front of the editor/publisher. Repetition is key. When editors start seeing your name on well-written submissions, they'll remember. 

What book do you constantly buy new copies of because you use it to proselytize the genre to newcomers? And they never give it back. Even when you threaten them.
The Silmarillion. I'm not sure if they keep it because they have read it or because they haven't!

Favorite song to edit by.
White Rabbit by Emiliana Torrini

Favorite outfit to wear to fight club and/or while editing.
My tailor-made Babydoll replica costume, Colt M911A1 and katana included. Yes, in fact, I do bring a knife to a gunfight.

Favorite movie.
Sucker Punch

What social issue compels you?
I find privilege of any kind to be both insidious and infuriating. It's so hard to identify, yet so easy to fall prey to.

Your favorite recipe (preferably for an alcoholic beverage, but we'll accept cupcakes if that's how you roll)?
Oh, Midori Sour, how do I love thee?
1 oz Midori® melon liqueur 
1 oz whisky sour mix 
2 oz Sprite® soda 
2 cherries 
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the midori, sour mix and sprite, give a quick stir, and add cherries.

Where do you plan to hole up when the zombie apocalypse comes?
I can't tell you that in case your brain gets eaten and the zombie horde assimilates your thoughts and memories.

Machete or flamethrower?
Machete. I prefer weapons with only one working part.

It's badass smackdown! Who wins and why? 
  1. Buffy Summers vs Rachel Morgan. Buffy. Originally played by Kristy Swanson, she delivered the best retort ever, after chopping off her vampire adversary's arm: Vampire: "We're immortal, Buffy, we can do anything." Buffy: "Oh, yeah? Clap." 
  2. Robert Heinlein vs Orson Scott Card. Heinlein. His number's in the phone book. 
  3. Edward Cullen vs Buffy--Buffy. She's immune to smoldering eyes. 
  4. Snape vs Spike--Snape. He's Alan Rickman, second only to Chuck Norris in badassery. 
  5. Chess Putnam vs Mackayla Lane--ummm, who? 

Thanks, Kiersten!

Thank you, Kiersten! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Interview: Libby Murphy, Associate Editor at Entangled Publishing

Of the bevy of associate editors at Entangled Publishing, none have better taste in movies and humor than Libby Murphy. She edits Rosalie Lario, Rachel Firasek, Inara Scott, Nicola Marsh, Rayka Mennen, Misa Ramirez, and Jennifer Probst. She acquires Flirts and Ever Afters for Entangled. Welcome, Libby!

What does Entangled primarily publish?
Entangled Publishing is a boutique publisher of romantic fiction for adults and teens.
What do you acquire?
I’m acquiring works for adults and young adults. I have a serious weakness for a fantastic voice, quirky characters, and high concept plots. Send me your sci-fi, urban fantasy, contemporary romance, women’s fiction with a strong romantic element, suspense, and mysteries. Anything that can make me laugh is great, and strong heroines are a must.
What would you give your firstborn to find in your editor inbox?
Oooh! Asking the tough questions, I see! Well, because I haven’t seen anything like this come my way yet, I’m going to have to ask for something along the lines of TRON, Transformers, or The Terminator. Give me a high-tech adventure, complete with geektastic heroes and heroines, electronic super-baddies, motherboards, and lasers. *fans self*
What makes you want to cut a bitch when you see it in a submission?
A book with zero conflict…or worse, contrived conflict.
What book do you constantly buy new copies of because you use it to proselytize the genre to newcomers? And they never give it back. Even when you threaten them.
Even though I do have a wicked front snap kick, Karen Marie Moning is the absolute shiz, so I should just get over it, right? She has a voice that makes demons weep, humor that makes me all endorphin-y for weeks, morally ambiguous characters I’d gladly sell my soul to (helloooo, Adam Black!), and her romance is top notch. Buy her books. Study them. Sweet dreams are made of this, people! A close second? Julie Garwood’s historicals. I’ve worn all of her books out, I’ve read them so much. They’re things of beauty.
Favorite song to edit by.
I can never pick just one! Soundtracks are my thing, and I’m all about matching the music to the book so I get the full method editing experience. I’ve got Harry Potter, TRON, Transformers, Last of the Mohicans, Pirates of the Caribbean, and it’s not really a soundtrack, but Rodriguo y Gabriela. The exception is Britney Spears. I edited Patricia Eimer’s Luck of the Devil to Britney, and it turns out Patricia wrote quite a bit of that book listening to her, too. Freaky.
Favorite outfit to wear to fight club and/or while editing.
Kevlar, leather, and anything with reinforced seams (which is actually code for sweaters, flannel, and fuzzy socks).
Favorite movie.
I am such a Transformers geek it’s not even funny. But Bridesmaids (and anything Judd Apatow has made) and Thor are way high up there, too.
What social issue compels you?
Bullying. It seriously just breaks my heart, whether it’s a kid or an adult who’s on the receiving end.
Your favorite recipe (preferably for an alcoholic beverage, but we'll accept cupcakes if that's how you roll)?
I brew my own beer, but let’s keep it simple. I love cherry bourbon. It’s lovely on the rocks with Pepsi. I even mix it with brown sugar and use it to baste my Thanksgiving turkey (bonus: shingle your turkey with thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon and you have the best dang thing since cream cheese, my friends).
Where do you plan to hole up when the zombie apocalypse comes?
Hole up? I don’t need to stinking holes! I’m taking those b@stards down!
Machete or flamethrower?
I’m a Leo, so I’m going to have to go with the flamethrower.
It's badass smackdown! Who wins and why?
  • Buffy Summers vs Rachel Morgan: Buffy. She’s got the whole sneak attack thing down. You’d look at Rachel and expect bad things to happen, but Buffy? She’d take a bad guy down before he had a clue what was happening.
  • Edward Cullen vs Buffy: Buffy would turn Edward to ashes before he could stop angsting over another pretty girl wanting to get close to him. Poor Edward.
  • Snape vs Spike: Yeah, I’m going with Snape here. Spike has to bite you, but Snape could take you out merely by overpowering you with his awesomeness. I’m not exactly sure how strongly it radiates, but if I were Spike, I’d stay at least 50 feet away if I wanted to be safe.
  • Chess Putnam vs Mackayla Lane: One can see dead people but the other can see way more…well, things. So I’m going to suggest they get together with Buffy and start some unholy trinity of smackdown power.
  • Pick your own! Megatron vs. The Terminator (let’s go with the model in T2: Judgment Day). Discuss amongst yourselves.
Thanks so much for having me! Thanks for joining us, Libby! Have questions for the awesome Libby? She'll be around today to answer whatever you bring. Interested in submitting your short works to her? Check out the submissions guidelines at Entangled, and if you think Libby's the right editor for you, shoot your query letter to libby (at) entangledpublishing (dot) com.