Friday, December 30, 2011

On Being a Writer and an Editor

I've been writing since I was wee, so when I first pursued publication *mumble* years ago, nobody in my family was surprised. I love everything about writing, from the act itself, the process encasing it, other writers' processes, teaching it, reading about it, flirting with different methods, etc. I never suspected I'd enjoy being in the editor's seat quite as much as I do, though. I'm now part of someone else's process, and it's pretty cool.

But it's still not mine. I'm taking someone else's work and helping that artist to flesh it into something even better and more marketable. I'm hopefully making the stories more compelling, the characters more realistic, the conflicts more intense, but I'm only doing so by direction. The stories aren't mine, and though I have a huge personal investment in each story, I don't feel the satisfaction of having carved a piece of myself into something amazing that I can share with the world.

So though I don't have a lot of time these days, I am still writing. I still want to publish with a reputable company that stands behind its releases. And this creates a conflict.

I love the publisher I work for. I think it's the best business model around, and every time I talk to the senior editors or bigwigs, I'm reminded that--though we are a business, and our business is producing NY-quality books for shelves and e-readers--the authors come first. They get the biggest chunk of money as part of their royalties, and because of our reputation and the quality of our books, they also get some pretty amazing foreign rights sales. Our contracts are, we've been told, the fairest in the land. Every author is assigned a publicist who has a stake in the success of that title, and our authors get feedback and advice on their websites, their social media presence, and other publicity methods. In a word, the publisher I work for is the best in the industry.

And it's where I'd publish...if I didn't work there already.

For years, publishers that also publish their editors' work have given me pause. I don't assume the worst, but I do question what's going on. Don't judge--I remember when e-publishing and then digital-first publishers started because authors didn't think they and their friends wouldn't publish in New York because of [insert an excuse: unagented, NY doesn't take chances on new authors, NY doesn't take chances on historicals set anywhere but Britain or perhaps America, NY doesn't like dark/edgy stories, NY doesn't like comedy, NY is too busy dumping millions of dollars on their bestsellers, etc.]. I don't think this is as much of an issue these days, especially considering the advent of easy and affordable self-publishing. I also know in a few cases how classy the publisher and its published editors are. But I do still wonder if there's a conflict of interest nestled in that relationship between the author-editor and the publisher.

Entangled does publish stories submitted by a few of its own employees. Our editors, publicists, lawyers, financial gurus, etc. go through the same submissions process and receive the same consideration the droves of unagented and agented authors do. First and foremost, we want to produce marketable and high-quality stories. Nobody in the submissions pile is a precious snowflake.

Even though I believe there is no conflict of interest at Entangled, between the ethics of those who acquire, the emphasis on quality, and the stake each person in the publishing process has in each story, I'm uncertain whether I should pursue publication here. It'll take a while before I figure it out, but in the meantime, I know one thing for sure: I'm not yet a good enough writer to publish at Entangled, so I have time before I have to make that decision.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Results of the Entangled Pitch

Thank you, everyone, for participating in the pitch session for the Flirt and Ever After lines at Entangled. (ETA a missed request below!)

If your manuscript was not requested, we're happy to take a second look at your first five sample pages. Please send your query with first five pages pasted into the e-mail to our general submissions:

Ever After submissions (20k-40k words) to everafter-submissions(at)entangledpublishing(dot)com, and include EVER AFTER in the subject line.
Flirt submissions (10k-15k words) to flirt-submissions(at)entangledpublishing(dot)com, and include FLIRT in the subject line.

The following editors have requested these manuscripts. Please send the full manuscript attached in RTF format, and be sure to include REQUESTED in the subject line.

Adrien-Luc Sanders (adrien-luc(at)entangledpublishing(dot)com) requests "Geek's Guide to Survival" by Leigh James.

Libby Murphy (libby(at)entangledpublishing(dot)com) would like to see "All Fall Down" by Lee Anonymous.

Kerry Vail (kerry(at)entangledpublishing(dot)com) would like to read "Shadow Self" by Nu Yang and "Wish Upon a Starfish" by Melania Tolan.

Kerri-Leigh Grady (kerri-leigh(at)entangledpublishing(dot)com) and requests "Neighbors" by LS Murphy.

Senior Editor Heather Howland (heather(at)entangledpublishing(dot)com) made a sneak visit and would like to request "House of Deliliah" by Barbara Sheridan.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pitch to Entangled!

Entangled Publishing is looking for short romances. Post your two-sentence pitch and the first 100 words of your story in a comment for this post before midnight tonight. Four Entangled editors are waiting (mighty hungry, mind you) for great stories to acquire for the Flirt, Ever After, and Indulgence lines.

For more information about Entangled, wish lists, and other details, see this post.

Pitching will close at midnight PST, and editors will post their invitations to submit during the weekend. Be sure to check back! [Edited to fix the link above.]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pitch Opportunity

This Friday, four Entangled editors will be here to take blog pitches for the following lines:

Flirt (10k-15k words)
Ever After (20k-40k words)
Lori Wilde's...Indulgence (50k-60k words)

Entangled is a boutique publisher of romance fiction. We pride ourselves on quality stories and commercial covers, and our innovative business model offers our authors the best of indie and traditional publishing. To find out more, see our website. And don't forget to look through our current open submission calls.

Pitches will be accepted in comments on Friday, as soon as the blog post goes live until midnight PST. Editors will fight over the pitches and post submission requests over the weekend. To participate, have a two-line pitch and the first 100 words of your story ready to post as a comment. Be sure to read the line descriptions linked above. Any level of heat works as long as a romance is central to the story, and the plot is intimately entwined with the building romance. Stories must end HFN or HEA.

The Editors

Adrien-Luc Sanders, Senior Editor
His current interests run towards sci-fi, contemporary, and urban fantasy—the darker, the better—with a love for gritty dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, supernatural, and that rare cross-genre gem. He likes stories falling into that gray area of the battle between good and evil, with strong antiheros and believable villains, or heroes who face temptation and corruption and don’t always get away unscathed, though he can also be won over by quirkiness, sweetness, and humor, with a love of oddball characters and whimsy. He’s also interested in stories that portray people of color and LGBT people as mainstream characters whose cultural, ethnic, sexual, and gender diversity are enhancements to their character rather than the primary focus of the story. Adrien-Luc was interviewed here recently.

Libby Murphy, Associate Editor
Libby would like to see submissions for adults and young adults written with a killer voice, and she especially loves quirky characters and plots. She loves sci-fi with aliens, robots, and high tech; urban fantasy and time travel; contemporary romance; women’s fiction with a strong romantic element; and suspense and mysteries. She craves humor, anti-heroes, and underdogs, and strong, capable heroines are a must. For Indulgences, she's looking specificaly for the following: Best friends, best friend’s younger sister, millionaire playboy, athletes, relationship because of a bet, arranged marriages, bad boys, revenge plots, reunions, adventure (Indiana Jones meets Bridget Jones!), romantic comedy, forbidden love, geeks (hero or heroine), and military heroes. I’m not likely to request sheiks or royalty, but if the royalty is the heroine, that’s definitely more likely. I’m a huge sucker for snarky heroines, funny heroes, and heroes who are the strong, silent type. Libby was interviewed here recently.
Libby is especially interested in Flirts and Ever Afters that fit the following:
  • Scientists or inventor-types who walk the line between good and bad (like Batman)
  • Paranormals with a villain hero/heroine who is redeemed by the end
  • Disaster or apocalyptic events in which people find love, despite everything falling apart around them (can be sci-fi, fantasy, or contemporary featuring a natural disaster, for example)
  • Quirky contemporaries or paranormals—humor is a must!
  • Sci-fi, especially if it has a Tron, I, Robot, or a Terminator type setting
  • Thrillers set in a small town
  • Zombie hunters :)
  • Romantic Comedy (would love to see a trilogy about a group of girlfriends finding love)

Kerry Vail, Associate Editor
Kerry loves the whole spectrum of speculative fiction, from hard scifi to space opera to sociological. She loves dystopian futures and alternate histories, especially when combined with a compelling voice and an unusual twist. She also enjoys urban fantasy, high fantasy, and paranormal thrillers, and gravitates toward strong female leads who are intelligent and can save themselves and fall in love. She is open to stories of love in any of its many forms and any heat level.

Kerri-Leigh Grady, Associate Editor
She loves paranormal romance and UF worlds that aren’t complicated by numerous mythical beasties, smart romantic comedy, dark comedy, romantic thrillers/suspense/horror, dystopian romance including steampunk, reunions, BFFs falling in love, marriage of convenience, [strong] woman in jeopardy, man in jeopardy, supernatural elements, clever monster elements, multi-cultural characters, alpha nerds, high stakes adventure, and general hilarity. She’s open to F/M, F/F, and M/M pairings in all heat levels. For Indulgences, she's looking specifically for the following: reunions, BFFs, marriage of convenience, ugly duckling, [strong] woman in jeopardy, man in jeopardy, road trip, alpha nerds, high stakes adventure and suspense, forbidden love, fish out of water, and smart romantic comedy. I’d love to find a military hero where the romantic conflict rings true and is related to the challenges of being a mil-girlfriend or milspouse.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interview: Venessa Giunta, Senior Editor at Loose Id

Venessa Giunta is made of awesome. She has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University (so you know we met there), and she survived the mentorship of Dr. Michael Arnzen. For that reason alone, we should all bow to her. Welcome, Venessa!
  1. What does Loose Id primarily publish?
    We publish erotic romance of different and varying flavors (m/m, m/f, menage, BDSM, etc) across a broad range of genres (paranormal, historical, suspense, contemporary, fantasy, etc). Feel free to have a gander at our submissions page for lots more detail!
  2. What do you acquire?
    Great stories. :) I'm open to most genres. I can't think of any off the top of my head that I wouldn't be interested in looking at. I'm not a big SF fan, but there's not a lot of hard SF in erotic romance, in my experience. I really like good urban fantasy especially. I don't have a gender pairing preference though I'd like to see some more m/f stories.
  3. What would you give your firstborn to find in your editor inbox?
    I am interested in adding a good BDSM author to my roster. I'm also still looking for a great steampunk story (aren't we all?). More folklore-accurate faeries would be kind of awesome too. (ie - they're not particularly benevolent) I'd be super-happy with some interracial too! So, I guess I'm pretty flexible all the way around :)
  4. What makes you want to cut a bitch when you see it in a submission?
    When there's a great intro letter and an awesome first two or so chapters, then the story falls flat on its face. I hate it when it looks so promising, then doesn't follow through. Writers: put as much revision work into the rest of the ms as you do to the first chapter or two. It will be worth it, I promise! Oh, also, when someone "just finished" their manuscript. Seriously, we can tell a first draft a mile away. Revision is a *huge* part of the writing process. Do not skimp.
  5. Favorite outfit to wear to fight club and/or while editing.
    Fight club = leather corset...woo! Editing: umm...jammies :)
  6. What social issue compels you?
    Lately, I've been on a male privilege jag. Beyond that, equal rights (women, gay, disabled, etc) is always a big one for me. I think everyone is entitled to choose their own destiny. Another social issue that I advocate rabidly that most people don't consider a social issue is personal responsibility.
  7. Your favorite recipe (preferably for an alcoholic beverage, but we'll accept cupcakes if that's how you roll)?
    I'm currently doing hot, adult beverages (versus hot adult beverages, which are great too!) due to the temps, so here's Hot Buttered Rum:


    1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    2 cups light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1.5t vanilla
    Pinch ground cloves
    Pinch salt
    Bottle dark rum
    Boiling water

    (Optional ingredients: 1t allspice (in place of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves), 1/4t ground ginger)

    In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately.
  8. Where do you plan to hole up when the zombie apocalypse comes?
    My friend Jeff's. I swear he has more survival skills than I have editing skills! And that's saying something ;)
  9. Machete or flamethrower?
    Fire, fire, fire, fire!!
  10. It's badass smackdown! Who wins and why? (pick three or so if you don't dig them all or are bored now) 

    1. Robert Heinlein vs Orson Scott Card
      Umm... much to my husband's chagrin, I would have to pick Uncle Orson. I like Heinlein (he wrote Stranger in a Strange Land, ffs), but Uncle Orson is modern awesome!
    2. Edward Cullen vs Buffy
      Seriously? Vampires don't sparkle. Though they do shine a whole lot with a stake to the heart :p
    3. Snape vs Spike
      This is a hard one! I will have to go with Spike tho. Because, know, bad boy. Nom. (Yes, I am sometimes ruled by my female-ness!)
If you've read this far and like what you see, Venessa will be taking part in a Loose Id pitch opportunity this Sunday on Twitter. For more information, see Venessa's blog and follow her on Twitter: @troilee.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Could Be The Most Important Post This Year - Online Backup Services

Hey guys, this post may be one of the most important posts you read all year.    

Nope it's not a writing tip, it's a career saving tip. So read on and meet Syndee Rogers-Nuckles, not a writer per se, but a creator of wonderful images that I found though a fascinating site called Scrap Girls. Please welcome Syndee.



LA: Syndee, before we begin, tell us a bit about you. 

SN:  I'm a freelance graphic artist and the mother of four.  I love reading, painting, drawing, going to antique stores looking for treasures and pretty much anything with a creative spin!  My working experience includes working in management, designing artistic rubber stamps, teaching classes, self-publishing craft books and the list goes on.  And I've been very fortunate to work with a great bunch of artists at Scrap Girls for the past 5 ½ years.

LA:  So why did you become interested in online backup services?

SN:  LA, have you ever had your heart sink?  Feel the sting of tears streaming down your face as you realized all your files had disappeared?

I have.

LA:  Me too!! It's a horrible, HORRIBLE FEELING!

SN:  Yup, the worst.  In a total panic I searched my computer looking for any sign of hope, I shook my head trying to awaken out of what had to be a nightmare.
So, does  any of this sound familiar to anyone reading this, other than LA and me?  Or were you one of the few lucky ones that had backups of all your files on another EHD (external hard drive) or DVD's?  

Or perhaps it's just been another thing on your ‘to do’ list? 

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to backup your files, but it can be so time consuming and overwhelming. Like so many of you I am stretched to the limits of available time so after trying at least a dozen different strategies for backing up I finally hit upon something that really works for me.
Now, I use the ‘triple threat’, not just having a single backup copy but two so that you have three copies of all your important files. 

For instance I have the following:

1- Original files: all my business files like documents are kept on my computers built-in hard drive.  My original design files are kept on my main External Hard Drive.

2- Backup 1: I try to make copies of all my important files as I create them to a second EHD that I keep hooked up to my computer.  I try to back this up at least once a week.

3- Backup 2: This is where the online backup service comes in.  I LOVE this!  I use Backblaze which just runs in the background whenever my computer is on saving all my files for me!  My files are backed up to a secure offsite server so if something were to happen to my computer I can still get to my files from another computer!

Online Backup Services:

  • Unlimited Storage
  • Backs up your External Hard Drives
  • Free Web Restore
  • Military-Grade Encryption
  • Free Customer Support
  • Continuous Backup - Backblaze by default, backs up all the time so you don’t have to remember to but you can schedule backups if you wish.
  • I will automatically find all your photos, music, documents, and other irreplaceable files and then compresses, encrypts and backs them up.
  • Supports Intel-based Mac OSX 10.4 and newer, Windows XP, Windows Vista 32 and 64 bit, Windows 7 32 and 64 bit.
  • Access your files from any web browser anywhere
  • $5.00 a month or purchase a full year for $50
  • They offer a Free Trial
This service was easy to install and was backing up my files in minutes!  One of the best things about this company is that it features unlimited storage.  I was using Mozy before and they changed their pricing structure so much that it priced them right out of my budget. I have been so happy with this service, I totally forget it’s running on my computer!


  • Unlimited Storage
  • Encrypted Files
  • Access to your files anywhere
  • Easily Restore Files
  • Backs up photos, documents, music and most user-generated content, compresses and encrypts them
  • Free Customer Support
  • Supports Windows 7, XP, Vista, Intel based Macs with OS X 10.5 or 10.6
  • $59 a year for the Home/Home Office plan
  • They offer a Free Trial
I have heard good things about Carbonite.  The biggest drawback is that they do not offer backups of your EHD’s, which is something I can’t live without.  But if you are not using any EHD’s they are worth looking in to.


  • Backs up EHD’s
  • Backup any files you like
  • Military-Grade Encryption
  • Restore just a few files or all (MozyHome users are limited to one restore in the queue at a time)
  • Backs up automatically in the background while you work
  • Supports Windows 7, 2000, XP (32 and 64 bit), and Vista (32 and 64 bit), as well as Mac OS X 10.6, 10.5, and 10.4
  • Submit tickets or chat live with Mozy Support
  • (Pricing and information is for the MozyHome Plan)
  • $5.99 a month for 50 GB
  • $9.99 a month for 125 GB
  • add an additional 20 GB for $2 a month
I had trouble installing Mozy on my Mac when I switched over from a PC, and when I contacted customer support and followed the instructions they gave me it still did not work.  It was around the same time they changed the pricing structure so I cancelled my account and signed up with Backblaze. 

Keep in mind that these online backup services are not meant to be an addition storage system, if you delete the files off your computer these companies will delete those same files after 30 days.
A good plan of action might be to try out the Free Trials from these companies and get a feel for each one before deciding which one to go with.  I just love the piece of mind having an online backup service gives me, I can sleep a lot easier knowing my important files are safe!

Be safe and backup!

LA: Syndee, this is great information.  And after reading this article (after all, I got first lookee :) ) I decided to try Backblaze just before vacation. Little did I realize it was going to take more than 20 days to back up all my info. Did you run into this as well?

SN: Yes, the initial backup can take quite some time depending on how many files you have. It actually took 2 months for all of my files to be backed up but to be honest I completely forgot about it since it just runs in the background.

LA:  And I decided to do continuous backups, which does slow down a bit my DSL. So would you agree with me, to leave the computer on at night and let it back up everything then, then turn it off during high volume time for internet usage? Or is this simply a DSL issue. I have a pretty high speed connection?

SN:  You know I didn't have any slow down issues at all, it really could be a myriad of different reasons that it caused your computer to slow down. I would actually check with your service provider, they might have a few tips. I didn't leave my computer on all night, it makes me nervous because there has been some theories that leaving a computer on all the time causes it to become hot and therefore can result in hard-drive failure. I just left my computer running during the day and let it take a nap at night. LOL

Thank you Syndee for your research!! 

Syndee promised to check in to answer questions you all might have. 

AND thank you Ro, CEO of Scrapgirls, for offering a $20 gift certificate to one of our comment posters in a random drawing.

Back up your career, and have a wonderful and hopefully now, a worry free Holiday Season.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wonderful Regency Author, Christina Brooke

Christina Brooke is a former lawyer (we won’t hold that against her ) who staged a brilliant escape from the corporate world and landed squarely in Regency England.

She was the first Australian to win the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award for her first published novel and was nominated for a RITA award for her second historical romance, writing as Christine Wells. Her books have also been nominated for RT’s Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best and the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award.
Christina makes her home in sunny Queensland, Australia with her husband, two small boys and one enormous girl dog called Monty.
Welcome to Five Scribes, Christina,
Hi Theresa, thanks for having me on your blog today.
1) How long were you writing before you were published?
I was writing with a view to publication for about five years before I got the call back in 2006.
2) I’m curious, do you have a greater following in your home country or Australia or here in America?
I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it. That kind of thing is hard to judge. I’m sure I sell more books in the United States just because of sheer population volume. Letters come from readers all over the world, though. That’s such a thrill.
3) Was it difficult getting an agent? How did you find Helen or did she find you?
I’ve had two agents. The first time around, I had sent out about 10 query letters to my dream agents. I suppose I’d heard back from about four of them with rejections before I received an offer to buy my manuscript from an editor who had judged the manuscript in a contest and requested the full. So I then made a lot of phone calls and emailed back and forth with the remainder of the agents on my dream list with an offer in hand. I think that definitely made it easier to get an agent, but by the same token, a smart agent knows they have you for the space of a career, not just one or two books, so an offer from a publisher does not guarantee an agent will jump at representing you. Once I signed with my chosen agent, it took less than a week to sell the manuscript to Berkley.
Second time around--I had heard good things of Helen Breitwieser. All of her clients have great things to say about her and she is an agent who genuinely loves romance and historicals in particular. She has a stable of authors I respect and admire. Helen had read and loved WICKED LITTLE GAME, which I published under the Christine Wells name. This time around, I was a lot more cautious and took my time getting to know Helen and her working style before I committed. In a way it was easier to get an agent this time because I had a track record and I knew so many published writers who were generous enough to introduce me to their agents.
4) Your scenes are full of sexual tension and love scenes are hot and thorough—yet not prolonged enough to entice me
skip pages. Many writers I know find them very difficult to write, but it seems like you might be the exception. Do you enjoy writing love scenes? Are they difficult to write?
Oh, thank you! Actually, I love writing love scenes! Maybe I’m strange, I don’t know, but this is one of the times our characters are at their most vulnerable and that’s wonderful grist for the mill as a romance writer. These are important moments and I don’t think we should let them go to waste. The way hero and heroine treat one another in bed is very revealing—I think it’s the same in real life. I’d hope that if anyone skipped the love scenes in my books they couldn’t follow the rest of the story very well because there is always a subtext throughout the scene and an emotional shift. The lovemaking changes everything—often for the worse, even if the act itself is pleasurable.
for Berkley—now I can go read those while waiting for Rosamund’s story. You wrote a book a year for Berkley, yet Heiress in Love came out mid June and Mad About the Earl is due out Jan 3rd. That’s less than 6months between books—that’s not a lot of time to write a book and maintain the quality. Is this short time between releases your preference or St. Martin’s?
5) Heiress in Love is your first book with St Martin’s, but I was delighted to find you’ve written 4 books as Christine
Thanks, Theresa, I hope you enjoy them! These days I think it’s important to get books out quickly to build readership and St. Martin’s and I were in agreement about the timeframe. I’m not sure that the quality suffers when you write fast, actually. I think sometimes it makes the book better. Most who have read MAD ABOUT THE EARL say they like it better than HEIRESS IN LOVE and yet it would have been written in probably half the time.
6) Why did you change names from Christine Wells to Christina Brooke? And how did you choose your pseudonym?
I changed names when I went to St. Martin’s because this series was going to be a bit of a departure from the last three Wells books I wrote, which had spies and suspense elements in them. The Ministry of Marriage books concentrate solely on the romance and marriage of the hero and heroine. Even though there are quite a few secondary characters, they all focus on that romance.
As for the name, I agonized over that pseudonym! I can’t remember where Brooke came from. None of my family names were suitable—they were either too long or already in use. I wanted to use a place name in England for a surname but everything I tried had been taken by other historical writers. I do like being shelved in the Bs rather than down in the Ws, I can tell you that.
7) I have to ask . . . or perhaps it’s a request . . . you are going to give us Duke Montford and Lady Arden’s story one day aren’t you?
I’m so glad you asked--I would certainly like to. I enjoy writing these more mature lovers who are too guarded and clever for their own good. But so many things are in the laps of the publishing gods, aren’t they? And of course it’s still up in the air about whether they actually will get together. At one stage I threatened to marry Montford off to a governess, which horrified Helen. LOL
8) Any words of advice or tidbits you wish someone had told you before you got published that you'd like to share with fellow writers?
I can’t think of anything that hasn’t been said before, but a piece of advice close to my heart is Nora Roberts’ ‘you can’t fix a blank page’. I try to remind myself of that when I’m humming and ha-ing over what comes next, scared to take the wrong turn in case I waste a lot of time and words writing myself into a corner. Just make the decision and write it that way. You can always fix wrong turns later and most often it was the right decision, anyway.
Thank you for having me here today, Theresa.

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Irreverent Interview with Adrien-Luc Sanders, Senior Editor at Entangled Publishing

Adrien-Luc Sanders is one of my favorite people in the world. We met when he submitted a beautiful M/M romance to an anthology I'm editing. After reading the story, I immediately Twitter-stalked him. Imagine my delight and surprise when I found out my boss had approached him about an opening for a Senior Editor at Entangled (and he blogged about this experience). He now works as another one of my bosses, and in a very short period of time, he's become a friend. Adrien-Luc spent some time at Lyrical Press as an editor, but now he's Senior Editor of the Flirt and Ever After lines at Entangled.  

What does Entangled primarily publish?
Adult, upper YA, and New Adult novels and novellas with strong plots and a well-woven romantic element, in the contemporary, historical, romantic thriller, sci-fi / dystopian / steampunk, paranormal / urban fantasy, and fantasy genres. Our books focus on memorable characters and brilliant writing, with solidly developed stories and a "happily ever after" ending.

What do you acquire?
I acquire for the Flirt and Ever After lines. Flirts are short, tantalizing standalone reads in the 10-15k range, while Ever Afters are 20-40k and give a little more room for character development and intrigue. While I acquire for all genres Entangled accepts, we're currently looking to expand our roster of contemporaries. My personal tastes run towards darker stories with a theme of redemption, though in contrast I also love light, witty, romantic comedies with a unique twist. Tight, intelligent, original stories and beautiful writing win me over in a heartbeat regardless of genre, though.

What would you give your firstborn to find in your editor inbox?
Right now I'm hungry for a good girl geek story. I don't even remember what triggered the craving, but I swear, I desperately need to read this. Something quirky and fun with a charming heroine whose geekiness is about more than proving she's as good as the boys, as that's played out. We know girl geeks are as smart as male geeks, if not smarter. I want to see a real story about our girl geek finding romance, and maybe some adventure on the way--with a voice that feels authentic, from the POV of someone who understands the things our girl geeks over.

What makes you want to cut a bitch when you see it in a submission?
A full-on list-style description of our POV character's appearance and personality traits in the very first paragraph, especially if we're in first or deep third POV. It's bad enough when we use the mirror trick for this, but even worse is when it's just there, as if the POV character is sitting there thinking about themselves like the ultimate narcissist. It just doesn't make sense. And if the POV character isn't observing it, it makes me wonder who is. Their alternate personality? A disembodied pair of eyes floating around in their wake? See through your POV character's eyes when writing. Not through your own.

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.
Less a book than a series--the Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman, starting with Black Sun Rising. It's one of those strange books that starts off as fantasy but turns out to be science fiction, and it's woven together very well with a very compelling story that forces a righteous man to reexamine his concepts of good and evil while partnered with an antihero so deliciously foul he'd be a villain if not for their circumstances. Friedman's writing style, plot, pacing, and characterization are beautiful, with a certain lyrical flow that doesn't feel overdone. It's an older trilogy, but still stands out to me as some of the best writing I've ever read, and it inspired me to start writing in high school. I've been losing copies of this trilogy to friends for almost ten years now, and I've gotten to the point where I just buy it for them in advance so I can keep my own.

Favorite song to edit by.
Oh. Um. This is actually kind of embarrassing. I mean, I love all kinds of music from various genres and even various cultures, but your readers are going to think I'm--oh, screw it. "Hide & Seek" by Namie Amuro, okay? I'm not ashamed.

Favorite outfit to wear to fight club and/or while editing.
...I don't think I own any outfit that doesn't involve jeans, a t-shirt, a button-down shirt, and combat boots, so I guess there's really no other answer.

Favorite movie.
Just one? I don't even know. It changes with what I'm in the mood for. Last week it was Disney's Enchanted. This week it's The Charge of the Light Brigade. Last month it was HALO: Legends. I'm fickle, people. Don't make me pick just one.

What social issue compels you?
There are tons. LGBT issues, obviously, but also gender theory and gender-based social inequality in general. Political bipartisanism and how it affects the mental, social, and cultural development of successive generations can really get me going. So can discussions of assumptive complacency and positions of privilege in the Western world.

Your favorite recipe (preferably for an alcoholic beverage, but we'll accept cupcakes if that's how you roll)?
Blue raspberry vodka snowcones. All you need is a little Grey Goose (if you touch Ketel One I will shank you, but I'll accept Skyy or Effen), a cheap bottle of blue raspberry snowcone syrup, and one of those dinky little party ice shavers you get for kids in the summer. The trick is in layering it; if you dump the vodka in first, on top of a full cup of ice, it'll just cut through the ice and sink straight to the bottom. Fill the cup about a third full of shaved ice; then add the snowcone syrup, let it sit for a ten-count to soak through and crystallize, then slash the vodka on top. Quickly fill in the next third of ice in time to pack it into the holes left by the vodka (and there will be holes). Rinse and repeat: syrup first, vodka second, fill to the brim. After you've layered the syrup and vodka, it's up to you whether you want to top it off with an extra cone of ice or just take the cup as-is and dive in. Just don't try it with whipped cream or condensed milk like you might with a regular snowcone. The dairy and the vodka will not mix well.

Where do you plan to hole up when the zombie apocalypse comes?
A data center. Ever been inside a really solid one? Those things are fortresses. Actually, some of them are converted bunkers. I will brain the shit out of a zombie with a server rack, yo.

Machete or flamethrower?
Machete. Flamethrowers run out of fuel.

It's badass smackdown! Who wins and why?
...I'm not even touching this. Honey badger would own all their asses. So there.

Ha! Thanks so much for joining us, Adrien!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

RWAs Kiss of Death Chapter Home to Romantic Suspense

When I began my writing career in 2001, I did so because I'd fallen in love with authors like Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter and Linda Howard.  Their storylines surrounded a compelling heroine in a bad situation who meets up with a strong heroic man.  These talented authors put these characters in such straits that while turning page after page, I thought, how on earth are they going to get out of this mess, much less be together?

Well, thanks to my active kids, I'd quit my newspaper and magazine jobs and decided I'd like to try to write books like these amazing authors.  I mean, how hard could it be?

I'm here to telll you, it's very hard.  Nonfiction isn't anything like fiction.  In nonfiction we're told not to editorialize, in fiction we're told to get inside a character's head.  In nonfiction a passive sentence isn't going to send you to the woodshed, in fiction it'll topple your story.

Realizing I knew little about writing fiction, I decided I'd better become educated.  Moreover, because I wanted to write romance, I thought the perfect place would be to start with my local chapter in Colorado Springs.  Pikes Peak Romance Writers was indeed a great place to start and I'm still a member.  I joined my first critique group here, and here these wonderful women taught me to write fiction.  To a point.

Not many in my local chapter were writing romantic suspense, and when writing romantic suspense, there's a fine line between overdoing the romance -- because suspense readers, after all, want to read about women in jeopardy.  As I received my critiques and contests scores back, often there was one word written all over the pages.  Why?  Explain why they're doing this.

Dear readers, a good mystery is all about why and setting up a compelling mystery.  I didn't want to answer their questions in the first or second chapters.  I was writing a mystery, and to this end, knew immediately, I needed to go in a different direction.  But where?

Eventually someone told me about a wonderful RWA chapter that might be able to help me.  To a romantic suspense writer, this was the proverbial coast guard sailor throwing (I bet he was cute, too) a life preserver.  Turns out, this chapter was called

This chapter reeled me in from the depths, introducing me to authors like Kylie Brant, Cindy Gerard, Suzanne Brockmann to name a few.  This chapter had amazing courses called Murder One and Coffin, which not only taught the craft of writing, it taught about police procedure, forensics, how to hide a body and more.  What's more, if you were a member the courses were $15, a virtual steal when knowing this information was vital to my career.

The Kiss of Death Chapter also had a group called Lethal Ladies.  Here I discovered murderously inclined romantics like me who didn't write WHY all over my pages, because they UNDERSTOOD what I was writing.  That cute coast guard guy had not only thrown me a life preserver, he'd handed me a blanket and I was no longer shivering in the cold.  I was learning, about the genre I loved to write:  ROMANTIC SUSPENSE.

And finally the reason I've been a member of KOD these many years?  They have an amazing contest.  Not only for unpublished authors but for published authors as well.  THE DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE.  I was so grateful to KOD and all it had offered me, I got involved in this contest.  I got to see the amazing talent out there and that Romantic Suspense transcends many levels.  Mainstream, Single Title, Paranormal, Historical, Category and Inspirational.  I had cousins all over the place in my chosen genre.

Many people can write more than one genre.  I've seen it happen.  They can easily switch between straight romace, Young Adult, Erotica, whatever is popular in the market.  Through it all, I have had one passion.  I've stuck with Romantic Suspense--It solves my craving for mystery and a happily ever after.  I've also been told that I've got the thriller aspect nailed down, too.  But for my purposes, RWA's Kiss of Death Chapter easily fulfills my needs and thanks to KOD and to Bell Bridge Books, I've achieved my dream of publication.

As I've grown as an author, I've joined many chapters.  I love them all and each serves an important  purpose.  But if I was down to my last red cent and could only belong to one, it would be   If you love Romantic Suspense, I promise this is the chapter for you.

Happy Writing.