Archive for the ‘Editors & Agents’ Category

Interview with Five Star Mystery Editor Deni Dietz

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Recently, I interviewed Five Star Mystery Associate Editor, Deni Dietz. You can find the interview on my Articles page. My previous interview with agent Laura Bradford can now be found in Archives.

Deni is my first editor interview. Deni was also my editor for WHERE SHE BELONGS, my December 2011 Five Star Expressions release. As I’ve mentioned before, the Expressions line will close with the publication of my novel. However, Deni, who publishes under two names as well as being an editor, has also edited the Five Star Mystery line all along.  She will continue to do so. Some romantic suspense and romantic mysteries will qualify for the Five Star Mystery line. Deni says:

We have no “official” romance-to-mystery/suspense ratio. But as a crime fiction author since 1992, I know my audience. If there’s too much romance, the book won’t fly. If the romance is integral to the plot, the book will have wings as well as legs. Example: I was 50,000 words into a new Mary Ellen Dennis historical romance, The Midnight Bridge, when the Expressions line went belly-up. “Bridge” even has my favorite opening lines: “The solicitor smelled a rat. Twenty minutes later he didn’t smell anything at all.” I call my Mary Ellen Dennis novels “history-mystery-romances,” and Five Star said they’d consider Midnight Bridge for their mystery line. I thought about it, and decided that I, as an acquiring editor, would turn it down. The ratio was askew—more romance than mystery. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll know if the ratio works, and every submission comes to me before it’s reviewed for publication.

Deni also shares Five Star Mystery formatting tips in the interview and describes where you can find Five Star/Cengage books. Other delicious tidbits can be found in the interview. So hie thee over to the Articles page and lap it up!

Good Out of Bad

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Dear Author reports that editor Leah Hultenschmidt, formerly of Dorchester Publishing, is now with Sourcebooks, where she will acquire romance and young adult fiction. Good for her. That didn’t take very long.

Congratulations to both Leah and to Sourcebooks!

Release Date! And Other News

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I have to build a new section for my Books page. You have no idea how much this annoys me. Not! It thrills me. I have to build a Coming section for the sale to Five Star Expressions I mentioned several weeks back. My 2007 Golden Heart finalist manuscript, now titled WHERE SHE BELONGS, will release from Five Star in December 2011! Clap hands, pound drums, dance insanely. It feels so great to have something new to put on my Books page. It’s been a long four years for “me.” For Cindy. BORROWING ALEX released in June 2007, so by the time December 2011 gets here it will have been 4.5 long years without a Cindy release. Yes, Penny has been picking up my slack, but not everyone familiar with my Cindy work knows me as Penny. Penny has had three releases since 2007, so in reality I’ve been busy writing and publishing all along. However, that doesn’t lessen the thrill of A NEW CINDYPK!!! I am très excited! May this be the start of many more CindyPKs to come.

In other news, I am très sad to announce that Penny’s editor is leaving Red Sage. Theresa Stevens has operated the Editorrent website with Alicia Rasley (of the great workshops and how-to pamphlets and books) for a while now. Theresa is leaving Red Sage to begin a new venture with Alicia. Together, they will write and publish writing guides for authors. Theresa was an awesome editor, and I will miss her. But I’m looking forward to more great writing guides from this incredible team. They’ll also begin offering workshops in September. You can read all about the new venture on their blog.

Congratulations, Theresa and Alicia!

Brava Contest – Writing with the Stars

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

As opposed to dancing.

The Kensington Brava line is holding a new writing contest in conjunction with RT BookReviews. Not sure when the contest opens. Details are in the June issue of RT. Alas, I don’t have an RT subscription. For now, you can find a bit of information on the Brava authors blog. Editor Alicia Condon, formerly of Dorchester Publishing (she replaced Kate Duffy at Kensington – R.I.P., Kate), introduces the contest. The comment thread poses some interesting questions about contest eligibility that, as of this typing, haven’t been answered. Keep checking the thread to see if they are. Or…rush out and buy the June RT as soon as you can.

Brava writing contests have launched several careers, including HelenKay Dimon’s. I entered Brava contests when I was eligible, but never fared well in them. As in I never made it to the finals. I could never get past the first round of judges. That didn’t stop Kate Duffy from calling me to discuss ideas, so I must have been doing something right for Brava. Just not right for the preliminary contest rounds.

You know…I still have a requested partial on Kate’s desk. Or whatever became of Kate’s desk. I wonder what will become of it? It was an electronic submission, so might have gone the way of the do-do bird with Kate’s passing. I really should look into that. I’ll put it on my For After I Finish Revising SPIAPT List.

Juno Books Submission Call

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Juno Books editor Paula Guran is looking for submissions. Check out her blog for details. Make sure to read the part that says you can send off a short synopsis and FULL MANUSCRIPT right away. No need to sub a partial first. But also make sure to read their submission guidelines before submitting. No sense sending Paula something she doesn’t need or want. Right? There’s my smart blog readers.

Personalized Rejections–Why Not?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Carina Press editor Angela James blogs about why publishers don’t often send personalized rejections. Well worth a read.

My favorite personalized rejection over the last year? “Your story made it to our ‘perhaps’ pile, but sadly we can’t publish them all.” It made me laugh. The editor also apologized for the length of time it took to receive a reply, which is always nice. (No, it wasn’t Angela James!)

Do you have a favorite personalized rejection line? Paraphrase it for me, baby.

Nephele Tempest Submissions Festival

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Agent Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency is hosting the I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE Submissions Festival on her blog until February 14th. Here are some deets:

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am currently accepting pitches here on the blog for any novel that falls within one of the genres I am presently seeking (list below), as long as there is some sort of romantic relationship in the book. It does not have to be the focus of the book; this does not have to be a romance novel. But most novels have a little flirting or romance in them, even if it’s not the primary subject, so this is going to include plenty of projects.

Accepted genres: Literary fiction, contemporary/mainstream fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance (including contemporary, historical, paranormal, and romantic suspense), young adult fiction (no children’s or middle grade please), steampunk, and urban fantasy.

Your book needs to be completed and ready to be sent out. This means revised and edited and in a state that makes you proud.

Note, when Nephele says “here on this blog,” she means over THERE on HER blog—not on my blog! I’m just being cordial and passing along the information.

More information can be found on Nephele’s blog, including exactly what is required and how to pitch your project.

Carina Press

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, Harlequin has opened an epublishing house called Carina Press. E-book only, no advance, high royalty (although I couldn’t find the royalty percentage on their website). Malle Vallik, who’s been with HQ forever and is a writer herself (Molly something…I can’t remember the pen name she had, but I do recall reading her first book in the now-defunct Temptation line, and it was great) is heading the venture. And guess where Angela James, formerly exec ed of Samhain is? At Carina Press, as well.

They’re taking submissions. Check out the website to learn more.

Oh, and if you’ve ever been rejected by HQ? The site says feel free to sub to Carina Press.

To quote:

Can I submit to Carina Press if Harlequin has rejected me?

Yes, you may submit a manuscript that has been rejected by any publisher, including Harlequin. There may be very good reasons why your manuscript will not fit into traditional print publisher’s program, but we have a great deal more flexibility and opportunities at Carina Press.

You know, it occurs to me, any writers who suddenly found themselves orphaned when Quartet Press went down might do well to examine this opportunity lickety-split. If Angela James liked your sub to Quartet, it might be perfect for Carina Press, too.

Over and out.

Memories of Kate

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I had a post already published this morning, but just deleted it after hearing the very sad news that Kensington editor Kate Duffy has passed away. Kate played a major role in my first sale to Red Sage as Penny, because I’d initially targeted my first Secrets novella to her. As can so often happen in publishing, my manuscript went awry, shall we say. It had been over a year and I had not heard on the status. I was at an RWA conference—I can’t remember which one anymore—and just happened to mention my missing manuscript to another writer who knew what Kate looked like (I didn’t). Turned out Kate was walking our way!

The writer pretty much sidelined Kate, introduced us, and I asked about my manuscript. Kate replied quite frankly that if I hadn’t heard by now then the manuscript had likely been rejected. Later, she told me that the look on my face made her feel so guilty (this from the woman many considered intimidating). Because I asked, “But wouldn’t I have received a rejection letter?”

“Tell you what,” she said. (And, yes, I’m paraphrasing, I didn’t tape record our conversation). “I have somewhere to go after conference, but give me about three weeks and then contact me. I’ll let you know what I find out about your manuscript.”

Three weeks later, I was at home wondering when would be a good time to phone or email her when she phoned me. She couldn’t find the manu anywhere, it must have gotten lost, and could I email her another copy? I did, and she read and rejected it within 24 hours. By another phone call. But she didn’t just reject it, she told me why she was rejecting it. And she asked to see more ideas. In fact, she asked me to write up three ideas for her, and she’d choose which she wanted me to develop into a novella for submission to Brava. I did that. Meanwhile, I took her comments on the rejected novella, revised it, and sold it to Red Sage Secrets. Without Kate’s comments during that phone call, would I have sold that novella? I’ll never know.

Back to the three ideas. Kate called me back another month later saying she loved two of the three ideas, and she wanted me to write the full novella of one and then begin the second while she was considering the first. I wrote the full novella and submitted it. Time went by. A lot of time went by. A lot and a lot and a lot of time went by. 🙂

Eventually, we reconnected, but she rejected the full novella. Again, full of remorse about doing so. Very apologetic (I’d never experienced an editor apologizing to me for a rejection, and phoning me to make that rejection). So much time had passed, as can happen in publishing, between her approving the idea and looking at the full, that the idea no longer excited her enough to make a sale. But she asked to see another novella, a partial this time.

I did write that third partial novella for Kate. Time went by. A lot of time went by. A lot and a lot and a lot and a lot of time went by. Eventually, we reconnected, and she still loved the idea but wanted me to turn facets of the story upside down. So I did. Resubmitted. Time went by. A lot of time went by. Then I learned that she was ill, and I decided not to bug her.

Meanwhile, I revised the second full novella to suit Secrets, submitted it and sold it. It’s releasing in Secrets Volume 28 this December.

Kate made me laugh. She was very self-deprecating, and she had a dry wit that I identify with. That she took the time to phone me when she could have just sent me form snail-mail rejections said a lot about her character. And still does.

Goodbye, Kate. I’ll miss you. Even though I didn’t get a chance to truly work with you, I appreciate all the help you gave me. Now and always.

Laura Bradford Agent Interview

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Found where? On my website, 0f course! Recently, Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency, answered several questions for me. Quite thoroughly, too, I might add. It’s a fantastic interview. Check it out.

Older agent interviews (Kevan Lyon, Elaine Spencer) can now be found in Archives.