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Romance

Welcome to Temperance Falls

Seven months ago, half-tipsy and amped up on chocolate, I was having dinner with local friend and fellow writer Ellis Leigh. Our conversation wound all over the place, as per usual, from husbands to kids to trips to business to writing to recent books we’d read and loved. During that conversation, we realized we both had deep love for quick, fun, and filthy books—nothing too heavy, nothing too dramatic, but deliciously dirty all the same. Off-handedly, I suggested we should write books like those together for the hell of it. Instead of laughing it off like I thought she would, Ellis’s eyes got bright and she responded with, “We should.”

When we both realized we were totally serious, we got down to business. We planned (because that’s what we do). We discussed boring things like LLCs and business accounts and budgets. We fretted over a pen name (and, of course, did a throw back to our fanfic roots with it—London Hale). And once those pesky details were out of the way, we got to the fun stuff. Like sex positions and pet names and varying forbidden romance tropes (our text messages are a thing of beauty, truly).

We’ve worked hard these past seven months, writing a total of six books and creating a pen name from scratch. Today we celebrate the release of our first book in the Temperance Falls series, DADDY’S BEST FRIEND, the first of three books that are part of the Experience Counts: May-December Romance trilogy! The remaining books in this trilogy will be released in May.

Normally this is where I’d put an excerpt, but, well, I’m not sure I could find more than a single sentence that’d be appropriate. *devilish grin*

Amazon US: londonhale.com/dbf-azus
Amazon UK: londonhale.com/dbf-azuk
Amazon AU: londonhale.com/dbf-azau
Amazon CA: londonhale.com/dbf-azca

 

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A TASTE OF TEMPTATION

This week, my latest book, A TASTE OF TEMPTATION, was released. Book 3 of my Honeywilde Romances, it’s the story of Sophie and Wright, the journey of finding themselves, and love. Friends to Lovers, Best Friend’s little sister, a sexy renowned chef hero on the brink of fame, a tenacious heroine who’s afraid to lose anyone else – this book has it all. I hope readers love Sophie and Wright as much as I do. I’ve included an excerpt below. Enjoy!

“If you want to tell them, I’m in. I’ll go tell your brothers right now.”

“No!” Sophie pinched her lips together again.

“Then we don’t have to say a word to them.”

“But . . . it feels wrong to lie. Doesn’t that mean we’re wrong?”

He could see where this was going. Sophie was a soft heart. Always had been. The last thing she’d ever want was to hurt or disappoint anyone. She was a pleaser, going above and beyond to make her family happy, even if it meant putting herself last.

And they were treading into what many thought was questionable territory: attraction and sexual interest for someone who was once a platonic friend.

Especially when that friend was his best friend’s sister.

Now that he’d accepted his desire for Sophie, there were plenty of times in the past when he should’ve known.

Two years ago, during a long, hot summer like this one, he and Dev had taken a day off. Dev had already stopped drinking by then and gone on to bed, but Wright didn’t want to go home. He’d pilfered the bar for beer and sat on the verandah.

Sophie had flopped down next to him and taken his beer. She gave it back after a sip or two, but it tasted like beer and citrus-flavored ChapStick.

He should’ve been disgusted at the fruit flavor disrupting his perfectly good beer. Instead, he’d shifted in his seat, his dick twitching in interest about what she’d taste like if he kissed her. But because sometimes he was a horny guy, like anybody else, he’d written it off.

Then he’d damned himself for having impure thoughts about the Bradley baby sister, and drunk half his beer to put out the fire and brimstone.

Sophie had lingered, griping about something or other with the staff. A cool breeze blew across the verandah and he’d tried not to notice, but her nipples pebbled against the cotton of her shirt, just enough to see.

He’d jerked his gaze away and told himself boobs were boobs and they were all attractive. He was a hot-blooded, heterosexual male. How could he not notice?

She kept talking and making him laugh with her impression of her brothers, and he didn’t want to leave. Two more beers borrowed from the bar, and he got her to stay. Together, they complained about almost every single person they worked with, and a few of the folks in town, laughing until his sides hurt.

When she did finally leave, he craved her company. He saw her every day, talked to her all the time, and still he wanted more.

He didn’t want Sophie. He just liked her as a person. At least, that’s what he’d told himself at the time.

Now, he was done fighting his desire. He liked her and he wanted her.

Sophie fiddled with the sunglasses in her hand and shrugged. “I don’t know, but if I feel this guilty about last night, then maybe we shouldn’t do it.” Her statement was a plea, her gaze longing for answers.

He only had one answer, and it wasn’t going to change.

Even as she questioned everything they were doing, she took a step toward him, not away. “We should stop, right?”

He closed the gap between them in one step. “Wrong.”

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble –  Kobo – Kensington Books

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Cooking with Sophia – for beginners

Hello Hello!

I’m here to share my favorite recipe. It’s very easy, since I am NOT a good cook. I once had the fire department come to my house sirens-blaring because of my cooking. No joke. Don’t worry! There was no fire! Just a lot of smoke from me trying to follow very well written recipe instructions.  *I apologized profusely and also brought the firefighters doughnuts and coffee the next morning.*

Sophia’s Favorite Recipe

Cup or glass–I prefer a Tervis Tumbler. I’m not a fan of condensation.

Ice–or not.

Vodka–as much as you want

Add whatever beverage you like with vodka–or none at all–it’s great both ways

Grab a book. Relax and Enjoy!

*Please do not drive after consuming this beverage.*

stars-teaser

SOPHIA – WHAT BOOK SHOULD I GRAB?

I’m glad you asked. Because my fourth book, UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT released TODAY! And it stars a hot Russian hockey player. So the vodka fits perfectly!!

More Info:

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT

Contemporary Romance.

Random House Loveswept

Sparks fly when a strong-willed Greek girl meets a cocky Russian hockey player on a singles cruise in this story of adventure, forgiveness, and LOVE. Discover why Kelly Jamieson calls the Pilots Hockey series “fun and flirty, warm and sweet.”
 
Kristen Katsaros wants a life full of adventure and laughter. After a difficult childhood, her motto is to live each day like it’s her last—because it just might be. So when Kristen’s parents send her on a post-grad singles cruise in the Caribbean to meet a Greek husband, she promptly hooks up with the hottest guy she’s ever met. Pasha’s decidedly not Greek, but Kristen gives him a pass because he’s got fun written all over his rock-hard abs.

Pavel Gribov, the cocky playboy of the Detroit Pilots hockey team, can score any girl he wants. But when a teammate drags him on a singles cruise, he can’t resist the chance to help out a drop-dead gorgeous damsel in distress by pretending to be her boyfriend. Before long, the fake fling turns intimate, fueled by something much deeper than lust.

Kristen and Pasha both agree to walk away once the cruise is over, but reality hits like a slap shot when Kristen finds out Pasha lied about everything. Just when she’s ready to start living again, the two stubborn survivors must decide if they can bear to lose the best thing that ever happened to either of them.

Also – I donate the first $500 in my royalties (yes, before I pay myself) to a different charity for each book. I’ve chosen the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for this book, as my heroine has CF. <3

unsportsmanlike-conduct-cover

 

Buy Links:

Amazon // iBooks // Barnes & Noble // Kobo

Books-A-Million // Google Play

 

Thank you for letting me indulge in a NEW RELEASE post instead of a real recipe!! Happy Reading! <3

Sophia Henry writes Heartfelt Flirty Fiction featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. DELAYED PENALTY and POWER PLAY, the first two books in the Pilots Hockey series from Random House Flirt, are available now at all major e-book retailers.

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Confessions of a Closet Romance Reader

Hi. My name is Jeanette. And I’m a closet romance addict.

Now, that may seem like a pretty strange confession to make, considering how many romances I’ve published – not to mention how many I’ve read. But for a very long time, it was true.

You see, I’m the child of two engineers. My father never read fiction at all, and my mother’s tastes ran the gamut from hard science fiction to…hard science. (I’m not kidding. She read textbooks for fun.) In my household, girly things were worthy of ridicule. Nonsense was rarely tolerated.

And romance? That was the most non-sensical thing of all.

I internalized the values my parents instilled in me pretty hard. While I read basically anything I could get my hands on, I concentrated on genres my mother would have approved of, and when I ventured beyond them, I at least tried to read things of literary merit, which I judged very, very harshly.

My denial game was strong. And yet, looking back, it’s easy to see the hints of where my tastes actually lay.

I may have been a literary snob, but I remember clearly sitting in my grandmother’s house reading Gone With The Wind and rereading the scene where Ashley and Scarlett kissed over and over.

I remember my heart fluttering during Ethan and Mattie’s one night of being able to brush hands and enjoy quiet time together in Ethan Frome.

I remember reading Ender’s Game and desecrating the book by underlining the part where Ender said he hated himself.

I remember moments of impossible forbidden passion. I remember isolated, flawed characters who need desperately to be cared for and treated with kindness and love.

You put those together and you have every great romance ever written.

It took me many years to put together my attraction to stories about characters and relationships. It also took me setting aside a lot of my pre-conceived notions about the relative values of different genres and interests. I still struggle sometimes with some pretty serious internalized misogyny. But from an early age, it’s been clear that my heart cries out for romance.

And in the end, the heart wants what it wants. I only wish I’d listened to mine earlier.

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Please accept this Indecent Invitation

Wow, so it seems like I was posting for my last release just a few days ago! If you missed Caught Up in the Touch, you can read an excerpt here. And, it was RWA week, so I know most people did miss it! Lol.

For now, I’d like to jump back in time two hundred years or so…to England during the Napoleonic Wars. Although, my first published books are small town contemporaries, the first books I wrote were Regency historicals. They were (are) my crack. AN INDECENT INVITATION was the first book I wrote. I learned to write by rewriting (and rewriting and rewriting) this book. It got the attention of my agent and finaled in the Golden Heart in 2014. It’s always going to be special. Plus, it’s a seriously good time!

“Trentham is careful not to settle for easy answers or simple explanations, making for a tale full of unexpected twists and turns and emotional complications.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 stars.

“Danger, intrigue, and passionate love–what more could a Regency romance lover want? The first in Trentham’s “Spies and Lovers” series is a well-written, engaging, and very steamy delight.–J. Harris, Library Journal

“Witty, compelling, and sensuous, Laura Trentham’s is a fabulous new voice in historical romance.”Valerie Bowman, bestselling Regency author

How about an excerpt:

Gray smoothed back his damp hair, took a deep breath, and peeked around the doorjamb into the drawing room. His dip in the chilly pond had done wonders for his tattered self-control. Lily hadn’t noticed him yet. Her face was a study in concentration, brows drawn in and teeth worrying her lips, keeping them red. Combs held her hair in check, but part of the thick mass obscured the white slope of her neck and delicate collarbone.

She worked the picks in synchronicity. Her focus was the most difficult lock of the set. He glided into the room and kept the settee between them as if it offered some protection from her allure.

Christ, she was beautiful and brave and made him laugh…and she wanted to be his friend. One of the pathetic beaus orbiting her sphere would be the first to kiss her, the first to awaken her sensual nature, the first to bed her. She deserved to be a duchess and rule London. Logically, an arranged marriage made perfect sense.

But the completely illogical part of him, situated somewhere between his legs, scoffed. It was only a kiss, after all. She wanted a basis of comparison, she said so herself. Why not offer himself up as illustration?

She straightened from her task and blew a stray tendril off her forehead with a gust of air. “I give up. What’s the trick? Will you show me?”

Less than five minutes in the room together, and he was back where he started. He wanted to kiss her. Why deny it? Why not surrender, at least temporarily, to the madness she inspired? Turning back to the door, he closed it with a soft snick.

He moved faster now that the decision had been made. Standing behind her, he brushed her hair over one shoulder, leaving a side of her neck bare. “Let’s try it this way,” he whispered.

He wrapped his fingers around hers, surprised not to see the sparks that made his fingers twitch. The full length of his body pressed against hers, and her sweet, rounded bottom notched into his pelvis.

“Like this?” She leaned over the desk, her voice trilling high. Somehow, their entwined fingers found the lock. His moved on instinct alone.

His body curved over hers. She would have no idea how tempting their position was. His erection had grown to undeniable proportions, and he canted his hips away. He didn’t want to send her screaming from the room.

Their fingers worked clumsily, but he didn’t care. His lips sought the warmth of her skin but stopped an inch away from her neck. Slow, deep breaths of rose-scented woman escalated his desire. Never letting his lips touch her, he skimmed them down her neck to her exposed collarbone and back up to her temple. Fine hairs along her nape stood at attention, aware of his sly machinations.

At some point, they gave up the pretense. Their hands dropped to the top of the davenport, their fingers still tangled. Finally, he allowed his lips to fall to her neck. The kiss he laid beneath her ear made her wriggle back into him. Her head notched into his shoulder, and her buttocks cradled his erection. She didn’t scream but let out a breathy moan.

He allowed his lips to follow his earlier path, this time dropping small kisses, licks or nips along her bare skin.

“G-Gray, is this a lesson?”

Perhaps it was. He spun her and lifted her to sit on the sloped top of the desk. Shoving her knees apart, he filled the void with his hips. She grasped the sides of the desk.

He needed to slow down, calm down. He wove his hands through her hair, thumbs framing her face. Her eyes were enormous pools of uncertainty, lips parted in shock. This was her first kiss. He should be tender, say something romantic and soothing.

“Lily,” he said, his voice like gritty sandpaper, “if I find you in a garden kissing one of those other fools, I’ll rip their bloody arms off. Do I make myself clear?”

A small sound of acknowledgement escaped her throat.

With effort, he didn’t allow his mouth to crash down on hers but tightened his hands in her hair with a desperation he didn’t understand. He wanted to plunge his tongue inside her mouth as a claiming. Instead, he forced his lips to settle over hers with insincere gentleness.

Soft and pliant, her lips tamed his frenzy until, instead of domination, he sought to give pleasure. Brushing his lips back and forth over hers, he drew her full lower lip between his and sucked. She slipped her hands under his arms, curling them around his shoulders.

In equal amounts of ardor and innocence, she returned his kiss. Her explorations gave him time to seize control over his urges. Mimicking his play, she sucked on his bottom lip. He darted his tongue over her top lip, foretelling his intentions. She opened her eyes, inhaled against his mouth and whispered his name.

He released his hold on her hair and cupped her face. “Close your eyes and open your mouth for me. Do you want a real kiss or not?” Simmering raw, elemental desire hid behind his teasing voice.

A trust he didn’t deserve radiated from her blue eyes before she obeyed, closing them and parting her lips. His tongue made gentle forays inside her mouth. Startled at the invasion, she pulled her tongue back, and he rumbled deep in his chest. Like with all her lessons, she was a quick study, and soon she stroked her tongue boldly against his. A low groan escaped his throat.

She ran her hands up his chest and wrapped them with a clutching intensity around his neck. Her body flowed against his like molten metal, and like metal, his cock responded in kind.

One hand left her face to press into her back, arching her even farther into his chest. The other slipped under her skirts to grasp a silk-covered calf. Smothering the echoes of his father’s warnings, he lifted the hem of her dress higher, needing to feel the tantalizing bare skin of her thigh. An inch would surely satisfy this compulsion.

Questing fingers brushed soft, naked skin. His lips craved the same, and he dropped kisses along her neck. Her head lolled back, thrusting her breasts upward.

He spread his fingers wide over her outer thigh. As soon as he brushed the lawn of her drawers, he would retreat. Except his fingers continued onward until they curled around her bare hip. His passion-fogged brain slowly processed the implications.

“Where are your goddamn drawers?”

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Keeping her safe is difficult, keeping a proper distance from her is downright impossible.

Warning: This book contains spies, scandals, naughty liaisons in houses of ill repute, men who think they know everything and women who know they do not.

Happy reading!

Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks |Samhain

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The ABCs of #RWA14

As this post goes to press, yours truly is getting ready for the biggest romance writers’ convention of the year: RWA 2014. I know without a doubt that I’m going to have an amazing time there. I love going to workshops, catching up with old friends, meeting new people, and just generally immersing myself in a happy writer wonderland.

That said, right now, as I’m getting ready? I am a giant ball of stress. Packing, early morning flights, social overload, fashion anxiety. They’re all very real concerns for even the most experienced conference-goer. For someone who’s only attending for the second time?

It can get a little overwhelming.

So. For the sake of my own sanity, I started making lists. Then I looked at my list and wondered if it would look even more terrifying if I had an item for every letter in the alphabet. Then I realized making such a list would be an awesome excuse to procrastinate the rest of my packing.

Thus, I bring to you:

The ABCs of Preparing for #RWA14

A is for Alcohol: You’ve heard it before. One of the most popular activities at a big conference is drinking. The hotel bar and a bunch of the watering holes around it will all be prime networking locations. But if you’re one who prefers to drink a little more than a little in order to get past her social inhibitions, I highly recommend stashing a bottle in your luggage. Because let me tell you, the drinks at those places will not be cheap. You’ll have to buy one in order to have something in your hands all night, but avoid some of the worst of the bill by nipping a bit of liquid courage in your room with your buddies before you go.

B is for Batteries: All conference long, you’ll be live-tweeting and messaging back and forth with your friends trying to figure out where’s the best place to meet up. Heck, RWA even has an app this year. All those messages and tweets and schedules take up precious battery space, though. If your phone runs out of juice fast, make sure to bring a supplemental battery to keep you running, outlet or no.

C is for Coffee: VERY IMPORTANT FOR PUTTING YOUR BEST FOOD FORWARD ON LITTLE TO NO SLEEP.

D is for Drama: There’s always some sort of drama surrounding the annual general meeting. Things change. Decisions about membership and the future of the organization get made. Either inform yourself about the issues and participate, or decide to focus on your writing and ignore it. But either way, don’t let it keep you from having a great conference.

E is for Earplugs: Even the best roommates sometimes snore. Even the best hotels sometimes stick you next to the elevators. Even the thickest walls allow the sounds of partiers and night owls in. Better safe than sorry. Earplugs are your friends.

F is for Fabulous Shoes: Put a couple thousand primarily female conference-goers in one spot, and what do you get? One hell of a shoe parade apparently. Bring some comfortable kicks, but remember that this is a place to see and be seen, and there’s no easier conversation starter at this particular party than fantastic footwear.

G is for Granola Bars: The conference is only providing one lunch this year, and there’s not always time to grab a real meal between meetings and workshops. Stash a couple snacks in your bag to tide you over, just in case. (more…)

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Fiction Vs. Reality

I’ve blogged before on my thoughts about divorcing your fiction from your reality. It’s tempting, especially when you’re starting out, to try and novelize the events of your own life. Sadly, few of us have the kinds of experiences that are Hallmark-movie-worthy, and sticking too closely to the truth can make for thoroughly uninspiring fiction.

That said, if you have no experience with the things you’re writing, your prose is in danger of sounding distant or flat.

Where’s a girl to find her balance?

Personally, I like to sprinkle real-life situations into wholly fabricated plots.

For example, in my new book, (which releases today!) When It’s Right, I made up the characters. I made up the general plot arc of two best friends deciding to go on a road trip together to Times Square for New Year’s Eve and discovering that their friendship could be so much more.

I lived the car accident that derails them. I lived falling in love with my best friend, and the moment when I first realized that maybe friendship wasn’t all we were destined for. I’ve been to the places I wrote about—rode the subways and dealt with the parking.

A made-up plot, with (what I hope is) a satisfying narrative arc. Real details that hopefully infuse the story with richness that helps it jump off the page.

How do you balance your fiction and your reality in your stories?

When It’s Right is a New Year’s Eve themed, contemporary romance novella, available from Samhain. Buy it now for Kindle, Nook, or your e-reader of choice.

WhenItsRight72webHe’s the last resolution she intends to break.

Still licking his wounds after a messy breakup, Nate is at loose ends for New Year’s Eve and itching for a wild and crazy adventure to jolt him out of his rut. Now if he could only convince his best friend, Cassie, to break away for an impromptu road trip to Times Square.

Fun as it sounds, Cassie is reluctant to accept Nate’s invitation. Little does he know, she’s made resolutions of her own—resolutions about finally getting over her long-standing crush on him. Telling herself this trip will be the perfect “last hurrah”, she packs her bag.

The trip is a fiasco from the outset. A car that won’t start, a freak storm that strands them on the side of the road, and a long drive with too much time for true confessions. Cassie’s rocks Nate to the core, leaving him wondering if the best thing that ever happened to him has been right in front of him all along.

Warning: Contains two best friends, a secret crush, and a road trip that leads to tow trucks, unexpected hotel-room sharing, epiphanies, sex, and more.

Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Samhain

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Writing Short Fiction For Fun and Profit, Vol. 5: Ready To Submit?

Okay, so you’ve written a short story. You’ve found a call for submissions or a publisher that deals in shorts, and you’re ready to go. The hard part is over, right? Well, not exactly, but the process of getting it submitted doesn’t have to be torture, either.

romance short story calls for submission

In the end, querying a short story for inclusion in an anthology isn’t all that different from querying a novel. My three main pieces of advice are the same, no matter the length of your work: 1) Keep It Simple, Stupid, 2) Follow the Directions, and 3) Keep Your Head On Straight.

1) Keep It Simple, Stupid: Here’s the good news about submitting a short: it’s a short. The query letter should be similarly fun-sized. Remember, if it’s for an anthology, the editor is reading hundreds if not thousands of submissions. All they need are the basics.

Here’s a nice, basic format for a short story query letter:

Dear [Insert Editor Name Here]:

[Title of Story] is a completed, [word count] word short story, written with [name of anthology] in mind.

[One short paragraph about the premise of the story. Hook the editor in. Make it enticing, like a mini-blurb for the back cover of a book. Two to three sentences, max.]

[One short paragraph about you, including your real name and your pen name. Include any publication credits you already have. If you don’t have any, referring to yourself as “a working writer” is a delicate way of saying you’re still working on it. This is good place to mention your memberships in any writing organizations. It is not a good time to bring up the name of your pet or that you’re desperate for money or that your story is JUST PERFECT for this anthology. Just the facts. Keep it simple. Again, two to three sentences, max.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your real name]
[all of your contact information]

Simple, right?

Before you ask, yes, you do need to write a query letter. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, paste it into the body of your email, preferably as plain text. Ta-da!

2) Follow the Directions: Most editors for anthologies will tell you exactly what they want. Give it to them.

  • If they ask for your story as an attachment, send it as an attachment. If they specify a preferred file format, send it in that format. (If they don’t, .doc or .rtf are your safest bets.) If they ask for the story to be pasted into the body of the email, for goodness’s sake, paste it into the body of the email.
  • They have almost certainly specified a word count range. Follow it. Again, this poor editor is reading a ton of submissions. If you’re outside the requested word count range, it’s the quickest, easiest rejection that editor will ever have to send.

3) Keep Your Head On Straight: Remember, it’s just a short story. It probably wasn’t a huge investment of your time to write, and if it isn’t chosen, it is not the end of the world. If you’re patient, you can probably submit it to a different call someday if an appropriate one comes along, or you can always post it as a free read on your website, which is great for promotion.

Also, a rejection is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the story or on your writing. The editor’s job is not just to pick great stories—it’s also to assemble a seamless, cohesive collection of stories. If your piece isn’t a good fit for the way the anthology is shaping up, or if it is too similar to another story the editor has already chosen, it might not make the cut, no matter how wonderful it is. (Veteran editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has a very nice article about this, which you may find enlightening.)

Hopefully, these tips will help you get your story ready to submit and give you the guts to click that big scary ‘send’ button.

And in case you still haven’t found any good opportunities to try your hand at short fiction, here are a couple calls for submission for romance short stories and novellas that caught my eye this week:

Holiday Magic with Scandalous
Publisher: Entangled
Submission Deadline: July 15, 2013
Guidelines: Any winter themed holiday historical romance taking place from 900-1949 with a word count between 10,000-20,000.
More Info

Commanding Desire: Military Erotic Romance
Editor: Kristina Wright
Publisher: Cleis Press
Submission Deadline: September 1, 2013
Guidelines: Erotic romance involving a military hero. 2,500-4,500 words, primarily heterosexual pairings with a female audience in mind.
More Info

Happy writing!

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Bigger Isn’t Always Better, or Writing Short Fiction For Fun And Profit, Volume 4: A Foot In The Door

short-fiction2

Those long, lonely, rejection-letter-filled nights, have you ever thought to yourself, “Gah! If only I knew what these people wanted from me!”

Here’s a tip: when publishers put out calls for submission, they’re telling you just that.

As you may or may not know, I got my foot in the door with one of my dream publishers, Samhain, by answering a call for submission. In the end, the novella I wrote wasn’t selected for the collection I submitted it for, but an acquiring editor took an interest anyway. A couple months later, I had a contract in hand for a single-title release. I also had a relationship with a great press, and I’m in the beginning stages of working on my third title with them.

If you’re interested in getting your foot in the door with a specific publisher, take a peek and see if they have any editor-wish-lists on their site or any open calls for submission. The call might not be for the manuscript you currently have in your hand, ready for querying. They might be looking for something shorter, or something on a different theme. But here’s the thing: keep the long game in mind. If they like your submission for the special call, it opens the door for being able to talk with them about your other work, too.

Quality romance and erotica publishers like Samhain, Ellora’s Cave, Carina and Entangled all put out calls from time to time. Even Avon has been known to. Whoever you’re looking to publish with, keep an eye open and an ear to the ground, because you never know when an opportunity will arise.

Current calls for submission for short fiction in romance and erotica (click link for further submission details):

Couples’ Erotic Romance Stories
Due
: June 1, 2013
Word count: 1,500-4,000 words
Publisher: Cleis
Theme: The guidelines are pretty flexible, with a preference for heterosexual couples and contemporary settings

Best Women’s Erotica 2014
Due: July 1, 2013
Word count: 2,500-4,500 words
Publisher: Cleis
Theme: Again, . guidelines are wide open, so long as the story is sexy and focused on a female, primarily heterosexual audience.

Paramour (Valentines 2014)
Due
: August 1, 2013
Word count: 15,000-20,000 words
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Theme: May-December romances featuring an older woman and a younger man.

Heartwarming
Due
: August 1, 2013
Word count: 5,000-18,000 words
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Theme: Male/male stories centered around the winter holidays

One Night In…
Due
: open call
Word count: 10,000-40,000 words
Publisher: Entangled
Theme: Contemporary romances that start out as ‘one night only’ affairs. Open to pairings of any orientation.

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Bad Girl For A Day: Jenna McCormick – Self Love: Indie Publishing Romance Novels

I tried self-publishing back before it was cool thing to do. When ebooks were barely a blip on the radar and I knew less than nothing about writing/publishing or anything other than I want to be a writer when I grew up.http://www.dreamstime.com/-image23337062

To put it bluntly, I was a dumbass. And by self-publishing my first novel I made sure the entire world knew it.

Now here I am seven years down the line, cringing with embarrassment because I paid to globally distribute that flaming piece of crap. Every once in a while I open the file and go, it can’t be that bad.

And then I see that yes, in fact it is that bad. It’s an overpriced, overwritten poorly plotted, badly edited, crappy cover wearing 110K word mystery full of angst and shallow childish dreams. A one way ticket to Sucksville, population me, myself and I. Hell, I don’t even want to reread it and see if it’s worth saving.

I swore up, down and sideways to anyone who would listen that I would NEVER self-publish anything again. Ever.

And then a strange thing happened. Five years later I’d learned stuff, not just about craft and how to write a good book, but about cover art design, writing blurbs and synopsis, proofreading and formatting. I’d made a sale to Kensington but I still had all these books, books that I loved that I wanted to share with the world but that just weren’t right for a specific line. Sexy mysteries and zany erotic romances that fit n no particular category.  And before you could say, Chicka, what have you been smoking? I did it again. With my 2010 On the Far Side Contest Winner, Stellar Timing.Stellar Timing

Not gonna lie, sales were slow at first, but within a month it had overtaken all of my small press ebooks as my personal bestseller. Why? Not because it was any better than my Laundry Hag books. No, it was price point, the fact that it was a $2.99 in a sea of $5.95 and up. As an indie e publisher I was free to experiment with promotions and cost and to pretty much do whatever the hell I wanted with it. Old cover not working? Slap up a new one! $2.99 not enough for months’ worth of writing? Break the books into a serial and charge per episode. The freedom is both overwhelming and exhilarating.

I found ways of bettering my product and even started up a small press with other writers. Sanibel Moon Books allows each of us to maintain our own imprint and release schedule but the final product is a collective effort. My latest release, In the Bedroom with the Rope sold over 5,000 units on Valentine’s Day weekend. That’s a damn good feeling.

What have I learned from this? That there are no absolutes in publishing, no always or onlys or nevers. If you latch onto them, you’re boxing yourself into a dark corner and denying yourself the chance to flourish. My indie experience went from being the smelly kid nobody wanted to sit next to, to having fans ask when the next one book is coming out. So I guess the moral to my twisted story is to get all the facts about whatever course of publishing you’re trying to pursue before you dive in head first. And never say never again, because hey, you never know.

Thank you for joining us today, Jenna! 

You can find out more about Jenna (and Jennifer) and visit her social media haunts by checking out the links below. 

A little fantasy goes a long way….

Born on Sanibel Island somewhere between the fifth and seventh bottle of Rosa Regale, Jenna McCormick writes big girl romance with a touch of out of this world fantasy. Her hobbies include scouring the Internet for the perfect pair of boots and stirring up trouble, much to the dismay of her alter ego. Her works to date include the futuristic erotic romance series No LimitsNo Mercy, the post-Apocalyptic B Cubed trilogy, the contemporary BDSM serials Caught Up In You and In the Bedroom with the Rope as well as the novella Project Seduction in the Pleasure Project anthology coming in March of 2013.

Jenna loves to hear from her readers. Visit her on the web at www.authorjennamac.com.

Jennifer L Hart on twitter @DamagedGoodsAce
www.jenniferlhart.com

Jenna McCormick on twitter @AuthorJennaMac
Jenna McCormick Fanpage on FB  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJennaMcCormick
www.authorjennmac.com

Sanibel Moon Books on twitter @SanibelMoonBook
website: http://www.sanibelmoon.com/ 
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