Juno Guidelines update

Since I’d posted about Juno being open to submission’s again, I figured I’d let you all know that there’s been a clarification of the guidelines. You can read about it (and Paula’s response to some author questions) in this post.

If you don’t want to click over, here’s the deets:

80-100K words
Female protagonist
Urban setting (much like our current world, or a few years in the future)
Magic can be obvious or on the down-low
It doesn’t have to be all about the kick ass, shoot ’em up

Oh, and you might want to hold off on sending that Underworld-inspired plot to her. Just sayin’.

Wanna Write Fantasy?

If you have an urban fantasy that focuses on a female character, you might want to think about submitting to Juno. The guidelines have been updated and posted here.

From the website:

Juno is currently looking for novels from 80,000 to 100,000 words in length. We are interested in fantasy featuring a strong female protagonist set in a world quite like ours except for the intersection/transgression of the numinous (that which is “wholly other”) with/upon the mundane. This world can be open (“magic”, the “supernatural”‘ is known to exist) or closed (where “otherness” is concealed from common knowledge).

You can send an query letter via email with a proposal attached. Proposal is synopsis plus first three chapters.

I Have News!

So, some of you may have seen this little news item by Publisher’s Weekly yesterday:

Pocket Books has signed a co-publishing agreement with Juno Books through which Juno will release one title per month under its own imprint. Founded in June 2006, Juno has developed a niche in contemporary fantasy novels and its authors include Carole Nelson Douglas, Stacia Kane and Sylvia Kelso. The first title to appear under the new deal is Amazon Ink set for a June release. Juno Books editor Paula Guran will oversee the line along with Pocket senior editor Jennifer Heddle.

You’re probably going, “Yeah.  So?”  Well, here’s the thing: Juno has offered me a contract on an urban fantasy series.


Hello.  Is this thing on?

Yes, I have sold an urban fantasy series to Juno/Pocket!  The first book is called SHADOWBLADE, and will be released in February 2010.  Juno’s books are currently shelved in scifi/fantasy, so it looks like I’m changing neighborhoods too!

Cue the Jefferson’s theme song!

Coming Together: At Last – Now Available!

cover for Coming Together: At Last

Volume One

Volume Two

Phaze, in partnership with editor, Alessia Brio, is proud to announce Coming Together: At Last, a collection of interracial erotic fiction which celebrates the diversity of desire. With an introduction by NYT Bestselling Author L.A. Banks!

Volumes 1 and 2 feature stories by Bridget Midway, Saskia Walker, Seressia Glass, Aliyah Burke, Alessia Brio and Will Belegon, and many more!

All proceeds from the sale of this special anthology will benefit Amnesty International. Coming Together is erotic altruism at its finest!

Buy the eBook for $6.00 or order the trade print edition for $15.95

Volume One

Volume Two

NPR: Black Authors and Self-Publishing

NPR did a program focusing on black authors and whether or not self-publishing is still a viable alternative.  I haven’t had a chance to listen to the broadcast myself, but you can check it out here.  It’s roughly 17 minutes.

Writer PR Workshop

From various sources.

SELF-PROMOTION: Does the very term make you cringe? Do you suffer from “Not-Doing-Enough-Self-Promotion” guilt? Do you think self-promotion is something you’ll have time to learn AFTER getting The Call?

In February, PR consultant Marcia James and over TWENTY promotion-savvy guest lecturers will present “PR Is NOT a Four-Letter Word”, a month-long, online workshop that will provide insider tips, hard-won knowledge, and tools to pick the PR options right for YOU.

The speaker fees for this workshop will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society (http://www.bestfriends.org/), which runs the largest no-kill animal shelter in the U.S.

Here’s the workshop’s topics and presenters:

  • Introduction & “What’s Your PR Personality” Quiz by Marcia James, Berkley/Cerridwen author
  • Promotion According To Deadlines, Paydays, And The Real World… by Kate Douglas, Kensington author
  • Promoting Yourself Before “The Call” by Beth Morrow, Wild Rose Press author & workshop presenter
  • Author Branding by Jenn Stark, Golden Heart winner & workshop presenter
  • Web Site Design by Karen McCullough, Cerridwen author & Karen’s Web Works designer
  • Chats, Reviews & Banners by Marcia James
  • Online & Print Press Kits by Patricia Sargeant, Kensington/Berkley author
  • Introduction To Co-Promotion by Dianne Castell, Kensington, Berkley & Harlequin/Silhouette author
  • Co-Promotion Through Group Blogs by Donna MacMeans, Berkley author
  • Cross-Promotion by J.C. Wilder/Dominique Adair, Samhain/Ellora’s Cave author
  • Author Promotion Sites by DeNita Tuttle of AuthorIsland.com
  • Advertising In RT, RWR, Etc by Janice Maynard, NAL author
  • Print & Trinket PR Materials by Marcia James
  • Public Appearances/Public Speaking by Karen Harper, MIRA author
  • Promoting To Acquaintances by Laurie Kingery, Steeple Hill/Love Inspired author
  • Networking I: Power-Schmoozing by Susan Gee Heino, Berkley author
  • Networking II: Mentoring & The Farleyfile by Jennifer Stevenson, Ballantine author
  • Social Media Sites I: Navigating the Galaxy of Social Networks – Kathy Kulig, Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press author
  • Social Media Sites II — Social Networking: A Curse or the Great Coming? – Donna Hill, Harlequin author
  • Author Newsletters by Kay Stockham, Harlequin Superromance/Berkley author
  • Readers’ Loops by Carol Ann Erhardt, Wild Rose Press author
  • Published Author Contests & You by Jenna Petersen/Jess Michaels, Avon author & workshop presenter
  • Books, Shelves, and Signings by Linda Keller, RWA Bookseller of the Year & Barnes & Noble CRM
  • Interviews by Marcia James
  • Book Videos by Barbara Satow, PPA author & owner of NovelTeaser
  • Podcasts by Melissa Alvarez w/a Ariana Dupre, Nonfiction/Cerridwen Press author
  • Thinking Outside The Heart-Shaped Box & Wrap-Up by Marcia James

The workshop is sponsored by the Yosemite Romance Writers (YRW) RWA chapter, and registration information can be found at their site: http://www.yosemiteromancewriters.com/6.html

The fee is $25 for non-YRW members, and the deadline for registration is 2/1/09.

“PR Is NOT a Four-Letter Word” is a fun, informal workshop, and attendees are encouraged to print out the lectures for a binder of PR tips. In addition, Marcia James offers a 200-page Microsoft WORD file, filled with detailed information on all types of promotional options, to all attendees.

Published and aspiring authors: Learn to love (okay, LIKE) self-promotion. 😉 And banish the guilt of not doing enough PR. Join us online in February! See you there!

New Year, Old Neuroses

Today is the first day of publishing’s New Year.   Folks are back at work, ready to do what they do.  This means it’s once again time to buy the club size pack of antacids as the Great Clock Watching begins.

I have queries out.  Some came back with wonderful rejections that let me know the story needs to be worked on a little while longer (the contemporary).  One has been sitting at two houses for 7 months and 5 months respectively (the erotic romance one; I don’t think I can call it erotic romantic comedy, but it might be close).  And the third project is sitting with two agents and an editor. (the urban fantasy)

It’s nervewracking.  It’s like being Sally Fields at the Academy Awards that year: “You like me, you really like me!” in dazed amazement of being chosen. (poor Sally; don’t think she’ll ever live that down).  But we are human; we need validation.

So I have to repeat the mantra: I control what I can control.  I have to focus on doing my part to the best of my ability and then trust that the Universe will handle the rest.  Otherwise, I’d just be what I was last year: neurotic.  And who wants to be so last year?

Writing Op: Authonomy

Have you heard about Authonomy?

It’s a site created by the editors at Harper Collins (home of Avon, doncha know) .  And it’s purpose is to find new books and authors.

authonomy invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project – and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.

Visitors to authonomy can comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.

We hope the authonomy community will guide publishers straight to the freshest writing talent – and will give passionate and thoughtful readers a real chance to influence what’s on our shelves.

By the way, it doesn’t cost anything to do this–just your willingness to create an online profile and post 10K words of your novel.  Would be a great opportunity to circumvent the slush pile!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m not going to bore you with resolutions that I’ll a) forget about or b)blow off.  To me, this is the perfect time to look back on what I’ve done and make plans for the coming year, kinda sorta how businesses do at the end of their fiscal year.

Authors are worried, feeling like they’re being laid seige to with lines and houses closing and consolidating, e-piracy, used book sales, and mean girl reviewers.  Oh, and the economy.  Now I could easily sink into the mire and wail and gnash my teeth, but I’m not going to.  Why?  ‘Cause I can’t control that crap.  It’s too easy to focus on the negative and get all Eeyore on life.  But Goddess, doesn’t that just make y’all tired?

Publishers are not going to stop buying books.  That’s how they make money, by buying manuscripts and putting them out there for the reading public to purchase.  Maybe they won’t buy as many as they normally would, but when you have folks ponying up 6- and 7-figure deals, you realize publishing as we know it will still continue for a while at least.

Case in point: I found this blog today which I heartily recommend you adding to your daily or weekly industry reading. (And if you as an author aren’t doing any industry reading, please navigate to another webage now.)  Mr. Rinzler’s December 31st post was all about two major deals he was outbid on, and why writers should keep writing:

Those of us in the book business are both the beneficiaries and victims of an authentic passion. Editors literally fall in love with books, authors, ideas. It’s our job. I’m always prowling, scouring the print media and internet, stalking writers and creative thinkers at parties and conferences.

I still wake up every morning with acquisition anxiety.  If I don’t sign, I don’t thrive.

Mr. Rinzler takes a long view on the publishing industry.  The publishing world is changing and it’s an overdue change.  As the old saying goes, “Adapt, or die.”

Which brings me to my goals for 2009.  I have three titles on tap for this year, all shorts.  The first is in the Coming Together anthology that will be out in a couple of weeks.  It’s a erotic scifi romance short that I think you’ll enjoy, and the proceeds go to a good cause, Amnesty International.  Then I’ll have Carnivale Diabolique, an urban fantasy romance about a travelling carnival that protects us regular folks from the big bads that go bump in the night.  That will be late spring.  And of course, I’ll be in the next White Boyz installment coming in April.

I’m sure some folks have noticed my swerve into paranormal romance and are either alarmed or encouraged or just curious about it.  So I’ll come clean.  I’ve been a fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal reader since I started reading.  Fairy tales fsacinated me, then comics, then fantasy.  Some of my favorite books are books I read as a kid: A Wrinkle in Time, The Left Hand of Darkness,Asimov’s Foundation series, everything by Anne McCaffrey.  The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is one of my all-ime favorite series.  Honestly, the first novel that I tried to write happened when I was 12 and was about three sisters who were protectors of a mystical land–while trying to navigate school: The Seneschals of Kirin.  Where my 12 year-old self picked up the world seneschal, I have no idea.  Now I’m wondering if I still have those pages in my old notebooks.

But yes, I love fantasy and paranormal.  It’s what I read first.  If there’s romance in it, it’s a bonus, not a requirement for me.  So this year, I’m writing an urban fantasy.  It’s a story idea I’ve been kicking around for a while, and I’m finally knuckling down and doing it.  I’ve gotten some good feedback on it so far, and I’m hoping to make it my first New York sale.  The story allows me to indulge in some of my faves: Egyptology, African gods and goddesses, History International.  And I’m having a good time with it, which I think is the important thing.

Does that mean that I’m abandoning romance?  No.  It means I’m expanding my portfolio, my market.  My goal is to be a career novelist, which means at some point having the income from being a writer outpace the expenses of being a writer.  And as a writer, we have to push oursleves, and grow.  Some venture into romantic suspense.  Some try their hand at erotica.  But the bottom line is the bottom line.  So I’m going to adapt.  Because the alternative isn’t something I’m considering.