Tag Archives: passion in print

Retreat Bijou, Elizabeth Pelletier of Entangled Publishing

Sensational Saturdays

a blog about whatever is on my mind

This is the last in a three part series about the wonderful jewels I gleaned from the Colorado Romance Writers Retreat. To read the initial post about the CRW retreat you can visit HERE. To read about the amazing Margie Lawson’s Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors you can visit HERE. And to read about coping with contest grief with Ann Brady you can visit HERE.

Have you ever wished you knew exactly what an editor was thinking when they read through the slush pile? Do you want to know what stands out and how you can get your manuscript read? Well, we were lucky enough at the retreat to have our very own editor at our mercy. Liz Pelletier from Entangled Publishing was brave enough to step into the room and answer all our questions. She was frank, she was open and she let us know exactly what we could expect from Entangled when we sent our babies off to the slaughter.

No, that’s the first thing. Entangled is a small press. They are fairly new and they really take the time to look at your query and to try to read through those first five pages. If you are worried that no one even looks at your piece, Liz does. She can’t read everything, but she looks at the query and decides if it should be read in depth by an intern. So how do you get her attention?

She said it was simple. She needed to connect to the story, connect to the characters. And she needed to do it right away. Make your character either likeable, in a situation of adversity, sympathetic or empathetic (put the reader in the character’s shoes).

That’s it. If you do that, right away, Liz will send it on to the next step where they read it and critique it. At least the first thirty pages.

And then what happens? Well a few books get picked up. Most don’t. Why?

  1. The reader couldn’t connect with the character
  2. Lack of voice or too much voice
  3. Too many books just like it
  4. Just don’t love it
If you can hit the character hook, the interesting plot or a twist on an old plot, then you will make it to the next step. As long as they have a place for it. Liz said occasionally it happens that there is a fantastic book, but they just signed someone with a similar plot and they can’t publish two books that are so similar.
At Entangled they work with each author in depth, so they have to really like the book. Liz reads the books she’s responsible for multiple times. She has to love the story or she just won’t want to face it over and over and over again.
Is there anything else you can do to maybe get a leg up with a publisher? Yes. Edit your query and your submission. Then edit them again. Actually read them, don’t just spell check. And if you can, have someone else read them and make sure you didn’t use the wrong there, or two for to. I know you’ve heard this many times, but editors are still getting manuscripts with major editing mistakes. Don’t be a victim!
Be on the internet, be a prescence. We’ve talked about this before, but you should at least have a website and be on some sort of social networking platform. Editors want to know you can market yourself. Or at least that you know you should be doing it!
Google yourself. Check out if someone can find you, or does that stripper with the dog face come up instead. (Hey, it happens!)
Make sure your book is within the parameters for their house. If they don’t do YA, don’t send your YA mystery to them. Check the submission rules and be aware. Every  house is different with different rules. Get in line with the rules and you stand at least a chance. Get out of line and you will be receiving an auto rejection. Next!
I want to thank Liz for her time and consideration. She made me think and even though I’m not sharing everything on my three pages of notes I hope this made you think. Sometimes we take rejection personally, but after listening to Liz I had a new respect for how an editor makes her decisions. Thanks Liz!
Let me know about your experiences with rejections. Did the editor give a reason? Did you listen?
Today’s Halloween Treats book is giveaway is a signed copy of CRW’s very own Alegra Gray’s Nothing But Scandal. Halloween Treats is my treat to you in celebration of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf’s publication on February 18th, 2012 by Passion in Print Press. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for the book and to enter the grand prize drawing on October 31st for three swag bags and B&N gift cards!
Nicole Grueber has won Thursday’s book, Dragon Moon. Send me your address through the contact box and I’ll send you your book. Congratulations!

10 Comments

Filed under channeling success, Sensational Saturday's

The Ins and Outs of Historical Paranormal

Today I am thrilled to provide another Halloween Treat in the form of guest blogger Jana Denardo. Jana writes historical paranormal, a growing sub-genre and one that I find particularly interesting. Don’t forget to leave a comment for Jana to enter my month long Halloween Treats Contest in celebration of my upcoming release Little Red Riding Wolf from Passion in Print Press.

The paranormal and urban fantasy subgenres are heavy on modern day stories, but the genre has begun to grow up and down the time line. One notable series that’s moved paranormals from the current era is Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, set in the ever-popular Victorian era. Using a historical setting adds another level of difficulty to the world building and plot.

The first level, of course, is typical of any paranormal story. Who are you your paranormal entities? Are they good, evil or, like humans, both?  For me, the real consideration is what are their abilities and weaknesses. Any bobble in what you establish early on can destroy reader faith and I’ve seen it happen to the best of them. I remember a scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where a vampire didn’t go to dust. They passed it off as him being so old, that he reacted differently than usual. Later in the series, they came up with another even older vampire and he dusted fairly normal. A little slip like that can make the blogs light up as fans nitpick away.
For me, the easiest way to keep their abilities straight is to keep records of how the paranormal aspects work. I’m not an outliner, and while this sometimes leads me into blind canyons that I’ll have to write around if there’s a sequel, I am a good note taker when it comes to character attributes and supernatural abilities. This way if my vampires don’t burn up when hit with holy water, I don’t have them blistering three chapters after I’ve made that announcement. It is embarrassing to get called on a mistake like that by an editor.

Still, coming up with the paranormal attributes is the fun part. You can world build and bend things to fix your story. You can take an old creature from folklore and twist it into something new and exciting. However, when adding the layer that is the historical setting, you lose the ability to bend certain historical facts. Regardless of genre, most readers who enjoy historical settings are sticklers for accuracy. The exception to this would, of course, be alternative histories and steampunk. Even with those, historical research is necessary. You can not believable create an alternative history without first knowing the actual facts.

Nothing makes me run faster than reading an author’s blog and seeing them proclaim they hate research but are going to write a historical story anyway. I’ve seen that more times than I want to think about. A quick look at Wikipedia might be enough to say, knock out a short Buffy the Vampire Slayer  fan fiction with Angelus and Darla cheering on Jack the Ripper  – might – but it is not enough, by itself, to be the foundation for a historical novel.

However, this blog entry isn’t really about how to do the research. Most of us have experience in that if only from high school history classes. I’m more concerned about considering the possibilities inherent in a historic setting. In the 1800s, the belief in vampires was stronger than it is today, so it could impact your story in a variety of ways. Prey with built-in paranoia and armed with crosses and holy water, which were often part of the household goods, could present difficulties for a vampire. Ever see a vampire hunting kit from that time? They are very interesting and would make a fun addition to a story.

Go back a hundred years earlier, and almost everyone would believe in ghosts and spirits.  This could work for or against you, depending on what your story needed in way of the characters’ belief system. Heck, even going back a mere twenty-five years could take the tension up a notch, because it would be easy to isolate the protagonist from potential aid, leaving them at the mercy of a paranormal entity by the mere fact no one had cell phones and couldn’t just place a call out.
Another concern is the morals and cultural stigmas of the time period and the country in question, or even what part of the country you are in. I came up against this when I started my 1930’s era demon hunter series. Without thinking about it, I knew I wanted a world-wide organization and pulled the characters from all over then assembled the team in my hometown of Pittsburgh. These demon hunters included Hindu and Chinese men, and all four are homosexual, which ran me smack up against the prejudices of the day (and to what degree of prejudice they faced would vary depending on where in the country they are). A minority or female protagonist would have to face very different circumstances and have even more hurdles to clear.

I could keep on going about the pitfalls of trying to cram too much research into the story, or getting caught up in the lingo of the day but we’d be here forever. The historic paranormal story may be a bit more work up front, but if you enjoy the research like I do, you won’t mind that one bit. It’s fun to play in various points of history. Thanks to Jessica for allowing me the time to talk to you all. I hope this was help. If you’d like to find my blog, I’m at http://jana-denardo.livejournal.com/ and if you’d like to read my 1930’s demon hunter series, you can find them here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_202&osCsid=8dlkb1ua7verd7mcgid4uug4o5 and they are Snowbound (which includes Temple, urban fantasy/historical) in the anthology Necking  and  A Brief Respite is hidden on my author’s page as a piece of ‘Halloween candy’

In celebration of my upcoming release from Passion in Print Press, Little Red Riding Wolf, I am running a contest for the entire month of October! Leave a comment for Jana and enter to win a copy of Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole!

Monday’s winner of my Halloween Treats contest in celebration of Little Red Riding Wolf is Kerri. Congratulations Kerri, send me your address through my contact box on my contact page and I’ll ship you your book!

13 Comments

Filed under paranormal inspiration, roots of paranormal romance, Thursdays Bite

HALLOWEEN TREATS GIVEAWAY!

Sensational Saturdays

where i blog about anything and everything

It’s here! October is here!

I wanted to do something fun on the blog for the month of October and to celebrate the acceptance of my novella Little Red Riding Wolf, (soon to be out from Passion in Print Press0and here it is! Fun giveaways for every blog post during October, the paranormal holiday month. If you post a comment your name will go into the drawing for that particular posts FREE BOOK! For instance, all the commenters on today’s blog will go into the drawing that will be announced on Monday. Monday’s drawing will be announced on Thursday. Etc, Etc, Etc.

On Halloween I will enter everyone into the drawing for the Jessica Aspen Swag Bags, with promo items and a $15 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble!

So comment away! And I want to thank everyone who tweets or comments on FB or follows my blog, so a big THANK YOU! to you all.
click HERE for contest details

Thursdays Bite Book Review

this book review is usually the last thursday of the month, but due to the second writing campaign challenge (click here for a peek) I have undertaken to post my review today instead.

Today I am reviewing another author who I had the luck of meeting at Rom Con, Kimberly Frost. Kimberly’s third book in her Southern Witch Series is entitled Halfway Hexed and is another pleasurable read from a talented author. And it’s funny! Which is one reason why it earns four out of five omegas. ΩΩΩΩ

I still haven’t read book one in the series, Would-be Witch, but I fell in love with Kimberly’s writing and her terribly troubled character Tammy Jo Trask when I opened up her second novel, Barely Bewitched. Tammy Jo grew up in small town Texas thinking she was the only one in her family without any witch powers, but in the first book she discovers she is totally wrong. She has powers, but they do not work like anyone else’s. Magic backfires around poor Tammy Jo.

Although I did catch up quickly when I read Barely Bewitched without reading book one, and I have thoroughly enjoyed both of the books I’ve read, I would recommend reading Would-Be Witch first. But these books are such fun you are going to want to read all three. I won’t give away too much about the other two books (still waiting to read number one), but Tammy Jo’s adventures are hilarious and sexy. Kimberly keeps the reader guessing and engaged. I’ll share the opening lines from Halfway Hexed:

“The reason I don’t normally bother to plan my schedule is that something unexpected always seems to come up and throw it of. That Friday when I got kidnapped was a prime example.”

And she then proceeds to not tell you about the kidnapping. I was turning page after page waiting for the kidnapping, and when it happened, I was so unprepared! From the plague of frogs unleashed on the good Texas ladies who have it out for witches, to the complications of not wanting to fall in love with the one man who she can work magic around, you’ll find Halfway Hexed a fun fast paced read.

Leave a comment to be entered in today’s free book drawing for Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Play. To be announced on Monday, October 3rd.

9 Comments

Filed under Paranormal Book Review, Sensational Saturday's, Uncategorized

Announcing Big News!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

TA DA!

I’m thrilled to announce the acceptance of a contract from Passion in Print Press for my sensual novella Little Red Riding Wolf!

Little Red Riding Wolf is a tongue in cheek twisted fairy tale that won an honorable mention in RWA’s Passionate Ink’s Stroke of Midnight contest this July. I had a fun time writing it and I’m thrilled that Passion in Print is picking it up. After listening to Laura Baumbach talk to CRW at our mini-con in August I came away very impressed with her dedication to publishing a quality product and even though I hadn’t planned on pitching (because The Queen’s Huntsman is still being edited again and again and my current WIP is not finished) I took a chance and pitched Little Red.

And now it will be a published e-novella! With it’s very own cover and available on the Passion in Print site for purchase!

I’m not sure exactly when it will be available, I will now have edits and all that goes with the publishing process to complete, but it is a very exciting way to come full circle this September. Last September I turned the corner at Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion class and moved from being a writer to being an author. If you’ve been following my journey, I have been marching steadily down the road with the full intention of reaching publication. And now that day is here!

I’ll be posting updates on Little Red’s journey as well as my own on my News! page and I will continue to update my bio page with semi-montly snippets on my life.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this excitement!

My husband, first and foremost, for always being supportive. My IMC buddies from WooHooU! Sherry Isaac, Gloria Richard, Joan Swan, Babs Mountjoy, and of course Margie Lawson. And my mother, who insisted I had to go to Margie’s last year!

As well as everyone in CRW, but especially ML Guida and Hillary Seidl for insisiting I pitch and Lori Corsentino for switching spots with me. Lori, I never would have pitched if you weren’t such a generous soul!

And my CP Jessica R., for reading through Little Red Riding Wolf when she had just met me and writing detailed comments complete with green post-it notes. Thanks for all the critiquing!

24 Comments

Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey