Monday, August 25, 2008

The Plot is the Thing

I've been asked at conferences and workshops what I look for in a manuscript and I've been thinking (and yes, Virginia, blondes do think... sometimes). I was looking over the books I've edited since I've been with the company and wondering what it was that set them apart from other books. What was it that called to me and said, "yes, this is the book you want to contract."

First and foremost it's been the story. The plot has to capture my attention. I've read other manuscripts and the writing may be clean, the characters may be well-developed and likable, but they leave me yawning. If the plot is fascinating to me, in most cases the other problems can be fixed. It's a "diamond in the rough." It might take some work but that's what I'm here for in my role of editor. If the gem is polished, but there's no fire to the plot, it's a pretty piece of costume jewelry...nice to look at but not worth much.

So... work on the plots. Make sure you have some fire and interest. Make me hold my breath and turn the page frantically to find out what comes next. Then you have my attention and my thanks for bringing me a story I can love.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Flower Basket

For those of you (and I hope there are several more) planning a submission to The Flower Basket series in the Sweetheart line:

Based on the submissions I’ve received to date, I thought a bit more explanation was needed. The guidelines state you need to download and read Business is Blooming, (free read) the kick-off Rosette for the series. This is essential because you need to get a feel for the shop and the three owners. The plot of the story you create must have a connection of some type with the flower shop. This means your characters need to place or receive an order of flowers. They may consult with the shop owners, in person or on the phone, on an upcoming event or just dash in for a spontaneous purchase.

Business is Blooming established the names, business roles and basic characterizations for the three shop owners. You need to keep those consistent when those characters appear (ex: don’t have your character talking with Steffi about making a run to the flower market—that’s Donica’s job). The touchy part is not creating story events or personal histories for another author’s character that changes the potential storyline. (ex: don’t give Steffi a past involving three years in New York as a runway model)

You may introduce other characters necessary for your storyline, and if your project is contracted, those characters become part of the population of Almendra. At the contract time, you will be given the option of reserving control of the characters in your story or releasing them for others to write about.

I invite questions about the series and am willing to look over proposals or story ideas. Please remember a contract is only issued on a completed story.

Leanne Morgena
Senior Editor, Sweetheart Rose

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is it the middle of August already?

Wow, where has the summer gone. Some of the kids are going back to school next week already. What happened to starting school after Labor Day like we did as kids? Okay, I'm showing my age. Even my kids started in August. I hated it. I was never ready for the routine of bedtime, homework, and teacher's meetings. Not that I can say I miss it. But I still hate this time of year. Hate that the kids have to go back to school. Besides, I know what comes next. Fall and cooler temps. I don't mind the cooler temps. In fact I love the colors of the leaves changing. It's what follows that I hate. Cold and Snow!!! At least that's what I have to look forward to where I live. Yet a part of me loves the changing seasons. And I even love the first snow fall. Everything looks crisp and clean and the crunch under your feet as you walk through it. And I even like a little snow for Christmas. But then it can go away for another year. Of course that's not going to happen. But this year, I've decided to look at the seasons differently. I'm going to enjoy each day as it comes, whether rain or shine, hot or cold.
We spend too much time looking ahead and not enough time enjoying the present. As youngsters, we await the day when we're adults, then we wait until we can get married, have kids, then we wait for the kids to take that first step, say that first word and finally we wait for them to grow and leave the nest.
Well, I can tell you, mine have all left the nest - quite some time ago actually, and it's not all its cracked up to be. Nope, I look back on those days and wish I had spent more time enjoying what was instead of looking for what was going to be.
So if you have little ones, enjoy today. Enjoy their first smile and don't worry about when they're going to walk and talk. That'll come soon enough and believe me, it goes by entirely too soon. I look back on those days that I thought were so difficult. Times were hard, there wasn't always enough money. But oh how simple life was then. Of course, I didn't know it at the time. But what I'd give to go back. Back to holding my babies on my lap and listening to those first sounds, looking at that first smile. But life moves on. It doesn't wait for anyone. What we thought were rough times - getting up in the middle of the night to feed a baby or tend to a sick child, those were the easy times. Watching the kids grow, having their own kids, what simple pleasures and looking back and remembering those days, that was the life. Now all I have are memories and life moves forward so much quicker than it did back then.
I'm not so very old that I can't still enjoy life. Infact, I'm still rather young by today's standards, so I'm going to take a step back and enjoy today, this hour, this minute to the fullest. Yes, Fall is just around the corner and after that winter. But that's okay. I'm going to enjoy having my windows open and I'll let tomorrow take care of itself.

eReaders Blooming in the Garden

I'm in love. I admit it and even my husband is supportive of it. The last time I felt this kind of thrill was when I got my first flashdrive! This love affair I have with technology is continuing now with a SONY eReader.

If you've never had the chance to touch one or see one in action, let me try to set the scene for you. Its about the size of a trade size paperback, or one of our Wild Rose Press print books. Its about 1/2 an inch thick. Mine is silver but it came in a leather case which resembles a book. It slips into my briefcase or my purse and takes up no space at all.

When you turn it on the view you have is very similar to looking at a page in a book. The font can be made larger or smaller with the push of a button.

It was very easy to use. Without any outside instruction I had it hooked to my computer and was downloading pdf's to it to read later in a matter of minutes.

Now it goes everywhere with me. Loaded with several of our TWRP titles, I can review manuscripts from authors or I can read already published stories wherever I am. Reading on it doesn't cause eye strain and I don't miss the printed pages at all. What I really love is not having to lug several books with me in case I don't feel like reading one. I like choices. This way I can take as many books with me as I want all in this one device.

I'm determined to try to get these out to all of you. Check out the last few weeks of our Summer Sony eReader contest and enter. I'd love to ship one to you as the winner! We'll announce the winner at our September 2 chat. I hope its you!

If you don't win one, consider buying one. We purchase from Check them out.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rounding up Lawmen and Outlaws

The Cactus Rose line at The Wild Rose Press is releasing a historical western anthology June 2009 to promote the line.

We need four stories, 20,000 -25,000 words, to put in an anthology titled "Lawmen and Outlaws". We want two stories with lawmen as the heroes and two stories with reformed or on the fringe outlaws as
the heroes.

The stories will be contracted by Jan. 1, 2009 and ready to go to production by April 1, 2009. If you would like a chance to get in this anthology, send a synopsis by August 31, 2008 to with the word “Anthology” in the subject line.

The Cactus editorial staff will pick the four stories to be published.

Patricia Tanner
Senior Editor
Cactus Rose Line

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Got Wolf? more specific details...

We've revised the information regarding the contest requirements because they seemed unclear. I hope this is helpful. Also, please find specific submissions information below including the subs email address.

I am looking forward to an influx of entrants in the next three weeks. Hope to see a submission from you:)

The Wild Rose Press Presents…
Got Wolf? Black Rose Writing Contest

If you've got a hot hero/heroine who also happens to turn furry at least once a month, then Black Rose is looking for your story.

Six lucky winners will be published in our 2009 Black Rose Anthology.

Details: 4 short stories (15,000-25,000 words) and 2 novellas (25,000-45,000 words) will be chosen.

We are looking for werewolf stories with tight, well-written storylines and plots. If the hero is female, make sure the male is equally impressive. All stories must have at least one HOT consummated love scene and, of course, the traditional romance requirements still stand.

How to Enter

  • Create a single document including your short synopsis (1-5 pages) followed by the complete story, saved as an RFT file.
  • Use standard manuscript format: 1” margins, 12 point Times New Roman or Courier, header with name, title and page number
  • On the first page, include your name, email address, title, word count, and the words “Got Wolf? Black Rose Writing Contest.”
  • Email your entry to with the words “Got Wolf?” in the subject line.

Entry Deadline
August 30, 2008

6 winners (4 for the short story category and 2 for the novella category) will be published our 2009 Black Rose Anthology. Winners will also receive a special Black Rose Contest T-shirt, and one winner will be selected from the six to receive an author’s survival gift basket full of goodies.
Ami Russell, Callie Lynn Wolfe, Amanda Barnett, Joan Archer, and Rene Stephens.

Winners will be announced on October 31, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Time is running out for Got Wolf? Submissions!

Got Wolf?

Black Rose Writing Contest

If you've got a hot hero/heroine that also happens to turn furry at least once a month, then Black Rose is looking for your story.

We are interested in werewolf stories with tight, well-written storylines and plots. If the hero is female make sure the male is equally impressive. All stories must have at least one HOT consummated love scene and, of course, the traditional story requirements still stand.

Please take a moment to look at our submission requirements ( and click on the tab for "Submissions") before sending in your stories. The only difference is all contest entrants will submit full manuscripts with a short synopsis, as opposed to the traditional query and synopsis. Stories that do not follow traditional guidelines will be disqualified.

Submissions are now open!

Please place "Got Wolf? Contest Entry" in your subject line along with the traditional subject line matter, also found on the Submissions Guide.

Contest deadline: August 30, 2008

Winners to be announced: October 31, 2008

Contest details:

4 shorts -- 15-25,000 word maximum and

2 full shorts -- 25-45,000 word maximum will be chosen from the entries.

All six winners will be included in a Black Rose anthology and will also receive a special Black Rose contest T-shirt. In addition, one winner will be chosen from those six to receive an author's survival basket full of goodies.

Anthology Publication (estimated release) date June 2009

Judges: Ami Russell, Callie Lynn Wolfe, Amanda Barnett, Joan Archer, and Rene Stephens

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wild Rose Press author wins NRCA award

Just got back from conference and it was crazy and busy and wonderful. It was nice to have met some of the TWRP folks, unfortunately, none of my own authors were there.

I am so very proud of Maggie Toussant, author of Crimson title, "House of Lies". She won (tied with Roxanne St. Claire) for the Romantic Suspense category of the National Reader's Choice awards. She was up against some heavy hitters but this award is chosen by readers...and the readers have spoken. Wild Rose Press rocks!

San Francisco was wonderful. The weather was perfect. Sunny with a nice breeze blowing. I went to Fisherman's Wharf (twice) and was able to make some good contacts during the conference. All in all...a great trip!

Ally Robertson