Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Happens After You Submit?

Note: Last week Jamie West did a fabulous series on editor pet peeves. Thanks for a very informative week, Jamie! This week, I thought I’d give you a peek into the submission process itself.

As an author, you’ve spent hours, weeks—maybe months—working on your baby, and polishing your manuscript until it shines. Now, without a net, you have to throw your baby out into the world, to see if it can fly on its own. You have submitted your manuscript for publication.

Congratulations. That is a bigger step than you might realize. It takes a lot of courage to face possible rejection.

But after you send your query off to The Wild Rose Press’s Query Us” e-mail, what happens to your submission? Does it end up in some cyber black hole? Not at all. Queries are read and disbursed every morning by our wonderful editor-in-chief, Rhonda Penders. They are then sent on to the appropriate senior editor, based on line, and from there sent on to an editor.

That is when I come in. And I’d like to tell you a couple of things about my process, and how I handle reviewing a submission.

First, I read the query, looking for the concept of the book. I do love a well-written query. Send me something that reads like a back cover blurb, with a clearly defined hook, and I will anxiously read on. But if your query doesn’t have the perfect blurb, don’t worry. This is only a piece of the puzzle.

Do I look at the author’s credentials (provided there are any listed) on the query? Yes. And though I note them, and a publishing history is worth mentioning, they don’t mean as much to me as the writing.

I always sneak a peek at the first chapter then. I can’t help but look at the writing itself before I get to the synopsis. Okay, I will admit it: I am a synopsis skimmer. I am most attracted to the actual writing, then the synopsis. Is the style fresh? Does the voice catch me? Is the storyline plausible? Do I relate to the characters? The answers to these questions, along with a general clean manuscript, free of grammatical errors, will determine if I want to see more, and if I want to invest a couple of hours reading a full submission.

Only then, if I adore the writing, do I go back and read over the synopsis to see if the plot makes sense. If all the pieces fall into place, I will ask to see the full manuscript.

And if the full is one of those stories that keeps me reading into the night, then you might just have yourself a contract.

Up next: The Rush You Get When You Find a Gem of a Story

Renee Lynn
Editor--Champagne Line
The Wild Rose Press

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Big, Bad Editor's List Of Pet Peeves - Act IV

Editors really don’t want to hate authors. Honest. We want to publish your book as much as you do, maybe more. When books get published, we get paid. It is as simple as that. We’re on the lookout for the best product on the market. We do research, we pluck gems from the slush pile, we’ll even take a diamond in the rough, if we meet an author who’ll work hard to help polish it into the treasure it can be.

However, authors can get on our bad side. It’s not easy, but it does happen. Here are a couple things you can do to be certain we never want your manuscript to darken our doors again (although, if you learn the error of your ways, we’ll gladly take a different manuscript!)

Don’t Read The Guidelines

Astoundingly, I see an average of 3-4 manuscripts a week that are not, have not been, and in fact, don’t even pretend to be romance. TWRP publishes romance. Romance is boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back, and a Happy-Ever-After (HEA). In our guidelines, we even state that relationship development should be at least 50% of the novel. I’ve received a manuscript of 400 pages wherein the heroine got married, had multiple children, and her husband died, in the middle 3 pages of the book. It was the only mention of any relationship whatsoever. I’ve received a manuscript where the hero bounced from woman to woman (a few underage), exploiting his prowess, and finally settled on the heroine in the last 7 pages of the novel. These are not romances. Relationship development is vital to a romance.

Jamie’s caveat

Hero and heroine shouldn’t be more than 5 pages apart for the most part. As an author grows, I will accept a well-written plot with them a little further apart, but most newbies do not have this kind of control until their 3rd or 4th book. Some of my fellow editors are less hard-line about this issue, so feel free to submit if you’ve kept the hero/heroine apart for more pages. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it helps us maintain the quality of what we sell. There are always exceptions and writer with good control over the work can stretch the limit.

Resubmission Hounds/Eager Beavers

These writers get their nice rejection letter and a few pages of edits back, make the changes and resubmit the manuscript 2 hours later. They do not look at the rest of the manuscript to see if they’ve made the same mistakes throughout that the nice rejection letter mentioned. Nope, they just do the required edits highlighted and send it back. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that if the nice editor mentioned something in the rejection letter that could apply to the whole manuscript, you might want to check the entire novel.

This really happened. I rejected a manuscript. Five minutes later, it was resubmitted (we have a time stamp). Another editor was assigned who knew I had it. She thought maybe I’d asked the writer to resubmit, so she read and it rejected it also. Five minutes after the second rejection was sent (again, the time stamp), it was re-submitted again. Don’t do this. The editors at TWRP know their jobs. If your manuscript is rejected, there are valid reasons. We try to let you know your strengths, and your weaknesses. Look at those weaknesses, read up on them, and even sign up for our FREE critique partner service at If you don’t want to do that, the best editing tool you can use is reading the manuscript out loud. If the book sounds clunky, awkward and stilted, it probably is just that.

The Prima Donna

There’s a difference between an author who is rightfully angry and an author who is simply stamping her foot metaphorically and having a tantrum because we didn’t ask to publish his/her work.

I’ve dealt with manuscripts that slipped through the cracks and authors who have a right to be angry and upset. We’ve managed to settle amicably each time. It took work on both our parts. This includes an author who was so upset she wanted only a Senior Editor (before I was one). However, she listened to our side of the story, we did some sample editing so she could take me for a test run, she was satisfied with my work and we went straight to publishing from there. Her anger was justified and we made allowances to give her what she wanted. But she was polite, despite being upset, and we worked to make her experience a good one.

But the author who shoots me an angry email with doubts about my abilities, my legitimacy as a human and my mother’s marital status when I was born is not endearing. Do not get angry and sling personal insults. Even if you feel I trampled on your novel, take a good, hard look at it and ask another experienced person to look at the book, too. We at TWRP always try to give the best advice in the rejection. We’re not soulless robots rubber-stamping a form letter. I can’t tell you how many times I came across a really unique plot that I’d LOVE to edit…but it wasn’t a romance. I’ve had several manuscripts that crossed my desk where I regretfully informed the authors of the best place to sell the book. They were THAT good. I actually recommended in the rejection letter which publishing house (and sometimes even the exact editor) who would probably look at the work.

We editors know our business. We know what we sell, and what other companies sell. We may not chat with other publishing houses much, but rest assured, we know their guidelines, too. As with any business, knowing the competition is simply good economics. If an excellent book is not right for our house, we usually try to direct them to where they rightfully belong, if we know.

The Chatty Patty

Once I am your editor, please, please, do not send me emails with photos and stories of your dogs, your kids, your grandkids, your African safari or your husband’s gallbladder surgery. Editors and writers are business partners, first. We may establish a friendship later, but at the beginning, I’m simply buying your work.

In the editing process, nothing makes me grit my teeth more than a writer who sends me countless emails asking if she should change the word ‘scum’ on page 72 of her novel to ‘pond-scum’ and similar editing changes. This is your manuscript. You can make and suggest editing changes, too. We are a partnership here. Our goal is to publish the best book possible. Work with me, but do not send emails with simple changes that you can make without affecting the integrity of the manuscript. Make them and if I do not feel they are appropriate, I’ll catch them in the line edit, anyway.

Once we begin editing, you can nudge me by sending a polite email if you’re feeling neglected. You can even put in the subject header the word ‘NUDGE.’ If I don’t respond within a week, send an email to my boss, Rhonda Penders, If you are working with an editor for a specific line, send a note to the Senior Editor. They are all listed on our main webpage. This way, we both maintain contact. Other editors may prefer a different method, feel free to ask them.

I hope this list has helped you understand our side of the desk. I hope you learned, you laughed, you shared my editor life for a while. I hope we have a long and enduring relationship doing what we both love. Good luck with your writing career, and remember, a manuscript sitting in a drawer is just gathering dust. Send it along to us and you might gather an audience, instead! Come on, send that novel in!

Any questions? Ask in the comments section.

Next week – fellow editor Renee Lynn is at the helm. Tune in!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Big, Bad Editor's List Of Pet Peeves - Act III

In the ongoing saga of the Big, Bad Editor’s Pet Peeves, we come to a host of small problems which can kill a perfectly good manuscript. Scene breaks, brand name dropping, body parts, swearing, one word emotion, and it.


Let me issue a caveat. Some editors are fine with scene breaks. I’m not one of them. I feel that if you need a scene break, you need to clarify your character’s position better. A transitional scene from one to the next makes sense. My fellow editors will respectfully disagree with me and we’ll probably have emails flying on our Staff loop. (Don’t worry, its good for them to question their beliefs, keeps us all fresh).

So, what is a scene break? It is where you write one scene and then realize your character really should be somewhere else or thinking something else. Or you go to the other character’s POV and see what he’s doing at the same time. And, CUT! Off you go. Three asterisks and your reader has been beamed like a Star Trek character into the next scene. In most cases, your reader isn’t Captain Kirk (unless its fan-fiction) and you don’t own one of those transportation devices. Having your reader plopped into a different setting is like Kirk appearing out of nowhere to the superstitious savages. I will occasionally allow a scene break, but you better have 25 reasons to back up why you need it when I ask. I’m just saying.

A scene break pulls the reader up short. It is a stopping point. When you couple it with a POV shift, it can be the kiss of death to the reader - they may not finish the book. How many books have you read where you skipped to the ‘good part?’ Think about it and you may see a trend. The ‘good part’ is usually in one POV where you feel what that character is showing. Your purpose is to keep that reader so happy to finish the book that she'll buy your next book.


Brand-name dropping seems to be increasing in the manuscripts I’ve read lately. I kid you not, I got a manuscript in which the characters had to go buy a part for a car and the author listed 22 stores by name that might carry that part. If your heroine drives a 1969 Buick LeSabre change it to an ‘older, gas-guzzling sedan.’ Mentioning such things will get the red pen from me. These date your manuscript, they also come under ‘fair use’ laws. It means you can use certain terms, but it is dictated by the owner of the brand name. Since we don’t want to constantly be writing letters to the owners asking permission, we prefer you use generic euphemisms for the cars, toys, tourist traps, and sexy lingerie.


One of the funniest lines I ever read in a manuscript was a hero who allowed “his eyes to run around the room as he looked for a way out.” I had this vision of an alien species whose eyeballs popped out, dropped to the floor, sprouted legs and took off running around the room like a spider on speed. Make sure your hero/heroine’s body parts can actually do the tasks assigned (real aliens are the exception to this rule).


Different editors have different views on swearing in a story. If there is no shock value and cussing doesn’t impact the story in a profound way, it is unnecessary. I have nothing against swearing, but throwing cuss words around as if they're everyday jargon dilutes the power. When you overuse the words, it is a waste of resources. You want every word to count in a good story. If a character swears for lack of anything else to say, it simply fills the silence, not a good trait. Heroes and heroines need to come across as decisive, firm and in control of their speech.


Human beings are not one-dimensional. We laugh, we cry, we share the lives of others for a while (that’s a quote from Thomas Carlyle. Go look him up. I don’t agree with him on most things but he understood the value of a good book). When we ‘get emotional’ we are not one feeling, we are a big mass of feelings. That said, sometimes in our intent to show exactly what our heroine/hero is feeling, we think a short, clipped sentence will do the trick. Add a little emotion and everyone gets the point…twice. Sentences like this grate on many editors’ nerves.

“Surprised, she jerked back.”

How about:

“She jerked back.”

The verb tells us something startling happened. Ahhh, mystery. The reader will continue to read because they’ll want to know why she jerked back. The ‘surprised’ part of the first sentence gives away an unnecessary clue that subtly foreshadows what is to come. If a reader knows the ‘good part’ is coming, they may put the book down to do other tasks, relishing the anticipation of the ‘good part’ for later. But your job is to make them keep reading a book they can’t put down!


And then there’s the magic IT. It is not a subject. Sentences with 'it is' or 'it was' instead of a specific noun makes for passive writing.

“It was the the man's abrasive tone that got to her.”

How about:

Sam’s abrasive tone grated on her nerves. (although really, I would do anything Sam Elliott told me to do – I love his abrasive, Scotch-on-the-rocks voice).

Do a find/search of the instances of ‘it’ and its iterations (ha ha, “it and its iterations!”) and work on being more specific.

Questions? Ask in the Comments section.

Next Big Bad Editor’s Pet Peeves post: The authors editors love to hate. However, there will be a break for Thanksgiving Day because my mother will be mad at me if I’m playing on her computer during a family event (yes, I’m middle-aged., but if you met her, you’d be afraid of her, too. I’ll be on her turf and she knows where the iron skillets are).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Big, Bad Editor's List Of Pet Peeves - Act II

In the second installment of The Big, Bad Editor’s Pet Peeves I bring you yet another bane of my existence...


There are editors who don’t mind head-hopping. There are authors who write head-hopping characters seamlessly. And then there’s me.

But first, here are the main POV’s used in fiction so you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Objective Point of View - In objective point of view, the writer tells what happens without any bias towards character or plot. The writer doesn’t tell the reader how the characters feel or what they think. The writer is simply an observer telling a story. A lot of children’s stories are told in objective point of view. Journalism used to be told this way, too. (Don’t ask my opinion on what is called journalism nowadays).

Third Person Point of View - The writer is not a participant in the story, but allows the reader to know and understand the point-of-view of one or more characters. The reader knows how the characters feel about events and what they think, too. The writer is the third person - “the fly on the wall”- hearing and seeing all in the chosen POVs. Most fiction is written in third person narrative.

First Person Point of View - The writer is the narrator of the story. The writer’s opinion is not always objective and they may infuse their opinions, thoughts and actions on the reader. This style of writing may not always be trustworthy, because the reader is depending on the writer to tell the truth. Biographies are usually written in the first person. (What, you think some of them are the whole truth??)

Omniscient - The writer knows everything about everyone, how they fell, how they think, what their motivations are. Some police thrillers are written with this style because the POV of the criminal and what the motivation may be is just as important as the POVs of the police. Think of this POV as an army general. The general is looking over a map of the land and moving his armies where he thinks they’ll do the most good. The armies have no say, they do not understand or care why they are being moved, they are simply minions of the general and do as he dictates. All action and characterization if any is from the viewpoint of the “all-knowing” general.

Author Intrusion - When an author infuses a preaching tone or opinion that has not been stated as the character’s thoughts/feelings anywhere else in the book.

Now, back to my peeving. A point of view head-hop breaks my train of thought.

It is disconcerting to be identifying with the hero and to suddenly be thrown out of his perspective by an invasive newcomer who is a stranger with thoughts, actions and a perspective of her own! When reading, the reader starts to understand the character, starts feeling his/her depth of emotion, starts thinking "wow, that's almost exactly how I feel!" and then BAM! they're kicked out of his/her POV and into another character's thoughts. Even if the second character also feels as they do, the reader is left with a sense of incompleteness. The reader isn’t even finished with the first person when they have to deal with the thoughts of the second person.

Wait? What? See how confusing it is?

Think about the classic books you read as a child - rarely are there even two POVs - part of the reason they're classics is because the characterization is so strong with one POV.

I know you feel that you can convey more when you show both sides of the story. I know it is easier to keep them in the same scene while they go back and forth like a tennis match. However, its not strong writing unless you are one of the few experienced authors who’ve mastered the technique.

Inexperienced head-hopping keeps the reader off balance. And worse, it gives the impression of a play. Each person and their story is produced like the characters in a play - "here is your part, tell your background, move off the stage for the next person." It comes across as very cut-and-dried. I have noticed that many authors who do this are avoiding something.

That avoidance is very telling. What is it telling this editor? In almost every instance, the author is avoiding emotive content. You read that right. Most authors are trying to “wow me with words” so they don’t have to delve into their psyche and pull out emotions that may bare the soul of their character. Why? Because every character the writer invents carries a little piece of that writer in it. Most people don’t let all their thoughts/feelings hang out. Even overly dramatic people may sometimes be hiding behind an opinionated façade. When a writer puts words to paper, they open up they way they themselves may think. It’s a little scary to show that vulnerability to an audience of readers.

Part of writing is that ability to share what we feel. Constantly head-hopping can convey the story you want to tell without having to get emotional about it.

But this is romance, baby. It is all about emotion! It is all about that vulnerable state when you open your heart and bleed until a hero rides to the rescue, wraps a tourniquet of love around that heart and helps it heal.

Open that vein. Strengthen the story by wearing your heart on your sleeve. Don’t hide behind pretty words or keep the reader head-hopping so much they can’t get a real grasp on how that character feels. Emote! Give me a point of view from one character that strengthens the romance and makes it grow. Give me a point of view that shares its pain, its angst and its passion. And I’ll give you a contract for a well-written book that readers will want to read.

Any questions? Ask in the comments section.

Next Pet Peeve Post: Scene breaks, name dropping, body parts, swearing and it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Big, Bad Editor's List Of Pet Peeves

I have a lot of pet peeves. I plan to highlight the big ones for the next week in this blog. The rest I’m willing to work with to find a viable compromise between the author and myself. And honestly, although I prefer great grammar and punctuation, I will not reject your story because you missed a comma or misspelled a word (however, this doesn’t mean you can send me a poorly edited manuscript). So, with that said, all this week, we shall concentrate on my Pet Peeves. And the Number One Spot goes to…(drumroll)…


Nearly every newbie author (including myself back in the day) is guilty of back story. Back story is when one set ups a scene to tell the reader all about the hero or the heroine before the actual story. Because one is trying to capture the reader’s attention, one wants them to understand and identify with the heroine/hero. That’s almost always how to TELL a story. Think about it. Remember the stories you told your kids?

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose Grandmother was sick. She baked some goodies for Grandma, put them in a basket, put on her little red jacket with hood and headed out the door. Stepping onto the forest path, she met a wolf…”

But in romance, it works better to SHOW a story. Start the story in the middle of the action, preferably when the hero/heroine or protagonists meet.

“Hello, my pretty.” The wolf’s eyes gleamed as he eyed the girl’s basket. He licked his chops as drool ran down his chin. (Right away we can see that this is the Bad Guy – his personal hygiene habits alone tell us his character).

“Hello,” Little Red Riding Hood said in a polite tone, furiously thinking that the loaf of bread in her basket simply wasn’t an adequate weapon. (Smart, bakes and can multi-task. Obviously, the heroine).

Even if the meeting isn’t auspicious, it actually sets the stage you were striving for in the back story. The wolf is established as the bad guy. Little Red Riding Hood is established as being the heroine in deep trouble. The reader has just entered the comfort zone of reading. Reader immediately knows the actors on the page, and is ready to identify with the heroine. The door is open. The page must be turned.

And that, my pretties, is right where you want the reader to be. So excited that turning the page cannot be helped. How many times has someone interrupted you right at the Big Moment in a book or movie? Your job, as a writer, is to make every single chapter have a Big Moment. Or two…or twenty. Keep that page turning.

Don’t bore me with the story of how Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother made that coat by going to a specialty store to buy the woolen fabric in that specific shade of cherry red, and how she bought real bone buttons and lined it with silk because LRRH was such a special little girl, what with baking Granny treats and doing the housework and fluffing pillows and all. Granny is a secondary character. She can be mentioned, but I don’t want her life story, her choices or her pet peeves even mentioned in the book, okay? Well, unless you can do it in a paragraph or less, as it relates to the hero/heroine. There is no reason to know why Granny made the coat. She’s Granny, LRRH is her granddaughter. Grannies do that kind of thing. That is sufficient for readers to know by inference.

Write tight. Your goal is to use as few words as possible to convey character and action. You want to punch the reader in the eyeballs with everything that will make them keep reading down the page and to the next.

The master of writing some of the best first lines ever was Louis L’Amour. Next time you go to the bookstore or library pick up a few of his books and read.

“When I rode up to the buffalo wallow, Pa was lying there with his leg broke, and his horse gone.” (END OF THE DRIVE Ó Louis & Katherine L’Amour Trust)

In that single sentence, the writer conveys a sense of urgency, a sense of responsibility, a sense of trouble, and the need to solve the problem fast. And the reader is off and running – reading as fast as possible to find out what happens.

Louis didn’t go into back story, he hopped right into the action, left the reader staring at the page thinking “My gosh, WHAT HAPPENED?” And then they find themselves reading all day and finishing the book at 2 a.m. knowing they have to go to work tomorrow.

As you continue writing the book, and at this point, I’ll talk specifically about romance, you must keep the hero and heroine together. Do not go off on a tangent about how the hero’s long lost brother shows up with three kids and a dog, and how the hero loved his brother’s wife back in the day and now must mourn her passing but is charmed by his brother’s daughter because she looks so much like her mother, a pretty girl with brown eyes and blonde hair who sang as sweetly as a lark, loved dogs, and could bake the best apply pie this side of Sara Lee. (It is almost Thanksgiving, I’m into baking metaphors).

The reader doesn’t want to know all that. The reader is looking for the romance – the reader wants to see the relationship develop between hero and heroine. Hero and heroine. Hero. And. Heroine. You can allow a little back story as they interact with each other. He can tell her about losing someone he loved. He doesn’t need to go into detail. She can see a photo of Mom and notice that the little girl looks like Mom and the hero seems to have a soft spot for the kid. But then, you must revert back to hero and heroine and how THEIR relationship is growing. What are they doing? What are they feeling? What is happening? How do they react when it happens? Do they take action? If so, is it a resolution? If not, why not? Will there be a resolution later? Why the delay?

Every time an author introduces a secondary character, the potential for back story is set. Resist! If you must use a secondary character, give the reader bare bones. A quick paragraph about their meaning in the hero or heroine’s life, and then move back to hero and heroine. Don’t give them a life history. Don’t give them “air-time” in a story about Hero and Heroine. If they have a story, write another book about them.

Don’t give Hero and Heroine much back story, either. Heroine’s story before meeting hero is hers alone. Hero’s story before meeting heroine is his alone. But this story…this story is about them. Together. Developing a relationship in the present. This is their story. Write it wisely.

Any questions? Ask in the comments section.

Next Pet Peeve Post: Point Of View

Friday, November 21, 2008

No More Naked People

Now that I have your attention *G*.

Let’s talk a little bit about avoiding clichés. Most of us know by now not to use the “have the heroine look in the mirror” trick as a means of describing our character. It’s cliché and doesn’t usually work since most of us don’t look in the mirror and notice our heart-shaped face, our azure blue eyes and dainty features. We just want to make sure we look presentable.

Lately in historical submissions, I’ve noticed a trend toward one of the oldest cliché’s in the writing industry. The Naked People Cliché.

Scenario one: it’s such a hot day that our heroine strips off her twenty five pounds of petticoats, her corset and the dress she can’t get into without assistance and dives into the inviting and deserted (so she thinks) pond. Or lake. Or stream. First of all, in an age where just the sight of a woman’s bare ankle was considered forbidden, I’m not convinced. Think about it; women were considered little more than property and had no rights—is our heroine really going to strip down to her birthday suit and go for a dip? When any man could come upon her and take advantage? Put it another way. If you were on a beach by yourself on a hot day—would you do it?

Back to our story. At some point, while the heroine is blissfully swimming along, usually with either her behind or her breasts bobbing along the water’s surface, our hero comes along. And joins her. Now depending on what point in the book we’ve reached, this may be their first meeting (cliché!) or this may lead to the first love scene (another cliché!)

Scenario two. Heroine is in a hotel, usually with the hero, sometimes sharing a room, sometimes not. She’s hot and dusty and is more than ready for a soak in a nice hot bath. Soapy bubbles may or may not be covering her naughty bits, but invariably, the hero comes through the door. She shrieks. He smirks. Cue love scene.


I’m not saying that you can’t find a way to make this different, so please, if you must have naked characters, feel free to surprise me. But don’t fall into the cliché trap.

BTW it goes without saying that naked heroes and heroines are perfectly acceptable in love scenes. And think about it… having the hero, at an appropriate time, remove that corset, that dress she can’t get into without help, those twenty five pounds of petticoats…. Well that’s a lot more fun than having his work already done for him, isn’t it?

Happy writing, everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Five Tips for Aspiring Authors

Four things you must consider if you want to make a good impression on an editor (and one thing that is just good to do anyway):

1. Don't just study submission guidelines, follow them. An editor is within his or her rights to reject a manuscript solely on the formatting being a mess. The story may be very good, but how are we to know if we cannot read it? Allow your genius to shine by formatting properly. Yes, I know, I dislike Courier New too. Yet Courier is one of the easiest fonts to read. Word count and page count estimates can be simplified, and therefore how long the project will take to edit. If all manuscripts we receive start out the same, comparing one to another becomes much easier.

2. Name-dropping (comparing your work to other authors) in the query is unneccesary. Chances are I haven't read those other authors.

3. Telling me in your query how (adjective) your story is will not impress me. Allow me to be the judge of what adjective to apply. Every reader and reviewer will have their own opinion. Telling your reader what to think can spawn a negative reaction.

4. Make sure the synopsis shows the entire story; beginning, middle and end. A good synopsis shows the emotional turning points as well as the main plot, and gives us the names of the major players. Outside of that, don't stress too much about it. We know that synopses are difficult to write. The partial manuscript is our sample of your writing, and what we give most weight to when deciding if we want to see more.

And, good advice in general, 5. Back up your work regularly. Keep drafts separate with new file names--you never know when you might want to rescue a scene you cut at one point to refurbish somewhere else. Back up on different media and keep the copies in various places. At least one copy should be kept outside your residence, just in case. For example, I use CD's, USB key drives and an external hard drive.

When comparing apples and oranges, and you're only looking for apples, the choice becomes obvious.

Don't be an orange.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Men in Uniform Blog Contest

As promised, the Crimson Rose garden venue is starting off the Men in Uniform submission call with a blog discussion/comment contest. The topic is, of course, our favorite man in uniform. I’ll start the ball rolling but I want to invite you all to join in. No rules to this discussion except to keep it G or PG rated since we do have teens who visit the site.

My favorite man in uniform is a man in the naval dress white uniform, standing at attention. It goes without saying he would be looking at me adoringly throughout. I love the history it signifies along with the clean, fresh lines. It just looks so fine. All in all, just heart-racing stuff.

So share away – what’s your favorite??

Keep in mind, your name will be entered in a drawing for a free gift so comment away. Who knows your comment might give an author a wonderful idea for a story that fits in with our submission call. Speaking for all of the Crimson Rose editors, we all know there are some fabulous authors out there and we can’t wait to see what comes in.

Sigh…I can see the snappy salute and dress-whites now…

Headed back to the romances,

Senior Editor, Crimson Rose