Friday, May 1, 2009

Parting is such Sweet Sorrow--so come and pitch the editors of the Sweetheart line!

The last hour is always the sweetest. Thanks for stopping by. For our blog post, we'd like to open it up to pitches. Formal, informal--do you have a sweetheart of a read? We'd like to hear about it.

Enter your pitch in the comments. (and refresh to see new comments!) Give us the name of your story, the computer word count, the conflict (or what keeps your hero and heroine apart) and the resolution. Just remember--keep that bedroom door firmly closed. The Sweetheart line is emotionally-driven.

Make us laugh, make us cry-make us feel something--and you're guaranteed a request.

Leanne Morgena, the senior editor of Sweetheart, says...

I’m sorry I can’t participate in “real time” but I’m involved with my RWA chapter-sponsored conference today and tomorrow. Recently, I was interviewed for a New Zealand newsletter and was asked what makes a great submission for the Sweetheart line.

This is what we look for:

A story that starts off by pitting two well-developed personalities against each other and then keeps them together, but at odds, for the majority of the rest of the page count. Something from their individual pasts makes them hesitant to view the other as a potential mate. Through the course of the story, events take place that cause them to look at each other in a new way. Experiencing these events together allows them to create a relationship that moves from attraction to respect to trust to love.

At the end of the story, we look for both main characters to make a choice that they couldn’t have made at the beginning. They do it because they are stronger people for having known the other or because they choose to put another’s interests above theirs. In a line that doesn’t contain other plot elements (paranormal, suspense, sensuality), character growth and emotional content are the keys that hold the story together and have to be its focus.

Her personal favorites are:

--reunion stories because when characters have a past, they have to get over whatever broke them apart and whatever is keeping them apart now. I also like stories that involve competent people thrown into situations for which they have no training are also favorites. (big city girl on a farm, scientist put into the public eye, adult with no siblings taking care of friend’s small child, injured cop accepting help) Urban or rural, humorous or emotional, be sure to develop your setting so the reader has the tools to create mental images for your characters and where they live and work.

Vicky Reed says...

My personal faves are best friends who fall in love, realistic jobs and settings. It's fun to be rich or own a bed and breakfast--but retail clerks, unemployed mothers who find the love of their life and a job, fast-food workers and people putting in time at the food bank to help themselves and others, fall in love every day. I'd also like to see ethnic characters, African-American, Japanese-American, Filipino-American, whatever kind of (insert here)-American you are. I want to see Uncle Taki and Auntie Marival. Your granddaddy or uncles. Fly your colors. Whoever they are, make sure your hero and heroine are three dimensional and don't let the setting or secondary characters upstage the love story.

A special request for...

The Flower Basket--our Sweetheart Continuity

Do you have what it takes to be a part of The Flower Basket?

Sweetheart is currently seeking submissions to The Flower Basket series set in a small town called Almendra in central California. A free read titled Business is Blooming (available on our website) by Linda Carroll-Bradd launched the series, provides essential information about the town and introduces the three shop owners. Some element in your story has to include contact (in person, phone or email) with the shop or one of the three shop owners for a flower delivery.

The trick to plotting an appropriate story is to take an existing part of the town’s economic or social life and figure out a romantic story for two people who would live and/or work in this town (without duplicating what’s been contracted). Although the characters you create need to interact with The Flower Basket and the owners, your story can’t create any new storylines for Steffie, Grace or Donica, or some of the other characters. We hope that’s not too confusing.

A story chart detailing the existing characters, their roles/professions, and businesses mentioned in the contracted books is available on request from The chart also details which characters are reserved by the original author and which are available for others to use. The senior editor, Leanne Morgena, is also willing to review story outlines for works-in-progress.

Thanks for being here with us! We hope you had a wonderful time. The Sweetheart line will be available until 11p.m. EST. Pitch us! ....and you might win a prize. :)


Lori Quisley Graham said...

Hi, guys! It has been a great day for TWRP which wraps up another great year. I for one am looking forward to seeing that our 4th year in operation has in store. It is great to see so many authors and readers out and talking today. What fun!

Lori Quisley Graham said...

The Flower Basket series sounds like a lot of fun. Great idea!!

danie88 said...

I have to say I'm a fan of the best friends that fall in love type of stories they are beyond amazing :)

Jodi Henley said...

Hi everyone--sorry, we had some technical difficulties. Hopefully, it's all straightened out now. (in other words, I sure am happy you can see our post. :)

Jodi Henley said...

...thanks, Danie! I think they're wonderful, too. I like it when a person looks up and realizes--hey, they were in love the whole time, they just didn't realize it.

Christine said...

Hello Leanne,

I love writing for the Sweet Heart line... I know you said you like reunion stories but do you have a preference when it comes to first or third person stories?

Jodi Henley said...

Hi Christine! Leanne was called away, hopefully she'll be back soon. I know for a fact she loves stories in third, but she is always looking for the wonderful first person story that will make her a true-believer.

Maybe your story is "that" story. Why don't you tell us about it? :)

Amber Leigh Williams said...

YA is such a great line to cross over into right now with the Twilight mania going on. Every time I look up there's another teen paranormal hitting the bestseller list at my local Books-a-Million. It's like the new paranormal romance...but light, LOL


Laurie Larsen said...

Looks like TWRP has had a wonderful birthday! Happy third, and many more to come!

Jodi Henley said...

Thanks for stopping by, Laurie and Amber! I think it's just foreshadowing--three wonderful years is just the beginning. :)

Tess Thieler said...

I agree with Danie, too. There's nothing like falling in love with, and then being married to, your best friend. :)

This has been a fun all day birthday celebration and I'm so glad I was able to take part in most of it. I'll never forget TWRP's birthday month because May is my birthday month also. I guess it's only natural that TWRP be of Taurus origin since Taurus the Bull can be very passionate by nature. I should know. ;)

Happy B-Day WRP! I wish you many, many more productive and successful years ahead.
~Tess Thieler

Jodi Henley said...

Hi Tess--doesn't it strike some kind of chord? My absolute favorite best friends story was Ramses and Nefret in the Amelia Peabody series. *happy sigh*

kimsheard said...

Happy Birthday, TWRP!

I'm so glad there's still a market for sweet stories. These are the ones I grew up on and remember so fondly. They're also the ones I can have my mother read when I write them. ;-)

Go Sweetheart Line!

Lynda Lukow said...

What a wonderful ending to an amazing day!

My thanks to all the editors who shared insight today.

Happy birthday, Wild Rose!

Wishing you continued success,

Jodi Henley said...

Kim--sweet romances are wonderful. Thanks for your support. Don't forget about us for your next submission. :)

Hi Lynda, thanks for stopping by. It's been a long, terrific day. The Wild Rose Press is "the" place to be...pity the day is drawing to a close. :(

Jodi Henley said...

Christine! You are the winner of the wonderful Sweetheart hour prize. Send an email to lisadawn@thewildrosepress with the words "Sweetheart blog prize" in the subject line and you're good to go!

Thanks for asking a question. That made you "it".

Anita Mae Draper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodi Henley said...

Hi Anita, thanks for stopping by. I sent an email. I love cowboys. There's something about cowboy boots. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

My sweetheart pitch:

Name: Marry Me Ma’am? (This sentence is in the first and last scene of the story.)

Word Count: 60,000 words

The Conflict:
He’s a rancher from a remote ranch in Montana with an infant daughter. She’s a waitress who’s never been out of the city. He blurts out a proposal. She’s alone and pregnant and accepts his proposal for various reasons but especially because she was abandoned as a child. She thinks he knows she’s pregnant. He’s worried she’ll take his daughter and leave like his mother but he can’t keep doing chores carrying a baby around.

The resolution: A week before the wedding, she leaves him and his baby and goes back to the city to her waitressing job. He follows and the first scene is re-enacted except this time she says ‘yes’ without hesitation.

anitamaedraper [at] hotmail [dot] com

Jodi Henley said...

lol, Anita--check your inbox. And have a wonderful night. I'm waiting for your partial. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Vicky - and you're very fast.

I saw the blog, hyperventilated, scrunched my synopsis, panicked, and posted before I read all the instructions. LOL

Now, I'll go check my email and breathe...

Oh - and thanks. :)

Jodi Henley said...

Anita, you're more than welcome. I hope you have a wonderful story, because that's what I'm looking for.

Breathe, and best wishes.