Monday, October 4, 2010

Hot Nerds Manipulating the Universe

[Interior: evening. Two writers IM about submission opportunities]

Crit partner: The paranormal line at Wild Rose Press is looking for short fiction.
Author: Huh.
Crit partner: Got anything paranormal?
Author: Well, I have this one with a ghost in it and a heroine who time travels back to when he was alive—‘cause they’re like soul mates and stuff—and then she lives there with him until she becomes her own grandmother.
Crit partner: Does she ever come back to the present?
Author: No.
Crit partner: Send it in. What’s the worst they can say?

Faery Editor Kelly Schaub: (sigh) It’s probably historical line instead of Faery.

What I do want to see in short submissions: I want to read about men and women who make their own fate and choose to be together. I don’t believe in “soul mates.”

Our senior editor, Amanda, pointed out earlier that time travels are hot hot hot for sales. Along with that, my own research points at cowboys amping the sales numbers—cowboy in the title + cowboy on the cover = win. And I am a Browncoat. If you know what that means without scanning Wikipedia, you’re already in my camp.

I love me some space cowboys.

So yeah.

Short length (45K down to 7.5K). Space cowboys who time travel.

More seriously, I enjoy heroes who are not only physically good to look upon but highly intelligent. Think Commander John Crichton from Farscape (PhD in aeronautics, designed and built his own spaceflight module which shot him through a wormhole to travel in alien lands…and he’s good looking), Quinn Mallory of Sliders (genius inventor who developed “sliding” from one alternate universe to another…and pretty darn cute), Dr. Sam Beckett of Quantum Leap (invented a way for man to time travel within his own lifetime…handsome, moral) and of course Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly, the best space cowboy ever (with the exception of Captain Kirk). Mal and Kirk didn’t have to be smarter than average; they live, fight, and love in the future. No emo metro-males need apply at my desk.

The heroine must be able to keep up and hold her own, but not be so kick-ass that she diminishes the hero’s masculinity or cannot be feminine and vulnerable. Some characters who strike the right balance: Princess Ardala and Colonel Wilma Deering (both from Buck Rogers of the 25th Century), Officer Aeryn Sun from Farscape, Zoe Washburne from Firefly—heck, any of the women on that show; Kaylee, Inara. Think of the female officers on Star Trek.

We are facing a high amount of competition both between TWRP and other publishers and within our own house to put before our readers the very best stories we can offer. Manuscripts must be highly polished, ready to go, with all the necessary literary pieces and parts before they’re offered to us. Watch your junk words (just, very, some, often, always, nearly), passive verbs (was/were), and sentences beginning “It was/There was/were.” Be sure you have believable and discernable goal, motivation, and conflict for hero and heroine, and that they work at cross-purposes to the relationship until the very end of the story. Make them work for that Happily Ever After!

Kelly Schaub
Faery Rose


Amanda Barnett Freelance Editor said...

Morning Kelly,

I like your ideas! Cowboys are sexy and put them into a brilliantly crafted time travel, and I'd read Now as to contracting, like you said it has to meet the criteria. I am also fond of a good futeristic romance.


Patti Ann Colt said...

I love me some space Cowboys too! Funny how every single one of these is on my list of strong, compelling, love-'em characters! I like Amanda have always loved a good futuristic romance - hope you find some!

Kelly McCrady said...

I know, right? Thanks, Amanda and Patti :-)

Susan Macatee said...

This sounds good! I normally write historical and historical/paranormal for TWRP, but want to branch out into science fiction romance. This might just be the place for me to start!

Amanda Barnett Freelance Editor said...

Hi Susan and Patti! Good to see you here. Check out two authors that I have read here at TWRP who do a great job on futeristic. Lil Gibson and Nancy Cohen. Of course their books are full, but you can always right short!


Amanda Barnett Freelance Editor said...

Your so welcome, Kelly! And folks Kelly knows her futeristics!


Tricia Schneider said...

Oh, how I miss Farscape! One of the best shows ever in my opinion. I would have loved to be one of their writers. I even got my daughter's name from that show! But, maybe I could try my hand at writing my own version. That would be a lot of fun!

Susan Macatee said...

I just read Nancy Cohen's book, Silver Serenade! I won it in a contest on one of her blog posts. Great story!! And the worldbuilding is fantastic!!

Frances Sevilla said...

Great post, Kelly. But I, for one, do believe in soul mates.

How about an off world, space ship cowboy destined to fall in love with his first mate. She's aiming for his job, but 'there can be only one'. LOL

I love the thought of two souls destined for one another, fighting off obstacles, and defeating all odds to be together. Conflict can keep them apart, conflict can be their own pragmatism, conflict can be a past riddled with doubt as long as they overcome it.

By the way, let me know what you think of that cowboy plot.

Amanda Barnett Freelance Editor said...

Hi Tricia,

Good to see you here! Yes, do try your hand!


Amanda Barnett Freelance Editor said...

Evening Frances,

I like the ideas of soul mates also!

Can't wait to see what you post!


Kelly McCrady said...

Frances, your spaceship captain and first mate idea could work if fraternization is not an issue :-) How easy would it be for her to transfer to another vessel if it doesn't work out?

Things to ponder to make the isolation of a ship rife with conflict :-)

Kelly McCrady said...


I'm curious now...Chiana? Zhaan? Sikozu? Jool? Katralla?

Tricia Schneider said...


I didn't get THAT creative, though I really like Chiana! :) We named her Aeryn. My husband actually suggested it. He loves the show, too!


Hywela Lyn said...

I have two 'futuristics' published with the Wild Rose Press Faery line and am working on a third (though I'm afraid it's slow going as other things are taking upmy time just at the moment. I love 'space owboys' and tend to think of what write as being 'Westerns with starships instead of horses', though I do have horses as well (some of my planets are very rural!) :)

As a British writer I submitted my cherished first novel to The Wild Rose Press since I didn't think I'd get my futuristic romance published over here. Ive never regreted it. I love TWRP and some of the books I've read by the authors here have been amazing!

It's really interesting to hear what editors like and want in submissions. Thank you!

Claudia Fallon said...

I liked Firefly though it seemed to have lasted about as long as a bug... And Joss Whedon struck out
with Dollhouse too :(

But cool ideas.