Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Difference between Sweetheart and Champagne

Oh my God! You totally rejected my story, and it was "perfect" for your line. The hero and heroine didn't have visible sex and I threw in a cute child. How could you do this to me? Would it help if I added an adorable dog?

Sweetheart is a "sweet" line. It's true what little sex occurs happens behind closed doors, but there are a few fundamental differences between Sweetheart and Champagne Rose, the two contemporary lines at The Wild Rose Press.

A child doesn't count.

Neither does a dog.

The centerpiece of every Sweetheart Rose is the growth of the emotional connection between the hero and the heroine. It's that yearning to find the perfect person, and the feeling that maybe--just maybe--this is the one person who'll see you for who you are, love you madly and still be there holding your hand when you're old and wrinkled.

Because of our target audience, excessive swearing and strongly graphic depictions of sexual attraction don't work. If your heroine spends all her time staring at the hero's crotch, or you "close the door" after the hero slides his hands under her skirt, a suggestion would be to shift the focus to what your people are feeling and shut that door a little earlier.

We're in the business of warm-fuzzies, and while a child or pet are good elements, they need to work for the story. There's a big difference in a heroine with a son she leaves at daycare while her story plays out with the hero, and a heroine who will stand up and fight for her son, even if the hero happens to be her son's teacher.

If you have any questions, let us know. We're always looking for a warm, feel-good read.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's February! A perfect time for Sweetheart Rose

Welcome to the Sweetheart Line of The Wild Rose Press. February is a great month to dust off that sweet contemporary you have tucked under your bed, because we’re actively looking for submissions, and fresh, new voices.

Before you hit send we’d like to talk about a few things guaranteed to get you a second look.
  • Make sure it’s line appropriate.
Just because there isn’t a fully consummated sex scene in your story doesn’t mean it belongs in Sweetheart. Characters who depend on swearing for characterization, use degrading terms for the other people in your story, and can’t stop obsessing about the hero’s crotch are not a good fit. Keep the focus on the growth of the emotional bond between the hero and heroine.
  • Make sure your hero or heroine isn’t married or engaged to be married.
You wouldn’t want your spouse or fiancĂ©e to mess around on you and we don’t want that either. The hero or heroine in a Sweetheart Rose must be available and free of formal obligations.
  • Create a fresh spin on traditional stories.
There are a lot of bed and breakfast owners out there in the world, and most of them end up in Sweetheart. If you have a secretary/boss romance, accountant-biker, or CEO and nanny story, find a way to put your own personal spin on it.
  • It’s not about the details. It’s about the pertinent details.
If your heroine gets up, takes a shower, savors breakfast, picks out her clothes, and drives to work, it does nothing to advance the story line. You don’t have to start with the action, but it helps to start closer.
  • Too much backstory.
Most people don’t look at a friend and go into immediate flashback, or reflect on why they wanted a cat. Be ruthless. If it’s not pertinent, leave it out and trust your reader.
  • Remember, it’s all about the people.
Even if you have the most gorgeous world-building and killer grammar, you need people a reader can identify with. Show us the insides of your characters, and why we should care about them.

We’d love to see your stories.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Submission Call for Yellow Rose!

Honky Tonk Hearts

Lonely hearts seem to gravitate to the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk.
Owner and bartender, Gus Rankin, has seen his share of the wandering souls cross his bar and dance floor over the years—he'd even like to think he helped a few find true love along the way.

Submission Information:

One pivotal scene MUST take place at the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. This could be the hero and heroine's first meeting, the black moment, big finale, a scene where important information is divulged or an important realization is made etc.

Other than the above requirement, your story can be anything and anywhere within the genre of contemporary cowboys. It can take place from Texas to Alberta, Alaska to Australia. Wherever a cowboy rides, works, plays or competes could be the setting for your story as long as at some important point, their hearts cross the threshold of the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk.

Whether your hero's truck breaks down near the honky tonk, friends take your heroine there for a good time, or either one stop for a break on a long journey, the possibilities for this series are endless and we are excited to see where you as authors can take a couple of honky tonk hearts.

Submitting Specifics:
Word count: 20,000-40,000

Honky Tonk Hearts will be a limited series of 12 to 15 contracted stories so it is important to do your best, write with heart, proof, proof, proof and submit!

Please follow the general submission guidelines on the website for formatting and submit through the Important: Use the subject line: TWRP Honky Tonk Hearts Submission: YOUR TITLE

For questions please feel free to email Stacy D. Holmes, Senior Editor of Yellow Rose, at

Background Information:

The Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk: A few miles outside Amarillo off historical Route 66, the large wood-paneled structure boast a large neon star with a single flashing steer riding away from it. Inside, a long bar runs the length of the back wall, a dance floor takes up a large chunk of space with old round tables filling most of the rest and two pool tables tucked in the back corner. A small stage hosts Open-Mike Nights on Sundays, Karaoke Thursdays and a booked band most Saturday nights with the other nights filled in with a big old jukebox or the DJ. The establishment offers food when the kitchen is staffed, but the Lonesome Steer can never seem to keep cooks too long and waitresses come and go—Gus is always ready to lend a hand when someone comes in down on their luck.

Gus Rankin: His hair is more grey than dark brown these days and a handlebar moustache sits prominently on a face tanned and weathered by the Texas sun.
Tall, broad and still in good shape although a bit of a belly hangs over the buckle of his faded blue jeans, you can usually find him wearing his favorite black leather vest with a light denim shirt beneath.

Though he prefers to man the bar, every once in a while he sneaks back to his messy office, takes a break in the rickety, torn leather chair and props his feet on his desk as he smiles at the bulletin board filled with pictures from couples that have tossed aside their lonesome hearts to take a chance on love.

Keira Rankin: Gus's daughter works at the honky tonk alongside her father. She keeps the books, waitresses and does a little Karaoke when the stage gets quiet on Thursday nights. With long blonde hair, soft doe eyes and heart-shape face, she's the spitting image of her mother, Gus's one and only true love who died ten years ago when Keira was fourteen.

Marshall Dekes: This part-time bartender/DJ is a good old boy with a bit of a past. Tall, dark and handsome, he keeps to himself but is there whenever Gus needs work done around the place.

Important Note: The above-mentioned characters are to be used as "mentions only" and not as main or important secondary characters. These established characters are spoken for and will be used to finish the series when the time comes. Use them to create atmosphere and realism in your scenes at the Lonesome Steer, but then leave them there LOL.