Monday, January 28, 2013

Celebrating a New Year, New Changes with the Historical Team

Before January comes to its frigid conclusion (snow or ice, anyone??? I’ve got lots!) let me wish all our TWRP authors, readers and staff a very happy new year!

One of the things I’m most excited about as we begin another fantastic year in the garden is that we can now consider stories that don’t necessarily fit the typical romance mold.  Over the years in historical we’ve seen many family sagas, or stories that were more women’s fiction than romance, and with heavy hearts we’ve had to inform those authors that we simply could not accept their submission because it wasn’t technically a romance.

For many of us, myself included, change can be a little unsettling.  But rest assured, you devoted readers and writers of historical, this is a good thing! (Yep, I’m channeling my inner Martha Stewart today!)  Not only have many of our established authors already approached us with story ideas and submissions, but we’ve been absolutely inundated with queries from new authors, too.

So with all this talk of change, are you wondering what your favorite historical editor is hoping to find in her submission inbox this year?  Well we still love romance, of course, but let’s ask the editing team that very question.

Allison Byers, what would you most like to see from our authors—established and new—in 2013?
I love historical fiction, especially those set before 1900. I love a story in which the author has taken pieces from the past and woven them into a story that helps the reader see the past through a character’s hardships and happiness. The novel should be plot-driven and richly constructed. When writing, the author should make sure the plot excites, inflames, and inspires the reader.
But let me caution that the story should pay close attention to historical details. There is a new historical fiction entitled alternative historical fiction which is written with a “What if? premise. For example, what if the South had won the war? I’m not interested in this type of historical fiction.

Nan Swanson is sort of our Queen of Vintage Rose.  She loves this line and handles the majority of the submissions that come in for Vintage.  Nan, what are you hoping to see for Vintage Rose this year?
The Vintage Rose line is looking for stories about the 1900s, set anywhere in the world. So much happened during the twentieth century, and so much of it changed the life of every ordinary person, or, as they said back then, “the man on the street” (pre-women’s lib). What better way to learn history than by immersing yourself in someone else’s story as they experience wars, new inventions, social and economic changes, climate extremes, and the widening of their window on the world? Such broad subjects can have intimate stories behind the scenes… The shipyard worker who helped build the Titanic. The woman who cleaned at an inventor’s house, or the gardener or cook there. The family who endured the Dust Bowl and did not pick up and go to California. The half-American orphan in Korea in the 1950s. The family who left everything to come to America but were late getting to the dock so took the next boat and helped rescue survivors from the torpedoed ship they had meant to be on. Anywhere, doing anything, they each have a story that can be told, Edwardians to doughboys to  flappers to G.I.s to rock’n’rollers to women’s libbers to hippies to all the labels of the last few decades before 2000. And Vintage Rose wants those stories!

Susan Yates, how about you?
In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, a book review website recently featured a Romance Novel Reader Workout. The plan encouraged readers to read a romance novel (always a good thing!) and do exercises when certain things happened in the novel. For instance, when “A tingle or spark goes up the arm of one or both characters if they touch” do ten jumping jacks, or, when “A character looks in the mirror and describes herself” do ten dumbbell curls. The list is not meant to be taken seriously, of course, but it’s a good illustration of how easy it is for authors—and editors too!—to fall into romance-novel clich├ęs. That’s why as a reader and an editor, I’m always looking to be surprised. I love a romance that takes me in a new direction, or that transcends the genre in some way. Whether it’s an under-represented era or a traditional era presented in a new way, I want a story that immerses me in history and that makes me trust the author knows it cold. I love characters that have dimension and feeling, and a plot that throws them into an impossible situation and makes me care about how they resolve it. I love dialog that goes beyond the superficial, that perfectly illuminates the characters. And most of all, I want stories with depth and emotion that sweep me along with them. And of course, I want stories that avoid anything that might turn a reader on the Romance Novel Workout plan into a body-builder!

Cindy Davis, what kind of stories are you hoping to see? 
I would love to see quirky characters, unique new settings, unusual careers. Stretch your imagination. Stay away from the familiar. Research if you have to but go beyond what you read. Go beyond your emotions. Make the story memorable.

And as for me, Nicole D'Arienzo...
Whether it’s romance or not, I want conflict, conflict and more conflict.  Now mind you I don’t mean misunderstanding—I don’t want to see lame or watery conflicts that can easily be resolved with a little explanation.  Nope.  I want angst and emotion.  I want those characters to feel that there’s simply no way to make this work. 

Many authors worry if their conflict is too deep or too complicated, they won’t be able to resolve it, but you know what?  You don’t have to.  It’s okay for your characters to decide that being apart is far more painful than their differences and they can agree to disagree. (Now obviously I don’t mean that one of them is married and the other chooses to accept it, or that one is a serial killer and the other chalks it up to a minor character flaw.)  
Neither should you short change your readers (or editor!) by resolving things too easily simply because you’re nearing maximum word count. Having your heroine suddenly shrug her shoulders on the last page and say “you were right, I was wrong” does not an emotionally satisfying ending make.  

Take your characters on an emotional journey.  Make me feel their inner struggle, torture them just a little …and you have the kind of story I’d love to find in my inbox!

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Keeping Those Writing Resolutions: Action = Motivation

by Editor, DJ Hendrickson

Many of us begin a new year full of gumption and big plans for our writing careers. But like a lot of New Year’s Resolutions, we may find ourselves falling behind our schedules and not accomplishing much of anything. With everything going on in our busy lives, it’s no wonder that our gumption can be siphoned away by long to-do lists. Add in the human tendency to believe that we act once we’re motivated, and it’s no wonder most of us never get around to making those resolutions a reality.
Only the idea that we act when we’re motivated isn’t necessarily true, especially when it comes to reaching goals or changing our behavior. If we wait for motivation to strike, we may be waiting a really long time and never reach those goals we set for ourselves.
The reality is, our motivation grows as we take action. Even taking the smallest step signals to our brains that we’re making progress. And even the tiniest little bit of progress makes us feel good, which increases our motivation to take more action to make more progress to feel even better.
So what sorts of small actions can you take to increase your motivation? Anything will get the ball rolling, but doing something that actually gets writing work done will be most effective. We may think that we need that new computer software or new paint on the walls in order to feel that elusive inspiration that will motivate us, but we don’t. What we need is to actually get something done.
It doesn’t have to be something big, such as writing ten thousand words a day. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be getting words on the page at all. There are a million little decisions to make in order for a story to come to life. Characters must be named, places must be researched, timelines must be plotted. Then there’s the promotion, platform building, networking and business paperwork. When these sorts of tasks pile up, it can build a huge, seemingly insurmountable pile that drains motivation even more. But with five minutes, you can take action on these types of tasks and increase your motivation. It will also free up more of your writing time to get those words on the page. Another benefit of doing these things in tiny bursts is that you’re less likely to get sucked into clicking lots of interesting links and falling into the internet abyss.
Here are some ideas:
Find a way to make notes so you’re only writing down enough to jog your memory later. It may take a bit to figure out a system that works for you, but once you do, it will save you a lot of time and lost ideas. I mastered this while taking notes in more literature classes than I care to remember, so I can now write a five hundred word description from ten words I scribbled down at a stop light. This way, when that great transition or line of dialogue pops into your head, you don’t lose it.
Have a smart phone? Use it to scroll through baby name sites while you’re waiting in lines, for appointments, or to pick the kids up from school. This is also a good time to check in to social media without it turning into an hours-long time suck. If you have a specific piece of information you need to look up, such as when the rainy season is in the northeast, you can probably do it in these tiny pockets 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Blooms in the Garden - Open for Submissions

I am very excited to announce that there are going to be some exciting changes for The Wild Rose Press this year.

But first - Happy New Year! I sincerely hope each and every one of you have a prosperous, healthy and happy 2013. The staff at The Wild Rose Press is eager to team with you as we enter our 7th year in business and we are thankful each day that we get to be here with all of you in this wonderful garden of roses!

Okay so the big news. (hear drum roll in the background....). The Wild Rose Press is going to accept queries this year from a few genres that aren't romance!

I know I know. You are stunned. So are we. But after all these years we feel we are ready to stretch our limbs out a bit. Beginning immediately, we will accept submissions for the following genres:

erotica (Scarlet Rose of course)
Historical Fiction
Mystery/Suspense - Crimson Rose Line
Women's Fiction - Falling into whatever line it fits depending on heat level and content

We will also explore the possibility of other genres on a case by case basis but we are not opening up to others completely at this time.

Of course our main business model is still romance and that is where the biggest focus will be but it is time to try our hand in some other areas as well.

We are working on the updating the submission guidelines on the website but the process remains the same. Unless you are already an author with us, you submit a query and a synopsis to

I hope you are all as excited about this new information as we are. Please feel free to share this news with your writing groups, etc. and to repost as you see fit.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Amazing Romances Free On Kindle For A Limited Time!

Grab your copy today!

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Victorian Dream by Gini Rifkin  - Kindle eBook

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    Dawn of a Dark Knight by Zoe Forward  - Kindle eBook

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      Lightning Only Strikes Twice by Stanalei Fletcher (Kindle Edition -Nov 24, 2012) - Kindle eBook

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        Promise Broken (The Callahan Series) by Mitzi Pool Bridges - Kindle eBook

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          Lost Honor by Loreen Augeri  - Kindle eBook

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            Stone Dreaming Woman by Lael R. Neill  - Kindle eBook

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              A Highlander in Her Past by Maeve Greyson - Kindle eBook

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                Caller of Light by TJ Shaw - Kindle eBook

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                  And He Cooks Too by Barbara Barrett  - Kindle eBook