Monday, June 28, 2010

First response for Hidden in Shadows Query

On the 24th, I sent Margo, the editor from HQ, the first three chapters and synopsis of Hidden in Shadows as requested from my pitch appointment at the Lori Foster Get Together. A little less than 24 hours later, this was her response:

Dear Nicole:

Thanks for sending the partial ms. and synopsis of HIDDEN IN SHADOWS (a title that definitely sounds more commercial, to me, than TORN BETWEEN MURDER AND LOVE!).  I enjoyed speaking with you about this novel at the recent Lori Foster Get-Together.  And there was much I admired about the material here, from your rich world-building to your intriguing premise of a heroine who’s a professional assassin.

Yet that said, I’m afraid I don’t think this book is quite right for LUNA’s urban fantasy list at this time.  While I wanted to empathize with the feisty and independent Lorna, I confess somehow I didn’t find her narrative voice quite as compelling as I’d hoped—perhaps because she seems (to my mind) almost a bit too self-confident, not allowing her reader to get close enough to see the vulnerabilities hidden beneath the surface.

No doubt I’m simply not the best editorial champion for this particular novel, and others more in tune with your vision will respond differently.  Thanks again for sharing your work with me, and best wishes in finding HIDDEN IN SHADOWS the perfect publishing home.


This is definitely the best rejection I've ever received. Lorna undergoes a large character developmental change throughout the book. Perhaps it's a little too large, if people can't be initially invested into reading her story. I might end up taking Margo's rejection to heart and change the beginning of the story so Lorna isn't so cocky at first. Not sure just yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I was interviewed...

at Dawn's Reading Nook! Would love it if you dropped by and you'll get a cyber cookie and hug if you leave a comment. :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Calls for submissions

Submissions are once again open at Desert Breeze Publishing! We are seeking manuscripts to fill our 2011 release schedule. At Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc., we are seeking manuscripts from novella length (between 25,000 and 35,000 words approximately) to super novel length (exceeding 100,000 words), with a preference for novels between 65,000 and 90,000 words.  We are more than willing to accept queries on book series, and will consider a series concept when at least one book is completed and the series has been thoroughly formulated.

We are looking for submissions in all of the following romance sub-genres:

Contemporary Romance
Romantic Suspense
Romantic Comedy/Humorous Romance
Inspirational/Christian Romance
Fantasy Romance
Paranormal Romance
Science Fiction Romance/Futuristic Romance
Steampunk Romance
Modern Cowboy Romance
20th Century Historical Romance
Historical Romance (Prior to the 1900's)

And while we're actively seeking all genres, there are a few types of submissions that would really excite us!

Do you have a historical romance set within the first half of the 20th Century?  Perhaps during The Great Depression or World War I/World War II?  The setting does not have to be limited to the United States, but anywhere in the globe affected by these world-altering timeframes.  Do you have a romance set around the Korean or Vietnam Wars? These are largely untapped timeframes with a growing market.

Have you written an epic science fiction or futuristic book series?  A Space Opera?  Or even a single title novel of the genre? Steampunk is a new and upcoming genre that we're definitely interested in exploring.

We would like to see both single title -- as well as series -- romantic suspense novels, especially with characters who serve in law enforcement, civil service, or the military.  And that's not just limited to the heroes.  We'd love to see books where the heroine is the one doing the saving and protecting, or works beside the hero in an equal position.

Have you written an intricate fantasy series with a cast of characters fighting for the greater good, and falling in love along the way?

We are actively seeking inspirational novels with a bit more real world flair. It's not always easy being a Christian, and we would like to see novels that express that.

And cowboys... we love modern-day cowboys.  Sometimes they're on the ranch and sometimes they're outside their element... but they always say 'ma'am' and they know how to look darn sexy in cowboy boots.

Full submission guidelines can be read, along with instructions for submitting, can be found at our website: under Submissions. Any questions regarding submissions can be directed to

We anticipate a 4-6 week response time after July 1st.

Aspen Mountain Press will launch its new Aurora Regency imprint on July 21, 2010! 
Aurora Regency at Aspen Mountain Press is a line devoted to Regency romance. Traditional Regency romances, as exemplified by Georgette Heyer’s work, are first and foremost historical fiction about a very specific (and short) era.  So what are we looking for? Hopefully, this will answer any questions you might have about Aurora Regency’s guidelines.

1)      We expect historical accuracy. This includes language, clothing, customs, etiquette, events and places.  Your book should have rich detail, the appropriate language and slang and an understanding of life in Regency England or, if set outside of England, according to the customs of the country.  That includes behavior appropriate to a character’s life, position and social situation. (For example: divorce was not an option in Regency England so no new divorcées gallivanting at Almack’s in competition with the Season’s loveliest debutantes.)  Historical accuracy will be a consideration in the acceptance of manuscripts and an integral part of the editing process. If your manuscript has several historical errors, you may be asked to revise and resubmit.

2)      We hope for novel plotlines or exciting new twists on old themes. We are open to paranormal or Gothic themes as long as these elements do not compromise the Regency romance genre. So if your impoverished but well-born governess falls in love with the lord of the manor that’s fine. Just make it interesting.

3)      We expect romance—oh, loads of it!  Every kind of hero is fair game in a Regency romance and our heroines should be head over heels in love with them.  But remember—this is a Regency romance.  Spice is okay; jalapeno salsa is not.   In an era were even the smallest infractions would lead to social ruin, well brought up young heroines were virgins on the wedding night. {However, if your Regency is about a member of the demimonde (a courtesan) and is erotic in nature, please indicate this in your query letter.} And, naturally, a HEA is the conclusion of choice.

4)      Great dialogue. In the Regency romance, conversation is well-crafted and engaging. Half of the process of falling in love occurs when the hero and heroine engage in a battle of wits.  Repartee is an art form; conversation is seduction. Anachronistic sayings or language are strongly discouraged.

5)      Society.  Society rules these characters’ lives.  The Season is capitalized for a reason.  As Jane Austen said in Pride and Prejudice, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Society dictates that universal truth, and in a Regency romance Society is where the bridal hunt is carried out.  It can be London or Bath or Brighton or even a simple country parsonage involved in county society—but society (either capitalized or not) is as big a character as any human being.

6)      Fun.  Above all, Regency romances are fun—both to read and to write.  The more adventures your madcap heroine has, the better.  Paranormal Regencies are acceptable as are the more intricate Regency murder mysteries. Even the darker side of the Regency world is fun.

So, do you think your Regency romance fits the bill? Then submit to us!  The Aurora Regency line is published by Aspen Mountain Press, a royalty-paying e-publishing company.  We do not charge fees for set up or charge for editing your story once it has been accepted for publication. Our contracts request rights to the contracted work, including digital and print formats as we will provide some of our titles in print later this year.

Aurora is looking for well-researched Regency romances between 35,000 and 70,000 words, although we will bend on the upper word limit if the story merits it.  Please submit exactly and only the following if you wish your manuscript to receive serious consideration:

A query letter in the body of an email with:
Your legal name, pseudonym if applicable and contact email.
Working Title
Manuscript Length
General story description in two paragraphs
Writing Credentials
Include the first chapter (or first twenty pages, whichever is shorter) embedded in the body of the email. We will not open attachments. If we like what we see, we will request the rest of the manuscript.  If this is a simultaneous submission, please inform us of this in your query letter.  We will consider only COMPLETED manuscripts.  Aspen Mountain Press does not accept proposals from writers unknown to us. Aurora Regency at Aspen Mountain Press will open for submissions on February 15, 2010. Please send all questions and submissions to  We accept ONLY e-submissions.  Initial response times are anticipated to be no longer than 2 weeks. 

Zombie Romance Submissions

Ain't no lovin' like undead lovin'—and it applies to more than vampires.

Night Wolf Publications is ahead of the newest paranormal romance trend coming out of New York: Zombies. That's right. Share with us your take on a zombie romance. Light, dark, humorous, serious, gory & greasy, or carefully exfoliated; give us your best polished 50,000- to 100,000-word MS on or before Oct. 1, 2010, for a Valentine's Day 2011 sales season release. We're only accepting the best.

Follow the Directions!
Here's how to submit a zombie-specific, 50,000- to 100,000-word paranormal romance to Night Wolf Publications.

1. Send a query letter AND a two- to three-page synopsis of your completed story to by SEPTEMBER 14, 2010. (there's a great summary of how to write a romance synopsis at Include "NWP Zombie Romance" in the subject line of your e-mail.
2. An editor for NWP will contact you before Oct. 1, 2010, requesting the full MS if he or she is interested in your story. At that time, you will be expected to follow the simple instructions to send the full MS to NWP by Oct. 1.
3. Authors are never expected to pay for their submissions at NWP. There are no submission fees, no reading fees, no editing fees, no processing fees, no printing fees, etc. Authors are not required to purchase copies of their books upon printing. Contracts will be offered when full MS are selected.

Note: I am a DB author so I can vouch for them but I have no ties or experience with the other publishers. Research them and determine for yourself if you want to submit to any of the three publishers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Award!

The talented Aubrie Dionne gave me this new blog award.

According to Aubrie, this Award should be given to any blogs that promote the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction, whether it be through author interviews, reviews, your own writing, etc. The rules are: you must state 5 of your favorite fantasy/sci fi books and or movies that inspired you.

Only 5? LOL I'll list some movies and books.

1. LotR books
2. Tamora Pierce's Tortall books
3. LotR movies
4. Princess Bride (I've only seen this movie at least a hundred times)
5. Timeline

Because I'm stalling and really need to get some work done, I'm only going to give this award to one person: Suzanne Johnson!

Now to get some work done and send some more queries to agents!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Title Decided, Assassin Pitch, and LIRW Luncheon

So I picked a title -- I'm going with Hidden in Shadows. And the sequel that I have the skeleton of a plot figured out? That one will be Assassination of Love. :)

Now that the title is decided, I've been tweaking the pitch. I think I had too much information before so here's my latest try:

Lorna McCloud pretends she's an assassin for the money and because she's good at it. The real reason — she was traumatized after witnessing her father's murder.

While investigating a fresh lead in the cold case, she is captured by the Paranormal Intelligence Agency (PIA). There she learns she is a paranorm with the ability of shadow manipulation, the power to create and hide in artificial shadows.

Lorna loves her ability and is eager to learn more but when it becomes obvious that the PIA has an agenda, she escapes. Life becomes even more complicated when she falls in love with her next target, a king of a small island. When he learns she is the assassin, he wants nothing to do with her.

With worries that her assassin lifestyle has doomed her to a life without love, Lorna struggles to master her power and solve her father’s murder.

What do you guys think? I'm not sure the last line is strong enough. Any suggestions? I always struggle writing pitches.

So Friday was an adventure. I went to the Long Island Romance Writers Luncheon. My GPS said it should take me 2 hours to get there. It took me 3 hours and 10 minutes to get down there (good thing I gave myself an extra hour for traffic so I was only a little late). It took me 3 1/2 hours to get home. Traffic was horrific!

But the keynote speaker, Steven Zacharius, President of Kensington Books, was wonderful. I sat next to Heather Osborn, editor for the romance line at Tor. In addition to talk to Heather about my assassin story, I talked to Diana Fox. As for my fantasy YA novel, I pitched to Jennifer Didik, Amy Boggs, Emmanuelle Alspaugh, and Anne Bohner. Anne Bohner also sat at the same table I did and seems so knowledge despite being a newer agent.

I've already queried some of the agents and am getting ready to query the rest. I went to the luncheon last year and had a good experience then too. It really is a wonderful networking opportunity - there were 11 agents and 8 editors, plus Steven. Hopefully I'll be hearing back from the agents soon with full requests. :) If anyone lives near the Long Island area, I would highly recommend going to the luncheon next year. The food was excellent and the chocolate mousse dessert was phenomenal.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Awesome contest - Win a Kindle

Fellow DBP author Tina Pinson is celebrating the release of her new ebooks In the Manor of the Ghost with an awesome contest! The prizes:  2 Kindle eBook Readers and 10 free e-book downloads of In the Manor of the Ghost. The contest ends June 30th and you can read all about the details here.

Good luck winning (although I hope I win one of the Kindles!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cool Tool, Another Interview, and Title Problems

I discovered this awesome writing tool that you should all check out. It's called The Wasteline Test and checks a sample of your writing (up to 1,200 words) for be-verbs, abstract nouns, prepositions, adjectives and adverbs, it this that and there. It'll then give each of the four categories a rating: lean, fat and trim, needs toning, flabby, or heart attack. It's only a guide but I think it's a pretty handy tool that I'm going to start using and thought you all might want to learn about it too.

Author Katie Hines interview me here. The questions were really fun to answer this time around and I go into a fair amount of detail about Knight of Glory that you all will hopefully enjoy! :)

I posted on facebook about my titles problem with Torn Between Murder and Love. So many wonderful choices to pick from! I've narrowed the choices down to three:

Assassination of Love

Hidden in Shadows

Lorna's Deadly Choices

Which do you like best?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Winner and Lori Foster Get Together

First things first, the winner of an ecopy of Knight of Glory is.... Janice! Congrats, Janice, I'll email you.

To refresh your memory here is my list:

1. I've never broken a bone. TRUE
2. I married the only man I've ever kissed. TRUE
3. Wintertime is my least favorite time of the year. TRUE
4. At one time, I wanted to be an actress. TRUE
5. I love to fly. FALSE
6. I planned my wedding. TRUE
7. I sometimes think I was born in the wrong century. TRUE (You get a virtual cookie if you know which century I think I should have been a part of!)

It's not that I hate flying, it's more that flying scares me. Hubby always says you're more likely to get in a car crash than a plane crash to which I reply, you're more likely to survive a car crash than a plane crash.

Now about the Get Together:

I got in Friday afternoon, took a shuttle to the hotel, checked-in and met my roommate, Michelle Levigne. Registered (the bags were awesome, full of goodies) and proudly wore my heart bead author necklace.

If I give you a detailed account of everything, it'll just bore you so I'll just move on to the highlights. I didn't go to any of the workshops as they were going on while other things were too so it just didn't work out. I had signed up for an editor appointment and was able to stand by and get in with an agent as well.

The editor, Margo from HQN, was such a great person, easy to talk to. I didn't feel intimidated at all and she set me at ease. I pitched her Torn Between Murder and Love. She asked for the 1st 3 chapters and the synopsis. Yay! She also did mention that I should probably change my title, that the cover art department had been asking for titles shorter than 5 words. She also said she could see that (torn between murder and love) on the back of the book.

The agent, Laura Bradford, had already rejected my fantasy YA so I pitched her my assassin story as well. And she asked for the 1st 50 pages. So two appointments, two partial requests! I was extremely happy about that.

I met a bunch of wonderful people at the conference: besides Michelle, there was Diane Craver (the three of us were the representatives of Desert Breeze), DeNita Tuttle, Jennifer Allison, Sara Reyes, among others. I also briefly met Faith Bicknell-Brown and Trinity Blacio from a bunch of the yahoo groups that I belong to.

Faith's Avoid Writers Hell yahoo group (AWH) contributed two huge baskets and a small trunk. There were about 150 raffle baskets, some with huge prizes including a Nook, a Kobo, an iPad, and DBP authors pitched in to get a Jet ereader. I bought a lot of raffle tickets and dumped most into the Nook basket but won zero baskets. Several people won multiple baskets, and I was so envious. The proceeds went to One Way Farm, for abused kids. We ended up raising over 5,500 for the charity.

I also want to mention the fun and games at the pirate party courtesy of DeNita Tuttle and Author Island. It was a lot of fun and some of the people went all out with their costumes, it was crazy!

Hubby and I are going to take our boy to the park now so I better wrap this up. Any one have any ideas for a new title for my assassin story? I would appreciate any input!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More Blog Awards

I've received two blog awards (one awhile ago, I just never got around to posting it until now, whoops!)

The first:is the Sunshine Award from the lovely Shawna Williams, a fellow DBP author and author of No Other. This award is passed on to blogger's that inspire others and show positivity and creativity.

The rules for accepting the award are:
1) Put the logo within my blog or on my post
2) Pass the award onto 12 fellow bloggers
3) Link the nominees within my post
4) Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5) Share the love and link to the person whom you received this award from.

So I pass this award to:

Steph Burkhart 
Elana Johnson
Suzanne Johnson 
Danielle Thorne
Sarah Simas
Esther Mitchell
Ava James
Buffy Andrews
Helen Hardt
Jaimey Grant
Katie Hines
Rebecca Rose

The second blog award I actually received from two bloggers, Kerri Nelson and Steph Burkhart. Thanks, ladies! (I think, LOL)

This award is slightly more complicated. I nominate 7 other bloggers for this award but I also have to tell you 7 things about myself. Either 6 outrageous truths and 1 outrageous lie or 1 outrageous truth and 6 outrageous lies. But I'm not going to tell you which, that's some of the fun of this award.

Leave a comment as to which one is the only truth or lie and you'll be entered to win a PDF of Knight of Glory. If you already have it, we'll work out a different prize.

Now onto the statements!

1. I've never broken a bone.
2. I married the only man I've ever kissed.
3. Wintertime is my least favorite time of the year.
4. At one time, I wanted to be an actress.
5. I love to fly.
6. I planned my wedding.
7. I sometimes think I was born in the wrong century.

Ok, not as outrageous as some, but it works. Remember to leave a comment to be entered for a prize!

And now for the new 7 liars, I mean, "creative writers":

Aubrie Dionne
Cherie Reich
Michelle Levigne 
Anne Patrick
K. Dawn Byrd 
Michelle Sutton
Diane Craver 

Now it's time for me to run around blogland and leave comments for my nominates!