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Pitches and contests and.......waiting. Oh my.

by Sharon Lathan

Yep, now comes the hard part! You thought it was smashing your 90,000 word story into 50 words, didn't you? Ha! No, the really tough part is sitting back for the next two weeks and letting fate - or in this case Deb - decide what will happen. Oh, the agony!

Seriously, for all that I may sound flip, believe me, we feel your pain. Because each of us Casablanca authors (and everyone else) had to play the waiting game. No matter how we pitched or queried, even if we were lucky in some fashion and were miraculously 'discovered,' at some point in the process there was the wait. Waiting for the agent to decide yea or nay. Waiting for the editor to get back to us. Waiting for the contract to arrive while sure someone important would change their mind. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

And then, even after the contract is signed (and we finally believe it is real and not a wonderful dream) there is more waiting. It takes a LONG time to get a book on the shelves! I guess what…

Why I Love Being An Author

by Malena Lott
Last Saturday I participated in a local author book fair. While I thought it was strange that a bookstore (we have a great indie) didn't handle the book sales, I bought the books from said indie and schlepped them to the event and managed to sell 7 (seven) in three hours. Why would *that* make me love being an author? Well, here's the deal. Out of the thirty+ authors there, only four were published by a recognized publisher.  I pitched my book to every white-haired sweetie that passed my table (no one over 70 bought my book), but I sat there feeling REALLY happy that I didn't have to do book fairs and hand-sell my books every weekend like the self-published authors. The recent article on self-publishing services flourishing while mainstream publishers falter proved itself in 3D. I was outnumbered 10-1. 
I admire their perseverance and passion. To PAY to get your book published, you'd really have to believe in it (the story) and yourself, let alone be able …

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT JUDGING CONTESTS AND READING SUBMISSIONS

From our acquiring editor, Deb Werksman

Reading submissions is my favorite part of my job--every one of them has the potential to be something truly extraordinary.

I also love judging contests, because who doesn't love being asked to judge and evaluate?

The interesting difference between the two activities is that in a contest, the entries are judged against each other, while with submissions, it's purely about the marketplace. The best of all possible worlds is to find a contest entry that I think is going to work in the marketplace--and that does happen.

Here's what I'm acquiring now!
Single-title romance (including trilogies and single-title series)
90,000 words, please
Any subgenre (historical, contemporary, paranormal, erotic romance, romantic suspense)

I'm really excited about this contest, and I can't wait to read your pitches!


To enter your pitch of fifty words or less simply post it to the blog as a comment.The winner will be invited to send Deb a full manuscri…

Fast Pitch Frustration

Well, tomorrow's finally the day! Hope to see lots of new faces and intriguing ideas at tomorrow's pitch contest, where the trick is to hook our lovely editor Deb Werksman in fifty words...or less:-) Sound impossible? It's not. But man, does it take some creative editing!

Writing up a quickie blurb, the fast pitch, is always a challenge for me. It can also be fun, in a sick-and-twisted, semi-painful sort of way, but it has never been easy. You see, I'm what is nicely described as *ahem* somewhat long-winded. Meaning my most frequent writing sin is that I stuff so much information into my drafts that they then require a machete to free the good stuff from the, er, voluminous extra. So I figure having to write blurbs is good for me, though I'm like Cheryl in that no one should expect me to be able to rattle off a snazzy pitch verbally. You'd only have me gaping at you in silent horror, totally floored without a glowing screen and about an hour to whittle the descr…

More queries and pitches and blurbs, OH MY!!!

February 12, 2007

Dear Ms. Werksman,I am a new author seeking publication of my erotic romance novel, THE RESCUE, a futuristic story of 72,000 words. The heroine, Jacinth (Jack) Rutland, is a tough, independent space trader in search of her kidnapped sister, Ranata. To aid her on her quest, she buys Carkdacund (Cat) Tshevnoe, a slave who is one of the last of a race of feline humanoids with some rather remarkable sexual traits. Their quest takes them to a planet where all women are enslaved, and where Cat must pose as Jack's master. Along the way, they encounter strange aliens, harrowing adventures, joy and laughter, a truly unique romance, and sex beyond your wildest dreams.
This is one of fifteen novels that I have completed to date, and I am currently working on a prequel to this story.
Enclosed are a synopsis, the first four chapters and a SASE. I look forward to hearing from you.
That was my query letter for The Rescue, which later became The Cat Star Chronicles: Slave. Don&…

PITCHES GALORE!

by Danielle Jackson

In light of our little focus on pitching—I thought I’d talk about what essentially I do all day:

PITCH YOUR BOOKS!
Really, I do! I’m presenting your books to reviewers, bloggers, etc., making sure they know what makes your books special and different and worth reading. And that’s what I do. I try to pick out that one thing that makes your book special, so whether it’s humanoids with interesting capabilities in the bedroom or a Navy SEAL with a heart of gold, I’m going to hone in on that unique trait, and expand on that!
Now of course, that doesn’t always work the first time around. Generally, I write more than one pitch for every book—some only need one—but others need different angles for the various intended audiences. For example, let’s take Sharon’s book: Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Now Sharon, don’t think I’m singling you out for any reason—your book just lends itself easily to this demonstration. Sharon’s book is great because it is continuing the story of…

Queries (and Pitches and Blurbs) -- OH MY!

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

BIG THANX to Mary Margret for her instructive post on Saturday sharing her process of coming up with alternate 50 word (or less) pitches.

Another good source for pitches (especially if you have more than 50 words or 30 seconds in an elevator) is your query letter. In my case, I have usually revised and polished my query letters to within an inch of my life, so I like to use them (in whatever form) at every available opportunity. Below is the query letter I used most often for the book that eventually sold and became The Wild Sight:

Cursed with the Irish clairvoyance known as “The Sight,” Donovan O’Shea fled to America to escape his “gift.” After fifteen years, his father’s illness has forced him to return to the family homestead. Decades earlier, Donovan’s mother disappeared into the encroaching fens and was never seen again. Now the same fens are offering up secrets, both ancient and recent, and restoring a terrible legacy that just may drive hi…

Break Up The Winter Doldrums With a Contest From the Casablanca Authors and Our Acquiring Editor Deb Werksman!

Deb will make her monthly visit to the blog on Thursday, January 29. The Casa Authors invite you to submit a 50-word pitch for your book in the comment section of Deb's blog. If we like yours the best, Deb will request your full manuscript and provide feedback. Two runners up will be asked to submit a synopsis to Deb. As an added extra, several of the Casa Authors have offered critiques of a first chapter and synopsis (up to 50 pages) to selected runners-up!

What is Deb Looking For?

Single title romance (series/trilogies too!) in all sub-genres:
*paranormal
*historical
*contemporary
*romantic suspense
*erotic romance
minimum 90,000 words, please
*a heroine the reader can identify with
*a hero she can fall in love with
*a world is created
*a "hook" Deb can use to sell the book in 2-3 sentences

Contest Rules
--The contest will run from 12:01 a.m. on January 29 and end at noon on January 30. All pitches must be entered into the comments section of Deb's blog by noon on Jan. 30. No pi…

Queries and pitches and blurbs--oh my! (and a new cover)

by Mary Margret Daughtridge

January 29, our Casablanca editor will be with us to take your fifty-word pitches for your book, so I hope your pencils are sharpened and you're polishing away already. Marie's going to tell you all about it tomorrow, and she'll answer all your questions.

When I suggested to the other Casababes we have this little pitch-party, and maybe offer some tips for success, several admitted they had never pitched. Well, neither have I. True. And then, I wondered if I could.

Evey author needs a couple of sentences they can respond with when someone asks, "What's your book about?" So I decided to offer a warm-up to the Deb's blog by writing some pitches for SEALed With a Promise, the SEALed book that will be in the stores in April.

I played by the rules: fifty words and under. We learn by doing and then getting feedback. Tell me which pitch you think is most successful. I'd also welcome suggestions. Here goes:

1. Caleb, a Navy SEAL must en…

Wolves 'R Us

While writing my wolf tales, I do a lot of reading up on wolves and recently I found a true life story with a tragic ending for one wolf's mate, but the wolf found another to love, my favorite happily-ever-after wolf tale. So I hope to include it in a story soon.

Right now I'm writing more blogs and author interviews about wolves, werewolves, and the like for the upcoming release of Destiny of the Wolf.

So the question that invariably comes up--where do you get your ideas?





From research on werewolves, wolves, and the areas my books are set in, werewolf legends and mythology, body language, both for humans and wolves--and pictures like these that tell their very own story. :)
But the wolves are only part of the story. The tale wouldn't be complete without the human part of the equation.
So here's the human side of the story. :) Next up is Temptation of the Wolf, due out in the fall, and I can't wait to see what the art department comes up with for a new cover. :) And …

Cruising for Love -- The End!

“Run!” Marcus took off at warp speed.

“Yikes!” Tricia yelped as he grabbed her hand and dragged her down the hallway. Realizing running in spike heels wasn’t working, she kicked them off and snatch up the hem of her gown as she scrambled to keep up with Marcus’s longer strides. “Shorter person here.”

“Kill them all!” Eric Leif, the Red, bellowed, as he raced after them with a heavy duty, and extremely sharp, sword in his hand and a wave of followers on his heels.

“This was supposed to be a fun cruise!” Tricia panted, as Marcus, along with Mustafa and Jean Pierre as human bookends. “I was only supposed to walk around in pretty gowns and expensive jewelry!”

“Sometimes we don’t get what we want.” Marcus flashed her one of those bone-melting grins. “And sometimes we do.”

“Hurry!” Merry called out from ahead of them, her gown billowing around her with brilliant sparkles and her wand dancing in the air.

“What are –?” Tricia’s question faltered as the four of them seemed to swim through an invisib…

Cruising for Love, Part 14

by Sharon Lathan

“We have a few minutes to spare, Aunt Merry,” Mustafa said, halting their slow steps down the apparently never-ending corridor. “Go on and set the path while we wait for Olav.”

Merry Joyful nodded. She floridly waved her wand at the glowing object that was no longer a cleaning cart. Her wings fluttered and body jauntily bobbed as she urged the sparkling green and orange – carriage? pinnace? – along what was clearly a corridor too wide for the lower levels of an ocean vessel. And, Tricia suddenly realized with a jolt, devoid of doorways or the cheap carpet covering the…..glass? What the heck….?

Marcus chuckled lowly in her ear, bringing her back to, um reality, with a warm rush of desire surging to her toes. “Ah, dear Aunt Merry. Every since she saw Cinderella she had to have a blue ballgown. Said the image suited her.” He chuckled again, pausing for a swift, searing kiss to her cheek. “It is all about the image, you know,” he finished with a smile and penetrating gaze th…

The No-Matter-What Goal

by Malena Lott
Once upon a time, four days ago to be exact, I was having a very pre-Cinderella moment, cleaning the cluttered playroom/office upstairs. The reason for my cleaningfest was because a camera crew would be here the next day to shoot a photo for a magazine article on "how color enhances a room." My playroom/office is apple green and the style is fun and contemporary with some vintage mod chairs thrown in for good measure. I got the chair pictured herein at a used office store. Three of them for $6 each. They were real office chairs from the 1960s. The Ugly Dolls are supplied by my daughter. I assured her they prefer to be in my cool chairs than at the bottom of her stuffed animal pile in her room.

I'll be honest. I'm feeling pretty cocky about the clean-up in that moment. I'm down to one pile of papers (mostly trash) and my toddler, TinyHulk as I like to call him, is spinning in my office chair waiting for me to finish so I can tuck him in - again. Then …

The Story Continues...

By Kendra Leigh Castle Jean Pierre wrinkled his nose. “Do you know, I really detest that word. We’re Dagmorvanian royalty. Leave it at that, please.”

“Sure, no problem. I mean, sorry.”

Tricia looked at them, trying not to be overwhelmed by the sight of three gorgeous extraterrestrial men with their pants undone, all looking at her like they’d like her to remove what scant clothing she was still wearing. She wondered, fleetingly, what it would be like if all three of them really did want to ravish her, a faint flush rising to her cheeks. Then Merry spoke, a welcome distraction from strange and heated thoughts.

“All right, boys, that’s quite enough,” she said, wagging a finger at the grinning trio.

“Boys?” asked Tricia, eyebrows raised. Whatever else she might have called them, she doubted that was a word she would have picked.

“Merry was our governess for many years,” Marcus said, turning Tricia’s attention with his deep, honeyed voice. There was humor in his deep blue eyes when her…

Cruising for Love Part 12

by Cheryl Brooks Tricia looked at Merry Joyful in frank disbelief. “A coup? Pirates?” she echoed. “From where? I've never heard of Dagmorvania. Must be pretty tiny—you know, like Monaco?” Merry Joyful's burst of laughter was spontaneous and musical, but Marcus's expression was merely amused. “I know this must seem strange, but believe me, it will seem even more strange before we're through.” Tricia didn't see how that was possible. “I'm already suspecting that you're all vampires or something. You all seem very. . . odd.” “Well, some of us may seem like vampires,” Marcus admitted, “but trust me, it's more complicated than that.” Tricia gave him another moment or two to elucidate, and then glared at him. “Is that all you're going to tell me?” He glanced at Merry Joyful who shrugged and said, “You might as well tell her.” “Perhaps once we're aboard the ship,” he said. “It might be more believable then.” “Ship?” Tricia echoed. “In case you haven…

What Would Your Heroine Do?

In my latest romantic conquest (of which there are so many, ::rolls eyes::), I found myself out to dinner with a lovely gent at a dee-lish restaurant talking about may different topics, when our food arrived and I exclaimed over my pasta, “There’s so much CHEESE. I LOVE cheese.” He looked back at me kind of like I was insane, but then proceeded to begin what became a lengthy discussion of our favorite types of cheeses, when different cheeses are appropriate for different foods, cheeses we dislike—we talked a lot about cheese. And guess what? I’m going out with him again.

Why am I talking about cheese and dates? Because believe it or not, Casa ladies, this very cheese discussion was influenced by YOUR books. I know, none of you have written a scene about two people learning about a common affection for dairy, but you all have written about women, who, at some point or another, speak their mind, don’t hold back, and are not shy about who they are as a person. They’re confident (or become…

Cruising for Love Part 11

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

The loudspeaker crackled and a strained voice spoke, "Attention all passengers and crewmembers, this is the first officer speaking. We have been boarded by pirates. They have..."

Screams, shouts, and general noise reverberated behind him and across the room as he choked, then continued hoarsely, "They have incapacitated the captain and at least 4 other officers. Please remain calm--"

Total and complete pandemonium erupted. Tricia stumbled and fell to her knees as people ran screaming in all directions. Covering her ears, she crawled toward the nearest wall.

"This way deary!" She felt a gentle hand on her shoulder and saw the kindly face of the woman dressed as her Fairy Godmother. Tricia shook her head in confusion while the woman gave her a few soothing pats. "It's me, Merry Joyful Britewell, and we'll get out of here, don't you worry."

Tricia was still debating whether to ask, "How?" O…

Cruising for Love Part 10

by Mary Margret Daughtridge

Boom!

The sound, followed by a long screeching, scraping scream of metal, punched at her eardrums and shuddered through the dance floor beneath her feet. Eric widened his stance with the seaman’s instinct to keep them balanced on the rocking deck, while his arms tightened around her. On all sides, dancers were knocked off their feet.

As people reacted according to their temperament a babble of moans, curses, and sobs replaced the lilt of the orchestra

“We’ve hit an iceberg!” a woman’s voice carried above the confusion of sound.

Iceberg! The word traveled through the room, unstoppable as a bad smell. Repeated in different accents, it escalated into panicky screams.

An elderly woman in a voluminous blue robe, carrying a wand tipped with a star, tapped with the wand on Trish’s arm. “What did she say?” the woman demanded, cupping her ear. Despite the querulous tone, a life time of good humor had molded the woman’s face into a permanent smile, and her faded blue eyes…

Cruising for Love--Part 9

As soon as she laid eyes on him, her breath faltered, her heart hitched, “a-Viking-we-will-go” settled into her foggy brain. Eric Leif, the Red, that’s who he had to be—tall, broad-shouldered, muscular arms shown off by the fur vest he wore. No tux for this guy. In fact, she doubted he could find one to fit that kind of a build. Hoisted striped sails for a living on the Seven Seas, took damsels wherever he landed, the only thing missing was a broadsword to go with his broad shoulders. Eyes the color of the stormy blue sea studied her, his mouth as generous as the rest of him, slightly curved upward.
His gaze shifted to her, uhm, necklace, probably figuring it looked like a good piece to rip off if he was in the market for plundering. Or maybe his gaze shifted a bit lower. She fought jerking up the bodice of the gown, in front of him, but if she ever found that darned restroom…
“Armand told me to check on you.” The Viking cast a deadly glare at Jean Pierre, effectively telling him to ca…

Cruising for Love -- Part 8

“Well, well, well, what have we here?” Cool hands smooth as glass encircled her upper arms.

While Tricia was happy for the help to keep her upright. The last thing she wanted to do was fall at anyone’s feet; she quickly realized the idea of this man’s hands on her wasn’t welcome.

“I apologize,” she murmured, pasting a smile on her lips as she lifted her head to gaze at her combination victim and savior from an embarrassing fall. “I should have watched where I was going.”

Eyes the color of midnight gazed at her with the same intensity that Marcus Black had given her, but this look was more disturbing than Black’s had been. She stared at a man with the unusual combination of snowy white hair that tumbled to his shoulders and black eyes and the face of a man who couldn’t have been any older than thirty-five, although she’d swear he was even older. There was something about him that was a lot more dangerous than she wanted to contemplate.

“It’s rare for such a lovely morsel to literally fall …

Cruising for Love - Part 7

by Sharon Lathan

Tricia's heart thudded painfully. Armand's voice, usually pleasant and musical, sounded harsh and grating as it penetrated the hypnotic haze that enveloped her. The dizzy bubble disintegrated; the suddenness of reality even more surreal than the strange encounter with Marcus Black.

Or had that merely been a dream? It did seem unreal. If not for the trail of fire still burning her skin wherever he had touched her, a faint tingling around her ear, and the lingering aroma of his spicy cologne she may have believed it a hallucination.

"That's what happens when you abstain from sex for six months - or has it been eight? - and then surround yourself with a ship-load of stunning rich men while the accessible one you came with would rather shag one of them too!"


"Tricia? Are you ill? You are flushed and shivering! If you vomit just make sure you keep it off the dress. It wasn't cheap."

"I..."

His eyes narrowed, plump lips pursing. "…

Cruising For Love...Part Six

By Kendra Leigh Castle

Tricia tucked an errant lock of hair behind her ear, feeling her curiosity beginning to overtake her fear. She glanced around quickly, and decided that she was safe enough from being either ravished or dragged off somewhere for the time being. There were bound to be other band members wandering through. Still, for the moment, they were alone.

“So you’re telling me Armand is lying?” she asked, arching a skeptical brow at him. “I mean, the sex slave dealer was a new one on me, but still. I know Armand. I don’t know you.”

Not, Tricia silently amended, that I wouldn’t like to fix that problem. The dark, handsome stranger was even more compelling close-up, his fair skin a striking contrast to close-cropped ebony hair and eyes such a dark blue they were almost black. His mouth, a hard yet somehow sensuous line, curved slightly upward.

“That, I'm happy to fix.” He put his hand out, and Tricia let her small hand be enveloped in his large one. His skin was surp…

The Story Continues . . .

Cruising for Love
Part Five
By Cheryl Brooks

His smile broadened as he knelt down and captured her foot in his warm hands. “I'm Mustafa, and I've never met such a beautiful blonde American before.” “First time for everything, I suppose,” Tricia said, glancing nervously over her shoulder. At least that horrid man hadn't followed her. Had he known it wasn't the ladies' room? Would he be waiting outside when she left? Tremors shook her entire body as she realized she'd never been more terrified in her life. Mustafa drew her attention back to her sandal with a deft tug on the strap. “It simply became unfastened,” he said. “There is no damage done.”“Th-thank you,” Tricia stammered. “I would have felt really stupid limping through that crowd of elegant people with a broken shoe.”“I assure you, madame,” he said, his dark, expressive eyes peering up at her through a tangle of dusky curls. “If you were to walk through that room, no one would be looking at your shoe.”“What…