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Five Easy(?) Pieces-- A Blog by Our Editor

Deb's Blog Part I

Beyond Heaving Bosoms

First, I must tell you about a book I've been reading while on the road the last week and a half--BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan, paperback, $15.00, ISBN 1416571221.
This is the NEW, highly anticipated book by the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books--it's a comprehensive look at romance fiction and why we LOVE IT SO MUCH and why all those snobbes who look down at romance readers just so don't get it.

I can't possibly do justice to the hilarity of the writing in this book and its complete and total dead-on-ness because I myself am not a writer, just a lowly editor who has the privilege to work with other people's brilliant words, but let me tell you, you will laugh fit to bust your bustier, and if that's not enough, you'll read
about a whole mess of fabulous books that you just have to run out and read immediately or your life won't be complete (if you're one of my authors, however, you still must not miss your deadline).

Deb's Blog Part II

Romantic Times Convention

I just got back from the Romantic Times convention, held in sunny, beautiful Orlando, Florida, where I had a wonderful time with some of my very own authors: Robin Kaye, Judi Fennell, Kathryne Kennedy, Mary Wine and Ashlyn Chase. Another reminder of what a GREAT group of women write romance fiction--if you're not already active in a chapter of RWA, or participating in great events like RT, get going! The support and inspiration are limitless.

Deb's Blog Part III


In February 2010, we'll be publishing a brand new book by Laura Kinsale--her first in over 5 years. VERY EXCITING! Watch for details, this is going to be a big launch.

Deb's Blog Part IV

One Editor's Criteria

As you know, I've been talking forever about my 4 criteria for submissions:
  1. a heroine the reader can relate to
  2. a hero she can fall in love with
  3. a world gets created
  4. a great hook (in other words, I can sell it in 2-3 sentences)
I'm adding one more criterion: A career arc for the author
Because, like potato chips, we can't publish just one!

If I buy your debut novel, and it's successful, guess what's going to happen? My sales people are going to come back to me and want to know--what's the next one and how fast can we have it? This is definitely what we call a high quality problem, but you should start thinking about it very early on, and include that info in your submissions:
  • what are you envisioning your next 3 books are going to be?
  • how fast can you realistically write a book--one per year? two per year? more?
Deb's Blog Part V

A practical matter relating to email submissions.

It would help me enormously if submissions would have filenames that identify them, and if the filename for the synopsis and the manuscript start out the same.

For example, GOOD:
Tale of Two Cities synopsis.doc
Tale of Two Cities manuscript.doc
First Three Chapters.doc
You see, uploading to my Kindle, I can't change the filename, and the files then get separated and are indistinguishable from the 19 other files with the same name.
Rant over!
Bring it on!


  1. That career arc thing is what caught me by surprise. Never dreamed you'd want more of them--and faster than I could write them, too!

  2. Ah, Deb... how subtle you are! I love the 'snobbes' part... 'highbrow' silly spelling like 'ye olde shoppe'. Very funny!!!

    And the advice about the career arc is spot on!

  3. Definitely a career arc!

    And you know I had one from the get go. But so important to everyone.


  4. Your blog couldn't come at a better time, Deb. Great, great news about Laura Kinsdale. Glad you connected with many of your authors at RT!

  5. I wish I could have been at RT!!! Glad you had fun!

  6. BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS sounds hilarious. Thanks for the tip.

    Your submission criteria includes "a hero she can fall in love with." How do you feel about VERY dark heroes who are written to NOT be liked in the beginning, but to be loved by the end of their character arc?

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks for another great post, Deb. I personally am very happy you want authors who envision a career arc! :) I will be popping in at the book store today to look for your suggested reading, and for the new CasaBabe books. Bummer some of us had to miss the RT convention, but Nationals is just around the corner! WhooHoo!

  8. Thanks. Ah, if only I could have a career arc.

  9. Thanx for your always informative blog, Deb!

    FANTASTIC news about Laura Kinsale!

    And I'm afraid I was like Cheryl. I was so focused on making that illusive first sale that I hadn't considered the career arc.

    Hang in there Sheila and the rest of you AYUs (As Yet Unpublished), your day is coming! :-)


  10. Laura Kinsale's Flowers From the Storm was one of the reasons I rediscovered romance. I have missed her, and am glad she will return via Sourcebooks.

    I knew about career arcs--what I didn't know was if anybody would want to read SEAL stories the only way I wanted to write them.

    Now I see that Chrissie Dionne recommends SEALed With A Promise to the Smart Bitches' "Save the Contemporary" project. Guess I do have a career arc. :-)

    Unfortunately, I write s-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w.

  11. Hi,

    Ashlyn Chase here! It was terrific meeting Deb and Dominique at RT. You know what I really loved about them? How enthusiastic they are about our projects! Now I'm pumped and ready to dig into book two as soon as I finish running book one by my critique group.

    It's funny you mentioned Beyond Heaving Bosoms. Sarah Wendall stopped me in the hallway and said, "You're Ashlyn Chase!" She said she was excited and happy that I had the courage to name a book Heaving Bosoms. She said they always come up together on her Amazon searches. I was delighted when she told me that she wrote for Smart Bitches who Love Trashy Books. I have read their blog when someone draws my attention to it, and it's always well written tongue-in-cheek comedy. My favorite thing.


  12. It was a wonderful convention!

    And Beyond Heaving Bosoms is laugh-out-loud hysterical! I had Sarah on my blog on their launch day and OMG, too funny!

    I'm working, Deb, I'm working!!! Promise! :)

  13. Deb, it is dead on in so many places and I'm not done with it yet--just got it Monday. I swear, it will crack you up. It's definitely worth the reading and like Judi says, lot's of laugh out loud moments. Did you see that chart on old skool and new? lmao!

    Career ARC. Ah yes, I've been in some discussions over this whole thing with several authors and writers. When I did my very first query I was already into book two. Today, there is no slow grooming. I've been seeing new authors releasing books every 4 months the past couple of years. Slowing up about book 4. What it tells me as an writer? You have to hit the market hard, grab the interest of the readers and keep them wanting more. It also says you sure as hell better know how to pace yourself.

    I loved seeing RT pics and reports from friends that were able to go. Columbus is next year. I'll be there.

  14. Diane - that's a great question. I'd love to know the answer to it as well.

    I don't mind if I don't fall in love with the hero in the first chapter. I always think the writer has the book to make him make me love him.

    Great post and the career arc is something I think is important.


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