Writing

Five Publishers Accepting NA Submissions

New Adult as a genre tip toed onto the literary scene about six years ago and has slowly gained momentum. Initially, NA was considered “older YA with sex” with publishers and agents generally steering clear. Little by little, authors have convinced the literary world that the NA category has a place and a lot to offer.

Initially predominantly romance, NA texts are expanding in genres. Basically any texts where the central protagonist is between the ages on 18 – 25, having left school and is finding their place in the adult world are considered New Adult. New Adult has appeal to older YA readers and to adult readers.

Despite the growth in the market, it can still be hard to find publishers who are accepting unsolicited NA manuscripts. To help all you budding NA authors out, here are five publishers accepting unsolicited NA manuscripts:

1. Entangled – Embrace

Embrace_logo_black_font - Copy

From their website:

Embrace, Entangled’s new adult imprint, is seeking fresh, strong voices that capture the emotions and complexities of characters straddling the line between high school and the adult world of work and family. Our ideal protagonists are 18-24 years old, and still finding their way to adulthood, separating from their parents, heading off to college, and/or experiencing full-time employment for the first time, all the while searching for love. We are looking for books told from the point of view of the emerging adult, defining a critical period of decision making and growth.

Embrace is looking for engaging voice and bold, fresh stories in the following genres:
Contemporary
Suspense/Thrillers
Near-future science fiction with social undercurrents
Historical
Fantasy
Paranormal

 

2. Carina Press – A Harlequin Enterprises Ltd Imprint

8117

From their website:

Carina Press is now accepting submissions in the new adult genre. We are looking for submissions with a strong story and fully developed, very definable protagonists, 18 and above (or at an age eligible to enter college), in their early to mid-20s. While at least one protagonist should fall in this age range, it is possible the other protagonist may fall in their upper 20s.

We’re looking for manuscripts of 50,000 words and up and though we are particularly interested in the contemporary genre, we will also consider books in other sub genres as well (such as paranormal, post apocalyptic, dystopian, etc).

 

3. Bloomsbury Spark

bloomsburysparkbig - Copy

From their website:

Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers.

Launching in Autumn 2013 our outstanding list will feature multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. If you’re an author, Bloomsbury Spark is the premiere place to publish your work

We are acquiring teen, young adult, and new adult fiction across all genres, including but not limited to romance, paranormal, contemporary, dystopian, science fiction, mystery, thriller, historical fiction, and more—from writers all over the world.

 

4. Reuts

v6ZOgWUB_400x400

From their website:

REUTS welcomes all full-length novels written for the Young Adult and New Adult audiences. We are interested in diversifying our collection with genres across the spectrum, from authors in every corner of the globe. This includes any age, ethnicity, gender, location, sexual orientation, ability, and class.

We don’t limit ourselves within genres, but we require stories to be fictional and geared towards Young Adult and New Adult audiences. We’re looking for 50,000+ word novels in all YA/NA genres.

 

5.  Soul Mate Publishing

SMP-2Blogo

From their website:

Soul Mate Publishing welcomes you to romance, where two become one. We offer high-quality romantic fiction for readers around the world. Our novels, written by only the finest authors, will be available both electronically and in paperback.

Whether you enjoy traditional romance or are searching for stories that push the limits, you’ll find what you’re looking for. We are NOT the same old thing!

If you are a budding author who needs a publisher to seriously look at your work, just follow the instructions under the Submissions link at the top of this page. We WILL look over your materials and provide a personal response.

Remember, blending of genres is allowed and encouraged. Varying levels of sensuality are welcome, however all stories should have an upbeat ending.

 

So what are you waiting for? Dig out that NA manuscript and send it off today. Who knows, maybe one of the publishers listed above will be the perfect home for your NA baby.

Categories: Publishers, Querying, Writing | Leave a comment

Love is in the (Writing) Air

typewriter-1062697_1280

I do.

February might be all but over but romance is here to stay – the romance writing industry that is. It is estimated the romance writing industry is worth well over one billion dollars each year. That’s just in the US. Mills and Boon claim on their website that they sell four books per second. Per second! That’s a lot of covers with men sporting luscious flowing locks and ripped abs.

Romance writers are often called the rock stars of the literary world. Listening to New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Kylie Scott, talk last year at the Readers and Writers Down Under Conference, it was easy to see why. Scott is just damn cool. Her practical advice for aspiring writers and her delivery is straight down the line.

The RWDU was my first conference. Understandably, I was nervous. Would I know what I was doing? Would it be obvious to everyone that this was my first time? Would I feel different afterwards?

girl-925410_1920

Did someone say, ‘Writers Conference’?

It was fantastic. I learnt so much and now jump at the opportunity to attend more conferences.

A writer’s conference is usually filled with panels, workshops, industry talks, signings, meet and greets and an event such as a cocktail party or masquerade ball. Many also have pitching sessions where you can book in some one on one time with agents and publishers. Romance writing conferences have all this and often some of the cover models. Ahem.

There are several reasons why I love conferences:

They are about building relationships and connections 
If you go to a conference, make sure you go to at least one social function. You can meet authors, fellow writers, agents and publishers. Just don’t go expecting a publishing contract. The social events are designed for you to meet people and to have a good time – not to pitch your manuscript. The agents and publishers are at the social events to enjoy themselves, not to work. Consider it more like a first date. It’s an opportunity to make first contact, to see if there’s any chemistry between you. You can later mention in your query letter that you enjoyed talking with them at the conference.

wine-791132_1920

Conference social events are a great way to meet industry professionals in a relaxed environment.

Learn industry information
Find out about publishing trends, tips on marketing, whether to traditionally or self publish, if you need an agent, what industry professionals look for and much more.

You can tailor your day to suit your interests
Some conferences let you pay for the sessions you wish to attend, others allow you to purchase a full day pass. Either way, grab a hold of the program as soon as you can and book in to the sessions you will get the most out of.

Pitching opportunities
Many conferences hold pitching events where you can book one-on-one time with an agent or publisher. The advantage of this is you receive instant feedback (no months of agonising waiting) and the best part – the chance to ask questions. I had this opportunity last year with my dream publisher and while I didn’t walk away with a contract, I did get clear insight as to how to make my manuscript work so that it would be published. Be aware these sessions are usually not included in the ticket price and will cost extra. They can also be nerve racking. Would I do it again? You bet I would. As soon as I’ve finished making those recommended changes.

Meeting like-minded writers
Conferences can be a great opportunity to meet other writers and have the chance to form writing or critique groups. Writing is definitely something you can do by yourself but it’s a lot more fun if there’s someone else to join in.

Meeting editors
Meeting an editor in person gives you the opportunity to clarify just what an editor does with your manuscript. There’s a whole lot more than picking up on spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Improving your skills
Conference workshops provide the opportunity for your to improve the technical aspects of your writing skills.

Book swag!
I love freebies. From the name tag lanyard to the bags full of bookmarks, conferences deliver on the swag. At RWDU I ended the day loaded up with books, bags, jewellery, lip balm, post cards, signed pictures and more. Swag heaven.

Feeling inspired to check out a local conference? Contact the Romance Writers Association in your state or country and they can let you know what is happening in your area. Otherwise, check out some of the links listed below.

Just remember the following conference essentials:

1. Enjoy yourself and relax – don’t force your manuscript on any one. Being pushy is the fastest way to ensure no second date.

2. Don’t be shy. Everyone is there to meet new people. A lot of people will not know anyone else and would really appreciate a smile and a, “Would you like to join me?” at lunch time.

3. Romance writers are generally friendly and welcoming people. At the conference you will find others at all different stages of the writing and publishing journey. Enjoy yourself, meet new friends, and be comforted in the fact that you are now part of the biggest grossing literary industry in the world.

notebook-867707_1920

The world loves romance novels.

There are HEAPS of romance writing conferences in 2016. Here’s just a few:

Romance Conferences in 2016

Readers and Writers Down Under
March 4th – 5th, Gold Coast, Australia.

The Passionate Pen
April 11th – 12th, Las Vegas, USA

The Love Letter Convention
April 24th -25th, Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, Germany.

Romancing the Capital
May 6th and 7th, Ottawa, Canada.

Romance Author and Reader Event
July 9th, Edinburgh, Scotland

Romance Writers of New Zealand
August 12th – 14th, Auckland, New Zealand

Romance Writers of Australia Annual Conference
August 19th -21st , Adelaide, South Australia.

Romance Writers Organisation of SA
September 24th -25th, Johannesburg, South Africa

Have you been to a romance writers conference? What was the best thing about the experience for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Categories: Pitching, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Romancing the Reader: How to Write Swoonworthy Love Scenes

kiss

Whether writing about sweet first kisses or passionate embraces, here are five tips and tricks to make your love scenes sizzle…

1. Turn up the tension from the get-go

Just like any real-life love affair, it’s not all about the destination – half the fun is getting there. When developing a romantic relationship in your novel, remember to build tension over time, from the first encounter all the way through to the fireworks. That way, when hearts finally collide, the reader is just as invested in the romance as the characters.

kaboom

A good love scene should explode off the page…

Which brings me to point number 2…

2. Let the relationship progress naturally, whatever pace that may be

Every relationship is different. Every Antony has his own baggage, every Cleopatra her own insecurities, every Bonnie and Clyde, their own romantic pace. Some characters fall in love instantly, while others burn hotter over time. Some are inhibited by fear, others jump in feet first.

Don’t force a love scene. Let the story guide you.

Wedding dance lovers man and woman pop art retro style. Feelings emotions romance. Art music ringtones. Girl and marriage. Couple dancing

A good love scene should leave the reader wanting more…

If the characters aren’t feeling it, you can bet your reader won’t be either.

3. Reveal character – no sauce for the sake of being saucy

You might have an Ice Queen who’s cold and distant on the outside, but when you get her alone with her flame she melts like a marshmallow (Frozen 2, perhaps?). Alternatively, Mr Prim and Proper who always plays nice in the boardroom might break all the rules behind closed doors (yes, I mean you, Mr Grey).

Love scenes are an amazing opportunity to reveal character and show an alternative side to your Juliets and your Romeos. It’s also a good way to expose the underlying motivations of characters – motivations they otherwise work hard to conceal.

A good love scene should reveal more than just skin…

Spies have been utilising the age-old art of pillow talk for centuries to acquire classified information. You should use it too.

4. Don’t get caught up in play-by-play action

There’s nothing worse than a love scene that reads like a how-to manual – “She touched him here, he caressed her there, and then they kissed…” and so on and so on.

Show the reader what’s going on inside Rhett’s head. Describe what Scarlett is feeling. Examine the way Tristan and Isolde’s encounter changes everything between them.

Teleport your reader into the story by describing sounds, smells, tastes.

A good love scene should ...

A good love scene should explore the physical and the emotional…

Remember, a really good romantic interlude evokes the senses and explores emotions.

5. Read novels by authors who do it well

Everything you need to know about writing love scenes you can find on the pages of your favourite books. So dig up that romance novel you adored as a teen and that steamy suspense that kept you up all night, and study the art of composing love scenes.

A good love scene should leave a reader satisfied...

A good love scene should leave a reader satisfied…

Your bookshelves are a treasure trove of writerly wisdom.

Some of my favourites for sweet kisses are the works of Maggie Stiefvater and GJ Stroud (you read her extract last week, right? PURE love scene magic right there!). For steamier scenes, I definitely recommend Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I have to admit, I also have a soft spot for anything penned by Johanna Lindsey (the first romance novel I ever read was Silver Angel). Although, be sure to keep in mind, the kind of writing readers enjoy changes over time. Techniques that may have been popular back in the 80s and 90s, may no longer hold the same appeal.

Do you have a favourite author who composes loves scenes as potent as Cupid’s arrows? Be sure to share them with us below…

Signature

Categories: Writing | Tags: | 2 Comments

My Writing Resolve for 2016

DSCF4194

What lies ahead?

This month’s theme is about resolutions. It’s January and that means it’s time to look at the year ahead through rose tinted glasses and lay out all we wish to achieve.

Except I don’t. Not this year. My resolutions haven’t changed much from last year which highlights my failure to achieve them. Instead of setting out another list for me feel crummy about in January 2017, I’m bringing my goals back to one fundamental of my writing: this year I am going to improve my process.

A diagnosis of the current state of my writing process will let me see where it is thriving and where it is staggering around in dark corners failing to contribute to the possibility of success.

Generally speaking, an effective process can be divided into five parts:

1. Pre-Writing
2. Drafting
3. Revising
4. Editing
5. Querying

It seems a succinct list. How bad could my process be? Surely whatever way I do things is the right way… Yes?

1. Pre-writing

This includes ideas, research, character information and writing exercises.

20160118_195114

Some of my reference material.

Ideas – Check. Well, I start off with one basic idea and during the drafting stage more ideas come. Usually.
Research – Check. I am on my way to obtaining my certificate III in Japanese Demonology. I wish! (Seriously though, how great would that be?) I wonder if there is a course… *googles Yokai courses*
Characters – Check(ish). I start off with one clear MC and gradually discover new characters while drafting. I’ll profile them and explore their music interests, fashion sense, likes and dislikes, physical appearance, hobbies and interests. Pinterest is great for this, though I do like to print out the pins and stick them in a scrap book for easy reference.
Exercises – Nope. Why would I want to do writing exercises about my book if I am a reckless pantser with no interest in plotting? Where’s the excitement? The uncertainty? The mystery?

I admit I have done a few character exercises during the drafting process of my second ms. The exercises did enhance my understanding of the characters, their personalities and their possible reactions to situations. In fact, it was a really useful experience. As I’m currently re-writing my first ms, doing some exercises would help my develop the GMC of my characters.

Self evaluation:
In the pre-writing stage I spend time with my ideas before jumping into drafting. I find value in the elements of pre-writing so I need to dedicate more time to them before I start.

2. Drafting

This includes a look at routines, writing habits, goals.

20160118_175158

My gorgeous new writing space. How could I not be inspired?

Routines – Nope. A writing routine sounds lovely. So does having a house elf but so far both elude me. The only consistency to my routine is the cups I drink from. I write any where and any place I have time. That sounds like I write a lot but it varies week to week, month to month. I juggle a fair bit as most writers do, I don’t drink coffee or work well late at night or early in the morning. My routine needs to change. Hopefully my beautiful new writing space will help foster a strong routine.
Habits – Check(ish). I have music I listen to with set play-lists for each manuscript and I try to minimise distractions as much as possible.
Goals – Check. I have word count goals for the overall word count, for each chapter and for each writing session. I’ve determined I can do an average 650 words in a half hour sprint. I use that as a guideline for each writing session. I also like to finish a scene or a chapter before I walk away for the day.

Self Evaluation
Not too bad. Routines could use some work though. I will use my goals to establish set writing times each week.

3. Revising

This includes looking at consistency with time-lines, plot and structure issues, plausibility and beta readers.

DSCF3878

Do you know where your story is going?

Time-lines – Check. I keep a calendar/time line in my journal to ensure consistency. Often I will revisit the dates to test for plausibility.
Plot and structure issues – Check. This one is harder to do by myself. I try and work through each step of the story to determine order. Occasionally pieces are shuffled around.
Plausibility – Check. Again, a tough one to do by myself. I need to take a good hard look at the action, characters etc and ask, ‘Is this believable? Are there any glaring omissions or things that don’t quite add up? Am I assuming the reader knows something without giving them enough clues?
Beta readers – Check. When I’ve done the above three revision points to the best of my ability I’ll send it off to the beta readers who then do a much better job than me at identifying issues with time-lines, plot and structure, and plausibility.

Self Evaluation
Pretty good. It is difficult to check my own work for these issues so the beta readers definitely help. I do enjoy having someone else point out problems with plausibility, plot etc. I relish the opportunity to improve my work.

4. Editing

This involves reading your work in a different format, cutting it out, cleaning it up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A new perspective can give, well, a little perspective.

Change the view – Check. I like to print out a hard copy and go through that with my green highlighter and sparkle pens. It makes it easier to view mistakes. After about a gazillion reads this way I’ll convert it to a mobi file and upload it to the kindle. Then I cringe with embarrassment at all the errors I missed in the printed edits.
Cutting it out – Hmmm, not so much. Cutting large chunks of text – especially description – tightens prose. I need help with this.
Clean it up – Check. As my writing skills improve so does my ability to clean up sentences. Each word must count. I spend lots of time cleaning up ‘was’,‘that’and other ‘to be’ verbs. I also seek to destroy passive voice (by zombies!).

Self Evaluation
I need to be ruthless with cutting it out. I read somewhere agents and publishers look for lots of dialogue and are put off by chunks of description. My cleaning up of sentences is progressing but, gosh, it would be nice to get it right the first time.

5. Climb Aboard the Query Coaster

This can be the hardest part of the writing process. Having to create an elevator pitch, extended pitch, query letter and synopsis then start querying fills many with dread.

Write an elevator pitch – Check. A succinct summary of of the book just in case I ever take a lift with an agent or publisher. Note to self – use more elevators.
Extended pitch – Check. After completing the Pitching to Publishers course I’ve learned the trick to creating a pitch that sets the tone, conflict and obstacle for the story.
Query letter – Check. This is the one part of the query coaster I enjoyed. In it I’m allowed to admit all the dorky reasons why I love writing and what inspires me.
Synopsis – Check, though this one was by far the most painful. Having to reduce your thousands of beloved words to 300-500 feels like taking a gourmet meal and turning it into a powered format. Blurgh.
Start querying – Check(ish). I diligently check submission guidelines and format the manuscript as requested but I haven’t done any traditional querying. I am scared to. Weird, right? I do enter a lot of pitching competitions and have had good responses from there. I’m going to hold off querying this year until I know my first ms is as shiny and polish and READY as it needs to be.

Self Evaluation
While painful to create, I have the pitch, query and synopsis for my first ms. I do however need to face up to querying and throw my work out there once it is finished. Creativity takes courage.

DSCF3990

Find what works for the writer as an individual.

So bring on 2016. I’m not going to dream about things that may or may not happen. I am going to work on my process. I am going to make the writing process work for me. Anything else that happens on top of that will be a wonderful bonus.

 

 

Categories: Goal, Writer's Life, Writing | Leave a comment

A letter to my younger writer-self

Dear Me (aged 16),

You are bursting with expectation and impatient to start life, I know, but just bear with me for a moment because there’s something I need you to do: don’t stop writing.

When you leave home just before you turn seventeen, you will enter a world where writing doesn’t seem to fit.

Make it fit.

girl-923101_1280

At 16, you feel as though you can take on the world.

For though this new world will be exciting and liberating, it is one that holds unimaginable lows. And though these times are not permanent, writing – as you will discover much, much later in life – will be your release. It will be your escape hatch.

So when you’re awake and alone in the hospital at 3am and the pain threatens to drown you, write. No, you won’t be able to sit up or even concentrate on words printed on a page, but there will be a cassette walkman and it can record.

Use it.

Writing is the best drug. It can set you free, it can stop you from falling over the edge.

tunnel-899053_1920

To write is to find the light through the darkness.

You’ve always loved to write. You’ve always intended to one day write a book. Don’t wait for the right time.

Keep writing.

You can not control anything in life except for the words you write on the page and the worlds you create in your imagination.

When the most important friendship in your life fails, and grief and despair engulf you, write.

When life is hard, write.

When life is good, write.

Write for yourself. Write for the characters in your mind. Set those daydreams free and you will be amazed at the weight they release with them.

Write because it is one of your favourite things in life to do and because it brings you pure joy.

woman-570883_1920

To write is to feel a beautiful freedom.

Don’t let your writing feel like a childish past time you need to leave behind.

It is not. It is part of you and always will be.

Don’t ever stop writing.

x Fiona

Categories: Writer's Life, Writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

Is Life Too Easy for Your Main Character?

“Write the book you wish to read.”

It’s an inspiring thought. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I did. This was a big problem for my first manuscript.

Here’s what happened. I was fed up with reading about characters I liked having life dump on them continuously. Things kept getting worse for them. Why couldn’t they just be happy? Maybe I was fatigued from Songs of Ice and Fire but I needed books to become my happy place again. So that’s what I wrote – a sweet, inspiring, romantic tale of joy. The storyline contained some minor complications but generally, we watched as the MC fell in love for the first time.

Awwww.

couple-919018_1920 (2)

A feel-good story about love does not necessarily make for an enthralling read.

It was sweet. It was lovely. It was not the way to write a story.

In July this year I attended the CYA Conference and had the opportunity to hear author Kaz Delany deliver a workshop on GMC -Goal, Motivation and Conflict. The workshop was called, ‘How to Avoid a Saggy Middle’ and as I sat and took notes, a trickle of doubt slowly filled my stomach.

My first manuscript had minimal GMC – Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

G: – What does your character want?

M: – Why do they really want it?

C: – What stops them from achieving or obtaining it?

Check out Debra Dixon’s book, Goal, Motivation and Conflict for more information.

I attempted to ignore my GMC doubts and continued on my querying way. But the thought remained – my MC had things way too easy. Was that the deal breaker?

In September, I sent my work to an editor for feedback and guess what the overriding issue was?

Not enough GMC.

Damn.

Out came my notes from Kaz’s workshop and I set about plotting some problems for my MC. At the same time I was reading Queen of Shadows by Sara J. Maas and noting how every single chapter had loads of GMC, not only for the main players but for the supporting ones as well.

Maas takes me on a ride of emotions in each of her books because NOTHING comes easy for her characters. She bleeds them – emotionally, physically and mentally. As a reader, we journey with them and it’s all because of GMC.

With writing my WIP, The Yokai Hunter, adding GMC to each scene came more naturally than it did with my first manuscript. Let’s look at my (very, very rough and unedited) first draft I shared previously on The Print Posse blog.

Goal: Leighton wants to be good at being a Yokai Hunter.

Motivation: She wants to make her dad proud and prove her own strength.

Conflict: When she finally comes face to face with a yokai, she is too stunned to react and lets the demon walk free.

While the scene has a LONG way to go before it is polished, you can see the GMC building blocks.

Now let’s look at how the experts do it.

407398112_640

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Once More With Feeling

One of my favourite ever pieces of television is the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Once More With Feeling episode. This episode was written and directed by the master of writing himself, Joss Whedon, and is heavy in subtext, character development and laugh out loud moments.

In this episode a demon named Sweet has been summoned to Sunnydale and cast a spell making everyone sing about their deepest fears and secrets. Buffy opens the episode with the song, Going Through the Motions as she stakes vampires and rescues the handsome guy, all in a day’s work.

tumblr_lxtu4bmegb1r7ms4po2_500

Going Through the Motions

Goal: Buffy wants to feel. Something, anything. She also wants her friends to believe she is happy and that her optimism towards life is real even though it is all an act.

Motivation: Since her return, Buffy has been indifferent and detached from life to the extent where she places herself in near-suicidal situations. She is numb.

“I touch the fire and it freezes me/I look into it and it’s black/Why can’t I feel?/My skin should crack and peel/I want the fire back!”

buffy i want the fire back omwf

Walk Through the Fire

Conflict: Being sent to kill Sweet and rescue her sister is not the conflict she must face – it’s being forced via song into confronting and revealing her feelings or lack there of, to her friends.

Here’s the same episode but with a focus on Anya.

Goal: Anya wants Xander to tell her what she means to him and be convinced they will live happily ever after.

Motivation: Anya has a deep-seated mistrust of men (not surprising considering all her years as a vengeance demon) and is doubtful of Xander’s true feelings for her. She is worried he will betray and break her heart.

Conflict: With the spell cast over Sunnydale, Anya and Xander are forced to sing about their relationship fears and communicate their emotions through this very personal form of expression. They don’t want to hurt the other but both harbour doubts over the longevity of their relationship. Rather than clearing the air, expressing their concerns adds weight to the shadow looming over their engagement.

24844_1214982088042_248_140

Supporting characters Anya and Xander experience their own GMC.

Identifying GMC in other works such as books or TV shows is a great way of sharpening your own skills. Next time you lose yourself in a fictional dream, ask yourself:

Goal – What does the character want?

Motivation – Why do they want it?

Conflict – Why can’t they have it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and make my characters’ lives much more difficult.

*rubs hands together gleefully*

Categories: Motivation and Conflict, Writing | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.