SSS – Start of Bett’s Story, erotic short

There are a couple of calls out right now I’m working on. One is for my critique group, ERA. I’m also thinking of sending in a submission to a Seaside Smut anthology Lucy Felthouse is editing, to see if I might get in that one.

Info on the Seaside Call:

Smut by the Sea: The Anthology will be a collection of Stories, Pictures and Poetry with a Saucy Seaside feel edited by The Northern Birds Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse.

The Smut By The Sea Anthology will feature stories from a variety of genres, but they must have that overall “Seaside” feel, either in location or style. If you’d like some clarification before submitting your story then please Contact Us.

Length: 4,000 to 6,000 words
Genres: Any
Heat Levels: Any
Ending: Any
Orientation: Any
Submissions Due: June 1st, 2012

****

So, to get in the mood, six sentences from my first draft. Very safe for work. :-)

The sounds were soft here at the top edge of the barrier island. After the trains and traffic at home even the occasional seagull’s cries seemed quiet amidst the shushing of the waves against the shore. The weekend was to be a getaway from their usual haunts, a change of pace for both of them.

As Monroe explained, with the beach house his buddies owned free for the weekend, and unseasonably warm weather, they’d be foolish not to take the opportunity. Monroe seduced her with promises to disconnect from his office, to work on connecting intimately with each other. So Betts, hoping the weekend would provide the pivot their relationship desperately needed, agreed.

Romance sub-genres, blogging and a huge thanks!

Well, I’m still vastly confused about sub-genres (pt 1, pt 2), at least in regards to publishers and submission calls. I blogged a bit about it over at Some Write it Hot.  It’s been really interesting to see the responses here and I want to thank *everyone* who commented, particularly Romanceaholic and Tmycann (who I mention in the SWIH blog post) as well as Barb Mazzuca for helping me out and engaging in the discussion. You all really helped me see that a) there’s no clear cut answer and b) readers are not nearly as caught up in these definitions as publishers are.

In the end here’s what I decided:

For most readers these days, drawing on my experience, that’s [how they set their expectations for a book] going to be the blurb on the back. Unfortunately, that’s something which I may or may not have any control over depending on the publisher. So I’m going to stop worrying so much about sub-genres, and get  back to writing the best story I can,  sending it along where it seems to fit best and hoping whoever accepts it (thinking positively here!) creates a ‘pitch’ / blurb which will let readers know what I wrote and hope my darnedest it meets their expectations.

Oh, I’m sure I’ll be wrestling with this again, but for now it’s time to buckle down and finish the conversion from first to third in Warder.

Paranormal Romance in decline?

Somewhere this week, and truly I’ve been searching to find where it was because I neglected to book mark it!, I read that Paranormal Romance is in a decline and that publishers are looking for more contemporary stories in a couple of different areas, including ones with fantasy elements.

Okay, my first thought was shit! I’ve had this world created and have been working on it for so long I’ve missed the boat.

The second was, wait, what to they mean by decline? (and honestly I don’t think this was the exact word they used. I think it was ‘sales are down’ or something). But then… that doesn’t mean paranormal isn’t selling, it’s just not selling perhaps as well as it used to. (incidentally, cowboys are, apparently, very hot) So whew, I still have hope.

However, if sales are down, then publishers are going to be more selective so I really need to get this story in ship-shape.

But then, in the same article (seriously!! if you find or know the piece I’m thinking of please link to it in the comments!) the writer said publishers were looking for contemporary romance. There were a couple of different areas of contemporary but the one which stuck with me was fantasy elements were okay (’cause, you know, I’ve got a bit of tunnel vision on these things). Um, okay, then maybe I’m still good? Fae? Weres? what do they mean by fantasy elements?

All I know is the romance genre market does shift. Not that long ago Regency seemed to be queen along side Romantic Comedy. Note that these still sell well, but perhaps not at the stellar height they used to.

So I think I’m okay. Just need to get this wrapped out and out.

Oh, did I mention I’m on page 322 of editing/revising? Things are going well. And yes, the H/h have finally had sex. Whew, I’d forgotten about that scene!

EDITED TO ADD:

Found where I’d seen the comments! One of my writing buddies was at RT and posted his impressions on what he’d learned in a private writing blog. Which explained why I didn’t find it when I went back through my history.

I’ve gotten KevaD’s permission to quote his comments:

I was there to meet up with some authors and talk with a Kensington publicist.

Apparently contemporary is really showing an increase in sales of late as paranormal sales go down. Erotica has the major publishers’ full attention right now, but now that they have actually read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” they are going to be really picky about the erotica novels they sign. They’re insisting on quality pantie wetting (my terminology), not whatever they can shovel out to the masses.

Thank you Amber Green for pointing me in the right direction!

I just bought 600 plates… plus other, writerly, things.

Busy week, but that’s usual. Getting things for my son’s bar mitzvah (hence the 600 paper plates), editing/revising my WIP, writing blog posts (did I mention I’ll be on Literary Escapism next week as a guest author on 4/17? – BIG GRIN on that one).

Plus, in the process of getting my name out there I’m been sending in everything I can to Cupid’s Literary Connection. I love this site and how the moderator is being SO helpful to those of us seeking representation.

The other day on twitter she had a ‘follower only’ contest asking people to submit a request to be spotlighted as a new/aspiring author. You had to send in your request by midnight. Here’s what I wrote:

Subject: Pick me! Me, me, me, me!
Hello Cupid,
Nice to meetcha. I’m Ellie Heller, aka EllieWrites2 on the web and I’ve been writing for ten years. Well, not ten years really, I ate and slept, and gave birth to at least one of my kids. And grocery shopped, ’cause you know I need food, and the kids do too. And there were the four moves and my husband’s terminal illness. But in between all the *other* stuff of my crazy everyday life I’ve been writing. During this time I’ve been active in some really good critique groups (the now defunct RWU – Romance Writers Unlimited which had about 30% published authors, and my current group, ERA – Erotic Authors which has about 70% published authors). In both of these groups I’ve been encouraged to write and, as importantly, submit.

Well, I’ve done the first. Have three complete novels, a whole seven book paranormal series outlined and significantly written (two of those three books along with halves of two more). Lots of other bits and pieces, definitely a too many ideas, too little time kind of person.

The second, submitting, I’ve done not so well at. I’ve entered a couple of pitch contests and placed well, one agent asked for a partial but that went no where. I’ve submitted to one small e-press call and was accepted (currently my novella, Ginny’s Capture is out with Noble Romance). But the big guns, I’ve stayed away from submitting to. The idea of rejection, wow, was not in a good place to handle that for a long time.

But now, now I think I can handle it. I want to *try*. I’ve given myself a year to really clean up one of my novels and start submitting, and I’m halfway through that year. The cleaning up of the novel is on the verge of being complete and I’m ready to face the possibility of rejection.

Or, even better yet, embrace the possibility of success.

I didn’t get picked for the next author spot light, but I did get a nice note back asking if I’d be interested in sending in my query for critique on the blog. Going to go ahead and give it a shot. We’ll see how it works out.
Oh, and I’ve been hanging out a bit on Facebook after a long hiatus. They really *have* changed things around!
Sales continue on a slow pace. Fingers crossed more reviews are coming down the pipe. :-)

Editing, editing, editing

I’ve been busy with real life and *trying* to get edits done on a novel I plan to submit so I’ve been scarce. Next week, with the blog tour in full swing, I’ll have to stop editing and get back to posting.

My father once described my mother as ‘many tracks, only one train’ and I’m feeling like that these days. If I switch around from thing to thing, I get derailed and nothing gets done. So, editing this week, blogosphere next week to talk more about Ginny’s Capture.

I’ll see you then!

Amber Green on new beginnings

Over at Some Write It Hot blog, Amber Green is writing on new beginnings, pushing boundaries and dealing with the past in her post Facing the New Year.

She says this at the very end, which I absolutely love:

But living means moving forward, even when that means leaving a comfortable rut. Moving forward means facing the new, stepping out to grasp and embrace it.  Even though we see the promises and know some of them mask losses, we move forward anyway. Because that’s what living is. And because some of those promises will come true.

The rest of the post is just as wonderful.

…still waiting…

Ah, a little birdie told me the publisher likes to batch approve (or not) stories for theme lines. So, I’m guessing the wait is due, in part, because more subs need to come in before she’ll go over what is already there, including mine. As the birdie put it, could be hours, could be a month.

I guess the good news is at least that is *still* faster than traditional paper publication venues. Seriously shorter time. Going ‘glass half full’ here. :-)

So, more realistically, it’ll be a good week or more before I hear one way or the other. Good thing I have other irons in the fire.

Still waiting.

Okay, I know we just had a long holiday weekend. And, given I sent my submission in at 9:30 the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, pretty much none of the days last week after I sent my story in ‘count’ as business days.

Doesn’t make me any less anxious or nervous that nearly a week has passed and I haven’t heard anything.

The good news is Noble Romance is known for fairly quick turn around time, roughly a week, sometimes two.

I just need to try to convince myself NOT to over analyze the delay. Or rather convince myself there hasn’t been a delay.

Clearly not doing a good job.

So, as I pace, a little snippet from my current WIP. Tentatively titled Maya’s Mom, this is a rough draft of a flight scene.  Enjoy and excuse the poor grammar I may have missed on my quick check.

And I’ll get back to writing and *trying* to keep myself occupied.

The sour alcohol smell grew. Aiden grabbed the edge of his shirt and lifted it to cover his mouth and nose. Realizing, then dismissing, that her belly would be bared, Averill did the same. They rounded another corner. Ahead a set of metal doors sat askew on their moorings, crookedly overlapping in the middle and leaving the gaping holes in the upper corners. Aiden let go her hand to pull one open enough for them to get through. Her bare feet slapped on the concrete floor.

They’d left the store and were in an open three story warehouse space. In neat lines, row after row of what looked like old-fashioned moonshine stills sat. Their piping coiled in improbably high swirls and springs. The tubing defied gravity with a grace  and lightness bespeaking folk manufacturing more than the green fires still sparking in several hearths.

Whatever folk had been attending to the brewing were long gone. More than one copper pot was knocked over, the sparkling liquids coating the floor and making the air redolent with alcohol and magic.  Eyes watering and trying not to breath too deeply she followed Aiden as he detoured around the various richly colored puddles. He clearly headed to the far side.

They were near the half way point when the ear numbing whine of metal scraping against metal echoed across the room. She glanced over her shoulder. A huge, hairy half-man, half-bull stood at the entrance. He shook his shaggy animal head and batted his fists on his chin. His arms were powerful, but too short for his hands to reach his face. Averill turned back. A harsh bellow, followed by the crash of machinery and a shriek resounded through the room.

Silence.

A loud hiccup sounded behind them accompanied by pounding hooves.

Not good.

Aiden sped up, no longer avoiding the liquid. Soon they were both spattered from the hips down, the magic infused liquid’s paint like thickness and colors creating tie dye effects.

And there, there was the door.

The handle was closer to Averill. She let go Aiden’s hand and pulled the door open when they reached it. A wave of fresh, cold, damp air hit her.

Along with the overpoweringly musk-laden scent of pissed off werewolves.

NaNoWriMo is shot.

Well, I wanted to. But it didn’t happen. NaNoWriMo turned out to be a pipedream for me this year.

However, the good news is… I think (hope!!) I am *very* close to having my first piece accepted for publication. Fingers crossed.

So, what happened? I’ll tell you in one word:

EDITING

Yep. The story line, the character arc, etc, all great. My prose, not so much, comma splices are the bane of my existence. (:grin: yeah, I did that one intentionally).

Have I said this enough? I LOVE MY CRIT GROUP! ERA you rock.

Thanks for pushing and shoving me to finally get to this point (and not smacking me upside the head for repeating silly mistakes). Even if it doesn’t work out, I’ve learned a ton this last month.

So, farewell NaNoWriMo, it was a brief but intense affair. But I’ve been too busy with my other friend, editing. I can no longer be torn between the two of you, and it’s clear to me which I should choose.

Maybe another time.

(Oh, and, um, for those wondering I pushed my boundaries with this one. Lesbians Vs Zombies? Not my typical story line. But it was a ton of fun to write. And still ended up being paranormal. Can’t seem to duck that habit. So something old, something new… nothing borrowed or blue. :-) )

New story, somewhat different.

This idea came to me, jumping out of the back of my mind fully formed as an entire story. I know I should be working on my revisions, but that is not where my head is right now.

Very different than my usual pieces (also very rough!), I’m posting just the first part here.

Maybe that’ll quiet it down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jayna made her first necklace when she was eleven years old. Aunt Cissy and Aunt Maddie sat her down in Grandma’s living room with a box of old buttons and some embroidery floss while they ‘discussed’ things in the kitchen. Jayna carefully perched on the edge of the vinyl clad couch, her starched skirt crinkling in protest as it met the unyielding fabric. Behind her, though the cracked open window she could hear the creak of rockers. Mama was smart, she was on the porch with Grandpa, keeping him company and out of the way of her sisters. Herself too.

The soft scent of lilacs from the front yard drifted over her as she opened the box. Jayna had played with the buttons many times. Grandma told her stories for so many of them. The scuffed brass button with the smashed lion, that was from a uniform Grandma’s father had worn in the war. With Grandma now gone, the stories were Jayna’s to keep. She pulled out the special ones, spreading the multi-color assortment on her lap. They made a bright spot on this bleak day.

No matter how sick Grandma was, and she had been very sick for a while, her death stood as a shock to all of them. Though, to Jayna, it seemed that once they finally convinced her to the doctor and the word cancer started to be whispered in the corners, the end hurtled toward them even faster. Everyone was at a loss, unable to grasp she really was gone. Her aunts in the kitchen, trying to be practical and help Grandpa, broke into frequent sobs.

Jayna arranged the buttons to a pattern she found pleasing. She did not want to string them and hide their beautiful faces, so she started to tie them together, interconnecting them like a web.

Outside her mother finally spoke. “Reckon you’ll finally come visit us for a while.”

A soft chortle from Grandpa. Jayna had heard often enough that Grandma and Grandpa never visited them in the city because Grandma didn’t like to be far from home. So she and Mama travelled down to visit them the first weekend of the month like clock work. Jayna didn’t remember a time she hadn’t known they’d be heading down to visit. “Reckon I will.”

“We have the extra room all set up. Your own entry, own bath. Even your own stove, not that I expect you to do your own cooking. Welcome to come and stay as long as you want.”

“Might be good to go for a while.”

“Have Harvey stay here a spell, until you decide it’s time to come back.” Harvey was Aunt Cissy’s oldest, newly married and steadily employed, which couldn’t be said about all her cousins.

“Buck won’t like that.” Buck was Maddie’s only son, still foot loose and fancy free, or at least that’s what Mama said. Jayna didn’t quite understand what that meant, although Buck constantly changed jobs and girlfriends.

“No, he won’t. But by the time he’s ready to settle down, Ms. Mularni will be out of the other half of the house and he’ll have that. But lord, don’t tell him or he’ll rush her out of there.”

Another soft chuckle from Grandpa. Jayna held up her creation, the buttons made a pretty necklace. Great grandfather’s lion button was in the middle and the rest of the family’s buttons spread out from there. Aunt Maddie’s button from her first baby bonnet was the last on one side while a button from Jayna’s mother’s knit bootie was on the other.

Not one to wear today, or ever perhaps, but it was beautiful and not just because of the memories.

Several soft creaks later, “What about you and Jayna, that leaves nothing for you.”

“We’ll have you, the best end of the deal.”