Archive for August, 2007

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What Stace had to say on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Epublishing: with Angela James, Executive Editor, Samhain Publishing

1.Do you have any comment on RWA’s recent re-redefinition of “Vanity/Subsidy publisher”?

I think I’ve pretty well beat this horse to death on various blogs and message boards, but at this point, I’m going to take a wait and see attitude as far as that’s concerned. I’ve conversed with several people on the board and I don’t get a sense of malice from their decisions. I do think that RWA in general and members of the board specifically (whoever they may be at any given time) cannot afford to be uneducated and uninformed about the ins and outs of epublishing and still make decisions about and for epublished authors, so I’m heartened by the task force that’s been formed for discovery.

Certainly we will do whatever we can to continue to present epublishing in a positive light among the general membership and board.

2. What do you think a writer should look for from an epublisher, and how should they expect to be treated?

I’ve heard this repeated more often recently, but an author needs to look for a professional publisher, not someone who wants to be their best friend or their family.

There is a huge list of things the author needs to know about the publisher before they sign on, which is a post all on its own (I believe Jane of Dear Author is tackling this in the near future) but an author wants to know a publisher will be enthusiastic about their work, will meet the terms of the contract, is looking to always grow their own business and reinvest money in it, and will be planning for the future of the company, and hopefully the author.

Authors should expect to be treated professionally, with respect and courtesy, but shouldn’t expect that the publisher will be able or willing to meet their every demand or to be available at a moment’s notice. Impractical expectations on both sides can sour a business relationship.

3. What are the most common mistakes made by authors submitting works for consideration?

Forgetting that publishing is a business for the publisher, not a hobby. Not putting their best professional foot forward, checking and triple checking for typos, following submissions guidelines and generally showing a general lack of disinterest in the basic things the publisher has asked for.

The other common mistake I see is not researching the publisher. Submitting work that the publisher doesn’t accept (like non-erotic to an erotic publisher), not knowing anything about the company (I hear this a lot when I do editor appointments and it doesn’t impress me) and never having read any of the work released by the publisher. All of this that I’ve mentioned is usually easily done, especially in the age of the internet. To not do it shows a lack of interest in treating your writing as a job and doesn’t convince the editor that you’ll be willing to put in the necessary work needed to make your book the best possible.

4. Although conservative non-fiction has a large following, lately I have picked up on a resistance to conservative leaning fiction. Two well known agents even stated such on their Blogs. This is informative, and it means if you write from a conservative perspective, it would be best to seek representation elsewhere. My question is how pervasive is this attitude among publishers and agents? Do the political views or leanings, in either direction, of the author or characters in a book influence your decision? Would you ask an author to tone such views down to make the book more palatable to a larger readership?

You know, it’s interesting, but I think we’ve found more of an issue with books with religious leanings than political leanings. We don’t get a huge amount of politically motivated submissions, but we do get a few that are religiously charged.

In either case, we’re still an epublisher and our motto is “It’s all about the story.” If it finds the right editor who believes in it and loves it, we would publish it.

5. With a primarily digital mode of publication, how do you decide how much to publish? Are all high quality manuscripts that meet the perceived needs of your customers published, or is there a goal for monthly or annual publications?

We don’t have a set number of books we publish each week. It’s different each week. We have a good number of editors and each editor is limited to a general range of releases per month. It’s up to them to make sure they’re filling their slots with books they love from both existing authors and the slush pile, and they tend to be pretty picky because they know they’re limited. So yes, we think they’re high quality and are proud of what we publish because of it!

6. When would you advise an author to seek publication with a traditional print publisher and when is it in their best interests to publish in digital format? The pros and cons are often debated among authors, and I was wondering how the actual publishers saw these issues.

Well, I don’t think I’d ever look at a manuscript that landed in my inbox and tell an author, “You know, you really ought to send this to NY instead of me.” I’m not that altruistic and I’d be a flat out liar if I said I was 😉 However, I attend quite a few conferences and I have been known to give an author’s name (or introduce an author) to both agents and editors for NY houses. I did both, actually, at RWA nationals. I have an author who sent a manuscript to an editor’s slush pile. I’d previously met the editor so when I saw her at RWA I mentioned the author had sent a book to her. She was…honestly puzzled and asked me, didn’t it bother me?

My answer was and is no. I realize that authors are interested in writing for NY. There is an opportunity for both a larger distribution and a different audience. It’s the same reason Samhain has partnered with Kensington for an imprint of our books. I genuinely like my authors and I want them to do well. Clearly I love their writing or I wouldn’t have signed them. It thrills me when they land a NY contract. Both because I’m personally happy for them but also because hey! Chances are their backlist at Samhain is going to see a happy bump as they make a name for themselves in the NY arena. It’s a win-win situation. Of course, I’m even happier if they want to keep writing for us, but I understand sometimes that’s not possible.

7. Can you share any sorts of revenue targets you have in mind when purchasing a manuscript? I assume that you need to sell a certain number of copies before the time spent acquiring, editing, and publishing is worth it financially. What is that approximate point? What percentage of manuscripts make this cut-off?

Grr. You ask hard questions ? Right now, we don’t not take a book just because we think it won’t sell well. One of the things we’ve accepted, as a newer company who wants to build a catalog and a reputation as a general publisher, is that some books will sell astonishingly well and others won’t. It’s a balance but if we don’t publish those books, we can never gain a reputation for having not just great erotic romance or great romance, but great fiction/fantasy/action/young adult as well. So we fall back on our motto, “It’s all about the story.” when we’re reading submissions because if we love a book, we’re going to sign it, whether we’re going to make huge royalties or not. We’re just lucky that we love books that sell well too 😉

8. By far the most famous epublishers currently are focused on erotic romance. I would guess that far more erotic romance is bought in ebook format than in print. First, is this guess accurate? Secondly, what prospects do you see in the short to midterm for other genres in eBook format? Will we soon see non-romance mysteries or fantasy or manga taking off? Will we see it with your company?

I can’t really answer the question of whether more erotic romance is bought in ebook format than print. I would guess the answer is yes, but I’d also say that far more erotic books exist in eformat than print, so it follows that their numbers would be higher, so I don’t know if anything would be proven just by saying more erotic books are bought in eformat. We’d have to do some scientific, mathematical stuff. At that point, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one cowering in the corner and whimpering.

I have high hopes for both the fantasy/science fiction market as well as the young adult market in ebook format, because I would hope that those are two groups of readers who’d be more open to the technology of ebooks.

This is going to sound strange coming from the executive editor of a publishing company, but when I see pirate sites providing downloads of ebooks, it gives me hope. Because it’s not just one genre of books, like romance, being pirated, it’s many, many genres. So that means there are readers out there who want books of all types in ebook format. My personal positive twist on pirate sites. Just call me Mary Poppins.

9. Is there such a thing as a best seller list for e-books?

For ebooks overall? No such thing exists. For Samhain ebooks, we do have a bestseller list that showcases bestsellers for the previous three week period, on our sister company My Bookstore and More. Though I should point out that we don’t sell just Samhain books, so a book from another publisher could potentially make that list.

10. Since marketing and promotion are a shared venture with publishers and authors, what do you see as some of the best venues and tools to establish the name and work of a new writer?

Name recognition is so important because of the wealth of ebooks available. Sometimes it’s not only about what you do, it’s just about doing.

I like blogs but there are so many that I don’t think every author can (or should) have a blog. But they can comment on them, making sure they fill out the link part with their website address. And not just the regular round of blogs in the romance community. Comment on unusual blogs. Craft blogs. Political blogs. Mommy blogs. People will follow links to names of people they don’t recognize. There’s a wide variety of blogs out there and you never know who you might intrigue into buying a book—just from being a visitor to their blog.

That leads me to having a website. Such an important tool for promotion. And the website? It needs to be professional looking. First impressions do count. Think of it as though you’re visiting a daycare for your child. If you walk into the daycare and it seems horribly disorganized, with something spilled on the floor and kids running in every direction—and you can’t find the one thing you’re looking for (the teacher) are you really going to give them your money (and your child?) Um, no. Your website may be the first exposure a person has to your work. Make it neat, make it professional and provide buy links, excerpts and contact information. The pictures of your cleavage or your dog? Really not necessary. Especially on the home page.

There are such a variety of other promotional things I could talk about: chats, banner ads, conferences, ads in print magazines, etc. but everyone’s mileage may vary on each thing and we could spend all day debating the pros and cons of each promotional tool. I think the most important thing is that the author try the different things and actually do promotion.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this, Angela! Much appreciated!

What Stace had to say on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Epublishing: with Angela James, Executive Editor, Samhain Publishing

1.Do you have any comment on RWA’s recent re-redefinition of “Vanity/Subsidy publisher”?

I think I’ve pretty well beat this horse to death on various blogs and message boards, but at this point, I’m going to take a wait and see attitude as far as that’s concerned. I’ve conversed with several people on the board and I don’t get a sense of malice from their decisions. I do think that RWA in general and members of the board specifically (whoever they may be at any given time) cannot afford to be uneducated and uninformed about the ins and outs of epublishing and still make decisions about and for epublished authors, so I’m heartened by the task force that’s been formed for discovery.

Certainly we will do whatever we can to continue to present epublishing in a positive light among the general membership and board.

2. What do you think a writer should look for from an epublisher, and how should they expect to be treated?

I’ve heard this repeated more often recently, but an author needs to look for a professional publisher, not someone who wants to be their best friend or their family.

There is a huge list of things the author needs to know about the publisher before they sign on, which is a post all on its own (I believe Jane of Dear Author is tackling this in the near future) but an author wants to know a publisher will be enthusiastic about their work, will meet the terms of the contract, is looking to always grow their own business and reinvest money in it, and will be planning for the future of the company, and hopefully the author.

Authors should expect to be treated professionally, with respect and courtesy, but shouldn’t expect that the publisher will be able or willing to meet their every demand or to be available at a moment’s notice. Impractical expectations on both sides can sour a business relationship.

3. What are the most common mistakes made by authors submitting works for consideration?

Forgetting that publishing is a business for the publisher, not a hobby. Not putting their best professional foot forward, checking and triple checking for typos, following submissions guidelines and generally showing a general lack of disinterest in the basic things the publisher has asked for.

The other common mistake I see is not researching the publisher. Submitting work that the publisher doesn’t accept (like non-erotic to an erotic publisher), not knowing anything about the company (I hear this a lot when I do editor appointments and it doesn’t impress me) and never having read any of the work released by the publisher. All of this that I’ve mentioned is usually easily done, especially in the age of the internet. To not do it shows a lack of interest in treating your writing as a job and doesn’t convince the editor that you’ll be willing to put in the necessary work needed to make your book the best possible.

4. Although conservative non-fiction has a large following, lately I have picked up on a resistance to conservative leaning fiction. Two well known agents even stated such on their Blogs. This is informative, and it means if you write from a conservative perspective, it would be best to seek representation elsewhere. My question is how pervasive is this attitude among publishers and agents? Do the political views or leanings, in either direction, of the author or characters in a book influence your decision? Would you ask an author to tone such views down to make the book more palatable to a larger readership?

You know, it’s interesting, but I think we’ve found more of an issue with books with religious leanings than political leanings. We don’t get a huge amount of politically motivated submissions, but we do get a few that are religiously charged.

In either case, we’re still an epublisher and our motto is “It’s all about the story.” If it finds the right editor who believes in it and loves it, we would publish it.

5. With a primarily digital mode of publication, how do you decide how much to publish? Are all high quality manuscripts that meet the perceived needs of your customers published, or is there a goal for monthly or annual publications?

We don’t have a set number of books we publish each week. It’s different each week. We have a good number of editors and each editor is limited to a general range of releases per month. It’s up to them to make sure they’re filling their slots with books they love from both existing authors and the slush pile, and they tend to be pretty picky because they know they’re limited. So yes, we think they’re high quality and are proud of what we publish because of it!

6. When would you advise an author to seek publication with a traditional print publisher and when is it in their best interests to publish in digital format? The pros and cons are often debated among authors, and I was wondering how the actual publishers saw these issues.

Well, I don’t think I’d ever look at a manuscript that landed in my inbox and tell an author, “You know, you really ought to send this to NY instead of me.” I’m not that altruistic and I’d be a flat out liar if I said I was 😉 However, I attend quite a few conferences and I have been known to give an author’s name (or introduce an author) to both agents and editors for NY houses. I did both, actually, at RWA nationals. I have an author who sent a manuscript to an editor’s slush pile. I’d previously met the editor so when I saw her at RWA I mentioned the author had sent a book to her. She was…honestly puzzled and asked me, didn’t it bother me?

My answer was and is no. I realize that authors are interested in writing for NY. There is an opportunity for both a larger distribution and a different audience. It’s the same reason Samhain has partnered with Kensington for an imprint of our books. I genuinely like my authors and I want them to do well. Clearly I love their writing or I wouldn’t have signed them. It thrills me when they land a NY contract. Both because I’m personally happy for them but also because hey! Chances are their backlist at Samhain is going to see a happy bump as they make a name for themselves in the NY arena. It’s a win-win situation. Of course, I’m even happier if they want to keep writing for us, but I understand sometimes that’s not possible.

7. Can you share any sorts of revenue targets you have in mind when purchasing a manuscript? I assume that you need to sell a certain number of copies before the time spent acquiring, editing, and publishing is worth it financially. What is that approximate point? What percentage of manuscripts make this cut-off?

Grr. You ask hard questions ? Right now, we don’t not take a book just because we think it won’t sell well. One of the things we’ve accepted, as a newer company who wants to build a catalog and a reputation as a general publisher, is that some books will sell astonishingly well and others won’t. It’s a balance but if we don’t publish those books, we can never gain a reputation for having not just great erotic romance or great romance, but great fiction/fantasy/action/young adult as well. So we fall back on our motto, “It’s all about the story.” when we’re reading submissions because if we love a book, we’re going to sign it, whether we’re going to make huge royalties or not. We’re just lucky that we love books that sell well too 😉

8. By far the most famous epublishers currently are focused on erotic romance. I would guess that far more erotic romance is bought in ebook format than in print. First, is this guess accurate? Secondly, what prospects do you see in the short to midterm for other genres in eBook format? Will we soon see non-romance mysteries or fantasy or manga taking off? Will we see it with your company?

I can’t really answer the question of whether more erotic romance is bought in ebook format than print. I would guess the answer is yes, but I’d also say that far more erotic books exist in eformat than print, so it follows that their numbers would be higher, so I don’t know if anything would be proven just by saying more erotic books are bought in eformat. We’d have to do some scientific, mathematical stuff. At that point, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one cowering in the corner and whimpering.

I have high hopes for both the fantasy/science fiction market as well as the young adult market in ebook format, because I would hope that those are two groups of readers who’d be more open to the technology of ebooks.

This is going to sound strange coming from the executive editor of a publishing company, but when I see pirate sites providing downloads of ebooks, it gives me hope. Because it’s not just one genre of books, like romance, being pirated, it’s many, many genres. So that means there are readers out there who want books of all types in ebook format. My personal positive twist on pirate sites. Just call me Mary Poppins.

9. Is there such a thing as a best seller list for e-books?

For ebooks overall? No such thing exists. For Samhain ebooks, we do have a bestseller list that showcases bestsellers for the previous three week period, on our sister company My Bookstore and More. Though I should point out that we don’t sell just Samhain books, so a book from another publisher could potentially make that list.

10. Since marketing and promotion are a shared venture with publishers and authors, what do you see as some of the best venues and tools to establish the name and work of a new writer?

Name recognition is so important because of the wealth of ebooks available. Sometimes it’s not only about what you do, it’s just about doing.

I like blogs but there are so many that I don’t think every author can (or should) have a blog. But they can comment on them, making sure they fill out the link part with their website address. And not just the regular round of blogs in the romance community. Comment on unusual blogs. Craft blogs. Political blogs. Mommy blogs. People will follow links to names of people they don’t recognize. There’s a wide variety of blogs out there and you never know who you might intrigue into buying a book—just from being a visitor to their blog.

That leads me to having a website. Such an important tool for promotion. And the website? It needs to be professional looking. First impressions do count. Think of it as though you’re visiting a daycare for your child. If you walk into the daycare and it seems horribly disorganized, with something spilled on the floor and kids running in every direction—and you can’t find the one thing you’re looking for (the teacher) are you really going to give them your money (and your child?) Um, no. Your website may be the first exposure a person has to your work. Make it neat, make it professional and provide buy links, excerpts and contact information. The pictures of your cleavage or your dog? Really not necessary. Especially on the home page.

There are such a variety of other promotional things I could talk about: chats, banner ads, conferences, ads in print magazines, etc. but everyone’s mileage may vary on each thing and we could spend all day debating the pros and cons of each promotional tool. I think the most important thing is that the author try the different things and actually do promotion.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this, Angela! Much appreciated!

What Stace had to say on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Quick notes

Don’t forget to check out my fellow Deliciously Naughty Writer Sierra Dafoe’s excerpt and stuff below!

I will have a guest blogger on Monday that I think you guys will get a big kick out of.

What sierradafoe had to say on Thursday, August 30th, 2007
It’s the Deliciously Naughty invasion!

All right, maybe more like a minor incursion…

Stacia, thanks so much for inviting me over today! I’ve got a new release today, so Stacia (who’s December when she hangs out with us smut-puppies :p ) kindly suggested I stop on by, and well… here I am!

I’m Sierra Dafoe, and I write erotic romance. Really steamy erotic romance. What can I say? I like the hot stuff! But I also like really unique characters, exciting stories, and unusual predicaments. All of which means I write anything from shapeshifting dragon princes, to a galaxy where all the men are sex slaves, to a place a little more close to home — like Portland, Maine, where the Shifter Sisters, my trio of rock-n-rolling paranormal misfits, take the stage at my fictional version of Geno’s every Friday and Saturday night.

The Shifter Sisters series started with Sex and the Single Werewolf, in which Luna, the lovelorn lycanthrope, discovers the power of friendship, the horrors of waxing, and the love of her life in sexy Irish songwriter Sean. Book two, Once Bitten, Twice Shy, featured Tori, the reluctant vampire, who lost both her virginity and her humanity all in one night, and now finds herself pursued by the rich, devilishly handsome Drake Foster — who has an uncanny ability to be in two places at once.

And now it’s Persia’s turn. Persia, the catty shapeshifting singer, is furious that Tori got the man she wanted. She’s determined to find a man who’ll turn both Tori and Lu absolutely green with envy. But finding a man who can outshine Drake Foster is going to be no easy task he’d have to be handsome, suave, sexy, adorable, romantic, powerful and rich…

In the meantime, there’s Billy Gruff — young, blond, and absolutely gorgeous. A perfect consolation for her wounded pride. And when Billy takes her home to meet his brothers, Persia finds herself with an overabundance of mouthwatering choices.

What’s a poor, harmless kitty to do?

Excerpt (ADULT, guys! You are duly warned…)

He can’t stop now, Persia wagered, urging him on with her tongue, pulling him deeper. He can’t possibly stop now…

But he did. With a groan Alec pulled her off him, tumbling her back onto the thick carpet. She fell awkwardly, angry now that her hands were bound — it made her look ridiculous to be sprawled there, her thighs flung wide, her hair in her eyes. He stood over her staring down, panting, his eyes wide with something that looked like shock. His cock angled stiffly before him, jerking in time with his heartbeat.

“Are you crying uncle, Alec?” She slit her eyes at him teasingly. He shook his head slowly, that strange, wondering gaze still on his face.

What in hell was wrong with him?

Persia wriggled on the carpet, drawing her thighs up, arranging herself more seductively. The haunted shadows in his eyes grew deeper. He looked like a man wrestling with his own demons.

Well, this was no fun!

She bet she knew what would get him, though. Smiling coyly, she rolled over, raising herself to her knees with her hands cuffed behind her, and thrust her butt upward.

With a low, despairing groan, Alec sank to his knees behind her.

Purring hungrily, Persia rocked her hips back toward him, and smirked to herself as she felt his hands on her ass. Still he hesitated, that thick, lovely cockhead pressed against her dripping folds. Then a harsh sob burst from his throat and he plunged into her, sinking home in one hard thrust.

“God, Persia,” he whispered, his whole body trembling. “Oh, Christ, you feel just like velvet. All warm and soft and tight.”

Oooh, she liked compliments. And she liked the harsh desperation in his voice. Turning her head slightly, she murmured, “I know someplace even tighter.”

His shaft flexed inside her at her words and she heard him gasp, on the very edge of climax. Quickly, he pulled back out of her, and Persia heard him rise. A moment later, there was the scrape of a drawer being opened. Then she felt his hands on her hips again, and his cock nudged at her upturned ass.

“Oh, Persia.” His hands lifted from her hips, and a second later she felt his finger, slick with some lubricant, circling her tight, puckered hole. “Now do you want to cry off?” he whispered.

She panted, barely able to shake her head, paralyzed by the lust pouring through her body. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on the feel of his finger rubbing her rectum, penetrating slightly as he coated her ass. Then it was withdrawn, and Persia moaned as his cockhead replaced it, pressing against her opening, slowly spreading it open as he forced himself into her tight little hole.

Persia squirmed on the carpet, dragging her breasts back and forth against its plush softness, whimpering with delight as the clamps tugged at her nipples. She was on fire, her whole body yearning between those two sharp sensations — the pinch of the clamps, and the delectable feel of Alec working his cock into her ass.

In her mind she imagined Billy, his eyes wide, asking in horror, You want me to do what?

Sweet, innocent Billy. He had no idea what he was missing.

Check out Shifter Sisters: Stray Cat Strut at Changeling Press today!
http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=670

And stop by and visit me on the web anytime at sierradafoe.com!

–Sierra


What Stace had to say on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
Sneak Peek (Part Three)

Personal Demons is available for preorder on Amazon here!!

Enjoy!

(Note: This is an unedited excerpt. Final version may vary slightly.)

Chapter One (third scene)

Someone waited on her porch.
Megan froze in the middle of the walkway, her fast-food bag still clutched in her hand, and lowered her shields. Better to have some idea what was in store. Her free hand twisted the little cap on her pepper spray keychain. If he planned to slit her throat and run, at least she’d have a fighting chance.
Nothing.
She opened the shields more. Surely something would come through. Tired as she was, she almost always managed to get some glimpse of the other person’s character or motives.
Still nothing. Perhaps she was more drained than she thought.
The figure in the shadows moved. “Hello, Miss Chase.” A man’s voice, smooth as glass against silk. “I enjoyed your show very much.”
Megan took a cautious step forward. This was her home. It was just past 9:30 on a bright September night, and she would stand her ground.
“Thank you,” she said. “Who are you, please?”
The man stepped off her porch. Moonlight made the sharp, aristocratic bones of his face stand out like bas-relief under a shock of thick dark hair. He was tall—of course, to someone as short as Megan most people were tall, but she thought he was a few inches over six feet. She’d remember that if the police asked her about it in the emergency room later.
He could send her there without breaking a sweat, too. Broad shoulders hinted at a muscular body, and were encased in a suit even she could tell was tailor-made. A businessman.
Businessmen could be rapists just as easily as anyone else.
“My name is Greyson Dante,” he said, reaching into the interior pocket of his suit coat and pulling out a card so white it glowed. He held it out to her. She didn’t step forward.
“And what are you doing here?”
He lowered his hand to his side without a trace of embarrassment. Was he a lawyer? She’d never met anyone in a different profession who enjoyed being rebuffed as much as attorneys seemed to. “I came to speak to you about your show. I have a client who is very interested in your concept.”
“If it’s about the show, your client should call the station.”
“It’s not an offer for the station. It’s for you, personally.”
She sighed. “Then he or she should call me at my office, not send a lawyer to lie in wait at my home.”
“Did I say I was a lawyer?”
“No.”
He waited for her to continue, smiling when she remained silent. The more she looked at his face the more she wanted to look, and she couldn’t imagine she was alone among women in that reaction.
And she bet he knew it. She concentrated very hard on seeming unimpressed.
“Listen, Mr…?”
“Dante.” His voice was a perfect blank. It wasn’t just a bland accent, it was accentless, as if he’d been to broadcaster’s school and spent years removing any identifying trace from his speech.
“Yes. This is all very pleasant, but it’s late and I’m hungry and tired. You can leave a message at my office tomorrow if there’s something you need to discuss. I may even have time to call you back.”
He kept smiling. Megan reached out to him with her mind. Maybe he just wasn’t much of a transmitter. Some people weren’t. If she could have a little feel-around in his head, though, she might get a better idea of what he wanted.
It was no use. Not only could she not get into his head, but the grin on his face made her think he knew—or at least suspected—what she was doing. Which wasn’t possible, was it?
“Miss Chase.” She could almost see him switch gears from “slick and sophisticated” to “your good friend who wants to help you” mode. “I don’t think I’m making myself very clear. My client wants only to aid you and possibly come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. If you would just give me ten minutes of your time, I could explain—”
“I’m sorry, but I have a lot to do this evening. I don’t have time to sit here and talk.”
“We’re standing.”
“I don’t have time to sit or stand with you.” She crossed her arms over her chest. The paper bag full of fries flopped against her stomach.
He studied her for a minute, his head tilted to one side. “I’ll be in touch,” he said. “Meanwhile, I’d appreciate it if you could do me a favor.”
“You want me to do you a favor?”
He nodded.
“What?”
“Don’t accept any new offers until you’ve heard what my client has to say.”
“Fine.” What difference did it make? It wasn’t a legally binding agreement or anything. Or as if any offers of any kind were likely to come her way soon. If it got him to leave it was worth it.
“Thank you.” He turned to go, then stopped and held out his hand. “My card.”
He didn’t move as she took it from him. The heavy, thick card stock whispered against her skin as her finger slipped over the raised lettering.
Megan watched him go, crossing the street and stopping next to a sleek black Jaguar, which unlocked with a discreet click. “Oh, and Miss Chase?”
“Yes?”
He opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again. Megan was ready to give up and go inside when he finally spoke.
“Be careful.”

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
Sneak Peek part 2

Personal Demons is available for preorder on Amazon here!!

Enjoy!

(Note: This is an unedited excerpt. Final version may vary slightly.)

Chapter One (second scene)

He continued harping about it all the way through the almost-empty station and into the parking garage. “Your show is a vehicle for advertisers. You understand that, right?” He didn’t even glance at her, which was probably a good thing as she was having difficulty keeping her face blank. “So you must identify the show and the station. You must use your tagline. We put a lot of thought into—”
“I understand.” Opening herself to so many people, so many problems, over the course of two hours drained her more than she expected. All she wanted to do was go home, have a glass of wine and a snack, and take a long, hot bath. None of which she could do while Richard stayed in full lecture mode. “And I’m sorry, okay? It was an accident. I’m still new at this, but I realize the audience needs to be reminded of brand identity, especially when they may have been distracted by something as insignificant as suicide. It won’t happen again.”
“I hope not,” he said, completely missing the sarcasm, or just ignoring it. They walked through the parking garage for a minute, their heels echoing on the gritty cement. Megan shivered. She hated parking garages, with their stale, oil-smelling air. A minor phobia, but one that still bothered her. Even Richard’s echoing monologue seemed preferable to silence here.
“I have an interview set up for you,” he said. She’d been wrong. It was better when he didn’t speak. “Tomorrow evening, a dinner. 7:00 at Café Neus. It’s a reporter for the Hot Spot.”
For what felt like the millionth time in the last few weeks, she cursed her decision to take the show. Just because Richard would have hired Don Tremblay—the Shooter McGavin of local therapists—if she’d turned it down was no reason to martyr herself. She should have just let him do it. Her heavy breather probably wouldn’t have minded, and neither would any of the other callers.
Except Regina.
“Richard…I don’t want to be in that rag.”
“You say rag, we at the station say invaluable source. Do you have any idea how many subscribers they have?”
They reached Megan’s car, sitting all by itself under one dim fluorescent light. “No, but I bet you’re going to tell me.”
“Over twenty thousand. Twenty thousand subscribers, and that doesn’t include off-the-shelf readers or people in waiting rooms. They’re a big deal, and they want to do a big story.”
“One interview isn’t a big story. I don’t think GQ or Vogue do just one brief dinner interview and turn it into—oh, no.” Clutching her purse in front of her like a shield, she said, “Tell me you didn’t sign me up for that “Week in the Life” thing. Please.”
“It’s good publicity. Besides, they’ll do a plug for the Femmel Foundation by writing about the ball. You do want to do your part for charity, don’t you?”
“It’s an imposition.”
“It’s your job.”
Megan glared at him. “Fine.”
Richard waited while she got into the car and settled into the driver’s seat. Just before he closed the door for her, he said, “Wear something sexy. They might take pictures, too.”
By the time she thought of a nasty enough reply, he was too far away to hear it.

What Stace had to say on Monday, August 27th, 2007
Okay…commence sneak peekage…

(The above is a temporary cover, but the final version won’t change significantly. Isn’t it cool?!)

Personal Demons is available for preorder on Amazon here!!

And to celebrate my preorder status, I’ll be posting the entire first chapter here this week. One scene a day, today tomorrow and Wednesday.

Enjoy!

(Note: This is an unedited excerpt. Final version may vary slightly.)

Chapter One

“Welcome back to Personal Demons,” Megan said into the microphone. “Our next caller is Regina. Hi, Regina, how can I slay your personal demons?”
The words tasted like shame. She and Richard had fought over that line, just as they’d fought over the massive publicity campaign he and the station orchestrated for the show.
Richard signed the paychecks, so Richard won. Never let it be said that good taste and actually helping people outweighed silly gimmicks in the media world.
“Regina? Are you there?”
“I’m scared.” The rush of images accompanying that small, almost childish voice raised goosebumps on Megan’s skin and drove all thoughts of Richard and tacky taglines from her mind. The pale, pointed face of a woman, limp blond hair tucked behind her ears. Blood poured over the vision, red and viscous. Gnarled six-toed feet stepped in the blood, leaving misshapen prints like chinks in a mirror.
Megan gasped, rocking back in her chair. What the hell was that? Instinctively she raised her psychic shields, only to drop them again. Regina was her client now, just like any other. She deserved everything Megan could give to help her.
Bill and Richard gestured at her from the booth, their faces reddening. Dead air was radio’s most mortal sin.
“Sorry, sorry. We had a minor technical problem. You said you’re scared?”
“Yes.” Regina sniffled. “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t take it anymore.”
Now the initial terrifying flash had passed, Megan received more mundane pictures. A car, a bland pale green office cubicle looking like every other bland, pale green office cubicle. An attractive man, smiling down at her—at Regina. A boyfriend, maybe?
Megan forced her muscles to relax. “Why don’t you tell me what’s happening.”
“It’s the voices. They talk to me all the time. When I’m awake, when I’m asleep…I hear them.”
“Voices?”
“Evil voices. They tell me to…to hurt myself. To hurt other people. And I don’t do it, but I think I might. I have to make them stop.”
“Have you spoken to anyone—”
Regina’s sobs shuddered through the phone line. “They won’t go away, they won’t leave me alone, and they say horrible things, and they want me to do horrible things, and I think if I were dead I wouldn’t hear them anymore. I don’t want to die. But I can’t listen to them anymore either.”
Regina didn’t feel organically disturbed to Megan, but mentally sound people did not hear voices. And none of this accounted for that scaly, misshapen foot or the cold panic it inspired.
“Regina, suicide is never the answer. Listen to me. You can be helped. We can find out why this is happening to you, and we can make those voices go away. Okay? You can be happy again. You’re a good person, and you deserve to be happy, right?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. They told me I’m not, they told me they’re with me because I’m bad.”
“You’re not bad.” Megan sat up straighter in her chair and leaned forward, staring at the microphone as if Regina could somehow see her through it. “Not at all. I bet the people you work with don’t think you’re bad, do they?” The face of the man in the office flashed up again. “Maybe there’s a few people there you can trust, who you can talk to?”
Regina blew her nose, which sounded wonderful on-air. “Maybe.”
“Then here’s what I want you to do. I want you to think of those people, okay? Think about them, and think about your parents, and all the people who care about you. When you hear those voices telling you to hurt yourself, you think about them. And my engineer Bill is going to give you a different phone number to call, and the people on the other end of that call are going to help you, too. You don’t have to be scared anymore, all right?”
“Thank you,” Regina said.
“Good,” Megan replied, relieved. “Out time is up for this evening, but I want you to call me back here next week and tell me how you’re doing. Will you do that?”
“Yes. I’ll call you. Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome. You take care of yourself and call me next week.” Megan signaled Bill to transfer Regina back. He already had the list in his hands to give her the suicide hotline number. At least Regina had genuinely wanted help, unlike most of Megan’s other inaugural show callers. Three lonely hearts, one rebellious teen, a man who thought Elvis lived next door, and one pervert had not made for a stellar beginning.
Thirty seconds to the blessed moment Megan could go home and not come back for another week. “I want everyone listening now to pay attention. There is always a reason to live, no matter how you might feel right now. There are always people who care about you, people willing to listen and try to help you. If you think you don’t have anyone, you’re wrong, because you can call me, here on this show. I care, and I’ll listen. We’re out of time for tonight, but I’ll be back next week.”
Once more the music filled the studio. Bill gave her the thumbs up, but Richard leaned over him and pushed a button. “That was great.” Megan smiled, but he continued, “but you didn’t use the phrase. Don’t ever go to break or end the show without using the phrase. It’s the most important thing you’ll do on the air.”

What Stace had to say on Friday, August 24th, 2007
Epublishing: with Tina Burns, Acquisitions Editor, Liquid Silver Books

*****Tina will be stopping by during the day to answer any further questions you may have!! So please don’t be shy!********

1. Do you have any comment on RWA’s recent re-redefinition of “Vanity/Subsidy publisher”?

No. It doesn’t affect our readers, and many of our authors qualify for PAN membership, which seems to be their main concern. Many of our authors are RWA and we have never been a vanity press.

2. What do you think a writer should look for from an epublisher, and how should they expect to be treated?

My list isn’t in order of importance as I feel that they all have close to equal weight, so here’s my list:
Longevity – how long have they been in business?
Public Standing – are they looked on favorably in the ePublishing community? Are they frequently part of the rumor/blog comment mill? Are they recommended by their authors, by readers? Other Publishers?
Genreability – I know it’s not a word, but it says what I mean. 😉 Know what a publisher publishes. If they publish erotic romance, a time travel mystery book with dueling shifter clans with no romantic elements won’t fit.
Quality – Want to know what a publisher is like? Buy a few of their books, different genres, different lengths, and read them. Are there mistakes? Even if the story doesn’t grab you, is there a clear storyline?
Covers – The good, the bad, and the very very bad. This goes along with quality, but I feel it’s a strong enough “must” for its own bullet point.
Contract – One year should be enough for generic contracts, and rights which won’t be exploited by the pub shouldn’t be claimed.
Submission guidelines – These should be simple to understand, and minimal.
Royalties – Epubs should be able to pay 40+% of revenue on all books.
Business acumen – Epub is a business, so it should be run by people with business knowledge and experience.
Editing – It’s more than spell checking. Epubs should require necessary rewrites before contract, the content editing should be thorough, and there should be a separate copy editing step at the end.
Future-proof – Many electronic files from 10 years ago can’t be read by today’s software and devices. The epub should be maximizing the likelihood of their content being readable in 10-20 years time.
Customer service – You want your epub to treat customers well, otherwise they won’t return and buy your books. Buy from them, then ask a question or make a complaint.

Authors should expect to be treated with respect and in a timely manner. They should expect to receive their royalties within the right of their contracts. I strive to be very approachable. Most times I’m an author’s first point of contact at Liquid Silver and I remember what it’s like to be a first time author, or first time to a new publisher, so I’ve made a point to keep that stressor point for authors very minimal.

3. What are the most common mistakes made by authors submitting works for consideration?

How long can this be? LOL. The biggest mistake I find is that authors submit works that aren’t critiqued by a peer. And by peer I don’t mean their best friend (non-author) who’s going to gush that it’s the best thing she’s ever read. There are many ways to find a critique partner/beta reader in the erotic romance world. Know your genre. Along with making sure a story actually makes sense, the CP will/should help the author catch any grammatical errors and inconsistencies. Yes, grammar and some writing issues can be fixed in editing, but if those problems are so prevalent that the story doesn’t come through, then it’s not submission ready.

My personal pet peeve (hint for anyone submitting to LSB) is head-hopping aka point-of-view switching. I don’t need to know that Fred the bartender thinks Sally’s jugs are mouthwatering, unless Fred happens to be the hero or the villain. Keeping the POV between the main characters keeps the story moving forward and interesting, not brain numbing. Besides, we can’t all be Nora Roberts. 😉

We have a forum for readers and authors: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums/ (**Direct link). We’ve got a thread there for aspiring authors where they (or anyone, aspiring or multi-pubbed) can peruse and/or ask questions. I’ve started a blog/thread of sorts titled “How NOT to get my book published” where I try in a lighthearted yet serious way to give authors writing advice.

4. Although conservative non-fiction has a large following, lately I have picked up on a resistance to conservative leaning fiction. Two well known agents even stated such on their Blogs. This is informative, and it means if you write from a conservative perspective, it would be best to seek representation elsewhere. My question is how pervasive is this attitude among publishers and agents? Do the political views or leanings, in either direction, of the author or characters in a book influence your decision? Would you ask an author to tone such views down to make the book more palatable to a larger readership?

Liquid Silver Books is an imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, which is a non-erotic publisher. The owners have decided that in the current market (meaning buyers market) they’re concentrating on the Liquid Silver end of their company. If, in the future, conservative fiction becomes more of a demand from buyers, then they are very open to re-launching Atlantic Bridge.

I’m not much of a political debater, and because of that I’m going to give a very PC answer so I don’t get myself in trouble. I’ll give an example vs replying with a general answer….

I have gotten a couple submissions where I’ve felt that the story focused on pushing the author’s views of a certain subject on the reader, or that the “emotion” behind the story was “preachy”. In those instances, if the story could sustain itself outside of the politics of the issue, I start a dialogue with the author about it. What’s the point they’re trying to get across? I’ve found that most times, authors don’t even realize their personal beliefs were coming across so strong, and willingly work with us to make the story approachable for all readers.

5. With a primarily digital mode of publication, how do you decide how much to publish? Are all high quality manuscripts that meet the perceived needs of your customers published, or is there a goal for monthly or annual publications?

I don’t make the decisions as to how many books a week we publish, the owners do, but we’ve found that to maintain the high quality of editing, covers, and stories we’re known for, two books a week is a good consistent number. We don’t have a monthly or annual goal to hit, yet at the same time, yes, all high quality submissions that fit our criteria are most often contracted and published. We don’t accept books just to fill a publishing quota.

6. When would you advise an author to seek publication with a traditional print publisher and when is it in their best interests to publish in digital format? The pros and cons are often debated among authors, and I was wondering how the actual publishers saw these issues.

That’s hard for me to answer. It’s my opinion that that question is often an author’s personal choice to go print or ePub. If I receive a submission email from an author letting me know they’re looking forward to seeing their books on the bookshelves of a brick and mortar store, then I let them know that they might be considering the wrong publisher. Liquid Silver does have some books in print. In the next few years we will be printing more and they will be available in bookstores, but we are primarily an ebook publisher and we’re going to stay that way. We’ve set very high criteria for books to move on to the print stage of our business.

Epublishing offers many pros to the publishing world: Quick turnaround from start to finish, a wide variety of genres, and the ability to mix genres to name a few.

Liquid Silver has had many authors make that transition from ebook author to mainstream print, and we’ve no issues with that happening and are very flexible and encouraging of our authors that choose to do so. Sasha White, Jasmine Haynes aka Jennifer Skully, Alyssa Brooks, Amie Stuart aka Celia Stuart, Jodi Lynn Copeland…the list goes on. Some of our authors that have recently gotten print contracts are Shara Lanel and Terri Schaefer, both excellent authors and still write for us.

7. Can you share any sorts of revenue targets you have in mind when purchasing a manuscript? I assume that you need to sell a certain number of copies before the time spent acquiring, editing, and publishing is worth it financially. What is that approximate point? What percentage of manuscripts make this cut-off?

We have some authors whose sales of most books are consistently poor, but we welcome their next submission. Why do we adopt this apparently counter-intuitive approach?

LSB is focused on epub for the long term. We regard the current phase as the learning period–for authors and us–before epub goes mainstream. As such, we want quality stories as #1 priority; good sellers are very welcome, but not necessary.

We can afford this approach because it keeps our business lean, which is a major reason we’re still around since 1999–the pay-off is in the future. So to summarize: no revenue targets for a manuscript, but it must (potentially) be a good story well told.

8. By far the most famous epublishers currently are focused on erotic romance. I would guess that far more erotic romance is bought in ebook format than in print. First, is this guess accurate? Secondly, what prospects do you see in the short to mid term for other genres in eBook format? Will we soon see non-romance mysteries or fantasy or manga taking off? Will we see it with your company?

I answered this mostly in number 4, but yes, right now erotic romance is the “it” buying genre at the moment. As far as genre’s we will take, anything and everything, as long as the story is good and it’s erotic romance. I’d love to see a really good erotic historical, especially medieval times. (not-so-subtle-hint)

As an aside, speaking for LSB specifically, the story line must stand alone without the descriptive sex that constitutes the erotic part. If your story is a string of sex scenes held very loosely together by what might be considered a plot, then we don’t consider it erotic romance. The romantic connection between the characters and the storyline are first and foremost in our books, the descriptive sex a bonus. I like to think of them as romance books that leave the lights on.

9. Is there such a thing as a best seller list for e-books?

We’re don’t have a published one, though it is something we’ve considered. We do after a few months use Fictionwise as a bookseller and they have a best seller list that Liquid Silver is a frequent addition to.

10. Since marketing and promotion are a shared venture with publishers and authors, what do you see as some of the best venues and tools to establish the name and work of a new writer?

The best answer I can give … Write another book, and another. The more you write, the more your name gets in front of readers, and word of mouth is the fire that will fuel your sales. Don’t get too caught up in the loops or forums, pretty soon you’ll be chatting and promoting too much to write again. When you do promote, sell you, the author, your name, not just your books. If your name is Sue Black, and your book title is Rainbow Kisses and How I Married the Leprechaun Guarding the Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow, which is easier to remember?

Joke Question:
“I have a manuscript for a erotic romantic paranormal suspense starring Hugo the Were-Alpaca and a famous movie star, Angela Jolee. Angela is fed up with her movie star husband and lost in life until she meets Hugo, a budding author and blog commenter not based upon the author at all, and discovers she can only find happiness when naked with Hugo and using bowls of pudding in intriguing ways. It is complete at 185,000 words and is the first in a series, though it can certainly stand upright and for a long, long time on its own. It is typically ready to be re-read in under 5 minutes. Book 2 features Hugo and Jessyka Albra; book 3, Hugo and Tyla Spanks; and Book 4 explores the possibilities of all four together. Interested?”

If the pudding is chocolate or butterscotch, email me.

Liquid Silver Books – www.liquidsilverbooks.com
Liquid Silver Forums – www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums
Liquid Silver Blog – www.liquidsilverbooks.com/blog
LS Reader Group – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liquidsilverreaders/
Submissions – http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/guidelines.htm

Tina Burns
Acquisitions Director
tina @ liquidsilverbooks.com (*Note: I added the spaces to keep Tina’s email away from the spiders, so remove them to email her.)

Thanks so much, Tina, for a fantastic interview!

What Stace had to say on Friday, August 24th, 2007
A couple of quick notes

–I have added the recipes for peanut butter cake, spanakopita, and my fake greek potatoes to the Overflow blog (link on right.)

–I’m just about halfway done with The Demon Inside and I’m going to need a new beta reader when I’m done–someone who hasn’t read Personal Demons, because I need to know if the book works without knowing the backstory. Any takers? Email me if you’re interested. It won’t be for at least another three weeks or so, so check your schedule. I have a hard time critting/beta-ing when I’m working so I try to plan windows.
You don’t have to crit; I just want someone to give me their impressions of the book–in detail, if possible, please, especially in its rough(er) form. And I’ll owe you a beta back, if you like. (I feel the need to mention “detail” because I really am paranoid and so will bug you to death. Really. Ask poor Anna J. Evans and McKoala. It’s not that I don’t trust you guys, it’s that I’m demanding.)

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I will be posting the entire first chapter of Personal Demons, a scene a day. Can’t wait to hear what you all think!!

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
Perfumes..and time wasters!

Yay! My perfumes arrived yesterday from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab!

I ordered 20 of their sample sized “Imps”, in a wide variety of scents. My favorite so far is “O”, but I’m also really digging “Siren” and “Blood Amber”. I’ll try them all, one a day–it’s the belated birthday gift that keeps on giving!

I was looking through Personal Demons yesterday and realized the place in that book where I almost gave up, and sat on my hands for almost three weeks because I had no idea how to get where I needed to be, was page 160. Guess where I’m stuck on The Demon Inside? Page 160, you say? Why, yes!

The good news is, I think I have figured out how to get over the hump. I actually got some words in this morning and think I’ll do more tonight (after Heroes, of course.)

Also in time-wasting, I decided, for some insane reason, that it would be fun to make spanakopita from scratch. Okay, actually it was kind of fun, but next time I’m using fresh spinach instead of frozen, because that shit was a bitch to thaw and took forever. Plus, phyllo pastry? Fiddly, although not as bad as I’ve heard. They say to keep it damp, but I actually found it easier to work with a little drier. Less fragile but still quite pliable.

Anyway. That’s it. I smell good–or at least I did until I started messing about with spinach and feta cheese–and I’ll either eat well tonight or I’ll eat terribly. (I’m also doing roast potatoes with garlic, lemon, oregano and nutmeg).

Oh, and I’ve become obsessed with Dog the Bounty Hunter.



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