While I was writing my first erotic romance, I researched the market very carefully. After reading dozens of submission guidelines, the comments of every agent handling erotic romance that Google could find, and the advice of so many writers that it all blended together, there was a clear consensus on how to produce a saleable manuscript:
– Shoot for 80K words.
– Pick one easily definable category, such as contemporary, historical, paranormal, etc.
– The heroine should not have sex with anyone else after meeting the hero
– The hero should be yummy.
So when I finished my story, and realized I’d written a 19K word contemporary story about a heroine with two yummy husbands due to a hole between parallel universes, I figured I was hopeless.
And then Carina Press announced their existence, with their actively seeking stories that didn’t fit a niche.
The fact that they were a digital press was the cherry on top, because I had my heart set on e-publishing from the beginning. Digital publishing is absolutely the future, and you and I are standing here at the dawn of the golden age. We are going to look back at the e-reading devices for sale today and snicker, y’all. We’re going to look at the Kindle and the Nook and even the iPad and think, aw, how cute. Think of your reaction to your great-grandmother’s idea of a radio, and your grandfather’s television set. Think of how your kids snicker when they see TV rabbit ears or a boombox.
We readers and writers are going to bore our own grandchildren to tears when we tell them how we were there at the start of it all, and it is going to be marvelous.
How will you explain early e-books to your kids? What book will you always keep in a paper copy? How much of your book collection would you convert to digital if you could do it with a wave of your hand?
Her Heart’s Divide, Excerpt #1 (edited to be totally safe for work and small children):
I heard the driveway gravel crunching beneath the tires of his pickup truck, so I “accidentally” sprayed myself with the hose. It was an irresistible impulse. It was my day off and I’d been washing my car. My husband and I had been working a lot of overtime lately, with no time for recreation or even chores. And I knew how much he loved seeing me in a wet T-shirt.
The truck’s engine turned off, and I heard him striding closer. I pulled off my ponytail elastic and shook my long, dark hair into what I hoped would look like an auto-show model’s mane. The metal of the car was warm in the midsummer sun, so I turned around and leaned back against the trunk, displaying myself for him. Then I froze.
“My god, you’re a sight for sore eyes,” said Jack. His blue eyes sparkled in his tired face as he looked me up and down. “I had a terrible day and fell asleep at the wheel on my way home. I nearly wrecked the truck. But you always make everything all right, Lila.”
He pulled me into a tight embrace despite my wet shirt and leaned down to kiss my neck. He slipped his hand in between our bodies. “I love you, sweet girl. You’re the nicest wife a man could ask for,” he whispered.
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. The love seemed genuine and his physical reaction was undeniable. The only trouble was that Jack wasn’t my husband. He was my boss. And in my entire life before this afternoon, I’d never so much as kissed the man.
An hour later, he was still in shock. I’d changed into dry clothes, and now I sat at the dining room table, watching him walk in circles around my big all-purpose room that overlooked the river.
“I didn’t buy any of this furniture,” he finally said.
“Of course you didn’t. This isn’t your house,” I said, trying to keep my voice from shaking.
He clenched his hands over the top of the futon we—my husband and I—used as a couch. “You and I bought this house five years ago. You said you’d always wanted to live in a little house by the river. Our agent saw the listing, and once you saw it, you wouldn’t look at another house.”
“Ryan and I bought it five years ago because I’d always wanted to live in a little house by the river, and we found it by chance when we were down here kayaking.”
“Since when do you go kayaking?” he demanded.
“Since Ryan asked me to try it on our third date! Seven years ago!”
“Seven years ago you’d been dating me for six months.”
“Jack.” I tried to calm down. “We have never dated. Ever. You’ve been my boss for almost eight years, you’ve been my husband’s best friend since college, and while after this many years you and I are very close, trust me when I say I’m positive we never hooked up. You’re married, for heaven’s sake.”
“Married. To Allison. I was at the wedding along with the rest of the team.” There were a dozen of us who worked at Jack’s small truck dealership, and most of us had been there for years. There weren’t a lot of employment options in southwest Virginia, which is like one big small town, and Jack was a good guy and easy to work for. When he wasn’t out of his mind, that is.
“Allison? I’m married to someone who believes in fairies? She’s a nutcase! How the hell did I wind up married to Allison?”
“Why the hell are you yelling at my wife, Jack?”
We turned and saw Ryan leaning against the doorway. He wasn’t angry, but I could see he was ready to take action if that’s what was needed. I ran over to him and flung my arms around his neck. “Jack’s gone crazy. He thinks he’s married to me and lives in this house,” I whispered.
**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**