This one's for the unpubs.
Polish up those manuscripts you've been futzing around with, add some healthy dollops of sizzle and steam and whip them into, er, submission by September.
That's when Kensington's Brava imprint will launch its Writing with the Stars contest in conjunction with Romantic Times. All the details will be in the June issue of RT.
But Kensington's Alicia Condon, Editorial Director for Brava, offered a sneak peak today on the Brava Authors blog. After the submissions are in, the editors will select ten finalists and pair them with established Brava stars for a series of challenges--including such things as opening hooks, hot heroes and blistering love scenes. Brava mentors and romance celebrity judges will comment on the results of the challenges each month in the RT Book Reviews section. Readers and fans vote.
You know, kind of like American Idol and its progeny.
Or, to be more accurate, like Dorchester's American Title competition. (Probably no coincidence that Alicia Condon was at Dorchester for 23 years before moving to Kensington to fill the position left vacant by the death of Kate Duffy.)
We'll likely have to wait until June for the complete rules.
Here are a few tips that might get you started. Brava was the brainstorm of Kate Duffy, who envisioned the line this way: "First and foremost, these books are romances--so they combine deep emotional attachment with sexual love and desire..."
According to the 2004 submission guidelines--the latest I could find that were specifically for Brava, rather than all the Kensington imprints--manuscripts should be up to 100,000 words, written in third person. The point of view can be from either or both the hero and heroine's perspective and the settings can be "limitless."
I love that word. Limitless. So fraught with possibility.
In September, while still with Dorchester, Alicia Condon (who has also worked at Bantam and Silhouette) gave an interview in which she said she was "very excited about fantasy romance" but hadn't seen too many submissions. At that point, she was also looking for "a fresh fairy godmother story."
So go limitless. And exercise your "magnificent voice."
And here's a little tidbit (from RT's Read Smarter on Twitter) for you pubs. Grand Central's Forever imprint is expanding:
"Grand Central Publishing, parent company to the romance imprint Forever, announced yesterday that it will be expanding the line's offerings from 36 book a year to 48 titles a year beginning in 2011. This means there will be more books you love, from established Grand Central authors like Elizabeth Hoyt, Larissa Ione and Amanda Scott as well as books from new authors.
"As part of their move, several editors have been promoted. Selina McLemore is now Forever's senior editor and Alex Logan has been promoted to associate editor. Amy Pierpont remains the editorial director of Forever and oversees the line."