Saturday was a one-day mini-conference for Florida Romance Writers. The day started off with an inspirational keynote address by NY Times bestselling author Carla Neggers. She spoke about the ups and downs of a writing career and how we balance these setbacks and successes.
A panel followed with agent Marlene Stringer, Cleis Press Publisher Karen Thomas, Harlequin editor Charles Griemsman, and Berkley editor Kristine Swartz.
Charles from Harlequin mentioned how he works with short category, contemporary romance series. He prefers alpha males who are wealthy and passionate, hard men with an underlying vulnerability. Tycoons and ranchers are ever popular as are stories with babies. He looks for books that focus on romantic tension and internal conflict. The Special Edition line is more family-oriented but its stories are still sensual.
Kristine from Berkley likes epic and urban fantasy, sexy romance, women’s fiction, and some mystery. She likes humor in stories as well.
Karen Thomas spoke about her publishing house that produces erotica and gay/lesbian fiction.
Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Agency is looking for commercial fiction but no erotica, inspirational, or space opera. She says there aren’t any bans in romance anymore like there used to be for musician or actor heroes.
Regarding genre fiction, paranormal isn’t dead if it’s something fresh. New Adult is a hard sell because booksellers don’t know where to shelve it. The Chick Lit label is gone, but the stories are still there. As for historical romance, it’s on the rise again. Regency, Victorian, and Scottish settings remain popular. Stories set in France do not fare as well. Books today need more diversity to reflect our society.
We ate a box lunch following the agent and editor panel. Then Dr. Debra Holland spoke about how she became a bestselling indie author.
At 2:00, I gave a workshop titled Marketing on a Shoestring.
Then I listened to my friends Carla Neggers, Alyssa Maxwell, Kat Carlton, and Traci Hall speak about Revitalizing Your Career. A general booksigning followed with Murder on the Beach booksellers present.
As it is with any conference, networking with other authors was the best part. Now I am looking forward to SleuthFest next month.
I started out my writing journey and went to RWA Nationals after finishing my first novel. I learned my writing sucked. I tried to fix it, but I’ve never sold those earlier books. To me, life is about growing and moving forward. I wrote more and decided that I had enough of waiting a few years with nothing happening. I decided to self-pub, and I chose a faux name writing as Greta Buckle. Victoria, my name, was reserved for traditional publishing. Then I discovered self-publishing wasn’t the only alternative path. Small press was another viable option.
It’s a relief to go small. And I’m glad I chose this route.
I paid someone to edit Mything You. I love the story, but that editing wasn’t nearly as brutal as the Zoastra Affair. I rewrote that novel so many times my head spins. My editor corrected me on so much that my writing will never be the same. The growth and care I received from Soul Mate Publishing is something I’m grateful for experiencing. These were real editors who told me I needed to work on my craft, and I wasn’t paying for their services. If my editor said “rewrite,” I had no choice. I had to think deeper. Change. Say yes.
And I couldn’t ignore it.
Publishing is a business. Amazon is so profiting off indie authors, and Amazon cares more about Amazon than it does me. Play the game and play it well. But let’s not forget there are people out there also looking to make money WHILE publishing a good book that is not Amazon. I’ve learned more from editing than I did in a year of independent publishing. And I can focus on writing, not everything else it takes until the media giant takes 100% of all profits.
Small Publishers can answer the phone, and listen and help. Publishing is a business and it’s not all about you controlling everything. What are you willing to trade? I want my time to write. Don’t jump into one type of publishing because it’s easier than the other. There are pros and cons to everything. With publishers, there is time to write.
The Zoastra Affair, December 2013, Soul Mate Publishing Chaperoning Paris, 2014, Soul Mate Publishing Borrowing the Doctor, 2014, Soul Mate Publishing Mything the Throne, 2014, Double Dragon ebooks. Electing Love, 2014, Soul Mate Publishing
Oh, and special thanks to Nancy Cohen. She’s the newly elected President of Florida Chapter Mystery Writers of America as well as Vice President of Communications for Florida Romance Writers. I just chose to be Vice President of Programs for FRW, and I can’t imagine where she has the time. But besides all that, she’s a good person with a positive attitude. She’s one of the people I’m most thankful for in real life for knowing. She’s amazing.
The Zoastra Affair by Victoria Pinder Published by Soul Mate Publishing
Science Fiction Romance
YouTube Trailer: http://youtu.be/Buah-LGT4tA
A hundred years from now, Earth is a trading partner with alien beings, mostly humanoid. However, going into space brought forth an unknown enemy who attacks Earth at will.
The Zoastra are part of the Earthseekers, an organization originally designed to go into space. Its new mission is to find Earth’s enemies.
Ariel is stuck on a Victorian planet and steals Grace’s body and life to get off the planet. Grace must get her body back before Ariel bonds with Grace’s husband, Peter. Then there is Cross, the man on a mission to find those who killed his family. Ariel is attracted to Cross, but she’s stolen someone’s life.
I’m going to have to steal someone else’s body to get out of here.
“Ariel, are you listening?”
Ariel Transcender stared dumbfounded at the mother superior of her prison, a/k/a Aulnale School for Orphans. “Yes, mistress.”
She had no idea what happened, though she pasted a fake simpering smile of appreciation on her face. Ms. Rochelle walked away.
A few minutes later, Ariel looked out the window again, tuning out Rochelle’s mind numbing lecture on what was proper behavior when near a man. The boarding home on this planet gave the stupidest lectures of the galaxy. Her lips curled into a sneer. Women were not excited to be bound to men.
Could I do this to someone else? Do I have any other choice?
Lenchena, the teenage girl who’d stolen her adult body and taken off on Ariel’s ship, needed to be found. And Ariel refused to listen to the daily drivel about always listening to a man.
About the Author:
Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, after passing many tests proving how easy Math came to her. Then hating her life at the age of twenty four, she decided to go to law school. Four years later, after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hates the practice of law. She refused to one day turn 50 and realize she had nothing but her career and hours at a desk. After realizing she needed change, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is rewarding, but writing is a passion.
During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, and Victoria spent too many years living other people’s dreams, but when she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. The middle school year book when someone wrote in it that one day she’d be a writer made sense when she turned thirty.
When she woke up to what she wanted, the dream of writing became so obvious. She dreams of writing professionally, where her barista can make her coffee and a walk on the beach can motivate her tales. Contemporary romances are just fun to write. She’s always thinking who’s getting hurt and whose story is next on the list to fall in love. Victoria’s love of writing has kept her centered and focused through her many phases, and she’s motivated to write many stories.
Member of Florida Romance Writers; Contemporary Romance; Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA; and Savvy Authors.