Friday, November 16, 2018

Market: Black Opal Books

Black Opal Books (2010--)
Genres: Romance +  "we handle all genres of romance, as well as women’s fiction, chick lit, historicals, mysteries, thrillers, YA, and limited non-fiction."

Accepts submissions between June first and December thirty-first each year
IMHO their covers aren't great, a bit amateurish.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Stacey Abrams and the Status of Romance Writing

Given that romance novels are still often treated as low brow and somewhat embarrassing by much of the general media, coverage of Stacey Abrams' run for the post of Governor or Georgia has been a pleasant surprise.   (Stacey Abrams being the woman behind the pen name Selena Montgomery.)

Picking the top 20 Google News results for 'Stacey Abrams romance' reveals that 75% of the mentions of her writing career are positive.  They range from referring to her writing as award winning and popular to saying how her novels reflect her skills and values.  For example by praising her strategies in getting the books published despite barriers to writers of color and her use of the profits to address her debts.  The other 25% of mentions are not negative, just neutral or mixed.

A search on general Google shows similar results albeit with a greater use of steamy snippets.  To date I have only seen one highly partisan post that openly mocked the candidate for the content of her novels -- which in the current climate is much less than I would have expected.

While Brian Kemp has declared victory in the Governor's race, Abrams has yet to concede and an official call has not been made.  With a margin of less that 1/4 of a percent a run off may yet be called.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Start at it Again

After going through a quiet period Start has acquired some new imprints: Pyr (sci fi) and Seventh Street (crime) from Prometheus. Prometheus is refocusing back on non-fiction. It's getting crowded up in there.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Review: The Women's War by Jenna Glass (Random House)

On one level the Woman’s War is a well realized high fantasy novel in which the power of magic is fundamentally changed so that it favors women.  As someone who has written some high fantasy, this story really confronted me with how I fall back on traditional misogynist world building .  I have always tried to show that women have forms of power within patriarchal systems, but I have never confronted the system itself in the way that this book does.

Not that the prose is in anyway strident or didactic.  It takes an event that undermines the power of a number of kings in bordering lands, and it tracks through the consequences for a number of key people.  Illegitimate princess Alysoon is the most focal character but an ensemble of other male and female also have their perspectives revealed.

Most striking is how the plot reveals the sacrifice of compassion and care-taking that people often make when trying to serve the greater good—whether that is a king desperate for a male heir, or girl facing a forced marriage to protect her brother’s safety.  It is from this point of view that the poignant ending is an intense combination of victory and defeat.

The Woman’s War is a story of court intrigue, wars and love between well realized characters in a well-built fantasy world.  It includes a speculative element more common in sci fi than fantasy—but maybe this is more a result of lazy thinking by writers including myself who tend to lean heavily on familiar fantasy tropes. Because this novel does not sacrifice anything in terms of entertainment value in the course of being—for the thoughtful reader—a great deal more.

Review copy courtesy of NetGalley -- 10/10 #NotACommonRatingForMe

Saturday, November 10, 2018

But not *too* Rebel

There is no doubt in my mind that Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls is a great book--I mean, it could have used another round of editing, but the message is solid.

But I have to ask, why did publisher Timbuktu Labs, and indeed the authors,  allow the Russian publisher to erase the story about Coy Mathis? Coy Mathis is a child who was part of a landmark decision to allow transgender people access to a gender-appropriate bathroom.

The webpage boasting about the book being translated into 26 languages seems to have vanished from the internet.  Was the irony of trumpeting availability at the cost of integrity just too much for them?  Where is the publisher's explanation for how this happened and what they plan to do about it?

Carter Press -- Not Recommended

Carter Press presents itself as some kind of  hybrid publisher and marketing service. The site was registered last July and Carter Press lists a residential home as their address. They have no notable achievements to their name, no named personnel, and nothing to recommend them.  They seem to be actively soliciting authors for fee-charging services. Avoid.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Eros Imprint, Tule Publishing

Eros (2013) (Imprint of Tule Publishing)


[9 Nov 2018] Tule Publishing was founded in 2013 by Jane Porter. It spawned a number of imprint, including an erotica and erotic romance imprint called Eros some time around 2015.  All of the Tule books are immaculately packaged in a way that belies Tule's small press status--albeit a lower volume and very selective small press.

The Eros covers seem to cross the line from archetypal to cliche.  There is the 50 Shades clone, the lingerie catalog shots, and the usual sprinkling of rose petals and stilettos. At point of sale the publisher is listed as Tule, which in combination with the generic name robs Eros of any strong sense of identity. Nevertheless the books from this imprint seem to be successful and well-received.

Tule is currently not seeking submissions for Eros, but open to submissions for American Hearts, Holiday, Montana Born, and Texas Born