Thursday, August 30, 2018

New Market: 13Red

13Red Media is seeking submissions for several imprints including:

"Cherry is our LGBTQ-focused Romance and Erotica imprint. Send us your sexiest, but make sure your characters are well-fleshed and the plot is strong. Novel length should be between 60,000-90,000 words. Novellas of 20,000-30,000 words will be considered for Erotica only."

Monday, August 27, 2018

Melodrama Publishing Lives Up to Their Name

Melodrama Publishing came to my attention after I saw one of their books in my local Walmart.  I have to say the presentation of the book itself did not make a positive impression.  It had that trade paperback size, $15 price tag,  and overly shiny cover that you see more often from under-achieving self-publishers than a press with in-store distribution. Nevertheless, it take some serious skills to get your books on the shelves of a Walmart Supercenter--so I was intrigued.

Melodrama was founded in 2001 by author  Crystal Lacey Winslow and now includes works by fifteen other authors--the book I saw being by Nisa Santiago. Although in this case the correlation between pseudonyms and actual writers might be a loose one.  There seems to be some interesting history with the name of Santiago which was initially intended to be a pseudonym for Danielle Santiago but was ultimately used by Melodrama as a pen name for a number of different ghost writers (after Danielle failed to deliver promised manuscripts).

Melodrama Publishing seems to be a strong and now well-established presence in urban/African American fiction with a focus on tough, glamorous heroines and dramatic stories involving organized crime.  This apparently popular niche supports higher pricing on both paperbacks and kindle editions (up to $9.99).  In a time when many small presses are cutting prices and going under, Winslow has developed a recipe for success that demonstrates that my first impressions were 100% wrong.  Melodrama Publishing is the kind of author-founded press most of the others aspire to be.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: Salt Magic, Skin Magic--Lee Welch (8.86/10)

When you consider books that are competently written, the biggest question is whether a given book will deliver the kind of reading experience you happen to enjoy.  So I embark on an angst M/M romance with fantasy elements and a Victorian setting--there is a pretty good chance that this is a book I am going to enjoy.

A cursed nobleman and a conflicted commoner magician collide in a enormous decaying mansion where something sinister is afoot.  The gothic mood,  sexy romance, and magical mystery are nicely balanced--and female supporting characters are given room for their own motivations rather than being slotted into the usual stereotypes (as is sadly so often the case). After some initial misunderstandings and conflict our heroes get to work breaking the curse.

As stated in the AAR review of this book the story and world building are clever.  Even well-worn tropes such as fetishizing upper class culture are given a new twist the being expressed as a very realistic actual real fetish of John Blake the industrial magician.

I think there are only a few weaker points, such as how easily the characters seem to come up with revolutionary magic ideas in a world-setting where they should be discoverable to many.  And the cover while undeniably very striking and  attractive suggests pure high fantasy and does not represent the dark tone or period of the story, or even the appearance of the characters as described in the text. There are many readers that adore historical fantasy and it is a kindness to give us covers that signal genre so we can find them.

My rating 8.25/10
Gay Book Reviews: 6/10
Joyfully Jay: 9.5/10
Just Love: 10/10
Love Bytes: 9/10
Scatter Thoughts: 10/10
Amazon: 9.4/10
Goodreads: 8.7/10
Aggregate: 8.86/10