Loose Id calls for submissions

A couple of new calls for submissions from my main publisher. Note that they’re a general erotic romance publisher — all genres, all genders, all combinations, as long as there’s heat integral to the story, and at least a Happy For Now ending. Yes, I do mean “all genders”, not “both genders”.

Current Special Calls for Submission

Homecomings

Who doesn’t love a tough and tender reunion story? Homecomings is a themed, open-call collection centered around meaningful reunion/return events. Whether it’s the first female soldier in her family returning from Iraq to be reunited with the boy she married before she left, a comatose John Doe waking up, remembering his life and finding his way home, a wrongfully imprisoned man acquitted and finding love in his hometown or waiting for the love he left in prison, a college football homecoming game that’s especially meaningful for a player who is finally healthy enough to play…the details are yours to create, the characters from any walk of life, the genre any one you like — as long as there’s a sexy romance hook and the one coming home gets his/her/their sexy ever after. 

Specifics: stories should be at least 30K and preferably not longer than 80K; all genres will be considered. The collection will be published starting in October, so stories must be submitted no later than 5/31, and sooner is always better. Follow the guidelines below for submitting a proposal and including “Homecomings” in your email subject line.

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Resolutions

Every year, millions of people make resolutions for the new year. Most of them fall by the wayside within a few weeks, but what about the ones that don’t? Resolutions is an open collection focusing on what happens in the wake of someone’s New Year’s resolution.

Did they resolve to be more adventurous and meet the hunk of their dreams finally going on that skydiving trip they promised themselves? Did they resolve to compliment at least one stranger a day, and pick the just right day to compliment a down-in-the-dumps billionaire? Did they resolve to buy at least one dress that isn’t black, or a pair of pants that isn’t leather? To try out for The Voice, or the local production of Grease? Did they take their artwork into a gallery? Put their profile on a dating site? 

Resolutions features the commitment and the sexily ever after that somehow grows out of it. Anywhere and any way that the tradition of making resolutions exists, even if it’s a place that only exists in your imagination, a Resolutions story could take place. A Resolutions protagonist can be anyone. The sky’s the limit.

Specifics: stories must be at least 30K and preferably not longer than 80K; all genres you can work a New Year’s resolution into will be considered. To be considered for publication as a Resolutions title by the end of 2014, we must have your submission by no later than August 15th, but they can be submitted at any time before that for earlier publication dates. Follow the guidelines below for submitting a proposal, and include “Resolutions” in your email’s subject line.

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General submission guidelines

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book log May 2013

20) Alexander McCall — In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Sixth in the series about the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The usual collection of small and large puzzles for the ladies to solve, and two new characters for the series. Mma Ramotswe knocks a gentleman off his bike, and thereby gains a new staff member for the joint premises of the detective agency and the garage. Mma Makutsi joins a dance class and thus acquires a new friend. As ever with this series, gentle humour and believable domestic mysteries make this a pleasure to read.
http://www.librarything.com/work/20047

21) Sayers — The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (audiobook)
Superb BBC full cast dramatisation, with Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter. If you’re a Sayers fan, this radio dramatisation is well worth getting.
http://www.librarything.com/work/10709447
at Amazon UK
at Amazon US

22) Georgette Heyer — Venetia
One of Heyer’s Regencies. There are several excellent reviews on LibraryThing, so I will merely say that I adored it.
http://www.librarything.com/work/16552/

23) Gladys Mitchell — The Twenty-third man
Another outing for the inestimable Mrs Bradley, this time on holiday to the Canary Islands, and a cave with a somewhat erratic number of mummies of ancient Kings. As usual for this series, enjoyable murder mystery with a fair bit of macabre humour.
http://www.librarything.com/work/1246526

24) Mark Coker — Secrets to ebook publishing
The head of self-publishing company SmashWords offers some useful advice on self-publishing via ebooks. While it’s slanted to using SmashWords, it’s wider-ranging than that. It’s free to download, and the contents are useful and well-written. Available from SmashWords, obviously, but also on Amazon and presumably other platforms.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/145431

25) Edward Marston — The Merry Devils
Second in Marston’s mystery series set in an Elizabethan theatre troupe. Enjoyable read.
http://www.librarything.com/work/425601

book log April 2013

14) Oscar Wilde — The Picture of Dorian Grey
Lots of reviews and critiques out there already, so I’ll simply say that I liked it.

15) Gladys Mitchell — Watson’s Choice

28th Mrs Bradley mystery. Mrs Bradley is invited to a weekend country house party thrown to celebrate the Sherlock Holmes anniversary. Naturally, someone provides a real life mystery, complete with a real live Hound of the Baskervilles. The plot wanders a bit, but it’s still a lot of fun if you’re a Holmes fan. I suspect that it will be less fun if you’re not, as the book is stuffed with Holmes references and jokes.

http://www.librarything.com/work/439987
at Amazon UK
at Amazon US

16) Mary Stewart — Stormy Petrel

Romantic suspense set on a remote Scottish Island. the story’s fairly simple, and the appeal is in watching the interplay of the characters, and the evocative descriptions of the island and its way of life. It has mixed reviews, and I can see why; but I liked it a lot.

http://www.librarything.com/work/96426
at Amazon UK
at Amazon US

17) EM Forster — Where Angels Fear To Tread

There are plenty of other reviews, so I will only note that I liked part of the novel, but it didn’t quite gel for me even though I like this sort of social satire. I don’t regret the time spent reading it but am not inclined to re-read. It’s out of copyright in some countries, and thus available on public domain sites.

http://www.librarything.com/work/20427

18) Agatha Christie — Death on the Nile (audiobook)

Abridged audiobook on 3 CDs, read by David Timson. Heiress steals friend’s fiancee, friend starts blatantly stalking, even unto the honeymoon cruise on the Nile. Heiress is found murdered, and as the husband points out, the ex-friend has an obvious motive. The one problem is that she couldn’t possibly have done it. Nor could any of the other people the heiress has provided with motives. The abridged audiobook has been well edited for the plot, but does by necessity skimp on the character development and social observation. There’s also an unabridged audio edition, read by David Suchet, which I’ve not yet listened to.

http://www.librarything.com/work/29995
at Amazon UK
at Amazon US

19) T Baggins — Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay)

Contemporary m/m romance, and yes, the title’s riffing off That Book. What it isn’t is a rip-off of That Book. It’s a thoughtful and well-written look at men coming to terms with their sexuality, seen through the eyes of a young actor who takes on male escort work to pay for his sister’s chemotherapy, even though he’s straight. The blurb for the book tells you all you need to know about the plot, and there’s little point in rehashing it. It’s a plot that has the potential to be very cliched, but Baggins shows what a skilled writer can do with the concept, and the book is a joy to read.

It’s an m/m romance, so of course the POV character isn’t straight after all. But this isn’t a gay-for-you story. There’s a solidly laid foundation for a character who is in deep denial about his bisexuality, and has good reason to be that way. It’s Andrew’s story, so we see his character grow and change the most; but there are also good portrayals of men who aren’t in denial to themselves, but are closeted to their family and have different ways of coping with that. Perhaps it edges over into fairytale territory with how quickly Andrew comes to accept having gay sex without accepting that he’s bi, but the story’s good enough to carry it.

Be warned that it has the potential to be triggery for readers who’ve had to deal with cancer. Baggins doesn’t dwell on the reality of living with cancer in a loved one, but doesn’t gloss over it either — the one that got me was the comment about neighbours who insist on showing their neighbourliness by just popping in to see how you are even though they’re not well themselves, and infectious. But with that one caveat, thoroughly recommended.

http://www.librarything.com/work/13260408
at Amazon UK
at Amazon US

book log March 2013

Taking advantage of the Christmas break to (very slowly) catch up on the book log. Alas, it’s long enough since I read these books that for most of them I can’t write anything in depth about them.

10) Subterranean Scalzi Super Bundle

Big ebook bundle, previously reviewed.

11) Agatha Christie — Death in the clouds (audiobook)

Abridged audiobook on 3 CDs, read by David Timson. A passenger aboard a plane between France and England is found dead, apparently of a wasp sting. Poirot rapidly finds evidence otherwise, and what appears to be the murder weapon — placed where Poirot is the most likely suspect. Poirot knows he isn’t the killer, but in proving himself innocent, he will also need to correctly identify the real killer, lest some other innocent be wrongly convicted by one of the many false clues.

The abridged audiobook is well edited, and ably read by Timson, but as always suffers somewhat from the abridgement. I enjoyed listening to it even though I haven’t read the novel in decades and remembered nothing about it; but I am minded to try the unabridged version read by Hugh Fraser the next time I want to listen to it.

Librarything

Abridged audiobook ISBN 978-1405046442 (Macmillan Audio Books)
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Unabridged audiobook: CD ISBN 978-0-00-719111-6, download ISBN 978-0-00-724855-1 (HarperCollins)
at Amazon UK
at Amazon US

12) Maria Dahvana Headley — Queen of Kings

Dark fantasy novel which takes as its premise the idea that Cleopatra did not commit suicide, but sacrificed to the dark goddess Sehkmet to try to protect her country and her husband from the invading Roman army — and found that she had sacrificed her own soul as part of the price. A price paid in vain, as Octavian tricks Mark Antony into committing suicide and the Romans take her children as captives. But Sehkmet’s new servant is now immortal, and consumed with a quite literal bloodlust for revenge. Octavian will find that his conquest of Egypt and its ruling family is not complete just because the Queen appears to have died at her own hands…

Cleopatra as a newly-made vampire fighting with a goddess for control of her own body while in pursuit of her stolen children is an intriguing premise. Headley’s novel has its flaws, but she makes good on the promise to the reader to provide an unusual twist on historical fact and historical myth. I’m glad I bought this. There’s an excellent review by Snat on LibraryThing which says pretty much all I would have liked to say about the book: http://www.librarything.com/review/75919863

Amazon UK
Amazon US

13) Wilkie Collins — The Woman in White”13) Wilkie Collins — The Woman in White

One of the earliest mystery novels. I bailed about half way through, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because I was having trouble concentrating on long work at the time, and this is indeed a long work. Out of copyright, and as such freely available from public domain websites such as Project Gutenberg and Feedbooks.

acceptance: Nice Tie

Email this morning to say that Nice Tie has been accepted by Loose Id, subject to the usual tweaks. :-) So the rest of my free time this week is going to be taken up with reading the fine print on contract paperwork, as I’ve out of circulation for so long that all of the paperwork is different now.

Eeee! Colin Kapp’s Unorthodox Engineers re-released!

Just trundled over to Amazon to poke forlornly at the The Unorthodox Engineers listing to see if there’s an affordable copy — and found that it was released in ebook format by Gateway back in September. I think DRMed, alas, but at least it’s available. 30 seconds later I was logged into my Kobo account and chucking a couple of quid at the Kobo server…

Gateway have several other books by Kapp in their ebook catalogue, so I may add to my collection.

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-unorthodox-engineers — Kobo (epub)
The Unorthodox Engineers – Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.com/Unorthodox-Engineers-Colin-Kapp-ebook/dp/B00F50EX5I/ – Amazon US

2013 book log 10) Subterranean Scalzi Super Bundle

This is an ebook omnibus of some of John Scalzi’s work published by Subterranean Press, which was made available for a short period at a very good price as a promotional item. The contents included three very funny short stories, two short pieces from the Old Man’s War universe, a novella, and a non-fiction essay collection on writing. They’re all still available as individual titles, and I think all worth having, assuming you like Scalzi’s writing style.

Fiction:

How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story
Trashy newspapers don’t change their methods just because the embassies downtown include the ones from off Earth…
Amazon UK, Amazon US

An Election
An insight into local election time, science fiction style.
Amazon UK, Amazon US

Questions for a Soldier
Amazon UK, Amazon US
The Sagan Diary
Amazon UK, Amazon US
A short story and a novella set in the Old Man’s War universe. I think that reading the first book of the series gives enough background knowledge to follow and enjoy these, but The Sagan Diary in particular probably isn’t going to work for anyone who hasn’t read at least the first novel.

Judge Sn Goes Golfing
Omitted for the first release, and I didn’t manage to grab the update before it went off sale, so I’ve not read this one.
Amazon UK, Amazon US

The Tale of the Wicked
Short story riffing off Asimov’s Laws of Robotics.
Amazon UK, Amazon US

The God Engines
A blend of dark fantasy and science fiction, about exactly what the title says. Starship engines that are captured gods, and a universe in which this is reality. This examination of faith and power isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but if you do like it, you’ll like it a lot.
http://www.librarything.com/work/8343179, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Non-Fiction

You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop

Collection of essays, mainly from Scalzi’s blog, about writing as a business. I’d read many of these when they first appeared, but I’d have still been happy to pay full price for this ebook. Scalzi has selected and arranged the essays in a coherent order, often with notes updating the older essays and putting them in context. The essays span a decade, and some of the early information about writing as a career is now largely of historical interest, but that historical interest is useful in understanding what has happened to writing as a business during the rise of the internet.

Scalzi has spent his adult life earning his living through writing, intially non-fiction but latterly adding fiction. He’s a great believer in teaching other writers the financial knowledge they need to manage their writing as a self-employed small business, and this collection is very much focused on writing as a business, not an art. It’s entertaining in its own right as a species of memoir, but it’s also full of practical information for writers.

http://www.librarything.com/work/2332168, Amazon UK, Amazon US