Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Women's Fiction in Romance #MSWL

I read a lot of Romance novels. It's my not-so-guilty pleasure and one I'm never ashamed to speak about or seen enjoying but it wasn't always the case.

While living at home (with my very religious mother), I had to sneak my romance novels (and any horror or suspense books) into my room or leave them in my band locker to read during lunch or between class periods and band practice so my mother wouldn't throw them away. But many of the Women's Fiction titles I'd bring home, my mother simply glanced at the cover and "paid me no mind." What's interesting is that some of the WF titles I'd read in the late eighties/early nineties while in school were steamier (and sometimes scarier) than some of the romance novels, horror books and suspense titles I'd be shamed for reading at home.

In Women's Fiction, as a young woman, I'd find more main characters that looked like me where romance was still very much about the love and pleasure of the Caucasian, heterosexual, cisgender female finding her happily ever after with the equally labeled man of her dreams, in titles like Waiting to Exhale and The Joy Luck Club, I saw women of color dealing with heartache, abuse, oppression, and shame, then standing up for themselves to change the world around them. Sometimes there was a handsome man courting them, sometimes there were sex scenes, abusive scenes but like in the romance novels, there was hope and a future for the heroine.

In the 80s and 90s, there seemed to be a very distinct line between the two genres (at least on the shelves of the library sales I'd shop as a teen). Today, that line between Women's Fiction and Romance is blurring (if the Goodreads genre lists are any indication) and allowing for a greater crossover for authors whose works fit both the romance formula as well as what the Romance Writers of America organization defines women's fiction to be: "a commercial novel about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship."

So, all of this is to say that I'd love to see more of that crossover in the queries I'm receiving. Do you have a Sophie Kinsella meets Debbie Macomber? A Terry McMillan meets Beverly Jenkins? An empowering tale of a woman getting her company AND her man? I'd love to see it! Follow my submission guidelines and send me your query today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Announcement: Starting April 15th, I will be open to queries again

That's right! I am finally re-opening my query inbox! I can't tell you how excited this makes me!

On Saturday, April 15, 2017, my query inbox will be open for business!

Cannot wait to read all of your wonderful works and find more gems to sign.

My submission guidelines remain the same but I will be focusing primarily on romance both in the young adult and adult markets with a focus on representing and advocating for #OwnVoices authors. I will also continue to acquire strong, feminist erotica and erotic romance in the adult market. If your work does not pass the Bechdel Test (at the very least) it's not going to be something I'm interested in representing.

In the Erotica & Romance market, I’m particularly interested in contemporary romance stories featuring persons of color, cowboys/vaqueros, intercultural relationships, small-town contemporary romances and historical romance set in 19th century America and the Caribbean. Would also love to see a historical romance set in 1920s through 1940s or during the 1980s in the South, specifically. Am also looking for hard science fiction romance (space opera, interplanetary adventure with a romance story at its core) and erotica featuring accurate depictions of the BDSM lifestyle and kink communities.

In the GLBTQ market, I am always looking for more erotic romance and sweet romance stories featuring characters who identify as queer. I’m also actively seeking #OwnVoices young adult and new adult GLBTQ romance titles regardless of a romantic element. (But love a good love story so if it happens to also be a romance, even better!) Would love a sports romance featuring GLBTQ characters in non-traditional sports: lacrosse, extreme sports, martial arts, rodeo, etc.