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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Story Ideas

Please welcome guest blogger Jeffe Kennedy

Sometimes when we start stories, we have no idea how we’ll sell them.

At least, I don’t. I’m not one of those writers who’s good at analyzing the market and writing something for a particular one. Years of writing for magazines or anthologies that put out calls for particular themes, though, has taught me to recognize opportunities. And that they’re not always in the form we expect.

So, when I first started FEEDING THE VAMPIRE, it was really just writing down this funky dream I had. I woke up from the dream knowing I had to write it down, even though I had no idea where the story would go or what I’d do with it. All I knew about it was the key scene – which is the opening scene of the story now – and that it was 1) about a vampire, 2) sexy and 3) post-apocalyptic.

Now you know why I didn’t think, right off, “Oh, I know where I’ll do with it!” Instead, I captured it and filed it.

I have a fair number of these, actually, in a Fragments folder.

Sometime later, I saw a call for an anthology. The theme inspired me to remember my poor post-apocalyptic, vampire story. I finished the story to meet the anthology’s specs, strongly guided by their theme – and with some brainstorming help from my CPs. It took the story in a very logical direction and I had big fun writing it.

Alas, the anthology said no.

What was I going to do with my marketless 5,000 word story? Right – back in the file. This time to a Wallflowers folder. Complete, but with no potential dates.

Not long after that, an editor from Ellora’s Cave contacted me. She had looked at PETALS AND THORNS but, due to a mix-up in their communications, missed acquiring it. (I had already sold it to Loose Id.) She wondered if I had anything to show her, because she’d still like to acquire some of my work. I didn’t really have anything up EC’s alley though. I’d been working on my novels and they aren’t hot enough for what she wanted. But the vampire story was, I realized.

So I asked her if she’d like to look at this 5K story. She said yes. I sent it and she loved it. But, she asked me to bring it up to 7,000 words, to fit their Quickie line. I asked for where she’d like to see me expand and with her suggestions – and a bit more input from my CPs – FEEDING THE VAMPIRE was complete. My post-apocalyptic, vampire erotica found a home after all.

Better, it fit right into my goals of diversifying to several different, well-established digital-first publishers.

I suppose the moral is don’t worry if you don’t know where you’ll sell a story when you get the idea. Give thanks for the gift, write it down so you’ll remember and keep it on file.

You never know when you might see an opportunity just perfect for it.

Jeffe took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow (2001), was a Wyoming Arts Council roster artist, when she lived in Wyoming, and received the state’s 2005 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award for a woman writer of exceptional talent in any creative writing genre and the 2007 Fellowship for Poetry. Jeffe has contributed to several anthologies, Drive: Women’s True Stories of the Open Road. (2002), Hard Ground (2003), Bombshells (2007) and Going Green (2009). Her first book, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2004. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.


Feeding the Vampire

Through good luck and healthy cowardice, Misty has survived the earthquakes that have torn the world apart, but has no skills to speak of. Or so she thinks. She does have blood, and someone must feed the vampire who has offered his protection and strength in exchange for sustenance. Feeding Ivan is a priority, and Misty finally serves a purpose. But when she awakens tied to his bed, an unwilling gift to Ivan from the townspeople, she discovers he has hungers other than blood. Hungers he expects her to satisfy in the most carnal manner. Under his seductive persuasion Misty discovers she has the power to sustain Ivan in all ways, while experiencing unspeakable pleasure herself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Keep Your Reader in Your Story: Seven Tips on Editing for Flow

Please welcome guest blogger Linda Poitevin

Whether you edit as you write (as I do) or you’re the kind of writer that gets the whole story down on paper before worrying about the craft points (which I wish I could do), sooner or later you’re going to face a final edit. By this point, your major plot problems have been solved, your characters are all behaving in character, your timeline makes sense, and you’re ready to look at the less shiny side of the writing process: the underlying structure. I’m not talking story structure here, I’m talking bare-bones structure. Nitty-gritty, duller-than-dishwater, high-school English “why am I learning this?” grammar stuff.

“But,” you may be wondering, “if I have a story with a gripping plot and sympathetic characters, why do I need to worry about the grammar stuff? Won’t readers be willing to overlook that kind of thing?” Well, yes . . . and no. The fact is, shoddy writing matters. No matter how shiny your plot and characters might seem on the surface, readers will notice if they have to reread passages multiple times to make sense of them, or if the same word or turn of phrase crops up over and over again. Maybe not all readers, and maybe not right away, but they will notice. It will irritate. It will annoy. It will pull them out of the story and allow them to walk away. . . and maybe even (horrors!) allow them to forget about it. And that, my friends, you do not want. Especially when a little effort on your part can make such a difference.

Enter the final edit. The one that will make sure readers read your fabulous story instead of falling asleep in the third chapter. While everyone will have their own checklist list of things they need to watch out for, the following seven tips will get you started. These are some of the things that I notice in others’ stories and edit for in my own.

1. Sentence length and structure

Your sentences should vary in both length and structure. If they’re all the same, the rhythm of the story will become repetitious and boring. Don’t always start with the subject. Have adjectives in some sentences, but not in all (and have more than one adjective in a few). Use short sentences for punch and emphasis. If you have a long sentence, read it aloud to make sure you don’t run out of breath (if you do, it’s too long). In fact, read aloud whenever you want to check your rhythm…your voice and ear will catch what your eye often misses.

2. Conjunctions

Remove some of the ands, buts, and thens. While these conjunctions are invisible for the most part, they’re like any other word: too many will begin to catch the reader’s attention, pulling him/her out of the story. Bonus: getting rid of some of these will automatically help with varying your sentence structure.

3. That pesky that

Do a search for that and remove the ones that aren’t necessary. A seemingly small point, but your writing will be tighter for it.

4. Filter words

Words such as thought, reflected, mused, felt, heard (among others) can distance your reader from your character, almost like throwing up an invisible barrier between them. It’s part of the old “show, don’t tell” issue: instead of letting your reader be in your character’s head, you’re telling him/her what the character thinks/feels/hears, etc. Suzannah Freeman has a great list of these words on her blog at Write it Sideways, along with examples.

5. Adverbs

Also known as the “ly” words, these descriptors are one of those “in moderation” things. They’re also extremely sneaky. If you’re not careful, they can become a crutch that weakens your writing: it’s far easier to write the brightly lit room than it is to take the time to visualize and describe how the room is bright: He stepped into the room and blinked against the glare of the bare overhead bulb. My rule of thumb is no more than 4-5 adverbs per page—and yes, I count. J

6. Repetition

Too many uses of the same gesture, movement, body part, etc. can be distracting for a reader. When I first started writing, I had a fixation with eyes…so much so that you’d have thought my characters lacked actual bodies. Now that I’m hyper vigilant about that issue, a new one has cropped up. Two of my beta readers for the first draft of SINS OF THE SON, which I recently handed in to my editor, picked up on the number of turns in the book. Characters turned, their heads turned, their voices turned, their gazes turned… like I said, distracting.

7. Dialogue tags

While you want to make sure your reader knows who is speaking in a dialogue sequence, too many instances of he said/she said will drive them to . . . you guessed it, distraction. Vary your tags. Find words to replace said, use an action instead, or skip identifying the speaker altogether if you can do so without confusing your reader.

These seven tips are far from definitive, but they’re a good place to start the editing process. The good news is that, the more you become aware of the possible pitfalls, the more you’ll bear them in mind as you go through the writing process. You’ll find a rhythm for your sentence lengths, catch the pesky adverbs as you write them down, find yourself avoiding repetition in the first place, and so on. But no matter how much you self-edit as you go, do yourself a favor and do at least one final once-over before you submit or publish it. Because no matter how thorough you think you’ve been in your writing, I can guarantee you’ll find things that slipped past.

So what are some of the things you edit for that I haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to hear your tips!

Linda Poitevin lives just outside Canada’s capital, Ottawa, with her husband, three daughters, one very large husky/shepherd/Great Dane-cross dog, two cats, three rabbits, and a bearded dragon lizard. Turned down in her pursuit of a police career after a faulty height measurement, Linda lives out her dream of being a cop vicariously through her characters. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found in her garden in the summer, hugging the fireplace in the winter, or walking her dog along the river in any season.

SINS OF THE ANGELS: The Grigori Legacy

A detective with a secret lineage. An undercover Hunter with a bullet-proof soul. And a world made to pay for the sins of an angel…

Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis answers to no one. Especially not to the new partner assigned to her in the middle of a gruesome serial killer case-a partner who is obstructive, irritatingly magnetic, and arrogant as hell.
Aramael is a Power—a hunter of the Fallen Angels. A millennium ago, he sentenced his own brother to eternal exile for crimes against humanity. Now his brother is back and wreaking murderous havoc in the mortal realm. To find him, Aramael must play second to a human police officer who wants nothing to do with him and whose very bloodline threatens both his mission and his soul.

Now, faced with a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse, Alex and Aramael have no choice but to join forces, because only together can they stop the end of days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inspiration And More

Please welcome guest blogger Virna DePaul

Writers are often asked "where do you get your ideas?" or "where do you find your inspiration?" Sometimes, coming up with a story idea requires real effort. That's just the beginning of a writer's journey, however. Once we come up with a story idea that excites us, we have to actually write the story. Finally, we have to take what we've written and try to sell it or find an audience for it.

The more I plot, plan, and write, the easier it is for me to find inspiration. In fact, often it's more difficult keeping my ideas straight than coming up with them. Before I finish writing one book, I have ideas in my head for several more. I find inspiration everywhere: a story on the news, an interesting person I see on the street, a good movie, or television show, even in the crazy things that come to me in my dreams.

The really hard part, however, is taking the inspiration for a story and making it into something more. In today's market, a writer's best chance at getting published is writing a “big book, high concept, same but different story.” Writers must take a plot or characters that inspire them and dig deeper, moulding that inspiration into something bigger, bolder, and brighter.

In my upcoming workshop for FF&P, I detail the five ingredients for crafting a “big book, high concept, same but different story.” Together, these five ingredients deal with a story's idea/concept and execution. They increase your chances of creating a story that 1) deals with something everyone can identify with and 2) has a built-in audience, but 3) turns that something on its head or gives it a creative twist while also 4) providing a sense of complexity and richness that can 5) continue past one book.

Are you curious about these five ingredients? I hope you'll join me for my workshop so we can discuss them!

Secrets To Writing (And Pitching) The Big Book, High Concept, Same But Different Novel, presented by Virna DePaul, runs from September 12, 2011 through October 3, 2011

Virna DePaul was an English Lit major who practiced law as a criminal prosecutor for over ten years. In November of 2009, she was offered a contract by Berkley Press for the first two books in a paranormal romantic suspense series. The series, which features a unique special ops team whose members include a werebeast, a wraith, a mage, and a vampire and the human female he's forbidden to love, launches in May of 2011 with book 1, Chosen By Blood.

In addition, Virna's first romantic suspense with Silhouette comes out in Fall 2011. In that story, an undercover cop poses as a bailiff while investigating a judge and is reunited with an old love. Virna, along with Blaze author Tawny Weber, has released a craft book titled: “Love Writing: A Guide To Writing And Getting Your Romance Published Without Losing Your Perspective, Passion, Or Sanity.” In this book, Virna identifies the ten writing concepts that, in her opinion, are the most important in a writer’s arsenal. Find her on the web at
www.virnadepaul.com and www.lovewritingbook.com.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Giving history a paranormal twist…

Please welcome guest blogger Lisa Kessler

Hi everyone -

I just had my very first book store book signing for Night Walker, and a great question came up…

Why did you decide to use real history in your paranormal romance?

The truth is I didn't set out to do that. In the beginning dreaming-up-my-book-idea stages, my goal was to write a vampire novel using the Americas instead of Europe. In fact, I wanted a vampire on the beach here in San Diego.

With that goal in mind, I searched out the oldest building in San Diego, the Mission de Alcala. I visited the mission a few times and bought some books on the history of the first Spanish Mission in California. (New Spain at the time.)

While researching, I found an interesting unsolved mystery. The Kumeyaay tribes were native to this area of southern California, and they were known as a very peaceful people. There is only one act of violence on record.

On November 4th 1775 in the cover of night, over 600 men from nearby tribes united together, burned the Mission de Alcala to the ground, and bludgeoned the head priest to death, mutilating his body until he could only be identified by the rings on his hands.

There are a few theories out there, but we will probably never know what really incited the peaceful Kumeyaay to band together that night. And although the Catholic Church named Father Jayme the first Catholic martyr in the New World, I had to wonder…

What did that man do to inspire a peaceful people to kill him so viciously?

That's when I started to dream up Calisto's story. I realized at that point that the attack could have been led by a betrayed man. A man wishing to avenge the death of his one true love.

I also researched the Kumeyaay tribes and interviewed a San Diego historian. In my research I discovered that the Kumeyaay had healers they called kuseyaay who healed wounds with their mouths. A vampire could bite their tongue and use their healing blood to mend mortal wounds. What better way for a vampire to live among a tribe without anyone discovering their true nature?

For me, weaving in as much historical fact as possible made the paranormal become more believable and real. It gave my story a foot in reality while leading the reader down a paranormal path. And hopefully suspending disbelief for the reader until it seemed like a Night Walker really could live on the beach in La Jolla. LOL

So if you're struggling for a new story idea, give local unsolved mysteries a try… You never know what might be lurking in your own backyard!

Lisa Kessler is an avid reader and writer of dark fiction. Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

Lisa recently signed a 4 book deal with Entangled Publishing to release her Night Series. The first book, Night Walker, is scheduled to be released August 5th.

When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.







Night Walker

He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her...

Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.

She's haunted by dreams of her own death...

After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she's drawn to him in ways she doesn't understand.

They've waited in the shadows for centuries...

Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he's ever loved again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Loglines: Get to the Heart of Your Story

Please welcome guest blogger Angelia Almos

Loglines strike fear in many writers. Traditionally known as the elevator pitch of screenwriters, loglines have become a regular selling and marketing tool in a writer's tool box. Vastly multi-functional not only can you use your logline to pitch your book to an agent/editor verbally or in a written query, but it can also be used to tell anyone (your mother, your neighbor, Twitter, Facebook) about your new book. Don't underestimate the power of a good logline. It is a selling tool pure and simple.

You've probably been reading and hearing loglines without realizing it. Those one sentence descriptions of TV shows and movies in TV Guide. One sentence descriptions of books in catalogs and web sites. Sometimes movie posters have their loglines printed right on them. A narrator might even say the logline in a TV or movie ad.

At it's heart a logline is a one to two sentence description of your book written in present tense for impact. A logline contains three elements:
1) Who is your story about?
2) What is your hero's goal? In referring to hero, I'm referencing him/her/couple/group.
3) What/Who stands in the way of your hero's goal?

You are boiling your story down to its very basics. The heart of your book. You might wonder how you're supposed to condense your 100K, 70K, 50K story down to a single sentence. Your book can't be described in a single sentence. It has plot twists, sub-plots, multiple characters, exciting issues, etc. But it can. You're shooting for the heart of your story not a synopsis.

There are a lot of methods to crafting a perfect logline. Google "logline" to see website after website on how to write a logline. Some of the advice is identical while others will contradict each other. If you're interested in checking them out, please do, you might find a particular method makes perfect since to you. I've used different methods from different screenwriting classes I was in (depended on the philosophy of my screenwriting teacher). The easiest method I have found is to take my three sentence blurb (you know the one you wrote for your query letter) and condense it down to the nitty gritty.

Consider who and what your story is about. This can be a little more complicated for romance writers who might give equal billing to multiple heroes. Here is an example of a logline I wrote for a query letter where the couple shared equal billing.

* A shape shifter and a witch have to trust in each other to break a hundred year old curse.

Here are the steps I took to break down my novella into one sentence. I considered who my story was about (the shapeshifter and the witch), what the goal was (he wishes to break the curse and needs her assistance), and what's in the way (they don't trust each other or their feelings for each other). I could have used their names in the logline, but I wanted to make it clear this was a paranormal story which is why I decided to use what they were instead. All of this information came from the three sentence blurb I had already written for my query. I didn't go into how they met, why they didn't trust each other, what the curse was, who cast the curse, why he needs her help, or any other items I might feel are important to the story. I just asked myself three questions. Who is it about? What is my hero's goal? What/Who is standing in the way of the goal?

I usually have multiple versions of the same logline. Some might have a different slant. One focusing more on the emotional journey. Another focusing on the outer conflict. One might have a lot more details (verbs, adjectives) while a different one will be more general. Here's an example of a basic general logline and a more descriptive logline for the same story. I find it easier to verbally pitch a general logline, but like the descriptive ones when writing. This book has a romance (romantic elements), but the "journey" is hers so I decided to have the logline focus on her.

* A princess uses her gift with horses to save her kingdom after her father is murdered.
* A sheltered princess discovers her remarkable gifts with horses on a dangerous quest to find her father’s murderer.

Here is my quick cheat sheet for writing a logline:
1) Have three sentence blurb in front of me.
2) Write in present tense.
3) Have thesaurus handy since you need to use as few words as possible while creating interest.
4) Who is my story about?
5) What does my hero want?
6) What/Who stands in my hero's way?
7) Play with it. Write out different versions. Move words around.

I thought I'd leave you with some movie examples of loglines (you can find more by googling movie loglines or famous movie loglines):
Gladiator: When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by a corrupt prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek his revenge.
Titanic: A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding: Toula's family has exactly three traditional values - "Marry a Greek boy, have Greek babies, and feed everyone." When she falls in love with a sweet, but WASPy guy, Toula struggles to get her family to accept her fiancée, while she comes to terms with her own heritage.
The Godfather: An Epic tale of a 1940s New York Mafia family and their struggle to protect their empire, as the leadership switches from the father to his youngest son.

Angelia Almos writes middle grade and young adult fantasy. Her young adult novel Horse Charmer is now available as an ebook. A sheltered princess discovers her remarkable gifts with horses on a quest to find her father's murderer. Nothing is as simple as it seems with unusual powers and political intrigue from all sides shadowing her on her search for the truth. Under her pen name, Angie Derek, she writes steamy paranormal romance and romantic suspense. The Beast's Redemption, a paranormal novella, about a shape shifter and a witch who have to trust in each other to break a hundred year old curse is coming September 28 from The Wild Rose Press. Mafia Secret, a romantic suspense novel, about a professional cheerleader thrust into the dangerous world of organized crime when she learns she's the illegitimate daughter of a mafia king pin is coming in November from Tell-Tale Publishing. I hope you noticed the loglines. :-)

Horse Charmer is a young adult fantasy about a sheltered princess who discovers her remarkable gifts with horses on a dangerous quest to find her father’s murderer.

At sixteen years old, Cassia would rather spend her days in the royal stables than in the royal court. But as the eldest child of King Robet and Queen Sarahann she obediently performs her duties as the Princess of Karah.

Her safe world changes forever when her father is murdered in the neighboring kingdom of Vespera. Cassia grapples with his loss as her mother prepares her for her new role as queen. Her first task - she must travel to Vespera to marry a prince she barely knows to fulfill the treaty her father signed just before his death.

Nothing is as simple as it seems with political intrigues and unusual powers shadowing Cassia on her search to find out who killed her father and why.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paranormal Romance - What Do Readers Want Anyway?

by Sue Grimshaw (in her own words so don't blame anyone else but her)

Thanks Staci & team of the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Blog Site -- pleasure to be here & make everyone's acquaintance . . (thru the clouds & all that :)

Romance is a wonderful genre. Our readers keep us on our toes. What was hot last year, is waning this year. You think you've got a great story, & suddenly, they've all turned their backs, or pocket books, against vampires.

Our readers evolve. Their interests change, a lot. Why do you think that is?
Well, being one of those finicky readers myself, I've got a pretty good idea, but even better insight, from having been the Romance buyer for a national bookstore chain for almost 16 years.

As publishers, editors, authors, & so forth, we tend to get a little frustrated with the fast pace of this business. Of course, if you listen to our readers, they don't think that authors write fast enough! It is hard to please everyone

Readers, specifically, romance readers, read, lots. Coming from a national retail chain, our average romance shopper purchased 6-10 romance books in a month, every month. So you can imagine, if you are reading a minimum of 6-10 books a month, every month, you are reading a lot of books . . . so you need variety . . . .therefore, trends change & things evolve at a very fast pace.

So that said, trends today are just that & can change at a moments notice, or rather, at the readers notice. After all, that is who we are trying to satisfy.

One of the easiest ways to figure out the trends in this biz is to look at best seller lists: NYT; Amazon: B&N; USA Today & so forth. See who's at the top of the lists, break it out by genre, you'll see right away where readers interest lie. Readers are keeping a close eye, & more importantly, spending their dollars on:

Nalini Singh
Lara Adrian
Karen Marie Moning
Christine Feehan
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Charlaine Harris

****to name a few. These authors write some awesome paranormal stories, however, the story lines are far from similar.
  • Nalini's Psy world still intrigues her readers
  • Lara, breaks the rules & continues to have great success with her vampires in the Order
  • Karen does nothing traditional in romance with her latest series except delivers great characters . . .
  • Sherrilyn now excites fans with Bear Shifters
  • Christine is rockin the world with Ghost Hunters, enhanced, former military men
  • Charlaine has introduced to every generation and oddly, successful character by the name of Sookie . . .

Try to figure out the trend, the similarities, with these big best sellers & you'll go nuts, as each of their story lines are vastly different. However, there is one commonality.

Now, I debated with myself to stop the post here, as I thought that would be the most fun! But, I didn't want to P.I.A., so . . .

It's all about the characters. Ok, don't scream at me, I know you hear this all the time & you're like, 'it can't be . . that's just to easy' --- but, really, it is. All about the characters.

When you talk to readers, no matter what the age, what sub-genre, in romance . . . let me repeat, in romance, they are all about the characters. They want the hero (alpha is winning on our poll at www.romanceatrandom.com, come & vote), and heroine; "she's mine"; 'the journey'; & HEA.

In paranormal, characters are 60%+ of the mix. But, paranormal authors also must deliver the world. The world needs to be diverse; expand from book to book; have lots of 'different' types of characters; and make sense . . . it must be clearly defined. It is important to know if the world you are creating is a portal to another time or a universal platform, adjacent to our own. Details are important - but, above all, it is the characters.

So, I've laid it out, bared my soul.
Remember, in the title of this post, I did preface it saying, 'by Sue Grimshaw (in her own words so don't blame anyone else but her)', so you can just call me crazy & move on to the next post, or, you can chat with me now.

Tell me what you agree with? or don't agree with? & what you've pitched as an author that has gotten great responses? Or have not?

Love to get your opinions as well -- really, none of us has that crystal ball -- only the reader knows what she wants next!

Thank you for having me here -- SueG

BTW - visit me at Romance At Random, www.romanceatrandom.com, our new blog site that celebrates the romance genre with everyone! Take a look at our new LOVESWEPT line -- it's on the site too! &, we're still looking for the LS paranormal romance to publish ---- I'm just saying --- Happy Romance!

Sue Grimshaw is joining Ballantine Bantam Dell as category specialist and editor-at-large, effective March 28, reporting to Gina Wachtel, v-p associate publisher, mass market, Ballantine Bantam Dell. Grimshaw was most recently at Borders, where she was a buyer for romance, horror, westerns and large print books; she also wrote for the retailer’s blog True Romance. Grimshaw will remain in Michigan in her new role, and will scout talent in the romance community; enhance author brand strategy and platform development across channels including digital media; and selectively acquire for hardcover, paperback, and original digital lists. She will also work with Ballantine’s library marketing group to create a marketing program for romance readers.