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Deborah Cooke
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Thanks Paula! I had a wonderful time last night. It was a great discussion. And thanks also for participating in the blog. I appreciated your coming by to comment. d
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There's another publisher called Avalon, which focusses on hard cover sales to libraries. Many of their books, regardless of subgenre, are also "sweet" romances. d
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2009 on Q&A Day at Writer in Residence - Deborah Cooke
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Hi Eva - Yes, there are "sweet" romances, which is the term used for those without explicit love scenes. The love scenes may happen behind closed doors, or they might not occur at all - the implication being that that happens after the end of the book. Sweet romances are often published in category, in the traditional imprints like Harlequin/Mills & Boon Romance. Romantic comedies may not have love scenes either. These are published in many programs, both single title and series. There are also many women's fiction books that do not include love scenes. This is a slightly different genre than romance, but the two genres are closely related. And, of course, YA romance also tends to not include love scenes. Hope that helps! d
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2009 on Q&A Day at Writer in Residence - Deborah Cooke
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LOL Eva - it is a little bit busy this month! Thanks for coming in for the appointment on Saturday - it was nice to meet you and to talk about your work. Also nice to put a face the Eva commenting on the blog! d
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Hi Lyn and Linda - Thanks again for visiting today! I think maybe Eva is asking whether inspirational romance publishers prefer books written from the perspective of a specific Christian denomination. There are differences between the Catholic and the Protestant churches, for example, not in broad terms but in many smaller questions of practice and doctrine. Is one perspective preferable - or more marketable? Deborah
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Well, Eva, it's often a good idea to work in "sets". So, if your first ms is a funny contemporary romance, think about another four or five funny contemporary romances to complete the "set". Publishing a number of books within the same subgenre makes it easier for an author to build an audience. If you look carefully at the publication lists of published authors, you'll notice that many work in one subgenre for a while, then move into another one. Then there are the writers who work in two subgenres simultaneously! We'll talk about that - and talk to several of them - next week. d
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Thanks, Eva - um, do you have a synopsis to write? :-) d
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Sorry, Brenda. I'll pop on my moderator hat and go fix that. The pictures don't line up as well with your bios as I'd like, but inserting pix accurately into blog posts is the bane of my existence. You'll have to live with that bit! d
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Thanks Paula and Eva! There's more to come... d
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Interesting point, IEW. I don't read vampire romances - they're just not my thing so can't really comment on your core point. I read the Anne Rice vampire books and enjoyed them as fantasy novels - Lestat is a great character but not a romantic hero for me. I don't really "get" the popularity of vampire romances, but it's a definite market force. Bonnie, you always make me laugh. Simpsons downtown. Well, it has been a while since you caught the romance bug. I can believe that story would work for you in a big way, and now you're published too. Great to see you again in Seattle, thanks again for moderating my workshop, and I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed KISS OF FATE. Now, Quinn, he's hero material for me. d
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SPAIN! Nancy, I'm jealous. I'll bet it's gorgeous there. Please have some tapas and red wine for me. :-) d
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I think that Nancy is travelling today (do we see a pattern here?! Something about October puts me and my guest bloggers on the road!) but I'll ask a question anyway. With any luck, Nancy will be able to log in today or this weekend. So, Nancy, you mentioned that Pride and Prejudice is your favourite novel, and that it's a romance. Who are your favourite contemporary (i.e. not dead) romance authors and/or what are your fave romance novels which were marketed as romance novels? (Jane Austen was marketed as fiction, her work being published long before the romance genre was defined as such.) Just to keep things hopping on the blog in case Nancy can't stop back in - everyone else, what is your fave romance novel? Why do you love it so much? Do you agree with Nancy as to what keeps you reading? I have to go browse my shelves to decide upon my fave. It'll be hard to pick just one! d
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THE LAIS OF MARIE DE FRANCE is a Penguin Classic, tr. by Glyn S. Burgess. The particular story I mentioned is called "Bisclavet". Marie is believed to have lived at the Norman court in England in the 12th century. The oldest extant written version of the story of Melusine is ROMAN DE MELUSINE by Jean d'Arras dated 1393. An English version, by Coudrette, is dated ten years later. This is during the Hundred Years' War, later than the crusades, but it is hard with old stories to know how long they were recounted orally before being written down. d
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Interesting, Nancy. I've been wondering for a while whether the paranormal and fantasy romances - because romance is such a conservative genre - are placeholders. So we explore the notion of whether a normal mortal and a vampire can have an HEA as a placeholder for examining whether two people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, origins could have an HEA. The line will move, of course, and in some period of time, origins won't be such an issue. I actually talked about this at TRW last year (probably bored everyone to tears!) because I noticed that paranormal or fantasy romances first appear in the middle ages. Melusine is possibly the oldest one - she's fey, he's mortal, their children are literally monsters and it ends badly. There is another by Marie de France featuring a werewolf and his human wife - she betrays him by hiding his clothes and he is trapped in wolf form. All is sorted out by the king, who restores the werewolf/man's property and wealth, the deceitful wife has her nose bitten off, but again there is no HEA. These stories concide (for Melusine) with the crusades and (for Marie de France) with the Normans gaining ascendancy in England, also periods in which people mixed and mingled. The contrast to these stories and our vampire etc. romances, is that in our times, we can envision an HEA. We can imagine people overcoming the challenges of coming from different places and backgrounds to make a romantic future together. d, off to get a couple of citations...
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Glad it was helpful, Eva. Nancy, I always thought it would be that way, as well. There are lots of writers who just love writing series romance and remain in category for their entire careers. There are others who start in single title and never write category. I think it depends upon the author's voice, her interest and perspective, and what kinds of stories she wants to tell. I like that there are different options in terms of career paths for romance authors - as creative people, we don't all need to have the same goals. d
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Thanks Paula and Eva - I'm always trying to figure these things out, so there are a lot of similar posts on my own blog. I'm composing another for later this week, actually. Airplanes are great places to think! d
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Thanks Nancy for a great post and interesting discussion. And thanks, Jayne, both for stopping by and for another good question. Maya, both Nancy and I were travelling to conferences this weekend. I'm home and catching up - hopefully the same is true of Nancy and she'll be able to address your question this week. It's a good one. d
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Hi Sandy - I just thought of something else. Kayla Perrin will be a guest on this blog in November - she'll be talking about author self-promotion, but she is multi-published in multi-cultural romance and would be better able to answer your question. If you and your friend can't wait that long, Kayla is also teaching workshops through TPL about multicultural romance. Here's the link to the programming page - scroll down to see the information: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/pro_index.jsp d
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Ah Kimber, we are once again on the same proverbial page! d
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Hi Sandy - There is a subgenre in the romance section called "multicultural" romance and a number of publishers are acquiring work in this niche. (Including Harlequin - their multicultural imprint is called Kimani.) I am not certain though whether there is a great deal published in this subgenre with the protagonists being of different origins - most of what I have seen features two African-American protagonists. Your friend could research that subgenre and query editors at those programs about her work - it might very well be that despite what has been published to date, that they are looking for new ideas. The alternative, of course, is to restructure the work as literary fiction or women's fiction, which opens the door to a number of other publishing programs. The big variable there will be the strength of your friend's voice - while a strong voice is a terrific asset in any genre of fiction, it is critical in literary fiction. I have a post queued up for October 28 with more information about these genres and their structural expectations. In the meantime, you can research those multicultural programs. Good luck! d
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If there was a formula, Mary, books would be much easier to write. Instead, there's a reader expectation, which is much more elusive. Glad to have all of here. I'm looking forward to the exchange of ideas over the next 8 weeks. d
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Thanks Jacs - Two residencies per year, but this is the first one ever for romance. Hurray for TPL! d
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Well, Bonnie, I love computers. I can't imagine composing a book on a typewriter - and having to retype pages every time I changed a sentence. I prefer to use libraries and books for my research, but it is great to just be able to look up stray fact on Wiki or Google. OTOH, computers do make things more complicated, simply because of their capabilities. Probably the biggest area of growth in time commitment would be online promotion for authors - through chats, bulletin boards, listings at online booksellers, websites, blogs etc. We'll talk more about author self-promotion in November, but that's probably the biggest area of change. You could do online promo 24/7 and never get any writing done, but there'd still be one more forum you had yet to visit! d
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Thanks Eva for coming to the opening reception. It was wonderful to see so many people there, and there were a lot of great questions. The time just flew by. d
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