Week Ten…We’ve Got Plans!


I don’t think I should start out by inundating you with all the things I did last week. It was a long week, I worked quite a bit trying to get things done (including the weekend, which I really try not to do) and as you read this, I’m winging my way to Toronto where I’ll be for the next three days, meeting with the rest of the team and giving a presentation updating Harlequin CEO Donna Hayes on what’s new with Carina Press. And there is definitely a lot to tell about the past two months we’ve been open: ten editors, two copy editors (don’t panic if you haven’t heard from me about your application, I’m only just starting on them), nineteen acquisitions (many of which you haven’t gotten to hear about yet), seventeen authors, 500 submissions in every genre, nearly forty blog posts, two trips (for me) to Toronto, multiple interviews, guest blog posts and invitations to attend conferences and give workshops. When you lay it all out like that, I think we’ve really accomplished a lot since we opened our doors mid-November.

And now we’re going to add one more thing…cover art! Starting this afternoon, and for each day this week, we’ll be sharing a sample cover art that one of several cover artists created. Five days, five different genres, three different cover artists (not all cover artists are represented). We know how important cover art is to both authors and readers, and we wanted to give you a sneak peek at the possibilities. If you’re an author, well, who knows, this cover art could be yours.

Opposite the cover art posts this week, I’ll also be sharing more acquisition posts from the authors who’ve joined Carina Press in the last few weeks. So stay tuned for two of our favorite things: cover art and books!

Join me for a self-editing workshop starting Monday


I am teaming up with the ESPAN (Electronic and Small Press Authors’ Network) special-interest chapter of RWA to bring you a multi-day workshop on self-editing your work. You can visit their site to register. The below information is lifted directly from their site.

January 18, 2010 Self Editing Workshop by Angela James

Join Angela James as she shares some of the common pitfalls she’s seen in submissions and contest entries. She’ll give you ideas, tips and tricks for polishing and self-editing your manuscript. Discuss things such as dialogue tags, whether all forms of “to be” really are evil and just what you’re doing to your life expectancy with your use of that exclamation point. Through it all, she’ll be available for clarification and questions in order to help you on your way to a cleaned-up manuscript.

This course will run over several days on the forum, so you can pop in and out as needed to ask Angela questions or see the new information she’s posted. So, you don’t need to be available at any certain time of day, but you do need to sign up for the course to attend.

The course will be $5 for ESPAN RWA members, $10 for non-ESPAN RWA Members and $15 for non-RWA

Meet Eleanor…Remember when people used typewriters?


Eleanor Elliott is the Director of Digital Commerce and has worked in the digital space for 14 years – 10 of those at Harlequin. For Carina Press, Eleanor is responsible for Marketing & Sales. She’s currently working on the development of the Carina Press eBook Store. In addition to books, she loves television – sci-fi, reality, drama, comedy – you name it. She is very happy that her TV boyfriend (Chuck Bartowski) has returned from hiatus, but will not be in complete television heaven until the next season of LOST begins. She lives with her husband, her toddler son, and two cats. She also plays a mean drum solo in Rock Band 2.

When I was 6 years old, I received my most memorable Christmas present from my childhood. A typewriter. It was a plastic children’s typewriter, but a typewriter nonetheless. It was red and white, and I adored it.

I remember sitting on the floor with the typewriter between my legs, a children’s book on the other side of my knees open to a story about the Princess and the Pea. I was determined to retype that story perfectly. What I intended to do what that typewritten sheet, I have no idea – but even as a child I wanted to do more than just read the story, I wanted to transform it.

I guess it’s no surprise that I ended up in publishing. But even now, after ten years of working for Harlequin on the Internet business, I still have moments where I need to pinch myself.

I had such a moment recently after a Carina Press acquisition team meeting – where I was able to share with the team my excitement over a truly delightful manuscript I had just read, and then I got back to my desk and saw a first draft of one of the mock covers the team is working on (featuring some very sexy cowboys). Reading great books and contemplating the sexiness of cowboy A vs. cowboy B. Is this really part of my job now? On second thought, please don’t pinch me! I’m not sure I want to wake up!

In my ‘other life’, I’m the Director of Digital Commerce – I’m normally consumed with strategic planning, and budgets, and sales figures, and inventory, and customer service, and promotions, and eNewsletters, and ad creative, oh and meetings, meetings, meetings. Reading the books we sell has always been a bonus. Now, as a member of the Carina Press team, I am involved in a side of publishing I’ve never seen before. I have the privilege of seeing a book at the most tender stage, and helping to bring the author’s vision to life as a published novel.  It’s a stage in the publishing process that is ripe with possibility and it’s extraordinarily exciting.

I’m not sure it’s quite as exciting as seeing that typewriter for the first time on Christmas morning – but it’s pretty darn close.

Help us title Carrie Lofty’s book!


Carrie Lofty’s historical romance needs a title. We’ve been brainstorming for weeks, but the acquisitions team can’t come to an agreement because some of us like one title, some like the other. So we’re turning to our blog readers for help in choosing a title for Carrie’s book. We’ve narrowed our choices down to the four you see below. These four are all favorites of Carrie and the Carina Press acquisitions team. Please choose and vote for the one you like best. The poll closes Sunday night and I’ll announce the new title of Carrie’s book the week of January 25th!

Here’s a short description:

Untitled Historical Romance by Carrie Lofty

Salzburg, Austria 1804

After claiming his late mentor’s symphony for himself, Dutch composer Arie De Voss became wildly famous across Europe. But the undue praise twists his conscience. Arie’s fear of discovery poisons any attempt to write a redemptive masterpiece, until the adoration of his newest student inspires him.

Hoping a quiet life will diminish the scandal of her birth, widowed violin prodigy Mathilda Heidel hides her musical gifts. But a chance introduction to Arie De Voss, the composer she’s idolized for years, dares her to heed the lure of the stage. In the face of public scrutiny and Arie’s fraud, can she sustain her new identity and salvage their love? And how will Arie choose between Mathilda, his career, and the truth?

You can also read chapter one at Carrie’s website to get a further sense of the book before you make your decision.

Week Nine…That grinding noise is my brain


Har har. I’ve had this window open on my computer since roughly 9:30am this morning. I got as far as “Week Nine” and I hit some major brain sludge trying to get going this morning. I have a rather serious looking to-do list this week that has things on it that can’t be put off. Things like getting the style guide to editors, going through tests and hiring copy editors (I hired one last week, though!), putting together my self-editing workshop (it’s an online workshop, you can still sign up!), writing a call for submissions,  updating submissions/sending rejection letters and setting up tomorrow’s blog post, which will be something new. These are all things that need to be done and can’t wait. And I really felt as though I just couldn’t get going today. I answered a lot of email, made some travel arrangements, answered a lot more email and had to remind myself frequently why I was looking at my calendar, a particular website or why I had started to search through sent mails. Yep, it was one of THOSE days.

Last week I spent what felt like a lot of time on the phone. Thursday, I had three scheduled calls, and from 2p-5pm was spent on the phone on two of those calls. The good news is that I’m that much closer to learning the computer system we use to input manuscripts and get contracts initiated thanks to one of those calsl. Oh dang, that’s another thing I have to do this week that I left off my list. Inputting manuscripts! (Imagine me groaning here. How did I forget that?) It’s also the system that’s used to track submissions. We also use an excel spreadsheet that I color code, write notes on and rearrange at will, but all submissions will also now be in the Harlequin system for very easy tracking. It’s quite an impressive (and complex) system, though!

These upcoming next three weeks are going to be crazy, because of my massive to-do list this week, my trip to Toronto next week (which, I just remembered, is another thing added to this week’s to-do list because I have to prepare for a presentation there. I need to write this stuff down…) followed immediately by Lasik surgery on the 21st! and then a trip to NYC and Digital Book World the Monday after that, where I’ll be on a panel. I’ll be in NYC for four days, but I haven’t even had time to think about my schedule and arranging meet-ups with people.

Speaking of travel, I’ve been putting together my conference/travel schedule for 2010 so if you’re interested in having Carina Press (in the form of me) at your conference, or want someone to travel to give a weekend workshop at your chapter, now’s a great time to email me! I’m really excited about the conferences on our list, and what I’ve been invited to so far. I’d love to add your chapter/conference to my list!

Hmm. Other than that, we’ve got a lot of content planned for the blog for the upcoming weeks. Next week, we’re going to give sneak peeks into some cover art. Still this week, we have a poll where you’ll help us decide a book title, some more posts from the acquisitions team, and I’ll introduce you to some more new Carina Press authors and their books!