Shannon Stacey married her Prince Charming in 1993 and is the proud mother of two incredible sons. She lives in New England, where her two favorite activities are trying to stay warm and writing stories of happily ever after. Her two cats refuse to curl up on her lap and keep it warm while she writes, but her Shih Tzu is never far away.
When she’s not writing, she’s indulging in her other passion—four wheeling! From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she’s not at her computer.
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey
Keri Daniels is a journalist for an entertainment magazine, but she’s been hiding prior carnal knowledge of a reclusive celebrity. Now her secret’s out and her editor-in-chief is sending her back to face the boy she left behind.
Joe Kowalski isn’t a boy anymore, but he’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart. Through eleven bestselling novels he’s been able to protect his privacy, but he’s prepared to step into the spotlight if it means a chance to finish what he and Keri started.
Tina Deschanel is the editor-in-chief of Spotlight Magazine and she’s had her sights set on an exclusive interview with Joseph Kowalski for years. She doesn’t think sending her favorite reporter into the northern woods of New Hampshire to fan an old flame is too great a sacrifice.
Teresa Kowalski Porter wants nothing to do with Keri Daniels. Her former best friend abandoned her several years before breaking her twin brother’s heart. There’s only one reason Terry’s willing to spend two weeks in the woods with Keri—payback.
One random blog entry is all it takes to pull the safety net out from under Keri Daniels. One minute she’s shopping with her boss, and the next she’s holding a photo of an eighteen-year-old version of herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, Joe Kowalski. Tina Deschanel—the editor-in-chief of Spotlight Magazine—has been trying to get an interview with the reclusive, bestselling author for years. And when Tina tracked down a blogger who claimed to go to school with the man, she discovered her best reporter had been withholding some very interesting backstory. Now she’s given Keri a choice—the interview or a new career. She’s worked too hard and is too close to achieving her promotion to say no.
The entire Kowalski family is preparing for their annual camping trip in northern New Hampshire when Joe learns Keri Daniels is back in town. It’s not her first visit home since she left all those years ago, but it’s the first time she’s let it be known she’s looking for him. But he’s nobody’s fool and suspects Tina Deschanel—the most persistent stalker his agent has to fend off—has discovered her reporter’s connection to her prey.
Joe proposes an outrageous plan he’s positive will send Keri running in the other direction—for every day she survives with the Kowalski family on their annual campground vacation, she gets to ask him one question. But Keri’s worked too hard to walk away from her career and two weeks in the woods with her high school sweetheart is the lesser of two evils.
But not by much. The chemistry between Keri and Joe is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister Terry—Keri’s former childhood best friend—is out for revenge, and the cabin—the one she shares with Joe—has no running water. Being expected to take part in the ATV riding—something she hasn’t done since she was ten—is the icing on the pity party cake.
Coming from Carina Press in 2010!
Last week was an exciting week for us because not only did I get eight editors on board and reading submissions, we signed our first three authors, for a total of six acquisitions, and we know there are more to come. I’m going to list the acquisitions in a bit, and I’ll be posting more about each of them this week, but first I wanted to share some insight into the numbers.
As of last Tuesday, we had set aside not quite 70 manuscripts from the slush pile for rejection. 2 had been send revise and resubmit requests. And 1 had been acquired. The other 2 acquisitions came after Tuesday and didn’t come from slush, but came from direct submissions to me, from authors I’d worked with before. So, as of last Tuesday, 1 in 70 manuscripts had been accepted from the slush pile.
When Carina Press first announced we were opening, I got emails from several people (including one agent) and heard from others about forums and chat lists stating they’d heard Carina was not going to worry so much about quality and would be taking most everything submitted. I don’t really know where people heard that since it’s not something we’d have ever said, because it’s certainly not true! But, while I, and the other Carina Press team members, can say that’s not the case, it’s much easier to show it, via our statistics. Of course, the final proof will be when our books are available for purchase, but since that’s still months down the road, I’ll let the statistics do the showing for us!
Given all that, I’m incredibly excited to welcome the first three authors to Carina Press. I hope you’ll join me in congratulating them on their new contracts, and wishing them many (many) sales!
In order of “they said yes!”:
Shannon Stacey with her contemporary romance novel, Just Joe
Charlene Teglia and three erotic romance novellas about three djinn: Djinn and Sin, All Bottled Up and As You Wish
Carrie Lofty is bringing us a yet-to-be-titled historical romance (set in an unusual historical romance place).
We are so pleased to have Shannon’s, Charlene’s, and Carrie’s books for launch publication in 2010.
Coming this week: Stay tuned for further details of their books as well as up-coming announcements of more acquisitions I’ll be making. I’m not quite done hiring editors, I still have two more who will be joining us, so I’ll be working on that. Once I’m done, I’ll be introducing each of them here on the blog so everyone can get to know the Carina editorial team with their combination of awesome experience. This week I’ll be calling more authors with “the call” (yay!) but will also be sending out our first rejection letters, which is no fun. And in addition to all that, I’ll finally be starting the copy editor hiring process. It’s all coming together, isn’t it?
Here’s where I’ve been the past week:
Today I blogged at The Prairie Chicks about (my own) writer’s block, deadlines and working from home. As of this writing there were no comments and I feel sad about that. Go visit!
You can listen in on my phone conversation with Russ and Brent at QBaH (you’re wondering what QBaH means, I know. Go ahead and look). They called me the day after the Carina Press announcement was made, so I’m surprised I was even coherent then.
Last week I was on reviewer Jesse Wave’s blog, where she interviewed me and asked me some tough questions.
Also, this month I have an interview in Ann Aguirre’s newsletter, Action and Attitude (note, that link is a download link to download the RTF file, there is no online link)
Why is it the holiday season seems so much busier? Is there that much more to do? For me, last week there was. And that would explain why there was no post on Friday. Sorry about that!
The beginning of the week, Monday and Tuesday, I again spent on the hiring process for freelance editors–I haven’t even gotten to copyeditors yet! Tuesday I spent, no kidding, almost all of my workday on the phone. We have a weekly acquisitions meeting on Tuesdays (that I attend via teleconference) and I also spoke to three editors on the phone. Add in battling a nasty cold and it was an exhausting day. And I hadn’t even packed yet!
Wednesday I was off to Toronto and Harlequin headquarters, where I spent the next two days. I loved visiting the office, and I even loved attending the meetings (shh, don’t tell anyone). But it is nice to get to attend some discussions in person; it’s a completely different meeting versus listening to it on the phone! While I was there, I handed my baby, my MacBook Pro over to the IT guys to install Fusion and WindowsXP. They did a fantastic job and got me all fixed up so I now have all of the features of the Harlequin system on my Mac. Whew. I was a little worried I was going to have to invest in a new Windows-based laptop, but thanks to their hard work, I was able to keep the Mac. Relief!
Wednesday night, I went to dinner with Malle and Aideen, and let me tell you, we had the BEST Indian cuisine at Amaya. We ordered a variety of dishes, but by far my favorite was the butter chicken. I’ve been thinking about that dish ever since we had it, and I’m going to attempt to recreate it at home this week. If any of you have a recipe for butter chicken that you love, please do share it.
Thursday was a full day at the office. I got there around 8:30am and got myself set up for the day. In a lovely and rather fun move, they’ve assigned me to my own “cubicle,” (they don’t really count as cubicles because they’re too open and airy for that. But they are square) so I’ll always have a place to throw my things, sit and work on the computer when I have free time. I didn’t have too much free time this trip. By 9am I was meeting with the team that does the Harlequin site programming, then the digital marketing team, then the IT guys, next up my boss (Malle) and hers (Brent) to go over budgets, later with Diane, one of the administrative assistants (who totally rocked my world by filling out an expense report for me), then the entire Harlequin digital team for a lunch meeting, and finally the Carina Press team for an afternoon meeting and then…off to the airport to fly home.
Are you exhausted just reading that? I’m exhausted just reading it. And remember, I was battling a cold. I think only sheer determination, and Emergen-C, got me through. Oh, and that delicious butter chicken. We decided that for January’s trip I’ll come up for 2 days. It will make things a little less whirlwind for everyone.
So I got home Thursday night, almost exactly 36 hours after I’d taken off, exhausted but glad to have gone. Of course, that meant I was totally wrecked on Friday so I didn’t accomplish most of my goals at all for that day. And to top it off I had not one but TWO Christmas parties to attend. One Friday night, that I was in charge of organizing, and one Saturday night for my husband’s work. So yep, the holiday season definitely made for a busier week for me last week.
But all in all, I thought last week was a very productive week and by going up to Toronto, I have a better grasp on some things. I’m really happy with how the week went.
This week: By the end of this week, we should have close to nine freelance editors ready to start, which you can be sure I’m very glad about and really looking forward to. I’m going to start the process for hiring copy editors. Not only that, but I should have some very exciting news to report in next week’s weekly post!
And later this week on the blog, I’ll share some pictures of my Harlequin visit, including pictures of the Carina Press team, so you can see the people behind my madness :P
Today I’m traveling to Toronto, so I won’t be working much on submissions for the rest of the week, but in the weeks since Carina has been open, I’ve been immersed in two things: submissions and getting editors to read those submissions, so I’ve had some time to reflect on submissions guidelines, why we have them and how much I appreciate the authors who take the time to read them carefully and follow them.
I think it must be somewhat confusing (and sometimes frustrating) to be an author, submitting to a variety of different houses, each with their own submissions guidelines and peculiar requirements. With that in mind, I tried to keep ours as straightforward as possible, while giving the information I thought most authors have questions about. So what I did ask for, I actually really meant I wanted. Heh.
When a submission comes in, I look for a few pertinent details that I use to input the submission into our log, and track details. These details are the very first thing listed under “How to Submit” and I’ve come to appreciate (oh, you have no idea how much) the authors who list all this information in the query letter (unfortunately, many authors submitting miss step #1) and appreciate even more the authors who don’t make me work for the information, but lay it out there up front. Into our submissions spreadsheet goes: author’s legal name and title of book. Those, along with date of submission, are the first three elements in the submissions spreadsheet, which we can then quickly and easily import into a larger system if the book is acquired. Along with this information, I also track pen name, genre, word count and if the book is a reissue. Sometimes (many times) I have to leave a question mark in my spreadsheet when this information isn’t accessible in the cover letter. Most people submitting include a combination of these things, but often forget to mention if they’re using a pen name or what their legal name is, and often they’ll mention genre, but not completed word count, or vice versa. What’s actually worst case scenario for me is when the query letter is a separate attachment (because that takes more time for me) and still doesn’t have all of the details.
Just as a recap of our guidelines, here’s what I’m looking for: Query letter in body of email (not attached). Author’s legal name, pen name, manuscript title, genre, and word count. Mention if it’s a reissue, tell me pertinent writing credits and a short blurb of the story.
Not only does having this information shared up front, via the query letter, in a concise manner help me input the submission into the log, but it also allows me to disseminate the information to anyone who might need it (the acquisitions team, the editor I’m passing the submission to, etc) and it allows that person to get a sense of what the submission is before they’ve ever opened it!
So this post is in appreciate of all the authors who take the time to research a publisher’s submissions guidelines and submit a manuscript following those guidelines. Thank you! You make my job easier, the data entry faster, and allow me to move on to the next item in my to-do list (of which there are many) more quickly.