Kris’ Korner ~ Oooh…it’s so pretty!

May 24th, 2016

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In addition to my Executive Editor (Editorial Director) hat, I do wear another hat. Yeah, I know, like I’m not busy enough lol! Anyway, while wearing that hat I always seem to come up with some “Kris hints to authors” and for this week’s blog, I’m combining a few of them. So…here are my hints regarding making your manuscript “pretty” before you hit send on that submission.

Are you ready? It’s going to be really technical. Okay?

DON’T! That’s right, don’t!

First, when you take all that time to change the fonts or add pretty graphics or use font size 14pt or add a blank paragraph return after every paragraph or tab every paragraph, it does nothing except aggravate someone down the road…namely the formatter of your manuscript.

Second, each house has their submission guidelines (I know I’ve mentioned those a time or two before). Somewhere in those guidelines, I’d guess about 99% of the publishers list HOW they’d like to see your manuscript. They list a font, a font size, sometime the spacing and what format to send the manuscript in. Those are pretty good guidelines to look at. I know when I start working on a new manuscript, most times, I’ll go through and strip out the “fluff” formatting before I start working on it.

Now, if you’re self-publishing your masterpiece and not sending it to a professional editor? Have at it. Just remember that all those things will detract from the main point of your manuscript – you want to entertain and tell a good story.

My basic recommendations for what to use, no matter where you’re sending your manuscript:

Font and size: Times New Roman, 12pt – you can’t go wrong with this basic font and size

For section breaks: three asterisks or hash tags centered work just fine.

Paragraph spacing: set your default paragraph style (https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Style-basics-in-Word-d382f84d-5c38-4444-98a5-9cbb6ede1ba4 gives you a bit about setting styles in Word) to the following settings (see the screen capture) by right-clicking on “Normal” on the Home ribbon, choosing “modify” then the dropdown arrow to “paragraph”. Do not put a blank paragraph return after each paragraph (they’ll have to be stripped out at some point).

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Save your creativity for your characters, world building, and story lines.

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Places to find me on the web…

May 12th, 2016

Besides here on website and my blog here are some other places to find me on the web. :)

Facebook Page

Twitter @taliacarmichael

Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my facebook group.

Join Talia Carmichael News to get info on my new releases, updates, appearances, press releases, reviews, contests and much more.

Kris’ Korner ~ Thought you liked me…

May 3rd, 2016

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There is one thing that I can think of that drives most authors crazy. They can write 100k complicated, intricate stories with nine bazillion characters all screaming for their own stories. They can handle having accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and a separate blog. They’ll search for swag and bounce around with bunnies (plot bunnies that is).

BUT ask them to write a synopsis and you’ve now killed any hope you have of getting suitable words out of them for the day. There will be something that they need to research or…ooh, haven’t done any kind of housework in decades.

In and of itself, a synopsis isn’t really complicated. It’s not. Dictionary.com defines it as:

noun, plural synopses
[si-nop-seez]
1. a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject.
2. a compendium of heads or short paragraphs giving a view of the whole.
3. a brief summary of the plot of a novel, motion picture, play, etc.

Doesn’t look to scary using any of those definitions. At least I don’t think so. And when you add in the synonyms (condensation, epitome, abstract, abridgment, précis), it should be pretty clear how to write one.

Something that confounds a lot of authors is: how long should a synopsis be? The general rule of thumb that I tell authors when talking about synopses is to use one paragraph for each major plot point of your story. You don’t need to condense the 100k into 100 words and it doesn’t need to be pages and pages telling every turn in the manuscript. If you have three major points, your synopsis should be about five paragraphs total: 1 introduction paragraph; 1 for each major plot point; and 1 to wrap things up and let the editor know if you’ve got a sequel. Ending a synopsis with a cliff hanger is just annoying to editors – we don’t need to know every little thing in your synopsis BUT we do need to have some clue about what we’re going to read.

This is especially important if you’re submitting something to a new-to-you publisher. Why? Publishers receive lots of submissions and editors will start to have “specialties” or have a subject/theme that they just don’t do well with. When a story is received, in most cases, the editor that oversees submissions will read your cover letter and synopsis to figure which editor should review your manuscript (unless the story is to be part of an anthology then all the stories will go to the same editor in most cases).

Oh and I forgot one synonym for most authors…hell LOL

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Talia Carmichael Book Nook…

April 30th, 2016

tcbooknook-fb

This is posted on a monthly basis.

I have a group on facebook. Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my corner of the web and I want you to share it with me. I will be posting sneak peeks, we’ll have fun and create some mayhem. It’s a place for us to sit back, relax and have some fun…well also teasing. Ummm…I’ve been told by some I like to tease…Okay I admit I do. There will definitely be teasing. That’s the perk for myself and you can tease too. :) So come on in and join in the fun…and teasing!

facebook.com/groups/TaliaCarmichaelBookNook

Kris’ Korner ~ Submit to Me

April 19th, 2016

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Now that I’ve got your attention – nope, not talking about a kink with this blog post. No whips, chains, gags or paddles. Just submissions. What/how/when. Looking at submission calls can be your foot in the door with a publisher whether you’re completely new to publishing or an established author that is looking to try out a new house.

Each publisher has their own requirements for a submission. They have their own set of do’s and don’ts. And different calls that they want stories for. What do you submit, for who, for when. As an example, I’m going to use one of the open submission calls that is currently posted for MLR. The call will be in Blue and my commentary on it in Red.

X Marks the Spot…and we’re not talking about THAT spot

We all have that one spot. You know, the one that makes you shiver or turns you into a pile of goo. Whether it’s the inside of your elbow (on just the right side) or that spot under your left ear, the small of your back, right at your hairline on the left side of your neck…you get the point. Or what if the spot you have makes you go “ewwww”? Licking that certain spot just makes you want to get far, far away…say your nose or toes? So opening paragraph of the call – what is this telling you? It’s giving you a basis for the call; it’s telling you what the editor/house was thinking about when the call was issued. It’s the main them that should be in your story somewhere/somehow. It’s telling you that they want stories about (in this case) a spot on a person. Sending in your angst-filled manuscript about an amputee – bad idea BUT if your story has an amputee that is finding out that being massaged by his partner to help him adjust to being an amputee and they find out that his stump is extra sensitive and touching there makes him squirm?

Submissions should:

- All stories should have a character focused on the spot on another character Again this is giving you the MUST have component of the story
- Suggestions: an established couple where the MC uses that spot to annoy the other for attention; a new couple exploring just where the “acceptable in public” spots are; finding a new spot on your partner that makes him want to take you against the wall suggestions from the editor – in some cases if there are suggestions? Yeah, means the editor would LOVE to see a story with one of these ideas in it
- Be a minimum of 10k, maximum of 40k Guidelines on the length – important here because if there’s a maximum? Check with the editor if your story is going to be over that – sometimes there is wiggle room
- Any subgenre is welcome and all prohibitive guidelines are observed This is a really important one. Why? It’s telling you that there are no-no’s that the publisher does not want to see. Most houses have close to the same no-no’s (like underage sex, rape for titillation) so this is where you should do your research. Look on the publisher’s site for their submission guidelines and READ them. You’ll find (in addition to the no-no’s) WHAT the publisher wants to see from you (manuscript/synopsis/what format to send) and some houses these days have an online submission form for you to fill out. Why are all these things important? It means that you’re serious about working with the house enough that you did your research on what they wanted.
- Submissions should be sent to special_submissions@mlrpress.com where to send your submission AFTER reading what they want you to send them.
- SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 15, 2016 When to send your submission by. Does this mean you need to wait until the deadline to submit your story? Nope, just if you’re not going to make this deadline, reaching out is a good thing.
Any questions can be sent to Kris Jacen at KrisJacen@mlrpress.com Someone to ask those little questions to – always a good thing if you’re not 100% sure if your story could/would fit what the call is.

It’s always hard to hit send on a submission but with a little research and though up front, you can lessen the chances of getting a “no thank you” if your story doesn’t fit the publisher.

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Places to find me on the web…

April 14th, 2016

Besides here on website and my blog here are some other places to find me on the web. :)

Facebook Page

Twitter @taliacarmichael

Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my facebook group.

Join Talia Carmichael News to get info on my new releases, updates, appearances, press releases, reviews, contests and much more.

Talia Carmichael Book Nook…

March 31st, 2016

tcbooknook-fb

This is posted on a monthly basis.

I have a group on facebook. Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my corner of the web and I want you to share it with me. I will be posting sneak peeks, we’ll have fun and create some mayhem. It’s a place for us to sit back, relax and have some fun…well also teasing. Ummm…I’ve been told by some I like to tease…Okay I admit I do. There will definitely be teasing. That’s the perk for myself and you can tease too. :) So come on in and join in the fun…and teasing!

facebook.com/groups/TaliaCarmichaelBookNook

Reckless Behaviour – Sneak Peek Excerpt

March 30th, 2016

Here is a sneak peek excerpt of a book from my backlist. Enjoy.

Reckless Behaviour
By: Talia Carmichael
Total E Bound
Available Now
ISBN: 978-0-85715-552-8
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Impressions- Book 1
Length: Novella
Format: E-Book
Buy here

Although Enrique’s voice was soft, his eyes were intense. The look was possessive and reminded Aidan of what they had shared.

“You have no idea, do you?”

Aidan stared at him. “No.”

“What are you doing here?” Enrique asked instead of answering his initial question.

“I’m a professor,” Aidan responded.

Enrique leaned against the wall. Aidan watched the way his perfect body moved, taking in everything. This close, he could see the outline of Enrique’s cock pressing against the front of his jeans.

“Well, I’m pleased we’ll be working together,” Enrique said. “I’m your grad student for the class.”

Aidan was speechless, but only for a moment. Then he found his voice. “What? You’re a student at UH?

“No. I’m only here for this class. I go to Collins University, which offers a better mathematics programme.” Enrique smiled and stepped closer to him. “I’m looking forward to all those late-night lessons,” he said, voice deep and intoxicating with the arousal that coloured his every word.

Aidan swallowed thickly. “That won’t be happening.”

Enrique shrugged and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like, “We’ll see,” before glancing at Aidan sharply. “You still haven’t answered my question. Why didn’t you call, Aidan?”

“It’s moot now. You’re working as my student teacher. We can’t…that can never happen again,” he whispered savagely, his gaze holding Enrique’s.

Enrique might not be a student at the University of Hollisville but, with them working together, it would be reckless for Aidan to continue a relationship with him.

Enrique moved forwards and flashed him a brilliant smile. “We’ll see.”

“Huh. What—”

“I’m not going to worry about what happens with us. I’ll just let what comes happen naturally.” Enrique ran a hand along the front of his slacks.

Aidan pressed against him before catching himself and pulling back. “Not going to happen.”

“That’s what you think, Prof.” Enrique stepped into him and kissed him.

His kiss was hungry and claiming. Aidan moaned into the wanton kiss. Enrique’s arms came around him, holding him tightly. Aidan gripped his back, pulling closer to his body. Grinding his hard erection against him, Aidan moaned. Then, as suddenly as he’d grabbed him, Enrique let him go. He removed Aidan’s arms gently from around him, then stepped back.

“We can be together if you just let it happen. The choice is up to you.”

Copyright © Talia Carmichael, 2011.
All Rights Reserved.

Buy here

Kris’ Korner ~ What to STRIVE for?

March 29th, 2016

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In the past few months I’ve covered lots of different topics and talked about Goals and Procrastination – so what should an author strive for? Should you set yourself a word per day goal? Should you aim to publish x books this year? Should you try and turn in an absolutely clean, clean, clean manuscript to your publisher (honestly, clean is good but overly clean and you held onto your manuscript for too long)?

With the ever changing landscape of m/m romance, publishers having challenges, new authors appearing daily, older favorite authors saying they’re taking a break, and the nastiness or pirates/plagiarism, I think you should strive to stand out. I know, Captain Obvious here :) But how to stand out, now that’s the $1 million dollar question.

Every author wants to have that book that goes through the ceiling and sells millions and millions of copies that’s read by just everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to be the editor for a story like that because yes, we’d all love the paycheck that would come with a seller of that nature. Something that can make you stand out other than this? Word of mouth, reviews, a pleasant social media presence.

How many times have you finished reading a book and thought “wow, that book will stay with me for a LONG time”? And I’m not talking about that book that you forced yourself to finish and know you can NEVER get that time back. I’m talking about that book you read years ago and touched you so much that you can still tell the story and you haven’t re-read it in ages?

Without looking at my iPad, I can name three books off the top of my head that I haven’t read in ages but I can (not that I will) tell you the story and recommend them all the time. I can’t even fathom how many words, stories, authors, themes I’ve read/edited since I first read each of these stories. Normally, I try not to name names (don’t want anyone to feel left out) but for these three stories I’m going to. Why? To give you an idea about what I’m talking about when I say a book touches you. These three stories aren’t fluffy stories, that’s another blog post on its own, and the writing is powerful.

· Riding Heartbreak Road by Kiernan Kelly – originally published in 2006 but unavailable right now (maybe she’ll re-release this one because…yeah)

· Bareback by Chris Owen – originally published in 2003

· Smart Alex by AKM Miles – originally published in 2008

So how do I suggest you stand out? Focus on your craft. Focus on your storytelling. Grammar can be taught. How to stop head-hopping can be taught. The one thing that no matter how good an editor I am or your editor is, the one thing we CAN’T teach is how to tell your story the best you can. We CAN’T teach you how to focus your muse on your character. We CAN’T craft your story better than you can.

Now, I’m not going to guarantee that this will make you rich. I’m not going to guarantee that you’re going to sell thousands of copies. What I will guarantee you is that if you tell your story the way that only you can tell it that you will touch someone and really? Isn’t that the main reason to write? To tell a story that touches a reader and brings them joy, entertainment, laughter, a bit of escapism and maybe even hope?

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Back….

March 26th, 2016

Haven’t been around much online. A few months ago I slipped on some ice and hurt my leg. I was in alot of pain. After getting it checked I was given treatment for it. For the last few months I’ve been in physical therapy. So between treatment for my leg and the day job I’ve been really tired. With this I’ve had to delay some plans I had. :(

But awesome news is I’m much better now. :) Now I’m getting ready to start those plans. Will be revealing soon what they are. I’ll post the plans first in my newsletter and Talia Carmichael Book Nook (facebook group) then after everywhere else.

So excited to be back. :)