Pitchin’ pennies and makin’ changes

First some housekeeping: be sure to head on over to Liv Rancourt’s blog, where she’s hosting Shannon O’Brien for the day. Shannon’s short story, Winter Twilight, is out in an anthology, currently available from Still Moments Publishing. Liv Rancourt’s novella, A Vampire’s Deadly Delight, is out January 14th from Black Opal Books.

Next up, you may have noticed (or not) that the actual web address for the page has changed. Sad to say, it was time to grow up, and as much as I love my rubber ducks of doom, it didn’t sound all that professional. I have absolutely no plans to change the content of this blog, though, not with the elections in Burma coming up, and our own presidential circus getting ready to play out. Nope, expect to see the same snarky, slightly uninformed social commentary here on the Rubber Duck Brigade, along with the usual postings about music, books, and writing. I changed the theme. Again. I’ll probably eventually add a new page or two-I’ve been wanting to make a playlists page for a while, and I may or may not take a page from Hack’s book and post some of my writing.

Oh, and the other day a friend of mine declared I was a hipster. The BF agreed. I hit them both for that.

Now, to the main purpose of this post: another pitch contest.

I really hope I'm not waiting this long to be published

Over on Jami Gold’s blog, she’s hosting a week-long pitch contest for Entangled Publishing. Entangled is a boutique publishing house that straddles an odd line: not quite mainstream, not quite indie. They only do romance (so if that’s not your bag, feel free to navigate away from the page or trash this email. I promise I won’t be insulted. Much.) and they’re looking for pitches of stuff anywhere between 10,000 words and 60,000 words.

This threw me into a bit of a tizzy earlier today as I tried to figure out whether I had anything worth pitching. As I mentioned before, I’ve got five finished novels and the sixth is almost done. Of those, I’ve been debating between Shadowdemon and A Lesson in Vanishing.

Here’s my dilemma: Shadowdemon, as you know, has been accepted as a Golden Heart entry by the RWA, and I’m leery of submitting a pitch on the story when I have yet to hear of the results, which won’t be announced until the end of March. I could hedge my bets and pitch it anyway, because the RWA will only name 8 finalists, and while I firmly believe in my story, I know there’s a ton of great talent out there, just waiting to be tapped. Or I could wait until after the finalists are announced and if I’m out, I can keep an eye on the call for submissions that Entangled posts monthly, see if maybe they’ll be looking for something like it at a later date.

The bigger problem is with Vanishing. There’s a lot of debate, when you pitch, if you really need to classify what genre your book falls into. I’m firmly entrenched in the “classify” camp. You want a major house to look at your manuscript? They need to know who to market it to. I’m sorry, but you only get to say “fiction” if you’re, oh, I don’t know, Julian Barnes or you have a degree from some place like Princeton. (On a completely unrelated note, a friend of mine told me that the head of labor relations for her company is a fresh out of Yale Law kid with absolutely zero experience in labor relations. I guess having spent far too much money on a fancy piece of paper really will trump experience.)

Vanishing, when I wrote it, didn’t fall into a category. I’m still at a loss as to what to categorize it as. A thriller? A thriller with strong romantic elements? It’s not chick lit-it’s not funny enough. It’s not quite a mystery. It has its moments where I feel like it will reach out and grab you by the throat, but it doesn’t do that the whole way through. And those romantic elements? They aren’t as strong as they could be. They’re there, but when I wrote it, I deliberately kept it from wandering down the path of a romance, partly because it doesn’t have your typical happily-ever-after (although it does, I feel, have a happy ending) and partly because I was in denial about being a romance writer.

I’m trying to accept my fate here. I’m a romance writer. But damn if I’m gonna let that box me in. I just hope that if I ever end up with an idea that doesn’t fit into the rules the RWA lays out for its books, I can get it published. In fact, I’m hoping to find a home for my short story, War Heroes, before the year is up.

I could, quite easily, bump up the romance factor in Vanishing. It may even be good for it, and for Frankie. But I also like it just the way it is: teetering on that edge, leaving you wondering if she’ll step over the line, finally, and do something that could make her happier than she’s been in years, or if she’ll turn away from it, all in the name of self-preservation.

Oh hell. Vanishing should be marketed to women. I just solved my own problem. At least part of it.

Anyway, if you think you’ve got a short story, a novella, or a full-length novel that will just knock their socks off, head on over to Jami’s blog and pitch it. Maybe I’ll see you there.

*image via rileymagnus.wordpress.com

4 thoughts on “Pitchin’ pennies and makin’ changes

  1. Thanks for the shout-out! Shannon wrote a great post, and it’s fun to play hostess! I think your new blog name is a smart move. It’ll be easier for your fans to find you when you get famous.
    😉
    Liv

  2. Thanks for spreading the word about the pitch session! No matter what you decide, good luck in the Golden Heart. 🙂 I have one of those “what genre would this be?” stories, so I understand your dilemma.

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