Posts Tagged 'romance'

Harlequin NASCAR

Editor’s Note: I’ve got a post up on the Harlequin blog, 3 Life Lessons Learned While Editing Harlequin’s NASCAR Romances, and I’m cross-posting it below.

Click over to the Harlequin blog and comment on the NASCAR posts to be entered to win FREE NASCAR books! NASCAR posts from authors Jean Brashear and Abby Gaines will be up later this week.

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Three life lessons learned while editing Harlequin’s NASCAR romances

1.) Heroes are everywhere.

Growing up in Georgia, a lot of my friends made a habit of watching racing and the guys they most gushed over were the drivers. But in NASCAR romances, there are sexy dudes everywhere! On the track, in the pit stall, in the garage, owning the teams, sponsoring the teams…For NASCAR heroines, love happens when they find the perfect man for them, no matter his profession. I say this is true in life, too. And, yes, I am a hopeless romantic.

2.) Every person’s role is essential.

When I first started working on NASCAR romances, I was pretty sure the sport was about driving in circles very fast. Not so! Strategy and teamwork are the backbone of racing, and everyone—mechanics, technicians, tire changers—plays a vital role in winning. Half a second at a pit stop can change everything. Isn’t that sort of like life? Everyone plays an important role, even if we can’t always see it right away. One after-school encounter at the Del Taco can change everything, i.e., that was all it took for me to fall for my husband.

3.) It’s all about love.

NASCAR romances are tales of families—blood relatives, working relatives, team players, fans who make the track a tradition. There are parties and festivities, rivalries and drama. All of it centers on love—of a sport, of family, of a boy and a girl.

Starting this June, you can discover more NASCAR life lessons by checking out our brand new storyline. We’ve changed the format—two novellas in each book—and we’ve got brand new voices in the line-up—YA author Mandy Hubbard and reader favorite Pamela Britton to name two.

Have you read NASCAR? Or visited a race? [Go to the Harlequin Blog and leave a comment to be entered to win free NASCAR books.] Let us know what stock cars—or their drivers—have taught you!


Saturday reading

Yesterday, I read a manuscript I couldn’t put down. It wasn’t an acquisition of mine; it was a draft that a co-worker urged me to read.

It was paranormal, with a romance. It had problems, she said, but she wanted another opinion.

My opinion? The motivations and character arcs were all over the place. Some plot elements were too conveniently tied up. A couple of times, I rolled my eyes at the heroine’s decisions and her reasoning. The secondary characters were underdeveloped.

And yet…

I still found the story compulsively readable. I wanted to know what happened. When I had to put the pages down to take Charlie to a birthday party, I thought about them the entire time.

What would the heroine do? What had happened to the women before her? Who would she love? How would it end?

How could a book with so many problems still have that good-book magic?

I’ve been thinking about it all morning. These are the three things I think made the difference:

1.) The first three chapters were well-written. The characters were interesting, the pacing was just right, the premise was established and there was a hint of suspense. The author set up a few intriguing questions right away, and because those chapters read so smoothly, I really wanted to know the answers. I was, in effect, hooked, and willing to give the author leeway when things went south.

2.) The heroine. She began the story in a very difficult situation and only reluctantly accepted her call to adventure. I empathized with her. I liked her. I wanted to find out how–if–she beat the odds.

3.) The author’s voice. Conversational in a Twilight way, that voice pulled me in. It suited the genre and my expectations, and made me feel like I was hearing the tale from a trusted friend.

This first one isn’t even published, and I wish I had the sequel already.

Round-up: Carina Press shakes things up

The press release went out earlier this week, and it seems news of Harlequin’s digital-only imprint is making the rounds. The excitement is contagious.

Daily Finance: Harlequin launches digital-only imprint. Will other big houses feel the romance?
Quill and Quire: Harlequin tries for some online love with digital publishing venture
Galleycat: Angela James to helm digital press at Harlequin
Juno Books: Harlequin launches digital-only publishing house
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: Carina Press
Publishers Weekly: James tabbed to run Harlequin’s e-book-only Carina Press
Mobility Site: E-books, content calvalcade
Icarus Publishing asks, “Will Carina Press someday publish manga?” (scroll down)
The Tainted Archive: New imprint seeks writers

And for those who like original sources, Isabel Swift has posted the full press release.

One reporter, from said, “Those submitting to Carina Press should be aware that no advances are being offered and, more troubling, there will be no DRM protection. [Emphasis added.]”

Personally, I find the idea of DRM-free books to be just what the customer ordered. Imagine finding new authors to love by borrowing e-books from a friend! Those with concerns may want to read more about the DRM debate on Booksquare, here and here.

In addition to Carina’s potential influence on big publishing’s digital prospects and DRM decisions, the comments at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books raised another question: Will Carina’s launch inspire the Romance Writers of America to embrace digital-only publishers? Might e-book advocates no longer need to host rogue discussions of digital publishing trends?

It seems that RWA will at least think about laying out the welcome mat. Their latest press release, which has no date but uses language that suggests it was released after the word on Carina, says the board will devote a major portion of their upcoming meeting to discussing the “emerging trends” in publishing.

Even with no books yet on the Web site shelves, Carina Press is already changing the game.


I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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