Lauren's first place winner, who will receive a 10 page critique, is....
Triona!! With her entry for her novel The Long-Timers.
and the runner up, winning a query critique, is....
Vicki Tremper with her entry for her novel The Transparents!!
Congratulations to both of you!! Please email me at authormichellemclean (at) yahoo (dot) com and I'll give you further details on claiming your critiques.
And thank you so much to Lauren for being our judge this month! Lauren kindly answered a few questions for us. Let's get to them :)
OA: You’ve recently made a big career change. Can you tell us a bit about what you are up to now?
LR: I’m so glad you asked, because I love to talk about my job. I’ve always loved working in publishing, but in my current role, I’m involved in almost all aspects of the industry, rather than just editorial. I have a hand in many, many different functions from cover approvals to contract negotiations, to marketing, advertising and publicity to—of course—reading the wonderful books at Entangled! Specifically, I am the assistant publisher of four digital imprints at Entangled. Covet (short paranormal romance), Brazen (short sexy romance), Scandalous (short historical romance) and Bliss (short sweet romance). I’ve also just recently become the assistant publisher for two print imprints as well, Entangled Select and Entangled Teen.
OA: Is there anything specific you’re just dying to get your hands on?
LR: I can answer this question four times, once for each digital imprint: Covet: We’re looking for short romance (50k-70k words) in which one of the main characters has some sort of paranormal ability in a contemporary setting with an alpha hero and a tried-and-true trope. Anything goes: demons, witches, angels, vampires, psychics, shapeshifters…come up with a new ability and you’ll have my ear. The paranormal element should hang in the background while the romance and the characters’ relationship are evolving in the foreground. The voice for these should be upbeat and contemporary—even a little humorous—and very specifically, I’d like to see more stories with demons.
Bliss: short (50k-70k), sweet romance set in small-town America. For this line, I like to see something very emotionally satisfying, and with a hero who cares more about the heroine than anything else. The roughest, toughest alpha heroes don’t seem to work for this line.
Brazen: If your story’s short (50k-70k), sexy as hell, has at least one proven trope, an alpha hero and tons of sexual tension, send it on over.
Scandalous: We’re looking for short (60k-70k) romance that is set at some point between 900 and the 1930s, have an alpha hero and at least one trope, and some sexiness.
OA: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to queries or submissions?
LR: Don’t reach out to me on Twitter to tell me you’re still waiting. It feels like you’re calling attention to my backlog in public.
OA: Are there any concepts that you are seeing way too much of?
LR: Vampires. Vampires are arguably the most bad-ass heroes in history, but unless you find a way to make your vampire story different than the bazillion I’ve read, you’re putting me to sleep. For example, in Covet new release, TAKE IT LIKE A VAMP, Candace Havens has built a world she imagines vampires could plausibly inhabit. Then she adds magic and werewolf inheritance and tells it in this fresh, youthful voice. Love it. For another example, True Blood: vampires, yes, but they’re suddenly outed as part of the general community and fighting as a minority. One beverage makes all the difference and turns the world on its ear.
OA: Any tips for writers struggling with their one-line pitches?
LR: I think a one-line pitch should not be drafted initially as a one-liner. It should be a simple listing of three to six words. Then, flesh out your one-liner, making sure to touch on the main character, the conflict, the conclusion and a dash of voice. For example, a word-listing for The Hunger Games would be:
After you’ve carefully chosen the words you want to include, all you have to do is fill in the blanks, like so: 17-year old Katniss is chosen to participate in a bloody fight to the death for the entertainment of her country’s elite, (more shock) but against all odds she survives—and craftily outsmarts the heartless onlookers to change her world forever.
OA: Any last thoughts for queriers?
LR: The most important thing to keep in mind when querying Entangled editors is that we’re a romance publisher. For Covet, especially, make sure your story is actually romance and not urban fantasy with a romantic element. For Bliss, make sure your story isn’t women’s fiction with a small romantic element.
Many, many thanks to Lauren for being with us this month and congratulations again to the winners!!! If you'd like to query Lauren, check out the submissions guidelines for Entangled.
And stay tuned for more Mystery Agent/Editor contests and tons more fun!!