Friday, December 31, 2010

Embrace wishes you a Very Happy New Year!

The team at Embrace Books would like to wish all our marvellous authors and soon-to-be readers a very Happy New Year!

May 2011 be the year you achieve your dreams.

The official launch of Embrace Books is scheduled to take place on February 14th, and we hope by that time to have a brand-new website where you will be able to browse our new publications.

See you all there!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Dreamers by Tanwen Coyne

Embrace Books is delighted to announce that a spine-tingling paranormal romance is to be their first publication in the new Saffron line, which is a wide-ranging series specialising in lesbian fiction and non-fiction.

The Dreamers by new writer Tanwen Coyne will be published in Spring 2011.

The Dreamers
When Jennifer inherits a remote cottage in Wales, she soon senses that she isn’t alone. But whatever ghostly presence watches while she sleeps, it is not malign. Indeed, as the days go by and Jennifer draws ever closer to her new friend, she begins to realise that the presence in her cottage is both feminine … and erotic.

Embrace Books is particularly keen to encourage new submissions to Saffron, and also to its women's category fiction lines, contemporary romance Red Velvet and super-hot romance and erotica After Dark.

There are also two historical lines: Embrace Historical and Embrace Regency.

If you're a writer who'd like to join the growing line-up of authors at Embrace, please visit our Submissions Guidelines page for more information on how to send us your work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A beautiful Georgian romance gets its cover ...

The Cover Factory speaks ...

If you've been following the releasing of our first stunning romance covers over the past 24 hours, you'll probably be too shocked and in awe to be reading this.

But if you're still able to to click a link, you can find out how Cover Factory guru Chris Hamilton-Emery went about selecting our luscious new cover images over on the Salt Publishing blog.

Poor Chris. Poring over half-naked women all day ...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November Newsletter: Coming Soon!

The November Newsletter will be on its way out soon, with tons of exciting news from Embrace and the usual cluster of fun and interesting feature items, like tips on writing romance and our regular Love Letter feature.

Apologies to those who missed our earlier newsletters. We were thinking of changing the way the newsletter is presented, but in the end decided to keep the standard style for now.

Come our mega-launch in the New Year, a whole barrage of fabulous new Embrace features are due to appear, including a brand-new website, a chat forum, an email group for readers to meet writers - and a revamped newsletter that will launch along with our first 8-10 titles.

A busy time, then, in the run-up to Christmas. But so exciting!

Do look out for the November Newsletter, which should drop into your inboxes in the next ten days. So better put Embrace Books on your Not Spam list, just in case, and if you're not already a subscriber, the link to be added to our email list is in the right-hand sidebar here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fashion and Fantasy

Embrace Red Velvet authors Sally Clements and Judy Jarvie both love a challenge.

So when world famous fashion photographer Benjamin Kanarek recently urged writers to send him short fairytales via his famous fashion blog, they had to participate. The idea was to celebrate his fairytale inspired 'Tale of the Unexpected' images for Harper's BAZAAR Hong-Kong.

Their short tales were selected by Benjamin to accompany his wonderful images. You can read more about the story here – why not see Benjamin's magical photographs for yourself?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

BL Bonita Interviewed

BL Bonita's "Pathway to Paradise" from Noble Publishing

Our most recently acquired romance author at Embrace Books, multi-published Canadian author BL Bonita, has just been interviewed over at Happily Ever After Reviews.

Well done, BL, for a great interview! It was especially fascinating to hear all about your beautiful home in the Canadian wilderness, and how it has inspired so much of your writing.

If anyone has other news of Embrace authors out and about on the net, drop us a line and we'll post it up on the Embrace blog.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BL Bonita's "Savage Sun"

Savage Sun is a new erotic western romance by multi-published Canadian author BL Bonita, who now brings her passion and sense of frontier adventure to the Embrace list.
In a lawless western town, genteel Jamie Phillips stumbles upon the brutal whipping of a local coloured man, Avery Samms. With sympathy in her heart, Jamie takes the man to her home to recover, where a forbidden passion brings them together. When their world is threatened by jealousy, hatred and revenge, Jamie and Avery must fight for their lives and their love - under a savage western sun.
BL Bonita is in an interracial relationship, and her brand-new novel Savage Sun blossomed from learning about the struggles her boyfriend’s ancestors were forced to overcome. She often wonders how difficult it must have been for interracial couples to survive in society at a time when such a relationship was frowned upon or even strictly forbidden. She thought, “What would I do if I was the heroine?” and the story came quite naturally.

BL writes erotic romance in multiple sub-genres including historical, contemporary, western, suspense and thriller. She resides in beautiful Northern Ontario, Canada, where summers are green and winters crispy white. Often you will find her tapping away at the computer with dishevelled hair and a cup of strong coffee, creating stories out of her wild imagination.

BL Bonita describes becoming a part of Embrace Books "an exciting adventure" and believes that "the rougher the road lovers travel, the sweeter their reward at the end".

Savage Sun will be published as an After Dark title, under Embrace Historicals.

To learn more about BL Bonita and her "unpredictable and completely engrossing" red-hot romances, please visit:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Writers: Spread the Love

Since Embrace Books is only three months away from launching, why not spread the love and let other writers know that we're still encouraging submissions?

We have two contemporary and paranormal romance series, the sexy and scrumptious Red Velvet and her even slinkier sister, After Dark.

We also boast two historical lines, Embrace Historicals, which covers everything from World World II romantic fiction back to sweeping medieval or Roman sagas, and the Embrace Regency series, which covers early Georgian romance through to the end of the Regency.

High quality lesbian fiction and non-fiction can be found at Saffron

And for those who also enjoy alternative fiction, without a strong romance element, we've just launched a call for Proxima, our new science fiction and fantasy line.

Novels, novellas and short fiction are all welcome. Wait times on submissions are currently very short, mostly under 6 weeks. Please see our Submissions page for full details of what and how to submit, and for our standard contract terms. All books will be launched digitally, with some also being available in print editions.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Interview at Writers, Authors, Books & More

I was interviewed recently by Susan Palmquist for her blog

Writers, Authors, Books & More

Looks like an interesting site, with plenty of good interviews, doing basically what the name suggests. Hope you can pop over there sometime and hear me answer fascinating questions like:

What type of romances are you looking for? What's the word length?


How will the Embrace line differ from Mills & Boon?

and many more!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Inspiring Inspiration

I was looking for inspiration for a post and the lovely Rachel Lyndhurst pulled out her equally lovely dictionary so I’m going to do copy cat.

What more inspiration did I need than the word INSPIRATION?

Most of the time my main inspiration is music. Usually at key scenes I need to crank things up and the tunes come out (in MP3 and You Tube form). I probably end up with a trio of artists that help me along per book. I tried the photoboard montage thing (but frankly my craft skills are worse than my pre-schooler’s so that was the end of that). 

For Nanny Behaving Badly my inspirations were heaps of Scottish band Del Amitri, The Killers and some Nelly Furtado thrown in. In a nutshell the book idea came from a yearning to write about the city of Edinburgh in Winter (when I happen to think it’s at its best) with hot characters to ward off the December chill.

My inspirations were a newly launched coffee bar, Edinburgh in pre-Xmas sparkly mode with its festive Christmas market. An uptight Scots alpha entrepreneur hero, who needs urgent childcare as well as a good lesson in chilling out. And an in your face bouncy, gutsy new American barista who stirs things up with firecrackers to bring true dazzle to the season.

I had a blast writing it. I can only hope it’ll work for readers too (gulp!)

So in summary sometimes inspiration is a mosaic of elements inside you and you need to pull it all out and make it pretty (of course pretty is pretty darn hard to achieve and like the legend that is Fame it takes lots of sweat and effort as payment).

So without further ado here’s some INSPIRING POHM (pictures of hot men) as reward in lieu of reading this post.

There’s Alexis Papas...a long time favourite. Who wouldn’t drown in those eyes? Then Marios Lekkas. Sexy new boy on the block. And finally there’s Noah Wylie – Dr John Carter from ER who is the real inspiration picture behind Lyle Sutherland the terse and sometimes grumpy hot Coffee King in Nanny Behaving Badly.

Who would you pick to kick off wintertime sparks with? Which is your pick for sharing a latte, iced gingerbread...and maybe more?
Judy Jarvie is a new Embrace Books author. Her contemporary romance 'Nanny Behaving Badly' launches in early 2011. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Obsessed? Join the Club.

I am a writer - and I still can't get over how much I love saying that! - so I love words.  Big words, small words, words that coat your tongue like heather honey, words that snap like icicles or crackle like burning logs.


Can't get enough of them and that's not a problem when you've got one of these to dip into on a daily basis:

Well-thumbed beauty, isn't she? Bigger than the bible by my reckoning, so for today's lesson let's dip in and pick a word shall we? My turn first:

'An idea or thought that continuously preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind.'

Ah, I do like this one.

Any decent alpha male hero needs a touch of this to drive him on, to focus, achieve and become the successful man he is. Similarly, your heroine will need a good dollop to adhere to her principles and fight for what she believes in, in spite of the impossible temptation and choices she is facing.

They both suffer from the bittersweet hold of obsession when they are unable to resist each other and can't shake the need for their perfect mate. They become consumed, obsessed with wanting each other, with fighting that need until it brings them to their knees and speeds them on to their happy ever after ending.

And what about the author?  The person who writes their story?  Does he or she need to be obsessed to create this storm of emotion? To force them together, tear them apart, crush them and finally reconcile them in a satisfying way?

There's no doubt about it in my mind.  If I wasn't so obsessed with writing I'd never have finished writing a book in the first place. Or the next one and a couple more after that. I would never have submitted either.

So, do you agree?  Do you have to have a bit of an obsession to be a writer?  Or is there another way?  My family might want to know at some stage.

Well, here endeth the lesson.  Drop us a line if you'd like us to feature a particular word in the future, otherwise I get to choose again (yessss!). But you've been very patient, so as a treat I'm going to share my current hero obsession:

 David ...

Sigh.  He's been top of the list for a couple of years now, I really think I need a cure.

He's become a bit of an addiction actually.  Now there's a good word.

Rachel Lyndhurst is one of our new Embrace Books authors, and will be launching her contemporary romance 'Storm's Heart' in early 2011.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Reluctant Marquess by Maggi Andersen

“Strong Attraction … Fear of Intimacy”
Embrace Books is delighted to announce the acquisition of a thrilling Georgian romance novella by accomplished Australian novelist, Maggi Andersen.

This historical romance, The Reluctant Marquess, will join the brand-new Embrace Regency list.

Maggi and her lawyer husband are empty nesters, living in the countryside outside Sydney with the cat that rules them, and the demanding wildlife they feed. An entertaining offshoot of this lifestyle: animals often feature in her books!

Maggi began writing adventure stories when she was about eight years old. Three children, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree later, her novels are still filled with adventure and suspense, but are now also passionate romances. Georgette Heyer – among others – brought inspiration to her seductive Regencies and she also writes contemporary romantic suspense, young adult novels and darker, Victorian mysteries.

Maggi Andersen’s first historical romance was a Regency novella, Stirring Passions, and she has since written several more, which received great reviews. She chose to set her novella for Embrace in the 18th Century because it allowed more freedom for her independently-minded heroine, Charity Barlow, than the stricter Regency era. Plus, Maggi loves the fashions, architecture and decorative interiors of this period.
The Reluctant Marquess
A country-bred girl, Charity Barlow never expected to become a Marchioness. Nonetheless, she is determined to make her marriage of convenience into the ton work. Yet despite the strong attraction between them, and Charity’s bold attempts at intimacy, the rakish Lord Robert does not believe a husband should be in love with his wife. Can she ever make him love her?
You can find out more about Maggi Anderson in the following places:

Maggi’s website:
Maggi’s blog:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Embrace Love Letter

The first ever Embrace Books newsletter has now gone out to subscribers. If it hasn't arrived, and you definitely subscribed, please check your spam boxes before emailing me. Thanks!

If it has arrived and you've read it, please do let me know what you think or make suggestions. We're probably going with a different design next month, so that's going to change. But content-wise, if there's something you'd like to see in the newsletter, please let me know.

You can subscribe to the newsletter here

This month, I commissioned C.L. Kerr, a NWS RNA member writing under a pen-name, to create our first Love Letter.

She came up with a wartime letter from 'Tom' to his 'darling Iris', written in September 1943. The letter was so poignant, I knew immediately it was the one to launch the section. You can also read it here.

Love Letters can be contemporary, historical or paranormal. They're unpaid, but an excellent way for new and developing writers to raise their profiles.

If you'd like to have a crack at writing one for a future newsletter, please keep it under 200 words and submit it to me as a Word doc. at jane @

Friday, August 20, 2010

For Romance After Dark ...

There's a renewed call for submissions to our scorching hot After Dark romance line, over on the Embrace Books website.

Do please hop over there and leave a comment, make your mark on our brand-new website, and hopefully start preparing a submission to Embrace Books.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fabulous new website for Embrace Books

Just when I was getting comfortable here on blogspot, it seems we have a new address.

Check out the brand-new website, just starting to take shape at, and marvel at its total gorgeousness!

I shall be developing some of the posts there in the weeks to come, which may include repeating a few important posts from this site. Bear with me though, there'll be plenty of new material coming soon to Embrace Books, especially once we're out of the holiday month.

The first-ever Embrace Love Letter will also be coming your way around August 21st, packed with exciting news, photographs, tips on writing romance, and even some short fiction to get you in the mood.

If you haven't signed up to receive the newsletter, please click at the top of the side-bar.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Storm's Heart" by Rachel Lyndhurst

I can now announce that we have a title for Rachel Lyndhurst's excellent debut with Embrace, which is the unforgettable Storm's Heart.

Many thanks to those who have signed up to receive our monthly Embrace Love Letter, which is due to be sent out around the middle of August. If you haven't yet signed up for a copy of our newsletter, there is a link at the top of the sidebar which will take you to the appropriate form.

We shall be on holiday for the rest of the month, but will check in occasionally to read messages. So if you send your ms and don't immediately receive an acknowledgement, please wait at least two weeks before querying.

Monday, August 9, 2010

After Dark

We're particularly keen to receive submissions for After Dark.

Most of our submissions to date have been for the Red Velvet line, which is 'sexy, sophisticated romance'. But it would be good to see some deeply-felt mss for the hotter After Dark romances too. We're looking for steamy erotic romance for this line, in all categories and from either a heterosexual or gay perspective, with quality writing as paramount.

A potentially successful manuscript for After Dark might prompt some or all of the following descriptions:

Unusually plotted or themed
Written with great character

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First Acquisitions for Embrace Books

To repeat what I wrote this morning on the Salt website, I am absolutely delighted to announce that we have now acquired our first three titles for Embrace!

Authors Rachel Lyndhurst, Judy Jarvie and Sally Clements all join us for our initial line-up of romance titles, due to launch early 2011.

A law graduate and mother of two whose interests include antiques and gardening, this will be Rachel Lyndhurst‘s first published novel, a sophisticated contemporary romance as yet untitled. Her brand-new writing blog is here.

Scottish-based Judy Jarvie has a professional background in PR and has been writing romance since 2002. Two previous novels were published by US publisher Moonlit Romance, and her novel Taking the Leap was short-listed for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme Award. Her lively novel for Embrace is entitled Nanny Behaving Badly. You can follow her blog at Judy Jarvie's Jottings.

Sally Clements is a published romance and mystery author living and working in County Kildare, Ireland. She has published numerous short stories and a novel, Catch Me A Catch, with The Wild Rose Press. She comes to Embrace with a suspenseful contemporary romance entitled Bound To Love. Her writing blog is Love and Chocolate.

All three acquisitions are for the Red Velvet line, and we’re thrilled to have Rachel, Judy and Sally launching with us at Embrace.

Please note, we're still actively seeking proposals for unpublished novels, novellas and even short fiction.

So if you're a writer and would love to become involved in the new British romance phenomenon that is Embrace, please follow our Submission Guidelines.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Cover Factory

Shop Girl Diaries: Emily Benet (Salt Publishing)

Just a quick link to the brand-new website of the company which designs covers for Salt and which will probably be in charge of providing Embrace Book authors with their covers too.

If you thought our book covers would be same-old, same-old, think again!

The Cover Factory

Their website is still under construction, as is our own lovely Embrace Books website, so do please check back again soon to find new developments.

Emily Benet's Shop Girl Diaries is a recently published example of their work.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Full Steam Ahead!

Just to let folks know, we are almost ready to announce our first acceptances at Embrace Books. Such exciting news!

I took a few days off to work on my own writing last week, and will be away again from Thursday for four days, for anyone trying to contact me. But in my absence the team has been working hard. The first contracts should go out to our new Embrace authors this week, so I will soon be in a position to reveal our download royalty terms - amidst other developments!

If all this steamy excitement has tempted to submit to Embrace, please find our submission guidelines in the right-hand sidebar.

We are currently looking for sexy, sophisticated romance (Red Velvet) or hot romance and erotica (After Dark) in novels, novellas and also now Steamy Shorts - details coming soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Does 'Formula Romance' Exist?

Someone asked on a previous blog post whether we are looking for formulaic, 'same-old-same-old' category romance at Embrace Books, and since my answer is quite complicated, I thought it might be a nice idea to turn it into a separate blog post.

First off, I don't believe in formulas. That is, I don't believe they exist in fiction, though I know many do. Particularly journalists searching for a good headline or those who look down on popular fiction as being formulaic and therefore not worth their time.

There is no magic formula or guideline sheet handed out to romance authors at the start of their bodice-ripping careers - as an apparently intelligent woman insisted recently, talking to me about the evils of romance, though she admitted to never having actually read one herself.

No, what I believe in is 'story'. Romance is one kind of story, and it has a simple plot: girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy again. If that's a formula, it's no more a formula than a crime novel: a crime is committed, an investigation is launched, the criminal is caught. Or any type of popular fiction that follows a common theme or structural framework.

Within the idea of 'romance' there are many different varieties of approach to story-telling. Writers can manipulate the setting, period, characters or writing style to differentiate their stories from their peers in the same tradition. But all romances must follow the same basic plot of girl meets boy. If your story doesn't do this, it may be excellent in all manner of ways - but it will not be a romance.

The real question may be, am I looking for very tightly conceived and executed category romance within a strict set of guidelines prohibiting various types of hero, heroine, setting, plot variations, and sexual antics?

The answer to that is no.

I am looking for freestyle romances within the stated word lengths - not romantic fiction, or fiction with romance in it, please note, but bona fide romances where the love story is the key focus of the plot - and if it contains something unusual, as long as it's still a romance, then I'm very much open to new twists and turns on the road to love.

Perhaps giving me some examples of what constitutes a 'different' approach to category would help me be more specific. I'd be happy to field queries below on the topic of what fits Embrace and what doesn't.

Though, in general, my reputation in editing is as an innovator and a rule-breaker. So try me!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good News Coming

I'm delighted to say we may have good news coming soon from Embrace Books. Among our first batch of full manuscript submissions, we've found some rather wonderful love stories and are currently working with a few authors on revisions - with a view to acquiring their work for Embrace.

Watch this blog for further updates!

Yet more submissions have been flagged up as promising, and full manuscripts are to be requested. Those authors should hear from us within the next ten days. If you haven't heard yet, never fear. There are quite a few partials still in the inbox. But we're getting through them fast.

No manuscripts that fit the line have been rejected without an editorial appraisal of the work. 

If you'd like to submit your romance manuscript to Embrace - and we'd certainly love to have it! -  a clickable link to our Submission Guidelines is in the sidebar of this blog.

The email address for both submissions, queries and general correspondence is jane AT saltpublishing DOT com

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who is this Jane Holland anyway?

It occurred to me that some people reading the Embrace blog might not know who is actually behind it. So here's a quick summary of who I am.

My name is Jane Holland and I'm the editor of Embrace Books. I've been in publishing since 1995 and in an editorial position with Salt Publishing, who own Embrace, since 2008. My first post with Salt was editor-in-chief of their arts and literary magazine, Horizon Review.

I'm also a professional writer. I have published seven novels, including mainstream commercial fiction, five collections of poetry, and countless articles and reviews for national newspapers, magazines, literary journals and ezines.

I am currently writing a straight Tudor historical, and my literary agent is Luigi Bonomi of LBA. 

My connection with romance dates from an early age. My mother was the late, great Charlotte Lamb, who published over 150 romances, romantic historicals and romantic suspense novels, under that name and various others. I grew up scribbling my toddler pictures on the backs of her Mills & Boon galley proofs, and graduated to reading her books - and those of her peers - by the time I was an adolescent. My elder sister Sarah was also a romance novelist. The social circles we moved in included writers, editors and agents, and I even managed to get myself invited on her huge US tour for Harlequin in the early eighties.

So romance was always there, right from the start, and it was only a matter of time before my life came full circle, back to romance.

You can also read an interview with me at The Literary Project.

I'm open to submissions and queries at Embrace Books. Guidelines are clickable in the sidebar. We also have a free monthly newsletter. Please subscribe!

Paragraphing: the long and the short of it

Many of the submissions I've received so far - and do keep sending them, I love seeing new manuscripts pop up in my inbox - have what I call Paragraph Problems.

Today, in the world of romance, the page-long paragraph is a no-no. Sometimes even the half-page paragraph looks out of place. Once in a while, yes. Perhaps when some building of atmosphere is required, or some terrible internal struggle is taking place. Maybe two or three times in a chapter, a half-page of narrative will be acceptable. But not every few pages, and certainly never in the first few pages, where pace is everything.

Here are some simple suggestions for structuring the paragraph. I hesitate to call them rules, because that implies they should never be broken, and a good writer always breaks rules - and gets away with it, of course, because she's so damn good!

But if you suspect you may not be damn good, then stop when paragraphing and think: what were those suggestions again?

Bear in mind that these rules - sorry, suggestions - are aimed at writers of romance. Fleming broke the rules all the time in his Bond novels, and many other writers do too. But here we're talking about romance, short category romance, and most importantly, romance aimed at the digital market.

People read text on screen in a different way to how they read text on a printed page. And they prefer shorter paragraphs on screen, not least because a long paragraph means they have to scroll back to the top of the page - or even the page before - if they lose the thread of what was going on.  Which is easily done in a long and complex paragraph.

So ...

  1. Keep your paragraphs short. Readers tend to skip long ones. They do. Honest.
  2. Vary the lengths of your paragraphs. This includes all-dialogue paragraphs. A fast-paced exchange of one-liners should not continue too long or you'll give the reader whiplash and she'll forget who's speaking when. Equally, a single line of narrative - 'The car sped away, and Dawn realised she was alone on the dark pier' - will be more effective if it's not surrounded by other single or very short paragraphs. Your book is unlikely to be read aloud to anyone, so remember to think visually and vary lengths when choosing where to break your paragraphs.
  3. If you have paragraphs of the DND (dialogue - narrative - dialogue) variety, aim to keep all three short. Never try DNDND. The reader will become confused, especially if two separate people are speaking in the same paragraph. I've actually seen this attempted. Not good.
  4. Paragraphs are like mini-stories in themselves. They should have a beginning, a middle and an end. In my example above: 'The car sped away (beginning), and Dawn realised she was alone (middle) on the dark pier (end).' So we have action (beginning), identity, thought and circumstance (middle), and suspense or resolution (end). Suspense at the end of a paragraph is good, by the way, because it springboards the reader into the next paragraph. 
  5. You should indent the first word of each paragraph, unless that paragraph starts a new section or chapter. Then it should start flush with the left-hand margin.
  6. When describing action, keep paragraphs short and succinct. Use single clause sentences, and dialogue to break up the text. Ultra-short dialogue like 'Hey!' or 'Here, catch!' works best. (Try not to have characters call each other by name too often, unless it's for a reason - i.e. irony or character revelation.)
  7. By contrast, when writing a romantic or intimate scene, don't have the paragraphs ultra-short if you can avoid it, apart from the odd muttered comment. Short paras interrupt the flow. Equally though, don't use this excuse to slide off into reams and reams of purple prose and flowery euphemisms. Keep descriptions of what's going on fairly lucid and accurate. I'm always miffed when I have to re-read a love scene several times in order to work out if they actually did it! We're not writing for convent girls.
  8. In the last chapter, as in the first chapter, shorter paragraphs help to increase the pace and to speed us towards our natural conclusion. Here, dialogue is paramount, especially to convey vital plot information.
  9. Lastly, as far as dialogue tags are concerned, if it's clear who's speaking, drop the 'she said'. But I'm not looking for a thousand cunning alternatives to 'said' either. If 'said' is all that's required, use it, and try not to throw in a 'groaned', 'lamented', 'whimpered' or 'grated' at every turn, or pepper your 'said' with adverbs like 'chillingly', 'bitingly', 'archly'. With any luck, the dialogue itself will tell us how it was said - if your character work has been done well enough.
There you have it. The Embrace Guide to Paragraphing, or everything you ever needed to know about slicing your book into digestible lumps, and more!

Now go cut some paragraphs.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What's Happening at Embrace?

In our first week, the Embrace Books blog has enjoyed almost a thousand hits. But we have less than twenty followers.

It would be great to bump that number. Please follow us if you don't already do so, and keep track of what's happening at Embrace. If you're one of our first followers, many thanks indeed!

The next few months will see some exciting developments at Embrace. Behind the scenes, we are considering possible backlist content, putting together an Embrace contract, looking at the pros and cons of various download formats, and discussing which features we'd like to see on our forthcoming website.

If you have any suggestions, please comment below. We are keen to involve readers and writers in the evolution of Embrace.

News-wise, we are already close to announcing our first ever acceptance - I'm sure no one wants to miss hearing about that first-hand!

Okay, you're hopping with excitement. So what do you do now?

There are several ways to keep up to date with the latest news from Embrace:
  1. Follow us with a Google account. Click on the top right-hand 'Follow' button
  2. Click on the link for our FREE monthly 'love' letter
  3. Pop Embrace Books into your blogroll
  4. Bookmark Embrace Books
  5. Click your Top Site button, if installed, when reading this blog
  6. Keep clicking back every few days to see what's happening

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Novellas: the Embrace Golden Rules

Novellas are notoriously hard to write. I've received a few in the past week, and they have all been competently written, which is lovely to see.

However, I'm flagging up here that I need to see the full manuscript if you're sending a novella. Along with at least a 2 page synopsis, please. Just because it's short doesn't mean I want to glean the plot by reading through it.

What about length? To my mind, if it's over 15,000 words but under 25,000, then it's a novella. Any less than 15,000 words and we're in short story territory, albeit at its far boundaries. Then there's a no-woman's-land between 25K and about 50K, where short romances need to end up if they are to be called novels.

A romance novella needs to be structured like a mini-romance. It has numbered chapters, it has character arcs, it has a well-defined plot - but everything works in miniature.

Due to its kaleidoscope nature, the romance novella demands a super-swift entrée into the world of hero and heroine. We don't have time for leisurely introductions. Throw the two together on the first page, preferably in a violent or shocking manner, and you will get a big tick from me - and if you can continue pushing them together, especially physically, you may even get a gold star!

So the golden rules of an Embrace novella are:
  1. Link hero and heroine on the first page, if possible
  2. Keep the pace relentless throughout
  3. Follow the structure of a novel, but in miniature
  4. Begin physical intimacy much earlier than in a standard novel
  5. You can never have enough intimacy in a romance: find a way to force them together - and keep them there!
  6. Submit the whole manuscript along with a synopsis. See Guidelines for details.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Receive an Embrace Love Letter

We've just activated a new Embrace Books newsletter link >> eyes right, you'll see a quick link to our 30-second love letter sign-up page.

The Embrace Love Letter will go out to subscribers on a monthly basis at first, letting you know personally how the list is building up, what kind of launch titles to expect, and - for the writers among you - which romance categories we're most eager to acquire.
On the simple sign-up form, which only takes about thirty seconds to complete, you can let us know your basic preferences within romance, so we can make sure you only receive news you're genuinely interested in hearing about. 

  1. You can tell us if you're a writer or a reader of romance - or both, of course!
  2. You can tell us which kinds of romance you love best, whether that's a simple love story or a steamy romance.

The first monthly 'love letter' from Embrace will be going out to subscribers in August. Don't miss out, sign up today!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Submission Guidelines for Embrace

EMBRACE Red Velvet
50-60K length
Sexy, sophisticated romance with feisty heroines and believable Alpha males within contemporary, historical, and paranormal categories.
Millionaires not required (though no one will turn one away). British settings and characters welcome, but not essential.
Sexual content required, but should not be overly explicit.
Same sex novels are welcome.

EMBRACE After Dark
Hotter romance and erotica
Open to more unusual storylines within contemporary, historical, paranormal and same sex storylines.
Must include explicit sex, which in some cases may be central to the plot.

Novellas are welcome in both lines and across all categories, up to 25K

Romances can be heterosexual or same sex

Please Note:
Although we're open to work outside the above guidelines - say, Steampunk or sci-fi, or slightly different word counts - it must be romance.

For the launch titles at least, we are not handling sagas, romantic fiction, or other books with 'romantic elements'. Only pure romance. If you're not sure what that means, it's unlikely your work will be suitable for Embrace.

What to Send:
3 chapters and a synopsis, or the full ms and synopsis if submitting a novella, with some description of your writing career to date, a few lines about the book, including word count and which line you are targeting, and why your submission would suit Embrace.

All submissions should be by Word doc (not docx), with ROMANCE in the email subject line. RTF will be accepted, though Word is preferred. Other formats may be rejected.

Submissions by email only to jane @

There are no automatic acknowledgements at the moment. Manuscripts will be acknowledged individually, in order of receipt. Response times are currently pretty short, so the sooner you send, the quicker you should hear back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Issues with Side Text

Sadly, several people have commented that the sidebar text in their browsers for this site is either missing completely or contains odd symbols and squiggles - probably apostrophes or speech marks wrongly converted.

I use Firefox for Mac and Safari, and have no viewing problems on either.

Can people please, please let me know if the text in the sidebars is missing or illegible, and which browser they are using? I can try reposting it, or typing it up again without cutting and pasting the text this time.

Meanwhile, I'll post a Page later today containing the submission guidelines, and put up a link to it near the top of the sidebar.

Thanks for helping!

Embrace Books

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Follow us!

Just starting to look at our first submissions this week. Almost the very first that arrived was from a very nice gentleman, whose email began 'Dear Editor, please find attached the first three chapters of my latest novel. It's not a romance, but ...'

What I'm discovering about editing romance is that it's not particularly different from any other kind of editing. Which is a relief, as I've plenty of experience at other kinds of editing. Editing romance, you get the same oddities in your inbox and the same delicious thrill running up your spine when you click on the attached document and look! ... it's something good, or something that promises to be good. It's something you know you want to say 'Yes' to.

Exciting times!

Please follow our blog and let other romance-minded people know who and where we are. This is Embrace and we're going to be gorgeous.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Welcome to Embrace Books

Hello, and welcome to Embrace Books, the blog. This will be your first port-of-call for Embrace Books while we wait for the official site to go up.

Here you will find submission guidelines, a friendly person behind the blog posts, editing advice and other like-minded souls lurking shyly in corners or dancing about in the comments section.

Embrace Books is a new British-based publisher of e-romance.

If romance is what you write, or would dearly love to write, you're in the right place.

If romance is what you read, you are a thousand times welcome, we love you to the ends of the universe and back. Please don't go away - our first ever e-romances will be zinging excitedly in your direction in a few months' time.

Watch this blog!