AUTHORS: Four Ways Fictional Romance Sometimes Reads False

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

1389610_loversWriting a sweet, romantic moment is probably one of the hardest things to do in fiction. Seriously. I can’t claim to excel at that kind of scene, and that’s why in my novels love stories take a bit of a backseat and become subplots (excepting perhaps “The Magic Council.” But I consider that one even more of a coming of age tale than an out-and-out love story.)

However, I have recognized through some failed “sweet” (read “sickly sweet”) romantic moments I tried to write in my unpublished novels that when my tender moments go wrong, it tends to be for one of a limited set of reasons. I’d like to share those just for reference and to ask if you’ve found this same thing happening in your writing.

When romance feels off, somehow in my writing:

  • Things are too cliche.

We’re talking knight in shining armor, “You had me from…

View original post 485 more words


The Top Seven Qualities All Writers Have

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

How do you come back to writing and editing novels after months of working on other things?

One of my favorite things to say is that writing fiction is hard, and writing good fiction is that much harder. It takes a LOT out of you, demands a lot from you, and causes you all kinds of trouble.

Still, it’s worth it. I would never tell someone who has doubts about writing, or is wondering whether he or she should write, not to try. That’s because, regardless of what you do with you work, writing will teach you that you have these qualities. If you don’t have them, you’ll develop them.


That is, an ability to take risks and try new things. Perhaps this isn’t true of all writer, but if I waited to start writing a novel until I had all the kinks worked out and I felt comfortable with the story–if I waited until I felt “ready” to write–I’d never write at all.


View original post 440 more words

Call for Submissions: JMS Books & Queerteen Press

JMSBOOKSJMS Books LLC is a small press specializing in LGBT romance ranging from sweet to erotic. We have over 120 authors publishing with us and our YA imprint, Queerteen Press. We release 4 e-books a week and 6 print books a month. We are currently open to submissions, and are particularly interested in stories that fit our specific subs calls listed below.

All submissions must follow our guidelines, listed below. Visit here for general submission guidelines. We pay 50% net royalties on sales through all distribution channels. Our contracts are for an initial period of 2 years. A sample contract is available upon request.

We accept reprints and previously published content (including self-published stories) on a case-by-case basis. If your publisher has recently closed or returned your rights to you, feel free to submit your story to us! We do not consider multiple or simultaneous submissions.

* We only accept Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender fiction
* Menage stories are fine, but we prefer MMF, MFM, MMM, or FFF.
* Stories must be between 10,000 and 90,000 words
* Stories MUST contain a romance
* Stories may contain any level of erotic content
* Stories may be any subgenre (contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, etc)

*** SPECIFIC SUBS CALLS (JMS BOOKS adult titles only):
* Summer love/vacation romance — Deadline May 31, 2014
* Single LGBT parents finding romance — Deadline July 31, 2014
* Halloween/paranormal — Deadline August 31, 2014
*Christmas/Yule/Hanukkah/winter holiday — Deadline October 31, 2014
* New Year’s — Deadline November 30, 2014
* Valentine’s Day — Deadline December 31, 2014

*** SPECIFIC SUBS CALLS (QUEERTEEN PRESS young adult titles only):
* Back to School — Deadline May 31, 2014
* Christmas/Yule/Hanukkah/winter holiday — Deadline August 31, 2014
* New Year’s — Deadline September 30, 2014
* Valentine’s Day — Deadline October 31, 2014

*** TO SUBMIT: Send the first 2,000 words and a full synopsis to with “Submission” and the title of your story in the subject line. In your e-mail, mention which submissions call you’re responding to (if any). If you are just sending a general sub, indicate that, too. We will respond to your email in less than 2 business days. If we like the story and request the full manuscript, our turnaround time is less than 1 week.

*** Questions can be directed to
For more information about the submissions or the company go to

Call for Submissions: Nepantla

About Us
Nepantla is a new poetry e-journal, dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, being curated by Christopher Soto in collaboration with The Lambda Literary Foundation. The mission of Nepantla is to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community. The journal will be a groundbreaking collection of some the best poetry from the QPOC community.
To Submit Your Work

As a journal, Nepantla is interested in poetry of concise language, high sensory imagery, and syntactic leaps. Nepantla is NOT interested in poetry that puts rhetoric before craft, or exoticizes/fetishizes the lives of Queer People of Color.

Lastly, dearest submitters, please recognize Nepantla as an intentional community space, so please only consider submitting to Nepantla if you self-identify as a queer poet of color. Send your bio and up to five pages of poetry to No multiple submissions, please. A $25.00 honorarium will be offered to poets published in Nepantla. Submission deadline is August 1, 2014.
– See more at:

Call for Submissions: Skin to Skin

Skin to Skin is a coffee table magazine for women of the LGBTQ community. The publication mixes poetry, prose, essays, and fiction/nonfiction with the artistry of the female art form. It is a platform that promotes unity, freedom of expression and the sharing of ideas. Submissions are now open for Issue 06 until August 1, 2014. Poetry: You may send up to 4 pieces in one Word document.

Prose/Essays/Fiction/Non-Fiction: No more than 2 prose / essays; not exceeding 2000 words. Illustrations, Artwork, and Photographs: You may send up to five art pieces in black-and-white and/or color format. Please include captions or brief descriptions. All forms of art welcomed. Visit here for more information on submitting your work. – See more at:

Sh*t Upwardly Mobile Black People Say: Part II

This made me smile. Is there any sound to the pics?

When I Feel Compelled

In 2012, I did a blog called “Sh*t Upwardly Mobile Black People Say”… it was around the time of “Sh*t Black Girls Say”, but before “Sh*t Bougie Black Folks Say” (if only I had a camera).

I realized people that I know say all the same stuff and wrote about it. After a full year, I realize that this list is incomplete… and may need to be updated every year. Then I got lazy and realized maybe every two years. “Wrote a blog bout it. Like to hear it, here it goes”

Here is part two:

“I’m so over…”

Nothing makes upwardly mobile Black people happier than telling someone that they have outgrown a situation, a person, a TV show, etc. It’s like saying “This is here…and I am so beyond this”… actually, “I’m beyond” is the cousin of “I’m so over”. If you were really over it…

View original post 2,613 more words

Creating Linny

Created by an artist on Elance for $20

Created by an artist named Emilio on Elance for $20

When I first started the process of putting a book together I did all kinds of research. Most of my research was focused on the time period and building the main character. Once I got closer to finishing the book, I started to focus on completing the cover.

At first I chose artist who other writer friends used. The artists often told me the description I was giving seemed complicated and as a result they felt they wouldn’t be able to make what I was looking for to my satisfaction. Then when I’d find someone who would accept the challenge of making the cover I couldn’t afford them.

I tried Elance and got several bids. The bids were lower than what I’d been previously quoted, but by then I was concerned I might not like the work and I’d be stuck with it.  Until one artist made this painting and just asked me to pay him for it.

Maybe because it was the first time I’d seen Linny materialized, but I loved this painting. I showed it to all of my writer friends.  We had secret chats about who Linny was to them and me now that we could see her.  Because I think even in self publishing it is important to have other advisers I asked readers who of course hadn’t read the book what they thought of the cover.  Many of them asked if I was writing a ghost story.  Since the cover is the most important, I set out to find another artist to create another version of Linny.  I was grateful for this picture because I knew I wanted something similar.

Young Madam CJ WalkerI wanted the cover of my book to reflect what options were available for capturing images in 1914. After research I learned there were black and white photos or oil paintings if someone had the financial means and wanted to be captured in color.

1900oil1I decided I wanted a color cover and I wanted it to be a painting like those of the early 1900’s oil paintings.


The process for finding an artist who wasn’t overwhelmed by my vision and fit in my budget took months. I found two artist. The first one was an artist named Emilio who accepted my project on a website called Elance. The first Linny was so beautiful I would sometimes just stare at her before writing. I also think I was amazed at seeing the rendering of a character I created.

I was so excited, I showed the first Linny to all my close friends. A few of them asked if it was a ghost story. Knowing that it’s important in publishing to create a cover that matches your genre, I was immediately aware I would have to do a different cover. So I started again looking for an artist hoping for something more relative to the time.

I provided these four photos to Lam as I had Emilio along with the physical description from the novel.

bookcoverhair1 Hairstyle from time period.

Haircolor BookcoverPose of main character.

Face I liked these facial features. I also think this is a tall woman, and Linny is tall.

Eventually I found Lam Lu, who did an awesome rendering of Linny. His work is so detailed and beautiful. Final Linny

Although I love the final book cover, it’s unfortunate that a lot of the intricate touches Lam achieved aren’t seen in the final cover. changeshead1 (2)So I thought I would post something showing the process.

The final cover:

My First Novel

My First Novel