Friday, September 30, 2011

First Four Friday - Unholy Union

Chapter 10:

    Ash stood in Sami’s doorway, looking like Adonis.  One look at him, and most of her anger and agony at his absence disappeared.  All she could think about was getting him in her bed.  Getting him in her pussy. 

Available at New Concepts Publishing

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Create a Kalquorian For Upcoming Book

These next few weeks, I'll be posting polls that will allow you to have a say in a future Clans of Kalquor book, tentatively titled Alien Redemption.  I'm giving you a vote when it comes to creating a Kalquorian. 
You'll have a chance to offer your opinions on how he looks, the personality traits, and what events shaped this character's life.

The first poll starts October 1st, at which time you'll vote on whether to build a Dramok (clan leader), Imdiko (clan nurturer), or Nobek (clan protector).  Majority vote is what I'll be going with, so get ready to cast your ballot.  Hopefully, we'll all have fun working together on this, and if it goes well, I'll have you help me create the entire clan. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Alien Interludes: The Hunt

I mentioned a while back that I'm working on an anthology of short stories for the Clans of Kalquor series.  This is a little peek into the lives of the clans we've already met, just to catch up on the latest.

First up is Amelia Ryan, the heroine of the first book, Alien Embrace.  Though one would think she's safe and secure with her men on Kalquor now, painting her pictures and mothering the twins, something has gone awry:
     She’d walked these Kalquorian woods innumerable times with her three mates and their twins.  She loved the patchwork quilt of jewel-toned leaves of the trees overhead.  But today she was on her own and running from a cunning and ruthless hunter, one of Kalquor’s best.   She knew his savagery, knew him for the predator he was.  She’d seen one of his victims, his throat torn out from the brute’s fangs.
     Her Imdiko mate Flencik, as big as he was gentle, had warned her only this morning, “Nobeks are set off by prey in flight.  Never let one see you running from them.  It brings all their primal instincts to the fore.  Stand your ground.  Fight back.  Believe it or not, you’re less likely to get hurt that way.”
      And the leader of their clan Rajhir had added, not very usefully, “Swinging big sticks or throwing heavy rocks would help.  Or maybe it will just make him mad.”
      Amelia heard the rushing water of the stream ahead and felt a rush of triumph.  Almost there.  The next moment she saw it, glittering like a ribbon through the leaf-strewn ground as it wound from the distant mountains.
     She pulled off her slippers and waded in.  The water was bitingly cold, but it would mask her scent too.  The man on her trail had a remarkable sense of smell, as good as if not better than an Earth bloodhound. 
     How far ahead of him was she?  Kalquorians were incredibly fast.  At a full run, they turned into a blur, too fast for human eyes to follow.   What took her two hours to traverse, he’d easily cover in minutes.  The only thing slowing him down was looking for the clues of her passage, clues she’d trained hard to eliminate.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - The Naughty Bits: It's Not a Sex-Ed Class

Up until now, I’ve concentrated on the basics when it comes to writing a novel.  From here on out we’ll move into the more detailed nuances of writing effectively.  And since I’m an erotic writer, we’ll spend a few tutorials zoning in on sexual situations.

First stop:  writing sex scenes, not sex manuals.  Chances are, your readers are pretty familiar with sex and the mechanics involved.  While you might have a not-so-typical sex act going on and want to explain it, beware of the dry textbook explanation.

Essentially, you want to explain the parts your readers may not know about.  They already know arousal produces lubrication for women and increased blood flow makes a man’s penis hard.  They don’t care.  It’s all about feeling and imagining the magic of that arousal, not the biology of it.  So don’t get technical.  We’re not in high school with scientific diagrams.

Concentrate on the senses.  Let the reader look through the heroine’s eyes as she sees her lover looming over her.  Let her smell the masculine musk of her man, the scent of her own response as she goes wet with desire.  Explore the taste of skin on her tongue.  Hear through her ears as the moist sounds of lovemaking and the soft rhythmic patter of lower body meeting lower body fill the room.  And of course the feel of the hero’s body against hers, of him entering her must be addressed.  Give your readers a sensual feast to glut themselves on.

And since we’re talking sensual feasts, let’s have a look at a picnic scene from Alien Embrace.  Here an innocent meal turns into a decadent opportunity for lustful consumption.  By taking a non-sexual scenario into a wanton romp, I avoided falling into a nuts-and-bolts description of sex, letting dining on delicious food take the participants into the realm of a different buffet:

The sight of nellus delighted Amelia, but Flencik picked up a piece of grul.  “Taste,” he invited, putting it to her lips.
She opened her mouth for his offering.  A delicious spicy flavor filled her mouth and then—
“Hot!  Hot!” she squealed, waving a frantic hand before her mouth.
All three men dove for the carafe of Plasian wine.  Flencik grabbed it first.  He tipped it into her mouth, quenching the fire set by the grul.  It overflowed her lips, streaming down her chin to her throat and beneath her blouse.
“I made you mess,” he said in a soft voice, leaning close as he took the wine away.  His breath wafted over her face.  She closed her eyes against the nearness and felt the rough silk of his tongue lick the moisture from her chin.   His mouth followed the stream until her collar blocked further progress.  Then it traveled up the side of her neck. 

The scene continues on with the three Kalquorians eating food off Amelia, turning her into a buffet until the need to sate carnal desires overcomes the group. 

                Amelia lay still, feeling every lick, nuzzle, nibble, and touch.  The attention continued well after the food disappeared.  A callused finger traced her spine.  Strong hands kneaded her buttocks.  A tongue slipped a wet path down the crevice to her anus.  Another pair of hands slid beneath her to cup and squeeze her breasts.  Lips kissed the nape of her neck, bringing gooseflesh.
                “Don’t be afraid,” Rajhir whispered in her ear.
                A strip of silky cloth was tied over her eyes, blindfolding her.  Another bound her wrists behind her back.  The bonds felt soft but tight.  The sudden domination brought every sense alive.  She lay still, wondering what they planned to do to her.  Her juices flowed like a river between her thighs.

Now that I’ve told you not to turn your sex scene into a step-by-step instruction manual, I’m going to reverse myself just the smallest bit.  In Alien Rule, Jessica was introduced to oral sex by Clajak.  She had never performed it before, and with the well-endowed Kalquorian she required a little coaching.  But even though he talked her through her first attempt at satisfying him this way, I still didn’t allow it to turn into a sex manual.  Instead, I kept those instructions to the minimum while concentrating on Jessica’s reactions.

            “Kneel before me,” he said, taking her by the upper arms.  She obeyed, her sex flowing anew at the thought of taking him in her mouth, of tasting his alien flesh.  She took a deep breath, letting his cinnamon scent flood her senses.
            “I’ve never done this,” she whispered, her gaze locked on the two bullet-shaped organs.
            “I will be delighted to teach you.”
            He put one hand on the back of her head while grasping the larger of his members with the other.  He ran the tip of the smooth-skinned cock over her lips, wetting them with his lubricant.  She licked the fluid, tasting the sweet spice of him.
            “Kiss it as you would my lips,” he said, and Jessica did, her mouth slightly parted, her tongue flicking out to tease.  He was warm against her mouth, and she kissed his cock again, then again, becoming more passionate.  Her hands gripped Clajak’s buttocks, squeezing the rock hard flesh as she slid her mouth over the tip of him, wrapping her tongue around his sex.
            Sounding strained, Clajak’s honeyed voice commanded, “Now use your hand on it while you kiss the other one, my sweet.”
            Jessica wrapped her hand around the larger penis.  “Firmly,” the prince coached.  “Yes, stroke me just like that.  Now your mouth.”
            Jessica tilted her head to one side to get to the smaller penis beneath her working hand.  It had no opening for ejaculation; it had evolved for pleasurable purposes only.  Remembering how Clajak’s finger had felt inside her anus made her shiver with anticipation.
            She kissed and licked, delighting in Clajak’s sweet-spicy flavor.  At his urging, she alternated between the two organs, both of her hands working his hard flesh.  The veins running the lengths beneath each penis throbbed against her palms. 
            The insides of her thighs were slick with her flowing juices when Clajak pulled away.  He looked down at her, his chest heaving with quick breath.  He put his hands on either side of her head, pulling it back with his fingers tangled in her hair.
            “Lean forward.”  His voice was breathy, but still filled with command.  She did as he directed.  “Now I will fuck your sweet mouth,” he whispered.  His predatory expression lent danger to his face.  His fangs reappeared, giving Jessica an erotic fear-tinged thrill.  “You feel how when your head is tilted like this, that your mouth and throat are in a straight line?”
            “Yes.”  Her voice was a bare whisper.
            “It will help you to keep from choking.  Keep your throat relaxed, breath only when I pull out, and you will be fine.”
            He stepped close and bent over her, angling his larger penis.  Jessica opened her mouth wide for him.  His cock slid over her tongue, the vein throbbing.  He slid in further, past the back of her mouth and into her throat.  She stopped breathing, forcing herself to relax against the gag reflex.  Clajak’s smaller penis ran down the outside of her throat, leaving a wet trail in its path.  He continued to fill her with himself until he reached the end.
            He pulled back until just the tip remained in her mouth.  Jessica took a breath, then Clajak filled her mouth and throat again. 
            Listening to her lover’s breathing come faster, she filled with a sense of pride.  The prince was finding pleasure with her, as inexperienced as she was.  While she had always thought of herself as a strong, independent woman, she found it exciting to serve him.  Hearing him command her to satisfy his flesh made her eager to do so. 
After a few minutes of working her mouth slowly, the Kalquorian said, “Now a bit more energy, my sweet.” 
His pace quickened, and Jessica fought to adjust to the new rhythm.  He pounded himself into her throat, emitting growls as he took what he wanted.  Jessica’s hands left his thighs to bury themselves in her own wetness, pleasuring her sex as the Kalquorian pleasured her mouth.  The heat in her womb grew, sparking into an inferno.  She plunged one finger, then two, then three into herself, matching Clajak’s pace.  Her sex shuddered with the coming orgasm, spasming around her working fingers.  Clajak’s gasps grew in volume, telling her he was closing in on his own pleasure, readying to pour his seed down her throat.  Her desire grew brighter, brighter, almost there...
Clajak disengaged, pulling free of her clinging mouth.  He bent over and yanked her hands from her sex.  She cried out and struggled against him, desperate to claim completion for herself.  He held her wrists easily, his lips curled in a cruel smile as he denied her the orgasm she’d come so close to having.

Make your own sex scenes a decadent feast to keep your readers enthralled.  They know how the parts work.  Show them how good it feels when the parts work well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Unholy Union

As her body quieted, languor settled over her limbs.  She wasn’t getting enough air with Ash crushed against her, but she couldn’t seem to summon the strength to push him away.  She hung in his grip, lethargy bleeding away even her ability to speak.

The throb of his climax ebbed, and Ash finally leaned back, allowing her lungs to at last fully inflate.  He brushed a lock of hair from her cheek.  “Are you all right?”

Available from New Concepts Publishing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Interview with Erotic Author D. X. Luc and Excerpt

I just love reading alternate versions of well-loved stories.  So when I saw author D. X. Luc had written an erotic adventure featuring characters from The Wizard of Oz, my curiosity was immediately piqued.  Down the Yellow Brick Road:  Finding Home looks to be a highly original twist to an old favorite.  

So let’s get to know a little more about the D. X. Luc and her work.  

Q:  Thanks so much for letting me interview you and feature your book on my blog.  What genres do you write? 

A:  I write erotic romance.

Q:  Why do you focus on this genre? 

A:  It wasn't a first choice, but I love the naughty and the sexy. I love sex. Why not write about something I love and others enjoy as well!

Q:  You’ll get no argument from me!  Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?

A:  I'd probably not do well with non-fiction. My life is pretty boring! But I've always loved dark fantasy and fiction.

Q:  What fiction do you read for pleasure?

A:  I enjoy Ernest Hemingway, Shakespeare, and Edgar Allen Poe. And of course I love romance and erotic romance novels.

Q:  What writer inspires you most? 

A:  Wow, that's a tough question. I have many and I'm truly a child of the classics. Ernest Hemingway. He was an amazing writer.

Q:  Outside of writing, who inspires your life? 

A:  My children. They are and have always been my biggest supporters. Even when I'm 'totally not cool'.

Q:  How much of you do you put in your characters?

A:  I put my passion and emotions into my characters. But as for my personality, not much. I take that from the world around me.

Q:  Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing.

A:  Well, I'm a mom of three. My youngest is only 9 months old. I homeschool my older children. I got my degree in psychology with a concentration in human sexuality. I am pretty fun and loud. My friends consider my behavior eccentric and I am proud to be so! I love shocking people. I've made it a hobby when it comes to my mother. The youngest of eight children, I have tattoos and piercings. I've been with my husband for ten years, married for almost seven. We have quite a few pets, including a python who we love to pieces. I've been writing since I was in elementary school. I had a poem published in a school anthology in the 9th grade and helped write a script for drama right before I left high school.

Q:  I love the idea of erotica based around the story of Oz.  Which of your characters is your favorite?

A:  I love Toto. In the book, the movie, and my own book, I've always loved Toto and felt he needed a bigger part. He's got that loyalty and devotion one would see with their pet. But at the same time, he has the dominance and protection quality of an alpha. He's a sexy and great character.

Q:  What are you working on now? 

A:  Edits before the book comes out. And I have a new series being typed up as well as the second installment of Down the Yellow Brick Road saga.

Q:  So there’s a whole saga to look forward to!  What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive? 

A:  My upcoming release is Down the Yellow Brick Road: Finding Home. The idea came from hanging out with a good friend at the 2009 Romantic Times Convention, having a lager (or two) and then recalling one of my favorite stories. I love watching a fairy tale become a romance and realized Dorothy hadn't had her chance yet. So, why not let her grow up and love?

Q:  It sounds terrific!  Thanks again for taking time out of what sounds like a crazy schedule to talk to us.

Imagine having someone so devoted to you and you don't even know it. What if that person, that perfect one was right under your nose? What if that person was not only the hero of your heart, but a savior to many?

Dorothy Gale found herself growing older and was stuck in neutral. She wanted adventure and love. Yet her love life was non-existent, with only fantasies of hot sex and being dominated keeping her company. Lacking in human companionship, she felt blessed to have her devoted dog, Toto. He was her solace. Little did she know, her dog had a big secret and an even greater destiny.

Toto craved her every waking and sleeping moment. Unconditionally he worshiped her, but knew his true nature had to remain hidden. Hope of loving her nearly seemed impossible, that was until a mystical accident left them in a world beyond. Under the pretense of a local, Toto shows Dorothy that love comes in all forms, be it the loyalty of an animal or the passions of a man. Though he had only thought to get them home safely, he begins learning his presence in the strange land is far more important than either of them could have fathomed.

Secrets unravel, truths come to light. Join Toto and Dorothy through their journey in a dark and magical place. A place just over the rainbow twister, where finding home means having faith in love.


Outer skirts of Oz

“My people, it would seem the LOLLIPOP GUILD INC. has made a decree to destroy all of our people. Already many of us have been eliminated. We must flee while we still can!”

All around men, women, and children shifted into their various Caninion forms, scattering with what little possessions they could harness to their bodies to escape from the tortures that the guild had placed upon their peoples’ heads. Many hadn’t gotten all that far when the deep hums of the guild began to echo from outside the small village, the sound causing fear and chaos. In a matter of seconds, the courtyard was filled with creatures, their skins were the color of rust, their bodies short and stout. With hairless, nose-less forms, their small onyx eyes stared with pure disgust, while wide red lips were pursed together. The LOLLIPOP GUILD INC. had arrived for the slaughter.

Battered and exhausted, two small black dogs, with silky fur, and one ripe with child, stumbled through the woods. They knew that their demise was close on their heels, saddened that their child would not know of them because of some archaic prophecy. The purple sun began to set, bringing a sense of relief to the pair as they found shelter for the night. In the darkness, dog-like whimpers, human screams and the smell of death and fire filled the air, all the while, deep in the hole of a rotted tree, the heavy pants of a female Caninion could barely be heard while she brought her son into the world. At the sound of his helpless yelps, his parents' dark eyes stared down at him with love and sadness, deciding that in the morning they would take him to the only one that could save his life. They would go To The East.

Author page on New Concepts Publishing:



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First Four Friday - Alien Conquest

 Chapter 13:

Tranis walked onto the darkened bridge, his eyes quickly adjusting to the dimmed lights running on backup power.  The room was a shambles.  Equipment lay in broken hunks and many of the workstations were blackened from torched systems.  He'd been the worst injured of his crew, and viewing the destruction, he counted himself lucky that none had died.

Alien Conquest available from New Concepts Publishing and Amazon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Netherworld 2: Blood Potion No. 9

It's strange to discuss the second installment of the Netherworld series when the first book still hasn't come out.  But I'm into the first draft of Blood Potion No. 9, discovering Brandilynn is getting a bit more used to being dead.  She's also finding more trouble to get into as a new danger rears its head.  Seems like someone has it in for the vampires of Fulton Falls, sneaking fatal dragon's blood into the commercial supply most of the fanged rely on for sustenance:

I’d seen Wendy around before, but she usually sat at a desk.  “Did you give Penny the night off?” I asked Tristan.

Tristan stared at me long and hard, and I realized his extra vampireness this evening had not as much to do with me as I’d initially suspected.  “Penny suffered her final death early this evening.”

My mouth dropped.  I hadn’t been close to Penny, but she’d been Tristan’s aide the entire time … seven months … I’d known him.  A newer vamp, she’d had the bad taste to wear black, not at all flattering against her bluish-white skin.  She’d been a secretary in life, and her skills as an aide were second to none. 

“What happened?” I asked, my voice hushed with respectful shock.

Tristan’s lips narrowed and his fangs glimmered into view for an instant.  He kept most of his calm, but that little slip told me how furious he was.  “She drank tainted blood.  It’s Fulton Falls’ sixth such death in the last year.  That’s why I need Dan off the Beasts and on this matter.”

Most vampires didn’t get live donors like someone with Tristan’s clout did.  They were forced to drink the pouched stuff you could pick up at any grocery or convenience store.  Lately, the more expensive Blood Potion No. 9, sold in slim black bottles dressed with fancy gold labels, had been flying off the shelves because dragons’ blood was somehow getting into the cheaper supplies.  Dragon’s blood is lethal to vampires.  A single drop, hard to detect in an sixteen-ounce pouch full of human blood, will eat up a vampire from the inside like acid.  The tampering was claiming vampire lives all over the southeastern United States.  Officials couldn’t track it down, and despite close inspections of all the packaging and distribution plants, the bad stuff was still getting out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Finding and Wooing a Publisher

The book is finished, critiqued, and polished.  You’re ready to unleash it upon the world.  However, you’ve decided to not publish it yourself, preferring to let an established publisher deal with the details from this point on.  This is where you take your writer’s hat off and dive into marketing.

In Search of…

Obviously, you have to find a good fit when it comes to a publisher.  Not just anyone will do.  One of the best ways I can suggest to start your research is to check out the publishers of favorite books and authors in your genre.  If you like how these books are presented; i.e. cover art, marketing, customer service, etc.; this is a worthy venue for you to check out.  If the authors themselves are accessible, talk to them about their experience with that publisher.

When I first heard of New Concepts Publishing, I sought out one of their authors, who happened to be a Facebook friend.  She’d published three books with them, and her recommendation was mostly favorable.  I’d also heard good things about Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Loose ID, as well as others.  Everyone had a complaint or two about every house, but of course no publisher could be absolutely perfect.  It was a matter of finding the one whose strengths outweighed its weaknesses for my particular wants list.

Another option in the great publisher search includes the annual Writer’s Market book.  This is an excellent resource that you can pick up at most major book sellers and your local library.  It comes out every September/October.  You’ll find a listing of reputable publishers along with their guidelines, contacts, and tips to get their attention.  Not only that, but they usually list whether or not they’re closed to submissions, which will save you a few stamps. 

 Literary Marketplace is a huge tome to peruse as well.  Pack a lunch and hit the library for this one.

The various writing magazines are also important sources.  Check them out to discover what publishers are looking for submissions right now.  You’ll find contests you can enter as well.  My favorite has always been Writer’s Digest, but there are other great monthly publications to get timely leads from.

 As you search for the perfect home for your work, figure out what priorities are most important to you when it comes to seeing your book published.  Is it a house that will put your book out both electronically and in physical form?  One which has eye-catching covers?  Places your title on the most distribution channels?  Pays an advance?   Think about what matters to you and make that the criteria for would-be publishers to meet.

Obeying the Letter of the Law

Once you’ve decided which publishers meet your minimum requirements, make a list in order of preference of the ones you wish to submit your book to.   Then go to their websites and look over their submission guidelines.

Be sure you follow those guidelines!  I cannot stress this enough.  Acquisitions editors are strong in their likes and dislikes, and they don’t put those guidelines out for you to ignore.  If they want your submission to be double-spaced, then double space it.  If they want a synopsis of one page and ONLY one, do not send them three pages.  If they want you to dance the watusi in taffeta and spiked heels … well, you get the idea.   What I’m getting at here is if you send them something besides what they ask for, there is a high likelihood your submission will be automatically deleted (in the case of an electronic submission) or tossed in the trashcan (in the case of a snail mailed submission).

Most publishers want a version of the following:  a query letter, a synopsis of the book, and sample chapters.  That means you don’t send them your entire manuscript without their request.  They only want a taste to start with, to see if your work is worth the hours spent reading the entire book.  If you are sending your submission via snail mail, you will also need to send a self-addressed stamped envelope for their reply. 

Don’t get fancy.  Submissions sent on eye-catching purple paper filled with glitter that gets all over the editor’s desk is only going to get you cursed up and down.  This is a business transaction.  Treat it with professionalism.  Send only what the publisher wants.

The Query Letter

There is a basic formula for the successful query letter, but that doesn’t mean be formulaic.  The query letter is the first introduction the publisher has to you and your work.  If you don’t impress, the rest of your submission will not be looked at.  Be professional but be yourself.  Gear your submission specifically to that publisher.

Above all, make sure you’re sending it to the right person.  There is a high turnover rate among editors; so high in fact that a name listed two months ago may be too old.  Double check the name of the person you are submitting to via the publisher’s website or email.

The query letter should be kept to one page.  Acquisitions editors are swamped with submissions every day, and they don’t have time to read your life’s story.  Here’s the layout:

Brief paragraph of introduction.   Include any previous publishing credits or contest wins.  Give the title of your book, telling what genre it is and what other published works it resembles.  For example, I wrote the following about one of my non-erotic books:   “My story combines science fiction and paranormal elements, similar to Anne McCaffrey’s The Rowan and Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers.”

One to two brief paragraphs telling what your book is about.  I tend to make this part read like a back cover blurb. 

Wrap up detailing the additional materials you are sending and your contact information.  Thank the editor for taking the time to look at your work.

Here is an example of a query letter I sent regarding Alien Rule.  It is a little longer than the above guideline, but having already published Alien Embrace, the publisher was now familiar with my work.  

Dear Ms. DePasture,

I would like to submit my novel Alien Rule for your consideration.  It is the follow-up to Alien Embrace which New Concepts published September 8, 2010.   As I’m sure you’re aware, Alien Embrace is currently the number one bestseller on Fictionwise eBooks’ Erotica list.  

In Alien Rule, we return to the planet Plasius seven months after the events of the previous book.   The story centers around Nurse Jessica McInness, who made a brief appearance at the end of Alien Embrace, and her adventures with the crown princes of Kalquor.

Jessica doesn’t like the royal clan but can’t deny her sexual attraction to them.  The three men are determined to seduce the temperamental woman who inflames their lusts.  As Earth and Kalquor edge ever closer to war, the royal clan finds itself fighting not just to win Jessica, but battling an insurrection on their home planet as well…with Jessica’s life and Kalquor’s survival at stake.

I wrote this book in such a way as to make it accessible to those who never read Alien Embrace.  While it ties in nicely with its predecessor, Alien Rule stands on its own.   The synopsis and three sample chapters are attached.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all at New Concepts Publishing who had a hand in the success of Alien Embrace.  I have been thrilled with the response from readers.   It has been a fun ride thus far, and I look forward to what the future holds for my writing.

Thank you for your time.

* * * *
Please note that though this company had already worked with me, I followed their submission guidelines to the letter once again.  I did not presume on their familiarity until after my fourth book Unholy Union was contracted and the publisher gave me the green light to send future complete manuscripts with a cover letter rather than the usual query package.

The Synopsis

This is a snapshot of your entire book, the length of which is determined by the individual publisher.  I have seen guidelines limit a synopsis to as little as one page.  Some allow up to five, which is always much nicer for a writer.  It’s hard to boil down an entire novel to one page, especially if it has to be double spaced!

Here you only have room to introduce your main characters, the conflict they find themselves in, and a few main plot points.  And the ending.  Yes, you have to let the publisher know how it ends.  If you think an acquisitions editor is going to ask for the full manuscript of your book simply because she’s breathless to discover if your werewolf hero and vampire heroine defeat all enemies and live happily ever after, you’re wrong.  What she’s going to do is write you off as someone who isn’t confident enough in the big climax to share it and – poof! – reject your book, sight unseen.  So spill all the beans. 

Here’s how I handled Alien Rule’s synopsis, which totaled about a page and a half.  I’ve italicized the paragraphs that wouldn’t have been included if I’d been held to only a one-page long synopsis.  Note:  if you haven’t read Alien Rule, please be aware the ending is given away here:

Jessica McInness is a nurse from Earth hiding on the planet Plasius.  Until seven months ago, she belonged to a military crew.  Events unfolded that allowed her to slip from the clutches of Earth’s religious tyranny.   Reveling in her newfound freedom, she now hopes to escape to the planet Kalquor, which is Earth’s greatest enemy.  Jessica’s only hope of safety lies in joining one of Kalquor’s three-man clans.  The Kalquorians are an advanced but nearly extinct race in desperate need of mates, and Earth women represent the alien species’ only hope of survival.

The Kalquorians are so similar to Earthers that it is believed they have common ancestry.  There are some differences in that Kalquorians are much larger with muscular physiques.  They possess fangs used to inject victims … or lovers … with an intoxicating substance.  They have also evolved two sexual organs for added pleasure for their women.

Dramok Crown Prince Clajak and his clan dare Earth’s blockade of Plasius to meet Jessica.  Clajak is a known playboy with a tendency to avoid his responsibilities.  His clan is already promised as mates to one of the rare female Kalquorians in existence.  However, Clajak is determined to add an Earther to his list of conquests before succumbing to an unwanted arranged clanning to Matara Narpok. 

Nobek Prince Bevau is willing to go along for the fun.  He is an anomaly among Kalquorians in that he fits both classifications of a Nobek and an Imdiko … a born warrior but also a caregiver.  If threatened, he can be as dangerous as any Nobek, but he tends to be more nurturing than his ferocious brethren.

 Imdiko Prince Egilka reluctantly goes along with Clajak’s scheme to seduce an Earther.  Egilka has struggled for years to save his species through his medical research.  Adamantly opposed to breeding with Earthers, he initially rejects Jessica until desire overcomes his objections.

Jessica dislikes the clan almost immediately.  She thinks Clajak is spoiled and self-indulgent.  She considers Egilka an arrogant racist.  Only Bevau makes a good impression on her, but it’s not enough to make his clan worthy of her consideration, especially since they’re not in the market for a childbearer.  Unfortunately, the physical attraction they spark leaves her vulnerable to their domination and seduction, which she succumbs to over and over.

The three Kalquorians discover the fiery-tempered Earther to be a temptation they cannot resist.  Even Egilka cannot deny his desire for Jessica, her sensual surrender to him banishing fears of mixed breeding.  The clan pursues her incessantly, even making love to her on a stone altar in front of cheering Plasian crowds.

Clajak, Bevau and Egilka discover in their pursuit of pleasure that the unthinkable has happened:  they are in love with Jessica.  But to clan the Earther means facing the ire of Kalquor’s head councilman Pwaldur, father of their fiancĂ©e Narpok.  It could also incite civil war on their planet at a time when open battle with Earth seems inevitable.

Fanatical Earth loyalists capture Jessica, determined to bring her to justice for her liaisons with the Kalquorians.  Only the timely intervention of Clajak, Bevau and Egilka save her from the murderous intent of her attackers.  Faced with the near loss of their beloved and the discovery she carries their child, the clan rejects Narpok to make Jessica their permanent mate.

After a harrowing escape through the blockade surrounding Plasius, Jessica and the clan journey to Kalquor.  Jessica is accepted by Clajak’s fathers, the emperors of Kalquor, but Pwaldur and Narpok challenge her right to clan with the princes.   With ambitions to rule Kalquor himself, Pwaldur’s treachery threatens the lives of the Imperial family and Jessica, along with the future of the entire planet.   With bloodthirsty allies determined to bring the rulership of Kalquor to its knees, Pwaldur takes Jessica hostage.

Faced with the long-rejected responsibilities of rulership, Clajak must take his place as Emperor of Kalquor to save his beloved.  With Bevau and Egilka, he faces his enemies in a bloody battle for Jessica and Kalquor.  Scarred but victorious, the clan defeats Pwaldur and his allies. 

At last Jessica takes her place in Clajak’s clan as the new empress of Kalquor.  Even Earth’s declaration of war against her adopted planet cannot negate her joy to be with the three men she loves.

Sample Chapters

This is probably the easiest part of the submission.  Having finished the book, the sample chapters are ready to go.  Do yourself a favor though, and re-read what you’re sending out.  Remember, one little mistake goes a long way to hurting your chances in getting the publisher to ask for the full manuscript.  Make sure it’s formatted as the publisher wants, with the margins, headers, and spacing done exactly as they require.  If they don’t have specific guidelines for formatting, Courier New, font size 12, double-spaced with one-inch margins all around is usually a safe bet.   Headers should be title/your last name (left margin) and page number (near right margin).  

Okay, so there you have it.  This was a particularly long tutorial, and I hope I didn’t wear your eyes out with it.  Once you have your submission package ready, have a trusted friend look it over for professionalism, clarity, and spelling.  This is your big chance to make your dream happen.  Good luck!