Samhain is open to submissions

Samhain is open to submissions.

In the most recent issue of the RWA’s Pro newsletter (Prospects) it was reported that Samhain is closed to submissions. We’re unsure where the erroneous information came from, but we are not closed to submissions and have no plans to be. We continue to accept submissions in all genres of romance, as well as science fiction/fantasy/urban fantasy all with romantic elements. Submissions guidelines can be found All questions and submissions can be directed to

We hope you’ll help us out by posting this correction on your local and specialty chapter loops.

Thank you!

Angela James, Executive Editor

**permission to forward granted**

Friday Twitter observations on #bea09 from a non-attendee

I couldn’t attend BEA this year, but I was able to follow along thanks to the #BEA09 Twitter feed. It’s actually kind of interesting to follow along this way because you get a sense of the overall picture from a number of people, rather than just one person’s limited observations. Here’s what I got from Friday’s Twitter Feed (links embedded will be a mix of websites and links to Twitter feeds):

1) Chris Brogan seemed to hit a home run with his morning presentation on Trust Agents. People were still Twittering about it hours later (you can see his slides on his website)

2) Many people were excited to report Julie Andrews sightings.

3) Once those sightings died down, others were excited they got to meet Bob from Sesame Street.

4) Reports were that there wasn’t as much swag at BEA this year. Likely an indication of the effect of the economy on publishers.

5) But despite that, there was a lot of buzz on the #bea09 Twitter tag about Chronicle Books‘ tote bags, which were said to be awesome (and did look cool in the picture). They were designed by @nuzzles(Laura Bagnato) and

6) Many mentions of two booths that had “booth girls” going around in either bikinis or nude bodysuits. Sourcebooks and the COOL-er Reader. I saw only one person speak positively of it, the other mentions were not impressed. I do think it was an odd choice, especially for Sourcebooks.

This Teleread article has a picture of the Cool-er booth.

7) Speaking of the COOL-er Reader, a lot of buzz about ppl checking this out, especially because of the bright look, lower price than Sony and Mac compatibility (though Sony is fully compatible w/ Mac thanks to Calibre). I saw more mention of this than I did of the BeBoook, though I did see one picture of the BeBook. I would like to see/use both of these so I can compare/contrast with the Sony and the Kindle. I’ve already had one person emailing for my thoughts on the BeBook. I can’t give any right now, sorry!

Pictures of the Cool-er Reader at the show in this Teleread article.

8) The Espresso Book Machine was another oft-mentioned exhibit on the Twitter Feed. Lots of positive mention of this.

9) Someone at the panel, Do Publishers Still Hold the Keys to the Kingdom, Authors Weigh In #pubkeys, apparently made the statement “no one wants ebooks for Christmas”. This is such an uniformed statement, I can’t even fully express my frustration with it. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

10) The BEAtweetUp with its personalized badges and amazing organizers was the not-to-be-missed event of BEA. It appeared to be THE social event of BEA. Kudos to the organizers, headed by Kat Meyer.

11) Most sought after author appeared to be Neil Gaiman @neilhimself I was so taken in with the Twitter buzz surrounding his appearance, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have been squeeing to get a sighting of him even though (I reluctantly admit for fear of lynching from fans) that I’ve never read his books.

12) The blogger signing booth sponsored by Firebrand and NetGalley seemed to be a huge success. Bloggers have fans! (but we already knew that).

Pictures in this article from Teleread.

13) Connectivity was difficult at Javits. Multiple, multiple complaints about being able to access wifi, whether on laptop or phone. This might have contributed to less people Twittering, but the #bea09 tag was still active. Presenters trying to stream video during their panels were unable to with provided wi-fi. Ouch.

14) People reported that attendance numbers might be down, but the floor was still busy and the positive energy was high. I have a suspicion that social media like Twitter has helped build this positive energy and caused people to be even more enthused to attend and network/exchange ideas than ever before.

15) For the win: HarperCollins gave out digital ARCs instead of paper ARCs. I have mad jealousy that I didn’t get to check this out, especially since Diana Peterfreund said her upcoming book, Rampant, was one of those dig-ARCs. Big props to HarperCollins for taking this step.

Anyone notice anything significant that I left out? I’m looking forward to watching the Twitter feed today (as much as is possible on a Saturday).

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Seussian Ode to Pralines #damgoodtweet

Seussian Ode to Pralines

I like pralines in the dark, I like pralines in a park.
I will eat them on a boat, or even while crossing a moat.

I can keep them in my purse, their sugary goodness makes me curse.
I will savor them with a book, my “oh yes” face will be quite a look.

Pralines, pralines day and night, getting the last one causes a fight.
I will eat them here and there, I will enjoy them everywhere.

I would share pralines on twitter, I can think of nothing fitter.
Try it, try it and you may like Guas’s praline recipe I say!

Damgoodsweets gives me hope and a praline recipe so I can cope.
I like pralines, Don I Am, am so happy I can make them now, I can. I can!

It’s not too late for you to join in the dessert fun. Head to Twitter, hashtag #damgoodtweet and enter your humorous dessert tweet for your chance to win an iPod shuffle and a signed copy of DamGoodSweets (but if you win the signed copy, I think you should send it to me, k?)

Contest ends today at 5pm Eastern so go go go!

If you’re at BEA, go visit Don Linn at the Taunton Booth #4159 and tell him I said hello, and check out their other cookbook offerings. I hear they’re offering sweet treats at their booth!

1 day auction: Critique and lunch

In addition to the regular auction still going for a critique from me, which ends in two days, today only there is a one day auction that includes a critique of a synopsis and first three chapters, as well as lunch with me at RWA for you and a guest, where we can talk about your book(s), publishing, or Christian Bale if that’s what you want to talk about! If you won’t be at RWA, I will either substitute a phone call or lunch at a different conference we are mutually attending.

One day auction to benefit Diabetes Research

Angela James of Samhain Publishing will critique a proposal (synopsis and first three chapters) of an unpublished manuscript, and sit down with you and a friend to discuss it at RWA National in Washington DC (or over the phone if you’re not going to national).

Shopping small press epublishers

This weekend, I asked in both a post here and at Romance Divas for recommendations of books from small press. I didn’t limit by genre, but I did specify that people couldn’t recommend their own book, they had to have read the book (no recommending your friend’s book just because :P) and that it had to be over 12,000 words. No genre restrictions, since I’ll read pretty much anything. Maybe it was the holiday weekend, but this seemed to be harder than I thought it would be (with the number of people on Romance Divas who write and read small press, I expected more recommendations from there, actually).

I ended up buying about 11 books, ranging in genre and from 8 different small presses.

It was interesting, though, the things I learned about buying/reading small press as a result of this.

1) Distribution is important. I ruled out any press/book that I couldn’t buy at an online bookstore (I didn’t want to enter my credit card number 7 times, so I didn’t want to shop direct from publishers this time, though I often do for certain presses). So any publisher/book that wasn’t available at Fictionwise, AllRomanceEbooks or BooksOnBoard I didn’t even consider. I think one stop shopping is important because most customers are not going to be like me, and hunt 3 different places for all the books they want. They’re going to buy what’s available where it’s convenient for them. Also, a publisher without distribution isn’t catching the “browsers” at the online bookstores.

2) Price to word count is also important. There were a few books that I would have bought based on the blurb, but when I checked the word count versus the price, I quickly changed my mind. I’m sorry, but $5-$6 for a 25-30k book is obscene. To give you an idea, a book that length is about half the length of a normal Harlequin Desire or Presents (category). Half.

3) Word count matters. I found that I very much appreciated Fictionwise putting the exact word count on the books. Most small presses have a word count range for each book, some a large spread, so you don’t know if you’re buying and getting the low end of 30k or the high end of 60k at that price. I based a lot of my purchasing decisions on Fictionwise’s provided word count. It made for easier shopping and I appreciated that.

4) Sales sell books (at least to me). I ended up doing almost all of my shopping at Fictionwise because of their great anniversary sale. I bought more than I would have otherwise, but the psychology of it also hit me, because when I went to look at other sites, I found myself more reluctant to buy a “full price” book.

The reading experience. At the end of the weekend, I had read 7 books from 6 different presses (still have two presses unread from my weekend purchases):

1) I appreciate good metadata. I put all of my books into Calibre for two reasons: Cataloging and transfer to my Sony. Since most of the books came from Fictionwise, and were multi-format, I believe that means that Fictionwise actually formatted them. And Fictionwise doesn’t have the best metadata. It’s okay, but not great. I know I work for Samhain, but I have to tell you, the metadata kicked ass when I put the books into Calibre. (Yes, Samhain was one of the presses I read this weekend). The Samhain metadata includes title, author name, publisher, release date AND the book blurb. It was beautiful. Now, to be fair, since I didn’t buy direct from the other publishers, I don’t know what their own metadata is like, but for a digital book, metadata is important!

2) The blurb at the front of the book (after the cover) is convenient. Once I’d put the 11 books on my Sony, I didn’t necessarily remember what each was about and I appreciated those publishers who put the blurb at the front of the book. It made it easy for me to decide if that was the book I wanted to read right then.

3) Editing matters. And not all small presses are created equal in editing. I am not critical of small errors that slip in. Boy, wouldn’t that be hypocritical? And I have actually gotten pretty good at turning my internal editor off when needed for pleasure reading. But there were some books where it wasn’t possible to do that and I found myself thinking that I would be reluctant to buy 1) from that press again and 2) that author again. Editing matters and small press needs to do better than traditional press at this, unfortunately, because we come under greater scrutiny. People expect small press epublished books to be badly edited and that’s unfortunate for all of us!

4) A good premise can’t trump bad editing/execution. For me, at least, and I think maybe other readers, I realized that though I appreciated the idea of the story/plot, even the freshness of a good premise was overcome by poor editing and execution. Awkward dialogue, stilted narrative, inconsistent plot threads…those things matter.

5) Explicit words and descriptions don’t make a scene sexy. The eroticism of a scene depends on more than the words/acts the author uses and has her characters engaging in. It depends on the intimacy of the setting, the sensuality of the moment and the connection the characters have to each other, and I have to them. Some authors have an amazing talent writing this.

6) I appreciate small press for its diversity. One thing about the recommendations I got and the books I read, is that they were diverse, not just in genre, but also in length. It was nice to be able to choose a shorter book to read just before bed, but a longer book to indulge in during the day, and to be able to get everything from a m/m/f BDSM romance to sweet contemporary.

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