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This blog page is devoted to the world of writing for publication.

We’ll talk about how to improve writing and editing skills, as well as keep you updated as we build a fiction imprint.

Acquisitions: Lessons Learned from Sifting Through the Pile

There’s a term in the publishing industry that is generally looked upon with trepidation. It’s one that authors fear their manuscripts becoming a part of it. It’s one that newbie editors dread being assigned to. The slush pile. Back in the day when publishing houses were inundated with submission packets consisting of 300 plus page manuscripts, query letters, and proposals, dozens of papers landed on the cutting room floor. Enough that the janitors pushed these papers into the middle of the pile—and those precious submissions, the ones that authors dreamed would be the next New York Times bestseller, became lost amidst the slush. If the idea of losing a proposal to the slush pile makes authors tremble in their boots, the idea of being assigned to the slush pile makes editors sigh. Because for every English major who dreams of editing for a big house or small house, tens of thousands of authors submit proposals. That slush pile—or in the case of today’s system, the full email inbox—can look awfully daunting when with the click of a mouse proposal after proposal floats to us through cyber space. It’s enough to make even the most seasoned editor exhausted. But I’m here today to offer another side to the slush pile—to offer a reminder that more than just stories come to editors with those proposals and manuscripts. A few months back, a submission came to my inbox at the request of my manager. I read the proposal, the partial manuscript, and eventually the full manuscript. I fell in love this author’s story—and I wanted to acquire it. But publishing is a... read more

From the other side: reflections on internships

I had a checklist I needed to complete in order to graduate from college: Fulfill the requisite number of courses in the English major to prove competency in American and British literature. Pass, with a high enough grade to prove I can do more than count to ten, basic math. Demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. And most important of all (at least in the eyes of a future employer), complete an internship. Internship. The word can strike fear and bring excitement, depending on which side of the aisle a student stands on. With most employers requiring college students to have some kind of experience upon graduation, the competitiveness of these positions has risen in recent years. On the other hand, for those students without a clear-cut idea of what they want do when they graduate, choosing an internship can be a daunting task. I knew by my junior year of college that I wanted to make a career for myself in the publishing industry. With my focus on and interest in editing, I chose to intern at Oak Knoll Press—the only antiquarian publishing house in the United States … and it just so happens to reside in my home state of Delaware. While I value my time at Oak Knoll Press, the lessons I learned while interning there have little to do with the publishing industry. As an undergraduate intern, I focused on the small picture: earning a satisfactory grade; keeping my supervisor happy; pleasing my coworkers. I learned the everyday nuances of office life, but I failed to think ahead at how my time at Oak Knoll... read more

Featuring DEBRA HOLT

Debra Holt, author of Mercy’s Rescue, is a Texas girl through and through. If you check out her personal and professional Facebook pages on any given day, in fact, you’re almost sure to spot a beautiful image boasting about her home state. More often than not, there will be bluebonnets somewhere in the picture too, which is why we asked the cover designer of Mercy’s Rescue to work them into the cover somehow. Debbie’s Texas roots make her a natural to write about those cowboys adored by fans of romance! Mercy’s Rescue is no exception either. Josh Wellman is the romantic hero we love to swoon over. He’s tall and chisled, sure; but he’s also humble, strong, and kind. He’s just the type of guy women like us (and Mercy Smith) need to ground us and push us to be the best women we can be. Mercy’s pretty spectacular on her own, too. Professionally, she leads a medical evac team in the town where Josh is the sheriff. Her faith has taken some hits in recent years though, and Josh’s influence is sorely needed in her more vulnerable personal life. Their romance unfolds believably with elements of fun as well as a few heart-wrenching twists. For a sneak peek of the video trailer, click the icon below.   Mercy’s Rescue is available for pre-order right now in ebook and print form, and the official launch date arrives in just a few days. FOR A LIMITED TIME, YOU CAN “GRAB” A COPY OF MERCY’S RESCUE at BookGrabbr. And to connect with author Debra Holt, you can visit her website, LIKE... read more

Exciting days at Bling! Romance

So the last time I was here, I told you about how we were looking for a replacement for me to head up Bling! Although we looked at several very qualified candidates, we just didn’t find that perfect fit … the one to take over this very special toddler we’ve gotten on her feet. So I’ve decided to stick around a while longer and, with the help of a couple of fantastic interns, will continue to steer the course into deeper waters. In light of the fact that Bling! is fast becoming everything I hoped it would be, I’ll be joining the ranks of my treasured authors and will launch my own next novel through the imprint. There are exciting days ahead for us here, and we’re hoping you’ll hop aboard and make the trip along with us. In mid-August, Mercy’s Rescue by Debra Holt will finally debut. If you haven’t seen the book trailer, CLICK HERE to enjoy it. Mercy has received some amazing pre-release reviews. Also, author Debra Holt will be holding a launch party on August 11th via Facebook where there will be prize giveaways and lots of fun and games. If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP HERE. Debra Holt is a Texas girl through and through! She’s all about the romance, the cowboys, horses, and bluebonnets. Whether that’s your cup of tea or not — take it from me! — you’ll love this book. Fighting for his life after an ambush, Sheriff Josh Wellman awakes to find himself looking into the eyes of a real-life angel of mercy. Despite his groggy condition, he knows... read more

Updates on BLING!

There’s been a lot going on in the world of BLING! Romances lately. To catch you up … First and foremost, you may have noticed on the calendar that the release dates of our fall books have been changed around a little. Debra Holt is still our launch author, but instead of waiting until November to release Mercy’s Rescue, the novel will debut in August. If you’d like to have a little sneak peek into Mercy, click HERE to view the video trailer. Catch of a Lifetime by Candee Fick will now take that slot and debut on November 2nd. And we now have a cover for that bad boy … and it’s an amazing cover indeed! The next bit of news involves an author named Sandra D. Bricker … Yep! That’s ME, the managing editor of BLING! I’ve spent about 18 months building, designing, proting, crafting … all to put this imprint out into the world. I’m so proud of what we’ve built, and thankful for the supportive team surrounding me. However, a month or so back, I gave my notice and won’t be managing the imprint going forward. We’re in the process of locating the perfect person to accept the torch and continue with the work we’ve started. Until that time, I’ll be keeping things moving in a forward motion … and we’ll keep you all updated! And speaking of me … As a writer, I’ve been going through some transitions as well. One of those happened recently when I decided to go the indie route with my books for awhile. I’ve seen some of my writer... read more

Guest Blogger: Editor Cindy Sproles

She’s not an editor at Bling! … but she’s very important to the world of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I’ve invited Cindy Sproles to come and tell you all about her non-fiction arm of LPC. FROM CINDY SPROLES: Welcome to the world of non-fiction. I’d like to tell you I could take you to galaxies far away where legions of star battles ensue, but that would be fiction. Instead, my goal is to immerse you into the world where information is but a touch of the Kindle away. Let me introduce you to my world – the world of non-fiction – SonRise Devotionals and Straight Street Books. When Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas was born, our first book was Spirit and Heart: A Devotional Journey. Little did we know what God had in store for this small arm of Christian Devotions Ministries. We quickly found when you say yes to God’s work, the surprises never cease. Spirit and Heart: A Devotional Journey was the beginning. It was the training ground for what God would grow for the future – SonRise Devotionals. Over the last three years, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and SonRise Devotionals have published some 35+ devotional books. These books would become the stepping-stones for the continued growth of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Since our heart has always been to teach others about God through the simplicity of a devotion, LPC has remained faithful in seeking out and publishing devotional books that reach every facet of individuals. From parenting to aging. Exercise to eldercare. Laughter to heartache – SonRise Devotionals touch everyone wishing to develop... read more

Guest Blogger: Editor Deb Haggerty

  THE ART OF EXCEPTIONAL EDITING  by Deb Haggerty ed•it \’e-dət\ vt [back-formation fr. editor] (1791) 1 a : to prepare (as literary material) for publication or public presentation b : to assemble (as a moving picture or tape recording) by cutting and rearranging c : to alter, adapt, or refine esp. to bring about conformity to a standard or to suit a particular purpose. (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, p. 396) Editing is the icing on the book “cake.” After the author has labored with blood, sweat, and tears great effort to produce a manuscript, the editor takes a hand to make the manuscript as perfect as can be. The obvious first step is to read the document. In the “old” days, we’d do that with a red pencil in hand—making notes along the way as to what needed to be changed, tightened up, or deleted. We’d look for clichés and tired illustrations as well as grammar and punctuation errors. And typos—amazing what misteaks mistakes exhausted fingers can produce! Today our job is much the same, except that we labor with Track Changes instead of a red pencil or pen. The computer has made editing both easier and more difficult. Editing is easier because we can make a suggested change, undo the change, and make another change with the click of a mouse instead of trying to write between the lines. We can add comments that are easily read and then deleted when answered or the problem is fixed. We can instantly reformat pages or quotes. This ease has a difficult side as well. Because the changes are so easy, we can... read more

GUEST BLOGGER: Author Candee Fick

Anybody can write, right? My fascination with the written word began at a very young age. Unfortunately, the traditional stories about Dick, Jane, and their dog Spot did nothing to fuel my active imagination. My grandmother came to the rescue by introducing me to the Little House series, one book at a time for Christmas and then my birthday. Thankfully, she did the same for my brothers with the Black Stallion and Chronicles of Narnia so I could indulge my reading addiction. Every time I brought home a Scholastic book flyer from school, I would scrounge through the couch cushions for spare change to buy just one more treasure. Stories lived in my head, and at recess I acted out potential scenes using my favorite characters. An obsession with stories didn’t necessary mean I could write them. Or at least write them to the satisfaction of my junior high, high school, and later college English teachers who didn’t seem to appreciate my creative efforts. Somehow all the emotion I envisioned failed to translate to the written page, while my essays and other papers earned the higher grades. I transitioned toward more academic writing, became a science teacher, got married, started a family, and soon found myself elbow-deep in therapy appointments for my special needs daughter while managing a chronic illness of my own. But stories kept coming to life in my dreams and I’d awaken with a consuming need to scribble pages of notes before the wisps of a scene faded away. I checked out stacks of books from the library, then imagined different ways to spice up the... read more

Why Readers Read What They Read

We writer and editor types love to delve into the minds of our readers. We feel like we need to know what makes them tick, right? So I went straight to the source for answers (as I’m prone to do) and asked Janese Lopez – one of my longtime readers and the author of the fun Loving Life in Pink blog – to tell us what makes her choose a certain novel over shelves of others. Here’s what Janese had to say:   As I was first thinking about writing this post, it seemed really simple; but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how many facets go into what draws me to a book. When I was in middle school, it was pretty easy: Almost any book the library had that I hadn’t read and my mother would approve of was checked out and read. The classics, series books, mysteries, age-appropriate romances, pretty much anything I could get my hands on, I read. Of course, in eight grade I was reading about a book a day, so I couldn’t be too demanding. These days, I don’t have as much time to read; consequently, I am much more selective. If I’m not really attracted to a particular book, I skip it. So what does it take to make the cut? It’s not really any one certain thing, but some of the items that influence my decision are genre, cover, presentation (could be online, in a store, in a library, etc), and recommendations and reviews. Let’s start with Genre: The genre of a book is one of... read more

Announcement: Diamond Awards

I know from first-hand experience that contests can be an outstanding opportunity to shape the career of a writer. Benefits can include: Prestige. Attaching your name and project to an award adds a certain amount of cachet to your writing resume. Opportunity. Entering a contest where agents and editors serve as judges puts your work in front of them in a way that leaps over their slush piles. If you final – or even win! – you may also have the added bonus of garnering the interest of an agent or getting that novel into print. Increased Professionalism. Preparing for a contest hones skills like writing toward a deadline, revising and polishing your work, and (finding the worst case positive!) developing a more casual relationship with the possibility of rejection. For these – and many more – reasons, I am so excited to share this news! 2015 not only marks the release of our first novels – Mercy’s Rescue by Debra Holt in November and Catch of a Lifetime by Candee Fick in December – but we’re also kicking off what we hope will become an annual event: THE BLING! DIAMOND AWARDS will highlight excellence in contemporary romantic fiction. The contest will provide three finalists the opportunity for unbiased feedback on their work by professional editors and agents. In addition, one winner will win a Grand Prize Package to include priority consideration toward the possibility of a contract with Bling! Romance for publication of their book. For more information on deadlines, contest entries, and final round judges, you’ll find all the specifics on the Contest page. Sandie Bricker, Managing... read more
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