05 August 2013

Dragons and Cougars and Bears, Oh My...

When you stop to think about it, what we call romance fiction today is quite a far cry from what it used to be. Shapeshifters and fantasy creatures have gone mainstream in a big way - something that was taboo when I first started reading romance back in high school. Back then it was all sea captains, pirates, gang bangs and rape fantasies.

So in some ways, we've evolved. Rape and incest (yes, I remember those books too! Published by big "NY" publishers!) are no longer considered allowable by most publishers. Thank goodness. And character types that were discouraged - I clearly recall submission guidelines saying "no vampires" for example or "no rock stars or celebrities" - are now commonplace.

I think a lot of this came about because the tiny cabal of publishers congregated in New York (where I was born and raised, and still live, by the way), have lost their monopoly on what books get published. The advent of small press publishing, and now, self-publishing, means that the readers decide what they want to read, rather than a small group of twenty-something editors fresh out of college and the elder statesmen in their editorial meetings.

Now, readers vote with their wallets. If they like a particular type of hero or storyline, they search it out and buy the book. As hundreds of thousands of people do this, it becomes clear what the reading population considers worth their time and money. It's very democratic, actually, and kind of beautiful.

I, myself, have been dipping my toes into the self-publishing waters this past year with what I consider good results. I see it as cutting out the middle-man. And as a bit of a control freak, it puts me in charge of a lot more. I get to choose the cover. I get to oversee the editing process. I choose who I hire to edit and proofread. I choose the cover artist and work with them to finalize the design. These are luxuries you never get from a traditional publisher.

It must be working because my indie book, Slade, is competing in All Romance eBook's Ultimate Shifter Challenge. If you haven't voted yet, please consider voting for him! He's in the 9th pairing this week, so scroll down and click! :)

I haven't given up on traditional and small press publishing completely though. An all-new novella in my Dragon Knights series is coming out later this month, on August 20th. It's called Master at Arms and it is a companion piece to the second book in the series, Border Lair, which will be re-released in print in October.

In fact, all the Dragon Knights books are being re-released in print, starting with Maiden Flight this September, one book per month until next March's release of Keeper of the Flame in print. And I'm very proud to say that Maiden Flight was just honored with a TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews Magazine in their latest issue.

Sci fi is another area that was never really considered part of romance until recently. I've always loved it and looked for it when I was younger and thirsting for romances set in some fantastical future - or better yet - in space. My EPPIE Award Winning, futuristic erotic romance series, Resonance Mates, will draw to a close with the fifth and final book, Harry's Sacrifice.

I turned in the completed manuscript a few weeks ago and just signed the contract last week. (Because that's the way I like to do business, when possible - I hate signing first, then having due dates and deadlines. Who needs all that stress?) I'm hoping the book might make it onto their publication schedule for next March, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the publisher comes up with.

And as far as indie books go, my next project is called simply, Red. It's the second book in the sub-set of stories devoted to the five Redstone brothers. The Redstone Clan books are part of the larger Tales of the Were series that started way back when with a book called Lords of the Were.

The follow-up to that, called Inferno, was also published by small press, but then the series took a departure. I did a short story that was set in that world as a promotion for ARe a couple of years ago and after that, I decided to take the rest of the series indie.

In December of last year, I published Rocky. It was a story I had written years before and was finally able to pull together the way I always wanted it. It met with what I consider huge success. I had intended it as a test, but the readers responded well enough that I decided to write more. Rocky led to Slade and Slade led to Grif, the first of the Redstone Clan.

Grif was also a book I had written years before, but I'd never finished it or submitted it anywhere. The Redstone brothers and their relatives have shown up in cameo and supporting roles in many of my paranormals, but I never had a chance to tell their stories... until now. Over the next six months or so, the rest of the Redstone brothers will get their books, starting with Red, followed by Magnus, then Bobcat and then finally, Matt.

I hope you'll enjoy the ride as much as I do! And I'm sorry for getting so long winded. Usually, I never know what to say when I sit down to blog, but today, for some reason, I'm finding it hard to stop! (I've already cut this blog down three times!) ;-)

To find out what I'm up to, visit my website at www.biancadarc.com or catch me on facebook! :)

Until next time,
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