by D.F. Krieger & Sonia Hightower
eBook ISBN: 978-1-77130-039-1
When a fledging writer submits an erotic tale to Daring Desires Publishing, one head strong woman meets another as an author/editor war ensues. There’s no room for a diva in the publishing industry. When you submit a manuscript to Daring Desires, you submit more than a book…you submit yourself.
Katia slammed the cordless phone down on her desk so hard, her coffee mug fell over. Well, thank fucking goodness it didn’t have any coffee in it. One tiny thing to rejoice about, though losing my computer and the crap on it wouldn’t really make a difference. This is bullshit! My agent doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing or talking about. She blinked back tears of frustration as she stared at the half-full white page open on her computer screen. The blinking black cursor mocked her where it sat waiting mid-word. What was the point in typing anymore? As her agent had said, it was drivel, nobody was interested. A Pirate’s Pleasure had bombed in sales. A Pirate’s Passion was half complete, over fifty thousand words already typed, months of work, and her agent had just uttered the most dreaded and feared words.
They reverberated back and forth in her brain like a tennis ball, from the left to the right and back again. Sorry, but Halifax House looked over the synopsis you provided, and they aren’t interested. The numbers came back showing that
A Pirate’s Pleasure has not met the required or expected sales. Looks like you are going to owe them back your advance. They aren’t taking a risk on the sequel.
Though her agent hadn’t exactly called it drivel by name, Katia knew that the other lady didn’t care for the three chapters of A Pirate’s Passion that Katia had sent to her, because the agent was refusing to represent the piece rather than try to find a home for it outside of Halifax House. By contract, Katia had to send the sequel or any work containing characters from A Pirate’s Pleasure to the leading publisher that had contracted the original piece, but she was permitted to take it elsewhere should they decline it. The fact that her agent wasn’t willing to try spoke volumes.
The loss of Halifax House meant financial and professional ruin.
And after I bragged to all the fellow waitresses that I had a fifteen thousand dollar advance, a major book deal, and would be leaving them all behind in no time…Oh, thank God I didn’t give notice. To think I was on the verge of doing just that…
Katia closed her eyes and laid her head back against her leather office chair, trying to regain control of her tumultuous emotions. All her hopes and dreams were going down the drain right in front of her. She would be a waitress for the rest of her life. Instead of asking people, “Who would you like me to inscribe the book to?” she would be asking, “Would you like fries with that?”
No! No. After three years of writing, she couldn’t give up now. Katia opened her eyes, straightened her spine, wiped the tears from her cheeks, and glared at the blinking cursor with determination.
“Okay, so people don’t want pirates. People are tired of pirates. They don’t want to spend money on pirates. Let’s find out what people want.” She placed her hand on her mouse and clicked the red X in the upper right corner. The little white box popped up.
Do you want to save changes you made to “A Pirate’s Passion_Katia Lane”?
Katia snorted. “No, I’m afraid not. Nobody is interested. I’m moving on to other things.” She couldn’t help but wince, however, as she clicked on “Don’t Save.” All that work… No, she wouldn’t think of that.
After refilling her coffee mug and staring at the Amazon bestseller lists until her vision grew blurry and she could swear she officially had carpal tunnel from moving her mouse so much over various chat topics in writer’s forums, she came to a few conclusions.
Katia took a generous gulp of coffee and grabbed a nearby notebook, speaking aloud as she jotted notes. “Too many pirate tales. Overdone. We know that now. Goodreads reviews for A Pirate’s Pleasure were fairly good, but apparently I need to work on my sex scenes. They weren’t erotic enough, though it might help if I got laid occasionally. So…” she trailed off and bit the tip of her pen, frowning at her words. “More sex. No pirates. Let’s find something not done to death.”
Another thought popped into her mind. And no more agents. Screw agents. She began scrawling again. “People like sex, originality, and I don’t want an agent. Hmm.”
She moved the mouse again. What was it someone had said in a chat group? Leading erotica publisher? Accepting unsolicited manuscripts? And word was many of their authors became New York Times bestsellers. What was the name again?
Katia chewed her lip and began Googling once more. She pulled up a website. Yes, she was over the age of eighteen, but if a box popped up asking her exact age, she was going to lie, dammit.
The website allowed her entry. Oh my. Her eyes widened at the content before her. Whoa. Men kissing men. Half-naked, writhing bodies. Four different heat ratings. And the world’s bestselling publisher of erotic fiction. Daring Desires Publishing.
Katia squirmed in her chair. Was it growing warm in the room or was it just her? Her gaze skimmed over the guidelines, and she drooled over the cover art. They obviously knew their stuff. She recognized many of the titles from the bestseller lists. She clicked on “categories.”
“Well, if pirates are overdone, male/male fiction is way overdone too. Why don’t you have any female/female?” She voiced her question aloud, half expecting the computer to talk back to her. One never knew with technology nowadays.
Wait a minute… She slammed her notebook down on the desk, and again, her coffee cup tipped over. But Katia paid it no mind. It only had a few drops left at the bottom. Besides, she was too inspired. Sex. Originality. Not done to death. No agent.
She threw her head back and laughed. She’d write a female/female erotica. Coffee forgotten, notebook tossed onto the floor, she opened her Word program and began typing furiously. Screw carpal tunnel. She had a writing career to save.
Weeks later, Katia opened the homepage to Daring Desires Publishing again. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she read their submissions guidelines more thoroughly. “Times New Roman, twelve point, check,” she murmured, reading further down. It was hard to ignore that image of a sultry, naked chick on the left. “Double spaced, minimum word count: twenty thousand, check.” She had a good fifty-five thousand words. “Professionally edited? Isn’t that your job?” She scoffed. She was published with Halifax. Never mind that they didn’t want her latest piece. She didn’t need to hire a professional editor.
She sat back in her chair, satisfied. Much to her pleasure, writing contemporary was way easier than writing historical. No research involved, just contemporary stuff and sex. Lots of sex.
She navigated to her e-mail account and typed up a query. I bet half of their authors don’t even know how to write a proper query. I’m sure they’ll be all over this.
Satisfied with her query—she’d been sure to mention that she was published with Halifax House; after all, her low sales weren’t publicized—she attached her .doc, tapping her fingers impatiently as it loaded into the e-mail.
Finally, after three weeks of writing before and after her waitressing shifts, she was finished and submitting her latest masterpiece, Taming Thalia. She typed her name at the bottom, adding “Bestselling author of A Pirate’s Passion” below it, and hit send.
“New York Times, here I come!” She beamed at her computer screen for a full minute before her smile faded. Now, how long will it take them to get back to me?
She sighed and wrinkled her nose. Let the waiting game begin.
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