If your writing is more scary than sexy, you might want to check out this new contest:

Leisure Books, the company “leading the way in publishing paperback horror,”* is partnering with Rue Morgue magazine in association with horror fiction web site ChiZine, to present “Fresh Blood,” a new writing contest specifically for unpublished horror authors. The winner will receive a contract for publication in Leisure’s 2011 lineup, as well as a contract from ChiZine Publications for a limited-edition hardcover release, also in 2011. 

Leisure is looking for finished horror novel manuscripts, either supernatural or non-supernatural, of 80,000 – 90,000 words. A panel of experts, including Leisure Executive Editor Don D’Auria and editors at ChiZine, will judge entries. The finalists will be announced in November 2009.

*CNN.com

Click here for more details.

Award season is upon us.  This week accolades have rolled out across numerous genres.  Congratulations to everyone!

RITA Award finalists:

    

TRIPLE EXPOSURE by Colleen Thompson – Romantic Suspense

NO GOOD GIRLS by Jean Marie Pierson – Contemporary Single Title

NO GOOD GIRLS by Jean Marie Pierson – Best First Book

The RITA Award winners will be announced on July 18 at RWA’s national conference in Washington, D.C.  A full list of nominees can be found here.

Spur Award Winner:

 

TROUBLE AT THE REDSTONE by John D. Nesbitt – Best Original Mass-Market Paperback

The Spur Award winners were announced by WWA at the National Festival of the West on March 22.  Winners and finalists will be honored at the national WWA convention June 16-20 in Oklahoma City.

Spur Award Finalists:

 

         

THE TRESPASSERS by Andrew J. Fenady – Best Mass-Market Original Paperback

“Morning War” by Cotton Smith in THE WAY OF THE WEST – Best Western Short Fiction Story

KILLSTRAIGHT by Johnny D. Boggs (coming in Jan. 2010) – Best Western Short Novel

Bram Stoker Award Finalists:

 

    

COFFIN COUNTY by Gary A. Braunbeck – Superior Achievement in a Novel

THE REACH by Nate Kenyon – Superior Achievement in a Novel

Stoker Award winners will be announced at HWA’s Stoker Award Weekend in Los Angeles June 12-14.  A full listing of the final ballot of nominees can be found here.

The former publicist in me just can’t help highlighting some particularly amazing recent reviews and good news.

First, though, congratulations to Carolyn Jewel, winner of the complete set of March romances for her comments on excerpts.  Thanks to everyone who chimed in!

Over the weekend, The Chicago Tribune ran a fantastic review for Elisabeth Naughton’s STOLEN FURY: “…[a] superbly written debut. Naughton deftly distills deadly intrigue, high adrenaline action, and scorchingly hot passion into perfectly constructed novel of romantic suspense.” Read more.

 

 

Emily Bryan‘s 50 Days 50 Blogs tour is at a close. But the amazing review for VEXING THE VISCOUNT are starting to roll in.  And this one was just so enthusiastic, how it could not make me smile?  From Penelope’s Romance Reviews:

Every once in awhile I discover a new writer and I am filled with glee.  A fresh, new voice! An engaging story! Wonderful, fully-formed characters who are interesting, and more importantly, who I grow to care about as I read the novel! This was my reaction to reading Distracting the Duchess by Emily Bryan. (I also had this reaction when reading Candice Hern’s In the Thrill of the Night and Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince).  I found Emily Bryan to be a unique voice in the land of historical romances. This genre has a tendency to be very formulaic, but when it’s done well, it is a treat for the reader.  I had high expectations for Vexing the Viscount, and Bryan delivered. Vexing the Viscount is fantastique! (I apologize for breaking into francaise, but Blanche La Tour has inspired me, vraiment!) This book is the total package…witty humor, lusty sex, intriguing plot, great pacing, and marvelous characters.  I loved the unexpected flashback to Caius Meritus in ancient Rome.  It was a great device to pull you into the mystery that Daisy and Lucian are trying to solve. Caius’ tragic love story is very touching and really brings history alive. C’est magnifique!  I must admit that when the premise for the story was revealed (virgin pretending to be a courtesan), I thought “Now how the heck is Bryan going to pull this one off?” Honestly, it was done incredibly well.  I highly recommend Vexing the Viscount.  And now I am off to find a croissant au chocolat! Au revoir! Grade: A 

Emily’s also opened The Courtesan’s Club on her website with all kinds of outrageous info and fun.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer AshleyBarbara Vey of PW’s Beyond Her Book featured Jennifer Ashley’s THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE on her Your Turn Friday feature, calling it “Mysterious, heartfelt, sensitive and sensual…two big thumbs up.”  Read more.

 

 And technically, this isn’t romance, but three of Leisure’s horror authors–Graham Masterton, Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum–got a nice shoutout in a list of the Top Horror Authors of all time.  If any genre is more stereotyped or misunderstood than romance, it has to be horror.  The horror editor here was appalled when I told him one day that I thought everyone had to die at the end of a horror novel.  He’s since enlightened me.  😉  And that’s why you’ll see in Coming Soon some books from our horror list that I think could appeal to crossover readers, including #20 himself, Graham Masterton (who, by the by, Cosmopolitan has quoted several times as a “sexpert.”  Who says romance and horror don’t mix?).