Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekend Wind Down - SPICE up your life!

Have you seen the Spice Briefs? Shorter stories with a temperature ratings that border on third degree burns! Let's heat up our weekend with a quick look at some of the authors writing these fabulous takes on the uber-sensual.

I've asked a few ladies to answer the basics for us ::

WHO - a bit about the author and what they write

WHAT - what they decided to write about

WHEN - when in your career it was a good choice to go Brief

WHERE - where the story takes place

WHY - why it worked for Spice

HOW - how-to tips for those targeting the line

WHO - Crystal Jordan began writing romance after she finished graduate school and needed something to fill the hours that used to be eaten away by homework. She is originally from California, but has lived and worked all over the United States. Currently, she serves as a librarian at a large research university in the Rocky Mountains and writes paranormal, futuristic, and erotic romance.

WHAT - My Spice Brief WILD, is a contemporary paranormal shape-shifter. It comes out in March 2009.

WHEN - I had an idea for a very short story and talked to my agent about it. We both thought it could get me exposure with new readers, so she said to write it up and send it to her. She liked what I came up with and shopped it to Spice for me.

WHERE - The premise of the story is that every female Lynx shifter goes into heat at the same time, and all Lynx congregate in the Sierra Nevada mountains each year for their mating time--Wild.

WHY - I think it worked for Spice because it was short, hot, and the paranormal aspects didn't require heavy world-building for it to make sense to the reader. I'm not sure Spice is really looking for something like a high fantasy erotica, where there's a LOT of world-building.

HOW - I've only sold one 5K story to Spice Briefs, and it was just an idea I had floating around. I think the main thing is to write a good story, which is the same thing I would say about submitting to any publisher.


WHO - I'm Portia Da Costa and I've been writing romantic erotica for women since 1994. I've had twenty-four novels published and two print anthologies of my stories, as well as around 100 separate stories in magazines and other anthologies. I'm best known for my Black Lace novels and novellas, but I've also written a couple of fairly sweet romances in my time. My very first attempts at writing for publication were rejected submissions to Harlequin Mills and Boon, so you could say that being published by Spice Briefs is the fulfilment of a long standing writing dream.

WHAT Although none of my five Spice Briefs have actually been published yet, I've written [and am going to write] about a variety of themes. CHANCE OF A LIFETIME is about a girl who falls for a kinky, modern day marquis who's trying to save his dilapidated stately home. A GENTLEWOMAN'S PREDICAMENT is about a Victorian widow who seeks and finds a daring solution to her sexual frustration in a discreet, high class man brothel. RISQUE REUNIONS is a trio of stories set at a 10 year school reunion where love and lust are rekindled after frustrating years apart.

WHEN I'd been aware of Spice Briefs for quite a while, but for some reason, I'd never got around to subbing to them. But when a friend of mine subbed some stories, and said I should too, I thought it was time to give it a try.

WHERE All my stories are UK set. CHANCE OF A LIFETIME in a country house, A GENTLEWOMAN'S PREDICAMENT in a private house in posh part of Victorian London, and RISQUE REUNIONS at a private sixth form college.

WHY I'm not sure, really. I only know the editor says she loves my writing! So I must be doing something right.

HOW Write the best possible story you can, and make sure that your characters are sympathetic and believable. I think that's at least as important, of not *more* important than the actual sex elements.


WHO - Eden Bradley writes dark, edgy contemporary erotica and erotic romance for Bantam, Berkley, Harlequin Spice Briefs and Phaze Publishing (plus her latest is a Red Hot Read in this month's Cosmopolitan magazine!). Born and raised in California, she currently resides in Southern California, where she can soak up the sun on those rare occasions when she ventures away from her computer.

WHAT - My Spice Briefs, SOUL STRANGERS, is a contemporary erotic piece about an encounter on a beach between a lonely woman and a beautiful stranger. My second title, NIGHT MOVES is the story of a woman who has a sensual fascination with trains. She meets a man who makes her deepest fantasies a reality.

WHEN - I submitted as soon as I heard about Spice Briefs and could finish a story to submit to them! I think it's a great way to keep your name out there in between novels, as well as an opportunity for exposure to a new audience.

WHERE - SOUL STRANGERS takes place on a beach in Veracruz, Mexico. I wanted someplace warm and sultry, and I knew the ocean would be an important component. NIGHT MOVES takes place on a train traveling from Orgeon to San Francisco in the middle of the night.

WHY - Well, you'd have to ask the editor! But I've been told I have a 'literary' voice, which, from reading other Spice Briefs as well as Spice single title novels, I think she likes.

HOW - Your writing must be absolutely clean-I've been told they won't take a piece that needs a lot of editing, so make it as perfect as possible-which is really what we should do with all of our work, anyway. You don't have to have a HEA of even a HFN-this is an erotica line, not erotic romance-but you still must have some sort of story or character arc, so that your story serves a purpose aside from the sex.

Keep in mind that erotic does not necessarily mean dirty. An erotic story can be highly sensual without using harsh language or kinky sex. MJ Rose's Lying in Bed (a Spice novel) is an excellent example of this. My best advice if you want to submit to Spice is to read some of their Spice Briefs and their novels to really get a feel for what the editor is looking for.

Thanks for visiting The Pink Heart Society, ladies! I'm sure you've turned up the thermostat on quite a few weekends!

Special correspondent in the trenches Biddy has joined in the birthday celebrations! Pop over to Biddy's blog to see what she has in store for the Pink Dancing guy for his birthday - and also to see what she has in store for YOU!


  1. Thanks for the report and congrats to Eden for selling her second Spice Briefs this week!

  2. Yes, thanks ever so much for doing this report!

    Still can't believe I'm a Harlequin author at last. I've wanted this since the late 1980s! :)