Meet the Silken Sands Editors

A short note before I introduce out Silken Sands editors. I’m blogging today at  The Writers Vineyard on Avoiding the Dreaded Anachronism, my search for accuracy while researching for Amazona, a story about a Pictish Princess who bargains with a Roman nobleman for help in searching for her kidnapped brother. You can check it out at  .  

The 2012 Silken Sands Conference is set for March 16-18, 2012, at the Hampton Inn (2 Via DeLuna) in beautiful Pensacola Beach. Meet the editors are scheduled to attend the 2012 Silken Sands Conference who are scheduled to participate in pitch sessions: 

AMANDA BERGERON, Associate Editor, Harper Collins/Avon

Amanda Bergeron joined William Morrow/Avon in 2008. She acquires romance of all subgenres for both Avon and digital-first imprint Avon Impulse. Some recent and upcoming titles on her list include A Town Called Valentine by Emma Cane, Second Chance at the Sugar Shack by Candis Terry and Brazen by Margo Maguire. She also acquires historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction and the occasional mystery/suspense project.

SANDY SULLIVAN, Executive Editor, Secret Cravings Publisher

Sandy Sullivan, an established author in her own right, founded Secret  Cravings Publishing in January 2011. She started SCP to give authors a place where they had more say and more control over their manuscripts.

GRACE BRADLEY, Editor Ellora’s Cave

Grace Bradley began working with Ellora’s Cave in 2009. She currently  acquires across all sub-genres of romance, with heat levels from sweet to erotic, as well as erotica.  She lives in Atlanta with her husband, two children, two dogs and one very spoiled cat. 

HOLY BLANCK, Editor, St. Martin’s Press

Holly Blanck is an editor at St. Martin’s Press who is acquiring both adult commercial fiction and young adult novels for all parts of the list and for all formats. Holly graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey and began her publishing career at BookEnds Literary Agency. She is actively looking for all areas of romance, strong commercial women’s fiction, urban fantasy and humor.

ANGELA JAMES, Executive Editor, Carina Press

Angela James, executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint, is a veteran of the digital publishing industry and a long-time advocate for digital publishing. She has enjoyed nearly a decade of experience in her field, including successfully launching, building and serving as executive editor for two digital-first presses, most recently Carina Press. She remains active in the writing and digital publishing community via social media, as well as national and international publishing and writing conferences.

Counting the Days to Conference.

Next week, a Gorgeous Torc with a Twist. RitaBay

Silken Sands Conference Agents: Jenny Bent & Lucienne Diver

It’s less than two weeks to the Silken Sands Conference. I’m among those counting the days. This Moonday, meet the agents who are attending the Silken Sands Conference. They’ll be participating in panel discussions and taking pitches. There’s still editor/agent pitch appointments available for those attending the full conference or the Saturday-only drive-in. Check out the registration info below.  But first, meet our agents.

Lucienne Diver (The Knight Agency)

Lucienne Diver joined The Knight Agency in 2008, after spending fifteen years at New York’s prestigious Spectrum Literary Agency. Over the course of her eighteen-year career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of over forty authors, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, and young adult fiction.

In addition, she’s an author in her own right with the Vamped series of young adult books for Flux and the new Latter-Day Olympians series of urban fantasy novels, beginning with Bad Blood, from Samhain Publishing. She also writes the Agent Anonymous articles for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and is a regular guest at Magical Words.Further information is available on The Knight Agency website:, her author website and her blog

Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency
Jenny Bent started THE BENT AGENCY in 2009, after six years as a Vice-president at Trident Media Group. Her bestselling clients include Lynsay Sands, Julia London, Lori Wilde, Sandra Hill, Jacqueline Sheehan, Kathryn Caskie, Kieran Kramer, as well as RITA winners Beth Pattillo, Kate Brady and Tera Lynn Childs.  She is actively seeking romance, young adult, suspense and women’s fiction and prides herself on career-building for both new and established authors.  Her website, with submission guidelines, is and you can follow her on twitter at @jennybent.

The Silken Sands Conference at the beach which will be held at the Hampton Inn on Pensacola Beach, FL on Santa Rosa Island from March 16 -18, 2012. The conference offers workshops, appointments to pitch to editors and agents, editor/agent panels and workshops, a booksigning, catered costume party, banquet, and breakfasts. For registration information: 

Until next Moonday,Rita Bay

Limbo-ing Under the Spiderwebs

Sorry to have missed last Friday’s post everyone. Trust me. HughesNet heard about their insufficient number of field technicians.

Things have been typical here. Grandchildren, a daughter moving yet again and all that entails, continued training of the Christmas puppy, losing sleep because night time–or extremely early in the morning–is the only time I can write uninterrupted. Hard to write love scenes with a large for his age thirteen year old boy bouncing in and out of the room. Nothing wrecks a mood like “Maw! When are you cooking breakfast? I’m hungry! And my tennis shoes stink. Here, smell.”

There is no way you can turn your head far or fast enough to avoid a size ten shoved beneath your nose. If it happens to you, here’s some advise: do not try to wrestle the kid’s forearm away from your face, because it’s a dead giveaway you don’t like what’s happening. It’s suddenly a new game and it’s impossible to fight your way free while leaned back in the office chair in a headlock, with a black Puma clapped over your face like an oxygen mask. Hubby recognized the danger.  Told Tyler if he wanted to live, his feet better be in motion before he let me bob upright. He kinda planted himself in front of me to prevent my pursuit of said grandchild, too. I finally calmed when I could draw a full non-gagging breath and my eyes quit watering from the noxious vapors. G-son is still among the living. The tennis shoes have been de-funkified. All’s well. At least for the moment.

Puppy training hit a momentary rough spot. I can often be found on my knees playing the game of prying small objects or well slobbered pieces of paper from my puppy’s mouth. Also, Cochise likes it outside, and was reluctant to obey my command to “Come” with play or potty time over. Bull dogs are hard-headed, but nowhere near as stubborn as a red-head with better than half a century under her belt. We worked toward an accord. I’d call “Come!” He’d sit down where he stood. I have to give him credit for not moving any further away, but he wouldn’t come to me either. Training progressed to my scuffing the ground with a foot to mark my spot, repeating “Come!” in a firmer tone, and going to where he sat.  I grabbed the loose skin at the sides of his neck and backed toward the scuffed spot. He, of course, planted his feet and leaned back on his rump. 

He weighs over fifty pounds now. The war of dog leverage versus human determination was punctuated with “Cochise, come!” about every third backward step. He has a lot of loose puppy skin. My tugging bunched it all up around his head and face until he looked like a giant Sharpei. I had to avoid looking at him or go weak from laughing. It only took fifty or so times for him to realize I wasn’t giving up.

I call “Come!” now and he sighs and falls into a defeated slump. You can see him thinking, If I don’t come she’ll just march over here and drag me anyway. Might as well do what she wants and be done with it. But it’ll take a few more good rains before I don’t have to change the subject when visitors eye my back yard. I’m tired of explaining that, no, no one indulged in any random, sporadic efforts at plowing; all those strange sets of quadruple trenches crisscrossing the yard are from dug-in puppy feet.

My daughter moved from a house in the city to a house on a river. Beautiful older home with heart pine tongue-and-groove walls, and a three plus acre yard with mature forsythia, azaleas, camellias, day lilies, blueberries and other plantings. But it also means she downsized. One less bedroom, and virtually no closet space. 

Hubby figured out how to add a couple of  closets without sacrificing too much square footage. She figured out what to do with her exercise equipment while I wasn’t paying attention. I walked through the door to find my dining room now has a Bowflex, a treadmill and a Gazelle.  Told hubby he better hurry and build her a home gym area. I want to eat at my table again!

Have to admit things have been pretty convoluted activity wise. So I’ve been jealously hoarding the early mornings when I go out at daylight by myself to feed the animals. I have a child-like affinity for nature, and no matter how many times I’ve experienced something it always seems new. Warm days with colder nights means there’s a mist of fog hovering over the pond, giving it and wading egrets a mystical appearance. Swirling ribbons and scarves of fog free themselves from the water, the faint morning light lending them an opalescent shimmer. More land bound fog blurs everything in the distance and I walk in a dreamscape toward the horse field with a bucket of feed balanced in each hand. My head tipped back, I’m fascinated as my exhalations form heavy vapor clouds that drift upward. Everything is magical and the world is a beautiful place. 

Right up until the moment something glittering with dew in my peripheral vision is catalogued by my distracted thought processes.

Overnight, an industrious spider has spun silken threads, stretching them across my path between the plum tree and the apricot tree. I’m about to face-plant into a web of massive proportions. Instinct screams stop, but communications between my brain and motor reflexes fail to make that instantaneous jump while still tangled in all the mystical properties of the morning. My feet keep moving. And since my aversion to spiders borders on arachnophobia, deeper avoidance instinct kicks in and I’m suddenly doing a muscle torturing, spine cracking, involuntary limbo to slip beneath the web, buckets still in hand.

My real day has officially arrived. But as I stagger along in a low back bend thinking ‘Welcome, Morning’, I have to ask the universe: was this particular reality check really necessary? Sigh.

Romancing the Armadillo

I wonder if we ever reach the point in our lives when we feel comfortable right where we are. It seems no matter how long I live in our rural area that I’ve grown to love so much, I can’t escape being a south Detroit girl. It shows in my reactions.

We’ve had trouble with an armadillo the past couple weeks. Or another armadillo, I should say. And I’d be willing to bet he’s a direct descendant of  the one that initially traumatized me. All my experiences with them culminate in one fact: I don’t like them. No, the emotion runs deeper than that. I hate them. There’s something downright unnatural about a critter that looks like a possum wearing full body armor. Not even my Cajun friend who grins and slides me a sideways look while saying, “Mmmmm, possom on da half shell! Cook some rice!” can get me to laugh about them.

I hate that armadillo’s ancestor for what he put me through. They’re ugly, disruptive and carry some pretty horrific diseases (like leprosy) for starters. For finishers the first one wrecked my sleep for six straight weeks–which means through two full moons, the time when nocturnal wildlife dance and romance with relentless, never-ending abandon. We had beagles in outdoor kennels and this particular armadillo made a game of running back and forth along the chain link, sending the dogs into a frenzy. I was up and down, up and down, every hour on the hour all night long, yelling at the dogs to shut up and trying to get a bead on the critter with the spotlight. All I could catch was a glimpse of his ratty tail disappearing down a burrow or beneath thick blackberry brambles. It got so bad I sat outside in ambush. Zombie ambush. When he didn’t show I was overjoyed, believing he’d finally moved on. All the way up until the next night when the dogs went crazy barking again.

On top of no sleep, day after day I trundled a wheelbarrow of dirt through the horse pastures filling in holes he’d dug to keep my horses from breaking their legs. He was one industrious fellow, bent on reaching China by several routes. Morning after morning I replanted my rose bushes in the front flower garden. The dogs weren’t really bothered, because they napped all day and could count on me to wake them up to eat. But I finally had my chance at him.

Hubby, leaving right at daylight, rushed back into the house. “Get your pistol! Get your pistol and come quick!” It was high summer, but Hubby keeps the AC unit on Hang Meat and I had slept in a long flannel nightgown.

I grabbed a little .380 I had and followed him outside, granny garb and all. We had an old Nova that sat pretty low to the ground, and the armadillo had bedded up underneath it. Hubby backed the car out of the way and the critter stood up. Now, my oldest boy went Scout/Sniper in the Corps and I taught him to shoot. It may sound gross to some, but when I popped a round into the nasty thing I know I saw brains and blood kick out.

Did he fall down dead? NO. Instead, he just swayed in large circles. I waited until he lifted his head and shot him in the throat. He jumped a full three feet straight in the air and landed back on his feet. Still didn’t fall down dead. He just started swaying in circles again, tighter and tighter circles until he froze in place– eyes locked on me. He charged.

South Detroit kicked in and I took off running, .380 in one hand, hem of the flannel gown up around my ear in the other to keep it from tangling with my feet, and calling poor hubby nine kinds of an SOB because he was rolling on the hood of the Nova laughing instead of helping me! I was half way to the pond before he snorted enough air to holler “You can stop running! He’s not chasing you anymore!” A .380 only holds five rounds, but I whirled and emptied the last three into the bast–uh, beast. He went aerial with each shot, jumping an incredible three or four feet straight into the air.

And still wasn’t dead! I had to go inside and get my .3030 rifle to finish him off. Hubby didn’t have time to bury it before work, but I knew if he left him there, the ugly thing would come back to life and get me. I insisted he do something with him right then. I stood shading my eyes, watching hubby disappear into the distance. My last sight of him was with the driver’s door propped open with his left foot, a dust trail kicked up by the dead armadillo being dragged down the road by his rag-wrapped tail in his left hand, steering wheel in his right. Good thing he has orangutan arms. Made it easier to drive leaned out like he was.

But hear this, Mr. Current Armadillo; this time will be different. I’m smarter now. I’ve already gone on the offensive. My thermies and cammies are laid out and I plan to hunt tonight.

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll sic the grandkids on you and pull out that secret little cellophane-wrapped package in the top of the bedroom closet.

Yeah, that’s right. Earplugs.

Moonday’s Heroic Hunk: Adam & the Roses of Prose

     Today’s Heroic Hunk in History is Adam, as in Genesis in the Bible. But first, welcome to the Roses of Prose, a group blog of authors published by Red Rose Publishing, whom we added to our blogroll today. The Sizzlers met Laura Breck & Lisa Lipkind Leibow of the Roses of Prose at the Silken Sands Conference last weekend. They did a great presentation on grogging (group blogging) and are counted among our new Sizzler friends from the Silken Sands Conference. Hope to see them at future Silken Sands Conferences.
     Now, to Adam. Medieval and Renaissance art often used religious themes because (1) the Church, (2) religious laity who used the art for their devotions, and (3) sinners who donated/sponsored the art to religious institutions for indulgences were the most prominent patrons. BTW, God was cropped because God will never be a Heroic Hunk. Not any way, no and no. Hell is full of fools.

     The Creation of Adam is the centerpiece of Michelangelo’s ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City in Rome. In 1511, when Pope Julius II ordered Michelangelo (already a renowned sculptor) to paint the ceiling, it featured gold stars on a deep blue background. The fresco (a mixture of paint pigment heated with plaster and applied to a surface while wet) illustrates the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis in which God the Father breathes life into Adam, the first man. God’s right arm is outstretched to impart the spark of life from his own finger into Adam’s (whose arm is an exact duplicate of God’s in reverse).
     Adam’s finger is not Michelangelo’s original but part of a restoration after a portion of the fresco fell off the ceiling. Also, check out the female form in Adam’s left leg which foreshadows the creation of Eve. Adrian VI, one of Julius’ successors, planned to have the offensive frescoes scraped off, but, fortunately, died before he could commission the work.
     Michelangelo and Pope Julius had a difficult relationship. The Pope nagged Michelangelo to work faster but was slow in paying which made things difficult at home for Michelangelo. While Michelangelo’s family was of the nobility and did not support his career which they thought was menial, they did like his income.

     We’ll feature more of Michelangelo’s work later because he does paint/sculpt a good nude and Moondays are mine to choose. HOWEVER, if you have a Heroic Hunk you’d like featured, please make a suggestion. ‘Til next Moonday, Rita VF

Silken Sands Conference

Here are four of the Sizzlers relaxing in our room at the Silken Sands Conference on Pensacola Beach.  SFCatty, Romancemama, RitaVF and GothicDweller.   The fabulous Barbara Vey took this stunning picture.   Check out Barbara’s blog.

Badurday March 20, 2010

We are at the Silken Sands Conference at beautiful Pensacola Beach.  We have already had an awesome time.  We got inspired by all the water to bring in a pirate for Badurday.  Then Barbara Vey invited us to her virtual party on her blog.  Since the party is in Paris, we decided to choose a Frenchman.  This guy played the bad guy in the Clive Owen movie, Derailed.  He also played the thief in one of  the Ocean’s movies.  He was very, very evil in Derailed.  AND very, very agile in the Ocean’s movie.   Victor Cassel.  Enjoy!

Join us at Barbara’s blog for the vitual party.  We’re bringin the hot French men!

EDITED to FIX this hunky dude’s name to the correct name:  VINCENT.  Sorry, mon ami.

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