Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Please welcome Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora's Cave to the Brigade!

Would you like to share a little history about Ellora’s Cave ?
Who are your key personnel?

EC was launched in November 2000 by Tina Engler (author Jaid Black). Her erotic romances had been rejected by all the big NY publishers because they said women did not want to read romances with explicit sex. Well, Tina knew she and her friends loved to read them – and write them. So she decided to start her own publishing company specifically for this genre. Doing ebooks was the most financially feasible way for that. Five years later, NY pubs took note of EC’s success and realized that gee, some women did like lust along with the love.

Publisher Raelene Gorlinsky, Editor-in-Chief Kelli Collins . CEO is Patty Marks , COO is Susan Edwards .

What are the biggest mistakes new authors make?

By new authors, do you mean aspiring authors? The most common mistakes that keep them from moving from ‘aspiring’ to ‘published’ are failing to read and follow publisher submission guidelines and failing to submit an absolutely clean (proofed, self-edited, critiqued) manuscript.

For new authors, meaning those on their first or second published book, they often suffer from lack of knowledge of the publishing industry and the book production process. Learn the industry! Do research, belong to professional writer organizations, ask lots of questions of your peers, published authors, and people at your publishing house.

What are the most common reasons a novel (especially a Science Fiction Romance novel) is rejected?

Most common – and unfortunately VERY common – is lack of consistent, detailed and believable (logical) world building. World building is important in any book, but absolutely critical in science fiction or fantasy. >

What do you look for in a Science Fiction Romance submission?

All the normal things of any genre submission--clean ms, distinctive voice, interesting setting, great characters.

Can you say what proportion of novels you publish are sci fi romances?

Our Aeon line encompasses science fiction and futuristic erotic romance. It accounts for about 16% of our books.

What grabs your attention, makes you sit up and want to read more?

A unique or very uncommon premise and setting (world). A heroine I admire, who behaves intelligently and believably.

How far do you read into a submission before you know if the novel is right for you?

I can usually tell if it isn’t right within the first three pages. If I keep reading past that, more will be eliminated by the first three chapters. If it still looks good by that point, I read the whole thing—too many stories go downhill after Chapter 3, or fall apart at the end.

Do you have recommendations or requirements regarding "heat levels" of submissions?

Since we are an erotic romance/erotica publisher, all our books must be super hot. Per our submission guidelines:

~ The sexual relationship must be integral to and an important element of the storyline and the character development. Sex scenes should contribute to furthering the plot or affecting the development of the romantic relationship or the growth of the characters.

~ The story must include abundant and explicit sex and sexual tension, starting early and continuing throughout. Sex scenes must be described in graphic detail and explicit wording, not delicate euphemisms or purple prose.

~ The story must meet the definition of a romance novel: the primary focus must be on the development of a romantic relationship, and there must be an emotionally satisfying committed ending for the main characters.

Tell me about a few of your favorite/best-selling Science Fiction Romances novels. What really stood out in these stories that made them unique?

I enjoy great cover art, but it doesn’t really affect my decision to buy/read a book. That is solely based on the story, which I glean from the blurb and reviews.

My favorites? – These are stories that have uncommon plots and characters, rather than the standard clichés or tropes of the genre. I especially love the strong heroines; I can’t stand a wimpy or TSTL character.

Linnea Sinclair’s An Accidental Goddess – I adore this.

Susan Grant’s The Star King

All the books in Judy Mays’ Celestial Passions series! (

Beast of Dreams by Cynthia Williams (

Kate Douglas’ Starquest series ( – although that’s more futuristic, not really science fiction.

The Sailmaster’s Woman by Annie Windsor (

I just ordered Close Encounters by Katherine Allred, and am looking forward to reading it. Also on my TBR list is the steampunk Mechanical Rose by Nathalie Gray ( >

What are you looking for right now? What kinds of submissions would you like to see pop up in your e-queries? Anything you’re dying to see more of? Steampunk? Futuristic? Space Opera? Any dream novels?

I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see erotic steampunk. Steampunk romance is one of my favorite subgenres for my personal reading. (I’d pay big bribes to get an early copy of Blameless, the next in the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carringer.) An author who can combine incredible world building in a steampunk setting with a super-steamy sexual and romantic relationship will be a hit with me and with EC.

Hmm, any of you SFR writers also do urban fantasy romance? That’s another favorite subgenre of mine – contemporary or slightly future set. (Nalini Singh’s Angel series !! Okay, I’d pay HUGE bribes for a chance to read the draft of the next book in that.) EC would love to get erotic urban fantasy submissions.

Oh, and note that I always mention the “romance” part. I personally prefer romance in my science fiction, steampunk, or UF. For EC, we accept sexy stories with romance (Romantica®) or without romance (erotica). Futuristic erotic romances also generally do quite well at EC.

We have editors who love science fiction romance in all forms, so if you write a great book, one of our staff may be able to fall in love with it.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us!!


  1. Thanks for a great interview, Raelene and Barbara. I'm sure that wish list will generate some excitement from our membership.

    Big smile at seeing a few Brigader's books mentioned as favorites or in your TBR pile, Raelene.

  2. I'm looking forward to trying out Raelene's suggestions. My TBR pile has grown small again.I like to read three books at the same time - well not quite but you know what I mean.

  3. Thanks to EC, Raelene and Barbara for a very informative interview. We do have several EC authors as members and that's fantastic!

  4. Accidental Goddess was my first Linnea Sinclair book. Loved that book! A fun steampunk book, recommended by The Galaxy Express is The Affinity Bridge by George Mann.

    So excited about all the good SFR heading our way!

  5. Yes, EC does have some fantastic authors. Barbara not only writes sizzling scenes, they are always unique and interwoven with strong, unforgetable plot.
    Thank you, Raelene, for sharing what you'd like to see in submissions and telling us about yourself. Very cool to learn how EC started.

  6. I'm learning tons from reading your blog. Thanks! Great guests and great interviews.

  7. Great interview, Barbara.
    Gonna write some steam punk, Barbara???


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