Friday, August 27, 2010

Desert Breeze Publishing: Showcase

Brigader AR Norris recently interviewed Gail Delaney (also a new member of the SFR Brigade) about Desert  Breeze Publishing.  I think you'll find what Gail has to say as exciting as I did!  

1. Would you like to share a little history about Desert Breeze Publishing?

I suppose in a way, the genesis of DBP came from my own sci fi romance series. Several years ago, I was with another publishing company that no longer exists, and they were publishing my sci fi rom series. While visiting my best friend (and now business partner) in California, I received the cover art for the last book in the series.

I was beyond disappointed. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. Jenifer begged me to get the publisher to allow HER to make my covers. They refused. During the visit, one of us said "We should open our own publishing company".

Within a year, that publishing company abruptly -- and lacking any ethics -- shut down and filed bankruptcy. In the year plus it took to get my books free from the bankruptcy trial, my family and I moved to California and we began the process of opening Desert Breeze Publishing.

2. Who are your key personnel?

There are two owners of Desert Breeze Publishing -- myself as President and Editor-In-Chief -- and Jenifer Ranieri as Vice President and Marketing Driector. Patrick Delaney acts as Chief Financial Officer. We are currently in the process of bringing on a staff of editors and cover artists.

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

Most commonly of all is a disregard for our guidelines and preferences, which we make clear on our website. We are primarily a publisher of romance, with a variety of sub genres. So, don't send me a hard boiled suspense with no romance. Don't sent me an epic space opera... with no romance. And on the other end of the spectrum, don't send me an erotic novel under the guise of a sci fi rom or rom suspense.

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

It's more about how far I read before I know it's 'not'. I can determine within a chapter or two whether I want to read more. If I get past the first couple of chapters, you've probably got a 7 in 10 chance of receiving an offer. If I go past those few chapters, I look for some very specific elements. How does the romance develop? How do you handle physical intimacy (or just attraction if you choose not to have any actual physical intimacy in the novel). How does the story develop? Is it a strong ending? If a series, is it set up well to continue?

So, if you can hook me early on you've got a better chance.

5. What can authors do to maximize the chances of their stories being accepted?

One of the biggest things -- beyond having a strong story -- is be a strong writer. I don't exclude a manuscript because it's not formatted to our final guidelines -- but the manuscript should be formatted neatly and consistently. Understand POV -- and the fact that I want third person and I want ONE POV per scene. Write in active voice, not passive. That doesn't mean I'll exclude you for a couple errors, but I will if I read 4 pages and see more errors than not.

6. What do you look for in a Science Fiction Romance submission? What grabs your attention, makes you sit up and want to read more?

When it comes to science fiction romance, I want to see strong world building, a sufficient base in science without requiring a degree in quantum physics to understand it, strong character development and strong character driven storytelling with a beautiful romance. So, I'm likely to reject if it reads like the author just threw his or her characters on a ship or an odd planet and call it science fiction. Or throwing in a bunch of anamorphic creatures and calling them aliens.

I believe true lovers and readers of science fiction want an intelligent, well thought out, intricate and thorough science fiction novel. And that's what I want to deliver.

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

We have 4 heat levels, from the sweet to what we term 'intense'. Our intense level will have scenes of physical intimacy within the book, but while the scenes contain description, those descriptions will not go into a great deal of detail and will not use terms often associated with erotica or erotic romance. A love scene can be intense and physical and sensual -- and moving -- without the reader being told how many times tab a and slot be meet up.

8. 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 actually love to see some Steampunk. I have one scheduled for next year, but I want to see more. I like sci fi in series, because I like the development and world building that can really happen when you create a series. Futuristic... Space Opera... they're all good when well developed.

Because I have series set in both the near future and the distant future, I'd be interested in seeing a sci-fi series set in the here and now, but with an alternative timeline. What would our world be like today if we made contact? Whether good or bad? More often than not, when 'first contact' stories are told, the aliens are the wolf in sheep's clothing (I'm guilty of that myself -- I just had it take decades for the truth to be found out), but what if our first contact isn't with a potential adversary? What if they're our friends? But, maybe by making contact with us -- we've drawn the attention of an enemy?

Just a thought...

9. For science fiction romance, are you interested in any particular types of heroes and heroines (e.g., cyborgs, space pirates, scientists, airship captains)?

Wow... I don't think anyone has ever asked me that kind of question. I just like strong character development -- whether they be pirates or captains. I do usually make to make a clarification, though. 'Strong' doesn't mean 'jerk'.

A strong hero doesn't have to be an alpha male. I'm sure I can talk sci fi and people will 'get me' around here. Stargate SG-1's Jack O'Neill is a strong male character. And yet... so is Dr. Daniel Jackson. They are strong in different ways. They are different men. John Crichton of Farscape was a very strong hero -- and yet, how many times did we see him weep when he lost someone he cared about? Han Solo was a 'scruffy, stuck up, half-witted nerf herder'... and yet, we love him. Luke Skywalker started out as a whiny kid who wanted to know "Why me?", but by the end... he was a hero.

And just because a woman is strong, doesn't mean she can't be feminine. Just because a woman can fire a blaster and hit her target at 100 paces while riding a runaway power platform, doesn't mean she won't feel a pleasant rush when a man smiles at her or tells her she's beautiful.

I don't like characters who are so extreme in one direction that they can't be anything else. We -- as humans -- don’t work that way.

10. Is there anything else you’d like to share either about your interest in acquiring SF/SFR or forthcoming titles you’ve edited?

If you haven't been able to tell by now, SFR is my favorite genre. I want to expand the genre and improve it. I'd love to have a SFR title every month.

In an effort to do just that, we will be introducing a new anthology series in October of this year, titled Borealis. The anthology series will center around a space station on the edge of explored space in the 27th century. Initially, it was intended to be a single anthology of 5 stories -- but as I often find with sci fi writers -- we can be long winded. So, I brought on a 6th author, and we're releasing a 3-story anthology in October and another 3 story anthology in December. And we'll be releasing another 3-story anthology next year. All around Borealis.

The first anthology will have stories by PI Barrington (Author of the critically acclaimed Future Imperfect futuristic series), J. Morgan (Author of the hilarious paranormal series Love Bites, but his nickname is Bubba Fett, if that tells you anything) and myself. The second anthology has stories by Esther Mitchell (Author of numerous science fiction novels), Stephanie Burkhart (Author of paranormal, fantasy and steampunk), and Shea McMaster (who has joined us specifically to write for this series).

We have a wide variety of science fiction already available at DBP, and coming up soon. Vijaya Schartz has a galactic series titled The Chronicles of Kassouk and my own futuristic series The Phoenix Rebellion. PI Barrington's Future Imperfect series -- set in Las Vegas in the not-too-distant future -- has been compared to the writing of Stephen King. Coming soon is the Future Savior series which is an amalgamation of science fiction, fantasy and Christianity based genres.

I invite lovers of sci fi rom to check us out.

Thanks so much for your time and insights, Gail, and to A.R. for a wonderful and informative publisher's showcase.  I loved hearing about DBP's SFR-friendly attitude.  (And just want to mention author Vijaya Schartz is also a new member of the Brigade.) 

Have questions about submitting to Desert Breeze?  Read their Submission Guidelines or leave your question below.

Be sure to stop by Desert Breeze Publishing's site to check out Cooking by the Book and the Desert Breeze Publishing Book Club, as well as their full catalog of many great fiction titles.

A link to this interview will be added to our Publishers Showcase section on the sidebar.


  1. That was very interesting. I loved the detail about how your company came about. Oh those damn covers - they can thrill and they can reduce an author to tears.

    I noted the comment about Steampunk too. Sigh. I wonder if I've just been unfortunate in the few I've read because this is not a genre that works for me and I read EVERYTHING - I mean EVERYTHING. But Steampunk - nope, not for me yet. I wait to be convinced.

  2. Thank you for sharing your origins with us. From your banner to the ease in which to purchase, your website is lovely. I hope you get many professional, quality submissions.

  3. Thank you, Barbara and Arlene. I don't know if our genesis was in any way the 'norm', but it worked for us.

    Barbara, about Steampunk. I've only read a small amount and I'm letting the genre grow on me. One of my authors asked if she could write our first endeavor into it, so I said "Go for it!". :-)

    And we appreciate the compliment about the site. We try to keep it simple but attractive. Let the books speak for themselves.

    Gail Delaney
    (I can't for the life of me remember my BLOG sign on info -- so I'm using my LiveJournal)

  4. Loved your take on characters, Gail. 'Strong' doesn't mean 'jerk.' So true!

    And I'm very intrigued with that cookbook. What a great idea!

  5. Huge congrats, Gail and thanks for visiting. So thrilled to see a press so open to SFR!

  6. Hi Gail, thanks for a fascinating and informative interviw. I'm an avid reader and writer of Futuristic Romance and feel that space is such a romantic concept in itself and has endless possibilities.

    I'm old enough to remember the'Alternate History' genre and to me it seems very similar to 'Steampunk' from what I've heard of it. *Sigh* I must add some to my huge pile of tbr!

    Thanks again for all the great information!


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