Walking Down a Dark Road, or, On Becoming a #ParanormalRomance Editor

Carpe Noctem Cover
Carpe Noctem: Truly. Madly. Deeply – Coming soon from Charon Coin Press

Isn’t this just the prettiest cover ever? I swear, Natasha Alterici does such perfect, emotional work. To me, that image speaks of a soul-deep longing, and a desire which can never truly be fulfilled. It’s tragic and beautiful, and it makes me want to cry.

It helps that my name is on the cover. That makes me smile.

So Carpe Noctem submissions closed two weeks ago, which means any day now I should be receiving the reading package. From what I understand, I have roughly fifty stories to read (FIFTY STORIES??? WOW!!!). I’m expecting close to 800 pages when that package arrives, which means it’s going to take quite a bit of time and some serious coffee intake. I should probably buy stock in Starbucks.

I’ve also noticed something else: since agreeing to take part in this project, my reading style has changed. I’m reading everything with a critical eye these days, including the newest Stephen King novel, which I’d been devouring up until I said okay.

I’m reading slower now, more carefully. It’s odd, too. I’m the girl who ripped through all four Twilight novels in about three days. Granted, the reading level on those isn’t particularly high, but it was a lot of pages and it took a lot of focus and concentration to stay interested in large parts of the story…but I did it. Where I used to read a novel a week, it now takes me all day to read a 9,000 word short story because I’m unconsciously picking it apart as I go.

I’m looking forward to the process, though. Being a lover of the written word, I’m excited to be able to read these stories first on paper instead of on a screen. I like the old-fashioned feel of the process. It makes me happy.

So one question I keep getting from those who have submitted and those who just seem interested in the project: What are you looking for?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. I’ve read a lot of fiction. And I do mean a looooot. I’m looking for something I’ve never seen before. Something new and different, and while the story has to have that impossible love story feel to fit the call, I want to see new ways of handling old tropes. I’m not looking for boy-meets-girl-boy-eats-girl… I’m looking for true love in odd packages. I’m looking for perseverance despite the odds. I’m looking for a satisfying, if not entirely happy, ending. But most of all, I’m looking for a good story. I’ll know that when I read it.

It’s almost time to start reading. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

On the iTunes: “Foreigner’s God” – Hozier
Mood: Optimistic. And Caffeinated.

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