We can’t have a blog series about all things vampire to celebrate that our vampire romance anthology, Ravenous, is going to open to submissions soon without hearing from the editor of that anthology. That wouldn’t make any sense–like Yzma and Kronk beating Pacha and Kuzco back to the city.

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What I Want To See in the Slush

by Ariel Jade

Well, hello there, my little romance short story writer, thanks for stopping by. I’m excited to be on the Pen and Kink blog today to talk about all the things I lay awake at night hoping to receive in my inbox in a short two weeks. You’re here because you want to know what those are, right? Fabulous. Let’s dive in.

I’ll start off with a confession: my romance tastes lean toward steamy. That’s not to say you should crumple up that sweet-leaning story you’re working on, because here’s my second confession: I need plot. And character development. And a healthy dose of flying sparks and banter. For me, a well-told tale trumps the rest of it.

But if you want to win the slush pile, give me an awesome story and interesting sex scenes. Think Tiffany Reisz’s The Siren, which took my breath away–and I’m talking about her plot here; let’s keep our minds out of the gutter. Another story that hit the right buttons for me was Reasonable Doubt by Whitney G. What an awful, raunchy, sexy, sad little puppy Andrew was. *fans self* And How to Discipline Your Vampire by Mina Vaughn was a great example of creative sex scenes interwoven amongst a solid plot. (Plus vampires!)

Speaking of vampires… Kick those sparkles to the curb and give me some serious, brooding, tortured souls. I like my fiction dark, which is why this is the perfect anthology for me (and you, perhaps?). Unreliable narrators, quirky protagonists, morally grey choices—yes, please. It’s a stretch to fit all that in plus a HEA, but if you do? More winning of the slush pile.

And last but certainly not least, send them to me in all shapes and sizes: all gender pairings, multiple partners, kink or no kink. Make it safe and consensual, but go wild with your imagination. Diversity in publishing is important to me, and I’d love to be part of bringing more of that to the collective conversation.

Thanks for reading, and I’m counting down the days when I get to read your submission.


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