May 2012 e-Newsletter

Boroughs Publishing Group News


Boroughs Opens Its First
Romance Short Story Contest:

romance short story contestIn one blink of an eye, you’re hooked.

OH, HENRY!” she said. “Is that an e-reader in your pocket, or are you just feeling romantic?”

Looking to get noticed? Boroughs is offering a great opportunity for you to show off, whether you’re published or unpublished, whether you’re a first-time author or have a trunk full of novels under your bed. Short fiction is the simplest of all art forms—and the trickiest. With a limited amount of space to show us your world, your characters, their conflict…and then prove why they just have to be together, you have to be smart, be sexy, be different. And it has to happen in the blink of an eye.

Think you can succeed? We know you can.


The contest opens today and closes 11:59 p.m. PST, July 1st 2012.


Send the following to

  • a short ROMANCE story of 6,000 to 10,000 words, double spaced, Times New Roman 12 point, with one-inch borders, submitted in MS Word.
    • Please put your story title in the header flush right.
    • Please DO NOT put your name on the body of the story, as the rounds will feature anonymous judging, but in your query letter include your name and contact information, the story title and its suggested sub-genre.
    • In the subject line of your submission email, please put “@FS: [YOUR STORY TITLE]”
  • “the pitch”: a 15 to 25 word encapsulation of the story. Be brilliant. You will be judged on this!

Remember, the contest is open to published and unpublished authors alike. And you may enter more than once, but please submit each story separately.

Each story should be self-contained enough to feature a resolution of any inherent conflicts and provide at least a happy-for-now ending. Looking for a place to get started? Here’s a thought: Use side characters of your previously written novels or back story connections of your characters that part and meet again.


PHASE 1: On July 3, 2012, story titles and pitches will be posted ANONYMOUSLY on our website for open voting. Those that receive the top 25% of the vote in their sub-genre will be selected as SEMI-FINALISTS to go on to…

PHASE 2: On July 17, 2012, the story’s first page (or first ~250 words) will be posted ANONYMOUSLY on our website for votes along with the title and pitch. In addition, our Editors will weigh in. The top three stories in each sub-genre will be selected as FINALISTS to go on to…

PHASE 3: On July 24, 2012, the first three pages of the story will be posted for voting. Bit by tantalizing bit you’ll see who has what it takes—and so will we. The announcement of the winner of the @ FIRST SIGHT contest will be made at 5:45 p.m., Friday, July 27, 2012, at our Publisher Open House at the RWA convention in Anaheim, California, and the results will be Tweeted and publicized on our website.


Beginning on July 3, 2012, and for each phase of the contest, you and everyone you know should visit, find the link to the @ First Sight contest, then cast your votes for stories that tickle your fancy and make you want more. You may vote for every story you like.


ALL FINALISTS will be offered:

  • A contract to have their story published and sold by Boroughs Publishing Group
  • A full editorial process to make their story shine

THE FINALIST with the most popular website votes will be offered:

  • A critique by an editor of a full-length manuscript submission to Boroughs, with a turn-around time of two weeks

THE WINNER, chosen from our FINALISTS by our editorial staff, will receive:

  • cover art specifically tailored to the story
  • A critique by our Editor-in-Chief of a full-length manuscript submission to Boroughs, with a turn-around time of two weeks
  • 75% of the winning story’s net royalties

Boroughs Joins
Publishing Against Diabetes

boroughs joins publishing against diabetesBoroughs Publishing joins numerous industry professionals, authors and publishers alike, in the fight against diabetes, donating to the annual online auction run by New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak.

Boroughs has offered up:

  1. Critiques of three (3) FULL manuscripts within a two (2) month turnaround, 1 of which will be critiqued by Editor-in-Chief Chris Keeslar;
  2. Critiques of five (5) partial manuscripts—the first five chapters—with a one (1) month turnaround, 2 of which will be critiqued by Editor-in-Chief Chris Keeslar; and
  3. Ten (10) copies each of our debut author's books, Tumbleweed Heights, Nobody's Angel and The Genie Ignites.

Boroughs is just one of a multitude of donors. Since its inception, this annual auction has raised over $1.3 million (cumulatively), and they’re looking to break $2 million in the near future.

The auction is open at this very moment and will run through May 31, 2012. This year they’re even giving away a free iMac or PC of equal value to the person who makes the most bids, regardless whether that person wins the most items. So, make some bids! Let’s go cure some diabetes!

Boroughs About Town (& Country)

In Anaheim

AnaheimFor those of you who don’t know, the Romance Writers of America national convention will be held this year in California, at the Anaheim Marriott, July 25th - 28th.

For those of you attending, Boroughs invites you to join us for the following events in our Hospitality Suite – Room #355 at the Anaheim Marriott:

Friday, July 27, 2012, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Boroughs Spotlight, Author & Editor Meet & Greet and Open House
At 5:45 p.m. we will announce our @ First Sight Contest winner!

Saturday, July 28th, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Author Pitch Sessions
Sign up on our web site!

RWA remains the best single resource for aspiring romance writers, bringing together authors, editors and all types of publishing professionals. For information about the conference, go to:

For information about RWA or a chapter near you, visit:

In Toledo

ToledoBoroughs was invited to spend an afternoon with the Maumee Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday, April 28th. (Thanks, ladies!) The MVRWA chapter boasts a fantastic mixture of published and unpublished authors, and all present agreed it was one of the best and most informative meetings in recent history.

For those of you who can’t pick him out, that’s our Editor-in-Chief on the far left. Liz Edelstein from was also in attendance.

Interested in having Chris or someone from Boroughs visit your chapter? Send a request with event details (including date) to

In New York

New YorkRomantic Times Book Reviews interviewed Editor-in-Chief, Chris Keeslar and wrote:

Video Interview: Editor Chris Keeslar

By RT Book Reviews, May 17, 2012:

Chris Keeslar planted his publishing roots as an editor at Dorchester Publishing, where he spent many years working with authors including Marjorie M. Liu, Victoria Alexander, Lynsay Sands and more. Now, Keeslar is spearheading the new Boroughs Publishing Group, an e-book house, where he will continue his practice of taking chances and discovering new author voices. RT's Morgan got a chance to talk with Keeslar about his new endeavor and find out what Boroughs is looking for and how authors can submit their manuscripts. So what does Boroughs want? Keeslar shares that an author's vision is key, and while he's partial to urban fantasy and paranormal romance stories, he wants books that give their hero and heroine a happily ever after. Ultimately, romance is near and dear to this editor's heart, and we can't wait for what's on the horizon for Boroughs.

You can watch the entire interview at RT’s Daily Blog: and on YouTube at:


A short monthly piece to show what's happening in the editor-in-chief's brain...and in his office. Besides reading. Lots of reading.

Advice: Pitch Your Voice

Chris KeeslarI spent the other weekend in Toledo talking about all the changes occurring throughout the publishing industry. Wow, there are a lot. It can be daunting, really, as much as exciting. But one thing I’m happy to report will never change. First and foremost, regardless of your experience level or the innovations of product delivery, writing is about communication.

So, as a writer, focus on that: Communication. Your key to success is conveying everything you want to convey to the appropriate audience in the appropriate manner—a manner you’ve determined by listening to them before you speak. Know who you are. Know who they are.

If you don’t know who your audience is, it’s you. At least, that’s a great place to start. You’re most likely writing for someone who has the same tastes as yourself but doesn’t have the same drive to create. That makes things easier, no? Start thinking about the elements that work for you when you’re reading. What really makes you gasp, groan, sigh or buy the next thirty installments of the series? Can you do the same? Next start thinking about what you’d do, how you would have characters act differently in similar situations and how you could make a story even more romantic than the best book you ever read. Don’t look now, but you’re finding yourself. You’re finding your Voice. Not as tough as you thought, eh?

When authors or teachers or editors tell you to “Find your voice,” they’re not just talking about what words you use and how you naturally arrange them; they want you to discover that inner core of yourself that makes you write, what it makes you write and why. Your Voice is what’s quintessentially you. It’s what you as a writer offer the world. It’s your soul: unique, immutable, beautiful.

People—aspiring authors in particular—are guilty of a serious crime: They elevate writing to a Herculean task. Well, maybe it is one. But the strenuous part comes from committing to and believing in your vision while still paying attention to your audience, connecting their hopes and dreams to your own. But it makes the task easier to delineate: Become a good communicator, you’ll be a good writer.

Amusingly, I find authors who have tackled the task of writing a book then shy away from something as simple as a pitch. There’s no good reason. If you can do one, you can do the other. A pitch is just using your Voice to tell a friend why they should read a book, see a movie or listen to a song. That friend just happens to be an editor, and the book just happens to be yours. You should know better than anyone what makes it awesome.


Where you get to hear the people who make publishing–and Boroughs especially–what it is.

Author Introduction: Staci Weber & Sara Dailey

Sara and StaciStaci Weber & Sara Dailey are avid readers, English teachers, friends, wives and soccer moms. They have been teaching together for the past eight years and writing together for four. Pack of Lies is their second young adult novel.

We want to start by saying how excited we are to be working with Boroughs. We could not be happier with the way our book turned out, and to have a group of professionals so enthusiastic about the story assures us that our baby is in good hands. We were so nervous! We wanted to write a series, much like some of our favorite adult paranormal romance series, where each novel is from the point of view of a different character—or characters as it happens in Pack of Lies. About a third of the way into the manuscript we decided to use three different first-person POVs. We feared the series would be a tough sell for a few reasons. One, it’s about werewolves, and two, it’s told in those alternating points of view. But we forged ahead regardless. It was the type of series that we wanted to read, and we simply hoped that others out there would too. Judging from feedback, you do!

So, we were asked today—and it’s a question we get a lot—how two people manage to write same story together. Well, four years ago, when we started our first novel, we had absolutely no idea how it would work or what we were in for. We just sat down with one laptop and passed it back and forth until the book was finished. This is probably why it took us over a year to write! Since then we have changed things a bit, but some things remain the same. We still try to meet at Starbucks once a week to plan, organize, and write together. The only real difference is that now we each have our own laptops, and we each write our own chapters. Forward progress!

We have run into a few problems along the way—like finding time between school and soccer games to get together to write or make our individual chapters flow together—but we always find a way to make it work. Our passion remains strong. One of the first and hardest things we learned about writing together was that we have to be honest. If something isn’t working or just doesn’t sound right, we have to speak up about it and not let our feelings get in the way. Luckily, we have been friends for quite a while and are comfortable enough with each other to speak our minds.

Despite the problems, writing as a team has been an absolute blessing. We can’t imagine writing without each other. When we get a good review, we can celebrate together; when we get a bad one, we can talk trash together. We give each other the confidence to get our work out there for people to read, which can be really scary, but no matter what, when you’re part of a team you get to have twice as much fun. And that’s what writing’s all about. Having fun.

Thanks—and we hope you enjoy Pack of Lies!

Staci Weber & Sara Dailey