Friday, December 3, 2010

Anything goes Friday - The new Riva line from Mills and Boon

The Minxes are devoting January 2011 Author Spotlights to authors who are writing for the new Riva line at Mills and Boon. We know lots of you readers are writers, and many may be writing Modern Heats, and if so, you need to check this out! Modern Heat has been discontinued, and Riva is taking its place. But Riva is not just Modern Heat by another name, it also incorporates Romance.  By opening up the line, it offers many interesting opportunities for readers and writers alike.

There are vital differences - such as humour, romantic comedies and first person narratives, so read on!

Here are the guidelines for Riva from Mills & Boon's website:

Length: 50,000 words

Office: London
Senior Editor: Bryony Green
Senior Editor: Joanne Grant
Editor: Meg Lewis
Editorial Assistant: Anna Boatman

Launching in January 2011, Riva is a vibrant, exciting new stream of editorial for readers who enjoy authors such as Louise Bagshawe, Tasmina Perry, Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella. Upmarket, glossy and sharply contemporary, these stories sparkle with humour, passion and emotion

If you like your stories hot & steamy...

Then you’ll love the Rivas written by original, fresh authors such as Heidi Rice, Natalie Anderson, Kelly Hunter, Kimberly Lang, Anne Oliver, Anna Cleary and Lucy King, formerly published in Mills & Boon Modern Heat These entertaining romances reflect the life experiences of today’s young women, within a chic, glamorous, and usually urban setting. The offer international glamour, passion and alpha male heroes you expect from Modern, with a flirty young voice and a whole load of sass. The heroines are often your twenty-something girls-about-town but there's no compromising on the hero: he must be very alpha and absolutely to die for. There’ll be sparks flying when these two meet – and nothing short of fireworks once they get to the bedroom!

If you like your stories flirty & sweet...

Then you’ll love the Rivas written by flirty, young voices such as Liz Fielding, Nina Harrington, Fiona Harper and Jackie Braun, formerly published in Mills & Boon Romance. These stories should reflect the experiences of today’s young women – whether it be dating disasters, juggling a work/life balance or overcoming a broken heart. Each story should have an emotional core with believable emotional conflicts but told in an up-beat, fun, contemporary way. The hero should be sexy, aspirational and the romantic tension should sizzle, but when it comes to the bedroom – the door should be firmly closed. We are open to romantic comedies, first person narratives and interesting twists on classic romantic themes

We are on the lookout for new authors who can convey that young urban feel with 21st century characters, simmering tension, either with or without the hot sex!

Our top editor tip: there is no better way to fully understand the Riva experience than to read as many of them as possible!


Jill said...

I'm so excited by this. Thanks for the extra info. I've always enjoyed the Modern Heats and "sassier" side of Romance.

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

Ooh, do you reckon they'll let us sneak in the odd little swear word? Or would that being going too far for Harlequin ...!

Francine Howarth said...


OK, here goes. You can take this as a controversial post or see for what it is: honest seeing is believing!!

As I see RIVA: New line same voices! What's new about this line?

Quote: "We are on the lookout for new authors who can convey that young urban feel with 21st century characters, simmering tension, either with or without the hot sex!"

Well, excuse me, but did not 800 New Voices post some damn good chapters not so long ago on the NV web site? How many were picked up as New Voices (young voices) not forty/fifty somethings who've been penning for several lines and heading the new imprint as *Fresh Voices*. Be honest: Who is kidding who here?


Maya Blake said...

Hey Jill, the Modern Heats are great, aren't they? And I'm certainly loving the new covers!!!

Maya Blake said...

Rachel, I reckon you can get away with a (mild) swear word or two. Let's face it, we live in the real world and it's totally realistic!

Maya Blake said...

Your post isn't controversial, Francine. It's obviously the way you feel. We all know some writers received requests for partials, so they may well be the new voices. We shall see. I didn't enter the NV competition myself. Did you?

Kimberly Lang said...

Romance HQ and the authors are all very excited about the new Riva line. New covers, different titles... We really appreciate the Minxes helping to spread the word -- especially for everyone who loved Modern Heat and might be worried they went away!

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Maya,

Yes, I did post up a chapter pretty much near to the end of the first round, purely for independent feedback. I didn't promote it on my blog with HM&B banner, because I intended it as a low profile post up. I didn't want blog buddies posting glowing comments etc., and for the few who noticed it, most were very complimentary!

I've been pubbed before and can honestly say it's not about the money re getting pubbed again, nor is it about recognition. It's about getting stories read rather than left languishing on a hard-drive.I have given writing category for M&B and a go, but I do find 50K to short in terms of satisfaction and I do prefer mainstream romance so I'm no longer subbing to HM&B. That said, I still read one or two when a quick-read is order of the day: reading time short. I'm back pounding the keyboard on 100,000 + romances: historical, one of my fav genre.

If ever HM&B brought out a line for new writers only, and by that I mean NEW WRITERS not re-vamped re-named authors plying recognisable voices, I'd see that as a real step toward New Voices, such as Macmillan New Writers!


Sally Clements said...

Hi there everyone, thanks for all the comments. Writing shorter isn't for everyone, but I certainly admire the writers who rise to the challenge and manage to captivate with a short read. As a reader, and a writer, I'm excited about Riva, in my opinion it opens the field because the sweeter, romance line can now join the party, offering the more modern, vibrant writing that we see in modern heat, but without having to fulfill the 'hot sex' element.
Mills and Boon are rare because they offer everyone the chance to submit without an agent, and as we all saw from the new voices competition, there are a wealth of writers out there who are free to submit through the regular channels. I'm sure in the year to come we'll see a lot from these writers, and I'm looking forward to reading some great stories!
Of course, even though they are a large publisher, the market for romance is huge, and there plenty of room for both category and single titles - I know I love to read both.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Sally,

Can I clear up a misnomer here quote: "Mills and Boon are rare because they offer everyone the chance to submit without an agent".

True enough several years back, but the only publishing giant of romance lines present day is Transworld (+ Warner), who are reluctant to take on new romance writers without an agent. That said, Transworld have picked up new writers who've approached them direct despite their no unsolicited ms policy, so nothing is impossible even with them.

As for the majority of romance publishers (inclusive Harper Collins),there are "few" who take on only agented projects now, and most accept e-mail submissions, too.

I'm not dumbing down HM&B novels, but the company is no longer the only window of opportunity for new romance voices in literature. There are some stunning new voices coming out of several mainstream romance publishers at the moment and I don't mean little independent e-book imprints.

I grant you, M&B does shout loudest to New Voices and the company does provide rosy chances for a few. But only a few new voices will ever be accepted by any publisher per year. It's the name of the game: chance! ;)

I do think it sad, though, when new writers pin their expectations on publication via M&B as a fast-track to being published just because they are the most prolific in production of romance books and offer up numerous contests. 50k a few years back was called a novelette, today a novel. 70 - 90k was a novel back then, and 100,000 a super novel, today a blockbuster or bonkbuster, whichever suits the content.

Yep, things are changing in publishing and keeping abreast of change is as important for writers as it is for publishers. ;)



Sally Clements said...

Yes, Francine, which is exactly the point of this post, to bring new information of changing guidelines - of all types - to writers.

Joanne Coles said...

Oh wow? There are loads of other publishers that offer writers the chance to submit without an agent? That's fab! Maybe we could do a post about them, so our readers know other opportunities out there for the unagented masses?

Maya Blake said...

Great to see you here, Kimberly. Yes, we're all looking forward to the Riva line coming out in January as we're sure you writers are :)

Maya Blake said...

Hey Francine, I hope the feedback you got from the NV contest helps in pounding out those 100k novels. Do you let us know when your historicals are published as we Minxes love a good historical. All the best :)

Anonymous said...

Late to the party, as usual, but I'm also excited about the new Riva line, too! Aside from the obvious reasons :) it gives all those flirty, sassier author wannabes - those who prefer the bedroom door closed - a place to really shine! Yeah!


Kelly Hunter said...

That it does, Aimee! I too am very fond of the new RIVA guidelines and the challenge to get creative within a short wordcount and still deliver an emotionally satisfying story.

As for the authors in the RIVA mix so far, colour me a little (okay, a lot) biased but to me it's a lineup of youthful and fresh voiced, innovative, and frequently award winning authors. Authors at the top of their game.

As a reader, I'm excited to see so many of my favourite short category authors gathered together under a creative new banner. Yay!

Maya Blake said...

Kelly, thanks so much for capturing the spirit of Riva so eloquently! And of course you would, you're an awesome writer :) :) And can I say how much I LOVE your new cover?