Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight with Lori Graham

A harbor bell clanks in the distance, its lusty ring echoing as the trolley lifts for an incoming vessel. A gaggle of seagulls squawk high above the bluffs as the gleaming white yacht comes into view. With the sun reflecting on the crystal blue waters in a myriad of jewels and gemstones, the ship’s name, THE CRIMSON LORI, glistens like brilliant red rubies.

As the yacht docks in the marina, Lori Graham, Senior Editor of the Crimson Line of The Wild Rose Press steps out. Dressed in a crimson-red sundress, her blue diamond locket shimmers. Oliver, dressed as a cabana boy, rushes down to escort Lori to the private terrace overlooking the shores of the crystal blue waters.

He grins a roguish grin as he presents her with a bouquet of crimson roses. We meet again, Lori. Might I add how dazzling you look in your sparkling blue diamond. How thrilled we are to have you join us at the private yacht club for lunch. Sharon has already arrived and is seated on the teakwood terrace.

Lori: I couldn’t be happier to be here, my dear, and always enjoy my time with you both.

With its teakwood furniture and complementing accents, the terrace boasts a tropical island atmosphere. Chaise lounges with splashy cushions encompass the turquoise swimming pool, and just beyond, thriving eucalyptus plants and festive flowers landscape the border.

Sharon stands to greet her editor. They exchange brief hugs and sink into the comfortable cushions of their highback wicker chairs surrounding the umbrella table. Calypso music plays in the background and Oliver hums along, off key. Still grinning, he stands before them, at the ready, pencil poised above his notepad. May I start you ladies with cocktails? A tropical drink from the bar or some mint tea, perhaps?

Lori: A nice raspberry tea would be nice to start, my dear fellow. The fun stuff will come later.

Sharon: A mint tea…with lots of ice!

Oliver: I’ll be back in a flash. He saunters off, swaying his hips to the music.

Sharon: Well, I must tell you, Lori. I am very excited about the new submission call out from the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press. Tell us all about Jewels of the Night and how you came up with this dazzling theme?

Lori: Actually, I can’t take all of the credit for this submission idea. I had input from the other crimson editors (Johanna, Julie, Laura and Anne) as well as the owner of Once Upon A Romance, Connie. We bounced a couple of ideas around and through it Jewels of the Night was born.
Our thought process was to create something as a central piece that had multiple venues in which it could be used. Now to be honest, I first thought of a contest but you know what…I would much rather sit here with you and Oliver. So, at random, we will choose one of the contracted pieces to receive the special “prize.”

So to submit, write the manuscript featuring the blue diamond in a 20-65,000 word format. Once you have it done, send a query and synopsis to me at lori (at)

Sharon: Jewels of the Night drew me in at once because to me, the blue diamond conjures up so many images. Danger, ice and fire all rolled up in one. And without giving away the location of my setting or the storyline, let’s just say my story has already taken off. What image comes to mind when you think of a blue diamond?

Lori: I have to tell you that this submission has so many different options that no one image comes to mind. These submissions could be set in any locale and could involve treasure hunts, or family inheritance, or… The options are just endless. The diamond speaks for itself. What does any woman love more than a diamond? I do have to admit that I chose the blue diamond because I think they are exotic and gorgeous.

Oliver places the drinks on fancy cocktail napkins. And are we ready to order? Our house starters include either a cup of lobster bisque --or a tropical salad of wild Pacific greens, pineapple, mango and papaya, both served in coconut shells.

Lori: Absolutely the salad

Sharon: The tropical salad sounds delicious.

Oliver: And today’s entrĂ©e is either grilled salmon or your choice of tropical seafood kabobs or chicken kabobs, served with a tangy pineapple salsa and order of chips.

Lori: Chicken kabobs some wonderful, thanks

Sharon: Mmm. The seafood kabobs, please.

Oliver, playing the perfect cabana boy, plucks a fan from the table and fans Lori.

Lori: Just a little to the left, you sweetheart you…ahhh, that’s so much better.

Sharon: All right, cabana boy, about our meals?

Lori: Spoilsport

Oliver leaves, still singing.

Sharon: One lucky submission will be chosen at random to launch the Jewels of the Night series. And it will receive a premium publicity spot for the month of November. For those readers not familiar with The Wild Rose Press, can you explain the reasoning for the November time slot?

Lori: November is the month that Crimson Rose is featured so it just makes sense to kick off the month with something this fun.

Sharon: And can you entice us with some of the publicity the selected contract will receive:

Lori: Would love to…they will receive the lead-off spot with a guaranteed publish date in November 2010. That in itself is a great thing. Then in addition, we will give them an advertising banner to use in their PR. In addition, they will receive a featured review and interview with Once Upon A Romance where they will be able to display their banner for thirty days for free.

Oliver presents the salads, sprinkling each with just the perfect amount of house dressing.

Sharon: Thank you, Oliver. Simply perfect. And, Lori, here is my question. The guidelines request a word count between 20-60,000 words. Once the contract is chosen to launch the series, can the stories that come in later be longer in length?

Lori: You know that is a good question; we hadn’t really talked about that. I’ll have to think about that when I don’t have Oliver standing over there diverting my thoughts. One thing I do want to mention though is that the submission deadline is March 31st. Only manuscripts received before this date will be considered for the special prize. However, we will continue to accept submissions even after this date so please don’t worry that we’ll turn anyone away. J

Sharon: When I wear my blue diamond, I am always surprised how many people have never heard of this stone. Have you found this to be true?

Lori: I agree. Most people tend to just think the normal diamond. They don’t realize how many colors they come in from yellow to blue to pink and so on.

Oliver appears with the chosen cuisine, a fragrant mist of tangy spices filling the air. Then he refills the drinks, casting a wink to Lori.

Sharon: I think the appeal of this series is the undercurrent of danger, intrigue and romance. There are so many ways for the imagination to go with it. Cool ice, hot fire and you have the ingredients for a spicy blend for a barrage of storylines. And you give such a wide spectrum with the location and time period. Here’s another question that comes to mind. The Crimson line is the suspense line of The Wild Rose Press, romantic suspense and mystery. When I write suspense, I prefer to write in present day, but that’s just my personal preference. What about an author who writes in the paranormal or historical or inspirational line from a different era? Do these genres fit into the Crimson line if the storyline deals with a high level of suspense?

Lori: This will fall under the same guidelines as any other manuscripts coming in. The focus needs to be on the suspense (after the romance, of course). Now that isn’t to say there can’t be a little paranormal in it. For example, your heroine could be a psychic. That would be okay. Historical and inspirational get a little trickier because those lines aren’t quite as broad. I have no problem with the character being a Christian so that isn’t a problem. However, if their Christianity is a big part of the story, it would probably be a better fit in White Rose so that it gets the exposure it requires.

I wasn’t asking you to take your shirt off, Oliver. I was talking about sales of a book. Oh my, it is getting warm. Anyway, I don’t want to discourage that but it does make it something I would need to look a little closer at. If anyone has a question, they are always welcome to email me and share more of their specific idea and I would be happy to give them an opinion.

Sharon: The only other submission call in the Crimson line I’m aware of is the Men in Uniform series. Is it difficult to come up with a new theme each November?

Lori: Well, we really don’t have a set time to come up with new themes. It is just when the muse hits us. We do like to come up with something interesting for our featured month to really draw attention to the fabulous writers we have within our line.

Sharon: The deadline for submission for Jewels of the Night is March 31, 2010. As an editor, do you feel placing a specific deadline on a project helps or hinders the creative muse?

Lori: Both. Some authors need that to get down to business while others feel pressured. That is why we will take the submission no matter when it comes in. It is only the extra goodies that require the deadline. The reason for that is the publication date in November. Even with ending it in March, the editing staff will have to work hard to get it ready by November. (I may have to borrow Oliver from you during that time to keep the editors fed and happy.)

Oliver grins and takes a sweeping bow.

Sharon: Well, here comes Oliver with dessert. And while we’re enjoying the delectable treat with some premium tea or coffee, let’s give the readers a chance to question you about Jewels of the Night. Thank you so very much for joining me today, Lori. It’s been a delight.

Lori: It is always a joy to join the both of you. I always have a good time and leave here very satisfied. Oliver, oh Oliver…

Oliver swaggers out, balancing chocolate mousse dribbled with rum sauce on a silver tray above his head. With a sweeping bow, he serves the dessert. After setting down carafes of coffee and tea, he plucks up a ukulele and serenades Lori with a stringed instrumental of Crimson and Clover. In love again, Oliver stands there, stunned speechless after his performance. Blowing kisses to Lori, the gaping, still mute Oliver sighs and disappears into the cabana, his heart all a flutter.

Lori: Sharon, you certainly do know how to pick them, my friend. (Sighs)


Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Sharon and Lori

What an entertaining and interesting post. I love the sound of 'Jewels of the Night', what an intriguing title for a series. It sounds so exciting, perhaps I should think of writing romantic suspense instead of futuristic!

Have a lovely day with Oliver - and Sharon, Lori.

Sharon Donovan said...

Let's have a warm welcome for Lori Graham. Welcome, Lori! Ah, such a nice tropical sea breeze this morning. Oh...why it's Oliver...fanning Lori! And he seems to be dazzled by her sparkling blue diamond! Oh, Oliver, do bring us some tropical beverages. It's a bit hot out here on the island...

P.L. Parker said...

Good Morning Ladies:

Blue diamonds! I think I'd like several of those. Christmas is coming you know.

Good luck with "Jewels" - grabs the interest.

Miss Mae said...

Hi Lori,

That Jewels of the Night theme reminds me of the gorgeous bottle of Evening in Paris perfume. I always thought that blue bottle was kind of mysterious. Hmm, there's an idea already...maybe a jewel thief steals a stone, but leaves a Evening in Paris bottle in its place! LOL

Lori, did you volunteer to be an editor for the Crimson line? Or is each editor assigned to the most needed area? :)

And who is your favorite literary detective? Sherlock Holmes? Inspector Poirot? Nero Wolfe? Or maybe Amelia Peabody?

What's that, Oliver? No, I do not think Lori believes you are truly James Bond. What do you mean, why? Well, for one thing, man, a good spy always knows how to swig their lemonade.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

The two submission requests sound really good - I wish I wrote suspense, I may have to start! Nice to meet you, Lori! Great interview, Sharon, as always! And Oliver - where DID you get tht hat??

Kathleen said...

Nice interview, Lori and Sharon. Jewels of the Night sounds like an intriguing proposition. I do write romantic suspense but most of my Wild Rose stories are for The Last Rose line. Are mature charactrs (over forty) okay for this series?

Candace Morehouse said...

Great interview Sharon and thanks for giving us information on the new line, Lori.

I'm wondering Lori - as an editor what really grabs your attention first about a manuscript? For instance with the Jewel of the Night series kickoff submissions, what would set one apart from the rest? I know you need to grab a reader from page one but outside of that, are you looking for a truly unique storyline, lots of on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense, or perhaps a nontraditional type of romance?

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Sharon, awesome post as usual.

Hello to Lori, and to Oliver of course!

I'm brainstorming like mad to come up with a plot for this call for submissions. I'm such a slow writer, that I'm predicting my entry will just squeak by the 20K requirement. :)

For some reason, every time I think "blue diamond" I think of almonds. LOL.


Dawn Chartier said...

Fun post, Lori and Sharon.
I might just have to enter this one.

Dawn Chartier

Linda LaRoque said...

Oh, Miss May, I remember the Evening in Paris also. Loved the bottle but never could wear it as too strong. My mother called it Meet Me Under the Bridge at Midnight.

Good luck with Jewels of the Night, ladies.

Cate Masters said...

Great interview, Sharon and Lori! Thanks for highlighting this new series. Jewels of the Night is very intriguing! It definitely conjures some exotic images in my mind. I'm looking forward to seeing what other authors come up with.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, ladies!

Joelle said...

Hey Lori and Sharon—very informative post to launch "Jewels of the Night." Lori, no doubt, your entries will be countless. My thoughts immediately turned to varieties of Romancing the Stone or Indiana Jones, but, as you mentioned, the possibilities are endless. However, no vamps, weres, or shape-shifters. Pity.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sharon and Oliver! (believe you've already receive your card, Lori)

Editor, Black Rose line
The Wild Rose Press
*shamelessly waving and winking at Oliver*

M.Flagg said...

Hi Lori and Sharon. I enjoyed reading your post. I write paranormal but the Blue Diamond theme really intersts me. Hmmm. Can I throw a few chocolate diamonds in there too?

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and a big wave to that gorgeous hunk, Oliver!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sharon and Lori.
Fabulous interview, ooh and the food sounds yummy, not to mention Oliver. Jewels of the Night sounds a great name for a series. Sure to be a winner.


Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Hywela, we would love to have you in suspense so maybe that is in your future. :)

Miss Mae, as an editor at TWRP, we try to put people in an area that they can excel in. For example, putting me in any historical line would be a HUGE mistake. :) I may love to read them but editing one would be a trial. It really helps to play to your strengths.

Favorite dectective would have to be Nancy Drew. Sorry, I know that sounds lame but there are so many out there today that I just love (including James Bond/Sean Connery) but Nancy gave me my first taste of suspense so she will always be special to me.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Kathleen, the lines between our various departments can sometimes blur a bit but the bottom line is what is the prevalent portion of the book. If the books focuses more on the fact that the heroine is mature, then Last Rose would be a better placement. However, if her age is no more important than her blonde hair, crimson would be the better call. I know that sounds pretty nebulous but if you submit something to crimson that doesn't fit, don't worry we will be glad to transfer it to the correct department.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Candance, those are all great questions and the answer to all of them is yes. :) How is that for an answer? Seriously, write what you write well. If you have a handle on your topic, it shows. If you know nothing about the FBI but your characters are all agents, the manuscript is never going to fly.

What grabs me as an editor is truly someone who has a grasp of what they are writing. Someone who has followed all of the guidelines also is a big plus. That tells an editor a lot about what it would be like to contract a writer.

As far as the Jewels stories, what will grab me is someone who has thought outside the box on what that jewel could mean and how it could be used in the story. If an author digs out an old story and just throws in a diamond, it is going to show. So, I would love to see something original. It is also going to have to be tightly written to stay within our word count guidelines.

I hope that helped.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Just a reminder about the Jewels manuscripts.

The best way to think of this is as a themed submission call. The only thing the stories will have in common is they all contain a blue diamond.

This also isn't a contest. The "winner" will be chosen at random from those offered a contract. Every submission will be reviewed individually and if it fits our guidelines, lines, and quality, the author will be offered a contract.

Those that come in before March 31st will have a chance to be chosen for that lead-off spot. However, they can continue to come in after the 31st and receive the same banner marketing.

If anyone has any questions, you are always welcome to email me at lori (at)

Oh Oliver, my dear, the tea is no longer cutting it. Something different...humm, amaretto sour please.

Sharon Donovan said...

Oliver swaggers onto the terrace, amaretto sour poised above his head on sterling silver tray. Presents it to Lori with a wicked wink. Then he plucks a strawberry from the fruit dish and feeds it to her.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Oliver is simply too talented. (Sigh)

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello to one and all and thank you for dropping by today. I know what a busy day this is with all the pre-Thanksgiving preparations. I'm in the midst of them my own self. But Oliver wants you to know the bar is officially open. So order up and stay as long as you like. Lori, just so you know, I'm hard at work on my Jewels submission and can't seem to get my fingers to skate along the keyboard fast enough! This is a most exciting submission!

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

I can't wait to see what you do Sharon. Should be fun.

Oh Oliver...I think I'll celebrate something. Champagne please. Love the bubbly.

Skhye said...

Wonderful interview as always. Sharon sure can make me chuckle. Oh, wait! That's Oliver! Jewels of the Night sounds intriguing. Best of luck with it, Lori. And merrily masticate on the morrow, everyone!

Sharon Donovan said...

Cork pops and Oliver pours champagne into flutes for all the guests gathered for the fabulous Jewels of the Night kick off party. Turns to the crowd and winks, pumps his biceps and blows kisses Then he swaggers off, singing Hot hot hot!

Sharon Donovan said...

I would like to thank everyone for coming to the fabulous Jewels of the Night celebration. What fun! Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
A special thank you to Lori Graham for being my featured guest on Wednesday Spotlight. And with all the intrigue surrounding the Jewels of the Night submission call out, it's bound to be a smashing success. So start spinning those wheels and hope you come up with a real gem of a story!
Special thanks to Hywela Lyn for adding the graphics. Fab job, as always, Lyn!
The captain of THE CRIMSON LORI signals it's time to venture forth into the gale wind and wild sea. Oliver escorts Lori to the marina, sad to see her leave. Before she sets sail, he plucks a crimson rose from the garden, a tear in his eye as he watches her sail away.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and blessings,

Dayana said...

Sharon and Lori, heating up the tropics with that interview. Waves at Oliver and winks. Really enjoyed the banter, food, and imagery. Lori, that contest sounds really interesting though I write mainly dark sensual to erotic paranormal. Might just give this a go.


Mary Ricksen said...

I have thought about doing something a bit different. Let's see if my muse can come up with an exciting plot!
Sharon as always, love your blogs!!
There is something extra there.
Lori, good luck to you and may you Xmas dreams come true!

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Shh, Oliver, if you tell Sharon I've stowed away, I'll punish you severly. Let's sail away...

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Lori and Sharon,

Popping in a little too late for the party, so I'll wait to see Oliver another day Sorry I had to miss out last Wednesday, but I spent a beautiful and really long day at the zoo with my two nieces. And then with Thanksgiving weekend and catching up Monday and today, I'm just able to catch my breath.

Crimson Rose is my favorite line at TWRP, and when I write, I veer more toward Suspense. Like you, Lori, love to read those Historicals, but not so sure about the writing. We'll see. Although I'm too late for questions, I did enjoy reading the Q & A in the comments.

Sharon, as always, you throw a superb party, and see that there were many familiar faces here. Well, you know me--a day late and a dollar short. The idea about the Blue Diamond is brilliant. :-)

Reminds me of the first Pink Panther movie, and the title, Jewel of the Nile. It also reminds me of a drink we had just this weekend. I forgot what it was called, but it tasted like Pina Coladas. You're right, Lori, the options are endless. Many ideas come to mind, but, for me, it's to focus on ONE!!

Sharon, thanks for having Lori. I'm sure she wishes all her authors would treat her in such a plush manner!