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New at Harlequin: Two Single-Title Imprints and an Erotic Series

Harlequin is pregnant! 

The venerable bastion of second-chance Amish SEAL daddies and billionaire rodeo secret-baby doctors will give birth to two new single-title imprints in 2017 and a yet unnamed “explicit and graphic” romance series in early 2018.

Graydon House

Unconventional. Emotional. Multi-layered. Breathtaking. Edgy. Issue-driven.

A commercial women’s fiction imprint on par with HQN and MIRA, Graydon House is anchored by Dianne Moggy (VP Editorial) and Susan Swinwood (Executive Editor). This select hardcover and trade imprint will release its first title in September 2017 with How to Be Happy by Eva Woods, which was acquired in a six-figure deal and is reputed to be like if Me Before You had a baby with Beaches. Women’s fiction superstar Kristin Higgins will be releasing Now That You Mention It with Graydon House, so this is definitely the place for your highly emotional family and friendship sagas, but darker veins do run through Graydon House.

“We’re seeing a real shift towards bigger, more layered commercial fiction where the characters are dealing with a variety of relationships—with siblings, spouses, friends, lovers—and that’s where Graydon House’s focus will be,” said Swinwood in a press release. “The unconventional love story, modern relationship fiction, with topical issues for book club discussions, women coping with the ups and downs of life, careers, dating, marriage, divorce, even death.”

Among the releases on the docket for 2017 are an intriguing time-slip mystery by Nicola Cornick as well as Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda, which sounds from its description to be riffing on the sinister marriage themes explored by Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster Gone Girl

Frankly, I’m still not clear on the distinctions between all of Harlequin’s single-title lines, but I know that Graydon House is the place to send your “big” women’s fiction…if you have representation. Like Harlequin’s other single-title imprints, Graydon House only accepts agented submissions.

Park Row

A New Literary Fiction Imprint from MIRA Books

Headed by Margaret Marbury (VP General Fiction Editorial) and Erika Imranyi (Executive Editor) with additional editorial by Liz Stein, Park Row is the new home for Harlequin’s literary fiction offerings. In a press release, Park Row is noted to be focusing on “thought-provoking and voice-driven novels” intended for a commercial audience, so think book-club fiction, but the range is wide. They’re seeking mainstream literary fiction, literary thrillers, and historical fiction (one assumes “literary” historical fiction). Like Graydon House, Park Row will publish in select hardcover and trade paper. 

Publication kicks off this summer with The Original Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig’s debut novel which “follows a recently adopted teenager with autism who is desperately plotting to get herself kidnapped by her birth mother.” Additionally, they’ve pulled blockbuster Mary Kubica (The Good Girl) over from MIRA for her next novel, “a psychological thriller about a young widow’s pursuit of the truth in the wake of the devastating crash that took the life of her husband, takes readers inside the dark, twisted corners of a psyche plagued by grief.” 

There’s also one about polygamists, one about a jewler in a small village, and a few domestic thrillers (all with the word “girl” in the title, I hope!). There isn’t a clear thread connecting the dots on this docket, so “literary” probably has to suffice as a description.

Do you have something weird that doesn’t fit anywhere else? Park Row might be a good option, but like Graydon House, it’s agent-only.

Unnamed Sexy Contemporary Series

Harlequin’s new sexy contemporary series stories push the boundaries of sexual explicitness while keeping the focus on the developing romantic relationship. Come meet the sexiest men alive!

Launching in January 2018, this digital-first line with senior editors in all three offices will join Harlequin’s 17 others as its hottest and most graphic series yet. Reported to be similar in tone and content to Lauren Dane’s work, these “red-hot romances” will be Harlequin’s most explicit series offerings. (Of note: no profanity allowed.)

Key points:

  • Digital first.
  • 50,000 words.
  • Hero can be a billionaire or a biker, but he has to be an alpha male.
  • Heroines are “empowered, independent, fun and fearless women who don’t necessarily need a man in their lives.”
  • Stories must be contemporary, fueled by sexual fantasy but grounded by real-world obstacles. (Keep sending your Ruritanian princes to Presents.)
  • Settings can be “urban” or “exotic,” and preferably “sexy.”
  • No western-themed, military, sports, small-town romances, paranormal or historicals.
  • 3rd person or 1st person point of view, with a balanced presentation of the hero and heroine’s point of views.
  • Contacts: Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor, Toronto; Patience Bloom, Senior Editor, New York; Flo Nicoll, Senior Editor, UK.

To be honest, I’m not sure where this new line will fit into Harlequin’s universe. Check Harlequin’s flowchart of series romance. This seems like an explicit Blaze or Presents, right? But still with no profanity? Does anyone know if they’re pulling Blaze, Presents, or Desire authors over? Has anyone signed a contract for this line yet?

At any rate, it’s open submission. Use their new online submission form–the new line is the first listed.

Thoughts? Questions? Answers? Plans to submit?

9 responses to “New at Harlequin: Two Single-Title Imprints and an Erotic Series”

  1. I know several authors who will be very interested in this info. I’ll pass it on. Thank you for sharing, Jamie.

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  2. Great info, Jamie! Hmmm…I have a women’s fiction book club type book in my head.

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  3. Thanks for the update, Jamie! I first heard about Park Row back in July when PW made the announcement, and as someone writing Women’s Fic and Domestic Thrillers, I’m very intrigued. Very, very intrigued. 🙂

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  4. Wow, I hadn’t heard about these new imprints. Thanks for the info!

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    • I was at a Greater Seattle RWA workshop with Harlequin editor Susan Litman a couple of weeks ago. That’s where I heard about the new single-title lines. I’d been more or less aware of the new erotic line. I got the impression from Ms. Litman that they’d very much like us to submit.

      I wonder how tall their slush pile is these days? I hear LOTS of new writers saying that they plan to self-publish and are completely bypassing the old gatekeepers. They’re not even submitting, let alone working their manuscript on the contest circuit. It’s a whole new world out there…

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  5. Rita Henuber says:

    WOW! Thank you for sharing this. While I won’t be submitting I’ll share this around.

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