#IndustryInsights: Introducing DARE
We're delighted to welcome Flo Nicoll, Mills & Boon Senior Editor, to the PHS, as she talks about the new Mills & Boon imprint: Harlequin Dare!
I’m Flo Nicoll, Senior Editor of M&B Modern Romance/Harlequin Presents – sexy billionaire heroes are my lifeblood, and working with them is my daily pleasure! However, in the last few months, I’ve also had the privilege – and the ridiculous fun – of being one third of the global editorial team working on Mills & Boon/ Harlequin’s newest series, DARE.
So I’m thrilled to have been invited onto the Pink Heart Society to give everyone a lowdown on it! (Although I apologise in advance for my, genuinely unintentional, innuendo-laden blog… clearly the raunch is getting to me!)
As everyone who works in, or reads, romance knows, sexy contemporary romance is huge. From the US to Australia to the UK, the craving for hot sexy reads is intense. And our goal with DARE is to fulfil this need! Along with my colleagues in Toronto (the excellent Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor of Harlequin Dare and Harlequin Western Romance) and New York (the wonderful Patience Bloom, Senior Editor of Harlequin Romantic Suspense), we have been working away like mad these last months to acquire fantastic authors who push the boundaries of sexual explicitness whilst still delivering on the romantic emotional hit that readers come to Mills & Boon/ Harlequin for.
What is DARE?
Let me outline the details for you…
DARE will be on the shelves from Jan 2018, launching globally in the US, the UK and Australia. The books will be available digitally in North America, but will have print and digital release in the UK and Australia. This difference in format across the markets reflects where each market sees the most opportunity for DARE.
There will be four fabulous 50,000 word books published per month, from a glittering array of authors. You might recognise some familiar Harlequin names – Nicola Marsh, Maya Blake, Stefanie London, for example – but other authors are brand spanking new to Harlequin, and equally as wonderful. Riley Pine, Jackie Ashenden, Katee Robert, to name a few – I’m looking at you!
DARE is our sexiest series, featuring great sex in realistic, contemporary and aspirational settings. It’s not erotica – the romance should always come first! Just like the heroine :)
We are working on brand new cover looks in both the UK and NA markets. I can’t share anything yet, but let me reassure you that they are stylish, contemporary and hot – just like the books themselves!
Who is the DARE heroine?
She’s an empowered heroine for the 21st century reader, and a 21st century hero. Bold, passionate and fun, she knows what great sex is, and she’s not afraid to go after it. Crucially, she is also an equal match for the hero in every way, in bed, work and life. Basically, she’s the kind of woman you’d love to go for a drink (or several) with.
Who is the DARE hero?
Easy – he’s your wildest fantasy! On the DARE team, we’re partial to a wide range of alpha male heroes – from billionaire bosses to bad-boy bikers, we’re flexible! What’s important is that he commands the heroine’s respect, attention, and head-spinning, underwear-removing lust!
Who is the DARE reader?
DARE is for anyone who loves instant escapist contemporary romance and for their stories to be seriously smoking hot. On our series guidelines, we ask for an explicit heat level…and we do mean explicit! This is a 21st century series for 21st century readers, so we’re embracing realistic, contemporary language, particularly when it comes to sex scenes. (This has led to some interesting/ blush-inducing/ thank-god-we-aren’t-talking-face-to-face team meetings…frankly, it’s a miracle some of our emails have made it through the company firewall!)
Who is the DARE author?
It could be you! We’re actively acquiring more authors for this series, and if you have a strong heroine, drool-worthy hero and great story premise in mind, we’d love to read your story. Series guidelines are available here and submission details are outlined here. We’re currently looking for more UK authors and UK-set storylines, so get in touch with me via Twitter if you’re keen to target DARE. For aspiring authors in the US, if you’re planning on attending this year’s RWA conference in Orlando, also make sure you check out the DARE editors’ workshop “Sex…If You Dare: How to Write Good Sex Scenes.” We will be on hand — as well as some Dare authors — to answer all your questions about the new series!
Thanks so much, PHS, for this opportunity to talk about DARE – I hope readers and writers out there are as excited by it as we all are!
For more information about Flo, follow her on Twitter.
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