Saturday, July 12, 2008

Twelve Points on the 12th

I'm a bit late posting today - I've had a hectic week after an even more hectic weekend. I was at the UK's Romantic Novelists' Association Conference which was as enjoyable and busy as ever. Then I had a l-o-n-g drive home in some horrible weather conditions and I've spent the rest of the week trying to catch up - and being locked out of the internet. At last I've got back on in time to blog today (just!)

My blog today is inspired by a question I was asked several times at the Conference. And that is, what makes the difference between a Modern/Presents novel and the books that are published as Modern Heat in the UK, as Sexy Sensation in Australia - but are, confusingly, published as part of the Presents line-up in America. These are - as many readers are finding - not the typical Presents books that they have come to know. They may have some similar elements - an alpha type of hero,but perhaps one who is still making his way in the world, a feisty heroine,, a very sensual tone - but they are subtly and distinctly different and if you are aiming for this line in the UK where there are first published, it's worth taking a closer look at them.

Why is an Modern Heat not a Presents? in the UK Presents is Modern and Modern Heat is something else. They have a more youthful feel, and a hero who is on his way to power, rather than being a successful billionaire (though some of the USA titles would give you that impression) In the UK they are not being marketed as the same thing but as a distinct mini-line on their own. The Modern marks them out as ‘not Tender’

But you only have to consider the shout lines and the guidelines to see that there are very large and very real differences between the lines

So – the shout lines

International affairs. Seduction and passion guaranteed
Modern Heat
Sizzling, stylish, sensual – the ultimate temptation


Modern Romance is the home of intense emotion, international settings and a range of sensuality and moods. Climb on to a roller-coaster ride of fast-paced plots, relationship drama and sizzling attraction. Travel to the world’s most glamorous locations, where you’ll meet unforgettable strong men who make love in a variety of languages. Seduction and passion are guaranteed.
Novels in this series include stories that are intense with international settings, and are driven by alpha male heroes. The relationships portrayed are provocatively passionate, highly-charged conflicts and the plots are dramatic and compelling, and able to deliver on favourite core themes, such as marriages of convenience, mistresses and revenge.
This series has a consistently international focus. Readers particularly love settings such as the Mediterranean, Australia, the Caribbean and South America. Backgrounds must be sophisticated, glamorous, cosmopolitan – the habitat of the international jet-set. Life-styles of the rich and famous are what it’s all about.

Modern Heat
Take an international city background that vividly conveys the sophistication and buzz of cosmopolitan life, an independent woman, who knows what she wants from love and her career, and a guy who’s confident, easy-going, and gorgeously sexy – and you have Modern Extra.

These titles promise to deliver to the reader a feel-good experience, focusing on the kind of relationships that women between the ages of 18 and 35 aspire to. Young characters in urban settings – either North American or international – meet, flirt, share experiences, have great, passionate sex, and fall in love, finally making commitment that will bind them together, forever. Though their stories are firmly based around emotional issues, other concerns, - such as job and friendship – are also touched on and resolved in an upbeat way.

The important words here are:

Intense emotion
Relationship drama
Driven by alpha male heroes
Provocatively passionate, highly charged conflicts
The plots are dramatic and compelling

an independent woman, who knows what she wants from love and her career,
a guy who’s confident, easy-going, and gorgeously sexy –
a feel-good experience,
resolved in an upbeat way.

The important drive in a Presents/Modern romance is in the intensity of the emotions, the intensity of the conflict. There is no ‘feel-good’ experience in a Presents until the very resolution. The conflicts are ‘highly-charged’ and can tear the H&h apart both physically and emotionally.

Modern Heat has a much lighter touch, a much younger feel. It's been described as Presents Younger Sister. There is scope in a Modern Heat or humour and fun – very little scope for that in a Presents /Modern. The Modern Heat tends to be the heroine’s story – so it bridges the gap between Modern and Tender (Presents and Romance)

If you want to know more then, as always, the best way is to read - read the classic Presents style authors and contrast them with books by Modern Heat authors now published in Presents like Trish Wylie, Kate Hardy, Heidi Rice, Kelly Hunter

Or compare books in both lines by established Presents authors like Susan Napier, Susan Stephens, Lucy Monrow - and see the different styles of books that these authors are writing for the different lines.

1 comment:

Nathalie said...

I never knew the difference between Modern Heat and the Sexy line as here in NA... it is Presents only.