Candlelight Ecstasy Romance Guidelines Circa 1980
Special Letter from the Editors
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Thank you for your interest in the Dell Candlelight Ecstasy Romance line. Though there are no hard and fast rules for our line in regard to plot, characterization etc., there are a few things to keep in mind if you're submitting a manuscript for our consideration.
Most Ecstasy heroines are between the ages of 25 and 35, most are established in an interesting career. Avoid the use of formula plot devices such as a marriage of convenience between the protagonists, or amnesia. These romances are essentially sensuous, realistic contemporary stories set in the United States. We prefer that writers focus on developing the relationship between the hero and heroine and that conflicts in the story arise out of this relationship (ie: career vs. marriage, unresolved feelings regarding a prior relationship, etc.). Love scenes should be tastefully handled without being pornographic, or overly explicit.
We will consider completed manuscripts of 50,000 to 60,000 words (approximately 200 to 225 typewritten, double-spaced pages) or partials of 50 to 70 pages in length, containing a detailed synopsis and outline.
Good luck in your writing. We hope to hear from you soon!
First and foremost, Ecstasy Romances must depict a compelling love story. The relationship must be realistically developed and bring into play all the channels of communication that are operating between two people in love. Yes, we want smoldering love scenes. But we also want to see our hero and heroine finding their way to each other through emotional and intellectual encounters as well. In other words, we want to see the emergence of a convincing, full-dimensioned and mature love affair.
Though the books certainly incorporate elements of romantic fantasy, it is fantasy grounded in reality. Ecstasy romances differ from the standard "sweet" romances, not only in terms of sensuous detail or extended love scenes, but in terms of characterization, motivation and plot. We are looking for warm appealing characters that have been rendered with insight and texture; characters that a reader will care about.
Though we have no rigid guidelines regarding the placement and content of love scenes, we do feel that sexual chemistry and emotional involvement do bring men and women together in the most wonderful ways. Sensuous, non-explicit presentation of this side of a love affair should be part of an Ecstasy Romance. But whether the encounter is a quick kiss on her fingertips, or a night of passion, the scene is always one of idealized love; the emphasis is on a seduction of the senses (taste, smell, touch) and an intense, convincing emotional exchange between the protagonists.
In any case, let me advise those who wish to submit a manuscript to us to first read a wide selection of our books. Good luck!
Anne Gisonny Senior Editor Candlelight Romances