Thursday, June 30, 2016

Guest Post: First Time Editor

I invited Delilah Night to post here about her upcoming anthology, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe, which just opened for submissions, and will benefit Project Linus. I love Coming Together projects in general, I'm excited about Delilah's book in particular, and I'm also excited to see a writer taking on the editing mantle for the first time. I asked Delilah to write about what drew her to edit an anthology, and she's responded with a moving personal story, as well as some great insights into both the writing and editing processes.

Without further ado, here she is:

by Delilah Night

Hi Annabeth, thank you for hosting me!

I am editing my first anthology, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe, this year with a projected publication date of December 1. It’s scary to make the leap from contributor to editor, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while.

Alison Tyler organized Summer Loving, with proceeds going to fellow author Sommer Marsden’s family as they dealt with a medical crisis in 2014. It was the first time I’d heard of a charity erotica anthology. A few months later, I saw my first Coming Together call—Coming Together is a charity press, and each anthology benefits a charity picked by the editor. I am proud to have contributed to four of the Coming Together anthologies—For the Holidays, Among the Stars, Strange Shifters, and Keeping Warm.

I grew up quite poor. We needed welfare to help keep food in our home, and to help clothe me. There were times when teachers paid for me to go on field trips so that I wouldn’t miss out. I sacrificed a lot to go to college and grad school to get a master’s degree in teaching. I thought I had my career planned out when I had my daughter, Turtle (obviously not her real name).

To make a very long story short, Turtle nearly died from a bacterial infection at a week old. Then she had a stroke. It remains the worst thing that has ever happened to me/our family. In the middle of that darkness, our nurse gave us a hand-made hat and blanket from Project Linus. Receiving that gift from a stranger was like a ray of light in the darkest point in our lives.

We are a success story. Thanks to an amazing team of doctors, nurses, early intervention staff, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other specialists, plus a heaping dose of luck, Turtle is now a healthy, happy seven year old.

I want to give back, and I’ve decided that Coming Together is one of the ways to do so. As an erotica author, it is a unique opportunity to give back by writing (and editing).

As a novice editor, my biggest fears are that I will let everyone down—my contributors, Coming Together, and Project Linus. However, I’m lucky to have several close friends who have edited anthologies for various presses to serve as mentors and advisors.

Going into the anthology, my plan is to put together an anthology of the best stories and poetry that come my way. One of my favorite anthologies is Rose Caraway’s The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica. The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica skips from genre to genre with the grand unifying theme of being the best examples of erotica that Rose could put together. I want Under the Mistletoe to emulate that example.

I hope to put together an anthology with the unifying theme of winter. Not every story should be about Christmas—there’s Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve, and random days in December as well. I don’t want every couple to be heterosexual. I don’t want every pairing to be two people. I don’t want every couple to be white. Variety—and above all, quality— is what will grab my attention.

On an organizational level, I’ve set out my calendar of when the deadline is, when replies will happen, and so forth. Ensuring that I stick to that calendar will require discipline. As an author, I’ve worked with great editors and bad editors, and one of the biggest differences is that the best editors are hyper organized and I want to live up to that standard.

But, just as you can’t actually anticipate what having a child is like until you have one, I expect that there will be a number of bumps along the road. My goal is to handle them professionally such that my contributors are never inconvenienced.

I expect that my second anthology will be better than my first and that my fifth will be better than my second, and so forth. But just as I remain proud of my first story, I hope that I will always be proud of this anthology.

That said, any advice you can provide is welcome, Annabeth.

Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe
Submission Call

Deadline is September 1, 2016

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow because we’ll be heating up this sexy December anthology.

I am looking for your best winter stories. Are your characters cuddled up inside while a blizzard rages, or are they snowbirds spending Christmas Day on the beach in the tropics? Who belongs on Santa’s Naughty List? Is your billionaire a Scrooge? Is this the year they come out to their family? Do they have a special someone to kiss when the ball drops?

While the theme is winter, you may also add in your favorite December holiday, but this is not mandatory. I’m looking for compelling stories with compelling characters and a rich plot as well as beautiful poetry.


* Your story should be set between December 1 and December 31 whether explicitly or implicitly.

* All orientations, ethnicities, pairings, and interpretations of “winter” are encouraged.

* All sub-genres and time periods welcome (contemporary, historical, paranormal, sci-fi, steampunk, you name it).

* All heat levels from sweet and romantic to down and dirty—as long as it is plot driven.

* HEA/HFN preferred, but not required.

* Stories up to 7,500 words

* Poetry is welcomed and encouraged

* No underage, no scat, no non-consent, no incest

Coming Together is a charity organization. You retain all rights to your stories, and previously published stories and poetry are welcomed (as long as you hold the rights).

Please use Times New Roman font, size 12, and double spaced with one inch margins. No extra lines between paragraphs. Set indentations to .5 – do not use tabs or spaces to indent. Use .docx, .doc .rtf formats only.

Only submit your final, best version of the story to with the subject line “Under the Mistletoe insert your title insert your name”

Do not send multiple versions of the same story. Up to two stories/three poems will be considered from each author. Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable and be clear which one is which), mailing address, and up to 250 word bio. Do not paste your story into the body of your message.

You will be notified as to the status of your story by no later than October 1, 2016.

Coming Together is a non-profit organization, and all Coming Together authors and editors have generously donated their talents to various causes. Compensation for inclusion in this work is a PDF contributor copy of the finished product and your name on Santa’s Nice List (or Naughty, if that’s your preference). You retain all rights to your story. All proceeds go to Project Linus, which provides home-made blankets and hats to children in crisis.

Questions? Email me at

(My thanks again to Delilah for sharing this with us here. I'm not sure I'm at the stage of editing experience where I have a lot of advice to give. What does stand out to me is that I was surprised at how it felt to select stories. I loved them as a fan. I've had editors say things like that to me when they selected my work, but I didn't realize how it really feels to get to put together a book full of stories you truly believe in and love to read. I hope you enjoy that!

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I'm also currently taking submissions for a Coming Together book. The details are here, and I've written a guest post for Delilah's blog. Watch for it!)

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