Monday, November 13, 2017

Call For Submissions--Drop the Needle

It's been a while, and also we've got new fellow writers (hey, there!) who may need to know what "drop the needle" means.

So.  Basically, it's a term from my days as a music major.  "Drop the needle" refers to a professor's literally dropping the needle of a record player anywhere on the album, so that it would start playing in the middle of piece.  The goal, of course, is for the student to recognize the piece (and only mean professors actually did this; decent ones started the pieces at the beginning of a movement).

Our version of Drop the Needle is to share an excerpt from the middle of your novel.  It's hard to drop folks into a story without any idea of what's going on, though, so an important part of this is to include a sentence or two that lets us know where we are and who your characters are.

For example:

Casey and Benevolence have just escaped from a refrigerated boxcar and are lying on the top of a moving train.  If they don't find some way to get off before the train arrives at its destination, they will be in big trouble.

And after your delightful lead-in, you'll share 250 words for public critique.


This week's Drop the Needle round will focus on SEXUAL TENSION.


Now -- LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY, PLEASE!  Sexual tension DOES NOT EQUAL "sex scene".  It doesn't even necessarily involve kissing or anything overtly romantic.  The best sort of sexual tension is that which makes our readers long for these two characters to get together.  And a long, slow burn will keep our readers engaged until it finally happens.

Fingers accidentally brushing.

A glance held a second too long.

A heartbeat that hitches when someone enters the room.

You get the idea.

So send me a scene in which you're trying to build sexual tension between characters who are destined to be together.

  • Submissions will open TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14 (tomorrow) at NOON EST, and will end at 8:00 PM EST.
  • THIS WILL BE A LOTTERY.  The bot will randomly choose 10 entries after submissions have closed.  These 10 entries will post to the blog on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16 for public critique.
  • Your entry must include a brief lead-in and your 250-word excerpt (total max word count 310).
  • Submit your entry HERE.
  • All genres except erotica and erotic romance will be accepted.
Post your questions below!


  1. I haven't anything to submit but I can't wait to see the entries!

  2. Taking a leap and entering, even though my manuscript is not complete and I'm still on the first draft. :)

  3. I don't seem to be getting a verification email... Just me or is the site having trouble? :-/

    1. I haven't submitted either because of the verification. I've tried four or five times today.

    2. Ugh, sorry, just saw these comments.

      Try opening the link in a new browser -- that usually solves this glitch. Sorry about this!

    3. Thanks for extending the submission window! So far, no luck with Safari, Firefox, or Explorer.

    4. Of course, now I'm just waiting for 18 emails to come through at once. LOL! ;-D

    5. Tried that, too. Not working. :/

    6. Jean, if my programmer doesn't get it fixed (he probably won't in time), email me your entry at facelesswords(at)gmail and I'll enter it by hand.

  4. Yeah, I'm still having problems with the verification. Tried Chrome and Safari and nothing yet. :(

    1. Still nothing. Even used my husband's PC (the horror).

    2. LOL I haven't touched a PC in years. :)

      If you can't get it to work, send me your entry and I'll add it by hand.

  5. Shoot, read this post yesterday without paying attention to the dates. Missed it :( Next time.