What stories would you tell if you could? Where would your mind take you, if you let it? Five of the top voices in romance dare you to explore the most distant corners of their imaginations as they test the limits of storytelling and break the boundaries of what even they thought possible, teasing and tormenting you shamelessly as they go.
But there’s a twist—the author of each story is a secret at the time of release. They’re each plumbing the depths of the human heart and mind in ways they’ve never attempted before. Taking you high, bringing you low, until you will be hardpressed to guess who wrote what. Can you tell? Want us to?
Too bad our lips are sealed . . . for now.
The Finer Details
Publication Date: July 6, 2017
Publisher: Open Ink Press
Editor: May Peterson
Cover Artist: Utsav Gupta Website
Length: 388 e-book pages
The concept (brief):
Sight Unseen is a compilation of novellas written by five of the top voices in romance. They were asked to write something that scared them – a subgenre they’d never written in before, characters that were too over the top, tropes that were underused or overplayed, something that someone somewhere had told them would not sell – and they were given the freedom to take it wherever inspiration might lead. The result is five gorgeous stories that span high fantasy, mystery, and contemporary romance.
The twist? While readers will know who contributed to the collection, they will not know who wrote what. With their favorite writers all doing something completely outside their norm, will readers be able to guess who wrote what?
Praise for Sight Unseen:
“A fascinating guessing game that invites us to explore the range and creativity of which some of our most beloved authors are capable.” –Laura Florand, author of La Vie en Roses, Paris Nights, and The Chocolate Series
“Your favorite authors like you’ve never read them before! These novellas are varied and vivid, with dashes of magic or danger and an irresistible touch of romance.” –Theresa Romain, author of Fortune Favors the Wicked
“Trying to puzzle out who wrote which novella was so much fun. It was such a treat to see some of my favorite authors work their magic on a story that’s outside their usual writing.” –Cat Sebastian, author of The Soldier’s Scoundrel and The Lawrence Browne Affair
Learn about the book that Smart Bitches, Trashy Books called “a cool project”: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2017/04/cool-project-alert-sight-unseen-anthology/
Quotes from the authors and publisher about Sight Unseen:
Emma Barry, author: Almost immediately, writers get pigeonholed by their subgenre. That choice affects what you write, how you sell it, who you query, your website design, what pen name you pick, and basically everything else you do. Writing anonymously snipped those strings. This project got to exist totally outside of my work in a way nothing has since my debut.
Meredith Duran, author: As a reader, I’ve sometimes felt jarred when my favorite novelists switched genres (or even subgenres). It seems to me that a genre novelist, in particular, enters into a subtle contract with her readers: they await her next book with expectations formed by the last one she wrote. But the key feature of this anthology is the unlikeliness of a particular set of authors writing stories totally outside their accustomed areas of focus. So, the anthology felt like a chance to experiment without violating the trust that undergirds that unspoken contract between readership and writer. (So I hope!)
Erin Satie, author: In retrospect, I signed on for exactly the wrong reason. I was thinking about how much fun it would be to read the novellas completely blind and guess at the authors. By writing one of the stories I made that impossible but it’s still the coolest, funnest idea for an anthology project that I’ve ever heard.
Sherry Thomas, author: I was so happy when Judith asked me to be a part of her anthology–finally, a deadline so I can finish an intriguing story. I’m doubly delighted because this is also the first time I’ve written a straight-up romance in about two years. Love writing romance!
Judith Utz, publisher Open Ink Press: Well known, respected authors choosing to write anonymously? The very idea that someone who established a name for themselves over years and via multiple books would then opt not to use the full weight of that name to publish? It’s unprecedented! When the idea for Sight Unseen was originally pitched to me, I knew that it was something special. Special for the writers who have the freedom to create and equally special for the readers who have a chance to see their favorites writing outside the norm. The added bonus of a game of whodunnit? Icing on the cake. Sight Unseen is the beginning of what will hopefully be a series of compilations published anonymously.
About the book, from the introduction:
We all have auto-buy authors, but what is the promise made by the name on the book cover? Is it about voice? About a certain type of story? About how reading it will make you feel?
If we took that name away, would you even still recognize it?
That question is where Sight Unseen began: gather five authors, publish an anthology in which each novella is anonymous, and see if readers can correctly connect the stories with the authors.
The concept didn’t stop there because once you remove the name from the story, it’s free in a way other writing isn’t. There’s no brand to worry about, no expectations to meet. The writing has to stand by itself.
The project took on a life of its own, becoming an experiment wrapped in a puzzle. It offered a space to play for authors and a game for readers, but it raises questions for all of us about how brand and marketing shape books, how we read, and what we think we like.
Because it would be maddening to never learn who wrote what, Sight Unseen comes with an end date. Three months after release, the authors of the stories collected here will be revealed. But in the meantime, we offer five intriguingly different stories. Each is unsigned, but also smart, sexy, offbeat, and most importantly, surprising.
Let the speculation begin.
About The Novellas
Lost That Feeling
Alma knew who she was, once—that is, before she erased her memory with a spell. Some, like the guards at the prison in which she’s held, say that she was a thief, a murderer.
Others say she was a hero. Like Driss, the man who rescues her. He claims to be a friend. He’s certainly handsome. And charming. And brave. In a word: perfect.
That’s the problem. If he’s perfect and she’s a hero, how did she end up in prison with a seven-year hole in her memory to begin with?
A Clear View of You
As a child, Kate had one dream: to escape her mother’s deluded hippie commune and live in the real world, where mature adults know that magic isn’t real. But the real world also has its downsides—like rent, student loans, and a cutthroat job market.
Happily, Kate is uniquely qualified for one in-demand position: psychic. Of course, she’s as fake as the rest of them, but nobody plays a fortune-teller as convincingly as a girl raised by a would-be witch. If only Kate’s newest client weren’t so perceptive . . . and attractive. If only crystal balls didn’t have the habit of lighting up in his presence.
Magic isn’t real, right? Kate is about to find out otherwise . . .
Brad White would be an ordinary accountant with an unrequited crush except for two things: he works for a criminal motorcycle club, and he’s in love with the club president’s daughter. When she discovers the truth about the family business, Brad has to move beyond ordinary and put his life on the line to keep her safe.
Wren Masters, unlike everyone else in her graduating class, chose to stay in Fallow, Montana because, also unlike everyone else, she loves it. But when she finds out her father’s club is running drugs, her family and world crumble. She and Brad risk everything to uncover the truth . . . and begin a scorching affair.
As the conspiracy—and their feelings—deepen, Brad and Wren must choose between family and justice. And neither seems to include a future for them.
Chariot of Desire
CJ Crespo, drummer for the once wildly popular rock band Donjon, has always had a thing for frontman Donny Times. They spent the seventies getting high together, making music together, self-destructing together. But her qualms about ruining a creative partnership with sex kept them from ever hooking up. Now, Donny’s conversion to a bizarre fringe religion that won’t allow him to engage in—or even sing about—sex, drugs, or other “sins” threatens to tear Donjon apart.
As the band struggles to embrace a new decade and a new Donny, CJ must decide where she belongs: by Donny’s side, even if he can’t ever love her? Or out there making her own music, away from a man who gives and takes in equal measures?
The Heart is a Universe
On the remote planet of Pax Cara lies the greatest secret of the universe. Once every generation, the inhabitants must offer up an exceptional young person—the Chosen One—who sacrifices his or her own life for the sake of that secret, and the planet itself.
However, Vitalis, the current Chosen One, is desperate to free herself from the yoke of destiny. An unexpected invitation to an aristocratic summit seems to be the perfect opportunity for escape. But almost as soon as she arrives, the most eligible prince in existence proposes marriage.
Sparks fly, but Vitalis is wary. Eleian of Terra Illustrata can have any woman he wants. Why has he set his sight on Vitalis, who, unless she manages to flee, will die in sixteen days? Is he hiding an ulterior motive, one that could put everything in jeopardy—her plans, her life, and her heart?
About the Authors
Emma Barry is a novelist, full-time mama, and recovering academic. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves hugs from her twins, her husband’s cooking, her cat’s whiskers, her dog’s tail, and Earl Grey tea.
Meredith Duran is the author of eleven novels, all published by Pocket Books. Her debut, The Duke of Shadows, has been translated into thirteen languages and together with her sophomore book, Bound by Your Touch, was ranked among the top 100 romances of all time in the 2010 All About Romance poll. Her other books include RITA award winner Fool Me Twice; Wicked Becomes You, which was included on Woman’s World list of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010; and her February 2017 release, A Lady’s Code of Misconduct, which both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly called “flawlessly executed” in their starred reviews.
Meredith blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. When not writing, Meredith enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women.
J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A.’s books have received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
Erin Satie is the author of the dark and elegant No Better Angels series, historical romances set in the early Victorian period. She’s currently hard at work on her upcoming series, Sweetness & Light, which should be just as elegant but not quite so dark.
Erin is a California native who’s lived on the coasts and in the heartland, in tiny city apartments and on a working farm. She studied art history in both college and graduate school—research is always her favorite part of starting a new book.
Her favorite part of finishing a book, whether reading or writing, is the happily ever after.
USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas loves intricate plots, explosive action, and combustible love stories. She has written romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.
And by the way, English is her second language.
WHO WROTE WHAT?
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