As told by Julie Leto in her first blog post on April 22, 2009
In many ways, Blaze was an impetus for my entire career as a published author, even years before it officially launched. I’d written a few books (two historicals and a paranormal ahead of it’s time) but nothing had “clicked” with an editor or agent. I had moved to Georgia and wasn’t happy about it (you do NOT take the Florida girl out of Florida!) so when my Tampa RWA chapter hosted a workshop, I booked the first flight out of town.
The main speaker that weekend was an editorial assistant named Brenda Chin. She gave her speech and mentioned that she was working with an author named Lori Foster who had just turned in a Temptation so incredibly hot and sexy, they were giving it a series flash, “Blaze.” She was actively looking for new books to give that same flash to and in those few words, the direction of my career took a turn toward Toronto. I had an idea that I thought was simply too hot for any publisher at the time. Boy, was I ever wrong.
Lori Foster wrote the first Temptation Blaze, which was her second book, “Outrageous,” and was released in April 1997. The miniseries was sporadic at first, with books placed in the series when an editor ran across something that was edgier than normal Temptation fare. Authors like me got started in the miniseries, along with others like Janelle Denison, Carly Phillips, Julie Kenner and Tori Carrington. The miniseries totally took off and Harlequin decided to make it a series of its own.
I was really lucky to have received a call from Brenda, asking if the Temptation I was working on could be adapted to fit the new line. If I could make the changes (it needed a meatier plot in the longer line) then there was a chance I’d be in the launch in August, 2001. I made the necessary changes and my book, EXPOSED, became not only Blaze #4, but also the first book in the Sexy City Nights miniseries, which was the first for Blaze.
Vicki Lewis Thompson wrote Blaze #1, NOTORIOUS. Jo Leigh’s GOING FOR IT was #2 and Stephanie Bond’s TOO SEXY! was #3.
Since then, there have been a few firsts and I’ve been lucky to be involved. The first concurrent books ever released at Harlequin? Two Blazes–DOUBLE THE PLEASURE by me and DOUBLE THE THRILL by Susan Kearney. The books were released in the same month, featured identical timelines and featured heroes who were twins who switched places. The covers each had one half of a man’s face. The first paranormal Blaze? My book, UNDENIABLE, which had a reincarnation plot. I also wrote the first book to put the line in double digits, #100, UP TO NO GOOD. To say I love this line is an understatement!
But other writers have had some fabulous firsts, too. Stephanie Bond wrote the first first-person Blaze, MY FAVORITE MISTAKE. Susan Kearney wrote the first (and only, I believe) futuristic, BEYOND THE EDGE. Hope Tarr wrote the first historical, BOUND TO PLEASE. Chris Green introduced vampires to Blaze with her book, THE ULTIMATE BITE.
I know there are other firsts…I’m operating off the top of my head here! Blaze has always “blazed” trails, so this is the go-to line for something new.
So, that’s my little history lesson for the day. I wrote this not just to help our readers with the contest, but to share some of the ways Blaze has shaped my career. I’m so proud to be a part of this fantastic line up of authors and books. And I’m so thankful that readers have stayed with us! If it weren’t for the readers, none of us would be able to push the boundaries like we have at Blaze!
Length: 55,000–60,000 words
Senior Editor: Brenda Chin
Editor: Kathryn Lye
Editorial Assistant: Laura Barth
Editorial Office: Toronto, Canada
The Blaze line of red-hot reads is changing the face of Harlequin and creating a continual buzz with readers. The series features sensuous, highly romantic, innovative stories that are sexy in premise and execution. The tone of the books can run from fun and flirtatious to dark and sensual. Writers can push the boundaries in terms of characterization, plot and explicitness. Submissions should have a very contemporary feel — what it’s like to be young and single today. Heroes and heroines should be in their early 20s and up. We want to see an emphasis on the physical relationship developing between the couple: fully described love scenes along with a high level of fantasy, playfulness and eroticism are needed. And don’t forget, secondary characters and subplots contribute to the richness of story and plot action we look for in a successful Blaze novel.
Are you a Cosmo girl at heart? A fan of Sex and the City or Red Shoe Diaries? Or maybe you just have an adventurous spirit. If so, then Blaze is the series for you!