Has Blaze Changed? Blaze’s New Direction, A guest post
Harlequin Blaze is undergoing a transformation, both editorially and in its cover looks. I invited them to share with the DA readership more about this transformation. The following is from Kathleen Scheibling, Senior Editor, Harlequin Blaze.
Blaze, Harlequin’s sexiest series, has gone through a lot of changes over the years. It started as an offshoot of Harlequin Temptation, a series of contemporary romances that featured young, mainly urban couples, falling in love. But readers wanted something a little less tame – they wanted more SEX – and we created Blaze for super-sexy love stories. And before long Blaze superseded Temptation.
With the rise of digital first publishing, readers of sexy contemporary romance have been treated to an explosion of variety. Blaze has gone with the trends, offering darker editorial, paranormal and historical stories over the years. But we kept hearing from readers that this wasn’t what they wanted from Blaze, so we returned to our straight-up sexy contemporary roots—and we’re always looking to turn up the heat while telling a deeply romantic story.
Some trends are still going strong, and we’re sticking with them because readers seem to love stories featuring hot cowboys and military heroes. We are so happy to publish New York Times Bestselling authors like Vicki Lewis Thompson and Tawny Weber (speaking of cowboys and SEALs) but we’re also thrilled to feature new voices like Regina Kyle, whose art-centered series goes from a tattoo shop to center stage with the New York Ballet, and Stefanie London, our newest author at this writing, who is delivering hot bodyguards with the sexiness and flair of the author’s native Australia. We’re also exploring ever hotter and more explicit stories in our Unrated! miniseries, trying out different kinds of stories with novellas as well as novels, and reaching out with social media and through the blogosphere for our latest submissions call, the #BlazeBlitz.
Through the #BlazeBlitz, we’re hoping to find stories with brand new ideas as well as fresh takes on classic tropes. The most important thing is that they have the fun, flirty voice that has always been a hallmark of Blaze. Our heroines are intelligent and confident, and our heroes are down-to-earth—men we like to call “the extraordinary ordinary guys.” They’re the boys next door, but all grown up and incredibly hot!
Blaze has been home to so many great authors who have gone on to become superstars— Stephanie Bond, Jill Shalvis, Leslie Kelly and Carly Phillips, for example. We’re not looking for one-offs in Blaze. We focus on building our authors’ careers, giving them a place where they have the support they need to expand their readerships. With #BlazeBlitz we’re searching for authors who have the potential to grow with us, to become the next romance powerhouses.
Please note that the #BlazeBlitz is now over, but you can still check out submission guidelines here: https://harlequin.submittable.