We want small town romance. So imagine a cross between Gilmore Girls and Hart of Dixie set in the fictional Midwestern town of River Bend, Missouri.
River Bend is a typical small town with quirky characters, and (usually) friendly faces, and we’re looking to populate the town with fantastic people and enjoyable stories.
In town, the streets are named after US president, and the River Bend Diner sits at the corner of Washington and Van Buren, with a view over the river, and a large deck out the back. At Christmas, the owners go to town with fairy lights on the deck, and it’s a perfect place for quiet chats all year round. Please note: The diner must be featured in at least one scene per book.
In this quiet little town where everybody knows everyone else, and their business, the diner is the hub of all gossip. As mentioned, at least one scene in each book must take place there and include at least a mention of the owners, Darla and Eli Johnson. Darla and Eli were high-school sweethearts who still believe in love at first sight, and are the kind of people everyone loves and will go to for advice on love and life. If you need a room, they can advise you, if you need an ear, they can lend one.
The River Bend diner is a 1960s, leather-boothed diner with mini jukeboxes on the tables and milk-shakes made with real ice cream and always served with two straws. With a red and white striped awning in front, and the deck in the back that overlooks the river, the diner is a meeting place for businessmen, citizens of the town and newcomers looking for good food.
There is also a ‘haunted’ mansion hotel with rooms to let. Three are rented on a long term basis and four on a short visit basis. These will also be advertised on the blog, as ‘Rooms to Let’. The house used to be owned by ‘Old Nell’ McQuade but no one knows much about her, and even hotel residents don’t see her very often – not that they should see her at all. No one can say for sure if the Newbury Mansion is haunted, and the town is divided. Some townsfolk and visitors firmly believe, and others don’t. This is one subject Eli and Darla won’t be drawn on. A knowing smile and a quick shrug of the shoulders is the only reply they’ll give when questioned.
To get you started, please see the included issue of the River Bend Register for inspiration of the positions vacant and the local gossip. Please do let us know, though, before you start in your story, in case the position has already been filled. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) We will also maintain a River Bend authors’ group on Facebook so you have the benefit of chatting to other authors about the town and ensuring consistency and continuity for the characters appearing in multiple stories, and the representation of the town.
River Bend is a town harking back after more gentle times, and will have a heat level of 3 maximum (according to the following ARe Guidelines), with little-to-no kink:
1 flame: Stories will either not have consummated love scenes, or if the loves scenes are consummated detail is not given.
2 flames: Stories will have some love scenes. These will be more sensual than graphic and will mostly rely on euphemism.
3 flames: Stories will have sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language used to describe them may be more graphic and direct.
In line with Three Worlds Publishing, any stories with a 3(+) heat level will be printed on the erotic imprint, I Modi, under the name River Bend: Nights so people know the content of the book and can choose according to their reading preference.
Obviously the town lends itself well to contemporary romance, but any romance story could also contain a hint of the supernatural/paranormal—ghosts, or cleverly done time travel, for example, but not shifters or vampires—or stray more towards Women’s Fiction, if an author wanted to write a story about a family or marriage.
To add a sense of fun and consistency to the series, we have created an inspiration map for the town. Notice the town has plenty of scope for expansion, and also for stories – we have river front properties, weeping willows trailing their long branches into the river, potential for a beach for long summer day dips, and also a trailer park.
We will be keeping an up-to-date bible for common characters (waitresses, doctors, etc.) as they move into town, so that authors wanting to send their children to the doctor for a scraped knee, for example, can remain consistent.
Word count is currently set at a 30K minimum, apart from by arrangement with existing series authors for companion shorter novellas and short stories. We want as wide an appeal as possible, so hope to produce a range of full-length novels, novelettes, novels and short stories, or short story anthologies over time.
Please contact: email@example.com with questions.
See the Help Wanted “ads” below for inspiration!
Currently, the following positions have been filled: Ranch hand, librarian, River Bend players, waitress.