New writing opportunity in paranormal romance!

February 8, 2008

By Jenny B, Digital Content Manager

Calling all writers! Harlequin has a great new writing opportunity for lovers of paranormal romance!  All the details are in the writing guidelines, so without further ado:

Nocturne Bites

Silhouette Nocturne is looking to acquire paranormal editorial with strong sexual, fantasy and danger elements for its new eBook program, Nocturne Bites.

We’re looking for fast-paced novellas that hook the reader early by establishing a paranormal world and its conflicts. We are looking for stories of vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, psychic powers, etc. set in contemporary times.

Many of the elements that make a successful Silhouette Nocturne remain true for Nocturne Bites. Stories should deliver a dark, highly sensual read that will entertain readers and take them from everyday life to an atmospheric, complex world filled with characters struggling with life and death issues. A strong alpha hero is of the utmost importance–he should be powerful, mysterious and totally attractive to the heroine.

While action-packed and mission-oriented, the scope of these stories should be more contained, with more focus turned to character development. All stories should be capable of standing alone; all loose ends need to be tied up, and the relationship between hero and heroine should resolve itself in a satisfying manner.

For published authors, this line is a great way to build their miniseries at Harlequin and Silhouette. Unpublished authors are welcome as well.

Only complete manuscripts submitted electronically will be considered from unpublished authors; no partials or queries, please. Submissions should be sent as a Word-compatible attachment. Submissions should also follow standard formatting guidelines–double-spaced and written in a clear, legible font on numbered pages. Author name and title should appear as a header or footer on each page.

E-mail address:nocturnebites@harlequin.ca

Length: 10,000 – 15,000 words
Editorial Director: Tara Gavin
Associate Senior Editor: Ann Leslie Tuttle
Assistant Editor: Sean Mackiewicz

Have you been reading paranormal romance for a while and wondered if you have what it takes to write one? We’re definitely looking for new talent — this could be a great opportunity to get your start! Don’t wait — get writing!!

Edited to add: If anyone has any questions about this new publishing program, please feel free to post them here; if I can’t answer your query personally, I’ll find out the answer for you!


  1. This is awesome news! 😀

  2. Holy jumpin’

    My eyes just bugged out.

    What an amazing opportunity!!!!!!!!!

    I came here via Lori Devoti’s blog and am thrilled with the content.


  3. […] Harlequin are planning to launch a new line of paranormal romance eBooks, Nocturne Bites. So if you have a paranormal romance between 10,000 and 15,000 words, you might want to read the announcement. […]

  4. What are you paying? Thank you very much.

  5. I’ll second that! Do you know what the expected response times are? (yup, I’m getting ahead of myself here… but it’s a motivation!)

  6. Excellent! Are you expecting submissions to be in by a certain date?

  7. Wow, lots of questions! I’ll try to answer them as best I can:

    Helen — there’s no deadline for submissions, because this is a new publishing program, not a contest — so take your time. 🙂

    Ann — I believe the response time would be the same as for an other submission — so allow around 3 months — but being digital, hopefully you would hear something sooner. 🙂

    Carrie — I don’t know how much the editors would offer — it probably depends on the length.

    Hope this helps!

  8. I am so excited about Nocturne Bites! I do really well at this length and already have something started that will fit.

    Thank you for this opportunity!
    Tambra Kendall
    Wicked Pleasures 4.5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies

  9. Wow! I’m thrilled someone came here via my blog. 🙂
    Just wanted to say I’m excited about the Nocturne Bites too. I think it is a really fun way to tell a character’s story who might not warrant a full book. I have one coming out some time this summer/fall.
    And for people trying out a series it’s a great opportunity too. Lots of series have started as short stories.

  10. OMG! I love Harlequin even more now! I was inspired to write something just for this line, which I hope to be finished soon. Harlequin rocks!

  11. Hello!

    As everyone else said, this is a thrilling opportunity! So thrilling I already subbed a manuscript :).

    I did not, however, receive an automated response from harlequin confirming they received the submission. Should I have received one? If so, should I resub until a confirmation is received?

    Thanks so much!

    Anna J. Evans

  12. When we submit a story, who do we address it to?

  13. Wow, great op. My paranormal (vampire) romance Cardinal Desires is a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest or I’d send it.

  14. Do you know what rights they’re asking for, Jenny? I can’t seem to find it on the eHarlequin site.



  15. Quick question…is this only for stories, no more than 15,000 words, or are you also interested in novella/novel length works of over 50,000 words?

    I guess I could chop some chapters off…


  16. Anna — I don’t think the submissions inbox is set up to generate an automated response; however, I just checked and your submission is there, so no need to resubmit. I’m sure someone will get back to you soon!

    Cora — Any one of the editors listed at the bottom of the guidelines; or just “dear editor” would be fine I think. 🙂

    Poppy — If I understand your question correctly, then I think they’re asking for all rights, both print and electronic. If you want more definite clarity on this you might want to submit an email to the submissions inbox, with “general query” in the subject line.

    Jackie — yes, the Nocturne Bites line is just for short stories; if your novella is over 50,000 words have you thought about submitting it to Nocturne itself?

    Hope this helps!

  17. You rock Jenny!! Thanks so much for putting my mind at ease. 🙂

    Anna J. Evans

  18. That’s exactly what I needed to know. Thanks, Jenny!

  19. Dear Harlequin,
    Your new venture of Nocturne Bites sounds great. I am in the process of writing a series of eight books along the line described for this new e-venture. My first book in the series is complete and at 30,000 words. I have been looking for a publisher who will both e-publish as well as paper-publish and shelf them in brick and mortar stores. Would it be possible for someone to have a look at my first book and see if it can be shortened for this new e-venture and yet retain the full 30,000 word copy for later print version? If this can be accomplished there will be 8 books in this series each self contained and yet connecting to the next story in the series. Thanks, Fred Arceneaux

  20. Frederick — I think the only way to get an answer to your question is to submit that first story to Nocturne Bites!

  21. This is awesome. I am so excited about this opportunity. Better get typing….

  22. […] know you’re all keen to know more about the new program of digital-only stories, Nocturne Bites, and since I just came from an update meeting I thought I’d share a few […]

  23. Hi Jenny! I just submitted my story, Widow’s Moon, this morning. I included my name and title as a Header and Footer on each page, but didn’t include an e-mail address in my note to the Editor. How will I be contacted? Just checking. Thanks!


  24. Stef — at present the editors are only accepting email submissions and are contacting all those who submit via email. But don’t worry because you didn’t include your email address — the editor will just reply to your original note. Hope this helps!


  25. Hey Jenny,

    How long of a response time should I expect for that e-mail? Not that I’m antsy or anything…


  26. Stef, the editors are aiming to keep to the usual 3-month response time. I know that seems like a long time to wait, especially since it’s all via email, but we ask for your patience and to keep in mind that there are a LOT of submissions to be read, and the editors want to carefully consider each one without rushing.


  27. This is the best news I’ve heard all year! Can’t wait to submit my story!

  28. I am well over 22K words on the one I wanted to submit – and it is not complete. I have others. How does this work? What do we need to do? What is the format? What are the “rules”?

  29. Miss Betty — if you have any questions that aren’t answered in the writing guidelines, you should write to nocturnebites@harlequin.ca and put “query” in the subject line. As for being well over 22K — have you thought about submitting to Nocturne proper?


  30. Hi Jenny,

    I just wanted to say thanks for posting this and for answering everyone’s questions. I just submitted my novella to nocturne bites on Thursday and I wouldn’t have been aware of it if I hadn’t stumbled across your page.

    Thanks Again


  31. Hi Jenny,

    First: thanks for posting this opportunity and getting us up-to-date information. Your answers are very thorough. Do the editors only want the completed manuscript, or do they also want a synopsis?

    Warm regards,

    Michelle Lauren

  32. Michelle, I’m glad to help in any way I can! Editors for Nocturne Bites are looking for just the completed manuscript, although a short (3-paragraph) synopsis in the body of your email submission is helpful.

    Best of luck!

  33. Hi!

    I have a blog set up, I am currently an unpublished author. This opportunity is a great one for me, I have a story that I am currently busy witht hat will fit in quite nicely.

    People who also want to collaborate with me on a story please to also contact me.


  34. Hi Jenny,

    Quick question: I submitted my urban fantasy novella almost 2 months ago to Nocturne Bites. I just wanted to know if they allow simultaneous submissions?

    Warm regards,
    Michelle Lauren
    (Coming soon to http://www.michellelaurenbooks.com: Interview with bestselling author Sunny, author of “Mona Lisa Awakening” & “Lucinda, Darkly”. Check back for more details)

  35. Michelle, do you mean simultaneous in the sense that you are planning to submit the same novella to another publisher? In that case I think the answer is no. Or simultaneous in the sense that you have another novella you’d like to submit to Nocturne Bites? In that case the answer is yes.

    Hope this helps!

  36. Thanks Jenny. I meant simultaneous in the first sense (I haven’t submitted the novella elsewhere, though; I was just curious if that was permissible). I emailed the question to Nocturne Bites about a month ago but didn’t get a response so I thought I would try here. Thanks for the quick answer.

  37. Hi Harlequin folks!

    I am a professional erotic romance author who’d love to send in a story for this line. I have a few questions before I get started.

    1. Is there a submission deadline at this point?

    2. What is the heat level expected? For instance: Sensual and moderately explicit or pure erotica?



  38. Hi Celia,

    We are still accepting email submissions. Nocturne Bites is an ongoing imprint so there is no deadline.

    Stories for Nocturne Bites should be “really hot” in terms of sensuality, but balanced with a strong plot that ties up all loose ends and a focus on character development. Pure erotica might be more suited for our Spice Briefs line (http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1264&chapter=0)

    Hope that helps, and best of luck with your submission!

    ~Amy W., Digital Production Coordinator

  39. Yes Amy, it does. I do have a good idea I’d like to get started on so I’m glad that there is no pressure for deadline.



  40. I emailed a question to Nocturne Bites about my submission status, but I think it might have gotten stuck in a spam filter. I know the response time on submissions was supposed to be 3 months, but I haven’t heard anything yet on a novella I sent in over 3 months ago.

    Have the response times been extended? Thanks so much to Amy W. and Jenny B. for having this open forum to put us nervous writers at ease.

    Warm regards,

    Michelle Lauren, Romantic Times/Dorchester American Title V Finalist| http://michellelaurenbooks.com

  41. Hi Michelle,

    I’ve found your email to Nocturne Bites and will check the status of your submissions and reply via email.

    We’ve been getting a lot of submissions lately so responses may take a bit longer than usual. We apologize for keeping anyone on tenterhooks — I know it’s nerve-racking submitting a story then having to wait — but we want to ensure that every submission gets careful consideration.

  42. Hi!

    I have a question about simultaneous submissions. I’m interested in submitting one manuscript to Nocturne Bites and and another to Historical Undone. If I were to submit both at the same time, would that be considered simultaneous? Does the rule mean “don’t submit more than one manuscript to Harlequin at a time” or “don’t submit more than one manuscript at a time to each individual Harlequin line?”

  43. Hi Tiffany,

    By simultaneous submissions, we mean that the same manuscript shouldn’t be sent to two different editors at two different Harlequin lines, and hasn’t been submitted to other publishers as well.

    However, submitting different stories to different imprints is perfectly fine!

  44. Hi

    I posted a submission via e-mail in January but wondered have a missed a deadline or was it recieved in time?


    A P Leyland

  45. Hi A P,

    Nocturne Bites is an ongoing program, so there is no deadline for submissions. Responses to submissions can take up to 3 months, but you can send a query to the same address if you are concerned that your email wasn’t received and hopefully one of the editors will be able to check its status for you.
    ~Amy from Harlequin digital

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