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Decadent Publishing is soon to launch an exciting new line, and managing editor Zee Monodee is here to tell us all about it!

Welcome, Zee! I’m excited to help you get the word out about your new project. Can you tell readers about the Ubuntu Line? What inspired it?

Hi Sarah; hi everyone! Lovely to be here today with ye all.

And yes, I have a new project to tell you about *grin* In fact, I’m in this along with the co-owners of Decadent Publishing – Lisa Omstead and Heather Bennett. The Ubuntu line is one of the latest lines to emerge from Decadent Publishing, and its focus is entirely on African romance and stories set in Africa.

Like I like to say it, I came on board this project by being in the right place at the right time (and totally not having a clue I was in said right place at the right time J).  Through an innocuous email conversation, Heather found out I hail from Africa. She started asking me about Africa, and basically, if there was scope and potential for romance set in Africa and/or with African themes and plots. Motor-mouth me started talking the hind leg off the donkey when I told her (I’ll give you the short version!) that, yes, there was indeed a market for African romance, and a demand by African authors (or authors who want to write about Africa) for a publisher catering to such a niche.

That’s when Heather brought me on this project for a line dedicated to Africa – she and Lisa had been wanting to set this up for some time, but they also wanted someone who was knowledgeable about Africa to head it. They, too, had seen the unanswered demand by authors for a publisher to cater to African romance and storylines. It’s also true that people outside of Africa, who have never been here, have notions about the continent that can sometimes happen to be very far from the reality. We want to show modern Africa and all its facets through the stories of the Ubuntu line.

I’m still grinning over “talking the hind leg off the donkey,” LOL, but I’m going to pull myself together to continue because this sounds absolutely amazing. What types of stories can readers expect? 

Basically, we’re going after romance. J So readers can definitely expect a HEA (or HFN, in the worst case!) Whether sweeping sagas spanning over generations, or sassy and flirty category-style plots, we want to showcase African romance in all its glory. Expect lightness and breeziness in the storylines; we are taking a huge leap away from the dry and boring, literary tone every writer has given to Africa in literature. Think exotic, fulfilling romance, set in Africa and threaded with African sensibilities and context.

IR/MC is our focus, as well as women’s fiction with romantic plots. We want to see the African setting and context in these stories, and these two genres will cater for that.

But any other type of romance is welcome, too. J

Length-wise, we are looking mostly at full-length novels (around the 50K mark) and novellas (30-40K long). There is, however, scope for short stories too, but so far, everyone who’s expressed an interest to submit for this line has been going for the longer end of the spectrum.

Heat levels are running the gamut – from sweet romance to really hot ones, there will be something for every taste. We have not yet seen any erotica for this line in pitched projects, but we expect that too will make its appearance soon. J

This is so exciting! I’m thrilled to help get the word out. What do authors need to know about submitting to the Ubuntu Line?

That Africa isn’t simply Black culture. J Africa is made up of native Black populations, of colonist white populations, of immigrant Indian and Chinese groups, of Muslim and Christian religions mostly, of native Arab people in the north where countries of the Maghreb are located. Mauritius is a good example of Africa – every race and religion under the sun co-existing on a tiny speck of an island in the Indian Ocean. After the demise of Apartheid (post-1995), South Africa has become another flagship country boasting multiculturalism and integration between different races and cultures.

So if you want to write for the Ubuntu line, you are not limited to writing only about stories that could fit into an African-American romance line in the US. Write about different countries in Africa; different races, religions, cultures. Different parts of Africa can equal different parts of the world, despite being on the same continent – the Maghreb has its own culture and system of values; islanders in the Indian Ocean have theirs; South Africa has its own; central Africa is another microcosm in itself. The sheer scope of potential for Africa-inspired stories is immense!

The possibilities here are indeed breathtaking! What type of stories top your wish list?

Personally, I want to see a multi-generational story reminiscent of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, but with African instead of Asian sensibilities (I’ll also add again here that by African, I don’t mean only Black culture. Africa has whites, blacks, brown, Indian, Asian, Arab, as well as islander populations – any of these cultures can be showcased in this line). I am also actively on the lookout for the African Bridget Jones – yes, chick-lit, but with deeper African values and mores, a work painted upon the canvas of the African physical and social landscape.

Category-type plots and storylines are also more than welcome. Office romances, Alpha CEOs, medical romance, romantic suspense, marriages of convenience, best friends turned lovers, one night stands leading to more… Is it obvious I am looking for light and breezy romance? J

LOL! When does this new line launch? Will this be an ongoing series or a limited call?

We’re expecting to launch the first title in March 2013. I cannot tell you more about which title that will be, as we haven’t signed authors yet (they are working on submissions that we’ve already approved through pitches). We are looking at the launch title being a fulfilling, heartwarming romance that should appeal to a wide readership – that much I can tell you. J

And yes, this is an ongoing series! There is no deadline for submissions – the call for this line will be open all the time. We might occasionally call for specific storylines (for example, for themed anthologies), but on the whole, this line will hold stand-alone stories that will be releasing every month from the Decadent Publishing release schedule.

If a reader or an author has a question, what’s the best way to contact you? 

I am only an email away, at this address zeemonodee@gmail.com

I can also be found on Twitter and Facebook: @ZeeMonodee on Twitter; search for ‘Zee Monodee’ on Facebook.

Authors can find the Ubuntu spec sheet under the Submissions tab on the www.decadentpublishing.com website.

One more just for the authors: How long can an author expect to wait for a response on submissions?

Typically, between 2-4 weeks. J Submissions go to our submissions maven, Valerie, who will then forward the package to me (I expect to receive any submission within 48 hours of it being sent). Depending on the length of the ms, it will then take me a couple of weeks or more to get through it. So, all in all, within 2-4 weeks from the submission date. J

That’s fantastic. Anything else you’d like to add?

That I hope to see a deluge of fabulous stories flood my inbox? J Seriously, I really hope authors will pick up on this opportunity to showcase Africa, and write something for us here at Decadent Publishing.

And if anyone has any question, any doubt, any query, about this line or a story they think would fit but they’re not sure, then please, do not hesitate to email me. I will do my best to help out in any way I can. I love to meet new folks, so don’t hesitate to get in touch – if I can help you, I will. J

Awww, Zee, you’re awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this new line. I wish you all heaps of success with it. From what you’ve told us, there’s definitely a need for these stories and I can’t think of a more deserving person to be in the right place at the right time. *grin*

Thanks again for having me over today, Sarah, and for allowing me to tell the readers some more about Ubuntu. It’s been a pleasure to answer your questions.

From Mauritius with love,