Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Romance in Africa, anyone? Submission Call from Decadent...

Hi everyone. Thanks Krystal for having me over today. I’m Zee Monodee, the managing editor of the brand-new Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing. Ubuntu focuses mainly on stories set in and around Africa, and/or with characters that have ties with Africa.

Set to launch with its first release title in March 2013, Ubuntu is primarily geared toward IR/MC romance, though we are looking for any good story from any genre that fits the spec sheet. Let me show you said spec sheet, before I give you a little more insight about this endeavor.


Africa... Land of the serengeti, of wide savannas, where exotic wild animals like giraffes stroll through your backyard— *sound of a screeching turn-disk*

If this is your idea of modern Africa, you’d be way off the mark! Come check out the stories from our Ubuntu line, and view contemporary Africa like you’ve never seen it before!

Ubuntu (“I am what I am because of who we all are.”) embraces the notion of community, of roots, of spreading your arms open in welcome.

Our stories from the Ubuntu line reflect this philosophy, and take you to Africa to meet the people from that far-away, unknown-to-many land.

Take a peek at modern Africa. This is a world where, on the backdrop of the famine crisis in Darfur and Somalia, of political unrest in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt, millions step into the global village and embrace the fast-paced life offered by technology and the Internet. Multinational companies have offices in many African capitals, opening the way for a slew of expatriates to settle in those countries, where the world’s biggest brand names like Hugo Boss and Lacoste are opening outlets.

Don’t also forget that Africa is not only the black continent – a handful of islands make up the African territory, as well. From minerals-rich Madagascar (and the land of Black Magic, still practiced to this day!) to tourist hot-spots like Mauritius, the Seychelles, and the Maldives – islander culture opens up another world to exploit in your writing. And in the top, northern parts of Africa, meet the Arab world in the countries of the Maghreb (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, among others).

With its rich history, Africa has native African clans and tribes, colonist white populations – British, French, and Afrikaners –Indian-origin people who emigrated as traders and/or indentured labor, Chinese people who came in as traders.

We want to see your stories set in any of these locations. Whether your characters are expats, foreigners on a visit, native Africans (of black, white, Indian, Chinese, Arab, etc, descent!), show us the true face of Africa as people experience it every day. Think The Joy Luck Club meets Out Of Africa – the former a story of generational conflict between immigrant mothers and their daughters brought up in their adopted country’s culture; the latter a sweeping saga on the backdrop of the African landscape, setting, and context. Give us both; give us either or; but give us something in and/or from Africa.

We are mainly looking for romance (especially Interracial/Multicultural stories! But all sub-genres are welcome), and will consider any storyline with a theme and/or location pertaining to Africa.

Heat level – no Heat ceiling for these stories. From Sweet to Sensual to Erotic, let the romance run the gamut. For Erotica, we still wish to see a solid, Africa-based/themed plot.

Story length – anywhere between 3-55K.

Standard Decadent Publishing submissions rules and guidelines apply. A submissions form must be sent in with every manuscript; you can request the form at submissions@decadentpublishing.com

When submitting, please mention “Ubuntu” in the subject line.

Any questions can be directed to Zee Monodee at the following address zeemonodee@gmail.com

Now, why Africa, and isn’t Africa “strange” territory for romance?
Lisa Omstead and Heather Bennet, the co-owners of Decadent Publishing, had been talking about the potential of a line geared to Africa and African stories for a while now. They saw a lot of romance authors in Africa (mainly on Twitter), belonging to groups like the Romance writers Of South Africa (ROSA) and Romance Writers of West Africa. Yet, no publisher out there was catering to the African potential. The closest any story got to Africa and its context happened through African-American romance on the US market.

Where was the Bridget Jones of Africa? The Joy Luck Club that has African (and this can be Black, White, Indian-origin, Chinese-origin, Arab) characters, a culture clash between mothers holding on to tradition and customs and their daughters who want to embrace the modern world? Where was the sweeping sagas à la Out of Africa and Baz Luhrman’s Australia that would capture the beauty and essence of Africa?

Lisa and Heather had all this in mind, but they wanted to showcase the continent and its stories in all its glory, do it all justice. Which kinda happened when they found out I hailed from Africa, with a multicultural background, and that I was in tune with the African reality. Coupled with my editorial past, they asked me on board and we got the ball rolling on the Ubuntu line.

I was born on the island of Mauritius – considered a part of Africa – and spent most of my life here. In the past three decades, I’ve seen Africa go from the pot-holed, dust trail terrain to the concrete superhighways and cybercity-boasting land. We didn’t have a landline when I was little – that was a luxury most houses could not afford (not to mention that there was no service outside the capital city!)... yet, today, every house has a land line, every person from ages 8-88 has a cell phone (or two!) and knows how to use it. International calls are just a press on the phone keypad away; Internet is mostly broadband with access to fiber-optic cables where 10 years ago, you were lucky if you had dial-up. From the single national broadcasting service TV channel of the 90s, we now have access to countless digital terrestrial channels, not to mention the 300-or-so satellite channels from France, England, the US, and South Africa.

I’ve seen the African world change in terms of infrastructure, and I know where it stands today. Yes, there is still a lot of progress to be made, but Africa can hold its own. Barriers are falling, people are opening up – from the collapse of Apartheid circa mid-1990s, to connection to the global village today, African youth of every race and culture do not pay heed to such divisions. Yet, the society we live in still tries to hold on to those distinctions and segregations. My ancestors hailed from India – my family still abides by the ways and traditions, the customs and mores, of the Indian diaspora even in this African context, so I know first-hand what it’s like to grow up torn between two worlds.

There are countless other youths like me, generations that are rising up in a global world and wanting to spread their wings. Of course, romance happens every day, every single moment, in the African world, too. *grin*

This is what we want to show – an ever-changing world, a touch of exoticism, a different way of life that is, however, not far from the reality of people in the Western world, because we’re all humans at heart, looking for love, relationships, belonging...

Ubuntu is the chance to show us, and the reading world at large, this dynamic universe called modern Africa.

We are not looking for historicals at the moment; but if the right one came along, we wouldn’t say no. If anyone of you has a historical set in Africa, it would be a good idea to query with a short blurb.

IR/MC romance is our focus, and women’s fiction with romantic plots is also on our hit list. The right chick-lit with a touch of romance, too. Take us away from the drab and dismal darkness of African literature; keep us from wanting to kill ourselves because of tedious prose and super-heavy and tragic storylines and plots. Give us lightness and fluff and laughter; a hint of exotic destinations; a touch of family drama. Make us lose ourselves in the reality of Africa today.

Once again, I’m just an email away if you have any questions and/or queries about the line. I can be reached at this address zeemonodee@gmail.com

Thank you once again, Krystal, for having me over today! It’s been a pleasure to share a little (okay, a lot! Sorry, I am the queen of long-winded *grin*) about the Ubuntu line with ye all. Heather, Lisa, myself, and everyone at Decadent Publishing is terribly excited about this new venture, and I hope you authors will join into our excitement and make this a mutually beneficial working relationship. Readers, I hope you will find a slice of uniqueness in our Ubuntu offerings.

From Mauritius with love,


It was fantastic to have you here Zee! Thank you for sharing. The Ubuntu line sounds really fascinating. I actually have a WIP that I might need to revisit just for you. 

Happy Writing,
Happy Reading,
Krystal Shannan


  1. Thanks again for hosting me, Krystal! Sorry for the late reply - time difference issue as I am, after all, in Africa. :)

    We would love to see something from you (so get cracking, lol! *grin*), and from anyone else who thinks they have a story fit for this new line.



    1. Yes, ma'am! LOL. Will do, but I have to finish these Christmas stories first. Glad to have you. Please give me a holler anytime you want to be on the blog.

    2. Okay, so I'm holding you for 2013 then *grin*

      Been a blast to be here - will definitely knock on your door for another spot asap. XOXO

  2. Nice pitch, Zee. Thanks for expanding on what you're looking for. :)

  3. Wow, it sounds great! We really need an African romance publisher like this - one without boundaries and restrictions. Would love to be published with them one day - hope I can write the right book. Thanks for an informative an inspiring post, Zee.

  4. Wow, I'll be looking forward to this line, Zee. And I'm so excited about your new venture. I'll be spreading the word about this!

  5. Thanks DL! If you let me, I'd ramble all day about this venture - the blog hosts are probably going 'thank God for blog word count limit' :)

    But yeah, seriously, we're trying to get the idea out and generally give a better inkling of what we're searching for.

  6. Kathleen, we'd love to see something from you! :)

    Definitely no restrictions and boundaries - as long as the story pertains to/has some link with Africa. The sky's the limit otherwise.

  7. The idea of an African Romance line is fantastic and very much needed (in my humble Ghanaian opinion). You will be reading from me soon.

    1. Thanks Nana! Sorry this reply is so late... I am definitely looking forward to hearing from you :)

  8. This is just too good to be true. I am more than game. Thanks a million for this opportunity.

  9. I like your pitch, Zee. Your inspiring guideline and call for submission is already getting my head ticking with a story. I'm currently writing a historical set in the ancient city of Igodomigodo in South South Nigeria in the 18th Century pre-colonial era. It will be a delight to work with Decadent publishing. Thank you for your unique call for submission.

  10. This is God sent. I am currently working on a romance novel set in nigeria. I have always loved romance n wished African writers will stop writing heavy prose n enjoy the sweet flow of romance n laughter at times. Hope my work will be good enough for Ubuntu n I will get published some day.
    Www. Secretlilies.blogspot.com