Saturday, December 22, 2007

What Are You Waiting For???

Last January a number of our fathful readers pledged to FinDaBoo...Finish the Damned Book....and the year is almost up so we have to know...did you? Did you take all that lovely advice shared with you by Harlequin's finest authors and spin it into your own romance novel to share with us all?

If you did...then you have no excuse but to take the information offered by the I ♥ Presents blog and win the latest writing contest to send the publishing world buzzing!

A brand new writing competition from the world’s best-selling romance series is about to hit the blogosphere!

It’s an exciting time for Harlequin Presents: from January 2008, there will be 12 of our intensely passionate romances available every month (some of them from the line I write for, Modern Heat!). And with this increase of titles comes a great opportunity for aspiring authors – we will be looking to buy more books for publication!

The old saying goes that first impressions are lasting impressions – and when it comes to reading a Harlequin Presents, that certainly holds true. If the first chapter doesn’t immediately grip the reader with its pace, passion and intensity, then she won’t continue to turn the pages.

So Presents is inviting unpublished writers to show us how they can grab the attention of our readership with first chapters that really sizzle. The INSTANT SEDUCTION competition offers prizes that are chances of a lifetime for the lucky winner and runners-up:

*First prize – win yourself an editor for a year!

*Two runners-up will be given editorial critiques of their first chapter entries and also a personal telephone consultation about their writing!

Visit the I ♥ Presents blogsite for full details of the competition – and the chance to prepare for publication with an exclusive series of writing tutorials prepared by the editorial team at Harlequin Presents, including advice on First Chapters, How to Write a Synopsis, Loving the Alpha Male and Generating Emotional Conflict.

Entries for the competition will be accepted as on-line submissions only from 1st January until 14th February 2008. Entries should comprise of the first chapter and a synopsis of a previously unpublished/unsubmitted novel aimed at Harlequin Presents. Address for entries:

**Even if Presents/Modern Heat is not your ideal line, the information offered as a build up to the contest is a wonderful education for anyone who wants to write for any of the Mills & Boon lines. Everything is cooperative in the London office, so the basics of what they are looking for in Presents, Romance, Medicals, and Historicals doesn't waver. A solid chapter one, focused conflict, and knowing your characters will make your submission a winner for any line.

We asked some of our author members for their best tips for those entering the contest. Here's what they had to say ::

Nicola Marsh ::
*make your hero unforgettable. Think power, persuasion and plenty of heat!
*make your heroine a match for him in every way
*think glamorous: settings, characters, clothing, whatever. Make your Presents story glam!

"If you're targeting Modern Heat make sure you really know your characters, their foibles, their conflicts and what it is that's stopping them from committing despite their incredible chemistry. And then, once you have that established, have FUN writing it - unleash your inner saucy, sassy self and free up the wit, the cute come-backs and all those things you 'wished you thought of at the time' - and get your characters to say it on the spot!"

Anne McAllister ::

In all short romance novels, but especially in Presents, there is a very tight focus on the relationship. There can be lots of other people in the book, but every one in there had better contribute to some part of the relationship between the hero and heroine. If they don't, get rid of them!

And......Sandra Marton wanted to help out as well!!

My Best Tips for Writing for Presents? Start by loving the line, not just wanting to write for it because you've heard good things about it. Understand it, too. A new voice is always welcome but Presents is Presents and ignoring its standards and properties probably won't work. And, of course, be the very best storyteller you can be.

Beyond that:

1. The romance in your story is EVERYTHING!
2. Your hero should be a very sexy Alpha male. Are you crazy in love with him? If you are, a Presents editor will be, too.
3. Your heroine should be able to take him on. Except when it comes to his seductive talents in bed, she can face him down, anytime.
4. Use lots of sharply written, meaningful dialogue.
5. Sex should be hot and romantic and tender and exciting. Okay, maybe not all at once but sex is passion and passion is what Presents is all about.
6. Create a storyline that grabs the reader and sweeps her along.
7. Conflict is the heart of a Presents relationship but it has to be the kind that presents a real stumbling-block, one your hero and heroine will have to try hard to overcome. No cheating by letting them squabble for 200 plus pages when they could have solved their problem if they'd have had one meaningful conversation.
8. Use a sophisticated setting. And no, that doesn't mean the setting must necessarily be exotic. It means sophisticated. The kind of setting an Alpha man-of-the-world belongs in. One that he can dominate by virtue of his authority.
9. Provide your reader with a really satisfying HEA.
10. Have fun writing your book and it will show.

Congratulations to everyone who FinDaBoo'd with, thank you to the authors who shared their wisdom, and best of luck to all of those who enter the contest. XOXO -- The Pink Heart Society

Jenna is hard at work on her next title for Mills & Boon Modern Extra. In the meantime, check out her website, blog, or reading group, We Call It Research.


  1. I DID IT! I actually finished two mss aimed at Mills & Boon this year and although they need work, I'm stoked. Thanks for all your FinDaBoo posts this year - I loved them. My all time fave post was Jenna's Point and Click Characterisation. I'll definately be entering the Instant Seduction contest!

    And, while I'm here... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

  2. Why have you changed so only people with blogs can use ID?