Monday, August 30, 2010

Lucy Gilmour with a special message....

The Pink Heart Society is happy to have Mills and Boon editor Lucy Gilmour back with us today with a bit of a reminder about a fabulous opportunity: The Mills and Boon NEW VOICES competition!

A global search for fresh writing talent to join Mills & Boon’s galaxy of romantic fiction stars.

We just wanted to remind you that there’s one week to go before the Mills & Boon New Voices competition launches!

Use these next seven days to polish your first chapters until they shine! And then next Monday (6th September!) you can start to upload your entry at .
This competition could change your life!! And we here at Romance HQ have got our e-readers charged and at the ready (and plenty of chocolate stored up for a sugar-boost!) – just waiting for your submissions.

If you’ve got any questions about how to enter, what to enter, where to enter why to enter…or anything else New Voices related then I’ll be popping back all day to answer any and all questions!

Thanks to the PHS for having me – and good luck to all who are entering the competition!!

Lucy x

A little more about the competition: 

Judges are Sam Delaney - editor of Heat; Penny Jordan - Mills & Boon author extraordinaire; Mandy Ferguson - Managing Director; and Tessa Shapcott, Executive Editor.

The top ten also get a mentor team consisting of an author and an editor.  Mentor teams are Heidi Rice and Sally Williamson, Rhyannon Byrd and Lesley Stonehouse, Jessica Hart and Meg Lewis, and Sharon Kendrick and Bryony Green.

You can check out the site and you can ask questions here or at the Mills and Boon facebook page.  Good luck!


  1. Hi Lucy!

    We're all really looking forward to the competition. There have been some questions about which of your lines the competition is targeted to with some suggestions that it includes those edited outside of London, such as Desire. Could you clarify?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Hi Lucy,

    I'm so excited about entering the competition. I have a few questions:

    1) Can we enter with a pen name?
    2) Do the first chapter entries need to be uploaded only on September 6th?
    3) Do you recommend that the whole manuscript is completed?

    Angie Peters :)

  3. I just want to know when the website will be updated? There is so little information there and it's turning some people off... Not me though! I'm ready and roaring to go =) i hear a lot of people asking what it is you're actually looking for. Is it only for category lines or the ST ones too?

    Thanks heaps!

  4. Hello all - thanks for the queries!

    Hi Annonymous - loving the pseudoneym! Yes, the competition is open to all Harlquin lines, including those not acquired in the UK, so get submitting for Blaze, Desire, Nocturne etc. - whatever you really REALLY want to write!!

  5. Hi Angie

    Thanks for you questions - and excitement! Right, here goes...;

    1) Can we enter with a pen name? Yes, if you would prefer. We wouldn't ever have to publish you real name if you chose not to use it.
    2) Do the first chapter entries need to be uploaded only on September 6th? Your first chp entries can start being uploaded from Sep 6th, but you've got until 22nd Sep, so there's no need to rush and you can take your time uploading.
    3) Do you recommend that the whole manuscript is completed?
    Not at all. If you get shortlister, we will be asking for the 2nd chapter, so it might be wise to start working on that though...
    Good luck!

  6. Hi Bronwyn, Thanks for your feedback. The competition launches on 6th September, and that's when the website launches into full swing!! Don't forget to check back then for any info - or ask me here!!

  7. Thanks Lucy. I found the Mills and Boon facebook site so I asked a few questions there but since we have you... I write historicals that are a little outside of the box and teeter on the edge of Regency Noir. I really want to enter and I'm going to but how much of the reader/voter feedback is going to play a role in the final judging? I only ask because I have a MS that people absolutely love or really hate. Contest judges tell me this is a good thing but I'm not so sure about this open type contest where everyone can see everything.

    Thanks for your time.


  8. Hi Bronwyn

    The first round of judging will be done by the Mills & Boon editors and narrowed down to a shortlist of 10. From there the judging is 50% our stellar judging panel and 50% public vote.

    Regency noir...sounds dangerously sexy! Looking forward to seeing it...

    L x

  9. Okay, thanks for clarifying that =) I'll see you there!

  10. Hi Lucy,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions.

    Could you tell me, will ALL the first round submissions be up on the site to read, or will it be only the top ten that 'go public'. I have visions of hundreds of first chapters being available for our viewing pleasure... could be a clever way of giving us an insight into the challenge of working through a slush-pile ;)

    Many thanks!

  11. Hi Jo - yes, it's definitely welcome to our world!! All the first chapters submitted to the competition will be available for everyone to read - should they wish! We will encourage readers to comment on their favourites and tell us why they particularly love a hero or an idea!!

  12. Hi Lucy,

    Could I add to the question list please?

    Would it be OK for an entry to include a prologue & chapter 1, as long as it stays within the word count stipulated?

    Your advice is very much appreciated.

    Thanks, Jo

  13. Hi Lucy,

    Thanks so much for answering our questions!

    With regards to the 10K word maximum, should we assume that our first chapter length should be shorter, at about 3.5K? Or is the pivotal moment only a fraction of these words and thus the chapters should be longer?

  14. Hi Jo

    Hmmm, tricky one. I'm afriad the website will only allow you to upload one chapter. If you think your prologue is really needed then my advice would be to incorporate it as part of your first chapter, and just indicate the difference with a time break (leaving a few lines and starting the next paragraph with 'one year later...' or however long it might be for your particular story. Does that make senses?

    Best of luck to you!

    L x

  15. Hello again Annonymous!

    So, word count. There is absolutely no need to hit the 10k maximum. We were just trying to discourage people from submitting an entire book as 'one chatper'!!

    There's no real guide to how long a chapter should be, but you're right to assum that your pivotal momemnt would be shorter than a whole chapter.

    Hope this goes some way to helping you...!

    L x

  16. I hope I'm too late with my question, but I was wondering if it's okay to submit something that was previously rejected but has since undergone major revisions.


  17. Hi Summer

    We do ask that you submit only material that hasn't previously been views by Harlequin Mills & Boon. The closing date for entries isn't until 22nd September though, so don't despair. You've still got time to craft a different first chapter before the deadline - and make this one the best you've ever written!

    Best of luck to you

    Lucy x