I only tripped over it myself when I went for an outing from the cave - the words FREE ROMANCE NOVEL caught my eye. What can I say?
It said this in case you can't get hold of a copy:
"If you've ever dreamed of becoming a romance writer and think you can write a short story worthy of a Mills & Boon novel - we want to hear from you!
We are looking for a romantic story of between 900 and 1000 words with a beginning, middle and happy ending, an innovative plot and a strong focus on the central characters.
Tune into Today With Pat Kenny on RTE Radio 1, for helpful hints and ideas."
And my very good friend and fellow Irish author Abby Green who writes for Presents had these tips for entrants:
- Your story might be short in terms of words, but shouldn't be short on romance
- It should be a feel-good read with a happy ending
- The Heroine: She's vital to the story and must be today's woman - warm, likeable and convincing. She's the vehicle through which the reader experiences the romance
- The Hero: He's always strong and charismatic, successful in his own way and aspirational - the man you'd want to be with
- There should be a strong chemistry between your hero and heroine, but the Romance series is all about pure romance and pure emotion, real-life challenges and emotional issues that are relevant to woman the world over
- Finally, read the books! Mills & Boon books are the best possible guide to knowing what makes a strong romantic story and what themes and characters work. Mills & Boon also offers further advice and tips for aspiring authors on their website - www.millsandboon.co.uk
(Actually there's some real GEMS in there folks!!! WORTH NOTING DOWN!)
To enter submit a typed, double-spaced romantic story no greater than 1000 words which is suitable for the Mills & Boon Romance series, along with your name, address, daytime phone number/mobile phone number and email address and the statement 'In entering this competition, I have read and will agree to abide by the terms and conditions' (the full rules are printed in the guide so if you can't get a copy of last weeks then email me through the website and I'll get them to you...)
The contest is open to aspiring writers aged 18 and over and they must be residents on the island of Ireland. Entry by email is preferred but they will take postal entries too. And the closing date for entries is 5pm on 9th May so YOU STILL HAVE TIME!
You can read a little about it and the prizes the winners will receive on the RTE Radio site here along with the email and postal addresses for entries...
Interestingly enough years and years and years ago I entered a similar contest, only for an opening chapter for Mills & Boon, with the UTV Ask Anne programme in the North of Ireland - suffice to say I didn't win! And yet - here I am... Another validation for the *you get where you're meant to be in the end* theory... Can't help but wonder what happened to the winner though???
So if you want to take the first steps to joining Abby Green, Lynne Graham and myself in the Irish writers for Harlequin Mills & Boon crew then STEP UP... Make it so we're not three in over three million odd any more....
I for one would love to see more Irish writers join the family!!! GOOD LUCK!