I made the Top 50 in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write! #sytycw15

HeavenHave I got a story for you.

I was trucking along really well on my fantasy when everything came to a screeching halt. I do this with my writing. I need to recognize this is part of my process and just be okay with that.

I got stuck with the book and turned my attention to writing something different. Towards the end of July, I got this idea for a wedding book. See, I love to look at stock art. I go through episodes where I look for particular things and gorge myself on them. Like weddings. I stumbled upon these beautiful photos of weddings, wedding couples, etc. and I got an idea for a new contemporary romance about a wedding consultant falling in love with a chef.

A Little Taste of Heaven was born.

I wrote the first chapter and tinkered with the blurb and a logline/pitch. I’d also been thinking about writing for Harlequin for a while, something my husband has been pushing me to do. All of his reasons to do it were valid but I’m stubborn as the day is long so, you know, it wasn’t a good idea until it was my idea. *grin* Actually, I give him all of the credit for pushing me that direction but there were a few other deciding factors that made my final decision. I’d been poking around on Twitter and Facebook one day and was reminded about Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. It was early August and I realized that I hadn’t yet missed the deadline (September 21). But I’d just started writing that book and I didn’t think I could make it. So I put it aside.

But something about the whole thing niggled at me. I read up on the writing guidelines for Harlequin for the different lines. I was interested in Desire, Nocturne and Blaze. The length was anywhere from 50k to 55k. That was so doable for me. Mostly because I’m fast writer if the story isn’t complicated (I tend to write complicated, long drawn-out stories with lots of characters).

I started to think maybe I could do this.

I can write hot sex. I can write sexy heroes.

I dismissed Nocturne mostly because I didn’t want to have to concentrate too much on worldbuilding and because I knew I couldn’t stay within the confines of the word count with fantasy.

I considered Desire. It would be kind of fun writing about the super-rich but I felt meh about it.

And then I remembered I had my wedding consultant already 5000 words in. I turned my eye to Blaze and read over the guidelines. The more I thought about it the more I realized I could totally write for that line and that my wedding book would be a good fit. I downloaded their free sample and read the first five chapters. It was about a Navy SEAL and I was meh about that only because I wasn’t all that interested in the storyline. The writing was excellent and it gave me a feel for the types of stories that fit into the Blaze line. I then downloaded another book and numerous first chapter samples from Barnes & Noble and read a great cowboy book. I liked it so much I went looking for the next one in the series but it’s not out yet. Then I binged on reading all the blurbs for the more recent releases on Harlequin’s website.

I figured out the formula. I wrote my pitch and back cover copy. I examined the contest rules with a fine-tooth comb. I really did my research on this one.

But I had four weeks until deadline and I was barely into the story. Only 10k at that point. I made up my mind right then and there I was going to do it. I was going to write that book and finish it by the deadline if it killed me. I got serious and started writing every day. I could crank out about 2000 to 4000 words a day—about half of that on my lunch hour. I finished it three days shy of the deadline, uploaded to Wattpad and waited. I liked the finish product a lot and I think I have a decent shot at the Top 50.

I got the email yesterday around 4 pm CT congratulating me on making it into the Top 50. I was stunned. And elated. My first phone call was to my husband and the second he answered the phone, I burst into tears. I was so choked up with emotion I could hardly tell him the good news.

Voting starts today at 5:01 pm ET. Watch my Facebook page for all the details on how, when and where to start voting! I would love you forever if you voted for me and helped me make it to the next round – getting into the Top 25. 🙂

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.