Morning and Writing

I woke at 5:08 a.m. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up, went into my computer room and started editing the book I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2016. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. I attempted it for the first time last year. It is supposed to take participants four weeks to write a short novel of 50,000 words. It took me six weeks.

Even so, I’m quite proud of the book I produced and am enjoying the editing process. Hopefully I can get this book edited quickly so I can send it out to potential publishers. How exciting would that be to have a book published? Pretty exciting.

Meeting Kevin Spall from Thomson-Shore

Saturday, June 17, 2017, I met Kevin Spall the CEO/President of Thomson-Shore books. I met him in a restaurant in Ann Arbor where I pitched him my latest contemporary romance book with the working title: The Cattle Baron’s Redemption.

This was the first time I have pitched a book to anyone. I wasn’t nervous. I was intrigued by the process. I wondered what he would ask me. How did I come to this place of writing romance novels? I think I blacked out when he asked me that. I know my lips were moving and something was coming out because I could hear the sound of my voice droning about something. I think I said something like, I read a romance novel a couple of years ago and thought I could write something like that, so I did. Ugh! Well! Of all the nerve. Not anything about my love of reading romances and my interest in their stories or my interest in crafting a good story–at least I think it is a good story. My mother (and two cats) seem to think so.

I was caught up in the moment. He wrote something on the top right corner of the two-page synopsis I brought along and gave him. I wonder what that something was. Now having gone through the process of pitching for the first time I look forward to getting to pitch more often to other book industry insiders.

I keep trying to tell myself that I might have bombed the pitch, but daily, even sometimes hourly, search my email for a message from Thomson-Shore. I sent a thank you note today with a logline for the longer novel. I hope, I wish, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep checking my email for a response from Kevin Spall.

NaNoWriMo 2016

I was determined to start and finish a 40,000 word novel during the NaNoWriMo month of November 2016. I didn’t do it. Instead of taking me one month or 4 weeks to write a novel it took me 6 weeks. I’ve basked in this accomplishment for far too long. Last night I thought about starting the editing process, but need to print out a full manuscript before I start revisions just in case something goes very wrong with the process so I have a hard copy of the book to refer back to.

First Draft of Novel Finished

August 27, 2016–I just finished the first draft of my novel Second Chance at Love–my working title. The hard part is over…or is it? Now I get to go back through it page by page and tweak what I wrote. I’m dreading it, but am glad at least the first stage and hardest part–the getting started and keeping at it–is complete.

A Small Book

Sunday, March 13, 2016, I wrote another 1,000 words which brought me to a grand total of 50,212 words, which is a small book. I’m now officially out of novellaland and into book world. I made it yeah!!

Writing 1,000 words a day, even on days that I don’t feel like it, has helped me get this far. From December 30th when I started writing to now I’m very proud of the work I have done. I started officially making myself write 1,000 words a day back in February 21 to be exact. Look at how much closer to the 70,000 mark I could have been had I only started forcing myself to sit down and write 1,000 words each and every day when I started. My 70,000 word novel would have been done as of today. As it is, I have another 20 or so days to go on it before I have a working first draft.

Harlequin Love Inspired Historical line requires a word count of between 70,000-75,000. So if I stop at 70,000, I should be able to get the revision up into the 75,000 word range. Actually I think that even if I stop at the 60,000-65,000 range I’ll be able to get the book to 75,000 words.

Just wanted to share a bit of good news and go back to bed. It’s 3 a.m. here.

New Year’s Resolution Achieved

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions easily. I’m better at breaking them. This year I made one December 30th to write more. There was a novel swimming around in my head that I wanted to write. So December 30th I started writing it. I didn’t keep track of how many words I was writing on a daily basis or even if I was writing at all until sometime in February. Once I started keeping track on a little purse-size calendar on the wall by my lazy chair and rolling table from which I write I began to look forward to writing. Now that I challenge myself to write 1,000 words everyday I find writing easier since I’ve broken it down into 1,000 word chunks.

So far I’ve written just over 43,000 words, which achieved my goal to write more. Last year I wrote a 41,000 word novella so anything beyond that is good. Since I’m focusing on writing Inspirational historical romances for Harlequin my word count needs to be 70,000-75,000 words. I do have enough material to get me there (hopefully). And with that and another 1,000 words written (not here, but today), I’m going to bed.

Love Inspired Historical Romance Formating

These are the guidelines for submitting to this Harlequin contest:
FORMATTING GUIDELINES


Not sure how to set up your documents for Love Inspired Historical to submit them in the Manuscript Matchmakers pitch session? Not a problem! Here’s a cheat-sheet for how to set up every entry.

**Please Note: We will review only one entry per author**

Stage 1: Proper Introductions
Submission: Matchmaker card and manuscript first page


The Document
• Page 1 is the “matchmaking card” for your story. This includes the Targeted Team (Amish, Mail Order Bride, Babies/Children, Reunion Romance, Cowboy/Rancher, Marriage of Convenience, Choose Your Own Hook, or Pony Express); your name; your book title; your story’s setting and time period; the hooks; the conflict; and a one-sentence pitch. Please list this information bullet-point style. If you want an example to follow, check out Giselle’s blog post with tips on how to write your Matchmaker card. She includes examples from current LIH books.
• The matchmaking card information is not intended to take up the full page. It’s fine if half of the page is blank. Please start the manuscript at the top of the next page.
• Page 2 is the first page of your manuscript. Usually new chapters start about half way down the page, but that’s not what we’re looking for here. We want a full page, beginning at the very top to really give us a feel for your voice. Check your word count—unless your story starts with a lot of short sentence dialogue, aim for at least 250 words on your page.
• Use Times New Roman, 12 point type, and always, always double-space. Check your margins to ensure they’re an inch in each direction.
• Make sure the document has a header with your name, your pen name (if it’s different), the page number, and the working title of your manuscript. This needs to appear on every page.
• Please use Microsoft Word and save the two-page file as a .doc or .docx. We will not be able to accept entries that are not in these formats.
The Email
• The subject line should read “Stage 1,” followed by the title of your manuscript, then your name. So it might read “Stage 1 – Doorstep Delivery by Jane Smith”.
• In the body of the email, please include your name and your contact information. Also copy and paste the matchmaking card information into the body of your email.
• Do not paste your first page into the body of the email. Include the card and the page as a separate attachment. (To clarify, your matchmaking card should go in two places—in the body of the email and as page one of the attached document. The first page of your manuscript should only go in the document.)
• Make sure to send your email by 5:00 PM EST on March 2.

Stage 2: The Courtship
Submission: Synopsis and first three chapters


The Document
• The synopsis and chapters should be in one document, with the synopsis first. A synopsis should run about 3-5 pages, following the previous guidelines in terms of font, margins, spacing, and document type.
• Don’t forget the header with your name, your pen name (if it’s different), the page number, and the working title of your manuscript. Please do not use a different title than you did in Stage 1, even if you’ve come up with a better title since then. Whatever title you use at the beginning needs to stay consistent throughout. Ditto with your pen name.
• The first three chapters will follow after the synopsis. Try to make each chapter at least ten pages long. If your chapters are running shorter than that, see if you can combine some of them.
• The overall proposal (synopsis + chapters) should run about 50 pages.
The Email
• Please include your team name in the subject line so that it follows the format “Stage 2 – Babies/Children – Doorstep Delivery by Jane Smith”.
• Please include your contact info in the body of the email, attach your proposal, and submit your entry by 5:00 PM EST on April 6.

Stage 3: Betrothal
Submission: Full manuscript


The Document
• The completed manuscript must be as close as you can get it to 70,000 words. If you’re over or under by a thousand words or so, then that’s not a problem. If you’re over or under by 5,000 or 10,000 words then that’s a bigger concern. Keep a close eye on word count as you write the story. Continue to follow previous guidelines in terms of font, margins, spacing, document type and header information.
The Email
• The subject line should follow the format “Stage 3 – Babies/Children – Doorstep Delivery by Jane Smith”.
• Please include your contact info in the body of the email, attach the file with your complete manuscript, and submit your entry by 5:00 PM EST on July 15.

What I found on Harlequin’s site

Manuscript Matchmakers: Meet the perfect editor match for your inspirational historical romance manuscript

The Love Inspired editors are thrilled to announce our newest pitch opportunity, Manuscript Matchmakers (#ManuscriptMatch). We want to fall in love with some amazing inspirational historical romance novels. If you think your book holds the key to our hearts, we encourage you to pitch it to the Manuscript Matchmakers.

Over the years, Love Inspired has bought more than 30 authors through pitch contests. Last year, we found 9 new authors in our From Blurb to Book pitch, many of whom wrote their books during the contest. Four of their books will be on store shelves in 2016. This year, we’ve got times gone by on our mind. We want to find new historical romance authors to join our team. For this pitch opportunity, Love Inspired editors Tina James, Melissa Endlich, Emily Rodmell, Elizabeth Mazer, Shana Asaro, Giselle Regus and Dina Davis are looking for Inspirational Historical Romance stories of 70-75K words with great hooks. And to help you find those great hooks, we’ve outlined the ones we’re most looking for. We’d like to see stories that focus on one or more of seven hooks. The editors will be dividing ourselves into teams based on these tropes and mentoring authors as you write your books.

1. Team Amish
2. Team Mail Order Bride
3. Team Babies/Children
4. Team Cowboy/Rancher
5. Team Marriage of Convenience
6. Team Reunion Romance
7. Team Choose Your Own Hook (i.e. any other strong hook)
8. Bonus Category: Pony Express Fast Track. If you have a complete manuscript ready to go and don’t want to have to wait through the pitch deadlines to get it seen, submit your manuscript to our Pony Express Fast Track Category. Any full manuscripts submitted to the Pony Express Fast Track category by the initial submission deadline of March 2 will be guaranteed that an editor will look at your full manuscript and respond by May 2. You can submit any trope to this category.

But whether you have a full manuscript ready or just an idea, we want to meet you. If you think you are the perfect match for Love Inspired Historical, we invite you to show us that you’re the total package in these three stages:

1. Proper Introductions—Tell us a little bit about you and your manuscript by filling out a matchmaking profile card and painting a picture of your book by sending in the first page. (Pony Express Fast Track entrants send a Matchmaking Card and full manuscript at this stage.)

Matchmaking Profile Card
Targeted Team: Amish, Mail Order Bride, Pony Express Fast Track, etc.
Name:
Book title:
Setting and time period:
Hooks:
Conflict:
Describe your book in 1 sentence:

Authors who catch our eye will move on to Stage 2.

2. Courtship—Show us you have the plotting and writing skills to back up your profile by submitting a full proposal (synopsis and three chapters). Authors who show us their amazing plots, conflicts and writing will move on to Stage 3.

3. Betrothal—We’ve met the beginnings of your manuscript and like what we see so far. Convince us to make a commitment by submitting your full manuscript. The sky’s the limit for these authors. A contract could be within your reach if you bring it all together into a manuscript that we think our readers will love.

If you make it through, you could be the next contracted author for Love Inspired Historical. But we won’t leave you to do it all on your own. We’ll be sharing helpful master class blog posts along the way telling you exactly what is required in a Love Inspired Historical book. And once we decide who will be getting a proposal request, authors will be divided into seven teams based around the seven tropes we’ve listed (Pony Express manuscripts will be divided between editors and read separately). Each team will have an editor mentor depending on the number of submissions and finalists for each line. Mentors will be announced on the day that the teams are announced. So you’ll know exactly who is looking at your book throughout the stages, and you can ask questions directed at your mentor in the announcement thread. But don’t wait to get to know your fellow contestants. Feel free to start mixing and mingling in any open Manuscript Matchmakers thread or via the #ManuscriptMatch hashtag on Twitter. Every author who makes it to stage 3 will receive an initial decision (contract, reject or revision request) on their submissions by August 31.

Here’s our timeline:

ROUND ONE
February 22
– Submit the completed Matchmaking Profile and first page of your inspirational historical romance manuscript (or full for Pony Express) to ManuscriptMatchmakers@harpercollins.com starting today.
**Please read Formatting Guidelines before submitting**

March 2 – All entries must be in house. The editors will review the entries over the next week and choose the teams.

ROUND TWO
March 9
– Editors will announce which entries will be joining a team and which editors will be mentoring each team. The authors on the teams will be invited to submit their proposal by April 6 to the email box.
April 6 – All proposals must be in house. Editors will review the submissions from their team over the next week and a half and narrow down the ones that seem most promising to move on to the next stage.

ROUND THREE
April 18
– Editors will announce which team members will be going on to the final round. Qualifying authors will be invited to submit their complete manuscript. Authors who are not moving on will privately receive personalized feedback. Authors who are moving on will have until July 15 to submit their full manuscripts.
July 15 – All entries must be in house. Editors will review the submissions from their team and decide next steps (reject, request a revision, or offer a contract). By the end of a month and a half, decisions will be made to contract, send a revision letter or reject each of the stories. All authors who submit full manuscripts will receive notification of our decision within this time frame.

Final Results!

August 31 – We will announce the results in a blog post that wraps up the pitch, shares our thoughts on the highs and lows, highlights any sales and gives stats on the results for the full manuscript submissions.

Sound exciting? If you think you could rock this pitch, get ready to show us your stuff. Read our team bios, the info on formatting guidelines, the inspirational success stories and the blogs on what LIH is looking for, writing a standout first page, and examples of how to fill out the matchmaking card, then start those books. Be sure to follow the guidelines for Love Inspired Historical. Only one entry per author, please. If your book fits in more than one category, feel free to list more than one. We will randomly place entries with multiple hooks into one category based on number of entries. Deadlines are tight, so keep writing while you’re waiting to hear back. And if your book is complete now, don’t miss the fabulous Pony Express Fast Track opportunity.