Writers’ Retreat

Here in Marshall Michigan at a rented home for a writers’ retreat with 12 other women from Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America group. At this retreat I plan to write and read about writing and just relax. It is just after 1 p.m. the first day of the retreat and all ready I have my next book plotted out. Oh dear! What to do now! Think I’ll go get some lunch.


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:

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.