Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Good news!

I spent all of yesterday checking Mills & Boon's New Voices website for news about the winner, and had just decided that I'd got the date wrong when a message popped up on Facebook (just as well I've launched into social networking, or I'd still be in the dark!) to say that Leah Ashton had won with her story, Secrets & Speed Dating.  That was fabulous news for Leah - and of course for Team Jessica, too!  I am so delighted for her, and sorry only that the prize couldn't be shared with Heidi Hormel, who also did brilliantly, I thought.

New Voices has generated lots of interest in romance writing, which is fantastic. I don't think I'd realised quite what a community of aspiring romance writers there was out there - and how much potential. 

Being a mentor was a great experience, although I had to keep reminding myself that all they needed to write was a chapter, and not the whole book, which is a different thing entirely.  In the context of a competition, the quality of the writing carries the day, but getting a story to publishable standard means thinking about the overall structure.  The thing about writing is that it's about more than writing.  It's about rewriting and reshaping and structuring and making sure that your story makes sense.  Leah has done fantastically well to win through against such stiff competition, but I think she knows that far from getting to the end, she's now just at the beginning!  There's a long way to go before her story is ready for publication, and the final result may well turn out to be very different from the story that won New Voices.  I'll be really interested to read it when it's published to see how her characters and their motivations have developed.

Oh, and another bit good news: Oh-So-Sensible Secretary has been nominated by the Romantic Times for Best Harlequin Romance of 2010.  A nice way to start a Tuesday morning!


  1. Congrats to Leah and congrats to you for Oh-So-Sensible Secretary's nomination! Not at all surprised on EITHER account :)

  2. Congratulations to Leah (who I voted for btw, without knowing she was your author!) on a terrific piece of writing. She was incredibly lucky to have you as a mentor.

    And great news on Oh-So-Sensible Secretary's nomination, too. That's a title I expect to be popping up in lists all over the place in the next few months.

  3. Go Team Jessica! Congrats on your Oh-So-Sensible Secretary's nomination too!

    I'm really looking forward to hearing all about Leah's journey to publication.