At the dawn of Mills & Boon New Voices 2011 I find myself in a contemplative mood. Checking on the facebook site, there are so many excited aspiring authors, eagerly awaiting the launch. And I wish them all the best of luck. Several ladies of my critique group are re-entering this year and I will be cheering everyone on from the sidelines. The excitement is palpable and it takes me right back to last year. :-)
I've said it before, but without New Voices 2010 I wouldn't be where I am today. A friend entered last year - she is entering again this time - and I thought to myself, why not give it a go. For as long as I can remember I've created stories in my head and I always thought that one day I would like to write a novel. So this time last year, I actually sat down and put my random thoughts on paper.
I fired off my first chapter in a day and clicked upload. Not something I would recommend you do, lol, but I tend to jump in at the deep end. I was so excited about Sven and Sylvia. Now as first chapters go, it wasn't abysmal, lol, but it could have been a lot better. I really was a bit clueless at the time. I am sure this year's entrants will be much better prepared.
I didn't get anywhere in the competition - no surprise there!
BUT, I gained so much from entering. I received some encouraging feed back, met some lovely people who have become some of my best friends, learned tons and most importantly the seeds were sown. I realised that writing was really what I wanted/needed to do. The one day I may, became the, I will complete this manuscript, and the original version of Scandinavian Scandal was born. This blog was also born during the days of NV last year.
Nano 2010 soon followed and it saw me complete anther manuscript, the start of a series of three and I just kept right on writing. There was no way I couldn't write, the characters in my head clambering to have their stories told.
The friends I met on line became my fellow writers, the newbies group was born and eventually UCW, the wonderful critique group I belong to now.
I started submitting to publishers and the inevitable rejections were crushing, but only to be expected. Through it all I had the conviction that one day, I would make it. My New Year resolution this year was to be published by the end of it.
I completely re-wrote Scandinavian Scandal, turning it into an erotic romance. The woman who blushed writing sex scenes discovered that actually I had a knack for writing them, when I resurrected two characters, who had been part of a fun story I wrote way back then with the original newbies group. I wrote Astrid and Rashid's story with my tongue firmly stuck in my cheek in just over a week - think I was inspired - and Awakening was born.
Fast forward a few manuscripts and works in progress and in one incredible week all the hard work paid off and I received contracts for both these stories, who will be released in November.
It has been an incredible year for me since New Voices last year and I am sure that it will be an incredible year this time round for many of the aspiring authors entering. And it is the entering that counts. It is the first step to pursuing your dream and even if, like me, you do not get anywhere in the actual competition, you never know where you will find yourself this time next year :-)
I wish you all the very best.