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Monday, January 31, 2011

So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW)?

So You Think You Can Write?

From early summer through early winter, I was caught up in Kensington's Writing with the Stars Contest (successor to American Title). My novel, Aliya Arabesque, was a finalist. On December 15, a couple of days after the start of Round 3 of WWTS, a Facebook friend mentioned Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write Challenge. I hadn't heard about this before that moment. Around 4:00 PM, I dropped by the website and read:

"Does your imagination run wild with vivid characters? Have you ever dreamed of becoming a USA TODAY bestselling author? Well, our editors want to make those dreams come true. We are hungry to find talented new writers for Harlequin Books. Through podcasts, blogs, and discussions with our expert editors and current authors, we’re going to help you understand the appeal of the romance genre. And there’s a special daily challenge with feedback that will give some great insights into crafting the perfect story. So for the next week, come by to hone your skills and get started on the path to publication. So you think you can write? Here’s your chance to show us!


If you’ve decided to participate in our final writing challenge to submit a synopsis and first chapter of your manuscript, please send it to Make sure to add “SYTYCW First Chapter & Synopsis” to the subject line and submit it by 6:00pm EDT on December 15th. All of the submissions received by then will receive a response from our editorial team by January 31st! Only one submission per person, please (if we receive more than one, only the first will be evaluated)."

Two hours! TWO HOURS!

Why am I always the last to know about everything? I learned about Kensington's Writing with the Stars Contest only a few hours before the opening. With Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write Challenge, I learned about the entire event only two hours before the final challenge submission deadline.

I had so much on my plate at the time, but I wanted some editorial feedback. So, I threw together a submission for my novel titled The Loving of Lord Loxley. I didn't have enough to time to put together a proper query letter. In my e-mail, I wrote only, "Attached is my entry, The Loving of Lord Loxley, which is targeted at Harlequin Spice." How unprofessional of me. But off it went, for better or worse.

I forgot about the SYTYCW Challenge.

Then, last week, I got an e-mail from an executive editor at Harlequin. She wrote, "I really enjoyed your first chapter and thought the story was suitable for Spice. I wasn't clear if you had finished the book. If not, you should consider submitting to Spice once it is completed. Please let me know the status of your story." Wow, that's certainly music to an author's ears.

Of course, I should have sent a proper query letter with the submission, giving the details, such as whether I had completed the novel. I was lucky that an editor responded to my submission at all. I wrote back, filling her in. Alas, no, it isn't finished because until recently I was busy with Kensington's Writing with the Stars Contest, but now I'm back on the job, laboring in love.

And you know what?

I'm happy.


I'm laboring in love.


  1. Holy Mother of Awesome! Way to go Madeline!

  2. Charli Mac has the most wonderful way with words. More, she has a kind and generous heart.

    Check out her blog at

  3. Lorraine, I think you told me about SYTYCW!