Sunday, 1 August 2010

In Italy... And more on the comp!

Hey all, just sitting in a Villa hotel outside Florence having great fun trying to write a blog with blogger tools all in Italiano!! Have a few happy snaps to decorate this post of the gorgeous ten-bedroom house we did a big family get-together in La Marche last week. Very remote and non-touristy... And cooking for 20 people, what a blast, hence the pick of my DH grilling about a billion aubergine slices on the barbie and me with two tons of shopping at the local market!

Also wanted to take this opportunity to out myself as one of the author mentors for the New Voices comp. Am very excited about doing this and hope that lots of you who read this blog find the time to load up a first chapter so we get a really high standard of entries and totally Wow the judges.

My top tips are: 

1). Remember it's only a first chapter at this stage. No synopsis necessary (yippee). While it might be tempting to shove up something that you've been working on a while, it might be better to let those creative juices flow and dash something new and fresh and exciting off instead.

2). From everything I heard at the RNA conference M&B are looking for that 'fresh spin' on their tried and tested story ideas. So fresh and new is definitely in and something to keep in mind when subbing your chapter. If you feel yourself falling into old habits, familiar conflicts, try thinking of a way to shake it up a bit.... IMHO the Modern Heat format works particularly well with that because there's nothing like a strong, feisty heroine to do something outrageous!

3). While it would be fantastic to win... Don't stress about your entry too much. There's nothing like overwriting and overthinking an entry to sap out all of those creative sparks (believe me I know).

4). Look at this first and foremost as a way to get great feedback and as a great chance for exposure. And this isn't just a chance to show the editors either. The hope is lots of M&B readers will be checking out the entries so here's a rare chance to showcase your voice in front of M&Bs most treasured audience (and hope they ask for more). No pressure then!!

Best of luck to everyone... Right back to sunning myself by the pool and dreaming up handsome Italian heroes. wish me luck, am planning to brave Florence in the height of August tomorrow and try ordering a meal in Italian at the Mercato Centrale!


Rachael Johns said...

Ooh am so jealous of your Italian getaway! And your DH looks like good hero material too :)

Am definitely entering the contest. Sounds like a hoot and you gotta be in it to win it, right?!

Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Jackie Ashenden said...

Oh, seconding the jealousy, Rach. Nice for some eh? ;-)

Great advice for the contest, Heidi. Better put my thinking cap on!

Heidi said...

Cheers Rachael and Jackie, hope you'll both be giving it a go... Would be sooo cool if I ended up mentoring a familiar face!

Lacey Devlin said...

Those pictures are incredible and I'm extra jealous since I've always wanted to go to Florence!

Great news about being a mentor!

Sarah Morgan said...

I was having a happy day until I read you were in Florence. Now I'm depressed......

Enjoy..... don't worry about me....I'll be all right here... sob....

Joanne Coles said...

*sigh* beautiful Italy!

It looks gorgeous and your husband is a true hero cooking for the gang!!

Am looking forward to the comp, just have to finalise which of my many ideas I'm writing and get on with it ... though am panicking a little my plot isn't 'twisty' enough.

Joanna Terrero said...

Heidi, thanks for those wise tips, I will share with the girls.

Joanne Dannon said...

Your break looks and sounds heavenly :) Enjoy!!!

Your DH is a star doing the BBQ-ing :)

Thanks for the tips on the comp, I've just started writing a new mss!

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Dh, very handsome. Florence, Ron and I loved it!

Heidi said...

Cheers folks.... Back now in overcast London and the sunny Italian countryside is barely a memory... Groan! (did that make you feel better Sarah??)

Yes, DH happens to be a very good cook... Decent cooking skills being right up there with hard abs as one of my prerequisites for a hero. LOL!

And Joanne, don't worry about a twisty plot so much as a new spin on traditional tropes. One good tip I got at the RNA was the 'gender swap' idea (and that doesn't involve cross-dressing). For example one recent book had the marriage of convenience suggested by the heroine... Kinda like that idea myself, wish I'd thought of it.

Cara Cooper said...

Thanks for the tips Heidi, I have an idea I thought of at the conference which has been fermenting nicely.... Now I just have to get the rotten thing down on paper! Just wanted to check that the competition is for any line - modern, historical, medical etc. It doesn't look as if there's any restriction but I just wanted to check.

Heidi said...

Cara, great that you've got an idea raring to go already.

Your question's a good one. And I have to admit I didn't have a ready answer so I pinged off an email to the eds to double check. And basically the answer is yes, any series goes, and not just the ones published out of the London office (ie Modern, Modern Heat, Historical, etc) but also those series edited out of the US and Canada (ie Blaze, Nocturne, Intrigue, etc)... So you can have werewolves and detectives and ranchers as heroes too if you so desire. Basically the world is your oyster for this comp!

Hope helps