Friday, 14 October 2011

Pocahontas, New Voices and My Goodreads Giveaway!

So first off, I'm over at the Pink Heart Society today banging on about why Pocahontas is by far the best of Disney's princess heroines.. Bravery, courage, great boobs and impressive cliff-diving skills being just a few of her qualifications. I mean, come on, what is the point of a princess who can't dive off a cliff at a moment's notice?? So come leave a comment on my post so I don't feel lonely!

The big news yesterday afternoon, though, was of course the announcement of the New Voices Top 21!! I'm thrilled to bits to be working with Helen Lucas on her entry Return to Heartbreak Hotel, which I finally got a chance to read this morning. If you haven't had the pleasure yet give it a go. I can totally see why it grabbed the eds attention. She's taken a well-used and much-loved trope - that of reunited lovers - and given it a fresh and fiesty 21st century spin. I mean, how many heroines get the chance to kick their hero in the nuts in the first chapter! Not only that, but her writing is  polished and  evocative and her characters reactions wonderfully subtle while at the same time being emotionally compelling. Also the sexual tension is Hot! Hot! Hot! So I think Helen and I are gonna have some fun over the next week as she prepares her second chapter. I feel quite priveleged actually, getting to be the first to read it.

Now, having said that... And sending out my congratulations to all the other finalists too...

I know for a fact that there are going to be a lot of disappointed writers out there. Almost a thousand of you to be precise. And to you I say this. Firstly, I'm fairly sure that given the quality of the entries this year, there will be quite a few additional peeps getting contacted by the eds, because while the competition is great for making a big media splash, giving those talented 21 that extra boost and showing everyone how hard it is to write an M&B, the search for new talent is an ongoing one and the eds will have seen a lot of other talent here which deserves a follow-up.

And for those who don't get that extra contact, do not despair either. Yes, you're absolutely entitled to feel disappointed. You've put effort into your entries and it's taken a considerable amount of courage to put it out there and it's always tough when it seems that you've got nothing to show for it...

But actually, you have got something to show for it. You've made that first step. You've hopefully got some useful feedback. And most importantly of all you've taken the knock and kept on going (because you are going to keep writing, right!). And that's something every writer needs to do, both published and unpublished. Because this is a hard business, particularly for creative sensitive types like us writers! And believe me, they'll be lots more knocks that you have to negotiate along the way, so learning to laugh in the face of disappointment, and rejection (Ha, take that adversity!) and never lose faith in your ability to learn and grow as a writer is a very valueable thing.

And if you want some more heartfelt advice, check out these great blog posts from Jessica Hart and Donna Alward.

Last but not least, I wanted to flag up my Goodreads giveaway of On the First Night of Christmas (see huge great badge in sidebar). There's only one more day to enter and I've got four copies to give away. So do give it a go if you haven't already. That said, my new website is almost finished (honestly) and will hopefully be up in the next week or two, at which point I'll be doing another comp to win a copy here.

13 comments:

Jen Drogell said...

Thanks Heidi. This was inspiring and means a lot. NV was a great experience. And you devoted so much of your time to the writers so thank you for that. Back to the pen. Jen

Caroline said...

Great advice Heidi. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Caroline x

Jill said...

Heidi, I think you and so many other Harlequin authors are giving great advice today on how to handle this. I will admit I ran to the freezer for a Drumstick (I believe you would call it a Cornetto ;-)) when I read the news and saw I was not on the list. I hadn't expected to final, but there is always that spark of hope. . .
I ate it slowly in front of the computer, vegged a bit and mostly felt relieved that the waiting was over. There are always more opportunities around the corner.

Heidi Rice said...

Hi Jen, Jill and Caroline,

Thanks so much for your comments, it's always good to know that your advice is appreciated. And it's also good to hear that you had positive experiences with NV. With over 1000 entries and only 21 finalists that's ridiculously long odds, so I don't think anyone should feel too bad if they didn't go through.. Although I do kinda like Jill's cure for the NV blues! Frankly in my book any excuse to have a cornetto is a good one!!

H x

Mel Jolley said...

Fab post! I got a goody bag, made friends and had nothing but positive feedback. I had a great time and would do it again, but right now I'm just happy to get back to the business of writing. I wasnt disappointed because i didn't expect to get through, but just hoped. Best of luck to your mentee Heidi and the other 20 finalists, good on them they deserve this. x m
ps sorry if there's typos using my phone!

Julia Broadbooks said...

Like you said Heidi, there were a large number of great chapters up this year. I guess because of that I'm not destroyed that I didn't make the cut. It's a lot easier to be defeated by a worthy opponent.

I got lots of nice comments on my chapter and I'll finish and submit it - whether I make the call back list or not.

Heidi Rice said...

That's brilliant news Mel and Julia, I'm so chuffed you saw the positives in the experience. The truth is the end goal is to get published, and competitions like these can help you move closer to that goal whatever the outcome. Embrace it and then move on I say, your writing is what really matters in the end...

Oh dear, I can hear a quote from my favourite book of all time, Dr Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go coming on!!

Annie Seaton said...

Great post Heidi. I found the NV competition uplifting. There are SO many good writers out there. M&B will have a field day knowing there are so many waiting in the wings! I thought the quality was outstanding.

Juanita Kees said...

Thanks Heidi, great advice. I loved the M&B NV experience. What it showed me is that there are people out there who do want to read my work. That alone made me feel like a winner.

The talent in the comp was amazing and the top 21 deserve to be there. The next round is going to be awesome!

Susie Medwell said...

Lovely post Heidi. The competition was a great experience, I was thrilled with the feedback I got and the opportunity to meet so many new friends, published & aspiring writers. Looking forward to reading the chapter 2's.

Heidi Rice said...

Hi Annie, Juanita and Susie,

Ya see that's fantastic... I'm so glad you got so much from the experience and it has spurred you on with your writing. What I think is great about NV is that it validates you as a writer once you have entered. It says to the world 'I'm serious about this and I'm taking steps to make it happen' and that's important!!

Well done! And the very best of luck with your writing in the future.

Kathryn Neale said...

Aww Heidi, you and other authors have been so sweet and supportive during NV. It's meant lots to loads of us - and given us fab professional insight we'd never have had if our fingers hadn't hit that send button. So am not envying the 21 (that pressure!) but am so rooting for them. Meanwhile, much to revise now and MUCH more direction! Thanks to you all for being so generous!
Kathryn

Linda Soper said...

I agree with what you say Heidi. People should never give up if they want to write. I was going to enter the New voices competition. Then bang I started a course with Shirley Jump, who writes. Well telling her my idea, I needed some corrections. that altered the whole chapter. So I will enter through the normal route. There is always going to be chances for publication and if you really do want publication you will move heaven and earth to get it. I feel sorry that everyone who has entered and got as far as the top twenty can`t all win. But I am sure that there will be many who will get writing contracts. I wish them all the very best of luck.