(scroll down for update)
Approximately ten days ago I was doing my best to fight off flu. I was working on the book I wanted to enter So You Think You Can Write, Harlequin Mills & Boons competition where the winner gets a book contract with them. I am now ineligible! (I'm sorry, I'm still struggling to come to terms with being a bona-fide HMB author and keep squealing at random intervals). Having entered New Voices in 2010 and 2011, I know all about the craziness that can take you when entering a competition of this magnitude, and while I am relieved I can no longer enter, a part of me is jealous that I'm missing out on all the camaraderie that occurs between the contestants. At least it means I can read the entries without constantly comparing the writing and storyline with my own and trying to second guess the judges. I can read them simply for the pleasure of reading, and it really has been a pleasure. For me, the only disappointment with the competition is the lack of facility to leave comments on the entries - there are some fantastic entries out there and I would have loved to shout it out to the world what I loved about them. Instead, I am providing the links to the ones I particularly enjoyed.
So, without any further ado, here are my recommended reads:
Joanne Cleary (Catherine Coles): The Midwife's Reluctant Family
Aimee Duffy: Flirting With Trouble
Amalie Berlin: Mountain Man MD
Joanne Ryves (Jo Fereday): The Sweetest Gig of All
Fiona Marsden: After the Funeral
Jennifer Drogell: The Divorce Party
Incy Black: Sins of the Fathers
Jennifer Stroka (Jennifer Faye): Her Cowboy Hero
Update 2nd October 2012:
Unfortunately I have not had the time to read many more entries but here are a couple more of my recommended reads:
Jennifer Satterfield (Edie Danford): Maid by Day
Jane O'Reilly: Once a Bad Girl
I really wish I had more time to read some more - unfortunately stupid life keeps getting in the way of my reading pleasure! There's a few I want to read tomorrow but I can't guarantee I'll be able to put any more recs up. If anyone wants to post the link to their entry in the comments below then please feel free and hopefully your chapters should find some new readers.
To those of you who don't make it into the top 28, please, try not to be too dejected (it's hard, I know). I entered New Voices 2010 and 2011 and got nowhere. Nada. The slush pile worked for me and it can work for you too.
I wish you all the very best of luck.