Please welcome my guest, Mira Lyn Kelly!

#

All about “The Call”

If you’re an aspiring author, you’ll know what I mean when I say we all have fantasies about “The Call.” Some may be vague and general, others elaborate and detailed. Mine were definitely of the latter variety, and usually followed by self-directed mental disclaimers about realistic expectations and directives to spend my creative energy on more productive endeavors…Like actually writing the stories that might result in such success.

I’m Mira Lyn Kelly and on August 28th, 2009 I got “The Call.” And it was even better than I’d dreamed it would be. Here’s how it happened.

I love reading and my bookshelves are overflowing with romances of every genre and variety. Thrillers, Suspense, Regency, Paranormal, Smokin’ Hot, you name it–if it’s on my shelf there’s a romance worked in. And Category is one of my favorites. For me, they’re one-day-reads. Intense love stories packed into concise packages where every page promises spectacular interaction between your hero and heroine, fast ramping conflicts and leave-me-sighing-with-pleasure Happily Ever Afters.

These were the stories I wanted to write. So when Harlequin Presents/Modern Heat announced their Instant Seduction Contest (back in February 2008), I saw it for the don’t-miss opportunity it was. Editors for the line were going to be evaluating the entries and 1st place won an editor for a year! Wow. Great way to skip the slush pile, right? Yes!

So I started by making sure I was familiar with the line and read pretty much everything they had available…Such hard work, lol. I know! I also took advantage of all the tips and tools Harlequin provides on their website and through posts in the iheartpresents blog. I picked an idea that fit the line and went to work.

Proofed and polished, in my entry went.

When the contest winners were announced, I was not among them. Disappointing, but I’d learned a lot from the process and wasn’t about to give up. I read the winners’ entries and what the editors had to say about them, trying to take away as much information as possible. I had a million ideas and was ready to get back on the horse.

And then I got a letter. A request for the full manuscript from my entry! Though I hadn’t placed in the contest itself, the editors liked my voice and wanted to see the rest of the story.

When I sent in my manuscript, “the Call” fantasies really kicked into high gear. But when the first call came in, it wasn’t to offer a contract. It was actually better than that. It was direction. An editor taking the time to discuss my manuscript, my writing style, what worked and what did not. It was eye opening and informative and an incredible opportunity to improve my work. One I was most definitely interested in taking advantage of. Even though it meant basically rewriting the second half of my book. Ouch.

The revisions were tough, but in the end I was thrilled with the changes. The characters were more believable. The conflict more intense. The story more engaging. I hoped it was enough. I sent it back in and waited. And waited. Checking my email every day to see if my editor (I’d begun to think of her as mine already!) would schedule another call.

Then a few weeks ago, the phone rang out of the blue. There was that lovely English accent coming through the line, saying everything I’d ever hoped to hear. My heart went into overdrive, the tears came. and I made some rather unprofessional and loud squealing noises that hopefully didn’t result in any permanent hearing loss for my editor. This was “the Call.” A two book deal with the first releasing May 2010 in the UK. Yay!!

What’s wonderful about Harlequin is that the opportunities just keep coming. There’s another writing contest going on now, so if Presents/Modern Heat is a line you’re interested in, take advantage. Here’s the link to the contest for 2009 and good luck!

Thank you so much, Victoria, for including me in your lovely blog. It’s been an exciting ride and I’m thrilled to have the chance to share the details.

Mira Lyn Kelly

#

Thanks, Mira! I’m looking forward to reading your book in May!

Stop by tomorrow for a guest post from Silhouette Nocturne author Lori Devoti.