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Harlequin’s Search for a Killer Voice

Announcing! The Search for a Killer Voice!

This is Katy Lee, and as many of you know, I sold to Love Inspired Suspense on one of their pitch contests. I have since gone on to sell two more books and hopefully many, many more to come. Seeing as I am a “success” with these contests, I can’t help but be a cheerleader for the latest and greatest contest, The Search for the Killer Voice. If you are an Inspirational Romantic Suspense writer, I do hope you will give it a shot and send your first page in.

Now, here are the details:

The Search for a Killer Voice photo

Love Inspired Suspense is on the search for some new superstar authors, and we want you! If you think you’ve got the chops to wow us with your high intensity, fast paced inspirational romantic suspense manuscript, we encourage you to pitch it to us in The Search for a Killer Voice!

For this pitch opportunity, Love Inspired Suspense editors Emily RodmellElizabeth MazerShana AsaroGiselle Regus and Emily Krupin will be on the lookout for fresh talent. We invite you to show us that you’re the total package in these four stages:

1. Voice—Demonstrate that you’ve got the voice to keep readers on the edge of their seats by submitting your first page. Authors who wow us will move on to Stage 2.
2. Plot—Show us that your plotting skills are as strong as your voice by submitting your synopsis. Authors that have an amazing plot and conflict will move on to Stage 3.
3. Substance—Prove that the first page wasn’t a fluke by offering us a bit more of what you got and submitting three chapters. Authors who keep the story racing along will move on to Stage 4.
4. Full package—Convince us you’re the real deal by submitting your full manuscript. The sky’s the limit for these authors. A contract could be within your reach if you bring it all together into a rockin’ Love Inspired Suspense manuscript.

If you make it through, you could be the next contracted author for Love Inspired Suspense. But we won’t leave you to do it all on your own. We’ll be sharing helpful master class blog posts along the way telling you exactly what is required in a “killer” Love Inspired Suspense manuscript. And once we decide who will be getting a synopsis request, each editor will choose a team of authors. So you’ll know exactly who is looking at your book throughout the stages, and you can ask questions on our individual bio threads. Every author who makes it to stage 4 will receive an initial decision (contract, reject or revision request) on their submissions by August 8.

Here’s our timeline: 
ROUND ONE
February 12
 – START WITH A BANG round. Submit the first page of your inspirational romantic suspense manuscript targeted toward Love Inspired Suspense to LISPitch2014@harlequin.ca from today until March 14.
March 14 – All first pages must be in house. Editorial team will review the entries over the next 2 weeks and choose the most exciting voices to move on to the next stage.

ROUND TWO
March 28
 – HOLD ON TIGHT round. Editors will announce which entries will be moving on to the next round. Chosen entries will be selected by the 5 editors to form our teams. The authors on the teams will be invited to submit their synopsis by April 7 to the email box.
April 7 – All synopses must be in house. Editors will review the submissions from their team over the next 3 weeks and choose the ones whose plots back up the potential in their voice to move on to the next stage.

ROUND THREE
April 28
 – REEL US IN round. Editors will review the synopses and announce which authors on our teams will be going to the next round. Qualifying authors will be invited to submit their first three chapters.
May 8 – All entries of the first three chapters must be in house. Editors will review the submissions from their team over the next 3 weeks and narrow down the ones that maintain the intensity we saw in the first page to move on to the final stage.

ROUND FOUR
May 29
 – SEAL THE DEAL round. Editors will announce which of our team members will be going on to the final round. Qualifying authors will be invited to submit their complete manuscript. Authors who are not moving on will privately receive personalized feedback. Authors who are moving on will have until June 9 to submit their full manuscripts.
June 9 – All full manuscripts must be in house. Editors will review the submissions from their team and decide next steps. During the next 60 days, decisions will be made to contract, send a revision letter, or reject each of the stories. All authors who submit full manuscripts will receive notification of our decision within this time frame.

FINAL RESULTS!!
August 8
 – We will announce the results of the pitch in a blog post that wraps up the pitch, shares our thoughts on the highs and lows, highlights any sales and gives stats on the results for the full manuscript submissions.

Sound exciting? If you think you could rock this pitch, get ready to show us your stuff. Read our team bios, the info on formatting guidelines, and the blog on an amazing first page, then start those books. Be sure to follow the guidelines for Love Inspired Suspense. Only one entry per author, please. Deadlines are tight, so keep writing while you’re waiting to hear back. And if your book is complete now, don’t forget to tell us in your email. You never know. We might want to pounce on your killer voice right away.  Ready, set, GO!

So What’s Your Story? by Katy Lee

You have one, you know. A story. We all do. But so few are willing to share, or if you’re anything like me, maybe you have to learn how to “tell” your story.

I’ll be the first to admit that telling my story can end up sounding like a broken record. I find myself repeating the same sentence to people twice—or more, because I’m not sure of what to say or how to get from Point A to Point B.

Speaking is so much harder than writing for me, where I can take all the time in the world to choose my words carefully and perfect their impact through rewrites. Or in other words, practice. But as my daughter says, not just practice. Perfect practice. (You have to know what you’re doing, so you’re not practicing it wrong. Unlearning something is harder than learning the correct way from the beginning. And it saves you a lot of time.)

So let me give you the formula so you can get started practicing your story the right way the first time. It you’re a writer then it’s really nothing you haven’t heard before. In fact, the formula for telling a story follows the same rules you would follow when writing a story.

•What’s the conflict?

•Who’s the hero?

•Where is the suspense?

•How will the conflict resolve?

•What’s the point?

•Why does it matter to me?

Just think of how people would hang on your every word if you introduced your story in this format instead of stuttering your way through, or as in my case, repeating whole sentences. If it doesn’t look as though you have a point to make because you’ve been droning on for 20 minutes with no point in sight, then you’ve lost your listener.

And that could be bad.

Perhaps you are on a job interview and you’re asked to describe a past experience and how you handled it. If you know your formula for telling a good story, you just might get that job. Especially if you can convey that all seemed lost before you saved the day.

Regardless of who you are speaking with, people want to know how your life experiences have shaped you. They want to know if they can relate to you and are looking for areas to try to connect. Plus, you never know where telling your story can help another person deal with something similar going on in their life. Not getting your story out well could mean a lost opportunity to help another person.

Holding back your story could also mean hindering healing in your own life.

The Unlocked Secret: Telling your story helps you make sense of your life — why certain events happened the way they did. You can examine what has happened to and through you. It will help you make sense of who you are and can lead to a greater confidence and understanding of self.

So take the time to learn your story. Be ready to share for when someone asks you, “So what’s your story?”

Question: Can you tell your story in three sentences or less? Practice it, and feel free to share. I really want to hear it. Really I do.

Amazing Opportunity: Women of Faith holds a writing contest every year. They want to know your story. The winner gets a publishing contract. Check it out here.

And thank you for your TWEETS and Shares!