February 14, 2014

Call Story

By Sun Chara

Last year, 2012 I entered the Harlequin Fast Track contest when the editors read and respond within a couple of weeks instead of three months or longer. Everybody had gotten their response from the editors, but I, and a couple of others hadn’t.

I waited, one week, two weeks, three weeks…when I still didn’t hear anything, I emailed one of the editor’s, and she was surprised I hadn’t heard because they’d requested a partial of Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella.  So, I sent it in.  I waited some more.  Then, it was time for the Harlequin global contest, SoYouThinkYouCanWrite ’12, where writers from around the world participate; the prize is a publishing contract with Harlequin…yes it can change a life for the good! J  Readers, editors, and the public got to vote online for these entries. I got the second most votes and likes in the contest, but still the editors had the final say. 

Out of 700 entries they chose the top 28 finalists…I made it on this list with Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella. Yay! Then it went to the top 3 (which I didn’t get to), then to the one winner, the lovely Jennifer Hayward!  However, the editors were scouting for manuscripts and a bunch were bought from across the contest, but not necessarily from the top 28.  I hadn’t heard about mine so I went online to the Harlequin Forums and asked on the Editor thread if they could trace my submission, because I hadn’t heard either from the Fast Track nor the SYTYCW contest. (Through all this I had a good feeling about Manhattan…)

I got a nice email from an editorial assistant saying that Charlotte/editor loved the story, voice etc. and she was looking at it.  I waited some more. Finally, I heard from another editor that my SYTYCW top 28 entry was turned down, something about it had too much story. (what?!)  But hey, I roll with the punches!  Shortly after, I heard that my Fast Track entry (same ms, as in sytycw), the one that Charlotte loved, was also turned down. But I could send them another story.  I sent them another partial and this too was turned down, but I could still send another.  Hmm!  It didn’t feel right somehow (what I didn’t know at the time was that Charlotte had left Harlequin, and Manhattan... must’ve got lost in the shuffle for both Fast Track and SYTYCW’12), but I continued on… 

One day about mid July, 2013 I was on the Harlequin forums, and I came across Lori Connelly’s post that she’d just sold her western historical romance to another publisher, but because it was a Harlequin forum she couldn’t name the other publisher; but we could go on her blog to read her ‘call story’.  I read that the editor who bought Lori’s story was Charlotte, the same editor who had expressed interest in Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella.

But where did Charlotte go?! Lori wrote that another writer on the Harlequin forums, Bronwyn had suggested that she try to track down the editor/Charlotte who liked her work and find out where she went.  Lori did, sent in her story, Charlotte remembered her, and offered her a two-book deal. Yay, Lori!  And thank you, Bronwyn!

Aha!!!  Do I, don’t I?  I figured okay, I’ll send Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella to Charlotte at Harper Impulse, the digital branch in the UK for Harper Collins, one of the big five pubs.  Maybe she’ll remember me, and if not, it’s worth a go anyway.  Charlotte did remember, called 8:00 a.m. July 25th/Christmas in July! She offered me a three book contract, and then she spoke words of wonder: 'I really feel it's meant to come to me having picked you out of SYTYCW!'  I thought, wow!
SUN CHARA, a schoolteacher turned actor/writer, is a member of Romance Writers of America and Screen Actors Guild, and has been writing for over twelve years. A three-book deal with Harper Impulse has launched her global career! Manhattan Millionaire's Cinderella, Winner! First Place! JABBIC/Judge A Book By Its Cover-Readers Choice/contemporary series-Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella started it all…then came The Price of Passion, and on July 2014, The Italian’s Runaway Principessa hits global shelves.  Globetrotting for lore while keeping tabs on Hollywood leads, Sun loves the challenge of creating stories for book and screen. - See more at:  Social Media:

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