While I decide what to do I submit a couple of articles to a magazine and to my amazement and excitement- they publish them. (I don’t think anything will ever match the excitement of that first acceptance.)
In the meantime I learn that Mills and Boon are to hold a long weekend course on how to write for Mills and Boon. It’s in a pink castle in the north of Scotland so it seems like fate. I am first to book and end up with a fabulous room in the castle turret (four poster bed included.) If I achieve nothing else I tell myself that the setting will come in handy for research.
There are around fifteen of us and two editors. We are a mixed crowd but we all get on immediately. A shared desire to write has that effect I have learned, and I still see some of the other participants every now and again.
Anyway we had to submit a chapter in advance and we are divided into two groups for feedback. My feedback will be with Joanne Grant but not until day two of the course. In the meantime, we go through some exercises re what Mills and Boon are looking for and we are giving some opening chapters by other authors as examples. That is when I have an eureka moment. One of the medical authors used as an example has an opening scene where the hero and heroine meet when they are being fired upon. I love it! I hadn’t appreciated how diverse and different writers could be in medicals.
Eventually my feedback one-to-one arrives. Joanne tells me she loves my opening chapter. I keep waiting for the but- but it never comes!
Jo wants to see the next two chapters and I am thrilled. Only one problem- I haven’t written them.