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Third Time's the Charm


When my writing career kicked off in 2013, it was thanks to Harlequin Mills and Boon and two books.

I entered the first book, Here Comes the Bridesmaid, in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) competition, and that resulted in a two-book contract with Harlequin’s new-ish Kiss line. I simultaneously entered the second book, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, in a separate Harlequin/Wattpad competition, and that resulted in a contract with the new Harlequin E line.

Thrilled, and thinking my future was assured, I settled into a full-time writing career.

But publishing is a fickle business, and Harlequin Kiss and Harlequin E were both discontinued almost before the ink on my contracts was dry, which meant I had some fast and hard thinking to do.

Here Comes the Bridesmaid – a standalone book – was where it needed to be, but Signed, Sealed, Delivered (renamed The Contract for publication) was always intended to be the first in a trilogy, and I knew that if I left it where it was I’d never find a publisher to take on books 2 and 3.

Long story short: I asked for my rights back to The Contract (which I’ll now refer to as Book 1 to avoid title confusion!) and thankfully, that came to pass.

By that stage I’d had Wanting Mr Wrong and Escaping Mr Right accepted by Random House Australia for their new Random Romance line. Happily for me there was room in the line for Book 1 as well, so I forged ahead with Book 2 in the series, intending it to join Book 1 as a Random Romance, and finished it just in time…for Random Romance to stop acquiring.

Did I say publishing was fickle?

Another rights reversion followed, leaving me with two options for keeping together what was now a duet comprised of one book that hadn’t yet had a fighting chance to find its feet, and one brand new story:

1) approach another traditional publisher open to considering previously-published material (my preferred option); and

2) self-publish both books.

I was afraid I wouldn’t succeed with my preferred option since Book 1 had been published not once but twice, but I knew I had to try because – not to put too fine a point on it – when it comes to publishing, I suck at everything except the actual writing.

And thus commenced a period of intense cyber-stalking which led me to HQ Digital, whose authors I admired and whose cover treatments I adored. I became convinced that my particular brand of fast-paced, sexy humour – which Book 2 had taken out of category romance territory and into single title terrain – would be right at home there.

I therefore sent both books to them, crossing fingers, toes and everything else that Book 1 was a good enough read for its history not to ruin its own or Book 2’s chances – and when I was offered a contract for both books I was nothing short of euphoric.

But looking at Book 1 with fresh eyes, I realized that if I really wanted to take advantage of my good fortune, I should turn what had been a great category length romance into something bigger and better – and so I set about extending and deepening and polishing the story.

So happy am I with the end result, I’m now persuaded that Book 1’s chequered past was a blessing in disguise, leading me to this moment, when it could put on its lipstick as Kiss Don’t Tell and sashay forth to take its rightful place in the world – ravishingly romantic and oh-so-perfectly matched to Book 2, The Dating Game.


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