Well, latest update: I had a crisis with the Battle for Love.  Hence I’ve not written up any news of progress since my first report (which was utterly ages ago sorry if one or two of you folks out there amongst the 65 million had actually read my post and were waiting with baited breath  for the next instalment).  It needed a lot of re-working to make it of the calibre fit for the M&B judges. I mean, I now know that Penny Jordan herself (rather than Penny Jordan masquerading as someone else? That didn’t make sense…) is one of the judges! M&B aficionados will know the importance of that fact. In short, this needs to be my best effort. As an aside from this point, they have chosen a random man from Heat magazine to be judge. I doubt he has ever read a romance novel in his life (I do hope Mr Sam Delaney proves me wrong and writes a sniffy comment saying that he is a voracious M&B reader)  If they need to do politically correct, equalities, have-a-man-on-the-panel stuff, what about good old Alan Titchmarsh, the apparent king of romance?!  

So anyway back to the story, I do have something up my sleeve which isn’t my arm.  I’ve been working on a ‘sheikh’ story for a while – apparently stories about sheikhs and greek tycoons are really popular so my reckoning is if you want to win a writing competition, try to write something people like to read. One of my old favourites is ‘The Sultan’s Favourite’ by Helen Brooks so I know where people are coming from (a recommended romance cheese-fest). My story is less cosmopolitan than that, which is set in Istanbul and heavy on the sensual spices and exotic markets. However, mine is set in a glamorous racing stables. There is corruption, intrigue, and of course loads of romance!! The New Voices competition is now open and I’ve submitted my first chapter so please go to the competition website http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/ to read it . Obviously the subtext of that last sentence is me BEGGING anyone to vote for it so that on my next  car insurance application I can say I’m a mills and boon writer rather than a local government officer who works in a shed. Let’s do some expectation management: The Sheikh’s Virgin Racing Bride certainly isn’t Man Booker (well the romance equivalent) material but it’s my first real attempt.  If you do take a look you may be surprised by how many people have submitted entries and how many people are actually reading them. Even I was and I love all this romance stuff.

The countdown to the finish of the first round is 27th September when the M&B powerhouses announce the people through to the next round. Remember, if you vote for me I may not have to work in a shed for much longer (it is true, I do work in a glorified shed of a council office, which is shared with rodents and the largest spiders ever – except those really nasty ones in Australia the size of plates = feel pity).  I may blog jubilantly on that glorious judgement day or I may do a proper sulk and stay away.