Feel the Heat Writing Competition Official Rules

These are all the full rules for the Feel the Heat Modern Heat Writing Competition. Naturally, the names of the winners will also be posted on the blog!


1. To enter, submit by e-mail a Microsoft Word file of a typed, double spaced, first chapter (no greater than 5,000 words) of a story you have written which is suitable for the Modern Heat series, and a synopsis (no greater than two pages in length) of the complete novel, along with your name, address, e-mail address and phone number to: feeltheheat@hmb.co.uk

2.  All submissions must be in English and be received no later than September 15th, 2008. Story concept must be original and must not have won a previous prize/award nor have been previously submitted, reproduced or published.

3.  Entries will be judged by a panel of members of the Harlequin Mills & Boon editorial staff, based on the following criteria:
• Voice
• Content
• Writing Skills

in equal measure.
In the event of a tie, duplicate prizes will be awarded. Decisions of the judges are final.

4. Submissions will not be returned and may be used for promotional purposes only. All rights of the submitted work will remain with the author.  Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, at its discretion, may request to see one or more full manuscripts from contest entrants after the close of the competition. No responsibility is assumed for lost, late, illegible, incomplete, non-compliant, non-delivered or misdirected submissions. 

  5.   This contest is open to entrants who are 18 years of age or older and is void wherever prohibited by law; all applicable laws and regulations apply.  Employees and immediate family members of Harlequin Enterprises Ltd and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, including contracted authors, their parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and all other agencies, entities and persons connected with the use, marketing or conduct of this Contest are not eligible to enter.  By acceptance of a prize, the winner consents to use of his/her name, photograph or other likeness for purposes of advertising, trade and promotion on behalf of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and Harlequin Mills & Boon, without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

6. Winners will be determined no later than September 30th, 2008, and will be notified by e-mail.  Winners will be required to sign and return a Publicity Release and Affidavit of Eligibility certifying his/her eligibility and that the submitted chapter and story outline are his/her own original work, and it has not won a previous prize/award nor has it previously been submitted/reproduced/published, within 10 days of notification.  Non-compliance within that time period may result in disqualification and an alternate winner will be selected. Harlequin Enterprises Ltd and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, their parents, affiliates and subsidiaries are not responsible for errors in the electronic or printed presentation of this Contest.  Winners agree that Harlequin Enterprises Limited and Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited, their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of their prize.

7. Prizes:

1st – winner will be awarded the services of a Harlequin Mills & Boon editor for one year [1st October 2008 – 30th September 2009], who will offer advice and guidance on contest entry, plus subsequent, previously mutually agreed submissions of partial or full manuscripts aimed at the Modern Heat series. 

2nd  – consultations for two runners-up on their first chapter and synopsis aimed at the Modern Heat series (50000 words) with a Harlequin Mills & Boon editor.
Only one prize per person.  No cash alternatives.

8. For a list of winners (available after 1st October 2008), send a self-addressed, stamped
envelope to:

Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited
18-24 Paradise Road
Surrey TW9 1SR
United Kingdom

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Comments ( 35 )
  1. Madeline
    August 4, 2008 at 5:27 am

    This is exciting!

    So it’s very similar to the Instant Seduction competition. Fantastic, that makes things easier 🙂

    Just to check, I assume that the synopsis is two pages in length – double spaced, not single spaced?

    Thank you again for this opportunity!
    Kind regards from Down Under,

  2. Joanne Carr
    August 4, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Yes, two pages double-spaced Madeline – it’s easier on the eye 🙂

    Best wishes


  3. Tren
    August 4, 2008 at 8:46 am


    Can we still submit our chapter and synopsis even if our manuscript is incomplete?

    Thank you.


  4. Joanne Carr
    August 4, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Hi Tren – yes, that’s fine!

  5. SJgirl
    August 4, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I entered the Instant Seduction contest aiming for Presents (I actually hadn’t read many of those, I entered to flex my writing muscles) and a few months later I received a compliments slip from an editor suggesting that my style is most suited to Modern Heat.

    So since then I’ve read some Modern Heats, and am now seventy pages into a manuscript for MH, planning to submit the first three chapters once I’ve finished writing it some time in September. However now that there’s this Modern Heat contest, I’m no longer sure what to do. Should I enter the contest or concentrate on the fact that there’s already an editor who wants to see my work?

    Thank you for any advice,

  6. emerald
    August 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Summer,

    Great question! I’m in a similar position except that my voice is most suited to Sweet/Tender. I’m about as far along as you in my ms to submit with the compliments slip.

    But since my Instant Seduction chapter was taken from a completed ms that did the slow-burn thing “started out sweet and became fiery as it went on,” I still feel compelled to write a MH. So, im my spare time 🙂 I’m writing another (hotter) chapter so I can enter the Feel The Heat comp.


  7. pbmrsd
    August 4, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    It states in the rules that the chapter submitted may be no more than 5000 words.

    Do you want us to use the computer word count or the formula one page=250 words? I have a 20 page chapter to submit and if we go by the computer count it is too long. If I use the formula 20 pages x 250 words=5000 it meets the guidelines.

    Thanks again for this great opportunity

  8. Joanne Carr
    August 5, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Hi Summer – if you have a comp slip from an editor, then you do already have that editor’s interest, so I would work hard on that submission and send it in to the editor in question. In the meantime, all the blogs and advice for the competition here can only help you further!

    Obviously this doesn’t stop any of you entering the competition with a different submission if you wanted to! But you may want to mention in the email you send, that you have been working with a particular editor.

    In terms of word count, pbmrsd, we do tend to go by computer word count, but don’t worry, at 20 pages, you really can’t be that far over the mark! To be fair to everyone else, we do really need to stick to the 5000 word rule. So, make sure your chapter is as tight as possible – you’ll be amazed where you can trim words from sometimes. Think of it as a good exercise in revising and reviewing your work! 🙂

    Best wishes


  9. pbmrsd
    August 5, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for the info on the word count Joanne.
    I fully appreciate the need for a limit. Some publishers and contests go by the computer count and some go by the number of pages so I figured I had better ask. I will be busy doing some major cutting.


  10. SJgirl
    August 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks, Joanne. I’m going to keep at my current ms and I will definitely keep reading the advice from the published authors. There’s nothing like learning from the best.

    For everyone who’s entering the contest, if you’re at all hesitating, remember, if nothing else you may get some positive feedback that helps your confidence. I know every little bit helps me. It also helps to hear where you’re going off track so you’re more aware of it for next time.

    Robyn, good luck to you on both your ms for the compliments slip and your entry for the contest, I’m sure if your last entry “became fiery as it went on” you’ll find a way this time to turn up the heat right from the start.


  11. Aleka Nakis
    August 5, 2008 at 10:10 pm


    It’s Aleka from the States- we met in Chichester:-)

    No specific question. Just wanted to say thanks so much for this contest. I’m so happy about it.

    I’ve been reading MH since I’ve returned. (All I could get my hands on, but it isn’t too much over here at this time. Plus, to make it harder, sometimes titles change when the books cross the Atlantic…lol) Being a Presents fan for a long time, I can now see the difference. I really enjoying the line, and I believe it would be so much fun to write.

    While I was waiting for the official rules to post, an idea and characters fermented in my head. I love them already.

    Well, I’m off to cut the synopsis in half.

    Thanks again!


  12. Tamelia Tumlin
    August 5, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Hi all!

    I’m so excited about this contests. It sounds like fun!

    I do have a couple of questions though. As I am in the US I can’t seem to figure out which titles are Modern Heat and which ones are regular Presents. Could someone direct me to a few titles that are out now here in the states?

    I’m afraid that if I work on a storyline for this it might be more of a Presents rather than Modern Heat, since I’m not sure what the difference is. I’m guessing the characters ages, that arrogant feel that Presents has and the revenge plot lines, but I may be way off base here. Please clue me in on the feel of these stories. Thanks sooooo much.

    Also, I know that conflict isn’t arguing, but in the few Presents novels I’ve been reading I do see a lot of that (along with underlying conflicts)so is this the norm with Modern Heat too?

    Tamelia who’s still psyched about the contest!

  13. Tamelia Tumlin
    August 6, 2008 at 12:40 am

    I don’t suppose the Modern Heats in the US are the Presents with the slightly differnt cover(light background around the circle pic)? The ones that have Presents Extra on them?

  14. bburnham
    August 6, 2008 at 12:52 am


    Here’s a list of books at eharlequin.com that were Modern Heat/Extra in the UK.

    Kate Hardy One Night, One Baby
    Kate Hardy In Bed with Her Italian Boss (Originally: Breakfast at Giovanni’s)
    **Anna Cleary Taken by the Maverick Millionaire
    **Ally Blake The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal
    **Heidi Rice The Tycoon’s Very Personal Assistant
    Heidi Rice The Millionaire’s Blackmail Bargain (Originally: The Mile High Club) Nominated for a RITA
    **Robyn Grady The Australian Millionaire’s Love Child (Originally: A Wild Night & A Marriage Ultimatum)
    Natalie Anderson His Mistress by Arrangement (Originally: Bedded by Arrangement)
    Anne Oliver Marriage at the Millionaire’s Command (Originally: One Night Before Marriage)
    Trish Wylie Her Bedroom Surrender (Originally: Breathless!)

    **Released in UK in 2008

    I am pretty sure this is a correct list. You can always double check by going to the author’s website. I hope this helps. Good luck to everyone who enters!


  15. Joanne Carr
    August 6, 2008 at 4:29 am

    Hi Aleka – of course I remember you from Chichester, it was lovely to meet with you! I’m glad you are enjoying the MH line and are excited about the contest 🙂

    Tamelia, I would recommend having a read of the blogs so far on MH and reading the comments too as this will help you get the feel of MH. And keep checking back, there will be more blogs on all sorts of topics from MH authors and eds in the coming weeks! However, (and I bet you can guess what I’m going to say!) reading the books is the best way to get a feel for the series – Barbara has listed a good number of them for you!

    MH is published in regular Presents, not Presents Extra and we have our own set of miniseries such as ‘Nights of Passion’, Undressed by the Boss’ and ‘Kept for His Pleasure’.

    Hope all this helps! And can I just say – I’m just LOVING all the enthusiasm here! 🙂

    Best wishes


  16. emerald
    August 6, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Hi Summer,

    thanks for the encouragement. I hope your ms is a dream to work on and just what the editors are looking for.


  17. Tamelia Tumlin
    August 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you soooo much Barbara and Joanne! I’m heading to Wal-mart now to (hopefully) find some of those titles. I can’t wait to read them. Then, I’m going to try (try being the operative word here since I’m pretty much brain dead after having to pack up my classroom and move to another one down the hall- NOT FUN-LOL) to get the creative juices flowing. Thanks again for the info.

  18. Tamelia Tumlin
    August 6, 2008 at 9:43 pm


    The Bad News…

    I went to Wal-mart. I couldn’t find any of the books on the above list (most were probably out earlier) I did pick up one by Lucy Monroe- Forbidden: The Billionaire’s Virgin Mistress, but I don’t know if it’s a Modern Heat. It sounded good though. 🙂

    The Good news….
    Most all of the Presents were gone. So sales are GREAT! 🙂

    I’ll check back when the August set arrives.

  19. Aleka Nakis
    August 7, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Kate Walker told me that ‘in general’, the MH releases are the last two on the monthly page of e-Harlequin Presents. (Maybe one of the insiders can verify this in case I remember wrong.) I then compared those titles to previous releases on the M&B site in the UK.
    I had one in my tbr pile and was able to get a couple as e-books. I used a different site because of the formatting required.
    Hope that helps.

  20. Aleka Nakis
    August 7, 2008 at 11:40 am

    That two page (DOUBLE spaced) synopsis did me in. lol But, I made it fit. I cut seven and a half double spaced pages to two– exactly. Had to use smaller words. lol
    I’d better press send before I find a typo that throws the text on a third page!

    Are you accepting more that one entry per author?

  21. Joanne Carr
    August 8, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Only one entry per person so make sure it is your very best work!! 🙂

  22. pbmrsd
    August 8, 2008 at 9:59 am


    Most of the books listed were from previous months. If you want to get any of the books (they are all great BTW), you can check out the Harlequin web site and purchase back issues either in regular book form or ebooks. I love my ebook reader for that reason. I have been able to go back and read some of the older issues anywhere and when I please.
    The site has free downloads for the various reader software for you PC so if you don’t have a portable ebook reader and don’t mind reading on your PC there is a large selection available.

  23. SuzyB
    August 8, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Hello all,

    I have a question about the contest. When submitting the synopsis and first chapter, is it sent in the body of an email or attached as a file in word?
    Maybe this has been discussed, but I haven’t seen it anywhere.
    Thanks so much.

  24. Heidi Rice
    August 8, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Hi folks

    Just popping in to say if you want to know exactly which Modern Heat books are going out as Presents in the US each month you can check out our Mod Hot blog at sensationalromance.blogspot.com. We have a new releases page each month which lists the books going out in the UK, the US and Australia and New Zealand. How do I know this? Because I spend one day each month slaving over blogger to compile it!

    Best of luck to you all.

  25. Tamelia Tumlin
    August 10, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Bless you for slaving Heidi! 🙂 I found the list and now know which titles to look for. As a matter of fact, I just downloaded your former Mile High Club as the Presents title. Love, love, love the story. Makes me wish I were in that hotel instead of Carmel. LOL. Thanks soooo much!

  26. Harlequin Insider: August Edition : The Good, The Bad and The Unread
    August 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    […] Following on from the success of the “Instant Seduction” contest, there is a “Feel the Heat” contest that is aimed solely at would-be Modern Heat writers. The top prize is an editor for a year. Deadline for entry is 15 September 2008. Full details about the contest are on I Heart Presents. Modern Heat novels are released as both Presents and Presents Extra in the US, but they are flirtier than the more traditional Presents. Read about them here. Subscribe to TGTBTU: Full Post Feed | Summary Feed | Comments Feed Tags: 2008, August 2008, Carole Mortimer, Harlequin Blaze, Harlequin Historical, Harlequin Presents, Michelle Styles, Mills & Boon, Modern Heat, TGTBTU’s Harlequin Insider […]

  27. texasmom22
    September 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Hi – quick question! (Thanks so much for your time and for the contest!!)

    Are emails being sent to confirm receipt of entry? I haven’t received one and wanted to make sure.

    Also, I accidentally entered 2 stories, but just sent an email to correct the issue… hope it works out okay! Sorry!

  28. Amy
    September 5, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Hi Texasmom — the autoreply for the contest apparently isn’t working at the moment, but the email address is working and entries are getting through (see editor Joanne Carr’s comments in the post about Dialogue from Sept. 3). Good luck in the contest!

  29. Tamelia Tumlin
    September 7, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Hi everyone. I just hit the send button my entry. I hope it gets there. Good luck everyone. I know this competition is going to be stiff. There are so many talented writers out there. I’m sure M and B will find several wonderful voices in the entries.

  30. bburnham
    September 8, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Good luck, Tamelia!


  31. TGTBTU’s Harlequin Insider: September Edition : The Good, The Bad and The Unread
    September 13, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    […] Acting Senior Editor, Joanne Carr, asked that the “Feel the Heat”contest be highlighted. The strict closing date is 15 September 2008. Full details of how to enter are on I heart Presents as well as lots of tips about what the editors are looking for. As Trish Wylie (author of the September 2008 Harlequin Romance, The Millionaire’s Proposal) explained on her blog, this year the RWA Nationals buzzed with excitement about this vibrant new line. Modern Heat has arrived. […]

  32. Sherri Childress
    September 14, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I’m getting an error message when I send my MS. The error message says it is a bad email address. Any suggestions? I just cut and pasted the email address above.


  33. Bunny
    September 18, 2008 at 7:14 am

    After reading through these posts, I’m concerned that my entry didn’t make it through cyberspace. I sent it on Sunday afternoon, 14th September Melbourne time. But I haven’t had an email confirming receipt. Yikes. Do I panic??

    Good luck to everyone.


  34. Joanne Carr
    September 18, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Serena – send us an email to check and we will get back to you 🙂

  35. Bunny
    September 19, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Thanks, Joanne. I appreciate it.
    Melbourne, Australia