I did it again: Submitting to Romance Includes You Mentorship

I did it again. I signed up and entered in the Romance Includes You Mentorship program this year. I will never forget when I did this back in 2019. I had prepared my submission to be entered into the ‘Romance Includes You’ Mentorship. It was for writers in the United States and Canada who dreamed of becoming a Harlequin author. The winner was going to receive a $5,000 dollars to sign a contract with Harlequin and to be mentored by someone on the Harlequin team for an entire year. Within that year, the winner will be able to publish a category romance with Harlequin. The contest was open to unpublished and self-published authors who are not represented by a commercial publisher or agent.

I wanted the opportunity to be published with Harlequin so I submitted the story to them. Then, that’s when I got the disappointing news: I didn’t win. I wasn’t offered the contract or mentorship I wanted. I was devastated. But I was happy for the winner. Since then, I waited for the opportunity to come around again. If you check out my prior posts on my website, you will see I mostly reviewed books by Harlequin authors. I can’t help it, I love being a romance reader and writer and Harlequin did that for me back when I was little.

Now fast forward to 2023 where the opportunity to become a Harlequin author has presented itself once again. Despite the fact that I have three self-published books out into the world…and despite the fact that I love writing the Truson S.E.T. Series with all of my heart, I still have that burning desire I cannot shake no matter what I do.

To become a hybrid author. To continue to self-publish and write for Harlequin at the same time.

I know what you are probably thinking: But wait a minute Dominique, you can achieve a lot more success, money, and freedom when it comes to you self-publishing. All you have to do is give it a couple of years and I’m pretty sure you will achieve what you mostly desire.

Or: Dominique, you are giving self-publishing a bad name when you do this. Don’t you know that there are authors like you who have achieved thousands and even millions of dollars just by self-publishing?

Yes. I am aware of all of this. I could easily continue to self-publish my work and not even consider traditional publishing because of the low royalties I would get or the rights the publishing company would take away from me once I sign on the dotted line and give my book away. Yes, I am aware of this but guess what?

I don’t care.

For me, I don’t do writing because of the money. I have heard about publishing companies paying authors very little money for the hard work and dedication they put into their work. I m aware of it and it sucks. But, the reason why I decided to try again with this mentorship is because I love reading their novels and hoped to one day write for them. I have a full time job that pays the bills right now so I am not too worried about my writing on the money side. No, for me, I want to enjoy my life writing stories that I love to read and write about without having to worry about money in the process.

Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about at the end of the day? I don’t know, you tell me.

That’s it. That’s all I have for now. Just wanted to rant for a little bit before I go back to writing my next masterpiece. See ya soon.

Dominique Gibson

Review: Her Hometown Hero by Jacquelin Thomas

Title of Book: Her Hometown Hero (Harlequin Heartwarming)

Author: Jacquelin Thomas

Year: January 2022

*SPOILER ALERT’ – There are some scenes that are going to be revealed here from the book. If you haven’t read the book yet, I would strongly suggest you read the book first before you read my review of this book. Thank you. *

Brief Summary of the book: Trey Rothchild has returned to his hometown in Polk Island. Everyone is excited to see him after coming home from the war in Iraq. To the entire town of Polk Island, Trey is labeled a hero based on his actions in war. But to Trey, he is seen as an absolute failure. Though he has survived the war on the outside, he lives in constant regret of being alive while his comrades in the war have died. Memories of the war and the deaths of the other soldiers causes him to start drinking to banish away the hurt and pain of being a war veteran. Despite his family trying their best to be there for him, Trey continues his drinking habit until his family finally convinces him to seek some sort of help. To make matters worse, Trey has sustained injuries causing him to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

In walks Gia Harris, a longtime childhood friend who has a crush on Trey since high school. Gia tries her best to get through to Trey by encouraging him to get help to rebuild the life he lost due to him being in a wheelchair. After fighting the urge to do it alone, Trey finally gives in. For a while, Gia becomes a part of Trey’s world and starts to have hope when it comes to his future….until both his military past and the drama Gia went through when it came to a certain client in her past….collide. In order for these two to be together, they will have to learn how to get over the past and to let their love for each other grow.

My take on this book: This was a very clean romance that I enjoyed. This was the first time I had ever read a Harlequin Heartwarming novel and I must say I really enjoyed it. I liked the closeness of how the families were between Trey and his family and how welcoming they were when it came to Gia helping Trey out of his dilemma on his issues. There were a couple of times where I wanted to shout at Trey to get himself together towards the end of the novel (When he started accusing Gia of her relationship with a client who had threatened her entire career), but I see that as a good thing because it gave me a reason to care about the characters.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My overall rating for this book: I give this book five stars. I didn’t want the book to end.

That’s it for today. Please check back often to my website for more book reviews, updates on my works-in-progress and more. Thank you.

Dominique Gibson

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