Carry on, Nurse!

When I was young, my Welsh mother, who worked as a Nurse, first in North Wales, then at Hammersmith Hospital in London, and then who traveled to the United States to pursue her desire to travel and see the world, and who met my father, a doctor, at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and . . . well, they fell in love, married, and had me!

In any event, my mother, who was a great reader, and who still reads volumes of books today, used to talk acerbically about the pulp novels of her time, those novels being romances along the lines of medical romances, with titles such as Carry on, Nurse! and Carry on, Doctor! My mother must’ve read a few of them, because she thought they were simply awful. Written in the stiff-upper-lip-I-shall-carry-on-Doctor style of the late fifties, they usually involved stories of male doctors and women nurses, who saved the day by being properly British and respectable.

My mother clearly thought the pulp novels of that time were laughably bad.

The romance genre in its entirety has come a long way from the fifties, when roles women played as the heroines of their own stories, usually confined these women to playing helpmates to the paternalistic, all-knowing, all-wise doctor, and so I was intrigued when I read on one of my chat loops, that Harlequin was looking for writers to submit to their Medical Romance line. 

I’ve been writing for a good many years, and although I’ve had success with e-publishers and, later, when I got my rights back, with self-publishing my novels, I’ve yet to score a contract with Harlequin, and I very much want to develop my writing career and become a well known writer, and I feel that one important way to do that is to become published with Harlequin.

The editors put out the call for stories in a section they called a MedicalBlitz! on the Harlequin Website, where you could submit your story to an editor, containing the first twenty pages of your story, with the synopsis embedded in the first few pages, and you were guaranteed a reply by February 19. If nothing else, the idea of getting nearly instant feedback was a tremendous incentive for me, and I also liked the ideas that the Medical Romance line is confined to fifty-thousand words. I can easily crank out fifty-thousand words.

And so I did just that. Over a period of a few days, I wrote 5,000 words a day until I had a 20k opening chapter, I edited it as quick and as fast as I could, I wrote a synopsis, and I submitted it. I sent it in, and I waited, and just a few days later, I got a rejection letter (hooray!), but one with lots of incredibly helpful feedback.

I’ll tell you more about this in the next few days, but suffice it to say, I had a lot of work to do to bring the story to the level of a Harlequin Medical Romance.

I really, really, really, really want to sell a Harlequin Medical Romance, and then sell a bunch more, and develop a following and a name for myself and on and on and on. 

I’m in the middle of my fifth set of edits of a story, and I hope that, when I finish it, I’ll make a sale to Harlequin Medical Romance.

Wish me good fortune, or, rather, wish me to Carry on, Denise!


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Danielle Lee Zwissler
8 years ago

Congratulations on making that step, Denise! I think this is fantastic. You are a wonderful writer and deserve all of the readers a gal can get! I’ll keep up with this!