It was only for an hour and a half but the speaker, a M&B author, crammed in a lot of information. She, Liz Fielding, has written 60 titles at the rate of 2 or 3 a year, so she knows what they like. (Apparently sheiks, princes and millionaires generally are popular.)
The reason for the workshop is the Mills & Boon New Voices competition that launches on September 13th. For a month aspiring authors have the chance to upload the first chapter of a romance. At the end of it the editors choose 20 to go on to the next stage where they're given a mentor and so on until one or more people are finally accepted as M&B authors.
Last year about 800 people from the UK, Australia, South Africa, Canada and America entered the first competition and 10 were chosen to progress. Three were finally given contracts and the first of their books is out in December.
Will I enter the competition? I think so. If I can find time to write about 4,000 words. Do I want to be a M&B author? If they pay me to write novels that will be published and that people will read, then yes.
At the end of the workshop we came away with a goody bag of 4 titles and a free pink pen. I'd better read her books now to find out how it's done.