Romance Writers! Give us your Great Canadian Heroes and Skip the Slush Pile!



Toronto, Canada Senior Executive Editor Birgit Davis-Todd

is thrilled to announce Harlequin’s newest Submission Blitz!

July 1 is Canada Day—a time to celebrate our pride and history across this huge diverse nation north of the 49th Parallel.  Canada Day is all about barbecues,

Birgit Davis-Todd @BirgitDT

Birgit Davis-Todd @BirgitDT

music, fireworks and getting together with family and friends.

For readers this day is also about settling down to read a good Harlequin romance at the cottage or while lounging on the beach.  Except… something is missing.  We don’t have enough Canadian heroes in our books.  So starting with Canada Day 2016 let’s change that!

Calling all writers! Have you ever dreamed about writing the Great Canadian romance?

The Harlequin editors are on a nationwide mission to show the world what our Canadian romantic heroes are made of. Start brainstorming to create the perfect hero for one of our series.

Ask yourself…

Is he Strong & Rugged?:   He could play hockey or baseball in Montreal!

Is he Refined & Sophisticated?:  He’s a Toronto billionaire with a yacht to boot.

Is he Dark & Mysterious?: He’s a Vancouver PI with his own agenda…

Is he Charming & Sexy?:  He’s a Red Deer cowboy secretly yearning for a family

Is he Brash & Bold: He’s a Halifax fireman ready to light a spark in the right woman


From July 1 to September 12, 2016 send us your first chapter plus a 3-7 page synopsis to the Ooooh…Canada! Blitz at  You can submit to any of the Harlequin series we publish as long as your story features a Canadian romantic hero.   Need some inspiration?  Check out all our current series books at

All entries to the Ooooh…Canada! Blitz will be reviewed by the editors with feedback provided by December 1, 2016. So don’t delay—get your submission in soon!

The Harlequin editors will be available here to chat and answer any questions you may have about the Ooooh…Canada! Blitz, any of our series or sexy Canadian men in general.

Finally join us on Twitter as we pose the question… What makes a Great Canadian hero?  You tell us!  #Canadianromantichero


180 replies on “Romance Writers! Give us your Great Canadian Heroes and Skip the Slush Pile!”

I could totally do a Canadian hero. We lived next door to Canada (in Alaska) for decades.

But, I don’t have time.

It’d really help if you could give us three months’ warning before announcing something like this.

@KimberLi At this point we are looking for a great first chapter and 3-7 page synopsis. If we like your hero and his story we will encourage you to finish the book–no timeline on when you complete it.

Lucretia, from what I gather it’s only the first chapter + a 3-7 paged synopsis. But seeing as we have until Sept 12 to enter, I’m going to see if I can finish it in that period. ^_^

@Lucretia & Marna Correct. You can submit an first chapter beginning July first. We will give feedback and ask for more of the ms if we like what you have done.

Great Canadian Heroes – The three Ryans. Reynolds, Gosling and Adams who make lives better around the world every day.

@Rachel You can submit to any of the Harlequin lines, which also includes Love Inspired and Historical. Good luck!

I had a question about the Romance/Cherish line– is it a must for the hero to be wealthy? Like the Desire line.

Hi Marna!

Harlequin Romance heroes don’t always need to be super rich tycoons (although some might be!) but they do need to be successful in their own right and should be a strong man the heroine would believably aspire to be with.

Remember that Romance is an aspirational series and so the lives the hero leads should entice the reader to want to step into the heroine’s shoes and get to experience the glamour and emotional intensity for herself!

Good luck with your submission!

Thanks for the detailed response, Laura.
I’ll keep your points in mind while working on my Blitz entry. 🙂

Also, does that mean the story has to be entirely set in Canada? (Say, if I wanted to write a Romance and the H/h go travelling?)


@Marna You can create a Canadian hero and set the story elsewhere than Canada. You just need to decide what kind of hero he is and how the plot unfolds.

@Anne Glad to hear you submitted to the Heartwarming Blitz. Can you tell me the titles of those stories? Thanks!

Anything You Can Do was about a hockey player in Toronto, and I sent in the full for that about a week ago. Throw Your Heart Over was an R&R, so I’m revising the synopsis now. That one had a Show Jumper, and was Toronto/small town north of Toronto.

@Lucretia Ideally a first chapter should be around 15 pages but could run longer depending on what you are setting up. First chapters are critical. You need to introduce potentially both hero and heroine, the plot, a sense of conflict, level of sensuality and more. At the same time it should have good pacing and must hook the reader. The reader should want to keep going and find out what happens next.

@Beverly Yes, we will start looking at submissions before the closing date of September 12. We are really excited to see what stories will come in so want to get a jump on reading entries!

@Yvonne We are looking for a new original submission. But definitely tell us in your covering letter about your publishing history!

@Yvonne The story can be set elsewhere even though your hero and heroine are Canadian. The reason for living elsewhere should be addressed in the story.

Thank you so much for answering my earlier question about which lines this includes 🙂 qu 2 (if that’s ok) is it one submission per author, or can we submit to different lines (different projects, obv)?

@Rachel I would recommend you choose your strongest story in terms of characters, plot and conflict and submit to that line. We prefer to see one entry per author so give it your best shot! Good luck.

For Love Inspired submissions with Canadian heroes (and a Canadian story as I’m Canadian!) do the LI editors read the entries or is there a different editorial panel? And will there be a forum set up for this Blitz as well? Thank you for this Blitz – I’m sure you’ll get a lot of great heroes out of it!

@LaurieWood If you are submitting a story to one of the Love Inspired series indeed that entry will be read by the LI editors. I’m glad to hear you will enjoy this particular Blitz and the search for Canadian heroes. More to come on any news about a forum! Good luck with your submission.

I am loving this! It’s been such a joy to set my Superromances in Canada. My maple-loving heart is delighted to see that the world is ready for our Canadian heroes!

@Kris Hi, I love when our published authors stop by to visit and post comments. “Maple loving heroes” is a great description. Can you provide more info on your titles in case anyone wants to look for your books? Happy Upcoming Canada Day, Kris.

Always happy to talk about my books, Birgit! 🙂 My Canadian heroes are all found in the fictional town of Comeback Cove, Ontario, in the heart of the Thousand Islands. A BETTER FATHER features a retired hockey player; NOW YOU SEE ME has a bad boy come home; and DATING A SINGLE DAD and A FAMILY COME TRUE star brothers who are both finding their way back to love after having their hands handed back to them.

@Kris I love the Thousand Islands! What a great area for your fictional setting of Comeback Cove. Thanks!

@Nicole Every good story starts with imagining “what if.” You will have plenty of time to work on an idea since we are open for submissions until September 12.

Hi Birgit. I have 2 complete Canadian romances that I’ve been polishing and neither introduces the hero until chapter 2. I like introducing strong female characters first. Does Harlequin prefer the hero to be introduced immediately?

@JJ I would recommend submitting the story you feel is the strongest. Since we don’t meet your hero until chapter 2 maybe indicate a time break at the end of chapter one so we do see his introductory scene. Are you targeting our longer romance series? Often we don’t meet the hero until chapter 2 in series such as Heartwarming or Superromance.

I’ve been holding onto a Canadian military romance for a while now, I actually had American publishers tell me that I’d need to change my characters to American to submit to them, so I am just thrilled to have this option! I’m not totally sure to which series I would submit to, though. Suggestions?

@Kim We love military heroes and it’s great that he’s Canadian! You can check out all 17 romance series by visiting to read our guidelines. That will help you select the series that best fits your story.

Hi, thank you for the wonderful opportunity to write for HQN. Will a Prince be considered? He is born and raised in Canada though.

@Sheritha A Prince would be fine. Of course you will need backstory and motivating factors to clarify for the reader why he is from Canada, why he lives here etc.

Do you have to be a Canadian author/writer to submit a story to the Ooooh…Canada Blitz? And does your book have to take place in Canada, or just have your hero from there?
Thank you for your time,

@Sarah Great questions! No, you do not have to be a Canadian writer to submit a story to our Blitz. The hero must be Canadian and the story can be set in Canada or elsewhere depending upon your plot.

I have one more question – does the book have to be a Stand-Alone novel, or can it be the first in a trilogy? I have several ideas that I’m working on for possibilities, but realized I hadn’t thought to ask this before. As it will affect which idea I go with I thought I should.
Thank you for your time 🙂

@SarahB You can develop a standalone novel or a trilogy. Just let us know in your covering letter what you plan to do. If you go the trilogy route tell us about the selling hook and briefly what happens in these other linked books.

Hello again! I am currently putting together everything to submit my entry into the Blitz, but was wondering if there is a specific editor that I should address my cover letter to, or should we simply address our cover letters to the usual editors of the specific Series Line we are submitting our entries to? Thank you for your time 🙂

@Sarah Just submit to the series you are targeting. All the editors for each line will be reading the entries so no need to target a specific editor. Good luck!

if we are writing in the Love Inspired category, is it possible to make a character Roman Catholic as that is what I best know or are they usually non-denominational? I have read a few and found they are non-denominal but I wanted to make sure

Hi Carrie Ann,

That’s a very good question! The Love Inspired line features strong contemporary and inspirational romances with non-denominational Christian characters. If you were to write a story directed to the Love Inspired category, the characters should be non-denominational.

I hope this helps!

All the best,

@Candace & Annette First point of view is fine for your submission. However, please note the majority of our published romance series books are written in third person. Ask yourself is there a strong reason for using first person vs. third person.

Hi! I just have a formatting question – maybe the answer is somewhere on this site but I didn’t see it! I’m wondering if the synopsis and chapter are supposed to be double-spaced pages. I am assuming so but I just want to be sure. Thanks!

@Susan We prefer to see a first chapter and synopsis that’s double-spaced as it’s easier to read. We editors are reading so much that a good, easy to read presentation helps!

What if the hero of my story is the Canadian female, who discovers her strengths and inspires the male to see the world through different eyes and a better perspective?

@Michele Ah, a very interesting twist! Unfortunately we are looking for a story featuring a Canadian hero so this won’t work for the submission blitz. However, you can develop the story and think about submitting it to any of the romance series we publish.

Hi Birgit Davis-Todd,

I want to just clarify that a paranormal themed book with a Canadian hero would work for the Ooooh…Canada! Blitz.


@Courtney SInce you will have paranormal elements it sounds like a good bet for our Nocturne line. Good luck!

Looked at all your lines and series. Which ones are solely sweet romances? In my career I only want books in my list that are “clean” as in sweet. Which lines are known for that? Thanks. This Blitz seems great.

Hey Danielle. I’m not an editor, but I can tell you that Harlequin Heartwarming is a “clean romance” line. Love Inspired is too, with an added inspirational/faith element. Hope this helps!

@Danielle & Stephanie Great advice. Definitely target our cleanest line, which is Heartwarming. If you have faith elements as well then consider trying for one of the Love Inspired lines.

Submitted mine today, targeting the Harlequin Romance line. So excited! Best of luck to all who enter!

3-7 page synopsis and first chapter in 1, or 1,5 line space? ’cause it makes a big difference^^ could you give a word count instead? thanks!

@Yasbeau You should aim for double spacing in your first chapter submission since it’s easier to read. Just submit your first chapter in it’s entirety–no need to worry about the length at this point. The synopsis could be single spaced since it is shorter. Good luck!

It’s been great to see that so many writers are stopping by with questions and updates on their writing projects. I’ll continue to monitor this blog over the next few days while I’m at RWA in San Diego. Are any of you attending RWA this year? Make sure you attend the Harlequin Spotlight plus our various Open Houses held in the Harlequin Suite. Come meet all the editors!

@Laurel Sorry, but HQN is not part of this blitz. If you have a ST project for HQN you can investigate that further but please note you will need an agent to submit a project.

Oh!!! Canadian heroes. Let me at him…er…write him. lol I live in New Brunswick, on the East coast of Canada. We have them all from lumberjacks to CEO’s and everything in between. This will be an absolute joy to write.

@Lorraine I love your enthusiasm for heroes of all kinds! Good luck and looking forward to seeing your submission.

@Lucretia Harlequin Teen is not part of this blitz. However, if you have a story for the Teen program you can submit through the usual channels via an agent.

I have one book ready to submit to Harlequin Intrigue with a Canadian setting/hero and heroine. I have another that should be ready in a couple of weeks. Am I allowed to submit two books as part of this blitz?

I have one book ready to submit to Harlequin Intrigue with a Canadian setting and Canadian hero/heroines. (My two leads meet in the middle of a black bear encounter where my bush-savvy heroine extricates the city cop from a potentially dangerous situation.) I also have a second book with a northern setting and Canadian hero/heroine that will be ready in a few weeks. Am I allowed to submit two books (both to Intrigue) as part of this blitz?

@Karen We would like to see only one submission for this Blitz. You need to decide which story might be the strongest and submit that.

@Guylaine Most of the series books we publish have both hero and heroine POV. So yes I would recommend you use his POV along with the heroine’s.

@Annag I love your comment! Have fun with your research–you definitely have the inside track!

@Freya Glad to hear you are interested in submitting to the blitz. Keep in mind we close for submissions September 12th.

I have completed a Romance novel based in British Columbia, Canada. However, my heroine is Canadian and the hero is from San Francisco where his sailboat ends up in my heroine’s village. He finds a way to stay in Canada and ends up in the village where my heroine lives. Does this fit your criteria?

@Pamela It’s great to see your story is set in BC–one of my favorite provinces. However, we are looking for a Canadian hero. If you would still like to submit to a specific series check out the guidelines and submit directly to that line–rather than going thru this Blitz. Good luck!

I have completed a romance novel based in British Columbia. My heroine is Canadian but the hero arrives from San Francisco on his sailboat in the same fishing village where my heroine lives and there begins the love story.

@Natalia The only stipulation we have is that you write about a Canadian hero. As an author you can be living anywhere in the world.

Greetings from The Great White North!
When submitting our projects, are we to copy/paste all material into the body of the email as per most agents’ submission guidelines?
Thank you

@Bonnie from the Great White North To enter the Blitz go to our submissions page on and look for this particular Blitz. You can copy and paste the first chapter along with the synopsis and a covering letter directly.

I am wondering about the new series launching in July 2017, HQN Sexy. The guidelines say the story should be set in an urban area or an exotic location. Is this a hard-and-fast rule.

I did get some opinions on the eharlequin forums but just wanted to double check here.


@Rhoda We are very excited about the new sexy series we are launching in 2017. We definitlely want to see urban settings such as New York, Boston, London etc.or something a little exotic. The key to submitting to this new series however is writing a highly contemporary sexy story.

Good morning Heatherly,
I have written 2 stories but I am not a professional writer. I love the feeling of creating a story that compels us to feel something. Romance is key and what fascinates me the most is how people relate to each other. Obstacles and hardships happen but how they endure or overcome is what interests me. Passion and need is vital between two people and that is what pulls me to keep reading. I will submit both my first chapters and I hope you are interested to read more. Thank you.

Hi there Julie, someone else asked about multiple submissions above. I think they are only accepting one submission per person for the Canada Blitz.

@Avis No, it doesn’t matter whether you are Canadian or not. The only requirement is a Canadian hero in one of our 17 series. Good luck!

Just wondering if you are interested in first person point of view narration (dual :hero/heroine) Is it suitable for superromance? Also, are you able to write about licensed products such as Tim Horton’s?

Just wondering if you are interested in first person point of view narration (dual :hero/heroine) Is it suitable for superromance? Also, are you able to write about licensed products such as Tim Horton’s?

@Loree While we are open to first person we prefer third person. This is especially true for longer series such as Superromance where having the POV of both hero and heroine (in third person) makes for a stronger story overall. You might even have the POV of secondary characters to enrichen the story. As for Tim Horton’s or other, it’s okay to mention or use in a scene.

I would love to submit a mystery love story with a Canadian hero. But wondering if I could submit a story to the Intrigue series, or is that line only reserved to feature American Heroes?
Kind regards,

@Deborah You could create a Canadian hero for a story aimed at Intrigue. He might be a sheriff or policeman with a mystery on his hands in small-town Alberta.

@Guylaine A short prologue followed by the first chapter is fine. I love prologues since they really hook me!

Hi! I’m new to this, but very keen on the Canadian hero idea 😀 so just wondering – I submit my first chapter and a synopsis, then we wait to hear back on how we went by December 2016.
My question is, do we need to have written the whole book by December, or can we wait to hear from you first before finishing the manuscript?

@Nicole We close for submissions on September 12 but the editors are already reading material we have received. You could continue to work on your story while you wait to hear–it’s really up to you.

I might have missed this in the explanation of the blitz and the comments, but does the chapter you submit have to be from a completed manuscript? Thanks!!

@YvonneB It would be ideal if the first chapter was from a finished ms but it’s okay if it’s something new you started as well. Once you submit we will give you feedback in terms of finishing or revising a project.

I’m working on a western romance with a Canadian hero and heroine set in B.C.
It’s a perfect fit for the western line EXCEPT the American setting requirement. It’s a North American setting not American. Do I need to pick a different line or is North American okay for western guidelines for this blitz? Thanks.

@Brenda It’s great to hear you are working on a story targeting the Western line formerly known as Harlequin American. Indeed we are open to seeing a western themed story set in BC. Is your hero a cowboy, perhaps or it’s set on a ranch?

Thanks for getting back to me! Yes..hero is a rancher and heroine is farmers daughter who moved away to city. Country vs city ans second chance romance with a unique twist thrown in for good measure. 😉 Will def send your way..thanks!

Hi there, I have another question. My initial plan was to have my current novel finished by either the end of the month or in early September. However life got in the way and it’s not looking good. My reason for wanting to finish so badly is that when I write I have a very bare bone idea in my head, but I mostly let the story write itself as I go. So if I write a synopsis too early I tend to change things. I am curious if I write a synopsis will I be able to go off from it at all, or do I have to stick to what I wrote in the synopsis right to a T?

@Rhoda Life has a funny way of interfering no matter what you may be doing. Keep working on your book but do keep in mind the deadline for this blitz is September 12. We want to see the first chapter to see how the story begins. The synopsis is a map to what else will happen. As editors we know a writer can and will veer from a synopsis so try not to worry about that. If you can provide a general sense of the story that’s good enough for now. And remember if you decide not to enter the blitz now you can always submit your ms through the usual channels in the future (when you have the complete story nailed.) Good luck!

As a Canadian author, I set my novels in Canada with Canadian characters. I have submitted a manuscript to HeartWarming blitz with a Canadian hero, and heroine, set in the Canadian wilderness and have completed and sent in the requested revisions almost three months ago. And now, I’m waiting fingers crossed.

@Genevieve It’s great to hear you have already submitted to our Heartwarming blitz. Fingers crossed for you! Good luck!

@Laura As you have discovered Submittable is simply a system that allows you to enter your story directly to the Great Canadian Hero blitz. Thanks for stopping by.

Do the entries automatically go to the line we target or do the Blitz editors go through and pick the ones to send to the line editors? This is just curiosity question. 🙂

@Connie Great question! Submit your entry to the series that best fits your story. The editors associated with that line will read your entry. If for some reason they felt it was a better fit with another line they would let those other editors know. We all work very closely so always happy to recommend a story to our office colleagues.

Hi Everyone, it’s September 1 today, which means the countdown begins! There are twelve days remaining to enter your story to the Great Canadian Hero Blitz. Don’t delay and good luck to those who have already entered!

I’ve been furiously burning up my keyboard to get something ready to submit, but I already have a different submission in at Harlequin that I am waiting to hear a decision on. Can I still submit the CRH story or must I wait for the final decision on the other story?

Never mind. I reread the complete submission guidelines. I’ll just wait until Cort and Emelia’s story is finished and submit to one of the normal lines. Dang it though, I’d love to skip the slush!

Dianne, I took only one submission to mean only one Canadian Hero story. I have ms on an editor’s desk, but enter this one too.

@Dianne You can submit the other story to the Blitz! Make sure it’s today since the competition closes at midnight. Good luck!

I can’t believe it’s the last day for entries into the Great Canadian Hero Blitz. We are still accepting entries until midnight tonight. Thanks to everyone who entered!

I know the time is nearly gone and I may not get an answer before then, but I am writing in hopes that I will. I am wondering if we address our cover letters to you, or to the editor listed on the series we are aiming for?


I know the feedback deadline isn’t until December 1st, but has anyone received feedback yet? I submitted July 11th, and I haven’t heard a word. Just curious.

there is a couple people on the HQN forum that has heard back however. I think the time line various from line-to-line, maybe I am wrong.

@Stephanie…I haven’t heard a word.
@Rhonda…Where did you go to check the status of your submission?

It’s November 28 and I’m still waiting anxiously for feedback. My submission still just says ‘received’. Fingers crossed for everyone.

@Stephanie, Rhoda, Lorraine & Carol We received over 200 great entries and have responded to many writers but a few still need to be contacted. Thanks for your patience! You can query us via submittable for an update.

I missed the deadline but is there still time to send my Saskatchewan cowboy Canadian hero? I have almost completed a novel.

November 30th! My submission still says ‘received’ – looking forward to seeing ‘in progress’! Good luck to everyone else who submitted! 🙂

Hi! I was wondering where I could go to check the status of my submission? I haven’t heard anything since I got an email back in July saying my submission had been received. Thanks!

If you log into your Submittable account and click on your submission it will bring up all the details on your submission and will also tell you its current status…I hope this helps! Good luck 🙂

Hi Kelly, Kelli and Sarah! We are continuing to respond to all the writers who submitted. Thanks for your patience.

You’re welcome, Kelli 🙂 Thanks for letting us know, Birgit 🙂 Looking forward to hearing what you all think 🙂

I think im even more scared now then when i submitted my first chapter to the blitz. Now to send more to heartwarming and oh my gosh this is scary.

I’m pretty disappointed with this contest. My entry was declined, which is fair enough, but my response was late and the comments seemed very generic and form letter like. I though we were going to get useful editorial comments. At least something more personal than I received. A few lines specific to my story would have been greatly appreciated.

I belong to a chapter of RWA and many of us entered – almost all have heard back except for the ones, like me who have applied to Harlequin Special Edition.
Were they just inundated with a huge amount of entries or should we send them a message inquiring to see if we have fallen through the cracks?

Jill F.,
I, too, submitted to Special Edition and am still ‘in-progress’ according to the submission page. I’m trying to be patient as mine was a WIP. I’ve gotten most of it done, just wrapping up the ending at the moment. You’re not alone… 🙂

Thanks for that! I’m trying to be patient, too. It just seems that this is the only line that hasn’t responded and it had me worrying. Thanks for the reply 🙂

Thanks, Christal. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in waiting. Have you contacted them? I sent them a message back on 12/15 and didn’t hear anything from that. I’m not sure if I should send another.

I submitted (as Zoe Mullins) for Harlequin Presents and my submission is also still ‘in progress’, so it’ not just those who submitted for ‘special edition.’ I guess we just have to be patient 🙂

Thanks, Carol! I can scrounge up some more patience, but it was worrisome to feel like maybe my submission had just somehow fallen through the cracks. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, so thanks for chiming in. Good luck!

Hero Update! I am thrilled to report Victoria Curran has contracted the first Canadian hero story from Alberta author Moria Stelmack. Congratulations to Moria for submitting a wonderful story about a roofer from Red Deer, who gets romantically involved with a widow with five children, one she’s in process of adopting. The house is a disaster so hero starts fixing it up and they fall in love, but she’s trying to adopt the fifth child she and her husband took in. Now that she’s a single mom, it’s not a sure thing, but our hero provides love and support along the way. Oh, and a good roof overhead!

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