Friday, May 1, 2009

Contest Update May 2009

Another month. Another slew of contests.

And back by popular demand we have two more copies of The Writer's Portable Therapist, by Rachel Ballon to give away.

All you have to do to qualify is tell Seekerville that you entered a contest this year and what category you entered. You do not need to name the contest or the manuscript unless you want to. Just post it in the comments.

If you haven't entered a contest yet, then you have a week to step out. That's right, you have until Friday night, May 8th at 11:59 pm EST to enter one. The winners will be announced in the Weekend Editon, on May 9th.

Let's start the day with some of Ms. Ballon's favorite quotes, as mentioned in the book.

"Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get." Ray A. Kroc

"Visualize this thing that you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin." Robert Collier

"There is no place where success comes before work, except in the dictionary." Donald Kimball

"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome." Samuel Johnson

Unpublished Contests:

  • Ignite the Flame. Print entries postmarked, May 9th. Online entries submission deadline , May 9th. Your entry should be the scene of your hero and heroine's first meeting or reunion (up to 15 pages). You may also submit an optional, non-judged one-page set-up providing necessary background for the first-meeting, as a page within your attached submission. Submit three copies of your hero and heroine's first meeting (up to 15 pages). You may also submit three copies of an optional, non-judged one-page set-up providing necessary background for the first-meeting scene. Category-Length Contemporary: Wanda Ottewell, Harlequin SuperromanceHistorical Romance: Leis Pederson, Assistant Editor Berkley Publishing GroupErotic Romance: Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher, Ellora's Cave PublicationsParanormal Romance: Cori Deyoe, Literary Agent, Three Seas Literary AgencySingle Title Contemporary: Roberta Brown, Literary Agent, Brown Literary Agency.

  • The Rebecca. For the first time, the Rebecca is an all-electronic contest. The contest is open to both published and unpublished authors! Top three entries in each category will be judged by an editor! Deadline is May 30th, 2009. Entries will be 5,000 words or less, and fit into one of the following categories: Series Contemporary (Patience Smith, Harlequin), ST Contemporary (Laura Cifelli, NAL), Historical (Becky Vinter, NAL), Paranormal (Leah Hultenschmidt, Dorchester), Erotica (Robin Lawson, Red Sage). Note: Young Adult (YA) entries should be entered into most appropriate category.Only first 30 entries into each category will be accepted, so don't delay!

  • Cleveland Rocks Romance. All electronic. Deadline June 1. All entrants receive first-round judges’ scores and comments. Finalists receive a 1-page critique from the judging editor/agent. Submit the first 6000 to maximum 7000 words, to a clear story break (such as a chapter break). A synopsis is optional; if you choose to include one, it may be no longer than 750 words, is not counted as part of the entry, optional; if you choose to include one, it may be no longer than 750 words, is not counted as part of the entry, and is unjudged. Additional category:First Declaration of Love Category. Scene where the main protagonists first declare their love to each other. Maximum 500 words. Categories and judges: Contemporary Series/Category Romance--Brenda Chin, Harlequin, Single Title Romance--Susan Yates, The Wild Rose Press, Erotic Romance--Kelli Kwiatkowski, Ellora’s Cave, First Declaration of Love--Raelene Gorlinsky, Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press, Historical Romance--Rose Hilliard, St. Martin’s Press, Mainstream with Romantic Elements --Diane Parkinson, The Wild Rose Press, Paranormal Romance--Ethan Ellenberg, Ellenberg Literary Agency, Romantic Suspense--Christine Witthohn, Book Cents Literary Agency, Young Adult Danielle Poisz, Pocket Books.

  • The 26th Annual Colorado Gold Writing Contest. Contest opens April 1 and the deadline is June 1. Submission is the first twenty pages and a synopsis. Categories include: romance, mystery, speculative fiction, action/thriller and mainstream fiction. Five category winners receive a $100 dollar prize. Final judge is an acquiring agent or editor. Check out the website for a contest instruction video!

  • The Emeral City Opener. E-deadline June 1, 2009. This is a great contest for first timers! Your opener is the hook that attracts an editor or makes a potential reader decide to purchase your book. Polish the first seven pages of your manuscript and send them to the Emerald City Opener Contest. You will receive feedback in the form of detailed score sheets. Your judges (published writers or Golden Heart finalists and winners) are encouraged to include comments on your entry. Categories: Historical Romance-- Single Title Contemporary Romance--Series Romance--Romantic Suspense--Paranormal Romance-- Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. First, second, and third place winners in each category will receive an award certificate and an individual editor or agent appointment at the Emerald City Writers' Conference (Oct. 9-11, 2009). In addition, the first place winner in each category will receive a $25 gift card.

  • Maggie Awards for Unpublished Romance Novelists: Entries must be RECEIVED at the appropriate address above by June 1, 2009, and before your entry category is full. THREE (3) copies of the synopsis and THREE (3) copies of the prologue (if applicable) and first chapter(s), TOTAL NUMBER OF PAGES MAY NOT EXCEED 35 per copy. Two published authors will judge each entry. Editors in the romance genre will judge the final round. Judges will give each entry a score from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest). Judges will also rank entries for tie-breaking as needed for advancement to the finals. Judges are encouraged to write their comments directly on the manuscripts and WILL NOT use score sheets, and scores WILL NOT be released to the entrants. (TIP: Don't enter if you expect scoresheets. This is a top tier contest.)Final Judges:Historical - Chelsea Gilmore, Avalon Books--Single Title - Monique Patterson, St. Martins--Paranormal/Fantasy - Chris Keeslar, Dorchester Publishing--Inspirational - Emily Rodmell, Harlequin--Contemporary Series-Susan Litman, Silhouette.

  • Original Golden Opportunity. DEADLINE: Electronic entries must be received by June 1,2009, 11:59 p.m. EST. Print entries must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2009. Now accepting electronic entries! This year's categories and final round judges are…Contemporary Single Title—Margo Lipschultz, HQN--Contemporary Series—Wanda Ottewell, Harlequin--Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic—Leah Hultenschmidt, Dorchester--Young Adult—Anne Heltzel, Penguin, Razorbill--Historical—Leis Pederson, Berkley--Romantic Suspense—Megan McKeever, Pocket--Mainstream with Strong Romantic Elements—Kathleen Gilligan, St. Martin 's. The top entry in each category will be automatically entered in the Gold Ticket Round to be judged by Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency. The winner of the Gold Ticket round will receive a three-chapter critique by NYT bestselling author Kelley Armstrong . Category finalists will have one week after notification to revise their entries before they are forwarded to the final round judges.

  • Reveal Your Inner Vixen: Only accepting only electronic entries. Entries must be time stamped no later than midnight, June 1, 2009. ACCEPTING ENTRIES FROM PUBLISHED AND UNPUBLISHED AUTHORS.Up to 20 pages of a scene that showcases your use of sensual tension plus an unjudged 1-page set-up.Each entry will be judged by THREE qualified judges, i.e., trained and/or published authors. A strength of this contest is the helpful comments our judges provide the contestants. The top three scoring entries in each category will advance to the final round for evaluation by TWO EDITORS in that genre. Series Contemporary: Gail Chasan, Harlequin/Silhouette; Rhonda Penders, The Wild Rose Press--Single Title:: Allison Brandau, Penguin/Berkley; Bethany Morgan, Samhain Publishing, Inc;--Historical: Historical: Meghan Conrad, Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc; and Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks, Inc--
    Alternative: TT/F/F/P: Chris Keeslar, Dorchester; Amanda Barnett, The Wild Rose Press--Erotic Romance: Raelene Gorlinsky, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc; Angela James, Samhaim Publishing, Inc--Young Adult: Krista Marino, Delacorte; Lindsey McGurk, Samahain Publishing, Inc.

  • Lone Star Writing Competition. Postmark deadline: June 5, 2009, arrive by June 12, 2009. Electronic entries must arrive by midnight June 5, 2009. Any entries received after the deadline will be returned unopened or deleted unopened. (TIP:The Lone Star got off to a late start this year-so with only less than 6 weeks to go until the deadline, this would be a very good competition to enter. ) Enter: First 25 pages, including prologue, if desired. Two final judges, an editor and agent make this contest a steal at only $25.Final judges: Inspirational Category : Editor - Jessica Barnes , WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group,Agent - Tamela Hancock Murray , Hartline Literary,Young Adult Category : Editor – Kat O'She, The Wild Rose Press Agent - TBA, Romantic Suspense Category : Editor – Lindsay Nouis, New American Library Agent – Lois Winston, Ashley Grayson Literary Agency, Contemporary Series Category : Editor – Wanda Ottewell, Harlequin Agent – Sha-Shana Crichton, Crichton Literary Agency
    Single Title Category : Editor - Leis Pederson with Penguin/BerkeleyAgent – Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management,Historical Category : Editor: Alicia Condon, Dorchester Agent: Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency
    Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Category : Editor - Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks Agent - Tina Wexler, International Creative Management

Published Contests:

  • Aspen Gold. Deadline May 15, 2009. Participation is open to all published authors of novel length romance fiction. The official entry form and entry fee must accompany each submission. Entries must have an original copyright or first printing date of January, 2008 through December, 2008. Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary,Single Title, Historical, Paranormal/Time-Travel/Futuristic, Romantic Suspense, Erotica.

  • Golden Leaf. Entrants must register for the contest by June 10, 2009 via email or regular mail. Entry forms and books must be post­marked by July 10, 2009 and received by July 15, 2009. ** Authors with a July 2009 release date MUST contact the contest chairperson if an extension is required. Romance novels with a first copyright date or first North American printing date of August 2008 through July 2009 are eligible for entry. Categories: Best First Book, Historical, Long Contemporary, Novella, Paranormal, Traditional Regency, Short Contemporary,Single Title.

Other Contests:
  • Redbook and Adams Media Silver Lining Contest. In a 1,000 to 2,000-word personal essay, tell us how you've found the silver lining—what or who gave you inspiration, strength, hope, and comfort—during a personal challenge. If your story is selected as the grand-prize winner, it will inspire millions of others—and you'll win $1,000! Your story will also be excerpted in a future issue of REDBOOK and published in full on Prizes will also be given to the authors of the three runner-up stories; these will be announced in REDBOOK and on You must enter by May 15, 2009, and submissions will be accepted only through the online submission form. To submit a story, you must be a member and logged into the site. Please note that the Silver Lining submissions are for the contest only and not for publication consideration in a Cup of Comfort book.

  • The Writer Short Story Contest. $10 ENTRY FEE. $1,000, first place; $300, second place; $200, third place. The first-place entry, along with the finalist judge’s comments, will be published in The Writer magazine. All three winning entries will be posted on The Writer Web site, Deadline May 31, 2009. Limit 2,000 words.

Okay, now go forth and contest!


  1. I have really appreciated all of your efforts to list contests. It has spurred me to enter them for the first time this year. I entered Genesis and TBL. And now as I'm reading through your list, I'm wondering if I should try to enter any others! Thanks for all of your help and the ongoing contest tips!

  2. I didn't realize there were so many contests out there! I entered Genesis and TBL for the first time this year and am excited to get my score sheets from the judges. Like Jody - I'm wondering if I should enter a few more. They are sort of addicting.

  3. I entered The Sheila in the Historical category. Still waiting for my score sheets.

  4. You guys rock.

    Congratulations for taking those brave steps.

    Always contest with a purpose.

    In honor of FRIDAY..we have a great spread of cinnamon rolls and hot cocoa.

  5. Thanks, Tina. No-calorie cinnamon buns are always appreciated.

  6. I don't remember the name of the contest, there are so many. But I entered in the short contemporary category. One thing I liked about it was you could tell them which line you were aiming for and they commented on that.

    Hey, I have a random question. Can anyone tell me something about the occupations my characters have?
    I have a couple of favorite occupations I know a lot about. If I put those in my first book, does that mean I can't use them in the future?

    As an example, and this isn't what I'm doing, if I had someone owning a knitting shop in my mystery, can I also have someone doing the same thing in a SuperRomance?


    Also, a belated thanks to Mary C. and others who helped with my question on premise yesterday. I think I was mixing it up with the overall GMC.

  7. Good Morning!

    I'd love to win that book - so - yes, I entered three contests this year, all inspirational categories. This makes 13 in the past year and I'm ready to move on and put as much work into . . . the rest of the wip!

    oh yeah I love cinnamon buns. Please don't mind me if I look for the one with the most icing.

  8. Good question, Cathy. Maybe some of our pubs can answer. I tend to lean toward medical professions myself since that is my background.

  9. Congrats to all our contest divas of the morning.

  10. Contesting! I'll saddle up ol Scarlett and tell her its time to run barrels again. That'll get her motor running. (That's pure fiction, there. Ol' Scarlett's been gone for 20 years :-(

    In real life, I entered Genesis and TBL this year.

    I started lurking here in search of contest information and got hooked on teh coffee and camaraderie.

  11. You do have the best contest listings around!

    And yes, I entered one. I entered my mystery in the Genesis this year.

    Please consider me for the book drawing. And can I have one of those cinnamon rolls too?

    barbearly (at) aol (dot) com

  12. gals are amazing.

    Cinnamon rolls with XTERRRA frosting for all.

  13. How exciting to see how many of you are entering contests! Fantastic! As is our Tina for getting the contest word out. Love those quotes, btw.


  14. Contests, Contests, Contests, who'd of thunk there were so many and that's not even all of them.

    You said to go forth and I'm looking at some of those and thinking maybe I should go big, step out of my shell and try the sensual tension contest.

    I write such heated passionate scenes don't ya know..

    Hmmmmm I'm a writer, I can do anything.

    I actually put myself out there this year in contests more than I had in the past.
    I entered the Genesis and TBL in the woman's fiction and historical categories.

    Thanks for the cinnamon rolls, Tina, but I'll probably just have to take the cinnamon. I really could without the extra rolls.


    Besides I was good girl and had my 6 little juice plus capsules this morning so I had my seventeen fruits and veggies.
    My nutrition is fortified and I'm raring to hit the contest trail.

  15. Your contest info is great. I entered the Book in a Nutshell contest with my inspirational romantic suspense.
    I do hope that I win that book. It looks awesome.
    The cinnamon rolls look great. I will have a bite now and save the rest for later.
    Linda Cacaci

  16. I entered the Go On Girl Bookclub contest and the Romance Slam Jam Contest. These contests focus on African-American fiction.

  17. Oops, I forgot that I also entered the Genesis Press Writing Competition.

  18. I tend to avoid most contests, but this year I am stepping out. I've entered the Genesis and the TARA (thanks to Seekerville for the info).

  19. I entered the Sandy, Daphne, and TBL contests this year.

    This blog has taught me a lot about how to choose contests. Am looking at and seriously considering a couple more.

  20. Jody, before you enter any other contests, I advise waiting until you get back your Genesis and TBL results. Unless you just can't resist the lure of a contest because of the final round judge.

    Thanks, Russo, for the breakfast, but I'll have to pass. I'm about to leave to take oldest son to Ruby Tuesday's for his free birthday burger.

  21. Gee, Jody, I guess I ought to explain my answer.

    One of my Genesis entries that I judged just so happened to also be a TBL LC or SC entry. As I was judging, I thought, "I wonder if when she gets her Genesis scoresheets back, she will wish she had them before she'd entered teh TBL becuase, odds are, her judges in both contests are going to tell her the same thing."

    In case anyone is thinking "Oh, that coudl be me," since I'm the TBL LC and SC coordinator, I know who wrote that Genesis entry, and it's not any Seeker lurker.

    Sometimes I wish the Genesis and TBL didn't overlap because they are both premier contests for inspirational entries. If we could only bump the Genesis up and push the TBL back (or vice versa)...

  22. i entered genesis and TBL. and this therapist would love a portable one!!

  23. Thanks for all the contest "fishing" you do, Tina!

    Thanks for adding the article and short story contests, too.

    You're the best : )

  24. OMG Gina,

    Thank you so much for letting us know it's not a seeker lurker. or is that lurker seeker.

    My poor mind nearly went into a tizzy.

    Oh wait, I'm not a lurker I'm a fulled fledged fledging seeker.
    Who merely lurks at the times when I have nothing to say.

    Or make no sense even to myself.

    Which is where I'm at right now.

    Back to seeker lurker mode.

    If you other lurkers are seeking me... I'll be around.

  25. Well you know there is the multiple manuscript option. Send one to contest X and a different one to contest Z etc.

    I agree with Gina. There is no use sending the same msc out to several contests all placed together as you will hate yourself in the morning when you get the same results back.

    I rotate manuscripts.

  26. WOW, who knew there were so many lurking divas and divos?

    Awesome!! You are all obviously in the book/s drawing.

  27. For some reason a Seekerlurker sounds like a pre-historic bird to me.

    And then the razor sharp claws of the seekerlurker slashed through the jugular vein of the tiny contestantosaurus and then the seekerlurker plucked the meat from the poor contestantorsaursus's bones.

    I'm with Gina on the contest subbing, but then I'm with Gina are pretty much everything. We are in total harmony with the universe.

    If you've entered a couple for the first time, wait until you get the judges comments back, USE THOSE COMMENTS to revise your manuscript, then enter your newer, shinier book in another contest.

    If you're an old hand at entering that's different, do whatever you want.

    And as always, Tina, thank you SO MUCH for the work you do on the contest updates and the weekend edition.

  28. I think moving them apart somehow, the TBL and Genesis would be great. But for now, they make a real ceremony out of given the awards, at RWA in July and ACFW in September. So to set different dates takes that 'banquet finalist announcement' madness out of the mix.

    Still, they ARE the best inspy contests simply because they are categorized. No one else does that for inspy, which lumps the short contemporary sweet romances with the long historical westerns and the edgy suspenses and the sci-fi fantasy. Much harder to compete in those contests simply because the entries are so wide ranging.

  29. Hi, all! Another Seeker lurker here.
    Great contest list!
    I entered the Genesis in the Historical category. And, as it is May 1 and scores (and comments) are coming soon, my knees are knockin'. Maybe a marshmallowy cup of that hot cocoa will help??

  30. I love the contest and have entered every one I can find, some are mystery and some are Amish and some are just romance but all are Christian, I don;t want to read a book that has any thpr of prono in it, not even in the words. I love the ones that have the Bible verses and tell about our Risen Savior.
    I just won a book from Amy Clapton and love it, I will put a review on Amazon on any that I win. May God Bless

  31. Is anyone here judging the ACFW Book of the Year contest? When do those come? I want to get Julie's book read first before I get a stack of more books to read.


  32. Well you know there is the multiple manuscript option. Send one to contest X and a different one to contest Z etc.Okay, I'm so glad Russo clarified this. Obviously, I should have clarified in my earlier statement that only applies to entering the same manuscript.

    Since Feb, I've entered 5 (yes, I'm insane) contests. Two with my medieval, two with my civil war story, and one with my victorian. Actually, I blundered and forgot what I'd entered in one contest, so I ended up entering the same manuscript in two contests with the same final round judge. Doi!

    I whacked myself upon the head for that.

    I rotate manuscripts.Since we're confessing here...I rotate underwear.

    And then the razor sharp claws of the seekerlurker slashed through the jugular vein of the tiny contestantosaurus and then the seekerlurker plucked the meat from the poor contestantorsaursus's bones.Mary is officially Gina's April 31st/May 1st Favorite Author. It's so sad I don't even know what today's date is. So sad.

    I'm with Gina on the contest subbing, but then I'm with Gina are pretty much everything. We are in total harmony with the universe.Aw shucks. But we know you only say that because you know I have ACFW BOTYs to judge and you're hoping I have one of your bajillion 2008 releases.

  33. I've entered three this year. But don'cha know, I didn't know about not entering the same ms. --live and learn. :) Oh, I entered inspy romance. ;)

  34. Yes, I entered a contest this year, and yes, I need therapy, so put me in the drawing for the book.
    I entered the Marlene in the Young Adult category.

  35. Patty, I think we've all done that. At least I know I have, and once I got back my first set of scoresheets, I wished I would have waited to make changes before entering the manuscript in another contest.

    I forgot to get back over to Seekerville yesterday to say that after all the broohaaha about the premise book, I caved to the adulation and bought the book. And I bought a craft book Brandilynn Collins talking earlier in the week about over at the Five Scribes blog. Eeks! I can't wait for the Amazon box to show up.


    yikes, my word verification is a personal female condition.

  37. Way to go folks!!

    I entered and choked on the Marlene. Won Linda Howard in inspy and am waiting one more which shall not be named. That's it for the moment.

  38. Great advice, Gina (and everyone). I'll wait and polish up my MS's first before I enter any other contests. There's no sense in sending them back out without making them better! Gina, at least if you got my MS for both contests, all you had to do was cut and paste your comments from one into the other, right?! So, I made your job easier! :)

  39. TMI TMI, Gina,

    You rotate your underwear.

    It's a good thing I was drinking milk or something. I'd have nose blowed all over the place

    I'm sure though that you only do that once their washed.

    I'm just hoping that since I did decide to send the same entry to two different places that I don't end up wanting to slap myself silly.

    We'll soon find out.

  40. Thanks so much for the updated contest list each month. I entered the TBL in the historical romance category. After looking over this list, I'll enter one more and maybe the Golden Heart later in the year. Please enter me for the drawing. You gals here in Seekerville give me inspiration to press on.

  41. LOL, Jody.

    And Gina!!! We must insist on posting spew alerts first!!

  42. I entered Genesis this year--three times. :)

    And the word verification is consest. They spelled it wrong!

  43. Valerie comes out of lurk mode to throw her hat into the ring.


  44. Thanks for listing these contests. I entered a contest in the contemporary romance category. I look forward to receiving feedback about what I can do to improve my writing!

  45. With fear and trembling I sent my "baby" (inspirational category contemporary) off to the Genesis and Faith, Hope, and Love this year! I'm looking forward to the feedback from the judges!

  46. Nikki!!! Congratulations. Way to go. Wooooohoooooo!!!!

  47. I have entered Lena Dooley's contest on her blog also Margaret Daley's. Now I would like to enter this one please.
    May God bless


  48. Edna, you rocking contest diva you.

    But this is a special contest. You have to enter a manuscript in a contest to qualify. But good news! You have until Friday night May 8th to qualify.

    Go on. You know you wanna do it!!

  49. I entered one and my electronic entry got "lost". I won't mention which one b/c the coordinator felt bad about it.

    They even offered a free crit by a pubbed inspie author, but I told her not to worry about it. I was good.

    But I know I would have won if they hadn't misplaced the entry. lol

    Entered the Genesis, and that's it.

    Oh, brace yourselves. I expect GH scores will start appearing in mailboxes next week.

  50. Oops, I'm reading these posts in reverse order, and responded on the Weekend Edition. 2 contests for me. I see one or two more I might be interested in.

  51. I entered the Genesis too. Trying not to think about it. :)