Friday, July 3, 2009

July Contest Update

Happy July! Welcome to another Seekerville contest update.

Today's update also includes the opportunity to win a copy of
Break Into Fiction: 11 Steps to Building a Story that Sells by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love.

Just post in the comments to be entered into the drawing. We'll announce the winner in the Weekend Edition.

July is typically a slower time on the contest circuit, due to the RWA National Conference; but here's what's coming up.

Unpublished Contests:

Golden Rose:
Submission Deadline: August 1st 2009 Midnight PST. An electronic contest.
First three chapters or up to 50 pages maximum. A prologue may be included with the first chapter as long as the entry does not exceed 50 pages. No synopsis is required with initial entry. A maximum of a 2-page synopsis will be requested if you final; however it will not be judged.

  • Long Contemporary Series :Wanda Ottewell, Senior Editor, Harlequin
  • Short Contemporary Series:Melissa Jeglinski, Agent from The Knight Agency
  • Single Title Contemporary:Megan McKeever, Assistant Editor, Pocket Books
  • Historical:Esi Sogah - Assistant Editor - Avon for the Historical category
  • Novel with Strong Romantic Elements: Amberly Finarelli, Literary Agent/Andrea Hurst Literary, Management
  • Paranormal/Futuristic:Alissa Davis, Dorchester
  • Romantic Suspense:Leis Pederson, Assistant Editor, Berkley Publishing Group
  • Young Adult :Andrea Somberg, Agent, Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Write Hook Query Letter Contest: Deadline for receipt of check and query letter is August 1, 2009. This year’s Grand Prize Winner will win the opportunity to send his or her full manuscript to Allison Brandau of Berkley Publishing. With your check, include a SASE large enough and with enough postage for us to return your letter and three score sheets.
Your e-mailed query letter will become “active” when your check is received and you will be notified via e-mail.

Time to step into the water! A great contest to get your feet wet with a nice final prize!

Heart to Heart:Electronic only. Deadline August 15. Entries will be accepted in four categories in digital format only. The top three finalists in each category will have their entries read by three final judges: a print editor, an e-pub editor, and an agent. Submission is the first 15 pages. Each entry will be judged by four first—round judges, one of whom is a published author. The lowest score received is dropped and the three highest scores are averaged to constitute a final score.

* Paranormal
Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency
Print Editor: Esi Sogah, Avon Books
ePub Editor: Raelene Gorlinsky, Cerridwen Press/li>
* Contemporary
Agent: Elaine English, Elaine P. English, PLLC
Print Editor: Shauna Summers, Bantam-Dell
ePub Editor: Bethany Morgan, Samhain Publishing
* Historical
Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary Agency
Print Editor: Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks
ePub Editor: Patricia Tanner, Wild Rose Press
* Erotica
Agent: Roberta Brown, Brown Literary Agency
Print Editor: Susan Swinwood, Harlequin Spice
ePub Editor: Theresa Stevens, Red Sage

The Golden Pen: Contest Opens June 1. Entries must be emailed to the appropriate Category Coordinator. Payment and entry form also must be received by Contest Coordinator no later than August 15, 2009. Entry shall include a synopsis plus manuscript pages, together totaling not more than 55 pages.

Each entry will have three first-round judges, including at least one published author, one Golden Heart finalist, and one PRO. The lowest of the three scores will be dropped, giving entrants a final total from their two highest scores. If you final in any category, you will have the opportunity, FOR ONE WEEK ONLY, to edit your manuscript based on the preliminary comments, before your manuscript is sent to the final judges.

  • Series Contemporary Romance: Susan Litman, Editor, Harlequin
  • Single Title: Jennifer Enderlin, Executive Editor, St. Martin's Press
  • Historical: Allison Brandau, Assistant Editor, Berkley
  • Paranormal: Kerry Donovan, Associate Editor, NAL
  • Romantic Suspense: Megan McKeever, Associate Editor, Pocket Books
  • Inspirational: Melissa Endlich, Senior Editor, Steeple Hill
  • Young Adult: Regina Griffin, Executive Editor, Egmont USA
  • Novel with Strong Romantic Elements:Valerie Gray, Executive Editor, Mira

While the e-deadline is August 15. This contest has a limit on entries (150) and you can reserve your spot by sending in your entry form now and your entry later. BTW, our own Glynna Kaye sold directly from an editor request, when she won the inspy category of this contest in 2008.

Just for Fun:

WOW: Women On Writing Fiction Quarterly Contest: June - August 31st, Midnight (Pacific Time). "WOW! hosts a (quarterly) writing contest every three months. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants. The contest is open globally; age is of no matter; and entries must be in English. We are open to all styles of writing, although we do encourage you to take a close look at our guest judge for the season and the flavor of our sponsor, if you are serious about winning. We love creativity, originality, and light-hearted reads. That's not to say that our guest judge will feel the same... so go wild! Express yourself, and most of all, let's have some fun!"

Maximum: 750--Minimum: 250 The title is not to be counted in your word count. We use MS Word's word count to determine the submitted entry's word count.Open Prompt: Open to any style and genre. From horror to romance!

Entry Fee: $10.00 We are limiting the amount of entries to a maximum of 300 stories. Please enter early to ensure inclusion. If we reach 300 entries, we will disable the PayPal buttons.

Check out the great prizes, including cash! Final judge is Literary Agent, Melissa Jeglinski.

I (Heart) Presents! Keep your eyes on the web page for the upcoming 2009 writing contest. The competition will be aimed at Harlequin Presents and Modern Heat editorial, and they will be asking for first chapters and synopses again.

Story Contest: Past Loves Day 2009. Deadline August 16. No entry fee.

Nearly everyone has memories of a former sweetheart. Write your true story of an earlier love, in no more than 700 words. Tell us about someone whose memory brings a smile or a tear, or both. What did she or he mean to you? In particular, how did that person's presence in your life change you, and what do you still carry with you? Your story may be heart-warming or humorous. Just tell it as if you were talking to a good friend.

First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $75
Third Prize: $50
Honorable Mention(s)

Winning stories will be posted (anonymously, if requested by author) on the website.

Leisure Fresh Blood

Leisure Books, the company “leading the way in publishing paperback horror,”* is partnering with Rue Morgue magazine in association with horror fiction web site ChiZine, to present “Fresh Blood,” a new writing contest specifically for unpublished horror authors. The winner will receive a contract for publication in Leisure’s 2011 lineup, as well as a contract from ChiZine Publications for a limited-edition hardcover release, also in 2011.

Entries should be sent to by September 30, 2009. “Fresh Blood” must appear in the subject line of the email.

Leisure is looking for finished horror novel manuscripts, either supernatural or non-supernatural, of 80,000 – 90,000 words. A panel of experts, including Leisure Executive Editor Don D’Auria and editors at ChiZine, will judge entries. The finalists will be announced in November 2009.

From December 2009 through July 2010, monthly competitions in categories such as “Best Summary,” “Best First Line,” “Best Title,” and “Most Frightening Scene” will run on Readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites, and after each deadline, entries with the fewest votes will be eliminated.

The winner will be announced in August 2010 at Rue Morgue’s Festival of Fear in Toronto, Canada, as well as on the Leisure and ChiZine web sites.

Good Housekeeping's Short Story Contest
Enter your fictional story for a chance to win $3,000 and be published in the May 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping.

E-mail your story (no longer than 3,500 words) with "GH Short Story Contest" in the subject line to Your story should focus on the lives of women today. Your submission must be an original work of fiction, not previously published, or a finalist for any other prize or award.

Eligibility: The contest is open to anyone, age 21 or older, who is a legal resident of the United States or District of Columbia.

Deadlines: Manuscripts will be accepted beginning June 5, 2009. All entries must be received by September 15, 2009. Only one entry per person allowed. Submitted material cannot be returned or acknowledged. Winners will be notified in December 2009. Decisions of the judging panel are final.

Prizes: One grand-prize winner will receive $3,000 and possible publication of the winning story in the May 2010 issue. Two runners-up will each receive $750 and may have their stories published on

Guest judge: Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Handle with Care, and other best-sellers.


DebH said...

I really appreciate the contest update posts. You do a great job with keeping writers informed of opportunities - Thanks!

Hoping all in Seekerville have a wonderful weekend.

Tina M. Russo said...

Thanks, Deb. Okay you were made coffee right? There it is!!

I brought Einstein bagels.

Happy Friday. My favorite day of the week!!

Pepper Basham said...

Okay...for July not have a lot of contests, there still seems to be a lot of contests. This is great. Have many of you had success with contests?
Tina, I just found out my only appointment cancelled for today, so I officially have today off...yipee. I'm gonna grab one of those bagels, but since I'm a 'tea' girl, I'm gonna put on a spot of tea ;-)

Tina M. Russo said...

I have today off myself. WRITING!!

Well, Ruthy and Glynna sold directly related to a contest.

All the Seekers have been contest divas at some point. I have gone back and looked at old contest results only to find I was neck and neck with Camy, Ruth or Audra.

In 2005, Janet, Myra, Julie and I were Golden Heart Finalists together.

Cara Slaughter said...

Good morning, Tina! Thanks for all the information.

I highly recommend Break into Fiction and I'm using it now to held me with my wip.

Pepper Basham said...

I've only entered a couple of contests, but think I'm might try one for July/August. None of them are incredibly expensive, which is a plus :-)

It's neat that you guys were all 'neck and neck' in those contests. I should go back through the posts and see how The Seekers started up.

Tina M. Russo said...

We actually began as a yahoo group in 2005. Someone (Ruthy) decided instead of competing against each other all the time we should team up. We started with 16 of us and in true Beatles fashion lost one of us.

With in days of the August forming of the group, Debby Giusti sold. I think Mary was next to sell..the rest is HISTORY.

And now there are only, Cara, Audra, Pam and Sandra left alone and counting sand on unpubbed island.

Tina M. Russo said...

And me too, sorry brunette moment. Duh.

And then there were five.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning! Thanks for sharing contest opportunities and Einstein bagels, Tina.

Pepper, we've all had success with contests, but before getting to the point of finaling, I used contests as teaching tools. I learned so much from judges' feedback. I'd test new manuscripts and rework them before subbing. I entered polished manuscripts hoping to final and get in front of an editor. Now I enter as a pub for name recognition and to get my books in the hands of new readers. Oh, and hopefully so I can tell my editor the book was a finalist or winner. :-) I love contests!


Tina M. Russo said...

Cara, glad to hear you recommend Break Into Fiction because I ordered a copy for myself. Should arrive today!!

Pepper Basham said...

Tina, what a great start...and to be able to encourage each other through the process is wonderful. Another cool part to a long term relationship, is that you know the 'skinny' on your friends and can always help keep them pride in check, eh? ;-)
I've never though of using contests as a way to have manuscripts 'proofed' before submission. What a wonderful idea! Now I HAVE to enter something before fall... it will be one of my new personal goals. sigh. I'm suddenly feeling pressure, I guess I'll have to get some chocolate. :-)

Pepper Basham said...

ooo, I reread my post and realized I'm having reall typing issues this morning. All the more reason for chocolate ;-)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i'm always reluctant to enter contests i haven't heard much about (or at least haven't heard mentioned). but i'm guessing it doesn't matter what the contest is...if you can ever write in a query or proposal that a book of yours finalled in a contest, that's good stuff, right? i'll have to check these out. thanks, tina!

Rose said...

Good Morning, Tina,

After reading your blog post, I know I'm going to do on my day off today, read all the contest rules and decide if my WIP is ready to go.

Since, I'll be making a lemon pie later today for the holiday, I'll make an extra to share with my Seekerville friends. I know that's not quite a breakfast food, but hey it's a holiday.



Tina M. Russo said...


Love lemon pies. And it is perfect for unpubbed island where we will be shooting off fireworks tomorrow.

Happy Friday, Jeannie!!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Tina,

Thanks for all the contest reminders. Hope you guys won't desert Seekerville once you've all published! What would we do?

The Break into Fiction book sounds great. I think our chapter is having a workshop in the fall or winter with these ladies. Count me in on the draw!
sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

Have a wonderful 4th of July everyone! (We just celebrated Canada day on July 1st).


Sue Mason

Glynna Kaye said...

With my "Dreaming of Home" releasing in October, I HIGHLY recommend the Golden Pen! I knew IF my entry finaled, it would give me the opportunity to get my Steeple Hill-targeted 4 chapters and a synopsis in front of the finals judge -- Melissa Endlich of Steeple Hill Love Inspired. One judge even one took the time to give me a fabulous line edit, for which I'll be forever grateful.

Tina M. Russo said...

SUSAN!!! Good to see you. Susan is a 2008 GH inspy finalist from Canada.

Jenny said...

OK, I am going to print out the list of contests and (gulp) attempt to send something in. Why do I feel like I'm dipping a toe into a huge sea of rejection? Wrong mindset. I need to be thinking that I am wiggly my feet boldly in an ocean of possibility. Oh, and did I mention ... GULP!!!!

Tina M. Russo said...

Not just possibility Jenny, but movement.

"Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be only afraid of standing still."

--Chinese Proverb

Karin said...

Wow! I had no idea there were so many contests out there!

Thanks for posting this. Please enter me to win the book. And have a great weekend!


Tina M. Russo said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Karin. You are entered.

Pam Hillman said...

Hey Seekers! I'm on vacation. We're about to go find some food...Had BBQ last night, so...


Oh, the choices are edless...

Carmen7351 said...

I would love to win Break into Fiction. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Bookie said...

I am a little late getting here this morning but bring muffins for the first time. They are healthy with whole grains, flax seed, golden raisins, and secret ingredient of two whole oranges pureed in the blender. Very tasty!

I, too, appreciate the contest info and esp. the Good Housekeeping contest because I have a fear of trying a "whole" book. The story format is more comfortable for me.

That this contest is with GH is esp. interesting because it seems they don't use much ficiton anymore. And I don't think they take any unagented submissions normally.

This is such an encouraging place to read. Thanks for being here!

Ann said...

Thanks for the contest update!

Based on feedback and some posts here, I reworked the first part of my WIP and sent it out again into the cold cruel world.

I see there's some more possibilities out here.

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, Pepper, do we know the skinny on each other.

Matter of fact, some of them knew me when I WAS skinny.


Tina M. Russo said...

Good morning Ann! Way to go on the edits.

Welcome to Seekerville Carmen, and you are entered.

Bookie!! Love a woman who comes bearing FOOD. Yum. Good to see you again, hope your summer is full of lots of writing!

Vince said...

Hi Tina:

This may seem naive but I just don’t know very much about contests.

Does the “Write Hook Query Letter Contest” entry have to be true? Do you really have to have the book described completed? Or is it just an exercise in writing a good query letter? I could write a great query letter if it is for a book that doesn’t really exist. This would be like writing an advertisement for the perfect product.

Also, since the contest site gives no requirements on word count or page limits or spacing, are these requirements just known by everyone who enters contests? I assume it would be a one-page, single-spaced letter.


Tina M. Russo said...

Vince, you are the pitch man. If you can write the perfect product pitch you can write the perfect novel.

You mention the Catch 22 of contests.
There are many approaches to contests and basically you need to always know what you expect to get out of a contest.

For this contest the goals might be:
1. Setting a contest goal and meeting it.
2. Practice writing a query letter and feedback on this.
3. Getting a request.
4. PR for yourself if you final or win.

Where you are in your writing determines your goals.

If you won for example you would want to have done your homework to know what the final editor judge publishes in order to have a manuscript that targets that publishing house and editor.

"This year’s Grand Prize Winner will win the opportunity to send his or her full manuscript to Allison Brandau of Berkley Publishing. All entrants will receive feedback."

Always exploit all opportunities as the doors don't open often enough to take them for granted.

And yes, an industry standard query letter is what they are looking for. Check out the archives here or Camy Tang has a nice article on it online, Google query letters to find lots of examples.

This is the best way to find out what the final judge editor likes also. Google is your friend. Find interviews with Allison Brandau or go to the RWA Members Only site if you are a member and look up the publishing house recent submission info.

Pepper Basham said...

Thanks for the tip on the Golden Pen.
Pam, you're hilarious. Have a great vacation.

Shannon Vannatter said...

Weighing in on whether contests pave the road to publication. Editors and Agents seemed to take notice after I placed second in a few contests. More than anything, the feedback from the judges (published authors and editors) helped me see why I didn't place first and why the books kept getting rejected.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Heartsong Presents May 2010

Mary Connealy said...

If Seekerville is an actual island NATION (think Jamaica), then Tina is our queen

Tina M. Russo said...

Hi, Shannon,

Thanks for stopping by.


Tina M. Russo said...

What exactly are the qualifications for nationhood?

So you think we should become a monarchy not a republic? I'm all for that as long as you don't decide to behead me.

Candee said...

Thanks for the contest updates and for all the work behind the scenes putting this list together. We'll have to give y'all credit later if/when a contest leads to publication. "And special thanks to the ladies at Seekerville who posted about ..."

I'd love the chance at a copy of Breaking into Fiction also.

Tina M. Russo said...

irrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrkkkkkk put on the breaks. I had to edit my comment.

Candee, you are a 2009 Genesis finalist. Congratulations!!!

Welcome to Seekerville and hope to see you at the ACFW conference--we'll be sure to make loud embarrassing fan club noise when your name is announced.

Walt M said...

Wow! Lots of contests. No success on my end in any contest yet, but I'm always hopeful.

I'm making lemon bars right now. Will invite everyone for a piece when I am done.

lee said...

Yet another book I would love to have... :o)

Thank you so much for posting the contests. I have really enjoyed the articles I have been reading too.


Tina M. Russo said...

Walt cooks! Brava.

Hey Peggy, thanks and you are entered.

Missy Tippens said...

Thanks for the update, Tina!

Happy 4th, everyone!!


Carrie Turansky said...

Thanks for the good info. They were just talking about that book on the ACFW Loop today. Sounds great!
carrie (at) turansky (dot) com

Shaddy said...

I'd love that book. I need all the help I can get!

Pepper Basham said...

There are others who could answer your question better than me, but here's my scoop. The first two chapters of my current work takes place in one setting. The important thing to keep the story moving. Whether that's through intense internal monologue or snappy dialogue, or action/suspense, vampires breaking into the building and...wait, got a little carried away there :-)

I read a book once where the setting stayed the same for the five chapters straight, but the writing was so vibrant, my mind/emotions were in constant motion.

My two cents worth. Other comments?

Mary Buckham said...

Thank you Tina and all the Seekers for highlighting BREAK INTO FICTION. My co-author, Dianna Love and myself are delighted by the response we're receiving on it -- and wish we'd had this type of book when we were starting on our writing journey. Best of luck to all the writers posting here today and to the eventual winner!!

Cheers ~~ Mary Buckham of BREAK INTO FICTION

Pam Hillman said...

Vacation just got better! Soulja boy got to call me from boot camp.

Shot 37/40 and is the only EXPERT in his platoon. Squad leader and if all goes well, his platoon is on track for Honor Platoon!


Helen Gray said...


Thankee, thankee for the contest updates. Much appreciated.

I'm in Branson now visiting my son (and using his pc). I usually select one from each month's list to target. I'll read back through these more carefully when I get home first of the week.

This looks like a book I would really like to have, so enter me in the drawing.


Erica Vetsch said...

So many great contests. I had no idea there were so many when I first started writing. Seekerville is such a fine resource for writers. Thanks for all you do, girls! And thanks for the non-fattening cyber food! :)

Tina M. Russo said...

Helen, Helen, Helen...say hello to Keith Moore for me.

You re entered.

Tina M. Russo said...

Hi Shaddy, you are in the drawing.

Tina M. Russo said...

Mary Buckham, how lovely of you to stop by. THANKS!!!

Marlena Fortune said...

I am considering writing my memoirs which will of course incude my sojourn here in Seekerville and many of the characters I run into (some who even condone the public display of mumu).

So I am quite interested in the book you mention

Tina M. Russo said...

Erica is guest blogging in Seekerville next week. Although we cannot take credit for her sale, we would like to. LOL.

Hi Erica.

Remember if you would like to give Seekerville credit for your first sale or your first rejection we'd love to have you guest blog in Seekerville.

Tina M. Russo said...

Congrats to your son, Pam.

I never once hit the target in basic training. I did however look really cute in my fatigues with my M-16. And frankly that's really all that matters in my world.

Pepper Basham said...

Out here in Appalachia, one goes about in a mumu with their M-16...and of course, barefoot. (Sorry,Marlena, I couldn't resist)

Tina M. Russo said...

Marlena just fainted.

Does anyone have a Gucci bag we can wave in front of her. The smell of real Gucci always revives her.

Tina M. Russo said...

I didn't know you lived in Appalachia, Pepper. My friend Marin Thomas who writes for Harlequin American recently had an entire series set there.

Pepper Basham said...

LOL, Tina - you are hilarious! Sorry for the shocker, Marlena. I try to refrain from saying that Andy Griffith and Aunt Bea are classy in my neck of the woods ;-)
As a matter of fact, Andy Griffith IS from my neck of the woods.

Pepper Basham said...

We're cultured in a 'different' sort of way. Probably closer to how cultured milk is :-) It's a lovely place to live, but hard on the gas money. Takes 20 minutes to get anywhere, but the kids and animals really like it.

Jody Hedlund said...

One of the reasons I love The Seeker blog is because of all of the contest updates you do!! You guys are so helpful with this! And contests are such a wonderful way for newbies like myself to get an advantage! Thank you!

Diane said...

Wow! So many contests.... so little time.

Tina M. Russo said...


Tina M. Russo said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Diane.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Wow. There are a LOT of new ones.

Thanks for compiling this, Tina.


Margay said...

What a wonderful group of contests! This should keep all of us writers busy for awhile!