Friday, September 2, 2011

September Contest Update

It's September and while the rest of the world thinks,
pencils, erasers and school buses..romance writers think

Welcome to the monthly Contest Update.


The prize vault is open and one commenter will receive a copy of
Mary Connealy's,Out of Control and another,
Tina Radcliffe's Oklahoma Reunion.
Both in print format.
Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

Unpublished Author Contests

Gateway to the Best. Deadline September 9. Electronic only. The Grand Prize winner will receive US $100, a full reading and critique of her entire manuscript by a MORWA Published Author, a certificate, and a "Gateway to the Best Grand Prize Winner" electronic banner announcing the win for the author's website. Submit up to the first 7000 words (approx 25-28 pages) of manuscript.

The final judges for each category are:

Contemporary Series - Laura Barth, Editor, Harlequin

Historical - Esi Sogah, Editor, Avon

Single Title - Katherine Pelz, Editor, Berkley

Paranormal - LaToya Smith, Editor, Grand Central Publishing

Romantic Suspense - Margo Lipschultz, Editor, Harlequin

Young Adult - Adam Wilson, HQ Teen

2011 Four Seasons Contest. Deadline: EXTENDED! NEW DEADLINE: Midnight, September 15, 2011. Categories capped at 30 entries each. Electronic submissions only. First 25 pages, lowest score is dropped.

Single Title Contemporary:
Editor, Adam Wilson, Harlequin, MIRA
Agent, Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency

Short/Long Contemporary:
Editor, Charles Geiemsman, Harlequin
Agent, Cori Deyoe, Three Seas Literary Agency

Editor, Helen Rosburg, Medallion Press
Agent, Pam Strickler, Pam Strickler Author Mgmt

Editor, Leis Pederson, Berkley Publishing
Agent, TBA

Young Adult Romance:
Editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks Publishing
Agent, Diana Fox, Fox Literary

Okay, deadline extended means low on entries. SO ENTER THIS ONE!!! (although the whole TBA thing disturbs me)

Finally A Bride. Deadline Midnight, September 16. All electronic. Participation is open to all unpublished authors of novel-length romance fiction. Each manuscript must have finaled, but not won in a previous RWA or RWA chapter-sponsored contest. (Manuscripts which placed in the Top Quarter of the Golden Heart are also eligible.) Enter your first thirty pages.

Melissa Endlich -- Steeple Hill
Nicola Martinez - White Rose Publishing

Series Contemporary
Patience Smith -- Silhouette
Wanda Ottewell -- Harlequin

Romantic Suspense
Charles Griemsman -- Silhouette

Historical/ Regency
Deb Werksman -- Casablanca Sourcebooks
Carly Corcoran -- Harlequin Historical

Margo Lipschultz -- HQN
Alicia Condon -- Kensington

Mainstream with Romantic Elements
Jewelann Cone -- Cascade Literary Agency

Young Adult
Leah Wilson -- BenBella Books
Nicole Sohl -- St. Martin's Press

The Emily Contest. Deadline: September 30, 2011.All Electronic No synopsis ~ maximum of 7,000 words, Three first-round judges ~ lowest score dropped

Final Round Judges:
Contemporary Single Title:
Agent ~ Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary Management
Editor ~ Frances Jalet-Miller, Grand Central Publishing

Contemporary Series:
Agent ~ Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency
Editor ~ Susan Litman, Harlequin Enterprises

Erotic Romance:
Agent ~ Jessica Alvarez, BookEnds, LLC
Editor ~ Katherine Pelz, Berkley

Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal:
Agent ~ Vickie Motter, Andrea Hurst & Associates
Editor ~ Amanda Bergeron, Avon Books

Agent ~ Laura Bradford, Bradford Agency
Editor ~ Leah Hultenschmid, Sourcebooks

Novel with Elements of Romance (including Women's Fiction):
Agent ~ Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency
Editor ~ Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks

Romantic Suspense:
Agent ~ Elizabeth Pomada, Michael Larsen - Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents
Editor ~ Patience Bloom, Harlequin Enterprises

Young Adult:
Agent ~ Suzie Townsend. FinePrint Literary Management
Editor ~ Sarah Shumway, Katherine Tegen Books

Best of the Best:
Overall contest winner receives a critique of the first 50 pages by Leis Pederson, Berkley Books, Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Judge ~ Karla Hoode, Katy Budget Books

2012 Golden Heart Contest

September 21, 2011
2012 Golden Heart Contest opens to entries. Contest entry form will be available on this date.

November 15, 2011
Entry forms and fees must be received by the RWA Office.

December 2, 2011
Entered works must be received in the RWA Office. Failure to meet this deadline shall result in disqualification and forfeiture of the entry fee.

December 20, 2011
In case of dispute as to whether the entry form and fee were received, the entrant must produce proof of receipt via copy of canceled check, front and back, or evidence of a credit card charge.

Early January 2012
Preliminary-round judging begins.

March 1, 2012
Preliminary-round score sheets due to RWA Office.

March 26, 2012
Notification will be sent to finalists via e-mail and in writing via a method with signature confirmation. Phone calls to notify finalists will also commence. Complete release of the official finalist list on the RWA website by 2 p.m. CT.

April 14, 2012
Final-round judging begins.

June 1, 2012
RWA Office to receive all final-round score sheets.

The Phoenix Rattler. Opens October 1 and closes October 29.
Ten page entry. All electronic.

Contemporary Fiction Don Pape, Publisher, David C Cook
Bill Jensen, William K Jensen Literary Agency

Historical Fiction Karen Schurrer, Acquisitions Editor, Adult Fiction, Bethany Hs
Joyce Hart, Agent, Hartline Literary Agency

Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Sue Brower, Executive Editor for Fiction, Zondervan
Elizabeth Mazer, Assistant Editor, Love Inspired Suspense

Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory Jeff Gerke, Owner, Marcher Lord Press, Author, Jefferson Scott
Amanda Luedeke, Agent, MacGregor Literary

Young Adult Becky Monds, Associate Editor, Fiction, Thomas Nelson
Rachel Kent, Agent, Books & Such LiteraryAgency
Joanna MacKenzie, Browne & Miller Literary Associates

Women’s Fiction Ami McConnell, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Thomas Nelson
Sandra Bishop, Agent, MacGregor Literary
Judy Mikalonis, Senior Agent, Andrea Hurst & Associates

And we're still waiting for the Mills & Moon New Voices Contest which launches September 13.

Published Author Contests


September 21, 2011
RITA Contest entry is available for Eligible Novels and Novellas. Contest entry form will be available on this date.

November 30, 2011
Deadline for entry forms and fees to be received by the RWA Office.

January 2, 2012
Deadline for books to be received at the RWA Office. Failure to meet this deadline will result in disqualification and forfeiture of the entry fee.

January 20, 2012
Preliminary-round judging begins.

January 20, 2012
In case of dispute as to whether the entry form and fees were received, the entrant must produce proof of receipt via a copy of a canceled check, front and back, or evidence of a credit card charge.

March 7, 2012
Preliminary-round score sheets due to RWA Office.

March 26, 2012
Notification will be sent to finalists via e-mail and in writing via a method with signature confirmation. Phone calls to notify finalists will also commence. Complete release of the official finalist list on RWA website by 2 p.m. CT.

April 9, 2012
Deadline for finalists to send additional books to the RWA Office.

April 14, 2012
Final-round judging begins.

June 1, 2012
RWA Office to receive all final-round score sheets.

Just For Fun

The Suzannah fits both the Published and Unpublished Categories so it is definitely a fun contest concept, here's more...

The Suzannah is different from most other writers’ contests in that published authors and unpublished writers all compete against one another in a single pool of entries without categories. Yep, you read that right. Published and unpublished writers all hashing it out together for a spot as one of the six finalists. The only criteria we require is that the manuscript fit within the romance genre and that it be unpublished and uncontracted.

Why would we do such a thing? Because this format allows published authors to anonymously test the waters in a new genre. It also gives unpublished writers the experience and prestige of having their writing judged as in the ‘real world’ against already established authors—just the way it is on an editor’s desk! And the best part is, if you final, your work will go before a panel of at least six (YES SIX!!) agents and editors who will pick the best of the lot.

September 1st–the Suzannah is open for entries from the general public

October 1st–the Suzannah is closed for entries. Entries must be received by midnight CST.

All six finalists will have their entries evaluated by the full panel of agents and editors.

Our 2011 panel of final round judges includes:
• Megan Records, Editor, Kensington Books
• Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor, Sourcebooks
• Johanna Raisanen, Editor, Harlequin American
• Helen Breitwieser, Literary Agent, Cornerstone Literary Agency
• Weronika Janczuk, Literary Agent, D4EO Literary Agency
• Laura Bradford, Literary Agent, The Bradford Literary Agency

Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:
Three hundred dollars in cash, donated by the Nelson Family in memory of romance author Suzannah Nelson Davis, and a trophy.

Contest capped at 120 entries. Entry should be a maximum of 7,200 words, including synopsis.

That's it for this month!! What are your contest plans??


  1. No more contests for me this year, until I'm ready to enter the next MS. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.....

  2. Looks like a great variety!

    Melissa - No contest plans for me either at this point. (I'd have to research where, since May the K9 Spy books aren't romance... She's spayed! BOL!) ;D

    Thanks so much - I already read Oklahoma Reunion. LOVED it. Know I'll love Out of Control should I win!

    Good writing to all who enter the contests!!!

  3. I vowed I wouldn't enter more contests until I completed the manuscript, but I'm considering entering one anyway.

    I'll just have to push myself to get a lot written this month.

    Please enter me into the drawing.

    Connie Queen

  4. I entered New Voices last year, but other than that I'm a contest newbie. Thanks for the list, I might try one of these.
    I just bought Out of Control (at Border's closing sale, boo hoo). I'd love to win Tina's book. I loved her debut novel The Rancher's Reunion.

  5. Oooh, what an exciting time of year for those entering the contests. There are some great ones coming up, including the biggies. I wish all the entrants the very best and look forward to celebrating with Seekers and Seekerville faithful when the finalists and winners are announced.

  6. Coffee's ready!

    Contest plans are on hold until after conference. But it's still fun to see what's available for those of us who are addicted to them.


  7. I can't believe Phoenix Rattler is almost here! I've been waiting SO LONG for that contest. I don't find many that aren't just for romance, so I'm looking forward to that one.

    Please enter me in the contest. I would love either of those books, and congrats to Mary for making the ECPA Bestseller List with Out of Control =)
    I hope that's okay to share here. If it's not, I'm TERRIBLY sorry. I'd say shoot me but, around here, Mary actually would. :p

  8. Thanks for the article. Very interesting.

  9. Mary?? OUR MARY??


  10. Connie, he he he, I understand your addiction.

  11. Christy you are my new best friend.

    Let's go chocolate shopping.

  12. Thanks for the coffee, Helen!!

    I'll take a double!

  13. Kc!! You already finished it? You are now my other new best friend. You and I will go tiara shopping.

  14. Teeeeenster.

    You outdid yourself. Which I would have assumed to be IMPOSSIBLE, and yet...


    And I pre-ordered the download of Oklahoma Reunion on my Nook, but went ahead and ordered it from e-harlequin because I will not, will not, will not wait that long.

    And I will reiterate to anyone listening that Out of Control is Connealy's best book yet. And that's saying something. Especially coming from a snark like me. And especially because it's well... Mary.

    Just sayin'....


    Christy, way to suck up!!! You go, girl! :)

    Melissa, that makes perfect sense. We keep pushing on... starting fresh... but finishing the old. Although it's a-okay to take a short break and then come back to it. You know that, right?

    I love Helen and coffee. Bless you, woman!

  15. Thanks for the updates on contests! It's always really helpful to know what all contests are going on out there! :-D

    I entered four contests this year, and probably won't enter any more. I finaled in the TARA contest, so am excited to find out the winners for that one soon! ;-) Right now I'm just focusing on getting my WIP written!

    Oklahoma Reunion and Out of Control look like fun reads! Thanks for the chance!

  16. Awe, thanks, Rufus.



  17. Katie, wow, you go!! The TARA! An excellent contest. One year I entered that and accidentally entered my msc in the wrong category and won. What a hoot!

  18. Wow thanks for this post. I had no idea so many contests were out there. Something to aspire to! Still VERY early days for me :)

  19. Hi Helen!!

    The world is a contest diva's oyster!!

  20. Thanks Tina for the update.

    Always fun to read about the contests.

  21. Thanks for the great update, Tina! I need to get busy now that contests are staring to open up for 2011 books!

  22. Thanks for the coffee, Helen! I just saw a piece on Good Morning America that said a study found people got a caffeine jolt from their coffee even when the study secretly replaced it with decaff!! LOL So I guess it's all in our heads. :)

  23. So many contests - hard to know which ones are the best fit to enter!

  24. I'm with Melissa ... no more contests for me either ... uh, except maybe the Rita because after all, if you don't buy a lottery ticket, you can't win, right??? Too bad the odds are just about as bad ... :)


  25. Wow, that's a lot of contest. Wish I were a writer so I could enter. Helen, I'm headed for the coffee. Would love to read the books that are being given away! Both authors are great!

  26. Tina...

    I finished it LATE, after devouring in 3 nights.
    That good everybody! :)

    May was happy, since she was curled up right next to me.
    She earned a tiara too, don't you think?

  27. Tina, these contests are just too tempting.

    I mean, you wouldn't dangle a box of chocolate truffles in front of a member of Weight Watchers, would you?

    Okay, you're right. You would.

    The Golden Heart? Do I dare aim that high?

    Should I, or shouldn't I?

    The judge's comments alone would be worth the entry fee...

    No guts, no glory, right?


  28. WooHoo Mary! Congrats!

    And Katie! The Tara!

    Okay, enough exclamation points.

    Enter me in the drawing, okay?

  29. Katie, I love the TARA... Finaled in that many times and had great critiques/ideas.

    Wonderful contest, great longevity, they've done good!

    Hey, new pastry I'm dropping off today.... It's Italian, it's something like "Callocci" I don't know, haven't seen it in print, just heard it, and decided to MAKE IT....

    Think sweet fried dough tubes stuffed with cannoli cheese filling.

    Covered with cinnamon sugar.

    Oh my stars. Grab one quick, I've got 'em on ice in the back alongside the sweet tea set up.

  30. Oops, sorry, didn't realize Beth was signed in...

    Patsy, we love our readers even more than contests... Way more. You guys make our day.

    Our weeks.

    Seriously, I love hearing from readers and hangin' with them over here. It's an absolute blessing.

  31. Jan, there's no feedback in the GH...

    Just scores.

    I always looked at the final round judge...

    And shot for that.

    And then I learned to opt for contests with NO SYNOPSIS...

    Because even if 'unjudged' it colors a lot of judges opinions and they might mark down unconsciously. Or very consciously, LOL! ;)

    Right now, for everyone looking at Love Inspired, I would quietly advise them to write... write... write....

    Because you just never know (hint, hint) when a surprise contest may come your way....

    But sometimes these surprise contests want full proposals done... Or manuscripts DONE....

    So if LI is your target...

    And Seekerville is having a BIG BLOWOUT BIRTHDAY BASH IN OCTOBER...

    You might want to work really hard in September....

    and then polish...

    Because you never know what October... one month away... might bring.

    I didn't spoil anything, did I, TEEEEENA??????


  32. Hmmm, very thought provoking, Ruthie...

    I think I'll get back to my manuscript...

  33. Hello???? Did she give you a big enough hint there? I mean you'd have to be two eggs short a dozen not to pick up on that one.

    So you can't say someone didn't warn you.

  34. We in Seekerville after all do have our roots on the contest circuit.

    The story behind the Fab 15 is that we kept running into each other on the contest circuit. Generally most of us had never met.

    (In fact though we started a private yahoo group in 2005 and the blog in 2008, we never all have been together in one place except in 2009 at my house for the Denver ACFW conference pre party).

    Our strategy was to get us all sold so we'd stop competing against each other and instead work with each other..and WE DID.

    15 Seekers all sold now.

  35. Best of luck to all re upcoming awards!
    I am a reader, not a writer. As such, I have enjoyed Tina's descriptive phrasing (in THE RANCHER'S REUNION), but would love to read either book offered, as I haven't read this book of Tina's or anything of Mary's YET.
    Hope springs eternal, though!
    Have a great weekend!

  36. No more contest this year. I'm taking writing courses this month. My 'we can't use this story' letter (won't say R word) mentioned my secondary characters were too strong. Later that same day ACFW announced Septembers course was developing secondary characters. Gotta love those moments when God reminds you that He's in it!

  37. This looks like some great contest. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  38. Ooh! These contests look so exciting! Would love to enter the Phoenix Rattler one, but my ms is unfinished. :/ I'll pray about it and maybe next year? Unless a miracle happens and it's finished by the end of October.

  39. Hoping to enter the Phoenix Rattler - my MS isn't romance, so there aren't many listed here that work for me. Just depends if I have something to enter LOL ;)

    And I would also LOVE to win a Mary Connealy book!

  40. So who is marathon writing this weekend?

    JAMMY DAYS!!!!!

  41. LOL no contest plans for me but I am hosting a Book Birthday Party on my blog with some Seekers and friends of Seekerville as guests Sept 5-10. :-)

    XOXO~ Renee

  42. Thanks, Tina, for the contest update. Congrats to Mary on getting on the ECPA best seller list. I'm thinking about entering the Phoenix Rattler. Entered it in 2009 with another entry and received great feedback on it. Glad it's back this year. Please enter me for either Tina's or Mary's book.

  43. Hi, sorry to be slow checking in.
    Yes, it's okay to mention the bestseller list. I'm still just grinning like a mule eatin' sawbriars.

    (I have no idea what that means but it shows up in western novels so I embrace it)

    The grinning part is shore enuff tru.

  44. Somebody got Tina's book?

    Tina, is it in stores? I found Glynna's and Ruthy's but no Tina yet.

    My eyes are peeled.

  45. Ruthy, is that a new picture? You get younger every day.

    And, yeah, I'm in a good mood. Can you tell????

  46. YES!!!



    Mandy took it. We borrowed (I nearly wet my pants for worryin' so!!!) our friend Suzanne's $1000 camera...

    Yes, 4 zeroes....

    And Mandy took some pics out front where the weeds can be cropped out.


    She and Beth didn't like my pro shots... So they fixed things their way, and I can't disagree. These look more like me. Rattled with BIG TEETH.

  47. Ruthie, love the new pic. And the subtle hint. It's falling on very receptive ears ;-)

  48. Yeah, I noticed Ruthy's it!. Would love to be entered for Tina and/or Mary's book. Thanks! Happy Weekend to all!

  49. So you guys GOT THE HINT ABOUT OCTOBER, HUH??????


    Which means September should be "Prepare Ye the Way" month in Seekerville! :)

    No, Mary, I did not pay these kind, good folks to compliment my new pic...

    They're copying you. ;)

    Writing weekend here...

    And continued office moving/wasp-killing/bedroom swapping nonsense.

    And showing puppies to one family.

    But mostly writing. Can't wait. In fact, I'll start...


    Meredith and Cam, here I come.

  50. No, my book is available to book clubbers, I think for download on eharlequin and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE -PEOPLE WHO SENT ME DARK CHOCOLATE.


  51. All the best to any who enter any of the contest. It takes courage.

    Went back this week and reread The Husband Tree. Mary, you're the best. I look forward to Out of Control.
    Tina, Oklahoma Reunion is now on my list.
    Hope I win either one.
    A J Hawke
    ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

  52. Awe, thanks, AJ!!!! YOu are my favorite Hawke.

  53. Nooooo! stop with the contest updates!!!! :D

    I always think I won't, but then I read through them and think... maybe just one more... :D

    If you have a YA paranormal, where would it go? paranormal or YA?

  54. Katie, I'm a TARA finalist, too! What catgeory?

  55. Virginia, congratulations!@!!!!

    And the answer to your question depends on who is the final judge.

  56. Virginia-of-the-sweet-old-fashioned-name, Congratulations!!!!

    Such a great contest. Really. Truly.

    And I agree with Tina, depends on the judge, but I think YA (usually) should go against YA only because of the way the thinking is geared...

    BUT that's not always the best choice.