Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January Contest Update

Contest season is in FULL SWING!!
Get those manuscript pages ready!
Comment today for a chance to win a contest entry critique 
for a writer (max 15 pages)
and for a reader, a surprise winter reading package.

Published Author Contests

Write Touch Readers’ Award Contest. Deadline January 11, 2013.

Golden Quill. Deadline January 12, 2013.

 The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Deadline January 15, 2013.

Booksellers Best. Deadline January 15, 2013. 

Winter Rose Award. Deadline January 19, 2013.
Beanpot Contest for Published Authors. Deadline January 30, 2013.

2013 Award of Excellence.  Deadline January 31, 2013.

The Holt Medallion. Deadline January 31, 2013.

Unpublished Author Contests

 2013 RWA Golden Heart Awards. Please note the deadlines for the Golden Heart have changed. November 15, 2012, the 2013 Golden Heart Contest opens to entries. This contest requires a full manuscript. There is no feedback.

Entries must be submitted to RWA's contest site no later than 5 p.m. CT, January 2, 2013. Entrants who fail to meet this deadline will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.

The Golden Heart contest is limited to 1,200 paid entries.

Once again Seekerville will be reimbursing one person their Golden Heart Entry fee.This opportunity is open from November 15 through to the Golden Heart deadline of January 2, 2013. Send proof of entry to the Seekerville email address. Winner will be announced on January 7, 2013. Deadline extended to January 7. Winner announced January 12 to allow more time to dig up that confirmation email.

The 2013 Genesis Contest. Contest opens TODAY! All electronic. Deadline March 15. Contest requires a completed manuscript. Submit the first 15 pages as your entry.

Contemporary-Sandra Bishop (MacGregor Literary), Dave Long (Bethany House), Jacque Alberta (Zondervan)

 Romance-Steve Laube (Steve Laube Agency), Raela Schoenherr (Baker Publishing), Tina James (Harlequin Love Inspired)

 Historical (through Vietnam era)-Greg Johnson (WordServe Literary), Terry Burns (Hartline Literary), Rick Steele (AMG Publishers) 

Historical Romance (through Vietnam era)-Kim Moore (Harvest House), Mary Sue Seymour (The Seymour Agency), Charlene Patterson (Bethany House) 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller-Les Stobbe (Les Stobbe Agency), Dawn Anderson (Kregel Publications), Jan Stob (Tyndale House Publishers)

 Romantic Suspense-Natasha Kern (Natasha Kern Literary Agency), Tamela Hancock Murray (Steve Laube Agency), Becky Philpot (Thomas Nelson)

 Speculative-Amanda Luedeke (MacGregor Literary), Ramona Richards (Abingdon), Julie Gwinn (B&H Publishing)

 Novella (15K-45K)-Annette Irby (Pelican Book Group), Sarah Freese (WordServe Literary), Jessica Barnes (Guideposts Publishing) 

Category (45K-70K)-Melissa Endlich (Harlequin Love Inspired), Ami McConnell (Thomas Nelson), Sue Brower (Zondervan) 

Young Adult-Molly Hodgin (Thomas Nelson), Kim Childress (Zondervan), Nancy Lohr (JourneyForth Books)

The Marlene Awards. Deadline January 15. All Electronic. 35 pages maximum (story opening and synopsis). 

Series Contemporary - Johanna Raisanen, Harlequin
Single Title - Esi Sogah, Avon
Historical - Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks
Paranormal - Latoya Smith, Grand Central
Romantic Elements - Rhonda Helms, Carina Press
Young Adult - Reka Simonsen, Harcourt Children’s Books.

The Winter Rose Contest For Unpublished Authors. Contest opens December 1 and ends January 18th.   Enter the opening twenty-five (25) pages of romance novels of all above sub-genres (projected length of at least 50,000 words).

Contemporary Series: Brenda Chin, Harlequin
Contemporary Single Title: Emilia Pisani, Pocket
Historical (includes Regency):Amanda Bergeron, Avon
Paranormal: Angela Polidoro, Bantam Dell
Romantic Suspense: Julia Fincher, Pocket
Young Adult: Holly Blanck, St. Martin’s Press 
Inspirational: Shana Smith, Harlequin Love Inspired


The Write Stuff. Deadline January 21. First 30 pages (maximum)-No synopsis-Finalist will be given 1 week to make edits before submission is sent to final judges.

Contemporary/Single Title: Abby Rose, Senior Editor, Champagne Book Group
Contemporary/Category: Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy: Kim Jacobs, Editor, Turquoise Morning Press
Historical: Emma Sweeny, Emma Sweeney Agency
YA: Kimberly Blythe, Senior Editor, Omnific Publishing
Women’s Fiction: Regina Brooks, Serendipity Literary Agency
Romantic Suspense: Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen Pomada Literary Agency

The Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. Opens January 2, 2013. Deadline February 14, 2013. All electronic.Entry consists of the first 7000 words. A one page synopsis is optional and will not be counted as part of the entry. The synopsis will not be judged.

Contemporary Series Romance--Laura Barth, Harlequin
Single Title Contemporary--Elaine Spencer, The Knight Agency
Historical Romance--Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Erotic Romance--Whitney Mihalik, Ellora's Cave
Paranormal Romance--Leis Pederson, Berkley
Romantic Suspense--Leonore Waldrip, Harlequin
Mainstream with Strong Romantic Elements--Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary
Young Adult--Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks

Linda Howard Award of Excellence. Deadline February 22.  Submit the first 25 pages. All electronic. 

 Category Series Romance:Alethea Spiridon-Hopson, Editor, Entangled Publishing

Single Title:Eleni Caminis, Editor, Montlake Romance      

Historical:Chelsey Emmelhainz, Editor, Harper Collins      

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy:Latoya Smith, Editor, Grand Central Publishing

Other Writing Opportunities

The 2013 San Francisco Writing Contest. Deadline January 7, 2013. Check out the variety of genre categories.The official writing contest sponsored by the San Francisco Writers Conference is now open to writers worldwide in the categories of fiction, nonfiction/memoir, poetry, and children’s/YA books. All writers are invited to enter up to the first 2,500 words of an unpublished manuscript, short story, essay, or poem in the appropriate category.

The grand prize is $500 and a consultation with a literary agent who represents works in the winner’s genre. First place winners in each of the other categories will be awarded $100 prizes. The winners will be announced at the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conference on February 15th

 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Deadline January 27. Categories include:  General Fiction, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror and Young Adult Fiction. All Electronic. Contest capped at 10,000 entries.

The Sandy. This contest welcomes published and unpublished authors. Deadline February 10. All electronic. Entry consists of the first 20 double-spaced pages of your novel and up to a 2 page double-spaced synopsis for a total of 22 pages.

    Romance - Katherine Pelz, Assistant Editor Berkley
    Mainstream Adult Fiction - Millicent Bennett, Senior Editor Free Press (Simon & Schuster)
    Suspense / Thriller / Mystery - Carlie Webber, Agent at Jane Rotrosen Literary
    Fantasy / Science Fiction - Amanda Ng, Assistant Editor Berkley
    Children's & YA - Christian Trimmer, Senior Editor Disney Hyperion

Macmillan Children's is adding a "crowdsourced teen romance imprint that will work with both writers and readers to discover (and then publish) the best, most SW♥♥N-worthy, teen romance novels." Called Swoon Reads, it will be part of  Feiwel and Friends. They will open for business next spring, and the website says manuscripts "chosen by the community and the SW♥♥N Reads publishing team" will get a $10,000 advance and a standard world rights contract.

Seekerville would like to give a shout-out to 
villager Annie Rains.
From an email she sent us after she found out she was a contest finalist:
 "... today I got a call that I am a finalist! YAY!
 I never would've entered without the extra push, so thank you very much."

Note: Annie is reading on the Kindle Paperwhite
 she was gifted during
our October Birthday Celebration.

Share your contest story by sending an email to and
you might be our next Seekerville Contest Diva or Divo!

For all you READERS out there. The Holt Medallion is now accepting
 reader judges.  Check it out here.

That's it. Now go forth and contest!


  1. Reporting for 2013 duty, Sarge.

    The coffee’s ready, Sarge.

    Working on the final chapter of my WIP. Haven't decided whether to enter it in Genesis.


  2. makes me tired seeing all those contests. But excited too. Genesis her I come. Can't win if you don't enter.

  3. Sooo many contests! Is the first of the year the busiest for contests? I'm just starting my novel. Will there be lots of contests through the year?

    Sooo many questions!

  4. No contesting right now for me. Need to FINISH some stuff first.

    But good luck to everyone who entered/is entering a contest.

    Jan, there are a lot, but sadly not a lot that have Inspirational categories.

  5. No guts, no glory.

    You got it Cindy!!

  6. Helen, this year I am promoting you. Not sure to what yet. Let me think on that.

  7. Every single month we do a contest update Jan. Since 2008. Contests never end. I am not sure if that is a good thing. hehehe

  8. Worked on my Golden Heart entry all day today. Will give it a final read through tomorrow but it's in pretty good shape. I entered the same MS in Great Expectations the other day so the first half was already in really good shape.

    I'll also be entering Genesis but I won't think about that until later ;).

    Jan - you can always go back and look at contest updates from last year to get an idea about what'll be coming up :).

  9. Hi Tina:

    I hope Pam had a great release day yesterday for her new book: “Claiming Mariah”. Everyone seemed to be downloading it. I won it so I downloaded another debut book that also released on the first, “The Marshal Meets His Match (Love Inspired Historical) by Clari Dees. This book has one super feisty 29-year old, spinster, old maid, heroine who seems out to steal every scene! What fun.

    I have a contest question about having a complete manuscript. How polished does it have to be? I’m halfway through my second draft but it is not ready to send in as a ‘full’. But it is complete. Is that okay?

    I like your saying, “No guts, no glory”. Too bad you cannot derive “If guts, glory” from that premise. Sorry, it simply does not follow.

    Big party last night. I rested the full day today. I don’t even know who won any of the football games. Tomorrow I’ll think about contests. Did you notice one of the contests has a novella category? I’ve never seen that. I’d love to try it.

    Great party. I think it will take me 27 hours to recover. But it was worth the candle in the window. : )


  10. Get those entries ready! Can't wait to hear about all the upcoming finals.

  11. Jan, I found that if you write inspirational romance, Spring has the best contests, sooooo I second Carol, look at the first day of every month in the Seekerville archives and get a feel for what's usually available. they tend to add more than subtract.

    That being said, I'm in limbo land. Now, I'll have to start looking at the published contests and figure out which ones I like so I can enter later.

    Good luck with the Genesis. And good luck figuring out if you want to enter Category or Romance...oh wait, you have to be finished this year. Word count, duh!

  12. Vince, I asked Cami Tang that question a few years ago in the genesis when they required you to tell what percentage of the MS is done, and she told me a rough draft finished is considered 100%

  13. Thanks for the contest info. It is so sad there aren't more available with an inspirational category. I'm gearing up for the Genesis!

  14. I checked out the Holt Medalion one but looks like for americans.

    good luck to all entering.

    my next challange is a heatwave 105 ish tomorrow and coukd be 10 days with temps over 90 and several over 100.

  15. thanks for the list!

    I finally downloaded the cookbook and I see I made a mistake in the recipe. Someone Shoot Me!

    2 sticks of butter not 1 stick of butter. Boy that would be tough to make with one stick.

    do I need to send a personal email to everyone who downloaded it.

    Hopefully you are all giving up sweets for January and no one has used the recipe yet.

    TINA HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    please make a public spectacle of me.

  16. I see alot of good looking contests to enter :) Still polishing my Golden Heart entry. 5 p.m., huh? I didn't realize there was a time to get it in by. I'm glad you mentioned that.

    Good luck contesting everyone!

  17. Hahaha! Cute picture of Annie Rains on her Kindle!

    She looks so... gleeful.

  18. Great contest update, Tina thanks!

    I entered the GH yesterday (and I will send the e-mail), but I see who else is entering...I think I will just hide my head in the sand at the end of March!


  19. Thanks so much for opening the vault for the first time in 2013!

    Jackie L.

  20. Debra!!!!!! I made that shortbread recipe with one stick of butter and it turned out really crumbly. I figured I goofed the flour measurement or something, but I just pressed it into a baking dish and put it in the oven and it turned out!!!!! Now I'll have to make it with the two sticks of butter and compare. LOL.

    My question was the same as Vince -- how finished is finished -- thanks for the answer Melissa!

    Another contest question: If the rules say you can send a synopsis but it won't be counted is it poor etiquette not to send the synopsis because they make you dear-in-the-headlights frozen with terror?

  21. Piper! No head hiding! I want to read your story!!!!

    It will be spring for me. I have to budget!

    peace, Julie

  22. I love Annie Rains' story. That psyches me into wanting to get more and more people to the MAINLAND of publishing.

    Because it matters that much!

    Annie, congrats and thank you for that sweet note.... and glad you're lovin' the Paperwhite!

    (I love the flower of the same name, btw.)

    Cindy, go for it. The Genesis (Noble Theme) was very good to me. I helped with it and the Barclay for years. Give it your best shot!

  23. Carol, honey, have I said often enough how proud I am of you?

    You think you're undisciplined.

    You're not.

    A little impatient, yes. We all are. But you stick to your guns, you change things, you edit, you finish, and then you start on the treadmill all over again.

    Don't you ever be too hard on yourself. You are blessed with a wonderful talent, a beautiful family and you're doing a great job of juggling. Go with God, day by day, and it will all come together.

    You are an amazing woman.

  24. Vince, I saw Clari's story in its pre-famous days and I knew it was a winner, right off.

    She had me at "Hello".


    Clari!!!! CONGRATULATIONS on your release, dear girl!!!!


  25. Julie,

    Ok, I won't hide my head, but I completely understand about budgeting. Contests are not cheap. I thought I read somewhere that you were looking to take the plunge into contest land this year...I hope you do; I want to read yours too!


  26. Clari Dees release day!!!!


    Clari, so excited for you!!!!

  27. Hmmm... my live link DIED...

    What did I do wrong this time?????

  28. Note to all....

    Before I fooled Harlequin into buying me, I worked an extra waitressing shift each week to pay for contests, ink and paper.

    Then I worked TWO as things got closer.

    And then I made cakes evenings at the local grocery store.

    Set your goals. Go for them. Consider it a new education, and classes don't come cheap... but this is way cheaper than even a local community college, right?

    Go for it.

    Dream big. Work hard.

  29. Happy New Year, everybody!

    Wow, what a party you had. Wanna throw in my one word, belatedly:
    CONQUER. It fits many things I've been thinking about lately (for instance reclaiming lost territory for God, as we discussed following Vince's comments on Dec. 24). I loved reading all of your words, and can relate to so many of them, especially PRAYER, COMMITMENT and HOPE.

    Besides the one word, I also choose a Bible verse to guide me in the new year. This year I'm thinking about going with John 14:1. Anybody else want to share their verse for 2013?

    Blessings, Viv

  30. Clari,
    happy release day!!!!

    I remember when you sold, after the October query contest Seekerville did. Are you gonna stick to the time period of your first book or will you try something different? I've noticed some authors for LIH sell on a certain time period, then go do something totally different. I guess it will be hard choosing as there are so many fascinating eras to choose from.

    Enjoy this special day!!


  31. Pam,
    congrats on grabbing the first Seeker release of 2013. I said it before, but I can't say it often enough: LOVE your cover!

  32. Vince,
    your comment about if guts, glory made me smile. If only!

  33. Kav, if the synopsis is optional, I'd always LEAVE IT OUT - even if they say it's not judged, how can that actually happen, really?--you color someone's perception. And unless you are just a brilliant synopsis writer, my synopsises (synopsi?) are hardly ever great, then I wouldn't do it. MOO--I actually think some seekers confirmed that for me in some blog post or something...

  34. There sure are a lot of contests. Better get my nose to the grindstone...

  35. Viv, you wise woman you!


    That is a great word. So many contexts!!!

    Melissa, I agree.

    I once didn't final because a judge wrote "I was going to give you a 96 but I couldn't possibly see how your synopsis would work so I dropped it to a 90"

    Which kept me out of the final and off an editor's desk.

    She graded down on an "unjudged" synopsis.

    That book later became the 4 1/2 star Made to Order Family in the North Country, but it taught me to seek contests with no synopsis because even if they're "unjudged" they can influence unduly.

  36. just back to the blog pages after being away from computer during Christmas travels to family (colorado and delaware). loved the family time - looks like i missed way too much around Seekerville. *sigh*
    my one word: DISCIPLINE
    verse: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." forgot address right now - Phillipians something... (am @work).

    so many contests... will have to be disciplined to actually have something written. goal...finish something, anything.

    love Seekerville. Blessings to all.

  37. Thank you, everybody. I feel like a tiny little superstar with your kind words and congratulations! :-)

    Ruthy, you are such a wonderful cheerleader and encourager. Thank you! If we lived closer, I'd come over and give you a huge hug. ((hugs))

    Vince, Thank you for downloading my book. :-) (Wow, it's surreal to say that.)

    Viv, My second manuscript is set in the 1890s but isn't a western. It's a little bit of a poor country mouse versus a rich city mouse tale with a hint of bad guy thrown in. I've turned it in to my editor, and I'm hoping she likes it. We'll see. The third one that I roughed in during NaNoWriMo is back to a western setting in the 1880s.

  38. This is looking like a good contest season! I got some good feedback from contesting in the fall, and I think I'm going to take some time to work on my ms before doing more. At least for this month. :) But, ohhhhh, the lure...... :)

    Good luck everyone!

    CLARI--sooooo excited for you!

    ANNIE--LOVE your pic in this post. Now I can put a face to your name. :)

  39. Okay then - someone clarify for me real quick.

    GH is an unjudged synop as I understand it. With no requirements on it other than 'no more than 15 pages'.

    Is it a required synop then? Or optional?

    I need to go reread the rules/directions...

    I'm rereading my entry right now so I can send it at lunch time. Because at lunch time my hand holding buddy will be online to virtually hold my hand like she always does when I submit stuff.

  40. Vince, in this business as complete and as polished as you can get the better. I would be wrong to advise you otherwise. That said, many an author has written THE end five minutes before they sent it off.

  41. Carol, it's all required on the GH. Who said it was unjudged? The judges get the synopsis and first three chapters.

  42. It really is fun putting faces to names, Jeanne! Annie is so cute.

  43. Oh - and I know for Genesis, Vince, they've specifically said as long as the rough draft is done that's what matters.

  44. Myra Johnson has a release today, Clari Dees and Pam Hillman.

    I am excited!!!!

  45. Good luck to all those who enter the contests!

  46. I totally agree with Melissa. I ALWAYS leave the synopsis out unless it is required.

  47. Welcome back DebH. We were ships passing in the night. I just left Colorado.

  48. Maybe I misunderstood then Tina. The new judging scores this year. From the website:

    Scoring Overview

    The Romance: Between 1 and 20 points, with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 20 being the highest (excellent)

    The Plot/Story: Between 1 and 10 points, with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 10 being the highest (excellent)

    The Writing: Between 1 and 10 points, with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 10 being the highest (excellent)

    The Characters: Between 1 and 10 points with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 10 being the highest (excellent)

    The total possible points for any entry is 50.

    Does that include the stuff in the synopsis or just the chapters? I've got prologue + 5 in my first 53 pages and a 2 page synop.

    I think I might cry trying to figure it all out and not screw anything up...

  49. FYI - if you haven't looked at the Golden Heart registration process yet, you might want to start it even if you don't enter till later today.

    And check your Spam filter for the confirmation email from the website.

    Yeah. Just figured that out after waiting for it for too long...

  50. I was sooo excited to see this post! Thanks for the heads up!! I've been scouting out contests, but didn't really know which ones are truly legit. Good luck to everyone!!!!

  51. I'm vowed off contests until the ms is complete.

    Now, if they'd come out w/the No Sagging Middles or Great Tail Ends contests, I'd enter.

    Have a lot of writing today so I better get busy.

    Connie Queen

  52. Thanks for the update, Tina! I see I need to get my rear in gear if I'm going to enter a few contests this year! They all seem to be due in January!

  53. Love the photo, Annie!! :) Congrats on finaling!

  54. Thanks for the update. Found a new one to enter. smiling.

  55. Helen, I love your puppet for your ventriloquist activity. How fun to see him. So cute.

    You go girl.

  56. CLARI, did I miss a debut? Congrats.

    And yay for VINCE to download it already.

    MYRA so excited about your book coming out today.

    PAM you too. woo hoo. Lots of great reading already this new year.

  57. ANNIE you are too precious. Love the photo.

  58. Hi Clari:

    I just love feisty heroines. You even comment on this yourself in the book. It’s a little bit of metafiction. : )

    Jonah’s hearty laugh thundered out. “She’s a handful, but I’ll take a strong, opinionated female over a silly, pampered flibbertigibbet any day of the week.”

    I didn’t believe that ‘flibbertigibbet’ was a real word but my Word spelling checker likes it. Is that 1880’s talk for TSTL?

    Very good! I want to turn the page just to see what she is going to do next. That’s an open-ended AE, anticipatory event. I'm going to use this as an example in my Rewards Per Page book. It's written and I'm just collecting examples for each reward to finish it up.


  59. Hi Annie:

    I can’t help it. Every time I see your name, my mind reads it as “Autumn Rains”. Maybe Madame Zelda can find a cure for this. Vince

  60. Annie,
    Cute photo! Yay for you, Contest Diva!

    Myra, Clari and Pam -
    Yay on your new releases! Congrats! Looking forward to reading all.

    And as always, thanks for the contest info.

    Happy New Year, all!

    I've upped my production goals and gotta get back to it. Blew by the goal yesterday - praying for the words and stamina to keep it up. I don't want this to be like the first week on a diet where it's easy to stick with it until week two! ;)

  61. Hi Viv:

    My favorite Bible quote is:

    Ruth 1:16

    “And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you: for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God my God:”

    I quote this to my wife whenever I want to move to Sedona or Santa Fe. She says, “You can go but you’ll go alone. Also, try as I might, I can’t move her over to Unity. I can tell you this: Ruths are few and far between these days.


  62. Carol, what I meant is it may be unjudged but subconsciously a reader is going to factor in a synopsis if it is required or included. So still make it the best it can be. You can can't help but be biased once you have read a synopsis.

    The first thing I do when I read a GH entry is move the synopsis to the back. I read it last, and hope I read as unbiasedly as possible.

  63. Myra has a book release! What book? I can’t find a new book on Amazon. Do you mean “A Horseman's Heart released as a Kindle? Don’t keep it a secret. : )

  64. Gotcha Tina.

    I think it's as ready as it's going to be.

    They're submitted as separate files this year so... Dunno how that works or if they'll combine them before sending them out or what.

    Did my best on the synop [Camy's worksheet is a lifesaver]. Mellie liked it. That's all I can do :D.

    Except submit.

    Before I chicken out.


    Ruthy - thank you, friend. I was telling Mel yesterday - if you knew how much time I wasted... That's where the discipline comes in. I know there's a time and place for "down time" and that you CAN'T be busy all the time. But there's a difference between that and wasting time ;).

    Once I get this entry done, I get to finish reading LFY in Glacier Bay, Alaska and make my goals so that I'll have a fresh slate for Speedbo.

    And some cuddle time with the 5yo. The other's aren't so much into cuddle time at the moment ;). Besides, I need to find out more about the mop living in his room. And he has to learn how to tie shoes today.

  65. Hi Tina:

    How about if your complete is too long? I have a 53,000 word romance, “The Last Romantic” that I’d like to start on chapter three. I could turn it into a 45,000 word novella for the Genesis contest. I also have a 120,000 word paranormal, “Characters in a Romance”, and my 55,000 “Stranded in a Cabin” romance. Can I enter three different books if they are in different categories? That would be a great way to start the year! Three entries in the Genesis. Just imagine the disappointment that I could use to build my character when the results come back. : )

    Is anyone going for the novella? I’ve never seen a novella category. Do you think it will be the only one of the year? I’ve been wanting to write a novella ever since I read, “Yule Die” which I believe is the perfect model for the novella. It’s a little novel with lots of chapters each with a hook and a cliff hanger. It’s how to do it.


  66. Vince - I know ACFW is standardizing their categories across all three contests [Genesis, Carol, First Impressions] so FI will have a novella category [unless maybe it absolutely doesn't work and they change things again?].

    Golden Heart is entered. Tina is emailed.

    Time for my book.

    And to try to teach a 5yo to tie his shoes...

  67. Waving to Annie too! :-)
    Go authors!

  68. Hi Ruth:

    I think your link is dead. Here is where I think you wanted it to go:

    Christian Bookstore

  69. Vince, you should enter it in the 50 thousand word category. Is there one? Anyhow, with any fiction you put approx. xxx word count. Or it is understood that it is an approximation. No one cares if it is a little under or over.

  70. A Horseman's Hope.

  71. Vince,
    flibbertigibbet is a Middle English word going back to the 15th century and wikipedia even has a short article on it. It's not quite Too Stupid To Live, at least not originally, but according to Miriam-Webster online it means silly, flighty, etc. However, the way my great aunts used the word, it did mean TSTL. :-)

  72. Hi Tina:

    “A Horseman’s Heart” is not available as a Kindle. : ( But I did click, “Tell the publisher you want this for the Kindle.” There needs to be a second release when it goes eBook!

  73. Hi Tina:

    Big Problem! I just went to the ACFW site for more Genesis info and read that you can’t have any sex in any of the categories! Are all ACFW chapter contests like this? All sweet romances? One must be careful when RWA contests are listed along side ACFW. None of my books have sex in the first few chapters that judges would see. But then it’s not what the judges see, it’s what is in the full that counts. Is that right? “Characters” is sweet but that’s it. Oy vey!


  74. Tina--

    *cough cough*

    And many an author has written the end page to 'show' it was written, when actually all they had was the first chapter.

    And then wrote it in a month when they were told it was a full request.

    *plucks out gray hairs*



    Will we know you as 'Shady Vince' from now on?

    As in 'Fifty Shades of Vince'?

  76. Vince! Why waste your money on the Genesis if your book will not eventually sell in the CBA?

    Enter the GH and enter in the short contemp. category.

  77. Vince, you fixed it! Good job, I had to work and couldn't get back to it. Half the post disappeared, I had a link to Amazon too... Blogger was overwhelmed by my quest for techno-greatness.

    VINCE It does not matter if your ms. is 10,000 over at this point.

    What matters is are you savvy enough to chop it when the time comes? Can you have it ready in 3 or 4 months when they ask for a "full"?

    Sure you can.

    It's always "Done", my friend. And the proper length.

    Because it will be when they get it, LOL!

    So yes, enter.

    The trick with that is that your length of book affects timing. So if you're a little long-winded (like me) in your 56K book, AX WHAT YOU CAN out of the required opening for a 30K (or whatever length) Novella.

    Because for that novella, the judges will be looking for quick pacing, dropped into the action and a trend toward resolution. So pump up the jam, my friend, and enter it!!!

  78. Flibbertigibbet! I love it! They used it in Anne of Green Gables... Or Little House... Or something I read several times to small Hernes!

    TSTL would be the modern definition but even those girls could manage to grow up nicely... eventually!

  79. I love contest update day. =)
    Even though I think the fee for Genesis went up from last year.
    It's good to be back in Seekerville.
    Thankfully Ruthy and my crit partner and BFF talked me through throwing in the towel. So we keep pushing forward!
    Now... to go download Pam and Clari's books to my new Kindle Fire.
    Glad to know a completed draft, even first draft ugly, is considered complete.
    Now, to go sell some stuff on Craig's list for contest fees, hehe.

  80. Wow, my head is spinning! I learned something today - about optional synopses! Who knew? I always thought it was better to enter one. From now on I know better. Thanks!

    Congrats to everyone entering the Golden Heart. From past experience I know it's a big deal - a little easier this year now that it's electronic.

    Carol - I wish I had half your energy and determination!

    Congrats to all the new and upcoming book releases. I think I'll need a second job just to buy books! LOL.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful, productive New Year!


  81. NANCY K--It's so good to see you back! I missed you. :)

  82. Okay VIRGINIA,

    Did YOU do that? And then finish the book in a month? Wow.


  83. I so relate, Nancy. Welcome back, btw.

    Living on PB&J so you can enter a contest. But so worth it in the end.

  84. Vince,
    I was half way to work when the last part of your comment dawned on me,
    I made your rewards per page list?! Cool! I've grinned everytime I've thought about that.

  85. Wow, contests are so addicting!

    Since I'm not too sure where I'm starting this story, I'm leaving the contesting/editing the beginning alone so I can blaze through word count.

    Cheers to all the brave contestants!

  86. Viva Synopsis!

    I know, I’m already in trouble. Oh, well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

    I don’t know a lot about contests but I do know about selling. Why would you not want a synopsis? If you have a really great story, with a stand up and cheer ending, that just oozes with wow power, (and why spend a year writing any other kind?)then why not prejudice the judges in your favor by putting your opening pages in this wonderful context? Make the judges think: “If you can pull this off, it’ll make a great romance.” If the story is that compelling, then subconsciously the judges might actually be rooting for your entry.

    Isn’t not having a synopsis like saying: “the story is not much but the beginning is really good?”

    Imagine selling a 21-day tour of Europe and only telling the prospect about the first day’s activities? Just judge the whole trip by the first day. I don’t want you to know the rest of the itinerary.

    I’ve done much better when I have been allowed to submit a synopsis. Think elevator pitch: it’s a great story and here’s how it all begins.

    A great one word “Synopsis” – Greatness in Context!


  87. So Vince, how many synopses have you written? They are hard to write.

  88. Hi Clari:

    It’s even better than that. I am adding a few more paragraphs to cover the idea of the on-going AE. (I hope Missy reads this because she is also a big AE exponent.) In the typical AE, the writer sets up a future event that the reader looks forward to happening. Always having AEs to look forward to can keep the pages turning without having to always be increasing tension or conflict. This leads to much better pacing in a non-suspense novel. I had not thought of an on-going AE. Your Meri reminds me of Evanovish’s Stephanie Plum: no matter what the story is about, you got to wonder what she’s going to do next.

    BTW: I just love the way you had Meri ask the minister to call the elders in to pray for her father as it says in the bible. Now that’s emotional! I know that’s got to be an example of another reward.


  89. Awww, shucks, Vince. You're gonna make me cry. Either that or frighten my library patrons with a Snoopy dance. I'm SO glad you're enjoying my book. VBsmG!
    (very big, slightly misty, grin)

  90. Hi Tina:

    You wrote: “So Vince, how many synopses have you written? They are hard to write.”

    Sergeant! Would you tell the Captain that teaching the troops to march a ‘flank right’ was hard to do? Can’t we just stick to the easy movements? They do ‘to the rear’ really good.

    I write about three to four synopses for each book. A 300 word, a one page single spaced, and three pager and when I can I try to go to 15 pages. (Some contests allow 15 pages but the most I’ve actually written is 10 pages.) But then I’m a plotter. I’m also a copywriter with over thirty years experience. I’m used to getting fact sheets and brochures and newspaper clipping and being told to reduce all that info down to 500 words or whatever the client needs. When I told my boss it was hard to do that, he would always say, “That’s why I don’t have Herb doing it.” Herb was the janitor. True story.

    I suggest you read “Write A Great Synopsis” by
    Nicola Morgan. It’s a Kindle. She has a great system. It is actually the same method I used to write ads to a given word length. I know this is hard for a pantser. It’s like getting a confirmed bachelor to say “I love you”.

    Some things that are hard to do, are really worth doing. Especially when you land what you were angling for. : )


    P.S. I’m in for it now and I’m not well. Have pity, please. I go back to the doctor's tomorrow at 8:45am. : (

  91. Nancy, you're very Washington-friendly right now!!!

    Get it????

    You're OFF THE CLIFF!!!!


    Hey, we've all been there, done that. And you can chat it up with me anytime.

    Remember Nora Roberts' saying? "It's not the one with the most talent that gets the nod... it's the one that didn't quit."

    There's a lot of truth in them thar words!

    Hey, I made Rosie O'Shea's Killer Oatmeal Cookies today! The recipe is on the SEEKERVILLE COOKBOOK PAGE HERE!Well, I watched babykins and Casey made the dough, but oh my stars.... This is the most worthy oatmeal cookie I've had in a long time.

    We put cinnamon chips in the half I'm leavin' for youse. They are TO DIE FOR.

    Not even close to kidding. And I will not say that I ate four...

    so far.

    Love 'em!!!!

  92. After taking the red-eye and working through today, I'm dropping by. I have already entered the Golden Heart. Don't know what else I'm going to do. Saving funds for RWA as I will finally be going this year. :-)

  93. Cinnamon chips, REALLY??? How come my stores don't sell them? Time to move.

    Connie, not saying she did that, but the book went on to get 4 1/2 stars from RT and a Reviewer's Choice nomination. Makes you just a little green, doesn't it. But she's nice so we'll forgive her.

    *smiles and waves to sweet Virginia* who also has a scrumptious-sounding brownie recipe over at the Yankee Belle today.

  94. I hate it when Blogger eats my comment. So thank you Jeanne T, Tina and Ruthy. It's good to be back. =)

  95. Vince -

    I'm glad synopses come easily for someone.

    I'd rather write an 80K rough draft in 2 days than a synopsis.

  96. So many contests to enter in Jan. I need to get busy. Thanks, Tina, for the nudge!

  97. Aren't those cookies delish??? Seriously good!!!

  98. Thank you,Carol!!! I feel the same way about writing a synopsis.

  99. For someone who decided today to go cold turkey with both chocolate and lollies reading about all these foods isn't helping. (i remember I still have a few boiled lollies)

  100. The Ugly Truth about the Beautiful Synopsis

    1. A synopsis is hard for anyone to write.
    2. Writing is not the hard part of doing a synopsis.
    3. The hard part is deciding what to leave out.
    4. To the degree that you believe your writing is perfectly integrated and organically whole (so that no part can be cut without fatal results to the viability of the story), then to that same degree creating a synopsis becomes almost impossible within any reasonable number of words.
    5. The reader is not going to know and is not going to care what was cut from a synopsis.
    6. A synopsis stands on its own and is judged by what is there and not by what could have been there.
    7. A synopsis only has to tell enough of your story to let a reader get a general idea of what the story is about and to entice that reader into reading your book.

    Submitted with Love.

  101. Vince, is like a good talk show host. He knows how to press the hot buttons.

  102. Tina my Aussie coming out lollies are candy. a boiled Lolly is a old fashioned sweet or candy, I found out Americans call them hard candy.

  103. Lots of contests mean more winners means more novels/books for us readers. Whooeee. Thanks again for a great New Year's Party. It was the best ever!


  104. Good Luck to all entering the contest. I hope you win & there is another great book out there for us readers to read :)

    I would love to be entered in the winter reading material contest.

    MinDaf @

  105. Thanks for all the info. When I go to the RWA Golden Heart for pricing, etc, I get a big 0. Is there a secret e-address known only to SEEKERVILLE I should be using? (smile)

    PS - I have finally written a romance. Granted, it's about some older folks who fall in love, but still....

    Gail Kittleson

  106. Gail the Golden Heart closed on January 2nd.

    But the Genesis is open!!

  107. I'd like to go on record to say that Annie Raines is simply adorable.

    Thank you.


  108. Good luck all you writers! Keep 'em coming! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com