Friday, August 30, 2013

September Contest Update

September is upon us. Contest busy season is about to begin. Are your entries ready?

 Let's get ready to contest with a critique to prepare you for the ACFW First Impressions Contest. (Submit a back-cover copy type blurb of 200 words or less AND the first five pages of the manuscript.) Two winners.

And we'll give a copy of Debby Giusti's September, Love Inspired Suspense, The Soldier's Sister (Kindle or Paperback) to one reader.

Comment today for a chance. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Published Author Contests

 The 2013 Lyra Awards are designed to find and promote the best in independent fiction.  The contest is open to all independently published eBooks released in 2013. 12 categories. Deadline is December 31, 2013.

Published Authors! Be prepared. The 2014 RITA Awards are coming! See the RWA website for the new rules.

Unpublished Author Contests

 2013 Joyce Henderson Contest (formerly Hold Me! Thrill Me!). Deadline September 1, 2013. Submit the first 20 pages. Need not be RWA member.  
Historical: Alicia Condon, Kensington
Young Adult: Annette Pollert, Simon and Schuster
Contemporary: Sue Grimshaw, Random House
Paranormal: Leslie Wainger, Harlequin
Suspense: Rochelle D. French, Entangled Publishing

Hot Prospects Contest. Deadline September 1, 2013.Eligibility: The Hot Prospects Contest is open to any work uncontracted and unpublished at the time of entry. Enter: 3-5-page synopsis and up to the first 25 pages of story (30 pages max). Entry or synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.

Categories/Judges: Trained judges for preliminary round, Editors and Agents for final round.

Editor – Esi Sogah  - Senior Editor Kensington
Editor – Holly Blanck – St. Martins Press

 Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
Assistant Editor – Kelly Quinn, Tor
Assistant Editor – Kristine Swartz, The Berkley Publishing Group

 Romantic Suspense
Editor – Lauren Plude – Editorial Assistant Grand Central Publishing
Editor – Tera Kleinfelter - Samhain

 Contemporary Long/Single Title
Editor – Deborah Werksman – Sourcebooks, Inc
Editor – Sue Grimshaw – Random House

Series Contemporary
Editor - Johanna Raisanen – Harlequin Associate Editor
Editor – Leanne Morgena –  Senior Editor, Sweetheart Rose, The Wild Rose Press

Four Seasons Award. Deadline September 1, 2013. Entries must be the first 25 pages of your manuscript in RTF (rich text format).  Please do NOT include a synopsis.

Single Title Contemporary
 Editor: Michelle Venditti, MIRA

 Agent: Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency


Editor: Kristine Swartz, Berkley Publishing
Agent: Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency

Young Adult
 Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, Fire, Casablanca
 Agent: Anita Mumm, Nelson Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense
Editor: Dana Hamilton, Harlequin Intrigue
Agent Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

Editor: Elizabeth Mazer, Harlequin Love Inspired
Agent: Amanda Luedke, MacGregor Literary.

Editor: Tessa Woodward, Avon.
Agent: Jita Fumich, Folio Literary

Fiction from the Heartland. Deadline September 2, 2013. Entry consists of the first 10,000 words, including any prologue and synopsis. SYNOPSIS IS REQUIRED.

Category Romance: Wanda Ottewell, Harlequin
Contemporary Single Title: Kate Dresser, Harlequin
Historical: Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks
Romantic Suspense: Patience Bloom, Harlequin
Paranormal: Esi Sogah, Kensington
Erotic Romance: Leis Pederson, Berkeley
Young Adult Romance/New Adult Romance:Karen Grove, Entangled
Inspirational: David Long, Bethany House

Shira Hoffman,  McIntosh and Otis
Margaret Bail, Inklings Literary Agency
Laura Bradford,  Bradford Literary Agency
Deidre Knight, The Knight Agency
Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency  

Gateway to the Best. Deadline September 6, 2013. Grand prize $100 and full critique by a published author. Entry consists of the first 7,000 words.

 Single Title/Contemporary Series - Katherine Pelz, Editor, Berkley

Historical - Esi Sogah, Editor, Kensignton

Paranormal - Junessa Viloria, Random House

Romantic Suspense - Patience Bloom, Harlequin

Young Adult - Stacey Barney, Penguin Putnam

Melody of Love. Deadline September 7, 2013. Entry consists of manuscript’s first 25 (or fewer) pages, no synopsis,

Author may be unpublished or published, but manuscript being entered cannot have been published and cannot be currently contracted to be published via any means at any time, including self or subsidy publishing.

Manuscript should be a romance or romantic elements novel of 40,000 words or more.

CONTEMPORARY judged by Agent Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency

HISTORICAL judged by Editor Kerri Buckley of Carina Press

PARANORMAL judged by Editor Candace Havens of Entangled Publishing

YOUNG ADULT judged by Editor Heather Howland of Entangled Publishing

We welcome entries in the optional sub-genres of Romantic Elements, Erotic, Inspirational, and New Adult

ACFW First Impressions Contest.TIMELINE: The contest will begin September 25, 2013 at 8:00 AM central time. All contest entries and contest fees must be received by 4:00 PM central time on November 1, 2013.. Submit a back-cover copy type blurb of 200 words or less AND the first five pages of the manuscript. Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Childrens/YA, Speculative. Finalist judges are not listed on the site.

Launching a Star. Deadline September 15, 2013. Entry consists of up to the first fifteen pages of an unpublished manuscript (not published in any form). Contestants may include a Prologue (if one exists) as long as the total submission does not exceed fifteen pages. Entry cap of 150.

 Final round judges for Launching a Star Contest

Single Title (including WF) Editor Gwen Hayes, Entangled Publishing; Agent Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency 

General Paranormal Editor Angela James, Carina Press; Agent TBA 

Futuristic / Fantasy Editor Rhonda Helms, Carina Press; Agent Deidre Knight, Knight Agency 

Historical Editor Emilia Pisani, Simon & Schuster; Agent TBA 

Series Contemporary Editor Laura Barth, Harlequin American/Harlequin Blaze;
Agent Jessica Alvarez, Bookends

Romantic Suspense Editor Lizzie Poteet, St. Martin’s Press; Agent TBA 

Inspirational Editor Raela Schoenherr, Bethany House; Agent Nicole Resciniti,
The Seymour Agency 

Young Adult Editor Kristin Daly Rens, Harper Collins; Agent Elaine Spencer,
Knight Agency

The Suzannah. Deadline October 1, 2013. $300 cash prize to winner. No categories. Entry should be a maximum of 7,200 words, including synopsis. Open to published and unpublished authors. Capped at 120 entries.

All six finalists will have their entries evaluated by the full panel of agents and editors. Our 2013 panel of final round judges includes:

 Kerri Buckley, Editor, Carina Press
 Piya Campana, Editor, Harlequin Superromance
 Katherine Pelz, Editor, Berkley
 Maria Carvainis, Literary Agent, Maria Carvainis  Agency
 Melissa Jeglinski, Literary Agent, The Knight  Agency
 Stefanie Lieberman, Literary Agent,  Janklow and Nesbit

Other Contests

The Family Circle 2013 Fiction Writing Contest. Deadline September 16, 2013. Submit an original (written by entrant), fictional short story of no more than 2,500 words (typed, double-spaced and page numbered on 8-1/2 x 11 paper), including your full name, mailing address, daytime telephone number (including area code) and e-mail address (optional) on each page by mailing story in an envelope with proper postage affixed to: Family Circle Fiction Writing Contest.Grand Prize (1): A prize package including a check in the amount of $1,000.00.

Past Loves Day Story Contest. Deadline September, 17, 2013. 700 words or less. Cash prizes.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.

 The Sixth Annual, Real Simple, Life Lessons Essay Contest.

Maybe, in the course of your life, you’ve had an Erin Brockovich moment: say, the time you stood up to a bully in second grade, or the day you ended a long-standing friendship that had turned toxic. Or maybe your acts of courage have been less dramatic but no less powerful: moving  to a new country. Daring to fall in love a second time around. Leaving a settled career to embark on a risky new venture. Whatever your story, share it with us.

Enter Real Simple’s sixth annual Life Lessons Essay Contest and you could have your essay published in Real Simple and receive a prize of $3,000.
To enter, send your typed, double-spaced submission (1,500 words maximum, preferably in a Microsoft Word document) to Deadline September 19.

 Writing Contest in Honor of Elaine Kaufman. From now until October 15, 2013, writers can submit a short story, essay or novel excerpt to the Table 4 Writers Foundation’s second annual writing competition. Ten dollar entry fee. (From GalleyCat)

The September Contest Diva is Susan Mason

2013 Fab 5 Contest — 3rd Place — Historical Romance
2013 ACFW Genesis Semi-Finalist —Historical Romance
2012 ACFW Genesis Semi-Finalist— Historical Romance
2011 ACFW Genesis Semi-Finalist — Contemporary Romance
2012 Great Expectation Contest — 2nd Place — Historical Romance
2010 Touched By Love — 2nd Place — Short Contemporary
2008 Golden Pen Finalist — 2nd Place Contemporary Romance
2008 Golden Heart Finalist — Inspirational Contemporary Romance

Hi everyone. I write contemporary and historical Inspirational Romance. Over the past eight or nine years, I have entered many contests. My newbie mistake (or maybe not such a mistake after all) was entering the Golden Heart contest as a GREEN writer. I didn’t realize that you get zero feedback from that contest— only a number, like 3.2 — which didn’t mean much to me. But somehow, magically, in 2008, I became a finalist in the Inspirational category of the Golden Heart. This amazing feat, which I was oblivious about at the time, became the door that opened my life to the amazing Seekers and a whole host of other on-line friends who wrote similar stories to me. It eventually led to me joining ACFW — an amazingly supportive group for Christian writers of all genres.

Over the years, I’ve finaled in various contests, such as the Golden Pen, Touched By Love, the Genesis, and Great Expectations among others, and have received requests from editors and agents. Though nothing much ever came of these, (oh, there was the $20 prize from one!), each experience was a nugget of gold to me on my writing journey. Most times these affirming finals happened when I was about to throw in the towel. I took it as a sign that God was encouraging me to continue my quest! 

Now I’m much more selective as to which contests I enter and usually it’s because I’m targeting a certain agent or editor that I would like to have read my work. I’ve learned that judging is extremely subjective and I try very hard not to take offense when a judge doesn’t care for my work.

I’m still constantly learning and revising my work, but one day I know it will all come to fruition—all in God’s perfect timing. I heartily advise writers to enter contests for good feedback on your work—both positive & negative! 

I wish all you writers out there the best of luck! Work hard and never give up hope! Just look at the wonderful Seekerville women to find your inspiration!

Sue Mason


For the THIRD YEAR, Seekerville will again be offering entry fee reimbursement to the 2014 Golden Heart Awards. With a twist!~This year we are narrowing that to the Inspirational Category entry only in an effort to keep the category open. And we are offering TWO reimbursements of the entry fee.

This opportunity is open from the entry date through to the Golden Heart deadline. 
Send proof of entry to the Seekerville email address (may send multiple proofs if you enter multiple times in the inspy category). Winner will be announced in January 2014.

 2014 RWA Golden Heart Awards. Please note the opening date for the Golden Heart is not posted yet. Last year's contest opened on November 15 (but the deadline was in January!) so keep your eyes on the RWA site for more info.

This contest requires a full manuscript. There is no feedback. The Golden Heart contest is open to RWA members only. The entry fee is $50; entries must be submitted to RWA's contest site no later than 5 p.m. CT, Dec. 13, 2013. The Golden Heart contest is limited to 1,200 paid entries.


Seekerville is a sponsor of the Bethany House Fall Into Love Contest. Plus, we are delighted to share that Jones House Creative (the genius behind the contest, will be guesting in Seekerville next month!

That's it for this month. Now go forth and contest.

Tina Radcliffe is a mild mannered hermit who writes Inspirational romance for Harlequin Love Inspired as Tina Radcliffe and romantic comedy as Tina Russo. You can find her at and
Her latest release from Love Inspired is Mending the Doctor's Heart. Her first Indie release,a romantic comedy called The Rosetti Curse, is available on Amazon NOW!

And keep your eye on the newsstands. Her next short romantic fiction for Woman's World will be available in the September 29, on-sale issue.


  1. Way to go, Susan. You're getting there.

    I'm in contest limbo.

    Can't enter unpublished ones because I'm contracted. Can't enter published because I have no books until 2014.

    So I guess I'm limited to coffee duty. The big weekend pot is set to brew.

  2. Just ordered THE ROSETTI CURSE! Can't wait to read.

    Congrats to Sue! Love all those awards and finals.

    Thanks, Tina, for providing such great contest info. Good luck, everyone!

  3. Congratulations Sue! That is an impressive list of awards. Selling is definitely in God's timing.

    Tina - I love that picture of you!

    By the way, I sold a Christmas novella to White Rose. I'm very excited!

  4. They're making the First Impressions deadline DURING the conference....not quite getting the reasoning behind that one.

    But happy contesting!

    Hmmmm, wonder if I'm eligible for the RITA though I've yet to touch my book!

  5. I should enter the past loves contest. I even have the perfect walking away into the sunset ending. Which happens to be true. I just hope they publish it anonymously so the names of the innocent might be spared. Contests are something I have to start entering.

  6. I did check out the Past Loves One, Eluzabeth, And they do publish amonymously.

  7. Terri!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! When does it release? Contemporary or historical? Tell us about it!

    1. Thanks! It releases in November, I don't have the exact date yet. It is a romantic comedy set in a small town in Oklahoma.

  8. Melissa, I read the review for your debut release in RT Book Reviews! Great review. Congratulations.

  9. By the way, if you get hungry or nosey...I'm at the Yankee Belle Cafe with Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

    The Yankee Belle Cafe

    And there's even a video so you can hear my nasal Western New York accent.

  10. ???? Mild mannered hermit my ....ash can!

    okay, back to the regularly scheduled post. Hey SUSAN, YOU DIVA!

    way to go! Congrats on being our calendar girl for September.

    Yikes. those entry dates are so very next week! Now I know why Julie H S has been living in 1k1hr land!

    Interesting to see Dave Long doing a contest - that doesn't happen too often.

    Thanks for the update!

    Happy Labor Day LONG Weekend!

  11. I expected a comment about my nasal Western New York accent, Marvin.

  12. Thanks for the wonderful post on upcoming contests! I entered one; we'll see what happens! I enjoy reading these posts each day. They are filled with such inspiration, encouragement, and direction. Thanks!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  13. No contests for me right now. . . But it's funny that not too long ago, I had no clue there was even such a thing. I've learned a ton from Seekerville!
    I'll take an entry as a reader, though.

  14. Thanks for the contest updates.

    After three years, I've finally discovered the beauty of entering contests.

    So I'll pick one to enter.

    Please enter my name in the drawing.

  15. Thanks a bunch - so easy to just go to Seekerville versus trying to figure out all this stuff on my own. Of course there's the get-over-being-scared-of-contests thing I still have to do pretty much alone.
    Please enter me in the drawing - great prizes!

  16. Tina, thanks for a great contest update!! Before long, we'll start seeing all the pubbed contests as well. They seem to happen in one big clump. Gotta start saving our pennies now for all that postage! :)

  17. Sue, congrats to you on all your contest success! What fun to read about your journey.

  18. So excited for you, Terri!!! Congrats, again!!

  19. Yes, it's fun to come hear Tina talk on the video in the Cafe! But beware. Her bubbly casserole with make you hungry! You'll be craving melted cheese.


  20. Sally, congrats to you for entering a contest!! It's scary but very exciting. :)

  21. Loved this! Yea, and yea for contests. I'm hoping to enter the FIrst Impressions. I'm so glad you reminded me about the deadline. We'll see if I can meet it and STILL get everything ready for ACFW. I would like to enter more contests, so we'll see how that works. :)

    TINA I'm so glad you post these. Because now I'm hooked on contests. Especially when I have something to enter. ;o)

    SUSAN—I loved that you shared you finaled in times you were ready to throw in the towel. That's happened to me too. :)

    Congratulations you contest DIVA you!

  22. Thanks Tina! I really, really need to enter another contest *sigh*.

    CONGRATS Susan Mason--sounds like you're working hard and definitely moving forward!

    Happy Friday Seekerville! Enjoy the Peach muffins and Pecan pralines I brought this morning. (Yes, it's okay to snack on sugary pecan pralines early in the day--they're good for energy, LOL).

    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  23. Great update as always!!!

    But the First Impressions info is incorrect. From the website:

    TIMELINE: The contest will begin September 25, 2013 at 8:00 AM central time. All contest entries and contest fees must be received by 4:00 PM central time on November 1, 2013.

    Like Melissa, I was surprised that it was during conference [AHHHH!] especially since I think I'm coordinating again...

    That said the timeline is a bit earlier this year than last so...

    I'm in for a crit... :) Or a book. Whichevs.

    Haven't decided about Golden Heart yet. Missed out last year when the category got canceled - thanks for trying to keep it open this year :).

  24. Thanks, Carol. Updated the information.

  25. Can you REALLY, REALLY, make pecan pralines, Patti Jo? I am so addicted to them.

  26. Wow, Love to hear about all you contest entrants. Woo hooo
    And Congrats Susan. You truly are a contest diva-smile

    Soon--I know it will be soon when you get that call.

    Must think about entering some myself.

  27. Lots of good contests out there.

    Atta girl, Susan. Sounds like it won't be long before we have your first sales story. Can't wait.

  28. Congratulations, Susan, you're an inspiration.

    I'd decided to wait until next year to enter any more contests, but I might make an exception for the First Impressions.

    Please put me in for the critique, but I just received The Soldier's Sister (Thank you, Debby). I've also got Tina's Rosetti Curse on my TBR list. I'm working on a self-imposed deadline to finish my Regency by end of Sept, so don't have much reading time right now.

  29. YAY, Susan! Impressive wins and finals, girlfriend. Great spotlight on YOU!!

    Tina, great WE -- as always : )

    AND congrats on the debut of the Rosetti Curse. Folks, I can't count the times The Rosetti Curse edged out my entry at the time in various unpubbed contests. It's about time we get to finish this award winning story!!!

  30. Helen, what an awful position to be in, LOL! Just sit back and relax. The contests will be waiting for YOU!

  31. Love your focus Elaine. Keep it up!

  32. Terri! I love how nonchalantly you slipped in the news of a SALE!!

    Tell us about it!!

    1. Trust me, I have to force myself to stay calm. It is a romantic comedy, contemporary, that takes place in a small Oklahoma town at Christmas.

  33. Audra. You are so ready for the weekend aren't you?

    "Tina, great WE -- as always : )"

    This is the CONTEST UPDATE/.

  34. Jeanne T, I love your photo. I've been out of the loop for the past 2 months, so I'm not certain if it's new to anyone else, LOL!

    I like it : )

  35. Cindy, the only thing scary about contests is the cost of postage, LOL! Go forth and conquer!!

  36. Oops, it is the Contest Update, isn't it? LOL!

    I'm off today and basking in the sheer joy of being able to indulge in matter the post topic, hee.

  37. And I'm sure the WE will be just as inspiring : )

  38. Also the First Impressions categories will be the same as the Genesis/Carol categories [except BNA]. But they haven't announced the coordinators or judges yet.

  39. Congrats to SUSAN, our contest diva! What an awesome resume of contest awards!

    And TINA--another WW story coming out? You go, girl!

    Oh, my, can't believe it's nearly RITA time again! Thanks for another great contest update, Tina!

  40. TERRI, just saw your Christmas novella announcement--congratulations!!! How fun!!!

  41. Well Carol, thanks for being our inside source!

  42. Please enter me for The Soldier's Sister giveaway! Thanks!

  43. Thanks everyone for the lovely comments.

    TINA - I didn't realize my head would be so BIG! LOL.

    Well, at least people might recognize me at the conference in 2 WEEKS! Although my hair is shorter now - due to severe hot flashes and summer combined!

    A lot of great contests, but I may have to pass this month. Too much going on.

    Have a fantastic long weekend, everyone!


  44. Oh, and congrats again, Terri!
    (I think I commented on the FHL loop already.)

    White Rose seems to be a wonderful group of people to work with - authors and editors. Love the covers they come up with!

    Cheers again!

    1. Hey Sue, it is great to put a face with a name! Thanks again.

  45. Susan Diva Mason is going to ACFW! Ya'll be sure to give her a hug!!


    SUZI-Q!!! WHOA, BABY, you're racking up some tiaras, my friend, and you do know at some point those tiaras turn into contracts, right??? Because diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but contracts woo the writer!!

    GREAT CONTEST post, Teenster, as always!!


  47. EEP! I hope I'm not giving out insider info! I've heard it mentioned "around" for months but I guess I don't *know* that it's been mentioned anywhere official...

  48. It 'll be our little secret, Carol!

  49. Thanks for sharing this, Tina! Faith Hope & Love is looking into revising our GH incentive program. We were greatly saddened when the GH this last year did not receive enough inspy submissions to make entry minimum.

    So, yay, on Seekerville's GH incentive program!

  50. P.S. Please put me in for any and all drawings. :)

    And I don't know if I've said it before, but I love that picture of you too, TINA. :)

    Terri, I forgot to say earlier, congratulations on the sale!

    AUDRA, thank you. I just got some headshots done. I'm gradually updating my online presence with them. Are you going to ACFW?

    SUSAN, I'm sooo looking forward to meeting THE DIVA in person in a couple weeks. :)

  51. A writing friend introduced me to your website in July and the blogs are not only impressive but also inspiring. Thank you for the info on the contests and I look forward to more writing tips in September. Thanks to Sue for today's tip not to give up hope through one's writing journey including if that journey includes contests.

  52. Thanks, Tanya! Tell us a bit about what you write.

  53. Congratulations to Susan on being contest diva. So many contest accomplishments! Looking over the contest deadlines and may enter one next month.
    Thanks for the list, Tina.
    Helen, just enjoy your new status as a soon to be published novelist. Terri, Congrats on your contract with White Rose. I hear they're wonderful to work with.
    Please include me in the drawing for a critique.
    Everyone have a wonderful long holiday weekend.

  54. Pat Jeanne! Thanks, and hope your weekend is excellent as well.

  55. Well woohoo to Susan the contest divia -- Kav is waving madly from her corner of Ontario to a fellow Canadian!

    Thanks for the contest updates, Tina. I love this time of month -- it's so optimistic. And I finally latch onto the right Woman's World magazine. Your story is awesome. I don't know how you do it!!! But don't stop!!!!

  56. I'm in on the Windy City. Of course, right after I hit send I realized there was something else I could have changed.

    Congrats to Susan.

    Thanks to Tina.

    Now I can enjoy my Labor Day Weekend.

    Peace, Julie

  57. Kav, what corner of Ontario are you in?

    I'm in Brampton, near Toronto!

    Waving back!!

  58. SUSAN, what fun to get to know you better. And you finaled in the Golden Heart as a 'green' writer? Amazing! Wishing good things for you.

    Impressed, as always, with Seekerville's mentoring and support through efforts like the entry fee reimbursement for the Golden Heart. You're fantastic! All of youse :-)

    Nancy C

  59. TERRI - Congratulations on the "oh by the way" sale!

    KAV and SUSAN - I was just in Ontario, and you had the nicest weather for me. I heard it sort of fell apart after I left, though :-)

    TINA - Thanks for the contest weekend update edition.

    Nancy C

  60. Hey, Nancy!!!! Always happy to see another diva checking in.

  61. Wow, such an impressive list! Thanks so much for putting this together!