Friday, January 31, 2014

February Contest Update

February is already upon us. Time to make plans for your 2014 contesting! Today's contest diva, Courtney Phillips is a great example of putting yourself out there. And what about the SYTYCW winner Tanya Wright?? No guts, no glory. No pain, no gain!

Share your contest thoughts for a chance to win a Seekerville Valentine's Day package. For a reader we have winners choice of any two Ruth Logan Herne books, hard copy (if available) or e-copy (all are available).  Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

Published Author Contests

Bean Pot Contest for Published Authors. Deadline February 1.

Write Touch Readers' Award Contest. Deadline February 3. 

The Carolyn Readers Choice Award. Deadline February 14.

Inspirational Readers Choice. Deadline March 1.

2014 Carol Awards. Opens January 2. Deadline March 15.

Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence: Published. March 15.

Unpublished Author Contests

First Kiss Contest. Deadline February 1.Send  the scene from your book where your couple first kisses. The scene should convey the emotion and romantic conflict between the characters, sparkle with creative dialogue, description, and characterization, and move the story forward. Ten pages plus one page set up. 

Final Judge: Patience Bloom, Senior Editor, Harlequin.

FIRST PRIZE: $50.00 or FREE registration to the New England Chapter’s “LET YOUR IMAGINATION TAKE FLIGHT” Conference (2014 value: $189.00), to be held in May 2014. (Not including hotel, transportation or conference extras.) SECOND PRIZE: $35.OO THIRD PRIZE: $25.00 Entries will be scored by one published author and one qualified, unpublished judge. Score sheets and marked manuscript pages will be returned to entrants.

Touched by Love. Deadline February 1st. Entry consists of up to the first 20 pages of an unpublished inspirational manuscript and an unjudged synopsis (no more than two pages double-spaced) for a maximum of 22 total pages. Categories, Long Contemp, Short Contemp and Historical.

 Critiquing Editor for 2014 is Raela Schoenherr of Bethany House Publishers

The remaining two First place category winners will receive $75 toward any writing related expense paid within one year of the end of the TBL contest  and 1st place category entries will be sent to editor to review (not critique). Â Second place winners will receive $50 toward any writing related expense paid within one year of the end of the TBL contest. Third place winners will receive $25 toward any writing related expense paid within one year of the end of the TBL contest. Writing expenses include the Golden Heart or other writing contest entry fee, conference fees, National RWA dues, etc. Receipts are required for reimbursement.

The Sandy. Deadline February 10. Entry: First 20 pages and 2 page synopis. 
Romance - Tessa Woodward, Editor at HarperCollins
Mainstream Adult Fiction - Sarah Branham, Senior Editor at Atria
Suspense / Thriller / Mystery - Stephany Evans, President, FinePrint Literary
Fantasy / Science Fiction - Whitney Ross, Associate Editor at Tom Doherty
Children's & YA - Tracey Keevan, Senior Editor at Disney Hyperion

Fire and Ice. Deadline February 14. Entry consists of the first 6,000 words of a manuscript.

Amanda Bergeron (editor)
Nicole Resciniti (agent)

Historical Romance

Christa Soule (editor)
Suzie Townsend (agent)

Women’s Fiction With Romantic Elements

Alex Logan (editor)
Melissa Jeglinski (agent)

New Adult Romance

Elizabeth Poteet (editor)
Sara Megibow (agent)

Young Adult Romance

Margo Lipschultz (editor)
Laura Bradford (agent)

* Judges subject to change.

Linda Howard Award of Excellence. Deadline February 25th. Entry consists of first 25 pages Finalists have one week to provide  5 page synopsis with final, re-edited entry.

Category Series Romance Final Judge – Rhonda Helms, Carina Press

Single Title Final Judge – Chelsey Emmelhainz, Avon Romance

Historical  Final Judge – Gwen Hayes, Entangled Publishing

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy  Final Judge – Sasha Knight, Samhain Publishing

Laurie Contest. Deadline February 28th. Entry consists of first chapter (up to 17 pages) and short blurb. The Top Prize in each category is a $50.00 gift card. Updated!!
Final Round Judges: The top three entries in each category will go on to the final round to be judged by editors at the following houses:
Contemporary (ST, series)                 Allison Carroll, Harlequin
Historical (incl Regency)                     Elise Hepner Secret Cravings Acquisitions Editor
Young Adult (All subgenres)                (tba)
Inspirational (All subgenres)                Giselle Regus, Love Inspired
Romantic Suspense (ST, series)       Allison Lyons, Harlequin
Paranormal (All subgenres)                Brenda Chin BelleBooks/Imajinn

Great Beginnings. Deadline March 1. Published and Unpublished authors. First five pages. All first place entrants recieve a $10 gift card.

Contemporary: Elaine Spencer - The Knight Agency
Historical:Pam Ahearn, The Ahearn Agency
Paranormal: Victoria Curran - Harlequin
Mystery/Suspense: Mary Sue Seymour - The Seymour Agency
Young Adult/New Adult: Judith Engracia - Liza Dawson Associates 

Fab Five. Deadline March 1. An entry consists of the opening pages of your unpublished novel, up to 2500 words. No synopsis.

 Historical: Sarah Murphy, Ballantine Books
Inspirational: Mary Sue Seymour, Seymour Agency
Paranormal: Whitney Ross, Tor
Romantic Suspense: Adam Wilson, Pocket Books
Series Contemporary (L/S): Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore and Company
Single Title: Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary
Women’s Fiction: Lizzie Poteet, St. Martins Press
Young Adult: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger, Inc.

 2014 ACFW Genesis Contest. Opens January 2, Closes on March 15, 2014. First 15 pages of manuscript and one page, single spaced synopsis. See webpage for finalist judges. 

 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence: Unpublished. Deadline March 15. First 5,000 words and judged synopsis. 

Mystery/Suspense Categories and Judges
Contemporary Series -Allison Lyons, Harlequin Intrigue; Pattie Steel-Perkins, Steele-Perkins Literary Agency
Historical-Katherine Pelz, Berkley Sensation; Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli, JET Literary Associates 
Inspirational-Tina James, Harlequin / Love Inspired Suspense; Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency
Mainstream- Kendel Flaum, Henery Press; Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary Agency
 Paranormal/TT/Fut-Brenda Chin, Belle Books; Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates
Single Title-Amanda Bergeron,Harper Collins; Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency


Other Contests and Stuff

AARP & The Huffington Post  Memoir Writing Contest. The winner will get a $5,000 prize will be excerpted in AARP The Magazine and featured on The Huffington Post’s website. In addition, Simon & Schuster will consider publishing the work.  The first 5,000 words of the memoir is due February 15, 2014. Finalists from this round are invited to submit their complete memoir by June 15th. The books should run between 20,000 to 50,000 words.

   Valentine’s Day Ideas Romantic Story Writing Contest. Deadline February 14, 2014.Tell your romantic story in a minimum of 3000 words. First prize $1000. Nine authors will get one of nine $100 Amazon Gift Cards.

 Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking for submissions for a new collection scheduled for sale at the end of 2014. "The Power of Forgiveness" a "New Year, a New You, 2015" is looking for first person stories showing forgiveness in our lives.  See their website for details on submitting your touching, sad, inspirational or humorous story.


 Seekerville is proud to present our February Contest Diva: Courtney Phillips

2013 ACFW First Impressions Finalist-Romance category

Why on earth did I, a shy girl who normally flees from any competition, enter a contest?

My answer is pretty simple—I was curious about them. 

For the past nine or so years, I’ve written but never called myself a writer. Now I do. 

Here’s the speedy version of my first contest experience.

Checked out a Seekerville contest update. Noticed the ACFW First Impressions contest. Won a critique from Missy Tippens. Sent her my entry. Heeded her suggestions. Submitted to FI. Waited. Waited. Waited some more. Kept the secret from my family and friends, fearing their expectations. Checked the ACFW website 20,741 times the morning the finalists were scheduled to be announced. Answered a phone call from a strange number and realized, “Hey, they call finalists!” Shared the joyful news. Decided I loved contests. Waited another month. Didn’t win. Connected with a sweet writer who also finaled.

Now here’s what I learned. In a less fast-forward manner.

Let someone critique your entry before you submit. Missy helped with mine—thank you again! Fresh eyes notice odd word choices, the need for extra description, etc. 

Remember that entering a contest should not take the place of writing the rest of the story. Be ready for an opportunity. Sure, you want to perfect those first five pages, but you can’t publish your opening by itself. Submit the entry. Then move forward, not sideways.

Don’t think that low scores mean God doesn’t intend for you to write. Keep this quote in mind: “God doesn’t call the Equipped; He equips the Called.” Moses had a speech problem, but the Lord used him to confront Pharaoh. The Lord used David, a mere shepherd boy, to kill Goliath. He uses those who are willing to follow Him. Think of a critique as the Lord’s way of preparing your work. Never stop learning.

Pray and read the Bible. That’s something I’ve heard all my life, for good reason. The road is smoother when you’re walking with Jesus. He’ll bring contentment and peace, no matter if you win, get published, or decide to take a writing break. He is ultimately all that matters.

My first contest experience was fun! What’s stopping you from entering?


That's it, divas and divos! Now go forth and contest!


  1. I love that you work so hard to bring new authors and readers together. It seems to me that each contest does that, or atleast prepares the writers to publish their work, just for me! Thanks for giving me more books to look forward to!

    Welcome Courtney!

  2. Yay, Courtney! Great encouragement and Congrats on being the Contest Diva!

    Thanks for the contest info, Tina. You are always so organized. Don't know how you do it.

    Thanks for another GREAT month, Seekerville. Can't believe it's already going into Feb. Hoping Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Sunday.

  3. congrats Courtney great advice.

    hard to believe one month has almost gone not sure where it went. Most was hot here. (funny how when you are sick time disappears.)

  4. I love Courtney's quote: "God doesn't call the equipped. He equips the Called."


    AND Lyndee, long time, no see!!!! Good to see you, kiddo!!!!

    Jenny, praying all over you hoping for solid healing and a delightful Down Under Autumn.

    Hey, the "ZELDA" Fitzgerald quote?

    The wild turkey that lives in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan is named "Zelda" for F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife.

    I've seen Zelda TWICE... some folks have never seen her, folks that live there.

    "I know things about pigeons, Lilly." Clint Eastwood, In the Line of Fire.

    Maybe I am a TURKEY WHISPERER!!!!

  5. Courtney,

    "He equips the called." I love that. Thanks for the reminder. Also congratulations.

    Tina, thanks for the update. I sent off my Genesis entry this week.

    I'm thinking about the Family Fiction 1000 word short story. I've never done anything like this. Any thoughts?


  6. Congrats Courtney!

    Way to go Jackie for entering the Genesis. I've never wrote a short story so I have no advice...

    I probably won't be entering any contests this month. But I did signup to be a judge in the Genesis.

  7. Congratulations, COURTNEY! And you shared VERY sage advice for those venturing out into the Contest World!

  8. Congratulations, Courtney! Way to go!

    Wow, with lots of contests for unpublished writer's to choose from there are no excuses, right?

    I have entered Wedding on the Rocks in four contests. I'm done entering book contests until next year. Now I'll have to focus on short story contests.

  9. Congratulations Courtney!
    Thanks for the contest updates, Tina - - you AMAZE me with all you do, as usual. :)
    Happy Friday and last day o' January, Seekerville!
    Hugs, Patti Jo (who is still enjoying looking at a tiny bit of SNOW in my yard) ;)

  10. p.s. I've commented on this once already...but RUTHY!!!! I LOVE your new pic!!! Sooooo CUTE!! :)


    Chocolate for breakfast!!!

  12. Hey and speaking of contests, CONGRATS to the TEXAS GREAT EXPECTATIONS FINALISTS!!

    Special shout out to...

    Walt Mussell, Natalie Monk, Sally Bradley, and Tanya Agler.

    Way to go!! You came, you saw, you conquered!

  13. Congrats Courtney! I love that you remind us to keep praying and to read the Bible.

  14. Congratulations, Courtney! I semi-finaled in the 2013 Genesis in the contemporary category and will definitely be entering again this year. The feedback is invaluable, not to mention that polishing our work and submitting on time are qualities we'll need for publication. Thanks for posting here today. I would love to be entered in the drawing. Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

  15. Thanks for the congrats, y'all! Such an honor to be in a Seekerville post :)

    I'm bringing ice cold Dr. Peppers and buffalo chicken dip for today. Enjoy!

  16. Looks like a good contest month. I don't think I'll be entering any this month. I need to tear current WIP apart and revamp it, and I'm trying to figure out the characters and story for my next WIP. Sigh. One day, I'll be back on the contest circuit. ;)

    COURTNEY: congratulations, you contest diva, you! Your wise words reverberate with me. I definitely need to remember my writing does not define my calling: Jesus does. :)

  17. Thanks for another great contest update, Tina!

    And congrats to our contest diva of the month! Go, Courtney!!! Excellent advice about working with a critique partner before entering a contest. Why not get all the feedback you can so your submission can be as polished as you can make it? You're also wise to see every contest as a learning experience.

    Most important of all is keeping the faith and following where God leads. It's always an adventure!

  18. Congratulations, Courtney! Great advice. I like your quote "He equips the called." A good reminder.

    Thanks for an inspiring post. :-)

  19. You have to love a guest who brings chicken and Dr. P.

    Are you Southern or what, Courtney???

  20. Great WE TINA, Thanks for all the great info.

    COURTNEY congratulations. And I agree with RUTHY and JACKIE. Great quote. And Dr Pepper and buffalo chicken dip! Really??? I'm so in for those. Yum

    Happy writing everyone.

  21. Tina, thanks for the contest update! I need to submit. Almost finished with the Christmas suspense novella. Then I'll catch up! :)

    Congrats to the GREAT EXPECTATION finalists! Congrats to Courtney!!! Love hearing good news.

    Had a fantastic day in Tampa at the Love Inspired Reader Luncheon! Waving to Missy and Patty Smith Hall, my fellow travelers. Our flight home was delayed, but we got three of the last seats on another plane. Thanks for all the prayer coverage that kept us safe and got us there and back. I could feel God's protective hand guiding us through the day.

    Waving to Erica Hearns who won the ticket from my Seekerville blog drawing! So fun meeting you, Erica, and spending time together!!!

  22. Tina, thanks for the great contest update!! It makes my life so much easier to know where to look for contest info. I love when I don't have to go digging.

    Courtney! I loved your quote: "Submit the entry. Then move forward, not sideways."

    LOL! Love that advice. :) :) Congrats again on the contest successes!

  23. Yay, Jackie, for sending off that entry!

  24. Oh my goodness, Patti Jo! I hadn't even realized this was the last day of January! LOL Had a crazy week here with the snow and all.

    Went to the Love Inspired Reader Luncheon yesterday and it was WONDERFUL!! So fun to meet readers. I'm thankful our flight got out in the morning and made it on time! :)

  25. Thanks so much for sharing these great contests! I entered ACFW's First Impressions this fall, and it helped me SO much. I like what you said about prayer and reading the Bible. 2014 is my year to involve God in my writing like never before. :)

  26. Courtney, my daughter and her friends LOVE the buffalo chicken dip!

  27. Congrats to you diva's who braved it and entered contests!!!

    A Seekerville WOOT!!! for you!!!

  28. Congratulations to all the Great Expectations finalists! That's a wonderful contest!

    Congratulations to Courtney as well! You're off to a great start!

    Looking forward to February! One step closer to spring! (Will not talk about snow, will not talk about snow!)

    Finished my first galley edits on my debut novel "Betrayed Hearts" and submitted them last night! Woo-hoo! Giving myself a break before I start on Book 2!

    Can't wait until I get an actual release date. I suspect somewhere in the summer or early fall.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    PS. Prayers for my son appreciated as his streak of migraines is back. Hope it doesn't last 4 months like last year. Being 17 1/2 now, he's not as cooperative at restricting his diet and other mitigating factors. Sigh. Trying to be supportive!!!


  29. Thanks to Debby & Missy for giving us a peek into the Love Inspired Readers Luncheon. Would love to go to the next one! Especially in Florida!

    :) Sue

  30. Susan,getting ready for your debut novel to come out. I'm so excited for you.
    And trying to keep a 17 year old on any kind of diet, good luck!

  31. So sorry about your son's migraines, SUE! What a miserable thing to go through! Praying for quick relief.

  32. Gotta love Dr.Pepper and buffalo dip! And the South :)

    That is a super true quote about God equipping the called. I wonder who said it first...

  33. Missy, has your daughter ever tried using french fries to dip into it instead of tortilla chips?
    I know that sounds weird, but it's good!



    Love those sayings in the pink boxes. It sets us up for our usual Valentine's Day disappointments.....

  35. Congrats Courtney! I love the way you went ahead and entered contests even thought competition isn't your normal MO. Contests teach so much about writing, don't they?

    I'm not sure if I'm going to be entering any contests this month...still considering a couple. BUT - I entered a couple big ones at the end of the year, so I'm out there. No pain, no gain :)

    Also, I've found that I REALLY enjoy judging contests. It must be the latent teacher in me - but I'm learning A LOT from reading and critiquing other writer's work.

    Thanks for the contest update, Tina!

  36. Oh, congrats to the Great Expectations finalists!! Woo hoo!!

  37. Courtney, I'll have to tell my daughter to try that! She loves fries smothered in stuff. :)

    Jan, I agree. I learn a ton from judging!

  38. Jennifer S, congrats on entering!

    Sue, what a fantastic accomplishment! Enjoy your time off. Also, I'll pray for your son. I get mild migraines that usually last one day and can't imagine suffering for so long.

  39. BTW, isn't Courtney gorgeous? I'm going to use her picture for my author picture.

  40. Mary, is your Valentine's Day less than spectacular? Come on over. Open house. We can all watch An Affair to Remember together. No. That's depressing. Sleepless in Seattle!!!!

  41. Great list of contests, and CONGRATS Courtney! This year I already have two mss in the Genesis, and two more nearly ready to be entered. This will be my first contest experience, so I'm a teensy bit nervous, but I hear that the feedback is wonderful! Now to get through the months of waiting...


    I'm in.

    Sleepless in Seattle.

    I'll make fudge!!! :)

  43. Sue while I didn't have migraines I did have a massive headache which started Aug 29 last year (still have it) I do feel for your son.

    Mine come from the back of the head and I feel it in the right frontal area. (Im hoping the gall bladder was part of my reason).
    But at its worse was a 6 out of 10 for pain and pain killers did nothing for it. The meds I am on now reduced it to level 1-2 and since the op its still there but not as noticeable. I hope he can find answers. If its diet I hope he realises he is only hurting himself by not sticking to it. if its something more I hope you find a dr who will investigate and find the real answer.

  44. Woot! Congrats, Diva Courtney...may you wear your Diva crown with pride. :-)

    Thanks for the contest updates, Tina. I have a contest question. I have entered the same story in two contests thus far. Got fantabulous feedback which I've applied with a giddy sense of satisfaction because it does read better now. :-) So, is it kosher to now enter the doctored up version again in another contest?

  45. Buffalo chicken dip? Sounds good! Is it SPICY HOT???

  46. Diva Courtney your words are wise and inspiring. Love the "move forward, not sideways." And congrats on putting your story out there for others to read. Contest feedback can be so helpful.

    Jackie and Crystal Wishing you the best in the Genesis contest.

    Susan congrats on finishing those galley edits. So looking forward to the release date. You will let us know, right :-)

    Congrats to the GE finalists!

    Connie and Jan THANK YOU for judging.

    My contest thought is for writers to please judge. Many contests have judge's training, and you learn so much from helping others. Judging also helps a writer understand that -- even though there is experience involved -- ultimately judging is subjective/opinion.

    So go for it. Enter contests. Judge contests. Rah, rah, rah!

    Nancy C

  47. Oh ... yeah ... Tina super contest update as always!

    Nancy C

  48. You can do it, Crystal!!! GO FOR IT!!!!!

  49. Haha, Tina. I hate pictures.

    The spiciness of the dip depends on what brand of buffalo sauce you use. To me, the spicier the better.

    Thanks for all the enthusiasm! I don't feel worthy of the term "contest diva" but it's fun to wear the crown!

  50. Many thanks for the contest update,Tina. Congrats to Susan,Courtney and the GE finalists. Kudos to those who've entered contests so far this year, and thank you to those who'll be judging them. Wonderful weekend to all.

  51. Kav, yes, yes, yes!!!

    One of my favorite things judging was to see a manuscript come back through a new contest IMPROVED....

    That's like happy, happy, happy!!!

    Sure, it's kosher. And smart. Proud of you, kid!

  52. CRYSTAL!!!!!

    Yowza, that's how I attacked contests, LOL!

    I hedged my bets and sometimes beat myself. So funny! I just always figured that's why I worked an extra shift waitressing or as a bridal consultant... that way my contest habit didn't break the bank.

    Good for you!

  53. Congrats Courtney & GE finalists¡!¡

  54. Courtney, I loved your comments and am thrilled for your contest success. Keep on contesting! Best of luck.

  55. Woot Woot!!!! Congrats, Courtney!!! :)

    I definitely need to heed your advice about moving forward and not sideways. What a perfect way to phrase that.

    Love your encouraging words. And that you kept your first contest a secret!! Haha! Can't wait until you're published!


  56. Thanks for the great list of contests! Now to decide which one(s) to enter!

  57. Y'all are so sweet! Thanks!
    And Natalie, I have to remind myself quite often to move forward instead of sideways. I'm too much of a perfectionist.