Saturday, October 4, 2014

October Contest Update

Happy Birthday to us! 
Seven years of unparallelled goofiness.

Welcome to the October Contest Update!
Today I'm giving away a five page critique to two writers
 considering the First Impressions Contest 
(please mention you want this in the comments.)
And a Seeker book of choice as available on Amazon, to one reader.
 Winner announced in the Weekend Edition. 

Published Authors

2015 RWA RITA® Contest. Opens for entries at 9:00 AM, CDT on October 15, 2014. 

Unpublished Authors

ACFW First Impressions Contest. Deadline Ocober 15. Contest is open to ACFW members and non-members. Any author whose work has not been previously published in novella or book-length fiction (in ANY print or online form) is eligible to enter First Impressions.Manuscripts do not have to be complete in order to enter First Impressions. Send the first 5 pages of your manuscript. Prologues are acceptable. DO NOT send more than 5 pages of your manuscript and a 200-word blurb (6 pages in all). Final round judged by agents.

Hook, Line and Sinker. Deadline November 1. RWA Membership is NOT required to enter the contest. Entry fee: $10.00 Entries should include the first three pages of your manuscript along with a cover page with your name, address, phone number, e-mail and title/genre of your unpublished, book-length novel. The top five entries will be ranked by Allison Lyons from Harlequin. THIS IS THE PERFECT CONTEST TO WET YOUR CONTEST DIVA/DIVO FEET!

2015 RWA Golden Heart® Contest is coming!  December 2, 2014:  2015 Golden Heart Contest opens to entries at 9 a.m. CT. January 12, 2015:  Entered works and related contest fees must be submitted to RWA's contest site. The Golden Heart contest is open to 1,200 paid entries.

Other Writing Opportunities

WD Short Short Story Competition. Early bird deadline is November 17. Deadline is December 15.  Think you can write a winning story in less than 1,500 words? Enter the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference! The winning entries will be on display in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

Chicken Soup Call Out. Stories about Christmas and the whole holiday season!

Everyone loves holiday stories and that's why our holiday books are so popular. In fact, we create a new edition for Christmas/Hanukah every other year. We are now collecting stories for our Holiday 2015 book and we are defining Christmas as the entire December holiday season, including Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and the New Year's festivities too.

We want to hear about your holiday memories and traditions. During that time of the year we reunite with scattered family members, watch the wonder in a child's eyes, and feel the joy of giving gifts. The rituals of the holiday season give a rhythm to the years and create a foundation for our lives, as we gather with family, with our communities at church, at school, and even at the mall, to share the special spirit of the season, brightening those long winter days. Please share your special stories about the holiday season with us.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS JANUARY 31, 2015. More information here.


Seekerville Congratulates our October 2014 Diva, Tanya Agler!

Contest Finals:

2013 Golden Rose Contest, 2nd place, Contemporary Single Title, Mr. Commitment
2014 NTRWA Great Expectations, 2nd place Contemporary Series, A Pinch of Cinnamon
2014 Winter Rose Contest, 1st place Contemporary Series, A Pinch of Cinnamon   
2014 Marlene Contest, 3rd place, Contemporary Series, A Pinch of Cinnamon
2014 Laurie Contest, 3rd place, Contemporary Series, Mistletoe Misgivings
2014 Georgia Romance Writers’ unpublished Maggie finalist, Contemporary Series, Mistletoe Misgivings
2014 New Jersey Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book Contest finalist, Mistletoe Misgivings
Honorable Mention, 2014 Seekerville Perfect Pitch Contest

When my oldest son entered kindergarten, I’d leave the house and head to the library to write a book. Until I was almost finished, I didn’t tell anyone. Toward the end of that book, I finally told my husband. His supportive response surprised me. “What took you so long?” I sent the unedited book out to publishers and agents and received a stack of rejection letters. When I reached the final chapter of my second book, I stopped writing. I discovered I was pregnant with twins and wanted a “maternity leave.” 

 After my twins entered preschool, I knew I needed to write. But something was different. Instead of not showing my work to another soul, I reached out for help in my writing journey. I discovered a local writing chapter where a talented published author shared her time and gave me my first critique. This chapter has a “Good News” moment where writers talk about anything from signed deals to rejection letters to contest finals. 

What were these contests that so many people discussed? Depending on the contest, they may help you gain feedback and critiques from published and unpublished judges. I entered my first contest in 2013 and received respectable scores. I didn’t final, but I proved to myself I was ready to let other people read my work and learn from their comments.

In a little over a year, I have had the good fortune to final in seven contests with three manuscripts. One contest judge wrote of my dependence on the word “that.” Since then, I’ve tried to become more cognizant of sentence structure and word repetition. If two or more judges all make the same comment, I go back to my manuscript and layer in the conflict or remove even more introspective backstory (although I am one of the rare people who have had judges ask for more backstory!). 

In this roller coaster world of contests, I’ve discovered the importance of getting on the ride and submitting my work. I’ve discovered the nadirs when I grit my teeth at the low scores. And I’ve discovered the crests upon receiving calls from coordinators. Hanging on through the whole process and finishing the whole manuscript garners a loud whoop of joy. 

So what’s taking you so long to enter your first contest? It’s a wild journey, but prayer, support and the Seekers help smooth the ride. So review those guidelines, grab a cup of tea, and review your manuscript with a heaping helping of waffles and cinnamon scones. 

Plus a huge thank you and an extra caramel apple scone to the women of Seekerville for the honor of selecting me as the October Contest Diva!

Are you entering a contest this month??? Tell us about it! Have contest news to share? Tell us about it!
Genesis Winner Candee Fick with ME!

I get to pose and smile outrageously with CAROL AWARD WINNER Melissa Jagears!

Finally some teeth! With the lovely Sara Ella, Villager and Genesis Winner!

Flowers from the Love Inspired Team!

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



  1. Thanks for the pics, TINA! I'm going to celebrate my birthday with Seekerville ... A whole moth of chocolate! And coffee

  2. Great WE, Tina. Not contesting this month, but am writing and editing and making forward progress. Really getting into a routine. Feeling blessed!

    I've brought grits and bacon. I'm a northern gal, so I don't really know how to make grits, but that sounded good because I haven't had them for awhile. And bacon goes with everything, right?Have a great Saturday, everyone!

  3. +++She smacks her forehead with her palm. How could she forget to congratulate the Contest Diva?***

    TANYA! Congrats on the amazing list of contests! Loved reading your story. Your secretive writing in the beginning reminded me of my path as well. You sure came out from under the rock! Way to go!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Coffee's on.

    Congrats to our contest diva. Way to go, Tanya!

  6. Many Congratulations to you and all the winners! It was wonderful to see you win and get to know you in person too. Bless you!

  7. Congrats to all the winners! Please drop my name in for the critique. :)

  8. Um, I'm not a Genesis winner, never got past semi-finals in Genesis.....but I did win a Carol like you. ;P And I like this picture, I look sorta young in it, even though I'm still catching the light on my nose like all the others and have shadowed ....I have a big honker/cheekbones and a Neanderthal brow evidently!

    And that IS one outrageous smile. But seriously, I have no idea why you don't smile in pictures, when I saw you several times you were all smiley, you should practice that in photos!

    And thanks for the scones, Tanya....I WISH I was smart enough to schedule things for a maternity leave...still waiting for one of those, I thought I was getting one but NO, must wait til January....maybe. How old does my child have to be before it's no longer considered a maternity leave? Since he's one already, I think I may have just missed out...:(

  9. Melissa - I was looking at the photo and thinking "Um, I'm pretty sure Melissa's not allowed to be a Genesis winner!" Then I squinted and realized it was a Carol. Congratulations!

    Congratulations Tanya on your great list of finals. That's an amazing accomplishment!

    Lone Star results are out tomorrow. So I've got my fingers and toes crossed for my baby to be well loved by the final judges (and because of the time difference may or may not have to resort to sneaking into the bathroom at church to check my emails!). I took a bit of a contest break last year and the beginning of this year so it's been awhile since I've been on tenterhooks waiting for finalist results!

  10. Congrats, Tanya!!


  11. Congratulations to all the winners and to Tanya, the Contest Diva! That's quite an impressive list.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  12. Great pictures! Congratulations Tina, Candee, Melissa, and Sara Ella! What a great night of celebrating at ACFW! And congratulations to Tanya for being the Contest Diva. That's an impressive list of contests and wins. Way to go!

    I'm planning to enter First Impressions, but I thought I had more time. Thanks for posting it.

  13. Happy Birthday, Seekerville! And Congrats to the award winners! .... Melissa, you look beautiful. :)

  14. Thanks for all of the contest info! Congratulations to all of the winner...such terrific pictures. I'd love to be entered for the critique.

  15. I love the contest info, but I love the pictures even more!!!! What a gloriously fun conference experience for so many. It just makes me smile to think of it.

    TANYA!!!!! I love the frank way you attacked writing and twins! I'm laughing because I can just see how that would put a dead stop on something for a bit. Oh my stars, but what a blessing.

    So then you jumped back in and the difference in your confidence and maturity shows. To reach out and look for help/structure/advice is huge.

    I'm so proud of you and congratulations on being the Contest Diva of the Month!!!! May I polish your tiara for you?


  16. Kara Isaac, let us know!!!!

    I remember waiting and waiting and waiting to see how beloved my early work was:


    LOL, it took me a while but I got it eventually. Well, mostly, (as I sit here with a page-and-a-half revision letter, LOL!)

    Revision weekend here and then.... checking another book off the "done" list.

    And I don't mind revisions so that makes me happy!

  17. I've got the Rita entry date marked on my calendar now!

    Congratulations, Tanya.

    Great pictures Tina. Congratulations again on your win.

    Melissa, all of your pictures are lovely.

  18. Tanya Agler, like all our other divas and divos is one of the hardest working writers I know. Geared to learn her craft and sell a book!

  19. Weekend Edition is tomorrow. All October it will be Sundays. This is the Contest Update. Not many contests this month though.

    Lyndee, a girl who brings bacon.

    How can you go wrong?

  20. Congratulations, Tanya!

    I am thankful for the contest information each month. My goal is to be ready to enter a contest in the next year.

  21. Congratulations Diva Tanya. Loved hearing your writing story and thanks for the encouragement.

    I'd love to be entered in the 5 page critique for the Great Impressions contest draw. Thanks for offering.

    And I have a question for pubbed authors. I read a really unfair review (1 star for goodness sake) for a favourite author. It made a really outrageous comment that still has me seething. I'm thinking of commenting on the review but am wondering if that would just add fuel to the fire? From an author's perspective, would it be better for me to just leave it alone? Or would it help to have an alternate opinion in the comments below that review?

  22. Tanya, congratulations on Contest Diva of the Month!! Thanks for sharing your journey. Your roller coaster ride brought back memories of those highs and lows. Thanks for the scones!

    Tina, love the pictures!! So lovely of Love Inspired to send you flowers for your Carol win!! Yay! Congrats again to Candee, Melissa and Sara!!


  23. Marianne, happy birthday! Chocolate is my favorite way to celebrate. Thanks for sharing!


  24. Congratulations Tanya,

    Wow, you're an inspiration to us all.

    Happy Birthday Seekerville. What an amazing seven years it's been.

    Don't have time to enter the Genesis, but maybe the Golden Heart in Jan.

    Have a great WE all. Now back to my writing cave.

  25. Tina -- love those outrageous smiles! Lol :)

    Tanya -- congrats on the impressive list of contest finals/wins!

  26. What a wonderful contest update! No contesting for me, but I love the pics from ACFW (why aren't you crediting yourself as a Carol Winner, Tina???) and that Tanya is the Contest Diva! Big Congrats Tanya! You've come a long way and you are getting even closer--I know that contract will be here soon. You are awesome!

  27. Congrats to our Seekerville weekly winners, and congrats to all our contest winners and finalists at ACFW!!! You all ROCK!!!

    TANYA! Oh, my. I never realized "that" was such a problem word until an editor started deleting it willy-nilly from my manuscripts--to the point that some sentences no longer made sense and I had to put it back in! Now I can hardly read ANYTHING without THAT jumping out at me. Yes, it's a word that does get overused at times, but really, there's nothing wrong with using it when it's needed.

  28. Ha,the people that come by later are all going to wonder why my Carol award gets a shout out when you don't even acknowledge your own.

  29. Thank you to the Seekers for the honor of being this month's Contest Diva.

    LYNDEE H., Thank you for your comment. We all have different writing journeys, and I always love hearing about others picking up a pen or opening a fresh document to start their writing journey.

    HELEN GRAY, Thank you. (And I'll start the teakettle!)

    MELISSA, Wow. Thank you for your comment. Congratulations on your Carol and your awards. I always love reading your comments on Seekerville. And a hello to your one-year-old.

    KARA, Thank you. No matter what-keep writing! Best of luck and I look forward to reading your contest journey and beyond soon.

    BONTON, Thanks.

  30. The best birthdays are in October. :-) That $50 Amazon card sure would make a great gift.

  31. Congrats to all the winners! Happy Birthday, Seekerville : )

  32. Looks like a great contest update! I'm not sure if I'm entering any this month or not. Depends on how much rewriting I can get done on my story. :)

    It was WAY fun to cheer (and scream!) for Tina, Melissa and Sara Ella at ACFW. Congratulations ladies!!

    Congratulations to Tanya Agler--this month's contest diva! Way to go. :) I'm so impressed at the number of contests you've conquered.

    Contests: Tina already mentioned mine last weekend: I won the My Book Therapy Frasier contest this year. My first win EVER. It's still sinking in. :)

  33. Congrats again, Tina!! Hmm just noticed something....Your title is "Mending the Doctor's Heart" and my upcoming LI title is "Healing the Widower's Heart"! Do you think the similarity in titles will rub off to a Carol win? LOL!

    Seriously, I loved that story, Tina! So happy for you.

  34. And congrats to Jeanne on your Frazier win! That is a huge accomplishment! So nice to meet you at the conference!

  35. Congrats to Melissa J.!! How exciting is that to win a Carol on your first novella!

    At the conference, I was going up the escalator and recognized Melissa on the down escalator (or vice versa)and shouted and waved at her! LOL. So much fun!

  36. Thank you to everyone for the wonderful comments. They are lifting me up before I head to the library for revisions and final plotting for next book.

    CINDY W., Thank you. And a happy birthday to Seekerville from me as well.

    JACKIE, Thank you.

    RUTH LOGAN HERNE, Thank you. Your ten tips are posted at my writing desk-a reminder for me to stop whining and start writing. (And thanks for polishing that tiara for me!)

    ROSE, Thank you.

    TINA, Thank you doesn't even begin to mention how thankful I am for your encouraging comments over the past year. Thank you for your support, and you and the Seekers are on my list of people to contact when I sell.

    WILANI, Thanks. And keep writing. I love reading your comments because your enthusiasm shines through. Keep writing!

  37. Tanya! What a great story and loooong list of contest finals.Congratulations on your success.
    Sure could use that critique on my WIP. My new goal in life: Have my picture taken with Tina!

  38. Happy weekend, Seekerville!

    LOVE the photos, Tina! Hard to believe it was just a week ago tonight that we were sitting with bated breath to hear the Carol and Genesis winners announced! Congrats to ALL the winners. So wonderful when all your hard work receives peer recognition!

    I hadn't been to ACFW since 2010, so especially enjoyed seeing Seekers again and meeting so many Seeker Villagers! My goodness, everywhere I turned I'd recognize names and faces -- and I know I didn't even get to meet some of you who were there!

    With my hearing impairment, huge noisy venues like that are tricky for any kind of conversation that isn't in a quiet, one-on-one spot -- so thank you all for being so understanding when I couldn't "join in all the reindeer games." :)

    It was a great conference--I attended several excellent workshops, met with my agent, and got to meet my Love Inspired editor for the first time, too!

    TINA --it was such a thrill when your name was called and you walked up on that stage!!!!

  39. Congrats on your success, Tanya!!

    I am really enjoying the pics posted of the winners....congrats (again) to all!

    Count me in for the giveaway of a Seeker choice book! Thanks!!

  40. Thank you all for your comments.

    KAV, Thank you.

    JANET, Thank you. I've loved reading Seekerville for over a year. The inspiration and writing tips have been invaluable. I've learned so much for all of your stories.

    ELAINE, Thank you. I hope you have a great weekend also. They lowered the entry fee for the Golden Heart, an extra incentive to enter the contest.

    JENNIFER SMITH, Thank you.

    PIPER, Golly, thanks. That comment from you was great. I learn so much from you. Have a great weekend.

    MYRA, You're absolutely right that you sometimes have to use that sometimes. Thanks for all of your posts that have helped me.

    JEANNE T., Thank you. Hope you get a lot of rewriting done this weekend.

    CINDY REGNIER, Thank you.

    JACKIE SMITH, Thanks.

  41. Congrats, Tanya!!!!!

    Woohoo! Happy 7th b-day, Seekerville!!!
    Can't believe I've missed nearly a whole week of Seekerville birthday celebrations! Limited internet access... GRRR...

    Thanks for the awesome contest update!!!!! :)

  42. Happy birthday and congrats everyone!

  43. Marianne, happy birthday!!!!! Hey, Tina, can we do a coconut cake for Marianne's birthday?

    Like PRETTY PLEASE?????

  44. MARIANNE is it your birthday this month? Happy Birthday. We are so blessed and thankful you were born.


    What a wonderful start to our birthday month so far.

    Congrats to all the winners. And future winners. We will have many this month. :)

    And Tanya, best wishes on all those contests. The caramel apple scone is delicious.

  46. TELL ME IT AIN'T SO! Blogger just took my comment and forgot to give it back! Now to attempt a re-write ...

    Tanya, I have to believe publication is not far away -- your writing in this post has such a voice! And congratulations for not only putting your work 'out there' but for understanding that contest scores are ultimately opinion -- informed opinion and hopefully helpful, but opinion.

    Kara, please keep us posted?

    And one big, enveloping congratulations to all the winners this week here at Seekerville, at ACFW, wherever -- to everyone who started, finished or submitted a manuscript, entered a contest, or met whatever goal they might have had. Great energy here!

    Nancy C

  47. Seven years?



    Nancy C

  48. Great WE! PICTURES!

    Tina's Carol Award!!! AHHHHHH!!!

    The DIVA!

    And bacon...

    Well, could this day get any better??? I think not! :)

  49. Welcome to Seekerville, Fredamans!

    How did you find us?

  50. Has anyone been around since the beginning of Seekerville?

  51. Because you are special Melissa Jagears.

  52. Congratulations to the winners and good luck to everyone who writes for the contests!

    Today is a special day for me- it's my birthday and we just got the news that the Indian tribe who intervened in our daughter's adoption case has decided to support her adoption! We'll be able to finalize in just a few weeks! A wonderful blessing and answer to fasting and many prayers :)

    Please enter me in the drawing for readers!

  53. I wonder if anyone could tell I didn't have any shoes on when I went up on the stage??

  54. Welcome to Seekerville CathyAnn and Rebecca!

  55. Yes. I predict Susan's Mending will be a huge success!

  56. Happy birthday Seekerville! I remember the first time I heard the name. I was new to ACFW's and there was a post about Seekerville throwing a costume party :) It's always fun here!

  57. Elizabeth Van Tassel stopped by. She was my Southwest Airlines, travel partner!

  58. Oh, yes, Jamie. The costume party for Tina James visit.

  59. Kav! Do not respond. Instead click the little no button that says the review was not helpful.

  60. I have so enjoyed wearing the tiara today. Thank you, Seekers.

    NATALIE MONK-Hope your internet is working normally again, and thanks.

    SANDRA LEESMITH-Thank you.

    NANCY C. (I love that CHILL N. identity)-Thank you so much for that sweet compliment.

    HEIDI-Happy Birthday. And congratulations and blessings for that wonderful news about your daughter's adoption case.

  61. Cindy, I'd like to encourage you to shoot for higher goals. Send me a picture of you. I'll photoshop it next to a picture of me. You will then have a picture of us.

  62. Congratulations Tanya! That's quite a list of contest wins/placements.

    Melissa, congrats on your Carol award. I wish I'd got to meet you at conference.

    Tina - yeah, congrats on your Carol! I was so thrilled for you.

    Now, I have a question for you. If you're going to photoshop Cindy in, how come you removed yourself from the pic of me you posted during ACFW? A girl could get paranoid. LOL, I'm teasing. Love you Tinster.

  63. I forgot to say, Happy Birthday Seekerville!

  64. I would love to have critique on my First Impressions entry!!


  65. TERRI, Thank you for the congratulations.

  66. So cool to see the contest winners from ACFW! Congrats, ladies!

    No contests for me; I think I'm all contested out for a good while.

  67. Congratulations & best wishes to everyone!!

  68. Congrats, Tanya! You should be so proud of yourself and all you've accomplished. You inspire me and many newbies at GRW to keep submitting to contests and to always push towards getting better at craft. Thanks for all of your support and encouragement!!! :)

  69. Congrats to Tanya. Happy birthday Seekers!

    I am waiting with bated breath for the results of the 2014 Maggie Unpublished award. My MS Grand Exposé is one of the finalists. Prayers appreciated! I'm just so pleased to be one of the five chosen in Inspirational.

    And am waiting to hear when my Historical Genre short story winner will be published by Family Fiction in their compilation of the 50 contest winners for "The Short Story 2014.)

  70. A Happy Birthday to You , A Happy Birthday to you, May you feel Jesus near everyday of the year. A Happy Birthday to you , A Happy Birthday to you and the best that you ever had !!!!

    You know I just love coming to read what all you girls write and think about writing. Love so many of you here...Hey Jules isn't here yet ! Julie I am reading I am going to find myself later today or tomorrow...Maybe I will be Surprised by Love huh ?
    You ladies do know that I am in Julies book, no spoilers ya'll, I want to see what trouble she has me in on my own...
    For some odd reason Bad Girls, talkin bout Bad Bad Girls !! keeps running through my head ! lol It is ok Jules, you better have just made it way bad!

    I will forgive you , I think !!!!

    Hey , I got fall on my mind and cooking and baking fall stuff... Ruthie whats cooking in the kitchen this week girl you know we all want pics on facebook of all the fall things your brewing up this month.

    I am going to come comment often, my kindle fire screen seems to be not working , yup Jules the one i won last year sigh.... I can see the screen and everything, just won't acknowlege my touch...Oh man I lost my touch...Ahhhhhhh !!!! Not really, wait till you see what I do this year... Yes the kindle might not work but I am on the job...

    Linda Marie Finn
    Women Professing Godliness
    Faithful Acres Books & More

  71. Thanks Tanya for your inspirational story. I hid my writing for awhile too but have finally come out of the closet so to speak in the last year! I haven't entered a contest yet but I'm thinking about First Impressions! Thanks for the encouragement! The five page critique sounds great so count me in! Blessings, Kelly

  72. Tanya, congrats on all your success!! Don't you love how the chapter celebrates rejections, too? Because that means we're submitting!

    Tina, I cracked up when you mentioned showing your teeth. That's the comment I made about the photo. :) :) I love your big smiles!