Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Contest Update

 Welcome to the May Contest Update, where we inspire,
 nag & you get neat giveaways! 
Leave a comment today for a chance to 
win Alicia Rasley's Conflict Without Combat (ebook) 
for a couple of writers, 
  and a surprise bag of books for one reader. 
Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

The Duel on the Delta 2016 “Cover Me Contest." Deadline May 7.

 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award “NERFA.” Deadline May 25.

 Heart of Excellence Reader's Choice. Deadline May 31. Digital Only.

Aspen Gold Readers Choice. Deadline June 1. 

I Heart Indie. Deadline June 1. 
National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award “NERFA. ”Deadline May 25. - See more at: http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2016/04/april-contest-update.html#sthash.5RglyIDU.dpuf

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Deadline June 30.

 STAR Crossed Covers Contest. Deadline June 30.

The Tara. Deadline May 25. Now open. The TARA Contest is open to unpublished writers and published authors of novel length fiction. The author does not have to be a member of Romance Writers of America® (RWA) to enter the TARA Contest; however, the entry must be the author's original work of novel length, unpublished, and not contracted at the time of the contest deadline. Entries previously published in any format visible to the public such as on a website (including blogs), as an eBook, mass-market copy, self-published, etc., or works in the process of publication with the intention of being released through any venues at any time prior to October 1st of this TARA Contest year, will not be accepted. Up to the first 25 pages.Per the request of our editor judges listed below, all finalists must submit a synopsis with their entry.**

Category (also known as Series Contemporary)-Liz Pelletier -Entangled Publishing
Contemporary Single Title -Gabrielle Keck -Avon / Harper Collins
Specialized-(Paranormal, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel)-Cat Clyne-Sourcebooks, Inc.
Historical - Brenda Chin-Imajinn Books
Inspirational-Raela Schoeherr-Bethany House **
Romantic Suspense -Alison Dasho-Montlake Publishing
Women’s Fiction- Junessa Viloria-Ballantine Bantam Dell

Colorado Gold. Deadline June 1. Enter the first 4000 words of your manuscript and a 750 word synopsis. Unpublished authors only.

Action/Thriller (Judge: Peter Joseph of St. Martin's Press)
Mystery/Suspense (Judge: Amy Stapp of Tor Books)
Romance ( Judge: Elizabeth Poteet of St. Martin's Press)
Speculative Fiction (Judge: Diana Pho from Tor Books)
Young Adult/Middle Grade (Judge:Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency)
Mainstream and Other Genres (Judge: Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management)

Lone Star. Deadline June 5. Competition is opened to published and unpublished authors. Entry consists of the first 5,000 words of your manuscript.**

Piya Campana,Editor Harlequin  
Cindy Davis-Editor, Wildrose Press
Victoria Lowe- agent, The Bent Agency


Char Chaffin- Editor, Soulmate Publishing
Allison Byers-Editor, WildRose Press
Robin Hasletine – Editor, Entangled Publishing


Brenda Chin-Editorial Director, Imajinn Books
Debbie Gilbreath- Editor, Soulmate Publishing
Sarah Hershman – Agent, Hershman Rights Management


Raela Schoenherr, Acquisition Editor, Bethany Books
Nicola Martinez, Editor Pelican Books
 3rd Judge TBA


Tara Gelsomino, Editor Crimson Romance
Andrea Somberg – Harvey JKlinger Agency
Michelle Graikowski- 3 Seas Literary Agency


Alycia Tornetta, Associate Editor, Entangled
Sarah Blumenstock, Berkley
3rd TBA


Alicia Condon, Editor, Kensington Books
Chris Kessler – Editor, Boroughs Publishing

Jill Marsal – Agent, Marsallyon Literary Agency

Ignite the Flame. Opens for entries June 1 and deadline June 30. ***Entry must be from an unpublished completed manuscript in book-length fiction (minimum of 40,000 words).Submit up to 15 pages maximum. Enter the scene of your unpublished manuscript when your hero and heroine first meet (or reunite after a period of time) and experience that first spark of attraction.

Contemporary: Elle Keck, Editor, Harper Collins
Erotic: Christine Klocek-Lim, Acquiring Editor, Evernight Publishing
Historical: Tara Gelsomino, Executive Editor, Crimson Romance
**Inspirational: Emily Rodmell, Editor, Harlequin, Love Inspired
Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic/Time Travel: Tahra Seplowin, Editor, Harlequin, HQN
Romantic Suspense: Megha Parekh, Editor, Grand Central
Young Adult/New Adult: Liz Pelletier, CEO & Publisher, Entangled

Pages From the Heart-Published Division Deadline June 30. ** Eligibility: The writer is contracted or published, but the entry itself must not be contracted or published as of June 30, 2016. Self-published authors are welcome.  Submission Consists of: No more than 6000 words/ first 25 pages.
Short Contemporary
Editor: Elle Keck, Editorial Assistant, Avon Books
Editor: Carly Silver, Editor, Harlequin

Long contemporary
Agent: Courtney Miller-Callahan, Handspun Literary Agency
Editor: Meredith Rich, Editor, Bloomsbury Spark

Romantic Suspense
Editor: Caroline Acebo, Assistant Editor, Grand Central Publishing
Editor: Allison Lyons, Editor, Harlequin Intrigue

Editor: Deborah Gilbert, Editor, Soulmate Publishing
Editor: Erin Molta, Senior Editor, Entangled Publishing

Paranormal/Fantasy/Time Travel
Agent: Jennie Goloboy, Red Sofa Literary Agency
Editor: Elizabeth May, Editorial Assistant, Kensington Publishing

Young Adult
Editor: Alysia Tornetta, Editorial Director, Entangled Publishing
Editor: Sarah Blumenstock, Editorial Assistant, Berkley/NAL

Agent: Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency
Editor: Nicola Martinez, Editor-In-Chief, Pelican Ventures Book Group

Hero Of Our Heart Award:
Agent: Stacy Donaghy, Donaghy Literary Agency
Editor: Elizabeth Poteet, St. Martin’s Press

Pages From the Heart-Unpublished Division Deadline June 30. Submission Consists of: No more than 6000 words/ first 25 pages. Unpublished authors only.

 Unpublished Division:
Long contemporary
Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Agency
Editor: Alexandra Sehulster, Assistant Editor, St. Martin’s Press

Short contemporary
Agent: Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency
Editor: Patience Bloom, Senior Editor, Harlequin

Agent: Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra Agency
Editor: Janet Clementz, Editor, Soulmate Publishing

Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford agency
Editor: Carly Silver, Editor, Harlequin Intrigue

Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary agency
Editor: Kayla King, Assistant Editor, Harlequin Nocturne

Young Adult
Agent: Linda Scalissi, Three Seas Literary Agency
Editor: Alycia Tornetta, Editor, Entangled Publishing

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

 Linda Howard Award of Excellence.  Deadline June 30. Contest is open to unpublished and published authors. Published authors may submit only unpublished, non-contracted manuscripts that will remain unpublished until the contest has concluded.Entry consists of the first 5,000 words. Finalists have 7 days to submit a synopsis.


Short/Long Contemporary Romance
Final Judges:
Single Title - Alicia Condon, Editorial Director, Kensington Publishing
Series - Pamela Harty, VP of Sales/Literary Agent, The Knight Agency

Historical Romance
Final Judge: Patricia Nelson, Literary Agent, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Paranormal/Futuristic/Fantasy Romance
Final Judge: Ansley Blackstock, Acquisitions Editor & Author Development Liaison, Liquid Silver Books

Young Adult Romance
Final Judge: Michelle Grajkowski, Literary Agent, Three Seas Literary Agency

Romantic Sensual and Sizzling
Final Judge: Cheryl Yeko, Award Winning Author & Senior Acquisitions Editor, Soul Mate Publishing

The Write Magic
For Southern Magic members only
Final Judge: Kristy Hunter, Submissions Coordinator & Associate Agent, The Knight Agency

May Mini-con with Donald Maass: The Fire in Fiction. Sponsored by Colorado Romance Writers (CRW) Denver, Colorado  Fee: $85–100.00 Date: May 21, 2016
Featured Speaker: Donald Maass, President of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and author of Fire in Fiction, Writing the Breakout Novel, The Breakout Novelist, and Writing 21st Century Fiction. Conference Features: In this full-day hands-on master class, New York agent Donald Maass works from his book, Fire in Fiction, and reveals how master novelists make every book great—and shares how conference participants can use the same techniques of greatness in their current manuscripts. This is an intensive, hands-on workshop for all fiction writers. Participants should bring a WIP and writing materials. Continental breakfast, lunch, and beverages provided.
If you can't afford a writer conference, do consider this workshop. It will change your life.

Do you live in Missouri? Then here's an opportunity! Michael Hauge’s Story Mastery Sponsored by the Missouri Romance Writers of America Location: Drury Hotel, 1118 Central Park Drive, O’Fallon, IL 62269 (18 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri.)
Cost: Story Mastery $85, Advanced Class $300. Date: May 14, 2016 and May 15, 2016. Description: On May 14, speaker Michael Hauge presents an all-day event with an optional advanced workshop on May 15. He is a story expert, author, and lecturer who works with writers, filmmakers, marketers, attorneys, and public speakers around the world. 

 WOW. Women on Writing SPRING 2016 FLASH FICTION CONTEST WITH GUEST JUDGE LEIGH EISENMAN OF HSG AGENCY. Do you need some writing inspiration? Contests are a great way to spark your creativity, and you may even win a prize! Get your best work together and consider entering the WOW! quarterly flash fiction contest with guest judge, literary agent Leigh Eisenman of HSG Agency. Stop by the contest page, download the pdf guidelines, and read all about Leigh's preferences. The Spring Contest is open to all genres of fiction between 250 - 750 words. Only 300 stories are accepted, so enter early to ensure your spot in the contest. Deadline: May 31, 2016. Details here.
Enter the Golden Donut Short Story Contest. Deadline July 1, 2016. The contest winner receives the prestigious Golden Donut Award AND and free registration to any 2017 WPA-hosted event! The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to continue the Golden Donut short story contest in 2016. The rules are simple—write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). The image in the photograph MUST be the main subject of the story. We will not provide clues as to the subject matter of the image, or where the shot was taken. That is for you and your imagination to decide. Remember, though, what you see in the image absolutely MUST be the MAIN subject of your tale.

Angels, Miracles, Cats, Dogs, Canada and more... The Chicken Soup upcoming topic line up can be found here.

Another terrific paying market for your short fiction is Splickety Magazine. Check out the guidelines here.

ACFW Virginia  Short Story Contest. Opens June 1, 2016. Deadline June 30, 2016. The theme is Christmas. Entry consists of an original 4,000 – 6,000 word short story. Entries must not have been previously published in any form. You do not have to be a member of ACFW to enter. Details here.

Interested in selling to Woman's World Magazine? Details for submission can be found in the February Edition of the Contest Update here.

 Contests. Contests! Come enter a CONTEST!!!Megan: Before you go and wrinkle your nose, hear me out. Please, I brought imaginary tea and cookies if it would help?

You: You’re telling me that you want me to willingly allow someone to not only see the words I’ve loved, laughed, and labored over for the past weeks. Months. Years even. But allow them the opportunity to rip my story and me to shreds. And pay them to do it? Yeah, no. No thanks.

Megan smiles and holds up the imaginary plate of goodies, tilting it at just the right angle so the sunlight sparkles across the sugary tops. “Here try the polka dotted ones, they’re my favorite. Sooo…Once upon a time, I entered my very first contest. I’d never had a critique partner, so I knew I needed someone else to look at my stuff. When I received my scores back, they were horrible, no good, very, very awfully-bad. And at the time I felt like a complete failure, wondering what in the world I was doing writing.

You eye the square iced cookie and frown. “You’re not doing very well with this whole persuasive go-forth-and-enter-a-contest thing.”

Megan holds up a finger: “Ahh, but all stories have a beginning, and who doesn’t love an underdog? Plus, I’m just laying the ground work to prove that if I can enter a contest, you can too. Another treat? The chocolate ones are scrumptious. Remember they’re imaginary so you can have as many as you want without any negative side effects.”

You plop two sugars into your tea and grab the mentioned chocolate. “Just get to the facts.”

Megan rubs her hands together. “Facts. Okay. Let’s call them Megan’s Top Reasons to be Brave and Enter a Contest List.”

Deadlines. When I know manuscript x has to be finished by date y it keeps me focused, productive, and continuing forward in this long writing journey. Contest entry deadlines also cut back on honing my already professional procrastination skills. It’s a win-win.

Feedback. Yes, sometimes the critique you receive may make you want to cry. Sometimes it’s even horribly off base. However, most of the time if applied correctly, it can strengthen your manuscript.

Thicker Skin. Not everyone in the world will be all sunshine and roses about what you write, how you write, or even why you write. Hearing criticism about your work will help prepare you for those possible one star reviews that may come in the future. (Which could only mean that you are published! Yeah!!!)

Encouragement. God has used a finalist placement or even a smiley face given by a judge on one simple sentence of my entry to keep me going. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a little boost of confidence, a ‘sign’ if you will, to prove to me that what I’m doing is worth it.

Platform Building. Oh, no. Wait. Don’t go! You haven’t tried the dipped peanut butter yummies yet… As much as I’d love to remove this phrase from my writing life. I can’t. May I suggest that contests allow your writing, your voice, your name to get out there. Connections are important, and I’ve made several because of my contest entries. And double bonus, if you final, you can use that in your bio, your query, and even on your website. 

Agents/Editors: If your entry makes it to a higher level, your work may land on a desk of a very ‘important person.’ Talk about a big opportunity. Like huge! Before you say, I’ll never make it that far. Let me encourage you. Yes, it took me several attempts to get a manuscript to move on in a contest. But I used my scores and feedback each time like a continual writing education course. I dug into my manuscript and slowly reaped the benefits. Do I always move on in every contest I enter now? No, I sure don’t. But that’s okay. I figure out what I can learn, and then I set my eyes on the future.

Prizes: Winning cash or getting a free critique is a pretty sweet deal. Seriously.

Decisions. In the end, no matter what, your writings are yours. If you enter no one will make you change your plot simply because judge 24902100.5 told you to. Should you set aside your pride and consider it, maybe. Especially if more than one judge suggested it. But can I let you in on a secret? Contest Judges are in fact….human. Who knew? They are people just like me and you who have good and bad days. Combine that with how subjective writing can be and sometimes the worst case scenario happens, like someone being told to give up and never write again. If you get this advice, you have my permission to IGNORE IT! Please. Or better yet, use it as fuel to learn more, and grow in your writing. In all honesty, judges are there to try and help you, not ruin your day, life, or writing career.

Free. If a writing contest is free… what in the world is stopping you??? And no, I won’t accept excuses like: “well, it’s not in a genre I’ve ever done.” If an idea appears…Try it. I’d never written a Historical or in 3rd person before I entered Love Inspired Manuscript Matchmakers and I moved on to the next stage, where I got valuable insight from an editor. (And I might add this is a perfect example of: never say never.

Now, I’m not saying go all crazy and enter every single contest you see.

You stir your tea and ask, “Then what are you saying?”

Megan: Plan and budget.
Figure out what you need from a contest. Do you already have an agent? Then chances are you don’t want to enter one that only has agents as ending judges. If you need feedback, find one that offers authors as first round judges. If your hook is on page four, you probably don’t want a contest where you only enter the first three pages…

Contests are rewarding. They help you figure out your strengths and sharpen your weaknesses. Don’t let the fear of failure keep your stories locked away. Or don’t let a few actual failures keep you from pressing on to tomorrow. Your words may be exactly what the world’s waiting for.

I’ve got my pompoms, tissues, and chocolate. I think we’re ready for another contest. It’s time to be brave.

  • MCRW’s 2014 Melody of Love Contest, 1st place, New Adult Category.
  • RWA FHL 2015 Touched by Love Award, 2nd place, Short Contemporary Category.
  • NTRWA 2015 Great Expectation, 2nd place, Inspirational Category.
  • 2015 ACFW’s Genesis finalist, YA Category.
  • Love Inspired 2016 Historical Manuscript Matchmakers, Betrothal Stage.

Megan Besing once thought books were only for education and Bible studies. However, now she can be caught hiding by her kitchen cabinets, squeezing in just one more chapter before dinner. She’s represent by Jessica Kirkland, The Blythe Daniel Agency, and when Megan isn’t writing she’s reviewing books over at Straight Off the Page. 

The Hoosier state is home, along with her husband, their children, a cat, and some chickens. Megan loves the beach, adores happily-ever-afters, and drinks way too many Vanilla Cokes. Learn more about her at www.meganbesing.com

That's it! Now go forth and contest!


Today's Contest Update was brought to you by Tina Radcliffe. Check out her January release from Love Inspired, Rocky Mountain Reunion 

 **Indicates an excellent opportunity!! And they don't come along every day! Open doors are for walking through. No guts, no glory. No risk, no reward!


  1. Look at all those wonderful opportunities!!!!! GO forth you writers and contest :-)

    I'd love to have a surprise bag of books make it to my door....thanks for the chance!

  2. I have been doing the contest update for many years now and do you know why I love it? It represents doors opening. Opportunities. Second chances, third chances and more.

    The playing field is leveled as we are all anonymous when we enter a manuscript the world has never seen.

    So exciting.


  3. Congratulations, Megan, on being the Contest Diva and moving on to the Betrothal Stage in Manuscript Matchmakers! Loved your entertaining pitch for entering contests. I received an offer of representation as a result of a contest plus lots of valuable feedback from my contest judges, so I'm a big fan of contests.

    Wishing all those who enter the contests mentioned the very best.

  4. Megan, I love that you write different things. What's your absolute favorite subgenre?

    And what contests in today's list intrigue you??

  5. I need to look thru this listing closer & try another contest. So far I have one 2 free critiques here on Seekerville (TY to Tiana Radcliffe & Missy Tippins) both which annoyed me to start, yet after thinking more about them I realized there was some good learning to be done there. (I'm still deciding on if killing my heroine in my 1st book in the 2nd book would be a good idea or not. She would make such an impact on others through her death...). ;-)
    I also entered the Blurb2bBook contest by LI & didn't get past the first round. Are these reasons to give up & throw in the towel? Nope--I still have some stories inside me bursting to come out! Even if they never make it past the Indie stage and only friends & family purchase them, I'm going to keep going. And like you (Megan) said--having deadlines helps with that procrastinating thing...

  6. LOLOL, Vicki, so sorry we annoyed you. You are too funny.

    Having deadlines is a wonderful part of contests.

  7. Congratulations, Megan! "If a writing contest is free… what in the world is stopping you???" Exactly!
    Thanks for putting together all of these contests, Tina!

  8. Tina--yours annoyed me because it meant pretty much redoing the beginning of my ms & I didn't want to do it, so I put it aside & stewed about it for awhile. A little while later was the awards ceremony which I watched online & somebody you had mentored (Jeanne T?) won the award for best first book & she thanked you for telling her to start at the change! Exactly what you told me! Then a little while later, you won an award too! I said, "Ok, God--she knows what she's talking about & you are showing me--"Start with the change". LOL And I have given the Sam suggestion to my crit partner too!

    I'm still thinking about Missy's suggestions. She didn't tell me NOT to kill off my previous heroine--just said to think about it. Especially as a beginning novelist--I don't want to make me readers mad at me for killing off a favorite character... Then on the other hand--she IS pretty angelic. ;-)

  9. Congratulations, Megan! Loved reading your story. Love the contest update. Mary Connealy's book The Boden Birthright downloaded on my kindle this morning. Yay! Gonna be a great day!

  10. I'm thinking two contests for April is enough for me right now. But, yes, I did walk through that door. Now I just need to get back into my regular writing which, I'm sorry to say, isn't coming back as fast as I'd like. Transitions are killer. *Sigh*

    On another note, per our last discussion of contests, the Maggies do indeed offer feedback (only the unpublished ones). Or that's what the chair of the contest told me. I guess I'll find out for sure in a couple of months.

  11. Meghan, what fun to read about your success! Those are great benefits you listed, and I agree! For me, it was especially the deadlines and thicker skin. :)

  12. Lara, in the past, we gave a written critique for the unpubbed Maggies. I'm not sure if that has changed. I wasn't able to judge this year.

  13. Vicki, I still hope you don't kill her off! :)

  14. Congratulations CONTEST DIVA MEGAN! Loved your "promo" for contests. :)

    Contests are near and dear to the Seekers hearts (who met in finalist circles and took turns bumping each other out of first place).

    Looks like a BUNCH of wonderful opportunities, Villagers, to get out there and give it a shot!

  15. MEGAN, what a clever way to express your theme! I want a cookie!
    I believe in contests. We get a lot of bang for a small amount of buck. I got my first two "firsts' last year, accompanied by requests for fulls, and it was a great confirmation of my call to do this.
    This year so far I've entered "Touched By Love" and "Unpublished Maggies." I'm doing Tara and Lone Star, I had good luck with them last year, then we'll see. I did Manuscript Matchmakers but didn't get an invitation to continue but that's all right, that book obviously didn't want to be an LIH.
    Contests are especially important when you can't afford conferences or don't have the time.
    Please enter me in the drawing. "Bag of books" is especially appealing now that beach season is almost here.
    Kathy Bailey

  16. Lara,

    Great to know. The Maggies (unpublished) used to only provide an optional critique but no scores. I have actually won the Maggies (unpublished) twice. Of course that was when it was done on cave walls. Actually not so long ago. My first sale was only 2010.

  17. Congratulations Megan on finagling in so many contests, but especially, the last stage of Matchmakers!!!

    I plan on entering at least one contest this month. I had wanted to enter the Maggies last week, but I put it off until the last moment and then had computer problems.

    TINA, I looked up Ignite the Flame contest. On their website it says the entries aren't due until June 30th. So I think we have a little more time to get that one in...

  18. Thank you for sharing your contest experience, Megan. Congratulations on finaling with LIH's Matchmakers contest.

    This year I entered 6 contests and received some great feedback. It's a great way to go, especially if you don't have a critique partner.

  19. Congratulations, Megan.

    Tina, Thanks for the contest update. I am currently working on not one but two short stories for the ACFW Virginia Short story contest. One of those is a Children's Middle grade.

    I have entered two contests so far this year, but have not received the feed back yet. The first one I expect will be very bad comments. At that point I was the only one who had read it. Then I joined the critique loop of ACFW. With their suggestions, I have greatly fine tuned the beginning and it is a whole new ms. I entered the newer version in the second contest so cannot wait to see the difference and if that helped.

  20. Another jam-packed contest update--thanks, TINA!

    And congrats to our May Contest Diva! Wow, MEGAN, great insights and advice on entering manuscript contests! You're so right--contest judges are only human. They have individual tastes and preferences, along with those good days and bad days that can really affect how they read any given manuscript.

  21. Congratulations, May Diva Megan, on your writing success! Your post is perfect....especially "never say never" which is so true. The tea and treats are appreciated.....yum!

    Thanks for the contest update, Tina. I just have to mention....recently I followed Seekerville advice to write a thank you note to the judges. I received back the sweetest note from one of the judges. She thanked me, then said she didn't read my sub-genre, but learned from my entry and enjoyed my story. This was a touching result of a contest entry.

  22. Gals - that is a good post! :)

    *sigh* I can see what you are saying. Thank you for the treats btw - no calories in cyber food is the ticket! =) And I know from back in the day (college) that you guys are right...that deadlines do help me get projects done. I'll look in to it...I had no idea there were so many different contests out there! Getting some feedback on basic style would be great. And the idea of using a deadline to actually finish a story would be encouraging in itself (like when a judge would put a smiley face in the comments. :) )

    I also think reading through the requirements of some of the contest that stand out to you can help. I've learned a lot just from reading the fine print - who'd believe it!? Lol.


  23. Wilani Wahl - That is fun! :D A middle grade book sounds cool too. I hope you enjoy the experience!

  24. Contests seem like such a giant's step! Maybe 2017 will be my brave year. I have no doubt it's probably a really good thing to try. Would it be smarter to make a first try in with a Christian backed contest like ACFW?

    I won a critique from Tina on Seekerville and her comments completely changed how I viewed my wip. Plus I didn't even need the full 24 hours to lick my wounds! I will always be grateful for Tina's critique and her valuable guidance. :-)

    Thanks, Megan for sharing your knowledge of contests and congratulations!

  25. Thanks, Connie Queen! I fixed that.

    Appreciate your eagle eye.

  26. WOW, MEGAN, WHAT A LIST OF WINS AND FINALS YOU'VE RACKED UP, GIRLFRIEND!!! And I concur with every single word in your encouraging post today, so preach it, my friend!!

    HAD TO SMILE AT THIS: "Hearing criticism about your work will help prepare you for those possible one star reviews that may come in the future. (Which could only mean that you are published! Yeah!!!)"

    EXCELLENT point of view, Meg, and definitely the "glass half full" mentality that an aspiring author (and a published one) needs to make it in this biz, so GREAT POINT!!

    LOL, Connie, "finagling" might work, too, because one of Webster's definitions is "to get (something) in a clever way," and let's face it -- it's not only clever to enter contests and push for excellence, it's downright smart!! :)

    Hugs and SUPER CONGRATS, Meg, on your finals and wins. May they never stop coming!!


  27. Congratulations, Megan! What wonderful accomplishments! Love your sense of humor and your perseverance. Contests are fabulous ways to grow our craft, and they do prepare us for the bigger picture. All part of the journey!

    Thank you, Tina, for your marvelous updates and links!

  28. Megan, forgot to say that I've stepped away from most contests the last few years, but your post has encouraged even me to step back up to the plate, base run or no, so THANK YOU!!

    BARBARA FOX SAID: "I won a critique from Tina on Seekerville and her comments completely changed how I viewed my wip. Plus I didn't even need the full 24 hours to lick my wounds!"

    LOL ... that's the mark of a true professional, Barbara -- the less time it takes to get over the disappointment, the better able you are to handle this biz! :)

    SHERIDA ... that is soooo encouraging to hear, the feedback from the judge on your thank you note. Gotta remember to do that when I enter/get feedback!!

    WOW, RENEE ... SIX contests??? You go, girl!!


  29. Good for you, Wilani. Feedback is feedback. Way to go brave writer.

  30. Myra! Lots of published author contests still out there. But they start fading around six months in.

  31. In truth, Meg, I am not giving you all of them. If they don't have contest judges minimally lined up, I don't add them. And there are contests out there that would not appeal to the majority of our blog audience, so I leave them out as well.

    But lots to be learned from contesting.

    Start small with a five page or 15 page contest and build up your courage.

  32. The ACFW Great Beginnings contest is a great place to start. But don't fool yourself, judges in the category you write can be even harsher than those who are in secular contests.

    Who puts on the contest is not what matters. What matters is what you are trying to get out of it. Are you in it for the cash, the bling, the feedback, trying to snag an editor or agent or just keeping your name out there. That's the criteria you use to decide what contest to enter. Along with what contest best showcases your pages.

    Which is why you look at the scoresheet BEFORE you consider entering.

    This post explains that in detial.

    Pimp Your Contest Entry

  33. Detail. Oh, my. Need more caffeine or an eye exam.

  34. Congrats, Diva Megan! Great notes on going out and entering contests. I've entered the WOW Women's contest a couple of times to get critiques (didn't place or win, but got crits). Planning to enter a couple stories again. I entered the Harlequin Killer Voice contest and got to the final round with an R&R. Other than that, I haven't done much.

    I've been busy with my little guy, but slowly getting back into the writing swing of things... hopefully. Still trying to work out timing. I love the Contest Updates even though I end up missing some deadlines. It's nice to know opportunities abound.

    Thanks Tina! Wouldn't mind a shot at that bag o' books.

  35. Thanks, Tina! Great contest update!

    I see my wonderful editor, Emily Rodmell, Love Inspired Books, is judging Ignite the Flame!!!

    Enter, Seekerville!!! Emily is wonderful. So savvy. Such a sharp eye for edits and knows how to make a story shine. You'll love her!

    Megan, thanks for providing such great, positive advice about contests! I agree with everything you mentioned!

    Plus, the cookies are yummy!

  36. Waving to everyone who took part in the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat Pre-Event FB Party last night. Wasn't it fun! Thanks for stopping by! Thanks for your support for Seekerville too!

    Hugs to all!

  37. So you know R & R means revise, right, DebH? WINK WINK. Five minutes a day. That's all.

    If you revise one page a day, you could have it ready to resubmit very soon.

  38. I know, Debby. And only a fifteen page contest! Why not??

  39. CONGRATULATIONS to the Contest Diva, Megan!! Wear your tiara proudly! :)

    GREAT Contest update as always - - Thank You, Miss T!!
    Although I see a couple I'd like to enter, I have reached my 2016 goal to enter 5 contests (got my unpubbed Maggies entry in with a whopping 20 MINUTES to spare....had some computer issues and was more than a little stressed!!). But, thankfully, everything (payment and entry) were received before the deadline time. SO....all of that to say I will now focus on preparing my manuscripts and pitches for ACFW, but would love to enter more contests before too long. :)

    DEBBY GIUSTI, had wanted to "attend" the CFRR Facebook party last night, but ended up on the phone with some family members. :) I'm sure it was a fun time!

    Happy Tuesday, Seeker Friends!! Hugs, Patti Jo

  40. Good Morning, everyone! I resupplied all our goodies and, oh, look! We have imaginary ice cream too! How did I forget to mention that?

  41. -Vicki Marney "Never give up. Never Surrender."- Galaxy Quest. :) Your next contest may just be 'the one' :)

  42. Lara- yeah!! For walking through the contest door last month. 

    Kaybee- There’s still plenty of cookies. Have three. Or Four. And isn’t waiting for contest results have the battle of entering?? I’m waiting on a few myself too.

    Connie—Thanks. But for as many contest I’ve placed in, I probably have double that I didn’t. So hopefully that an encouragement for keeping on, keeping on for someone. 

    Renee- You go, contest Girlie!

    Myra- Yes. So glad I figured out that judges are only human. I once was told that about agents and editors at conferences, so I just put two and two together. 

  43. Pimp Your Contest Entry is loaded with help. Thanks Tina (I would have re-added the link but?)

  44. I agree that contests are so helpful! I consider them writing, "college!" LOL Thanks for the encouraging article!!!

  45. DIVA MEGAN, huge congrats on your success in contests! You didn't need to use those yummy cookies to convince me of their value. Besides my critique partner, contest judge feedback helped me improve my craft. And they gave me all the important things on your list.

    I'm hoping those who have hesitated will walk through one of these open doors.


  46. Julie- anytime. I love encouraging people around the bases of writing...and well, life in general. :)

    Barbara- 2016 can still be your year too ;) !!!!!!!!!!!

    Tina- as far as my 'absolute favorite subgenre'...writing a YA inspirational dystopian story is probably my favorite. (it was also my first, so maybe that's why.)But as long as there's love and a happily-ever-after I'm pretty content to be writing it. However, I feel the most 'qualified' to write YA, since that's what I read the most. But if I apply what I've learned in life to my writing...when I step out of my comfort zone is when I see the most growth. So if I get an idea, I go with it. Even if it was once down the road marked 'never.'

    And without looking at the fine print, The Lone Star Contest looks the most intriguing to me this go around. I mean two editors as final judges. Yes, please!

    Has anyone else tried a sub-genre they 'never' thought they'd write in?

  47. Megan! I knew I loved you for a reason.

    Galaxy Quest. I have the movie semi memorized. : By Grabthar's hammer, by the sons of Warvan, you shall be avenged!!!!!!

  48. The amazing Peggy Trotter is here. Sniff. Welcome. Yes. College.

    Oh, I am so delighted to see you.

    Another real live diva.

  49. Patti Jo!!! WOOT!! Look at you. Way to go. Congratulations! Nashville here you come!

  50. Oh, I love trying new subgenres. Typically stuff I read but normally don't write.

    I have way to many partials on my computer.

    YA dystopian. An interesting subgenre for sure.

  51. Congrats Megan on being the new diva! Good luck to all the writers entering any of the contests!
    Please enter me for the surprise books- love it!

  52. Megan!!!! Congratulations, and I loved your take on all this, it was marvelous! You go, girl!!!

    Tina, thank you for the contest update. Nobody does it better!

    And I remember loving the TARA even though I think it was one of the first contests I ever entered and crashed and burned, but boy did those gals give me great, great, great advice... And I do believe I ended up doing real well down there eventually, as I learned and bobbed and weaved (Mohammed Ali-style) and I always loved that contest.

    I'm just back from Arizona where I got my first look at a desert on a horse with no name...(kidding, the horse had a name, actually he was a camel named Crockett.... and it was so much fun to ride a camel!!!!) I saw far too many cactus to be normal in one lifetime, found out the saguaro cactus are the "trees" of the Tonto National Forest and that those guys (the monster cacti) get huge, host bird parties and condos, and are pretty cool, but lack shade capability. Bummer!

    I loved seeing such a unique and amazing part of our country, and now I'm home, back to work, and delighted by the opportunities we have right here at our fingertips, including writing contests!

    This contest diva used to work extra shifts to enter contests, hoping to land a spot on an editor's desk. Ya do what ya gotta do in this biz!!!!

    Go get 'em, Tigers!

  53. I am in total agreement with the "never say never".... Grandma Eichas used that saying a lot, and it stuck with me, Megan and Sherida! It's clutch, because the minute you start adopting self-limiting behaviors in this business, it's like a death knell...

    You've got to be open to expanding your choices and thoughts because as lines close, editors leave and things change, we can be whiny polar bears, insisting the only way to eat is to punch through ice and grab a seal...

    Or we can be smart bears that catch fish, grab the occasional honey bee hive, and seals when they're available.

    Adaptability is clutch in nature... and writing!

  54. Ruth-- #teamneversaynever :)

    Tina- LOL. I'm so glad my enjoyment of Galaxy Quest has earned your love. (Megan places her fist on her chest) I won't take it for granted. :) And I think it's about time to watch that movie again!

  55. Congratulations, MEGAN!! And thank you for sharing your journey!

    TINA, what a great contest update! So many opportunities! I'm doing revisions right now, but I hope to be done in time to enter some of these. Thank you so much!

  56. A Camel named Crockett. Well dare I say I have never been to the Denver Zoo. Don't do zoos much these days. Crockett sounds like a kick.

  57. You are VERRRRRY WELCOME, Laura!

  58. Hello! Megan, you're a hoot! Congrats on all your success! Tina, thanks for adding the Pages from the Heart contest to the list. We haven't had an inspirational category in a few years and I worked hard to get it back into the contest...so Seekers, don't let me down, enter those contests!!!!

  59. Time for another Galaxy Quest quote!

    As long as there is injustice, whenever a Targathian baby cries out, wherever a distress signal sounds among the stars, we'll be there. This fine ship, this fine crew. Never give up... and never surrender.

  60. We won't let you down Commander LeAnne!!!!

  61. Thanks for a great Contest Update, Tina!

    Congrats on being May 2016's Contest Diva, Megan! Way to go!

  62. Congrats, Megan. Contest on!
    Thanks for the faithful contest updates, Tina.

    There's fresh coffee.

  63. Natalie Monk, what are you up to? Spill the beans.

  64. They really are faithful, right Helen. You and coffee and me and updates.

  65. Tina, thanks for the contest update!

    Megan, congrats!

  66. Thank you, Tina, for the update.

    Thank you, Megan, for the encouragement.

  67. Thank you TINA for keeping us updated on all those opportunities! Congratulations to Diva MEGAN!
    You know those pictures on Facebook asking if you could live there for mega bucks but not Internet for a month? Well, I thought, no problem I could do it. And then I'm without internet like for three days and I'm having withdrawal symptoms from Seekerville. But I'm back now!

  68. Poor Marianne!!! Serious pain!!! Glad to have you back!

  69. Thanks, Jackie. Entering any contests this month??

  70. BIG DIVA CONGRATS TO SHAREE STOVER who finaled in the Daphne!! (Unpublished Division).

    WAY TO GO, DIVA@!!

  71. Congratulations Diva Megan! Your journey through contest land was such a fun read and pep talk. Thanks!

    Super Contest Update, Tina! (Lovely flowers, too.)

    Nancy C

  72. Megan, Congratulations on your diva tiara. Wear it proudly! And thanks for the contest advice, not to mention quoting Galaxy Quest in the comments. I love that movie.

    Tina, thank you for update. Always appreciate reading about contests and figuring out which ones to add to my calendar to try to remember to enter.

  73. Congratulations Meghan!

    Tina, thanks for the list of contests. I see some great ones. I must remember to enter a few.

  74. Thanks, Nancy. I still remember what flowers look like. BARELY.

  75. What? Terri and Tanya are singing the same tune.

    Send me your contest list and I can send you a reminder and a kick in the patootie as well. No charge.

  76. Congratulations May Diva, Megan!

    Look at all those opportunities! Authors, go forth and enter! Go go go! You'll never know until you step over and enter! Blessings to all!

    Thanks for the chance!

  77. Tina,

    Fabulous job, as always, of listing every possible contest in the U.S.A. Maybe the world. Galaxy. . .

  78. I am blown away by all the contests! I appreciate all the work to find new writers as a reader. Please put me in for a surprise bag of books. :-)

    Thanks so much,
    Becky B

  79. Just Commonly, Edwina and Becky B..you are in!

  80. Good luck to all those who will -
    "Now go forth and contest!"
    Looking forward to reading all those new books!
    Please toss me into the draw for a surprise bag of books :)

  81. Reminder emails for contest deadlines...now, that's what I'm talking about. :)

  82. Yes, Megan and it's a package deal. Comes with a free cattle prod poke.

  83. Tina - I can start with 5 or 15 page…I like that idea. I looked at the Maggies and saw it was for a 40k book and slowly backed away…far, far away. Lol. But I’ll get there! *confident face*

    Analyzing what I want to get out of a contest from the get-go is excellent advice…then when I enter the contest I'll be better able to see where I stand and what to expect. (Great post link btw on pimping your entry! Thank you. :) )

    Debby - I had so much fun at the FB Pre-party for CFRR. I met a lot of new cyber friends and authors! And I got to chat with a few I knew/had read before. Can't technology be awesome! :D Looking forward to the next “Pre-party” in June too. I’ll be sure to have my dinner already next to the computer this time..lol..or maybe I’ll eat earlier! :)

  84. Galaxy Quest!? Oh my goodness…I haven’t thought of that movie in years! The last time I watched it…I watched it on a VHS tape! *gasp* Lol. I should really check it back out of the library. :)

    Ruth - I thought about you today b/c my aunt went to her local zoo and I told her to look for a camel! Lol. I’m so happy you had a happy camel riding experience. When I read his name was Crockett I instantly started humming the Ballad of Davy Crockett. Lol. I never thought of big cacti not giving off shade! Ek! Did you get to try Cactus tea by chance? If so - what did ya think?

    BTW…in case anyone started humming the Ballad of Davy Crockett after my comment…here are the theme songs I promptly found after reading Ruthy’s comment:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txcRQedoEyY << Fess Parker
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3sWDshSKzc << The Wellingtons

  85. That's the attitude, Meg. No guts, no glory.

  86. There are so many amazing opportunities here!

  87. Congrats on all your success, Megan. So many fantastic opportunities here.
    Please enter me for the bag of books.

    Deanne P.