Thursday, August 4, 2016

August Contest Update

Five contest months left this year! 
Leave a comment on your plans for August through December. 
How many books will you have completed? 
Reader or writer can answer that question
 and get their name in the tiara box for this week's giveaway: 
for one winner a journal, & to another winner, 
a surprise Seeker two-pack of summer reading!
Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

Published Manuscript Contests

Cover the WordsEntries accepted from August 15 – September 4, 2016.

Unpublished Manuscript Contests

***A word of caution: Do not enter a category of ANY contest where you do not know who the final judge is (unless that info is supposed to be anonymous.). ***

The Beacon. Deadline August 31. Open to non-RWA writers. Published authors are eligible to enter any category in which they have not been contracted and/or published in book-length fiction (40,000 words and over) in the last 3 years.  (Self-published authors are considered published.)  Entry: First 25 pages of the manuscript. The entrant may also include an optional 5-page synopsis for a maximum of 30 pages. (Synopsis will not be judged.) Per the chapter president, judges not finalized yet. Will post the final judges as soon as available. Keep an eye on the Weekend Edition for notification.


Category or Series Romance (Short Contemporary Romance)
 Agent: Scott Eagan-Greyhaus Literary Agency
Editor: Kathryn Lye-Harlequin

Contemporary Romance (Single Title)
Agent: Rebecca Strauss–De Fiore & Co. Literary Agency
Editor: Elizabeth Poteet of St. Martin’s Press

Erotic Romance
Agent: LaToya C. Smith, Lori Perkins Agency
Editor: Toni Kelley – Acquisitions Editor eXtasy Books

Historical Romance (Including Regency)
Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan-Handspun Literary Agency
Editor: Elle Keck-HarperCollins (Avon)

Romantic Elements
Agent: Shannon Hassan, The Marsal Lyon Agency
Editor: Susan Litman-Harlequin

Romantic Suspense
Agent: Laurie McLean – Managing Partner; Fuse Literary Agency
Editor: Nicole Fischer-HarperCollins (Avon)

Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic Romance
Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Agency
Editor: Tera Cuskaden, Editorial Director for Entangled’s Select Otherworld

Young Adult
Agent: Jessica Errera of Jane Rotrosen Agency
Editor: KC Mead-Brewer, Developmental Editor for Bancroft Press

Inspirational ***
Agent: Melissa Jeglinski-The Knight Agency
Editor: Shana Asaro-Harlequin Love Inspired

Heart to Heart. Deadline August 31. Open to non-RWA writers. Enter the scene(s) in which the protagonists meet for the first time or for the first time in the book, if previously acquainted, up to a maximum of 15 page.Open to all writers unpublished by an RWA-approved publisher as of the entry deadline. Prospective entrants may be published with a nonRWA-recognized publisher. However, they may not enter books/manuscripts that have been professionally edited or have ISBN numbers. 

2016 Final Judges

Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency - Agent
Elle Keck, Harper Collins - Print Editor
Toni Kelley, Extasy Books - E-Pub Editor

TBD - Agent
Adam Wilson, Gallery/Simon and Schuster - Print Editor
TBD - E-Pub Editor

Tamar Rydzinski, Laura Dail Literacy Agency - Agent
Nicole Fisher, Avon - Print Editor
Alycia Tornetta, Entangled - E-Pub Editor

Lane Haymont, The Seymour Agency - Agent
Bethany Blair, Berkley - Print Editor
Stephanie Doig, Carina Press - E-Pub Edito

Laurie McLean, Fuse Literary - Agent 
TBD - Print Editor
TBD - E-Pub Editor   

Hot Prospects Deadline September 3. Open to non-RWA writers. The Hot Prospects Contest is open to any Romance work uncontracted and unpublished at the time of entry. Entry consists of up to the first 30 pages to include a 3-5 page synopsis and up to 25 pages of your manuscript.

Single Title Contemporary-
Senior Editor – Johanna Raisanen – Harlequin
Agent – TBA.

Romantic Suspense-
Editor – Kate Seaver - Berkley
Agent – Melissa Jeglinkski – Knight Agency

Editor – Rhonda Penders  – Wild Rose Press
Agent – TBA

Editor – Melissa Singer – TOR
Editor  – Michelle Klayman – Boroughs Publishing

Young Adult/New Adult Romance:
Editor – TBA
Agent – Michelle Grajkowski  – 3 Seas Literary

Inspirational Romance:
Editor – Victoria Curran - Harlequin
Editor – Raela Schoenherr – Revell Bethany House

Erotic Romance: 
Brenda Chin – Entangled
Agent – TBA

I have contacted the coordinators and have updated this list to be current.

Phoenix Ratter Contest (Christian Writers of the West). Deadline September 3. Submit the first ten (10) contiguous pages of your novel plus a one-page synopsis of the whole book. Completed manuscript no required to enter. THIS IS A GREAT CONTEST TO GET YOUR DIVA/DIVO FEET WET!!
Contemporary (includes Contemporary, Women's, Romance)    Michelle Grawkowski    Agent, 3 Seas Literary Agency

Historical (before 1960, includes Historical Romance)    Tamela Hancock Murray     The Steve Laube Agency

Mystery, Thriller, Romantic Suspense    Elizabeth Mazer    Editor, Harlequin Love Inspired

Young Adult (for under 18)    Rachel Kent    Agent, Books & Such Literary Management

Speculative Fiction    Susanne Lakin    Copy Editor, Writing Coach, Owner-Live Write Thrive

Fiction from the Heartland. Deadline September 7. Open to non-RWAwriters. Entry must have a projected minimum length of 40,000 words. Contest will have no more than ten overall finalists from all categories. Manuscripts must achieve 85% or greater of
the total points possible to qualify as a finalist. Finalists will be judged by an industry editor AND agent.

• Category Romance includes all novels intended for series lines
• Contemporary Single Title
• Historical Romance
• Romantic Suspense
• Paranormal Romance includes time travel, fantasy and futuristic
• Erotic Romance
• Young Adult Romance / New Adult Romance
• Inspirational Romance

 Elle Keck, Assistant Editor, Harper Collins
 Patience Bloom, Senior Editor, Harlequin
 Theresa Cole, Editor, Entangled Publishing
 David Long, Bethany House

 Shira Hoffman, McIntosh and Otis
 Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency
 Marisa Corvisiero, Corvisiero Literary Agency
 Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency

Gateway to the Best. Deadline September 9. Open to non-RWA writers. Entry consists of up to the first 7000 words of manuscript. The Grand Prize winner will receive a 2-hour coaching session with writing coach Michael Hauge (valued at $700), the Gateway Charm, and a certificate of achievement.

Contemporary Single Title/Series
Final Judge:  Diana Steger, Editor, Evernight Publishing

Final Judge:  Kathryn Chesire, Editor, Historical Team, Mills Boon/Harlequin

Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic/Time Travel/Alternate Reality
Final Judge:  Stephanie Doig, Assistant Editor, Carina Press

Women's Fiction with strong romantic elements
Final Judge:  Kristine Swartz, Editor, Berkley

Romantic Suspense
Tera Cuskaden, Editorial Director, Entangled Publishing

Young or New Adult
Final Judge:  Megha Parekh, Editor, Grand Central Publishing

The Rudy. Deadline September 30. Open to non-RWA writers. Open to published and unpublished authors. With the exception of Erotic Romance, all categories may have varying levels of sensuality. All entries must include first and last chapters and a synopsis (not more than 2 pages) ONLY. No prologues or epilogues are allowed.Entries must be 40 pages or less, INCLUDING the synopsis (not judged). 

**All entrants must judge at least ONE entry from a category other than the one you entered. Please indicate if you would prefer not to judge Erotic Romance.**

Final Round Judges: Professional editors will judge top three in each category and will be named later. I have contacted the coordinators. No judge names yet.  

Other Writer Opportunities

 Romance Writers! Give us your Great Canadian Heroes and Skip the Slush Pile! From July 1 to September 12, 2016, send us your first chapter plus a 3-7 page synopsis to the Ooooh…Canada! Blitz at  You can submit to any of the Harlequin series we publish as long as your story features a Canadian romantic hero.   Need some inspiration?  Check out all our current series books at

Moonlight & Magnolias Conference. Date: September 29–October 2, 2016. Sponsor: Georgia Romance Writers. Location: Hilton Atlanta Northeast, Peachtree Corners (Near Norcross), Georgia.Fee: GRW Members – $225; RWA Members – $245; Non-Members – $265. Cost will increase after July 31 as we move into late registration. Publishing Houses: St. Martin’s Press, Harlequin, Sourcebooks, & Carina Press. Agencies: Bradford Literary Agency & The Seymour Agency. Conference Features: workshops, pitch workshop, book signing, editor & agent appointments.

In the Pennsylvania area? Check out the Keystone Christian Fiction Writer's Conference, coming in November. Love Inspired Editor, Emily Rodmell is taking pitches! 

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.

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

Another viable market is the True's (True Confession and True Story). Guidelines here.
Welcome to our August Contest Diva, Susan Hollaway!

I’ve wanted to write fiction almost as long as I can remember, but I kept that desire mostly in the make-believe worlds of “if-only” and “wouldn’t-it-be-nice.” Until 2008. I finally consulted God, prayed fervently, then shared my dream out loud with my husband and daughter. That’s when I realized it was okay to step out and do something to make my dream come true. And I began to write. 

At first, I wrote sporadically, tucked away time here and there in between homeschooling my daughter and working a part-time job.  

In 2009, a new friend introduced me to ACFW, and I joined.  I met other writers who were people watchers, had stories running through their heads, and asked off-the-wall, weird questions and they didn’t think doing so was the least bit odd. I was welcomed into the writing world and I was thrilled. I cannot begin to give adequate thanks to all the people God has placed in my path. Their advice has helped me grow and understand so much more about this wonderful world of writing. 

I gathered the courage to attend my first Called to Write Conference in southeast Kansas in the spring of 2010, entering my first contest there. I received third place in that contest and was encouraged. I make every effort to attend this yearly conference. It’s been invaluable to my writing and I’ve made so many precious friendships along the way.

Somewhere in late 2010, I learned that Woman’s World magazine accepted unsolicited submissions for short romantic fiction stories. I wanted to try, and God gave me an amazing writer friend who critiqued my work and taught me so much. She deserves an award. Truly. She’d never say so, but I think at times she’d have rather poked herself in the eye than read one more draft of my story. I submitted that eight hundred word manuscript and joined the waiting game. That story was published in their magazine in May of 2011. 

It was that story that helped me pay my registration to my first (and only so far) national ACFW conference in that same year. (Later, two more of my stories were published in Woman’s World, both appearing in January issues of 2014.) 

In 2013, I entered the Harlequin’s Love’s Inspired Happily Editor After pitch contest and received a request for a partial, but life threw me an unexpected curveball, and I did not get my manuscript to a point where I felt like I could submit it. 

In 2014 at the Called to Write Conference, I entered the Adult Christian Fiction category with a romance and received first place.  The next year, in 2015, I entered the same category with a different manuscript and placed second. 

I was learning so much from entering these contests that I entered Harlequin’s 2015 Love Inspired Blurb to Book initiative. I moved on to stage two but did not move on to the final round.  

Later in 2015 I entered ACFW’s First Impressions Contest and moved on to the finals. I received some great feedback from the judges. 

In the spring of this year, with the strong prompting of a dear writer friend, I entered Harlequin’s 2016 Love Inspired Historical Manuscript Matchmaker initiative. I moved on to the finals and just recently submitted my full 70K manuscript. 

I have to say working full-time as a special education para-educator, working an additional part-time job, and trying to write on a deadline taught me lessons I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. No matter how my manuscript fares in this contest, I’ll forever look upon this experience as positive and one where I learned  much about writing and myself. 

If you truly want to be a writer, then remember that fear is not of the Lord.  If you want to do this, step out in faith. You might just surprise yourself and enjoy the journey like you never imagined you could. 

There are so many things this amazing journey has taught me. I’d like to share three with you today. 

1. Writing is hard work, and the only way to get better is to write. A lot. 

2. Writer’s block is an excuse. No other profession gets to use that alibi. We have to write anyway—inspired or not. Write. If it’s important to you, you’ll make the time.

3.  You have to believe in you and your desire to write. So what if you aren’t where you think you should be? Get over it. You never will be if you don’t write, and you won’t learn how to get better if you don’t put yourself out there. 

So, go. Take that step and enter some contests.  


That's it! Now go forth and contest!

Today's Contest Update was brought to you by Tina Radcliffe. Tina writes humorous sweet and inspirational romance from her home in Arizona. She is a Carol Award winner for Mending the Doctor's Heart, as well as a 2016 Holt Medallion finalist, and a 2016 Greater Detroit RWA’s Booksellers’ Best Book Award finalist for Safe in the Fireman's Arms.

The fourth book in the Paradise series, Rocky Mountain Reunion is currently available.  Rocky Mountain Cowboy will be available in December. If you haven't, stop by her author Facebook page and like it, and then enter the Inspirational Romance Contest that ends August 8th. Books and a Kindle Fire are up for grabs!



  1. Tipping my hat to Diva Susan Hollaway!

    Congratulations for your braveness!!

    You are going after your dream!!

  2. And congratulations to the authors who sold through Love Inspired Manuscript Match, especially our June Seekerville Diva, Angie Dicken.

    From the Harlequin Boards:

    Manuscript Match Success Story: 5 Authors Sell to Love Inspired Historical in 1 Day

    Love Inspired Historical is thrilled to announce that we offered contracts today to Angie Dicken, Anna Zogg, Victoria Austin, Mollie Campbell and Evelyn Hill who all were finalists in our Manuscript Match contest. And this is just the beginning. We still have lots left to read. But for now, let’s party!

  3. Congrats, Susan Hollaway!

    So proud of the new LIH authors, particularly my fellow Writer's Alley sister Angie Dicken!

  4. Good to meet you Diva Susan!! Your post is an encouragement, so glad you kept on keeping on with your writing and have learned and grown in your craft :-) I pray as much success for you as God has in store!

    Plans August through December, pretty much what I'm doing now; reading and reviewing. I have several authors I review for who have upcoming book releases, especially for Christmas (already??). But I love the pace, I love lining up books & having a plan for what to read/review next. It keeps me on track, focused and organized!

    It's funny, my sister-in-law already asked me what we wanted for Christmas! I told her that she should know me by now in that I don't plan that far ahead, lol! I see all these upcoming Christmas books and have to shake my head at it, goodness, can't we enjoy Summer just a little longer? :-) Tina, your straw hat & sunglasses keep me in the summer mood, love it! Please tuck my name in the beach bag for a surprise Seeker two-pack of summer reading (I'm not much for journaling!), thanks so much.

    Writers, go forth and contest!!!!

  5. Hi and hello to former Diva, Laurie Tomlinson who SOLD to Harlequin Heartwarming line.

    You and Angie get to go to the Harlequin party together. Put on your dancing shoes.

  6. Trixi! I am so with you.

    I don't want to talk Christmas books until I put away the sunscreen!!

    You are in the beach bag!

  7. Congratulations, Susan! Thanks for the contest update , Tina. Great post! How many books will I have completed? As a reader, too many to count lol. As a writer I'm hoping to complete the story I'm working on and another one plus enter a few more contests. Right now we are heading out west from Virginia. I left Myrtle Beach SC Wednesday morning and we just left TN. Hello Arkansas! So many states so little time lol. Looking for New Mexico by Thursday evening.

  8. I'm still nowhere near contest ready, but this year I've written more words than any other recently, which unfortunately is not to say I've written a lot of them. A few thousand, but that's a few thousand more than I had before, so I'm not hanging my head.

    I set a goal with ACFW's Novel Track in May and another in June, and didn't reach either of them. I didn't even try in July, what with my teacher husband and 4th grade daughter home for the summer. They'll be back in school mid-way through August, and I plan to write during late August and early September.

    September 14 I'll be having baby number three (I'm a c-section mama, we get to plan these things ahead of time), and I expect she'll keep us all busy for the remainder of the year. I'll have at least one major holiday or birthday each month from October through February, so the outlook is pretty busy for a while

    I'm sure I won't finish the manuscript, but hopefully I can get a few thousand more words in before everyone is home again for Christmas break.

    I'd love to be included for either prize. Of course Seeker books are always a plus, and I've always thought I should keep a mommy journal after my babies were born, and never have. Who knows, this might be my chance.

  9. Congratulations Diva Susan! So good to see you here and so proud of you. And I'm anxiously awaiting more Manuscript Match news along with you!

    My plans for August through December include ACFW Nashville (woo hoo!) and preparing for my son's wedding in February (bigger woo hoo!).

    Oh, and a book, too. I have a deadline November 1st, and if my second proposal is accepted, I'll be working on another book due the first half of next year. I love having a full pipeline!

    Put me in the drawing, please. I journal and I read, so throw my name wherever it fits. :)

  10. BIG congrats, Diva Susan! Thrilled for you and all your acoomplishments! I'm a contest fan, too. :)

    And congratulations to those who got THE CALL yesterday! I love good news...AND exclamation points! *wink* (Exclamation points are okay on Seekerville, though, right?) :)

    Oh---August through December plans. Giving baby bird the big send-off to college (*sniffle*), then heading to ACFW about 12 days later. I'm continuing to work on mss in my series---better not say much about this. One of the novels is part of a current contest.)

  11. Congratulations Susan Hollaway! Thank you for your motivating story.

    Tina, I love all the lavender on the post today and that journal is beautiful! Please toss my name in. I plan on reading & reviewing approximately 20 books between now and December.

    Congratulations to Angie & Laurie for selling to Harlequin!

    Cindy W.

  12. Diva Susan, I'm exhausted after reading all of your writing endeavors...great job!
    Congratulations to Angie and Laurie!
    Thanks for your hard work on this post, Tina. As always it's a goldmine of opportunities.

  13. I hope everyone is busy writing. This reader wishes you the best.

  14. Congrats Diva Susan on staying the course to achieve your dream of writing! Wonderful!

    Tina, you are amazing, what a huge amount of contest information you've collected for everyone's benefit!

    Aug-Dec book plans-I shoot for at least 10 books read a month, so 50 at least, but with Christmas books starting to pop up, it'll probably be more. I do the opposite of waiting for summer to be over to read winter books. I use them to "time travel" to colder seasons to cool myself off, lol.

    The Spirit of Christmas is alive and well in me year round so the season I read them doesn't really matter.

  15. I love, love, love contest updates! I scoot out the door to get to work on time, but wanted to say: Good Morning to all.

    My plans for August through December, complete another romance proposal and continue writing a cozy mystery!

  16. Yes, Tina! It's still surreal that I'm ineligible for contests -- at least for now ;)

  17. CONGRATULATIONS August Contest Diva, Susan Hollaway! Congrats to the new LIH authors! WELL DONE!!!!!


  18. I have already read over 30 books this year so I would say between now and December I will probably get 30 more in. My plans are to get my kids back in school and get on a schedule again.

  19. Susan - thank you for taking the time to share your journey with us. It’s quite inspiring…and a big hat tip goes to you for being able to juggle all of this while at the same time homeschooling! That takes a lot.

    Trixi - it’s awesome to here about your modus operandi for reading and reviewing books. How do you keep track of dates? Do you have a reading calendar?

    Congrats to all the contracted authors! That’s so much fun and awesome and blessed.

    I like the idea of reading winter books to time travel to a colder season Tracey - Brilliant thinking!!

    My August to December Plans: I plan to be busy! Lol. In the attempt at benefiting from accountability, here goes:
    * I plan to write and post articles on 2 of my sites. Getting back into the ‘blogging’ game has really helped my daily word count go up and helped me get back into the swing of general writing.

    * I’m writing story ideas/starters now, but I still haven’t committed to my short story…sigh…I think at least I’ve identified some of the reason I keep digging my heels in against it.

    * I plan to read and write reviews for my current list of book wins and arcs. I think that writing these reviews is really improving my writing as well. I love the prospect of reading Christmas stories. I've been eying a few in my wish list and on my bookshelf!

    * I do Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes (see my website for fun details on that). And I have started crocheting squishy balls and pony tails, so I plan to get those projects done up before November’s national collection time.

    Happy, Blessed Thursday! =)

  20. TINA, another stellar Contest Update, my friend, and I agree with Tracey that it is downright amazing how much information you pack into these updates AND the WE's!!

    MAJOR HIGH-FIVES to Susan for her perserverence and the amazing success it has gleaned -- you go, girl!!

    And SUPER CONGRATS to Angie and all the other new authors from the Love Inspired Manuscript Match -- HUGE accomplishment!!

    Andrea -- congrats on baby #3, my friend -- those C-sections are just so organized and civilized, aren't they? ;)

    Jan, congrats on your son's upcoming wedding, and good thing you'll get that book done in November because with a wedding and the holidays, you're gonna need all the time you can get!

    Cynthia ... I feel your pain in sending a "baby bird" off to college! I assume it is your last "bird" and the nest will be empty? If so, you are going to LOVE it, I promise!! Uh, after the crying stops, that is ... ;)


  21. Sally Shupe! Go you! Wonderful goals for the year~~

    Enjoy the rest of your vacay!

  22. Angela! Congratulations! Baby #3 and still writing. You're an inspiration.

  23. Jan Drexler, you need to write a wedding book. Two in one year.

    You are in the draw!

  24. Cynthia!!! Exclamation points welcome.

    Awe, so hard seeing them leave the nest. But a new stage of your life is starting and that is very exciting.

    Write on!

  25. Cindy W! You are in.

    Must go forage through the bush and hunt the wild java.

    Be back once my mug is full.

  26. I am thinking about entering the First Impressions contest this fall. I am currently writing a sequel to the first book I wrote, I am also rewriting that first book, I have in the thought processes a 3rd and 4th book in that series.

    I also have a historical book I am hoping to write in November as part of Nanowrimo. I have been doing research for over a year for this book.

    In addition I have a couple children's middle reader books I am working on.

    Plus the second and third book I wrote the end are now being polished and layered

    I learned so much from the contests I entered earlier this year.

  27. Congratulations to Diva Susan, and welcome to Seekerville!

    Another super-duper contest update, Tina! You continue to amaze me!

    Having a terrible time keeping up this month. Had both sets of kids & grandkids visit this week (sans the two "adult" grandsons), then will be minding the youngest four (ages 14, 11, 5, and 2) next week while their parents are away. Calgon, take me away! (Autocorrect wanted to make Calgon into Calvin. Sorry, don't know any Calvins.)

  28. CONGRATULATIONS DIVA SUSAN!!!!! And all those who got THE CALL!!!
    I know I'll read atleast 20 books and maybe starting a job in the next 5 months. Oh, and traveling in November.
    Thanks for the updates. I hope authors are busy writing!

  29. Miss TINA have the storms in the last two weeks hit your place?

  30. Isn't it wonderful how many opportunities there are, Jill!

    The doors are open. Walk through!

  31. Thanks for always taking time to stop by, Mary Preston! You are so faithful.


    Oh, I must repent of my slacker ways.

    I read one a week.

  33. Your sayings, Tina, reminded me of a saying I personally wrote as a young mother.

    The years fly by, but some days will NEVER END.

  34. Rose,

    Always good to have you famous RITA finalists stop by!! :)

    You are the good example for us!

  35. Laurie..I know, it's sort of stunning.

    You knock on the doors until your knuckles are bloody and wham suddenly it all changes.

    I have a quote on my wall that says this:

    The day before your life changes forever feels like any other day.

  36. Caryl my friend, thanks for always stopping by with a positive word! God Bless your Thursday as well.

  37. Naomi! We love our readers. Go you.

    That will be sixty books for the year!

    Way to go.

  38. Tina,
    Writing books takes MUCH LONGER than reading them, so in addition to writing, reading one a week is impressive to me.

    There are so many book choices these days I've started keeping a notebook with ten slots per month with new releases by my favorite authors filled in as they become available for preorder. Ruthy's and Mary's Oct books for St. Martin Press were bought and added to the list yesterday, as was your Jan release, Rocky Mountain Cowboy, in July. This is the best way I have found to create time by the month for the must reads, prioritize them to the top of the list.

    An observation: May and October seem to be heavy release months, is there a reason for that in the publishing world?

  39. Tina, thanks for the contest update. The Cover the Words Contest looks like fun. I hope to enter one of my covers.

    I'd really like to win that two-hour session with Michael Hauge! Oh my gosh, how fantastic. If only...

    Thanks for mentioning M&M! I'll be there. It's always a great conference. GRW tries to keep the cost down and the bang for your buck is always huge. Lots of great writers and industry professionals.

  40. Susan, congrats on those sales to Woman's World. They're a hard sell! Good for you.

    Congrats too for all your contest success! Woot!

    Love your mention of fear not being of God. We can't listen to that inner negative voice. Turn that guy/gal off! Listen to the Lord as He calls us to follow him!

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us today!

  41. My writing goals for the rest of the year?

    Submit the first book in my Amish Trilogy Monday.
    Write book 2.

    That's it! :)

  42. Diva Susan, congratulations on your sparkling tiara and all your writing successes! Three WW stories...impressive! Your thoughts on things learned along the contest trail are so true, especially this: "I’ll forever look upon this experience as positive and one where I learned much about writing and myself." YES to your #1, #2 and #3! Best wishes for your continuing writing journey!

    Tina, thank you for the Contest Update. My goal through December: to write the next book and to read some amazing books.

    Very exciting announcement about the FIVE new LIH authors! Congrats!

    Great to read everyone's reading/writing goals...Write/Read/Contest on, Seekerville!

  43. Congrats DIVA SUSAN! It's nice to meet you. Sending you positive thoughts for continued success!

    Congrats to the MANUSCRIPTMATCH bunch! What a fun day yesterday. Will be watching for your books!

    TINA, thanks for the contest update. I can't believe it's Aug and seventeen days before I head out to ACFW. Of course, I have what seems like a lifetime of things to accomplish beforehand - some life things and some writing things.

    I major contested earlier this year - planted the seeds by entering - and now I'm babying the plants to fruit by preparing full my submission. With God's grace, I will pick that ripe fruit sometime this year. I am trying to train myself to just concentrate on one book at a time. I'm 7,000 words away from another 'The End' and then I will hit send. Amen!

  44. Good for you, Meg! Quite a list.

    Are you working on any novel-length fiction?

  45. Good morning, Julie. Good to see you here as usual. May the writing force be with you.

  46. A reason for May and October? No. Never noticed. Must ask an editor. Will go ask Emily Rodmell. Good question.

  47. Lyndee, so glad you'll be at ACFW. Eager to see you!

    Love your "fruit" analogy. I always pray to bear good fruit. So...from one fruit to another...hugs and love! :)

  48. Susan Holloway, I'm so stinkin' proud of you! What a wonderful, inspirational story... and huge congrats on what you've done and prayers for your continued success!

    Tina, nice promo and great update! Thank you!

    And the hat totally works, dahlink.....

  49. Am I the only one who would rather write than read????

    Must make more coffee and ponder this.

  50. Good morning, Debby! Yes. I lusted over that two hours Michael Hauge session as well.

  51. Everytime a writer says she doesn't read an angel weeps.

  52. Sherida!!! Your goals are smart and savvy!

  53. Lyndee! Good for you! Have fun at ACFW!!!!

  54. DIVA SUSAN, your writing journey is so inspiring from your supportive family to stepping out and entering entering contests and learning from judges input. Thank you for sharing and encouraging all writers with your three tips for success. Huge congrats on the progress you've made toward your dream of publication.


  55. TINA, thanks for the contest update! The rest of the year I'll be working on completing a novel and hoping to see another one sold.


  56. Looking forward to ACFW! Like you, Lyndee, I've got a lot to do before then. Wishing you well with your To Do list and looking forward to seeing you, Lyndee and Jan!


  57. Huge congratulations to the five new LIH authors who sold through the ManuscriptMatch contest!! Especially to Seekerville Diva Angie!


  58. You are very welcome, Janet. Go you! Keep writing, because I love your books!

  59. There are so many wonderful posts filled with kind words and warm wishes that I hardly know where to begin. So, I'll just say THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to EVERYONE for all your congratulations and wonderful words. You all ROCK!

    To anyone who is thinking of entering a contest but hasn't gotten the courage yet...Just approach it as knowing the best payoff to entering a contest is getting valuable feedback to improve your writing craft. Anything else is just icing...without calories! Win-win, right?

    My end of the year goals? Writing: I've almost finished plotting my next story and hope to start writing it by next week. My goal is to have it completed and submission ready by Christmas. Reading goals: To read everything I can get my hands on.

    Seekerville, thanks again for inviting me to be your August Contest Diva. What an honor! And good time! Blessings to you all!

  60. The diva has entered the room.

    Okay, now I can bring out the Italian pastry cart. Help yourself. Espresso bar is now open.

    Hail Diva Susan!

  61. Yay Diva Susan!!!

    I love your story and even better, your ending points. So cool to see your journey. Yay, yay, yay.

    Huge Congrats to the newest LIH authors. I'm hoping to see more new authors (one in particular - I so want her to get THE CALL...)

    I need to go through the links at home. There are a couple of contests I want to enter. My winter plans are to submit a couple of short stories to Women's World and/or Splickety. That's been my plan all year, but so far *sad face*. Between a six year old seeking "mommy time" and a hubby who had major ankle surgery, things have gotten out of whack. Must get back into a writing groove. *sigh*

    Didn't final in the WOW flash fiction I entered - but did get some cool feedback I hope to implement. (yay)

    AWESOME update, TINA. Your mad skills amaze me almost daily. Thanks for all the work and research time you put in to consolidate information for us wanna-bes. It is greatly appreciated.

  62. Sorry it took me so long to get here. I hope you all are not starving to death! I had to go for a fasting lab this morning, so the Italian pastry cart sounds fabulous! Guess I'll be starting my diet tomorrow. ;)

  63. Thank you, Susan for your inspiring story. Congrats on all the Woman's World stories. That is a goal of mine to get a story published. I haven't submitted any for a while, so have a goal of one a month as well as one submission a month to the children's magazine Pockets. I also aim to finish writing my book by the end of the year. I also will probably read 20-30 books as I have a lot of Christmas books in my TBR pile and will probably start in October on those.

    I am not ready to contest yet, but one day I will. Tina, thanks for all your hard work in presenting these contests to us.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  64. Congratulations, Susan, on being named Seekerville's Diva of the Month!! I was so impressed by your writing journey and victory over fear. You go, girl.

    And thanks, Tina, for another great contest update! Praying everyone will face their fear and take a leap of faith to enter.

    I have to confess I'm coveting that journal. I love journals. When I go to a bookstore, I caress the covers, lovingly stroke their pages, and inhale their fragrance. Yes, I'm a little weird. Anyone else have that problem? :-)

  65. Oh, I got so caught up in daydreaming about the journal I forgot to tell you my plans for August through December. My plan is to finish sample chapters this week for a proposal, send said proposal to my agent, sell said proposal to a FABULOUS publisher who will recognize my talent (I hope) and then write the manuscript. My journey begins with that first tiny baby step though.

    Why is it the first chapter is always the hardest to write? Fear? Procrastination? I planned to write all day today, but then I remembered I needed to vote in our state primary election so off I went to the polls. Then I stopped by Starbucks to reward myself for actually getting out and voting (an iced skinny mocha that went down too fast). Of course, I had to throw another load of laundry into the machine when I got home. Hop on Facebook to congratulate RUTHY for making the CBA bestseller list for historical fiction again this month. A stop over here at Seekerville. And now it's lunchtime. But after lunch, watch out keyboard, here I come.

  66. Barbara, I'm a journal lover too! And sticky note pads. And other types of notes. And lined paper. And unlined paper. You get the idea!

    Thanks for letting us know about Ruthy's bestseller status! Way to go, Ruthy!!! You didn't share the good news. So glad Barbara did.

    Hugs and congrats!

  67. Well, that was fast! I was asking God yesterday to help me find writing contests and he delivered as usual-though this one was speedy.

    Thank you, Tina, for putting together this list.

    Congratulations Susan on your accomplishments! Reading stories like yours is very encouraging!

    Aug-Dec is going to be GOOD. My youngest will be in preschool 3 mornings/week and I plan on using that time to enter contests and write. I also want to educate myself on the publishing industry, and on our craft.

    God-willing, I plan to have my first book polished to the point of where I can (hopefully say) done and to have completed a second. As far as how many books I will have read, who knows?! In five months time, anywhere from a baker's dozen to two dozen.

    Can I just say how much I'm enjoying this community?!

  68. We're so glad you joined us, JOSEE!! Sounds like you have some great plans for the next few months!

  69. Don't forget some YOU time, DEBH. Hide in the bathroom. I do that.

  70. Wilani, you are amazing. You have just hit the ground running this year. Go you!!!

  71. Go, Sandy. Get those stories circulating out there!!!

  72. LOLOL, Barbara! A journaholic. WHO KNEW??

    Funny, I love writing first chapters. It's number four I fear.

  73. Okay, Debby, now you're talking sticky notes. I am a sticky note hoarder. I love sticky notes.

  74. hahahahah! Who knew this post was a direct answer to prayer, Josee!!!! Love that.

  75. A lot of great contests out there!

    Susan, I love your 3 points. They are sooooo true.
    I hope you're the next author to get the call in MatchMakers!!!

  76. Atta girl, Susan!

    Virtual diets are the same as virtual pastries. Virtual. So eat your heart out. For today you are the DIVA!!!!

  77. Wow, lots of opportunities out there! Congrats on being diva Susan! I love your motivation and encouraging perspective!

  78. Thank you, Tina! I love the way you think.

    Connie Queen, you're so sweet!

    Everyone has been so kind and encouraging. I'll blow up the comments if I try to answer everyone personally, but know I'm reading every single comment. My heart overfloweth with warm and fuzzy feelings.

    Y'all are the bomb-diggity! FYI: That's a huge compliment in Hollaway family lingo.

  79. Congrats to Diva Susan!!
    I am an avid reader and have read 78 books so far this year....usually read 10-12 a month. Please count me in for the 2 pack! I so appreciate all you great writers!!

  80. My plans for the remainder of this year is to market my book (scheduled to come out mid-to-late November) and finish at least one if not both romance novels that I've started. :)

    Please put my name in the tiara box!


  81. Jackie Smith! 78 reads. And what I love about you is that you are a reader and reviewer!! You rock, lady!

  82. Edwina! No moss growing on you, gal. You are in the tiara box.

  83. Good luck to all you writers out there! Looks like some awesome contests! I can't wait to read some of the books that are the fruits of your labors!

    I want to read & review at least 10 books a month until December but I am pretty sure it'll be a lot more! With the holidays coming up, that means way more fantastic books so I know I'll be reading more!

    I'd love to be in the drawing!

  84. Questions and a Request

    I just finished a romance in which the heroine had a man's name that is rarely used by women. I never got used to this and I kept getting pulled out of the story. Just consider the name Hank for Henrietta then add plenty of pronouns.

    "Walter kissed Hank and she could feel her lips trembling."

    My first thought is, "where did the 'she' come from"? Then there were some things like, "Hank looked for her keys." Wait, is that Hank's keys she's looking for or another woman's keys who is also in the room.

    I know I should be able to remember that Hank is a woman in this story, at least after a hundred pages, and I always did -- about a half-second after I'd been pulled out of the story.

    Two questions:

    1. Do women readers have this same problem?

    2. Why do romance writers do this? Are they writing to the needs of their novel and what their characters want or are they writing to the needs of the reader having the best reading experience.

    Request: Please stop doing this as it makes it hard to enjoy the story.


  85. Wishing much success to all those who enter!
    I hope to get another 100 books read by the end of the year, and a lot of them will be
    Seekerville authors :)

  86. LOL, Vince. It is a fine line between a unique name and an annoying name.

    Sam for Samantha is my pet peeve.

  87. Susan, I loved your Diva story! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. Here's my favorite quote: "Writer’s block is an excuse. No other profession gets to use that alibi."

    YES! I agree. I tell myself that when I'm feeling less than inspired. :)

  88. Deanna!!!! Another 100. There are about 150 days left this year. You better go read!!! LOL Love this!

  89. Vince, in a couple of my books, I've been asked to change an unusual name (real southern names I borrowed from real people!) to something more normal. :) I imagine editors are concerned for the readers' enjoyment.

  90. More contests YAY!!!!

    Congrats to Diva Susan. Wonderful words of wisdom. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  91. Yikes Vince I hope it wasn't Samantha in my novella. I think I called her Sam which is typically a boys name. But I have a lot of girlfriends called Sam and Sammy, so didn't think much of it. If it was Sam, I apologize.

    You should be a teacher nowadays. Young folks are naming their children all kinds of unconventional names. Wait till those hit the romance market. LOL

  92. Oh MIssy I see they are already changing names. LOL Sometimes a really complicated name does get you out of the story. Like using too many foreign words or idioms.

  93. Vince, Love Inspired (Melissa) won't let us use gender neutral names for just that reason. I've had a few names rejected and I changed them to feminine names...

    And I totally get it and your example is the perfect example of how it jerks you out of the norm.

    "Sam" doesn't bother me, Teenster, because I've had Sams in daycare and Sams in the family, all girls.... so I'm used to it.

    But Hank. Hank's a guy's name.

    I know a baby named Tommi for her grandfather, and then the spelling helps the reader.

    But who would call a girl "Jeb"? Yet if her name is Jezebel... :)

    I hope we make our characters unforgettable by giving them an amazing story... and a less than memorable name.

    Unless we're talking Scarlett or Mrs. DeWinter or Amber....


  94. TINA, you know how to encourage!! Bless you.


  95. I've done the Sam thing too, Sandra. Only after you read it in someone else's books do you realize. hahaha. Oh, well. Isn't Vince of the Boy Named Sue era?

  96. RUTHY, huge congrats on making this month's CBA bestseller list for historical fiction!! Go you!


  97. BARBARA, I love journals. My favorites have a coiled binder and smooth, lined pages. My favorite pens are Uniball Vision with a fine point. Gibson makes my favorite journals. I try to get them reasonably priced. I write my conversation with God instead of speaking aloud. No point in risking the white coat brigade. :-)


  98. VINCE, I've known women nicknamed Charlie and Sam, but Hank for the heroine's name would take me out of the story, too. Just because a name is used in real life doesn't mean it'll work for fiction.


  99. This is a great list! Too bad all my works are either published or not finished (that and I'm so po I can't even afford the last to letters- let alone afford an entry fee!) I generally enter into a writing contest for fairy tales every year the entry fee is only ten dollars (way more affordable) EXCEPT (and here's the catch) the person who runs the contest decided to take a break this year- meaning no contest- sad face :(

    I guess I'll just focus on my current WIPs instead. For the rest of the year I plan on publishing my second book sometime soon (here's hopping August of September!), I'm getting a blog tour done for my first book in October, and I will focus on getting my three current WIPs written (I'm a very impatient person) in the mean time.

  100. P.S. please enter my name for the drawings!

  101. Hi Missy:

    I don't usually have a problem with a strange name if 1) it is pronounceable and 2) it is clearly a feminine name.

    A name that drives me crazy is 'Siobhán'. I don't know how to pronounce it and it seems to favor no gender. I understand it is a good Irish name but even when I am reading a romance set in Ireland, I still like understandable names.

    Of course, if there is a reason for the odd name, like in the song "A Boy Named Sue", then that reason may keep me in the story. I would, however, prefer 'Sue' be 'Sioux'.


  102. Hi Ruth:

    One reason I like LI so much, and I subscribed to four books a month for years, is because of their guidelines. I know what I am getting with a LI romance. I know the editing will be tight. I trust LI enough to buy four books a month without knowing what they are.

    I think these guidelines help sell a lot of books to people who never head of the author but who trust the publisher. I think this selling oomph needs to be factored in when comparing publisher royality considerations.


  103. Nicky, sounds like you have a busy season coming up.

  104. Susan, congratulations! Tina, thanks for another great list of contests!

  105. This has been a marvelous day hanging out here at Seekerville! Thanks again for featuring me as the August Contest Diva. The fellowship, support, caring, and encouragement shared among all the writers (and readers) bless all who visit here.

    Thank you to each and every one who shared their hearts and kind words with me.

    May God richly bless each of your journeys in this awesome world of writing.

    Susan "Susie" Hollaway

  106. SUSAN, thank you for sharing your journey - so inspirational! Wishing you all the best!!

    TINA, thanks for another wonderful contest update - so many great opportunities!

    Congratulations to all the Love Inspired Manuscript Match authors!

    MYRA, have fun with the grandbabies next week! I will be spending time with mine next week as well, looking forward to it!

    RUTHY, congratulations on making the CBA bestseller list for historical fiction! You are amazing!

    My Aug-Dec plans include polishing up the book I've finished, and hopefully finishing the sequel. I would LOVE to finish the historical I'm working on - because I actually enjoy the research and writing so much - but I probably won't type The End on that one until after the holidays. I also plan to READ as much as possible. I downloaded four of the Seeker novella collections, so I won't run out of reading material for at least a week :-)

    TINA said: Every time a writer says she doesn't read an angel weeps. LOL LOL

    VINCE, I agree with you 100 percent on the name thing! Also, thanks for pointing out awhile back how confusing it is when multiple characters have names that start with the same letter. I've felt that way before as a reader, but I checked my own manuscript and WPI and had several that began with M, and two that began with B. I made changes then and there. Thanks again!

  107. Susan, wear your tiara proudly, girlfriend.

  108. Hey, there Grandma Laura!!! Congratulations to you for you know what!!!

  109. Thank you, TINA!! Grandbaby number 5 is such a doll! Mama and baby are doing well - Daddy will recover eventually :-)

  110. Thank you Tina! Well done :)

    I classify myself more of a reader and Inspirational writing fan than a novel writer (though I am the author of a blog... it's turned into more of a photography than writing blog) so I'll share that I read about 280 books a year... that's rather a lot. And a good percentage are by Seekerville authors. So from now to the end of the year that's about 116 books :) Christian books, once I'm done, go to my mom who voluntarily runs a free Christian lending library in what I've been told is the poorest county in Maine. So whenever I win here she wins too :) as do all of her library patrons. Pretty cool.

    Please enter me in the tiara box for this week's giveaway.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

  111. Great contest update, Miss T - - thank you!!
    CONGRATS to Diva Susan!! Wear that tiara proudly!!
    Am super late joining in today - - am working hard to finish current WIP so when I attend ACFW (in a few weeks!) I will have 5 completed manuscripts. :)
    Still have *lots* of partially-written stories that I'm not ditching - - hope to work on those before too long.
    So at the end of this year I'll have at least 5 completed stories (and maybe by then one of these partial stories will be complete, LOL). :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  112. Phyllis Wheeler, that is so cool about your mom!!!

    What a lovely, lovely lady.

    And you are right up there with 116 books to go this year. WOO HOO!!!

  113. #5 Laura!!! Whoa. Milestone grandbaby!

  114. Patti Jo, so proud of you.

    That's wonderful. Writing to THE END is no small feat. Good for you!

  115. Phew! Got here before midnight! Congratulations Diva Susan! Thanks for sharing your experiences and your thoughts. Fingers crossed for that Matchmakers manuscript :-)

    Nancy C

  116. Thanks for the contest update, Tina!

    Nancy C

  117. Laura, thank you so much! I'm happy dancing!!!!

    And Phyllis, tell your Mom (and you!) thank you so much for making books available.

    What a wonderful thing to do. An absolute blessing to us and them.

    I will smile all day, thinking of this!

  118. Vince, Siobhan is a great example of Celtic gone wild. I didn't know for years that it was really pronounced "Chevonne".... and was embarrassed because I was reading out loud when someone corrected me as an adult.

    Of course Irish/Scottish/Celt books were ginormous back then, and Siobhan was used often.

    About editors and houses... I think we have to give leeway here, and I say that from experience now with several.

    They are directing toward various audiences... and each editor has their own particular view. Even within Love Inspired, the way one book comes out with one editor, might be very different with a different editor. So when authors and editors click, it's a wonderful thing!

    We have to remember the human element in all of this, and that variety is the spice of life. I've had wonderful LI readers find my bigger books and love them, and I've had big book readers find my LI books and love them, so from the author's point of view, that little diversity is huge.

    Growing a readership is a lot like growing a child. You do a lot of bending, reaping and sowing along the way, and it takes a long time for most of us. But what an honor to spend our time polishing and primping something we love to do, right?

  119. Barb, I hear you on the errands and laundry thing!

    And thank you for letting me know about the bestseller list! That's such a wonderful honor and I hadn't seen it... But I am just absolutely delighted that "Back in the Saddle" has found its audience and the reviewers seem to love it, so that makes us all happy!

    And Nick's story is in production RIGHT NOW... Oh be still my heart, I love this story.

    And the first off the press copy of "The First Gift" just arrived at my door courtesy of Fr. Dan Kroger of Franciscan Media (OFM)... And what a treat to hold little Cassie Carruthers' story in my hands.


    But when I saw your facebook post, I hugged it and kissed it! (Well, not really, how weird would that be??? But it took the sting out of the Mets splitting the Subway Series this week with the Yankees... ) :)

  120. Re: Length of story I’m writing.

    Tina - that is a great question and I’m glad you asked me 'cause it got me thinking about my answer since yesterday. I started researching lengths and I had a few misconceptions it cleared up!

    Ideally, I prefer to read books around the 200-250 page length. I have started enjoying longer books, but they are more of a challenge to read in a short amount of time.

    So, on the flip side of that coin, I figured making a goal to write a book that was 200-250 pages would make sense. But there is the fact that this will be my first written story…and I have read that that means I should start with a short story or novella.

    After seeing how much I can write at a given time, I can finally see a full length novel being doable. But there are still two things I keep coming back to regardless:

    1. I don’t think any of the plots I’ve dreamed up are complex enough to be complete stories. I have to work on this.

    2. I am concerned about my writing being too ‘flowery’ at times. I know from my academic writing days, I had to edit to get rid of the extra words…and I was able to successfully. But I could see myself thinking I had a nice long novel…until I edit it…and it gets whacked down to a short read. (I keep doing the quote you had several wks ago on Facebook - writing one day and deleting the next).

    Maybe I'm overthinking this! Lol.

    Happy Writing! =)

  121. I plan on reading 15 books before December. I also have some I want to review so that is on the priority list.

    Thanks for the chance to win

  122. Hi Ruth:

    You wrote:

    "We have to remember the human element in all of this, and that variety is the spice of life."

    I was an editor for a number of years and my boss, a vice president, was always on my back. He would always tell me: "Don't edit that copy the way you would have written it! We don't need two of you. Help the writer bring out their best work...not your best work."

    Let me tell you, as an editor, this is excruciatingly hard to do!

    You also wrote:

    "But it took the sting out of the Mets splitting the Subway Series this week with the Yankees... ) :)".

    I wish someone would do that for me!!!
    The Yanks just sold away their two best players and A-Rod is on the bench. It's too soon to throw in the towel!

    For heaven's sakes: the Yankees are only 7 1/2 games out! If this was 1958 and the Yanks were in second place,just 7 1/2 games out, everyone would be talking about how the pennant race was heating up! And that's when they played only 154 games!

    I just wish we had the Major back! (And the Scooter, too.)


  123. Hi Megs Minutes:

    You wrote:

    "Maybe I'm overthinking this! Lol."

    Overthinking is underrated!

    A great teacher, who was my mentor, always told me that "You have to teach from the overflow. If you teach only what is in the textbooks, students don't need you! Your lectures need to be filled with fascinating facts that put the textbook material in context."

    That's how I feel about the right length for a story. There's a view that a book should be just as long as the story needs to be told. This is the old, "start at the beginning, go to the end, then stop" theory made famous by Lewis Carroll.

    My view is that one should write a story that is so rich and offers so much reading enjoyment that the reader will wonder why you used just a good story idea on just a novella or short 220 page novel.

    Over think and over deliver!


  124. Meg, Vince is right. Just write. Thinking is what you do after you write THE END.

    You can't edit overthinking, or a blank page.

    Mary Connealy can tell you that she had many versions and lengths of the same story on her computer all geared toward various publishers before you sold.

    We all do that.

    But first you have to write to the end.

  125. Tina, Thank you! I've never worn a tiara before (even a virtual one), so I'm honored that my first tiara experience was with Seekerville. Y'all are the bomb-diggity!

  126. I will be getting my babies through the beginning of the school year and getting lots of reading done!!