It’s ENTRY DAY for the 2016 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!!!

pen-300x192Welcome to the SEVENTH Annual MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!!

**The 2016 Contest is now officially closed to entries!!! Entrants, be sure to come back here ASAP on Monday Sep 26 to see if you’re a finalist!! Finalists will have until midnight Monday to post expanded 250-word (max) versions of their book openings!! Thanks so much to everyone who entered!!! You’re giving the Rubies a tough judging task!!**

The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. We all know how important a strong opening is in grabbing the attention of Golden Heart judges, and this contest is a great chance to test yours out!

Check out the finalists from  2015’s contest, 2014’s contest, and 2013’s contest , (plus 2012’s contest here, 2011 here, and 2010 here).

Any time between now and 11:59 at the very of end the day today, just post your romance manuscript’s first fifty words (with the word ENTRY in all caps at the top), and you’re in the running to win one of our prizes:

GRAND PRIZE: the Rubies pay your $35 Golden Heart entry fee! 

SECOND PLACE: a $20 Amazon gift card

THIRD PLACE: a $10 Amazon gift card

And, of course, huge heapings of glory for all three!!

Anyone eligible to enter the 2017 Golden Heart (see RWA’s rules here) is eligible to enter, and the best part is, there’s no entry fee. It’s COMPLETELY FREE to enter, but only the FIRST FIFTY ENTRIES CAN QUALIFY, so don’t delay!


  • Finalists and winners from previous years are welcome to enter again, BUT ALL ENTRIES MUST BE NEW!
  • We will only accept a maximum of 50 entries, first come, first served.
  • Due to the entry cap, a maximum of TWO entries per person will be accepted for this year’s contest. This means even if you are planning on entering more than one manuscript in the Golden Heart, or write under multiple pen names, you will have to choose a maximum of two manuscripts you want to enter.
  • Starting at 12:01 a.m. on September 22nd (that’s right now!), entrants will post the opening of their manuscript, 50 words MAXIMUM, in the comments box. Start by typing the word ENTRY in all caps so we don’t miss it. Also, try to find a good cut-off point: please don’t leave us hanging in the middle of a sentence! Just don’t go over 50 words.
  • The word ENTRY does NOT count towards your 50 word limit. This is just so we can identify it as an ‘official’ entry.
  • Any entry that violates any of these rules (i.e., goes over the 50 word limit, is one of three or more entries from the same person, is not from a romance manuscript, is an entry from a previous year, is an entry from someone not eligible for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, or is posted after 11:59 p.m. September 22) will result in the entry being disqualified.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. EST on Monday, September 26. ENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON SEPTEMBER 26 TO FIND OUT IF THEY ARE FINALISTS. It is entirely the entrant’s responsibility to check the blog to see if she or he is a finalist.

The ten chosen finalists will have the rest of the day, until 12:01 a.m. September 27 (in other words, 24 hours), to post an expanded entry, starting with that exact same fabulous 50-word opening, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words. (Really, a maximum of 250. Any more than that, and we have to disqualify the entry. We will also disqualify your entry if it’s not posted by 12:01 a.m. on September 27.) Again, type ENTRY in caps at the top and post your expanded entry.

The three winners will be announced on the blog on Monday, October 3.

START POSTING THOSE ENTRIES!!!! We’re looking forward to reading them!!

(image courtesy of kangshutters /

Happy SEVENTH BIRTHDAY to the Ruby Blog!!!

It’s Our Birthday!!! Our Lucky SEVENTH!! You heard right—the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog has been rolling for a full SEVEN YEARS!!! We’ve been here with our regular posts (2,227 so far!!) offering inspiration, advice, and support. Plus we’ve got the Winter Writing Festival, the Make It Golden Contest (entry day is tomorrow!!!), our annual Rita […]

Announcing the 2016 MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST!!!

The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood will celebrate our SEVENTH blog birthday tomorrow!! On Thursday, we’ll be opening our seventh annual MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST, and giving our Golden-Heart-eligible readers a terrific chance to shine (plus have a chance to earn more great prizes!!) The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing […]

Sometimes All You Need is a Good Shove

When we were kids, my brothers and I were horrible. I mean, how many children can say they were so bad, other trailer trash would not let their children play with them? That was us. As is often the case with horrible children, one of us caught the brunt of every wild idea that ever […]

DIY Tiny Book Swag

What is it about tiny things that captures our attention? From doll furniture to miniature horses to tiny houses, small items, especially those with precise details, make many people stop and smile. As I was searching for swag ideas for an upcoming writer’s/reader’s conference (Moonlight & Magnolias Conference in Atlanta), I came across tiny books. […]

Filling in the Paragraphs

One day while I was wandering lost in some byzantine sub-sub-basement of the internet (okay, when I was on Tumblr), I stumbled across this hilarious bit from Steve Hely’s How I Became a Famous Novelist. In case the image is frustratingly small on your phone, here’s what it says: “Writing a novel–actually picking the words […]

Fangirl Friday

Happy Friday!  Next week we’ll be changing it up with a new Friday feature, but this week we’re having one last Fangirl Friday – our chance to talk about book deals, new books, and books we’re newly discovering.  No new Ruby releases this week, but I do have a book coming this Tuesday.  Always a […]

Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Pushing Past the Worry Monster

September. School’s back in, there’s a hint of cooler weather in the air. Fall decor is popping up in the stores. And… And it’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness month! Before you close out of this post because this doesn’t have anything to do with writing, please at least view the symptoms. Because when I turned 40, […]

HOT Reads Edition of Fan Girl Friday

Welcome to Friday! Can I get an AMEN? And we have a long weekend. I can almost hear a gospel choir in the background. Yes, we get an extra day and that means more time for….READING! So what do we have on tap for you this edition? Well, a few sales from two Rubies and […]

The September Hour-a-Day Challenge starts TODAY!!!!

AND WE ARE SOOOOOO READY!!!!! As predicted, the first three teaching weeks of the new school year have knocked me back onto my sizeable patootie, and it would be all too easy to let my writing stay down for the count until school’s out in June again. But I know from experience that carving out […]

Shine Theory

So I may have mentioned a few weeks ago that I love the Olympics.  They can be examples of some of the most beautiful human moments – and not just the victories.  From the two runners who became iconic for helping one another across the finish line to the swimmer who gushed excitedly (in Chinese) […]

RED HOT READS – Fan Girl Friday Edition

Hola, Rubies and Ruby friends – TGIF! Am I right? It’s been a loooooong week in the Talley family hacienda and I need a few things this weekend – a margarita, a morning in my PJs and, of course, a good book. I just finished up Colleen Hoover’s latest (as mentioned last week) and it […]

Announcing the 2016 September Hour-a-Day Challenge!!!

Happy End of Summer!!! Oh, ugh. I can’t even say that with a straight face. I love summer–I’m a sunshine and beach girl. And for my writing, summer’s also the best time of year because I’m a teacher, and the start of school means long, intense days in the classroom, plus nights and weekends full […]

What Mama didn’t tell me

…OR IF SHE DID TELL ME, I WASN’T LISTENING Never lug a rolling suitcase full of books to a signing. No matter how rosy your forecast, if you bring that many books, you will sell one. Okay, I sold one. The best thing I brought were my cute business cards that link to my website […]

HOT READS Edition of Fan Girl Friday

Well, it’s Friday again. How did that happen? Rolls around quite regularly, doesn’t it? And since that means the weekend is here, we’ve got some recommendations for you for some RUBY RED HOT READS! First Elizabeth Langston has a recommendation our first FROM THE TBR STACK: I’ve always been fascinated by Thomas Jefferson. So smart, […]

Get Organized with a Bullet Journal

Are you a list maker? Do you get a little giddy when you find a calendar with stickers in the back to mark the dates with things like “doctor’s appointment,” “Don’t forget!” and “Birthday”? Or on the other hand, do you desperately need a way to organize your schedule but can’t find a planner that […]

Wise Words from Beverly Jenkins at RWA

At RWA Nationals, I had the great pleasure of meeting the amazing Beverly Jenkins. I got to sit at her table at the Golden Network retreat (where she gave an awesome talk about developing well-rounded and surprising characters), and saw her in the Love Between the Covers documentary and the post-screening discussion. (Bonus: the cover […]

HOT Reads Edition of Fan Girl Friday

Happy “Good Lord It’s Hot” Friday! Or at least it’s hot in my neck of the woods. Kids are gearing up for back to school, the pool is too hot for a dip (temp of bathwater? No thanks) and fall isn’t even flirting with me yet. BUT, good news – we have some hot reads […]

How Writing is Like the Olympics

I love the Olympics.  It isn’t just watching the greatest of each sport do what they do (though that’s definitely fun too) – it’s seeing the athletes who don’t necessarily expect to come home with the gold (or even the bronze, or even necessarily make it to the finals) put everything they have into an […]

Hot Reads Edition of Fangirl Friday

Hello, friends and welcome to a new take on our Fangirl Friday. Instead of merely mentioning the Ruby books releasing or on sale (yes, they’re terrific) we want to make this Friday spot a place we can talk about all kinds of books. New releases, hot sales, and books that have finally made their way […]

Business Plans for Writers

(The bulk of this post was first published on the Not Your Usual Suspects blog on August 1, 2016.) Most writers long to spend their time writing, not thinking about the business side of, well, the business. But in this day and age, spending all of our time dreaming up worlds and characters isn’t an […]

What’s the Oldest Book on Your Keeper Shelf?

I got into an online chat with a writer friend the other day about keeper shelves, and an interesting question arose: what was the oldest book we had on our keeper shelves? Which old favorites did we keep coming back to, over and over again? And why? After some discussion, we determined the word “old” […]

Fangirl Friday!

This is the last Fangirl Friday that I’m hosting. So sad to be leaving you… Is anyone actually reading this? The last two weeks with no comments makes me feel like I’m preaching to a choir that didn’t show up for practice. Anyway, this week I’m binge watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Good […]

RWA Nationals Recap – workshop highlights

We’ve been back from RWA Nationals for a week now. As always, the advice is beginning to sift into I can use that or Not for me. I’d like to recap some of my favorite (or most memorable) bits of advice from conference workshops.   If you attended, please share your favorite advice in the comments. […]

Who Are the Nice Girls Writing Naughty?

We all know writing can be a solitary profession, and it can feel even more lonely trying to get discovered in the vast sea of published writers. So two years ago this month, Ruby Sister Dani Wade pulled together a group of erotic romance writers–including her twin Ella Sheridan and Ruby Sister Lara Archer, plus […]

Subscribe to the Blog

Email *

Coming Soon on the Blog

Newsletter Signup

Find the Rubies

The Rubies don't have any appearances scheduled. Please check back soon!