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It’s Our 2017 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest Entry Day!!

Welcome to the EIGHTH Annual MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!!

The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest.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!

**The 2017 contest is now CLOSED to entries. Thanks to all the brave and talented souls who entered!! The entries are fantastic, and now the Rubies face the very difficult task of trying to narrow down the field to just ten finalists!! Entrants, be sure to check back here as early as possible to see if your entry is in the finals!! Get those 250 word (max) extended entries ready!**

Check out the finalists from 2016’s contest2015’s contest, 2014’s contest, and 2013’s contest , (plus 2012’s contest here, 2011 here, and 2010 here).

Any time between now and one minute past midnight at the very of end the day today (actually 12:01 a.m. on September 26), just post your romance manuscript’s first 50 words (with the word ENTRY in all caps at the top, which does NOT count toward your word total), and you’re in the running to win one of our prizes:

GRAND PRIZE: the Rubies pay your $30 Golden Heart entry fee, plus a $25 Amazon gift card! 

SECOND PLACE: a $20 Amazon gift card

THIRD PLACE: a $15 Starbucks gift card

And, of course, huge heaping helpings of glory for all three!!

Anyone eligible to enter the 2018 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!

OFFICIAL RULES — PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

  • 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 total you want to enter in MAKE IT GOLDEN.
  • Starting at 12:01 a.m. on September 25 (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 logical 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 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on September 26) will result in the entry being disqualified.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday, October 2. ENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON OCTOBER 2 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. October 3 (in other words, 24 hours), to post an expanded entry, starting with that EXACT SAME fabulous 50-word-max 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 October 3.) Again, type ENTRY in caps at the top and post your expanded entry.

The three winners will be announced on the blog on Tuesday, October 10.

START POSTING THOSE ENTRIES!!!! We’re sure they’ll be a fascinating, intriguing, highly entertaining mix as always, and we’re looking forward to reading them!!

(image courtesy of kangshutters / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

57 responses to “It’s Our 2017 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest Entry Day!!”

  1. ENTRY: The one good thing about working in an office full of men is that you can cry all you want in the ladies’ room, and no one else will know. At least, that’s what Alicia told herself as she barricaded herself into the far stall, the one with the stiletto-sized

    5+

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  2. Kate D. says:

    ENTRY:
    Noelle Forrest switched on Rudolph’s plastic nose. The nose be-bopped cheerfully and flashed red. Antlers flopped on the fur hood, and her whole body shuddered.

    When she flew off to college, she’d sworn never to return to North Pole, Minnesota, or wear another Christmas costume. Today she played reindeer. Again.

    4+

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  3. Kate D. says:

    ENTRY:
    Prudence broke into her new neighbor’s house because of the dog. He lay trapped by a wire net locked to a bare bedframe, gold eyes fixed on her with the same demand that pulled her here after dark, illegally.

    An engine roared below, loud and close. Her crazy neighbor?

    4+

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  4. Jeanine Englert says:

    ENTRY:
    Old Man Codger’s frozen toe rolled across the floor.

    “Lord above. Mind the corner, sister,” Lucy muttered. She blew an errant curl from her face as they swung the man’s stiff body onto the scarred wooden table in front of the hearth. The body landed with a thud.

    6+

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  5. Justine says:

    ENTRY: Seven years ago, Nate Kinlan broke a promise. Tonight, he’d face the consequences. There at the table, her dark, upswept hair shining in the candlelight, sat the woman he betrayed. A woman he must now marry to keep safe.

    If only he could convince her not to kill him first.

    7+

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  6. Lisa says:

    ENTRY: Velour tracksuits, the pungent aroma of arthritis cream, and a thousand motorized scooters were the next seven days of Melinda Scott’s life aboard the self-proclaimed “Love Boat,” Amour of the Sea. First on her itinerary; securing the biggest deal of her fledgling career. Second, surviving a senior citizens singles cruise.

    7+

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  7. Tanya A. says:

    ENTRY: Small towns weren’t everything they were cracked up to be.
    While Lindsay Steele couldn’t imagine living anywhere but Hanover, she was so over the looks of pity people still delivered three years later. Enough already of the soft hand pats and the pursed-lip smiles. Let her be Lindsay again.

    5+

  8. Sally Shupe says:

    ENTRY: Sweat dripped from Regina Blakely’s face. Heavy gasps hung in the air. Her fists clenched her grandmother’s hand-stitched rooster quilt as she rolled into a ball. A Bantam rooster stared up at her. She refused to continue living as a victim, but would these nightmares ever stop?

    5+

  9. Sally Shupe says:

    ENTRY: Today had been a perfect summer day, but, once the spiders showed up, it flew south fast. This morning, devotion time rocked. Now, early afternoon, as Drake Coonz spoke on the phone with his ex-wife Rhoda, his teenage daughter wailed in the background. “Of course, I can take Sadie.”

    5+

  10. Sammi Spizziri says:

    ENTRY: “Mel, are you sure you want to give up your college savings?” Mom pushed her glasses up her nose and peered at me. The fluorescent overhead light illuminated the papers covering every inch of our kitchen table.

    2+

  11. KEEP THE ENTRIES COMING!!! Screw writing my own book today, I want to read all of yours! All of these entries are FANTASTIC!!!!

    1+

  12. Susan Chapek says:

    ENTRY: Some say the woodcutter’s daughter met the wolf by chance, on the way to her grandmother’s house. Not so. The truth is that the woodcutter had long suspected that his mother-in-law was really a Bisclavret.

    A werewolf.

    To test the old woman, he sent his little girl. . . .

    2+

  13. K.D. Garcia says:

    ENTRY:Officer Hayden Stone couldn’t keep Springville’s residents safe unless they followed the rules. Ending the call, he hung a u-ey, his tires squealing on pavement as hot as his temper. Every person who lived in this Midwestern, middle-of-nowhere town let him have his coffee and donuts in peace–except Emma.

    5+

  14. ENTRY:
    I hurried under the Miami Beach Food Expo sign, and into the smoke of grilled meat and a heady blend of curries and cinnamon, avoiding the masses and their food-smeared fingers. Until a slow-moving senior stalled my progress. A booth salesman took advantage, “accidentally” slapping a paw on my ass.

    2+

  15. ENTRY:

    The gym was thick with the smell of sweat and rubber. Thicker still was the acrid scent of her own fear.

    Savannah swallowed hard, perspiration dripping between her shoulders, even though she hadn’t lifted a finger. Unfamiliar women clustered around her—finding strength in numbers as they eyed their attacker.

    6+

  16. Laurie Wood says:

    ENTRY:
    Kira Summers shivered as she stood beside her brother’s open grave. Winnipeg Memorial Cemetery stood bleak and empty. Rain clouds purple as bruises closed in and churned across the November sky.
    Her fingers trembled on the handle of her black umbrella. Sleety snow swirled across the grass.

    4+

  17. ENTRY:
    Already late, I grabbed the hem of my shirt, jerked the fabric over my head, flipped the snap on my jeans, and shimmied.

    The warped floorboard outside my room creaked a warning. I jerked the falling jeans back up, then spun to face one of my two roommates-slash-landlords-slash-nosy bastards.

    2+

  18. I LOVE Make It Golden Day! Keep the entries coming. I love reading them!

    1+

  19. Lots of great entries so far! Can’t wait to read more!

    1+

  20. Trish Dechant says:

    ENTRY
    Delany slid her thumb over the latch of her bedroom window, then wiped her damp palms against her nightshirt. She was nervous as a hooker in church on Sunday. Holding her breath, she shook her hands out. God, how did her brother sneak out all the time without having a heart attack?

    1+

  21. Densie Webb says:

    ENTRY
    It was the desperate sound of despair that roused me. The cries blurred the line between slumber and awareness and I willed myself to open my eyes. As my consciousness clarified, flashes of fear, anguish, pain flooded in, yet I felt more alive than ever before, my senses heightened.

    1+

  22. Josee says:

    ENTRY: Lilly Champagne’s mission was simple. Go in, make an appearance, and leave–all without having a panic attack. Easier said than done, considering where she was. Saint Charles Hospital resurrected memories she preferred to keep buried. She pressed the elevator button and forced a cough to reset her heart’s rhythm.

    4+

  23. Josee says:

    ENTRY: Why did she always do this to herself? Julianne Thomas tapped the steering wheel as if spurring vehicles forward. “Come on, move.” Her first job interview in over a decade and she was running late. Insisting the kids clean the kitchen and lecturing them about personal responsibility could have waited.

    3+

  24. Julia Day says:

    Oh, wow. The entries are so good this year! It’s going to be hard to decide. (I want to read all of these books, already.)

    1+

  25. Trish Dechant says:

    ENTRY
    Mary Margaret froze, all the blood draining from her face, leaving her legs too shaky to flee. And when the tiny fur ball from hell darted across the patent leather toe of her favorite Louboutin’s and under the tattered floral sofa, she realized she should have stayed back in Atlanta.

    1+

  26. Emily Sullivan says:

    ENTRY: Will Callahan’s entire future depended on this horse, and right now the 3-year-old filly was acting like the very devil. He had just five months till Newmarket and the damn beast wouldn’t even respond to his calls. Instead, she stared right at him and defiantly tossed her mane.

    4+

  27. Melanie Bruce says:

    ENTRY: Declan couldn’t remember ever enjoying a Wimbledon match more. Centre Court loomed before him, angular brick walls thick with ivy. Five years ago he would’ve strode through the All-England Club like he owned it. But today, he’d ducked into crowds whenever a glance became a stare, tugging his hat lower.

    2+

  28. Grace Adams says:

    ENTRY: Elena Messner jerked the steering wheel hard right, stomped on the rental car’s sloshy brakes, and laid on the horn, swearing ripely at the driver of the silver Vespa as he veered straight across three lanes of traffic to a deafening wail of angry horns and screeching tires.

    5+

  29. Grace Adams says:

    ENTRY: Zoe clung to the rails and leaned into the turn as the sled topped the rise and they broke out of the woods into the open. She squinted behind her sunglasses at the blazing expanse of freshly fallen snow and guided the dogs straight across the frozen plane.

    7+

  30. Jan Jackson says:

    ENTRY: When blood dries, it’s not bright red and runny, it’s dark black, congealed, sticky, and itchy. Lucita wanted a shower so badly she could almost cry, except she couldn’t. Tears would not come. She could only scrub at her hands, wipe them on her clothes, and feel her stomach protest.

    3+

  31. Shani Lynne says:

    ENTRY:

    The ringing of his phone spurred Homicide Detective Mike Clancy to action. “Where’s the body?” He snapped.
    “Near Misery Islands, sir.”
    “I’m on my way.” Dread filled him as he yanked on his clothes. Though he was often called in, it was October, and Anna had been murdered in October.

    0

  32. ENTRY:
    Eva Lumarczak considered herself a catalyst, the first link in a simple chain of events. She looked at her latest client and knew, even before physical contact, a fair amount of work would be required to connect all the links. She’d bet her mother’s gold tooth on it.

    9+

  33. ENTRY:
    The brain’s frontal lobe, the gray matter responsible for assessing risk and controlling impulses, continued to mature well into one’s twenties–at least that’s what Eleanora Scott learned in nursing school. Therefore, she was an outlier. Maturity settled on her shoulders at seventeen, abruptly and completely, one hot summer night.

    9+

  34. Shani Lynne says:

    ENTRY:

    Walking silently down the hall it took everything I had to put one foot in front of the other. Fear knotted in my stomach as one word, “Goodbye,” echoed in my head. I shivered, blasted in the face by frigid air exploding from the room as I opened the door.

    0

  35. Rhonda Herren Starnes says:

    ENTRY:

    There’s no place to hide. Bridget Vincent clawed up the embankment, trying to stay low enough her movements would be concealed by the underbrush along the mountain trail.

    “Come out, come out wherever you are.” Manic laughter resonated in the early morning calm. “I know you’re there. You can’t hide.”

    3+

  36. Theses entries are awesome! It’s going to be so hard to choose finalists. Keep them coming.

    0

  37. Sherrinda says:

    ENTRY:

    The lock would not budge.

    Jocelyn blew a strand of unruly hair from her eyes and paused to still her racing heart. Nothing prepared her for the trembling of her fingers or the time wasted looking over her shoulder, no matter how many times she practiced.

    3+

  38. Yvonne says:

    ENTRY:

    Alyshia Benson’s boots demanded justice as they struck the marble floor of Sandhills Crossing City Hall. She zeroed in on a woman hunched over a magazine behind a desk and headed in her direction. “Excuse me. I need to speak with the building commissioner. It’s an emergency.”

    “What’s it about?”

    0

  39. Cindy Regnier says:

    ENTRY
    “Tommy, wait!” Carly Blair let out a screech as she bounded off the depot platform after her brother. Her shout was swallowed up by the shriek of the train whistle. She missed the last step and plunged face first into the dust of the small town train station.

    1+

  40. Cindy Regnier says:

    ENTRY
    Why should she have to go out in the middle of a raging blizzard to look for corn whiskey? Uncle Zeke’s cantankerous mood wasn’t improving and that leg wound must be paining him something fierce. Resi grabbed a lantern and set out for the barn.

    1+

  41. Yvonne says:

    ENTRY:

    “Thanks, Mr. Chase.”

    “My pleasure.”

    Julie McCollough froze at what sounded like Levi Chase’s voice from inside her patient’s room. She’d stopped so suddenly that her miniature therapy horse ran into the back of her leg. Bending down, she stroked Trinket’s nose. “Change of plans, girl. We need to leave.”

    1+

  42. Entry:
    Within seconds, everything changed. My sister’s thin silhouette glided through our back yard until it disappeared. The roar of her old Ford’s engine rumbled like a victorious battle cry and the sound of screeching tires sealed my fate. The smell of burnt rubber mingled with the summer humidity and my denial.

    0

  43. Susannah says:

    Entry:

    The omnipresent London rain splashed off Marisol Vasquez’s felt cap and into her eyes, causing her to drop the lock picks. They disappeared beneath the decomposing leaves piled against the ancient door. Damn it! She would not be stuck on this waterlogged island the British called home. She would not.

    1+

  44. Susannah says:

    Entry:

    It had been a long day of driving, over dizzying mountain switchbacks followed by bumper-to-bumper standstills on city freeways, but reaching her destination meant the worst was still ahead.

    Henry Anne Davies hopped down from her grandfather’s pick-up truck and took a deep breath. Even the air smelled like money.

    1+

  45. Sharae Allen says:

    ENTRY
    Arabella wanted adventure. She ended up in one hot mess. Rain drenched her clothes, chilled her soaked skin, Arabella fought the shivers that rattled her body from the darkness and the cold. Did anyone else survive? Am I the only person left? Is anyone coming? She hoped yes.

    0

  46. Elisa Beatty says:

    LOVING these!!!!

    We still have a few more spots, so keep ’em coming!! A little over two hours to go….

    0

  47. Lana Pattinson says:

    ENTRY
    Blazes, Kitty had to dress quickly if she wanted to be taken seriously as a man. The carriage’s gold velvet divider was pulled in close, ensuring privacy as she shed one dreadful identity and cloaked herself in another. But nothing could conceal the fishy stench emanating from the River Clyde.

    1+

  48. Entry:
    Watching water drip in a cave wasn’t the worst thing I’d done in the name of scientific research. The fun factor, though, rated up there with cactus pruning and slug racing. Definitely not the most exciting way to spend a junior year field trip.

    1+

  49. Lana Pattinson says:

    ENTRY
    First day back at school after winter break and so far, I’ve managed to miss seeing the hot new guy, fend off a potentially lethal peanut butter attack at lunch, and avoid Travis. Took him two weeks to stop texting me but yeah… cheaters shouldn’t be surprised when they’re ignored.

    3+

  50. ENTRY
    As was her habit, Lady Maria Strathmore was late.
    Late for London’s Season, since her parents insisted on spending Eastertide in Lancashire.
    Late tonight for Lady Hartley’s ball, though that was no serious impropriety, for the most fashionable guests always were.
    And now late for her assignation with Lord Everett.

    2+

  51. Lisa Leoni says:

    ENTRY

    Whisky-flavored condoms? Marie laughed as she reached in her purse to snag a few coins for the vending machine. It was her first day in Glasgow and she had already found the perfect souvenir. Flavored prophylactics in festive packaging almost made up for the dismal state of the pub bathroom.

    4+

  52. Cate Moyr says:

    ENTRY
    Until her brother opened the door and pushed her into the room, Peggie hadn’t firmly intended to embark on any deception. But James’s gruffness annoyed her, the candlelight emboldened her, and her cousin Lord Cathcart’s eyes glistened strangely.
    She offered her hand to him and curtsied low, murmuring her sympathies.

    1+

  53. Elisa Beatty says:

    Oh, wow!!! Loving all the latest entries!!!

    Deciding on just ten finalists is going to be tough!!!

    1+

  54. Bonnie Staring says:

    ENTRY:

    There should be some sort of school program—like the ones for super-smart students—that addresses the needs of the recently dumped. That way, the dumpee could ease back into single life without having everyone offer a running commentary on why the dumpage occurred in the first place.

    0

  55. Bonnie Staring says:

    ENTRY:

    I should’ve chosen truth instead of dare.

    Rows upon rows of plants beckoned me—some with delicate, colorful petals and others with strong, shiny leaves that waved in the gentle spring breeze coming from the humid plant shop’s open door. On any other day I’d find everything pretty, not petrifying.

    0

  56. Elisa Beatty says:

    That’s all folks!! The contest is now closed to entries!!

    Entrants, be sure to check back as early as possible on October 3 to see if you’re a finalist!!

    It’s going to be a tough, close vote, that’s for sure!! Thanks to everyone who entered. It’s truly a treat to read them all!

    0

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