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Announcing the Top-Ten Finalists of the 2012 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!!!!

Yes, we’re announcing the top ten MAKE IT GOLDEN FINALISTS this morning!!!

Apparently we put a little too much tipple in the punch for our Blog-oversary: our rules mistakenly said entrants to the MAKE IT GOLDEN contest should check back on “Monday,  October 3.” Yeah, um, that was a carry-over from last year when there actually was such a date, so no doubt some of you are checking today (“Monday”) and some won’t get here until “October 3,” which is actually a Wednesday.

Oops.

Sooooo….we’re going to announce the finalists today for those of you who were expecting to hear on Monday, but we’re extending the DEADLINE FOR POSTING EXPANDED ENTRIES until midnight EDT at the end of October 3 (i.e., very late Wednesday night).  Many, many apologies for the confusion.  Extra cupcakes all around.

Anyhow, the Rubies were thrilled and amazed by the fabulous opening lines so many of you submitted! We wish we could keep reading all of them!

Thanks to the power of voting, though, we did manage to narrow the field down to only ten.  It was hard to leave so many fabulous entries behind, but we have a feeling we’ll be seeing many of them in published books before long!

For today, though, only ten can return to the field of battle.

The  Top-Ten First Round Finalists will appear (in RANDOM ORDER) when you click on the arrow button below.

If you see your original entry, that’s your cue to enter your EXPANDED entry in one of the Comment boxes below today’s post. Don’t worry if it’s Tuesday or Wednesday when you do it–just put them in the Comments under today’s post, and you’re just fine. (Don’t put them in the comments box under Tuesday’s post or Wednesday’s post. If you stop by the blog on Tuesday or Wednesday, there’ll be a special link directing you over here.)

For your EXPANDED entry, include your original opening again, then continue with the sentences that follow until you reach a *maximum* of 250 total words. Please put the word ENTRY in all caps at the top again (and, no, that doesn’t count as one of your 250 words). Remember, if you go over 250 words, you’re disqualified, so COUNT CAREFULLY!!

Expanded entries must be entered by MIDNIGHT EDT on October 3 to qualify for the final round.

Thanks to EVERYONE who entered!!!

DRUMROLL PLEASE!!!!! THE TOP TEN FIRST-ROUND FINALISTS ARE (in random order):

Amber Gilchrist:

A stupid, desperate chick and her money are soon parted. At least, that’s what my mom always says. Which might sound like a concerned mother, except she follows that with ‘so know how to make people feel desperate.’ She says if people are dumb enough to pay for a fortune teller located above a Mr. Wong’s Suds and Folds, then they deserve what they get.

 

Jodelle Brohard:

Evil is real. I know because I’m getting ready to go to prom with the Devil’s son. Okay, his name’s not Damien. And he doesn’t have 666 branded on the back of his head, underneath his hair. Or at least I don’t think he does.

Lea:

Fog stole around the hem of Emily Starling’s prison uniform, brown serge stamped with broad arrows. Her eyes sank closed for a moment, gritty with exhaustion. Rows of moored ships stretched along the wharves, masts rising toward the anemic dawn like a primeval forest.

Eileen Emerson:

Surely, they were warming a seat in Hell just for her. But if she faced eternal damnation for her sins, lusting after the gloriously handsome vicar would be the least of her offenses. Nevertheless, these covetous thoughts were wrong, and Olivia Petherton knew they must be stopped.

 

Suzanne Purvis

Ania Michaels knew dimples were her Kryptonite. And his smile, definitely belonged in a lead-lined box. Then maybe her limbs would function. Her face could lose the blotchy blush. And her weak-willed brain would remember she had no time, inclination, or stamina for any man–dimpled or not.

Ginger Ring:

Her mother told her when driving in the country; beware of wildlife standing along the side of the road. Ava Rodgers didn’t think that would include a half-naked man leaning against a mailbox. The guy was so drop-dead sexy she couldn’t help but look.

 

Jillian Lark:

Lady Selborne preferred to tuck truths away in her head where she wouldn’t misplace them like her appointment diary or her husband. The blackguard had disappeared after their hastily arranged marriage ceremony five years ago. It was the diary she wished to recover.

 

Kelley:

Given the choice between eternal damnation in the fiery pits of Hell and convincing her ex-lover to sign on as Smart Cupid’s “Man Candy Valentine”, Jane Wright favored selling her soul to the devil—at a discount.

Bonnie Staring:

The girl next to me had ignited several small fires with her bare hands, acting like she was special. Our destination was Camp Awakening. Our purpose: to master our powers in two weeks. Get it right, you could end up a hero. Get it wrong, you could end up dead.

Kate MacEachern:

I saw shadows of blood on my white tile wall despite the bleach. When I left—or died—they’d sterilize my hospital room from top to bottom and scrub me away, too, so no one else would be infected. The breath rasped in my chest, but no one heard.

 

Congrats, Finalists!!! We truly can’t wait to see what comes next!!

79 responses to “Announcing the Top-Ten Finalists of the 2012 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!!!!”

  1. Yay! Congrats to Amber, Jodelle, Lea, Eileen, Suzanne, Ginger, Jillian, Kelly, Bonnie and Kate! Good luck for round two.

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  2. Kim Law says:

    Woohoo!!! Such terific entries. Congrats everyone! Can not WAIT to read more!!!

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    • Kim Law says:

      I forgot to mention. There is seriously one in here I’d buy the book INSTANTLY just from these first words. I so hope it holds up as we progress to the next round!!! 🙂

      Of course, they are really all totally WOW, but rarely do I read a first line and go immediately to Amazon to purchase. I’d do it for one of these 😀

      Good luck everyone!!!

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  3. It was so hard to pick a top ten. The entries this year were AWESOME! I wish everyone good luck in the Golden Heart and look forward to reading much more from all of you.

    Congrats to our finialists.

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  4. Elizabeth Langston says:

    Yay to our finalists. And to everyone who entered, you should have heard the “chatter” on our yahoogroup. It was soooooo hard to narrow the list down. I had 17 I really wanted to vote for!!! But the rules said 10.

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  5. Congratulations to our finalists! It was a tough choice. Since the competition was so fierce, you should all be very proud. And no one should be discouraged if you didn’t make the top ten.

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  6. Greta says:

    What great entries! Really enjoyed reading these.

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  7. Rita Henuber says:

    Guys, seriously, this was a tough decision. Those of you who entered and are not in these ten have no reason to hang your head. I was in awe of these openings. I hope to see you ALL enter the GH this year.

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  8. Elisa Beatty says:

    Folks: if you know any of the finalists, PASS THE WORD, please that the list is up!!

    Everyone has until late Wednesday night to post, but I’d love to see at least a few of the expanded entries today.

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  9. Kate Parker says:

    The top ten entries are great, but if you didn’t make the top ten, know there are Ruby sisters who loved your entry. The voting was all over the place, and there were a couple that didn’t make the top ten that I’d rush out and buy based on that first line. Everyone who entered is to be commended and should enter the GH this year.

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  10. Woot!!! Congrats all! The entries were so great, I had a REALLY hard time picking just 10. It took me forever to whittle it down to 27. 10 was almost impossible. So even if you didn’t final, know that there were so many great entries! And again, congrats to the finalists!

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  11. Gwyn says:

    Congratulations to those who made the top ten! For those who didn’t, know only a couple of my choices made the cut, and I’m not alone. You didn’t make this easy.

    Last year’s choices were tough. This year’s were tougher. The quality evinced in the entries raised the bar quite high, challenging us as we winnowed the field to just ten.

    I’m looking forward to reading several of these during GH judging!

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  12. Congrats, Everybody! The entries are all amazing! I can’t wait to read the expanded ones. Good luck, everyone!

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  13. angel Graham says:

    Congrats to the winners and good luck in the next round.

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  14. Congrats to the finalists! Can’t wait to see your expanded entries! 🙂

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  15. OMG. I am so delighted, excited, filled with panic and chocolate…thank you so much for selecting my entry!

    There were so mant absolutely fantabulous ones that I would purchase based on those opening words, too! I’ll post my entry in another post so all my squee-action doesn’t get in the way!
    Bonnie

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  16. ENTRY

    Over the past hour, the girl next to me had ignited several small fires with her bare hands, acting like she was special.

    Our destination was Camp Awakening. Our purpose: to master our powers in two weeks. Get it right, you could end up a hero. Get it wrong, you could end up dead.

    I wish I were kidding about the dead part.

    I stared at the smoke drifting from the girl’s fingertips. Sure, it was freakishly entertaining, but we didn’t need open flames while crammed into a non-air-conditioned school bus on a sticky July day with nearly fifty other sixteen-year-olds. And it wasn’t like she was the only one on board who could do it.

    “Stop it, Erika, you’re gonna get us in trouble,” a girl across the aisle whispered. “There’s no smoking on the bus.”

    “Or burning,” I added.

    Erika rubbed her fingertips on her charred jeans and smirked. “What are they gonna do, toss me off? It’s up to them to make sure we get ‘proper’ training,” she said, adding the air quotes. “And I obviously can’t control my power at the moment.”

    Power. As in the singular form.

    “Hey blondie,” the guy in front of me turned around. “I think you’re hot, too.”

    I frowned. “Excuse me?”

    “I can read you.” He winked.

    “You can?” I glared at him and fought off a wave of panic. “How about now?”

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  17. Oooh, these entries are so-o-o good! Can’t wait to read the second round entries from everyone!

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  18. Ginger Ring says:

    Thanks so much!I can’t believe it!

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  19. Ginger Ring says:

    ENTRY

    Her mother told her when driving in the country; beware of wildlife standing along the side of the road. Ava Rodgers didn’t think that would include a half-naked man leaning against a mailbox. The guy was so drop-dead sexy she couldn’t help but look. When she finally got her eyes back on the road, there sat a huge, rock like creature with legs. It was too big to straddle with her car. Her foot slammed on the brakes. The tires slid on gravel and her gray Honda headed into a shallow ditch.
    Hands shaking and heart pounding, Ava shifted into park. Sliding a loose curl behind her ear, she took a deep breath. What had just happened? The sound of knuckles knocking on the side window made Ava jump.
    “Are you ok?” the roadside wildlife asked her. Ava fidgeted in her seat as she tried to figure out which button opened the side window. Finally finding the right one, the window lowered, bringing with it a rush of hot humid air. All Ava could do was stare. From a distance his body caught her attention, up close it was his face. If guys could be called beautiful, this one certainly was. His deep, blue eyes were stunning. The chiseled jaw, straight nose, the five o’clock shadow. It was as if she had ordered the perfect man delivered to that mail box.
    “Are you alright, Miss?” he asked again.
    “Yes, I’m fine. I guess I got a little distracted.”

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  20. ENTRY

    Rules of the Scam #26
    The con is in the details…

    A stupid, desperate chick and her money are soon parted. At least, that’s what my mom always says. Which might sound like a concerned mother, except she follows that with ‘so know how to make people feel desperate.’ She says if people are dumb enough to pay for a fortune teller located above a Mr. Wong’s Suds and Folds, then they deserve what they get. Of course, she also says if my dad was better at what he did he wouldn’t be doing time. What he should have done was spent more time brushing up on his grifting skills and less time drinking.

    So maybe mom isn’t the best source of morality lessons.

    One of the stupid chicks mom loved to prey on pushed past me and out of the store, clutching her D&G purse to her chest and crying huge mascara-y tears. That was weird. Mom always told the clients either exactly what they wanted to hear or something so vague that it could have meant anything. Tears were uncommon.

    “Everything okay in there?” I called.

    For a long moment there was no answer and I considered going back there, even though I hated ‘the work room’ in all its theatrical glory. But finally her voice carried out. “Do I have a four o’clock?”

    I was mom’s secretary, or as close as she had to one, but I didn’t have to look at the books.

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  21. this is fun. so much awesome competition.

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  22. Kate MacEachern says:

    ENTRY

    I saw shadows of blood on my white tile wall despite the bleach. When I left—or died—they’d sterilize my hospital room from top to bottom and scrub me away, too, so no one else would be infected.

    The breath rasped in my chest, but no one heard. My isolation room echoed the beeps and purr of the machinery watching me, always watching. Why did Mom have to leave? I should be sleeping, and I couldn’t without her. Wanting to turn sideways, I shifted. Fluid in the hanging bag sloshed, and the needle pulled against my arm with a pressure not quite pain.

    One drop of liquid poison after another flowed into me, killing the bad bacteria and the good ones as a side effect. My immune system died with the infection. I should visualize my body fighting off the invaders, Mom said. Couldn’t hurt even if I didn’t really believe it would help. She did.

    My fingers closed around the angel pendant she’d soaked in lavender-scented bleach and smuggled in. Pinned inside my gown where no one could see, lavender cuddled me. The pendant’s edges dug into my fingers and hurt good.

    Without Mom, I’d be dead instead of twelve. A cough sent me into spasms that didn’t loosen the thickness in my throat. I couldn’t breathe.

    The intercom clicked and opened my lifeline to the other isolation patients, best friends I’d never seen. A gasp whispered through my room. A dying gasp.

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  23. Kate MacEachern says:

    I’m so delighted to have this chance and to see little pieces of all these intriguing novels. Good luck to all the finalists.

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  24. ENTRY

    Surely, they were warming a seat in Hell just for her. But if she faced eternal damnation for her sins, lusting after the gloriously beautiful vicar would be the least of her offenses. Nevertheless, these covetous thoughts were wrong, and Olivia Petherton knew they must be stopped.

    She picked at the hem of her black-edged handkerchief, praying silently for strength and just a modicum of common sense. By the end of the Collect, she felt composed enough to risk glancing at the man again.

    Blast!

    Mr. Whitmore was still as blond as before, still as broad-shouldered, and his skin still glowed under the streaming, honey-hued morning light as if the hand of God Himself reached through the chancel window to anoint his golden hair.

    That thought sent ice washing through her veins, dousing the spark that had heated her blood just a moment before.

    This man is everything you are not, she thought, as warm as you are cold-hearted, as virtuous as you are corrupt, as unsoiled as you are tainted. You’ve sinned quite enough for one lifetime, and are not fit company for such a man.

    And then, as it always did, another more rebellious impulse straightened her spine. If her sins had already secured her a hereafter among Lucifer’s minions, what further harm could she do to her eternal soul if she continued to ogle the vicar?

    Look she would, and to hell with the consequences.

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  25. Lea says:

    ENTRY

    Fog stole around the hem of Emily Starling’s prison uniform, brown serge stamped with broad arrows. Her eyes closed for a moment, gritty with exhaustion. Rows of moored ships stretched along the wharves, masts rising toward the dawn like a primeval forest. Her heart thumped faster as the open cart halted in front of a waiting vessel. She willed her trembling legs not to clatter the ankle chains. No black ferryboat of the underworld here—looked as sinister as a dependable workhorse.

    A hatchet-faced guard dragged her to the worn cobblestones. “Ain’t you a fine bit o’ muslin?” He bent to unlock the shackles, tickling her calf with an insinuating stroke.

    Emily’s stomach tightened, protesting the Newgate’s final meal, a breakfast of marrow soup. A wild urge to turn heel and flee seized her, but the body of the prisoner behind pressed close, preventing any such retreat. She pinched the inside of her elbow, vexed by the foolish impulse. She wasn’t made of such stuff, could barely muster enough energy for the next step, never mind an audacious escape. And if she did manage to escape…where could she go?

    A familiar voice brayed, “Don’t go botherin’ with that wee bone bag, there’s more to satisfy right ’ere.” Bertie Spragg—Emily’s former Newgate cellmate—thrust her hips in an obscene gesture, her fleshy breasts colliding against her ample stomach.

    Sailors whooped encouragement from the decks. Appraising gazes crawled spider-like over Emily’s body leaving a trail of gooseflesh in their wake.

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  26. Lea says:

    Thanks Rubies <3

    I've loved reading the entries, so much talent out there. Really motivating!

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    • Greta says:

      Great entries! I enjoyed all of these and I’m looking forward to the next four.

      What a great range: YA, historical, contemporary, paranormal …

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  27. Kelley Bowen says:

    OMG, This is the freaking greatest news. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Rubies!!!! All the entries were so strong and intriguing, I’m thrilled…and because I’m totally over-dosed on Nyquil right now, I think it’s best if I post my entry in the morning…first thing! Can’t wait to read all the expanded entries! Kelley

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  28. Elisa Beatty says:

    Wow! A fabulous showing so far! (And you guys are making this INCREDIBLY hard for us!!!! How are we supposed to choose????)

    We’re still waiting to hear from Jillian, Suzanne, and Jodell. Anybody who happens to know them, give them a shout and tell them to be sure to post their entries here by midnight EDT Wednesday Oct 3!!!

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    • Jillian Lark says:

      Thank you, Rubies! This is my first contest final, and I’m thrilled to be chosen from a group of talented writers with such fascinating entries. I’m recovering from the plague and the shot to cure it, so I’ll post my expanded entry later today.

      Thanks again and good luck to the other finalists!

      -Jillian

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  29. […] (Looking for the MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest finalist list? Jump to here.) […]

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  30. Kelley Bowen says:

    ENTRY

    Given the choice between eternal damnation in the fiery pits of Hell and convincing her ex-lover to sign on as Smart Cupid’s “Man Candy Valentine”, Jane Wright favored selling her soul to the devil — at a discount. But since Satan wasn’t standing on the corner of Church Street, looking to make an unholy deal with a matchmaker, signing a Faustian bargain wasn’t in the cards.

    At least not tonight. At least not in Tribeca.

    Instead, Jane adjusted her cleavage along with her pride and mentally prepared to stroll through the bar’s six-paneled doors and persuade Charlie Goodman — ex-friend, ex-lover, and currently, the year’s Hottest Bartender according to New York Magazine — to sign an exclusive contract with her matchmaking site, SmartCupid.com.

    Except the fiery pits of Hell sounded so much better.

    Damn her impetuous mouth. Now, thanks to the impulsive wager she’d made this morning, she needed Charlie and, double damn, Charlie was inside Temptation. So, even if he looked ridiculously sexy in his customary black polo and denim jeans so perfectly formed to the muscles in his hips and thighs, they ought to be criminal — Jane was walking into the bar, guns blazing, armed with a pair of killer red heels and wearing her heart on the sleeve of a little black dress. She shifted from one spike-heeled foot to the other and frowned up at the blue neon sign blinking across the sidewalk like a warning. Temptation, it flickered. Temptation.

    It may as well say, “Run.”

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  31. ENTRY

    Ania Michaels knew dimples were her Kryptonite. And his smile, definitely belonged in a lead-lined box. Then maybe her limbs would function. Her face could lose the blotchy blush. And her weak-willed brain would remember she had no time, inclination, or stamina for any man–dimpled or not.

    Instead, she lay sprawled on the dock, minus a shoe, gawking at a marina Adonis. Her tongue shriveled like begonia leaves in bright sunlight, making speech impossible. Ridiculous.

    “You okay? Let me help you,” he drawled.

    Damn. Smooth, deep, and definitely Southern. His voice doubled the Kryptonite effect. She inhaled, hoping to suck in more than the smog-free air of this remote corner of the Florida coast. What she needed was a good dose of purpose, resolve and a lead-lined cape.

    Too hot for the cape. The July sun bore down. Perspiration beaded everywhere, and her linen skirt and meticulously styled hair wilted faster than spinach in a steam cooker. “Could you… Could you… Could you just stop smiling?”

    To his credit, the Adonis tried. He pressed his kissable lips together. But the dimples remained, and his eyes lit like green-to-go traffic signals. “Sorry. You caught me off guard. The odd pelican flopping off the dock is usually all that’s around the marina at this hour.”

    Texan. The same accent as her lying, cheating, pond scum ex. Good. No lead-lined cape required. And he’d just compared her to some ugly, awkward bird–Kryptonite neutralized.

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  32. Jodelle Brohard says:

    ENTRY

    Evil is real. I know because I’m getting ready to go to prom with the Devil’s son. Okay, his name’s not Damien. And he doesn’t have 666 branded on the back of his head, underneath his hair. Or at least I don’t think he does. But just because Arkin Sorenson doesn’t have any visible marks of the beast doesn’t prove he’s not a supernatural evil entity.

    Tonight I’m going to expose him as the Son of Satan or die trying. If I’m wrong it could mean social death for me, rather than drop-me-in-a-box-and-bury-me death. I’m not sure which I’d prefer.

    My best friend Jenny Cho and I lean toward the huge mirror over the double sinks in my bathroom as we put the final touches on our makeup.

    “I would sell my soul to the Devil to be going to prom with your date,” Jenny says, as she combs clumps of mascara through her dark lashes.

    “DON’T SAY THAT!” I shout.

    Jenny jerks her hand, leaving a big black streak across her cheek. “That scared me,” she says. “Now I’m going to have to redo my whole face. What’s up with the yelling?”

    “Pre-prom nerves,” I say, realizing too late I over-reacted. If I don’t want to share my suspicions about Arkin with Jenny, I need to rein in my feverish, possibly imaginary fears. “Here,” I say, grabbing a piece of toilet paper. “I think I can fix that smudge.”

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, excellent!–“Tonight I’m going to expose him as the Son of Satan or die trying.”

      It’s a refreshing idea that she’s not *sure* what she’s dealing with….and I love the humorous edge!!

      I really can’t believe how tough this competition has gotten!

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  33. Jodelle Brohard says:

    Thanks so much for picking my entry as one of the ten finalists! I didn’t really expect to win, so once I entered, I forgot to check back in. Then today, I got an email reminding me to enter the rest of my first page and I was thrilled and shocked. I was also a little intimidated as I read all the other wonderful entries that had already been posted. Anyway, just wanted to express my thanks to all the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood for running such a great contest! Thank you.

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  34. Jillian Lark says:

    ENTRY
    Lady Selborne preferred to tuck truths away in her head where she wouldn’t misplace them like her appointment diary or her husband. The blackguard had disappeared after their hastily arranged marriage ceremony five years ago. It was the diary Marguerite wished to recover.
     
    Before the arrival of Lady Buxton, who devoured bits of gossip like morsels of clotted cream.
     
    “I beg your pardon, Your Ladyship.”
     
    Marguerite nodded toward her butler.
     
    “I did knock. If the matter were not of some urgency, I would not have interrupted.”
     
    “Urgency?”  Marguerite scrutinized the gnarled lines of Pearson’s face. Something was amiss in his expression.
     
    “A gentleman wishes to see you, Your Ladyship,” Pearson said, setting the silver card tray on the tea table.
     
    “I don’t recall scheduling anyone except Lady Buxton.” At least Marguerite hoped she hadn’t.
     
    “Your Ladyship, the gentleman claims to be your husband, Lord Selborne.”
     
    Edmund? Here? If the man was her husband, he was no gentleman. She stared at the name engraved on the card and blinked. It didn’t change.
     
    “Please tell His Lordship to wait in the parlor,” Marguerite said, stunned the words fumbling in her mind managed to escape in an intelligible form.
     
    “As you wish, Your Ladyship,” Pearson bowed and exited.
     
    Marguerite wanted Edmund to wait. Wait and wonder and worry like she had for the past five years. However, she wanted him to wait elsewhere, not reclined on a settee in her parlor.

    Elsewhere, like harpooned on an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      “However, she wanted him to wait elsewhere, not reclined on a settee in her parlor.

      Elsewhere, like harpooned on an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean.”

      *Nice*!! Sparks are clearly going to fly between these two!! I love the set-up!

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  35. Jillian Lark says:

    Fellow finalists, best of luck! Your entries are awesome.
    Rubies, thanks for the opportunity!-Jillian

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  36. Elisa Beatty says:

    WOO-HOO, we got everybody’s expanded entry!!! And DANG, they’re fabulous.

    Okay, Rubies, time to get voting…though I think I may need a stiff drink before trying to decide.

    So much talent here!!! We’re honored to be hosting all ten of you!

    The top three will be announced on Oct 8.

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  37. All of these are AMAZING! You guys did not make it easy on us. 🙂 Like Elisa said, it will be super tough to pick the winner.

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  38. Thank you so much for hosting this. What a wonderful opportunity. I was thrilled to be selected as one of the finalist and the competition has been fabulous. I love all the entries. Good luck to everyone.

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  39. Liz Talley says:

    I’m a little late on getting to read the final entries, but ohmygosh, they’re so good. Why aren’t these books I can read write now? I feel betrayed to get such a taste and not be able to swallow.

    Wow. Not sure how this is going to come out…too much goodness here.

    Thanks for posting and playing. I enjoyed every one of them!

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  40. Ginger Ring says:

    Thanks for having this great contest. I was so excited to be a finalist!

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  41. Elisa Beatty says:

    Everybody remember to check the blog on Monday, Oct 8 to see the winners!!!!!!

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