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Fifth Annual Make It Golden Contest Entry Day!!!!!

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update: the contest has closed to entries! please check for the list of finalists at one minute past midnight, right at the start of  September 26.

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The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest.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

Check out past Make It Golden contests here and here.

9781615530137_p0_v2_s260x420Just 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 $50 Golden Heart entry fee! 

SECOND PLACE: a critique of the first 25 pages of your manuscript from Ruby Sister Heather McCollum.

THIRD PLACE: a Ruby Slipper blank journal (pictured left).

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

Anyone eligible to enter the 2015 Golden Heart (see rules here) is eligible to enter (except Rubies, of course), and the best part is, there’s no entry fee. It’s COMPLETELY FREE to enter, but no more than the FIRST ONE HUNDRED 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 100 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 24th (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, 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 entries that violate these rules (go over the 50 word limit, do not start with the word ENTRY, or more than two entries from the same person, or any entry from someone not eligible for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest) will result in the entry being disqualified.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. EST on Friday, September 26ENTRANTS 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 he or she 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 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.) Again type ENTRY in caps at the top and post your expanded entry.

The three winners will be announced on the blog on Tuesday, September 30.

 

(image courtesy of kangshutters / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

96 responses to “Fifth Annual Make It Golden Contest Entry Day!!!!!”

  1. Kate M. says:

    ENTRY

    Mom believed in following her heart to true love. Fine, if her fickle heart didn’t need a new man to keep beating. With an average of three billion heartbeats in a lifetime, that’s a lot of man swapping. I believed in love forever, but not for me.

    0
  2. Greta M. says:

    ENTRY

    Boston, 1888

    I was too big for the box. As a skinny twelve-year-old, I’d had some freedom of movement. Five years on, I had to fold myself up like a Chinese fan.

    With fingers and toes I sought out the tiny wooden knobs Sally had fitted inside the Egyptian trunk.

    0
  3. Holly Mortimer says:

    ENTRY

    She pushed through the mass of paparazzi waiting out front of the trendy LA eatery. While discreetly adjusting her wandering thong, she briefly considered the merits of becoming a lesbian.
    Blind dates. Those soul sucking combat missions of love friends send you on in order to make themselves feel better.

    0
  4. Jo Anne B. says:

    ENTRY

    Jenna McAllen returned to hell reluctantly, but return she did. She didn’t bother to knock when she walked through the back door of her childhood home.

    “Who’s there?” Her father looked up, his voice rattling deep in his chest. When recognition hit, his mouth thinned. Their eyes met and held.

    0
  5. Carla says:

    ENTRY

    It was the first anniversary of my divorce being final. I’ve had a year to adjust. It doesn’t feel like anything’s different. I’m still lost. Everything I saw in my life ahead was erased like it was on a blackboard but no one needed to see it anymore.

    0
  6. ENTRY
    Naked and wet, Brice Walker crouched on the back porch of his grandmother’s log cabin. The splintered grooves of the weathered boards bit sharply into his sore hands and feet, intensifying the throb in his right leg. He focused his better-than-human night vision along the dark tree line.

    0
  7. Janet Walden-West says:

    ENTRY

    My right side was numb and the concrete under my back was colder than a closed grave. I inched my good hand out and scrabbled at the bra clip for the 9mm as shadows separated from the darkness.

    0
  8. Janet Walden-West says:

    ENTRY

    Chill bumps raced up my arms as a shadow loomed over me. When the shadow’s owner spoke my name in a pure Ohio Valley accent, I pried my hands off the charmed knives at my wrists. Maybe some women went for more traditional accessories, but I preferred razor-edged silver.

    0
  9. ENTRY

    It all started with the alligator.

    Granted, a five-foot reptile crawling across the dirt road wasn’t that crazy, at least not this close to the bayou, and on any other day, Faith might’ve overlooked it. Chalked it up to the recent torrential rain and booked it to the main lobby.

    0
  10. Elisa Beatty says:

    These are all fabulous so far!!! Can’t wait to see more!

    0
  11. Kim Law says:

    Good luck to everyone. I’m loving these so far!

    0
  12. Maggie Kelley says:

    I LOVE THIS CONTEST! So much fun to see all the first lines. Good luck to everyone.

    0
  13. Di R says:

    ENTRY

    Caitie Donahue’s stomach jittered in time with the blink of her turn signal. She turned into the driveway and braked. A large farmhouse filled her vision.

    “Oh, my.” The sound of her voice soothed the ragged edges left from giddy happiness rubbing against the overwhelming ‘what have I done?’ feeling.

    0
  14. Greta M. says:

    ENTRY

    When I caught community service for returning a Mean Girl slap from ten years before, I decided to do it Naomi Campbell style. Short skirt, perfect hair, sun-kissed makeup–and my community service vest, of course. Orange never looked so good.

    0
  15. Bonnie Staring says:

    ENTRY

    Oakridge High’s cafeteria is the last place I want to be, but Dana and Sherry insisted this small act of bravery will prevent the stories of my junior-year loserness from reaching new levels of ridiculous. Especially the one about me believing that Reid Decker is a reincarnation of Elvis Presley.

    0
  16. Kate M. says:

    ENTRY

    “Hottie alert. Bring on air conditioning.” Emily jabbed me in the ribs.

    “Catch a fever. You won’t catch him. Jocks don’t do honors students except for grades.” I slumped against a locker. “Your brain is fried, literally. Crowding in students after the tornado upped our school’s temp. Body heat.”

    0
  17. Kay Hudson says:

    ENTRY

    The goblin popped out from behind the headstone when Zee placed a white rose on the grave.

    “Zenobia Harker?” he asked.

    Zee rocked back on her heels and stared at the grubby little creature dressed in ratty brown cargo shorts and a plaid flannel shirt.

    0
  18. Katherine Fleet says:

    ENTRY

    The wave tugged at the remnants of coral littering the beach. It surged toward my feet and I retreated. Apparently my fear of water didn’t discriminate based on color or temperature. It applied to warm, pretty Caribbean waters as much as the cold, grey ocean that haunted me at home.

    0
  19. Susan Bickford says:

    ENTRY

    Abby Sandlin glared at the line of glowing red tail lights in front of her. “Move it!”

    Like shouting would do her any good. Far easier to focus on the traffic making her late, though, than the fact her life was unraveling with every passing minute.

    0
  20. MJean Gardiner says:

    ENTRY

    Diego swirled the sweet smelling smoke in his mouth. His tongue detected the cocoa and he slowly, reluctantly released it through his lips again with a puff.

    “You like that, do you?” The boatswain had a wizened grin.

    “You have no idea how much.” His elbows rested on the rail.

    0
  21. Jenna Penrose says:

    ENTRY
    Kate watched the News Channel Six van pull up in front of the run down theater and knew something was afoot. The news reporter went inside, the cameraman trailing in her wake. It was strange; the media rarely covered the theater’s performances, so why were they here tonight?

    0
  22. ENTRY

    “Quit at the oil rig. Come work for me.” The Friday crowd at Wednesday’s Tavern shoved Matt from behind and he teetered over the pool table, his big belly in the way of Gabe’s next shot.

    “Can’t. The pay’s great and I need the money. To start my own business.”

    0
  23. ENTRY

    Frankie waited until the toilet flushed to get his attention. It was only polite.

    “Good evening.”

    The scientist spun, his hands still on his trousers. “Who are you? And what the hell are you doing in my washroom?”

    She jumped down from the little chest of drawers in the corner.

    0
  24. Mary Roya says:

    ENTRY

    Hidden in the shadows Christian Foster watched the

    construction crew head for home. A crimson sunset matched

    the blood red in his eyes. He concentrated on that one

    individual standing on the corner of Travis and Walker

    Street. An uncontrollable rage boiled through his veins,

    and his body shook.

    0
  25. ENTRY

    October 1942
    The air pulsed like a giant heartbeat. Even Sophia’s bones thrummed with the vibration of the mill’s massive turbine engines, though after six weeks of work she hardly noticed anymore. Tossing her floury apron into the employee hamper, she wearily followed the other girls into the changing room.

    0
  26. ENTRY

    Gray flakes spiraled down from the dusty yellow sky. I felt them tickling my face, plugging my nose. My mind prepared my body for cold, so the wash of warmth confused me.
    Where was I? I blinked the grit from my eyes, recognizing the belching, steaming landscape.

    0
  27. Carrie Padgett says:

    ENTRY

    Life is tough so suck it up, Buttercup.

    Ginger Sanders put the brakes on that flippant thought before it reached her tongue, tumbled out of her mouth, and into the mic. She’d learned the hard way to keep snark to herself and let compassion flow while on the air.

    0
  28. ENTRY

    The panicked childish scream pulled Eugenia Baker from her work. Laying down her brush, careful not to smudge the page of Chinese characters she had almost finished, she lifted her head and listened. More young voices, rough and teasing, drifted through the open window. Anger flashed through her, lightning hot.

    0
  29. Prisakiss says:

    ENTRY

    From her usual position on the outskirts of action, Rose Fernandez gazed at the sea of wedding reception guests dancing to the invigorating salsa music. She tapped her toe to the beat, but didn’t join the revelry. Instead she sipped her ginger ale in the shadows, letting others enjoy themselves.

    0
  30. Prisakiss says:

    ENTRY
    The man was Latino GQ personified— from his closely cropped jet-black hair, across his handsome olive-toned face, down his six-foot, sharply dressed frame, to his shiny wingtip shoes.

    The hottest guy to ever hit Oakton, Illinois, hovered just outside her studio doorway bringing Yazmine Fernandez to a stutter-stepped halt.

    0
  31. Julia Benjamin says:

    ENTRY

    “My client is not a pimp.” Jessie Parker’s voice flew through the judge’s chamber. “She’s a victim.”

    There.
    She did it.
    She uttered that word.
    The filthy one. The one that made her skin cringe. Her throat clog.
    This case was making her all sorts of twitchy. No wonder her nails looked like they’d been manicured by a barracuda.

    0
  32. ENTRY

    The panicked childish scream pulled Eugenia Baker from her work. Laying down her brush, careful not to smudge the page of Chinese characters she had almost finished, she lifted her head and listened. More young voices, rough and teasing, drifted through the open window. Anger flashed through her, lightning hot.

    0
  33. Amanda Brice says:

    Great entries!

    Just a quick reminder that you must preface your entry with the word ENTRY in all caps. Our software creates the scoresheet by grabbing only those comments with ENTRY at the top, so if you leave it off, or do it in some other form, then you’ll be missed.

    Out of the goodness of my heart, I went ahead and edited two entries that left this out, so two of you got a free pass, but the Rubies shouldn’t have to play clean-up. So just know going forward that if you leave it off your entry, please go and fix this. Otherwise you will be left out of the contest.

    Good luck to everyone!!!!

    0
  34. Greta M. says:

    Wow, I’m really enjoying the entries! So many good stories here.

    0
  35. ENTRY

    Nicole Parker knew life wasn’t fair. She’d learned that lesson early. And often.

    But this was beyond unfair.

    She had sworn ten years ago to never again set foot in Crystal Creek. She had run as fast and as far as her pitiful bank balance allowed and never looked back. Until now.

    Now it seemed the gods were playing some cosmic practical joke on her.

    Now her future depended on returning to her past. To a town she had hated, owned by a man she had loved.

    0
    • Leslie Marshman says:

      I apologize for misreading the rules and posting more than 50 words. I reposted with less than 50 instead of a second entry.

      Thanks,
      Leslie

      0
  36. Cindy Green says:

    ENTRY

    1881
    Charity Worth huddled near the fire, staving off the shivering. Drawing in a breath, she blew it out slowly, attempting to regulate her racing pulse. “It’s just a dream. Nothing but a dream.”
    The nightmare replayed in her mind: a formless figure lying in shadow on the snow-covered ground.

    0
  37. Wow, these are all such great entries! Love reading them.

    0
  38. Nancy Young says:

    ENTRY

    What I needed was a rest stop. Well, a rest stop with a ladies’ room and a cup of hot tea and a backrub . . . and I had to exit from that line of thinking or I’d turn around and head back to Philadelphia.

    Tony was so good at backrubs.

    0
  39. Nancy Young says:

    ENTRY

    Thomas Palmer, Esq., had secured the good opinion of those in the surrounding countryside not by his manners, which were far from charming, nor by his fortune, which was ample though not extraordinary, but by a certain stiffness of demeanor that denoted a deep-set pride and air of consequence.

    0
  40. Julie Mulhern says:

    May I just say that Dream Weavers rock!

    0
  41. Leslie Ray says:

    ENTRY

    If someone had told Emerson Grey how her day would end, she wouldn’t have bothered getting out of bed. Of course, she also would have bet her life they were wrong.

    Pushing gently against the glass door, Emerson left the hustle of the late afternoon New York City streets…

    0
  42. Leslie Ray says:

    ENTRY

    Age is just a number…until that number reaches thirty-one.

    “Oh, God!” Millicent watched the color drain from her face, her cheeks turning to ash, as she stared down her ill-fated destiny. “No!”
    The sound of drawers echoed throughout the master bathroom, desperately searching for her weapon of choice. Tweezers.

    0
  43. Julie Fugate says:

    ENTRY

    Seventeen year-old Cora Givens lifted her chin into a breeze tainted with a mixture of gas fumes and fresh-made donuts. The slightest purr of a sigh escaped her throat while reveling in the knowledge she’d survived those initial months of uncertainty as a runaway.

    No parents.

    No school.

    No rules.

    0
  44. Rita Henuber says:

    Uhhhh! Judging this year is going to be very difficult.

    0
  45. Stacey Purcell says:

    ENTRY

    There was nowhere Cali could go to outrun the word widow.

    She lay in the darkness neither awake nor asleep. The twilight images molted into one another like liquid enamel spreading across an artist’s copper plate. Vibrant colors and emotions combined as she relived bits of her wedding…

    0
  46. Julie Fugate says:

    ENTRY

    Evie Maples stumbled from an undergrowth of jungle-type ferns to tromp across a sandy terrain peppered with brittle grass. Every step of her platform sandals gave a resounding crunch while her quivery arm held up chipped, manicured fingers to block the glare of the pulsating sun. Where was it?

    0
  47. elise hayes says:

    Oh, these are fun! Finally an advantage to logging on later in the day–I got to see a lot of the entries!

    0
  48. ENTRY

    Lightning ripped down the cave walls, stabbing the earth with jarring violence. Tarak leapt to his feet, tipping his stool as he swung out his blade. Someone approached the chamber.
    “Satam.” Tarak exclaimed when his brother appeared across the table, bloody and unsteady. “Are you alright?” He lowered his sword.

    0
  49. Georgiana Harding says:

    ENTRY
    Rosslyn craved to stop the nightmares where she stood in a dimly-lit abbey surrounded by whispering walls and black cauldrons full of blood.
    So tonight, she and Miriam were getting their fortunes told by ‘the best’.
    “Thinking of backing out?” asked Miriam.
    “No,” she lied and tasted fear.

    0
  50. Georgiana Harding says:

    ENTRY
    “Get in.”
    The masculine growl commanding her into the limo’s cavernous depth unnerved her more than Angeline’s nasty ‘Get out, Puta!’ screamed at her moments ago.
    Sophia slithered inside. The black-hearted cousin shut her door with a dull thud, like the final seal on her unsettled fate. With him.

    0
  51. ENTRY

    Nicole Parker knew life wasn’t fair. She’d learned that lesson early. And often.

    But this was beyond unfair.

    Now her future depended on returning to her past. To a town she had hated, owned by a man she had loved.

    0
  52. Pamela Pitts says:

    ENTRY

    The long line of traffic moved slowly down the gravel road and Alix drummed her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel.

    Glancing at the clock in her car, she saw she had fifteen minutes before meeting her friends. Unwillingly, she let a car in front of her, slamming her brakes.

    0
  53. Joan Wylder says:

    ENTRY

    It was mid-morning and the black pirate flag snapped in the warm, salty breeze coming off the ocean. I strolled up the weather-beaten, wooden gangplank along with my best friend, Ruth. The stained deck creaked when we stepped aboard. Ropes slapped against the masts and pulleys groaned.

    “Ahoy, there, lassies.”

    0
  54. ENTRY

    Like any good Scot, Peggie Stewart preferred to walk uphill.

    Had her young cousins not protested, they might have called for the carriage and climbed Arthur’s Seat for a view of the castle, the firth, and the mountains beyond, instead of tramping through damp woodlands at Goodtrees.

    No crocuses here.

    0
  55. Wow, great entries, you guys! Love them!

    0
  56. Elisa Beatty says:

    The 2015 MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST is now CLOSED to entries!!

    All entrants should check back as early as possible on Sep 26 (the results should be posted by one minute after midnight) to see if they’ve finaled.

    If you’re a finalist, you’ll need to post a LONGER version of your opening: 250 words max, including your original 50. You’ll have until one minute past midnight East Coast time on Sep 27 to do so.

    0
  57. Irene Vartanoff says:

    ENTRY

    “Your blind date arrives in one hour. Be ready.”
    Elinor shrieked into the phone. “Are you out of your mind?”
    Bossy Betsy steamrollered on.
    “You can’t spend every waking hour in that big empty house.”
    “Empty? Ha.” Elinor eyed the enormous pile of cartons surrounding her.

    0
  58. ENTRY

    Paris, October 17th, 1793. The day after Marie-Antoinette’s execution.

    The soldiers came for Sophie de Lenoncourt’s family in the hours before dawn, still drunk on the Queen’s blood.

    Sophie sat up in her bed, chest tight, skin cold. Doors slammed, feet pounded up the stairs, screams erupted.

    0
  59. ENTRY

    Kara MacPherson’s eyes blurred as she watched the mahogany casket disappear beneath the black soil; beautiful craftsmanship doomed to an eternity of decay, like the human shell inside.

    With that act of finality, her sweet Grandmother—and her last living relative—was plucked clean from her life.

    0
  60. Crystal Eliot says:

    ENTRY

    As always, Lady Eva Rutherford stood apart from the scene on the floor. It was a night like the countless others she had endured in London’s ballrooms—except tonight Lady Eva wore trousers. And this was no ballroom.

    0
  61. Ellison Penrose says:

    ENTRY

    She. Was. Screwed.
    Sabrina Willoughby slammed back into the old leather office chair and gave the offending spreadsheet the evil eye. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t make the numbers mesh. Not without a red figure of death—or looming bankruptcy—glaring at her from the computer screen.

    0
  62. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks for all the fabulous entries!!

    WE ARE CLOSED TO NEW ENTRIES, though.

    Please try again next year!

    0

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