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Opening Day for the 2018 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!

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The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest.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

Check out the finalists from 2017’s contest2016’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. Pacific Time on September 27), 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 2019 Golden Heart (see RWA’s 2019 contest 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 TO THIS CONTEST!
  • 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 26 (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 2019 Golden Heart Contest, or is posted after 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on September 27) will result in the entry being disqualified.

Ten finalists will be listed on the blog at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 3. ENTRANTS SHOULD CHECK THE RUBY BLOG AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE ON OCTOBER 3 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. Pacific time on October 4 (in other words, a bit over 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. Pacific Time on October 4.) Again, type ENTRY in caps at the top and post your expanded entry.

The three winners will be announced on the blog on Wednesday, 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)

50 responses to “Opening Day for the 2018 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!”

  1. Neera says:

    ENTRY
    The solitude of the space was comforting as the door latched behind him. The falling rain outside became merely white noise within the walls of the cookie cutter London flat. Beaded water clung to his coat and a few drops mingled with the nervous sweat upon his brow.

    4+
  2. Neera says:

    ENTRY
    The bed was still warm as Stella slid her arm across the vacant spot where his body once laid. She let out a half-hearted sigh, not surprised by the absence. The shower could be heard in the distance, with the occasional splash of water hitting the tile below.

    4+
  3. ENTRY

    At my desk down the hall, I’d watched a lot of women come and go from Cooper Fallon’s office, but this one was the worst. And she wasn’t going quietly.

    When she shrieked something that ended with “asshole,” I hid my grin and pulled up the staffing agency’s contact information.

    5+
  4. Diane Wiggs says:

    ENTRY

    “I didn’t know it was physically possible to have your head up your ass.”
    Ashwood Police Detective, CJ Whittier, cocked his head to the side. He surveyed the naked body in the tall grass next to the Minnesota River before responding to Jim, his partner of three years.

    2+
  5. Diane Wiggs says:

    ENTRY

    Jim Swenson cursed the bitter winter as he pulled his collar up tight to stop the icy wind from beating on his neck. He cupped his hands and blew on them to bring a tiny bit of feeling back into his extremities. “I hope the crime scene unit works fast.”

    1+
  6. ENTRY

    Jake rolled onto his left side, stretching his aching hips and glutes. A stab of pain ripped through his shoulder as he shifted, a memento from a hard block during last Sunday’s football game. He glanced at his cell phone on the nightstand. He had time for more sleep, but

    2+
  7. ENTRY

    My ponytail flicks my face as Emmet launches me into orbit. I twirl three rotations and plummet to Earth. He catches my waist, sliding me onto the ice. Our twist-lift is flawless, like thousands of times before, as it must be later this week when we skate for Olympic gold.

    3+
  8. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    Keep ’em coming! I LOVE reading the entries! So much fun and so much talent!

    1+
  9. Paula Huffman says:

    ENTRY:

    Nine thousand fans stomp and clap and scream, brandishing lighter apps and a few genuine, retro flames in a crazy tribute I will never deserve. The arena is black and gold, a dizzy cavern of drunken fireflies.

    A spotlight shoots down from the scaffolding and dies beneath my feet.

    3+
  10. OMG! I love these so far. Keep them coming.

    1+
  11. ENTRY

    Only a desperate fool would spend Halloween at the local university library. But I gotta read an ancient book for a stupid European history report in Mr. Williams’ class since I got a stupid C on the last test. So this is for extra credit. Save-my-ass credit. Like, do-this-or-don’t-get-into-college credit.

    2+
  12. ENTRY:
    The guy stumbling through the bar’s back door was tall, tatted, with that just-rolled-out-of-bed scruff. Totally my type. Except for being drunk-as-a-skunk and leaning into his “date.” Date being shorthand for ghoul glamoured to appear human.

    *You’re cute, but c’mon. Do you have to make the monster’s job so easy?*

    5+
  13. Cat Harrison says:

    ENTRY:

    Erin froze at the scent of expensive cologne. She should be removing her jacket for the coat check attendant. Instead, the small hairs on her neck rose. The dread she suppressed on the way to this event crawled up her spine tightening her grip on the lapels.

    2+
  14. Mae Donovan says:

    ENTRY

    As far as dogs went, Cheesedoodle was fair to middling. As far as humans went, Jess O’Halloran was pissed.

    1+
  15. Courtney Lynn Rose says:

    ENTRY

    Homecoming is three weeks away, and I’ve got a hot date and even hotter dress.
    Cameron and I aren’t technically going steady, but we’ve been talking for a month. I told, Camilla, my best friend, at the beginning of the year, I wasn’t worrying about dating.

    2+
  16. ENTRY:

    The first time a lost soul spoke to me, I was ten years old. It was late October, and my seventh day of digging graves in the churchyard. Behind me stood our mule and cart, illuminated by lanterns Father hung from the side rails so we could see to work.

    3+
  17. ENTRY:

    It wasn’t every day Kiernan was asked to risk her license to a malpractice suit.

    “No.” With one finger, she pushed the folder away.

    “Yes.” The bane of her existence shoved the folder back. A picture slid out. Dark, compelling eyes and off-center dimple dangerously distracting even in a photo.

    7+
  18. Amy Jones says:

    ENTRY:

    Elliot Hale tugs at his tie, raising his eyes when Ginger clears her throat. With a wicked smirk, she takes a slip of paper out of her folder, arranges it to face him, and slowly slides it across the conference table. “Seems all your STD results came back A-OK.”

    2+
  19. ENTRY:

    Fact: One in ten beings on this earth is a creature. Some daemons, others witches, a few vampires, shapeshifters…and the occasional lycan. I’m the second on that shortlist of paranormal on earth. But magic wasn’t helping me at the moment.

    2+
  20. Kat Turner says:

    ENTRY

    Before Evie knew of her clairsentience, mortuary science seemed like the perfect career choice. She’d gravitated to the profession for the quiet and lack of drama, only to find out that dead people never shut up.

    Irony was one evil clown.

    She locked the front door of the funeral home

    6+
  21. Kat Turner says:

    ENTRY

    Light and Enlightened, Helen’s yoga studio, was about to be Dark and Forgotten.

    Well, fuck that.

    As she strode toward the rides and screams enlivening the Minnesota State Fair, Helen dug the foreclosure notice from her purse and crumpled it into a ball. She chucked the wadded up paper

    3+
  22. ENTRY

    Flying pigs weren’t in the weather forecast, and yet here I was, hiding behind a bookshelf, steeling myself to ask Finley Sinclair for the mother of all favors.

    Across the floor, Finn was crouched in front of our bestseller display, tinkering with the employee recommendation cards.

    2+
  23. ENTRY

    Eliza Manningport walked up to the teller booth, wishing that she wore her nude pumps so the clack of the heels on the hardwood floors would prove she meant business. But instead she wore her navy blue Keds with the dirty laces. She needed the flexibility.

    2+
  24. Daphne Chase says:

    ENTRY

    If Oliver Townsend carved notches into his bedpost after each of his romantic conquests, he would be sleeping on a pile of toothpicks by now. A pile of toothpicks which recently came crashing down around his head and poked him in the ass before catching on fire.

    8+
  25. Rebekah Simmers says:

    ENTRY
    Princess Avelina’s heart pounded furiously. Years of imprisonment were over. The promise of a future mere footsteps away. The carved chapel doors towered and shook in front of her, as the boisterous laughter and garbled voices of the bustling crowd pulsated through them.

    2+
  26. Daphne Chase says:

    ENTRY

    Katie stifled a yawn and flipped to the next catalog sheet. Creating database records for what felt like the 500th salad fork of the day was far less interesting than photographing, measuring, and cataloging the items had been earlier in the week.

    4+
  27. lauren silverman says:

    ENTRY

    For the first time in her life, Clara Wheaton had gone with her gut, and the results were backfiring spectacularly.
    She should have known.
    The Wheaton family’s impulse control, or rather their lack thereof, was infamous among the well-heeled society of Greenwich, Connecticut.

    5+
  28. ENTRY
    To most women, high heels and handguns didn’t complement couture, but for Kate Howard, personal security expert, they went together like hummus and pita. In T-minus-thirty minutes, she could mark the senator’s re-election campaign fundraiser a success. No seedy characters. No suspicious packages. No assassination attempts.

    2+
  29. Emmaline Warden says:

    ENTRY

    The pleasure crashed through Sophie, her body shaking under the onslaught as wave after wave of intoxicating bliss coursed through her. She bit her lip attempting to contain the scream that sat upon her tongue. At his gentle stroking, her body quieted, the release so potent that she felt weightless.

    3+
  30. Emmaline Warden says:

    ENTRY

    Eloise Delacroix abhorred the stench of cigar smoke. Specifically, the stench of cigar smoke wafting off the body pressed heavily against her.
    Attempting to wriggle free, she found her arms pinned down by the overzealous lord’s chubby hands. How she allowed it to get this far, she did not know.

    3+
  31. Sammi Spizziri says:

    ENTRY

    My mom always said best friends are forever, but the last time I spoke to mine was nine months ago.

    Sitting under my lofted bed, I tensed at the incoming text. Kace stopped contacting me in November, after he realized I couldn’t respond to what he told me.

    2+
  32. Laurie Kellogg says:

    These are all so awesome, I have no idea how to rank them!!! Keep ’em coming!

    0
  33. Bethany Truex says:

    ENTRY

    It should be harder to lose one’s reputation. London society cats, gossiping behind chicken skin fans and eviscerating the next generation over tea cakes, lived for the triumph that came from being the first to share the latest tale of misfortune. Assuming of course, the misfortune belonged to someone else.

    3+
  34. Bethany Truex says:

    ENTRY
    Lord Carlyle usually found Almack’s utterly terrifying. The fear stemmed from a natural response to the sensation of being hunted. Tonight, he wasn’t the prey.
    His sister swept by in the arms of a young man, who, if his hand crept lower than Emma’s waist, would be dead by morning.

    3+
  35. Arel Jansen says:

    ENTRY

    I was driving too fast. My headlights picked up sporadic bursts of snow, but it was the patches of ice on Lake Charles Drive that had me gripping the wheel with both hands. The back of my truck fishtailed, trying to pull me toward the ditch. Not. Happening.

    1+
  36. Liza Roberts says:

    ENTRY
    Endless horizon met with grey and white, sun glinting through the clouds with a hint of blue. A strong breeze, unapologetic, pushed itself against me. Twenty two hours had passed since I waved goodbye to my children in Tasmania. Alone in a different country, was this a big mistake?

    3+
  37. Jeanne Moore says:

    ENTRY

    Monday, May 1, 1865
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    “Josie, may I see you for a moment?” Quincy Drake stood in the doorway between his office and The Philadelphia Dispatch’s newsroom. The reporters stopped talking about the stories they were working on. All eyes were on Josie and the tall, distinguished black-haired editor.

    1+
  38. ENTRY

    Dayton. Why the hell did it have to be in Dayton?

    I unfolded myself from the town car and met the driver with my suitcase around back. Dayton didn’t have any direct flights from anywhere useful. Certainly not from Milan, where I’d woken up tangled with the leggy grid girl.

    1+
  39. ENTRY

    Beauteous was the sweet, dewy slit between a woman’s thighs.
    Lucian Montague, Duke of Iaversley, held nothing back in his life-long, eternal quest to prove that most succulent feminine cleft was the Creator’s greatest gift to all of mankind. Twas one rite of worship the he thought every Goddess deserving.

    0
  40. ENTRY
    How could a slip of paper make a man hard?
    Wakefield’s heart somersaulted in his chest as he stared the quarter-sheet of parchment. He found no difficulty relating that rush of his emotions to the sudden, and slightly awkward, tight-fit of his breeches as he read those lust inducing words.

    0
  41. Adele Buck says:

    ENTRY

    Gina’s fingers trembled as she ripped open the envelope. She shouldn’t be doing this here. She should have waited to go upstairs, to the privacy of her apartment. Instead, she was standing by the bank of mailboxes, tearing open her fall grade report.

    2+
  42. Tanya Agler says:

    ENTRY:

    Dying in the middle of sex wasn’t all that big a deal. After all, everyone had to go sometime. If the news had stopped there, Mayor Hank Richardson’s death might not have been bad. In fact, the residents of Wakebridge would nudge each other with a smile.

    1+
  43. Tanya Agler says:

    ENTRY:

    “Breaking and entering at Max’s Auto Repair. Not in progress.”
    Two robberies this morning? A new record for Hollydale. One Mike Harrison would’ve loved not breaking.
    “That makes five this month.” Mike didn’t flick on the siren. Instead, he turned onto Maple Drive and caught sight of the street’s namesakes.

    1+

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The Latest Comments

  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: LOL. Thank you, Darynda! 😀 And yeah, that buzzer is a tricksy beast!
  • Darynda Jones: I AM SO PROUD OF YOU, VIVI!!! That was the coolest thing ever, seeing a sister up there kicking ass...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: It’s certainly tricky, but I did indeed have a blast! 🙂
  • Kate Parker: Wow, Vivi, it sounds like you had a blast. congrats on doing so well. That buzzer sounds like a demon.
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Thank you, Anna! I tried to give ’em a fight to the finish! 🙂

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