Posts tagged with: writing contests

T-minus Four and Counting to Golden Heart Day

It’s four days until the Golden Heart calls are made.  By this time, if you’ve entered the competition, are serious about pursuing your goal, and are paying attention, you’ve got a major league case of butterflies.

And if you’re like me you’re utterly clueless.

Welcome Bestselling Fantasy/Paranormal Author Skyler White!

In Dreams Begin by Skyler White

At RWA 2010 in Orlando, I was headed for the powder room when I almost bumped into a woman with red dreadlocks. Tired from the trip, and from staying up too late with my critique partner the night before, it took a moment for my brain to kick into gear. When it did, I realized I knew this person



The competition’s been absolutely amazing!

First, we asked for attention-grabbing opening lines, and got 79 outstanding candidates.

Then the Rubies narrowed the list to their favorite ten, and the authors had one day to give us more of the opening: a maximum of 250 words.

The entries all lived up to the promise of their first lines: we were hooked, and wished we could read more of every one!

But in the end, we had to pick just three—not an easy task.

Third Place gets a ruby-slipper journal to pen even more fabulous romance novel openings. Second Place gets a $20 book-store gift certificate. And First Place gets the Grand Prize: the Rubies pay the author’s Golden Heart entry fee!

And as good as our First Place winner is, that’s a perfect fit, since we think this author (not to mention the rest of our top ten!) should be entering the Golden Heart prontissimo….

For maximum suspense, the winners are announced from Third Place to First….after the jump.


Thanks again to everybody who joined us for our Blog-O-Versary bash, and to the 79 entrants who boldly offered their first lines for our Make It Golden Contest!  The Rubies read them all, marveling at the variety and hilarity and overall wonderfulness, and struggled to narrow the field to ten.

It truly pained us to leave so many fabulous entries behind—we’d love to read expanded versions of every single one, and can’t wait to see those sentences opening your published books!

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 double arrow button below.

If you see your first line, that’s your cue to enter your EXPANDED entry in one of the Comments boxes below today’s post. Include your first line again, then the following few sentences 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).

Expanded entries must be entered by MIDNIGHT EDT on September 27 to qualify for the final round.

Celebrate the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Blog-o-versary & Enter the Make It Golden Contest!


The Ruby Sisters have been blogging together for a full year now, every single weekday since September 21, 2009. And we’re still going strong!

We’re celebrating by throwing our FIRST EVER CONTEST, the Make It Golden Contest.  Just post your romance manuscript’s first line today as a comment (with the word ENTRY in all caps at the top),  and you’re in the running to win the grand prize: having the Rubies pay your Golden Heart entry fee. (Complete rules and full prize list follow below). Remember: only the FIRST ONE HUNDRED ENTRIES QUALIFY, so be quick!! (Update as of 10:15 p.m. EST: We’re up to 75 entries! With less than two hours to go before the deadline, we’ve still got room for a few more, so jump on board!!)

Plus, as a special birthday surprise, we’re giving out some fabulous blog-o-versary prizes TODAY!!! A few randomly-selected folks who leave a comment today (either an entry or a regular comment wishing us well on our birthday) will win books by Ruby Sisters, who’ll be popping in throughout the day to announce winners. One randomly-selected commenter will win a $20 Barnes & Noble e-gift-certificate.  Look for a special post at the end of the day today for a full list of blog-o-versary prize winners!

Announcing our “Make It Golden” Contest!

The Ruby Sisters’ blog will celebrate its FIRST birthday September 21st. We can hardly believe it. Time does fly when you’re having fun. To celebrate we’ve decided to have a contest. Yippee!  We’re calling it the Make It Golden Contest.   Grand prize is your Golden Heart entry fee.

We want to thank all of you with a big Tin Man heart for being faithful followers and offer an incentive to polish your Golden Heart entry.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday Tuesday September 21st, we will accept one hundred FIRST lines of a romance manuscript. We will close to entries at midnight. Any words past that first sentence period or posted after midnight and the Wicked Witch of the West will DQ you. And that doesn’t mean you will be going to Dairy Queen.

Why Make It Golden? It’s a Scarecrow no-brainer.  All the Sisters believe openings are key to finaling in the Golden Heart. The opening is the most important part of the book. It has to grab the reader, contest judge, agent and editor immediately and force them to keep turning pages and reading. If you attended any of the agent /editor panels in Orlando, you got an idea of how important agents and editors think openings are.

With this contest you get the chance to see how your opening grabs The Ruby Sisters. Show us what you’ve got. Does your story start in black and white or brilliant Technicolor?  The Sisters will read the first lines and choose ten finalists. Those ten will then give us MORE of the story, starting with the first sentence, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words.  We will count.  Anymore and… you guessed it… you will be DQ’d and maybe have to contend with a Flying Monkey or two.

Tell your critique partners and chapter mates. Polish, polish, polish; make every word count.  Don’t be a cowardly lion, follow us down the Yellow Brick Road as you Make it Golden.


This contest is open to anyone eligible to enter the Golden Heart. Ruby Sisters are not eligible.

There is no entry fee.

Contest opens 12:01 am EST September 21st.

Contest is limited to first 100 entries.

Contest closes 11:59 pm EST September 21st.

Enter the first sentence ONLY of your manuscript by posting it as a comment on the blog. At the top of your comment, type ENTRY in capital letters. On the next line enter your first sentence.  The Ruby Sisters will select all finalists.

Ten first-round finalists will be announced on the blog 12:01 am EST Monday September 27th.

Those ten finalists will have the rest of the day on Monday September 27th (until midnight EST) to post the remaining words of their expanded entries.  Again type ENTRY in caps and post, along with your first sentence, the expanded entry.  TOTAL words may not exceed two hundred fifty.

Not much, we know. Think having us read those two hundred fifty words and say “man, I’d love to read more of that.”  This is exactly what an agent and editor do.

The three winners will be announced on the blog Tuesday October 5th.

First prize -Golden Heart $50.00 entry fee paid.

Second prize- $20.00 B&N gift certificate.

Third prize- Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Journal

Prizes are as stated. No cash substitutes.

No feedback on entries will be provided.

The Sisters are multi-published, in print and e-book. We are PAN and PRO. We read and write in all genres. We are trained judges. We have finaled in and judged many contests.

We are Golden Heart winners, finalists and Good Witches.

Getting ready for the Golden Heart 2011

The 2010 RWA Golden Heart is over. We’ve squeeed with the finalists and cheered for the winners. We’ve pitched our manuscripts at conferences and sent out query letters. What’s next for our intrepid writers?

The 2011 Golden Heart, of course. Now is the time to get started, not in September when you send in your money and then realize you’ve committed yourself. It would be even better if your story is already partially completed. So what are the three steps to be taking now to see your name on the 2011 Golden Heart list?

1.  Write, write, write. You can only send in entries that are completed. If you put your butt in the chair for 5 pages a day, you’ll have a 400 page manuscript written in first draft in 80 days. October 31st. Halloween. Oohh, that doesn’t leave much time for rewites. It’d have been better if you’d started on that rough draft last spring.

2.  Get your posse together and critique each other’s manuscripts. It’s amazing what another pair of eyes or more can spot in what you thought was a perfect page. Just remember, it’s your story, and you’re the final judge of which suggestions to take and which to ignore.

3.  Enter the Golden Pen contest. Put on by the Golden Network chapter, it’s the closest thing to the Golden Heart, plus you get more feedback than just a number. Particularly worried about the first chapter? There are some excellent contests out there right now which will get feedback to you before the Golden Heart entries need to be sent in.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to line up your muses nearby. Mine are Figment (collected this summer at Disney World), Dark Wing Duck (anyone remember him?), and a pot bellied hippopotamus. I’ve got my muses, my manuscript was begun months ago, and my plan is in place.

Anyone want to share their plan for this year’s race to the Golden Heart deadline?

The good, the bad, the WTF?! Contest Comments That Leave You Speechless.

We enter writing contests for a multitude of reasons.  Among those reasons are to learn of our weaknesses, to work under deadlines, and to gain exposure by possibly taking a final. We also enter to get a general opinion of our story. Do we have what it takes to nab a reader or do forty winks hit them faster than a sleep aid? Of course the grand Pooh-Bah of entering is to target a final round dream agent or editor.


Beware. I bite!

The Accidental Finalist

     I love a contest.  I’ll admit it.  I’ll own it.  I don’t apologize for it.  I enter many different manuscripts in just about any contest that will have me.  Sometimes I’m a finalist.  Occasionally I win.  Once in a while, it’s an accident.

Dear Judge #574: An Open Thank You Letter to Judges of Contests Past

Dear Judge # 574,

It’s been a while, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your comments on my Merritt contest entry.  You went above and beyond the call of duty, showing me the (many) places where my manuscript fell short.  Okay–maybe at the time I would’ve been happier with “Bravo”, “Well done”, or “Sure to be a New York Times Best-Seller”, but in the long run your honest feedback was much more valuable than empty praise.  So, please accept this (extremely late) expression of my gratitude.

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