Tag Archives: writing contest

Hot, Hot, and HOTR!

Sensational Saturday

a blog posted in absentia

Today I am off at Nationals, but I still wanted to post a blog for everyone. I’m going to brag about the Heart of the Rockies Contest. Or the HOTR (pronounced Hotter!) as we affectionately call it. Unlike the Golden Heart the HOTR is a contest with feedback. Structured feedback. Judges are given a sheet of criteria and they look at each piece of the manuscript individually, before giving a score. This means that you actually find out what the judge was thinking when they give your darling a less than favorable score. And since you can see how it breaks down, you are able to understand why they didn’t love it. Or what worked for them if they did love it.

Another benefit to the HOTR is that everyone gets at least one published author to look at their work. That means that it’s not just a bunch of random judges, or even romance readers. At least one person has been through the editing process themselves. Another benefit is that at least one of your judges gives you a critique. They summarize what the scoring sheet tells you, and it’s their opportunity to share their deeper thinking. All this for only thirty dollars.

Few contests give you this much quality feedback unless you go to the finals, and with the HOTR everyone gets this high quality feedback. So take a chance. If you are an unpublished author, or know someone who is, I’ve posted all the information below. And I’m requesting that everyone of you please forward it.

Thank you!


Heart of the Rockies
Unpublished Author Contest RULES

Colorado Romance Writers is pleased to announce the 2012 Heart of the Rockies Contest for unpublished writers. Numerous past Heart of the Rockies entrants have gone on to publication in book-length fiction. This year, there will be nine categories with achievement awards given in each. Entries are limited to the first 215 received. Entries received after the limit is achieved will be returned to the owner.

Every entry will be judged by two experienced judges, at least one of whom will be a published author. Manuscripts that qualify for a final round will be judged by editors or agents. Finalists will be notified no later than September 1, 2012.  First place in each category will receive plaques; all others will receive a certificate. In addition, winners will be announced in the Romance Writers Report.

Entrants will receive one written critique and two comprehensive evaluations of their work based on twenty different potential problem areas. Each category uses an individualized score sheet for its particular genre.


If paying by PAYPAL, the entry form can be electronic also. If submitting electronically, the person entering the contest understands that submission constitutes a signature.  If paying by check, the entry form must be printed and submitted with a signature by snail mail.

Once we receive your entry and payment, the coordinator will send you an email with a link to which coordinator to send your submission and synopsis.

Names shall not appear anywhere on the submission entry or synopsis.



♥ Young Adult  ~ Novels with a romantic element aimed at teens and young adult readers.  Word count more than 40,000 (Examples:  TOR, Kensington)

Long Contemporary Romance ~ Series romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship with a proposal length of at least 60,000 words. (Examples: Harlequin American, Superromance, Silhouette Special Edition)

Short Contemporary Romance ~ Series romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship with a proposal length of less than 60,000 words. (Examples: Harlequin Presents, Romance and Temptation; Silhouette Desire and Romance; Avalon)

Single Title Romance ~ Contemporary romantic novels not printed as part of a series. (Examples: Mira; Avon). Projected length of over 70,000 words.

Romantic Suspense ~ Novels that contain a strong element of suspense or mystery mixed with romance. This may include gothic-style romances if they are set in modern times.

Historical Romance ~ Novels that feature romance in time periods other than the present. Most editors consider historicals as books set in times prior to World War I. Entrants submitting Gothics will have to decide whether their entries fit better here or in the Suspense category. (Examples: Avon, Zebra, Harlequin Historicals and all Regency lines)

Paranormal/Time Travel/Futuristic/Fantasy ~ Novels that mix romance with elements of the paranormal, time travel or fantasy. (Examples: Love Spell; Jove Time Passages, Magical Love)

Inspirational Romance ~ Novels featuring an inspirational message of personal religious faith conveyed as a major element of the plot and not used as a plot device or subplot. Examples: Love Inspired; Waterbrook Press; Palisades; Barbour/Heart Songs; Multnomah Publishers)

Mainstream with Romantic Elements ~ A work of fiction not belonging in another category that contains a strong romantic element, such that one or more romances contained in the story form an integral part of the story’s structure, but in which other themes or stories may also be significantly developed. ****Warning—The synopsis may be critical in judging this category if the Hero/Heroine do not meet in the 1st 30 pgs and if the romance is not introduced yet.



Permission to forward

Contest extended until August 1, 2012


♥ Achievement awards will be given in the following categories: Spicy, Long Contemporary, Short Contemporary, Contemporary Single Title, Romantic Suspense, Inspirational, Paranormal/Time Travel/ Futuristic/Fantasy, Historical Romance, and Mainstream with Romantic Elements. Please indicate on the submission header the category in which your manuscript is entered. If a minimum of 7 entries are not received in a category, we reserve the right to either combine categories OR that category will be cancelled and the entries and entry fee returned to their owners.

♥ Each entry is judged by two experienced judges, one of whom is a published author. A score sheet focusing on 20 problem areas (with a total of 105 possible points) is used by each. Judges may make comments on the score sheet and may also choose to write on the manuscript.
♥ The entry fee also includes one separate critique discussing the manuscript’s strong and weak points and suggestions for improvement. Please keep in mind that judging is subjective.
♥ Manuscripts that qualify for a final round will be judged by editors or agents. Awards will be announced on October 13, 2012.  First place in each category will receive a plaque; all others will receive a certificate. In addition, winners will be announced in the Romance Writers Report.

♥ To qualify for an award, an entry must receive a total combined score of at least 160 points (out of a possible combined score from both judges of 210 points). If no entry in a category receives 160 points, there will be no award given in that category. Finalists will be notified by e-mail or phone no later than September 14, 2012.

♥ ELECTRONIC ONLY.  Submission consisting of the first two chapters and the complete 1-5 page synopsis, saved in RTF format only, total entry is not to exceed 35 double-spaced pages. There should be no cover page in the attachment. Only one version of each manuscript will be accepted. Do not submit more than once. Do not follow up with a paper entry.
♥ Include in the body of the email, your real name, address, telephone number, title of the entry, and category in which the entry should be judged. If your PayPal payment is paid by someone other than you, please include that also so we may cross-reference. Your submission should be an attachment using the rich text font format. It will NOT be accepted unless it is saved as an RTF format.
♥ You may enter as many manuscripts as you wish in each category, but each must be accompanied by both an official entry form (photocopies acceptable) and the correct entry fee, either by check or PayPal. If submitting paypal, the entry form may be emailed directly.
At the time of submission, you may not have had this work nor any other work in novel-length romantic fiction of yours accepted for publication, including e-published and self-published.
Entries must be submitted in either Courier New 12 or Times New Roman 12.  If submitting an entry form electronically, the person entering the contest understands that submission constitutes a signature on the entry form.
♥ Submissions should be e-mailed as an attachment to the appropriate Category Coordinator using RTF (rich text font) format. A link will be sent to you following receipt of payment and electronic entry form. PLEASE WAIT FOR CONFIRMATION before contacting coordinators. Contest entry deadline is midnight Mountain Time on August 1, 2012.
♥ If paying by check, the entry form must be printed and submitted with a signature by snail mail, mailed to the appropriate coordinator.
♥ Names or personal information shall not appear anywhere on the attachment, submission entry or synopsis. It may only appear in the body (cover) of the email.
♥ If there are any questions regarding electronic entries, please contact Coordinator Maya Milhous at HORCoordinator1@coloradoromancewriters.org.

♥ Manuscripts must be suitable for submission in contest format (typed with the acceptable fonts and double-spaced to be easier on the judges’ eyes, with 1” margins all around, 25-27 manuscript lines per page.) WE ARE AWARE THIS ISN’T ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION FORMAT, HOWEVER, IT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR JUDGING
♥ At the top of each manuscript page in the header, you must print the title of the entry and the category entered. Page numbers will be included at the top of the submission. Your name should appear ONLY on the cover sheet which is the body of the email. If it appears on any of your attached manuscript pages, your entry will be disqualified.
♥ Send your entry as ONE attachment in .rtf format, with your 1-5 page synopsis placed at the beginning of your submission, followed by the Prologue/ Chapters 1 & 2, for a total of no more than 35 PAGES.

FEES:  CRW Members–$25; Non-CRW Members–$30

All fees are NON-REFUNDABLE and must accompany your manuscript. Checks or money orders should be made payable to COLORADO ROMANCE WRITERS. Or use the Paypal buttons on CRW website. A submission will not be considered entered into the contest unless a payment has been received.
NOTE For Paypal entries: When you submit your entry and form, please indicate you used Paypal. Entries received without an enclosed payment or prior to payment through Paypal will be returned. If you’re using Paypal, please type your name, book title and category in the empty box located above the PayPal button before clicking on the button to continue your transaction. Thank you!

MAILING: There will be no mailing of paper submissions this year.

DEADLINE: Manuscripts along with payment and entry form must be received no later than June 15, 2012.

QUESTIONS: Coordinator email: Grace Larradle, HORCoordinator1@coloradoromancewriters.org;

♥ Winners for the 2012 contest will be announced at the CRW’s October Anniversary & PAL tea on October 13, 2012.


Filed under Events, Sensational Saturday's

Dig Deep and plan for the Future

Sensational Saturdays

a blog for whatever I feel like writing

It’s halfway through April and I don’t even have a single seed planted.

Gardening is like writing. You need to get started, or you miss the season. Spinach needs to be planted early, so does lettuce. Soon, you’ve passed the time period for planting the early season crops and you’re on to the tomatoes and melons. And then it’s fall and you have nothing to harvest.

If you are a pre-pubbed romance author, you too have a possible harvest deadline. Many of us are going to try to enter the Golden Heart, but you need to start your seeds of your outline now. Have your outline done? Then it’s time to nurture it into a rough draft. Once that’s ready, get out the hoe and mow down some weeds, it’s the middle of the growing season and editing time. And then you have your final draft. Your story. Your harvest.

If you don’t plant early, you’ll find the opportunities for contests and pitching opportunities have passed. I’m going to RWA Nationals, and I plan to pitch a particular story, is it ready? No. But it’s close. I’ve planted the seeds, now I’m hoeing the weeds.

Snow and the Seventh Wolf is in its last bit of editing before I send it off to my publisher. I’ve planted the outline, nurtured the rough draft, now I’m hoeing the last weeds from the very end before sending it to market, where I hope someone buys my harvest. It’s always a little risky, but if you don’t start, you don’t have a harvest at all. And I should have gotten it finished last month. What happens when it languishes, waiting for me to pay attention to it? Does the opportunity fly past? I don’t know, but I guess we’ll find out!

What projects in your life need some nurturing? Have you started a garden? Do you have a manuscript in need of tending? Do you have a harvest date that you need to plan for?


Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Sensational Saturday's