Valerie Parv Award Closing Date extended!

If you’ve been dithering about entering the 2017 VPA, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for!  Entries were slated to close today, but you have an extra week to get your entry in!

All the details are below.  So get your skates on and enter!

WHO CAN ENTER THE VPA CONTEST?
If you are an Aspiring, or Emerging RWA member, or non-member with no works 40K+ contracted or commercially available, then you can enter. You will be in the running for a year-long mentorship with Valerie Parv. Valerie has sold 60 novels since 1982, and had over 25 million copies of her books sold internationally.

WHAT DO I NEED TO ENTER
1,000 word synopsis, and
10,000 words of your unpublished work

More information about conditions and how to enter here:
https://romanceaustralia.com/contests/aspiring-contests/the-valerie-parv-award/

Contest Opened:  7 April 2016
Contest Closes: Monday 1 May 2017, Monday, AEST 12 midnight

I NEED MORE TIME TO FINISH MY ENTRY – WHAT TIME COUNTER ARE YOU USING?
For those of you in the non-Eastern states/territories (or overseas) I will be using this time and date counter (set to Brisbane time) on the day the contest closes:

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/australia/brisbane

Once the counter tells me it’s midnight, I’ll flick back over to the VPA inbox, refresh the browser and then close the contest.

IMPORTANT:
Please note: you cannot ‘reserve’ a place by paying your entry fee. The only way to claim a place in the contest is to submit your entry.

I’M WORRIED ABOUT FORMATTING
If you’re concerned about formatting, then:

a)      Download a template from the website and copy and paste your entry into it:

https://romanceaustralia.com/contests/aspiring-contests/the-valerie-parv-award/

b)       Contact me ASAP  – we can work on the formatting quickly and then you can get back to finishing your entry off

LAST MINUTE ENTRANTS
Please be aware:

–          If your word count is over the 1000 word synopsis, or 10,000 word entry limit and there’s no time to send it back to you, I will trim it at 1000 or 10,000 words exactly.

–          If there are formatting issues and there’s no time to send it back to you, the issues will stand and there is the possibility of a 5-point deduction. This deduction can mean the difference between going through to the final, or not.

There’s still time to enter, you’ve got until Monday!

Good luck with your entry and if you want to know anything, just ask me.

Jo McAlister
Joint 2017 VPA Contest Manager
on behalf of Romance Writers of Australia
vpa@romanceaustralia.com

 

RITA NOMINEES ANNOUNCED

Maddy02BCongratulations to RWA member Madeline Ash who has been nominated for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) 2017 RITA Awards for the second year in a  row. Madeline is a finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Short category for Breaking Good (Tule Publishing).

We’d also like to give a shout out to Kara Isaac, one of our New Zealand neighbours, who is a finalist in two categories for her debut Close to You (Howard Books): Best First Book and Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.

The winners will be announced on July 27 at the 2017 RWA Conference in Orlando, Florida. For the full list of finalists, including the Golden Heart nominees, visit the RWA website here. Have you read any?

Best First Book

  • Alterations by Stephanie Scott, Bloomsbury, Spark (Meredith Rich, editor)
  • Before Goodbye by Mimi Cross, Amazon, Skyscape (Miriam Juskowicz, editor)
  • Close to You by Kara Isaac, Howard Books (Beth Adams, editor)
  • The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt, HarperTeen (Annie Berger, editor)
  • Once and For All: An American Valor Novel by Cheryl Etchison, Avon, Impulse (Priyanka Krishnan and Rebecca Lucash, editors)
  • Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods, Penguin Random House, Crown BFYR (Emily Easton, editor)

Contemporary Romance: Long

  • Always a Bridesmaid by Lizzie Shane, Self-published (Kristan Andrews, editor)
  • Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long, Avon Books (May Chen, editor)
  • Make Me Sin by J. T. Geissinger, Montlake Publishing (Maria Gomez, editor)
  • Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan, Harlequin, HQN (Flo Nicoll, editor)
  • Pansies by Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing (Sarah Lyons, editor)
  • Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne, Harlequin, HQN (Gail Chasan, editor)
  • Tender Is the Night by Barbara Freethy, Hyde Street Press

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

  • Back in the Saddle by Karen Templeton, Harlequin, Special Edition (Gail Chasan, editor)
  • Barefoot at Midnight by Roxanne St. Claire, Self-published (Kristi Yanta, editor)
  • Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra, Berkley Publishing Group (Cindy Hwang, editor)
  • Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, Self-published
  • Lone Heart Pass by Jodi Thomas, Harlequin, HQN (Brittany Lawery and Susan Swinwood, editors)
  • Off the Hook by Laura Drewry, Penguin Random House, Loveswept (Junessa Viloria, editor)
  • Once and For All: An American Valor Novel by Cheryl Etchison, Avon, Impulse (Priyanka Krishnan and Rebecca Lucash, editors)
  • Tell Me How This Ends by Victoria De La O, St. Martin’s Press, Swerve (Eileen Rothschild, editor)
  • The Turning Point by Marie Meyer, Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours (Megha Parekh, editor)
  • Wanderlust by Roni Loren, Penguin Random House, Berkley (Kate Seaver, editor)

Contemporary Romance: Short

  • APB: Baby by Julie Miller, Harlequin, Intrigue (Allison Lyons, editor)
  • Breaking Good by Madeline Ash, Tule Publishing, Holiday, (Sinclair SawBreakingGood-medium-200x300hney, editor)
  • Christmas on Crimson Mountain by Michelle Major, Harlequin, Special Edition (Gail Chasan, editor)
  • Falling for the Rancher by Tanya Michaels, Harlequin, American Romance (Johanna Raisanen, editor)
  • Far from Home by Lorelie Brown, Riptide Publishing (Gwen Hayes and Sarah Lyons, editors)
  • His Stolen Bride by Barbara Dunlop, Harlequin, Desire (Kathryn Lye, editor)
  • A Malibu Kind of Romance by Synithia Williams, Harlequin, Kimani (Shannon Criss, editor)
  • Overwhelming Force by Janie Crouch, Harlequin, Intrigue (Allison Lyons, editor)
  • Searching for Disaster by Jennifer Probst, Pocket Books, Pocket Star (Lauren McKenna, editor)
  • Two Doctors & a Baby by Brenda Harlen, Harlequin, Special Edition (Susan Litman)

Erotic Romance

  • The Dirty Secret by Kira A. Gold, Carina Press (Libby Murphy, editor)
  • The Master by Tara Sue Me, New American Library (Claire Zion, editor)
  • Off the Clock by Roni Loren, Penguin Random House, Berkley ( Kate Seaver, editor)
  • Ravenous by M. S. Force, HTJB, Inc. (Linda Ingmanson, editor)
  • Three Sweet Nothings by Nikki Sloane, Self-published (Lori Whitwam, editor)

Historical Romance: Long

  • Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase, Avon Books (May Chen, editor)
  • How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington, Grand Central Publishing, Forever (Michele Bidelspach, editor)
  • No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke, Avon Books (Erika Tsang, editor)
  • Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York, St. Martin’s Press (Monique Patterson, editor)

Historical Romance: Short

  • Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare, Avon Books (Tessa Woodward, editor)
  • Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt, Grand Central Publishing (Amy Pierpont, editor)
  • A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen, Grand Central Publishing, Forever (Alex Logan, editor)
  • Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley, Sourcebooks, Casablanca (Mary Altman, editor)
  • The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries, Pocket Books (Micki Nuding, editor)
  • Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick, St. Martin’s Press, Swerve (Elizabeth Poteet, editor)

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

  • The Color of a Promise by Julianne MacLean , Self-published (Pat Thomas, editor)
  • The Depth of Beauty by A. B. Michaels, Red Trumpet Press (Rachel Daven Skinner, editor)
  • The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel, Sourcebooks, Landmark (Shana Drehs and Anna Michels, editors)
  • Now That It’s You by Tawna Fenske, Montlake Publishing (Krista Stroever and Christopher Werner, editors)

Paranormal Romance

  • Bayou Shadow Hunter by Debbie Herbert, Harlequin, Nocturne (Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor)
  • The Beast by J R Ward, New American Library (Kara Welsh, editor)
  • The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant, Self-published (Mary Moran, editor)
  • Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood, Harlequin, Nocturne (Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor)
  • Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella, Montlake Publishing (Alison Dasho, editor)
  • The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre, Self-published (Sasha Knight, editor)
  • The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy, Kensington Publishing Corp. (Peter Senftleben, editor)
  • Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper, Pocket Books (Abby Zidle, editor)

Romance Novella

  • Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan, Self-published (Lindsey Faber, editor)
  • “The Husband Maneuver” by Karen Witemeyer in With This Ring, Baker Publishing, Bethany House (Charlene Patterson, editor)
  • Let It Snow by Jeanette Grey, Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours (Megha Parekh and Lexi Smail, editors)
  • “Let Us Dream” by Alyssa Cole in Daughters of a Nation, Self-published (Nina S. Gooden, editor)
  • Searching for Mine by Jennifer Probst, Evil Eye Concepts (Liz Berry and M J Rose, editors)
  • Tycoon by Joanna Shupe, Kensington Publishing Corp. (Peter Senftleben, editor)
  • Wild in Rioby Lyssa Kay Adams, Self-published (Elaine Kulhanek, editor)

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

  • Close to You by Kara Isaac, Howard Books (Beth Adams, editor)
  • Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher, Thomas Nelson, Inc. (Ami McConnell and Leslie Peterson, editors)
  • My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray, Amazon, Waterfall Press (Amy Hosford, editor)
  • Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post, Amazon, Waterfall Press (Erin Calligan Mooney, editor)

Romantic Suspense

  • All the Dead Girls by Rita Herron, Montlake Publishing (Alison Dasho, editor)
  • Atone by Beth Yarnall, Penguin Random House, Loveswept (Sue Grimshaw, editor)
  • Field of Graves by J. T. Ellison, Harlequin, MIRA Books (Nicole Brebner, editor)
  • Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin, Harlequin, Romantic Suspense (Carly Silver, editor)
  • and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon, Penguin Random House, Loveswept (Shauna Summers, editor)
  • One Minute to Midnight by Nico Rosso Carina Press (Rhonda Stapleton, editor)
  • Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton, Montlake Publishing (Charlotte Herscher and Christopher Werner, editors)
  • Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre, Self-published (Anya Kagan, Touchstone Publishing, editor)

Young Adult Romance

  • Affective Needs by Rebecca Taylor, Ophelia House (Maya Packard, editor)
  • The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt, HarperTeen (Annie Berger, editor)
  • The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Harlequin, HQN Teen (Margo Lipschultz, editor)
  • Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods, Penguin Random House, Crown BFYR (Emily Easton, editor)

Little Gems contest placegetters

Congratulations to our Little Gems prizewinners:

Equal First prize: Courtney Clark Michaels and Imelda Evans

Second prize: Shannon McEwan

Equal Third prize: J. Keneally and Rose Pearse.

In addition, the following authors have been invited to participate in the 2017 Little Gems Onyx anthology:

Heidi Catherine
Kat Colmer
Frances Dall’Alba
Fiona Greene
Jillian Jones
Caitlyn Lynch
Fiona Marsden
Jane Newton
Stella Quinn.

Congratulations to all our entrants – the score required to reach the anthology list was high and as you can see, it was very difficult to separate the stories! Thanks as usual to all our volunteer judges, and the contest manager Lis Hoorweg.

TWO Magnificent OWLS in March

Whether it’s your manuscript or your writing business that needs work, we have you covered with our next two OWLS.  They start next Monday, so don’t delay or dither – decide!

lanaBuilding Your WordPress Author Website
From the Ground Up

with Lana Pecherczyk

Take control of your career and learn how to manage a simple WordPress website and blog then turn it into a successful self-managed powerhouse for your author business. Learn via easy walkthrough videos as Lana builds an author website before your eyes, and talks about content creation, e-commerce, traffic acquirement and more. Downloadable PDFs and worksheets will be available so you can revise at your leisure. Whether you’re a digital immigrant or an author just wanting the latest hot tips on WordPress, you can get the author targeted advice from the current RWA Webmistress Lana Pecherczyk. Each student must be prepared to either set up a free WordPress.org account, or purchase a domain and hosting (explained how to inside the course).

Register and get more details here

workshop_show-don

Bring your story into focus:
why ‘show don’t tell’ is a layer cake

with Sandy Vaile

Bring your story into focus

Why ‘show don’t tell’ is like a layer cake.

‘Show don’t tell’ is the lynch-pin of great writing. I’m sure you’ve all heard the term, but are you applying it effectively? Delve into the vivid realm of showing, and realise a balance between description and brevity that will captivate readers and not let them go.

This course best suits modern fiction writers.

Register and get more details here

Emerald and Emerald Pro second round

Congratulations to our Emerald and Emerald Pro second round entrants!

Emerald

Rose Celeste
Karina Coldrick
Frances dall’Alba
Wendy Lee Davies
Leanne Francis
Lexi Greene
Georgia Henry
Jillian Jones
Janis Linford
Stella Quinn
Jennifer Raines
Joanne Robertson
Deborah Shattuck
Laura Simpson

Emerald Pro

P.A. Crake
Louise Cusack
Diane Demetre
Darry Fraser
JC Harroway

These second round entrants are submitting their full manuscripts to be judged by our reader judges.

Well done to all who entered – as usual, competition for second round places was tough and the 85% score required to proceed was not easily achieved.

A special mention to the following entrants, who made the cut for the second round but were unable to proceed:
Tanya Kean
Pamela Hancock
Lauren James
Sonia Stanizzo
Sarma Burdeau (Emerald Pro)

All entrants will receive their first round scoresheets shortly. Thanks to our volunteer judges and to the contest manager, Marnie St Clair.

Selling Synopsis results

Congratulations to our Selling Synopsis placegetters! As judged by Joanne Grant and Megan Broderick, editors at Harlequin:

1st        Tanya Kean
2nd      Tanya Kean
3rd       Bree Verity
4th       Kay Lobegeiger
5th       Denise Ogilvie
6th       Stella Quinn

Thanks to Joanne and Megan for donating their time and expertise to our contest, and for offering their constructive feedback to our finalists. As always, thanks also to all our volunteer judges; our judge coordinator, Margaret Midwood; and our hardworking contest manager, Pauline Johnston.

Ripping Start results

Congratulations to our Ripping Start placegetters! As judged by Lucy Bell, Editor, Pantera Press:

1st: Miranda Morgan
2nd: Tamar Sloan
3rd: Tania Holland
4th: Bree Verity
5th: Bernice Greenham
6th: Elizabeth Squire

Thanks to Lucy Bell for providing such generous feedback for our finalists, and for inviting them to submit to Pantera Press. Thanks to Cat Whelan for her time and effort in running an efficient and timely contest. And well done to all who entered!

Ruby update

As you may have seen in the December issue of Hearts Talk, some exciting developments are happening for the 2017 Ruby, our contest for books published in 2016.

New sections! This year, we’ll be reducing the number of sections to four. Entry numbers in the Short Sexy and Short Sweet sections have reduced enough for these to be combined, to make four roughly even sections.

The 2017 sections will be: Long Romance, Short Romance, Romance Novella and Romantic Elements.

If you’re unsure where your book should go, check the Ruby rules/conditions on the website for descriptions. If your book fits more than one section, it’s your choice where it goes.

New judging! For the first time, we’ll be presenting an overall Romantic Book of the Year award, judged by a panel of industry experts. Here’s how it’ll work:

  • First round judging will run as usual
  • Finalists and winners for each section will be decided and announced in the usual way
  • All finalists will be read by our industry panel, who will select one overall winner (in addition to the section winners).

Who are the industry judges? For 2017, our panel will comprise:

  • Kat Mayo, writer, reviewer and host of the romance podcast Heart to Heart
  • Danielle Binks, writer, reviewer and chair of LoveOzYA
  • Hayley Shephard, Marketing Assistant and Promotions Coordinator at Booktopia

Many thanks to these three outstanding romance advocates for their involvement.

New finalists! Our final judges are hardworking professionals who are donating their time and effort to RWA. They will read all the finalist books in their own time. In order to keep their workload manageable, and ensure the judging is fair and timely, we’re reducing the number of finalists per section to three.

More new judging! We’ll also be introducing writer judges to the Ruby.

Our reader judges do a wonderful job and keep the contest market-relevant, but we believe RWA members have a lot to offer as judges too—and we’re keen to keep judge demographics as diverse and inclusive as we can, to ensure all subgenres and styles are catered for.

To this end, every entrant will be judging one or two books, taken from a section they haven’t entered. Information about the judging procedure will be provided when you enter. It’s easy and fun, and you’ll be given plenty of time—you might discover a new favourite!

New entry formats! Digital entries make the contest process faster, more cost-effective and easier for judges, which results in better judging for us. So if your book has a DRM-free digital edition (.pdf, .epub or .mobi), you’ll be entering that.

Print entries will be accepted only from those authors who don’t have access to a usable digital edition.

Usable means you need to be able to upload your ebook to our entry system, and we need to be able to email your ebook to judges. For instance, if your ebook edition has DRM—and hence can’t be shared—you’ll need to enter print.

Also, if your only ebook edition is unsatisfactory for some reason—for instance, it’s an advance copy that’s significantly different from the published book, or it has a watermark that makes it hard for judges to read—you can still enter print. That’s okay. We won’t insist on digital if there are real problems. We’re just trying to keep as many entries digital as we can.

As for last year, you’ll be entering online. There’s a limit of 3 entries per person (that’s per human being, not per pseudonym) and your entries can go in any section/s you like.

New dates! In order to accommodate the extra judging round, we’re opening and closing for entries earlier than before. Remember—if you’re entering print copies (see above) your books must be postmarked by the closing date.

Opening: 16 December 2016

Closing: 16 January 2017

Full rules/conditions will be available soon on the RWA website—please read them carefully—but as always, contact the contest managers with any queries regarding the contest rules or entry process. If you have special difficulties, we can make arrangements —don’t be afraid to ask!

Ripping Start finalists

Congratulations to our 2017 Ripping Start finalists:

Bernice Greenham
Tania Holland
Miranda Morgan
Tamar Sloan
Elizabeth Squire
Bree Verity

Finalist entries will be evaluated by our final judge: Lucy Bell, Editor, Pantera Press. A wonderful opportunity!

Well done to all who entered—with 79 entries, the competition was tough, and we hope you find your judging feedback valuable.

Thanks as always to all our hardworking volunteer judges, and a special shout-out to our new contest manager, Cat Whelan, who’s done a fantastic job with a big contest. Entrants will start receiving their scoresheets soon.

Contest News! Changes to the Emerald…

Emerald Award

The next big contest of the year for our Aspiring and Emerging members is the Emerald, which is open 31 October – 21 November. This special reader-judged contest offers the chance to have your full manuscript evaluated by your target audience.

Our judges are keen romance readers, found in libraries, bookstores, reader organisations like ARRA, trains, offices, couches and bedrooms all over the country—and we’d all love to know what they think of our books!

The first round of the Emerald is for the first 10,000 words (increased from 5,000 for last year) of your unpublished romantic manuscript (10K+). The top 15 entries will progress to the second round, where the full manuscript is judged by our readers.

Three well-deserving finalists will win a reading by our final judge: Rebecca Saunders, Fiction Publisher, Hachette Australia. So get your entries ready!

You’ll be able to enter via a link on the temporary RWA website.

FAQ: Does your manuscript need to be finished to enter the Emerald? Well, we recommend that it is finished, or very close to – because if you make the second round (which is typically announced early in the new year) you’ll be asked to submit the full with only a few days notice.

 

CHANGES TO THE EMERALD PRO for published authors

The Emerald Pro is also open 31 October – 21 November. This is our “Emerald for published authors”, available to our Emerging and Established members who already have works commercially available.

In response to feedback from members, we’re making a few changes for this year.

Originally the Pro was designed to give entrants reader feedback without the stress and risk of publishing – but members also want publishing pathways, as well as prize money, along with the kudos of winning a hard-fought contest. So for this year:

  •  We’re having a third round of judging, by an editor/agent final judge, just like the ‘unpublished’ Emerald. So in addition to getting valuable anonymous feedback from readers, our three finalists will have their full manuscript read by our final judge – Esi Sogah, Senior Editor, Kensington Books.
  • To that end, we’ve removed the requirement that your entry be in a subgenre that you’re not published in. We know you’ll want to put your best work in front of the final judge. So enter whatever subgenre you like – as long as your entry remains unpublished and uncontracted for the duration of the contest.
  • Prize money! We’ve included prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, the same as for the ‘unpublished’ Emerald.

Your first round entry is the first 10,000 words of your unpublished/uncontracted manuscript. The top 15 who make the second round will submit their full manuscript.

As for the Emerald, you’ll be able to enter the Pro via a link on the temporary RWA website.

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