Monday, August 29, 2011


2011 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers' Contest

PUBLISHED and UNPUBLISHED authors are welcome




The "Novellas Need Love, Too" contest is open to both published and unpublished authors. For the purposes of this contest, "Published" means either an RWA member or non-member who has accepted or initiated a publishing contract from any kind of publisher for fiction in the past five years of 12,000 words or more. "Unpublished" means either an RWA member or non-member who is unpublished in novella (12K or above) or novel (40K and above) length fiction and who has not accepted or initiated a contract with any kind of publisher for fiction in the past three years. This includes self-published works of fiction. If upon entry, you are "unpublished" but receive a contract (for other than the entered manuscript) before the entry deadline, you must notify the contest coordinator and we will give you the option of switching to the "published" category, or withdrawing from the contest.


Entry must be a novella, whose completed word count falls between the range of 12-40K words. Manuscripts must be completed by the final deadline so they may be submitted to the final judge if requested (November 1st). If a final judge asks for a full, you'll want to be able to send it out immediately. Entrant must retain all rights to the entry and not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party by the contest entry deadline. If your entered manuscript is accepted for publication during the time of our contest (before October 1st) you must notify the contest coordinator; your submission(s) will be withdrawn from consideration and your entry fee(s) returned.

For "published" authors, the entirety of the entered manuscript must be uncontracted and unpublished, including (but not limited to) the concept and characters, the plot and storyline, and the written manuscript itself. It may be part of a series if
(1) the rest of the series is uncontracted and
(2) you are not under contract for subsequent series books with a publisher (vanity/subsidy or otherwise).

Please Note:
  • You may submit multiple entries so long as you pay an entry fee and submit a completed entry form for each submission.
  • Entries must be ROMANCE. Your synopsis will be reviewed upon entry and if a romance relationship is not obvious, your entry may be remitted to you and your contest fee returned.
  • You may not enter the same manuscript in more than one category.
Entries are 5 pages maximum with a complete synopsis no longer than 3 pages (double-spaced), for a total of 8 pages maximum.
All entries are electronic. Entries must be the FIRST five pages of a novella and may not be from any location other than the beginning (so, if you have a prologue, you must begin with the prologue, and not with Chapter One, although you may include any part of Chapter One that falls within the first five pages). Remember that you're turning in a complete entry, so please don't end in the middle of a sentence.

How To Enter

Entries should be submitted to the appropriate category coordinator. (See Below)

Contemporary, Historical, Erotic, and Paranormal categories are for UNPUBLISHED authors. All PUBLISHED authors should enter the Published category, regardless of the category of the manuscript. Judges for the published category will be asked to be familiar with all potential categories.

Paranormal: Romance novella where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).
Contemporary: Romance novella with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.
Historical: Romance novella set primarily before 1945 -- any location. Main focus must be on the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.
Erotic Romance: Any genre or time period, erotic romance submission only - no straight erotica - this means there must be a HEA ending or at least a Happy For Now.
Published: Romance novella of any category, where the author has been published in fiction over 12K in the last three years. May be any type of novella and have any heat level.

Each judging form will contain a unique category where judges will rate their enjoyment of each novella (both manuscript pages and synopsis) in comparison to every novella they've ever read. The top five scores (regardless of genre or author) in this category will be forwarded to the Distinguished Novella Award final judge. This judge will pick one winner from among those five, who will receive a certificate and a cash prize (of $50).

Final Round Judges
Paranormal – Imogen Howson, Samhain
Erotic – Kelli Collins, Ellora's Cave
Historical – Mary Hamilton, Samhain
Contemporary – Grace Bradley, Ellora's Cave
Published – Gina Bernal, Carina Press
Distinguished Novella Award (overall) - Heather Osborn, Samhain

Entry Composition

Your entry must have the following:
  • 1. A separate entry form for each entry which includes the author's real name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address, submission title, category and manuscript word count. Do not include the entry form in the same attachment as your manuscript and synopsis. The manuscript and synopsis will be sent together as one document as an attachment.
  • 2. The beginning of your manuscript, including prologue, cannot exceed five (5) pages. Standard manuscript format must be followed: 1 inch margins, double spaced in a standard font and size that gives 24-26 lines per page. We will not accept entries that have colored, or designer fonts. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME ON THE MANUSCRIPT.
  • 3. The synopsis must be included with the same file attachment as the manuscript, must be double spaced and is not to exceed three (3) pages. Do not send the synopsis in a separate attachment. Include the synopsis is at the end of your entry, and it should start and end as though it were separate from your manuscript. Any entry that contains a single spaced synopsis and/or begins or ends on the same page as the manuscript will be refused and sent back for correction. The synopsis will be scored. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME ON THE MANUSCRIPT.
  • 4. Confirmation of your payment. If paying through Paypal, include in the entry form your PayPal confirmation number from your PayPal receipt. Not the receipt itself, just the number. For each entry. If paying by check, please include the check # and amount on your entry form.


Entry Format: Standard manuscript and synopsis format, double-spaced, 12-point readable font, twenty-six (26) lines maximum per page, minimum 1" margins all around. Only the TITLE of the manuscript, the category, and any subcategory should be placed on the top left hand side of the entry. The PAGE NUMBER should be on the top right hand side. IF THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR(S) APPEARS ANYWHERE ON THE MANUSCRIPT OR SYNOPSIS, THE ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED AND THE ENTRY FEE WILL NOT BE RETURNED.
Manuscript and synopsis must be in a .doc or .rtf file.
All winners will receive certificates and icons to place on their websites.
Have questions? Please contact the contest chair, Rebecca Lynn, at

CHRW reserves the right to discard all electronic entries and return fees if a minimum number of three (3) entries is not received in any category.
Entrants will be contacted before the entries are returned and given the option to place their entry in another category.
We may also refuse an entry that does not follow the rules stated here in the guidelines.

Entry Fee: $10 per entry. You may pay for all entries at once, but please note which entries your payment covers, especially if paying by check.

Pay by Check
Please click the link for this form which will download to your computer and include with your payment: Contest Entry Form
Mail to:
CHRW Treasurer
c/o Rebecca Syme
PO Box 445
Bozeman, MT 59771
Once our Treasurer has received your check, she will notify you to submit your entry.

For more information, please go to

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