Thursday, February 5, 2015

2015 Finalists

The North Texas Romance Writers of America is proud to announce the
2015 Great Expectations Finalists

Congratulations to all who entered and put your work in the hands of strangers. Best of Luck to the finalists as they submit their work to our final round editors.
*denotes double finalist
(Listed in alphabetical order by title)

Final Round Editor:  KAREN REID, Associate Editor, Harlequin SuperRomance                                                                             
Cordelia and Her Cowboy by Deborah Vlahakes                                   
The Right Sister by Sharla Francis
The Trouble With Freddie by Diana Waldhuber
Wrong Side of Love by Susan JP Owens*

Final Round Editor:  GABRIELLE KECK, Editorial Assistant, Avon / William Morrow                     
A Lady In Shadow by Robin Delany*
Love’s Triumph by Jeanine Englert *                
Love’s Wager by Jeanine Englert*
Rescuing Mr. Gracey by Eileen Barnes
The Secret Affairs of a Duke's Daughter by Janna MacGregor                   

Final Round Editor:  RAELA SCHOENHERR, Fiction Acquisitions, Bethany House                                  
Healing Grace by Anna Taylor
Lead Me Home by Natalie Monk                    
Reclaimed by Jennifer Rodewald
The Sacrifice by Megan Besing

Final Round Editor:   ALEX LOGAN, Editor, Grand Central Publishing

Between Nowhere and Lost by Alexandra Christle                     
Cave Girl by Liz McClure
Waking The Dead by D.B. Sieders
What You Wish For by Gina Wynn

Final Round Editor:  JULIE MIANECKI, Assistant Editor, Berkley Publishing Group    
A Cruel Kind of Beautiful by Michelle Hazen*                
A Not So Sleeping Beauty by Sheryl Kaleo
Branded by Robin Delany*
Feel Again by Carilyn Ballentine           

Final Round Editor:  LAURA FAZIO, Assistant Editor, NAL/Penguin Group      

Broken River:  Redemption by Lindsay Cross                   
Forsworn by Michelle Hazen*
Stalker by Sidney Bristol                      
Wrong Side of Love by Susan JP Owens*

SINGLE TITLE            
Final Round Editor:  MADELEINE COLAVITA, Editorial Assistant, Grand Central Publishing
The First Word by Isley Robson
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Nicole Evelina
How Not To Be A Tabloid Cover Story by CA Speakman           
If I Should Remember by Kirk Van Brunt

(Alternate Earth, Dystopian, Fantasy, Futuristic, Paranormal, Time Travel)
Final Round Editor:  KRISTINE SWARTZ, Assistant Editor, Berkley Publishing Group

Awake and Dreaming by Andrea Contos
The New London Marriage Stipulation by Margo Bond Collins*
Not His Dragon by Annie Nicholas
Skin Deep by Margo Bond Collins*                 

Final Round Editor:  ALICE JERMAN, Assistant Editor, HarperCollins

Beest by Debbie Van Brunt
Colliding Skies by Debbie Koristz
The Nascent Bloom by Janet Halpin
Song of The Sirens by Carolyn Rogers


Fenley Grant and Angi Morgan
Great Expectations Contest Coordinators


Wednesday, February 4, 2015


. . .to our judges.

What wonder men and women you are!

Thanks for completing your volunteer job in record time. We've said this before, but you make this contest possible. We know that the contestants thank you for sharing not only your time, but also your writing experience. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Judged Entries Due Saturday Jan 31st

That's right everybody!

All judged entries are due back to the
Saturday, January 31st

If you need more time, please contact the coordinator.

Single Title Romance Judges
who have all finished !

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Is the story well-paced, or does it seem to lose momentum? Does it have you wanting to turn those pages?

"Whether you’re using fast or slow pacing, things must happen. While description makes the story more vivid, it shouldn’t be what’s happening. If you put people on every page and in every paragraph and have them doing something, pacing will unfold naturally. The more things that happen, the faster the story pace."   Maggie Touissant

Maggie's words are great to judge by. Pacing is about something happening in the story . . . fast OR slow.  If you find yourself reading the entry and you've forgotten to judge it . . .  That's a clear indication that the pacing is right on target.

Too Much Back Story * Jarring Sentences * Inconsentent Information

That when we mark the confusing passages in the manuscript, then zip down to the scoresheet and give the author page numbers to refererence. Let them know why (or which sentence) affected the stopping & starting.

Need some pacing articles? Try the Romance Univerity blog--
They have lots of tips and may have exactly the verbiage you need to validate your feeling about the entry.

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact


Friday, January 16, 2015

TOPIC: International Writing Differences

Isn't it amazing we can help writers all over the world reach their potential? Unfortunately, our PCs are not always as friendly.

Some of your entries may have international spellings. Please do not count off for this unless the word reappears and is spelled inconsistently.

In addition, international entries may use one quotation mark (standard in the UK) or leave out the period in formal address words such as Mr., Mrs. and Dr. as is used in the U.S.

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact


Thursday, January 15, 2015


Please keep the following in mind:

QUESTION: I’ve judged entries in various contests where an author wrote “said he”, instead of “he said”. At first I would mark them down and explain the correct way. Then I found out in some countries “said he” is the correct way of writing. I still comment that in America it’s written ‘he said’ and editors and agents may see this as inexperience, but I understand other countries don’t write in the same format as we do. I don’t take off for it, and I tell them I’m not taking off for it. Have you come across this and how would you handle it?

RESPONSE: Subjectivity
Bottom line?  Is it a good story and does the style work in that story.

An author's style and voice are their own. But so is each story. The way a character thinks and acts in one book won't necessarily work in another. Same thing goes for readers...what one likes, another says maybe not so much. Basic grammar rules may be broken if they don't jar the reader from the story. They may even be used to tell a specific story in a specific way.

So authors may use different tags to identify different POVs or characters. But it has to work.

If it's a distraction, then it should be counted down, but please leave a comment about the distraction--not just the gramatically inconsistency.

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact

Angi Morgan         
                WEST TEXAS WATCHMEN
The Sheriff           The Cattleman            The Ranger 

 JAN                              FEB                             MAR

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


QUESTION: Can it be pointed out to the judges that a scene break or blank line or ### is NOT required with each POV shift?
ANSWER: Blank lines are not required with a POV shift.
If they aren't used, we refer to that as a transition.

IF a blank line, * or # is used for the POV shift, there's nothing wrong with this style either.

POV SHIFTS for scoring purposes
If the POV changing (or lack of changing) is distracting you as a reader then there's a problem. Many times as a judge I explain to the contestant that I’m not a POV purist, but “head hopping” is not simple POV shifting. "Head hopping" doesn’t allow the reader time to invest enough emotion with one character before shifting to another POV. It's the author's goal to get me to connect with the storie's characters. If I’m not in the character's POV long enough to connect...then the POV shifting is not working.

IDENTIFIERS that might indicate a POV problem
Point of View that shifts every couple of paragraphs?
There's no rule that says a writer can't do this. (I love to use this tool in a love scene.)
     --BUT, does it jar you from the story?
     --DOES it keep you from investing emotion into the characters?
     --DOES it have you wondering whose POV you're reading?

As always, if you have questions relating specifically to an entry, contact

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Angi Morgan                          
                   WEST TEXAS WATCHMEN

The Sheriff           The Cattleman            The Ranger