Sunday, August 31, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"I choose my contests carefully and Great Expectations proved to be a great pick. Even though my story didn't place with the top entries, I received excellent, constructive feedback that bolstered my belief that I'd soon be published. Now, a year later, I'm happy to say that WHERE SOULS COLLIDE (formerly Inkling) will be released this summer by Dorchester/Leisure. Thanks again for this worthwhile opportunity."

Stefanie Worth
HEAVENSENT.COM, Holiday Brides anthology, Leisure Books, October 2009
WHERE SOULS COLLIDE, Dorchester, August 2007

I write fantasy because, well, I believe in magic. From those negligible every day moments when a smile changes a stranger's mood, to those random acts of kindness that alter the course of another's life - magic surrounds us at every turn.

I've been writing practically all my life - reading even longer. The first fantasy book I remember devouring was Mio My Son by Astrid Lindgren. The story must have transformed me because I've been all about Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Stephen King and Dean Koontz ever since. I suppose I've never lost my childhood fascination with the wonder of "what if?"

Since I grew up to be an author, writing gives me the luxury of morphing run-of-the-mill magic into bigger-than-life characters with problems and powers to match. I've fueled my imagination over the years by living a drama-filled life and scrutinizing human nature.

There's no greater feeling than making up an ordinary woman and turning her into the heroine of my book. She's always somebody from today's world who gets caught up in a supernatural situation that tests her smarts and her heart. She'll meet the challenge with grit. She'll make the tough choices. She'll change and she'll win. But the question will always be "At what cost?"
With my stories you'll see: Magic works in mysterious ways. Just believe.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"My manuscript which placed first in the Long Contemporary category in 2005 will be published in June 2007. Laura Shin, who was the contest judge, requested the full, and then after I revised it and resubmitted, she bought the book in October 2006 for Harlequin SuperRomance.

"I gave the Great Expectations contest a plug in my chapter loop. I thought the personal touch with your communication was amazing. The feedback was wonderfully thoughtful and right on target! I thoroughly enjoyed my GE contest experience, even before I sold the book.

"Thanks for all you do for the romance writing community!"

Ellen Hartman
WANTED MAN, Harlequin SuperRomance, June 2007
HIS SECRET PAST, Harlequin SuperRomance, May 2008

THE BOYFRIEND'S BACK, Harlequin SuperRomance, December 2009

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I've been making a living as a writer since I got my creative writing degree from Carnegie Mellon University and went to work for Microsoft. I spent fifteen years writing technical manuals no one ever read until I finally decided to take a shot at writing what I really

Friday, August 29, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"Contests can be the quickest route to an editor or agent, particularly one such as Great Expectations that has category-specific score sheets. I credit contests with helping me sell and establishing my name.”
Dianna Love
Silhouette Intimate Moments March 2005

2006 Rita® Best First Book

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New York Times bestseller Dianna Love once dangled over a hundred feet in the air to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies. She now writes high-octane romantic thrillers, young adult (as Micah Caida) and urban fantasy. The first five books in her new Slye Temp romantic thriller series - LAST CHANCE TO RUN, NOWHERE SAFE, HONEYMOON TO DIE FOR, KISS THE ENEMY and DECEPTIVE TREASURES - all met with rave reviews. Her books are available in print, e-book and audio. On the rare occasions Dianna is out of her writing cave, she tours the country on her BMW motorcycle searching for new story locations. Dianna lives in the Atlanta, GA area with her husband who is a motorcycle instructor and with a tank full of unruly saltwater critters. or Join her Dianna Love Street Team on Facebook and get in on the fun!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"I needed some feedback on a new young adult novel I was writing. I decided to enter the North Texas RWA Great Expectations Contest. I was absolutely stunned when I won first place. Within three weeks of winning the contest I signed with my dream agent. She sold my novel, REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN, and a sequel within five days! The contest was so well run and they kept us very well informed throughout the entire process! I've also met new writing friends that I may never have found otherwise! Thanks, NTRWA!"

Stephanie Hale
TWISTED SISTERS, Berkley Jam 2008
SPRING BREAKUP, Berkley Jam 2009

THE ALPHA BET, Berkley Jam 2010

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Stephanie Hale is the author of High School Hangover, Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, Twisted Sisters, Spring Breakup, and The Alpha Bet. When she isn't writing funny stories, she is usually daydreaming about where to go on her next vacation. You can find out more about here at,, and

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"Editor feedback is so hard to get and so very helpful when you can get it. The score sheet in The Great Expectations Contest (HEIRESS UNPLUGGED, Third, Single Title, 2006) gave me fantastic detailed editor feedback and helped me hone a book that was a totally new direction for me. I've since sold two different books to Silhouette Desire and it's hard to find a downside to selling, but I will miss being able to get unbiased feedback from contests!"

Jennifer Lewis
THE BOSS'S DEMAND, Silhouette Desire 2008

LEGACY OF PASSION, Silhouette Desire 2008

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I’ve been making up stories since the day I was born. I always loved to draw as well as write and as a child I drew graphic novellas featuring penniless but plucky Cinderella heroines. My love of daydreaming earned me the nickname “Dozy Duck” in Kindergarten, and I still consider staring into space to be a constructive activity.

I've now published  more than twenty books, which have been translated into twenty-two languages. Since moving to South Florida, I have become addicted to kayaking and paddle boarding on the deliciously warm waters. The lush natural environment and its endless variety of flora and fauna provide the perfect backdrop for dreaming up stories of passion and romance.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"Even though I didn't sell through a contest, I received some great feedback, especially from Great Expectations, but the way contests helped me the most is by being a judge. I had way too much back story in my book and even though people told me, it didn’t sink in. As a judge I saw other people making the same mistake I had over and over. That’s what gave me the kick in the pants to go in and cut all of my back story. So, don’t be shy about judging. It can be as good for your career as entering."

Lori Devoti
LOVE IS ALL AROUND, Zebra May 2005

Lori Devoti worked for three different newspapers in two different states before deciding to stay home with her children and begin writing fiction. The author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance and paranormal romance, Lori has been a finalist for many awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award. She lives near Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and children as well as two dogs.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"Great Expectations seems to run like a well-oiled machine (at least it seems that way from my end). Although I didn't final, I can't think of a contest in which I've received better feedback and suggestions (2006 entry). Most of them will help me to stretch and grow. Since judging is such a subjective thing, I think your judges are very professional in the way they present their comments. Thank you again. I hope you'll allow me to enter next year! I wish I lived a bit closer, I'd love to be part of your chapter!"

Tina Joyce


Tina Beckett published in 2012
Harlequin, Mills & Boon author and a three-time Golden Heart® finalist, Tina Beckett is the product of a Navy upbringing. Always on the move, her travels often took her outside of the United States, where English reading material was scarce. Her supply of books eventually ran out, and she started writing her own stories, fashioned after the romance novels she'd loved through the years. She finished that first book and moved on to the next. After the fourth manuscript, she realized there was no going back...she was officially a writer.

When not in the middle of her latest book, Tina enjoys crafting stained glass panels, riding horses and hiking with her family. Fluent in Portuguese, she divides her time between Brazil and the United States and loves to use exotic locales as the backdrop for many of her stories. You can learn more about Tina at her website: or find her hanging out on Facebook or twitter.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"Thanks to everyone behind the Great Expectations contest for your helpful critiques and comments on my 2005 entry. I received a two-book publishing contract shortly thereafter, and my entry, Blue Collar Guys (retitled GOOD WITH HIS HANDS), was a 2006 release."

 Alexa Darin
GOOD WITH HIS HANDS, Kensington September 2006

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Alexa Darin grew up in the small town (not so small now) of Kirkland, Washington, where she spent her adolescent years dreaming of a boy who eventually inspired her to write romance. Today, she spends her days honing her craft, hiking with her two yellow labs, and thinking up ways to keep the critters out of her garden.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What people are saying . . .

"As an unpublished writer (strike one) with a Western historical to sell (strike two), I've had a very hard time getting agents to request more of my work. When I saw that the Great Expectations final judge was one of my target editors, I took matters into my own hands. I ended up with first place, and a request for a full manuscript."

Pamela Hathaway
1st Place Historical Category 2006

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We're gearing up for the 2015 contest.

If you are a past winner or finalist who has a success story
...we'd love to feature it here.