Category Archives: contests

Don’t Miss Leanne Pankuch’s Celebration!

In honor of the six-month anniversary for the release of Dragon’s Truth, Leanne Pankuch is hosting a giveaway at her website! You can find all the details here, but hurry! The contest ends September 30!

Half Birthday

Attention Authors: Upcoming Conferences and Writing Contests

Our author, Susan Miura, was gracious enough to put together this list of upcoming conferences and writing contests for fellow authors. This took a lot of work, and we’re thankful she shared it with our authors so we’re sharing it with you!

Healer 500x750By the way, if you’re interested in compelling, young adult fiction, pick up a copy of Susan’s book, Healer. It’s the first in a series, and the sequel’s coming this summer!

A Sampling of 2019 Conferences and Contests

(Some Christian, some not. NOT all-inclusive & not endorsed by ACFW-Chicago)


ACFW Conference, Sept. 26-29, San Antonio, TX

Write to Publish, June 19-22, Wheaton, IL

Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference, May 19-23, Ridgecrest, NC (near Asheville)

Colorado Christian Writers Conference, May 15-18, Estes Park, CO

Mt. Hermon Writers Conference, April 12-16

Romance Writers of American (RWA), July 24-27, New York, NY

Mystery Writers of America (MWA), List of various mystery conferences and events:

Society of Childrens Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), 2019 conference is SOLD OUT



ACFW’s Carol Award –Finalists announced June 28. Winners announced at conference banquet on Sept. 28, San Antonio. Deadline: March 1. –

Serious Writer, Book of the Year –

Comprehensive list of book award contests

SCBWI’s Golden Kite – Opens in October. Deadline: Dec. 1 –

The Wishing Shelf

Goodreads: List of numerous book award contests –

Christy Awards – Submission Period: March 1-31 –

Publisher’s Weekly Booklife Prize – Indie authors

Moonbeam (childrens books and YA) – March 24-Aug. 10 with an earlybird discount –

Christian Book Award from ECPA (an association of Christian publishers) –  Submission Period:

Sept. 1-30.

Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards – Deadlines vary, depending on contest entered.

Reader’s Favorite Book Awards – Deadline: April 1. –

Selah Awards (Blue Ridge Mtn. Christian Writer’s Conference): Opens Jan. 5. Deadline: April 1.

Story Monsters Royal Dragonfly – Deadline: Oct. 1.

Illumination Book Awards – Deadline: in December.

Best Book Awards (sponsored by American Book Fest).

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Fiction and nonfiction writers who have recently published a book that “contributes to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures” are eligible for this award, which offers $10,000 cash as well media and publicity opportunities.

Submissions must be published in the prior year.

Deadline: Annual submission window is Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

St. Francis College Literary Prize

This biannual prize honors mid-career writers who have recently published their third, fourth or fifth work of fiction. The winner receives $50,000 but must be able to appear at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY to deliver a talk on their work and teach a mini-workshop in fiction to St. Francis students. Deadline: Biannually; the deadline for work published between June 2017 and May 2019 has not yet been announced.

Young Lions Fiction Award

This $10,000 award recognizes “young authors,” which the rules define as any author aged 35 or younger. Submit any novel or short story published or scheduled to be published in the calendar year. Works must be written for adults; children’s or YA pieces are ineligible.

Deadline: Annually in the fall (most recently in August or September). Deadline for 2019 TBA.


This boutique publishing firm offers a $300 cash prize to its contest winner. Submit a novel of 20,000 words or more in any fiction genre (no fanfic, short stories or poetry) and if it’s selected, Inkitt will award you $300 in cash, special promotion on its contest winners list, as well as eligibility for future publishing deals. Inkitt runs contests regularly, so be sure to check back often. Deadline: See individual contest pages.

W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction

If you’re a war buff, this competition is for you. It awards $5,000 to the best piece of fiction set during a period when the U.S. was at war (war may either be the main plot of the piece or simply provide the setting). Submissions may be adult or YA novels.

Deadline: Annually on December 1.


Genesis – ACFW

Manuscripts must be complete in order to enter Genesis.

FEES: $35 per entry for current ACFW members, $95 per entry for non-members. You may choose to join ACFW at the time of entrance in order to receive the member entry fee rate.

  • Multiple entries require multiple entry fees. Can not enter one manuscript into multiple categories. Deadline: March 15.

Romance Writers of American (RWA)

Mystery Writers of American (MWA)

Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

Serious Writer, Writer of the

53-Word Story Contest – Prize: Publication, a free book from Press 53

Sponsor: Prime Number Magazine

Description: Each month Prime Number Magazine invites writers to submit a 53-word story based on a prompt. Deadline: Frequent contests

Helen Sheehan Book Prize – Manuscripts

Drue Heinz Literature Prize

You can win $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press with this prize, awarded for a collection of short fiction. You may submit an unpublished manuscript of short stories, two or more novellas or a combination of novellas and short stories. Your total word count should be between 150 and 300 typed pages. Deadline: Annual submissions must be postmarked between May 1 through June 30.

Tony Hillerman Prize

Presented by St. Martin’s Press and WORDHARVEST, this prize awards the best first mystery novel set in the Southwest with $10,000 and publication by St. Martin’s Press. Open to professional or non-professional writers who have not yet had a mystery published, and there are specific guidelines for the structure of your story: “Murder or another serious crime or crimes must be at the heart of the story, with emphasis on the solution rather than the details of the crime.” Deadline: TBD



Cover Reveal Party: Teal Paisley Tights

Teal Coming Soon

First-time author, Barbara Brutts, is excited about her cover (as are we), and she’s hosting an online Cover Reveal Party at Facebook. There will be games, prizes, and lots of compliments about the cover. <—- That’s where you come in!

The hour-long party is June 14th from 7-8 Eastern Standard Time. Get more details and sign up to join in the fun!

Teal Paisley Tights, a contemporary romance, releases November 15th!

Jump into Genres with Terry Spear’s Highland Heroes

In honor of the Jump into Genres blog hop, we’re showcasing one of the bestselling authors in the Highland romance genre! If this doesn’t persuade you to pick up a new book, we’ll be surprised!


Dunnottar Castle (800x600) (3)  Dunnottar Castle, sea (800x600) (2)


Sharing the Highland Love

Terry Spear


My love of all things Highland began with my research into my family roots of the MacNeills and Campbells. He was a commoner. She was the Duke of Argyle’s daughter. She eloped with him and they had three children, and paid for passage to the Carolinas, but ended up in Prince Edward Island where she died.

Malcolm, her husband, may have raised the oldest son. The baby girl was raised by another family, and she married into the family later. And the middle son was raised by yet another family, and like his sister, was married to one of the family’s relations.

So it was a sad tale of love and death. It was said that the since the lass was a lady, she could not survive the harsh conditions. That she traded her jewels to the Indians living on the island, who actually taught the families how to survive off the land when their ship was wrecked on the shore and the captain forced them to leave the ship, though they had refused initially because they had paid for passage to the Carolinas.

Because of this, I have created an earlier medieval MacNeill family, and they are heroic, proud, and find love and happiness, forevermore.

But finding love is not without conflict.

Here is a snippet from Winning the Highlander’s Heart, where the MacNeill saga begins. But I want to mention that five of us authors who write Highland series, Vonda Sinclair, Eliza Knight, Victoria Roberts, and Willa Blair, are writing five novellas, all brand new, that will be set before the start of our series in an anthology. Look for it to come in February, 2015.

And here is the excerpt from Winning the Highlander’s Heart:

“Can you tell me anything about these men?” It didn’t hurt to begin his investigation early while she played in her food.

“They have disappeared, so I have been told.” She lifted a spoonful of broth to her lips and turned to him.

He closed his gaping mouth. Was she being difficult because she had not selected his brothers and him to take over the positions? Or did having to leave the king’s castle after having just arrived, disappoint her? After all, living in the royal household afforded luxuries lesser lairds’ castles held not.

He rubbed his chin. No, she’d been trying to leave before she’d even learned of the calamity at her castle. What on earth had that been all about then?

“Lady Anice, earlier today you tried to take your horse from the stables and depart. I thought you had learned of the troubles at your castle, but apparently this was not the case. So that leads me to ask why did you try to leave?”

“You have already stated the punishment you would mete out for such a rash action. Now you ask what caused that behavior?” She tsked. “A good laird finds out the extenuating circumstances before pronouncing punishment for the crime.”

Malcolm squashed the irritation tightening his stomach muscles. What infuriated him most was the lass spoke the truth. He glanced at Angus, who winked at him, a smile plastered across his face. Malcolm faced Anice. “I spoke rashly before, my lady. I concede you are right. So then what extenuating circumstances caused you to attempt to leave the grounds without the king’s permission and proper escort?”

She raised one brow. “Do you wish to judge me?”

The woman was maddening!

He calmed his thoughts before he spoke. “Nay, my lady. I wish to know better so I may serve you more aptly.”

“Aye, I see. Methinks you are most honorable, but ‘tis no’ your concern.”

Just her tone of voice said mockingly gave him pause. She did not think him an honorable man, rather one who should mind his own business. Infuriating! To think when first he glimpsed the lass, he’d had any interest in her! Best to leave the wench to her own secrets, and he to his. He would accomplish the job His Grace commanded him to do and no more than that. He would have his English bride. The laird who took Anice for his wife would no doubt wonder whatever possessed him to ask her hand in marriage.

“My thanks, my lady, for your kind words.” He wasn’t sure what overcame him to say the next words out of his mouth, but as soon as he said them, he knew there’d be trouble. “Then you will not mind if I ask His Grace to allow you to stay longer. You have traveled all this way and have only been here two days. Nay sense in you returning so soon. My brothers and I shall—”

He quit speaking as soon as her green eyes darkened with fury, her cheeks burned bright as ripened, red tomatoes, and her mouth pursed with great restraint. He should have rested his tongue once she’d given her false compliment and he’d returned the same. So why did he not heed his own concern?

He desired to know why she’d tried to leave the castle grounds…that’s why. One way or another, he’d learn the truth.

But for now, he judiciously clamped his mouth shut and waited for the explosion to follow.


And that’s how the whole series started. One extremely spirited Highland lass, and one very patient, well, sometimes, Highland laird.

After that, it’s on to one of his brothers’ stories next, James, his eldest brother, in The Accidental Highland Hero, and the Highland medieval fun continues on from there.

Are you game to visit the medieval world and spend some time with the Highlanders? Comment here for a chance to win the reader’s ebook of choice from our catalog! Check out more Terry Spear here.


Where is Grandpa?

Rachel Carrington

My grandfather died when I was eight years old. I don’t remember much about him, but my grandmother talked about him all the time. Though she died not too long after, I remember everything she told me…because most of it freaked me out, starting with her first interaction with my grandfather’s spirit.

Shortly after my grandfather died, my grandmother sank into a deep depression. She’d been married to Grandpa for close to fifty years and didn’t know what to do without him. Nothing we did moved her from the bed or brought her back from the brink of despair. Until one night about three months after his death.

At just after midnight, we all heard a conversation coming from my grandmother’s bedroom. Now, at that time (over thirty years ago), we only had a phone in the kitchen. So we knew Grandma couldn’t be talking to anyone on the telephone. You can imagine the looks on our faces when we eased down the hallway.

Before we could knock on the door, Grandma opened it wide and came out into the hallway, a big smile on her face. “Everything’s all right,” she said, her hands folded together as though in prayer. “I just spoke to him, and he’s fine.”

“Who did you speak to, Mama?” My father peered around the corner in an attempt to see into her bedroom.

“Your father, Son. We had a long talk, and he’s so happy. He sat right beside me on the bed just like he used to. We held hands, and he told me all about where he is. He couldn’t stay long, but he promised he’d be back.”

We all stared at each other, our mouths hanging open. “So where is Grandpa?” I voiced the question on everyone’s mind.

Grandma winked at me and backed into her bedroom. “Don’t you worry, sweetie. I’m sure he’ll be visiting you soon.” She said that like it was a good thing, and for the next several nights, I slept with one eye open.

I never saw my grandfather’s spirit, but my grandmother said she talked with him often, and he even told her she wouldn’t be without him long. When she passed away less than two years later, we were all a little afraid she was going to start paying us nightly visits, but she never did. And to my knowledge, Grandpa didn’t come back, either.



Follow the other blogs in this holiday hop!


And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win 5 e-books!


Can You Write a Bad Opening Line?

If you can, you might have a shot at winning the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Yes, this site actually looks for writers who can write the worst.

The contest looks for writers to submit really bad opening sentences to what we can only hope are imaginary novels, and it’s in honor of Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who famously wrote, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Check out some of this year’s winners:, but be prepared to laugh and groan.

If you win, you won’t receive a big cash award, but you just may get your name in the paper, and isn’t there a saying about there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Where “WWW” means “Wretched Writers Welcome”



Contests—Worth an unpublished author’s time and money?

Freelance_Writing_Contests_and_Jobs Contests can be a great way to win recognition for your work if you’re a struggling writer, a way to break into the industry, and just a thumbs-up, especially if you place. They can also be costly unless you only enter the no-fee contests which are few and far between. So the question is should an aspiring author enter a lot of contests while they’re waiting on a publishing contract?

The simple answer is there isn’t one, but here are a few suggestions our staff has come up with that might help you make wise choices when it comes to choosing the right contests, how to know you’re getting the most bang for your buck, and how often you should enter.

1. Choose wisely and frugally. An author who has yet to be published can get so caught up in the excitement of potentially winning in a contest that he/she loses focus on the big picture which is getting a publishing contract. So set a limit of the number of contests you will allow yourself to enter every six months (or whatever time frame you choose). A good rule is to never have more contest entries than you have books sent out for consideration to publishing houses.

2. When you’re first beginning in your career, choose the no-fee entry contests. Even if you don’t place, you might get some feedback on your writing that will help you grow as an author.

3. If you’re looking to get into a certain publishing house, pay attention to their contests. Some publishers offer yearly contests that will earn you a spot in their stable of authors, and usually, the entries are free.

4. If you’ve entered three or more entry fee contests and haven’t placed, consider refining your work before you enter another contest. Also, you might consider going the no-entry fee route to see if you can get some feedback.

5. And finally, get as much information as you can about the contest before you pay that entry fee. Make sure it’s an established contest and not some fly-by-night contest eager for money. Before you spend money, do your research.

We wish you the best of luck with your entries, and should you place, make sure that figures prominently in your future query letters!