Monday, February 25, 2008

Paranormal Romance/Fantasy Winner . . . and the Erotic Romance Contest

It happened again! Jessica and I shared only one common entry in our top five picks, so the winner was obvious. Drum roll, please . . .

Shannon — Dragon Born

I was six the day my mother realized I wasn’t normal. I was fourteen the day I realized she would kill me for it.

I envy those who tell stories about their wonderful lives. I want to warn them, every time I seem them . . . at the movies, out for dinner, laughing and talking like they have nothing to fear.

I was like that once. I thought my life was perfect once. The creatures took that away from me one dark night. They stole it from me with my mother’s blessing and changed me forever.

Jessica: I was thrilled when I saw that Kim had picked Shannon’s as well and that it was the only one we had in common because I had already decided I was going to fight for this one to win. I absolutely loved it. I thought these 100 words were brilliant. I love the setup. Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn from a character in only 100 words? And what an opening for a book . . . "they stole it from me with my mother’s blessing and changed me forever.” This is the kind of opening to a book that makes me get up from my desk and move to a comfy chair in the hopes that I’ll be there for the rest of the day. It has atmosphere, brilliant setup to what’s to come, and a real feel for the character. Great work, Shannon!

Kim: This one grabbed me immediately. It sets a tone and creates a tremendous feeling of suspense. I want to know how the narrator is different and I want to know why his/her own mother would want to kill because of it. Shannon’s created a dark and mysterious world that feels thick with danger. I wouldn’t want to be in it, but I sure do want to read about it. Good stuff!

Congratulations, Shannon! When you’re ready for us to critique your query letter, synopsis, and first chapter, please just send them to the blog e-mail link.

Jessica and I were also able to agree on a runner-up:

Diane — Out of the Shade

Some days having wings is a bitch; especially when a smelly assed goblin is holding me by them in front of his mouth like a French fry.

I looked out the broken shop window at my coworkers; members of the Supernatural Task Force, waiting for their brilliant surprise attack to begin. I had been sent in as the decoy. Six inches of faery with a bad case of PMS, supercharged by the earth’s energy that I had absorbed to shrink to this size. The goblin gang, high as kites, laughed and their leader then plucked me out of the air.

Jessica: Another case of leaving me laughing out loud. I love the thought of this poor Tinkerbell-like fairy stuck in the claws of a greasy goblin while her coworkers are outside planning their “attack.” I also love the title Supernatural Task Force. Those kinds of things always grab my attention. I’m a sucker for task forces, forensic teams, and the like. And like all of those I choose as winners, runners-up, or honorable mentions, I love this voice.

Kim: I love how this excerpt paints a picture. I could immediately visualize the whole scene, which isn’t easy when we’re talking about goblins and faeries. I think it’s largely due to that image of the goblin “holding me by [the wings] in front of his mouth like a French fry.” I also like the feistiness of the narrator. I mean she’s obviously in a pretty vulnerable position if she can compare herself to a French fry, so to still have so much spunk really speaks to the faery’s character. This was just plain fun to read.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about our honorable mentions again, so you can once again get a feel for what we’re looking for. I want to reiterate what we said the last time (and I know I’ll be repeating this after every contest): Please don’t be discouraged from submitting to us if you weren’t chosen as one of our top picks. We saw a lot of great writing and interesting stories in these entries, and it’s still quite possible you could pique our interest with your query letter.

That said, it’s time to introduce a new contest!


We’re accepting all types of erotic romance, including contemporary, historical, and paranormal.


Here are the rules:

1. We’ll only accept entries that are posted in the comments section of this blog article. No e-mailed entries will be considered.

2. Include your title and the first 100 words of your book. Now, we’re not saying to leave us hanging mid-sentence here. Stop wherever the previous sentence ends, but do not exceed 100 words.

3. The same work cannot be entered in more than one genre. If you think your book straddles more than one genre, you’ll have to pick one. We will, however, accept multiple works from the same author in the same or different categories.

4. Once the material is entered, it’s your final entry. We won’t allow revised versions of the same work.

5. We’re accepting excerpts of both finished and unfinished works.

6. The deadline is tomorrow, February 26th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

And in case you’ve forgotten, the prize is a critique of the query letter, synopsis, and first chapter of the winning entry! The winner will e-mail us the additional material and we’ll provide our notes privately, not on the blog. We will, however, discuss what we liked about each winning 100-word entry on the blog, and will pull out a few honorable mentions to highlight other excerpts that came close and why.

We’ll post the winners in a few days and then move on to the next genre. But this time we’ll make it a surprise, just to keep you on your toes!