Bringing Back The Stiletto Contest

Dear Chapter Members,

One of the major items that had been discussed last year, when the board was getting ready to transition into the 2017 year, was bringing back the Stiletto Contest. A contest that had been well known among RWA members as one of the best among RWA chapters to enter. But how did we, as a new board, bring back a contest that had essentially been abandoned and make it great and a sought after

A contest that had been well known among RWA members as one of the best among RWA chapters to enter. But how did we, as a new board, bring back a contest that had essentially been abandoned and make it great and a sought after contest, again?  It begins with a list of to-do items.

1. Pulling together a great committee.

It’s not easy for chapters to get volunteers, especially online chapters like the Contemporary Romance Writers. But we put the call out and sure enough, we got a great group of members who not only gave great input but have stepped up to contribute to make this contest great again.

2. Improving the judge’s score sheet.

Luckily, writers and authors save everything. And I mean everything, right? We tend to not delete anything on our laptops. One of the committee members had saved the Stiletto Contest score sheet from the last year it had been held and the committee agreed that it needed an overhaul. Entrants enter contests for reasons. Maybe it’s to nab an award-winning author tag or to get their manuscript in front of a specific judge or to get feedback from judges on their manuscripts. Whatever the case, a good score sheet is vital and the Stiletto’s now has more in-depth questions to help writers get better feedback for their entries.

3. Final Round Judges.

This could have been a daunting task. Finding final round judges for the unpublished division was something that we wanted to be sure we got right. Thankfully, even though the Stiletto hadn’t been around in a few years, editors and agents jumped at the opportunity to judge the unpublished final round. Yay, CRW! We still got it! ;-)

4. Categories.

Another discussion in the committee was categories. Naturally, we chose only contemporary romance, because, well, we’re a contemporary romance chapter. Leaving paranormal, fantasy, historical, etc to the chapters that focus on those genres was a bit of a no-brainer for us. But, choosing the subgenres within contemporary romance was a further discussion. There were reasons for the categories chosen and reasons for categories not picked, but mainly it came down to max number of categories and leaving some to chapters that focus specifically on those subgenres, like YA and erotic.

We also wanted to include published authors as a new part of the Stiletto. Many of our members are published and self-published authors and we wanted to give them the opportunity to enter the contest. So we unanimously decided on two divisions−published and unpublished−to give every CRW member, and author and writer outside of CRW, an opportunity to enter a contest.

We are also one of the few chapters that has given published authors an entry choice of either ebooks or paperbacks. Many traditionally published authors don’t have access to their ebooks or maybe an author isn’t comfortable handing off their ebook. The committee came together and agreed that having both options available would be best. We’re truly happy with this decision that includes every author’s publishing route.

5. Category Coordinators.

Recruiting category leaders was not an easy task by any means. No one wants to volunteer time that they don’t have. But once again, the women who have agreed to be categories coordinators have been fantastic. And I can’t thank them enough for stepping up for the chapter.

6. Last but not least - Entrants!

We need your entries! The Stiletto Contest cannot run without entries. So if you’ve been on the fence, enter your novel or manuscript. If you’re a member, a published ebook entry or an unpublished manuscript is only $15! That is the lowest price of any chapter contest. How could you possibly beat that for the possibility of becoming an award-winning author or getting your manuscript in front of some of the best editors and agents in the industry?

I’ve severely paraphrased the process of bringing back the Stiletto Contest. It has been a great undertaking by all involved, from the committee to the category coordinators to the board. Every member who has played a part has been significant in bringing this contest back. And for that, the Contemporary Romance Writers board cannot thank you enough. We’re thrilled to have the contest back and better than ever!

Now, get those entries in before the submission date ends on Friday, April 7th.

Casey Clipper

President

Contemporary Romance Writers

Blog for Us!

Interested in contributing a guest post for the Contemporary Romance Writer’s Blog? We’d love to have you! All chapter members, published and not yet published, are welcome to contribute.

Guidelines
Word Count: Posts should be between 500 -750 words, but exceptions can be made. Author Bio: Please include a headshot and bio of 50 -100 words. You may include a link to your website homepage or blog and mention books you’ve published. Any links to Amazon or other places to buy your books will be removed. We are unable to post book covers. (Please note: Our most successful posts, meaning the posts that bring the most traffic to an author's website, are ones that are focused on teaching our readers and include little or no marketing.) Submission Procedure: Please send blog post, bio and headshot to melissadespina AT gmail DOT com one week prior to the scheduled post date.
Suggested Topics Need help coming up with a topic? Here are some examples to inspire you. 1. Craft: see example 2. Industry: see example 3. Inspiration / Life as a Writer: see example 4. Marketing / Promotion / Social Media: see example 5. Member Spotlight: see example
Below is a list of suggested topics by month, but if you’ve got your own idea, that’s great too. PANorama posts will appear on the last Sunday of each month, and are a chance for our chapter PAN members (PAN stands for Published Authors Network, a professional designation within RWA open to members who reach a certain level of sales) to visit the blog to share some of their wisdom and expertise. If you’re a PAN Member, please consider volunteering. If you have any questions, please be in touch! Please put CRWA Blog 2016 in the subject line of your email. Thanks! Melissa (aka Melina) melissadespina @ gmail.com January 
  • Goal Setting for the new year
  • Self-Editing Tips/Techniques/Methods That Work
  • PANorama – Goal and Motivation
February 
  • Important Characteristics of Your Heroine
  • Valentine’s Day & The Importance of Love
  • PANorama – Voice
March 
  • Writing a Hero Who is Worthy of Your Heroine's Love
  • Giving and Receiving Critiques
  • PANorama — Strong Secondary Characters Who Don’t Steal Your Story
April 
  • Building Strong Internal and External Conflict in Contemporary Romance
  • Character Arc – How to Make Your Characters Grow
  • PANorama — Writing a Series
May 
  • Villains We Love / Despicable Characters
  • Common Contemporary Vocations (Writing the doctor/nurse, military, business mogul / secretary, cowboy, etc.)
  • PANorama – Comedy and Humor
June 
  • Building Strong Internal and External Conflict in Contemporary Romance
  • Types of Conflict in Contemporary Romance Today
  • PANorama – Character Flaws
July 
  • 4th of July – The American Heroes – Writing Military / Rescue Heroes and Heroines
  • Conference Tips
  • PANorama – Relationships with Editors and Publishers
August 
  • Research, History, Fact-Finding Missions
  • Including Travel in your Writing
  • PANorama – Story Structure
September 
  • Balancing Your Writing Life / Day Job Life / Family Life
  • Writing Process – Are You a Plotter or Pantser?
  • PANorama – Antogonists. . . Why we need them
October 
  • Preparing for & Surviving NaNoWriMo
  • Halloween – Incorporating Paranormal Elements in Contemporary Romance
  • PANorama – Writing Your Protagonist’s Best Friend
November 
  • Share Your Successful Query Letters
  • Surviving NaNoWriMo / “Don’t Look Down” Drafts
  • PANorama – Writing is Hard. Why Do We Do It?
December 
  • Writing for the Holidays
  • Looking Back at Your Year of Writing

Blog for Us! And Spread the Word!

blogforus Hello CRWA Members, Don't be shy. Blog for us! When I look through old posts, I'm always amazed by the collective wealth of knowledge of our chapter members. Seriously - we could take our posts and turn them into a book on writing contemporary romance. But that's an idea for another day. Meanwhile, let's keep adding to our collection of writing advice and inspiration. Below is a list of suggested topics by month, but if you’ve got your own idea, that’s great too. You can find more information here. PANorama posts will appear on the last Sunday of each month, and are a chance for our chapter PAN members (PAN stands for Published Authors Network, a professional designation within RWA open to members who reach a certain level of sales) to visit the blog to share some of their wisdom and expertise. If you’re a PAN Member, please consider volunteering. If you aren't able to write a post, there are other ways you can help:
  • Send us a post from your personal blog that we can repost (with a link back to the original).
  • If you've posted before, let me know if I can repost what you wrote.
  • Spread the word among your writing community that we are looking for guest posts.
  • Let me know which authors you'd like to see on the blog and I'll try to make it happen.
If you have any questions, please be in touch! Please put CRWA Blog 2016 in the subject line of your email. Thanks! :-) Melissa (aka Melina) melissadespina @ gmail.com April 
  • Building Strong Internal and External Conflict in Contemporary Romance
  • Character Arc - How to Make Your Characters Grow
  • PANorama — Writing a Series
May 
  • Villains We Love/Despicable Characters
  • Common Contemporary Vocations (Writing the doctor/nurse, military, business mogul / secretary, cowboy, etc.)
  • PANorama - Comedy and Humor
June 
  • Building Strong Internal and External Conflict in Contemporary Romance
  • Types of Conflict in Contemporary Romance Today
  • PANorama - Character Flaws
July 
  • 4th of July - The American Heroes - Writing military/rescue heroes or heroines
  • Conference Tips
  • PANorama - Relationships with Editors and Publishers
August 
  • Research, History, Fact-Finding Missions
  • Including Travel in your Writing
  • PANorama - Story Structure
September 
  • Balancing Your Writing Life / Day Job Life / Family Life
  • Writing Process - Are You a Plotter or Pantser?
  • PANorama - Antogonists. . . Why we need them
October 
  • Preparing for & Surviving NaNoWriMo
  • Halloween - Incorporating Paranormal Elements in Contemporary Romance
  • PANorama - Writing Your Protagonist’s Best Friend
November 
  • Share Your Successful Query Letters
  • Surviving NaNoWriMo / “Don’t Look Down” Drafts
  • PANorama - Writing is Hard. Why Do We Do It?
December 
  • Writing for the Holidays
  • Looking Back at Your Year of Writing

Harlequin Presents Pitch Contest Results!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the pitch contest with Harlequin Presents editors Pippa Roscoe & Carly Byrne! And a huge thanks to both Pippa and Carly, as well as Caroline, for visiting us and offering such a great opportunity!

From Pippa & Carly:

We were so excited to receive such an incredible amount of entries to this pitch competition. 77 submissions in two days is incredible and every single one should be proud of their fabulous work creating exciting, action packed and emotional openings. Safe to say you certainly didn’t make choosing the top five easy on us! The quality of writing and thought that went into all these openings was truly impressive. So whether you made it through to the top five or not, we would absolutely encourage you all to submit to this years’ So You Think You Can Write competition, or if you would rather go straight to the source, then do look at our website (harlequin.com) for submission details.

And the Winners Are....

  • Laurie Hoffman, Home Field
  • Tamara Lush, At the Billionaire’s Command
  • Mageela Troche, Scandalous Billionaire’s Baby
  • Vivian Conroy, Raven and the Wolf
  • Andrea M Hutchinson, The Surgeon’s Secret
   The five winning entries should use the directions listed below for their submission:  1. Email the below items/information in a single attachment to our VP of Communicaitons, Abigail Owen: abigail.owen.books@gmail.com. She will collate them and send on to Pippa & Carly. In your attachment include:
  • Your original contest information (Author's Name, Book Title, Word Count, Blurb)
  • Your relevant contact information (especially email address) so that Carly and Pippa can contact you directly with your feedback!
  • 2-3 Chapters
  • 1-Page Synopsis
2. Put "HARLEQUIN PITCH CONTEST WINNER" in the subject of your email. 3. Winners have 48 hours (until 10am EST, Sunday, June 21st) to send your submissions to Abigail. 4. Tuesday, June 23rd each of the 5 finalists will receive a personalized response and critique of their work.  
Congratulations and best of luck!     

Order Your CRW Chapter Pin!

The Contemporary Romance Chapter has beautiful pins available for members to purchase! Show off your chapter and genre pride at your next conference or event! Just complete the below form and the $5/pin PayPal payment. Pins will be shipped once per month, so once you complete the below, please rest assured that we have received your order and will ship your pin within a few weeks. chapter pin

(click to enlarge)

Order Form:

$5 PayPal Payment:

 

Thank you for ordering a chapter pin and supporting the Contemporary Romance Chapter!

Call for Workshop Proposals

The Contemporary Romance Chapter of the Romance Writers of America is accepting proposals for workshops for any time during the 2015 or early 2016 membership years. We are interested in workshops in ALL possible topics that fall under the following broad categories:
  • Genre – all types of contemporary romantic fiction
  • Craft
  • Plotting
  • Character development
  • Writing Romance
  • GMC
  • Story structure
  • Planning/writing sequels/series
  • Category Romance
  • Deep POV
  • Marketing/Social Media/branding
  • Queries/Synopses/Pitching
  • The Business Side of Writing
  • Blogging
  • Self-publishing
All our classes occur on-line, via a private Yahoo loop or website forum. Classes can range in length from 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, or more. The chapter splits the proceeds of each class 50/50 with the instructor. Please submit all proposals to CRW VP of Programs, Lisa Siefert at: lisalisalisalisalisa AT gmail DOT com with the following information listed in the body of the email:
  • Name of Instructor:
  • Email of Instructor:
  • Title/Brief Description of Workshop:
  • Bio:
  • Months/Dates you are available to teach the course:
  • How long would your workshop be? For example, 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, etc.
Thank you for considering RWA-Contemporary Romance! ***Permission to forward granted.***

A Message From Our Chapter President

Laura Kaye cropped

Welcome to the RWA-Contemporary Romance Chapter!

I'm thrilled to welcome you to the RWA-Contemporary Romance Chapter! We are a lively, prolific, and diverse group of writers interested in all aspects of romantic contemporary fiction. If you're looking for writing support and advice, educational and networking opportunities, or industry information related to contemporary romance, you've come to the right place! The RWA-CR chapter is an online chapter, which means you can join us and participate in our events no matter where you live.   Our Mission:
  • To educate Contemporary Romance writers at all stages of their careers–offering valuable resources, craft advice, and timely industry news.
  • To promote the Contemporary Romance genre and other forms of contemporary romantic fiction to the world via blog articles, interviews, and programming.
  • To provide professional networking opportunities for all members–published or not.
  • To provide social and moral support to those who choose to write Contemporary Romance and contemporary romantic fiction.
2014 is our second year, and we're looking to provide more programs and events than ever before! Stay tuned to our chapter blog for all the latest! If you're a new member, be sure to join our Yahoo loop for daily discussion. And if you'd like to contribute as a writer to our blog or a chapter volunteer in any capacity, don't hesitate to let us know! Without a doubt, 2014 is going to be a great, productive year for our quickly growing chapter! Advice, suggestions, and questions are welcome at any time. So consider my virtual door always open to you! Sincerely, Laura Kaye 2014 RWA-CR President  

Meet Your 2014 Chapter Board Members!

A new year means a new chapter board, and we're very pleased to introduce you to the 2014 RWA-Contemporary Romance Board. Please do not hesitate to contact us via the website contact form or the chapter Yahoo loop if you need us for anything!

President – Laura Kaye

Vice-President – VaNessa Duplessie

Treasurer – Celia Lucente

Secretary – Debra Sennefelder

PAN Liaison – Robin Covington

PRO Liaison – Melanie Cremins

Membership Liaison – Becky Lower

Past President – Kimberly Farris

We're looking forward to serving you!