Stiletto Contest 

The Contemporary Romance Writers is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2017 Stiletto Contest!

(Listed in no particular order.)

Published Division

Contemporary Romance Short

On A Whim – Win Day*

Fractured Memory – Jordyn Redwood

A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights – Peggy Jaeger*

Contemporary Romance Mid-Length

Love Restored – Carrie Ann Ryan*

Modern Girls Guide to Kink – Gina Drayer

Reserved – A Love Story – Tracy Ewens*

Contemporary Romance Long

Run to You – Rachel Lacy*

Kiss Me That Way – Laura Trentham*

Been Searching For You – Nicole Evelina

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Reckless – Janet Elizabeth Henderson*

Solitary Man – Diane Benefiel

Tall, Dark & Damaged – Sarah Andre

Contemporary New Adult

She Laughs in Pink – Jessica Calla*

Lessons in Gravity – Megan Westfield

Today’s Promises – SR Grey

Women’s Fiction

Love’s Journey – Jolene Cazzola

Goddess of Undo – Kat Drennan*

My Journey – Amalie Coles

Best First Book

On a Whim – Win Day*

Charming You – Kris Jayne

Unpublished Division

Contemporary Romance Mid-Length

Soul Song – Rayn Ellis*

The Sheriff of Cassidy County – CJ McCay*

The Wrong Brother – Jamie Steinman

Contemporary Romance Long

Working the Polls – Emily Mahon

Project Kamra Sutra – Brooke Salesky

How To Stay – Christina Mitchell

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Lost and Found – Lisa Malice

Blood Rights – Ayesha Court

Treasures Lost – Barbara Heintz*

Contemporary New Adult

More Than Chemical – Leanne Farrell

Mouthful – C.R. Grissom

Nineteen – AJ Rieser

Contemporary Sweet/Inspirational

The Ruby Knot – Jane L Josephs

Fresh Brewed Love – Amanda Wen

The Greatest Gift of All – Nicole Smith

Women’s Fiction

Halleholm – Ruth Kvarnstrom-Jones

Playing it Safe – Jennette Fox

The Doctor’s Wife – Rita Ciresi

*Denotes Contemporary Romance Writers member

Winners will be announced at the 2017 Stiletto Party at RWA17 on Friday, July 28th from 6-8pm.

Join us in celebrating the best of contemporary romance with your friends, nominees, authors, writers, and vendors. Plus get food, drinks, door prizes, and the awards ceremony! Limited number of tickets available, get yours today.


The Stiletto Contest returns and opens on Friday, March 3, 2017!

Submission ends on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 11:50pm EST. The Stiletto is low on entries in all categories. Get your entry in now!

Categories for published novels and unpublished manuscripts:

Contemporary Romance Short – Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 40,000 and 56,000 words in length.

Contemporary Romance Mid Length – Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 56,000 and 84,000 words in length.

Contemporary Romance Long – Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are 84,000 or more words.

New Adult – Novels in which new adult life is an integral part of the plot.

Inspirational/Sweet – Novels in which the love story is central to the storyline, and the “heat level” between the main characters is low, with “closed door” intimacy. Novel with religious/spiritual beliefs may be an inherent part of the love story, character growth, and relationship development

Suspense/Mystery – Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

Women’s Fiction – Novels in which a fictional story cannot fit neatly into a specific category and also has strong romantic elements with an emotionally satisfactory ending, set in the contemporary genre. In women’s fiction, the driving force is the woman’s journey and doesn’t necessarily end in a happily ever after. It is character driven and tells distinctly women’s stories about self-discovery, self-preservation, self-acceptance or self-improvement.

*Other category to enter after your main category choice: Best First Book.

*An Overall Top Winner in the published category will be chosen of all the finalists.

*Each category will have 3 finalists determined from first round judging.

** All categories are based on RWA standards/descriptions.

**All categories are in the contemporary romance genre. All entries must be in the contemporary romance genre.

See contest rules: 2017 Stiletto Contest Rules. (When clicking on Stiletto Contest rules, in media page click on the rules one time to enlarge to standard PDF file.)

Unpublished Category Finalist Judges: 

  • Contemporary Romance – Short
    • Editor – Kerri Buckley, Carina Press
    • Agent – Lois Winston, Ashley Grayson Literary Agency
  • Contemporary Romance – Mid Length
    • Editor – Susan Grimshaw, Loveswept/Flirt (Penguin-Random House)
    • Agent – Tricia Skinner, The Fuse Agency
  • Contemporary Romance – Long
    • Editor – Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks
    • Agent – Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
  • Contemporary Romantic Suspense
    • Editor – Marie Force, Jack’s House Publishing
    • Agent – Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary Management
  • New Adult
    • Editor – TBD, Inkspell Publishing
    • Agent – Sara Megibow, kt literary
  • Sweet/Inspirational
    • Editor – Dina Davis, Harlequin
    • Agent – Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency
  • Women’s Fiction
    • Editor – Rhonda Penders, Wild Rose Press
    • Agent – Kristy Hunter, The Knight Agency

Published Category Finalists are based on first round judging scores.

Judges score sheet unpublished category:  2017 Stiletto Contest Unpublished Category Score Sheet

Judges score sheet published category:  2017 Stiletto Contest Published Category Score Sheet

Cost: $15 Contemporary Romance Writers, $25 non-members

Payment must be received before entry form is filled out. Submissions are open from Friday, March 3, 2017 through Friday, April 4, 2017 at 11:59pm EST.

Entering more than 1 manuscript or novel? Join the Contemporary Romance Writers and save on your entry fees, as well as take advantage of discounts on workshops, free workshops for members, access to the CRW forums on MyRWA, the private Facebook group, and more!

Please read Stiletto Contest rules fully before making payment!


Thank you for entering the 2017 Stiletto Contest! Good Luck!


Please direct all questions to


Judge the Stiletto Contest and be entered to win a choice of one of three prizes! Sign up here to judge.

Winners of the 2017 Stiletto Contest will be announced at RWA17 at the Contemporary Romance Writers Stiletto Party, on Friday, July 28, 2017!

*Finalists will receive free entry into the Stiletto Party.