Q & A and Pitch Contest With Agent Laura Bradford

The Contemporary Romance Writers Chapter is thrilled to have agent Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency here today to share her expertise on contemporary romance and consider YOUR pitches as part of our series of pitch contests! Instructions on the pitch contest are down below, but first please pull up a chair and get a pen and paper, because you’re going to want to take notes on the awesome and useful advice that Laura has laid out here for writers at all levels.


~ Interview by Abigail Owen

CR: Can you share what genres/subgenres you specialize in or prefer?

LB: I handle all subgenres of romance except inspirational. I also handle women’s fiction, thrillers, mystery, speculative fiction (except epic fantasy) & young adult.

CR: In general, what’s the difference for you between a good submission and one makes you say I must acquire this?

LB: A submission can be technically good (well written, devoid of typos, professional, a sellable genre & hook) but still not have any special energy or magic.  It may not have a voice that makes it feel unique and utterly compelling.  It may not have characters that really sing. I read manuscripts all the time that are…solid. There isn’t anything wrong with them but I don’t find myself wanting to read more.  A really great submission should fill me with a sense of panic & paranoia that someone will somehow beat me to it in the time it takes me to call the author and make them an offer of representation.

CR: What do you think a great adult, new adult, or young adult contemporary romance must have?

LB:  An amazing, distinctive voice, dynamic characters that don’t feel like stereotypes, super-yummy romantic/sexual tension.

CR: What do you think a writer needs to do in terms of story, writing, premise, etc., to make a contemporary story stand out?

LB: There are a GAZILLION contemporary romances around these days. It has been a hot market for a while and it is exceedingly difficult to stand out when the market is so incredibly full. That said, I think the most important thing you can do is just try to make your characters unique.  They may have a career that we have seen before but work on making them an intriguing mix of contradictions.  Throw an elbow. Being the same as everything else is boring & the kiss of death.  So go ahead and write that cop hero. But he’d better have a side business making fancy designer platform boots for drag queens.  Write a heroine who owns a small town bake shop. But she’d better also be a former nuclear physicist who is building a rocket in her backyard.

CR: What are the most common mistakes you see in submissions?

LB: In a query, I think the most common mistake I see is the author giving short shrift to actually talking about the manuscript. They may spend 2 paragraphs talking about their lovely spouse, adorable children, their current job, how they started writing when they were in grade school & wrote their 1st book (about the family dog) when they were 10.  Then they tell me almost nothing about the manuscript because they have used up all the real estate on their query letter with things that aren’t going to compel me to ask for the material. If the description is an afterthought, you’re doing it wrong. Beyond that, in the sample pages, it is a common mistake to see authors take too long to launch their story, like they open with a lot of exposition and back story.

CR: Is there anything about a story itself likely to turn you off on a manuscript, even if the mechanics are quite good?

LB: Sure. There are all kinds of stories I am not really interested in reading because of my own personal taste. For example, I generally don’t like infidelity stories or stories about the mafia so I am pretty hard pressed to love those even if they are well-written.  Every agent or editor has their own personal hot buttons. Other than a hook I don’t love… I can also just not really relate to the protagonist or like them very much.  I wouldn’t want to take on that manuscript either. Just not the right fit for me.

CR: What’s the best and worst part of your job?

LB: I LOVE calling people and letting them know they have an offer.  I love problem-solving. I love seeing a book I sold get released.  I don’t always like being the messenger.  I hand out A LOT of rejection as part of the querying process and I am often the one who has to deliver any bad news to my clients.  That is never fun.

CR: Before acquisition, how important is a writer’s platform to you? To publishing houses?

LB: With fiction, platform isn’t really as critical.  I handle debuts that don’t have any platform and they are still sellable.  If you are a well-established author, I think sales numbers do factor in but that is slightly different than platform per se. Publishers will ask me to give them sales figures for some authors when I pitch if they are established names.  For non-fiction, platform is CRITICAL.  It is one of the most important things that factor into an author being able to get published. So for a non-fiction author I care about platform A LOT before acquisition. With a fiction author, I am way more interested in whether I like the material or not.

CR: Can you offer some encouraging words of advice to aspiring authors who haven’t received their first contract yet?

LB:   The world is your oyster. More and more there is room in the market for every kind of book, for every kind of taste.  There are LOTS of opportunities.  Sure, not every book gets a huge six-figure advance print deal but there can still be a place for you in the market if you keep at this, & keep getting better and smarter.  Learn as you go and keep going.

CR: What is on your wish list of story types to acquire?

LB: Just something that is really fresh and unique. As I have mentioned above, contemporary romance is a very, very full market right now so  it needs to be something that feels new and different to really have any chance to stand out from the crowd.  I am also interested in some historical mystery and a female-driven thriller. And lots and lots of YA.

CR: Thanks for agreeing to do a pitch contest today! What genres, subgenres, and/or word counts are you open to considering at this time?

LB: I will consider any of the things I handle normally:  all romance subgenres except inspirational + women’s fiction, thrillers, mystery, speculative fiction (except epic fantasy) & young adult. I am especially looking for more YA right now.  I generally prefer single title length for any of the above categories, though I am open to category-length romance. I am not looking for novellas.



Laura Bradford established the Bradford Literary Agency in 2001. She considers herself an editorial-focused agent and takes a hands-on approach to developing proposals and manuscripts with her authors for the most appropriate markets. The mission of Bradford Literary Agency is to form true partnerships with their clients and build long-term relationships that extend from writing the first draft through the length of the author’s career. Her recent sales include books placed with Penguin Random House, Grand Central, Harlequin, Kensington, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Sourcebooks, Hyperion, and many others. She continues to actively build her client list and is currently seeking work in the following genres: Romance (historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, category, contemporary, erotic), urban fantasy, women’s fiction, mystery, thrillers and young adult as well as some select non-fiction.

She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) and Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and she is an RWA-recognized agent.

Website | Twitter


Authors are invited to submit the below for consideration as a comment on this post. Also feel free to post general questions, but please do so in a separate comment from your pitch submission.

The contest will run for 24 hours (from 9/14 at 6:00 am EST to 9/15 5:59 am EST) – pitches submitted after this time will not be entered. Works being pitched must be completed and ready for submission. Pitches must be for books not published or under contract as of September 14, 2015.

Today’s pitch contest is open to everyone – members or non-members. But we invite non-members to consider joining our chapter so you don’t miss out on other exciting events and opportunities!

Please submit your pitch for consideration as a comment on this post and in the following format.

  • Author’s Name:
  • Book Title:
  • Genre:
  • Finished Word Count:
  • Maximum 200-word blurb:
  • First 100 words of your story:

Submissions won’t be considered if they don’t meet the guidelines.

Winners will be announced 1 week after the close of the contest – September 21st at 8am EST –  in a separate blog post on the CRW site, so check back! And good luck!

112 thoughts on “Q & A and Pitch Contest With Agent Laura Bradford”

  1. Author’s Name: M. Colbert
    Book Title: The Heart Breaker
    Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Book Word Count: 80,000
    Blurb: The Heart Breaker is the story of a young widow, Lara Carter, who is forced to cope with the devastating loss of her husband and learn to enjoy life and loving again. Lara was previously a vivacious, fun loving, and spontaneous woman, but is stunned by the loss of her husband Sam, and overwhelmed with sorrow. Lara’s quirky sister Megan and best friend Ali are determined to help Lara move beyond her sadness, and embrace life again, even if she isn’t sure how to do it.

    Caleb realizes Lara is heartbroken but he feels compelled to comfort her after the loss of her husband, and he can’t deny his desire to be near her. When their careers force Caleb and Lara together years after an initial flirtation, he hopes fate is giving him a second chance with Lara. Caleb wants to be with Lara but he can’t compete with a ghost, and he knows Lara will need to let go of Sam before she can love again.

    A few years after the loss of her husband Lara is ready to attempt to move forward in her newly single life, and sets her sights on Caleb. Caleb is a successful, gorgeous, sexy, man, and Lara will face some serious competition if she wants to win her second chance at love.

    1st 100 words of the MS: The afternoon sun was shining down bright where Lara stood in the lush green grass. A cool breeze ruffled her long, auburn hair and the big round sunglasses she wore disguised the tears pooling in her eyes.
    “I wasn’t supposed to ever see you again” she tossed over her shoulder into the wind.
    “I guess you were.” Caleb replied with a strong, even tone that annoyed Lara. As if it were out of their control, out of her control.
    “So you think Sam was supposed to die, at 35? With that logic, I guess I was destined to be a widow.”

  2. Title: Sarah in Wonderland

    Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

    Finished word count: 80k

    200 word blurb

    After being fired from her editorial job at the prestigious Soffet & Lloyd, Sarah Henderson finds herself editing manuscripts about lambies and bunnies at Little Bear Books. Sarah needs a paycheck to pay for her perfume habit, so this job will have to suffice until she can find a new one.
    To make matters worse, Seth, her sophisticated boyfriend, keeps growing more distant. She worries that with her “kiddie lit” job she has lost his respect.
    When Sarah learns that she will accompany Little Bear’s best selling authors, The Three Silly Dillies, on their book tour she tries to get out of it. Two weeks of baby-sitting three loud, middle-aged authors won’t be fun. Despite help from Ian, her Spiderman-loving co-worker, Sarah dreads the trip.
    During a trying tour that includes a humping pug and a determined chicken, Sarah receives a break-up email from Seth. She drinks one too many Bahama Mamas and is soothed by The Dillies, who read Goodnight Moon to her like her mother once did. When Sarah’s mother died something in Sarah died, too, but she realizes, through the Dillies, that a trio of true friends and the right guy can do wonders for the soul.

    First 100 words

    Sarah cleared her throat.
    “Ummm, let me gather my thoughts about this story for a moment,” she said.
    Jen, a young mom with dark circles under her eyes and terminally greasy hair, had just read her children’s story out loud to Sarah’s writing class. It was about the Easter Bunny. Not only did he wear a jaunty straw hat and baggy overalls, in Jen’s story he also pooped out Easter eggs with psalms written on them and delivered them to the children in Carrot Town.
    Much to Sarah’s dismay, the ten-page story was typed in ALL CAPS.

  3. Name:Anne Stone, writing as Annie O’Rourke.
    Title: Luckey Strike
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 78K

    Playboy pitcher Johnny Martin lives and breathes baseball until his fifteen-year career is thrown an unexpected curveball when he is suspended after a drug test from his past is made public. Amidst the media frenzy, Johnny learns his grandfather, whom he hasn’t spoken to in six years, has died and he must return to small town Luckey, Ohio for the funeral. The old man’s unexpected death steals away any chance for a reconciliation. Ironically, it was Johnny’s choice to use steroids which caused the estrangement.

    Lori Wilson has moved back to Luckey after her divorce from an unfaithful husband to raise her eight-year-old son. Lori knows of the town’s nurturing qualities because after her parents were murdered by a drug addict, when she was fourteen, she moved there to live with her grandmother.

    It’s been almost fifteen years since Johnny last saw Lori. She’s hesitant to let Johnny back in her life knowing his reputation with woman. Does she dare risk her heart a second time? This time she must protect her son, who hero-worships Johnny, especially if the rumors of drug use are true?

    Determined to rekindle their past, Johnny discovers their chemistry ignites more than his memories.

    First 100 words:
    Welcome to Luckey, Ohio
    Population 892
    “Lucky, my ass!” Johnny swore when he spotted the washed-out billboard, half hidden behind nondescript shrubbery, which looked like it hadn’t seen a pair of pruning shears since the Clinton years.

    Dark clouds rumbling overhead smothered the promise of blue skies, and perfectly matched his road-weary mood. He massaged the his left elbow of his pitching arm. The persistent ache was a telltale sign of the brewing storm. “God, what I wouldn’t give for a couple Ibuprofen right about now,” he mumbled.
    His foul mood had nothing to do with the town. After all,

  4. Name: Linda Rees
    Title: Gold Rush Conspiracy
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Word Count: 79,769
    Gold Rush Conspiracy is a spicy tale about overcoming circumstances and striving for a better life. Forced into prostitution as a child, Jessie struggles to forgive herself for her past. Does she deserve a second chance, to love and be loved?
    Handpicked by a wealthy aristocrat to be his socialite wife, Jessie caters to his every sexual whim in exchange for respectability, a home, and family. She is entangled at the center of an elaborate scam concocted to solve a growing problem. California suffers from a criminal element left from the dwindling Gold Rush. This epic conspiracy – the Alaskan Gold Rush is initiated.
    In the Alaskan frontier Jessie survives harsh terrain and brutal weather. Hoards of eager, unsuspecting, ill prepared prospectors rush to Skagway. This Gateway to the Klondike is a hotbed of sinister criminal activity with no lawful influence.
    Love blossoms in unlikely places. Committed to Everett, Jessie honors her bargain, remaining a devoted possession, vulnerable to raging moods and brutality. She adores her savage, magnificent, wilderness home. Jessie endures, survives and thrives in harsh circumstances. Shattered by violence and grief, Jessie refuses to remain a victim. She must protect her home and life.

    First 100 Words of Manuscript:
    Jessie tried to appear unscathed as she struggled to remain erect in her seat while the train bumped and jarred around on its journey through the wilderness on its journey west. A lady never appeared unsettled. She learned that at the Boston School for Proper Young Ladies during the last year. She studied hard and practiced relentlessly. She wanted Everett to be proud and happy with his decision to marry her. She wanted him to like her, maybe even love her someday.
    As the train jostled Jessie about, she continued the battle to sit like a lady, straight and erect.

    Romantic suspense
    70,000 words


    When Carla’s husband dies leaving her to raise their young daughter, her in-laws, the powerful Zanardi’s grasp the chance to take control of their granddaughter. Carla has to escape their influence. It’s the only way she can give her daughter a free life and be the mother her daughter deserves. Alone and without resources, Carla has to rely on Massi, the young entrepreneur whose fledgling business is built on the Zanardi’s patronage. Together they flee to safety, the Zanardi henchmen just a step behind. Carla has to trust Massi’s assistance but she struggles to trust her growing feelings for him.


    “Where are you?” A withered hand snaked towards her.
    “Here, Paolo.” Carla took her husband’s hand in hers and stroked it. She raised it to her lips. “Is there much pain?”
    “The same.” His voice, once deep and strong, was stretched thin from the effort of speech and came to her from a distance. They sat in silence for several minutes.
    “Is Gianna with you?”
    “She’s with your mother.”
    “It’s better that way. Better that she doesn’t see me like this, remember me like this.”
    “Gianna loves you.” It was one sure way to give comfort.
    “And you?”

    Romantic suspense
    70,000 words


    After the tragic death of her husband and young son, Lauren Bright, a nurse, turns her back on her old life to manage an isolated café on the Nullarbor Plain in outback Australia. She hopes that a place where no one knows her or her tragic history and where everyone is passing through will mean she can live without thinking or feeling too deeply.
    Steve Moore, a successful executive, hasn’t taken a mis-step in his entire life. Wealth, success, and a wide circle of friends have come easily to him. A gnawing feeling that he’s done nothing to deserve the benefits he enjoys makes him undertake thrill-seeking pastimes and adventurous holidays. He’s taking a solo motorbike holiday across the Nullarbor testing himself against the country and the elements. He’s spent his life in search of validation and a sense of self-worth.
    When Steve is injured attraction breaks through their initial animosity. When Lauren falls into the hands of a sociopathic serial killer she has to decide if her life and the chance of a future with Steve are worth fighting for. Steve faces his first serious challenge and the life of the woman he’s grown to love is at stake.


    Lauren turned the car off the road into the deserted car park. A swirl of red dust billowed behind her. The particles trembled in the air as though afraid of being scorched if they settled on the ground. The console displayed an outside temperature of 35°C. She pulled into a patch of shade outside the café but left the motor running so the car’s climate control would churn out cool air. She peered through the windscreen. If there was any wildlife about it was staying out of the afternoon sun. No one called or came out to greet her.

    World War II Historical Romantic Suspense
    64,000 words


    April, 1945: Nazi saboteurs infiltrate dim, war-weary New York City. Major Hart Kensington, a Purple Heart recipient is scarred body and soul. His orders, discover and stop the Nazis’ plot.

    Sara Marlowe, the last surviving member of her Texas family, arrives in New York determined to put her brother’s death as a war casualty behind her. The courageous Texan runs off goons stabbing the Army Major in Central Park.

    Hart mourns the man he used to be. Sara admires the hero he is today. A German SS Colonel plots to blow up Grand Central Terminal as a last blow against his enemy and a tribute to his hatred of everything American, especially Hart. Love can flourish for Sara and Hart, if they stop the Nazi and save Grand Central in time to . . . get out alive.


    New York City
    20 April, 1945

    “Horse feathers!” Sara Marlowe flung herself onto a park bench near the trees and examined her ankle strap. She wore her favorite high heels despite a problem buckle on one. Today she’d walked miles, in awe of New York’s architecture.
    A loud bellow, a thump, and a groan punctuated the screech of brakes and car horns.
    “Oof.” At the swish of feet, she stood and faced the disturbance. A thud and another grunt came from the trees. Someone hit the ground. Sara secured her satchel and rushed toward the scuffle.

  8. •Author’s Name: Greta Gilbert
    •Book Title: Boot Camp with the Billionaire
    •Genre: Contemporary
    •Finished Word Count: 51,500
    •Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Short, chubby Mexican girls from South Pasadena don’t land gorgeous young surgeons, and they certainly don’t keep them. That’s what Ana Vela’s mother said when Ana married Ken Slezney, her brother’s best friend. It didn’t matter that Ana was by then a successful lawyer in her own right. According to her mother, Ana had married out of her league. What did Ana expect—fidelity?

    Well, yes. Fidelity would have been nice.

    Now, five years later, Ana still can’t get over Ken, but when she finds out he is coming to her brother’s wedding, she knows she needs to present an airtight case for her own resilience. She also needs to lose a few pounds. OK, more than a few.

    Luckily, billionaire conservationist Dean Zeal can help. Dean is smitten when he encounters Ana on her way to a wilderness weight loss retreat. Still, he is determined to woo her without the influence of his wealth. Disguising himself as a mountain man with an unconventional approach to fitness, he convinces Ana to forget the fat farm and train with him. Will his strange, sexy methods help him win Ana’s heart? Or will his elaborate deception send Ana running for the hills?

    •First 100 words of story:

    Apparently, when it came to electronics (and also ex-husbands), Ana Vela was a groveler. “Come back,” she pleaded with her phone, accelerating through another curve. “I’m begging you.” She corrected her steering, stealing another glance at the little blue screen. “Pretty please?” Daylight was fading, and the forest seemed to be closing in. “Do your electronic duty!” she commanded, but her phone refused to obey. “Hijo de la . . . ,” she cursed, tossing the device onto the passenger’s seat. The small glowing route map remained where it was five curves ago—frozen in the land of no bars.

  9. Author’s Name: Bonnie McCune
    Book Title: Never Retreat
    Book Genre: contemporary
    Book Word Count (completed manuscripts only): 71,000
    Blurb (maximum 200-word):Ramona Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up, then deserted her. Afterwards a series of low-paying, dead-end jobs convinced her to start a career with possibilities.

    At thirty-something she’s concentrating on her occupation in a major Denver firm. With son Andy preparing for college, she longs to break the glass ceiling and leapfrog to a top position. The company retreat provides the opportunity. Executives plan to award a prize based on the skills shown by key employees. With her motivation, Raye’s sure to succeed. She hopes.

    Enter Desmond Emmett. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for the guy she should avoid. A motorcycle enthusiast, sweet talker, fast mover, he’s matched with Raye as teammates. Thrown together, Des soon is entranced by this feisty, independent, hard-working woman. Just as it appears the two deserve one another, they face an insurmountable obstacle. Des, too, needs the prize desperately, but only one can win.

    Then a massive flash flood, endangers their very existence. Confronting a massive wall of water sweeping down the rocky canyon, they must put aside their differences to rescue not only their colleagues, but also their future as a couple.

    1st 100 words of the MS: Everything’s secure at Pursuit Telecom Ltd headquarters, Desmond Emmett noted as he strode through the wide hallways of the corporate offices. Unremitting responsibility for safety and protection went with his position as Director of Security. He surveyed the cameras, discreetly tucked high in corners, nearly hidden by light fixtures and artwork, functioning like ever-open eyes, then noted key card scanners by elevators seemed operational. No unexpected or incongruous packages or people disturbed his vision.
    Newly assigned to the Denver center of operations as part of a company downsizing, Des mastered a touch of apprehension with a technique used since childhood.

  10. Jacqueline Goodwill

    Author’s Name: Jacqueline Goodwill

    Book Title: Windfall (the 1st in the Cottage Bay series)

    Book Genre: Contemporary romance

    Book Word Count: 59,400

    Blurb (maximum 200-word):
    At eight years old, Roxanne, “Rocky” Olson coped with her mother’s terminal breast cancer by playing “nail salon” with her best friend, Sue. With a coat of polish, all was right with the world. Years later, Dr. Roxanne Olson realizes her life is one singular pursuit as a physician. Acknowledging the crossroads, she makes a sentinel change to fulfill her dreams from long ago.

    A thousand miles away, Michael Kāne, Jr, called Mikey by most, is also at a crossroads. A two-time Superbowl winning quarterback, he injures his Achilles during the championship game. Mikey is haunted by his recurrent injury as well as the murder of his best friend and teammate twelve years earlier. He decides to use a windfall of time and place to honor the memory of his great friend.

    The stars align for both Roxanne and Mikey over the coming months. What ensues, through the courage to realize hopes, long-postponed, helps them make the most of their gifts of time, money and place. Windfall is about the greatest yearnings of the heart. It is an encouraging, hopeful story of how to recognize the opportunities we are sometimes, miraculously, offered in life.

    First 100 words:

    The dream was always the same and always when Rocky thought she was losing a patient. A last, perfect day with her beautiful mother.

    She woke. Her clock read 5:54 am. Picking up the phone, she called the main desk of the cancer center.

    “Hi there,” the nurse said. “We’re all set for your Big Three today.”

    “No one’s been admitted to Children’s?” Rocky was surprised.

    Roxanne watched the darkness turn into a cold January Cottage Bay morning, She shook off her dreams and got ready for the Big Three. Despite her premonitions, she would make this a good day.

  11. Genre : Steamy Contemporary
    Word Count : 95,000

    Blurb :
    A snarky widow and a sexy celebrity take a road trip to forget the past and instead find their happy ending.

    Cynical, ex-ER nurse Rebecca Barnes and brooding movie star Maxwell Clarke need a distraction. Scarred by the death of her husband, Becca survives by hiding from anything that ties her to the life she lost. Max wants to forget his messy Hollywood scandal, except it’s on the cover of every tabloid – a fact Becca ignores when he sits down in her North Texas bar.

    Drawn to her sarcastic honesty and she to his panty dropping charm, Max and Becca fall for each other on an epic summer road trip to that forces them to face her personal loss and his public heartbreak. Their happily ever after doesn’t come easy. Becca battles her suspicious nurses’ intuition and must deal with the guilt from finding happiness with another man. Max struggles with a temper, and while falling for Becca has soothed the burn of betrayal by his jealous, onscreen love, he must find a way to distance himself from their entangled celebrity life or run the risk of losing Becca forever.

    First 100 words :

    Everybody has one. An inner voice. For many, it’s the voice of honesty – the real honesty you learn to filter because too much truth crowns you the title of ‘bitch.’ It’s the silent nag that’ll make you put back the crop top and skinny jeans because everyone knows you’re thirty, not thirteen. For me, it’s a sarcastic, cynical voice of reason and the only part of me that survived.

    ‘It’s been five minutes, genius…’ she taunts. Again. For the umpteenth time today. I fidget with my watch like it would somehow move time forward and glare over the crowd. A few measly feet away a couple sits wedged in each other’s arms. The ambient noise provides a reason to let their lips linger just below the other’s ear, catapulting a routine flirt session into an obscene gropefest.

    Like a class one pervert, I stare. A weight builds, then crushes against my sternum. My arms fold over the ache. I don’t resent the happiness of others – or PDA – but it’s really fucking hard to watch sometimes.

  12. Author’s Name: Mary Marino

    Book Title: Learning To Love

    Genre: Erotic Romance (Brady Bunch/Modern Family smashup)

    Word Count: 95,000

    Blurb: Joel Neely lost his beloved wife to cancer, leaving him with three teenagers. Two years later, he’s still reeling from the loss.

    Sarah Michealson, a music reporter based in New York City, visits her home town of Columbus, GA, for her estranged father and stepmother’s funeral.

    Sarah meets Joel and sparks fly, much to Joel’s dismay. Sarah senses the conflict between Joel’s deep sadness and his unwilling attraction to her and offers him one night of passion.

    After responding so deeply to her brand of raw sex, straight-laced Joel’s shocked to discover he wants more with Sarah, but when she gives up New York to become guardian for her teen-aged half-brother, she vows not to become Joel’s rebound girl.

    In this story, Carol and Mike Brady are brought back together because Greg and Marcia begin dating. Only Marcia is a Martin. How will Joel convince Sarah she’s more than just a rebound for him and can trust him with her heart? How will straight-laced Joel handle his football-quarterback son wanting to date Sarah’s brother? Will Sarah and Joel let go of their fears and risk it all to learn to love?

    First 100 words:
    Joel caught sight on himself in the mirror behind the bar as he waited for his beer and, noticing the shaggy image in the reflection, remembered he still needed a haircut. He ran a self-conscious hand through his hair, around his ear, and down his jaw across the generous beard stubble coating his cheeks and chin, surprised at how long it had gotten.
    Shit, he was out of shaving cream, too. Forgot to put it on the fucking list again. He didn’t like looking this unkept. Wasn’t normal for him. A lot of things weren’t normal for him anymore. Or, hell, maybe this was the new normal.

  13. Author’s Name: Angela Parker

    Book Title: SING TO ME

    Genre: NA Romance

    Finished Word Count: 85,000

    200-word blurb:

    Music has always held the key to Evie’s heart, but she’s spent years running from the unstable lifestyle of musicians. When a failing heart leaves her brother Vernon struggling for his life, his request that she step in to save his band derails her education and strains her relationship with her fiancé, Drew – a budding cardiologist who finds himself in charge of Vernon’s care.

    But love for her brother wins. It always does.

    While tiptoeing around Drew’s growing disdain, she runs into another challenge: saying no to the band’s new guitarist when her passionate songwriting ignites emotions they’re both afraid to put into words. Through the adoring fans and his ardent gaze, Evie’s reinvented, and grows to believe her love for music is worth living with some risk.

    Until that risk is her brother.

    Drew will do anything to have the old Evie back, even if that means threatening Vernon’s survival. Can Evie do what’s necessary to ensure the healing of her brother’s heart if it means forever losing the love that has captured her own?

    First 100 words:

    I hated it. I hated my wedding dress.

    The attendant strapping me into it was gushing, and I was trying to hide my disappointment from her and the mirror. I was also trying to keep my balance as she yanked and pulled on the stiff corset top, lacing the ribbon down my back. Crystals and rhinestones encrusted the bodice, beaded in an intricate pattern from the sweetheart neckline to the waist, where the dress exploded into layers of fabric.

    How did I get talked into this?

  14. Author’s Name: Babette de Jongh
    Book Title: Angel Falls
    Genre:Contemporary romance
    Finished Word Count: 90,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Angel Falls is a small-town contemporary romance set in Alabama, the first in a trilogy of completed, award-winning manuscripts. When injury ends her career as a ballerina, Casey Alexander opens a ballet studio in her home town of Angel Falls. Teaching the daughter of her high school sweetheart and her best-friend who married him is worse than breaking in new pointe shoes.

    Ian Buchanan, the sexy Scottish editor of the local paper, soothes Casey’s bruised heart and feeds her starving libido, but he isn’t planning to stay in Angel Falls. When Casey’s best friend is fatally wounded in an accident, Casey promises to care for her family. Everyone in town expects it, too.

    Casey is torn between her past—everything she ever wanted on a silver platter—and an uncertain future with the hunky, commitment-phobic editor who can’t wait to leave town. Casey must overcome survivor’s guilt and a Southern Belle’s tendency toward co-dependency before she and Ian can write their own happy ending.

    First 100 words:

    Accidents happen, I preached to myself. It’s not the end of the world, just your world. You can’t dance, so you teach. You teach in the small town where you grew up, where nothing ever changes. You teach the kids of your old friends, your old enemies, your first lover. You teach the kids who might have been yours, if you’d made different choices.

    I crossed the street, glanced up, and saw a man so gorgeous, I forgot to walk. Struck stupid, I forgot to do anything but stare. If anyone could make me forget Jess, this guy could.

  15. Author Name: Barbara Gerry
    Book Title: SAVING GRACE
    Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 50,000 words (standalone with series potential)


    Sweet Home Alabama meets Raising Helen in SAVING GRACE, a small-town contemporary romance set in Reno, Nevada.

    After an accident takes the lives of Grace Harper’s father and mother-in-law, Grace finds herself responsible for a ranch she escaped eight years ago and a step-brother she’s never met. But her simple plan—sell the ranch, settle JJ in a foster family, and skedaddle back to New York—turns complicated when she finds her sexy ex-flame living at the ranch and taking care of JJ, who is autistic. As old feelings begin to resurface between Grace and her ex, the bank tries to foreclose on the property and her big city job demands her return. Grace must decide which part of herself to save, her roots or her wings.

    First 100:

    She hadn’t planned on coming back to this mess. She certainly hadn’t planned on owning this mess.

    Grace Harper pulled up the dusty road and took in the familiar two-story farmhouse. Peeling paint, broken screens, warped siding. Mom’s flower beds overgrown with monster weeds.

    A lump of nostalgia clogged her throat like wet cement. You were stupid stupid stupid for hoping Sheila had made a difference.

    She stepped out of her rental Audi and onto the dirt driveway, wishing she’d worn her Converse rather than her Jimmy Choo’s. She’d dressed like she was going to her father’s and Sheila’s funeral, not like someone arriving a week late.

  16. Author: Tracy Hewitt Meyer

    Title: Love Match

    Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

    Word Count: 80k


    Graduate student Serena McAllister yearns for a future so different from her past she puts everything on the line to increase her chance of happiness.

    Prince Shailemon never wanted to ascend the throne but when his father dies he must choose his duty to the tiny island nation over the more western life he craves.

    When Serena finds herself in Shai’s tropical paradise, sparks fly upon first glance. But they must overcome life’s insurmountable obstacles if they are to achieve their hearts’ greatest desire—to love and be loved.

    Coming to America meets Pretty Woman in this modern-day fairytale of finding love, and oneself, in the unlikeliest of places.

    First 100:

    Serena McAllister hurried down Massachusetts Avenue, the sun casting a miniscule splash of pink over Union Station. Washington D.C. was glowing on this early Sunday morning, the stone buildings coming alive with the dawning light.

    On any other day, Serena would have appreciated the view, inhaled the fresh air, slowed her pace to absorb it all.

    Today was not any other day, though.

    Today was the day she walked out of her fiancé’s apartment, determined to never, ever return.

    She wiped the moisture from her cheeks and picked up speed when she heard a car slow nearby.

    Thank you for your time and consideration!

  17. Name: Kristin Wallace
    Title: To Catch An Heiress (Heiress Games, Book 1)
    Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
    Word count: 90,000

    Struggling single mom, Eve Bennett, never expected her fairy godmother to be a tall, dark and gorgeous lawyer who offers her a chance at winning a fortune. All she has to do is compete and win custody of a pampered pig. As in the barnyard animal. Local heiress Victoria Armington has died and left her considerable fortune to her pet pig Matilda. As one of the remaining descendants of the Armington family, Eve has been chosen to compete against the other two remaining descendants. Eve needs to win for her family’s sake. She needs to prove that her family line – which began as the result of an illicit affair between the town’s founder and his mistress – is every bit as deserving of the Armington fortune. And she absolutely can’t fall for the man overseeing the competition.

    High-powered attorney Cameron Reed never expected that overseeing a will would be so complicated. He’s defended pigs before, but never had to deal with the animal variety. This case could mean a partnership. He’s survived losing his parents, and an endless round of foster homes as a child, and now he’s one step away from realizing his dream. If only he can keep his hands off the luscious Eve Bennett. If only he can keep from losing his heart to the one woman who could ruin all his plans.

    First 100 words:

    “Have a seat, Reed.”

    Cameron Reed’s blood chilled, and he froze for a moment in the doorway of the office.

    Randall Jamison, senior partner of the prestigious Miami Law Firm, Whitney, Jamison and Collins, didn’t bother looking up from the papers he was reading so he missed Cameron’s hesitation. Not that Jamison needed to. It wasn’t like anyone would dare defy the old buzzard. So Cameron sat, folding his six foot three self into a supple leather chair that swallowed even his tall frame like a Venus flytrap.

  18. • Author’s Name: Jess Russell
    • Book Title: Mad for the Marquess
    • Book Genre: Historical (Victorian)
    • Book Word Count (completed): 101K
    • Blurb:
    JAMES DRAKE, Marquess of Devlin, has everything. He is heir to a duchy, processes da Vinci-like brilliance, and is handsome as the devil. He is also shut up in a madhouse. His father, though desperate for an heir, will not leave the dukedom to a “drug addicted degenerate.” Dev has one year to recover his wits. The devils within his head are far easier to battle than the ones that surround him.

    ANNE WINTON is sent to Ballencrieff from a charity school where she hopes to share her gifts of healing. She sheds her shy naiveté to immerse herself in “Lord Devil’s” tortured life, and vows to save him from his father, his brother—the perfect son—and especially from Lord Devlin, himself.

    However, as Anne struggles to reconcile her fear and attraction for this complicated man, Devlin plots to use Anne as a pawn to extricate himself from his prison. Will his schemes fall to pieces as he begins to see her not just an ends to a means, but as a beautifully passionate and caring woman? And will she ever forgive him?

    First 100 words:

    The Scottish Highlands
    Late March, 1864

    At last.
    Anne Winton stepped onto the portico. The fortress of Ballencrieff Hall rose before her dark and overwhelming. A huge brass phoenix, red glass eyes staring down, dared her to enter.
    She turned back toward the iron gates far below. Like a broom her too-long cloak marked her progress through the rime of heavy frost. Would this journey be a path to freedom or only more heartache? A home or another kind of prison?
    She squeezed her eyes shut. There was no choice. She could not go back.
    Her fate lay within the walls of this madhouse.

    Thanks so much for this opportunity! Much appreciated.

  19. Author: Ashley Drew
    Title: The Road in Between
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Words: 99,702
    Thank you for the opportunity!

    Everyone has a story. And every story has an end.

    Fun and fearless Corinne Bennett lives in the moment. Whether she’s skydiving out of an airplane, or setting off on the road to anywhere, she’s on the lookout for the next great adventure. That is, if childhood friend and always-by-the-book Nicholas Kelley doesn’t put his foot down on her crazy antics first.

    So when Corinne gives in to her growing feelings for her best friend the summer before their freshman year of college, she takes the ultimate risk, making this one adventure Nicholas has longed to explore with her.

    But the moment they venture down that road, a shocking revelation blindsides Corinne, exposing her vulnerabilities, baring her fears, and questioning everything she ever believed about love. With their future- and most importantly, their friendship- now clouded heavily with doubt, Corinne must decide if love is really worth the risk.

    This is Corinne and Nicholas’s story.
    Neither one of them is ready for the end.
    But it very well could be.

    First 100 Words:
    He said he couldn’t wait for me.

    Those last words of his continue to echo in my thoughts as they silence the drone of the airplane’s engines. Over a month has passed since, but his words are so deafening he might as well be sitting beside me with a bullhorn pointed right at my ear. Though, I wouldn’t mind it since he’d only be inches away instead of a few thousand miles, close enough so that my knee would fall against his. I’d lay my head along the broad plateau of his shoulder, and our elbows would playfully battle it out over the armrest between us. Eventually, I’d let him win.

  20. Tina Ellery
    Contemporary Women’s Fiction / Romantic Suspense

    Tova’s been living a lie and so has her murderous husband, Andrew. The sassy jeweler is withholding her disintegrating marriage from her friends and family. She’s even hiding the truth from herself because she doesn’t want to think about failing in the one thing she always thought she could succeed in. Frustrated, she meets Neil, a private investigator who tempts her with the knowledge he’s interested in her. She thinks she’s safe, until he turns out to be her new neighbor and fighting her attraction to him only points to what’s missing in her life.

    When Neil sees her farce of a marriage play out at a party, Tova’s frustration boils over into anger. In the following weeks Andrew’s secrets and her life starts to unravel under a threatening promise. A break-in and a hit-and-run accident convince Neil something sinister is going on. Together, they must unravel the mystery behind the lies she’s believed throughout her marriage as their friendship, doused in sexual tension, heats up and Tova lands in the crosshairs.

    First 100:
    I use to think my husband, Andrew, had as many facets as a fine gem. I knew better now.
    “I’m going to drop you off and get us some champagne,” he said, surprising me as we walked out of the bank. I glanced over at him. He had the loan papers in one hand, his phone in the other, and for the first time since I picked him up at the airport, a smile on his face.
    A rush of air—similar to a flag floating to the ground—escaped from my mouth and turned silver against a winter sky.

  21. Thanks very much to Laura and CRW for the chance to pitch.

    Name: Amy Mckenna Rae, writing as Rayn Ellis
    Title: Soul Song
    Genre: Single Title Contemporary Romance; 75,000 words

    LAUREN WAITTES, a wide-eyed optimist, was blindsided when her husband pulled a Bernie Madoff and vanished. Amid financial and emotional ruin, she struggles to keep her identity hidden and rebuild her shattered life, favoring safety and security over charisma and charm. A new job at an exclusive music event planning firm is just what she needs to start over, and pay down her soaring legal fees.

    JOEL SHERIN is the best Blues guitarist in the game. And he knows it. He’s also the brainchild behind SMASHRecords, the hottest new independent label in Seattle. A label he creates to showcase his long-time playing partner and mentor—Blues legend JIMMY B—who lost his life savings in Lauren’s husband’s investment scam.

    Two days before SMASH’s inaugural tour, an accident sidelines the tour manager and Lauren is recruited to help. Across six states and seven gigs, she discovers the sultry power of the Blues to heal her broken spirit and the sizzling passion of her new boss, Joel, to unlock her soul. That is, until her identity is revealed by a fraud victim in some no name, backwater town. Will Joel believe in Lauren’s innocence? Or will he turn his back and run?

    Opening of Manuscript:
    “Where’s the money, bitch?”
    Lauren heard the words come from somewhere in the crowd on the steps of Seattle’s FBI office, just before a bottle whizzed past her face.
    A claw of fingers pierced her arm, yanking her toward the crowd. “I said, where’s the money?”
    She couldn’t see him, his voice coming from somewhere behind her. But she could feel his breath, hot and damp on her neck, cigarette-stale and alcohol-sour. His words filled with a vehemence that she couldn’t believe was directed at her.
    A simple answer.
    She didn’t know.

  22. Name: LL Young
    Title: Borrowed
    Genre: Paranormal Romance

    Alana’s entire life is shattering unless a demented woman’s hold on time is severed.

    She lost it all… the love of her life, her family, her health, and now possibly her life. Someone from long ago is wreaking havoc. Entering the fight of her life, Alana fears that the only way to make it stop is to give it up. To make matters worse, someone is trying to steal a valuable heirloom that may hold a key to saving them all.

    Chase is determined to have Alana back in his life. She walked out of his life once, and now that he has been given a second chance, a mysterious illness threatens to tear her away from him forever. How can he win her back and save her life?

    Dr.Rich Ellis is ready to start over after a grueling divorce. A job opening at a hospital in the Adirondacks is the perfect opportunity. But when he meets Alana, his world turns upside down. She is the mysterious woman who has been haunting his dreams for months. Time is running out for them. He must discover what their connection is. How much will he have to give up to save her?

    100 Words:
    He pulled the black hood over his numb earlobes and blew warm air into his clasped, calloused fists. He waited. Knew she’d come. He crouched behind one of the tall monuments, a testament to a life long gone. He dared not move closer nor make a sound. He watched her perch herself in front of that grave, gazed at her blank stare for a long moment and then slithered away.

    Dry, brittle leaves, swirled around her feet and crunched, as she walked down the worn, stony path past silent headstones and decaying wreaths left from before winter’s snows. Normally graveyards

    Thank you for this opportunity.

  23. Author’s Name: Shelly Chalmers
    Book Title: Frozen Star
    Genre: Space opera romance
    Finished Word Count: 96,700 words.

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    FIREFLY meets Jane Austen in this space opera romance as a librarian and space pirate fight the sparks between them, and the rebellion threatening the solar system.

    The library is the only place Meredith Lefroy has ever felt at ease on her home planet of Pemberley. A society modeled after Jane Austen’s books, Pemberley’s Regency mores don’t exactly embrace an intelligent, knife-wearing, career-oriented woman with no desire to wed. But when Jason Blayne –space pirate, family friend, and the only man Meredith has ever loved—strolls into her library, Meredith knows she has the chance for adventure…and just maybe a life where she’s truly free.

    The last thing Jason needs is a too-clever-for-her-own-good librarian aboard his ship, especially when he’s just joined the rebellion against Pemberley that might throw humanity and the solar system into a fourth world war. And he definitely underestimated the trouble a librarian can ignite, both with the rebellion and in his heart.

    Even as they flee authorities and skate the thin line of peace between the rebels and Pemberley, they discover not only a love they’ve both longed for all their lives, but also a deadly conspiracy that may change the destiny of humanity forever.

    First 100 words of your story:
    It should be illegal to disrupt the peace of a quiet library. Especially after one has just escaped from their own birthday ball, and discovered an unread book.

    I, Meredith Lefroy, had just curled up in a chair on the upper gallery walk of Father’s library, my green synthetic-silk ball gown crumpled around me. There was nowhere so safe and pleasant as a library, surrounded by bookshelves groaning with their load of electronic books, the scent of their synthetic leather covers a soothing balm. I’d settled for an educational read, flicking on the book entitled “A Treatise on Modern Eugenics.”

  24. Theresa Mobley
    Title: For the Love of Toll House
    Contemporary Rom-Com
    113,000 words

    Blurb: Molly Magnum’s life sucks. An aging TV domestic diva, Molly learns the network has replaced her with a buxom bimbo only days after allowing her terminally ill ex-husband and his much younger bride to move into her house. She’s on a mission to get her job back when a cryptic message from her estranged daughter saying she’s marrying into the Italian mob sends her rushing from L.A. to Blue Moon, Georgia with a .357 magnum in her purse, a trunk full of blow-up dolls, and straight into the arms of Sheriff Harrison Wilder, a man with a sexy voice, a checkered past and handcuffs he’s not afraid to use.

    “Put your hands up and get out of the car.”
    Law & Order? Seriously? At this hour?
    Balanced on the tight rope between sleep and consciousness, I exhale slowly trying to ease the heaviness weighing down my chest. I reach for the TV remote, my hand as graceful as a boxing glove in the ninth round. I suck in what feels like might be my last breath, ever, while my personal belongings tumble to the floor including the half-empty bottle of wine I vaguely remember tasting, glug-glugging it’s final bounty onto the Persian rug beneath my Queen Anne bed.

  25. Author name: Rachel Magee
    Book Title: Happily Ever Afters
    Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 78,000


    Lainey Stratton doesn’t expect to enjoy her vacation, let alone fall in love with the first man she meets, but she somehow manages to do both. She blames the intoxicating combination of the sparkling blue Caribbean and Carter Thompson’s dazzling smile. Still, she know whatever magical spell she is under could never amount to anything more than a vacation crush. Her life is in Dallas and his is in DC. Logically, their relationship could never work.

    But when an unexpected tragedy sends Lainey’s world spiraling out of control, she realizes her vacation crush might be the only one who can save her. That is, as long as she doesn’t stand in the way of her own happiness. And as long as Carter’s past doesn’t catch up with him before she gets the chance.

    First 100 words:

    This was not good. My anxiety level rose with every minute that ticked past on the clock. If this traffic didn’t start moving, I was going to miss my flight.
    My already white knuckled grip tightened around the steering wheel as I watched yet another car inch its way over into my lane. “Go already!” I yelled at the minivan in front of me. But it didn’t help. We all sat completely stopped as three lanes of Dallas rush hour traffic merged into one. I dropped my forehead against the steering wheel. I knew this trip was a mistake.

  26. Danielle Doolittle

    Name: Danielle Doolittle
    Title: LIKE WATER
    Genre: LGBT YA Contemporary SciFi
    Work Count:: 75,000


    Seventeen-year-old Micah Donaldson’s no savior. All he wants is to keep his sexuality under the radar until graduation and get the hell out of town where he can escape the daily reminders of his twin’s death.

    But finding a half-drowned teen in the exact spot his brother was discovered dead breaks open barely healed wounds. Especially when the boy, who calls himself Jude, claims his brother was involved in psychic terrorism and he needs Micah’s help to put a stop to it. If it’s true, then his brother’s drowning was no accident and there’s something big going down at the Gilbert Academy.

    Impersonating his twin, Micah sinks deeper into Jude’s world, and finds himself racing the clock to find the missing piece of the Volumna Device, a giant psychic amplifier, before he’s discovered a fraud. Or worse, the megalomaniacal leader of the group finds it and usurps the world’s freewill.

    There’s just two problems: he’s got zero psychic ability, and he’s got a sinking suspicion the guy he’s falling for is in on the whole thing.

    First 100:

    The first time a body washed up on the beach I wished for an asteroid the size of Texas to take the rest of us out. Because I wasn’t strong enough to end it all myself. Because he would be so mad at me if I even tried. But a random act of nature? I couldn’t be blamed for that, no matter how many gods I begged. And trust me, there was begging. And rash promises. Enough failed holy (and not so holy) summonings will leave a guy pretty numb.
    Probably why, when the second body came to shore, I wasn’t exactly surprised.

  27. Pitch Contest Entry

    M.A. Jewell
    Twilight Angel (Book 1 of 3)
    Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
    85,000 words (MS 1/2 edited)


    Set in an alternate reality, two races of Anhunnakhi have recently integrated into the human world.

    A courageous, dimension shifting Inathu, thought to be extinct, must defend herself from an evil Sar who plots to enslave her as a breeding concubine.
    Placed with a human family at birth for her own protection, Josephine grows up unaware of her heritage. She approaches maturity and as young ones do, she unknowingly opens dimensions during her dreams. In the Twilight Dimension she develops a ‘fantasy’ relationship with the Anhu Jayidhen.

    She questions her sanity when he arrives at the corner bar. Due to the shift’s properties, he’s unable to recall their time together. His security team deems her a threat and she begins to fear for her life.

    Jayidhen, also a Sar, doesn’t understand his attraction to Jo. He suspects she is not human and she may be a spy for his longtime rival, Sar Zacharias. Jo must determine who her real enemy is, accept she is not human, and protect herself.

    She must also protect her heart. Will he ever remember their tender moments? Can she forgive Jayidhen his trespasses? And could she ever fit into his antiquated culture?

    First 100 words

    An aborted photo shoot with a 12 month old Houdini, more of a wrestling match, had fried my last nerve. The little escape artist had really just needed an afternoon nap, but after I retrieved a wad of my hair from his little hand, we were done. Days like this made me think I would make a terrible mother, but I quickly squashed the thought. To her credit, this mom had seen the hopelessness and rescheduled. Some down time and a glass of wine in the quiet tavern sounded perfect. Thankfully the Pinot Grigio was starting to work its …

  28. Name: Tricia Saxby
    Title: Under the Gypsy’s Spell
    Genre: Category-length romance
    Finished word count: 43,560

    Eager to make things right with his father, Jace Russo agrees to acquire a coveted piece of property no questions asked. When he discovers his ex, Anna, lives on the property all his well-intended plans go awry, along with the unresolved feelings for Anna he thought well buried.

    Escaping an unstable life with her gypsy caravan, Anna Ursu finds safety and solace with her elderly relatives, only to have it threatened by the one man she’s been unable to forget. Suddenly, fighting for her family’s home turns into a battle to protect her heart from a love that never died.

    First 100 words:
    Why did her intuition have to be on the fritz?
    It seemed fitting to think of her “power” that way. Of course, coming to terms with how long it hasn’t worked hurt more than she cared to admit.
    From a young age, Anna had a knack for sensing when something bad was about to happen. It was in her gypsy blood. Unfortunately, as she got older it had faded to the point that she could only sense how a three-day-old pizza would affect her stomach.
    Speaking of her stomach, tension had it knots as she watched heavy machinery

  29. Thank you for such a great opportunity!

    Author: Andrea M Hutchinson
    Title: After You Left
    Genre: Young Adult
    Word count: 47,000


    Six months after a horrific car crash, the new life her father has forced 15 year old Holly into with his pathetic idea of being a picture perfect family begins to crumble. Nothing, nothing, will make her accept her stepmother, or her baby sister. Increasingly isolated at school, feeling that everybody argues and nobody listens at home, Holly’s craving for a reunion with the mother she can’t even remember becomes an obsession. Surely her real Mum would understand what she’s going through?
    But her search yields nothing. Like that was surprising… She only has a blurred photo, a name that resonates and an awful feeling that she daren’t acknowledge to go by.
    As much as Holly begrudges them, when her stepmother leaves, taking baby Isabelle with her, she realises how much being part of a family means to her.
    Holly tries to help her father, but he falls into such a deep depression that he doesn’t even notice she is in the same room. Determined to make him listen and fight for their family, she follows him… Straight to the cemetry and a gravestone which has Holly’s name carved into the marble.

    First 100 words:

    We used to come to the beach all the time in summer. But it’s a bitter grey October, not sunny June and all the memories I have are grasped from too far away, losing the crisp edges that confirm they are real. Or have I just gleamed them from photos in a desperate attempt to make something more tangible?
    ‘Why don’t you eat something, Holly?’ Dad asks passing me a tupperware container, and removing the lid with an eager smile. I eye the greasy sausage rolls sitting next to limp sandwiches as he waits like a puppy for my approval.

  30. Author’s Name: C.C. Wiley
    Book Title: Hearts of Stone
    Genre: Contemporary
    Finished Word Count: 84,000

    Victoria Banning thought she created the perfect life. That was before she lost her job and discovered her boyfriend is a lying cheating snake. All by noon. This is not on her To Do List. Instead, she plans to start over. New chapter. New life. Alone. But trouble follows her to the small Wisconsin town of Honeybrooke Cove.

    Surgeon, Barrett Collin, should have let someone else take his last case. The moment his pride took the scalpel, that last case became the one to haunt him. He’s escaped the big city and rebuilt his life as a handyman in northern Wisconsin. Now he’s messed up again and lost Ol’ Mag’s cottage to the pretty lady from L.A. He plans to win it back one way or another.

    Whether a Wisconsin native or a transplant, life in the North Country can be harsh, but when someone wants Victoria out of the house and out of Honeybrooke, life is unforgiving. As Barrett helps Victoria navigate the elements, they learn to open their hardened hearts and live again.

    First 100 words:
    Victoria Banning is a fraud. A complete failure.

    The voices taunted her day and night. It had been a month since her world came crashing down and still those voices refused to shut up. She couldn’t take one more sleepless night. She had to do something to stop the chatter.

    Being laid-off and then discovering your lying-cheating-snake-in-the-grass-boyfriend-and-occasional-sex-partner-Connor was giving it to someone else in your own home was a hard thing to swallow. Discovering all this in a single day, by noon, made you want to hurl something.

  31. Author’s Name: Sunni Rose Blendette
    Book Title: The Heart of Spontaneity – A Sizzling Heart Novel
    Genre: Category Erotic Romance
    Finished Word Count: 63,000 words


    After discovering her boyfriend is into kink, and not with her, Emily wants to experience what she’s been missing. When a blizzard strands her in the Denver airport she meets a man perfect for a lovers-only relationship.

    Mark has always gone after what he wants in life, and the moment he sees Emily he wants her. Fulfilling her fantasies, and not losing her, will be his biggest challenges to capturing her heart.

    They’ll throw out all the rules of dating and discover lovers can become friends before they fall in love.

    First 100 Words:
    Mark swirled the scotch around in his glass, staring at the amber liquid as it danced over the ice and made golden sparkles on the polished bar. He wasn’t much of a drinker. But the unexpected timing of a blizzard closed the Denver airport ten minutes before his flight started to board, and there wasn’t much else to do but drown his frustrations with the rest of the trapped passengers. Around him people dialed and redialed cellphones attempting to reschedule flights, but by the angry voices he figured no one was having any luck.

    “Hi. I’m sorry about the weather.”

  32. Thank you for this opportunity to pitch our stories.

    Authors Name: Sunni Rose Blendette
    Book Title: The Heart of Seduction – A Sizzling Heart Novel
    Genre: Category Erotic Romance
    Finished Word Count: 60,000

    Allison hates motorcycles. The last thing she wants in her life is a man who rides one. She doesn’t want to end up a bitter divorcee like her mother or worse, a grieving widow. Grieving daughter is bad enough. She focuses on her sculpting and retreats to the house and workshop she inherits from her father. Surrounded by bittersweet memories she tries to decide if staying in the house is better than putting up with advances from a man who only wants to please her stepfather. Everything changes when Nicholas Black returns after ten years and reignites her desire for his kisses.

    Nick’s number one passion is motorcycles. But the moment he rides back into Allison’s life he’d love to add her to the top of his list. One problem—her aversion to motorcycles. Realizing she’s far more innocent than a normal twenty-six year old, he seduces her with his bad-boy expertise and a small white lie.

    He agrees not to ride his Harley.

    The two lovers will discover letting go of fears might lead to happiness if they can survive the aftermath of a crash, and a passionate night of unprotected sex.

    First 100 words:
    Allison recoiled at the oil smell hitting her nose as she opened the bay door to her father’s workshop. Maybe staying here would be a mistake. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then another. Reluctantly she opened her eyes and scanned the large space. Everything stood frozen in time. An unfinished black-beast-of-a-bike sat in the middle of the area waiting to be finished, the tool cart standing next to it with half its drawers open. She loved tools. Motorcycles? Not so much.

    Tank barked at her inability to move. “I’m not sure I can do this, boy.

  33. Courtney Sheets
    Book Title: MOB RULES
    Genre: Romantic Thriller with Dieselpunk aspects
    Finished word count: 75K
    The Rocketeer meets Mob City

    Blurb: What if the Mob never left Las Vegas? What time froze around the city? What happens when the past and present collide in the ultimate city of sin?

    When a freak accident causes her acrobat brother to fall to his death, Dema Morielli is convinced foul play is involved. She discovers that her brother’s activities weren’t all that squeaky clean and he was in debt up to his eyeballs to the most powerful Mob bosses in all Vegas. She has no choice but to rely on the one person she’s sworn to keep out of her life, Detective Reynaldo ‘King’ Lopez.

    Dema should have the word trouble stamped on her forehead and King swore to keep away from the dark beauty after their tortured past. But when her brother is killed, he stops at nothing to come to her rescue, even if it means putting his badge and his life on the line. Sal Sagev is not a man to be trifled with.

    On opposites of the law the pair must join forces to find Dema’s brother’s killer and take down Sagev. But in this world of crime and neon, nothing is what it seems. Not even their feelings for each other.

    First 100 words:
    It was cold the night Micah died. I remember the way the breeze came in off the desert, its icy brand burning through everything. It was strange, that wind. The day had been warm and sunny, your typical Sin City dream. The stuff you read about in the gossip rags and saw on the big screen. One minute, Old Mr. Sunshine was shining; the next, he was gone. Just like Micah. My dumbass of a brother got himself mixed with some pretty boy, someone else’s pretty boy. And look what it got him. And me.

  34. Author: Christina Silverio, w/a Christina Britton
    Genre: Historical Regency Romance
    Word Count: 95,00 words

    Miss Imogen Duncan has had her London Season, but her crippling shyness destroyed any chance for a match. Now an aging spinster, she believes her chances for excitement are well and truly past. But a case of mistaken identity and an unintended kiss brings an excitement into her life that she never dreamed of.

    Burying the guilt he suffers from his brother’s death beneath a life of debauchery, Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge is content enough to meet willing widows in dark gardens to numb the pain. But he is wholly unprepared when an innocent miss stumbles into his life, turning his superficial world on its head.

    Drawn to the quiet, kind girl, Caleb forms an unlikely friendship with her. Soon, however, desire for her begins to invade their time together. Refusing to let Imogen be tainted by his demons, he does everything in his power to fight the growing attraction. But when friendship turns to passion – and Imogen refuses to marry him – he finds that behind her placid exterior lies a will of steel. Can Caleb convince Imogen to give him a chance – and to perhaps heal his soul in the process?

    FIRST 100 WORDS:
    “My dear, who is that lovely blonde thing being partnered by Mr. Davies?”
    “Miss Mariah Duncan. She is quite the popular young lady this Season.”
    Miss Imogen Duncan just barely heard the words over the din of the orchestra and the hundred or so voices that rose up like the squawking of so many peahens in the glittering ballroom. But at the sound of her sister’s name she started. Someone was discussing Mariah. She peered around the column she’d been practically propping up the past hour and spied a group of older women conversing on the other side…

  35. Author’s name: Mary C. Dunbar
    Book Title: FALL TO PIECES
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Finished Word Count: 88,000

    On the football field, sixteen-year-old Jacob Wilson is an all-star working his way toward a Division I scholarship. But at home, he’s counting the months until he’s free from his dad’s vicious attacks. Terrified that his football career will be ruined if his depression and the abuse he’s endured become public, Jacob’s managed to keep his secret, even from his girlfriend, Megan. When he shatters his leg during a game, he watches his dreams of a scholarship, and a way out of small town Colorado, disintegrate.

    Megan Michaels can’t remember a time she didn’t know Jacob, but he’s always kept his deepest feelings private. Trapped between her parents’ plans for her life and her genius brother’s shadow, Megan’s so consumed by her own insecurities, and jealous of Jacob’s plans beyond high school, that she fails to recognize the depth of her boyfriend’s depression or that he’s begun chasing painkillers with whiskey. When she discovers his addiction, she pushes him to come clean.

    Revealing his secrets might unravel the last thread in Jacob’s crumbling world. Megan must overcome her own lack of direction in time to show Jacob there’s more to life than football before his addictions cause him to self-destructs.

    First 100 words:
    Fourth quarter, seven minutes left on the clock. One touchdown was all that put us ahead, but at least we had control of the ball. And I was determined to keep it that way.

    I clenched my fists as I studied the defense. Everything else faded away. Eagleton had been on us like hornets all night, and we couldn’t stay more than one play ahead. They were anticipating us, and my heart raced with every play I threw. The last thing we needed was to lose the ball.

    Breaking the huddle, I glanced toward the stands, hoping to catch …

  36. Author’s name: Leah Rhyne
    Book Title: Survivor’s Song
    Genre: Historical with strong speculative elements
    Word Count: 85,000

    Maximum 200 Word Blurb:

    The old woman is a survivor. She’s a traveler, too, wandering through forests and mountains in the snowy Ukrainian winter of 1943. When her path crosses a wedding – a Jewish wedding – and her death at the hands of Hitler’s nighttime raiders grows imminent, her fate and that of the wedding’s beautiful young bride intermingle. They merge. Suddenly, the two are one, and though the old, traveling woman is dead, her life goes on in a new body. A body more suited for survival.

    But life in Nazi-controlled Europe is anything but easy. From the hidden confines of a German Hauptmann’s tent to the ash-drenched fields of a concentration camp, the old traveling woman finds magic. A song. A way to skip from body to body, passing through each on her way toward survival of humanity’s darkest hour.

    Survival, however, is at best meager, until an encounter with a handsome prisoner reminds her that life is a battle worth winning, and creating new life is the only way to ensure her song’s ultimate survival.

    First 100 words of your story:

    When the old woman stepped outside that morning for her daily constitutional, she hadn’t yet shaken the dreamy feeling that she was still asleep. She was groggy, unfocused. The world felt tilted slightly, as though it required a forceful shove to right itself, to stand straight and tall and beautiful again. She hadn’t the strength to shove it, though. She was an ancient, well-past her prime. Her years had been spent in toil, the burden of which sat heavy upon her body. Hands bent into claws, swollen and bruised about the knuckles, skin that sagged and tore like paper, eyes sunken and beginning to fade.

  37. Author’s Name: Tory Ferrera
    Book Title: Reasons of the Heart
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Finished Word Count: 84,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    A passionate idealist in search of a bride…
    Bound to uphold his family obligations, Seth Atwood, Earl of Monmouth nevertheless plans to marry for love. His patience is almost at an end when he meets the woman of his dreams, only to discover that she’s engaged to his best friend.
    A pragmatic woman who refuses to risk her heart…
    Since the death of her brother, Rachel Allerton’s life has been one long campaign to keep her head above water. After fleeing her unsavory guardian, she agrees to a marriage which will provide the financial independence and security she needs. But when her fiancé abandons her just as her brother’s murderer re-appears, she must accept the help of a man who still lives by his ideals.

    First 100 words of your story:

    London, June, 1837

    Finally! Seth Atwood, Earl of Monmouth, was alone again, after several minutes of excruciatingly stilted conversation with his hostess, Lady Kirkwood, and her seventeen-year-old twin daughters. Every conversational gambit he’d tried with the girls had caused them to cover their mouths and titter. What in God’s name was so funny about the weather? He’d felt like a grizzled ancient conversing with children.

    Surveying the crush from the edge of the ballroom, he decided he’d earned a respite. He’d need it – the night stretched ahead endlessly,

  38. Name: Kristy Wegner
    Book Title: Decendant
    Genre: YA
    Word Count: 91,000

    A mash up of John Hughes’ Some Kind of Wonderful and Supernatural, DESCENDANT challenges prejudice of status, of sexuality, and between pantheons.

    CORDELIA, 16, compartmentalizes her life as a straight-A student and drummer for an Austin teen rock band. Traumatized by battling her best friend and queen-bee, she avoids attention. His brother’s death and secrecy burden the confident ZACCHAEUS. He arrives at Sam Houston High and turns Cordelia’s world upside-down. When he knocks down her defenses, the trouble starts.

    Zach reveals he hunts demons and shows her demons in Austin. Shaken, she must find courage to face this reality. To embrace their fledgling relationship, Delia shares her secret rock persona, confronts her nemesis and guards everyone’s secrets.

    When his father is maimed, Zach spirals out of control. She anchors him and volunteers to be side-kick and getaway driver during demon hunts. Kidnapped by demons, Delia discovers she is a decedent before her ancestral pendant kills the demons with magical fire. Now, a new threat looms larger than all the others combined. Delia belongs to the Norse pantheon while Zach is a Greek descendant. The prejudice of inter-pantheon relationships and tradition may break apart what queen-bees, secrets and demons could not.

    First Hundred Words:

    “This bodes some strange eruption to our state.” – Horatio from Hamlet

    If lunch time was graded, I would receive an F. Thankfully, for my OCD personality, it wasn’t. Gross lunch food made for the masses, narrow escapes from those I hated, and endless gossip all topped the reasons I hated lunch. Two weeks into school, and I added a new reason to why I hated the thirty-five minutes of hell–football.

    Football led to gossip about Lacy, head cheer leader and our high school’s queen bee. Once we’d been best friends, but that had gone south, like Antarctica south.
    “Delia. Cordelia Anderson. Listen. To. Me.” Vi, my bestie, shouted at me.

  39. Author’s Name: C.C. Wiley
    Book Title: Knight Secrets
    Finished Word Count: 93,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    As England prepares for war with France, Sir Ranulf, Lord of Sedgewic, and member of Henry V’s secret brotherhood, Knights of the Swan, must stop a treasonous plot before it is too late. Orphaned as a child, this Swan Knight is suspicious of all he meets and protects his heart as fiercely as he does the king.
    Like Rapunzel, the emotionally abused, Lady Clarice Margrave, has never been allowed to step foot outside her country manor home. When her father, one of Henry V’s trusted confidants, is accused of treason and murdered, her quest for the truth plunges her into the family’s dark secrets and brings her crashing into the King’s man.
    The powerful knight may offer her more love than she has ever known, however she must step cautiously for his name is linked to her father’s death. In their search for truth, will they discover their quest means nothing if they should win the battle but lose the love they found together?

    First 100 words:

    England ~ Summer, 1415“Riders!”

    The gateman’s urgent pronouncement echoed over Margrave Manor’s bailey yard. Lady Clarice Margrave looked up from the bed of herbs and wiped the sweat from her brow. The women beside her in the vegetable garden of meager crops paused in their work, weeds bunched in their fists.
    “Maud,” Clarice said. “See what has Nobbins in such a panic.”
    “Yes, my lady.”
    The servant rose slowly from the raised beds scented with flowers and herbs. Her longtime friend straightened out her lower limbs with care. Once Clarice’s nursery maid, Maud had become her closest companion over the years.

  40. Author’s Name: Marna Reed
    Book Title: Up Until Now
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Finished Word Count: ~92000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    He’s three months too late…

    With her senior year approaching, Chelsea Hyland has no idea what to do with her life after college. Returning home to Manhattan and her pushy mother is not an option, that’s why she moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. Her quest to make something meaningful of herself leads her volunteering to be the egg donor for her friend and his husband.

    What does she have to lose? With no boyfriend and no immediate future plans, this seems like a sure thing…

    Then again, what are the chances she meets a great guy like Leo Armstrong when she donates her eggs to help his twin brother and his brother’s partner start their family? To make matters worse, Leo is not on friendly terms with his brother. And there has to be an unspoken rule about making a baby with your boyfriend’s brother?

    But afraid to lose his love, and unwilling to part with her secret, Chelsea tries – and fails miserably at balancing being Leo’s girlfriend and monitoring the brotherly animosity. Realizing she can’t have it all, Chelsea faces her options: stick to her altruistic choice to help his brother have a child…or stay by Leo’s side?

    First 100 words of your story:

    “Who are you?”

    Tucking her finger between the pages of her latest read, Chelsea clutched the book to her chest and stepped back from the doorway and the handsome stranger blocking her path; talk about a wake up call – her gaze leaped down his tan chest, his defined four-pack and the barely perceptible thin trail of blond hairs disappearing past the waistband of gray sweatpants. He had a towel draped over his shoulder and his hair was still wet from his shower.

    Her morning up to that point had been normal.

  41. Author’s Name: Joyce Ward w/a Linnea Alexis
    Book Title: The Ortega Project
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Finished Word Count: 80,100


    Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

    Warrior Roman Santos’ vampires are dying from ingesting tainted blood. His search for a cure leads to the Ortega Research Institute, a facility that manufactures artificial blood. During the testing phase, scientists stumble upon a formula that not only feeds them, but transforms vampires into mortals.

    After grad student, Grace Raines’ fiancé breaks their engagement, she nurses her broken heart by focusing on her Environmental Studies program, and her part-time job tending bar in a trendy club.

    Roman and Grace meet at the club where she works. He’s interested. She’s curious. Sparks fly.
    They begin an affair. Now that Roman’s becoming human, he sees no reason to reveal that he’s a vampire.

    Soon the formula, once thought to be a godsend, begins destroying the vampires, who blame Roman for the disastrous results. Infighting begins. His role as leader ends when his team abandons him and the program.

    When Roman finally tells Grace what he is, she reveals her own secrets—one that threatens to destroy Roman. Can the scientists save him? Can he forgive the only woman he’s ever loved? Is their love strong enough to save their relationship and future together?

    First 100 words:

    The moonlight cast an eerie, surreal glow on the male corpse, making him unidentifiable. Roman Santos, leader of the deadliest warrior vampires on the West Coast, circled the contorted body sprawled on the ground before him.
    “How many does this make?” Gabriel Shapiro, his next in command, asked.
    “Ten so far this month.” Unease slithered down Roman’s spine. He drew in a strangled breath and blew it out slowly. Whatever was going on, was happening in his territory. In his woods. To his vampires. Vampires who were his responsibility and the burden of their deaths weighed heavy on his shoulders.

  42. Author’s Name: Ann Rose

    Book Title: Pulled in Pieces

    Genre: YA/Contemporary

    Finished Word Count: 80,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Cal’s life is like a Monet. Perfect only from afar. Cheering on her boyfriend, Zach at his swim meets with her best friend, MC, Cal seems like a typical teenager. She’s drawn into horror novels, but it’s her home life she truly fears.

    She lives in the biggest mansion in town with her mom and Mom’s rich fiancé, Derk, whose manipulations and threats take their toll on Cal.

    Cal copes the only way she knows how, with her blood. She cuts to dull the pain of a mother more interested in Gucci bags than the welfare of her daughter. Cal finds comfort in Zach. But with their relationship deepening, Cal runs out of places to hide the side effects of her broken home life.

    After Derk pulls a gun on her mom, Cal convinces her to end things. Hopeful for the new start Cal vows to stop cutting, but when Mom goes back to Derk, it shatters the dream Cal had of a normal life.

    Zach and MC want to help, but letting them through the barrier she’s built seems impossible. If she can’t find a way to let them in, her next cut could be her last.

    First 100 words of your story:

    Cool metal teases my fingertips as I prop my leg up on my opposite knee. I squeeze my eyes shut and clench my teeth to hold in the scream.

    Words, harsh and cruel wash away with the release of pressure and drips from my leg like drops of red ink. My eyes focus on the swirls of scarlet in the water below before disappearing, taking the ugly scene with it, if only for a moment, and my ragged breathing eases.

    Steam fills my bathroom and hot water stings my skin as I sit on the edge of my bathtub.

  43. Author’s Name — Ruth Collins
    Book Title — LOVE IN OVERTIME
    Book Genre — Sweet Romance Contemporary Series
    Word Count – 59,500
    Blurb —
    An accidental meeting when Maegan Duggan falls into Wally McCoy’s lap on an airplane opens the door to romance. Maegan is a collegiate men’s basketball referee and a physical therapist. Her goal is to open her own rehab clinic for children with special needs.
    Wally is a sportscaster for ESPN whose goal is to have his own sports talk show. Wally has a negative attitude about women reffing college men’s basketball. He begins to fall for Maegan before he learns she is a referee.
    Maegan hasn’t recovered from a broken heart, and both have trust issues. Maegan is distrustful of men, and Wally doesn’t quite trust himself to be the marrying kind. The question is if love is worth the risk.


    Wally McCoy’s gaze fastened on a gorgeous woman with long red curly hair, eyes to rival the putting green at Pebble Beach, and legs worth insuring with Lloyd’s of London.
    She stepped into the first class cabin chatting with a much shorter blond woman who, if she’d been standing beside anyone else, would have been quite attractive. She looked like a plain Jane standing beside the redhead. Wally had never felt so captivated by a woman the first time he laid eyes on her. There was something about those green eyes that compelled him to know her.
    He wished she

  44. Author’s Name: Sharla Francis aka Sydney Keys
    Book Title: Home for Christmas
    Genre: Contemporary Romance (modern day Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
    Finished Word Count: 43,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    Brody Tanner, the second of seven Montana brothers, makes the biggest mistake of his life by cheating on his fiancée during college. They’d planned to be together forever until his idiotic lack of judgment.

    Childhood friends with the Tanner brothers, Sarah Collins fell in love with Brody when they were fifteen. After the college fiasco, she flees Montana only to return years later to the small tightknit community and care for her ailing father.

    Neither one will admit their enduring love.

    Eight years after their breakup, the two past lovers find themselves picking up where they left off. They soon find themselves reliving the good memories and making new ones. They cannot deny their physical attraction. Brody will do anything to gain her forgiveness. Sarah believes they are destined to fail because of what she perceives is Brody’s new player lifestyle. Not to mention her past trust issues. A month later, she refuses to tell Brody she’s carrying his child.

    A life-threatening situation arises during a snowstorm and leaves them stranded together. With Brody’s impending death looming, Sarah and Brody must come to terms with their deceit, distrust, but undying love.

    First 100 words:
    Sarah Collins raced up the stairs, two steps at a time. Excitement made her giddy. She’d managed to keep her emotions in check over the past four and a half hours while she drove from Billings to Missoula, Montana. Brody would be studying for tests. She wouldn’t get to spend much time with him, but seeing him would be worth the drive. Between classes at separate colleges over three hundred and fifty miles apart, they hadn’t seen each other in almost two months. This would be a fast weekend but she didn’t care.

    Sarah knocked on his apartment door.

  45. Author – Laetitia St James
    Title – Second Chances
    Category – Historical

    Rose is an unconventional young widow from the country looking for a new beginning in London. She is trying to escape her dead husband’s family and make her own way, supporting her faithful family servants with her unladylike hobby. Lachlan McTavish is the ton’s latest obsession. Rumored to have murdered his own brother over a woman, he is trying to clear his name by finding his brother’s killer and claim his mother’s family’s title in the peerage of England. Together they have explosive chemistry that could derail both of their plans. Can they control their passions so they can both have Second Chances?

    First 100 words:
    “You don’t look too excited to be here,” said a smooth voice from behind a potted plant.

    Turning slightly, Rose caught sight of a devastatingly handsome smile through the leaves of the plant. “You, sir, scared me. Whatever are you hiding in that plant for?” While Rose had spent many an hour talking to her plants at Mulgrave, they had never been occupied by such a charismatic smile.

    Her hidden visitor placed a finger over his lips. “Shh, don’t let anyone see you talking to me.”

    “Talking to a plant, you mean?” Rose asked.

  46. Author: Debbie Van Brunt
    Title: How Not To Be An A$$hole
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 82,000

    Change is difficult, especially for Maggie. She lives by checklists and plans for everything. That is, until everything changes.

    Her dad is sent to prison, and Maggie and her family have to move from their bustling Seattle home to tiny Grand Coulee, Washington. Starting over proves more complicated than Maggie ever imagined. Maggie’s checklist for her life has just been rendered obsolete.

    Things go from bad to worse when Maggie is thrown together with charming and popular Michael during Lake Roosevelt High’s version of match..com. Michael is everything Maggie hates, a liar and a cheat—like her father. But Michael’s also funny and kind, and Maggie starts second-guessing her first impressions. She’s falling for him, or thinks she might be, until a misunderstanding tears them apart.

    Except . . . it’s not a misunderstanding—it’s Maggie. She wields the truth like a weapon to keep everyone at a distance. Maggie realizes if she wants Michael back, she’s going to have to change. Easy. Right? All she needs is a plan. And Maggie excels at planning. She writes a new checklist for her life. A list Maggie can handle. Or can she?

    FIRST 100


    Sandwiched between two tall, curvy sophomores, I look like a spatula with good hair. I change into my regular clothes as quickly as possible, and don’t let my stick figure bother me.

    Folded Socks
    Padded Bra
    Cosmetic Surgery

    That’s the list I came up with, ordered by cost, when I was thirteen, when I let it bother me. It’s too bad. I wasted a pretty good year railing against genetics, pricing padded bras and wishing our medical insurance was more open-minded. Now I wish I could have that year back. It was my best, so far.

  47. Thanks for the great advice and the opportunity to pitch.

    Author’s Name: Caryl Cain Brown
    Book Title: FACING REALITY
    Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
    Finished Word Count: 98K

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    Serena Davis loves the quiet, simple life she’s built since escaping her repressive preacher father. Party-girl Cassie DeLuca dances around the high-maintenance end of the friendship scale. Even though they couldn’t be more different, their friendship has survived more than a decade of ups and downs and family dysfunction.

    But the true test comes when Cassie sets her heart on signing them up for a reality TV show in their old hometown so she can reconnect with her high school heartthrob. Confronted with the choice between staying in her safe world or dashing Cassie’s dreams, Serena decides to step out of her comfort zone. What could it hurt? She’ll be home by the end of the first week, and it’ll make Cassie happy. Right?

    Wrong. Serena becomes the show favorite and Cassie feels threatened, straining their friendship to the breaking point. And when several devastating secrets come to light, Serena finds out that her whole life has been one big lie.

    First 100 words of my story:

    Her house in Atlanta is crawling with reporters.

    Clutching the phone to her ear, Serena Davis sinks to the floor in the beach house kitchen. How has her life become so surreal?

    “Ree, are you okay?” Geoff sounds more worried than when she answered the phone. “No one’s come by, have they?”

    “No.” The word comes out in a breath, barely audible, answering both questions. But Geoff doesn’t ask for clarification. He probably knows anyway. He always does.

  48. Deborah Nolan
    Contemporary Romance
    SASHA MORIARITY is a fish out of water in Athens, a rural upstate New York community. She fled New York City after finding her live in boyfriend in bed with a colleague. She comes to Athens because she inherited a house there from a grandmother she never knew. Although she has no intention of staying, just until she fixes up the house, sells it, and retrieves her dignity, she finds herself absorbed into the life there, working as a lawyer at the local courthouse and getting to know her warm Irish Catholic family. She also finds romance in the mysterious stranger who lives next door. Everything would be perfect except for the regular threats and vandalism that starts happening and which escalates to threats on her life.
    Chapter One
    I was checking my messages and fantasizing about a restorative vacation with my boyfriend when the verdict came in. As soon as the court officer informed me that they’d reached a decision, I called the partner on my cell and headed to the courtroom. It had only taken the jury an hour to decide. Obviously they had no trouble making a decision. What wasn’t so obvious was whether that was good news for us. Our defense had been that everyone knew the produce department was littered with rotten lettuce and cabbage leaves on which customers could slip. Customers had a duty to themselves to be careful.

  49. Thank you so much for this opportunity, CWR and Ms. Bradford.

    Author’s Name: Loni Dee
    Book Title: The Last Dark Angel
    Genre: Paranormal Thriller with Romantic Elements
    Word Count: 81,000

    Blurb:A murder committed in medieval Wales begins a quest stretching across the centuries. The sorcerer Michael must reach across time to halt the evil he unleashed in a state of heartbreak and revenge, for it threatens not only his descendants but also the entire world they inhabit.

    Journalist Morgan Cameron and beautiful, tempting bodyguard Tessa Malone, brought together by the murder of Morgan’s closest friend, Dr. Rob Thompson, find themselves pitted against a merciless predator in a race to halt absolute evil fueled by magic despoiled.

    First 100 Words:

    Wales 1216
    A cold wind stirred shriveled, brown leaves from their resting place in the corner of the stone walkway. They swarmed over the battlement that looked out across open fields toward the sharply rising hills surrounding the castle. The full moon shed silvery light onto the November landscape. A swift dark shape swooped from the edge of the winter bare forest, snatching a small form on the meadow, disappearing again into the shadows.
    Standing out of the wind, leaning his elbows on the parapet, a shadowy figure stared at the bleak, gray countryside, mulling over a strange, haunting dream.

  50. Author’s Name: Caryn Sutorus
    Book Title: Passing Ages
    Genre: NA Contemporary Fantasy (with strong romantic & historical elements)
    Finished Word Count: 75,500
    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    The possibility of time travel has haunted Nora ever since she discovered her late mother’s research on the topic—which no one will talk about. Years later, Nora traces her mother’s final journey to France, hoping to dig deeper into her mother’s theories. There she meets Henri, who claims to be a twelfth-century prince, the man she knows to be the future King Henry II of England.

    Henri is fighting for his throne, a struggle that leads him to modern times to hunt a relic from a 900-year-old shipwreck, recently recovered from the bottom of the English Channel. Nora joins his quest, thrilled to find living proof of time travel and eager to uncover more details about her mother’s research. But in her growing attraction to the prince, Nora ignores important red flags—signs that Henri is not being completely honest with her.

    By helping Henri, Nora attracts the attention of the Guardians, whose goal is to end all time travel. Now Nora’s life is in danger as they track the pair across France. Even worse, when the Guardians find Nora and expose Henri’s deceptions, a shattered Nora realizes her love for him could change the past and the present.

    First 100 words of your story:
    Nora surveyed the Abbey Church of Fontevraud, missing her mother, as she always did when encountering a magnificent monument of history. She took solace in the feeling of closeness that came from visiting this abbey the same day her mother had visited five years earlier. Back when her mother still lived and breathed and kissed her forehead before leaving the house.

    Releasing the clip that held her thick hair eased some of Nora’s tension, and she sighed as the tangled waves fell to her shoulders. Her throbbing headache had started when her class arrived in the Loire Valley and had intensified over the days leading to Fontevraud.

  51. Name: Victoria De La O
    Title: The Rule of Thirds
    Category: New Adult Romance
    Words: 77,500 words
    Finaled in the 2015 Molly, IOG, Put Your Heart in a Book, and Pages from the Heart contests.

    A year ago, nursing student Lizzie Price left behind a destructive relationship in Utah to reinvent herself in Silicon Valley. Now, Lizzie is ready to get back in the saddle, and she knows just the guy for the task: Ryan McAllister, her clever Shakespeare tutor with the endearing stammer.

    Then, Lizzie meets Jude, an antagonistic, mercurial stranger who threatens her resolve to avoid problematic men. Jude, who walled-off his heart years ago after the death of his mother, wants Lizzie, but not a commitment.

    Knowing Ryan can provide the stability she needs, Lizzie chooses him. But Lizzie doesn’t realize Jude and Ryan are brothers, and they don’t know they’re falling for the same girl.

    When the truth is discovered, Lizzie stays committed to Ryan. And Jude, who would do anything for his little brother, ignores his deepening feelings for Lizzie and steps aside. When Jude and Lizzie can no longer live with their decisions, will the three of them be torn apart? Or will the bonds of love and family hold them together?

    First 100 Words:
    Back home, they say that a guy who won’t make the first move is about as useful as a match that won’t light.

    Ryan McAllister is most definitely an unlit match.

    Today, he’s two rows in front of me, just to the left—ideal placement for checking him out. He’s running his oversized hands through his floppy brown hair, like he does every Tuesday and Thursday in my Shakespeare and the Modern World class. Sometimes, I feel a wee bit guilty for staring. But most days, I consider this one heck of a spectator sport.

  52. Author’s Name: Edith Lalonde
    Book Title: Bad Things Come in Threes
    Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
    Finished Word Count: 100,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Semi-sober combat photographer, Gray Emerson, has lost everyone she’s ever cared about. All she wants now is to be left the hell alone.

    For the past two years, Gray’s work, coupled with her lack of self-preservation instincts, has landed her in the middle of every major conflict zone on the planet. Mali, Syria, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, you name the shithole; she’s been there. It explains why she’s taken by surprise when caught in the crossfire between opposing forces in the middle of the Canadian wild.

    Injured and out of options, Gray is forced to accept help from Sergeant Chase Mackenzie. He has his own gravitational pull. She’s attracted to it. It’s a problem.

    Gray has rules when it comes to men. No Type A control freaks, no cheating bastards, and no married-to-the-military fuckers. Based on her limited exposure to Mackenzie, he is all three.

    When Mackenzie’s target embroils Gray in his terrorist plot to secure the next presidential election, Gray must decide what’s more important. Protecting her heart by running as fast and as far from Chase Mackenzie as she can get. Or the success of his mission.

    Lives are at stake. Quite possibly his. Most definitely hers.

    First 100 words:

    You can’t find comfort in a bottle of vodka. Courage, absolutely, comfort, not so much. At least, not in Gray Emerson’s experience. And she’d had lots of it. Experience that is…vodka too. The music beat against her chest as the door of her three by five throne room shook again.

    “Let’s go, bitch!”

    Ignoring the woman’s plea for access to the stall Gray was monopolizing, she downed the first of two doubles she had with her. Grey Goose with a splash of Red Bull made her heart trip wildly and her head spin. Thank God she was sitting down.

  53. Thank you for this opportunity, CWR and Ms Bradford.

    Author’s Name: Leslie Ann Brown
    Book Title: Common Ground
    Genre: Science Fiction Romance
    Word Count: 93,000

    Venna Tegault is a military attaché in service to her grandmother, the Kalen Empress. Court MacAulay is a human police detective living on the isolated colony world of Shangri-La. They’ve worked together in the past and their mutual feelings of professional respect have evolved into something neither can afford to acknowledge.

    Then everything changes when Venna and Court find themselves running for their lives during a terrorist attack on the colony. They act upon their feelings with unforeseen consequences. Now Court must accompany Venna back to the Empire as her contract husband. Together, they have to face the dangerous pitfalls of the Imperial Court and the ghosts from Venna’s past. When the greatest threat comes from those closest to them, can they protect not only their fragile happiness but also the future of the human race?

    First 100 Words:

    Venna stood in the crowded concourse of the Shangri-La spaceport and waited. The stream of human traffic parted around her as if she were surrounded by an invisible force field. Her height, pale white hair, slightly less pale complexion, and her military uniform of dark blue with silver trim, identified her immediately to the casual observer as a Kalen. And not just an ordinary Kalen, but a member of the high caste. As such, she was the oppressor, the dangerous stranger and the hovering threat. She was used to this.

  54. Thank you Contemporary Romance Writers and Ms Bradford for this opportunity to pitch.

    •Author’s Name: Marie Dry
    •Book Title: Wing Torn
    •Genre: Paranormal Romance
    •Finished Word Count: 81 000
    •Blurb (maximum 200-word)

    Attacked by an unseen enemy who tear out her wings, Shahara, a gentle healer, is left for dead in the middle of the dead forest, draguur territory. She woke an abomination that her fellow angels will kill on sight, at the mercy of Josiah, leader of the draguur whose hatred of angels is legendary. Now she has to avoid assassination by her own people and convince the cruel leader of the draguur to help her save the world from the Zombie scourge.

    •1st 100 words of the MS

    A shrill scream pierced the darkness.
    Shahara choked and dropped the clay bottle holding precious water and tried to see beyond the husks of the trees stretching as far as the eye could see, into the dead forest.
    Another scream, fainter this time.
    She picked up her bottle and grabbed her satchel. Her wings pushed through the slits in the back of her heavy white and silver dress and this time she didn’t savour the elation that came every time her wings emerged, focused on what had been the scream of someone in agony.

  55. Author’s Name: KT Griffin
    Book Title: The Unraveling of Kirin Lane
    Genre: Romantic Mystery
    Finished Word Count: 83,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    When Kirin Lane’s estranged father dies, he bequeaths to her an odd item; a musty, old Marine Corps field manual filled with missing pages and clues that catapult her from her comfortable small-town life into a world of corruption, distrust and dangerous people. Kirin must use her ingenuity and self-reliance to decipher the clues hidden in the manual and find a way to trust those around her especially her handsome new protector, Sam Neal.

    Samuel Neal desperately wants the one thing that “The Club” has never allowed him to have; a family. He’s handsome, clever and can convince anyone of his loyalty – traits that the mob has used since he was 16. With his mentor dead – Sam reluctantly protects the stubborn but beautiful Kirin, but that means crossing Saul and most of the operatives that have attempted that, are already dead.

    Double crossed by his money-man, Saul Calamia will use everything in his power to steal back the manual that hide the codes needed to reclaim his millions. Stealing the book from Kirin will open up old, gruesome wounds that have long since been closed. Unless of course, he uses his top operative to do his dirty work…

    First 100 words of your story:

    Smoothing down my rebellious hair with a trembling hand, I trudged up the concrete steps toward the door of the funeral home where my father laid silent. My Uncle Shane stood to the right of the red wooden door waiting patiently, but each step brought an angry tightness in my chest and a longing for a relationship with my father that would never be.
    He was here.
    He was dead of course, but he was here. I refused to cry. LA was more important to him than his daughter, and I was like the jealous little sister.

    Thank you!
    KT Griffin

  56. Leila Rheaume
    NA Contemporary Romance


    Eighteen-year-old Callie Bartlett is all set to spend her last summer before starting college in a final grand huzzah as princess at her father’s renaissance faire. But when she shows up, she finds out her dad sold his beloved faire to Will Railey, an insufferably hot (not to mention, just plain insufferable) businessman.

    There are new rules, a new pecking order, and Will isn’t afraid to fire anyone for running their mouth—something Callie has a mad talent for. Determined to spend one last summer with her dad, preferably without getting either of them fired, Callie must learn to put up with the arrogant prick whose only concern is squeezing cash out her dad’s business. Never mind that she gets a thrill out of their verbal sparring matches, which are like tournament skirmishes but with words.

    Then Callie finds out Will bought the failing faire against his better judgment as a favor to her father. If there’s any hope of saving the place, Callie will have to shake off her preconceived notions of a man in a suit, develop a little business savvy of her own, and help whip the place back into the glory days of yesteryear.

    First 100:

    1. Who’s Your Daddy?

    As I veered into the parking lot, a cell phone toting knight in full regalia jaunted out in front of the dented bumper of my growling Chevy S-10. I stomped the brakes and finessed the clutch to keep it from stalling.

    He was my first clue something wasn’t right. Daddy didn’t let anybody keep their phones on them while they were in costume, and I’d never seen his tawny, sharp-featured face in my life. And I’d definitely recognize all that hair. Glossy black corkscrews with sun streaks of brown fell to his thin plate pauldrons.

  57. Joseph A. Slonaker
    Contemporary Romance/Suspense

    With her ex-boyfriend, Herb, sentenced to seven years in prison, Jill Aita thought she had time to restart her life and her singing career without having to look over her shoulder. Jill didn’t realize the seven years would be shortened to five.

    Now, Herb is free and seeking revenge—his entire essence focused on finding the woman that sent him to prison in the first place.

    Because of what seemed to be simple car troubles, Jill is forced to stop for help and meets Ben. Jill’s attraction to the caring man, paired with her wanting to repay him for his help, ignites feelings she hadn’t experienced in years. As they grow close, they find Herb’s attention is now fixed on Ben and his daughter, as well as Jill.

    After an attack that leaves Jill’s car windows shattered, Jill fully realizes the people she has grown to love are in grave danger because of her. Now she must choose. She can end this new chapter of her life while the ink is still wet, a chapter that promises happiness and love. Or, she can end put an end to Herb once and for all.

    Jill pushed her shopping cart to the exit of the grocery store. The automatic sliding doors screeched and hopped on their rusty tracks as they struggled to open. A gust of soggy air rushed through the void and, with creeping fingers, chilled her to the bone. Staring out at the steady rain falling from the midnight sky, she pulled her sweatshirt tight. It felt more like the end of October than early September.
    For a moment, Jill stood in the doorway, hoping that maybe the rain would slow up for her mad dash through the parking lo

  58. Author: Susan Payne Montana Lineman – Historical 57,300 words
    Finalist in LERA Rebecca contest 2015
    Vince thought life couldn’t be better. He had a great job which included a place to live, food delivered once a month and he was pretty much his own boss manning the water tower in the middle of the Montana desert. But he got a little lonely and he had seen the mail order bride advertisements so he wrote a couple of letters and sent her a free ticket to come out an marry him.
    Daisy was the oldest of several children her widowed mother had to care for and since she couldn’t find anyone willing to marry her back in Ohio she placed an ad for a husband in the west. She was only seventeen and not sure what she was getting into; but her intended sounded nice in his letters.
    Through dangers with bushwhackers of the civil war, renegade Sioux, a boss that covets Daisy and other tribulations of living in Montana in the 1870’s the young couple eventually learn what it is to be a husband and wife while falling in love with one another.

    Vincent walked back across the wooden train platform, searching the crowd getting off the four forty-five of the Great Northern Railroad stopping off in Summerville near the border of the Montana Territory for anyone fitting the description of the woman he was waiting for. He pulled off his Stetson and pushed his fingers through his dark hair and regretted not having time to get a shave. His strong jaw had a day’s growth of beard which wouldn’t be much on most men; but Vincent was a man that needed to shave twice a day just to stay presentable.

  59. Author’s Name: Margo Bond Collins
    Book Title: Skin Deep
    Genre: Urban Fantasy
    Finished Word Count: 80,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    She’s mean as a snake, but as a human she’s kind. It’ll take all her charms to catch a killer.

    Felicity Parker works hard at being human. Not an easy task for a weresnake. Her adoptive father, the herpetologist who found her, helped her develop her emotional side. Working as a counselor who aids abused children has sharpened her empathy and compassion. She has no desire to search for others like her—until a new case changes everything.

    Dr. Kade Nevala, a mongoose shapeshifter, claims Felicity is the last of the lamias, a hated race of snake-shifters hunted to extinction years before her birth. As a member of the tribe responsible for eradicating weresnakes, he’s vowed to kill any lamias he might come across.

    Required to work together on a local task force to solve a series of grisly murders, Felicity and Kade battle their taboo desire for each other as they work to track down a predator. When they discover the killer is hunting shifters of all ages and has Felicity in his crosshairs, she will have to learn to trust Kade.

    Even more terrifying, she’ll have to embrace her serpent side, a choice that has enormous consequences.

    First 100 words of the story:

    “Some sons-a-bitches need killing,” Detective Daniel Moreland muttered out of the corner of his mouth, too low for anyone else to hear.

    Neighbors clustered behind the yellow tape, their whispers a faint buzz in the hot Texas night. I licked my lips, surreptitiously tasting the air. The crowd’s eagerness for news of someone else’s disaster sparking across the lawn. A coppery top note of blood over a base of fear and anger. The flavors of murder.

    “Felicity, you see anything weird?”

    A frisson of fear shivered down my spine. What did Moreland know? I shook my head. “Nothing unusual. ”

  60. AUTHOR: Aly Grady
    TITLE: A Place To Call Home
    GENRE: Contemporary
    WORD COUNT: 50,500
    Blurb – Dusty books, worn jeans and a plaid shirt covering a broad had her frozen in place. Sharon is an independent interior designer, running her own business and surprised by the carpenter that appeared in her office. Luke is an old fashioned southern guy trying to build his construction business but quickly smitten with the raven haired, business woman. He is a take charge guy with the need to take care of those around him and when Sharon suddenly finds herself without a place to live. She enlists Luke’s help deciding on the perfect place. The place Sharon wants to call home Luke knows very well. He owns it.
    Sharon is pressured by her mother to get married so she can have grandchildren. Her clients demand she commit her time just to them. She is cornered and threatened by thugs. Sharon is more than willing to handle the added pressure.
    Luke lends his support to Sharon during a hurricane. He agrees with her that a couple should make decisions regarding marriage and children without external influences. He completely flips when she doesn’t come to him for help when she is threatened. The protector in him wants to shelter her.
    First 100 Words – The garage door was already up as Sharon pulled her car into the driveway. She spotted the Chevy Tahoe and smiled, pleased he beat her home from the construction project they were both currently working.
    She stepped out of her car and her high heels landed in a crack, bobbling the car keys and almost dropped her cellphone. Relieved she wasn’t going to have to replace her most valuable form of communication, Sharon closed the car door with a hip bump and walked toward the door in the garage.
    The cellphone vibrated in her hand and Sharon stopped and looked

  61. AUTHOR: Trinity Hanrahan
    TITLE: Pivotal Moments
    GENRE: Contemporary, Upper Young Adult, Romance
    WORD COUNT: 96,000

    BLURB: Aislinn Munroe is your average teenager. She’s preparing for a life beyond high school like everyone else, but she finds herself particularly average. She’s not the pretty or preppy teenager, she isn’t popular and she doesn’t go to the high school parties in town.

    Besides her excellent grades, she fades in to the background of her school…and she likes it that way. She doesn’t get bullied as so many other shy kids do as long as she keeps to herself.

    Is she really living the life she’s meant to though?

    One day her life completely changes when she runs into Teagan Aldridge, who will show her a new side of herself she never knew existed. He shows her how beautiful she is and how wonderful life can be when you just step outside of your shell.

    But will their age difference, level of experience, long distance romance and trust issues collide and be more than even love can conquer?

    FIRST 100 WORDS: I sat in silence and glared at the unfamiliar red SUV currently residing in the driveway—my parking space. I didn’t know who it belonged to, and I’ll admit to a brief moment of curiosity. But whoever it was, they were in the way. After pulling up to the curb across from my house I jerked the gear shift into park with a huff before I snapped off the engine and shoved open my door. The humid Florida heat immediately wrapped itself around me and did nothing to improve my mood.

  62. Joseph Pillitteri

    Author’s Name: Joseph Pillitteri
    Book Title: SET THE PIG ON GO
    Book Genre: Women’s Fiction romance/suspense
    Word Count: 89,500

    Robin, 33, is a cardiac surgeon who is excellent at heart repairs; not so good at making decisions. She meets Harrison, a handsome fellow surgeon. The wedding she plans is perfect – until she walks back the church aisle and Harrison is arrested for the murder of a young woman in a nearby hotel.

    Harrison asks Robin to concoct an alibi for him. She does so without question. No one believes her. Harrison stays in jail. A major part of the evidence against her husband is that supplies from the cardiac service were used in the murder. Robin steals like supplies to show that anyone could have taken them. Harrison remains in jail. Cardiac surgery at the hospital grinds to a halt. Children’s lives are at risk.

    When Harrison asks Robin to help his best friend pull off a copycat killing to prove the real killer is still out there, Robin has to make a decision as to how much she trusts this new husband especially as she discovers the victim the best friend will be killing might be her.

    The story is a romance, but it’s also a test of how far any of us would go to right what seems to be a wrong to a person we love.

    First 100 words:

    “You can do this.”

    Robin smoothed a finger over the edge of the triangular skin graft on her right cheek as she maneuvered her Beetle past rows of cars in Saint Pantaleon’s doctor’s lot.

    She snapped her eyes shut before the gigantic flash of light could hit her. Her hair could burst into flame. Pain could sear through her chest. The caustic smell of burning flesh could rip into her nose. . . .
    “There has to be at least one empty space in this freakin’ parking lot.” She peered through the miniature space her wipers kept clear from the pounding rain.

  63. Michelle Jo Quinn

    AUTHOR NAME: Michelle Jo Quinn
    TITLE: Harley
    GENRE: Single Title Contemporary
    WORD COUNT: 60, 000

    After her father reveals a devastating secret on his deathbed, CADENCE WILLIAMS begins the search for the truth. This leads her to Mackinley Security, ran by Mac, her father’s former army friend and the man who may possibly hold the proof Cade needs to support her father’s claims. But she has to prove herself worthy of Mac’s trust first. To achieve that, she must be successful in her first assignment to protect an eight-year old girl, HARLEY CLARK.

    Harley is not an ordinary girl. Despite her fragile appearance, she has tenacity and brilliance like nothing Cade has seen before. To everyone’s surprise, Cade forms an unlikely friendship with the often withdrawn girl.

    What should have been a straightforward assignment turns complicated when Harley’s rock star father, JAX CLARK enters the scene, and Cade cannot deny the instant attraction for the self-proclaimed bad-boy. What’s worse, Jax starts to pay her more attention that she expects. She has two choices: get lured by the celebrity world or lose any chance of finding out the truth. Sacrifices have to be made, one of which can be her heart.

    FIRST 100 WORDS:
    Cade answered the call that could change her life forever.

    Her heart beat erratically as she took the steps two at a time, but she still wasn’t fast enough. It helped that she was above average height and obsessed at hitting the gym. Once she reached the top landing, Cade smoothed her hair and made sure that she appeared less disgruntled than she actually felt. She grasped the door handle, pushed as much air into her lungs, let out an unwomanly grunt, and willed her heartbeat to slow down before proceeding.

  64. Author’s Name Rena Koontz
    Book Title “Deadly Love”
    Book Genre Romantic Suspense
    Word Count 83,843

    He is a suspect. An accused killer. And Trish Kleerey is the law. Patrolman Kleerey stands tall, speaks assertively, and sees right and wrong as clearly as her black and white cruiser. But her strict moral code is challenged when her investigation into a series of murders incriminates the man she loves. Her training tells her to arrest him. Her heart screams otherwise.

    The Trish Kleerey that Bryan DeJewel knows is soft, warm, and capable of bringing him to his knees with desire, but that passion isn’t enough to build a lasting relationship. It’s as plain as her black and white cruiser: If she loves him, she must trust him.

    Trish’s suspicious nature already cost her a lifelong friendship. She couldn’t turn her back on the physical abuse she suspected her friend suffered but, once again, her questions alienated a person she loves. Believing Bryan means turning her back on hard evidence, breaking the rules and risking her career to prove his innocence.

    Meanwhile, the real killer waits, hoping she’ll fall into his deadly trap. Will Trish listen to her heart and choose love, or strap on her gun and enforce the law?

    First 100 words

    She lay dead at the bottom of the steps, contorted like a used bread tie. One untied tennis shoe had come off halfway through her descent and perched on the uncarpeted stair like an oil stain on an otherwise pristine driveway. Its mate remained on the woman’s foot, which had rotated backward, pointing the toes inward instead of out.

    The pale, almost translucent color of the woman’s face made it obvious she was dead but Patrolman Trish Kleerey checked anyway, careful to slip into latex gloves first. The woman’s lifeless eyes remained opened in astonishment, as wide as bottle caps.

  65. Author: Susan JP Owens

    Book Title: Wrong Side of Love

    Genre: Romantic Suspense

    Word Count: 79K


    In the return for an exclusive story, investigative journalist, Paige Lowery, accepts an assignment to find a rogue agent, in Afghanistan. After her cameraman and the military escort are killed, she is kidnapped.

    Angry at the traitorous implications and suspicious of his superiors, undercover agent, Brad Varisco, sacrifices his reputation to discover who is selling weapons to the enemy and to determine who set him up. During the investigation, he saves a beautiful woman from a notorious guerrilla leader and learns her goal is to turn him in to the authorities.

    After earning her confidence, they agree to work together and gather critical information that will expunge the charges against him and send the true criminals to prison. Treacherous journeys builds heartfelt bonds and intense passion, but when they pursue the leads, their trust is quickly tested.

    1st 100 words of Manuscript:

    Paige Lowery dove for the ground, and her breath expelled on impact. She sucked in, drawing the Afghan desert sand into her mouth. She coughed, then spat, and cleared the grit. The report of automatic gunfire intensified, and the earplugs didn’t do a bit of good.

    She covered her head with her arms and hands. Her nostrils burned from the acrid smell of gunpowder. Paige peered over her right shoulder and checked on the patrol. The soldier assigned to keep her safe lay beside her, his eyes open. “Simon.” She slammed her eyes shut, and fear zapped every nerve ending.

  66. Author Name: Michele Faison
    Title: Blitz
    Genre: New Adult Romance
    Word Count: 85,000


    Desiree Evans expected life to be more complicated after college. She may have a law degree, but a simple piece of paper does not guarantee a job in any industry. Returning to her home in Tampa and a brother who made it his sole responsibility to finance her college education, Desiree is thrilled to find his nightclub, Synergy, has become a city staple for entertainment.

    A devastating injury has permanently sidelined Tampa Bay Marauders’ quarterback, Preston Wade, but a lucrative athletic career has given him the resources to build an empire all his own. Now, Preston has his sights set on owning the team that let him go so easily. Desiree Evans is the fresh face Preston needs on his side and it does not hurt matters that her brother is a business partner. Though after one chance encounter with Desiree, Preston is positive she will be the second blitz to bring him to his knees.

    First 100 Words:

    The air is thick with cigarette smoke and the scent of hard liquor. It is standing room only and even that is at a premium. Bree clings to the back of my sequined top like a lifeline. She knows if we get separated in here, it will be damn near impossible to find each other. I might be slightly taller than the average woman, but no amount of heel could lift me enough to see over or past the gyrating arms and heads in Synergy tonight.

    Only thirty more feet stand between us and our charted destination. Then we can breathe our own air again. Right now, it feels as though the oxygen is being passed around between patrons, a lot of puff and zero give.

    1. Michele Faison’s book, Blitz, just broke Amazon’s Top 100 in Sports Fiction one-and-a-half days after being published on October 11, 2015.

  67. Author’s Name: Crissy Sharp

    Book Title: Love and Fat-Free Cheese

    Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense

    Word Count: 82,000


    With her love of ice cream and disdain for yoga, Juliet Easton seems like an average twenty-five-year-old woman. Seemingly average, because no one knows she helped her sister’s fiancé disappear two years ago.

    Now, with a new job, a doting boyfriend and an irresistibly handsome boss, it seems she can move on. Unfortunately, hopes of putting her past behind her are dashed when she walks through her door to find the missing fiancé, Will, sitting on her couch.

    He needs her to help him expose a pharmaceutical company’s dirty drug before that company harms everyone involved and silences him—for good. The deeper Juliet digs, the more obvious it becomes someone close to her is feeding P&L Pharmaceuticals information about the work she’s doing and where to find Will. Maybe it’s her boyfriend. He has seemed more self-absorbed by the day. Is he only pretending to care for her to find out what she knows? Or is her boss, with his ambiguous past and financial trouble, using his charming smile and quick-wit to betray her? To uncover those responsible and protect her loved ones, she must figure out who is deceiving her and on whom she can rely.

    First 100 Words:

    Yoga is supposed to make me tranquil, peaceful, and sculpt my legs into those of a Greek goddess. However, as I strain every muscle in my body in an effort to do this Downward-Facing Dog pose, I am anything but calm or goddess-like. At least it’s clearing my mind. The intense physical pain helps me forget how nervous I am to step foot inside The Bradley Corporation.
    “Breathe. Remember to breathe,” the instructor sporting head-to-toe spandex sings out as she demonstrates a One-Legged King Pigeon.

  68. Neicole M. Crepeau


    Adult Speculative Thriller

    87,000 words


    Self-centered entrepreneur Roth Cooper is overdue for success and finally on the cusp of it with his Seattle startup—until a dark creature begins visiting him in the night and stealing his life, one year at a time.

    Roth doesn’t know why he’s been targeted. He doesn’t know if the creature is supernatural or a manifestation of his own psyche. He only knows that he’s dying, and that a select few victims have managed to banish the creature he calls the reaper by helping or saving someone.

    When he encounters fifteen-year-old druggie Jake, he thinks he’s found the person he’s meant to save. Roth loathes drug users, but he loathes the idea of dying even more. So he attacks the problem of Jake with the same intelligence and determination he applies to his software.

    Unfortunately for Roth, you can’t debug a boy like you can code. And it turns out, Jake may be more than a just druggie—he may be planning a mass murder.

    With Roth’s years slipping away and the date of the planned massacre drawing near, Roth must unlock the truth about Jake, the reaper, and himself—or it won’t be just his life that’s lost.

    First 100:

    The man facing Roth didn’t just look like death—he smelled like it. A rotten-food stench flowed off him, the stink of a garbage can in an alley. This close to him, the smell overpowered even the rich scent of Sumatra coffee and toasted ham sandwiches in the coffee shop.

    Bile rose in Roth’s throat. He gagged, then covered it with a cough.

    “Married with a kid. That’s…great, Alex.”

    The coffee line inched forward and Roth moved with it, taking the opportunity to put some space between himself and his old college roommate.

    “Yeah. My kid’s nine. Pitcher on his…

  69. Author’s Name: Dylann Crush
    Book Title: The Write Type of Wrong
    Genre: Adult Contemporary (single title with series potential)
    Finished Word Count: 76,000

    200-word blurb:
    Faith Wainwright has a secret. She’s financing grad school by writing erotic romance novels under a pseudonym. With a successful Christian author for a mother and a famous televangelist stepfather, she’ll do anything to keep her identity under wraps.

    Burned by women in his past, cocky bartender Dante is two semesters from earning his MBA. He’s not interested in anything more than a one-night stand. With the exception of his spunky grandmother, he hasn’t let another woman lay claim to his heart since high school.

    When Faith and Dante meet, he inspires the hero for her next novel and she surprises him by rebuffing his most successful pick-up lines. But after an unexpected intimate encounter leaves her wanting more, she proposes a no-strings fling to give into her attraction without deviating from her no-relationships rule. He agrees.

    As their arrangement progresses, they discover they’re in over their heads. And when a jealous classmate exposes Faith’s alter ego, Dante must decipher if their feelings were real or if she was only using him “in the name of research.” With her protective shell crumbling, Faith must take action before she loses everything: her family, her career, and her chance at real love.

    First 100 words:
    Faith Wainwright draped her jacket over the back of the tall barstool. Sandwiched between her friends, Jess and Robin, she pasted a smile on her face and vowed to at least pretend to have fun. When was the last time she’d taken a break from her studies and writing deadlines to enjoy a Friday night out? Maybe last semester? Already three weeks into her second year of grad school, she hadn’t so much as gone out to dinner yet.
    “Check out the hottie behind the bar. Are you going home with him, or am I?” Robin nodded toward the bartender.

  70. Author’s Name: Patricia F. Siegel


    Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

    Finished Word Count: 55,000

    200-word blurb: When Luis Rodriguez-Arrigo learns that his imprisoned father is dying, he must escape his foster home and travel across the state or else he will never see his father again.

    Luis is a 16 year old Detroit Public Schools student living in foster care hell after his dad went to jail and his mom went into a mental hospital. Living in this hostile environment has made the usually happy Luis into someone who is just looking to survive and to find a family of his own.

    Desperate to see his dad again, Luis gets a car and money, and then takes off with his friends Katie Matthews and La’Raymond “Raze” Thomas. Along the way, they find Katie’s runaway sister, who wants nothing to do with Katie. Raze learns that there is trouble back at home, so he turns to his former stepfather and makes a foolish bargain. Luis sees his dad one more time, only to learn some news that shatters his desperate hopes of his mom coming to his rescue.

    ONLY HEADLIGHTS LOOKED BACK is a 55,000 word young adult novel that is set in Detroit, Michigan, and is about students dealing with disabilities, poverty, and rough home lives.

    First 100 words of your story:Frank was the one who swung the ax.

    My dad always told me that, whenever he told me the story. And he loved that story. He loved me too, but he loved his gang more.

    He went to jail so fast that I couldn’t even say goodbye. A few days later, one of the bangers came to our house and told us that my dad had been picked up for carjacking some white guy from West Bloomfield …he was all serious and said how sorry he was that my dad had to take the fall on this one and gave my mom some money. My mom went upstairs to her room and didn’t come out. I’ve been in this damn foster home ever since.

  71. Susan Payne The Ranger and the Virtuous Lady – Historical Western Romance 50,000 words
    Finalist in LERA Rebecca Contest 2015
    Texas Rangers of the 1870’s were tough men, volunteering to work in some of the worse areas facing renegade Comanche and Comancheros that continued to breach the Mexican border and wreak havoc on the settlers trying to re-establish themselves after the civil war.
    Rangers furnished their own horse, saddle, guns and ammunition and ran the risk of being shot at all for less than 1.25 a day. There is an unending amount of information of their exploits and bravery and I have used these as a basis to write about my own Ranger heroes and the women they find to love them. Although most Rangers were between eighteen and thirty they lived solitary lives as a soldier in war. Most had chosen not to marry until they had retired if they made it that long.
    I write about strong women that also braved Texas and all it was then with a series of seven books 50,000 plus words each. Strong characters, unusual story lines but based on historic events. The characters are not linked in each book other than a few majors and the state commander headquartered in Austin.
    Cassandra, sunburned a bright red, allowed her lids to close to block out the harsh Texas sun from her eyes, her hat had long ago been lost among the cactus and nettles of this southwestern desert. She stumbled and quickly opened her eyes to see the young Kiowa woman in front of her almost crumble to the ground. Cassie looked around quickly knowing that if the young women didn’t right herself, the snap of a bull whip would be heard from one of their captors and the sting would leave a red welt on the girl’s bare legs.

  72. Susan Payne Horses for Ashley – Kirkland Series Historical Regency 41000 words
    Finalist in LERA Rebecca contest 2015
    I have a six book series with characters in common set in Regency England centered around six titled men who had sworn never to marry. Brotherhood as they call themselves had already been set upon by their own family members to make a selection of one or another debutant and this was the only means of safety they could devise, to support each other in their quest for freedom.
    One by one, the titled gentlemen find their matches; sometimes with women their families would never have considered a contender. Brenton finally convinces horse mad Ashley they should marry and raise children alongside the horses she so loves, Huntley marries the suffragette Sarah who has authored a how to sex book. Kirkland, head of the family finds love with the beautiful Nicole who is a paraplegic due to a riding accident while Kirkland’s younger sister Abbey finds Ethan another of the Brotherhood irresistible after years of knowing one another. Sebastian finds Torey after she lives with a Chinese acupuncturist for safety and the quiet Darma joins the non-traditional peer turned ophthalmologist in his practice.

    No, no, ohhh, hell no! was the only thought in Ashley’s mind as she stared across the rumpled bed into the piercing blue eyes of her devilish handsome neighbor, Brenton Randall. Both of them in a bed neither belonged in.
    Ashley scrambled from the sheets twining themselves around her legs as she looked around the unfamiliar room searching for the rest of her clothes. Wearing her blouse, chemise and stockings so that she wouldn’t rumple her riding habit while she rested, Ashley tried to focus on what seemed like piles of clothing thrown about the room. Spotting the dark green of her specially designed riding habit

  73. Susan Payne Harrison Ranch – Historical Western Romance 45,000 words
    1873 Kansas was a tough area that needed tough settlers. Diminutive but feisty Calliope St. Michaels was raised in a Foundling Home in NYC where she got her beginning as a sous chef. Being a young woman with a lame foot didn’t allow her to be promoted within the prime restaurants; let alone to work with the male chefs who were well known misogynists. After being driven from her last post by jealousy by the male chefs, Callie accepted a job as a ranch cook.
    The position seemed perfect for her escape. To say she is a surprise for the ranch hands is an understatement, to say she is a shock to the ranch owner, Seth Harrison is not an embellishment. After meeting her the first time under less than ideal conditions Callie was sure he was going to fire her on the spot.
    An unusual matriarch, Callie begins to write other single female orphans from the foundling home inviting them to move to Sweetwater and begin lives in the sparsely settled area. A blend between matchmaker and mail order brides, there are seven additional stand alone books to this series. 42000 words each minimum.
    Callie looked around as she stepped down from the train with the help of the conductor to the well worn platform of the neat brick station. She was wearing a plaid dress of muted greens and rust, buttoned with shiny onyx beads right up to her chin, and trimmed with cream lace at the collar and cuffs. A little box type hat perched atop her un-tamable orange hair. The naturalness of which was shown on the sprinkling of freckles across her otherwise porcelain cheeks and nose. She wore small pearl studs in her ears and a gold watch pin on the front of her dress

  74. Thanks for the opportunity!

    Author’s Name: Lynne M MacLean
    Title: LUCK RIDERS
    Genre: Adult Modern Fantasy
    Word Count: 101,156


    Street smart Gossamer wants her old life back: a beloved, wealthy husband; happy kids, and an abundance of luck. But with her husband dead, her whiz kid son estranged, and a surly ex-hoodlum dogging her every step to “protect” her, things have careened out of control. Plus, her luck is draining away at a terrifying rate. She is a luck rider, helplessly absorbing others’ fortunes, for good or ill. Luck riders need luck, crave luck, and sicken without it. Unless they learn to harness the luck of others, existence is brief and bitter. For Gossamer, a return to the harrowing life on the streets of her youth is a real possibility, one she refuses to allow.

    To make matters worse, a vicious Ferald chieftain obsessed with controlling fate has Gossamer’s son in her sights. The Feralds, an underground group of psychic Celts, will stop at nothing to gain the key to destiny, and Gossamer’s scientist son is close to discovering it. And even her reluctant ally, a former Ferald thug master with soothsaying talents of his own, despises luck riders in general and Gossamer in particular. Stranded at the crossroads of coincidence and fate, with her son’s life and the future of luck riders on her shoulders, she can’t leave things up to chance.

    First 100 Words:
    Gossamer had no luck of her own, good or bad. She was drawn into the wake of those around her. Her father had been like her, a luck rider. Given his predilection for gambling, her childhood had been a roller coaster of prosperity and ruin. Finally, her mother had taken her luck and left, vanishing into the coincidental mists. Gossamer stayed, trapped with him until, after a night of egregious losses with egregious losers, he blew his brains out. The winner had walked out with the luck. All of it.

  75. Melissa Fragiadaki

    Name: Melissa Fragiadaki (w/a Melina Kantor)

    Title: Once Upon a Playlist

    Genre: Contemporary Romance

    Finished Word Count: 90 K

    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Evi, former host of the hit travel show Urban Nomad, understands the appeal of the whitewashed houses and blue shutters of the tiny Cretan seaside village where she grew up. The place is so authentic it’s got a resident village idiot.

    But one person’s paradise is another’s dusty, bug-infested recurring nightmare, which is why Evi hasn’t visited Myrtos in six years. When her beloved grandparents ask her to bring their granddaughter for a visit, Evi can’t say no. Especially since her grandparents announced they’re selling their café, a place Evi has always considered more of a home than her parents’ house.

    Returning to the traditional village with a daughter born out of wedlock isn’t easy. Before she leaves Brooklyn, Evi decides to give herself six weeks to find a way to buy the café, and then go back home.

    Everything changes once Evi finds out her grandparents have already sold the café to Mathaios, the village’s mysterious, geeky science teacher. She wants to hate him until she comes across a playlist on his computer, which leads to the discovery that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

    As Evi and Mathaios get to know each other, she finds out that their pasts are intertwined in ways she never could have imagined.

    First 100 words / first paragraph of your story:

    The driver turned up the volume on the radio, lit a cigarette, and slammed on the brakes just in time to prevent a flock of sheep from suddenly turning into street souvlaki. I spotted a crooked sign that read, “Irapetra, 2 kilometers. Myrtos, 8 kilometers,” and felt my stomach lurch.

    Okay, look. I get that sparkling blue seas, mountain views and sunsets appeal to some, but I’ve got to let you in on a little secret, which is this: one traveler’s paradise is another traveler’s dusty, hot, bug infested recurring nightmare.

    “Will you look at that?” the driver commented, the pride dripping from his voice, and pointed to a sparkling white church overlooking the water.

    Screw the spoon, I thought. If he says one more word about how beautiful the view is, I’ll need to be gagged with a shovel.

  76. Deborah Byington

    A Killer Among Us

    Romantic Suspense


    All rookie officer Colby Daniels wants is to prove herself. She hadn’t counted on stumbling upon the town’s first homicide. While working closely with the squad, Colby is attracted to Officer Tom Vitali, the handsome cop with the mischievous smile. But department relationships are forbidden. As the case heats up, so does their relationship. When a fellow officer becomes the third victim, Colby voices her theory, and tensions rage, both in the department and the relationship. Doubts and distrust spread and Colby’s career, reputation, and relationship hang by a thread. Will she risk it all to solve an unconscionable crime?”

    First 100
    “Thank you, Mrs. Charbeau. We greatly appreciate it.” Officer Colby Daniels smiled at the elderly woman and tucked the ticket money for the department’s annual baseball tournament in the white envelope. “I hope we’ll see you at the game.”

    “Well, I don’t know about that but I’ll be cheering for the police department
    Her smile was friendly but Colby noticed her hesitation. “Mrs. Charbeau? Is everything all right?”
    “I hate to ask and it’s probably nothing but I’m worried about my friend, Ida Bernstein. She was supposed to pick me up at five thirty for supper.

  77. Thanks for such a great opportunity!
    Author’s Name: Sera Cassell
    Book Title: Princess Charming
    Genre: Contemporary Category
    Finished Word Count:60,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:After meeting Prince Hugh du Clair at a wedding in her hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts, cupcake truck owner Aurora “Rory” Maguire agrees to go out with him when he promises her a fun, no strings attached date to help her forget about her recent heartbreak. But when one date turns into several, neither one of them could’ve predicted that they’d actually start to fall for each other.
    Living in Boston, Hugh is happy to be second in line to the throne of Asterlaine with no chance of becoming King. And now that he’s met Rory, he’s even having thoughts of exchanging his renowned playboy lifestyle for a committed relationship. It’s not until his older brother does something that requires him to abdicate his position that the role falls to Hugh requiring him to answer the call of duty and go home.
    Navigating his new station in life proves tedious. He desperately misses Rory and wants her by his side. But will the all-American girl give up her life’s dream of establishing her own bakery and her close-knit Irish family to become his Princess?

    First 100 words of your story: No. Absolutely not.
    The mid-morning sun shone on the giant cupcake sitting atop her delivery truck parked in the driveway. It caught one of the glittery sprinkles temporarily blinding Aurora Maguire.
    Arriving at her friend’s wedding in that would be unacceptable. Totally undignified.
    She checked her phone for the umpteenth time. The wedding would start in less than forty minutes. Where the hell was her brother? Since Aidan crashed his car a couple of weeks ago, she had let him borrow hers with the understanding he’d be home at a decent hour. He chose not to come home at all.

  78. Stacy Hoff
    contemporary romance


    Catherine “Cat” Warner has some problems. The profits from her inns are down. The pressure from her parents is up. Her love life is non-existent. But Cat did manage to get the attention of tough, powerful, gorgeous hotel magnate Ty Orland. Unfortunately, his interest in her is for all the wrong reasons. Instead of wanting Cat, this debonair CEO only wants her land—a parcel he desperately needs for his next big development deal. Too bad, it’s not for sale. A people pleaser by nature, Cat knows to stand strong. If she caves in to the demands of this sexy, alluring man, it will be her own neck on the line.

    Ty Orland has a lot of things going for him. Success. Power. Respect. Unfortunately, he’s also got an old chip on his shoulder and a new financial nightmare. His development deal is going down in flames—and fast. His only way out is if Cat sells him her strategically located parcel. But romancing the land from her is not easy when love gets in the way. The woman is as beautiful as she is beguiling. And Ty no longer knows which prize is more valuable.

    1st 100 words of the MS

    Cat Warner’s plan was strictly business—Ty Orland was getting a piece of her mind. A piece the size of Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Meeting him here, at the ‘Better Hoteliers Convention,” would let him know her Big Bear, California, property was not on the market. All she had to do was wait for tonight’s meeting with him. Somewhere in this giant, off-Strip, Las Vegas hotel, he was waiting for her.

    “Er, Cat? You okay?” asked Vanessa, General Manager for all of Cat’s six inns. Doubt etched deep in her voice.

    Cat knew better than to blow off the older woman’s concerns.

  79. Stacy Hoff
    Contemporary Romance


    Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his thoroughbred back on track. She’s more than just a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for.

    Horse trainer Ryder Hannon has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. Her emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings towards handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem. Is Jake truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family?

    When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him—and her destiny—so hard?

    1st 100 words of the MS

    Ryder Hannon assessed the thoroughbred stallion in one of her stalls at New York City’s Belmont Park, her blue eyes cool. “I think Golden Child is shying away from using his back hoof. Better have the vet check him out. I don’t want him racing if he’s in any pain.”

    “Already did,” Lenny answered, his white beard stretched wide in a grin. The stooped-over man had five red strands of hair on his otherwise bald head. “Looks like I taught you to be a good trainer. But don’t ever think you’re smarter than the teacher.”

  80. •Dawn Luedecke
    •White Water Passion
    83,000 words

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    In a world of ball gowns and carriages, Elizabeth Sanders is the perfect example of propriety…but every woman has their secrets, and Beth’s happens to be one full of danger and deception, deep in the forest of Montana. Destined for a life of luxury but torn between the life he wants to live, Garrett Jones must sacrifice his bachelorhood for one last season as leader of the Devil May Care Boys—an elite group of men crazy enough to ride the rapids of the treacherous mountain rivers in order to bring the logs down to the lumber mill. For once he returns home, he will marry the woman of his father’s choosing.

    When Garrett discovers Beth’s secret, he vows to protect her at all costs, even if it means losing his heart to a woman he can never have. As strange things begin to happen within the logging camp, Garrett and Beth must band together to save the lumber mill, and her reputation. With danger lurking behind every tree, falling in love is out of the question.

    First 100 words of your story:
    Elizabeth Sanders could vanish right now, and no one would notice. She blended in with every other woman by wearing her matching pinstriped walking skirt and blouse. Each store clerk and patron in Missoula, focused on their affairs without a care to their neighbor, would fail to notice if she walked through Higgins Street naked, let alone disappeared into thin air. They certainly wouldn’t look twice when she came back this way a different person.

    Hundreds of people bustled in the heat of the Montana sun doing the same-old things, the same-old ways, with nothing to show for their trouble but dirty shoes.

  81. Secret Crush
    Contemporary Romance
    75000 words

    In this contemporary high concept romance trilogy this is book one where you meet the family.
    John Morgan returns home to his extremely wealthy family’s to go to his estranged father’s funeral. He spent his life intending to bring him down as he blames his father for his sister’s death. At the funeral John is shocked that his ‘dead’ sister, Victoria, is alive and well as she returns to the family to also see that their father is dead.
    Alice was Victoria’s best friend growing up. She goes to the funeral to pay respects to the Morgan family. Her childhood crush on John kicks into high gear. Once someone tries to kill her at the funeral, she’s forced to live temporarily with John. The intended assassin intended to take out anything that the Morgan’s cherish. Living with John means they grow to be friends and lovers in his high society family.
    Book two is when Victoria Morgan gets her baby back and former love. Book three is Peter who falls for Belle, the jilted bride, of book two. Book 4 is in production now. One, two and three tie together the known siblings.

    1st 100 words of the MS
    “You can’t just ignore men like God and his heirs and hope they don’t come after you,” Alice Collins explained to her mother as she stepped around the kitchen boxes and back into their old dining room. “The House of Morgan owns everything and our fruits are just part of the corporate giant.”
    “That’s not fair.” Ellie Collins only came up to Alice’s shoulder but she had the personality of a giant. She stopped packing her china in boxes, glared at Alice and then crossed her arms. “Your father and I raised an independent farm and we choose who buys our products.”

  82. Dawn Luedecke
    Hard to Love
    55,500 words

    Sometimes the person you least expect to trust is the one you depend upon the most.

    The last thing journalist Victoria Knells wants is to cover the boot camp expose. To make matters worse, Adam Denton, the drill instructor she’s assigned to, battles her every move. After the Chain of Command enlists her help to take down Adam and change the climate of boot camp, she must make a decision. Follow her instinct—or her heart. When a mistake from her past catches up to her, Victoria learns the truth about the hardened military man. But is it too late?

    Adam’s life is in shambles. First, the irritating journalist shows up to argue his every move, and then his girl friend breaks up with him. One thing is certain in his life—his job training recruits. A task made difficult by the meddlesome Ms. Knells, and an agenda toting Chain of Command. But each battle the charming Victoria charges into chisels away at his heart until he’s completely lost. When he finds out his job is in danger, the only thing he has left to hold on to is Victoria.

    First 100 words:
    Boot camp. The one thing Victoria Knells strived to avoid her entire life. Mindless shouting in order to shame a man, or woman, into compliance. The stench of bodies washed in thirty seconds under frigid water. The injuries of muscles not normally used during exercise, but overworked and under iced. No. Boot camp was not for her, but here she stood with bags at her feet on the oddly clean sidewalk of Cape May, New Jersey, waiting for the officer to meet her. Thank God, she wasn’t actually joining the military.

  83. Thank you for this opportunity!

    Author’s Name: Sharla Francis aka Sydney Keys
    Book Title: The Right Sister
    Genre: Contemporary Romance (modern day Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
    Finished Word Count: 58,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    When sexy Montana rancher, Aiden Tanner, decides he needs a wife to complete his grand life plan, a chance meeting with an old friend’s sister provides the perfect woman. The hard-working single mother, struggling financially, is hot, easy to talk to, and knows how to potty-train kids. His vision of continuing the Tanner saga includes a woman with her skills. In his experience, emotions ruin relationships so he offers a business deal. Marry him and he’ll pay off her debt.

    When Aiden offers a business arrangement, Beth McNamara is stunned. Aiden is overprotective, but he’s attractive, family oriented, dependable, and dotes on her daughter. He was her high school crush but now he thrills her in her dreams. His steamy kisses and caresses make her quiver. Aiden’s deal to provide a solid home for her and her daughter tempts her.

    Their business-deal marriage backfires when she overhears him discussing her baby-making qualities. After much soul-searching, they discover their love for each other is more powerful than the individual self-sacrifices they continue to make for their families.

    First 100 words:

    Aiden strode down the corridors of the hospital, the fluorescent lights flickering above. Machines beeped from the rooms he passed while the smell of antiseptic wafted to him. No stranger to emergency rooms, Aiden scowled and picked up his pace. He lived and worked on a ranch with cattle and horses that occasionally stomped on people. His grandfather had died in a hospital bed several years earlier after a massive heart attack.

    Now his father was here.

    A heart attack.

    Room 1545.

    Aiden stopped outside his father’s room, hesitating as he struggled to control his emotions.

  84. Author’s Name – Jo Grafford

    Book Title – The Body Park

    Book Genre – Contemporary Romantic Suspense

    Book Word Count (completed manuscript) – Approx. 75K (Approx. 100K with deleted scenes)


    Soon-to-be-divorced Grace Livingston is on a mission to reinvent herself into a sexy, independent woman who doesn’t need another man in her life. Her plan is derailed when her undercover-ops father summons her to Costa Rica to confront her dead first husband.

    Stellan Romolov, billionaire owner of The Body Park — a mega cosmetic surgical complex — is very much alive and determined to win back the woman he lost through federal witness protection eighteen years earlier.

    He has one week to convince her theirs is a love worth rekindling, before a dangerous enemy tears them apart…again.

    1st 100 words of the MS:

    Being in love with a dead man is not the key to a successful marriage. My pending divorce was mutual and uncontested, little more than a division of assets. Sad, really.

    Most unfortunately, it was also being postponed.

    I fingered the receipt for a plane ticket inside my pocket. A summons from my father had arrived via currier this morning. It read: “I need to see you. It’s urgent.” Colonel Baxter Livingston, retired U.S. Army Military Intelligence officer, didn’t talk much; but when he did, he was the kind of man people listened to – including me. Dear, God! Especially me.

  85. Thanks for the opportunity to pitch today!

    Author Name: Casey Wyatt
    Book Title: OVER EASY
    Book Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 85,000 words (standalone with series potential)


    After escaping Bucklebury, Vermont without a backward glance, celebrity chef, Dash Grant, finds himself escaping a scandalous affair. With his cooking show and reputation under fire, he buys into his hometown’s fading diner hoping to escape the media heat and turn a tidy profit. Dash never expected to find his former flame in town, let alone as his new partner. While she’s as delicious as he remembers, unfortunately, she isn’t eager to share control, trust his expertise or consider selling.

    Audra Harper is about to lose her kid and her sanity. Her ex-husband wants their teen daughter to spend the summer in Paris with his new, perfect family and she fears her daughter won’t want to return. Not helping matters, her meddling mother is on a mission to find her a lover or a husband or whichever comes first. There’s no room for love on Audra’s already overcrowded plate. To top it off, she’s got an unprofitable family diner to turn around and not enough funds to do it. Still as irresistible as she remembers, Dash’s unexpected arrival threatens to rock her world.

    With financial disaster looming, can they melt each other’s resistance or will the diner be a flash in the pan?

    1st 100 Words:

    Dash Grant’s mother used to say that when poverty walked in the door, love flew out the window. He’d never understood what that meant or why she felt the need to say it so often until that day in the grocery store when his mother didn’t have enough money.
    He hugged the box of cereal, his favorite with star shaped marshmallows, close to his chest, hoping she wouldn’t notice it. She’d promised him a treat.
    “Put that back, Dash.” She retrieved a few more items from the belt. “Take these too.”
    Harsh words were whispered behind their backs.

  86. Thanks for this opportunity!
    Becky Lower
    Dance With Destiny
    Historical Romance
    70,000 words
    Cold Mountain Meets Dances With Wolves

    Susannah Myers is left all alone on her Ohio hillside farm with four children to care for when her husband signs on to fight in the Civil War. He swears he’ll return when his 90 days are finished.

    Raoul Lone Wolf Lafontaine has left the Ojibwa camp following his wife’s death in childbirth. He wanders for a few weeks until he finds a cave in the hills and then stumbles upon a small farm overrun with children and headed up by a woman, with no man in sight. She is the light-haired white woman from his visions, and he recognizes his destiny is to assist her.

    The eldest daughter, Hannah, surprises Lone Wolf by calling him out of the shadows and befriending him. When her father decides to sign on for three more years, Raoul decides to help the family make it through the winter. But his heart thunders when Susannah is near.

    As the months stretch out, Susannah and Raoul grow closer. Susannah is forced to choose between her absent husband and the man who is helping her family survive.

    Chapter One
    Ohio Hill Country, April, 1861

    “You can’t leave me! Leave us! How will we ever survive?”
    Susannah Myers pummeled her husband’s shoulders as tears streamed down her face.
    William grabbed her hands and held them. He kissed her callused fingers and then touched her lips softly with his. “It’ll only be for a few months, Susannah. I have to volunteer. Daniel was out here just the other day to make sure I’d sign up.”
    Susannah moved away from him. “Four children, William, and the oldest only nine years old. Will the Union put food on our table? Split wood so we’ll stay warm this winter?”

  87. • Author’s Name : Peggy Jaeger
    • Book Title : COOKING WITH KANDY
    • Book Word Count (completed manuscripts only) 90,000
    Blurb (maximum 200-word)
    When private investigator Joshua Keane is hired to protect
    chef-lebrity Kandy Laine from a stalker, it’s a recipe for home cooking and hot loving. Mix a dash of The Bodyguard with Top Chef Masters, toss in a handful of colorful and scrumptious relatives, add a cup of heart-stopping danger and a pound of delicious, succulent sex, and you’ve got Cooking with Kandy – baked to perfection and ready to be devoured whole.

    First 100 words of manuscript:
    The moment Josh Keane saw Kandy Laine’s sexy, heart-stopping smile come through the wall mounted plasma monitor, he knew he was in trouble.
    Serious trouble.
    Standing on the sidelines of the kitchen set, where a television studio intern had instructed him to wait, visitor badge secured to his jacket, Josh watched the hostess of EBC’s most popular food show, Cooking with Kandy, film her season premier.
    “Today’s cake recipe was one of Grandma’s favorites,” Kandy said, a dimpled smile aimed directly at the camera. “She discovered early on the benefit of adding pudding to the batter to increase the moisture content.”

  88. Author’s Name: Donya Lynne

    Book Title: Finding Lacey Moon (book one, Hope Falls Series)

    Book Genre: Contemporary Romance

    Book Word Count: 65,332

    Champion snowboarder, Lacey Moon, has lost her love of the sport, couldn’t care less about winning another gold medal, and has no idea who she is anymore. Desperate to find a way out of the vicious cycle sucking her into obscurity, she disguises her identity, flees the familiarity of home, and strikes out on the open road, following her intuition until she reaches Hope Falls, Idaho.

    Former football star, Scott McCord, has lived in Hope Falls since high school and runs McCord Cabin Rentals with his brother. Having suffered deception at the hands of his first love, Scott has abandoned hope of ever finding a woman to share his life with, choosing to devote his attention to his daughter instead.

    When Lacey’s path crosses Scott’s, fireworks fly. For the first time in ten years, Scott can see himself falling in love again. And the more time Lacey spends with the Scott, the more she realizes he is her future. There’s just one problem. Lacey hasn’t told Scott her true identity. When the truth comes out, she could lose everything she hoped to find in Hope Falls.

    First 100 Words:
    It’s okay to fall. Falling down teaches us how to get back up.

    Lacey stood at the mouth of the halfpipe, recalling the words her coach had said to her the first time she took a hard spill during a training run. That had been thirteen years ago. Why was she thinking about that now, when she was eyeing the icy tube and preparing to make her run for gold?
    Shoving her coach’s words aside, she bobbed her head to the up-tempo music pumping through her earbuds. Music usually calmed her before a competition, but not this time.

    NOTE: This manuscript is currently self-published, but it’s not under contract with anyone, and I am actively seeking other publishing avenues for the series. If this disqualifies me, I understand, but nobody got anywhere without trying, so that’s why I posted. Best of luck to all entrants.

  89. Thank you Contemporary Romance Writers and Ms Bradford for this opportunity to pitch.
    •Author’s Name: Marie Dry
    •Book Title: Sicilian Honeymoon
    •Genre: Contemporary Category (Not Mafia)
    •Finished Word Count: 52 100
    •Blurb (maximum 200-word)

    On the day of her arranged marriage to Salvatore Provenzano, a Sicilian Texan oil tycoon, Sarah finds out that her grandmother had swindled this dangerous man, rumored to have razed a business that had cheated him to the ground.
    Sarah had to decide if she should tell him the truth now or grab some happiness with her husband for a short time until Salvatore finds out that not only did her grandmother swindle him, Sarah kept secrets from him as well.

    •1st 100 words of the MS

    “You’ll have to marry that gangster,” Sarah’s grandmother said in all seriousness.
    Sarah choked on the sip of tea she just took, carefully put down the delicate porcelain teacup. One of these days she’d learn not to be startled at the things that came out of her grandmother’s mouth.
    “What gangster, and why on earth should I marry him?” Her grandmother, Sally Mae was of the sharpest people Sarah knew, except when it came to Sarah. Her grandmother thought that, because Sara had trouble talking with more than one person present, it fell to her to find her a husband.

  90. Author: Amanda Uhl
    Title: Mind Waves
    Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
    Word Count: 87,000


    He has been in her mind. He knows her thoughts. He will do anything to protect her.

    David is the leader of a little-known segment of the U.S. government responsible for guarding the nation’s intellectual capital. His team must navigate deadly brain waves to infiltrate minds, erase and implant thoughts, and keep the enemy from possessing the nation’s secrets. He’s at the top of his game, until he encounters a powerful energy source — a madman who will steal the secrets he is protecting, even if he must kill the woman David loves to get them.

    Grace is a struggling artist, who knows from experience that most men can’t be trusted. All she wants is a well-paying job and to see her beloved, but flighty sister to the altar. She’d be a fool to fall for her mysterious new client. Still, there’s something about him that has her dreaming of happily ever after. Until she finds herself in the middle of a mental tug of war — one that has her reeling from nightmares, resisting the enemy, and fighting for her life. Are her feelings for David authentic or is she a victim of his mind-altering abilities?


    Grace wiped her clammy hands on her skirt and stared up at the shiny glass office building of Gallant Enterprises, a high tech manufacturer of robotic parts used in the construction of artificial limbs. She could not screw up this interview. Her bank account could not afford it.

    With a deep breath, she gathered her courage, and for at least the twentieth time since she got out of bed this morning, rehearsed exactly what she would say to convince Brice Gallant that she was the woman for the job.

  91. Author: Jennette Fox w/a Kae Fox
    Women’s Fiction with a strong romance
    80,000 words

    Lillian Russo invested everything in her first love. The only future she envisioned was theirs. When Zach died, her life—as she knew it—ended too.

    Now, four years later, she’s piecing together a new life, leaving no room for love. In need of cash, she takes in nerdy-looking Wesley Albright as a boarder. She soon learns there’s more to him than she thought, including his job—he’s an FBI agent. Reluctantly at first, she falls in love with him. Then a fatal shooting changes everything. Wesley is spared, but realizing the depth of her feelings and what she stands to lose, Lillian pushes him away.

    Longing for a family of her own, but unwilling to invest again emotionally, she settles for Sean. Eventually, she breaks their engagement, and realizes that it is safe to love again, as long as she doesn’t ditch her other dreams for the future—like she did the first time.

    All signs suggest it’s too late for her and Wesley. But is it?

    Playing it Safe is an emotional story that will appeal to those who desire a happy ending, but find satisfaction in the idea it takes more than a man to create one.

    First 100:

    “Not again! Lillian Russo covered her ears with her pillow. Her sleazy roommate had brought home yet another guy and they were going at it with gusto in her upstairs bedroom. She prayed Amber’s windows weren’t open. How embarrassing it would be if the neighbors heard the moans and thought she was the one creating the commotion. The whole town of Grand Ledge, Michigan would be talking.

    She felt an object hit the floor above her and heard it shatter, despite the pillow over her ears.

    Amber’s lamp, she guessed. She filled her cheeks with air and blew it out…

  92. Author: Cassandra L Shaw
    Title: Dancing With Lace
    Genre: Single Title Contemporary Romance (small town series potential)
    Words: 89 000


    After living in Vegas, Lace moves to the small town of Cape Low, Maine chasing a new life, and different class of man. A difference that’s not Joel, the gorgeous rescue volunteer she finds hanging over a cliff and helps rescue.

    Joel’s a player, the type of man she’s overdone. But when he throws the flirt-dice her way she decides to take a card from his deck and play the player. Only she doesn’t know the rules of the game, foolishly falling for a man who can’t commit. Again.

    Even though he wants to, Joel hasn’t felt more than friendship for a woman in years. Then Lace comes to town. Like a drunk eyeing a bottle of bourbon, Joel’s attracted to the stunning Lace from first sight and with her he holds hope for a future.

    Then like the twisted luck of dice throws, the woman who broke his heart years ago returns to town.

    And everyone thinks he’s still in love with her, including Lace.

    First 100:

    The brunette with waist long hair drew Joel’s gaze like a bottle of bourbon captivated a drunk. She refolded her half-read newspaper, slipped ten dollars into the fold and walked out of the café. For two weeks Joel had watched her do this every morning and he wondered when her Maine holiday to his home town of Cape Low, would end.

    Three times he’d managed to catch her eye but she’d quickly glanced away. Her disinterest made him wonder if whispers of his player ways had found wary ears. But town gossip wasn’t up to-date. Dan’s massive coronary at thirty-two had stunned Joel like a round-house punch.

    Thankyou for your time.

  93. Leigh Raffaele
    Contemporary Romance
    80,000 words

    Being a corporate spy never affected Nora…until now.

    In Brewed for Love, a big-city coffee company field rep hides her identity from a small-town coffee shop owner in what gears up to be in a David vs. Goliath coffee war. The last thing Nora wants is an emotional entanglement interfering with her goal. She needs to complete this final project, gain her well-needed promotion, and move on with her new life—one without a man. But when her attraction to the irresistible coffee shop owner gets in the way, those plans come to a grinding halt.

    Finally…Evan’s life is falling into place. The scars of his wife’s abandonment have healed, his death-bed promise to his father has turned the family coffee shop into a success, and he created a loving home for his little girl. When he meets the captivating Nora and sees how caring and attentive she is with his daughter—as well as what she’s doing to his own battered heart—he rethinks his vow not to trust another woman. But when he learns Nora’s true identity—and that she and MoonBurst Coffee are trying to put him out of business—he’s more determined than ever to forego love for family and push Nora out of their lives.

    Chapter 1

    It sounded so simple a week ago. Made perfect sense.
    Go in unnoticed, collect foot-traffic data, profit levels, logistics—leave without thinking twice. Job done.
    Eleanor Langston Bainbridge peered through her car’s foggy, driver’s-side window. Her job was spying on the “little guys;” the part she wasn’t at all comfortable with.
    The chilly October morning had her rubbing the glass with the butt of her hand, clearing a small circle, holding her breath to keep the window from re-fogging.
    As a shiver ran through her, she knew it wasn’t the chill alone that bothered her. By doing her job, she’d ultimately set someone up to lose their business—

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