The Contemporary Romance Writers Chapter is thrilled to have Mary Altman, Editor at Sourcebooks is 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 she has laid out here for writers at all levels.

INTERVIEW

~ Interview by Abigail Owen

CR: Can you share what lines, imprints, or genres you edit at your publishing house?

MA: I acquire for the Sourcebooks Casablanca line. This means my focus is on all genres of Romance (contemporary, romantic suspense, historical, paranormal, erotic, etc.) and New Adult roughly 80,000 to 100,000 words long. I do not acquire Women’s Fiction or Young Adult at this time.

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

MA: A killer hook is the first thing I look for, the higher concept, the better. Competition on the shelf is fierce. I need a book that has a strong hook that readers can’t help but notice. If you can describe your book in 1-2 sentences (or even 1-2 words!), then you’re likelier to have a strong hook.

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

MA: Characters a reader wants to spend time with, including a hero she can fall in love with. The most memorable books in romance tend to be remembered for their characters first. If you can make a reader fall head over heels with your hero, you’ve created a truly great romance novel no matter what subgenre, hook, or plot you’re writing.

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

MA: I like to call it the “yes, and?”, and Trends blow through contemporary romance at a dizzying pace, and it’s increasingly difficult to find a hook that hasn’t been tried before. When crafting your hook, think about whether it touches on something that’s already going on in the space. If so, make sure there’s an extra layer to that hook– the “yes, and ?” that will make it stand out.

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

MA: The most common mistake is the failure to pay attention to what the acquiring editor is looking for. It doesn’t matter how much I may love a book if it is 60,000 words, it is too short for me to acquire it.

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

MA: I tend to have a simple rule of thumb when it comes to heroes if I would not encourage my best friend to date him, then I don’t want to see the heroine dating him. That doesn’t mean that a hero can’t start out seriously flawed and grow through the story, but there has to be something about him that draws me to him. I have to be able to fall in love with him, and to trust that the heroine is safe being with him.

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

MA: The best part of the job is working with authors to make already-fantastic manuscripts stronger. I consider myself a highly collaborative editor. I will wade into a manuscript with my sleeves rolled up and work with the author to make sure the rhythm of the story is right, the emotion comes through clearly, the perfect word to evoke the perfect reaction in the reader is used. The worst part of the job is saying no to people. I hate passing on manuscripts.

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

MA: I work with plenty of debut authors who have no platform when I acquire them. I will usually ask them to start making author friends and building an online presence at least five months before publication, but they don’t have to have one already in place when I acquire them.

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

MA: Just like there’s a reader for every book, there’s an editor for every book. Editors are individuals with individual tastes. Just because your book hasn’t quite landed with one editor doesn’t mean it won’t resonate with another. Keep working on your craft, make sure you are sending out polished manuscripts with strong hooks and compelling characters, and your book will eventually land in the lap of your perfect match. Most importantly, remember that you will never find the editor who is clever enough to have a vision for your book if you stop submitting. Keep trying, and good luck!

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

MA: Contemporary romance with a unique and compelling hook if it’s a small town romance, there needs to be a yes, and that makes it stand out in a brutally competitive space. Romance that crosses genres in interesting ways. Action-adventure romance, perhaps? Romantic suspense with meticulously researched military themes I would kill for a great Top Gun romance! I also love romances where the hero and heroine are together in isolation and have to rely on each other for survival. Paranormal romantic suspense is a space that I’m excited about. I’m also on the hunt for an unforgettable fantasy or science fiction romance. Honestly, if it has a hook I can’t ignore, it doesn’t matter what subgenre it is.

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?

MA: I acquire all subgenres of Romance (contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, historical, and erotic.) I also acquire some New Adult. Manuscripts should be complete at roughly 80,000 to 100,000 words.

 

ABOUT MARY ALTMAN

Mary Altman was born in South Carolina and still considers herself a Charlestonian at heart. Her love of reading came from an early obsession with The Hobbit and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and she’s only gotten geekier over the years. She has a passion for travel and lives in a tragically unhip corner of Brooklyn with her fiance and an overflowing TBR pile.

Social Media: Twitter @marykaltman

 

PITCH CONTEST

Authors are invited to submit the below for consideration. Also feel free to post general questions, but please do so in a separate post from your pitch submission. The contest will 11/22 6:00am EST to 11/2 11:59pm EST) pitches submitted after this time will not be entered. Works being pitched must be completed and ready for submission.

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 Mary’s consideration in the following format.

  • Author 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. Authors who Mary requests materials from will be announced within one week, so check back!

Good luck!

43 comments to “Q and A and Pitch Contest with Editor Mary Altman”

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  1. Marie Dry - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Thank you Contemporary Romance Writers and Ms Altman for this opportunity to pitch.
    • Author Name: Marie Dry
    • Book Title: Wing Torn
    • Genre: Paranormal Romance
    • Finished Word Count: 80 000 words
    • Maximum 200-word blurb

    Attacked by an unseen enemy who tear out her wings, Shahara is left for dead in the middle of her enemy’s territory, draguur territory. She awakes an abomination that her fellow angels will kill on sight, at the mercy of Josiah, the draguur whose hatred of angels are legendary. Now she has to avoid assassination by her own people and convince the cruel leader of the draguur, that the angel nation is not responsible for the disappearance of his warriors. That the angel responsible was a threat to them all.

    • First 100 words of story:

    They said Josiah, leader of the mighty draguur, pinned the wings of the angels he’d killed to his bedroom wall. They said the screams of a dying angel sounded like the sweetest music to his ears. They said he believed the only good angel was a dead angel.
    Shahara had been flying four hours straight, the dire warnings from her fellow angels ringing in her ears. She landed at the edge of the dead forest, Josiah’s territory and her heart played harp on her ribs, a frantic melody. Would her wings adorn Josiah’s bedroom soon?

  2. Dawn Luedecke - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name:
    Dawn Luedecke

    Book Title:
    WHITE WATER PASSION

    Genre:
    Historical

    Finished Word Count:
    87,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    In a world of ball gowns and carriages, as well as outlaws and cattle thieves, a beautiful young Montana socialite overhears a plot to sabotage a lumber mill. Elizabeth Sanders is the perfect example of propriety…but every woman has her secrets, and Beth’s happens to be one full of excitement and danger. Deep in the forest of Montana, Beth conceals her identity and, with the help of her lumberjack brother, dons men’s clothing in order to get a job on the river crew. With a dangerous criminal stalking the camp, she plans to unmask the villain and hand him over to the authorities, but she has no notion of how dangerous her scheme, or just how many opponents she has.

    With her life hanging in the balance, Beth finds herself increasingly drawn to the handsome river crew foreman, a man who is engaged to someone else. She is unable to hide her identity from him, but soon discovers she cannot disguise her growing feelings as easily as her appearance. 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.

  3. Casey Wyatt - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Casey Wyatt
    Book Title: Over Easy
    Genre: Contemporary romance
    Finished Word Count: @91,000 words

    Blurb:
    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 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 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 fix 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?

    First 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.

  4. Meredith Ireland - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Dear Ms. Altman,
    Thank you so much for your consideration.

    Author Name: Meredith Ireland
    Book Title: ERIN JANE
    Genre: Adult contemporary romance
    Finished Word Count:78,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Korean-American Erin is too broke for law school when she crashes into CEO Edward’s Maserati. Liability turns into unexpected love, but his secret marriage jeopardizes their relationship—and their lives, in this JANE EYRE retelling

    Erin Jane Nabi has been on her own since sixteen when her adoptive-family kicked her to the curb. After putting herself through high school and college, she dreams of being a powerful attorney rather than a bartender in Upstate New York.
    When she hits Edward Rochester Thorn’s Maserati, the handsome CEO of Thornfield offers the 23-year-old a deal she can’t refuse: babysit and he will forgive the debt.

    Erin’s loving heart and subtle, bookish humor attract Edward as much as when she sings rock songs at the bar. His smooth confidence intimidates, and his mysterious nature gives her pause but his pursuit proves irresistible.

    Despite her fears the playboy bachelor will move on, their mutual attraction turns into a 5-carat proposal. For the first time ever, Erin finds herself loved. It only gets better when she’s accepted to law school. There is just one hitch to living her dream life— Edward’s wife.

    ERIN JANE puts a diverse spin on the classic.

    First 100 words of your story:
    As I drive along the back-road to town, I stare through the windshield at the rust on my ten-year-old Corolla. I’ve loved my little red car ever since it got me out of Florida, but it’s showing its age.

    Taylor Swift comes on the radio and I turn it up as high as my blown out speaker allows.

    The final breath of summer blows in fresh and clean, making my long hair dance to the music. Soon fall, with its colorful death, will spread through Upstate New York, so I savor the last bit of September heat with my windows down and stereo up.

  5. Asa Maria Bradley - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Hi Mary! Am not pitching, but wanted to say thank you for doing this. 🙂

  6. Melissa - November 2, 2015 Reply

    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.

  7. Ally Broadfield - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name:Ally Broadfield
    Book Title:Yuletide Ultimatum
    Genre:Regency
    Finished Word Count:85,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Though society views them as the perfect couple, Will and Emma have been estranged since their wedding night, sharing the same house, but husband and wife in name only. Will enrolls their twin boys at Eton despite her protests, and Emma is lonely without them. She issues an ultimatum: she wants another child, and if he is unwilling to accommodate her, she will place an advertisement in the newspaper to find someone who is.

    Will reluctantly agrees to Emma’s demand, but they both vow to keep their necessary intimacy impersonal. Their overwhelming desire for one another soon makes it apparent that their agreement puts both of their hearts at risk. Trapped between the need to guard their hearts and the longing to be together, they must decide whether to let go of past transgressions and create a new life together.

    First 100 words of your story:

    The murmur of deep voices followed by rapid footfalls signaled her husband’s approach. Lady Emma Alden stood and smoothed her skirts.

    Will halted in the doorway to the parlor. “Danvers said you needed to speak with me. Is something amiss?”

    She clasped her hands to stem the trembling. “Nothing is wrong. I wished to discuss a personal matter.”

    He raised a brow. “Shall we speak in the carriage since we are already more than fashionably late for the Wentworth’s ball?”

    Emma nodded and moved past him into the corridor. Already his mouth was tight with disapproval.

  8. Christina Tetreault - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Christina Tetreault
    Book Title: The Playboy Next Door
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Finished Word Count: 66,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    After a blind date stands her up, Catrina Striker stops in O’Leary’s Pub for a sandwich, nothing else. Then Tony Bates, North Salem’s resident playboy, sits down next to her and destiny takes over. Cat knows all about Tony’s reputation, but that doesn’t stop her from doing something she’s never done before: invite him back to her apartment.

    Tony Bates has always looked at Catrina as nothing but his buddy’s little sister, until a chance encounter one summer night changes all that.

    Since the sudden death of his college sweetheart, Tony has kept all his relationships casual and fun. Everyone knows that, which is why Cat and Tony agree to keep their involvement a secret rather than risk Tony’s friendship with her brother. However, what starts out as a secret fling soon becomes much more, and Tony must decide if he’s ready to risk his heart again or lose the woman who completes him.

    First 100 words of your story:

    No more blind dates. Catrina sent the text message and then slipped her phone back into her purse. She’d said the exact same thing last month after the disastrous date with Kelsey’s coworker, but this time, she meant it. Vincent had a good excuse, but she still found herself seated at the bar alone drinking a hard cider on a Saturday night while her car sat in the garage waiting to be fixed. She’d much rather be with one of her friends or sitting on her own comfortable couch.
    Yep, no more arranged dates no matter how much her friends pestered her. The next time she saw Kelsey or Ella, she’d let them know that.

  9. Allison B. Hanson - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Allison B. Hanson
    Book Title: Knowing You
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Finished Word Count:59,436

    Blurb: The rules don’t apply for a Wednesday night hook-up, honesty and efficiency are key. But when a successful one-night stand moves Ally into Grayson’s apartment as well as his life, can there be room for more?

    First 100 Words of Story: As the meeting moved into its second hour, Grayson wondered how much force it would take to thrust his pen into his skull to end the misery.
    It wasn’t as if he expected a room full of accountants to be exciting. There was only so much accountants could talk about.
    Yes, let’s take this client. No, let’s pass.
    It wouldn’t have been so bad, but he knew this meeting would be the extent of his entertainment for the evening.
    When he first moved to New York he went out nearly every night, hooked up, had fun and felt like hell in the morning.

  10. Susan JP Owens - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author: Susan JP Owens

    Book Title: Wrong Side of Love

    Genre: Contemporary Romance

    Word Count: 80K

    Blurb:

    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 by a rebel.

    Angry at the traitorous implications and suspicious of his superiors, undercover agent, Brad Varisco, sacrifices his reputation to discover who is selling the 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 Paige’s confidence, they agree to work together and gather critical information that will expunge the charges against him and send the true criminals to prison. Brad and Paige pursue the clues which forces them on treacherous journeys through the Afghan desert and mountains. As they combat deadly circumstances, they build heartfelt bonds that lead to intense passion. Will they survive the lethal mission and have a chance at love?

    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.

  11. Judy Hudson - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author’s name: Judy Hudson
    Book Title: The Cabin
    Genre: single title contemporary romance
    Finished word count: 85,000

    Blurb: This small town romance looks at the effect an alcoholic parent can have on a child, isolating them on the sidelines of society well into adulthood.
    It’s hard to keep a secret in a small town, as Maddie discovered growing up with a severely alcoholic mother. Now an art photographer and single mother living in Seattle, Maddie moves to a cabin on a lake in the mountains for the summer to prepare for her first solo show of darkroom black and whites.
    Her landlord, single father Jake Murphy, is falling for Maddie, but he can’t risk a relationship with a woman whose plan is to go back to the city, not after his wife left him and their daughter, returning to the city when Sarah was a baby.
    Although Maddie loves Jake and his extended family, the family she’s always dreamed of, she learned early in life from watching her mother that HEA isn’t for people like them. Now she must learn not to let her mother’s alcoholism define her before she can accept Jake’s love.
    A multiple RWA award-winning stand-alone book with more heart than heat, The Cabin is the finished first book of an almost-finished three book series.

    First 100 words of The Cabin:
    Maddie Tedesco believed the old saying, when life hands you lemons you make lemonade, but when the phone call came from her ex-husband Mark, she wondered how much lemonade she would have to drink this time.
    “Maddie.”
    “Mark.”
    They didn’t spend much time on niceties anymore. But he was, after all, Jenny’s father, so when he asked to speak to their teenage daughter, Maddie handed her the phone.
    “Hi Dad … Everything’s great … No, nothing planned …” Jenny’s voice rose to a shrill crescendo. “I’d love to!… Sure, we’ll talk.” She shut the phone with a satisfied snap.

  12. CJ Warrant - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Author: CJ Warrant
    Book Title: Forgetting Jane
    Genre: Romantic Suspense
    Finished Word Count:97,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Amnesia and an unspeakable crime have stolen everything from Jane Doe but the haunting image of a girl in a yellow dress that replays itself over and over in her mind.

    Small town cop Elias McAvoy is haunted as well, by the crushing guilt he feels over the deaths of two women, one by his own hand. He can’t-he won’t-let Jane down too.

    Together they delve deeper into Jane’s case, battling against her memory loss, and an increasingly tangled web of lies and murder that span forty years-and ties Elias and Jane together in ways they never imagined. As the mystery of the girl in the yellow dress unfold, so does Elias and Jane’s love for each other. But when the killer reappears, intent on finishing what he started, Elias must face his demons in order to save the woman he loves-and in doing so, saves himself.

    First 100 words of your story:

    October 6th
    Edge of Beaver Lake, Wisconsin

    I’m alive.
    The first drag of cold air into her lungs burned like acid. Her fingers stung, deep under the nail beds as she clawed out from the hard ground. She tried moving her legs, but her energy waned fast. No matter how hard she wrestled out of the hole, the lower half of her body was bound in the heavy cemented earth.
    The sharp wind layered her like an icy blanket. A prickled sensation skated across her skin like razorblades. She shivered.
    A screech of an owl in the distance made her pause

  13. Megan Besing - November 2, 2015 Reply

    • Author Name: Megan Besing
    • Book Title: Moore than a Thief
    • Genre: New Adult
    • Finished Word Count: 80,000
    • Maximum 200-word blurb:

    Sparrow Lynch’s missionary life in Honduras was on track for a happily-ever-after until her fiancé is murdered by thieves. Stateside again, she reluctantly attends college where a nanny position opens the door of her first love—working with children.
    Hickson Moore longs to escape the family robbery business and earn a college degree in honor of his mother’s memory. When his uncle plans a heist for a historical home on a local campus, Sparrow and Hickson cross paths in classes and at home where she serves as a nanny to his siblings. Beneficial to his family or not, Hickson wants Sparrow gone. She’s far too close to finding out about the “family business.” After all, thieves can’t steal if they’re caught. Or worse, if they fall in love.

    • First 100 words of your story:
    I check my watch. Ten-twenty-five. Almost show time.
    The van that once displayed my father’s plumbing business logo rolls to a stop. I scan the secluded cul-de-sac. Lawns with straight rows and sculpted bushes decorate the properties. Good, steady income, yet nothing outlandish to require a security system on the houses. The perfect location.

    My driver glances in the side and rearview mirrors. The stubble lining his chin hides some of his wrinkles, but it doesn’t hide his longing for the good ol’ days. He wears that in his eyes. At least we have one thing in common.

  14. Christa MacDonald - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author: Christa MacDonald
    Book Title: The Winslow Girl
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 80,000

    Blurb:
    The Winslow family is famous in the tiny town of Annandale, Massachusetts for producing independent, unique, and occasionally scandalous women. Emily Winslow newly arrived and grieving a profound loss isn’t prepared for the burden of the limelight. When a reporter looking for dirt confronts her, she’s rescued by a mystery man who is a day-dream walking. Too overwhelmed to even get his name it’s not until they wind up on opposite sides of a dispute over property – one that her new boss will play dirty to win – that she discovers who he is and his own scandalous reputation. But, the math on Jack Bradford does not add up. A heartless, womanizing developer doesn’t rescue strangers from jerk reporters or risk a deal that could make him millions.

    Jack doesn’t bother with math, or with reason, or with sense because he falls head over heels for the enigmatic Emily knowing she doesn’t think much of him or his rep. If only he didn’t have a company to save, a vengeful ex to dodge, and a reporter to muzzle. Jack would move heaven and earth to have her. Considering the forces lined up against him, he’ll have to.

    First 100:
    Emily Winslow was counting the cash for the third time when she heard the tell-tale grind, ticking, and three-quarter chime of the grandfather clock in the entry hall. “You are kidding me.” She took a quick look and felt a rush of dismay as the clock had not lied, it really was a quarter to five. Trusting that the first two counts were right she shoved the cash into a deposit envelope, grabbed her bag, and made for the exit. She ran down the backstairs and out through the side door, narrowly missing the groundskeeper on his way in.

  15. Chandelle LaVaun - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author: Chandelle LaVaun
    Book Title: WRITTEN IN SILK
    Genre: Contemporary Romance with erotic elements
    Word Count: 91,618
    Agent: Lane Heymont at The Seymour Agency

    Blurb:
    What happens at conference stays at conference…
    Noah Remington, thirty-three-year-old son of high-brow corporate lawyers was raised by nannies until he befriended the oldest Silk son- quickly becoming an equal member of their family. Finally on the cusp of an executive promotion in his architecture firm Noah feels like he’s about to slide into home base -earning his parent’s respect at last. But when he runs into his best friend’s little sister at a conference he struggles to adapt to grown-up Charlie. That little red dress will haunt him for the entire trip…
    Charlie Silk dropped out of Harvard to pursue her dream career as a literary agent. Being the youngest and only girl of five children she’s spent her life stepping out of her brothers’ shadows. Just when things fall in line for Charlie, she runs into her brother’s best friend Noah at a work conference in California. After years of not seeing him she’s shocked and overwhelmed by her body’s very new response to him as their plutonic friendship sizzles out of control. When reality calls they leave their lust in the California sun…until a fire destroys her Manhattan apartment and she’s forced to move in with him.

    First 100 Words:
    “She doesn’t want to go home with you, Spencer. Say good night.” Noah Remington shook his head and downed the rest of his drink. He couldn’t win; the work trips he had to take alone were boring and dragged on, yet the ones he took with coworkers were exhausting, and also dragged on. But having to do both back-to-back was a form of torture. Noah clung to the hope there was a reason his boss had done this to him.
    Spencer groaned. “Good night,” he mumbled as the girl walked away. “What the hell, Saint Noah? That was innocent flirting.”

    Thank you for your time and consideration. Feel free to contact my agent Lane Heymont at the Seymour Agency if you’d like to.

  16. Megan Besing - November 2, 2015 Reply

    • Author Name: Megan Besing
    • Book Title: Sacrifice
    • Genre: New Adult
    • Finished Word Count: 97,000
    • Maximum 200-word blurb:
    Like all citizens of The Nation, Olivet McQueen must sacrifice her nineteenth year to the government while gathering valuable work skills for her future Job Station. Her dad worked in the Physicals group, and all Ollie wants is to run in his footsteps—what she’s dedicated herself for since she was a kid, especially after his death. But an undercover officer busts Ollie for showing kindness, and her long honey-red hair gets noticed. She’s placed into the Beauty, the last group she would have ever chosen. How can anyone make a difference where dating is mandatory and virtue isn’t?
    Then her grandfather is arrested for his beliefs. Ollie knows, that in the Nation’s judicial system, freedom is bought. If she becomes the Beauty of the Cycle, she’ll win enough for his release. As long as she doesn’t let her heart fall for an officer, one of the very people her grandfather told her to never trust, she might have a chance. But how can she win a contest she’s never trained for?

    • First 100 words of your story:
    “…The Nation always provides for its people, keeping all happy, healthy, and strong.”

    For years the loudspeaker has called people to Main Street. But today for some reason I can’t move, not until the echoes drift away through our trees. The sound doesn’t seem to hinder my grandparents. Nothing does. They keep digging through the earth, separating the weeds from the harvest. Food soon to be scattered among the Nation.

    Perhaps it’s just me. Frozen that is, until my sacrifice. I’m prepared. Or at least I know I want.

    My tank top ripples against my back, sending me a message.

  17. Lori - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Lori Larson
    Book Title: Who Wants To Be A Viking?
    Genre: Contemporary (with humor)
    Final MS Word Count: 81,323

    Blurb:

    Who wants to be a Viking? Certainly not Marnie McPeek. The reality show her friends are producing on a local cable network have ruined Marnie’s plans for reeling in the hunky Dr. Sven Jorgenson, the man voted Twin Cities Most Eligible Bachelor. Marnie has worked her tail off to be able to take her nursing clinicals under him and now he’s off to northeastern Minnesota on a sabbatical to play one of the Norseman. To avoid complete failure on her best laid plans, sophisticated Marnie finagles her way onto the show and travels to the hell on earth she swore never to set foot in again.

    First 100 words:

    Marnie McPeek knocked twice against the open door.
    The advisor, Mrs. Beagle glanced up and gave an exasperated sigh. “What are you wearing?”
    “Scrubs.” Marnie placed one hand on her waist and shifted her stance, throwing her right hip forward. “Can you believe I got them to fit like this?” The fingers of her other hand traced the deep V-neckline of her top, highlighting the figure-enhancing décolletage. “Do you want the name of my tailor?”
    “Marnie, the reason we require nursing students to wear scrubs is specifically so no individual stands out.”
    Marnie pondered the irony. Did Mrs. Beagle’s purple

  18. Dylann Crush - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Dylann Crush
    Book Title: The Write Type of Wrong
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Finished Word Count: 78,000 words

    Blurb:
    Grad student Faith Wainwright’s financing her education by writing erotic romance novels. With a successful Christian author for a mother and famous televangelist for a stepfather, she’ll do anything to keep her secret.

    Cocky bartender Dante Bishop is two semesters from earning his MBA, and isn’t interested in anything more than the occasional one-night stand. Except for his spunky grandma, he hasn’t let a woman lay claim to his heart since his high-school girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend.

    After unexpected encounters leave Faith and Dante locking lips and breathless for more, they agree to a no-strings fling. She needs new material for her scorching sex scenes, and Dante’s never been one to deny a blistering booty call. Just as their sinfully sweet hookups develop into something more, Faith’s alter ego is exposed. And with it, Dante’s identity as the devilish hero of her next novel. Furious at Faith for using him in the name of research — and at himself for letting his heart get involved — Dante walks away. Now, Faith must choose: deny the vixen he’s awakened inside and shut down her budding career or embrace her alter ego and fight like hell to win him back.

    First 100 Words:
    Faith could have played it either way: waltz into the library like she owned the place, or go full incognito. She’d always sucked at dancing, so she stood in front of the self-checkout in a bulky sweatshirt and dark shades, with a LA Dodgers baseball cap tugged low over her eyes. Hopefully she’d find something in one of the books to inspire the final sexcapade in her manuscript before submitting it to her editor.

    Receipt in hand, she pushed through the heavy glass doors into the unseasonable blustery September afternoon.

  19. Victoria Pinder - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Victoria Pinder
    Book Title: Queen Uncovered
    Genre: New Adult Fantasy Romance
    Finished Word Count: 80000 words
    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    It’s King Arthur meets The Hunger Games
    Gwen is the daughter of a Robin Hood character and stayed out of the war between kings. She intends to stay in the forest with her father, forever, but her father convinces her to take the blood test. She learns she has the queen gene, and this causes her world to change. There are two kings and now she must choose a side and find out more about herself than she ever wished to know.

    First 100 words of your story:
    “This won’t hurt, Marion.” My name is actually Gwen, but I had lied on the paperwork and refused to explain now. The nurse, dressed in a thick, white material, fixed her needles on a tray. I sat straight in the uncomfortable wooden chair, then held my arm out and gave her access to my veins.
    The prick of the needle stung worse than a scrape on my knee. Grinding my back teeth together, I pressed my hands into fists to hold back a scream as my blood poured into a small glass container. This would be all over in a moment.

  20. Victoria Pinder - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Victoria Pinder
    Book Title: Secret Crush
    Genre: Contemporary Romance, Light Romantic Suspense, Miami setting, night time drama inspired
    Finished Word Count: 80000 words

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    The House of Morgan series is Pretty Little Liars meets Bella Andre’s Sullivan’s

    Alice Collins has always had a crush on her best friend’s slightly older brother, John Morgan. She hadn’t seem him in years, but now that his father died, she goes to the funeral to pay her respects. She never expected to get caught up in the House of Morgan drama, but now that she is, she finds her high school crush is nothing compared to her growing feelings for John Morgan.

    John Morgan joined the FBI to dig up the dirt on his father, Mitch. He knows his father has something to do with his sister’s death. So when his brother who he has not spoken to in years call him and tell him that their father is dead, his world collapses. He is fired from the FBI and returns home for the funeral. His past in the FBI made him more than few enemies though and as someone tries to shoot Alice in the head under the mistaken belief she’s his girlfriend, he must do anything he can to protect her.

    First 100 words of your story:
    John Morgan reloaded his assault rifle, not that he’d use it today. He frowned, adjusted his six foot two inch muscular body in his FBI wind jacket for his rifle to go on his back, and then he folded his hands in front of him. He took a step towards the rest of his team, and he fought against how strained he was at the moment. This case was one step closer.
    His cell phone buzzed in his pocket, and John glanced down to see his brother’s number. He flinched as he never expected to hear from Peter ever again.

  21. Bonnie McCune - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Bonnie McCune

    Book Title: Never Retreat

    Genre: long contemporary

    Finished Word Count: 80,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb: 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, now suffering from downsizing. With son Andy preparing for college, she longs to avoid layoffs and gain more money. 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.

    First 100 words of your story:

    Everything’s secure at Pursuit Telecom Ltd headquarters, Desmond Emmett noted as he strode through the wide hallways of the corporate offices. Ceaseless responsibility for safety and protection went with his position as Director of Security. He surveyed the cameras, discreetly tucked high in corners, functioning like ever-open eyes. 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 about the stability of his job by using coping skills learned and honed during his time in the service.

  22. Jessica Kelley - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Jessica Kelley
    Book Title: The Mercy Killers
    Genre” New Adult Fantasy Romance
    Finished Word Count : 103,368

    200-word Blurb:
    In a world ravaged by an incurable disease, Greylin is headed for a life of privilege. Her future will be sealed when the Governor’s son asks for her Bind, which will happen any day. The power of such an elevated status is everything Greylin and her father sacrificed their gypsy freedom for, and she is determined to use her new title for good. She’s going to make up for the mistakes of her past, and the life those mistakes cost.
    Then the Guardian comes to town. He’s the most renowned Cleanser in the Unity. He travels the country, offering mercy to the victims of the plague’s brutal pain. He is regarded as a hero, but Greylin only sees his burgundy hands. She struggles to avoid him, but the truth of their colliding pasts haunts her memories.
    The Plague arrives outside the city, but the Council refuses to take action. Greylin unites with The Guardian, hoping to give the people she loves salvation from the Plague’s cruel ending. As they pull political strings in an effort to save the city, they begin to fight for more than the Citizens.
    They fight against the ripping of their well stitched hearts.

    The first 100 words:

    There will be rain today.
    Not a storm, or a drizzle to dampen the world. Rain. A constant, steady stream from a gray lit sky will fall to wash everything away.
    “Good,” he thinks. “This place needs to be clean again.”
    His sharp eyes scan the area around him. Once, a village thrived here. The evidence is everywhere. Flowers grow over window boxes, shoes sit ready at thresholds. This would have been a good place to make a life if he was someone else.
    But he is not someone else, and all that’s left of this town is a skeleton.

  23. Jacky McBride - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Jacky McBride
    Book Title: Ladies Choice
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Finished Word Count: 92,500 words
    Maximum 200 Word Blurb:

    Seventeen year old Fran has allowed others to direct her life, making choices she followed blindly. With H.S. graduation over she is forced between two life altering decisions. On her 18th birthday she is propelled twelve years into two separate and distinct futures. She lives both lives simultaneously for one year, discovers she’s a member of the Metis Sisterhood and returns to the eve of her 18th birthday where she must choose one of her lives for eternity. Through her sisterhood, she learns of a third possibility, but choosing that one may cost her everything.

    First 100 words of story:

    Sex with my high school boyfriend, Jeffrey, in the cab of his pickup truck the day after graduation undeniably declared supreme faulty judgment on my part, but at least he quit crying.
    According to the judicial system, I’m finally an adult, but hardly the captain of my ship. My mother, Jeffrey, and my friends all seem clairvoyantly plugged into what’s best for my future. College, marriage, work, all subtle suggestions with strings.
    My mind shifts direction from yesterday with my boyfriend and into my future existence, as the antique clock on the mantel, releases four chimes. I’m fascinated by this

  24. Rachel Magee - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Rachel Magee
    Book Title: Happily Ever Afters
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Finished Word Count: 81,000

    200 Word Blurb:

    Lainey Stratton does not fall in love with strangers she meets on vacation. It simply doesn’t make logical sense. So when Lainey meets Carter Thompson on the first day of her Caribbean vacation, she knows it could never amount to anything more than a crush. At the end of the vacation she will return to Dallas and he will return to DC and that will be the end of it. Well, unless he wants to join her at a friend’s destination wedding, which would be considered vacation too, right?
    But when a fatal car crash claims the life of her sister, Lainey finds her logical world spiraling out of control. Suddenly, the man who is supposed to only be a vacation crush is the one helping her pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, as Lainey embarks on the daunting task of learning to live again, she is faced with another challenge that seems nearly impossible—learning to love. If she dares to conquer the impossible she will have to do it before Carter’s past catches up with him and steals her 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.

  25. Dylann Crush - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Dylann Crush
    Book Title: Just My Luck
    Genre: Contemporary Romance (romantic comedy)
    Finished Word Count: 102,000 words

    Blurb:
    Stacy Carroll is a walking magnet for chaos who’s finally getting her life back in order after surviving The Dumping by her ex. She’s not ready to jump back into the dating ring, as long as her supply of AA-batteries doesn’t run out.

    Ex-Boy-Band-Front-Man Danny Smooch is considered a B-lister by some, but he’s still getcha-hot-and-bothered good looking. His entire career has been orchestrated by his seedy manager, Turk, who will stop at nothing to keep Danny in the limelight and himself rolling in the commissions.

    When Danny’s latest gig lands him as the panty-melting, new celebrity spokesman at Stacy’s company, they’re forced into an uncomfortably intimate working relationship. Stacy’s ready to give into the attraction, but Danny’s celebrity lifestyle keeps getting in the way. So when her high-school-crush-turned-firefighter shows interest, she accepts his invitation to reconnect. But Danny’s not going to give up that easily, and when Turk senses he’s losing control of his big money-maker, he pulls out a few tricks that send Stacy reeling.

    As her professional and personal life spiral out of control, Stacy has to decide if she wants to play it safe or press her luck and let life take her for a spin.

    First 100 words:
    “Are you sexually active, Stacy?”

    The voice came from between my thighs. My feet rested on cold, metal stirrups and my ass hung halfway off the hard table.

    “Wow, Dr. Thomas, what an ice breaker.” I raised my eyes and caught a glimpse of the crown of her head.

    She looked up at me. “It’s my job as your doctor to make sure you’re using protection.”

    Protection…as if I had a need for protection. That cave hadn’t been explored in over two years, and with no spelunkers on the horizon, protection was the last thing on my mind.

  26. Nicole Doran w/a Nicole S. Patrick - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Nicole S. Patrick
    Book Title: A Test of Honor (Book 1)
    Genre: Romantic Suspense (military)
    Word count: 98K

    Blurb:
    The core values of a Marine: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. What if they’re tested?

    A dead body on the Marine Corps base, Parris Island, SC—the third female in the area in as many months.

    Military Police Captain Brian Roarke must work with local police and he’s not happy about it. He likes order and control on his jurisdiction. Plagued by a combat injury, and grieving his wife, the plan: finish this tour close to his hometown and decide if he stays in the Corps. The last thing he expected was to be involved in a homicide investigation with a woman who once broke his heart.

    Kendra Sloane returns home from overseas with PTSD. She’s rebuilding herself in criminal profiling by working with police pro bono. She’d never forgotten, nor forgiven Brian for breaking her heart years ago. Problem is this Brian is a stranger. He’s a hard person, a play by the rulebook person, and her motto—ask forgiveness, not permission.

    Seeing Kendra opens memories better left in the past. When she becomes the killer’s next target, Brian knows that no matter his past hurt, the only honorable thing he can do is help save her, and himself too.

    First 100 words:
    Guess having a bunch of frag dug out of your calf by a butcher in a field hospital wasn’t the worst thing to happen to a guy. He could have been shipped home stone cold in a box.
    Not bad for a consolation prize.
    Captain Brian Roarke eased into the desk chair. His goddamned leg was on fire. A red-hot poker couldn’t hold a candle to the nerves—what was left of them, dishing up the stinging ‘you’re-an-asshole’ spasm this morning.
    He never would’ve thought when his journey began with the Corps he’d be a walking ache fifteen years later.

  27. Rachel Noble - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Rachel Noble
    Book Title: Healing Hayley
    Genre: Romantic Suspense
    Finished Word Count: 80K
    Maximum 200-word blurb: With grief threatening to overwhelm her, Hayley escapes her frantic life, her menacing boss, and heads to the hills with her tiny daughter. Ending up on the doorstep of her Aunt and Uncle’s stately home in the quaint village of Mockerkin, Hayley claws her way back from the darkness and unexpectedly, into the arms of a man. Can Hayley escape the lingering memory of her deceased husband Jason and give love a real chance? Will the strange sabotage that follows her, ever end?

    First 100 words of your story:

    It was a cliche she knew but she didn’t care. As soon as the midwife placed the pink, squirmy beginnings of her daughter on her chest, Hayley knew she was forever changed. The high-pitched curdle that escaped her tiny, cherubic lips caught them both by surprise and their eyes met and they smiled. Their world had a new axis, it would spin entirely around their daughter. She with the long lashes and the shock of chocolate brown hair.
    When Hayley had come in to hospital at 1am, a cheerful chubby blonde midwife greeted them at the front desk. She had guided Hayley through the next four painful hours with the quietness of a street mouse.

  28. kristy1 - November 2, 2015 Reply

    • Author Name: Jade Chandler
    • Book Title: Dare to Love
    • Genre: Contemporary Romance, High Heat
    • Finished Word Count: 85, 200
    • Maximum 200-word blurb:
    A runaway with a history of picking losers, Lila Braham, 29, starts over again in Barden Oklahoma at Marked Man tattoo parlor. Courageous and cocky, Dare lives by his own wild rules. Her boss, and member of the barely legal Jericho Brotherhood, Dare only does casual sex−until Lila. They ignite in a passionate explosion that elevates from friends with benefits to lovers in a flash. Dare, commands, cajoles and challenges Lila to become a bold, carefree version of herself, setting her free to live her wildest fantasies. She survives introduction to club life, panic attacks from her past, and an encounter with a hulking brute that leaves her bruised. However, Lila’s life transforms from dream to nightmare when Dare walks away from her because she didn’t obey his rules. Even though Dare is done with her, the other members want her and push her to choose a replacement until fleeing becomes her only option. Dare must decide if keeping his secret or stopping Lila from leaving is more important. Dare to Love tells the story of two misfits trying to find love despite their traumatic pasts. No savior rescues the day because only survivors fill the pages of this romance.

    First 100 words of your story:
    Life offered new chances, and I wanted mine. Nothing matched the optimism of firsts−new school years, new jobs, new lovers.

    “Today I will kick ass and take names,” I told myself with a confidence I didn’t feel.

    Hell, I couldn’t even convince my reflection.

    I swiped a coat of gloss on my lips before I grabbed my red bag and headed to my new job. I hurried down the narrow wood stairs and around the corner to tattoo shop’s side entrance, literally mere feet from my apartment.

    Astringent and wood scents greeted me.

  29. Angela Parker - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Angela Parker
    Book Title: Sing to Me
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Finished Word Count: 85,000

    200-word blurb:

    With their parents absent, Evie and her brother Vernon grew up dependent on each other, and her love for him is unparalleled. When he’s struck by a sudden heart condition, she doesn’t hesitate to upend her life to help him, even though her decisions rip a divide between her and her fiancé – a cardiologist who has been placed in charge of Vernon’s care. He refuses to allow her to damage his future along with her own. Evie discovers he’s willing to go to extremes to get what he wants, including threatening the well-being of the only family she has left.

    Teetering a balance between her brother’s needs and her desire to abandon her devastated relationship, Evie finds solace in the arms of a friend, and their bond sparks an ardent love she knows she can’t afford to acknowledge. With Vernon’s life in her coercive fiance’s hands, Evie’s anticipated walk down the aisle becomes a battle of control and integrity, and she’s forced to decide if saving her brother’s heart is worth losing her own.

    First 100 words:

    I hated it. I hated my wedding dress.

    The attendant strapping me into it gushed, and I tried to hide my disappointment from her and the mirror. I also tried to keep my balance as she yanked the corset top, lacing the ribbon down my back. Rhinestones crusted the bodice, beaded in swirls that encased me to the waist, where the dress exploded into layers of fabric.

    How did I get talked into this?

    “You are such a doll!” the attendant said. “Ready to show everybody?”

    “Okay.”

    She pulled back the curtain. I flipped on a smile, and pretended I wasn’t dreaming of throwing the dress in an incinerator.

  30. Phyllis Towzey - November 2, 2015 Reply

    • Author Name: Phyllis Towzey w/a Jane Peden
    • Book Title: Reality Island
    • Genre: Romantic Suspense & Action-Adventure Romance
    • Finished Word Count: 100,000
    • Maximum 200-word blurb:
    A tropical paradise turns deadly as Alison, a New York City fitness instructor, goes undercover to find her sister who went missing on a retro Survivor-style reality TV show that no one in the industry has ever heard of. The director says the first taping never happened. But Alison knows that isn’t true.

    As the new pilot is increasingly plagued by freak accidents and injuries, Alison suspects that not only the mercurial director but each of her co-contestants has something to hide. That’s particularly true of Travis, a disgraced stockbroker with survival skills she’s certain he didn’t learn on Wall Street. Travis is as determined as Alison to not only stay in the game but also find out what’s going on behind the scenes on the remote island. She’ll need his help to uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance. Her instincts tell her to trust him with her own secrets, and maybe even her heart. But if she’s wrong, she could be the next contestant to be eliminated . . . permanently.

    • First 100 words of the story:
    Her heart hammered against her ribs, lungs burning as she sucked in more air. He was getting closer. Not bothering to move quietly, not any more. She should have run sooner, right away, the moment she saw them by the cliff. The moment she understood that something was terribly wrong.

    But she’d stood there, frozen in disbelief. Stood there, even when he turned toward her, said something to the other man. Her first instinct to rush forward, to help, had been cut off by a cold, paralyzing fear. And the realization that what she’d just seen was not an accident.

  31. Barbara Gerry - November 2, 2015 Reply

    • Author Name: Barbara Gerry
    • Book Title: SAVING GRACE
    • Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
    • Finished Word Count: 55,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:

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

    After an accident takes the lives of Grace Harper’s father and step-mother, twenty-six-year-old 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 foster care, 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 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, without losing her heart.

    First 100 words of your story:

    She hadn’t planned on coming back to this mess. At age twenty-six, she certainly hadn’t planned on owning it.

    Grace Harper pulled up the dusty back-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.

  32. Megan Jones - November 2, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Megan Elizabeth
    Book Title: Bound to Me
    Genre: Erotica
    Finished Word Count:78,177
    Book Blurb:

    The best kind of foreplay begins on a leather couch…

    For renowned playboy Decland Wallace, it’s not you it’s me, has never been more true until he discovers a mysterious beauty in a club where physical pleasure is on the nightly menu. The game is on as a single night with a seductress in a lace mask ignites a yearning for something more. But with her hell-bent on walking away she’s left him with an addiction only she can satisfy. He’ll use every dirty trick in his play book to keep her…even if it cost them everything.

    When her one night stand Decland Wallace turns out to be her newest client, sex therapist, Addison Tyler will walk, straddle and ride the line of professional and personal in ways she couldn’t imagine. Faced with a completely doable client whose mischievous words, bed-tossed hair, and fiendish impulses prove far too difficult to resist, Addison is on the verge of losing herself to the one man she shouldn’t. One false step, slide of the hand, or slip of the tongue could bring her carefully constructed world crashing down and into Decland Wallace

    First 100 words:

    Going to a BDSM club had become a regular thing for Addison Tyler. As she walked up to the plain brick building, she adjusted her black lace mask, checking to make sure it was in place. The soft material against her face sent a small tingle of excitement through her system. The mask transformed her from a bookish therapist to a mysterious vixen. Sometimes, it was fun not to be herself.
    The sound of stiletto heels echoed down the small alleyway as she approached the building. There was no sign out front. Her heart fluttered excitedly with each step she took.

    Thank you for your time.

  33. Annette Briggs - November 3, 2015 Reply

    •Author Name: Annette Briggs
    •Book Title: BRAINCHILD
    •Genre: Paranormal (Steampunk) Romance
    •Finished Word Count: 95,000

    •Maximum 200-word blurb:

    College student, Emma Langley, and Peter Carlson, a British actor whose image Emma had used to comfort her in her time of grief, are transported to a hospital in Steampunk England by contact with a magical book. Mad scientists have saved Emma’s life using the magic to transplant her brain into the body of Peter’s beautiful deceased ex-wife whom he detested. One scientist is inhabiting Peter’s body while Peter’s brain is in a lab beaker. Emma forces the scientists to restore Peter’s brain to his body. Emma falls in love with the real Peter and the real Emma earns Peter’s love in spite of her her body.
    They bring the book to its owners for a chance to return to the twenty-first century. The scientists fight to keep the book. Queen Victoria has benefited from the book and will stop at nothing to own it herself, and a super-natural swami has been sent for the book. At the monastery where the book belongs, they must defeat vicious beasts to enter. The only man who can grant their return is dying from the injuries he received when they arrived, and they must see to it that he is saved.

    •First 100 words of your story:

    College student Emma Langley’s insides felt fluttery as she marched down the museum corridor to view the Omnium Rerum Liber on display. To most people, it was a moldy old book that no one in the twenty-first century could read, but to her, it was British actor Peter Carlson memorabilia.

    After the car accident had taken her family, she had sustained herself with Peter Carlson fantasies. He was her constant companion as she navigated what was left of her world—the grief, the confusion, the hopelessness. Her brainchild had been her salvation. She needed to touch what he had touched.

    Thank you for this opportunity, Annette Briggs

  34. PJ Vye - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: PJ Vye
    Book Title: Middle School Musical
    Genre: YA
    Finished Word Count: 45,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    I’m fourteen and never had the lead in the school musical. That pesky talented Adele Evens always gets the lead role, every year. Scholarship girls with second hand uniforms and weird best friends get overlooked at King Westmirth School.

    But something crazy happens.

    Her perfectly crystal clear singing voice gets swapped with my dirty low magpie voice, right before auditions.

    And I get the part.

    That’s right. Me, Priya Jones in the lead role of Gabriella in High School Musical.

    So now I get to spend loads of time with the dreamy, Kent Grey. He’s playing the role of Troy and we were made for each other, onstage and off. We’re like best friends now. I can tell him everything. Everything except how I truly feel, of course.

    Then there’s Caden Presley. Why did he agree to play guitar in the band? He hates pop music. I have to ride the bus with him after practice each night and listen to him bang on about how bad musicals are. He says he prefers my voice the way it was. I think I might like Caden Presley.

    Oh and it turns out my best friend, Mimi. She can swap things. Magically.

    First 100 words of your story:

    I’m totally in love with Kent Grey.
    Did I just say that out loud?
    Well, now you know. *embarrassed face* I’ll tell you everything.
    He’s in my math class, even though he’s a year older than me. Kent Grey knows how to talk to girls. I’m not sure how he got to be so good at talking to girls. Maybe he has lots of sisters or read a how-to book. Maybe he took a short course. Who knows?
    For whatever reason, Kent Grey is a natural.
    Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not me he’s doing all this awesome talking with.

  35. Courtney Sheets - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Author name: Courtney Sheets
    Title: Under African Skies
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Finished WC: 85K

    Blurb:
    Throughout South Africa Jaco Vermaak is known as The Protector for his tireless work to stop the poaching of endangered animals, and he’s just the man photojournalist Molly Rodriquez needs. Traveling to South Africa, she joins the group headed by Jaco, determined to make the most of the month she has to research her story. However, nothing prepares her for the dangerous situation she now finds herself in, or for the full force of the handsome former solider.
    Jaco wants nothing to do with Molly and tries everything in his power to send her packing, but he can’t seem to keep his hands off the curvy brunette. The last thing he needs her tagging along when the bullets are flying.
    Can the pair work together to protect the Rhinos in the park? Will they surrender to love Under African Skies?

    First 100 words:
    “This is where the story is,” Molly Rodriquez said with gusto as she slapped the printed article on Eric Travis’s desktop. He looked up at her from behind the big glass monstrosity, an incredulous smirk on his face. “I know what you’re thinking, I’ve said that before but this time I’m right.”
    “I don’t have the time for this, Molly. I’ve got a lunch meeting in fifteen minutes.” He shoved the paper back across the desk in her direction.
    “Eric, I’m telling you this is it. The soldiers are being assigned to sleep in tents along the Mozambican and South African border in an effort to stop the poachers. And these poachers mean business.”

  36. Susan Payne - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Author: Susan Payne Montana Lineman – Western Historical 59,665 words Written as a hybrid / with steamy sexual elements

    Vince thought life couldn’t be better. He had a great job which included a place to live, food delivered once a month and 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 a free ticket for a bride to come out and marry him.
    Daisy was the oldest of several children her widowed mother had to care for and since she could not find anyone willing to marry her in Ohio she placed an ad for a husband in the west. At only seventeen she was not sure what she was getting into, but her intended sounded nice in his letters.
    Through dangers with angry bushwhackers from 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.

    Excerpt: Montana Lineman

    Vincent paced back across the wooden train platform nervously searching the crowd getting off the four forty-five of the Great Northern for anyone fitting the description of the woman he was waiting to see. He pulled off his Stetson pushing his fingers through his dark hair, regretting 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.

  37. Kathryn Chester - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Kathryn Chester

    Book Title: Hearts Are Wild

    Genre:Historical Western

    Finished Word Count:72,000

    Maximum 200-word blurb:
    Gambler Hank Mason has spent his life drifting from one card game to the next, never settling in any one town for longer than a few days at a time until he meets local schoolmarm Emmaline Winthrop who intrigues him despite his best intentions. Determined to stay in his emotionless isolation, he plans another disappearing act; however, when she risks her life to protect his own, he can no longer pretend disinterest.

    But staying around involves more danger than that to just his heart. Someone wants Hank dead and every minute he remains in town, he exposes himself and Emmaline to greater peril. Together they must gamble not only their hearts, but maybe their very lives for a once-in-a-lifetime chance at love.

    First 100 words of your story:

    Heat shimmered up from the ground as the bright sun beat down upon the Texas countryside. Dust coated the air with not a hint of wind to break the stillness. Although only early June, summer was already in full force. The semi-abandoned streets of Lawrence Station, Texas were as unmoving as the day, few daring to venture out into the suffocating heat unless absolutely necessary.
    One of those few, Marigold Miller, kept up a rambling litany of the last week’s accounts in almost tedious detail as she dragged her best friend, Emmaline Winthrop, along behind her as she bounced along the boardwalk from one shop to the next.

  38. Tana Lovett - November 3, 2015 Reply

    Author Name: Tana Lovett
    Book Title: AS LONG AS THERE IS CHOCOLATE
    Genre: Small Town Contemporary Romance
    Finished Word Count: 99,000
    Maximum 200-word blurb: After a cruel breakup, Kate Hannity moves to a quaint Colorado resort town, hoping to put down the roots never planted in her chaotic childhood. She’s sworn off relationships, believing her “baggage is crammed way too full of crazy” and that she needs to be happily independent before happily ever after. She buys a historic building from a faceless corporation and opens a gourmet chocolate shop.
    Gio DiMarco is part of the Castaldi clan, nicknamed “squares” because their family’s holdings encompass the entire town square and beyond—that is, until he sells to Kate. Letting his late grandparent’s building go to an outsider breaks a long-standing family tradition.
    Kate both loves and is overwhelmed by Gio’s very large, very loud family, including colorful matriarch, Nonna Sophia, 102-years-old.
    When Gio helps Kate open a sealed door to her attic, they discover a room left virtually untouched for over thirty years. Together, they retrace the last steps of Gio’s Grandpa Tony, who never returned from a rock climbing excursion thirty years before.
    Along their path, Kate and Gio discover not only treasure, but a family bond spanning generations, and a love of their own that will last forever.

    First 100 words of your story: “You are not going to fall. You are not going to fall. You are not going to fall.” Muttering this mantra to myself around the pencil in my teeth almost kept me steady. Almost. Funny, my little altitude problem hadn’t occurred to me before now. I was perfectly capable of adhering the vinyl artwork to the wall, and there was no way I was going to hire it out. I clutched the ladder with my left hand, careful not to crush the paper roll under my arm. Wearing the tape bangle bracelet on the arm clutching the tools, I made it to the first step.

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