“Romance Me” Novel Writing Contest Winners Announced

Judges from Top Romance Imprints Select Winners of Romance Writing Contest for Prizes, Promotion on Romance Junkies

AUSTIN, TX | FEB. 14, 2017  — Submission Platform and Publishing AI and startup AUTHORS.me today announced the winners of its “Romance Me” Novel Writing Contest, open to original romance novels not previously published by a traditional publisher. First place went to Time’s Firebird by Rachel Mannino; second place to Stripped Bounty by Dorothy F. Shaw; third to Not Even Death by Emerson Clarey.  

The winning novels represent the diverse breadth of the Romance genre. First place winner Time’s Firebird is historical romance with elements of science fiction. “Taken captive by a Viking, time-traveling anthropologist Fiona Dale must find some way home,” reads the hook. “She falls in love with her amorous abductor, but if she stays, she’ll destroy history.” Maninno has published two novels: Love or Justice (Limitless Press), and Fractal (eTreasures).

Stripped Bounty is a romantic thriller/suspense exploring the complicated, harrowing relationship between Rosie Santini and the bouncer of the club she dances after her drug-running husband gets himself killed. “Badger finally got Rosie in his bed, but in order to keep her there, he has to figure out how to save her life,” reads the hook. Shaw has published nine novels, including three with Samhain and one with Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Books.

Not Even Death is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance “inspired by what it means to love in the face of unexpected tragedy and how to move past crippling loss. ” said Clarey. The novel centers around the friendship between two girls–one living, one dead–who vow to “help a troubled boy with a death wish find his way back to hope.”

Mannino has been awarded a cash prize of $200 and will see the first chapter of Time’s Fire Bird excerpted on the popular romance book website, Romance Junkies. Both runners up received a cash prize, and Shaw will receive a professional query consultation. All three novels will be featured on the AUTHORS.me acquisitions platform and highlighted in the company’s February newsletter sent to the publishers and agents who use the platform.

For more information on the winning novels, click here.

Over 300 writers submitted original novels to the contest, which was open to submissions from October 15 through December 15. Judges for the contest hail from some of the top Romance imprints in the country: Lexi Smail, Editorial Assistant at Forever and Forever Yours (Hachette Book Group); Marissa Sangiacomo, Marketing Manager at St. Martin’s Press, specializing in all Swerve, SMP and Griffin Romance titles (Macmillan); and Katherine Pelz, Associate Editor of romance, women’s fiction, and mystery at Berkley/NAL (Penguin/Random House).



AUTHORS, Inc. is an Austin-based technology company modernizing the creative discovery process. They bring efficiency and machine intelligence to submissions, providing smart tools for writers, agents, publishers, and producers with a content acquisition platform and predictive analytics.

Diversity in Publishing: Writer Updates

We are a couple days from closing registration for our Diversity Contest and I want to share some thoughts about this. We launched the contest with one goal in mind, to give voice to those who are not being heard or read. Authors from diverse communities and stories with diverse subject matter and characters have struggled over the years, decades actually, in finding a place in the limelight of publishing. We hope to change that, not for the sake of change or some social agenda, but because we love diversity of thought. It makes us richer, smarter and more likely to understand each other.

The reason we chose children’s books as our platform for diverse books is because this is where the change can happen and continue on into our futures. Over the years I have purchased hundreds of books, many of them for my 5 kids. Because children’s books are simplified in message, it is a wonderful platform to begin learning about other cultures and ideas. And I’m not talking just about the kids.

Here is my solution to see more diversification of books and it begins with you. I challenge you to add just one book to your library in the next month whose subject matter, characters, or author is of or by people of diversity; a book that recognizes a diverse experience, such as people of a different color, gender, disabilities, body size, ethnicity, culture, and religion than you. You will be the better for it. The more books we buy, the more diverse books they will publish.

I look forward to reading the winners of our contest come September 6th. You can follow the winners here.

In other news, our Humor Us contest continues through August 31st. We need humor as much as we need diversity.