2017 Melody of Love Winners

For Immediate Release: 2017 Melody of Love Romance Novel Contest – Winners Announced 

Music City Romance Writers is pleased to announce winners in this year’s Melody of Love contest. 


First Place: Fighter by Sarah Morgenthaler**
Second Place: Mirror Image by Betty Unkel*
Third Place: The Hills Are Alive by Kate Mackenzie

Finalists Judges: Janna Bonikowski, Associate Agent, The Knight Agency; Jennie Conway, Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press 


First Place: Howl and Seek by Alexis Daria **
Second Place: Wishes in a Bottle by Allie McCormack
Third Place: Venus Rising by Alexis Daria

Finalists Judges: Sarah Blumenstock, Assistant Editor, Berkley Publishing Group; Victoria Lea, Agent, Aponte Literary; Editor, Burns and Lea Books 


First Place: The Circle and The Crown by Beth Pattillo*
Second Place Tie: Hex of the Killing Crown by Jessica Grace Kelley**
Second Place Tie: The Lost Dauphrovna by Cate Hart*
Third Place: Life Without Clouds by Fiona Miller-Stevens

Finalists Judges: Annette Pollert-Morgan, Editorial Manager, Sourcebooks Fire; Elizabeth Poteet, Agent, The Seymour Agency 


First Place: Island of Roses by Jean Willett
Second Place: Scratch Line by Deb Merino**
Third Place: Blood Rights by A.L.R. Court

Finalists Judges: Amanda Jain, Agent, Inklings Literary Agency; Latoya Smith, Agent, L. Perkins Agency  


Amy James

 *MCRW Chapter Member

 **Request for full/partial from finalist judge

Thank you to our outstanding final round judges, and special thanks to Cate Hart for donating the 50 page critique prize. Congratulations to winners and finalists!

2018 MCRW Member Retreat

On February 2-4, 2018, MCRW members are invited to attend our annual member retreat at Mongomery Bell State Park. Retreats are a casual but massively informative weekend full of food, learning, writing, fresh air (at least a little), and fellowship.

This year our featured speaker is none other than Virginia Kantra, NYT bestselling author, two-time RITA winner and ten-time RITA nominee. After a welcome party and motivational activity on Friday night, Ms. Kantra will present two masterclasses on Saturday: deep point of view and body language. 

Registration for the retreat is $25 and any money you choose to spend on food at the Forge Restaurant on the inn premises. MCRW isn't providing meals and we aren't trying to organize a group potluck. This will hopefully simplify things for everyone and cut way down on cleanup!

Deadline to register for the retreat itself is January 14, 2018, and lodging can be booked up until December 18 with the MCRW room block, but don't wait until the last minute! The rooms and villas may go quickly.

If you wish to spend Friday and/or Saturday night at the inn or in one of the cabins, there are added costs there, but you are welcome to drive over to the the park for just the day. We would love to have as many MCRW members come as possible. The cabins do have full kitchens and lots of room for sharing.

Please hop over to the complete retreat information page on the RWA website -- you'll need to login to your RWA account to make it work smoothly. https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=2427

You will find the registration link there as well. This will sign you up for the retreat itself, and in your confirmation email, you'll receive your password and group code to get a room at Montgomery Bell in the MCRW room block. Room reservations will be made on your own instead of through MCRW.

Hope to see you in February!

2017 Melody of Love Finalists

Music City Romance Writers is pleased to announce finalists in this year’s Melody of Love contest!


Fighter by Sarah Morgenthaler
Mirror Image by Betty Unkel*
The Hills Are Alive by Kate Mackenzie


Howl and Seek by Alexis Daria
Venus Rising by Alexis Daria
Wishes in a Bottle by Allie McCormack


Hex of the Killing Crown by Jessica Grace Kelley
Life Without Clouds by Fiona Miller-Stevens
The Circle and The Crown by Beth Pattillo*
The Lost Dauphrovna by Cate Hart*


Blood Rights by A.L.R. Court
Island of Roses by Jean Willett
Scratch Line by Deb Merino

 *MCRW Chapter Member

 **Two entries tied as finalists

 Good luck to the finalists in the final round and a round of applause for all who entered!

Contest Page for 2017 Before Finalists Were Announced - Archive

ANNOUNCING THE 2017 MELODY OF LOVE: A Contest for Unpublished Romance Novels

Sponsor: Music City Romance Writers, Nashville, TN
Fee: $20–35; critique of optional blurb for additional $10.
Deadline: Contest Opens August 15, 2017 with a deadline of September 15, 2017.
Official Rules: http://musiccityrwa.blogspot.com/2017/08/2017-melody-of-love-rules.html

Eligibility: The MOL Contest is open to unpublished writers and published authors of novel-length fiction. The author does not have to be a member of Romance Writers of America® (RWA) to enter the MOL Contest; however, the entry must be the author’s original work of novel length, unpublished, and not contracted at the time of the contest deadline.

Entry: All electronic. Must be the first 15 pages of a full-length novel with (minimum length 50,000 words). No novellas or short stories. All heat levels are accepted across all categories. A short blurb (optional/non-judged unless critique requested for additional fee) of no more than 200 words may be included.

Categories: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, and Young Adult Romance; “Wild Card” Category for Novels with Romantic Elements

Preliminary Judges: Published, PAN/PRO and unpublished authors. All entries will be read and judged by three trained judges, at least one of whom will be a published author or a member of RWA PRO. Lowest score will be dropped.

Final Judges: Editors and Agents.
Contemporary—Jennie Conway (Editor, St. Martin's Press), Janna Bonikowski (Agent, the Knight Agency);
Historical—Jennie Conway (Editor, St. Martin's Press), Amanda Jain (Agent, Inklings Literary);
Paranormal—Sarah Blumenstock (Editor, Penguin Random House), Victoria Lea (Agent/Editor, Aponte Literary/Aponte-Burns Publishing);
Young Adult—Annette Pollert -Morgan (Editor, Sourcebooks), Elizabeth Poteet (Agent, The Seymour Agency);
“Wild Card”—Victoria Lea (Agent/Editor, Aponte Literary/Aponte-Burns Publishing), Latoya Smith (Agent, L. Perkins Agency)

Finalists will be announced around November 1, 2017. Projected announcement of winners December 1, 2017.

Top Prize: Finalists in each category will receive a certificate and announcement in RWR and the MCRW website. #1 Finalist in each category will also receive a $25 cash prize. Each entry has a chance to win a 50 page professional critique. Winner selected by random drawing.

Entries capped at 60. Enter soon for your chance to win, because we fill up fast!

For more information, the official rules are now available and the contest coordinator DB Sieders can be emailed at contest@mcrw.com

2017 Melody of Love Entry Form

If you haven't paid (via PayPal) yet, you will need the transaction ID to fill out the form.

Add-On for Blurb Critique:

Please contact contest@mcrw.com with questions! We will get back to you soon. 

2017 Melody of Love Rules

*** Categories and Final Round Judges ***

Contemporary - Jennie Conway (Editor, St. Martin's Press), Janna Bonikowski (Agent, the Knight Agency)

Paranormal - Sarah Blumenstock (Editor, Penguin Random House), Victoria Lea (Agent/Editor, Aponte Literary/Aponte-Burns Publishing)

Historical - Jennie Conway (Editor, St. Martin's Press), Amanda Jain (Agent, Inklings Literary)

Young Adult - Annette Pollert -Morgan (Editor, Sourcebooks), Elizabeth Poteet (Agent, The Seymour Agency)

“Wild Card” Novel with Romantic Elements - Victoria Lea (Agent/Editor, Aponte Literary/Aponte-Burns Publishing), Latoya Smith (Agent, L. Perkins Agency)

*** Entry Fees and Eligibility ***

* Entry fee for MCRW Members: $20
* Entry fee for non-MCRW Members: $25
* Entry fee for additional blurb critique: $10 (###)

* Entries accepted starting August 15, 2017. All entries must be received by September 15, 2017 (a Friday).

* Author can be published, including in the category entered.

* Manuscript being entered cannot have been published and cannot be currently contracted to be published via any means at any time, including self or subsidy publishing.

* Manuscript should be a romance or romantic elements novel of 50,000 words or more.

* Questions? Contest Coordinator Dana Brantley-Sieders: contest@mcrw.com 

### The optional blurb critique will be an assessment of your blurb/pitch, including the effectiveness of the hook, clarity, conciseness, and suggestions on how to effectively capture reader interest. The blurb critique is intended to help you strengthen your query or improve what may become your back cover copy! 

*** How To Submit ***

Your entry must have the following three elements:

1) Payment via PayPal. Contact contest coordinator for other payment options.

You will need your PayPal transaction number to fill out the entry form!

If you want the additional $10 Blurb Critique for use in future submissions and self-publishing:

2) A completed entry form (link here).

3) Your manuscript’s first 15 (or fewer) pages plus an optional 200 word blurb (unjudged but eligible for critique for $10), emailed to contest coordinator as an attachment. We recommend but do not require that you omit prologues and end your partial at a cliffhanger, even if it means you don't send 15 whole pages.

Send your entry attachment to contest coordinator Dana Brantley-Sieders at: contest@mcrw.com by September 15, 2017.

*** Entry Specifics ***

1) All entries must be electronic and in standard manuscript format: 12 point standard font (Times New Roman, Courier New), double-spaced, indented paragraphs (i.e. not block style), 1-inch margins. Pages should be numbered and include a header which states title and category of manuscript. For a sample of a "properly formatted" manuscript, please contact the coordinator.

Optional 200 word blurb may be included on a separate page with your entry. Your name should not appear on the entry.

2) Coordinator will send emails to confirm receipt of entries. Please allow 5 working days (i.e., not weekends or holidays) before you ask the coordinator whether the entry has been received. Email address for questions is contest@mcrw.com and the contest coordinator is Dana Brantley-Sieders.

3) Contest limited to 60 total entries, in order of receipt of all three parts. The optional subgenres (e.g. Sweet/Inspirational, Erotic, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, etc.) on the entry form are used only to determine the best judges for your work and do not affect scoring or final round editor assignment.

4) While it is acceptable to submit the entry form and payment before you submit your pages, all three parts (pages, entry form, payment) must be received by September 15, 2017, or your entry will not be counted in the contest. Your entry fee will be reimbursed if this happens. The entry form alone is insufficient to "reserve your spot" should the contest fill up; payment must be included as well. 

5) Scoresheets and/or critiques will be emailed to contestants. You will be asked on the entry form if judges may employ Microsoft Word's "Comments" feature on your manuscript. Agreement is not required. The scoresheet is extensive and designed to provide a valuable, in-depth assessment of your opening chapter(s), including the hook, plot and conflict, characterization, writing style & technique, dialogue, setting, professional presentation, and overall impression. If you would like to see the scoresheet before committing to the contest, just email the coordinator.

 *** Document Formatting Tidbits ***

* Your chapter should be in .rtf or .doc format.
* Be aware that your name may be in the document properties as the document's creator because of software settings. If you don't know how to change it, the coordinator can delete this for you with your permission.
* Do not paste the chapter into the body of the email.
* Use a standard font and standard formatting, as described above.
* Your entry will be test-opened upon receipt; if there are issues, you will be notified. If you do not respond to the notification before the contest deadline and work with the coordinator to rectify the issues, your manuscript may be disqualified. With your permission, the coordinator can standardize the format of the manuscript for you.

 *** Judging Specifics ***

1) First round judged by trained judges. Final round judged by editors and agents. All judges’ decisions are final.

2) Barring unforeseen circumstances, finalists will be announced around November 1. Finalists will be notified via e-mail and posted on the MCRW website, www.mcrw.com. First round scores of finalists will be mailed or emailed as soon as possible.

3) Other scores will be released within 30 days after the finalists are announced. Winners will be announced shortly after all final round judges return their scores, hopefully by December 1, 2017. Finalists in each category will receive a certificate and announcement in RWR and the MCRW website. #1 Finalist in each category will also receive a $25 cash prize. Each entry has a chance to win a 50 page professional critique. Winner selected by random drawing.

*** Fine print: (left in 12 pt font for ease of reading) ***

Entries received that are found to have been published by any means will be disqualified. No entry may be withdrawn after being submitted to the contest with one exception (see below). Entry fees from disqualified entrants will not be refunded. Entrants who finaled in our contest previously may enter again, but don't re-enter the finaling manuscript. For the purpose of this contest, published is defined as available for sale by any means or as a free download via retail sites such as Smashwords and Amazon. Entry fees will be refunded to entrants in any category that does not receive the minimum number of entries unless they request placement in another category. Any entries over the contest limit of 60, or those received after the due date, will be returned along with the entry fees.

September 2017 All-Day Workshop

Registration is open for our MCRW September Event featuring Deb Dixon!

Priority registration for MCRW members continues until August 7. After that, we will open registration to any RWA member.

To register, follow the link below:

Or go to your myRWA page and select the home page for MCRW. The event registration is on that page. (You may have to scroll down a bit.)

Here’s the event information:

September Event: Deb Dixon’s Book In A Day

Mark your calendars for September 16! We have the opportunity to spend the day with the one and only Deb Dixon, author of the classic GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict and publisher of Belle Books. Deb will lead us through her Book In A Day program. Whether you’re a new author or a veteran, you can benefit from her insights!

After Aug 7, we will open registration to other RWA members. Spaces are limited so please register as soon as you can. Cost will be $45 for MCRW members and $55 for other RWA members. Registration will close on Aug 31. 

Participants may select a meal from Roma Pizza and Pasta at no additional charge when they register. (We cannot guarantee that these meals will accommodate all dietary requirements. No discounts will be offered for partial attendance or deferred meals.)

The September Event will be held at the Comfort Suites - Airport. We are holding a limited block of rooms for anyone who would like to stay at the hotel. Rates are $149.99 for a king or double (2 people). Additional guests in a room are $10 per person per night.  Please note that there is a 72-hour cancellation policy on hotel rooms.

MCRW members are invited to gather for a meal with the speaker on Friday evening at a local restaurant. We will provide more information on our Friday evening get together closer to the date.

January 2017 MCRW Meeting

Date: January 21, 2017
Time: 10 am
Location: Williamson County Library

Workshop: Community Building for Connected Books

World-building is always an important tool for authors and, when written well, your fictional town, apartment building or spaceship can become the basis for a long-running book series, allowing readers to return again and again to a place they love. Come hear from two multi-published authors about the pros and cons of a repeat location and some tips to keep in mind as you build your community for characters and readers.

Six-time RITA finalist Tanya Michaels is the award-winning author of over fifty books and novellas, including her ongoing Cupid's Bow, Texas series for Harlequin. She lives outside Atlanta with a wonderful husband and two smart-ass teens who are a lot like their mother

Tennessee native and former Golden Heart finalist Sally Kilpatrick holds an MA in professional writing and has published three women's fiction novels all set in Ellery, Tennessee (with a novella and another novel on the way in 2017.) Her tweets (as @SuperWriterMom) include info about her books, observations about the world in general, pictures of her cats and proposed lyrics to what will one day be the smash hit Laundry: the Musical!