The 2018 Annual Heart-to-Heart Contest for Unpublished Authors

Congratulations to the 2018 Heart-To-Heart Finalists!

** Request for full or partial from final round agent or editor judge

Contemporary Romance

1st Place –  “All Your Broken Pieces” by Evie Drae**

2nd Place – “Saving Mr. Marlowe” by Katherine Grace

3rd Place – “Thank My Lucky Stars” by Mia McCoy


Historical Romance

1st Place – “A Season for Scandal” by Kate Pembrooke**

2nd Place – “The Arrangement” by Heidi McIntyre**

3rd Place – “A Rose For A Duke” by Kate Dart


Erotic Romance

1st Place – “He Owns My Heart” by Evie Drae**

2nd Place – “A Scent of Lilac” by Frances G. McCoy

3rd Place – “Submission” by Lulu Rivers


Speculative Romance

1st Place – “Magic Touch” by Luna Joya**

2nd Place – “Fling Theory” by Darlene Ishigo**

3rd Place – “Forever Linked” by Farrah Blake**

About the Contest

The San Francisco Area chapter of RWA is excited to announce the 2018 Heart To Heart Contest for unpublished writers. Entries will be accepted electronically only in six categories. The top three finalists in each category will have their entries read by industry professionals. We will announce finalists and winners on our web site, and certificates will be awarded to the top winner in each category. Here’s how to enter:

  • Send Us Your Pages – Send us your amazing first fifteen pages (limit: 4,000 words)! No need to set the stage or give us a synopsis–let your characters do the talking. We can’t wait to read your work!
  • See Your Scores – Receive three detailed score sheets from experienced, trained PRO and PAN author/judges.
  • Get Your Story in Front of Industry Pros – Finalists will have their entries read by acquiring editors and agents.

Contest Rules At-a-Glance

For a full set of category descriptions and a complete list of eligibility guidelines, please visit the Contest Rules page. Here are our rules, at-a-glance.

  • Publication Status: Authors should be unpublished in novella- or novel-length work for at least five years
  • Word Count: First fifteen pages (limit: 4,000 words)
  • Categories: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance, Speculative Romance, Young Adult
  • Entry Fees: $25 for general entrants, $15 for SFA-RWA members; no RWA affiliation is required
  • Submission Format: Electronic only, according to formatting guidelines

Key Dates

  • June 1st 2018: Contest opens for entries
  • September 3rd 2018: Deadline for submissions and payments
  • October 1st 2018: First round winners announced
  • November 5th, 2018: Final round winners announced

Our Illustrious Judges

The 2018 Heart-to-Heart contest will have three judges in each of our five categories: one agent, one traditional editor, and one epub editor:

1. Sue Grimshaw, Editor-at-Large @ Penguin-Random House – Ballantine, Bantam, Dell – Loveswept, Flirt
2. Toni Kelley Acquisitions, Editor for Extasy Books
3. Eva Scalzo, Literary Agent, Speilburg Literary Agency

1. Alycia Tornetta, Editor, Entangled
2. Jennie Conway, Editor, St. Martin’s Press
3. Lizzie Poteet, agent, Seymour Agency

1. Mackenzie Walton, Editor, Carina Press

2. Stephanie Phillips, Literary Agent, SBR Media

3. Kristine Swartz, Associate Editor, Penguin Random House/Berkley
(2nd and 3rd judges TBD)

1. Nikki Garcia, Associate Editor, Little, Brown Children’s
2. Laurie McLean, Fuse Literary Agency
3. Holly West, Editor, Swoon Reads

1. Mary Altman, Editor, Sourcebooks Romance
2. Tara Gelsomino, Agent, One Track Literary Agency
3. Norma Perez-Hernandez, Editor, Kensington


Interested in entering? Please check out our full set of rules and entry guidelines. Need help or have a question we didn’t answer? E-mail the contest co-chairs at