Friday, September 17, 2010

The Critique Group Contest Is Open!!!

Are you a romance writer looking for a critique group? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Rumored Romantics has two openings and we’re going to fill those spots by hosting a contest starting TODAY! Isn’t this exciting?

Note: Regardless of whether or not you’ve entered one of my critique group contests before, read the information below as some things have changed.

About Rumored Romantics:

Rumored Romantics is a small romance based critique group that I started a couple of years ago. There are currently three members: Suzanne Johnson, Katrina Crew, and me. We’d like to return to five. Both Suzanne and Katrina were winners of this contest. In case you were wondering, this method of finding critique group members does work, and is worth the time and effort for all involved.

What we write: Urban Fantasy with romantic elements, single-title contemporary romance, and romantic suspense (and possibly paranormal).

The group's personality: We don’t sugarcoat our critiques because praise alone isn’t going to help anyone improve as a writer. Instead, we offer honest feedback delivered with love and respect. Our members are supportive, helping each other get through the difficult moments in this industry. We’re not only crit partners, but friends. Our goal is to stay together through the good and bad times on our publishing journey.

Why should you trust us to crit your work? Check out our bios.

Suzanne Johnson: Suzanne Johnson is the author of a new urban fantasy series set in post-Katrina New Orleans beginning with ROYAL STREET and RIVER ROAD, both coming in 2012 from Tor Books. A longtime journalist, Suzanne also has won more than fifty national awards for editing and longform feature writing. She is an active member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, and is a member of the Georgia and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapters of RWA. Check out her blog here.

Katrina Crew: Katrina Crew writes single-title contemporary romance. One of her manuscripts, All Things Easy (formerly Lone Dogwood), placed first in Greater Detroit RWA's Between the Sheets contest and also won the Ignite the Flame contest (single-title category). It's currently a finalist in the Toronto Gold and Reveal Your Inner Vixen contests.

Another manuscript, First Aid for a Broken Heart, placed second in Alaska RWA's Break-up contest and is a finalist in the Lone Star Writing Contest.

She writes reviews for The Season and loves books where the language is just as important as the characters and the story. She has also been a contest judge.

In her day job, Katrina is an editor for a charity in London. You can find out more about her on her blog, Reader, I created him, or by following her on Twitter.

Lynnette Labelle: Lynnette Labelle is a certified copyeditor and proofreader with over ten years experience, and is currently the editor of LoveBytes, RWA Online’s newsletter. She spent many years teaching kindergarten to grade eight, but especially enjoyed instructing the junior high students how to write short stories and poems.

After studying writing for children and teens through The Institute of Children’s Literature, taking Advanced Creative Writing in university, participating in dozens of writing workshops, and reading far too many “how to write” books to count, Lynnette has a great understanding for the craft of writing. She knows the typical mistakes beginner writers and some published authors make that keep them from either getting published or moving further up the publishing ladder. Her background in writing, teaching, copyediting, and proofreading makes her an excellent choice as a mentor. Her assistance and services have helped writers on their journey to publication.

In her spare time, she continues to work on her most recent romantic suspense novel. She won third place in the romantic suspense category of the Ignite the Flame contest 2010.


This contest is only for romance writers of adult fiction who are seeking a critique group. Sorry, no children or YA entries will be accepted, but you don’t have to write straight romance. A genre with romantic elements also qualifies.

• All entrants must be 18 years or older.

• Entries should be 2-3 pages from an unpublished manuscript, double spaced, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman. Anything beyond 3 pages will NOT be read.

• This is a three part contest. Part One, a 2-3 page writing sample, is open to all contestants. Semi-finalists will be selected to move on to Part Two. During this stage, the semi-finalists will be asked to supply a longer writing sample and critique a short piece, which we’ll provide. A select few will continue on. In Part Three, the remaining finalists will fill out a bio/questionnaire and possibly critique a longer sample. Sound like a lot of work? It is. Sorry about that. All of the above is necessary in order for us to see that our writing and critiquing styles are compatible with yours.

• Entries will be judged on the quality of the writing and critiquing, but we aren’t expecting perfection. Please send us your best work without external help. We want to see how well YOU write and critique, not your critique partner, beta reader, or professional editor.

• All entries for Part One of the contest are due by noon (Central Standard Time), Tuesday, September 21.

• One entry per person, unpublished work only.  To be clear, published authors can enter this contest.  We're just trying to get an understanding of what your writing is like without the aid of an agent or editor.  However, if you only have polished samples, we'll work with you.  Writing ability is only part of the contest. 

• Send your entry in the body of an email (I will NOT open anything with an attachment) to:

•In your email, tell us what genre the entry is and what genre you typically write (this isn’t always the same).

• You should expect an email from me confirming I received your entry. If you haven't gotten one within 24 hours, check the email address. Note: my name is spelled with two n's. LyNNette. If you don't spell it correctly in my email address, I won't get the message.

• The first round of finalists will be announced on my blog and notified by email some time by or before Friday, September 24.


• Membership for two lucky writers to a small, online, romance critique group*

• Note: Rumored Romantics is looking for someone who is willing to critique at least ONE chapter a week. Chapters are no longer than 20 pages double spaced. So, the most your minimum required critique would be is 20 pages. To be clear, you’d only have to critique one chapter a week, not one per member. However, everyone is encouraged to participate as much as they can.

If you have any questions about the contest or Rumored Romantics, ask away.

*We reserve the right to not choose anyone if we don't find a good fit for our critique group.

Hint #1:
You must write adult romance, BUT we don’t actually want to read the sex scenes or romance scenes in your story (at least, not for the contest). You’ll have better results if you show us a piece that represents how different your work is from everyone else’s. Get it?

Hint #2:
When you submit your entry, it doesn’t have to be a complete scene. Don’t stress yourself out trying to find a 2-3 page scene in your manuscript and don’t cut important parts of a scene to make it fit. However, if your sample isn’t a complete scene, please let us know. For example, if you choose to include the middle and end of a scene because you want us to see how you can hook a reader, then add a little sentence or two at the beginning to situate us. If you decide to show us how you can set up a scene, but have too many words to show the ending, then let us know that as well.

Hint #3:
Here’s how I’m going to read the entries. I’ll copy and paste from the email into Microsoft Word. If the font isn’t Times New Roman, 12 pt, I’ll change it to that. If it’s not double spaced, I’ll modify it. Once the entry is formatted correctly, anything beyond three pages will NOT be read.

Good luck!


  1. Please clarify- what subgenres of romance are eligible? You mentioned urban fantasy, contemporary and suspense under "What we write" but elsewhere the specification is the broader "adult romance or genre with romantic elements." Thanks

  2. Amber: As long as it's not children's or YA and it has elements of romance, it's eligible. I guess I should also mention short stories aren't included in this because we're looking for other novelists. Does this help?

    Lynnette Labelle

  3. Yes, thank you. I do write paranormal but was fishing for permission to submit a historical romance sample.

  4. Amber: You can submit either. Just let us know what genre the sample is and what you normally write. Thanks.

    Lynnette Labelle

  5. this is fantastic!

    i believe most of my readers/followers write YA or MG, but i'll definately share the news with them!

    thanks for thinking of me! and i look forward to giving away a few free query crits to your readers as well!