Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Golden Claddagh Contest 2014

Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh!
We have four categories for unpublished authors and published authors with unpublished  manuscripts.
* Historical
* Fantasy-Futuristic-Paranormal
* Contemporary
* Young Adult/New Adult
Our contest due date is May 10th. Finalists will be notified by June 15th and winners notified by August 1st–Winners will be announced at the CHRW Annual General Meeting at RWA National Convention in San Antonio, TX in July 2014.
The competition is open to RWA members ONLY.
Manuscripts must be unpublished and un-contracted in any form, including self-publishing. The manuscript rights must belong to the author and be available to contract, should a final judge wish to offer publication.
The GC entry must be a full-length novel (more than 40K). Novellas or Short stories will not be accepted.
Manuscripts must be completed by the time results are returned. Entrant must retain all rights to the entry and not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party by the contest entry deadline.
If your manuscript is accepted for publication during the time of our contest (dates will be specified) you must notify the contest coordinator; your submission(s) will be withdrawn from consideration and your entry fee(s) returned.
Please Note:
  • Previously entered manuscripts may be entered again, but no previous winning manuscript shall be re-entered, even if revised.
  • You may submit multiple entries so long as you pay an entry fee and submit a completed entry form for each submission.
  • You may not enter the same manuscript in more than one category. *Entry fee per entry: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.
CHRW reserves the right to discard all electronic entries and return fees if a minimum number of three (3) entries are not received in any category. Entrants will be contacted before the entries are returned and given the option to place their entry in another category if it is eligible. We may also refuse an entry that does not follow the rules stated here in the guidelines.
All Payments are Electronic through PayPal. The easy link is here:
If you wish to go directly to PayPal, please use Paypal address:
Entry fee: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.
All entries will be read and scored for the first round by two trained judges and one published author, and the lowest score dropped. The three entries with the highest total scores in each category will move to the final round. An editor/agent will judge the final round and select a winner from the finalists in each category.
Future, Fantasy & Paranormal: Romance novel where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).
Contemporary: Includes, single title, long and short romantic fiction with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.
Historical: Romance novel set primarily before 1945 — any location. Please specify your time period and setting in your entry.
Young Adult/New Adult:  Romance novels in which young adult or new adult themes constitute an integral part of the plot. *Romance subplot not required*

Entry Composition: No Synopsis required! Your entry must have the following:
1.     An email “cover page” which includes the author’s real name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address, submission title, category, manuscript word count and PayPal confirmation # should be submitted in text of the e-mail. Do not include the cover page in the same attachment as your manuscript.
2.     The beginning of your manuscript, including prologue, cannot exceed thirty (30) pages. Standard manuscript format must be followed:
  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced in a standard font and size 12-point.
  • The TITLE of the manuscript, the category, and any subcategory should be placed on the top left hand side of the entry. The PAGE NUMBER should be on the top right side of the entry.
  • We will not accept entries that have colored, or designer fonts. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME ON THE MANUSCRIPT.
3. Manuscript must be in a .doc or .rtf file format.
NOTE: Your entry must not exceed thirty (30) pages total.

Contemporary Category -
FFP Category -
Historical Category -
Young Adult/New Adult Category -

Final Round Judges
Angela James – Carina Press
Kerry Buckley – Carina Press
Laurie McLean – Forward Literary, Inc
Beth Miller – Writers House
Leis Pederson – Berkley Publishing
Julie Mianecki – Penguin Books
Alissa Davis – Carina Press
Elizabeth Bistrow – Penguin Books
Young Adult/New Adult
Nicole Fischer – Avon Press

The FIRST PLACE winners in each category will receive a $50 dollar cash prize and a commemorative pin.
The SECOND and THIRD PLACE winners in each category will receive free workshops through Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
For questions please contact the contest chair, Alisa Walker at:
Monday, April 21, 2014

Keeping Track

In 1194 B. C., Achilles went to war in a backless sandal. The rest, as they say, is history.

Brad Pitt as Achilles, Troy (2004)

Other warriors wore more sensible ankle-high boots, with socks brightly patterned in the Cretan style: or greaves--leg protectors linked with silver fastenings.

Later Greek boots laced, either through eyelets or around double rows of buttons.

Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle, Xena (1995-2001)

And while many soldiers sported latticework or fur-trimmed boots, Hermes, messenger of the gods, got an extra lift--his boots had built-in-wings.

Immortals (2011)

After the war, the Greeks made leather sandals, with double soles for height and jeweled ones to strap around a feminine ankle. The Greeks even distinguished left from right shoes. But don't grow up to be a sandalmaker if you want to buy a palatial estate in the country--the job promised only limited earning potential.

Troy (2004)

Greeks did wear sandals on trips abroad, but they preferred to walk barefoot when they could.

Henry Cavill as Theseus, Immortals (2011)

Of course, if he was wearing sandals, you could find out if that young Adonis of 1000 B. C. was free to fool around--Greek husbands carved the names of their wives on the bottoms of the soles of their shoes, leaving witness to their devotion wherever they tread.

 - Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger -
Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fun Fact Saturday: Vikings and Scotland

I'm completely in love the History Channel's show Vikings. There are hot bros, a kick-ass Shield Maiden, blood and guts, Tudors-style between-the-bear-skin-blankets action, and plenty of drama and history. What's not to love?

A while back I was browsing the Internet, when I came across some fun Viking facts. It's one of the best perks of writing historical romance, uncovering a bit of history. The history nerd in me gets all giddy whenever I learn something new, especially if I can fit it into my story.


The discovery of the first fully intact burial site in the UK--on the Ardnamurchan peninsula--in 2011 revealed a 16 ft-long grave containing the remains of a "high-status" Viking who was buried with an axe, a sword, and a spear. The find rekindled public interest in the Norse legacy on Scotland's shores.

The facts about the Vikings in Scotland bear little resemblance to the stereotypes of helmeted warriors pillaging the land at will.

1) Viking warriors were homemakers who couldn't wait to ship their wives over to settle the lands they had conquered. Scientists studying Scots of Viking ancestry in Shetland and Orkney discovered that there must have been far more Viking women in the Dark Ages settlements than originally thought.

2) Modern Britons have more in common with the Vikings than was previously thought. More than a thousand years after the first Viking longships landed on British shores, a study has shown the blood of Norse warriors still flows through the veins of swathes of the population.

3) The Viking genetic marker M17 is also present in the Western Isles in large numbers. Clan names are a visible relic; MacIvors were originally the sons of Ivar, MacSween, the sons of Swein, Macaulay, the sons of Olaf, MacAskill, the sons of Asgeir, and so on.

4) Viking raiders settled alongside the Gaels after seizing many of the islands surrounding the Scottish mainland in the 11th century. The Scots ceded dominion of the Outer and Inner Hebrides to Hakon Hakonson, King of Norway in a treaty, but the Gaels still regarded the isles as their own.

5) Terrifying Viking raids in medieval times gave Norsemen a reputation as bloodthirsty marauders, but archaeological finds show they may also have been vain--caring as much for the "pretty" decoration of their teeth as for the bite of their swords.

In what could be further evidence that the Vikings were the first Europeans to reach North America, in the 11th century, a study of skeletal remains from 1,000-year-old burial sites in southern Sweden suggests some Norsemen used iron files to carve grooves into their teeth, which they likely colored red or black.

6) The Vikings had their own rough guide to Scotland, offering the would-be-traveler the following warning. Be very careful there, it says--the natives are dangerous, the language incomprehensible, and the weather is awful. This was the advice handed out to 13th century Norse travelers, according to a historical study, gleaned from the stories that filtered back from Viking raids. The medieval chronicles, set down on yellowed calf vellum eight centuries ago, describe Scotland--or Skotland, as it was known--as worth a trip, but only for those willing to risk losing their heads.

"Icelanders who want to practice robbery are advised to go there," says one saga. "But it may cost them their life."

7) Although Scotland was an important trading post, the Viking world stretched from Newfoundland to the Middle East and beyond. Objects moved over thousands of miles across a great network. Not all of the objects survived (silk, spices, etc) but others tell of great adventure. There have even been finds of coins and jewelry from as far away as Baghdad, Samarkand, and Tashkent--many in areas now argued to be rural and far from modern trade routes.

8) While they undoubtedly struck fear into the natives on their arrival, the Vikings settled in Scotland for around 300 years. They were farmers who kept a variety of animals, including sheep, cattle, pigs, and grew crops such as barely and oats. They also collected plants for medicinal purposes.

9) The Vikings were nervous about sailing up the west coast sea lochs they referred to as the "Scottish fjords". They only places the Norse could have expected a safe reception was Orkney and Shetland, where the people were basically the same as them and where they would be greeted as kin.

10) The Viking influence is so strong and long-lasting that in his novel, The Pirate, Sir Walter Scott named the large Norse settlement near Sumburgh, "Jarlshof", although the site was built on an earlier Neolithic settlement going back 3,000 years.

 - Courtesy of -
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Caged In Winter

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...

CAGED IN WINTER by Brighton Walsh
Berkley Trade
November 4, 2014

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response...

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want….

Oooo, another New Adult debut that looks worth reading. =)

~ Book blurb courtesy of author's website ~
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Releases

They're aren't a lot of new releases I want to read this month. No joke.


Don't Look Back
Jennifer L. Armentrout April 10

To date I've read one New Adult book by this author (writing as J. Lynn). I adore her voice! I can't wait to read more of her work, especially this novel.

What's on your must-read list this month?