2013 Golden Gateway Contest

 The Golden Gateway Contest has been cancelled due to a lack of entries.

Please direct questions to Contest Coordinator at fthrwgoldengateway @fthrw. com (without the spaces)



Categories & Final Round Judges


Unpublished Golden Gateway

Long/Short Contemporary Series Romance (50-70,000) – Dana Hamilton, Assistant Editor for Harlequin Romantic Suspense (Open to acquiring contemporary romance)

Single Title Romance (75,000+) – Parisa Zolfaghari, eBook Developer, Simon and Schuster

Mainstream Fiction with Romantic Elements (75,000+) –  Amanda Barnett, Senior Editor, The Wild Rose Press

Historical Romance (50,000+) – Chelsey Emmelhainz, Editorial Assistant, Avon/Harper Collins

Romantic Suspense (50,000+) – Madeleine Colavita, Editorial Assistant, Grand Central Publishing

Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Time Travel Romance (50,000+) –  Tara Gelsomino, Crimson Romance


  • Word counts are approximate and should serve as a guide only. Use your best judgment in deciding where your entry fits.
  • All heat levels are welcome and will be judged fairly, whether the sensuality tends toward erotic or leaves everything to the imagination.
  • Sub-genres, such as Inspirational, GLBT, Erotica, etc., should be entered into whichever genre they best fit. Please note the sub-genre in the header of the manuscript.

Published Golden Gateway

All genres and length of manuscript may be entered and will be judged together, alongside entries of other genres. Final-round judges will consist of a panel of industry professionals, including:

  • Victoria Lowes, Digital-first Literary Agent, The Bent Agency
  • Dana Hopkins, Editorial Assistant for Harlequin American Romance and Blaze
  • TBA



The purpose of Unpublished Division of the Golden Gateway is to challenge and inspire unpublished authors of romance, as well as to help prepare for the process of sending proposals to editors.

The Published Division of the Golden Gateway provides the published author the opportunity to have new material and/or manuscripts outside of the genre(s) they are currently published in reviewed by fresh eyes.



The Unpublished Division is open to all unpublished authors of novel-length romantic fiction (40K and over) and to those who have not published or contracted (in print or electronic forms) within five (5) years of the contest deadline.

The Published Division is open to all authors of novel-length romantic fiction (40K and over) who have ever published a book, regardless of format or publisher, or who are currently contracted for publication.

All entries shall be the author’s original work and not contracted for publication prior to the entry deadline. An author is considered published regardless if their publisher is RWA recognized.


Entry Procedure

  1. Send signed entry form and check/money order to contest coordinator (address below) OR enter via the Electronic Entry Form and make payment using PayPal. Alternately, those entering via e-form may send a check/money order to the contest coordinator—include a printed copy of the completed e-form with your payment.
  2. Send electronic entries to category coordinator as listed below. No print copies will be accepted.
  3. Entry should be sent to the appropriate category coordinator within 48 hours (2 days) of submitting entry form and payment.


Entry Fees

The entry fee for FTHRW members is $20. For all other RWA members who are not members of FTHRW the entry fee is $25, and for all non-RWA members is $30.

For all RWA Members who would like to also join FTHRW, send $45 for membership and the contest at the same time ($25 membership fee + $20 contest fee = $45).


Entry Deadline

All entries and payments must be received by Sunday, September 15, 2013. Any entries received after that date will be returned.

Note: From The Heart Romance Writers reserves the right to return all entries and fees if the minimum entry number of five (5) for each category is not received. Entrants will be contacted, and will have the option to place their entry in another category before entries are returned.


Entry Details/Checklist

Download the Printed Golden Gateway Contest entry form as a PDF:  or .

Entries will be accepted in electronic (e-mail) submissions only. See below for the formatting guidelines. If you have problems sending electronically, coordinators will try to help you any way they can.

Each entry should include:

_____ One (1) copy of the beginning of your manuscript and 5-page maximum synopsis (55 pages total maximum). The synopsis will be judged. Total entry must be in one file; synopsis should be placed at the end of an entry.

_____ One (1) completed Electronic Entry Form for each entry OR one (1) completed and signed official paper entry form and agreement (see above to download) for each entry to be mailed separately to Contest coordinator:

HiDee Ekstrom
RE: Golden Gateway
PO Box 229
Royal, IL 61871

NOTE: The entries are e-mailed to a Category Coordinator listed below–not the contest coordinator.

_____ One (1) check or money order made out to “From The Heart” for the applicable entry fee for each entry should be sent along with official paper entry form to contest coordinator address above OR if you would like to use a credit card or direct withdrawal from your checking or savings account, go to www.paypal.com, send amount of applicable entry fee for each entry to FTHBOD@yahoo.com at a time prior to the entry deadline:

NOTE: If you will be using the Electronic Entry Form, you will be guided to Paypal after you submit the form. You do not need to visit PayPal.com separately.

_____ Name of category must be listed in the subject line of e-mail entry.

_____ You will receive a confirmation of the arrival of entry. If you do not receive a confirmation within 3 days of sending, please e-mail the appropriate Category Coordinator (listed below) to ask if it was received.

_____ Entries should be received in RTF (rich text format) format only and should be formatted in standard manuscript format, ready for printing. This includes header and page numbers.

_____ Should you advance to the final round, you will be required to email a clean entry to the contest coordinator for printing. Your entry must be received within five (5) days for mailing to the editor of the category you’re entering. Editors and the categories they will final judge are listed at the top of this page.


Entry Format

  1. Entry must be presented in proper standard manuscript format (double-spaced, approximately 1″ margins, size 12 font, Courier or Times Roman fonts). Hard to read fonts will be disqualified.
  2. Synopsis should be double-spaced.
  3. Header on the manuscript and synopsis should contain title and category/genre in the upper left corner and the page number in the right corner. For combined categories in the unpublished division, ie: Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Time Travel, please specify which sub-category your entry fits by putting the one (rather than all) as the category. Additionally, you may note your target publisher and/or line beneath the title and category/genre in the upper left.
  4. The name of the author shall not appear anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis or the entry will be disqualified.
  5. The same manuscript may not be entered into more than one category. Pick the category that best fits your manuscript entry.

Note: If the above rules aren’t met, the entry may be disqualified and entry fee may not be refunded.



First Round: The first round will be judged by experienced critiquers and published authors, each entry receiving three (3) judges with at least one (1) being a published author. A discrepancy judge will be used in the event the 2nd and 3rd judge’s scores vary by more than 20 points (100 points are possible). The top five (5) entries with an average of 75% or above will advance to the final round.

Judges are encouraged to type comments directly on the manuscript. Judges are also encouraged to answer a few questions to help the author improve their manuscript.

Final Round: The finalists in each category of the unpublished division will be ranked by an editor who will be encouraged to answer two (2) questions to help the authors improve their manuscripts. The finalists in the published division will be ranked by an industry panel as previously disclosed.

Final-round judges names shall be posted as they are confirmed, but no later than August 30, 2013.



The first round finalists will be notified by October 27, 2013. Finalists will be required to have a clean electronic entry to the contest coordinator by November 3, 2013. Place winners will be notified on or around December 31, 2013.



UNPUBLISHED: First Place in each category will receive a plaque and choice of a free FTHRW contest entry fee or a year’s worth of FTHRW dues. Second Place in each category will receive an e-certificate and choice of FTHRW dues paid or a free FTHRW contest entry. Third, Fourth, and Fifth Place in each category will receive e-certificates.

In addition, a Grand Prize of $100 will be given to the highest overall scorer based on first round judging.

PUBLISHED: First Place will receive a plaque and the choice of $100 in cash, or $200 put toward a future writing conference of the entrant’s choice. Second through Fifth place will receive e-certificates and logos celebrating their placement.


Submissions & Category Coordinators

Entry forms may be filled out online and entry payment made via PayPal. Alternately, check/money order and hard-copy entry form may be mailed to the CONTEST COORDINATOR:

HiDee Ekstrom
RE: Golden Gateway
PO Box 229
Royal IL 61871


Unpublished Division

  • Series Romance – Ami Weaver, gg-series @ fthrw.com
  • Single Title Romance – Judi Phillips; gg-singletitle @ fthrw.com
  • Mainstream Fiction with RE – Maria Connor, gg-mre @ fthrw.com
  • Historical Romance – Ashley York, gg-historical @ fthrw.com
  • Romantic Suspense – Heather Boey, gg-romsusp @ fthrw.com
  • Paranormal – Rechelle Owens, gg-pfsftt @ fthrw.com

Published Division

  • All Genres/Lengths – Heather Boey, gg-published @ fthrw.com



Please direct all questions to Contest Coordinator at GG-contest @ fthrw. com (without the spaces)






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