Maggie Award for Excellence Finalists Announced on July 1st

Today is a GREAT day.

Why? It’s almost time to announce the Maggie Award for Excellence finalists!

As Maggie Chair, I’m working with the Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Committee to review the Maggie scores and prepare for the BIG announcement on July 1.

Stay tuned to see which published authors and unpublished writers will become finalists in GRW’s Maggie Award for Excellence contest.

Why is this contest so special? Each entry receives three judges. In the Published Maggies, either acquiring librarians or booksellers judge each entry. In the Unpublished Maggies, three published authors judge each entry, and then finalists go through another round of judging with either acquiring agents or editors.

Winners will be announced at the Georgia Romance Writers’ Moonlight & Magnolia conference this fall.

For more information,

Writing Dreams Become Published Reality: The Unpublished Maggies Contest

The Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence contest can turn your writing dreams into a published reality.

RWA Member Carrie Fancett Pagels emailed the Maggie Committee and shared her good news. As Maggie Chair, I performed a happy dance! Carrie’s unpublished manuscript, “Grand Exposé,” finaled in the 2014 Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence in the Inspirational Category. Her manuscript is now under contract with Barbour Publishing with a new title in their new collection. Keep your eye out for “My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island” in 2017.

When chatting with Carrie, she mentioned 2016 RITA Finalist Kristi Ann Hunter. Kristi is a member of the Georgia Romance Writers. She finaled in the Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence in the Inspirational Category three times and won twice! Kristi’s unpublished manuscript, “Miss Amelia and the Marquis” placed third in the 2012 Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence contest. In 2015, Bethany House Publishers published it as the novella, “A Lady of Esteem,” part of her five book series with them!

When asked about her experience as a Maggie finalist and winner, Kristi pointed to the feedback she received from both the Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence contest and the Georgia Romance Writers’ Gin Ellis Workshop. In both cases, published authors volunteer their time and expertise to help unpublished writers polish their manuscripts.

Kristi said, “The feedback I received from the Maggies for “Miss Amelia and the Marquis” and the Gin Ellis for “My Lord Valet” made them better. In fact, the “My Lord Valet” unpublished manuscript won the Golden Heart in 2014 and is now a 2016 RITA Finalist.” Kristi is referring to “A Noble Masquerade” also published by Bethany House Publishers in 2015.

Will your writing dreams become a reality this year?

Turn your publishing dreams into a certainty. Enter the Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence. The deadline to enter is April 30 at 10:00p.m.


Happy Writing,

Christina Crayn

2016 Maggie Chair

Book Sales Slump? Writing Career Speed Bump? Enter The Maggie Award for Excellence!


Has Your Writing Career Hit a Speed Bump? Have Your Book Sales Slowed to a Crawl?

I’ve got a solution: Enter the Georgia Romance Writers’ Published Maggie Award for Excellence!

Who can enter: Traditional and independent published authors are welcome. Your book must have a publication date of 2015. You don’t have to be a member of the Georgia Romance Writers or the Romance Writers of America to enter. How cool is that?

How to enter: So many categories to choose from! Here is what you need to do to enter the Maggies:

*Go to: Published Maggie Award for Excellence

*Sign up! It’s that easy! You sign up online by filling out a form and submitting a small fee via PayPal. Then you submit three professionally bound, print copies (no PDF or manuscript format allowed). eBooks are accepted, but they must be readable using Amazon eReader App (*.mobi preferred or three Amazon eBook gift certificates that can be downloaded by the judges).

Why enter: Ever take a philosophy class? If so, then you already know the answer is “Why not?” But, for those of you who still have lingering doubts, here is the low-down.

*Have your book judged by three acquiring booksellers and/or librarians. Tons of books pass through their hands and they know their stuff!

*The purpose of the Maggie Award is to encourage, recognize, and reward the mastery of writing romantic fiction.

*The Maggie Award is a symbol of achievement given by the Georgia Romance Writers to bring special attention to these writers, and the Maggie, a silver medallion commissioned by GRW, receives national attention.

*The names and categories of Maggie recipients and finalists will appear in the Romance Writers Report. That’s free advertising folks! 🙂

When to enter: The Maggies are now open! Entries must be received by April 2, 2016.

What to enter: The Maggies has a category for your book!

*In fact, in addition to romance, the Maggies even have a category for those fiction books that are: commercial fiction, literary fiction, suspense/mystery/thriller fiction, or novels with thematic or emotional elements, including women’s self-discovery or emotional life journey where romance is present in the story but not the central focus…

*A work of fiction is defined as a novel that is made commercially available to the public.

*Projected minimum entry length is 40,000 words – except for Romantic Novella, which must be between 20,000 and 40,000 words, and each entry must fit into one of the following categories:

And now . . .  without further ado . . . THE MAGGIE CATEGORIES . . .

Contemporary Single Title Romance – A longer novel (traditionally 70,000 + words) that focuses on the romantic relationship and is targeted for release as a standalone title. The romance should be central to the story development. Plots may include suspense, thriller or mystery elements as an integral part of the love story.

Category/Short Romance – A novel where the primary focus highlights the romantic relationship as the central part of the story and the novel length is between 40,000 and 70,000 words in length. Plots may include suspense, thriller or mystery elements as an integral part of the love story.

Inspirational Romance – A novel where spiritual or religious beliefs blend with the plot to form a significant part of the love story. The character’s journey should include not only inward and outward character growth,  but also spiritual growth. The romance should be central to the story development and can include historical, suspense/mystery, or contemporary elements.

Historical Romance – A novel set in any time period and any location prior to 1945. The romance should be central to the story development. Suspense or mystery elements can be included within the plot as long as the historical setting remains uncompromised and the love story remains the central focus of the plot.

Paranormal/Fantasy Romance*– A novel in which paranormal/fantasy elements are integral parts of the plot. The paranormal/fantasy elements should blend with the love story. Urban Fantasy Romances also fit into this category. Urban Fantasies might not have a Happily-Ever-After at the end but must elude to a potential one at the end of the series. Examples of such Urban Fantasies: Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series, Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress series.

*Paranormal/Fantasy elements could include, but are not limited to, new worlds or universes, mysticism, angels and demons, ghosts/goblins/ghouls, vampires and zombies, or shapeshifters. Also, any story where science and its application or experimentation leads the story into fantastical and extraordinary events can be classified as having paranormal elements.

Young Adult Romance – A novel with romantic themes interwoven with young adult issues and concerns to form the central part of the story. Young adults between the ages of 12-19 should be the targeted audience. Plots can include, but are not limited to, elements such as paranormal, suspense/thriller, or mystery.

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements – A novel that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories. While there is a romance – or multiple romances, it is not a driving force to the plotline or central to the storyline. Novels written in varying tone, styles, and time periods can be considered eligible for this category. Commercial fiction, literary fiction, suspense/mystery/thriller fiction, or novels with thematic or emotional elements, including women’s self-discovery or emotional life journey where romance is present in the story but not the central focus, can be considered in this category. Must include an HEA or happy for now ending.

Romantic Novella – A Novella is a completed work of fiction of 20,000 to 40,000 words. Any genre of romance may be submitted into this category so long as it meets with the requirements of that category. For example, a Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Novella must meet the word count requirements but also the requirements of the Paranormal/Fantasy Romance category as listed above.

And finally…

If you already entered . . . why . . . THANK YOU! 😉 I’m the Maggie Chair this year. I have been a coordinator of both the published and unpublished Maggies for a few years. I promise . . . this contest is amazeballs!

Please enter today . . . you’ll be glad you did!

Living Your Dream

This week I’m in Atlanta for the Georgia Romance Writers’ Moonlight & Magnolias Conference. I’m eager to spend quality time with so many talented authors and aspiring writers. The best part of the conference will be making new friends and reacquainting myself with old ones. These folks rock! You see, I can always tell who the strong people are…they’re the ones I see building one another up instead of tearing each other down. When everything you’ve ever wanted in this life is on the other side of fear, it’s nice to know these awesome and talented people have your back. Yay! xOxO GRW!

Let’s do a HaPpY DaNcE – Invoke Me is a Fire & Ice Contest Finalist!

Hey y’all!

Sometimes, you wonder…Is sitting at your computer, in the wee hours of the morning, sippin’ coffee, and click clacking away on the computer  amounting to much of anything? Well, other than avoiding the treadmill in the basement, of course. Mine collects some serious dust..!

And then, you get the email…

I’m a finalist in the amazing, prestigious and hella-exciting Romance Writers of America (RWA) – Chicago-North Chapter – Fire & Ice Romance Contest! For my first stand-alone book in the TALES FROM THE VIRGIN VAULT SERIES – INVOKE ME.

It’s time for a HaPpY dAnCe!

Yay! So honored and blessed to final with two other great writers in my New Adult Category. Congratulations to Jenny Applegate and Amy DeLuca! 

Many thanks to the Fire & Ice judges – you volunteered your most valuable time to read my manuscript! Wow! I’m tapping my happy feet just for you! 😉

CYA all in Chicago 4/25-26! If not then, then RWA in Texas this summer!

Welcome to the Virgin Vault™!

The nickname ‘Virgin Vault’ is something my friends and I used to affectionately call our Capitol Hill home because it was a dormitory solely for young, single girls. My Virgin Vault series explores the transformation of innocent, young women starting their careers in the complex and cutthroat world of Capitol Hill.

I needed the play on words to capture the series’ essence and ‘virgin’ came to mind. A virgin conjures up the image of someone new to, or inexperienced in, a specified field as well as is synonymous with innocence. I wanted the series to be loosely based upon my first impression of working on Capitol Hill, complete with a smoking hot romance.

The TALES FROM THE VIRGIN VAULT series grapples with issues such as: leaving home, making grown up decisions, trusting yourself out in the ‘real world,’ your first real job, tackling valid decisions such as sex before matrimony, vacillating between missing your family and hating them for making you strike out on your own, etc.

I’d love to give away a $10 gift certificate to a commenter. Remember, if you comment on my blog, in addition for a chance to win the $10 gift card just by commenting on this blog post, you are automatically awarded one entry into my next giveaway – see my FUN STUFF section for more details!

Tell me—what was it like to move away from home and embark on your first career job? Did you ever have second thoughts? What pushed your buttons to make you toughen it out or flee the scene and return to your friends and family? What tempted you to walk on the wild side and embark on such an exciting adventure in the first place? Did your parents make you do it or did you have a burning desire to pursue a career that would lead you down a new path away from the familiar?

One commenter will be randomly selected to win. Winner will be posted on my blog so check back often.

Thanks for checking out my post!