The Beacon Contest


Contest runs August 1-31 and is limited to the first 125 entries received. The deadline will NOT be extended unless in a case of man-made or natural disasters. Open to all authors of romantic fiction. Published authors are eligible to enter any category in which they have not been contracted and/or published in book length fiction (40,000 words and over) in the last 3 years.  (Self-published authors are considered published.) Finalists announced by October 15th.  (All finalists will have an opportunity revise their entries before the final round.) Winners announced by December 15th. First place in each category receives a Beacon Lapel Pin. All finalists and winners receive a certificate, and of course – BRAGGING RIGHTS!

2015 Judges

Category Length Romance Agent: TBA Editor: TBA
Contemporary  Romance Agent: Rebecca Strauss–De Fiore & Co. Literary Agency Editor:  Elizabeth Poteet–St. Martin’s Press
Erotic Romance Agent:  Sara Megibow-KT Literary Editor: Kristine Swartz-Berkley
Historical Romance Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan-Sanford J. Greenburger Editor: Madeline Colevita-Grand Central Publishing
Inspirational Romance Agent: Melissa Jeglinski–The Knight Agency Editor: Shana Asaro–Harlequin Love Inspired
Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic Romance Agent: Nalini Akolekar- Spencerhiill Associates Editor: Candace Havens–Entangled Publishing
Romantic Elements Agent: Nalini Akolekar–Spencerhill Associates Editor: TBA
Romantic Suspense Agent: Beth Miller-Writers House Literary Agency Editor: Rebecca Lucash–Harper Collins
Young Adult Romance Agent: Laura Bradford-The Bradford Agency Agency Editor: TBA

First Coast Romance Writers Unpublished Beacon contest:

  •    All entries will be judged by two trained judges. At least one of them will be a published author.
  •    Each finalist will be judged by some of the top editors and agents in the romance industry.
  •    Finalists will have an opportunity to revise the contest entry based on judges’ comments before the final round.
  •    Each entrant will receive their overall ranking compared to other entrants in their category.
  •    Our 2015_Beacon_Unpublished_Scoresheet is designed to provide detailed critique and feedback

Judges: First round will be judged by at least one published author and one trained judge. In the case of a discrepancy that is 20 points or great, a third judge will be brought and the lowest score will be dropped. The final round will be judged by at least one acquiring editor and agent in each category except for Erotic Romance. Erotic Romance final round entries will be judged by two acquiring editors. Final round judges are subject to change when unavoidable. Eligibility: Open to all authors of romantic fiction. Published authors are eligible to enter any category in which they have not been contracted and/or published in book length fiction (40,000 words and over) in the last 3 years.  (Self-published authors are considered published.) RWA membership is not required for entry. Contest is limited to the first 125 entries.


  1. Download and complete Entry_Form_2015 .
  2. Use Paypal (with Entry_Form_2015)
  3. Email registration form and entry pages as RTF documents to

Fee: $25 FCRW members, $30 RWA member (not FCRW), $35 non-RWA member

Beacon Contest Fee

RULES & DEFINITIONS Entry: First 25 pages of the manuscript. The entrant may also include an optional 5 page synopsis for a maximum of 30 pages. (Synopsis will not be judged.) The Unpublished Beacon accepts electronic entries only. FCRW recognizes an author as being published the same way as RWA National does. Unpublished writers are those“… who have not accepted a publishing offer for a work of original fictional narrative prose of 40,000 words or more…” by August 31, 2015. CATEGORIES: Contemporary Length Series – Focuses primarily on the romantic relationship, released as part of a series, set after 1945 Contemporary Romance–Single Title (over 70k words) – Focuses primarily on the romantic relationship, released as a single title, set after 1945 Erotic Romance – The sexual relationship is an integral part of the plot, but may also contain elements of other subgenres Historical/Regency – Focuses primarily on the romantic relationship, set in any time period prior to 1945 Inspirational – Spiritual beliefs (in context of any belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship Paranormal Romance – Future, fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot Romantic Elements–Contains a strong romantic element, such that one or more romances contained in the story form an integral part of the story’s structure, but in which other themes or stories may also be significantly developed. Romantic Suspense – Suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot Young Adult Romance – Strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers Questions? For more information please contact the Unpublished Beacon Chair at


Category Length Series (All except Suspense and Adventure)

2014    n/a (not enough entries)
2013   The Ren by Sarah Bailey
2012   Sex and Insensibility by Maggie Preston
2011    The Script, Cherie Marks
2010    n/a (not enough entries)
2009    The Charm Offensive, by Peter Andrews
2008    A Woman of Her Word, by Deborah Macias
2007    Desperate Favors, by Vonnie Kennedy
2006    Nemesis in the Night, by A. J. Stewart

Contemporary Romance (Single Title)

2014   The Dream by Jennifer Doyle
2013   Why Can’t This Be Love? by Lee Kilraine
2012   Going All the Way by Heidi Ulrich w/a Megan Ryder
2011    Saving Captain Marsh, by Caro Carson
2010    Beauty and the Ballplayer, by Arlene Hittle
2009    How to Marry a Kajillionaire, by Jenny Bernard
2008    Extreme Love, Jennifer Mackin
2007    Public Relations, by Amy Atwell
2006    Tough Love, by Christie Craig

Erotic Romance

2014   Getting Evan by Abigail Sharpe*
2013   His Law To Obey by Reagan Phillips
2012   n/a (not enough entries)
2011    Legally Mastered, by Sarah Castille
2010    The Barn Dance, by Camryn Rhys
2009    Vampire Vacation, by C.J. Ellisson
2008    The Surrender of Lacy Morgan, by Suzanne Welsh
2007    The Love Genie, by Judi Phillips
2006    Love Heals All, by Carolyn Ellis

Historical / Regency

2014   Lessons in Scandal by Crystal Eliot
2013   Deal With The Devil by Cindy St. James
2012   Wicked Things by Leah Cavendish
2011    Sense and Seduction, by Thomasine Rappold
2010    Deception of a Highlander, by Madeline Martin
2009    Never Too Late, by Karen Dobbins
2008    A Knight in Her Arms, by Oberon Wonch
2007    The Devil’s Virtue, by Laura Williams
2006    Mesquite Tree, by Kathleen Warner


2014   n/a (not enough entries)
2013   n/a (not enough entries)
2012   In the Light of Day by Kristy Cambron
2011    Madeline’s Protector, by Gayle Vanessa Link
2010    Hotshots, by Rebecca Lynn
2009    Faith, Family and the Girl Next Door, by Susan Diane Johnson
2008    Love on Assignment, by Cara Slaughter
2007    n/a (not enough entries)
2006    To Win a Gladiator, by Carla Hughes

Paranormal Romance

2014   Stalking Horse by Alleyne Dickens
2013   A Rip In Time by Helen Pilz
2012    Howlin’ Hearts by Kristal Hollis*
2011    Mated by Magick, by Kat Bastion
2010    Chosen, by Denise Swank
2009    Bad Girl, by Cathy Pegau
2008    A Sweet but Deadly Desire, by Laurie Thompson
2007    Shadow Horse, by Mary Rhyan
2006    Shrouded in Mystery, by Carol Webb

Romantic Suspense / Contemporary Series: Suspense and Adventure

2014   Sins of the Past by Babette de Jongh
2013   Worth Running For by Kairee Taylor
2012   Double Trick by Ava Milone*
2011    Small Town Storm, by Elise K. Ackers
2010    Bad Vibes, by June Faver
2009    Blowdown, by Jeanan Glazier Davis
2008    A Killer Match, by Linda Heller
2007    Jayhawk Down, by Sharon Calvin
2006    Secret Stranger, by Kathleen Mix

Romantic Elements

2014   The Phoenix Syndrome by Claire Gem
2013   One More Breath by Pamela Kopfler
2012   The Day The Merry-Go-Round Stopped by Orly Konig-Lopez
2011    Damn Enchanted Evening, by E.J. Russell
2010    Twenty-Eight and a half Wishes, by Denise Swank
2009    The Lake Effect, by Gabrielle Luthy
2008    All for One: When the Bough Breaks, by Chris Keniston
2007    Flaherty’s Crossing, by Kristina McMorris & Linda Yoshida
2006    Mermansk, by Alan Chaput

Young Adult Romance

2014   Silver Sun Amber Moon by S.A. Tudhope
2013   Macha And The River Blue by Barbara Gerry
2012   Whose Truth by E. Lane
2011    Forget Tomorrow, by Pintip Dunn
2010    Running Lean, by Diana Sharples
2009    Venetian Blind, by Natalie Dias Lorenzi