All right--I have to confess. There was a period in my life where I was a bit of a contest whore....but I gotta admit, being able to tell your friends you're a finalist in yet another contest is a lot of fun.
These contests were sponsored by various chapters of the Romance Writers of America, except for the Paul Gillette. That's through the Pikes Peak Writers.
The Vampire Hunter -- won the 2005 CONNections contest
2nd place 2006 "Where the Magic Begins"
The Last Place You Look -- 3rd place, contemporary, 2003 Paul Gillette
won the 2006 NYC "Love & Laughter" contest
A Dark and Stormy Knight -- 2nd place, 2004 historical, Paul Gillette
2nd place, 2007 "Happily Ever After"
Family Secrets -- 3rd place 2004 "Romancing the Tome"
Competing in contests is actually a lot of work. You have to format and make sure your entry is exactly what they want--some contests want the first fifteen pages and a short synopsis, for example. The Love & Laughter contest wanted a funny scene.
There are definite benefits to contests--I received good feedback from some, interesting comments from others.
As of this moment, The Vampire Hunter is the only one of these stories that is currently available.
The Last Place You Look is finished but will probably never be published. It was requested by several publishers and went through so many different versions that I am good and sick of playing with it. I've attached a link (click the highlighted title above) so you can read the pages that won the "Love & Laughter" contest.
I stopped work on A Dark and Stormy Knight when it was not requested by any of the final judges. That's sad, because it's half-written and the rest is plotted out. But I'm already writing in so many genres I'm not sure I want to add medieval historicals to the list, too.
Family Secrets is going through final edits and I am submitting it to agents and editors. I'm almost done with the sequel, Skeletons in the Closet.