TODAY is the LAST DAY to enter the 2015 Weta Nichols Writing Contest!

The countdown has begun. Don't miss out! Submit your entry to the 2015 Weta Nichols Writing Contest TODAY!

Submit the first chapter (up to 2,500 words) of your unpublished novel to win prizes and a chance to be read by the agent or editor serving as our final judges. Louise Fury, an agent with The Bent Agency, will judge Historical and Young Adult/Middle Grade. Candace HavensEditorial Director with Entangled Publishing, will judge Contemporary and Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy.

Contest is open to both published and unpublished authors, but the piece submitted must be unpublished (traditional, self-pub, or e-pub) and not under contract to be published. Entries are open genre and not required to contain romantic tones. Categories in which entries may be judged are:

  • Historical
  • Contemporary
  • Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade.

Membership in Ozarks Romance Authors is not required in order to enter. There will be three prizes awarded in each category:

  • 1st place – $75 and a 1-Year ORA Membership (a $25 value)
  • 2nd place – $50
  • 3rd place – $25.

Please read all guidelines carefully. If you have questions about the rules, please email us at OzarksRomanceAuthors@gmail.com with WETA QUESTION in the subject line.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions About Our 2011 Annual Fiction Writers' Contest

Each year, Ozarks Romance Authors is asked a lot of the same questions about our annual fiction writers' contest, which is named in honor of one of our founders, the late novelist Weta Nichols. As we receive more questions via our Facebook and Twitter pages, we will post the answers here for reference.

Details about the 2011 contest, including guidelines for submission, are available by clicking HERE.

Q: When is the deadline? A: Midnight USA Central Time on May 23, 2011. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: I don't write romance. Can I still enter? A: Yes! Contest is open to all fiction genres. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: I'm not a member of your writers' group. Can I still enter the #writing #contest? A: Absolutely! http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Must I live in the USA to enter? A: No! We've had entries from all over the world. They just need to be in English. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Is it true that published authors can't enter the #writing #contest? A: No. Pub authors are welcome to enter. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: I placed in another #writing #contest. Can I still enter? A: Yes, as long as the piece you submit is unpublished. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Who are the judges? A: Final round judges are lit agent Louise Fury and Avalon editor Lia Brown. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Do I send my entire manuscript to enter the #writing #contest? A: No, just the first 10 pages. Details here: http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Can I enter your #writing #contest online? A: Yes! All of the details are here: http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: I've never heard of your #writers #group. Are you new? A: No. We're a nonprofit in Missouri USA, founded in 1987. http://ow.ly/4mWt9

Q: Isn't the deadline for your #writing #contest May 16? A: No, we extended it to May 23, 2011, due to a PayPal glitch. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Is your #writing #contest open to writers outside of the USA? A: Yes! As long as the manuscript is in English. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: I can't come to your #annual #conference in July. Will I be disqualified? A: No! Winners need not be present to win. http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Are there prizes available for your #writing #contest? A: Yes! $100 1st, $50 2nd, $25 3rd. Info here: http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Does the cover page count as 1 of my 10 pages? A: No. The 10 pages should begin with page 1 of your manuscript.

Q: Should I include my dedication page? It's very special to me. A: No. Your 10-page limit is prime real estate. Drop us into the story.

Q: Should I use my favorite font on my submission? A: No. Instructions are available here: http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: I didn't see details on single space vs. double space. A: This is addressed here: http://ow.ly/4lYIt

Q: Is there a theme my novel must follow to be included? A: No. Any genre is welcome. No non-fiction or poetry.

Q: Can I enter via US mail? A: Yes, but we prefer emailed submissions, as do most editors.

Q: I'm not good at proofing or editing. Can I still enter? A: Yes, but proofing and editing are part of the writing process. Judges won't polish manuscript for you.

Q: I need to include a few paragraphs to set up the story and let the judge know what's going on. Should I count this page as 1 of the 10 pages? A: Your 10 pages should be the first 10 pages of the manuscript. There shouldn't be a need to share info with the judge to set up the story. The story should be strong enough to stand on its own, without explanation.

Q: I entered your contest and I'm thinking about coming to the conference. Can I register online? A: Yes! Details about the speakers, their topics, and a link to register online are HERE.

Q: I have a really great non-fiction book. I think your judges will really like it. Can I enter? A: We are only accepting fiction for this contest. If you are interested in submitting non-fiction, Ozarks Romance Authors publishes its own magazine, and accepts non-fiction, fiction, essays, articles, recipes, artwork, and photography by members. If you're interested in becoming a member in order to particpate in this publication, you are welcome to visit one of our monthly meetings or email us for more information. Click HERE for information about our magazine. Click HERE for information about our monthly meetings, and/or email us at OzarksRomanceAuthors@gmail.com.

Q: How will winners be notified? A: Winners will be announced at our 2011 Annual Conference scheduled for Saturday, July 23, 2011, at The Clarion Hotel Conference Center in Springfield, Missouri. If you are not able to attend, you will be notified via email. We will ask winners for their mailing addresses so that we can send their certificates and prizes.

Q: I'm interested in entering next year. Will you notify me when submissions are accepted?A: The easiest way for you to find out about our 2012 contest and conference would be to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Click HERE to follow us on Facebook. Click HERE to follow us on Twitter.

Q: I have a question that is not addressed here. How can I get in touch with someone? A: Email us at OzarksRomanceAuthors@gmail.com, or call and leave a message at (417) 597-4716 and we will return your call.

Author Jennifer Jakes makes an appearance on Barbara Bettis' Writers' Wednesday series

Novelist Jennifer JakesBarbara Bettis' popular blog series, Writers' Wednesday, continues! This week, fellow Ozarks Romance Authors member Jennifer Jakes is Barb's guest. To read the interview (including an excerpt from Jennifer's book, "Rafe's Redemption"), click HERE.

JENNIFER JAKES Jennifer Jakes describes herself as a chronic insomniac who got used to making up stories while waiting to fall asleep. "It was a lot more interesting than counting sheep. Maybe too interesting, because I started staying awake so I could figure out 'what happened' to my characters. For the sake of my health, I began writing the stories on paper - during the day. So far it's working out pretty good:)"

"Rafe's Redemption" was a 2010 Golden Heart finalist, grand prize winner in the Gateway to the Best contest, first place winner in the Gateway to the Best contest, and second place winner in ORA's Weta Nichols fiction contest.

In addition to ORA, Jennifer is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Missouri Romance Writers of America (MoRWA).

Visit Jennifer's web site by clicking HERE. Her blog, featuring Man Candy Monday, is available by clicking HERE. http://barbarabettis.blogspot.com/2011/04/writers-wednesday-welcomes-jennifer.html

BARBARA BETTIS Barbara Bettis is an award-winning author of historical fiction, and a long-time instructor of English and journalism at the college level.

She lives in the Missouri Ozarks. In addition to membership in Romance Writers of America, she is active in several writers’ groups in the area, including Ozarks Romance Authors.

Visit Barb’s blog by clicking HERE. Her main web site is HERE.

Be sure to check Barb’s blog for future Writers’ Wednesday features! Writers' Wednesday with Jennifer Jakes

Novelist Weta Nichols, founder of Ozarks Romance Authors

Weta Nichols, novelist and founder of Ozarks Romance Authors in Springfield, Missouri.Weta Nichols launched Ozarks Romance Authors in 1987 in Springfield, Missouri, with the goal of encouraging writers in southwest Missouri who were interested in the art of writing for the romance fiction industry.

As the popularity of the industry grew, the membership and its outreach grew. Members achieved various levels of success in the publishing industry, and the organization gave back to the community by donating to scholarship funds with the Writers Hall of Fame, with its headquarters in Springfield, Missouri.

Weta (pronounced "WEE-ta") was devoted to the group and its members until her death in the spring of 2008 at age 84.

Weta was a Texan by birth, but lived in many different places. Her husband's work took them to many states, plus Peru, South America. She soon felt that writing letters and journaling wasn't enough. She wanted to include the many places she had been in stories, and she began learning the basics of writing. She attended a Romance Writers of America conference in Dallas, Texas, and was then inspired to form Ozarks Romance Authors.

She called the Missouri Ozarks her home for the last 18 years of her life. Her family included 1 son, 2 grandsons, and 1 great-granddaughter at the time of her passing. According to one of her publishers, Whiskey Creek Press, Weta was "described as a person with determination, grit and perseverance."

She published many articles for both magazines and newsletters. Her repetoire included short stories and novellas, and several novels, including the Whiskey Creek Press Number One Bestseller, "Cutter's Woman."

Her books are still available in many places, including Whiskey Creek Press and Amazon.com. Several of her books are also available in print and Nook editions at Barnes & Noble.

Members of Ozarks Romance Authors continue the tradition of holding an annual fiction writing contest, which was renamed The Weta Nichols Writing Contest in her honor, as a way to acknowledge talented authors and the industry that meant so much to her. Winners are announced each summer at the writers' group's annual conference in Springfield, Missouri.

What did reviewers say about Weta's work?

Review For BELINDA'S LOVE by Weta Nichols

“Lawlessness, prejudice, and love permeate the pages of BELINDA’S LOVE. This novel takes the reader to Pioche, Nevada in 1875 where “bad guys” abound as the lure of the Nevada silver mines brings in a motley assortment of people. Both the newcomers and the old-timers are less than admirable in their dealings with their fellowman. Belinda’s low self-esteem, due to the way people treat her because of her ethnicity, is a strong thread in the makeup of the story. At times, I read with a sense of urgency as I looked for her to become aware of her own self-worth. Prejudice, as it was at that time, comes through loud and clear.

Both men and women are culpable and inflect much underserved cruelty on Belinda and her family.

The parade of adversaries that both Belinda and Rich have to deal with kept me turning pages. If you enjoy a story of the early days of settling the West and of how love blooms among a multiplicity of thorny problems, BELINDA’S LOVE is it.”

– Camellia, The Long And Short Of It Reviews

Reviews For CUTTER'S WOMAN by Weta Nichols

"Cutter's Woman is a romantic story that carries the reader into the lives of two lonely characters who have lost so much in their years. They’re just trying to find happiness with each other. The setting and landscape are so brilliantly detailed, as are all the secondary characters, that the reader can’t help but feel a part of this rare read. The ending almost makes you swoon; such a perfectly packaged romance that feels good all over. I loved that Maggie never regretted going to Wyoming and marrying a man like Cutter. Weta Nichols composes a delightful story that reaches out and pulls at the heart. She weaves in characters that jump right from the pages. It was so in-depth, the way Cutter claimed her for his woman. This book is a rare find and a keeper." Reviewed by: Linda L 5 Angels Fallen Angel Reviews

"This is an excellent historical romance. Ms. Nichols described the country and the era vividly. The characters are exceptionally written with plenty of history and emotions. Secondary characters pull up from the back to enhance this tale with plenty of excitement of a ranch life of this time of history. Sensual romance scenes ties all of this up, making is a wonderful read."

Wateena 4 cups Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Review For HONEY'S LOVE by Weta Nichols

Ms. Nichols’ story is one of hardship, love and acceptance, The author’s attention to detail lets the reader picture the scene so well that they can almost smell the flowers, feel the rain falling and sweat from the heat of the hot sun. Ms. Nichols gives the readers some historical events along with the story that only make it more believable and help it to flow smoothly from one scene into the next without a hitch.

Reviewed by: Donna - 5 Angels