From December 22, 2009 to March 2, 2010, submit the first 1,000 words or less of an unpublished romance, chick lit, or mainstream fiction with romantic elements novel/novella. Each Wednesday, from January 13, 2010 to March 3, 2010, Rachelle Chase will select a finalist from that week’s entries and post the entry on the Finalists page. Visitors are invited to post comments.

Additionally, each Wednesday from January 13, 2010 to March 3, 2010, Leigh Michaels will select one of the non-winning entries for a mini-critique, which will be posted on the Mini-Critique Winners page. Visitors are encouraged to join the discussion of the critique and learn from each other.

After all the finalist entries have been posted, readers will vote from March 3, 2010 to March 10, 2010 for the top three winners. Names of the winners will be posted on March 19, 2010. In addition to winning prizes, each finalist’s submission will be reviewed by the agents/editors belonging to the contest Panel of Experts.

NOTE: Some of past year’s contest entrants became published as a result of the Chase the Dream contest. View the 2006-09 Contest page for details.


Categories: All subgenres of romance, as well as chick lit/mainstream fiction with romantic elements, will be accepted. Entries in other genres will not be considered.

Judging Criteria: Weekly winners will be selected based on an entertaining opening that makes the reader — in this case, Rachelle Chase — want to read more.

Submission: All entries must be:

  • First 1,000 words or less. No exceptions.
  • Unpublished and/or not under contract
  • Emailed to with the submission text pasted in the body of the email. (Due to viruses running rampant on the Internet, entries sent as attachments will not be considered.)

Emailed entries should contain “Chase the Dream Contest Entry” in the subject line. The body of the email should contain the real name or pen name of the entrant, the title of the entry, the subgenre, and the 1,000 word submission. 

Entrants can re-enter non-winning entries or submit new entries each week. However, an author can only enter one entry per week and may not continue to submit entries once (s)he has become a finalist.

Winners of the weekly mini-critiques may not re-submit that particular entry, but may submit the first 1,000 words of a different work.

Entrants who do not want to be considered for the mini-critique must specify this at the beginning of their entry.

Entrant must be the author of the work submitted.

Entrant can be published or unpublished. However, work submitted cannot be published or under contract at the time of entry.

Deadlines: Contest deadlines are as follows:

December 22, 2009 March 2, 2010 Entries accepted
January 1, 2010   Contest officially begins
January 13, 2010 March 3, 2010 Weekly Finalists posted and Mini-Critique winners posted
March 3, 2010 March 10, 2010 Readers vote for winner
March 12, 2010   Winners notified via email
March 19, 2010   Winners and interview posted
March 3, 2010 March 17, 2010 Agents/Editors read and comment on entries
March 19, 2010   Contest ends

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