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The Opening Round of the 2013 Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Recipe for Success Write-Off with Top Agent, Melissa Jeglinski!

Welcome to the opening day of the 2013 Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Recipe for Success Write-Off Contest.  We are open for entries today and each of the next three Wednesdays.  Please read the complete rules by clicking the Contest TAB at the top of the page under the banner.  Again, please read all the rules on the link above.

WHAT CAN YOU WIN Grand prize is a critique from agent Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency of the first 20 pages of your manuscript and a two page synopsis.  Four runners-up will receive a PFHT cookbook.


A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in English with a writing concentration, Melissa began her career as an editor with Harlequin Enterprises. Looking to work with a variety of authors and genres, she joined The Knight Agency in 2008.  With over two decades experience in the publishing industry, Melissa has fostered her clients to National prominence including a recent Newbery Honor. She is a member of RWA and AAR. Melissa is currently seeking projects in the following areas:  Romance (contemporary, category, historical, inspirational) Young Adult, Middle Grade, Women’s Fiction and Mystery.  Keep up with Melissa at The Knight Agency or Follow Her on Twitter.

HOW TO ENTER In the comments box below this post, put your entry of the first paragraph or up to 100 words of your story.  The first 100 entries posted AT or AFTER midnight, March 6, 2013, Eastern Standard Time, will be accepted.  We will close this week’s round to entries after the first 100 entries or by Friday, March 8, 2013 at midnight EST.

Please note: You are not required to post 100 words.  You may post less.  Instead of just saying the first paragraph, we give you the 100 word option because you may have started with dialogue 

Smile  However, use word count or count each and every word by hand.  Entries over 100 words will be automatically disqualified.

GENRES? Entries may be in any genre except for erotic, science fiction, or as otherwise noted.  For purposes of explanation, we will consider erotic as any work that exceeds the “heat” level of the average Harlequin Blaze. PLEASE NOTE: NO POETRY, CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS, OR SCREENPLAYS.

WHO CAN ENTER Entrants must be unagented at the time of submission and not have published a work of full-length fiction (over 40,000 words) within the last 36 calendar months.

FIRST ROUND WINNERS From this first round of entries, we will choose 10 semifinalists whose names will be posted on Monday, March 11, 2013 by 8:00 PM EST in the comments section  below today’s post.   Winners will need to email us with contact information within 24 hours of their name being posted as a semifinalist.  Remember, if you are not chosen from today’s entries, you may reenter the same work or an entirely different one NEXT WEDNESDAY!

And as a disclaimer, remember: By posting an entry, entrants agree to hold all members of PFHT, Melissa Jeglinski, and The Knight Agency harmless, including for any comments or criticisms including those posted on the blog by guests or others. Winning is not a guarantee of representation.

If you have a question that is not answered by reading the rules at , please feel free to post it in the comments section, BUT enter anyway AFTER YOU HAVE READ THE RULES.  If there is a problem, we’ll remove your entry.  We don’t want you to miss the entry window, so we’d rather have a wrong entry we must remove than for you to not enter.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  ENTER IN THE COMMENT BOX BELOW. List the genre, please (not part of the word count!). (Please note, if you have never posted a comment with us before, yours will be awaiting moderation.  Don’t panic, it will still have an accurate time on it for your place in the contest.)

Have fun!  Enter, and pass the word!

Laura Russell - March 6, 2013 - 3:00 am

The door to the office at the bank banged open abruptly. A man, half-a-foot taller than Annabelle Mendes, stomped out and snarled back over his shoulder, “Thanks for nothing. One hundred and fifty-some years of my family’s loyalty to Bitterman Bank and you’re smiling while saying no to me.” He bumped into Annabelle and turned quickly when her 18-month-old son released a cry. “Forgive me, ma’am.” He reached out to steady her. His hands were cold. That cold sent a shiver up her arms as she observed his soft worn blue chambray shirt and ridiculously long eyelashes.

Sandra Elzie - March 6, 2013 - 6:01 am

Great opening paragraph, Laura. Congrats on being the first to post and good luck.

Can’t wait to read more entries!

Sandy McDaniel - March 6, 2013 - 6:26 am

It’s been an emotional couple of days but yesterday topped them all. As we dug into some of Grandma’s storage, we stumbled across some things that none of us had ever seen. It would prove to change all of our lives and our concept of who we thought our Grandparents really were.
Underneath the last afghan was a box bound with tape. After cutting away all of the tape, I pulled out a hand carved box that looked like a jewelry box, a fragile old book, along with a large bundle of letters tied with a faded red ribbon.

Marilyn Baron - March 6, 2013 - 7:20 am

Oh, this is so exciting. Laura, I love your opening paragraph, too. And Sandy, now you have me wondering about the Grandparents’ secrets. Thank you both for submitting.

Haey Night - March 6, 2013 - 9:34 am

It started again right where it left off. The same people at the usual party, and the familiar feeling of being trapped. Ivy thought she’d moved on, but realized as she walked through the door that she’d only hit the pause button on her life in Fieldston.
Ivy returned from Switzerland that morning after staying away for four years. Already she felt suffocated. The fact that Ivy was waiting for him to walk through the door wassn’t helping her ability to breathe.

Dianna Love - March 6, 2013 - 9:38 am

Best wishes to all the entrants & kudos to Laura and Sandy for jumping on this early. Melissa is a wonderful agent – hope you get to work with her.

Waving hello at my PFHT buddies – your group rocks!!

Hillary Raymer - March 6, 2013 - 10:51 am

Jared Harper was suffocating.

He hooked his thumb underneath the knot of his silk tie and tugged. The stiff, navy blue suit was foreign and constricting. His throat closed against the stagnant, recycled air. Life inside an office instead of out in the field was going to be an adjustment. The buzz of paper shredders replaced the pop of machine guns. There was a lunch room that smelled of old coffee in place of a chow hall. He missed the loose-fitting comfort of his cammies and the worn soles of his combat boots.

Debbie Kaufman - March 6, 2013 - 11:03 am

Keep ‘em coming, folks. AND PLEASE, add your genre for us. In some cases it’s hard to tell.

Maxine - March 6, 2013 - 11:03 am

This is exciting! Right away, I’m wanting to read more. Congratulations to all for entering.

Barbara Edwards - March 6, 2013 - 11:05 am

Sara Jennings halted before the open window. Not a window like home since it had no glass, no screen to close out the lush tropical night. The scent of ginger blossoms and Frangipani wafted through the cracks like a promise of paradise. A shriek of feminine laughter burst from the nearest tavern. When darkness fell abruptly across the island, she made it a point to be safe behind her locked door.
A heavy fist pounded rattled the frame.
“Open up, Mrs. Jennings,” a loud voice demanded. She swallowed the lump of fear clogging her throat.

Jamie K - March 6, 2013 - 12:15 pm

This is the first paragraph to my Upper Middle Grade Science Fiction.

The weight of invisible chains tied Gary to his house as he slammed the front door and led Buster, his Golden Retriever, down the path. No matter how far away he got, his mother always had the innate ability to know when he was about to get into trouble. Today would probably be no different. Although how Gary could get into trouble walking a dog, he had no clue.

Shoshana - March 6, 2013 - 12:40 pm

Genre: YA

Ruby Viper.

I stare at the sleek, stainless steel tube in my hand. I should put it back–I don’t need a new lipstick, especially one that’s named after a venomous reptile. But the deep, vivid red calls to me. It’s as different as you can get from the coral shades my mother uses, and before I can think too much about it, I’m handing the saleswoman $30. It’s only two hours later, when Lys comes over just after I’ve slicked on another coat of the stuff, and my lips start to tingle, that I remember my misgivings.

Emery Hoffman - March 6, 2013 - 1:20 pm

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Second place.

Lark Weaver stared at the scoreboard in horror. Two hundredths of a second. Michaela Mitchell had out-swam Lark by the blink of an eye. Again.

Smiling for the cameras, Lark hugged the swimmers in the lanes next to hers. Heaven forbid reporters catch America’s sweetheart showing a negative emotion. Between her mother’s legacy and her own catastrophic injuries four years earlier, Lark was set to be the feel-good story of the Paris Olympics. The sponsorship deals and interviews were already rolling in.

If only she had the gold medal to back them up.

babybeachblues - March 6, 2013 - 2:01 pm

Contemporary Romance:

If the blob skimming towards her was a shark, Marissa Evans would be dead in a minute- yet the shape of it was all wrong. Not that she was an expert on blobs. Marissa took three careful steps forward, her toes sinking in the soft, wet sand. As the cool waves splashed her waist, she ignored the shouts reaching her from the growing crowd on the shoreline. Marissa held her breath, then quickly let it out when its familiar whiskered face came into view. She knew something big was coming, and it wasn’t just this majestic manatee.

Juliet Martini - March 6, 2013 - 2:35 pm

Genre: Contemporary

The country road continued on beyond the horizon, dropping off into eternity. Not since picking up her rental car in Milan, Dianna hadn’t seen anything resembling civilization in over two hours. A mirage of distant snow covered peaks slowly moved into focus as the car’s dual gauge odometer ticked the miles away.

As her personal nightmare moved farther behind, Diana continued to hash out the fleeting business details linked with her current destination. She still wasn’t sure just how excited she should be. Considering everything was attached to the final outcome of this trip, she really didn’t have an alternative.

Mandy P. - March 6, 2013 - 9:40 pm

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

My shoulders hunch under the weight of my backpack as I near the front door, and I tighten my grip on my trumpet case. I shouldn’t stress. Odds are no one will notice my slipping into the house. Dad’s probably in the basement. Mom’s car isn’t even here so she must be at work. And the twins know better than to get me in trouble—especially about this.

And yet my heart beats unevenly. At this moment, I would sell my soul for the ability to know if anyone stood on the other side of the door.

LouisaCornell - March 6, 2013 - 9:46 pm

Genre : Regency Historical

“What does one call a male whore?” Cain Overley muttered as he counted the thick stack of pound notes on the dressing table.

“Cain?” A somnolent whisper offered from the gauze-draped monstrosity of a bed behind him.

Out of the mouths of sleeping viragos. He chuckled softly. God certainly had a sense of humor. Cain glanced around the plum silk and chintz nightmare his lover called a bedchamber. From the dainty lace-trimmed furniture to the profusion of porcelain shepherdesses dotted atop every flat surface, the room screamed suffocating femininity. And here he stood trapped in the middle of it.

Anne Hendricks - March 6, 2013 - 10:24 pm

Genre: Post Civil War Romance (Reconstruction)

“My winter of discontent,” the Southern soldier in Union blue muttered, shivering in the brutal cold as he rode through the winding hills of Western Kentucky. Covered in December’s sleep, the brush and trees of his land bestowed a blanketed homecoming of welcoming white.

But in reality, the glistening paradise was a frozen hell…like the winters at Camp Douglas, he thought.

Hunger. Desperation. Survival. Betrayal.

Hal Combs had finally come home to what was left of his life—a crazed father, a mortgage on his land, a dead wife, and a black child that bore his name, but wasn’t his.

Laura Russell - March 7, 2013 - 2:23 am

My entry is single title contemporary romance.

Debbie Kaufman - March 7, 2013 - 8:53 am

We officially closed to entries at midnight Eastern Standard Time (think New York). We will reopen next Wednesday and run from midnight to midnight. Stay tuned for this week’s winners. We’ll announce it in the comments here.

Debbie Kaufman - March 7, 2013 - 9:33 am

Okay folks, I’ve received a couple of emails that tell me that something might have glitched on the moderation of comments last night after I went to bed. IF you genuinely submitted an entry BEFORE midnight New York time and it isn’t in the comments, please email me directly dlkaufmanATbellsouthDOTnet

Hey, if yours was just late, be honest and wait till next week to try again :)

Chris Bailey - March 7, 2013 - 9:45 am

I’ll wait until next week!

LaTessa - March 7, 2013 - 10:29 am

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Paris Daniels lay absolutely still.

She refused to open her eyes against the light streaming through the window, ignored the itch dancing across the tip of her nose. She was convinced any movement would kill the lingering buzz flowing. She’d never experienced a dream like this before. It’d felt so real.

Who was she kidding? Reality had never felt this good. And if she could produce fantasies this potent, who needed reality? If she didn’t know better, she’d swear she had a love hangover. Diana Ross was right—if there was a cure for this, she definitely didn’t want it.

Meda White - March 13, 2013 - 10:11 am

Genre: Contemporary (Category Series)

Camilla Don Francisco reviewed the form before she went to retrieve her next client from the lounge: Another doctor. Hopefully, this one wouldn’t suggest they play doctor in lieu of the therapeutic massage he’d scheduled. Working on the Love Boat, as the crew referred to it, had high points and low points, none of which involved wave height.

C. K. Crouch - March 13, 2013 - 2:48 pm

The doorbell sounded through the thin wood of the door. It wouldn’t be hard to bust in and take care of business. However, he wanted to wait. Wait and see the surprise when his friend opened the door.
Earlier he’d confirmed that Teddy was home. Teddy had assured him not only was he home, but he’d appreciate some company since he lived alone. Teddy hadn’t seen any of their squad members in many months.
He turned his head to one side and focused. Yes, his prey was coming to meet the hunter. Excitement coursed through him. His blood pumped.

Debbie Kaufman - March 15, 2013 - 12:26 pm

Please put current entries on that day’s post!

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