NEORWA’s 2021 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest has been suspended. Please check back in 2022

2019 Final Round Judges: The finalists in each category will have their entry judged by three industry professionals.

  • Contemporary Long Romance–Rachel Gilmer of Sourcebooks; Alissa Davis of Carina Press; Brittany Lavery of Harlequin
  • Contemporary Short Romance–Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Agency; Latoya Smith of LCS Literary; Dana Grimaldi of Harlequin
  • Historical Romance–Janna Bonikowski of The Knight Agency; Debby Gilbert of Soulmate; Rebecca Strauss of DeFiore and Company
  • Paranormal Romance–Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency; Jana Hanson of Metamorphosis Literary; Amanda Barnett of The Wild Rose Press
  • Mainstream with Strong Romantic Elements–Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary; Julie Dinneen of D4EO Literary Agency; Colleen Oefelein of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
  • Young Adult/New Adult–Lydia Sharp of Entangled; Mary C. Moore of Kimberly Cameron & Associates; Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency
  • Published Author–Char Chaffin of Soulmate; Jennifer Harrington of Lyrical Press; Laurie Kincer, Writers’ Center Specialist @ Cuyahoga County Library

Finalists will be notified in July 2019. Winners will be announced at the Cleveland Rocks Romance Conference on September 7, 2019. All entrants will receive first-round judges’ scores and comments. Winners receive refund of entry fee and winner logo graphic.

NOTE: If you experience connection difficulties within our site or between the NEORWA site and PayPal, please email the contest coordinators at for assistance.

Entrants in Unpublished Author Categories must be unpublished in book-length fiction (minimum 40,000 words) in the last five years. Unpublished means the author or authors have not accepted a publishing offer for, or self-published, a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 words or more. Published Author category open to any unpublished manuscript by an author who meets the above conditions for Published Authors.

Contest Rules

Click here to view the full contest rules

Fee and Payment

Contest fee is $25. You do not need to be a member of NEORWA to enter.
Click here to pay using PayPal.


For all categories, submit the first 5000 words of an unpublished work of fiction. A one to two page (max 500 words) synopsis is optional and will not be counted as part of the entry.

Email your entry form and entry to the contest coordinators at

2019 NEORWA Contest Entry Form-Word Format

2019 NEORWA Contest Entry Form-PDF Format

First Round Judges: Each entry will be judged by three (3) trained judges (we provide our judges with a no-cost online judging workshop before judging begins). The lowest score will be dropped and the top two scores added together to determine a final score. The third score will only be used in the event of a tie.

First Round Sample Score Sheets: Click below to find a sample of the score sheet used by our judges. (The file is available for viewing in pdf format only. Judges will be sent a word document for scoring and commenting.)

2019 CRR Contest Score Sheet

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