The Catherine 2014

(formerly the Original Golden Opportunity Contest)

The Catherine is a great way to get your writing in front of some of the industry’s top editors. Many prior finalists have received requests from the final round judges. All entrants receive three comprehensive score sheets from the first round judges.

Our contest has been renamed The Catherine to honour the late Catherine Witmer. A member of RWA since 1996, Catherine was an incredible proponent of the romance genre through her work as a Romantic Times reviewer. She also served as president of the Toronto Romance Writers in 1999 and 2001. A portion of the proceeds raised by The Catherine will be donated to Canadian literacy.

Every writer who enters comes away a winner:

  • All entrants receive three comprehensive score sheets from the first round judges. Judges are encouraged to make detailed comments explaining their scores.
  • Score sheets will be returned to entrants in mid to late July – in time to revise manuscripts before the Golden Heart entry deadline.
  • Category finalists will have two weeks after notification to revise their entries before they are forwarded to the final round judges.
  • Winners in each category are entered into the Gold Ticket competition.

I just wanted to share with you that I did end up signing a three-book deal with Grand Central after being a finalist in this contest! Thank you so much for providing this opportunity to get my work in front of editors. It definitely made a big difference for me!”  Sara Richardson, Finalist
Sara’s entry, The Art of Persuasion, placed FIRST in the Strong Romantic Elements category of The Catherine 2013

Check out our page of Past Contest Winners.


Categories and 2014 Final Round Judges:

Contemporary Series Romance – Megan Long, Harlequin

Contemporary Single Title Romance – Esi Sogah, Kensington

Historical Romance – Katherine Pelz, Berkley

Paranormal, Fantasy, Futuristic – Brenda Chin, Belle Books

Romantic Suspense – Leah Hultenschmidt, Grand Central Publishing

Strong Romantic Elements – Kerri Buckley, Carina Press

Young Adult – Karen Chaplin, HarperCollins Children’s Books

New Adult – Megha Parekh, Grand Central Publishing

Gold Ticket Round

Category winners are entered into the Gold Ticket competition judged by Kristin Nelson from the Nelson Literary Agency. The Gold Ticket winner will receive a three-chapter critique by New York Times Bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

It’s rare indeed when every single entry is good enough to win and also good enough to be published. Because it seems to happen every year when I judge the Toronto Gold Ticket Contest, I expect no less from entries that make the final round.” Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency


Entries must be received by April 30, 2014, 11:59 pm EST

Please read the Contest Rules & Regs before submitting your entry. In the case of discrepency between the web-site and these files, the files will be the final point of reference.

Dowloadable Files:

Select the title of each file to download. All forms are in Microsoft Office .doc format. The Rules & Regs are in PDF format.


  • February 1, 2014 – The Catherine 2014 opens for entries
  • April 30, 2014, 11:59, EST – The Catherine 2014 closes for entries
  • Mid to late July, 2014 – Scoresheets will be returned to entrants
  • Category finalists will have two weeks after notification to revise their entries before they are forwarded to the final round judges.


Complete the Entry Form and don’t forget to type author name(s) on the signature line of the form. The entry form should be a .doc format.

Change the file name to Your Name  EntryForm  Category Entered  eg. Susan Smith EntryForm  Romantic Suspense.

Email your entry to:

In the Subject line of the email type in both the Title of your manuscript entry and the Category entering: e.g. Dancing With Death  Romantic Suspense

Attach the Entry Form in a .doc format only to the email

Attach your Entry (maximum 7500 words) in a .doc format only.  (see below for Submitting Your Entry)


Enter no more than 7500 words, including the synopsis – in a single electronic file in .doc format only. Please check that the file extension is only .doc. It is recommended that your synopsis be no more than 3-5 pages (750-1250 words).

We’re sorry we cannot accept .docx or .rtf formats due to issues with reading these formats on different computers.

Name your document with the Title of your manuscript entry and the Category entering. E.g.  Dancing With Death  Romantic Suspense

Email the .doc document plus a completed entry form (also a .doc) to:

***You should receive confirmation of receipt of your entry from your Category Coordinator within 7 days.

Submit payment via one of the the PayPal buttons below.

NOTE: Only the first 120 entries with payment will be accepted. 

One Entry = First Pages & Synopsis + Entry Form + Payment via PayPal.


After the first round of judging, score sheets will be emailed to entrants in mid to late August.

It is recommended that you Format your manuscript and synopsis using the following criteria as it will be scored!

Standard, professional format:

  • 8.5 x 11 inch page size (A4 accepted for entries from outside North America)
  • 1-inch margins all around
  • Double spaced or set at 25 lines per page
  • 12 pt. Courier/Courier New or Times New Roman font
  • The first page of the prologue (if applicable) and of every chapter must begin one-third of the way down the page (about 4 to 6 double-spaced lines)
  • Header information on every page should include category, title, and page number only
  • Author’s name and/or personal information must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis pages, or the entry will be disqualified.


  • Multiple entries from one writer must each have a separate entry form and fee.
  • Entry must be received within two days of payment.

Fee for TRW members is $25 (above)

Fee for non-TRW members is $30 Canadian (above)



 Only the first 120 entries will be accepted.

*** Only electronic entries in .doc format will be accepted.

***  First pages & synopsis up to 7500 words (no cover page)

***  Payment only through PayPal will be accepted.


If you are interested in submitting to this contest, you must read the Rules and Regulations for The Catherine 2014.

Questions? Send them to
Contest Co-Coordinators: Irene Jordane and Elisabeth Grace

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