2017 Golden Heart Category Descriptions and Judging Guidelines

All entries must contain a central love story and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

With the exception of Erotic Romance, all categories may have varying levels of sensuality.

 

Contemporary Romance
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are greater than 65,000 words.

 

Contemporary Romance: Short

Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are less than 65,000 words in length.

 

Erotic Romance
Manuscripts in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These manuscripts may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.).

 

Historical Romance
Manuscripts that are set prior to 1950.

 

Paranormal Romance
Manuscripts in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

 

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.

 

Romantic Suspense
Manuscripts in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

 

Young Adult Romance

Manuscripts in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.