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  • Writer's pictureStella Quinn

The RWA Emerald Diaries - the flashbacks continue

As promised, here are the last two instalments in our trip down finalist lane. I also thought it would be fun to share some of the lovely comments reader judges have left, when I asked them their thoughts on judging unpublished manuscripts by aspiring writers. (I have removed their names.)

The RWA Emerald Diaries – Flashback to 2010, 2011, 2012

Whoever said tenacity pays off got it right. Meet romance author Dakota Harrison, three-time Emerald finalist. Dakota came 2nd in 2010, second again in 2011, and bagged a first on the podium in 2012.

I asked Dakota if she was glad she had entered the Emerald competition, and this is what she said:

The Emerald was an enormous help when I was beginning, in particular due to the detailed feedback you get. Over the years it helped me hone my craft and nut out the problems in my story’s pacing and any plot holes. And the year I won, I sold the winning manuscript 😁. I would recommend this contest to anyone, writing in any genre.

You can read more about Dakota’s books on her website, and watch out for Dakota’s upcoming title from Tule Publishing.

So go on ... if you’re interested in honing your craft and nutting out pacing problems like Dakota was ... why not get your entry in? You have 6 more days before the competition closes.

I’ll be back with the last of this season’s RWA Emerald Diary flashbacks in a couple of days. Happy manuscript-polishing,

Stella Quinn xx


The RWA Emerald Diaries – Flashback to 2016

The year is 2016. Suzanne Cass takes the win with her manuscript Island Redemption.

She has gone on to publish her Island Bound series, her Colours of the Earth series, standalone titles, and her Love in the Mountains novella series. Check out her website at to read more (and swoon over the book covers like I did, they are gorgeous).

I reached out to Suzanne this week and asked her if she was glad she entered the Emerald, and this is what she said:

I entered the Emerald a total of five times, finally winning it in 2016. It was all due to the feedback from the amazing judges, even though some of it was painful to read, their comments turned me into a better writer. Entering the Emerald gave me the courage to make the leap, and go on to begin my self-publishing career.

So go on, enter your manuscript. Can feedback be painful to read? Sure. Can it be what you need to step up your writing to be career-ready? It sure can.

This is your last flashback from the RWA Emerald Diaries ... and you have until midnight on Sunday 17 November, 2019 to get your 10000 word entry in. I’m waiting to receive it and wish you luck with entry.

Stella Quinn x


The RWA Emerald Diaries – off on a tangent

Ever wondered what the judges think about being involved in the RWA Emerald? Too scared to let reader judges see your work? You won’t be after this. I’ve been reaching out to our coterie of judges this week and some of their comments have been so lovely, I am sharing them here (*with names removed).

I asked judges if they were happy to judge the Emerald, and here are some of their answers:


“Have been waiting eagerly for this again.”

“I am looking forward to reading some more fabulous entries.”

“Yes please, yes please, yes please.”

“Count me in! I love judging this contest. I am looking forward to the entries that you send to me!”

“My pleasure!”

“Stella, One of my all time favourite stories that ended up winning - no surprise at all is the 20xx(??) entry Forget-Me-Not by Kristine Charles - It is amazing!!”

“Dear Stella, Happy to continue in my role in whatever you choose and need. Love doing this.”

“I am more than happy to stay with you guys and to continue to be a judge.”

“I am all in for continuing to judge for RWA awards.”

So go on, enter the RWA Emerald 2020.

Looking forward to seeing your entry soon,

Stella Quinn xx


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