May 05, 2021

I'm an Official Judge! / IWSG


2021 IWSG Anthology Contest Details


Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 5000-6000 

Genre: Sweet Romance

Theme: First Love

Submissions Accepted: May 7 - September 1, 2020


How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group. You must belong to at least one aspect of the IWSG to enter.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Our Official Judges:

Author Nancy Gideon

Nancy Gideon is the award-winning bestseller of over 70 romances ranging from historical, Regency, and series contemporary suspense to dark paranormal and horror, with a couple of produced screenplays and non-fiction writing books tossed into the mix. She’s also written under the pseudonyms Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West, and Lauren Giddings.


Agent Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates

Caitlin Blasdell has been a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates since 2002 with a focus on commercial fiction. Before becoming an agent, she was a senior editor at HarperCollins Publishers.


Author Susan Gourley

Susan Gourley is traditionally published in fantasy and science fiction romance using the name Susan Kelley. She is currently serving as the President of the Pennwriters writing group renowned for the annual conference.


Agent Melissa Gaines, Victress Literary


Author Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She has published nine novels and two short stories, including Behind the Catcher’s Mask as part of the IWSG Masquerade Anthology.


Agent Rachel Beck, Liza Dawson Associates

Rachel Beck joined Liza Dawson Associates in January 2020 after working at a boutique literary agency for four years. She has been in the publishing industry since 2009 and worked at Harlequin editing romance novels for nearly six years before transitioning her skills to the agent world in order to be an advocate and champion for authors.

Author Chrys Fey

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. Hurricane Crimes, Book One, is an award-winning romantic-suspense novella.


Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Dancing Lemur Press' imprint Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. (Please see their site for general submission guidelines.) Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

This is our seventh anthology contest! In addition to Dark Matter: Artificial, previous titles include Voyagers: The Third Ghost, Masquerade: Oddly Suited, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, Hero Lost” The Mysteries of Death and Life, and Parallels: Felix Was Here.




I am excited to read and judge the shortlist, and I am honored to be a judge among such amazing authors and agents.



  1. Congrats!! That's a fantastic lineup of judges for the anthology!

  2. Congratulations to all the authors. I think a new anthology is a wonderful thing. Happy IWSG Day, Chrys.

  3. Congrats Chrys on being one of the judges.

  4. Congratulations on being named a judge. I'll probably enter a story for the contest.

  5. Congrats and good luck on being a judge.

    Take care.

  6. Congratulations, Chrys!! You'll do a fantastic job!!

  7. Congrats on being a judge! You'll be awesome!

  8. Congrats on being a judge! It makes perfect sense :)

    I'll have to think about this one. "Sweet romance" is pretty far out of my genre. Though come to think of it, I believe the romance in my mystery series has been described that way...

  9. Congratulations! No pressure, though...

  10. Great news, Chyrs! How exciting to be a judge...I don't envy you though, with all the INCREDIBLE IWSG writers entering...Good Luck!

    1. Oh, yes, it'll be hard to narrow down my favorites because they will all be good. :)

  11. Congratulations on being chosen as a judge. Lots of reading is in your future.

    1. I had read many entries from the first competition when I was an administrator, so I'm prepared. :)

  12. Glad you are one of our judges!
    And sorry, but this post just showed up in my Feedly this morning!

    1. No worries, Alex! I am slow to participate in the hop this month.

  13. You'll be a great judge. (And probably mentally editing as you read. LOL)

  14. Hi Chrys - congratulations - and I love Diane's comment! Just enjoy all the stories ... stay safe - Hilary

  15. Congratulations - happy judging!

  16. Thank you, everyone, for your comments! <3

  17. Enjoy your judgeship, your Honor!

  18. Woohoo! Congrats to making it to Judgedom! So excited!