From a pool of 150 aspiring writers, the works of ten talented authors posted in online serial installments since June 1 have been chosen to continue on in the America’s “Next Best Celler” novel contest, hosted by Dorchester Publishing and The finalists are, in no particular order:

Enchanted Season by Alicia Pace

Stay by Candi Wall

How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde

Confessions of the World’s Oldest Shotgun Bride by Gail Hart

The Hooded Man by Courtney Sheets

Primitive Nights by Candi Wall

Courting Demons by Kerri Nelson

Tossing the Gloves by Christy Finn

Vampire Vacation by C. J. Ellisson 

Muse Struck by Liane Gentry Skye
Over the next two months, the second stage of the contest shall progress. Continue to watch and participate in the process as one exceptional finalist is chosen to win a publishing contract! 

Here’s how the suspense will unfold:

  • For the next few weeks, finalists in coordination with editorial contacts at Dorchester will critique and improve their jacket copy, posting finalized versions at and from November 23– 30. Readers are encouraged to comment and let us know which jacket copy they think is the best and why. We will review these comments and based on this review, announce the fan favorite jacket copy on December 4.
  • On December 11, taking into account all editorial and voting considerations as well as fan comments, Dorchester will announce the Final Five at both www.dorchesterpub.comand
  • Each week, the entries will receive a critique from qualified romance readers, posted to both websites, and one will be eliminated.
  • On January 15th, we will announce our Next Best Celler Grand Prize Winner!


  • Nov. 23 – Finalists’ Jacket Copy posted
  • Nov. 23-30 – Voting for Fan Favorite
  • Dec. 1 – Finalists’ Manuscripts Due to Dorchester Publishing
  • Dec. 4 – Fan Favorite Announced
  • Dec. 11 – Judges Introduced, Final Five Announced
  • Dec. 18 – Fifth Place Announced, with criticism
  • Jan. 4 – Fourth Place Announced, with criticism
  • Jan. 8 – Third Place Announced, with criticism
  • Jan. 15 – Winner and Runner-up Announced














Here ends the official release. 

I can tell you that it wasn’t an easy process to winnow the entries down, and we had a lot of debate over this top 10. 

Over the next few days, Alicia Condon, Chris Keeslar and myself will be going over the summaries for each story and working with the authors to give them marketable back cover copy.  We hope the entrants will find this kind of feedback valuable as they pursue their publishing career. 

Once all the new summaries are posted, we’ll be inviting comments here at RomanticReads for your favorites.

Congratulations to all the finalists, and good luck!