December 26th, 2007

The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit presents Melissa Senate!

You’re sixteen. A high school junior. A major teen celebrity like Blake Lively or Amanda Duff or Vanessa Hudgens moves into your house for a month and shares your bedroom, your friends, your clothes, your school. Your entire life. And it’s all caught on camera, for all of America to see. This is what happens to Emily Fine in Melissa Senate’s debut young adult novel, THEODORA TWIST (Delacorte Press). One day she’s ordinary nobody Emily Fine, practically invisible to everyone (including her own mother) and the next, she’s roommates with teen idol Theodora Twist and co-star of a TV reality show.

Theodora Twist is Hollywood’s hottest young actress—the girl everyone wants to be. Producers court her, tabloids love her, fans mob her, and US Weekly has covered every catfight with her co-stars, her ongoing feud with her mother, her yo-yo dieting, and her threesome with two Hollywood it-boys. Needless to say, Theodora doesn’t have the best reputation around.

So when Theodora’s publicity team decides to clean up her act with a reality show called Theodora Twist—Just a Regular Teen!, they send Theodora back to her hometown to live with Emily’s family for a month. Theodora has to do everything Emily does: attend high school, care about grades, friends, boys, the prom, zits (as though Theodora has ever had one). And a very unlikely friendship is formed.

Read an excerpt at Random House Teens ( and visit Melissa’s website at

Bio: Melissa Senate is the author of several novels for adults, including the bestseller See Jane Date, which was made into a TV movie. Before becoming a writer, Melissa was a New York City book editor and worked on many teen novels. She now lives on the southern coast of Maine, where outside her door is a foot of fresh snow.

Jenn: Do you write full-time?

Melissa: My secret part-time job is freelance copywriting for a publishing company I used to work for. I write around ten back covers a month (YA and romance novels). Which means I get around ten manuscripts a month to read. Reading so many different authors a month introduces me to different approaches, styles. It’s a great job for a writer.

Jenn: Do you expect to write full-time in the future, and when will that be?

Melissa: I suppose the nature of my freelance job makes me a full time writer. All I do all day is write!

Jenn: Where do you write?

Melissa: I do love my desk! It’s an old-fashioned magohany secretary with all my favorite things: pictures of my son, a photo he took of me when he was four, my little Mac, my ever-present glass of Diet Coke w/lime. I write in my living room because it’s my favorite room.

Jenn: What makes you happiest about writing?

Melissa: I love how magical it is. I’m telling a story that comes straight out of my imagination, mixed with everything I think and am without knowing it.

Jenn: Give us a run-down on all your books. How do you see this new book fitting into the work you’ve produced so far?

Melissa: THEODORA TWIST is my first young adult novel. I’ve written five “chick lit” novels. I have to say, this was the hardest. Getting the voices right. Making their thoughts, their dialogue, everything about them authentic. What’s interesting to me about how Theodora fits in to my line up is that the basic questions, the themes, are very much the same in my adult fiction.

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence: last chance!


Deadline for RECEIPT of entries is January 15. All categories have MADE and will not be canceled.

2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence

The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, sponsored by RWA chapter Southern Magic, was conceived in honor of multi-RITA Winner Gayle Wilson to award excellence in published romance fiction. The contest is judged by avid readers of romance, booksellers, and librarians. The winners of each category are awarded a bookmark engraved with the author’s name and the book’s title. Winners will also be included in a full-page RWR advertisement.

Eligibility: Participation is open to all published authors of novel length romance fiction published by an RWA-eligible publisher. Books must have a copyright of 2007; entries must be received by January 15, 2008. Electronic books may be entered provided they are presented in print book format, published through an RWA-eligible publisher and complete with copyright page produced by the publisher with print on both sides of the page.

Entry fee: RWA Members — $20 for first book; $15 for subsequent books.
Entry fee: Non-RWA Members — $30 for first book; $15 for subsequent books.

Author must provide three copies of the entered book, which will not be returned. Finalists will be notified approximately March 3, 2008. Winners will be announced on April 12, 2008, at the Silken Sands Writers Conference in Pensacola Beach, FL. All finalists receive a certificate. Winners receive an engraved bookmark and inclusion in full page RWR ad. Authors may enter more than one novel; however, the same novel may not be entered in multiple categories. If a category does not receive at least 5 entries, the category will be canceled, and the entrants’ books and entry fees will be returned.

Categories for entry:

Short Contemporary (Under 70,000 Words)
Long Contemporary (Over 70,000 Words)
Single Title Romantic Suspense
Series Romantic Suspense
Paranormal/Fantasy/ Futuristic/Time Travel
Contemporary Single Title
Young Adult
Novella (20,000 – 40,000 Words)

Judging: All entries are judged by avid readers of romance, booksellers, and librarians. The top two scores are added to form the final score. The lowest score is dropped. Ties are broken using the dropped low score.

Books are given to the judges as a “thank you” for judging. They are not returned. Scores and finalist placement are not revealed. Score sheets are not returned. The decision of the judges is final.

Send entries (three copies of book, entry form + entry fee) to:

Jennifer Echols
Contest Coordinator
Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence
P.O. Box 190032
Birmingham, AL 35219

Make checks payable to Southern Magic.


Find details, past winners, and a downloadable entry form at
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