Build Your Ideal Romance Listen – a Contest for Valentine’s Day!

Heart Shape cut on Red VelvetValentine’s Day is Saturday and it’s time to turn up the volume on romance. We’re celebrating this year with a five-day contest, asking you to share with us your ideal romance audiobook.

Build Your Ideal Romance Listen 

We’re not talking about an actual title you have listened to. This is the invisible wish list in your head that you use when choosing your next romance listen. Visualize yourself telling an audiobook publisher what elements you most want to see in a romance audiobook and then finish it off by choosing a narrator to perform that ideal listen. This contest is fashioned to allow participation of all our readers/listeners, regardless if you believe you can or can’t write. You are building a romance piece by piece and then adding your own twist.

Preparing Your Entry…

Put your invisible romance audio wish list into writing. Think about starting with a romance sub-genre, add a location, tell us about your desired hero and heroine, and then let your imagination run wild. Are there a lot of secondary characters or does your book concentrate more on the hero and heroine’s relationship? Maybe add a season. Or a world event. Get creative – make it serious or funny or sexy or even suspenseful!

Next, tell us a few narrators who would perform your Ideal Romance Listen

And to finish it up, share with us 3 to 5 of your favorite existing audiobooks!

Once you have composed your Build Your Ideal Romance Listen submission, include it in our easy entry form below, The contest is open until midnight CST Friday, February 13, 2015. AudioGals will announce the winners Monday, February 23rd.


The Prize Packages

All entries will be judged by AudioGals with first, second, and third place winners. We’ll publish the winning entries at AudioGals the week of February 23rd. And the fun continues throughout 2015 with single winners possible (more about that below).


First prize          Your choice of 10 (Ten) Tantor downloads

Second prize      Your choice of 5 (Five) Tantor downloads

Third prize          Your choice of 3 (Three) Tantor downloads


Tantor downloads are easy these days and the selection is large. Brenda has a new Gal Tech leading you through downloading Tantor titles to iTunes. Tantor has also recently introduced new mobile playback options. On a trial run this new option worked smoothly from Brenda’s iPhone.

During 2015, AudioGals will occasionally publish selected entries (other than the first, second, and third place winners). Spot your entry and contact us within 48 hours of its publication and you win a Tantor download of your choice!


Now for the Inspiration

Heart Puzzle lgTo help get those creative juices flowing in your mind, we have a partial list of plot elements you often see in the romance genre. Of course, it’s only to start you down the road of composing your ideal listen. As romance fans, we always hope for more than just the usual.

  • What is the romance sub-genre?
  • Where does is take place?
  • Is your hero more the Alpha type or does a Beta hero or even a Gamma hero better fit your preferences?
  • Is your heroine kickass or kinda sweet? What about reasonable, assertive, over-emotional, funny, or a workaholic?
  • Is the Steam level important to you?
  • More humor or drama?
  • Is it high on the action? Is there suspense around every corner? Or is it more of a calming listen with the suspense reserved for the romance?
  • Is the hero or heroine besotted? Did they know each other as children or have they been involved romantically before?


Now for a Few Sample Entries!

For those of you who remain a little unsure about the format of your entry, Brenda, Melinda, and I have written sample entries. You will find that each is quite different from the others (we didn’t plan it that way – it just happened).


My ideal audiobook: The setting is contemporary – containing supernatural elements. My hero would be Alpha but not a jerk – a dominate male who needs the one to catch his heart. To be the one, the heroine stands side by side with her man. She’s kickass in having the ability to defend herself and those she loves. Enough steam to keep the romance interesting but I don’t need details. Funny one liners or scenes to balance the action/suspense angle. The romance is compelling even if it’s a slow build in the background. These elements add up to an Urban Fantasy series – my perfect listen.

Narrators: Renee Raudman, Tom Stechschulte, or Susan Erickson

Favorites: Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series and JD Robb’s In Death series


I have fashioned my entry into three styles/formats for the same Ideal Romance Audiobook – all equally acceptable.

If you want to write out your entry in paragraph style…

Picture a cabin in the Catskill Mountains. It’s summer and a man sits on the covered front porch with a large tabby cat lounging on the porch rail. He’s drinking a cup of coffee watching a rental car drive up his dirt drive. Out steps an unfamiliar woman who clearly has something on her mind yet is hesitant to voice it. He sighs deeply, knowing he’s been found and his services will be requested. Frequently, as a doctor of psychology, those seeking help for a family member are the very ones in greatest need. He’s not happy that his sabbatical is now suddenly at an end.

Her son Corey needs help. If only she can convince this man to spend time with Corey, she knows he can make a difference. She’s been attempting to find the prominent doctor for months now as her son has worsened, drawing into himself. If the doctor doesn’t want to leave these mountains, she’s found accommodations only a few miles away. Corey could benefit from the fresh air and wilderness and, best of all, his supposed friends would be far away.

Told more from the hero’s POV, I envision a male narrator – Victor Slezak, Tom Stechschulte, or Kaleo Griffith. However, Renee Raudman excels at male roles as well, making her another top choice.

Favorite romance audiobook listens include Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ It Had to Be You narrated by Anna Fields, Sandra Brown’s Envy narrated by Victor Slezak, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander narrated by Davina Porter, Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm narrated by Nicholas Boulton, and Pamela Clare’s Surrender narrated by Kaleo Griffith.

Or how about sentences – one for each plot element…

He’s a gamma hero who is a prominent doctor of psychology.

She’s considerate and optimistic about life but overwhelmed with concern for her troubled son.

He’s on a sabbatical and would prefer to be alone.

She’s desperate for his help.

It takes place in the Catskill Mountains.

We see only a few players, primarily the hero, heroine, and her son

Contemporary romance

And then, include narrators and favorite romance listens.

Or just the words…

Gamma hero


Prominent doctor

Considerate, optimistic heroine

Overwhelmed mother of troubled son

Contemporary Romance

Catskill Mountains

Few characters

No guns or killers

Once again, include narrators and favorite romance listens.



My favorite sub-genre: Contemporary Romance with a big dash of humor

My hero and heroine already know each other when the story starts – maybe they went to high school together. In the story, something happens to force them to work together, like a hobby or activity they are involved in – maybe they both end up involved in animal rescue – she’s a sales rep for a dog food company, and he’s just found a sack-load of abandoned puppies that needs a donation of food (or was it the dogs rescued from a hoarder?).

I’m not sure Dog rescue– is it a small town, and everyone in the town gets together to start a no-kill rescue? Or is it a city, and their respective groups of friends meet at a local pub to plan a fundraiser for the pups?

I like it that the heroine has a strong group of female friends, and her parents are supportive too. He’s a little shy – only child of single mother, and he likes it that her group and her family take him and his mom in and make them part of their gang. He might be a beta/alpha – maybe in an alpha job but in reality more the boy-next-door type.

The big conflict comes when some government ordinance makes it impossible to start the rescue center (maybe the pups are Pitbulls, and they have to fight stupid breed prejudices). I guess there needs to be some relationship/love conflict too – I’m not good at this part at all! (I also wrote this story in my head with them helping kids in need – maybe working with teens at risk, something where the kids go on to win a championship – former gang members on a debate team perhaps?)

This kind of humorous contemporary romance needs to be narrated by someone who makes you feel as though he or she is chatting with you about friends – I like Patrick Lawlor for this kind of delivery, but he’s better at suspense. Karen White and Kate Reading are excellent at this style too, as well as Amanda Ronconi, delivering the humor and the snark and the emotions, like you’re having a coffee and talking about your mutual friends.

In this genre – contemporary romcom – I’d list Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Chicago Stars series, narrated by Anna Fields/Kate Fleming; everything by Julie James, narrated by Karen White; and Molly Harper’s Bluegrass series, narrated by Amanda Ronconi. My favorite contemporary narrated by Kate Reading is a historical as well – The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig, which has two story lines in two eras woven together.


Time to Enter 

Contest over – thanks for your entries!


To make Valentine’s Day even better, all of Tantor Audio’s romance downloads are $9.99 this month. Time to stock up!

We’re eager to see your Build Your Ideal Romance Audio entries!


Added after Contest’s End:

And the Results!

Announcing Our Winners

Our Second Place Winner

Our Third Place Winner


Lea Hensley



5 pings

  1. brooklynshoebabe

    I know I missed the contest but I had fun creating it. I didn’t realize how picky I was until I tried to come up with my own! lol.

    Gamma hero who is a librarian/book shop owner, sorta sweet but assertive heroine who is a hair dresser, they both have enough money to be happy, set in a small contemporary city in the United states, hot to really hot love scenes, internal conflict, and few secondary characters.

    My 4 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Thus Far Are
    Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren narrated by Grace Grant and Sebastian York
    It’s in His Kiss by Jill Shalvis narrated by Suehyla El Attar
    Baiting the Maid of Honor by Tessa Bailey narrated by James Cavanaugh
    Asking for Trouble by Tessa Bailey narrated by Alice Chapman

    1. MelindaP

      I like how you say Favorite “Thus Far” – ain’t it the truth?? Always something new coming out, challenging our “Best of” lists! Thank you for sharing your entry!

    2. Lea

      Thank you for playing even though the contest was closed. I especially love your comment “I didn’t realize how picky I was until I tried to come up with my own! lol.”

  1. Let’s Build Your Ideal Romance Audio! » AudioGals

    […] considering your Build Your Ideal Romance Audio entry, don’t think about long paragraphs if that doesn’t fit your style. To date, the […]

  2. Last Day of Our Valentine’s Day Contest – Build Your Ideal Romance Listen » AudioGals

    […] a look at Monday’s Build Your Ideal Romance Listen article for more entry samples and prize package details. But I’ll remind you of those […]

  3. Announcing Our Winners – Build Your Ideal Romance Audio Contest » AudioGals

    […] celebrate Valentine’s Day, AudioGals ran a five day contest asking you to Build Your Ideal Romance Audio. Participants were asked to share with us their ideal romance audiobook. But it wasn’t an […]

  4. Our Second Place Winner – Build Your Ideal Romance Audio » AudioGals

    […] celebrate Valentine’s Day, AudioGals ran a five day contest asking you to Build Your Ideal Romance Audio. Participants were asked to share with us their ideal romance audiobook. We announced our winners […]

  5. Our Third Place Winner – Build Your Ideal Romance Audio » AudioGals

    […] And it’s time to share our Third Place Winner’s entry for our Build Your Ideal Romance Audio contest! […]

Comments have been disabled.