Wow. So what a crazy summer this was. And a big part of the craziness was really the whole Golden Heart thing, and how that became an absolute game-changer for me.

I had no idea how big a contest it was. I’d heard of it, of course, around the Romance Writers of America (RWA) classes that I took from time to time, or from my romance-writing friends who are members of RWA. My critique partner Patti had mentioned the Golden Heart several times, and what a boon it would be to final, and I’d seen the designation on several writers’ signatures over the years, or even on their books.

But I’d never joined RWA (mostly because I worried that going to meetings or getting involved in a club would take too much time away from my writing, and I had very little time as it was, narrowed down to just a couple of weekends a month).

So last year, my crit partner suggested I enter “Earning Wings,” since it was finally done and I’d had it beta read extensively, and I thought … meh. I didn’t know if it would be worth the trouble. I didn’t have a synopsis for it yet, and I thought my time would be better spent sending out query letters to agents.

But my query letters were getting me nowhere. A big part of breaking into any kind of publishing is getting your manuscript read by people who can sign you. And man, that’s hard. … Continue reading

RWA Nationals: The Golden Heart Ceremony!

So how did the Golden Heart ceremony go?

Well it was huge, intimidating, lovely, fun, funny, nerve-wracking and amazing all at once!

The afternoon was lovely – I left early from Nationals so I could “primp” (a huge plus to living near this year’s Nationals event!). I took a nap, which I NEVER do. (But I was in “primping” mode now!) Then I got up, took a shower, took my time with my hair and makeup, and finally put on my gown. I couldn’t remember languishing in my vanity area like this since. … my wedding day??? Probably something that long ago! Or maybe Prom. Homecoming? Whatevs. It was so fun.

I actually really loved wearing my gown– it was surprisingly easy to walk in (since it was now hemmed), and even easy to sit in (rather wrinkle-resistant). Rene helped me pin up my hair on one side with my sparkly new barrette, and I loved putting on my new bling earrings. Rene and her boyfriend took a bunch of pictures of me, which I thought was cute, because I’m usually the one taking dance pictures of the kids. (He held my purse and shawl as “prop man,” and Rene took the photos.) Then Chris got ready in about five seconds flat (looked amazing in his tuxedo and vest!), and joined me for a few photos. (The kids agreed he looked “fly.”)  Continue reading

Nationals, Day 3: Workshops, Signings, and GH Practice!

Sorry it’s taking me so long to tell this story, but here we go:

The third official day of Nationals I almost didn’t go. …

(Seriously, I’m getting old, man!)

The night before I’d crashed into bed, exhausted, with my feet all a-hurtin’, and thought “Maybe I won’t even go tomorrow. … I’ll just primp all day until the big ceremony at night.”

But I woke up in the morning feeling all pumped again, and got out of bed and got myself back into my car. (I did wear lower heels, though!)

As soon as I got to the hotel, I went to one of the “Spotlights” they have, where a particular publisher gets a ballroom to itself, and you can go and learn all about the company’s submission requirements, what they’re looking for, etc. I popped into Sourcebooks’ spotlight as well as Montlake’s.

I also went to my first “Chat”! They have “chats” with various famous authors (including Nora Roberts), where the author sits in a room and you can ask any questions you like. On this Saturday, I went to the Julia Quinn chat, which was terrific. Historical writer Julia Quinn is the youngest author ever inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame (which means you’ve published 100 books or more). She was great, frank, and funny. I sat with a fellow GH finalist in the Regency category, April Bennet, and when Julia’s chat was over, I leaned over to April and said “You’ll be doing this chat someday!” She laughed and looked a little horrified. (But wouldn’t you know, she won her category later that night! I think I saw into the future a little bit that day. … Go April!)

Anyway, another really extraordinary “first” was my first “Book Signing” that day. … Continue reading

OMG! I’m a Finalist in the Golden Heart!

Holy cow, what a shock to get a call early this morning to find out that I’m a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart® contest!!!!
I think I squealed, and jumped around on the couch a little, and directed Superman (who happened to be home, on his first day of vacation) to the word “Finalist!” I’d scribbled on a piece of paper. And then I grabbed this fortune-cookie paper off the ottoman tray and handed it to him while I was listening to the rest of the phone call. We’d read the fortune together last night. It said “Your hidden creative talents will soon be revealed.”
I asked a few questions on the phone, hung up in shock, and then hugged Superman and floated around on Cloud Nine a little.
I then emailed my critique partner Patti. She had to be the first to know. Continue reading
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