Join my newsletter for info on upcoming books, classes, appearances, and discounts.Join Now!

Waiting for a different call

Golden Heart (R) finalists in Romantic Suspense in NYC

With some of my Kiss & Thrill sisters: Golden Heart finalists in Romantic Suspense in NYC.

Every year around this time, thousands of romance writers are sitting by their phones waiting for “the call.” Not the one from an editor or agent, but from one of the members of the board of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) telling them their manuscript or book finaled in either the Golden Heart® (unpublished) or the RITA® (published) Awards.

These prestigious contests are sort of like the Oscars of romance, complete with a ceremony emceed by an author-celebrity, lots of fancy gowns, and a golden statue for the RITA winners. The only thing missing is the E! reporter.

I can tell you from experience that there is no day so nervewracking as finalist announcement day. (Okay, except the actual awards ceremony.) I’ve been through it twice (2010 and 2011) so far. You think you will distract yourself with writing, but find that you’re constantly checking the RWA web page, Facebook, and Twitter to see if your category is done. And every time the phone rings your heart skips a beat.

Rachel Grant and me on awards night in NYC.

Rachel Grant and me on awards night in NYC.

In 2011, I was a Golden Heart finalist. I got the call in the middle of a doctor’s appointment with my son and couldn’t answer! I finally listened to my voicemail when the doctor stepped out, but it was vague. Still, I was pretty sure RWA wouldn’t call me on announcement day for any other reason.

That was the longest doctor’s appointment ever.

I got out to my car, returned the call, got my good news, screamed my head off like an idiot, and took my son out to lunch to celebrate. Hey, school could wait, he had to eat, and his mom was a finalist.

Getting that confirmation that my writing had improved was fabulous, but the best part of being a finalist was the new friends, many of whom now hang out with me over at the Kiss and Thrill site. The second best part was being treated like royalty at that year’s conference. 😉

For unpublished authors, a Golden Heart contest final opens doors with editors and agents too. I got some amazing feedback and a couple of revise-and-resubmit requests that year. Those—and some wins in other contests—eventually gave me the confidence to hire an editor and self-publish my GH-finaling entry, BLIND FURY.

Next year, I’ll be back to biting my nails at the end of March hoping for a RITA call, wondering why we do this to ourselves.
So, I’m raising a virtual glass to all of my friends who are waiting for their call today. I’ll be there to smile or console, and to cheer on the finalists in San Antonio this July. Good luck!

0 Comments

  1. Reply

    Woohooo! Just found out my friends Sarah (far right in top pic) and Sharon (next to Sarah) just got the GH nod again this year! Can’t wait to cheer them both on at conference. 🙂

  2. Reply

    One of my local chapter mates, Suzanne Kaufman Kalb, is a finalist in the contemporary category. She won a GH a couple of years ago in the YA category. Congratulations and good luck to all the finalists!!

    • Reply

      Hey, Maura! I know Suzanne. She was one of my 2011 GH sisters. Love her. I’m excited to see so many familiar names on the list! Thanks! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Keep that first thrill alive | jean's writing

  4. audraharders

    Reply

    Congratulations on the 2011 GH final, Gwen! Awesome accomplishment. So glad you chose to publish Blind Fury, it certainly rose to the top of the manuscript submissions that year!! I better go to RWA and see who finalled this year!

    • Reply

      Thanks, Audra! I’m glad I chose to publish Blind Fury too. It’s doing even better than I ever could have expected. Lots of fabulous finalists this year. I don’t envy the last round judges. 😉

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: