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Wow! I’m a finalist in the Romance Writers of America®’s Golden Heart® contest, the most prestigious contest for unpubbed romance writers out there.

Entering is like playing the lottery. You send off your entry and a nice fee, hoping against hope that your work will be chosen, but figuring it most likely won’t. Then on announcement day, you try to pretend you’re not waiting for the phone to ring, even as you threaten the family with bodily harm if they tie up the line.

Today I had to take my son to a doctor’s appointment (just a check up), so I was keeping busy and not—yeah right—thinking about it at all. I was periodically checking my email on my iPhone only to see who I knew that had been selected. (And I have a bridge to sell you…)

The doctor stepped out to write something up for us and I pulled out my phone and spotted a voicemail. From Lori Handeland “at RWA”! And I just started giggling. I was afraid to get my hopes up, but really, how many times have I ever received a call from someone at RWA? Um, never! And especially on Golden Heart/RITA announcement day.

The next thirty minutes were torture, but as soon as we got to the car, I called Lori back. Aack, direct to voicemail!

I gave the phone to my son with strict instructions on how we’d handle it if she called while I was driving, put on my seatbelt, and she called back.

It wouldn’t surprise me if I was her least expressive call, but I’d had thirty minutes to giggle and get used to the idea, so she didn’t get the first shock, just the second oh-thank-God-it’s-really-about-the-Golden-Heart shock. 😉

I’m still kind of in a daze, but so excited. My jaw hurts from smiling, and I’ve done little on the computer but respond to emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. It’s like being newly engaged. Or pregnant.

Being a Golden Heart finalist doesn’t guarantee I’ll sign an agent or sell my work, but it’s at least a sign that I’m moving in the right direction with my craft. And it may just open a few doors.

I’ll step through as many as I can.


Congrats to all my friends and peers who finaled in either the Golden Heart, or the RITA (for published authors)! See you all in NYC.

Tell your friends!


    • Reply

      I really appreciate your enthusiasm, Wendy. It’s been great having so many writer friends to share my excitement with.

      And wow, you, Keri, and Jill should consider a career in game shows. Quick on the button! 😉

  1. MaryC


    Gwen, may you be happy dancing for days! I’m so excited for you. Can’t wait to meet you in NYC.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Mary! I have so many people I need to meet up with at Nationals this year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

      I’ll resume the dancing right after I get some sleep! 😉

    • Reply

      Thanks, Christine. I’m glad I already have a conference under my belt or I’d be even more intimidated. I appreciate all the support and encouragement you’ve given me over the last 18 mos. You rock!

  2. Reply

    OMG, I just realized something!!! I may be force to actually READ a romance novel!!! Another first for you!!!!

  3. Reply

    Sorry I’m late chiming in, I was training in CA with my husband’s sensei this weekend and just saw the news now.


    I’ll be rooting for you at nationals. So exciting to know someone who finaled. 🙂

  4. Reply

    Had to pop over from the GH11 loop to read your post and say congrats. Oh, what a time to get the call. But at least by the time you called them back you weren’t a babbling idiot like I was. :O

    See you on the loop!

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