Golden Heart

A Year Later – Advice to the Newbies

on March 28, 2013

At this time last year, I was riding the amazing high being a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest for unpublished writers. I was also buried under an avalanche of emails and still have no idea how I stayed afloat. I was getting to know an amazing group of writers, who just happen to also be amazing, strong, beautiful, and incredibly supportive women.

Two days ago, I watched the hoopla surrounding the announcements for the 2013 Golden Heart and RITA awards without a dog in either race. (Couldn’t enter the GH since I sold and couldn’t enter the RITA as my book hasn’t been released yet.)

I am beside myself excited for all the finalists, both RITA and Golden Heart, but I only know the joy and fear and overwhelming rush of emotions that those Golden Heart finalists are experiencing. And it’s only just begun.

So here’s my advice for the new finalists, worth what you’re paying for it. *g*

1) Accept that your inbox will never be the same. At least not for several months. This is okay. Do what you can do. Embrace the crazy. Ride the wave. Your fellow finalists are on the same ride. Hold onto them, as they’ll be holding onto you.

2) Stop freaking about the dress. There’s plenty of time to think about getting fancied up for the awards. Wait at least a month to even think about it. And whatever dress you choose, make sure it’s comfortable. The GH glow will make you gorgeous in a potato sack. It’ll be perfect. Don’t worry.

3) Use the phrase GOLDEN HEART FINALIST at every opportunity. Your submissions get read quicker. They’re given more weight. You’ll likely still get rejections (goodness knows I did!) but you’ll get them faster, which to me is better than waiting months and months.

4) Breathe.

5) Breathe again. You might not remember every second of the next few months. You probably don’t even remember every second of that phone call you received this week. But the experience will stay with you. And you’ll smile just thinking about it, even years later.

So that’s my advice. Oh, and I forgot the most important!

6) Write a speech! My fellow 2012 finalist, Rachel Grant, pushed our group to write one, and I didn’t. I was a DJ for 8 years talking on the fly. I thought I could handle it. Thankfully, I didn’t win, but in those few seconds before my category winner was announced, I experience a flood of fear and anxiety like I have never known.  Just do yourself a favor and write the speech.

Olympic Fever and Epiphanies

on June 26, 2012

Anyone else catching that Olympic fever? I have always loved the Olympics, even though I’ve never tried one iota of the sports involved. Summer or winter. But let’s be honest, the Olympics is not about the sports, it’s about the athletes. The triumphs and heartbreak. The hard work and sacrifice. The mix of skill and talent and determination that makes these ordinary individuals extraordinary.
I was watching the diving trials this past weekend and in an instant knew exactly where I am in my life. This is one of the perks of getting older – epiphanies. Tiny slaps of reality that illuminate where you are and where you are no longer.
So I was watching these young men on the platform, and the first one walks out. If you haven’t seen these divers, their uniforms are, shall we say, slight. So the mind goes to the obvious. “He’s an attractive lad.” (Yes, I say lad in my mind. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) And then the announcer says, “This talented sixteen year old….”
I sat bolt upright. For half a second there was the “I’m a filthy old woman” thought, but the louder thought that followed was way more important. “That child is only three years older than my daughter and he looks like that?!?!” In that instant, I was a horrified mother ready to lock her daughter in the nearest tower. Which ironically might actually be in London. Heh.
There was another diver after that one who was only fifteen. And from Arkansas. Which is where my thirteen year old is right now. At least this child was out of the state at the moment, but what if there are others there just like him?? (The one to the left is NOT the 16 year old. *g*)
Yeah, epiphanies are painful.
In another twist of irony, I will be in Anaheim at the RWA Nationals convention when the games open. Friday night will be all about finding a television and tuning in. (Party in my room. Bring your own popcorn.) Since I’m up for a Golden Heart® award, you could say I’m competing in the RWA version of the Olympics. Before you scoff, think about it. We spend HOURS on our craft. Sacrifice time with our families and friends and pets. Swallow ungodly amounts of coffee and chocolate to keep our stamina up. (Again, that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.)

We may not all be the fittest athletes, but my fellow Firebirds and I are extraordinary individuals, at least for that one week at the end of July. Here’s to the writers who bring home that little gold necklace, and the athletes who will live out their dreams in London.

My First Ever Guest Blog!

on June 7, 2012

I promise to post a new blog up here soon (tonight or tomorrow) but today I’m doing my first ever guest blog. Another amazing benefit of finaling in the Golden Heart®. The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood has been sweet enough to open their doors to this years class of finalist and today is my turn.

Hop over and join the conversation. I’m talking about my brief moment of panic last week and why these minor freak outs aren’t always a bad thing.

Now I KNOW I Can Do It

on November 1, 2011

Not long ago I figured out my average monthly word count is 15K words. At that rate, a rough draft would take five to six months to write, which isn’t good when you think of the months of revision to follow. I lamented on an earlier blog I would have to pick up the pace if I intended to make a go of this writing thing, though at the time had no idea if I could do it.

With the Golden Heart entry date looming, the word count on my Work In Progress (WIP) on September 1 was not looking good. I could see the precipice, but the hill was steep, covered by a Slip-n-Slide and littered with thorny cacti. What was a writer to do?

Step it up, of course.

In September I wrote twenty-seven thousand words. Now, that is no NaNo number (that being 50K in a month) but for me, a number to celebrate. I will make the Golden Heart deadline, provided writing the synopsis and re-writing the first 50 pages doesn’t kill me.

But more importantly, I now KNOW I can do this. I can hit a deadline. I can turn out words. I can build a story and trust the characters (and myself) to get it on the page. Revising it is another story. Or rather, another blog.

Have you stepped up to a challenge (like NaNo?) Surprised yourself? Got any tricks for synopsis writing? Participating in NaNoWriMo again this year?