What have the other 2014 GH finalists and I been doing since last month? Besides celebrating, writing, revising, pursuing publication, changing signature lines and bios, answering interview questions, updating websites, adding special events to our conference schedules, keeping up with emails and social media, competing in other contests, going to day jobs, and having personal lives? We’re getting to know each other on the private Golden Heart loops. Who needs sleep?
What’s trending on the GH loop right now? Choosing a name for the 2014 group, RWA14 pitches to agents and editors, and finding the dress for the July awards ceremony. More on those topics in future Golden Heart updates. From now through June I’ll host groups of the 2014 GH finalists. Today the 8 Historical Romance nominees are sharing snippets of their manuscripts and thoughts on being a finalist.
2014 Historical Romance Golden Heart Titles
This is my second time to final in the Golden Heart. It sounds so cliched, but it really is an honor simply to make the final-round of judging. Out of all my WIPs, this manuscript has always been my favorite, so I’m incredibly excited to see it out there. THE EARL NEXT DOOR is a whimsical Regency Historical that dips and spins from London to Somerset and back again….
Miss Piety Grey, American heiress, is running away. Running from a cruel and avaricious suitor; running from her manipulative mother, who is bent on the match; running from a life half-lived in New York City. Her flight takes her to London, where she sinks her inheritance into a ramshackle townhome mansion in Mayfair. There she resolves to entrench herself and her fortune, refurbish the house, and start a new life with real and true friends.
The very last thing that Trevor Rheese, the Earl of Falcondale, wants is to become anyone’s friend, real or true—especially no friend to the complicated, distracting American who’s bought the house next door…. chariscalhoon@yahoo DOT com
A SOLDIER’S SERENADE is my 2014 GH final, in which a spirited, young songwriter falls for a stoic, divorced army officer in WWII Minnesota, forcing her to choose between her dreams of success and the longings of her heart. As for the Golden Heart, this is my first final in four tries. I actually cried when I got the phone call, because to me it meant I had finally done it, I had finally taught myself to write at a high enough level to impress my peers, and that meant the world to me.
My title is THE SEER. It’s the first of a Merlin’s Prophesy series. (The prophesy is on my website). I’m a 4-time finalist (07, 09, 11, 14), and this is my first even-numbered year. Mayhap that will bode well.
This is my first Golden Heart final. It was a wonderful surprise, and I still can’t quite believe it’s real. A HAUNTING DESIRE is a turn of the century story about a ghost-hunter and a madam, who team up to catch a serial killer in 1902 New Orleans.
Jillian’s Update: Julie sold her 3-book mystery series to Henery via Margaret Bail of Inklings Literary Agency. The publication date for THE DEEP END is February 17, 2015.
Hi! This is my first time finaling in the Golden Heart, too. My Regency romance series Spies and Lovers is a little dark, a little funny, and a whole lot of sexy. I entered the first two manuscripts and was beyond shocked when I got the calls informing me they had both finaled. For me, being nominated is a great honor that I hope will open a few doors in an industry that is tough to crack.
With spywork in her blood, Lady Lily Drummond, armed with some rather unusual skills for a debutante, joins Crown spy Gray Masterson in the hunt for her missing father, not realizing the danger will ignite a passion neither can deny even as a web of madness closes around them.
A WILD AND WICKED WIND
In order to keep control of her dowry and maintain the freedom not to marry, Lady Minerva Bellingham agrees to settle her brother’s gaming debts by working as a servant at Lord Rafe Drummond’s country estate for three months. Rafe can’t believe the beautiful, cold paragon of the ton didn’t call him out when he proposed the scandalous bargain. An unexpected passion turns their hatred into love, but neither can outrun their demons.
(Jillian’s note: Double congrats, Laura! She sold both her historical manuscripts to Samhain and her 3 book football contemporary series to St. Martins’ Press via her agent, Kevan Lyon. To be released in 2015)
My Regency CHARLENE AND THE DUCHESS FACTORY is also my first GH final. I’m beyond thrilled.
(Jillian’s note: Lenore won the 2014 Golden Heart Historical Romance award. She’s represented by ICM literary agent Alexandra Machinist.)
A HERO TO HOLD finaled in 2012, so finaling in the Golden Heart again means I’m close to selling and realizing my dream!
THE UNSEDUCIBLE EARL
The end of the Crimean War brings Victoria Thorne home to face a society that isn’t ready for a lady with the education and experience of a physician. While nursing a Crimean veteran she proves herself able to deal with medical challenges and discrimination, but she’s dismayed when she develops an attraction to her patient’s betrothed brother, the Earl of Havenwood.
Robb Merrick, Earl of Havenwood, is engaged to a darling of society, yet finds himself drawn to his brother’s nurse. She makes him feel connected with the world instead of cocooned by his title and position. He craves the freedom to pledge his love and loyalty, but ending his betrothal means entangling them all in scandal. How can an honorable gentleman be expected to keep his vow when doing so means destroying all hope of happiness?
That’s me, the last of the first time Golden Heart finalists in this year’s Historical Romance category. I’m still shocked, thrilled, and overwhelmed. The GH nomination is an honor from my peers and validates my writing, but I’m also humbled by how incredibly fortunate I am. Maybe repeating “Golden Heart” over 100 times in a 7 part GH blog series was my lucky charm this time.
MUCH ADO ABOUT SCANDAL (Book 1 Mischief in Mayfair series)
Lady Selborne has found the man she wishes to marry. Unfortunately he’s not her husband. Lord Selborne has found the life he always wanted. Unfortunately he’s not free to live it. The estranged couple agree to end their arranged marriage the only honorable way allowed by Victorian law. One of them has to die – a faux death. To avoid suspicion they must convince Society they are a loving couple. That is, if they can agree who should be the “victim” and protect their hearts from a painful past and unexpected desire.
I can’t predict what being a GH finalist will bring to each of us, but I embrace the opportunities and my fellow Historical Romance nominees. Congrats, everyone! I can’t wait to read your books.