2014 Golden Heart Update: The Historical Romance Finalists

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

Word Cloud created by GH finalist, Nan Dixon


charisCharis Calhoon

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


ellenEllen Lindseth

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.

http://www.ellenlindseth.com    Twitter @EllenLindseth



Gwyn MacKenzie

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.





Julie Mulhern

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.


lauraLaura Trentham

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.


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)

Twitter @LauraTrentham


Lenore Bell

My Regency CHARLENE AND THE DUCHESS FACTORY is also my first GH final. I’m beyond thrilled.

http://www.lenorabell.com/    http://lenorabell.blogspot.com/

(Jillian’s note: Lenore won the 2014 Golden Heart Historical Romance award. She’s represented by ICM literary agent Alexandra Machinist.)



sheriSheri Humphreys

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 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.

Facebook  |   Twitter  |  WWW


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.





  1. jmruddick2014 says:

    Congrats on your final, ladies! I am in awe of historical writers. Not only do you have to be an expert writer, but you also have to be an expert in your time period. I think historical romance is probably the most difficult genre to write.

    • Jessica, on behalf of other historical writers, thanks for the kind words. Most of us love the past and research. I think expert writers in all genres are experts in their field from criminal investigation methods to operating an island ferry.~Jillian

  2. Jillian, thank you for sharing these profiles. It’s great getting to know the other historical finalists and their Golden Heart® finaling stories a little better. Loving historical romance, all the story blurbs make me want to read the books. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to!

  3. Shelly Alexander says:

    Talented group of gals! Can’t wait to see your books in print.

  4. Thanks for featuring the Historical Romance finalits, Jillian! It’s lovely to be in such talented company. What a fun mix of time periods and stories. I confess, my “elevator pitch” is not quite honed yet 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Lenore! I’m impressed by the talent of my fellow Historical Romance nominees and the variety of eras and premises, too. No worries. You’ll have a perfect pitch/blurb. Just let me know when you’re ready to go public, and I’ll update this post.~Jillian

  5. Sarah Andre says:

    Great to see your pictures and bios on here, ladies! Congratulations to you all, and thanks, Jillian. You’re so nice to host this get together.

    • Sarah, we appreciate the congratulations! I’m enjoying doing the posts and am looking forward to hosting you and the rest of the Romantic Suspense group by June.~Jillian

  6. What a fun Post! I can’t wait for all these wonderful books to be published. Hope you all enjoy this journey and make the most of the golden months up until the fabulous award ceremony! Cant wait to meet all of you (waving at chaptermate Ellen!)


    • Nan, thanks for creating our word cloud and for the good wishes! Your short contemporary group is next and will be featured in May. I’m eager to meet you and the other finalists in July, too.

  7. What a lovely post, Jillian. I love learning more about my 2014 GH sisters!
    Thank you for putting this all together!

    • Sharon, I love learning more about my GH sisters, too. The blog about you and the rest of the Romantic Suspense finalists will be posted by June. Thanks for the kind thoughts!~Jillian

  8. I loved reading the blurbs, thanks so much for sharing! I look forward to future installments.

    • Carrie, thanks for commenting! Aren’t the blurbs great? You won’t have long to wait. The blog about you and the rest of the Inspriational finalists is coming in mid-May.~Jillian

  9. Ooh, all of these books sound like a lot of fun, and I can’t wait for the day I get to read them all. I’ve always been a historical romance fan, and so many of you have accomplished finding the balance between new and fresh ideas, while still leaving something familiar for the reader to connect with. Bravo!

    And I confess I’m having a lot of fun finding out about the books my GH sisters have finaled with. Each of us certainly chooses her own path, and that’s marvelous. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments, Shelly! I’m glad your a Historical Romance fan. It’s my favorite, but I love other genres, too. I’m eager to feature you and the other Paranormal Romance finalists by June.~Jillian

  10. Really, really loved the sound of these books! So much fun to get a sneak peek at the historical romances that WILL be hitting the shelves soon. Thanks for a great post!

  11. What a lovely post, Jillian, and such wonderful blurbs, ladies! I’m excited to read them all. Congrats to all of you!

    • Pintip, thanks for visiting! I’m excited to read all the blurbs, too. Looking forward to posting about you with the Paranormal group towards the end of May and again with the Young Adult group by the end of June .~Jillian

  12. Yay! So much fun to see everyone’s picture next to their blurbs. All of the books sound amazing and I want all of them to be published soon so I can read them!

  13. I’m so excited to learn more about everyone’s stories. We have such talent in this group of finalists! I cut my romance reader teeth on historicals, and they represent a large part of my TBR list. Can’t wait to have all of these on my shelf, ladies!

    • Marni, I’m always glad to hear from someone who loves to read Historical Romance. You and the other Paranormal romance finalists will be highlighted in June. I’m eager to have a sneak peek.~Jillian

  14. Jillian,
    Great job pulling all these wonderful finalists together. 🙂 The blurbs sound so amazing that I can’t believe they aren’t already on the shelves. I love how these historicals run the gamut from Victorians and Regencies to stories set after the Crimean War and post-World War II Minnesota. I love the setting of 1902 New Orleans, too! Such a great mix for you ladies! Loved learning about these books. 🙂

    • Thanks, Kim! I’m amazed by the wide range of premises, periods, and places, too. I’m looking forward to introducing you, your double final manuscripts, and the rest of the Young Adult finalists in June.~Jillian

  15. Jillian, what a wonderful idea to celebrate the finalists like this–I love finding out more about them and their stories. I love historical sooo much, so now I have a whole bunch of new authors to look forward to!

    • Suzanne, my fellow finalists and I are thrilled that you love Historical Romance. Speaking of new authors to look forward to, I can’t wait to feature you along with the Contemporary, Short Contemporary, and Inspirational finalists in mid-May.~Jillian

  16. I wish we had thought to do this last year. We gathered this intelligence amongst ourselves to see who had regencies and kept it to ourselves! It’s always better to share! Congrats to you all and I look forward to reading them!

    • Piper, thanks for commenting! I consider you an honorary Historical Romance finalist, because your manuscript in set about an activist in 1915. I’m glad you and the other Inspirational finalists are scheduled for mid-May.~Jillian

  17. Barbara Gerry says:

    What a great post. Can’t wait to see all of these books in print! Congratulations – and looking forward to meeting you all in San Antonio!

    • Thanks for the congratulations, Barbara! Ditto. We can’t wait to meet you in person, too. Fortunately we don’t have to wait until July to meet you and the rest of the Young Adult finalists who will be featured here in June.~Jillian

  18. What a fun post! I love historicals myself, so I love to see the variety in both subject and tone. Can’t wait to meet you all in Texas!! Congrats to each of you!

    • Marnee, thanks for loving Historical Romance! Congrats to you and the rest of the GH finalists! Looking forward to hosting you and the rest of the Young Adult finalists in June and meeting everyone in July, too!~Jillian

  19. Thanks for posting this! All of your stories sound fantastic! I’ve actually read the beginning of Jillian’s and LOVED it! Best of luck to you all in San Antonio!!!!

  20. Congratulations, ladies! All of your books sound like so much FUN. Best of luck to you all in San Antonio. I hope you’re all going to the conference. I hadn’t planned to go until I finaled and I am SO glad I did.

    Enjoy the ride and every continued success!

    • Joanna, what a nice surprise to have the 2013 Historical Romance Golden Heart winner visit! Thanks for the kind words and congrats! Most of us are going to the conference and the GN Retreat. I’m looking forward to your debut Regency series coming out next year. At least I don’t have to wait that long to meet you in S.A.~Jillian


  1. […] 2014 Golden Heart Update: The Historical Romance Finalists. […]

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