Last week most of the nominees focused on deadlines for the1 agent / 1 editor pitch sign up for RWA14, the Golden Network Retreat registration, and voting for our 5 favorite group names. Best of all, we celebrated LOTS of multiple contest finals and wins plus first sales. Congratulations, everyone!
In April I introduced the Historical Romance Golden Heart (GH) finalists. Today the 9 finalists in the contemporary, short contemporary, and inspirational categories are sharing blurbs for their manuscripts and how they feel about their GH finals.
2014 Contemporary, Short Contemporary, and Inspirational Golden Heart Titles
LOVE IN LIVING COLOR
Ella Dennings has a scandalous secret. Cooper Wells has a scandalous legal problem. And neither is on each other’s top ten list of People To Call If You Need A Friend.
When they both end up at the same Red River retreat, an altercation that involves wrestling an overweight English Bulldog, a baseball bat named Old Faithful, and a hefty dose of pepper spray rekindles an old grudge that started long ago.
The last thing they expect is for their passionate dislike of each other to erupt into a romantic entanglement that neither can walk away from. Until Ella’s secret is exposed, threatening to send Coop to jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
~ This is my first time to final in the Golden Heart. The GH means a sisterhood to me. Growing up with four older brothers, my sister and I were outnumbered. Then I grew up to have three sons of my own and no daughters, so friendships with other women are very important to me.
shellyDOTcDOTalexander@gmailDOTcom Twitter @ShellyCAlexande
After years of rejection and pitching and submitting and learning craft, to receive the professional acknowledgement of a Golden Heart nomination is just such a win. I’m enormously grateful to the RWA community for its support–without which none of this would have happened. I recently sold a series to Berkley via my agent, Kevan Lyon, and my first book comes out in January 2015.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
In this New Adult story, a freshman has just left his troubled single mother behind for the first time. Seeing himself as a white trash kid in a college full of prep and boarding school kids, he’s committed to avoiding friendships and relationships. He’s just going to keep his head down, do his work, and get back to his mom. But then he meets the irresistible and irrepressible force that is Nicole Everett. She shows him that he’s no different from anyone at the school–their families might have money, but the students don’t. Here’s his chance to become the man he wants to be. He resists her until he no longer can stay away.
SHORT CONTEMPORARY CATEGORY:
BRINGING DELANEY HOME
Delaney Lyons returns from Afghanistan with a Purple Heart, a prosthetic foot and survivor’s guilt. She’d rather have just bought the T-shirt. After months of physical therapy and pain, she withdraws to her apartment. She wants to be left alone. Her worried sister talks small town cop Quinn Cates, who once carried a torch for Delaney, into bringing Delaney home. Delaney figures she’ll go through the motions of rehab again, and after a few weeks, when her sister stops worrying, she can escape back to her solitary life.
What she doesn’t figure on? Quinn getting in her space and under her skin on a regular basis. The darn man practically dares her to commit to rehab. Can she find the strength to try again, or will she miss her last chance to grasp her life back? Quinn is determined to resist the woman he got over years ago, except her cranky still cranks his tractor. Sparks fly as Quinn’s brothers get involved while the town grapevine calls the play-by-play.
~ I am completely honored to be among this amazing group of Golden Heart® finalists. This was my first time in the GH.
This is my 5th time to the Golden Heart ball. I have finaled in both the Short Contemporary and Single Title Contemporary Romance categories. Finaling in the Golden Heart is not just about being a princess for a week and getting to know a brand new group of friends. And I’ve found, these are friends that will last a lifetime. It is also about the prestige that comes with the honor and the doors that this contest has opened. I do not believe that I would have gotten an agent without being able to add the phrase Golden Heart Finalist to the subject line of my queries. I recently sold SOUTHERN COMFORTS to Harlequin Super Romance via my agent, Laura Bradford.
POETIC JUSTICE (Elevator Pitch): A panicked architect kidnaps a nurturing writer. He must keep her safe, rescue her son and survive long enough to bring his business partner to justice.
It’s North meets South in a battle over 5000 acres of prime Texas real estate. At the center of the controversy is a 200-year old lease with some rather unusual stipulations.
Shea Hardin’s family has ranched the land for six generations. She is the last. And she’s not going anywhere. She figures a good dose of country living will send the city slicker running back to his posh lifestyle. When he leaves, the ranch is hers.
But she never considered how his lips could make her feel.
And she didn’t count on falling in love.
The land has been owned by his family for 200 years and billionaire Alec Morreston wants it back. It’s that simple. He reasons her backwoods attempt to keep it is nothing more than a minor hindrance. He’ll have her bags packed and be helping little Miss Tradition out the door in record time.
But the second he gazes into those fiery blue eyes, Alec knows he’s in trouble.
~ I’m not sure what to say! This is my first time to enter or final in the Golden Heart competition. To suddenly find myself a finalist in the greatest literary competition for unpublished writers of romance in the US- if not in the world- is a very humbling experience and I am so grateful. It is a dream come true.
Jillian’s Note: Congrats, Lauren! She recently sold 2 books to Harlequin Desire via her agent Jill Marsal. YESTERDAY’S PROMISE will be released in Feb. 2015.
I’m enjoying every moment of the Golden Heart journey and looking forward to meeting many of my fellow finalists at Nationals in July! I’m thrilled to be a first-time Golden Heart entrant and first-time finalist with my Inspirational romantic suspense, Against the Peace: Sparks between a U.S. Marshal and his headstrong witness threaten to combust their mountain hideaway.
AGAINST THE PEACE
Cricket Spencer witnesses a murder and Inspector Lucas Holden expects her to pack up her life and leave Portland, Oregon and her family behind. Lucas knows the only way he can keep Cricket safe is to stay one step ahead of the organized crime boss intent on silencing the one witness who can put him away. They run for the hills and along the way they discover it may not be coincidence that brought them together. Their lives intersected as children when Cricket’s family escaped from a cult compound and Lucas’s father was one of the federal agents helping them. The past catches up to both Cricket and Lucas and they draw on their shared faith to find their future.
MY LORD VALET (Regency)
Left cynical by a broken heart, Lady Miranda Hawthorne is approaching spinsterhood when she finds herself unacceptably drawn to her elder brother’s new valet. Her interest in him pulls her into the middle of a dangerous mission to hunt down Napoleonic spies because the valet is not exactly who he seems.
~ This is my first time finaling in GH. It’s been an incredible boost in validation for my writing career. I am taking it more seriously and so are my family and friends, even those who don’t really understand what it is.
Jillian’s Note: Kristi Ann is the 2014 Golden Heart Winner in the Inspirational category. She recently sold MY LORD VALET to Bethany House Publishers. It will be released in Fall of 2015.
This is my second time to final in the Golden Heart. That means the first time wasn’t a fluke!
A VIRTUOUS RUBY (early 20th century)
If Winslow, Georgia thought her shame would keep her from speaking out against lynching, they were wrong. Town troublemaker Ruby Bledsoe resolves never be quiet, loving her baby, no matter how he had come into the world. However, when she seeks help for her sick son, she doesn’t anticipate meeting a handsome stranger who offers Ruby a way to help her son and a brand new life.
Dr. Adam Morson had always felt shame as a mulatto child–shame enough to masquerade as something that he wasn’t. However, something powerful draws him to protect the beautiful and fiery activist who shows him how to be true to himself. A force outside of himself compels him to offer Ruby a job in his practice up north and Ruby has to decide if she should stay and fight for the soul of the town, or if she should seek her own happiness with the handsome stranger.
BETTER THAN A MOVIE features a young legal assistant who aspires to become a litigator. She’s obsessed with movies and has carefully scripted her life to ensure a happy Hollywood ending. Things go off script, though, when her irrepressible teenage niece comes to live with her and she falls for her niece’s shy school counselor. The manuscript is about learning to let God write the script of our lives. This is my first time entering the Golden Heart® contest and the second writing contest I’ve ever entered. I submitted the manuscript on a last minute whim, with no expectation of winning!
~I am humbled to be a GH finalist. I was genuinely shocked to receive the call and nearly hung up on the woman! I was sure she was trying to sell me a Florida timeshare or something. I am excited to go to San Antonio and learn from people much more experienced than me.
I’ll announce our group name and introduce the 2014 Golden Heart nominees in the Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, and Young Adult categories soon. If you missed my previous post about the 2014 Historical Romance GH finalists, click here.