2014 Golden Heart Update: The Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Finalists

The GH nominees voted for a group name, which is not as easy as you might think. Previous finalist groups have chosen terrific ones like the Lucky 13s (2013), Firebirds (2012), Starcatchers (2011), Unsinkables (2010), Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood (2009), Pixie Chicks (2008), 007s (007), and Romance Bandits (2006). What fabulous group name did the 2014 Golden Heart finalists choose? The Dream Weavers or Dreamweavers depending on which one fits better on the group pin. I hope to share the pin design with you in June. Right now it’s time to introduce another group of GH finalists.

2014 Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Golden Heart Titles


Word cloud created by GH finalist Nan Dixon




asa_marie_bradleyAsa Maria Bradley

It’s my first time as a Golden Heart finalist, and I’m thrilled and honored. I’m also amazed over the support and encouragement my fellow nominees offers. Since I’m originally from Sweden, and a non-native English speaker, the nomination is a huge validation. I am more confident in my writing and walk much taller these days. I must have gained at least an inch or two in height. 🙂

VALHALLA’S KING (Book 1 in the Valhalla’s Warriors series)

Hiding from black ops agents, cyber-security expert Naya works on the shady side of the law to finance a cure for her dying brother. When she inadvertently saves the life of immortal Viking king Leif and triggers an ancient Norse handfasting bond, she enters a world of primeval forces locked in battle for an eternity. To save her brother, she must risk her heart and trust the king in order to defeat their common enemy and prevent the end of the worlds—for both gods and humans.

www.asamariabradley.com     Twitter: @AsaMariaBradley

Jillian’s Note: Asa recently sold her 3 Valhalla books to Sourcebooks via Sarah E. Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.


marni_folsomMarni Folsom


Kendra Harrison excels at running—from her past, from close relationships, from the man who killed her family—but she’s stopped in her tracks by a prophecy that she will save the world from ancient evil.

She laughs at the fairytale notion; if anyone knows the difference between fable and stark reality, it’s the sole survivor of a devastating arson attack. Then she meets a Demigod with anger management issues, watches a dead man drive a semi truck into her car, and dons a ring that transports her to a different place and time. If this is reality, it sucks…and if magic lives within her, why couldn’t she save her family from the fire all those years ago?

Ben Flannigan is a magical warrior, born to prevent the rise of a Pre-Celtic Demigod gone bad. He teams up with Kendra to fight fire with fire, and they produce a heat all their own. But Kendra doesn’t know how to keep her past from destroying her future. The weight of her life’s horrors has left her feeling tainted and unlovable. When the Gods who granted her power declared that the magnitude of her abilities required a personal sacrifice, Kendra cavalierly offered to sacrifice true love.

Now, rescuing the world requires giving up the one man who means the world to her.

~BEYOND THE FIRE is my second Golden Heart final. I feel more grounded in my writing career goals this time around, so my GH ride is all about the joy! Part of my elation is discovering the talent among our finalist group; I’m so impressed, and super excited to support fellow finalists on their own publishing journeys.

www.marnifolsom.com          facebook.com/marnifolsom


pintip_dunnPintip Dunn (also a finalist in YA)

This is my second year finaling in the Golden Heart, and it is perhaps even more meaningful than the first time because I know exactly what being a finalist entails. For me, the biggest reward is undoubtedly the friendships formed with my Golden Heart sisters. Two years later, I’m still blown away by the generosity and support of the Firebirds, and already, I feel such a strong bond with the 2014 finalists.

FIT TO DIE (Science Fiction Romance)

In a world where society is split between Eaters and Non-Eaters, and nutrition can be transferred via a pill, Eater Princess Viola Keystone has a problem. Her father, the King, is dying, and she has been tasked with selecting the boy fit to die for the King. However, when the boy she’s loved all her life, Carr Silver, emerges as the best candidate, Viola must re-evaluate her own integrity and learn what it truly means to be a ruler.

http://www.pintipdunn.com/     https://www.facebook.com/pintip.dunn


shelly_chalmersShelly Chalmers

HIDDEN MAGIC (Regency era)

It’s Regency London, 1817, and Logan McLellan has a crime scene with a dead demon, a symbiotic wolf who won’t shut up, and he’s just discovered his assistant is actually a female half-fairy masquerading as a man. And his killer’s just getting started. The only thing Logan can do is focus on catching the killer and maintaining the barrier between humans and the magical world – but magic is insidious. Like the wolf. If the wolf gains control of Logan’s body, there’ll be another killer on London’s streets. The last thing he needs is a half-fairy tagging along, to remind him of the woman he thought she was and the life he believed he could recapture.

Georgiana (George) Jeoffrey is prophesized to be Fey’s next High Queen and save her people. The prophecy comes with a drunken fairy fiancé, a Fey where she’s despised for her human blood, and a lifetime of loneliness. And sure, she has a plan – and a disguise – for all eventualities. Except when it comes to Logan. He sees right through her magic to the lonely woman inside. But he’s in trouble, hiding his wolf, and potentially losing his mind. Can she save both her people and Logan? Or is magical war inevitable?

~This is the first time I’ve been a Golden Heart finalist and, after trying for a number of years, I still have a hard time believing it’s true. I want to make the most of this opportunity, and it’s been such a thrill so far.

www.scchalmers.com             Twitter: @scchalmers




abbie_rhodesAbbie Roads

This is also my first time being a Golden Heart Finalist. Being amongst this group of talented women is the highest honor I’ve ever attained and a huge validation for all the blood, sweat, and tears I put into DANGEROUS DREAMS. I’m just so so so grateful to be here. For me, the competition is over. I’m so happy to have made it this far.


Born with the unique ability to smell people’s memories, Lathan Montgomery uses his nose to solve cold cases. When he links a group of murders—by scent alone—and discovers and active serial killer, the mind-hunters at the FBI refuse to open an investigation. Lathan is determined to find the killer himself, but his search gets stalled when he rescues a woman from an attacker. She’s the only person—the only freaking person—he’s ever met who doesn’t have a cloud of memories around her. The more he gets to know her, the more devotion, tenderness, and passion overwhelm him in a way he’s never experienced. But the killer is on the offensive and takes Lathan’s only love. And he never keeps his victims alive for long…

https://www.facebook.com/abbieroads2          http://www.abbieroads.com/


connie_taxdalConnie Taxdal


When the CFO of a candle manufacturer discovers canisters of cocaine hidden within the wax, he’s determined to avenge the life his sister lost to drugs—even if his boss is the source. He hires a female PI to help him investigate, but as their passion for one another builds, so do the dangers. Can they expose the drug traffickers before their journey together turns fatal?

~This is my first time to final in the Golden Heart, and I’ve only been writing three years! Being a Golden Heart finalist solidifies my belief in myself. I’ve become more confident in my writing. I’ve formed a camaraderie with the other 2014 finalist. But most importantly, the experience gives me a chance to encourage members of our TARA chapter’s Push-to-Pro Program. If I can final in such a prestigious contest…they can too.

www.connietaxdalauthor.com        https://www.facebook.com/connietaxdalauthor


wildingDeborah Wilding


This story is set in 1941, against the backdrop of Honolulu’s glittering high society, an unsolved theft of Hawaiian crown jewels, and the attack that changed the course of history.

When Merrylei Wentworth inherits an abandoned mansion–all that’s left of her family’s fortune–she confronts two big problems. Mysterious intruders keep vandalizing the house she is determined to turn into a guesthouse. The other problem is enigmatic Japanese-American architect Jamison Sumida who’s eager to purchase a painting by Merrylei’s late mother.  Conscious of social pressures to marry within his culture, Jamison has no interest in the spirited independent Merrylei. She’s suspicious of his motives. But Merrylei is haunted by a sense of déjà vu and unexplainable coincidences when they’re together that is compelling and seductive. As they get drawn deeper into the mystery of the painting, “The King’s Crown,” they begin to share family secrets to uncover the truth. All the while their attraction to each other deepens as anti-Japanese sentiments simmer in the community.

~ This is my first Golden Heart final. I’m so honored to be counted among such a talented group of writers. I’ve had two non-fiction books published, but this is my first attempt at romance. I’m really thrilled to become a member of the GH community.



denny_bryceDenny Bryce

I am thrilled to be a 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist in Romantic Suspense for my novel CHASING DAMN. It is my first GH final and ‘ the call’ consisted mostly of showcasing my inability to come up with complete sentences (which is rare, seriously:). I repeated OMG – over and over and over again.


Emotionally scarred after a car crash kills her ex-lover, FBI Special Agent Nikki Chase, a brilliant ethical hacker, returns to Chicago to find her baby sister. She ends up partnering with a one-night stand, a private security consultant hired by her uncle to search for a cyber thief. But when she discovers her uncle’s connection to the sex-trafficking cyber gang and its leader, a revenge-seeking psychopath, she must make a choice between family and a new love, knowing the wrong choice could get her killed.

http://www.dennysbryce.com   Twitter: @dennysbryce 


sarah_andreSarah Andre


The disinherited son of a Chicago billionaire returns home for a mysterious announcement only to encounter betrayal, discover the horrific truth behind a family secret and get arrested for murder. Unfortunately, the only person who can help him is his long, lost love, whose neighborhood is targeted for demolition by his development company.

~I was also a 2011 GH finalist for LOCKED, LOADED AND LYING. A romance writer’s ultimate validation is obviously a publishing contract, but this honor is a close and coveted runner-up! I enjoy the camaraderie of the 2014 group and the six 2011 RS finalists who started the Kiss and Thrill blog. We’re the best of friends now.

www.SarahAndre.com         www.Facebook.com/SarahAndreWriter


sharon_wraySharon Wray


When Juliet Capel, a woman determined to protect the life she’s built for herself, becomes the target of an arms dealer who believes she holds the key to a 12th Century secret, her only chance to stay alive rests within the arms of Rafe Montfort, her ex-Green Beret husband who abandoned her eight years earlier.

SEE HER NO MORE is my sixth Golden Heart final. I’ve never taken a Golden Heart Final for granted. I am grateful for each and every shiny gold pin and I wear them proudly. After years of writing and many, many manuscripts, each Golden Heart final has given me opportunities I would not have had otherwise. The GH has opened doors that led to my amazing agent, offered friendships with other authors that I treasure, and reminds me that even though I’m not published yet, I will be one day. One of the best things about being in the GH sisterhood is the constant affirmation that with persistence and perseverance we all will succeed in achieving our dreams.


Jillian’s Note:

If you missed the post about the 2014 Golden Heart Historical Romance finalists, click here. For the Contemporary, Short Contemporary, and Inspirational nominees, click here. Please follow this blog or return on June 9th to view my post about the Young Adult finalists.


  1. A great post Jillian! I love to read these fascinating blurbs! Thank you ladies!

  2. Sarah Andre says:

    Hello, fellow Dreamweavers! Less than 2 months to go before we all finally meet in person. Enjoyed reading the blurbs above. Asa- are you sure those 2 inches aren’t new high heels? 😉 Folks, I can attest to Denny rarely at a loss for words, so the “OMG, OMG” phone call must have been a hoot. 😉

    See ya’ll soon!

    • Sarah, thanks for commenting. I was also thinking about it being less than 2 months until RWA14. I can’t wait to see Asa’s 2 inch heels, hear Denny’s “OMG,” and meet all my Dreamweaver sisters in July.~Jillian

    • I don’t know how to walk in heels, so I’m more likely to be much shorter while wearing those–because I’ll be flat on my face. 🙂
      One of the first things my mom told me when I called to tell her about the nomination was to not wear heels at the ceremony in case I had to walk to the podium. 😉

      • Your mom knows best, Asa. I can’t wear heels anymore, but I still worry about tripping. Even when I’m on walking on a flat surface.~Jillian

    • OMG! The time is flying – as it likes to do – thanks for the reminder its all around the corner. And thank you Jillian for pulling this together. Great post, and fun to read about all of the other GH finalists and their entries and about them (whoops us:) period.

      • You’re welcome, Denny! Yes, it’s hard to believe in less than two months, most of the Dreamweavers will be seeing each other in person for the first time even though we’ve been together since March. Thanks for commenting!~Jillian

    • Hi Fellow Dreamweaver! And yes, thanks for reminding me – two months away. And yeah, time flies.

  3. Another great post about some amazing writers/women!! I loved reading more about each of your projects! Can’t wait to chat more about these stories (and every other thing!) in San Antonio!

    • I agree, Marnee. You and the rest of the YA finalists will be featured here on July 9th. I’m looking forward to reading all the amazing Golden Heart sisters’ books and chatting in San Antonio. Thanks for commenting!~Jillian

  4. I enjoyed reading about you ladies, and I’m looking forward to meeting you in person in July! Abbie mentioned that the competition for her is over. I couldn’t have said it better. We’ve already won by making it this far!

    • Jessica, I think Abbie has the right idea. I’m thrilled to be one of the Dreamweavers and can’t wait to meet everyone in person. The post about you and the rest of the YA finalists will be here on June 9th. Thanks for leaving a comment!~Jillian

  5. Such a wonderful post, Jillian. I love that you’re doing this. It’s really helping me put a face and name to each of my GH sisters. Thank you!

    • Sorry for the delay in replying, Sharon. Thanks for commenting! The posts have helped me bond with the Dreamweavers, too. Can’t wait for the in-person-meetup with you and the other 2014 Golden Heart finalists in July.~Jillian

  6. Thank you Jillian for hosting us all. I’m thrilled to be on the blog and so honored and humbled to be a GH finalist when I see what my 2014 sisters are accomplishing and writing. I can’t wait to meet most of you in San Antonio!

    • I appreciate the thanks, Asa. I enjoy writing about you and the rest of the 2014 Golden Heart finalists. Looking forward to meeting you and all the Dreamweavers in July.~Jillian

  7. Jillian, thank you for the time you’ve taken to introduce the Golden Heart finalists. You’ve given us a chance to learn a little about each person and their entry. I hope to meet everyone in San Antonio!

    • My pleasure, Connie! Learning about each finalist and her manuscript(s) before RWA14 is great. Meeting in person will be fantastic. Thanks for commenting!~Jillian

  8. Jillian, thanks so much for doing this! It’s so much fun to read the blurbs of the other Dream Weavers! Congrats everyone! Your stories sound amazing!

  9. Thanks again for these posts, Jillian. I love learning more about everyone’s stories! I have to echo Pintip’s comment that the generosity and support of the finalist group is incredible. I’m looking so forward to meeting in person.
    …and a side note: I now wish I’d sent you my short blurb! Bet you can tell I need a word count limit for most everything, eh? 😉

    • Marni, no worries about your blurb! I appreciate each finalist’s support in sharing stories her and the post links on social media. It will be so much fun when we can meet in person. Thanks for commenting!~Jillian

  10. Hi Everyone,

    Love, love, love reading about everyone’s entries and getting to know you better (if we haven’t met before) – looking forward to San Antonio – where I’ve never been (one of the few cities in the US since I travel – or used to – like crazy. And thank you again Jillian for doing this. These posts are fantastic.

    • Oops, I accidentally responded to one of your other comments. Check for my reply there.~Jillian

      • No worries. I didn’t realize until too late that you have it set-up for you to approve before the reply goes live. I got the ‘message’ for the last post, so assumed they hadn’t gone up. But more of me is good, too:)!

      • LOL. I wasn’t sure, so I decided to post all of your replies. You can now claim to be the world record holder for the most visitor replies to a single post on my blog. Congrats!

  11. Asa, I love the Valhalla series idea! I would read that series in a heartbeat. Can’t wait to get the chance.
    Marni, I know exactly what you mean about it being for the joy of the ride this time. That first final is stressful and fun at the same time, but more emphasis on the stressful. lol. Loved the line about the demigod with the anger management issues. haha.
    Pintip, The biggest reward of finaling is definitely the bonds we make. I wholeheartedly agree. Your book sounds awesome. I feel like I read a book exactly like it. ::wink, wink::
    Shelly, Such a cool idea! A regency paranormal with wolves, fairies and demons, oh my!
    Abbie, This year should definitely validate your writing. 🙂 Your plot smells amazing! haha. Loved your excerpt on Amazon’s Breakthrough contest. Good luck! Keep us posted.
    Connie, love the title and plot idea. Who knew to hide cocaine in candle wax?!
    Denny, Am I the only one who can completely picture you going, “OMG! OMG!” ??? As I was privileged enough to read your partial, I can say how much I love your characters and chemistry. Lots of chemistry. ::wipes brow::
    Sarah, I always love the themes of lost loves and betrayals that maybe weren’t completely betrayals??? Or maybe a misunderstanding? 🙂 I always enjoy seeing what you gals are up to on Kiss and Thrill.
    Sharon, I think the idea of the 12th century secret and the Green Beret is just delicious. Can’t wait to read this book!!! And all the other in the series.
    Jillian, Thanks for introducing us to more GH finalists!

    • Kim, you’re welcome. Thanks for taking the time to comment here and address each finalist in detail! Can’t wait to share the blurbs written by you and the rest of the YA finalists on June 9th.~Jillian

  12. Jillian – thanks for sharing! Each and every time I read these blurbs it makes me want to run out and buy the books! Can’t wait to do just that! Congratulations all!!!

  13. Wonderful post, Jillian and all the ladies! I love learning more about everyone’s books.
    And, by the way, the pic of you with Julia London AND Sherry Thomas?? That is CrAzY cool!

    • Laura, learning more about each of you and your manuscripts is what I love best about writing these post. Thanks for commenting!~Jillian

      P.S. Yes, I’m so honored to be chapter mates with 2014 RITA nominees Julie Kenner, Julia, and Sherry. Love that you noticed that 3 out of the 4 of us in that photo write Historical Romance.

  14. Loved reading about all of you and your blurbs! Can’t wait to meet you in person soon, and thanks Jillian, for giving us the chance to meet them here.

    • You’re welcome, Amy! Can’t wait to share the blurbs for you and the rest of the 2014 Golden Heart YA finalists on June 9th, too. As much as I enjoy reading the blurbs I will love meeting each of you in person more. See you in SA!

  15. Great posts, Jillian. I love reading about each story that finaled this year.

  16. McCall Houle says:

    Love the blurbs, ladies. Can’t wait to see your books in print and meet you in person! Hugs!

  17. I confess that I race ahead to read each and every one of those blurbs. I love the diversity of each of the plots, and what that says about each of the writers. 🙂 Counting down the days until San Antonio. Under 60! Thanks again so much Jillian for hosting us all here, and giving us an opportunity to learn about each other on different levels.

  18. Super congrats to all of you. Wishing each of you all the best in your writing careers.

  19. Hi Dreamweaver Sisters! Great post today, Jillian. I love everyone’s blurbs and can’t wait to see all these books in print so I can finally read them!

    • I think it’s unanimous, Carrie! We all love reading the blurbs and want to buy the books when they’re published. Thanks for commenting!~Jillian

  20. I’m here to cheer for my lovely Dreamweaver/Dream Weaver gals! So cool to read your blurbs — I *really* want to read the entire books. I’ve already got a head start, having read my CP Pintip’s FIT TO DIE.

    • Lucky you, Vanessa! I don’t know how I’m going to decide which Dreamweaver’s book to start first. Thanks for cheering and leaving a comment!~Jillian

  21. I just wanted to pop in and say my To-Be-Read-Pile is going to be growing when we all get published. Every one of the excerpts sounded amazing!

    And Jillian–thanks for doing this for all of us. You rock!

    • Thanks, Abbie! I think I’ll be sad after the last group (YA) is featured on June 9th. It’s been so much fun to write this series of posts about the 2014 Golden Heart finalists.~Jillian

  22. Great post, Jillian! I love hearing more about the 2014 Golden Heart finalists. Love your group name as well. Can’t wait to see the pin!

    • Jacqui, thanks for commenting, especially when you’re hosting a cover reveal for your award-winning Oregon Trail story. The Dreamweavers are excited about the pin design. Can’t wait to meet you at RWA14 or in Victoria BC, whichever comes first.~Jillian

  23. Hi Dreamweavers or Dream Weavers,
    A little birdy showed me your new pin and it’s fabulous! Enjoy being treated like royalty in San Antonio. All of your books sound wonderful, I feel sorry for the final judges. I think you’re all winners. 🙂

    • Hi, Tammy! Thanks for supporting the 2014 GH finalists by commenting here! We’re truly bonding as Dreamweavers and are happy to be nominated. Wonder who the little birdy is?~Jillian

  24. McCall Houle says:

    Welcome to the GH family, Deborah. So happy to have you! Hugs!


  1. […] finalist means to the participants in the paranormal and romantic suspense categories today on Jillian Lark’s (2014 historical finalist) blog and also check out the blurbs for our […]

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