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Anticipation — The 2011 RITA/Golden Heart Countdown

Carly Simon’s refrain about ANTICIPATION might have been a great theme song for Romance Writers of America’s  RITA and Golden Heart contests.  Unfortunately, Heinz Ketchup snapped it up to use as their jingle for their late 1970’s ad campaign.

Okay, so I’m dating myself. (No, not THAT kind of dating.) For anyone too young to remember the advertisement or the song, here’s a link to one of the Heinz commercials.    (Press the CTRL key while clicking the link to open in a separate window.) Heinz Ketchup Commercial

It seems kind of amateurish by today’s standards, doesn’t it?  At any rate, the song is probably better suited to a slow-flowing condiment, because the lyrics don’t begin to hint at how much stress is involved in waiting for RWA to announce the finalists.  The adrenaline pumps through your veins, your palms sweat, your heart races, and the butterflies in your stomach do back-flips.  The anticipation can be exhilarating, but at the same time it can be exhausting.

The day before the RITA and Golden Heart finalists are announced each year, I feel like a kid waiting on line to ride a roller coaster.  The nervous little girl in me knows the experience has the potential to become a negative one, filled with terror and puking.  Yet, I want to climb aboard anyway, because I also know I could end up having the time of my life.

As the line gets shorter, I inch closer to the front, bouncing on my toes in excitement.  With every moment, my anticipation builds exponentially until I can barely stand still.  Anyone who’s ever heard the late George Carlin’s comedy routine about the exhilaration in being next can appreciate what I’m talking about.  The downside is, once you’ve had your turn and the ride is over, all of that heady anticipation dissipates like smoke in the breeze, and the rest of your day feels a bit anti-climactic.

The 24 hours prior to the RITA/GH announcements is a very similar experience for over a thousand contestants.  They’re filled with hope and optimism because, until all the phone calls are made and the complete list is posted on the RWA website, every entrant is a potential finalist.  But at approximately 2 p.m. Central Time, sadly, the majority of the contestants will have to cope with disappointment.

If you happen to become one of those disheartened writers tomorrow, please remember that a lot of luck was involved.  Being a RITA or Golden Heart finalist means a great deal.  Five judges had to agree they loved that entry, so it must be pretty darn good.  At the same time, NOT getting a call means absolutely nothing.  It’s not a sign that your story or writing aren’t excellent.  I am living proof of that.  My non-finalist entry in 2005, which had been a 2004 GH finalist, competing against my first Golden Heart winner,  was also an American Title finalist and went on to WIN the 2006 Golden Heart a year later without a single revision.  The only thing that NOT getting a call means, is that one (or more) of your judges wasn’t blown away by your entry for a multitude of possible reasons:

  1. Perhaps she was judging outside her preferred or familiar genre (which many GH judges do because they’ve entered the category they like best and read most often).
  2. Maybe the judge is a perfectionist and believes awarding a 9 means the manuscript has to be absolutely flawless (which most published books that have received professional editing can’t even claim).
  3. It’s highly possible the judge’s life experiences have left her biased to some element in your story or characters.  (For example: How impartial could a judge who’s recently had a miscarriage or is battling infertility be reading an entry starring a pregnant heroine?)
  4. It could be the judge simply had a miserable day or was in such a lousy no entry would’ve seemed satisfactory.
  5. Perhaps the judge saw your title has been a winner in several chapter contests, and she approached the entry with a Let’s see what’s so great about this one attitude and was extra tough on it.  This is what I think happened to my entry  in 2005 and why I  changed my title for the 2006 GH contest–something RITA entrants can’t do.  Now, I try not to use my favorite title anywhere but in the Golden Heart and in query letters.

I could go on, but the list of potential reasons is endless.  The only thing you need to remember is it requires an approximate score of 40, give or take a point, to make the cut as a finalist.  So even if four of your judges give you high 8s and 9s, a single 4 or 5 (which is technically average) can destroy your chances.  An entry of mine once received a total of 40.5 and still didn’t become a finalist.

As you can see, the RITA and Golden Heart contests are a bit of a crapshoot.  Being a finalist says a lot about your work, whereas not being one says zip, zero, zilch.  It’s fine to be nervous and excited tomorrow, but it’s another thing to let your happiness and self-esteem depend on whether or not you receive a call.

Last year, I posted The Diary of a Golden Heart Finalist, which offers coping tips and illustrates the tension and nervousness that can make us all candidates for the looney bin. (see here)  http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/one-day-and-counting/ (Press the CTRL key while clicking the link to open in a separate window.)

There are many ways to deal with the stress of waiting.   A few will chew their fingernails.  Some may exercise to burn off excess adrenaline.  Others may pig out on chocolate or drown the apprehension with  margaritas.  (But remember if you get a call, you’ll be shopping for a dress for awards night, so the exercise might be the smartest option — but not nearly half the fun.)  My recommendation is to pamper yourself.  Give yourself a facial or take a bubble bath (of course bring the phone into the bathroom with you.)  In the past, I’ve found that if I do my hair and apply some make-up, I’m  better equipped mentally to deal with disappointment if I don’t get a call.  And  if a do get one, I’m all ready to go out and celebrate!

To kick off the long list of fabulous prizes the Ruby Sisters will be giving away during our GH/RITA announcement  bash tomorrow, (and believe me, this is the least of them) I’m offering this cute Ruby Slipper refrigerator magnet .  To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment about what do you plan to do to celebrate or console yourself tomorrow.  If you’re not entered in either the GH or Rita, feel free to encourage everyone who is.  And whatever you do, don’t forget to come back and party with us tomorrow.  Along with the prizes we’ll have live updates, so be sure to let us know if you’re a GH or RITA finalist right away!

193 responses to “Anticipation — The 2011 RITA/Golden Heart Countdown”

  1. I agree, Laurie. If you’re not a finalist, it doesn’t mean your story isn’t good. There are so many variables in reaching the finals and, yes, luck is a huge part of it. Interestingly, in 2008, I entered with huge expectations for my two entries. I didn’t final. But I entered one in 2009 (with tiny expectations!) and the other in 2010–both were finalists and I hadn’t even made significant changes to those books.

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    • It’s a really common story, Vanessa. Now, if I don’t get a call tomorrow, I’m going to have to come back and read my own blog. 🙂

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      • Amanda Brice says:

        I entered one manuscript in 2008…and finaled.

        I entered two manuscripts in 2009…one finaled. The one that finaled was the one I thought had zero chance. The one that didn’t final that year? It was the one that had finaled in 2008…with zero changes. None.

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  2. You guys are making me nuts with all the pre-Friday posts! 😉

    After finaling in another contest this year, I have high hopes for at least one of my entries … and I’m afraid I’m going to be really disappointed if I don’t get the call.

    My last year’s entry was solidly average, getting 6s (and one 5.something). I didn’t enter that one again, but went with two other stories.

    I scheduled a massage (on purpose) and (inadvertently) a chiropractor’s appointment. Other than that, I don’t know what I’ll be doing to kill time. 2 p.m. Central is noon here in Arizona, I think. I have to be at work by 3.

    I never thought of submitting to other contests with a different name.

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    • OMG, Arlene. You live in AZ and you’re still up! A massage is a great idea. My only problem with that is I always use my home phone number to submit. Next year I think I’ll give RWA my cell number so I can go out too.
      If a manuscript gets 5s and 6s across the board or it’s never gotten at least 2nd place in a chapter contest, it probably doesn’t have a great chance. But if you’ve previously gotten 7s, 8s, and 9s or a story has won a chapter contest, it’s definitely in the running. Sometimes you just need the right collection of judges.

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    • A massage sounds great! Have a prickly pear margarita too. And one for me. Don’t sweat it. You’ve already proven yourself.

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  3. Katrina says:

    I’m with Arlene. I’m going crazy here, torturing myself by trying to forget what day tomorrow is while still reading all your posts.

    I’m taking a half-day off work tomorrow so I can focus on writing. That way, whether I final or not, I’ll still be doing something I love. Not that I don’t love my day job, but I found it hard to concentrate last year and kept hitting refresh.

    My problem is that I’m in the UK. I’ve read that international calls go out first, but I don’t know if that’s true for people like me, who are only four hours ahead of NY at the moment (we haven’t sprung forward yet). So if I’m trying to figure out when I should start feeling disappointed. Morning? Noon? Certainly when RWA’s webpage looks filled up with people from my category.

    Best of luck everyone, and I’ll see you here tomorrow!

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    • Sorry! The intention isn’t to torture everyone or give them pre-announcement jitters. My goal is to help everyone understand that not getting a call isn’t a yardstick for a person’s writing skills or talent.

      I’ve only heard of people in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii getting really early calls. Although, it makes sense for them to call the UK first since you’re way ahead. My suggestion is to hang out here tomorrow. One RWA board member makes all of the calls for one category. So about two hours after you see the first finalist celebrating the category you’re entered is a safe time to assume you may be out of the running.
      However, I’ve heard of some interesting late announcements in which the board member couldn’t get through to someone. A few people have even been notified by e-mail because of phone problems.

      Good luck tomorrow, Katrina.

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      • Amanda Brice says:

        Yes, if you read the post I compiled on Tuesday where I listed the call stories of several past finalists, plenty of people heard hours, if not days later, or got an email. Not all board members are able to reach all finalists on the phone on the first try.

        And if a finalist is super chatty and has a lot of questions, she could be on the phone with the board member for 5-10 minutes (not exactly what the board member has in mind, I’m sure). If it’s a category with 10 finalists, that means it could take an hour and a half right there to make calls, even if she reaches everyone on the first try!

        And keep in mind that some board members are in California. True, the first calls to East Coast finalists (made by East Coast board members) generally start around 9 am (and go all morning!), but the board members in California don’t want to wake up and start making calls at 6 am their time. So they will likely wait until 9 am their time, which of course is 6 pm your time.

        So please be patient.

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  4. Kathy Altman says:

    A terrific post, Laurie! I love your comparison to waiting for an amusement park ride! So very apt. And by the way, thanks a lot for putting the song “Anticipation” into my head–I’ll be humming that to myself for the next twenty-four plus hours. 🙂

    I’m not sure how I would handle a final. I’ve tried to visualize that but find it difficult. Definitely I would wangle dinner out. 🙂 Not getting a call would probably have me cranking “I Will Survive” while raiding my chocolate stash.

    The very best of luck to you, Laurie, and to every GH and Rita hopeful! Hang in there!

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I Will Survive, good one, Kathy. Maybe we should find a way to stream that the day after for our consolation party.

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  5. Selena Fulton says:

    Now you have that song in my head. 😉

    If I don’t final, I’ll be disappointed. But since this story has already finalled in another contest, I won’t stress if I don’t final. I may work on my stash of Dove dark chocolate in the freezer. But today I plan to get a bottle of champange to chill in the fridge, just in case.

    If I final, I’ll try to figure out how to get to NYC. I already have a decent head shot.

    I’m also working on my next wip, trying not to think about tomorrow.

    Good luck to everyone!

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    • Rita Henuber says:

      Hey Selena. Glad you joined us

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I think the take away here today, Selena, is that we should all expect NOT to final (because the chances are greater that any one contestant won’t), and we should be pleasantly surprised if we get a call.

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      • Selena Fulton says:

        Hi Rita!

        Laurie, I’m okay, either way. Several years ago when I first entered the GH, I was crushed when I didn’t even make the top half. I’ve heard so many stories of people finalling the following year when they didn’t change a thing.

        But it is exciting, isn’t it? And I’m glad I don’t have to work tomorrow.

        Ready for the ride to begin!

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      • Amanda Brice says:

        Yes. This. The chances are way greater than anyone will NOT final than they WILL final. I’ve said it a zillion times, but it’s a crapshoot.

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    • I love your attitude.

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  6. Kimberly Kincaid says:

    Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Either way!!! 🙂

    Kim

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I bought the BEST chocolate at BJs. It’s a combination of acai berry and blueberry coated in dark chocolate, so it’s actually GOOD for me. 🙂 It’s also 9.99 for a bag. But yummm.

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  7. The anticipation is killing me and I didn’t even enter! I don’t remember feeling this anxious last year when I DID enter. Maybe because I didn’t know what to expect?

    Good luck, ladies, and I look forward to joining the party tomorrow.

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  8. Rita Henuber says:

    I always think about Allison Brennan who admits being a contest slut. Can’t remember exactly, but she said she entered forty some odd contests and the GH in one year and finaled in, I think six. I know it was a single digit number and did not final in the GH. She is a NYT bestselling author and has like more than 20 books published.
    And just go with the jitters. Embrace them. In this business there will always be jitters. Do something crazy. Wear your bra on the outside of your shirt and blame it on the GH jitters.
    Less than twenty-four hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      As you say, Rita, EGGZAKERLY. Frequently manuscripts are TOO contest ready for editors to buy them. They might do well in the GH which is a contest of consensus (5 judges), but the writer plays it too safe because she’s trying to please the masses. Publishers often prefer us to take chances and write something a little edgier.

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  9. Jeannie Lin says:

    Hey, I remember that Heinz ketchup commercial!

    I really like your attitude Laurie. I think regardless of call or no call, I’m going to get myself done up and take myself out to lunch. That way I have something to look forward to and I’ll have at least an hour away from my computer.

    One more day….

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  10. Elisa Beatty says:

    EEEk!! Can’t believe we’re less than 24 hours away!!!

    I woke up this morning to NO INTERNET. It was like suddenly going blind or deaf. (Yeah, I need to work on this addiction thing.) Luckily, my husband “refreshed the router,” whatever that means, and now I’m on again. If this happens tomorrow morning, I’ll chew through the walls.

    I really can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ll have to be up before 5 a.m. here in California, but I don’t want to miss a minute of the excitement!

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I know. The wait will be over soon. Were you still eligible to enter this year?

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    • I know. Excitment was chugging through me at nine while thinking only 24 hours. You’d swear I was entered. I can’t wait to hear the squeals.

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    • Eileen says:

      We briefly lost power here (a planned outtage that I knew about), but it made my heart race thinking “what would happen tomorrow if my router and landline were both knocked out by a power outtage?!

      Zoiks! Methinks I may have to go rent a generator! 😉

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      • Laurie Kellogg says:

        Oh, what a horrible thought, Eileen. My home phone is dependent on my Internet connection. I hereby declare a ban on all phone and Internet malfunctions tomorrow!

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        AGh!!! That’d better not happen to BOTH of us!!! I was thinking if it was tomorrow, I’d get right on the phone with you and have you pass along the breaking news!! Or else I’d drive to work (at 5 a.m.) to use the internet there!

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    • Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

      Refresh the router means disconnecting it from the cable and/or power source, waiting about 60 seconds, and hooking it back up (just in case it does it again and hubby isn’t around.) The guy at the cable company instructed me when I freaked on morning. Yeah, gotta do something about this addiction thing. 😉

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      • Laurie Kellogg says:

        Oh, goodie, you’re awake, Gwynlyn. I just finished reading the chapters you sent. I’ll give you a call in a few minutes. Unless you call me first. 🙂

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  11. Amanda Brice says:

    I remember that Heinz ketchup commercial!

    And I just want to stress that the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood is NOT trying to make people go nuts with anticipation. If it makes it easier, just sit down and write stop reading the posts!

    As for Laurie’s explanations as to possible reasons why an entry does not final, she’s spot on.

    #1 in particular. Unless you’re a published author still judging the GH, there’s a pretty decent shot that you’re not judging your preferred category…because you entered your preferred category. And if your second choice category to judge is popular and had a lot of judges signed up already, RWA could always switch you to your third or fourth. You get the idea. I’ve seen people judge YA in chapter contests and you can tell from their comments that they know nothing about the genre. It sucks, but it happens.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I can’t believe you young ones remember a late seventies commercial. How old where you? TWO? My daughter (now 28) wasn’t even familiar with the song, let along the commercial.

      You are so right, Amanda. It does suck when you know something is right for the genre you’re writing and people who know nothing about it have the power to determine it’s success in a contest.

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      • Amanda Brice says:

        They actually used the Carly Simon “Anticipation” song for the Heinz commercials through the early 80s. But just so you know, I’m in my (*gulp!*) mid-30s. I’ve been clinging to the “early 30s” label but in about 6 weeks I’ll have to official shed that and join the mid-30s crowd.

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        • Laurie Kellogg says:

          Ah-ha. That explains it.

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          • Amanda Brice says:

            Yup, Jeannie and I are just enough older than your daughter that we remember it. It’s like the Dukes of Hazzard and my cousins. My brother (31) remembers that show, but my 30-year-old cousins don’t. Well, they’ve seen it in syndication, but they have zero recollection of having ever watched it when it was on in prime time.

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      • Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

        My kids know the song, but not the commercial (Mom’s a Carly Simon fan although mine collection is all LPs–that’s vinyl long-playing records for the uninitiated. Talk about dating oneself!)

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        • Kate Parker says:

          Gwyn, do you remember 45s? Most people today think they’re handguns. I remember 78s, and how much fun it was to play 45s at 78. Most of our bloggers today will think I’m writing in code. If you remember what I’m writing about, raise your hand.

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          • Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

            Oh, yeah! My first 45’s: The Vogues version of Sealed with a Kiss and Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays. How’s THAT for a memory? 😉

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          • Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

            Pssst—don’t tell anybody, but I have Glenn Miller on 78s.

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          • Hope Ramsay says:

            I think playing 45s at 78 is how Alvin the chimpmunk was born. And yes, I remember doing it as a kid. It was also fun to play the 45s at 33.

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      • Selena Fulton says:

        I remember that commercial too. Guess I’m old…

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  12. Hope Ramsay says:

    Great post Laurie, as always.

    I have to admit I’m more excited this year than ever before. That’s probably because I’m not eligible for either Golden Heart or Rita this year.

    What a blessing!

    I can root for my many friends who have entered both contests and celebrate with absoutely no stress or need for chocolate. (Which is good because I’m on a diet).

    I will be here celebrating like a fool. Best of luck to all of you. I’m looking forward to tomorrow with anticipation. I’m expecting many, many friends to be on the finalist list.

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  13. Diana Layne says:

    I didn’t enter this year, but this is definitely exciting watching from the sidelines!

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  14. I now have Carly Simon singing in my head! And visions of ketchup bottles doing the slo-mo!

    I’m hoping for going out to dinner, and I may go either way as I have no plans other than sobbing in my pillow if….Okay, I’m not even going there. Positive thinking only.

    I wasn’t thinking ahead when I gave up sugar this month! At least I didn’t give up alcohol! I’ll be glued here tomorrow morning, like everyone else. Best of luck to everyone. I wish we could all final, what a party that would be!

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  15. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Consolation or congratulation dinner, definitely go, Jessica. You deserve a night out simply for having the courage to enter.

    If nothing else, the Golden Heart contest forces us to finish and polish manuscripts we might not have otherwise. So it’s PARTY TIME for us all. Regardless of the outcome, we’re all winners.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That’s such an important thing to keep in mind: if Golden Heart pushed you to finish a manuscript before the Dec 2 deadline, you’ve already won a major prize!!

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  16. Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

    Nicely said, Laurie. It is PAETY TIME for everyone who pushed to finish a manuscript that might have sat for years (yeah, yeah, I know,)and had the courage to put it out there. I have no idea what planet I was visiting when I decided to throw everything into the ring this year. I’m sure the idiot gas was part of the atmosphere. No other excuse. 😉

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    • Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

      Make that PARTY TIME. (Note to self: Proof posts.) 😛

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      • Laurie Kellogg says:

        I found it interesting that Paety Time reads phonically more like Pity Time. That’s so NOT what we’re going to do tomorrow.

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  17. Laurie, you have SUCH a beautiful way of describing the anticipation. I feel all amped-up now. Must go work out to let off some steam…

    I’m glad I’m not going through the nail-biting this year, but I remember several years of angst before I did final and win (with a different manuscript than the other years). I love how you remind us how subjective contests (and this business!!) are.

    My thoughts are with all of those who are angst-ridden today! 😉

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      Thank you, Anne Marie. It’s so true. Although it’s so much nicer to get a call than to not get one, it means nothing if a manuscript isn’t a finalist. Rita was so right when she pointed out Allison Brennan’s books. None of her work was ever a GH finalist, and look at her now.

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  18. Elisa Beatty says:

    My students (high school seniors) are all abuzz because several colleges will be making their admissions decisions available online today….

    Feels very familiar!!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I hate to say this, but I may have been MORE excited to get the GH call than my acceptance letter from my university. Maybe the memory is just more recent. Yes, must be it.

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  19. Anne Barton says:

    Laurie, your post captured the mish-mash of feelings perfectly! I remember your day-before announcements post from last year too–so funny and so true. (Anybody who didn’t see it, click the link Laurie provided above–it’s too cute.)

    I won’t be able to check in here till lunchtime tomorrow. That’s going to make me crazy for sure.

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  20. Gillian Layne says:

    What a great post! I didn’t enter this year, but I’ll be cheering on the finalists at the end of the day tomorrow, and sending cyber hugs to those who didn’t get their call. Never say “if”, ladies, only “when”! If this isn’t the year…next year will be! 🙂

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      Absolutely, Gillian. I’ve been at this for twelve years now, and I refuse to say IF. Only when.

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  21. Wise words, as usual, dear Laurie. Thanks! I love the positive vibe around your post…actually around all the posts this week.

    As a huge fan of visioning and positive affirmations, I hope everyone out there is envisioning the phone ringing tomorrow, picking up the phone, and hearing the words, “You’re a 2011 finalist!” Keep that positive energy flowing and tell yourself, “My story is WORTHY of a Rita final!” or “My story is WORTHY of a GH final!” Knowing your worth puts everything in perspective. 🙂 Hugs and good thoughts to all the entrants!

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    • Great advice. I’ve been trying to put out the positive vibes for months now, saying “when I final” instead of “if.” I even scheduled a week of vacation for conference week.

      Of course, I may just be setting myself up for bigger disappointment …

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I’m definitely thinking positive, Shelley. That’s why I’m waiting to query agents until after the announcements.

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  22. The lovely ladies in my favorite store now think I’ve gone *completely* over the edge! As I walked up and down the aisles of lovely, shiny, drool-worthy kitchen gadgets and cutting boards (yes, I’m one of those weird people who LOVE cooking!), I literally could not contain the little gasps and “eeeeps” that boiled up inside me as I thought about the calls going out tomorrow.

    One of the sales reps came over to me as I was getting down a replacement glass liner for my French press coffee maker and asked if I was okay (in that, um…, slightly “is-this-woman-completely-nutters?” way.)

    I told her I was just a little anxious about something.

    She very sweetly told me, “perhaps more coffee is NOT what you’re needing then….”

    OY! If she only knew!

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    • Kim Law says:

      That’s too funny, Eileen! I can so picture that. And now I want to go to one of those stores, too, because, well, I just love gadgets! 🙂

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    • Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

      You’ll have to make the trip to Tannersville on day, Eileen. TWO cooking stores, Kitchen Collection is my favorite, and and outlet for Pyrex, Revereware, and Corning! Yes, a kitchen gadgets Narvana! Although, in truth, some of them are just too weird; like you need a special appliance to separate eggs. 😉

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  23. Kate Parker says:

    I just want it to be over! I want to final as much as the next person, but I’m sending out queries on Saturday on one of my entries no matter what. It’s polished and ready to go out in the world. So right after I finish this roller coaster ride tomorrow, I’ll get in line for another ride the next day.

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    • Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

      We’ll be clicking our heels for you, Kate. I figure I’ll be too dizzy for a day or two, but I’ll be right behind you.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Great idea, Kate! Everyone who’s entered in either GH or Rita (or, hell, anyone of us at all) should have a concrete game plan for Saturday! Some kind of real progress (number of words to write, query to send off, or something).

      I will commit to two hours of revision on my WIP.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I’m doing the same thing, Kate. It would just be nice if the manuscript is a finalist, because it will make it easier to query.

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Kate,

      This is a very positive attitude. You go, girl.

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  24. Heather Snow says:

    What a fun post, Laurie! And good advice in the post and comments.

    I didn’t sleep much the night before. Up until that point, I’d done a pretty good job not thinking of it, but that last night my mind was on fire! I kept envisioning the call…what would I say? What would they say? Who would I tell first? What am I going to do if I don’t get the call? I was up All. Night. Long.

    I tried really really hard to nap on the 25th, because I couldn’t stand the tension anymore! Regency calls were late to go out, and I was terribly on edge (and at home alone with my then 1 year old, who thankfully took a long nap that day, because I was frazzled and in no shape to be the patient mom of a toddler). By the time the call came, I was an exhausted mess! But a happy exhausted mess 🙂

    Good luck everyone…it’s almost over now.

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  25. I am not getting a freaking thing done today at work, nausea churning, chewing my nails. Thank you Ruby Slippered Sisterhood… if your intent was to whip this year’s entrants into a lather, Well Done! 🙂

    I need to go lay down now.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      If it makes you feel any better, Jen, I haven’t accomplished a blessed thing myself today either, other than to read a couple of chapter for my CP. Oh, yeah, and to take my niece and daughter out to lunch. (I was gearing up for tomorrow) 🙂

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      LOL, Jen! I think most of us would have ourselves worked into a lather anyway…personally, I prefer to do it among friends! (Preferably, friends with chocolate and/or alcohol…even the virtual variety.)

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      • I think my vice today will be my migraine medication. 🙂 Makes me feel much better. Fingers crossed for everyone tomorrow… there can be 1,000 finalists, right?

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  26. Carlene Flores says:

    Laurie, I’ve been reading this blog all week and really soaking up all that has been posted and commented. It’s been a great time reading everything, and very comforting. Nice to know that there are lots of great, witty, supportive people out there. I’m entered into the GH this year with something that like everyone else, I hold really close to my heart. Your words in this post have helped me to know that if my baby doesn’t make it this year, it’s nothing to feel too depressed over and it’s definitely nothing personal. So thank you and good luck to everyone entered!

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  27. Heather Snow says:

    I just had a blast going back to last year’s Cyber Party (in the archives) and reading the comments as they came in! What a fun way to relive the excitment of that day.

    Only this time, it was even more exciting because as I was re-reading, I actually knew the people who were shouting their news personally, having met most of them in Orlando and having shared this past year with them. What a fun experience 🙂

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  28. Kelly Fitzpatrick says:

    Good luck to all who have entered.

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  29. Shea Berkley says:

    Wow, the excitement is building … I’m all fidgety. So many of my friends have entered and are waiting.

    I think everyone should make an effort to do something fabulous tomorrow. Finalist or not, everyone who entered did an amazing thing. They produced a book. Do you know how many people say they want to do that and never do? So, don’t hold back! Go out and have fun tomorrow because everyone who entered deserves a fantastic reward.

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  30. I have lunch scheduled with a my good friend and critique partner. GH or no, it’ll be a party 🙂

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  31. liz talley says:

    Nice post, Laurie.

    I’ve really been trying not to remember it’s announce day tomorrow. Every time I think about it my stomach does a little flip because even though I know I’m totally fine not ever being a finalist, it’s just something I want. There. I said it. I want to be a Rita finalist. But, as my momma says, “You don’t always get what you want.” Or maybe that was The Stones? So, really I’m good. Things have been going great for me lately – three book contract, good review, etc. So I don’t need a Rita nod, right? And if truth be known, I’d rather sell my house that’s been on the market for 6 looong months than get a nomination. That way I can take my kids on vacation this summer.

    Okay, I did a pretty good job of talking myself out of being nervous. I’m good now.

    Looking forward to tomorrow 🙂

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  32. Jeannie Lin says:

    So what does everyone think about #GHRITA as a hashtag on Twitter?

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  33. Lena Diaz says:

    You Ruby Sisters are awesome! I absolutely love your website and will be prowling on your site all day tomorrow to watch the news roll in. I’m way more nervous this year about the GH calls than ever before. I think it’s because, having actually been fortunate enough to be a finalist once (last year), I know it’s not totally impossible that it could happen again. Lightning can strike twice, right? So – I’m feeling more hopeful this year – which is probably a bad sign. (sigh) If I sleep a wink tonight it will be a miracle. Good luck to everyone who has entered either the Golden Heart or the Rita’s this year!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Hey, there, Unsinkable sister!! Lightning can definitely strike twice…and more!

      I’ll be looking for your name tomorrow!! Good luck!

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      My guess is that once an author has made the GH finalist list, she’s probably twice as likely to make it again compared to someone who’s never gotten there. Of course, there are prior GH finalists and winners who don’t make the cut on subsequent years and lots of newbies every year. I think it just increases the odds.

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    • Selena Fulton says:

      I hope you win this year, Lena!

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  34. Tia Ramirez says:

    Just got my membership to RWA today & cannot wait to enter the next GH! So excited!! Good luck to those who entered!! I bet all of youe work was beyond worth wild. I’m going to be here front and center to see the results tomorrow! Even though I haven’t entered I still have butterflies. It’s just so exciting, it’s contagious.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      This will give you something to aspire to, Tia. My CP went as my VIP guest to the 2006 GH award ceremony and cheered me on when I won. When I came back from accepting my award, she said, I want to be a finalist next year. And she worked like mad to make sure she was in 2007 and again in 2009 (and with any luck, again in 2011. Gwynlyn, it’s an ODD numbered year, so you’re due for another one. 🙂

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    • Rita Henuber says:

      Congrats on joining RWA Tia. looking forward to great things from you

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  35. Alexa Bourne says:

    Well, two hours at the gym helped to relieve some of the tension in my body, but what am I going to do between now and when the calls go out?????

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  36. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Okay, I broke down and created a Twitter account, I need some more people to follow. Who has a Twitter account?

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  37. Tina Joyce says:

    Ooh! So excited about hearing those announcements go up tomorrow! And this year I get to sit back and enjoy everyone else’s excitement. Good luck to all who entered! I’m hoping to hear lots of cyber-screams go up from those who visited the blog today.

    It’s also encouraging to hear from those whose manuscripts never finaled, but sold just the same. So not finaling is definitely not the end of the world.

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  38. Great post, Laurie! I have been working my tail off all week, so the good news is, it has gone by fast. But now that it’s almost here, I am excited but almost don’t want it to arrive in case I’m disappointed, and then the excitement is over. What I can say this year is that for the first time ever, I entered more than one entry – four in fact! And best of all, the GH has pushed me to move forward with major revisions on my latest WIP, so whether it finals or not, mission accomplished.

    Good luck everyone. I can’t wait to see the calls start coming in tomorrow!

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  39. Wow, this is the happening spot! Laurie, thanks for an excellent post. Good luck to everyone who entered and sending out positive vibes. Guess we’ll be hearing from our Down Under writers very soon!

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  40. Great post Laurie! MarianPS is my twitter, although Kristen Lamb social media goddess says it needs to be MarianPStevens — so I will look into that soon. She said the last name makes it easy for people to look you up.

    It’s GH/Rita Eve . . . and we’re all a little nuts! But at least we’re in it together! See you all tomorrow! XXX

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      The problem is lots of times the name you want is already taken. I had to take KelloggLaurie

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  41. Kelley Bowen says:

    From the bottom of my pounding heart…good luck everyone!

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  42. Kate Parker says:

    Twelve hours from now, calls will probably already have been made overseas and will be hitting the east coast. Almost like watching Santa on Christmas Eve on the Norad site.

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  43. Jane Sevier says:

    Lovely post, Laurie. All day today, I’ve been focusing on work so I wouldn’t think about tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll wake in the wee hours, though.

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  44. I decided my old GH picture was just too OLD. So as an act of faith, I took a new head shot today. I just hope I’m not jinxing myself.

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  45. Laurie Kellogg says:

    This is a test to see if my gravatar changed.

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  46. I will be hiking a mountain when calls go out, will have to keep my phone handy!

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  47. Carla says:

    Reading this back, the Monday after the calls, I have to say CONGRATULATIONS Laurie! You didn’t need to go back and read Thursday’s post after all! I’m SO happy for you!! See you in NY!

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  48. […] 1.  (Read my post from last year for some of  the reasons your manuscript may not make the cut.  2011 RITA/GH Anticipation) […]

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