Meet 2014 Golden Heart Finalist Denny S. Bryce!

Today we’re delighted to welcome Denny S. Bryce, a 2014 Golden Heart Finalist in the Romantic Suspense category with her contemporary novel CHASING DAMN.

dennybryceAsk Denny for a bio, and she’ll tell you, “I want to break it into acts. I’ve had three careers (and working on number four—writing romance:), and each has had its own beginning, middle and end (except the romance author who is just getting started:).” After college, she danced professionally in New York, New York, working with modern dance companies including Matthew Diamond and Alvin Ailey II. After a few years of loving the life of a struggling NYC artist “way too much,” she returned to Chicago (she’d graduated from college in Lake Forest, IL) and managed to get a job in public relations. Ten years into that career, she launched her own marketing and PR firm. And during that block of time, she started writing fiction (actually fan fiction in the Buffy/Spike fandom). Her first books were urban fantasies, then the romance took over and she was writing paranormal romance. She’s written romances in four genres—paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary romantic suspense and a historical set in 1925 Chicago’s Bronzeville community. She currently lives outside DC next to a lake, not far from her grown son, who’s married and lives in the city.

Here’s a blurb for CHASING DAMN:

FBI Special Agent Nikki Chase is a brilliant ethical hacker, and the middle sister who doesn’t follow the rules. Nikki returns home after three years to search for her younger sister, a twenty-two year-old law student, she believes is missing. But other family members don’t agree, and she sets out on her own only to discover a connection between a cyber theft and her sister’s disappearance. Can she count on a one-night stand to help her solve a crime and save a life? Or will her inability to trust a man with more than her body keep her from making the right choice?

Ray Taylor, owner of a private security firm, is a government contractor for Homeland Security with a talent for persuading mid-level criminals to snitch on their bosses. He is determined to catch a sex-trafficking gang leader, but after a snitch commits suicide in front of him, he’s reevaluating his priorities. But when a one-night stand is the adopted niece of his next sting, he has to answer the question what matters most? His hate or his heart?

CHASING DAMN is a romantic suspense about an emotionally scarred woman and a determined private security consultant forced to work together to catch a cyber thief, but they soon learn the cyber gang leader wants more than data—he wants revenge.

Sweet! Those kinds of wounded, prickly, intense (and deep down inside vulnerable) heroines and heroines are right up my alley! Can’t wait!

And now a treat for today’s visitors: Denny’s a champion of the Romantic Suspense genre, and today she’s offering one lucky commenter a $10 Amazon gift card, which you’ll have to promise to spend on a Romantic Suspense!

In keeping with the suspense theme, I invite you all into my secret, high-security underground computer surveillance lair for a highly confidential chat with Denny! (Don’t worry…the chairs are comfy and the coffee’s strong! Plus, the brownies should be out of the high-security oven any minute now.)


Welcome, Denny! Here’s my favorite starter question: tell us the story of your Golden Heart Call…

It was the best call ever (so far). I had turned off the Internet and settled in front of my computer to work on revisions for a story that wasn’t the romantic suspense I submitted for the Golden Heart. When my cell phone rang at 9:30 am I looked at the area code, I saw it was from the Midwest. Definitely not a Texas area code because yes, I thought GH calls came from RWA headquarters. And in PR, you pick up strange skills—knowing area codes is my thing:).  I answered the phone expecting to talk marketing stuff to a client when the woman on the other end asked for “Denny”. Outside of the writing world, only my mom and dad call me Denny:). And I didn’t recognize the voice.  So, I said, why are you calling me? (Manners went out the window). “Denny, this is XXX (no typo here:). I asked the caller six times, but I still don’t remember the name of the wonderful woman who called me. But if you read this, please let me know who you are, and I’m sorry for all the yelling. Yes, I might have raised my voice for five minutes saying over and over again, “Oh, my God!”

Tell us about your inspirations as a writer. Who’s got your back when the going gets tough?

I met a group of women four years ago at my first Washington Romance Writers (WRW-DC) retreat. Thirteen of us formed a group called the Waterworld Mermaids. The original crew included: Alethea Kontis (our leader:)!, Avery Flynn, Robin Covington, Loni Glover, Carlene Love Flores, Kerri Carpenter, Masha Levinson, Susan Andrews (aka Susan Jeffrey), Dana Rodgers, Diana Belchase, Kimberly MacCarron, Pintip Dunn, and moi. These fantastic women writers (our tag line:) have inspired me every day with their generosity, humor, fearlessness, frustration, determination, and awesome talent.

Ah, yes—I’ve seen the Waterworld Mermaids around the web. And, aside from the published folks, some of the names from that list should be familiar to anyone who’s perused lately….

Two of those women are also 2014 Golden Heart finalists, in fact, both are double finalists (Kim and Pintip – my critique partner:)! The rest of the group are authors you are familiar with (or should be:), or like me, authors seeking publication as others gear up to self-publish.

So yeah, although I sometimes point to a pretty face or a photo of a perfect set of abs as inspiration for a character’s looks, the real deal for me and writing are the authors that help me stay in the writing cave and loving it there (whether it’s a good day or a bad day).

Congrats to all of the 2014 Golden Heart Finalists! So happy to be a Dreamweaver!

Congrats to you, too, Denny! And best of luck in San Antonio! So, do you have a question for our readers to get the conversation rolling today?

Many of us love to write – which is a given – but writing ain’t easy. What and/or who keeps you grounded? Who helps you get through when the writing days aren’t your best days….

And don’t forget: It’s Buy Romantic Suspense Day:)!

To support romantic suspense authors, one lucky commenter will receive a $10 AMAZON gift certificate for which you’ll be honor bound to buy a romantic suspense!!!!


You can visit Denny at her website,; on Twitter @dennysbryce or on Facebook at or visit

95 responses to “Meet 2014 Golden Heart Finalist Denny S. Bryce!”

  1. Gwyn says:

    Four careers? I’m tired just thinking about it!

    Lovely getting to know more about you, Denny. While I’m not generally a RS reader, I love your blurb. I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio.

    • HI Gwyn,

      The thing about the four careers – notice I didn’t mention any dates or years:)! Just spinning along:)…thanks for stopping by and commenting! And wow SA is around the corner!

  2. Congrats on your final, Denny! I love the premise of Chasing Damn. I’m sure people will start chasing Kim and Pintip — they obviously have the Midas touch when it comes to helping CPs! I do have them to thank for getting me through rough days and cheering for me on the good days. 🙂

    Elisa, great interview! Where is this top-secret lair where amazing brownies are made? C’mon, you can tell your Ruby sis!

    • Pintip and Kim are awesome! And yes, I am lucky to know them and all of the Waterworld Mermaids!

      I’m really looking forward to meeting you – love the website you did for Pintip, and great getting to know you via yahoo groups and such. In person will be a blast!


    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I’ll send over one of my well-trained (and muscle-bound) operatives to guide you, Vanessa. You may have to wear a blindfold, though.

  3. Sarah Andre says:

    Hugs, Denny! Packing for my trip, getting Lone Star entries out to judges, cleaning the house for the dogsitter as well as a million tiny things, so can’t stop in for longer than to say” Whoo, hoo! 5 weeks to go. Hope I’m seated somewhere near you in the VIP section; you’re a hoot!

    • Hey Sarah,

      Weren’t we just sitting at the WRW Retreat like five minutes ago? Five weeks? Just like that! I am really looking forward to having some time to hang out in SA. In the meantime, ENJOY your vacation and yes, I am Jealous!!!!

  4. Piper says:

    How wonderful that you have great writing support to keep you going. Before I started all of this, I would have thought that didn’t make a difference, but it does! I love the sound of Chasing Damn and I want to read it. We need more romantic suspense! Looking forward to seeing you in S.A.!

    • Hey Piper,

      You are awesome! I am so excited about all that you are doing and getting done and looking forward to hanging with you in SA.

      This is a ride, you know! And so glad I’m on the train. And so glad you like the premise:)…

      See you in 5 weeks!!!!

  5. Waterworld Mermaids rock!!!! Go Denny!!!

    Lately, when I’m having a particularly icky writing day, I’m finding that the right CD, soundtrack, playlist, etc. can help me get back on track. I always write to music – there’s something very calming about throwing the headphones on and zoning out. Each book I write has its own playlist. 😉

    • Hey my Sparkly Friend!

      Thank you for coming over here and saying hi! I am a fan of music and writing, too. But oddly Chasing Damn doesn’t have a sound track. There’s are office sounds and motors running, and banter, and a bit of the blues – but I’ll have to think about that:)…

      See you in SA!

  6. Great interview, Denny!! CHASING DAMN sounds wonderful!!

    I love romantic suspense and these characters–damaged and wounded–sound right up my alley.

    And your call story is hilarious. LOL!!

    Can’t wait to meet you in San Antonio!!


    • Thanks Marnee!

      Damaged and wounded – I like my characters beat up right off the bat, but they have a sense of humor. I swear:)! Thank you for reading and commenting and can’t wait to meet you in person in SA!

  7. Amanda Brice says:

    Welcome Denny!

    I knew you’d danced professionally, but why didn’t I know about Alvin Ailey?!?!? WOW, girl. Amazing!

    You’re just so awesome, and I can’t wait to read Chasing Damn.

    • Thank you so much Amanda!

      It’s really way too much fun being here and actually blogging about being a Golden Heart finalist, and chatting with so many new and old friends. I really appreciate your stopping by and commenting!

  8. Denny! Hi fishy sister. I love you.
    Hi Ruby Slippered Sisterhood and thank you for exposing the awesomeness that is Denny S. Bryce!
    The thing I love most to get really in the groove with my writing is going to hear live music. Whether it’s a huge act or locals, being near that energy always gives me what I need. Good luck at Nationals and Go Mermaids!

    • Hey Carlene,

      You bet GO MERMAIDS! So serious about how you ladies have kept me in this game! And we’d better see lots of photos of your road trip (you are making the trip cross country, right?)

  9. Denny!
    First off, I love romantic suspense and yours sounds right up my alley. Can’t wait to get my hot little hands on it.

    Secondly, I’m constantly in awe of this group and the paths our lives have taken to get us to writing. I’ve got to believe it shapes and influences everything we put on the page.
    On my bad writing days, I tend to lean hevily on a bottle of wine *wink* And, the amazing group of writers I’ve met along the journey so far.

    PS. Your historical sounds fascinating too!

    • Laura,

      We may be simpatico:) – because that ‘wine’ sounds right to me, too!

      And yes, the historical – I can’t wait to get back to it. I actually received what I like to call a rejection/request – no to the novella, but make it longer and we’ll take a look, so it’s still ALIVE!

  10. Keely Thrall says:

    I’ve knocked around RWA and Washington Romance Writers long enough to have built up a large and varied resource pool, I’m grateful to say. From various CPs to my crew at Tuesday Night Writes to my sister Golden Heart finalists, someone is always willing to lend an ear and whisper (or shout) a word of encouragement. It’s pretty wonderful to be so connected to your tribe, you know?

    Looking forward to working with you this year, Denny, on programs.

    And Elisa – I’m counting down the hours until our next writing sprint later today!

    • Hey Keely,

      So good to see you here! And yes, you do have quite the network. When I grow up I want to be you:)!!! And a huge thank you for your support for WRW programs. I so needed and appreciate your brainpower on programs!

      And I still have a Pentagon trip to take – you up for joining me?

      We’ll have to chat!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Woot! 2 1/2 hours and I’ll be there with bells on!

      I wanted to write this morning, but had to speed-clean the house before the appliance delivery guys got here…

  11. June Love says:

    Welcome to the Ruby Sister blog, Denny, and congratulations on your final! The premise of Chasing Damn sounds damn good. Okay…I know not very original, but I couldn’t stop myself. 🙂

    How fortunate to have a group of such dedicated writers watching your back. I’ve learned through being a Ruby that support comes in all shapes, form, and fashion. Our everyday life affects our writing, so having a group of writers who get that is priceless.

    I loved your call story and wish you the best in San Antonio!

    • Love it June!!!

      It was hanging out there, prepped and ready! Glad you went for it.

      Thank you so much to the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood for keeping this tradition going. I often lurk on this site – really love it, and now I’m hanging out! So hurrah! And thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

  12. Sharon Wray says:

    Hi Denny!
    I love learning more about my GH sisters and your book sounds amazing. I am a huge RS fan and can’t wait to read yours.

    I have a wonderful network of critique partners who help keep me grounded as well as a group of friends who know nothing about writing. Sometimes their advice (often given with margaritas) is just what I need to get out of a writing funk!

  13. Welcome & congrats, Denny! (And from one RS author to another, happy “buy a RS day!”) 😉

    As for who keeps me grounded…my family. My sister is an awesome source of support. My husband, who helps me find time to get away and write when I need to. My kids, who ground me in reality, which is equally important. 😉

    Congrats, and hope to meet you in S.A.!

    • Anne Marie,

      Buy Romantic Suspense day should be every day, right?

      And yes, I do have great support from family, too! And I say as much as possible works!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  14. Suzanne says:

    Elisa, are those brownies ready? I could so go for one right now.

    Denny, we LOVE Alvin Ailey! Used to take my girls into the city every December to see a show. Sounds like you’ve led an interesting and full life–and you’re so blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of writers.

    Congratulations on your GH final!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Yup…the brownies just came out, nice and warm and gooey! I’ve got hand-churned vanilla ice cream to go with them, too!

    • Hi Suzanne,

      I should clarify – I was with Ailey II for a few weeks, and it was the ‘second’ company. I also toured with Judith Jamison toward the end of her dancing career – to exactly two cities if I recall correctly. I did manage to dance full time though (well, while waiting tables…but everyone who danced ‘professionally’ in the 80s waited tables:)…

      But thank you. I still love dance and movement, and well, writing:)

  15. Masha says:

    I’ve had the delight of knowing Denny through the fishy sister’s lagoon. Not only is she hilarious (one-woman comedian, anyone?) but she is a fantastic writer. I was blown away. Way to go Mer-sister!

  16. Michelle says:

    Love that others agreed with me that you are a talented writer with a GH finalist nod. You’re amazing and full of energy that I can’t begin to keep up with–LOL, but I’ll hang on to your coattails and you drag me along your wonderful adventures.

    Good luck with everything, Chasing Damn and beyond.

    • Hey Michelle,

      Already six months into this baby and we’re still holding on – you have been a fabulous mentor and CP and I’m so excited to be getting closer to breaking through, you know?

      With your help, baby!

  17. Shelly Alexander says:

    Amazingly multi-talented! I know exactly how you felt about the GH Call! I didn’t recognize the area code, but I knew it was announcement day, so I literally screamed in my callers ear!

    You’re story sounds wonderful, and no wonder you’re a finalist having such great critique partners!

  18. Jillian Lark says:

    Hi, Denny!

    We’re both making the interview rounds today. I love your call story and the premise for CHASING DAMN! Can’t wait to read it and your 1925 Chicago historical. I write historical romance, too, but I enjoy reading RS and other genres.

    I’m lucky to have multiple support systems–my family, CPs and AustinRWA chapter mates, one super mentor, a cheerleader, and now my Dreamweaver sisters. Sometimes I’ll take a short break from writing and check out what’s happening here on the Rubies or meet my best friend for tea. By then I’ve usually solved whatever problem I’m having.

    Denny, I’m looking forward to hearing more about your careers and writing at RWA14.


    P.S. Elisa, I love brownies, but you had me worried there for a minute. I’m glad the oven is high-security and not the chairs.

  19. Denny the Wonder Woman!

    What an interesting life you’ve led so far. I enjoyed learning a little more about you.

    San Antonio, here we come!

  20. Nan Dixon says:

    Denny – I want to buy your book!!!
    And Alvin Ailey! Impressive! (I’m the one with the daughter who danced with San Diego ballet.)
    What keeps me grounded? All my magnificent GH sisters are always there for me when bad things happen — and they are so willing to celebrate when good things come. And there’s my Critique Partners and chaptermates couldn’t forget them.
    My family is incredible, but they don’t truly understand what the writing world is like.

    So glad to add you to my expanding group of GH sisters.

    Can’t wait for SA!

    • San Diego ballet one of the dream ballet companies, along with San Francisco . Believe me I don’t and haven’t danced in years, but I loved dancing:)…congrats for your daughter…a wonderful career!

      And congrats to you! How exciting to take your GH book to first sale, all before RWA National!

  21. Julie Mulhern says:

    First off – Alvin Ailey. Wow! I’m from Kansas City, Ailey’s second home and I am deeply impressed. Like I said, WOW.

    What keeps me writing? I get up early to my butt in my seat and sometimes the temptation to turn off the alarm and sleep for another two hours in overwhelming. My critique partners might let me get away with a week without pages — after that, they’d be holding my tootsies to the fire.

    I call June the month in which nothing get done – too many balls in the air. Chances are excellent my toes will be burning soon.

    Congratulations on what sounds like a fabulous MS! Can’t wait to read it.

    • Funny, the Ailey thing caught so many eyes. Yes, I did perform in front of audiences, but believe me – it’s been a while;) – a looooong while:)!

      Thank you for dropping by and reading and commenting.

  22. As I know Denny rather well, I can say that I think she might have left out many other careers. I know of several more, but maybe she doesn’t want to seem as an overachiever. Think she blew that idea though. 🙂
    Loved the partial of CHASING DAMN, so I can’t wait to read the whole thing.
    I would say my writing friends keep me grounded on the days when I’m distracted or frustrated or just procrastinating big-time. Vanessa (Ruby Unsinkable Dream Weaver) once sent me a picture of myself right above a pic of the burning of Atlanta from GONE WITH THE WIND. Message
    received. I needed someone to light a fire under me. 🙂 Pintip texts me fairly regularly with her “Want to sprint?” question. And my friend Holly texts me the same type of variation–except with more colorful language. haha.
    And my Waterworld Mermaids are the best! I don’t know what I would do without you all! It was the best retreat! And it’s funny how Carlene and I ended up a mermaid at our first retreat because we were stalking our favorite authors: Kristan Higgins (me) and Sherrilyn Kenyon (Carlene).
    Great post! What fun learning even more about you.
    Can’t believe you didn’t tell them who you dated….
    :::sealing lips::: 😉

    • Hey Hon,

      This writing business ain’t no joke. I have less tugs at my time these days, but it’s still hard to sit in front of the computer and focus the brain (at least my brain). What’s working for me? turn off email and the Internet. I look up and its two hours later and I’ve got something done.

      I should also have a photo of Pintip on my wall – the woman is amazing and so freaking focused! (Not that we aren’t – but you know…:)…

      And let’s not mention my ex (lol) – one of these days someone is going to stumble over the story and it will be a big thing on Oprah or the Jimmy Fallon Show – lol…wouldn’t that be fun!

  23. Hi Denny,

    It’s so much fun to learn more about you. Like many of the comments here, the one thing I couldn’t do without is my support group of other writers. They cheer me on whether during all the ups and downs that marks a writing career. I don’t know what I’d do without them. My family is also incredibly supportive and even if they don’t always understand the voices in my head and why I sometimes disappear for hours, they accept and encourage me.

    Looking forward to seeing you in San Antonio!

  24. Xio Axelrod says:

    Heya Denny!

    I think you were still screaming when you called me after “The Call.” LOL

    I’m looking forward to cheering you on next month at RWA! Fingers and toes crossed. =)

    • LOL…you were totally my first or second call – Pintip may have been the first, but you may not have answered on the first ring – so I was off! Anyway, thanks for stopping by! See you this weekend in Philly!

  25. Vivian Dumas says:

    Hi Denny,

    So happy for you. You know I love all of your tortured heroes. You know I have my writing struggles with all the other things I do. I’ve been lucky to find a wide group of online supporter who help me to push through when I need whether with a 1K1HR or reading a piece and giving me feedback. I’ve taken some of those online connection and found we’re close enough to connect f2f. The romance community has some wonderful people in it.

    • You know I struggle with my schedule and my focus as well – but I firmly believe when its ready to work, it will work as long as you keep nudging it:)! See you next weekend – I’m definitely going to try and get out to the Frederick Book Festival!

  26. Marni Folsom says:

    Denny, you’re amazing. What a colorful road you’ve traveled on the way to your writing career — lots to draw from, I imagine. I’m so pleased you have the Mermaids as resources and cheerleaders. Sounds like a fabulous group!

  27. Pintip says:

    I can confirm that Chasing Damn IS indeed amazing!! And I can’t wait to see it on the bookshelves so that the rest of the world can enjoy it, too. Love your call story, Denny. I’ll never forget you calling me the morning the GH calls went out and saying, in a shaky voice, “Um…RWA just called me.” I’m so proud of you, my dear friend. You deserve every bit of success, and I’m looking forward to helping you celebrate what’s sure to come. 🙂

  28. Denny, I admire you so much every single day. I’m so incredibly proud of you…and I miss the hell out of you!
    SEE YOU SOOOOOOON! (Just to warn everyone, Kerri and I plan on cheering our lungs out at that ceremony…)
    Alethea, Instigator Mermaid

  29. Hi Denny! It’s been so much fun getting to know you over these past few months, and I loved your interview today. Your RS sounds intense! I’m wondering about the title– how did you come up with it? Can’t wait to meet you very, very soon!

  30. Abby Sharpe says:

    Denny, we have similar histories! I love to dance (though I’m sure folks don’t love to *watch* me dance) and I went to college with a guy named Matthew Diamond. My degree is in PR and now I’m writing romance! See? Twins. 😉

  31. jbrayweber says:

    Welcome, Denny. What a great interview. Four careers and a full life. Awesome. Congratulation and Good Luck on your Golden Heart final. (love your author photo!)


  32. Hi Denny! Tossing sparkles at the awesomeness of your GH final!! And thank you again for helping organize that amazing workshop two weeks ago.
    Good luck in Texas! I’ll be cheering you, even from way up here in NY!!

    fishy kisses — Susan

  33. Jessica Ruddick says:

    Hi Denny,

    Wow…you’ve led an exciting life! Lotd of fodder for your lots, right? I look forward to meeting you in San An!

  34. Thanks for sharing, Denny! I love your “call” story. I would so expect a telemarketer or someone calling for a donation. I try to be nice though “just in case” the editor of my dreams is calling : )

    What an amazing life you’ve had so far with so much more to go. Huge congrats!

  35. Congrats Denny! I get through the down days with the help of my wonderful friend and my DH. Great interview!

  36. Sorry – chiming in late since I’ve been in the writing cave. Denny, your GH book sounds amazing – I love the complicated stakes.

    Hmm, what keeps me grounded? My best friend is usually my biggest cheerleader, and especially in my very early years, I planned out all my books with her. While we don’t often have that luxury, just talking with her cheers me up. And when I’m confused and that’s holding me back, no one can beat my husband, who is always my biggest supporter, and has even helped me figure out the logic and steps I’m missing when I can’t see past the computer screen. 😉

  37. Carrie Padgett says:

    Denny, I love your backstory! Dancer, marketing, now writer. Wow!
    Sorry I’m a bit late chiming in, but I had a doggie in surgery today and was gone all day. I’m home now and catching up. And, of course, it’s only 8 pm in CA.
    Great interview, Elisa!
    I can’t wait to meet you, Denny, in SA. And by the way, I also love you lake!!

  38. Carrie Padgett says:

    Oops. Forgot my grounder– I think I have to say it’s my husband. He’s a constant encouragement and also is ready to lift me when I’m discouraged. He’s the wind beneath my– um… Never mind. Drifting into cheesy.

  39. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks for being with us today, Denny!

    The winner of the Amazon gift card is Diana Belchase!

    Diana, I’ll send your contact info along to Denny.

  40. I was fortunate to read this entry for the GH. I don’t read romantic suspense much so I was nervous about judging the category. This entry blew me away. Fantastic pacing, interesting story, loved the characters, and the heat level was spicy done very well. I was sad I couldn’t include comments along with the entry. I found out later this entry also finaled in my chapter’s contest. Well deserved!


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