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Meet 2016 Golden Heart Finalist Diane Holiday!

Today we’re welcoming Diane Holiday, 2016 Golden Heart Finalist in Romantic Suspense with her novel LOVE IN HIDING.

dog in wavesDiane, who won first place in the 2015 RWA Pages From The Heart contest, lives with her husband at the Jersey Shore. An avid boater and beach lover, she spends her spare time on the water. She has a grown son and daughter who live out of state, so her adoring golden retriever gets a lot of attention. The dog also draws a crowd on the beach as she loves to surf the waves. Diane worked in corporate until she had children. She became a director of the Pampered Chef for nine years, then a substitute teacher for ten as she raised her family. She now volunteers in the public school system tutoring the children of active duty military families. If asked, “What’s the most important thing in life?” the answer right behind chocolate would be humor. Diane lives to make people laugh, often at her own expense. She incorporates that in her writing as well. If she can put a smile on one face, she considers her day a success.

Here’s a blurb for LOVE IN HIDING:

Prima ballerina Sarah Baker needs to disappear. She flees cross-country to hide from an obsessive stalker and winds up working side-by-side at a horse ranch with a former Navy SEAL. On the run, with a fake identity, Sarah isn’t looking for love. All she longs for is a normal life and to dance again.

Bruce Thompson is a horse trainer who runs a therapy program for amputee vets. He has no interest in another relationship after the tragic death of his wife. That is, until Sarah shows up and jump-starts his guarded heart. But Sarah has secrets, and he intends to find out what threat might follow her to the farm. His protective claws come out as he is determined to keep her and his clients safe.

While Sarah and Bruce fight their sizzling attraction, an unknown threat lurks in the midst. This one, closer to home. Will they find love and uncover the deadly plots before it’s too late?

I love the title–and the way both of them are struggling to rebuild a life for themselves! I want them to have their HEA!

Diane’s joining us today to talk about a personal act of rebuilding, and what to do when you hit the Black Moment…in your writing life.

Take it away, Diane!!

**************************

diane holidayFirst, I want to thank the Rubies for this tremendous opportunity to share a piece of myself.

I thought long and hard about what to discuss and decided that I wanted to address one of the most difficult parts of being a writer. Self-doubt and rejection. We all know this journey is not for the weak-hearted. I don’t have a thick skin, and rejections hurt. So, it’s pretty amazing to me that I can make the statement that I am confident in my writing. As soon as I wrote this sentence my inner demon said, “Yeah, but are you published?”

How do we overcome these negative thoughts and rejections? I think we all ride a roller coaster of ups and downs. I got a request for a full! Champagne and dinner out. Only, a month later, it’s a pass. I got signed by an agent! Triple champagne dinner. Only, the big pubs rejected the manuscript.

I’d had a particularly tough week prior to the call about the Golden Heart. I had found out only days before that my agent, who I didn’t even know had cancer, had passed away. I was in shock. Sad for her family, unsure of my future, and no clue what might be going on with the book I had out on submission. I remember sitting under the stars that night and thinking about my journey. Had I wasted the last four years of my life in workshops, critique groups, studying grammar and writing techniques until my eyes crossed? What did I have to show for it? A folder of rejection emails, albeit some very complimentary, but the bottom line was still a no. If I were writing my story, that night would be the dark moment. In my heart, though, I knew there was no other answer but for me to get back up and keep at it. Writing isn’t optional for me.

Two days later, the Golden Heart happened. Talk about a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. I got a personal call from Kristan Higgins congratulating me on my final. Kristan Higgins? I was a bit star-struck. I had my dog’s leash in my hand (because I kept checking the time, and hey, it was already nine a.m., so clearly I hadn’t made the cut), her water bottle (the dog, not Kristan’s), a hat, sunglasses, keys, and poopy bags (again, for the dog.) The dog ended up asleep in the cul-de-sac by the time I got off social media and texted my family. It took me a while to find her water bottle on the top of the refrigerator and her leash behind her food bin. I was a little excited and had mindlessly thrown things around to free up my hands.

shore pictureFor me, the Golden Heart was finally some validation. My hard work had paid off. I’d spent the last four years completely dedicated to writing after moving to the shore. My incredible, supportive husband insisted I take the time to do what I’d always wanted and write a book. Sure, I’d been writing for as long as I can remember, but it was always around my job, the kids, sports, you know…life.

This couldn’t have come at a better time, and what a ride it’s been so far. The journey’s not over, though. I’m working with a new agent and have met so many amazing people through the Golden Heart. I know there will be plenty of tomorrows filled with rejections and criticisms. It comes with the job. But, just for today, I’m enjoying one of the highs.

I’d love to hear from others. What do you do to overcome self-doubt and handle those tough rejections? What high have you had that’s kept you in the game?

***********************

Connect with Diane Holiday on social media:

https://facebook.com/DianeHolidayBooks

https://twitter.com/ddiholiday

www.dianeholiday.com

41 responses to “Meet 2016 Golden Heart Finalist Diane Holiday!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Diane!!!

    Wow–you really have gone through the crazy ups and downs, but this seems like a fantastic UP stretch! If Kristan Higgins ever called me, I would fall and hit my head on the nearest piece of furniture. YAY, you!!!

    Here’s to getting the Call soon!!!!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Elisa,
      I’m still shocked I “heard” her name. I was so excited when the phone rang that my head went blank. It was a special moment.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Diane

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  2. Elizabeth King says:

    Hi Diane
    Love your post – know exactly what you mean about the ups and downs. Getting together with my writing buddies (and perhaps raising a glass or two) helps to keep me going when things on the writing front aren’t going so well.
    Looking forward to meeting you in San Diego.

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Wow Seanna,
      That’s so cool! I can see how that would be inspiring. I’m especially into angels and spirits and your comment inspires me even more. Thanks for sharing.
      Diane

      1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Elizabeth,
      Leave it to me to mess things up on here. My reply to Seanna’s comment showed up under yours. Go figure. LOL. Anyway, yes, there have been several glasses raised more than once at this house. My writer friends sometimes share a “virtual” glass and a real one. We have to stick together. Thanks for stopping by!
      Diane

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  3. Hi Diane! I love all your dog photos. They always make me smile —on Facebook and on here. I had a Golden Retriever growing up and two labs since then. Love them!

    As you know, I got The Call recently, so that’s definitely been a high. 😀

    But I’ve had lots of lows before this—and I think the only thing that gets me through those times is to go back to my computer and keep writing. Immerse myself in whatever story is on my mind and just keep going.

    Oh yeah, and chocolate. 🙂

    2+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Alyson,
      Glad to entertain you with the pics. We have to make each other smile, for sure. Golden’s are the best, right? Congrats on your finals and good luck. Thanks for stopping by!
      Diane

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  4. Rayn Ellis says:

    Congrats on your 2016 GH nomination, Diane! I love your book blurb, that’s a story I can’t wait to read!

    I teared up a bit reading your blog. Those black writing moments are hard. And I’m with you, tough on the outside means mushy on the inside, and rejections still sting…

    So what gets me through? Writing buddies who get The Call and remind me that it can happen (**waves to Alyson**); writing buddies who send cyber hugs when you get a rejection that smarts (**waves to Tracey**); and writing, writing, writing. As you said, writing is not an option, it’s inherent, it’s my soul. So after a lot of chocolate ice cream, I go back to the computer and write…

    Can’t wait to meet you in SD!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Rayn,
      I couldn’t agree more. I have special critique partners who are my go-to buddies when I’m down. Sometimes you just need to vent to someone who understands. Now, with the Golden Heart, I’ve met even more supportive people. It’s so awesome. Thanks for stopping by!
      Diane

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  5. Seana Kelly says:

    Great blog, Diane! I ❤️ your surfing dog! 😄
    The dark moments are inevitable and difficult to navigate. When I’m feeling down on myself, I have friends who try to give me a kick in the butt, but that doesn’t really work for me. It often makes me feel worse, as though my dark moment is bringing someone else down, too. Strangely enough what helps is a memory. Years ago a couple of friends and I went to see an angel reader (psychic). She said I had generations of people behind me, watching, people who had the creative spark but never did anything with it. They were all so happy and excited that I was going to really do it, become a writer. I know that may sound silly to some, but I’ve found that memory of being told it was going to happen and I had ancestors waiting to cheer me on has pushed me to open the laptop and press on.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you in SD!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Seanna,
      Apparently, I liked what you said so much I posted my reply twice. I tried it out in response to Elizabeth’s comment. You may not find it there, so I’ll write it again.

      That’s so cool! I can see how that would be inspiring. I’m especially into angels and spirits and your comment inspires me even more. Thanks for sharing.
      Diane

      1+
  6. Karen says:

    Great inspiration for those writers struggling with the voices in our heads that make us question our words. Congratulations to you!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Karen,
      Those voices can really get you down sometimes. Great to have “friendly” voices to bring us back up.
      Thanks for the comment,
      Diane

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  7. Karen Marcam says:

    Diane,
    Your story sounds wonderful — I can’t wait to read it some day! And the ups and downs you described in your blog give the rest of us a great example of why we should all keep trying, too. Thanks for sharing.

    1+
  8. Diane Holiday says:

    Thanks, Karen. And yes, we have to keep getting up and going. Thanks for stopping by!
    Diane

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  9. McCall Hoyle says:

    Diane,

    I LOVE this post! I love the pictures. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your dog. 🙂

    When I hit a really low spot I call my CP who is one of my 2014 Dreamweaver sisters, Amy DeLuca. She is the best. Or I am my Dreamweaver sisters on the loop. Those women are my support for all things emotional, mental, and writing.

    I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to build those types of relationships and that type of support system with a new group of Mermaid sisters.

    Thanks for sharing. Your book sounds amazing. I can’t wait to meet you in person.

    XO,
    McCall

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      McCall,
      You are so sweet. I love my dog, too. And yes, I already have had so much fun with the mermaids. I can’t wait to meet you as well. Thanks for the note,
      Diane

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  10. Hi Diane,
    So thrilled to have one of my critique partners as a Mermaid Sister. We’ve both had some highs and lows, but I believe you will get good news soon.

    When I’m dealing with self-doubt, I like to reread the story of Kathryn Stockett. Here is the link http://www.more.com/kathryn-stockett-help-best-seller. It’s an amazing story of perseverance and belief in oneself.

    And I love the picture of your surfing dog!

    Hugs,
    Renee

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Renee,
      I’ll check that out. Thanks for the tip! And yes, it’s awesome to have your invaluable help. So happy to have you as a mermaid sister!
      Diane

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  11. Melonie says:

    Hi Diane!
    I love that humor (esp. self-deprecating humor)is integral to your stories, I think you and I will get along very well in San Diego 🙂

    And you are Sooooo right – the roller coaster of writing, the highs and lows. And the ultimate low of “NO” – ugh – why do we torture ourselves? Because we’re writers, and we’ll keep writing!

    The book sounds fabulous, as does being able to write by the shore – my dream is to one day move to a house off a lake (or, pie in the sky, the ocean) – so I’m totally jealous!

    See you in SD, fellow Mermaid!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Melonie,
      It is so true. There is no other choice. I can’t imagine ever putting away the pen. Yes, SD is going to be a blast. Can’t wait. Thanks for the message!
      Diane

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  12. Christine Grissom says:

    Diane,

    Thanks for sharing your story. It hit a chord with me. Self-doubt looms large in my writing life. It’s such a relief to know I’m not the only passenger on the merry-go-round.

    Good luck!
    Christine

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Christine,
      It comes with the territory of being a writer. We are all in the same boat! Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Diane

      0
  13. Diane,

    This is great. As writers it’s always nice to know that others are in the same boat. (Also, the surfing dog is amazing!)

    Christina

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Thanks Christy,
      If only I could coast the waves of rejection with her enthusiasm.
      Appreciate your support always,
      Diane

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  14. Tracy Brody says:

    Self-doubts? No. Never. Ha, ha, ha.

    Fortunately, despite my high need to be liked factor (which I’ve kinda gotten over with age) I do have thick skin when it comes to my writing. When I’d get contest feedback, I’d get anxious prior to reading, but I always let it sit and go back to reread later.

    What’s helpful also is to use comparisons to other situations to take the sting out of “rejection.” I figure trying to get an agent and editor is like finding a life partner, there are a lot out there but not many I want to make that kind of commitment to. So I call it a pass instead of rejection and you have to keep going until you find a match (like a kids memory game) and not take it personally. Get through the no’s to find the YES!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Tracy,
      That’s a really good way to view the whole agent process. Thanks for sharing that input. And yeah, I want everyone to like me, too. And my writing. No. Actually, like me, LOVE my writing. LOL.
      Thanks for comment,
      Diane

      2+
  15. Diane, great post!! Congrats on the GH and looking forward to meeting my Mermaid sisters in SD!!

    Like you I have been down but usually after indulging in a short pity party, I roll up my sleeves and say “I’ll show ’em.”

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Good for you, Carrie. I couldn’t agree more! *waves to fellow mermaid* 🙂
      Diane

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  16. I loved this! Congrats, Diane!!! Great post!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Thanks, Darynda,
      I’m glad you liked the post. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.
      Diane

      0
  17. Sorry I missed visiting yesterday, Diane. What an inspiring post and I can totally relate to your roller coaster. For me, I just try to keep my positive attitude and surround myself by people who “get it.” I am looking forward to meeting you in SD!!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Tosha,
      Thanks so much! I look forward to meeting you as well! Such fun ahead. The good times, right? We take the “up” on the roller coaster.
      Diane

      0
  18. Dylann Crush says:

    So happy to see good things heading your way!!! Wise words – never give up!

    0
  19. Diane Holiday says:

    Thanks, Dylann,
    We keep on keeping on, right?
    Thanks for the note!
    Diane

    0
  20. Nicole Hohmann says:

    Hi Diane,
    Your book sounds great and I’m so glad you got the call when you needed the good news to inspire you to keep on keeping on. The GH call was very good for me too. I lost my brother a year and a half ago and I needed some good news. I think if you are propelled to write you have to let that engine drive you and keep going! Look forward to meeting you in SD and best of luck!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Nicole,
      I’m so sorry about your brother! Yes, I can’t wait for San Diego. Thanks for the comment and see you SOON on the west coast!
      Diane

      0
  21. Diane, what a beautiful post! Like the others my writing buddies are what gets me through. The GH is so important — but doubt troubles me even there. I remember, even after winning the darn thing, thinking, it was a fluke. That is why the second time, and this time, win or no are so important to me. The other thing is the letter I got from an editor turning me down because it is “the market, not your writing.” Timing may be everything, but knowing you’ve hit the mark is an emotional satisfaction like no other — it helps you let go and work on other things.

    By the way, I’m from NJ too! Hugs!

    1+
    • Diane Holiday says:

      Diana,
      It’s funny how we can find the good in a rejection and yet doubt a win. It’s a tough path. Always something you can find to knock you back. I agree, friends are key. Thanks so much for sharing! Good luck!
      Diane

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