Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Leslie Marshman!

Join me in welcoming to the blog the 2018 Golden Heart Finalist, Leslie Marshman. One of 2018’s Persisters, Leslie is nominated for her Romantic Suspense manuscript, Goode Over Evil.

Here’s the blurb for Goode Over Evil:

Samantha Goode escaped Crystal Creek and a past she’d left behind years ago, vowing never to return. Now a Texas Ranger tough enough to succeed in a man’s world, Sam is driven back to the small Texas town by a family tragedy. There she must face the man she once loved but was forced to betray.

Clayton Barnett will do anything to keep his autistic younger brother out of an institution, while their manipulative father wields his wealth and power to control everyone around him. Even his own sons. Trapped by his father’s threats, Clay has set aside his own dreams, forced to continue working in the family business he despises.

A brutal murder, ruthless drug smugglers and a passion that never died draw Sam and Clay back together, but old secrets threaten to pull them apart. It won’t be easy, but this time, Goode will triumph over evil.


Author Bio:

Born in northern California, Leslie Marshman was sleeping in a tent and holding a fishing pole almost before she could walk. After moving to Oregon and then southern California, her family finally settled in Colorado, and she called Denver home until she married a Texan without reading the fine print. Now she resides halfway between Houston and Galveston and has learned to embrace the humidity. She lives with her miniature poodle Harley (she wanted a dog, hubby wanted a motorcycle – they compromised) and her three-legged box turtle named Stumpy.

Luckily, she fell in love with a man with the same outdoor passions, and her storybook romance involved a marriage proposal while baiting a hook, a wedding gift of a new rod and reel, a trousseau that included a military surplus store army jacket, and a three-week honeymoon in a sleeping bag.

Leslie’s finally putting her psychology degree from the University of Denver to good use, getting inside the heads of her characters and figuring out what makes them tick. Especially the bad guys. If she’s not at her computer making things up, you’ll probably find her camping at a lake, a fishing pole in one hand and a book in the other.

A member of all three Houston local chapters of RWA, Kiss of Death and The Golden Network, Leslie’s been the newsletter editor for Houston Bay Area RWA for the past nine years, as well as contest coordinator for their popular Judge A Book By Its Cover contest since its inception in 2005.


Elizabeth Langston: Welcome, Leslie, we’re so glad you could be here today. Why don’t you start by telling us how long you’ve been writing?

Leslie Marshman: I’ve been writing my whole life, but I didn’t attempt a book until I joined RWA. I started out targeting Desire, and I was fortunate to get a request for the full manuscript from a Harlequin editor. But I panicked, because deep down I knew I really wanted to write suspense. So I never completed or submitted it. Instead, I wrote and sold several romance short stories to magazines while I contemplated my book.

Then my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and I put my writing on hold for five years while I focused on him. He passed away two years ago, and about six months later I started to get the urge to write again. I decided this time I’d write what I was passionate about – romantic suspense.

But I’ve always been known for my stick-to-it-iveness, and I refused to leave that first book under the bed, half done. I dug out my original manuscript, kept the setting, two characters and one scene, and started plotting. I’d always sworn that I’d finish that book, and I did. But I didn’t make over a category romance into a romantic suspense. Instead, I pulled away the mold I’d been trying to force the story into, and allowed it to become what it always should have been. I’m currently working on book two in the series.

EL: My sympathies for your loss. And you have my admiration for recognizing that romantic suspense is your writing passion and for persisting with your original manuscript. Do you have a critique partner?

LM: Just when I was getting the writing bug again, a new member of my local chapter asked if I’d critique with her. I’d never critiqued with anyone, and I really didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be held accountable to deadlines, and I didn’t want to risk our friendship if things didn’t work out. But she was persistent (she enticed me with margaritas) and I decided to give it a shot (tequila, of course). The rest, as they say, is history.

Sara Hudson and I are each other’s ride or die. It’s almost scary how well things clicked between us from the beginning. We email scenes and chapters to each other to critique. We meet weekly to write, eat sushi and drink. We brainstorm, we edit, we celebrate every success together, and we’ve developed a truly magnificent mind-meld capability. What makes it extra special is that we both finaled in the Golden Heart this year with our first books.

EL: Congratulations to you both! Besides your critique partner, who most enables your writing?

LM: I have an amazing group of friends through my local RWA chapters who have become my extended family. They helped get me through the death of my husband, forcing me out of the house for lunches, get-togethers and even a writing retreat. Some are pre-published, some are bestselling authors who gladly brainstorm with me, advise me, and encourage me. I’ve been touched more than I can say by the level of pure, unselfish happiness my fellow writers have had for my success this past year. And believe me, it’s reciprocated. I’d considered moving back to Denver at one point, but I know I never will. My people are here. If I have to put up with heat, humidity and hurricanes to stay with them, so be it.

EL: You’ve lived in a lot of places–like California, Oregon, and Colorado–and now call Texas home. Has living in Texas influenced your writing?

LM: I miss living in the Pacific Northwest, watching waves rolling in on deserted beaches. I loved living in Colorado, with the mountains and isolated seepage lakes we used to camp at. And I briefly lived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (long story, short relationship, life experience, ’nuff said), which was also a mountain-lover’s paradise.

Within my first three months in Texas, I experienced 90-some degree heat in February, humidity the likes of which I’d never seen, fire ants, giant flying cockroaches, a rogue armadillo attacking my dog, a copperhead snake slithering in my yard, and a termite swarm in our rent house. I cried a lot those first few months.

But I’d learned a lesson a long time ago, when my family moved from California to Colorado. My mother and brother hated Colorado and refused to adapt, refused to find the beauty in it. When I moved to Texas, I made up my mind that I would not spend the rest of my life hating where I lived. Life is too damn short for that. And who I was living with was way more important than where I was living.

I began to look for the beauty in Texas. Spanish moss hanging from oak trees. Sunsets that stretch to the horizon instead of disappearing behind mountains. Birds, frogs, lizards and flowers in the middle of winter instead of snow. When I started writing my book, I thought about all the beautiful places where I’d lived or traveled: Colorado, Wyoming, Tennessee, Washington, the list goes on and on. But Texas is what landed on the page. I guess the Lonestar State is in my blood, and my writing, now. (Full disclaimer: I still run screaming from giant flying cockroaches.)

EL: What a beautiful description! Thank you. Do you have a question for our readers?

LM: There are two quotes I live by. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” and “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” What quotes or mottos bring meaning to your life, or help you make it through the day?


Connect with Leslie on social media:
Twitter: @lesliemarshman

54 responses to “Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Leslie Marshman!”

  1. Julie Pitzel says:

    We are all so happy you’re a finalist. I’ll be cheering for you in Denver.

  2. I think you blogging here should be celebrated.
    Tequila? Yes please. 🙂

    Love you lady, and your book is AMAZE-BALLS.
    I guess I’ll have to suck it up and go fishing with you one day.
    You hold the reel, I’ll hold the book. xxx

  3. Hugs, Leslie. You are such a strong woman. And I admire you for looking for the beautiful. That is exactly what I do, only on the other end of the spectrum because I’m in MN and in the cold most of the year. But if you don’t find the good in the extremes, you’ll end up grumpy and depressed.

    Congrats on your successes and many more to come! I’m glad we’re Persisters together!

    • Thanks, Alexia. I did have to be reminded by a friend here to look for the good (Texans don’t let you get away with bashing Texas), but it wasn’t hard to find. And the best thing of all are the people.

      Congrats on your final too. Looking forward to meeting you in Denver.

  4. Congrats on your GH and Daphne finals!

  5. Donna says:

    My favorite quote about writing:“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ~James Michener.

  6. Donna says:

    We’re awfully glad you decided to stay in Texas. Here’s to you and book two.

  7. Julie Glover says:

    I love this, Leslie! So much wisdom here. And yes, we have beautiful stuff in Texas (like bluebonnets), especially the people!

    Can’t wait to be in a bookstore and see your novel on the shelves. Wishing you the best in Denver — it really is a singular experience with be a GH finalist at Nationals.

    • Thanks, Julie. Yes, as much as Texas has grown on me, if it weren’t for the people, I’d consider moving. No I wouldn’t. That would mean packing up all my books. Never mind.

      I know you speak from experience as a former GH finalist. Thanks for the good wishes!

  8. suzanne says:

    Leslie–first, I love your heroine. Second, you are a heroine. Your strength and adventuress nature and poetic heart shine through on this blog!

    As for quotes, I have two, one each from my favorite two writers.

    Haruki Murakami–he makes my heart crack whenever I read this, b/c I think this is what I want my hero and heroine to share in a romance: “If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”

    E.B. White (from Stuart Little)–“and ice cream. Ice cream is important.”

    See you in Denver!

    • Thank you, Suzanne. I’m no heroine…I just deal with life one day at a time.

      I love your quotes. Especially Murakami’s. If our heroes and heroines achieve that, we’ve done our jobs!

      I can’t wait to meet you in Denver.

  9. Tracy Brody says:

    Leslie, congrats on your Golden Heart final and success is other contests!! I like getting in the bad guys’ heads too and think that makes the villains more believeable.

    Not exactly a quote but two of my own sayings are “you have to be a little crazy or else you go insane.” and “If it’s not fun, why do it.” That pertains to writing even if the publishing process isn’t all that fun. 😉 Look forward to meeting you in Denver!

  10. Elizabeth Langston says:

    Here is one of my favorite quotes from Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

    Thank you, Leslie, for joining us today!

  11. Congratulations, Leslie!! Always wonderful to meet a fellow lover of romantic suspense (and KOD member). The book sounds fabulous!

  12. Gerry says:

    Hey, Leslie,
    You know we’re thrilled you’re having such success with Goode over Evil. And that, as a native Texan, we’ve got you brainwashed to love it here. Can’t wait to go to Denver and cheer for you at the Golden Hearts and Daphne.

    As for a favorite quote? Remember Rhett Butler’s parting shot to Scarlett: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I’d love to write an iconic sentence like that which everyone would remember and quote decades later. Of course it was all about the dramatic moment. Yeah, writers love that. Here’s to creating many of them–and being best sellers. I wish it for you and me, of course.

    • Thanks, Gerry. You know how much I’ve appreciated all your input.

      Isn’t that every writer’s dream, to write something that lives on as an iconic line?

      Thank you for the good wishes and support. I hope someday I can say I’ve published as many books as you!

  13. Kay Hudson says:

    Enjoy the ride, Leslie! Glad we’ll be there together, making our chapter cheer. (And believe it or not, the giant flying cockroaches were even worse in south Florida (where we called them Palmetto bugs).)

  14. Cheryl Bolen says:

    Man, you make me feel like the ultimate bitcher. I’ve been bitchin’ about Texas since I came here long before you, and I still can’t find anything good to say about it except summer nights are nice and warm. That’s it. But writing about Texas is certainly proving to make you famous. Now for the rich and famous part . . . It’s coming!

    • Cheryl, you are the ultimate many (good) things, but bitcher isn’t one of them. 😉

      From your lips to God’s ear. But I’m not looking for champagne wishes and caviar dreams…margarita wishes and nacho dreams would do it.

  15. C.R. Grissom says:


    I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re such an inspiration. I can’t wait to meet you. And your story sounds absolutely amazing. <3

  16. Vicki Batman says:

    Lovely interview! I, too, live in Texas and I agree there is beauty everywhere. Congratulations on your work!

  17. Welcome and congratulations on your final, Leslie! I love that attitude of finding beauty in each place you live – that’s part of why I find it so hard to pick just one place to settle. So much beauty in the world in different ways!

    Favorite quotes… so many! But I do love this one: “Happiness is not a matter of events; it depends upon the tides of the mind.”

    Good luck in Denver! It seems meant to be that you would final when the conference is like going home to you. 🙂

    • If only I had several lifetimes to live all the places I’d love to live! Your quote is amazing, and so true. We can create our own happiness, or unhappiness.

      Thanks for stopping by, Vivi.

  18. Brenda Lowder says:

    You’re amazing, Leslie! I wish I were half as outdoorsy as you! My condolences on the loss of your husband. Congratulations on your GH final. I can’t wait to read your book!

    I have a new favorite quote about writing, because it’s one I need to remind myself: “The road to hell is paved in adverbs.” – Stephen King

  19. sarah andre says:

    THERE YOU ARE~! Hugs Leslie- so proud of you and thankful you’re getting your time to shine. All the best in Denver- I’ll be cheering you on.

  20. Jo Anne says:

    Congratulations on not only your GH final, but on all the finals and requests this ms has garnered. I love, love, love what I’ve read of it. Our lunch bunch will be there in Denver to cheer you and Sara on! Enjoy the ride. You know I’m a positive soul, but life can trip us up at times…which makes my favorite quote: “When life give you lemons, make lemonade!!”

    • Thanks for all the kind words and support, Jo Anne. I’m excited that so many of us will be in Denver.

      I agree with your quote. All we have to do is add a little sweetness, and life gets good again.

  21. Nina Bangs says:

    I’m so proud of you, Leslie. I can’t wait for your book to come out, and yes, it will come out. Oh, and I hear you about the flying roaches. The first one I saw horrified my New Jersey heart.

    My favorite quote is from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

  22. Hi Leslie,

    Congratulations on your final! I love the premise of your novel, GOODE OVER EVIL. A female Texas Ranger putting her heart on the line sounds like my kind of book!

    The quote that inspires me the most is Carpe diem (seize the day). Just knowing that I’ll never have this day again pushes me to work (and play) without worrying (too much) about the future or the past.

  23. Thanks, Elizabeth. Congratulations to you, too. Carpe diem is such an inspiring quote. Living in the present, and the moment, is really all we have.

  24. Janet Raye Stevens says:

    Hi Leslie! Love your story idea and your heroine sounds so kick-ass! My favorite quotes are movie quotes that are great for persisting in writing and in life in general: “Never give up, never surrender” & “Just keep swimming.” Looking forward to meeting you in Denver!

  25. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    Late to the party (out of town), but had to throw in my well-wishes and good-lucks to Leslie! She’s an amazing, funny gal!

  26. I’m late to the party, but congrats, Leslie! I am so sorry about your husband. My deepest sympathies.

    I hear you on the margaritas. Damn them. Glad you have an incredible critique partner. It makes such a difference.

    Your book sounds fantastic. Best of luck in Denver!


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