Meet “The Unsinkables”: the 2010 Golden Heart Finalists!

It sounds like a movie log-line: “On March 25th, 2010, sixty-five strangers received a phone call that changed their fates forever….”

But for this year’s recipients of those much-anticipated calls from the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Contest, the news really was life-changing. As various 2010 finalists have put it, they felt “stunned,” “excited, validated,” “blown away, and then on cloud nine,” “very, very humbled and more than a little terrified,” “honored and ecstatic,” “absolutely elated, disbelieving,” “like I’d won the lottery,” and filled with “unbelieving, shaking, surreal joy.” Mary Oldham, who finaled in Contemporary Series Romance, says, “My co-workers thought something bad had happened because I was crying.” And Paranormal finalist Katrina Snow “felt like I was full of helium all day—without the chipmunk voice.”


Some comedy was involved: for Regency finalist Gillian Layne, the call came so late in the day “the first sentence out of my mouth was, ‘I’ve already eaten my I-didn’t-final candy bar!’” Historical finalist Elisabeth Burke almost didn’t pick up the phone because she “didn’t recognize the number, so I thought it was a sales call….I think I screamed (and I’m not a screamer).” When double finalist Tina Joyce (Series Contemporary and Suspense / Adventure) got her second call of the day, her husband handed her the phone and said, “It’s those RWA people again.  They must have forgotten something.” And YA finalist Erica O’Rourke just plain wouldn’t believe the news: “I was convinced someone was trying to punk me.”

Gabrielle Luthy, a finalist in Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, was in the Southern Hemisphere when calls started going out from Texas: “I’d just crawled into bed with a cold at 3.30PM, thinking that if I did get the call, it wouldn’t be for at least 12 hours, to accommodate time zones. Ten minutes later, my phone rang and I started to giggle.” YA finalist Kimberley MacCarron was only home for the call because she’d stopped to put clothes in the wash before heading to the gym: “I ended up telling the lady from RWA that her call worked out great since I had decided to put in a load of laundry.  When I told the friend I was with that I had finaled, she said, ‘I thought maybe you’d won some laundry soap.’ I must have sounded like an idiot.”

Once the news sunk in, however, much hollering and celebrating ensued. For YA finalist Vanessa Barneveld, “my living room turned into party central.” Historical finalist Mary E. Lawrence was “at work in a hospital lab—I whooped so loud folks could hear me down the hall!” Single Title Contemporary finalist Lizbeth Selvig “stayed calm on the phone and then scared the dog with a war whoop after I hung up.” (Since then, Liz has been invited to ride in the Harvest Days Parade in her tiny town of Webster, MN!).

Before the day was out, a Yahoo loop was set up for finalists to get to know one another, and a powerful new fellowship was formed. It’s quite a group. To see the full list of finalists, including their photos and the titles of their finaling books, visit the RWA website.

Some 2010 finalists have finaled before, including *eleven* Ruby Slippered Sisters who repeated this year (GO, Rubies!!), with Elizabeth Bemis and Shelley Coriell each racking up their fifth Golden Heart finals, and CJ Chase and Laurie Kellogg each achieving an astonishing sixth final.

Most 2010 Finalists, though, are first timers—some of whom have been entering the Golden Heart for several years, but at least one of whom had never entered a single writing contest before!

Some have been writing seriously for only a couple of years, some for 30 years or more. Several, like Single Title finalist Abigail Sharpe and Paranormal finalist J. Keely Thrall, entered with their very first completed book. Others entered with their second, or sixth, or sixteenth book, or said “I’m not even sure which one this is, because I’ve finished too many to count.”

Subgenres range widely: among others, we have “inspirational historical romance set in 1870 California” (Keli Gwyn, Inspirational), “historical mystery with a helping of Southern humor” (Jane Sevier, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements), “Late Victorian historical, hot-hot romance, suspenseful adventure romp” (G. Jillian Stone, Romantic Suspense), “sexy, absorbing sci-fi romance” (Sharon Lynn Fisher, Paranormal), “Contemporary dynastic family” (Nan Dixon, Single Title), “Dark urban fantasy for young adults” (Erica O’Rourke, Young Adult), and “Banter-driven, sexy ‘race-for-the-answer’ paranormal fantasy with werewolf hero and elf heroine” (J. Keely Thrall, Paranormal).

Finalists range widely in the geographic sense as well—from big-city Manhattan and Chicago to heartland Kansas, from a berry farm in Maine to the foothills of the California Sierras, and from expected conference host Tennessee to new conference host Florida.

The largest contingents, with five each, are from (not surprisingly) sprawling, creative California and (totally surprisingly) from sparsely-populated Minnesota…hmm, must be something about those long, cold Minnesotan winters that makes for good romance writing. We have considerable international representation as well, with an impressive four finalists each from Australia and Canada, and one who lives part-time in Brazil.

Some finalists are lucky enough to write fiction full-time, others are teachers or small business owners or technical writers. In addition to our berry farmer, we have a chemist, a speech-language pathologist, a magazine editor, two website designers, a fitness instructor, a cafe owner, a computer animator, a federal lobbyist, a former dump-truck driver, a college professor, the manager of a softball league, and even the assistant to an Episcopal bishop.

We’ve also got gender diversity this year, with one gentleman in our midst: Kenneth Zak, a finalist in Romantic Suspense. (Ken has manfully withstood much teasing on the Yahoo loop about having to wear a powder blue tux to the Awards Ceremony so the ladies have an excuse to dress as Barbies. As for his strategy for handling Nationals, he’s sticking with his gender demographic: “Offense, offense, offense!”)

There’s one way, though, the 2010 Finalists stand out that we really wish we didn’t: our joy has been tempered by two heartbreaking events.

Paranormal finalist Donnell Epperson, who entered the contest in the late stages of a hard-fought battle with cancer, passed away before she could learn of this last, special honor she’d earned. And then the people of Nashville, Tennessee—the original site for the RWA National Conference, at which Golden Heart winners are announced—were devastated by the flooding of the Cumberland River.

Those losses certainly put everything else in perspective.

But as Donnell Epperson’s friends have told us, her attitude was to let nothing stop her from being a writer: to the last, her personal motto was “writing like my hair’s on fire.” Inspired by her perseverance, and in honor of the rallying spirit of the people of Nashville (and also by the extraordinary energy of the RWA staff who refused to accept that moving the conference at the last minute was impossible), we chose a group name that embraces fortitude, optimism, and a determination to reach our dreams no matter what: “The Unsinkables.”

At Nationals, you’ll see us wearing our Unsinkables pin, along with pink ribbons in honor of Donnell.


It’s a sweet coincidence that the conference will now be held at the Swan and Dolphin, hotels named for animals (a mammal and a bird) with no business surviving in water, who’ve nonetheless become the most effortlessly graceful aquatic creatures on earth.

Mary Oldham says that the group name makes her think of “the Unsinkable Molly Brown, who survived the Titanic. Writers, especially those who put their work out for public scrutiny, are survivors.” Others appreciate the super-hero sound, à la Disney’s The Incredibles. Romantic Suspense finalist Donnell Ann Bell says the name shows we’re “Unsinkable and Unstoppable.” Others say “we can’t be held down,” “we’re determined to rise to the top,” “we’ll keep each other afloat,” and we’re “writing through hell or high water.”

Already, the Unsinkable Spirit has brought in lots of good news:  some have signed with agents, and many have made the finals in other prestigious contests (Unsinkables were all over the Sheilas, and Vanessa Barneveld was named a finalist in Australia’s version of the Golden Heart, the Emerald Contest).

And since the Golden Heart entry deadline passed, SIX have already sold books!  Hope Ramsay, Maureen McGowan, Rochelle Staab, Jennifer McAndrews, B. A. Binns and Angi Morgan will all have the honor of wearing FINALIST and FIRST SALE ribbons simultaneously at Nationals!

Over the next few weeks, several Unsinkables will be guest blogging with us to tell you more about their writing lives and their Golden Heart journeys.

And I’m sure you’ll be hearing lots about all the Unsinkables in the future, as they make the leap to publication. Just to whet your appetite, here are log-lines for some of their Golden Heart books:

Psychologist Elizabeth Cole is about to discover three facts that will change her forever: She died en route to her new job. She’s been reincarnated as an alien. She’s bound to a man who believes she’s his enemy. -Sharon Lynn Fisher, Paranormal

When a confirmed bachelor brings a fake fiancée home for Christmas, it isn’t long before the lines between playacting and reality begin to blur. -Cat Schield, Series Contemporary

A missing Rembrandt, a guarded secret, a growing body count. -Jean M. Willett, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

He went into town to buy supplies, not a woman. -Jennifer Jakes, Historical

Some friendships are meant  to last forever – even after death. -Chris Keniston, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Seventeen years ago, Eden Moran blocked out a murder.  Heaven help her, she’s about to remember. -Donnell Ann Bell, Romantic Suspense

Maire Docharnaigh escapes the potato famine and starts a new life as a servant in the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet laureate and celebrity of his time.  -Mary Lawrence, Historical

 She changed his life, and the destiny of three races. -Kylie Griffin, Paranormal

A rebellious bride, determined to leave Indian Territory, must marry a resolute rancher, equally determined to brand her as his own, sparking a contest of wills and passion that blazes hotter than a prairie fire. -Lynda Bailey, Historical

Six summer-camp friends gather in Maine for a special Christmas in this Big Chill for the Facebook generation. -Gabrielle Luthy, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Good ol’ boy stock car driver and proper Boston marketing exec break all the rules of the road to love. -Hope Ramsay, Contemporary Single Title

When Madison Ellsworth and Jake Carlyle both hedge their bets on whether they got married for love or convenience, they learn that games played in the boardroom can spill over into the bedroom, and that trust is as important to a good marriage as love. -Nancy Holland, Contemporary Series

Wanted: Winter Wife. -Clarissa Southwick, Historical

A runaway sorceress needs a safe place to hide. An enterprising prince needs a well-dowered bride.  Loving each other would expose her and curtail his dreams, yet it just might be The Perfect Adventure. -Katrina Snow, Paranormal

Hollywood Hoodoo is a witty murder mystery with a voodoo curse.Rochelle Staab, Contemporary Series: Suspense / Adventure

When American nursemaid Reba MacKenzie is unwittingly thrust into London high society, she catches the eye of the one suitor she could never consider–Nate MacDonnell, the son of her parents’ killer. But her growing attraction to the wayward lordling might not only mean betraying her family but sharing their terrible fate. -Jessica Darago, Historical

What’s a newlywed lady to do when her lord mistakes her for a harlot at a bawdy house? -Grace Chow, Regency

Get cracking, Unsinkables–I WANT TO READ THOSE BOOKS!!!

The Unsinkables will be stopping by throughout the day today to say hello and talk about their Golden Heart adventures.  Please welcome them, and feel free to ask questions!

139 responses to “Meet “The Unsinkables”: the 2010 Golden Heart Finalists!”

  1. Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

    It’s wonderful to see so many familiar names! WoooHOOO! And I think this year’s finalists chose a great moniker for their class—on both the professional and personal levels. Welcome aboard the GH train to all the newbies. I hope you enjoy the ride—it’s a pip!

  2. Jeannie Lin says:

    Welcome and congratulations to the 2010 group! Sounds like you have some amazing stories to tell.

    Enjoy this time, work that nomination, and have a blast in Orlando!

  3. Waving to the Unsinkables! Thanks for the fabulous intro, Elisa! I loved those taglines.

  4. Tamara Hogan says:

    Be surprised no more; now everyone knows at least one thing Minnesotans do to pass the time during those long, cold winters – we write! Midwest Fiction Writers had a stellar 2010, with two RITA nominees (Helen Brenna and Kathleen Eagle) and five Golden Heart nominees. I’ll be spending a little more time with the MFW Unsinkables here at the Ruby blog on July 20.

    Congratulations, ladies and gentleman! It’s a wild ride, isn’t it.

    • Liz Talley says:

      That’s a whole lot more productive than what we do in Louisiana. We sweat….and drink beer.

    • Tamara,
      You and the Ruby Sisters have been so amazing to the 2010 newbies. I honestly don’t think I’d have learned so much so quickly without the advice and encouragement here on the Sisterhood’s blog. You all were a port in the storm the week before finalists were announced, and I hope we Unsinkables follow in your footsteps.

      As for Minnesotans–we do, indeed, have some hidden talents aside from being able to make a whole dinner out of half a bag of noodles and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. I’m really proud of us–and look forward to your showcase of our girls!!

      Thanks, my friend!

  5. Hello Unsinkables! What a great name for your group. I loved reading about you and the wonderful stories you have written. So sad, however, to read about Donnell…
    Good luck to each of you in Orlando!
    With a special wave to Vanessa, Gabrielle and Kylie.

    • Waving back at you, Kandy! I’m glad you like the moniker. It’s perfect when you consider everything we’ve been through.

    • Hi Kandy! Thanks for dropping by – it’s great to see you here. 🙂 Elise has done a great job with this post, hasn’t she – what a culmination of wonderful quotes and facts!

  6. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Elisa, what a fabulous introduction for our GH class. What I find so amazing about The Unsinkables is that I’m fairly certain more finalists have joined the 2010 Yahoo loop than any other previous class had. At present, we have 61 members and a large portion of them are very active, proven by the time it took to agree on a pin design. Forty-two members voted in that poll. We’re an incredible ‘Unsinkable’ group!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      A lot of our big turnout had to do with Keli Gwyn’s efforts to track everyone down. It’s great to have such a fabulous organizer in our midst!

      And thank you, Laurie, for getting our Yahoo loop started,, and helping organize our pins, etc..

    • Laurie,
      I couldn’t agree more–this group has been such fun for us to get to know. I admit that even for a super-extrovert, the whole ‘getting to know you’ was intimidating–so much talent! But I feel like the Unsinkables are quite a family now and I’m so eager to meet everyone. Thanks for your part in making all this happen!

    • Angi Morgan says:

      You guys are so right. Being a part of this group is absolutely amazing. They’re so supportive.

      The Unsinkables Rock !


  7. rita says:

    A big welcome to the all the Unsinkables. Love the tag lines and want to hear them all. If you didn’t post above please do when you comment. How’s the excitement level with everyone? LOVE the pin design.
    Can’t wait to me you all. Ken, if you show up in a blue tux you would go down in RWA history as the coolest dude ever.

  8. A big thank you to Elisa for the great introduction and to the Ruby Sisters for the welcome! Being a Golden Heart finalist has been a crazy, wonderful, surpassing-expectations experience.

    Per Rita’s request, here’s my tag line, though it’s still a work in progress:

    Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy (single title): A rebellious florist takes part in a marital rodeo with a modern-day cowboy as the willing prize. The two lock horns until their mutual fear of commitment flames unexpected passion.

    I can’t wait to see the rest of the Unsinkables here today!

    • rita says:

      Hmmm! Marital rodeo, willing prize and locking horns. Nice images.
      I know you’ve worked hard on this book. Congrats on your GH final.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That sounds awesome, Abigail!!

      Thanks for being here this morning…it’s been great getting to know you with The Unsinkables!

    • Hey Abigail, write on! 🙂 I can’t wait to read your story from beginning to end–uninterrupted. I already know how excellent it is, though! The gala event is going to be so exciting! Good luck to you for the win; WWTMAC totally deserves it! Hugs, Lis’Anne

    • Mary says:


      Congrats on your final. Can’t wait to see you in Orlando. I agree with Lis’Anne, the gala event is going to be fabulous.

  9. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeannie Lin, Ruby Sisterhood. Ruby Sisterhood said: Elisa Beatty invites you to "Meet the Unsinkables: the 2010 Golden Heart finalists!" […]

  10. Congratulations, Unsinkables! Your tag lines are awesome!
    The story of how you came up with your name and the Unsinkables pin design brought a lump to my throat. What a lovely way to honour Donnell and the people of Nashville.
    Special waves to Vanessa and Kylie and Gabrielle in Australia. And also to Donnell Ann from the RWA Heartbeat Chapter!
    Good luck to all of you and I hope we’ll see your books on the shelf soon!

    • Hi Sharon (waving hard!) – the Unsinkables is a great name and while it took a while to discover it, the meaning behind it does bring a lump to your throat – for all the reasons mentioned and some not.
      For me, the life preserver part of the pin is representative of everyone who has ever supported or encouraged me in my journey so far. Sometimes you just don’t realise the impact you might have on a “young” writer, and something you do or say or share with them helps them stay afloat and persevering in this journey. ;-D

    • Hi, Sharon! Thanks so much for stopping by on this very cold day. I’m sure we’ll all be thinking about Donnell and the people of Nashville at the awards.

  11. A special bravo to fellow Mainer, Mary Lawrence! This is a honor well-deserved to a hard-working, wonderful writer (and a dear friend of over a decade). You rock!

    • Mary Lawrence says:

      Thank you, Marjorie! Any other Mainers out there or folks with ties to Maine? Marjorie is a YA and regency writer with one published book, The Return.

  12. Jane Sevier says:

    Thank you, Elisa, for that wonderful introduction. Lots of great news to cram into one blog, and you did it with style.

    Here’s to sharing this crazy ride with the amazing group of writers that make up The Unsinkables!

  13. Thanks for inviting us over, Ruby Sister Gals!

  14. jbrayweber says:

    Wow. So many great log-lines. So many great personal stories. Congrats, Unsinkables. Can’t wait to meet you in Orlando.


    • Hi Jenn!
      I feel like you had a big part in my GH adventure this year, since my GH book won your chapter’s contest (Lonestar) in 2009. It was the only other contest I entered with “Songbird” and really gave me confidence. So glad to see you here–and excited that you’ll be in Orlando. It would be awesome to meet you!

      • Jenn! says:

        I was the Single title category coordinator for the Lone Star and I remember SONGBIRD. I am so glad our contest gave you confidence. hearing that makes it all worth it!!! I’m over the moon for you, Lizbeth!!

  15. Diana Layne says:

    Awesome, Unsinkables! Welcome! Wished I could be in Orlando to meet you!

  16. Liz Talley says:

    Congrats, Unsinkables! And welcome to the Ruby blog. It was great to see it didn’t take you long to agree upon a name. I think it took us a while…nothing stuck.

    Loved the loglines and loved hearing about where you are from and what you do when you’re not pounding on the keyboard. Can’t wait to see you in Orlando!

  17. Elise Hayes says:

    It was such fun to read about all of you getting “the call” from RWA. You’re in for a fabulous year. Enjoy every minute of it!

  18. Welcome ladies to the only club you can’t be kicked out of.

  19. Elisa Beatty says:

    Morning, everybody! Welcome, Unsinkables, and thanks, Rubies, for offering a chance to launch the Unsinkables into the world.

    Please, those who didn’t have tag-lines in the main post, add them now…and tell us more about getting the Golden Heart call, and about any of the great / funny / strange things that have happened to you since!

    • chris keniston says:

      my one regret is I was so flabbergasted to realize I wasn’t getting a business call but THE GH call – I have no idea who called me.

      All I could say was OMG- lol – somewhere I heard the word headshot and thought- oh dear can I use my daughter’s instead – I’m pretty sure the nice lady told me RWA frowns on that – lol.

      • Gillian says:

        Chris, that’s hysterical! 🙂 I wouldn’t have minded using a sketch of Jane Austen as a head shot, myself.

      • My call was from Trish Milburn–and she has no idea how happy I was it was her. I met her at a session she taught and we were FarmTown neighbors on Facebook for the three months way back, when I was hooked on that. I haven’t noticed whether Trish and I are neighbors anymore because I haven’t played FB games for over a year, but I’d take her as a neighbor anywhere anytime 🙂

  20. Jeannie Lin says:

    While we’re on the subject of shout outs, I wanted to shout out to MORWA’s golden girl – Jennifer Jakes. Congrats Jen and remember to grab the desserts early at the TGN reception. They go SUPER fast.

    Those are my words of wisdom…

    • And crucial words of wisdom, indeed. I take my desserts seriously, Jeannie — thanks for the heads-up!

    • LOL! Thanks Jeannie! You’ve been a great source of wisdom so far:) Keep it coming!

    • Jean Willett says:

      Hi all- Waving to Liz and Jeannie!! TGN members who go that step above to bring the new Golden Heart members into the fold. We’ve planned a fun time in Orlando.

      As for dessert–LOL! I’m an Unsinkable– The Dolphin catering staff couldn’t sink my efforts to bring on the food!

      Thanks, Elisa, for a great introduction. The 2010 GH’rs are a solid team.


  21. Linda Lovely says:

    Thanks for welcoming the Unsinkables–an incredibly diverse and fun-loving group. COUNTERFEIT is the name of my manuscript that made the Golden Heart finals for Romantic Suspense. Haven’t developed a tag line for this manuscript yet, but I have a brand tag: Chasing down killers, locking up love. I’m very excited about RWA National and can’t wait for the date to arrive. It’s my first RWA convention and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.

    Linda Lovely

  22. Thanks, Elisa, for all the hard work you’ve put in on this post, and the mountains of fabulous advice you’ve dispensed over the loop already. And thanks, Ruby Sisters, for allowing us to come and visit.

    Since you’ve asked, here’s the logline for UNCHOSEN, my YA urban fantasy:

    Mo Fitzgerald wants revenge for her friend’s murder. To get it, she’ll have to save the world.

  23. Congratulations and welcome to the Unsinkables–and a special Canuck hug to the four Canadians:) The log lines are terrific. I want to read them. Hope to be able to congratulate you all personally in Orlando.

    Great job introducing the group, Elisa. Left a lump in my throat and seeing the pin was very moving. It’s perfect.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      The pin is Laurie Kellogg’s design! It’s fabulous, isn’t it?

      And I didn’t know you were a Canadian! The Rubies are more international than I thought!

      • I would cheerfully relocate to Canada! Cold weather and a chance to use my high school French, plus I don’t think there’s a cooler name for a coin than “loonie”.

  24. Kristin W. says:

    Well, see I meant to send my GH info, but of course I am late. I am always struggling to keep up with our rather chatty finalist group, lol. I don’t know how the rest do it.

    For the record, I’m a first-time GH finalist, Inspirational, but it’s the third time I entered (with the exact same manuscript). It’s called HERE COMES THE WEDDING PLANNER about a cynical, single woman who hates weddings and never wants to get married who winds up having to run a wedding planning business. It’s actually the first in a series set in a fictional Southern town. It’s got plenty of humor, but also a spiritual journey for my heroine along with the romantic one.

    It’s very sweet for the Ruby Slippers to host the 2010 finalists. Looking forward to meeting everyone in Orlando.

  25. Thanks so much for hosting us, Rubies! And even more thanks to all of you for being there to help us all through this exciting season (special shout out to Autumn/Di for being super fab! and to Laurie for keeping it all together!)
    I was far too disorganized to send Elisa my info : ) Besides, the only unique story I have for GH call day is being in my office and receiving a call from my husband “just checking in” and advising me “some woman” called from RWA, then proudly telling me he refused to give her my office or cell number! argh! Luckily, despite DH’s lapse in judgment I still got to be a finalist for my manuscript Spelling and Glamour:

    The only thing worse than making a love charm is trying to get it back – Jennifer McAndrews, Young Adult

    And now I’m counting the days until I land in Orlando!! I’m so excited!!


    • Jen, that’s hilarious!!!

      I got an email instead of a call. I went back and read it 50 times to make sure I read it correcting.

      • That IS hilarious — can’t you just see him acting all, “see, honey, I protected you from identity theft and dubious Nigerian investment schemes!”

    • I’m having a giggle at everyone’s notification stories.

      I can’t remember the name of the lady who rang me but I do know she enjoyed her job. I was working in my office (on an article for a magazine) when the phone rang about 2.30pm. When I answered and heard the accented introduction I thought it was one of those telemarketers about to try and sell me something. I was so close to saying “thanks, but no thanks” AND hang up – a split second from disaster, regret and the land of Stupid! – when she mentioned she was from RWA.

      I do remember getting hot and cold and thinking OMGoodness, this is THE CALL! Of course, by the end of the conversation I had no idea what she’d said to me and had to ask her to repeat everything again (felt like Maxwell Smart) and that’s when she told me hearing the finalists reactions was the best part of the job! 🙂

    • Gerb says:

      Ha! I can just see B being so proud of himself! : )

      Congratulations, Jen, and all GH finalists!! This really is a stellar list.

  26. Hi Elisa–and all the Rubies,
    Thank you so much for the wonderful intro to our group. We’re all awed at the job you did putting together our group bio. It’s a fabulous group and I’m so thrilled to hold a membership card!

    My finalist manuscript is titled “Songbird.” Logline: There comes a time in every independent woman’s life when she just has to step aside and let a white knight do his job.

    Thanks so much for letting us come and play on the RSS blog today. You are all the best of mentors!

  27. Gillian says:

    Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Rubies. Your site was one of the first I visited after I received the Call, because I’d learned so much from you all over the past year.

    My logline for To Seduce A Proper Rogue: The perfect temptation, sanctioned by the perfect logic: A bluestocking’s guide to scholarly seduction.

    Our internet is so spotty today–summer storms, you know!–but hopefully I’ll be popping in to read everyone’s stories. It’s been all “business” for the past few weeks; it’s lovely to have a day of fun and celebration!

  28. Angi Morgan says:

    I’m so excited to be a Golden Heart finalist this year and apart of such a wonderful group. My excitment continues as SEE JANE RUN (Suspense & Adventure) sold to Harlequin Intrigue and will be on bookshelves in September of this year as HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP.

    Thanks for asking about our Log Lines: A missing child. A woman on the run. And the man who must save them both.

    Thanks for Elisa for such a wonderful introduction. I hope everyone stops by Wednesday when I come back to blog.


  29. Katrina Snow says:

    What a wonderful welcome! Elisa, thanks for putting together this fantastic introduction. I laughed, I cried, I couldn’t stop reading. Sort of like a great novel. 🙂 I loved all the log lines and can’t wait to read everyone’s novels.

  30. Thanks, Rubies, for having us! I’ve loved your site WAY before March 25th;)

  31. Hello Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. Thanks for having us here and a big thanks to Elisa for writing her fantastic Unsinkables article! I’m one of the four Canadians. So here’s a big wave from up north and a special wave to fellow Canadian, Bev, from me in Victoria.

    My logline is “Welcome to a new Old West.” I’m writing Western historical romance and I’m the computer animator (or was four years ago). Sort of a strange mix of careers. But, hey, originally I wanted to be a paleontologist. Jean Auel and her Clan of the Bear novel (and all those that followed) have a lot to answer for 🙂


  32. Cat Schield says:

    Hello Rubies! Thanks for hosting us. You’ve been such a wonderful supportive group. I don’t know how I would have gotten through call day without you guys.

    Thanks Elisa for putting the post together. You did such a great job of cobbling all our experiences together.

    Can’t wait to meet everyone in Orlando.


  33. This was lovely. I love the name The Unsinkables. Congratulations and best wishes to all the finalists.

  34. Wow, what a fabulous introduction to all the 2010 GH finalists! I always love reading the reactions to ‘the call’ and all of your loglines sound fabulous! Can’t wait to have the opportunity to read your books!

  35. Heather Snow says:

    Hello everyone, and thank you Rubies and Elisa for showcasing the Unsinkables today!

    I, too, meant to send Elisa my information, but I mean to do a lot of things that my toddler decides I don’t have time for 😉

    My GH Regency Historical manuscript is titled “Sweet Enemy”, and is my first completed novel (and hence, my first GH entry as well.) I don’t particularly have a great logline yet, but I’ll give it a shot.

    Beakers and ballgowns don’t mix. When lady chemist goes undercover at the Earl of Stratford’s housepart to discover who in his family murdered her father, romance is not part of her formula. Yet every good chemist would do well to remember, sometimes when you combine two unknown substances, you might just get a reaction you can’t control.

    Rough, but I hope you get the idea. Can you tell I’m the chemist Elisa mentions in her post? (Unless there’s another one of us…)

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      You’re the chemist!

      And the story sounds fascinating!

    • Gillian says:

      Heather, I have very high hopes that this will be the year of the academic historical romance 🙂 *fingers crossed* And your story sounds awesome–I love murder mysteries. I’m no good at figuring them out, so I enjoy the story to the very end.

    • Jean Willett says:

      Wow- two chemists in the Unsinkables! I’m the other chemist 🙂 And to make it all romance… I met my husband in Physical Chemistry!


  36. Rochelle Staab says:

    Thank you to Elisa and all the Rubies for the warm welcome.

    I love reading everyone’s reaction to ‘the call’; it made the whole dizzying experience fresh again. And the books! Wow, there’s a lot of good reading ahead.

    Looking forward to meeting everyone in person in Orlando!

  37. Thanks for having us here, Rubies. Your countdown to the big announcement back in March was what first made me think that just maybe I could actually be a finalist, and I’ve been addicted to the blog ever since, so you guys have been a big part of the experience for me.

  38. Hope Ramsay says:

    I am honored to be an Unsinkable Ruby.

    (And BTW Ruby is the name of a significant character in my books–she’s the woman who owns he beauty shop, and Unsinkable Ruby just about captures her character.)

    You guys are all great, and you’ve made my Golden Heart experience these last two years something I will cherish. Not so much because of the ribbons or the attention, or even the fact that I made my first sale this past year.

    But because I’ve made so many great friends that I know I will keep for a long, long time. It’s like the old Girl Scout song — “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

  39. Laurie Green says:

    What a perfect name for the 2010 GH finalists! This year has been all about staying afloat and rising above. (And a great name like The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood was a tough act to follow.)

    Best of luck to all of you. Looking forward to Orlando.

    *waves to Sharon and Kylie*

  40. Wow, Unsinkables! Aren’t you a mind-bogglingly fabulous lot! Sending big waves out to all my friends and huge congratulations to ALL of you! I finaled back in 2006 – we were the Packers (sixpack? Geddit? Groan!) and I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had amongst the other finalists. I hope you have the same rewarding, wonderful experience of being a Golden Heart finalist and I wish you all the very best in your writing careers. And hey, let’s partay in Orlando! That Vanessa B sure knows how to put on a knees up (her living room WAS party central when she discovered she’d finaled again!). Let’s boogie!

    • Anna, you were there to vouch for the knees up. Sort of! Sorry about screaming into the phone. I had no idea your group was called the Packers. You’re all media moguls now!

  41. Elisa – what a great piece! It’s so exciting to be in the company of such talent! Yay! I can’t wait to meet all my Unsinkable siblings in Orlando.

    Thanks also to the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood for giving us space to shine!

    I’m a finalist in the paranormal category and I start my pitch with, “So an elf walks into a bar…” :^)

  42. Annie West says:

    Hi everyone and huge congratulations! I love the name unsinkables! I hope that perseverance brings you all the writing fortune you seek.

    What a tremendous variety of stories! I’m looking forward to seeing your names on shelves in the next little while.

    A big wave especially to Vanessa, Kylie and Gabrielle who are my ‘locals’!


  43. Tina Joyce says:

    Elisa, thanks so much for putting this post together and making the introductions! It was so neat to read all those GH “call” stories and loglines.

    And to my fellow Ruby sisters, thanks for hosting the 2010 finalists!

  44. Lena Diaz says:

    I’m one of the Unsinkables – just read your blog about our group. Great write-up! Thank you, and the rest of the Ruby Sisters, for being so supportive of us.

    I entered my second completed manuscript in the 2009 Golden Heart and it didn’t final. I decided to give it one more shot – so I totally revamped the manuscript. I entered it in the 2010 GH and voila! “He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not” won me my first GH final! Woo Hoo!

    Some friends of mine gave me the nudge to query my manuscript to get an agent and voila! I signed a couple of weeks ago with a wonderful agent.

    This same manuscript is also a finalist in the Daphne this year, so I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a great year for me as a writer. The only thing that could top this is if I make a sale this year. Fingers crossed!

    Enough about me – now I’m going to go read everyone else’s comments on this blog. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has been saying!

    Thanks again.

    Lena Diaz
    2010 GH Finalist in Romantic Suspense

  45. Elisa, a huge thank you for such a great post – what a job you did collating all those answers and quotes. 🙂 A job very well done!

    Thanks also to the RSS for inviting us along to their blog – it’s great to be here and I certainly am looking forward to meeting a few faces in Orlando. Not long now!

  46. Sara Ramsey says:

    Congratulations to all the Unsinkables!! I love the name, and your stories and taglines are very inspiring.

    Welcome to the GH club – I’m looking forward to meeting more of you here over the next few weeks, and as many as possible in Orlando!

  47. Beautiful job, Elisa! I had so much fun reading this, and it made me even more excited to meet everyone next month!

  48. Unsinkables, it’s wonderful to meet you! Elisa, thanks for pulling this together.

  49. rita says:

    Elisa can’t thank you enough for doing this. It’s a blast getting to know the amazing and talented Unsinkables.

  50. What a fabulous lot of call stories. I have to admit to chuckles, tears, and a couple of “oh yeah” moments as I was reading them. 🙂

    Congratulations to each of you for pursuing your dreams to this stage, and for encouraging each other to do the same. May the Orlando conference–with all it holds–bring you more joy than you can possibly imagine.

  51. What a fun blog! Loved hearing these stories. Congratulations to everyone whose hard work has been validated. See you all in Orlando!

  52. Kim Law says:

    Welcome Unsinkables!!!! So sorry I’m late!!!

    Thanks, Elisa, for doing this. So much fun!

  53. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks for the great post, Elisa. You did an outstanding job introducing The Unsinkables.

    I’m honored to be part of such an incredibly talented group of writers and look forward to meeting many of my fellow finalists and the Ruby-Slippered Sisters in Orlando.

  54. Terry Jo Stone says:

    Many congratulations to all of the finalists this year! A special one to my amazing CP, Gillian Layne!

    I loved hearing your call stories-especially the one about the laundry-too, too funny.

    I was also glad to read about all the Westerns that entered and made it.

    Good luck to all of you wonderful writers in Orlando!

    • Gillian says:

      Terry Jo! (((hugs))) Isn’t it awesome to see all these westerns? Long live the cowboy!

  55. Woohoo. I’m late, but here now. Congrats to the Unsinkables. I’m so excited for all of you, especially the ladies I already know. You are in fo rth etime of your lifes. Enjoy Nationlas. I wish I was going to be there to help you all celebrate.

    Elisa, you did a truely awesome intro.

  56. Darynda Jones says:

    Welcome and congrats!!! I love your name and the sentiments behind it. I’m so thrilled for each and every one of you. Super congrats and enjoy the ride!!!

  57. Pat O'Dea Rosen says:

    Thanks, Elisa! You’ve taken the Unsinkables from the shallow end of the pool to the racing lanes. Now, how do I get these floaties off?

  58. Just got a chance to stop in and say hello.

    I’ll save my book blurb for July 6, when I get a chance to shout out here at this lovely blog. Hope some of you can stop by.

    It’s been an amazing year so far, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at Nationals.

    Here’s to the Unsinkables, may we always rise to the top. 🙂

  59. Mary Oldham says:

    Hello Ruby Sisters,

    Thank you for the warm welcome!
    I hope to meet a bunch of you in Orlando!

    🙂 Mary

    Mary Oldham

    • Tamara Hogan says:

      Just look for the sparkly Ruby Slipper pins! The pins actually look quite a bit like the stiletto on the left side of our website’s banner.

  60. Nicole Maggi says:

    Mucho congrats to Jen McAndrews, “Unsinkable” indeed! A much-deserved final, AND first sale!

  61. Shea Berkley says:

    I’m always late for the party. My parents are in town, have been for a while, and I haven’t much time. This was a great blog, Elisa. You’ve done a wonderful job bringing out the personalities of the finalists. The unsinkables is a fabulous name for a fabulous group of people.

  62. Carey Corp says:

    Hi Elisa,

    Like Shea, I’m late and hectic! 😉 Thank you for such a great blog. I wanted to mention what a special group the Unsinkables are and how honored I am to be a part.

    As a finalist in YA, the Unsinkables makes me think of the Jack’s Mannequin song SWIM:

    “You gotta swim, swim in the dark
    There’s no shame in drifting
    Feel the tide shifting and wait for the spark

    Yeah, you gotta swim, don’t let yourself sink
    Just find the horizon
    I promise you, it’s not as far as you think

    The currents will drag us away from our love
    Just keep your head above, swim”

    For all those treading literary waters, persevere! Swim!!!

  63. Sheila Fields says:

    Hello Elisa,
    Thank you so much.
    A friend from RWA sent me your link. Your comments and loving actions touched me on a personal level. I think it is a wonderful and heartfelt tribute naming yourselves the Unsinkables and honoring Donnell Epperson, the folks in Tennessee and the RWA staff. I am Donnell’s stand in for Nationals. We were bff’s and sisters, if not in blood, in our hearts, from the first day we met. As everyone said, we were joined at the hip and it was true. Critique partners, church, babies, marriage, traveling companions and life in general. Heck, we even created our pseudonyms alphabetically so we could sit together for book signings. ha-ha! : ) We inspired each other to keep going no matter what. Her friendship was a once in a life time, true gift. She taught me to love deeply, never give up, treat every day as your last, look for the positive no matter how dire the circumstances and always-always tell your loved ones daily, how much they mean to you. I lost half my soul when she passed, but I have a fuller life because of her. For the first time in over a decade I travel to Natl’s without my beloved sister, but I am proud to be there for her and know that she will still be by my side. Thank you again, Unsinkables.

  64. […] you might recall from our original post introducing them last spring, the Unsinkables found the inspiration for their group name when the […]


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