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The 2010 GH and RITA . . . One Day and Counting

There’s only one day until RWA’s announcement of the 2010 Golden Heart and RITA finalists, and close to one thousand unpublished writers are impatiently waiting to hear if they’ve made it into the top ten percent.  Some are not so eager because, until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow when RWA posts the official finalist list, contestants can entertain the fantasy their name will be on it.  Depending on what time you’re reading this, it could be only a matter of . . .  hours.   Here’s a preview of what you can expect tomorrow morning.

The Diary of a Golden Heart Contestant

GH Announcement Day, March 25th —  Eastern Standard Time

5:45 a.m. I’m lying awake, way too nervous to sleep.  Please, God, let me get a call today. I flip back the covers.  There’s no point in just lying here.  I might as well get up and check the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog to see if anyone else is as loony as I am.
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The anticipation and waiting can make you crazy.  The best thing you can do is try to forget what day it is.  However, experience has taught me that isn’t always possible, and the most helpful thing to do on announcement day is to pamper myself as much as possible.  If time and children allow it, take a hot bath, give yourself a facial, shave your legs, and when you’re finished put on make-up and a nice outfit and do your hair as if you’ll be going out to celebrate.  If you get the call, you’ll want to be ready.  And if you don’t, you won’t get quite as depressed when you’re looking your best.
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6:30 a.m. I shouldn’t have eaten breakfast.  My toast and scrambled eggs are like concrete in my stomach, and the sun isn’t even up.
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Eat a nutritious breakfast on announcement day.  If you get the call, you’ll be so excited and talking to so many people via phone and e-mail, you’ll too busy to eat.  Also, if you don’t get the call, you’ll be less likely to make poor food choices to comfort yourself.
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7:00 a.m. What if I don’t get a call?  After all, my entry was just a first draft, and I found three typos while I was revising.  It’s so much better now than when I mailed it.  There’s no way it could be a finalist.
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You are not alone.  Most of the other entrants have also been polishing their manuscripts since entering.  The only part of your book that is judged in the final round is your 55-page entry.  In past years, when the RWA office has gotten a request for a finalist’s full manuscript, they’ve frequently contacted the finalist and given them the opportunity to send a revised version within 48 hours.
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8:15 a.m. What are my friends going to think when they all get a call and I don’t? <And if you’ve been a finalist before> Will everyone say it was just a fluke that I was nominated last year?
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If they are truly your friends, they will commiserate with you.  Your friends know what a good writer you are.  And it’s never a fluke for someone to be nominated for a Golden Heart.  Even if you received a low score that sents your entry to Standard Deviation scoring, you still had to have FOUR other judges love your work in order to land in the top 10 percent.
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9:30 a.m. It’s 8:30 in Houston.  The calls are supposed to start going out in only a half hour.  I’ve already chewed my nails down to the cuticle.  Maybe I actually do have a chance.  After all, my story won three chapter contests, and two editors asked to read it.  It can’t be too bad.  Right?  OMG, what if I DO get a call?
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There’s no getting away from it.  As the time approaches, you will be plagued with doubt and embark on an emotional rollercoaster ride.  One moment you’ll have total faith you’re a shoo-in, and the next minute you’ll believe wholeheartedly that your manuscript is totally pathetic.  I’m pretty sure 9:00 CST is the office start for the calls.  I live on the East Coast, and I’ve always gotten my calls sometime between 10 and 11:30.  Some of it depends on where the board member who is calling your category lives.
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10:15 a.m. Then again, <insert agent’s name> rejected the manuscript with just a form letter, so it must not be very good.  And those contests that the story won were all really small competitions.  There’s around a thousand entries in the GH. I’ve been pacing so much my legs are beginning to hurt.  What the heck, I probably won’t get a call.  I might as well sit down.
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Just because a book has been rejected by every agent and editor in New York doesn’t mean a thing.  Not every wonderful story is marketable at any given moment, which was the case with my 2004 & 2006 winners.  They’d been rejected everywhere, and I didn’t think they had a prayer of winning.  Surprise, surprise!
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10:38 a.m. I try to relax at my desk and stare at the phone, willing it to ring.  Oh, no!  What if my line isn’t working? I pick up the receiver to check for a dial tone.  I slam the phone back down.  What am I thinking?  They could be trying to call right now!
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Stay busy.  Just as a watched pot never boils, so is the case with watched phones not ringing.  I know it’s tough  (I’ve never been able to do it), but try to forget it’s announcement day.
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10:41 a.m. The phone rings, and my breath stalls in my chest.  My heart pounds like I’ve overdosed on amphetamines as I pick up the receiver and stammer, “H-Hello?”

“I got a call!”  My critique partner squeals in my ear. I slump in my chair, disappointed.

“Oh, my gosh!” I shriek, forcing myself to sound excited and happy for my friend, which I am deep down.   After all, I did crit her manuscript, so I share a small part in her success.

“Have you heard anything?” she asks.

“Not yet.”

“Oh, you will!” she assures me in complete confidence.  “Your book is too good not to make it.”

Yeah, right.  If that was true, wouldn’t they have called by now?

“We’d better hang up so they can reach you.”

What’s the point.  I’ve got call waiting to let me know if anyone is trying to get through.  And besides, I’m not gonna get a call.

“I’ve got to go call my husband,” says my friend, (CPs frequently call each other even before they tell their spouses because only another romance writer appreciates what a big deal a Golden Heart nomination is.) “Call me as soon as you hear something!”

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Just because some of your friends have gotten calls and you haven’t doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t.  In general, most of the calls go out by noon, but I have heard accounts of finalists receiving calls as late as four in the afternoon.  The only time you can be sure you’re not a finalist is when the list goes up on the RWA website, which should be 2:00 p.m. Central Time.
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10:48 a.m. I hang up the phone as tears well in my eyes.  I really thought I had a chance.  No! I swipe the moisture from my cheeks.  I will not let myself get depressed.  Just because I didn’t get a call doesn’t mean I’m not a talented writer.  Writing contests are a crapshoot and a lot of luck is involved.  It’s nearly impossible for a mediocre novel to become a Golden Heart finalist because five people have to love the entry for it to make the cut, which is what makes the contest so prestigious.  At the same time, it only takes one judge who isn’t crazy about the story, to knock a manuscript out of the running. Maybe next year.   I might as well get on with my day and put it out of my mind.
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Not getting a call doesn’t mean your novel isn’t any good.  I know this because my book that WON the Golden Heart in 2006 wasn’t even a finalist the year before, and I hadn’t changed a single word.
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11:05 a.m. I head for the laundry room to put in a load of wash.  As I add detergent, the phone rings.  Undoubtedly it’s one of my other friends calling to tell me she’s a finalist.  Maybe I shouldn’t answer.  I’m having enough trouble coping, the last thing I need is to have to get excited for someone else.  Still, I’d want my friends to congratulate me. I pick up the receiver just before the machine picks up and hear, “Hi, this is <insert appropriate board member’s name> from RWA.  I’m happy to tell you your manuscript is a Golden Heart finalist!”   My emotions soar, and I go from down-in-the-dumps to doing the Snoopy dance in three seconds flat.  At 2:00 my name will be posted on the RWA website as a GH finalist!  I can’t wait to call my CP and tell her we’re going to Nashville together!
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If you get a call, celebrate!  Publishing is a tough industry filled with rejection and disappointment.  This is one of the good days, so enjoy it to the fullest. If you don’t get a call, go out and celebrate your tenacity and courage.  It takes a strong person to repeatedly open herself up for rejection.  Remember, there are approximately 900 other writers who are just as disappointed.  Tomorrow and on the 26th, come back to the RSS blog and commiserate with each other while we party and congratulate the finalists.
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So what’s the hardest part about waiting for you?  How do you plan to celebrate or, if you don’t make the cut, cope with your disappointment?

137 responses to “The 2010 GH and RITA . . . One Day and Counting”

  1. Hi, Laurie. What a lovely post.

    After years of working hard and submitting, I’ve learned the art of patience! Not that I’m blase about the announcements tomorrow. The excitement’s really building, isn’t it?

    I have a couple of entries in the GH. Of course, I’d love to get that golden glow again, but I’m preparing for the possibility that I may miss out this time. If that’s the case, I’ll be happy enough to throw myself into cheering for the newest batch of GH and RITA finalists because I’m fortunate to know what it’s like to be in their (ruby) shoes.

    Clicking my heels for all who entered!

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    • That’s a healthy attitude, Vanessa. I’ve walked in both finalist and non-finalist shoes several times, and I’ve got to admit getting a call feels a whole lot better than not. So I can’t help but be a little disappointed on the years I don’t make the cut. However, I’m always excited to see my friends get a call — especially the ones who have never been a finalist before. It’s lots of fun to relive that ‘1st timer fuzzy pink cloud’ feeling with them.

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  2. Katrina says:

    I thought it was going to be horrible waiting for the call, but fate has intervened. My husband and I found out last weekend that my mother-in-law might have oral cancer. She’s only 61. We should find out more in a couple hours, but this wait is truly horrible.

    The GH is at the back of my mind, but instead of “Oh, it’d be life-changing” it’s more “I could really use some good news this week”.

    Right now I’m off to get a filling at the dentist’s, by the time I get back, I should know more about my mother-in-law’s health, and this afternoon we’ll be coping with whatever the news is. I’m not sure I’ll be emotionally up to rejection tomorrow.

    Sorry to unload. Most people I know don’t know how important the hope of becoming a GH finalist has been to me, and I know it’s something you all can relate to.

    Stay healthy, everyone, and hug the ones you love.

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    • Katrina, I’m so sorry. My thoughts are with you and your family. I hope you receive good news on all fronts.

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    • Tamara Hogan says:

      Serious health problems have a way of resetting one’s priorities, don’t they. I hope things go swimmingly for your MIL, Katrina.

      You didn’t ask for it, but… let’s do the math. Fewer than 10% of Golden Heart entrants receive that call. I hope the phone rings for you tomorrow, but if it doesn’t? It’s not the end of the world. Please, please, please don’t internalize the lack of a call as rejection!

      There are so many factors that go into being named a Golden Heart finalist, and every factor except the words written on the page is completely outside of the writer’s control. And Friday morning, the day after the calls are made, every single one of us – whether published, sold, aspiring or hobbyist – is BICHOK and looking at the next blank page. (BICHOK=Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard)

      Finaling in the Golden Heart is a wonderful experience, and it provides a rare window of opportunity to its finalists – but it’s by no means the only route to publication. 😉

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    • Liz Talley says:

      When you go to your dentist, you should always make sure he/she does a full examination of your mouth and neck. My husband is a dentist and this is something he always does. In the last seven years, he’s caught 3 cases of oral cancer that the oncologist said “saved the patient’s life”

      So sorry about your MIL. Hopefully, it won’t turn out to be serious. Brings perspective to a contest, doesn’t it? Even in the midst of excitement, we have to remember what is important.

      (And I don’t mean to be preachy, but oftentimes, dentists don’t take the time…and they should)

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      • Liz Talley says:

        Well, that was pretty preachy…like a public service announcement 🙂

        I need more coffee….!

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        • Elise Hayes says:

          Not preachy at all, Liz–thank you for sharing this tip!

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        • Laurie Kellogg says:

          We all need those sermons once in a while. Now I’ll add mine. Everyone please get a colonoscopy if you’re over 50 and over 40 if someone in your immediate family has had colon cancer. Also, never ever ignore abnormal vaginal bleeding. I was tempted to let it go and see if it happened again, and I’m so grateful I didn’t.

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    • Elise Hayes says:

      Oh, Katrina–big hugs to you and your family. You’ve got the Ruby Sisters at your back, sending up prayers and crossing their fingers for your MIL.

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    • Tina Joyce says:

      Huge hugs, Katrina. Sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      I’m so sorry you have this to deal with. Waiting for that kind of news makes the wait for the GH seem so trivial. I’m praying your MIL has caught this early. I dodged a bullet last fall with very early stage endometrial cancer, so I know what your family is going through.

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    • Ami says:

      Hugs, Katrina. That’s so scary. Hope the news is good for your MIL.

      Ami

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    • rita says:

      Can you feel all our hugs?
      We are here for you.

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    • Diana Layne says:

      Hugs, Katrina, here’s hoping for good news on your MIL. I’ve been staying away from the RSS this week b/c I didn’t want to get nervous, b/c really and truly it’s a fun ride, but a GH final will not make or break your career, so it’s not worth the energy for me to get nervous.

      and to put it in perspective, I’ve judged the GH for years and almost every year I find one or two entries I think are outstanding…and they have never finalled. Probably even went on to sell, I’m betting. Like Tammy said, mathematically the chances are not the best, all the planets and gods really need to align…but you know it’s just an up and down business so this is a good place to learn that and we’re here for you either way! (ok, so I’ve been hiding but I came over when I read about your post. 🙂 )

      Best wishes to you and lots of good luck that things will work out as they should. Hugs.

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    • Shea Berkley says:

      Katrina, I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Give her a hug from us and take care. Hugs.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Ah, Katrina, hugs! Hang in there!

      I hope you DO get the Golden Heart call, but in the grander scheme it doesn’t really matter. Good luck to your MIL…whatever the news is, at least she’ll have the knowledge, and her doctors can give her any care she needs.

      As far as your writing goes, finaling in GH is a boost, but *not finaling* certainly isn’t a roadblock. As Tamara said, come what may, BICHOK is the only thing a writer can’t succeed without.

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    • Katrina says:

      Everyone, thank you so much for your hugs and support. I’m sorry to have dumped it all on you but was home alone and feeling awful. The results are inconclusive, but they think they’ve ruled out oral cancer (yes, her dentist was the one who told her to go to her GP to get referred). Everyone’s feeling much more positive because the worst case scenario seems to have been avoided.

      Thank you all for being so supportive! You’re wonderful people with golden hearts.

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    • Katrina, big hugs for all you’re going through. Prayers that everything will turn out okay with your MIL.

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  3. Katrina Williams says:

    The hardest part of waiting is the waiting. LOL It’s on my mind constantly. Do I still go to Starbucks like I do every Thursday? What if someone calls while I’m there? Wouldn’t I rather be at home? My son asked me to have lunch at school with him. What if they call while I’m sitting there with a table full of second graders? But how can I say no when I’m not going to get the call anyway? How arrogant do I have to be to think I’ll beat out other entrants (in the *paranormal* category no less)? AAAHHHH!

    To celebrate, my husband, who is the best ever, bought a bottle of Champagne, which he will open either way. I’m looking forward to it!

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    • Shea Berkley says:

      Your husband sounds very sweet, Katrina. Either way, you’re gonna have a great night. (grin)

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    • Katrina, RWA will find you. I think someone said they will try calling you three times before leaving a message. So have lunch with your son and enjoy the moments.

      AJ

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    • Finalist or not–enjoy your champagne and celebrate your accomplishments! You are a fabulous writer and I have no doubt that I’ll be picking up your published book in the future. Maybe I need to get your phone number and bug you tomorrow. 😉

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Katrina,

      Go have lunch with your son. Waiting for the call is, IMHO, a true waste of time. Last year, I never even got the call because of a phone snafu. But I sure did find out when friends started emailing and calling after RWA posted the results. Enjoy your kids while they are little, they grow up faster than you think.

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  4. Liz Talley says:

    I can relate to the 10:38. I’m so that neurotic. Nice to know I’m in good company.

    This was so much fun to read, Laurie!

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  5. Elise Hayes says:

    I’ll celebrate by emailing critique partners, calling my husband, and doing the Snoopy dance. Then it will be butt in chair for some pretty intensive revision work over the next two months, in the hopes that the next great RWA call (Carol Ritter saying that a judge would like to see the full) comes in.

    And if I don’t final, I’ll still put my butt back in the chair and keep revising, because I really think my current manuscript is “the one” and I’m up against my own deadline: I’m trying to write this book, start to finish, in a year, and mid-summer is my deadline.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      Goals are always good! The big problem I have whenever I’m a finalist is I spend way too much time socializing and partying.

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  6. Jeannie Lin says:

    GOOD LUCK RUBY SISTERS AND RUBY FRIENDS!!!!

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  7. CJ Chase says:

    Last week I told how I had twice been out of town on GH call day and left poor board members trying to reach me. Well, guess who got an email last week from a mix-genre writers group and wrote back, “Sure, I can meet in Hampton (~ an hour away) Thursday morning.”

    I entered 2 mss. I’d be thrilled if the one finaled. It’s been polished for months. Full is currently with an editor and a couple of agents, and a GH final might speed up the process. But the other??? I was supposed to spend the winter revising it — and I got lazy. Honestly, I’m scared to death that one will final. But I have a plan. If that one finals and an editor requests it, at the point where it really breaks down, I’m going to type “This is where my revisions end. Just reject me now and please, please, please do not read further.” And then I’ll send THAT version of the ms to RWA to forward to the editor.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      LOL. That’s what I did with my full in December, and I’m still not finished polishing.

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    • Ami says:

      CJ, I am in the same boat. My ms is a mess. It’s all there but a total mess. I love your plan.

      Good luck and hopefully there will be enough time to finish before the request comes in!

      Ami

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  8. Ami says:

    Laurie I love this post. While I’ve convinced myself I’ll be zen if I don’t final, I’ll be bummed. Maybe hit a little chocolate (any excuse, right??) and then take a walk. Then reset for next year.

    If I final? I have no idea. Scream? LOL. Hubby will no doubt bring me flowers. I’ll just float thru the day. 🙂

    Ami

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  9. Elisa Beatty says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!!

    I can counsel others to be calm, but every nerve in my body is doing the electric boogaloo.

    Calls just HOURS away???? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!

    Luckily (?) I have a wall-to-wall day of teaching tomorrow, with a large meeting I have to run during lunch. Hopefully I’ll be too busy to think.

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      Crossing my fingers for you, Elisa.

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    • Kim Law says:

      Elisa, I’m finding this year’s waiting to be really odd for me. Last year I was like you just described. I seriously could think of NOTHING else for days, could not calm down, and couldn’t bring myself to leave the phone that morning. But this year? Yes, I’m anxious to hear, but I’m just not that stressed over it. Very odd. I wonder if it’s a sign I’m won’t get the call? Or maybe I just feel my two entries this year weren’t as strong as last year’s so I have little hope? Who knows. But anyway, good luck to you and I hope the jitters calm down a bit!!! 🙂

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  10. Eden Glenn says:

    Great post. You’ve really gotten inside my head for how I think I’ll feel tomorrow.

    I believe we tell ourselves the negative to balance being too disappointed when we don’t get the call. To temper pride perhaps. A few weeks ago I was at the point of saying I’ve got as much chance of getting the call as being struck by lightening.

    Then I though about the message I was sending out into the cosmos. Negative, defeated, fatalistic. Bad juju. I’m not prideful to want this. I’m not boastful or egotistical to want this.

    So, I want to put good energy out there. I still stand an equal chance with anyone else in the running.

    I want something different in my life. I want the good that a final in the Golden Heart will trigger. Embrace the possibility and speak it into existence.

    Eden Glenn
    http://www.edenglenn.wordpress.com
    Golden Heart finalist 2010 – (fingers crossed)
    Beacon unpub – 2nd place Dragon’s Mark

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Good luck, Eden!!

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      Great attitude, Eden! Good Luck tomorrow.

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Keep those positive affirmations going, and you are sure to manifest a Golden Heart sooner or later.

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Positive is important. Now that I sold, I’ve just moved my fantasies from accepting a GH to accepting a Rita. Will it happen? Probably not. I’m not a total dreamer…but I do have dreams.

      So put on your rose-colored glasses, ahem, I mean ruby-colored glasses and think positively. After all, if you don’t final, you are in good company. There will be way more who don’t than do.

      Just take those lemons and make lemonade. And add a splash of vodka. Whatever it takes 🙂

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  11. Tina Joyce says:

    Laurie, what a fun post! Fingers crossed for all those who entered…but if you don’t get the call, let it make you all the more determined to keep moving forward!

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  12. Shea Berkley says:

    Fun post, Laurie. Am I the only one who’s positive I’m not going to final? I’m not a pessimist, far from it, I just know the story I entered isn’t the norm. What’s new, right? It’s a bit odd, just like me, so it’s going to take five people who aren’t into the “rules” to get it to final, which translates into feeling no pressure at all. I am excited for my critique partners. I’m expecting two of them to final.

    Good luck everyone!

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      You are not alone, Shea. At this point each year, I start listing all the reasons it would be good NOT to get a call just so I don’t feel too disappointed. Talk about trying to stay positive and seeing the silver lining in the cloud.

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Me, too, Laurie. Much as I’d like to final again, NOT having to worry about having my messy, messy manuscript polished in the next few weeks could be a huge blessing in disguise.

        I could polish through the summer, then query directly in the fall.

        Deep breath. (I’m nervous anyway.)

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    • Tammy Baumann says:

      Thanks for the good thoughts Shea! I’ll need them!
      I’m lucky enough to be in two critique groups, (Hey. I need all the help I can get!) one with Shea and one with Darynda. And by the way Shea, Darynda already outted me in her blog the other day as her ‘odd’ CP with dyslectic typing habits, so maybe that’s why you seem pretty normal to me. ;0)
      I’ve stopped by this beautiful web page often in the past few months and am so impressed with all the Ruby Sisters. You’ve formed such a wonderful bond that’s instantly apparent. While I’d like to final tomorrow, but honestly don’t think I will, I’m a little jealous of what you ladies have created here. It’d be such fun to be a part of a winning group like yours. Good luck to all who entered the GH and RITA tomorrow and just know you are all winners in my book!

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      • Shea Berkley says:

        Ummm, I’m not normal? You see, it’s okay if I say I’m odd, but as a friend, you’re supposed to say I’m perfectly normal. Geesh! Don’t I tell you you’re special?

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      • Laurie Kellogg says:

        Don’t count yourself out until the votes are counted, Tammy! Sending good luck vibes into the universe for you.

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    • Hope Ramsay says:

      Nope, you’re not alone. I am right there with you. The manuscript I entered has been pretty much trashed by judges in contests everywhere for I don’t know how long. It has a completely beyond the rules opening. I’ll be flabbergasted if it finals.

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  13. rita says:

    I am excited for every single person who entered. I have this picture of all of us holding hands across the world waiting for those calls. What a group, huh?

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  14. rita says:

    Laurie, what a great post for today. I didn’t enter and I’m still excited. I hope to see the names of friends roll in. can’t wait.

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  15. Diana Layne says:

    Laurie, I read your post even tho I’d vowed not to read any (ok, so I’m a liar, shoot me. 🙂 ) Cute! I didn’t have to wait, my call came at 8 am and I had barely just rolled out of bed, wasn’t even awake enough to remember the day yet…

    But your post is really funny and I definitely can relate to the obsessiveness. 🙂

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      8:00? You must live on the West Coast, Diana.

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      • Diana Layne says:

        nope, Texas. CST, and Sharon Sala called me and she’s in CST too.

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        • Laurie Kellogg says:

          Wow, I was under the impression that the calls didn’t start until 9:00 CST. Thanks! Now I’m going to start stressing a full hour earlier. 🙂

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        • Same here Diana! My call from Sharon Sala came in right at 8:00 a.m. last year, and I was still lying in bed, awake, watching the ticking clock. LOL. It was awesome to be told I was a finalist by someone whose books I’ve loved for years.

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          • Oh, gosh. Then I will definitely be opening the Ruby doors very early tomorrow morning. I’ll serve cyber-coffee, tea and doughnuts before the cyber-champagne.

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  16. Christine Ashworth says:

    Great post, Laurie!

    I don’t know how I”ll handle it tomorrow, either way it ends up going. But I know I’ll be here in the afternoon to cheer on the finalists and commiserate with the non-finalists. I don’t know what I’d do without you guys!

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  17. Jenn! says:

    Good grief, Laurie.
    What an awesome post! And, OMG, what an emotional roller coaster tomorrow will be. I am not looking forward to it. Already I feel sick to my stomach. LOL!
    Hopefully, by morning I will forget what day it is. HA!

    Jenn!

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      No matter how many butterflies you have in your stomach, be sure to eat something tomorrow morning. When you get the call, you’ll be too busy to eat. Note my complete confidence in you!

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  18. It made me laugh, too!

    I’m heading down to my Boyfriend’s today for my day off, so hopefully he’ll take my mind off the waiting. (And maybe I’ll get to sleep in in the morning and be awakened by the Call.)

    A girl can dream, right? Statistically speaking, it’s probably a long shot. But I’m used to being at the top of my class (used to set the curve in my media law class — all my newspaper friends in my study group called me “curve setter”.

    And even if I don’t get the Call, I can celebrate something for the week: I spent a good chunk of Free Pastry Day at Starbucks, writing, and finished the rough draft of my current WIP.

    Don’t worry — I still have other things on my writing to-do list, so I can BICHOK Friday. 😉

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    • Shea Berkley says:

      What? There was a free pastry day at Starbucks yesterday? OMGoodness! I didn’t know! I don’t get excited about much, but this … I’m just so … I could have had a free slice of pumpkin loaf? (hangs head) I really could have used a free pumpkin loaf slice. I think I’m gonna cry.

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      • I read about the promotion online somewhere. You could print out the coupon or show it to the cashier on your mobile device … the free food was available “while supplies last” so you can bet I got my rear out of bed early to make sure I was there before they ran out! 😉

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      Congrats on finishing that draft, Arlene!

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      • Shea Berkley says:

        I meant to say that too. Congratulations, Arlene! I just got a little distracted by the mention of free food.

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        • Free food distracts me, too!

          I’m already starting to wonder if there’s too much backstory in the first few pages … but I’m still happy to have a draft done.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Congrats on finishing the rough draft, Arlene! That’s HUGE!!!

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      • Thanks! This story’s a bit of an odd one: It kicks off with the heroine discovering she’s pregnant (her no-good ex has just run off to Vegas to be a professional poker player).

        The hero is a semi-pro baseball player, so she has to get over the fact that he, too, is trying to turn pro.

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        • Just have to say, your books sounds great! That small description has me hooked. I’d totally read it. Congrats on finishing! 🙂

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        • Hope Ramsay says:

          oooooh baseball playing hero. I love it. There are just not enough stories with heros who play baseball, IMHO.

          And, for the record, I’m almost as excited about baseball opening day on April 5 (Go Washingtion Nationals) as I am about GH call day. Clearly I have my priorities in the wrong place, but what’s a girl with three brothers supposed to do?

          Anyway congrats on finishing the draft.

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        • Shea Berkley says:

          Oh, your book does sound like fun. My husband was an all-American baseball player, so I’m very fond of baseball heroes.

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Darn, I forgot free pastry day. Ugh. How can a gal forget that.

      Good for my thighs though. 🙂

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  19. Eden Glenn says:

    Good Luck to all of you guys. The point is you did it. Finished the manuscript. Took a chance. Got it out there. Started writing the next one.

    I’ll be sending up a hearty cosmic squeee for all the finalists that I know whether cyber friends or chapter buddies.

    But **please let me have the opportunity for the one of the squeee’s to be for myself too***

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  20. Dara says:

    I don’t know…I didn’t enter this year but I’m planning on it next year. 🙂 I’m sure I’d act exactly how it’s stated in the blog entry 😛

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      Definitely enter, Dara. Being a finalist is an awesome experience. And even if you don’t get a call, the contest is a great motivator for getting the darn book finished and polished.

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    • rita says:

      Exactly what Laurie said. I would add take classes and study to improve your work. With all I have learned in the past year I too am afraid to revisit my GH entry. Yikees!

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  21. Gillian says:

    What a positive bunch of ladies! Great post, Laurie. I’ve decided to bury myself in the job today (cause I won’t be able to concentrate tomorrow), clean tonight so everything’s nice and orderly tomorrow, and most importantly brainstorm new story ideas while I clean, so that I can embrace that “first love” new story happiness no matter what happens tomorrow. 🙂

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  22. I just killed a chunk of time buying my domain name & setting up the free “starter” page.

    Now what?

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    • Laurie Kellogg says:

      That’s wonderful. You’re thinking positive. Crossing my fingers that I see your name on the GH list tomorrow — assuming I don’t hear your squeals first!

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  23. Laurie–enjoyed your fun post! Felt every high and low!

    But I’m thinking . . . what looked like a good ms months ago, um, maybe doesn’t look so hot now . . . when I looked at it recently. So figured finaling a fat chance!

    Oh and Katrina really threw things into perspective. Seriously. (Great to hear the good news).

    No matter what, it does take courage to enter and it’s a motivation to finish the ms. But finaling . . . that’d be the cherry, okay, several cherries on top!

    As always — enjoy this blog. Hugs and good wishes to all entrants!

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  24. You know, I was freaking out over the weekend, but now I’m feeling pretty calm. I know that either way, I’m still going to finish revising this book and start sending it out into the world. I entered this year because I believed (very strongly) in this book and I wanted it to have the opportunity to get noticed. But, I also recognize that a good book will ALWAYS get noticed, even without a GH final. So, either way, I’m good.

    Since last year’s final, I’ve completely revised my GH manuscript, finished another, and have one more lined up to write over the summer. Not to shabby accomplishments if I do say so myself! 🙂

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  25. Addison Fox says:

    Sending warm wishes and very good vibes to everyone waiting to hear!!!

    My heels are clicking 🙂
    Addison

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  26. Vivi Andrews says:

    Good luck to everyone who entered and here’s hoping for the best!

    But for those who don’t get the call tomorrow, don’t worry too much. There’s as much luck involved in hitting the right panel of judges as there is in landing the right editor/agent. (In other words, A LOT!) My ms The Ghost Exterminator never finaled in anything, but don’t tell that to the reviewer over at The Romance Studio who just gave the pubbed version five stars. 😀

    There are a lot of different roads to publication. Good luck to everyone, no matter which road you’re on.

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  27. Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

    Hello my beloved Sisters! I guess I’m one of the few who will not be disappointed if the call doesn’t come. Way too much on my plate right now—and the mss is still in the “my goodness, this really SUCKS!” stage.

    Much love to you all. I will update you on the loop later, but wanted to say I’ve been reading the posts and feel so blessed to have shared this year with you. The good news is we’ll be sisters forever.

    {{{Hugs}}}

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  28. Hope Ramsay says:

    I would love to second Vivi’s sentiment.

    Good luck to you all, but if the best doesn’t happen tomorrow, don’t take it to heart. My 2009 GH manuscript is never going to be published because I decided it wasn’t up to snuff and couldn’t be fixed. The one I entered this year, which didn’t make it out of the bottom third last year and has about a snowball’s chance in hell of finalling this year, is the one that sold my series.

    A good book will find a home whether a panel of judges likes it or not.

    So hang in there even if the news tomorrow isn’t so hot. Pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that, come what may, you are a winner just because you had the courage to enter the contest. And on Friday, regardless of what happens, you’ll still need to plant your butt in your chair and write the next scene in your current WIP.

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  29. Kate Parker says:

    Loved your post, Laurie.

    I was reading the comments, and my phone rang! I jumped about three feet, and then had to laugh at myself. What’s worse, it was the same man I hung up on two years ago to get my first GH phone call.

    Tomorrow, win or lose, I’ll do all the things I planned to do. I hope I’ll have to pause to cheer and scream, but my much improved entries are still much improved, and will be sent out into the publishing world in their own season.

    Glad to hear the health scare isn’t as bad as first feared. And the lady with the invite to lunch with your son? Go. He’ll only be little once. The GH is held every year.

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  30. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Absolutely, Kate, get those submissions out. We can’t sell if we don’t submit (Laurie is lecturing herself).

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  31. I’ll be at work tomorrow…staring at my cell phone!

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  32. Liz Talley says:

    I’m traveling tomorrow, but will be checking my iphone. Thank God I have that thing!

    Good luck to everyone! Fingers crossed for all of you.

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  33. Sprayed Bath and Body Works stress relief aroma therapy around the house and trying to be Zen.

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  34. Darynda Jones says:

    This is awesome, Laurie!!! Fantastic post!
    I’m so excited about tomorrow. Yay!
    ~D~

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  35. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Thanks, Darynda!

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  36. […] 2. While you’re NOT waiting for the phone to ring this morning, you can also entertain yourself by reading my count-down post from 2010, The Diary of a Golden Heart Finalist. […]

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