Posts tagged with: 2012 golden heart finalists

Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Alison Delaine

It is my great pleasure to introduce Alison Delaine, Golden Heart® finalist in Historical Romance for her novel NOTORIOUS.

Sometime this fall it will be 20 years since Alison brought home that first ream of typing paper and sat down to write a romance. It’s been a long journey—hills of commitment followed by valleys of inaction—but giving up has never been an option. Alison is a teacher-turned-attorney and a two-time Golden Heart finalist who knows a few things about perseverance and hanging on to the dream. You can find out more about Alison at


Three Ways to Take Your Power Back—Now!

 As a writer, I think I’ve counted about a hundred ways I’ve given my power away over the years. (Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. It’s really more like 95 ways.) When I say I’ve “given my power away,” I am using that phrase in its full, airy-fairy, therapist’s-couch meaning: placing responsibility for my feelings (or more accurately, my writing) on someone or something else.

Here’s a sampling of people to whom I have served my power on a silver platter:

  • The industry insider whose help I thought I could never make it without.
  • The freelance editor whose feedback I decided I needed to have before I could work on anything new—even though there were many weeks between each draft.
  • The agent who requested my material and whose response I awaited for months without working on my next project.
  • The editor whose comment about my pacing left me doubting my entire ability to craft a novel instead of educating myself about pacing.
  • The first agent I worked with, who I assumed would do everything for me so I took no steps of my own toward publication.

One common denominator marks all of these episodes: I stopped doing what I could do and instead put my hope in what someone else might be able to do for me. Ever been there? Published or unpublished, I’m betting most of us have. In fact, I bet you can think of someone right now who has your hopes pinned all over them. Is it an agent? An editor? Readers? Publicist?

Now, sometimes we do need other people. Books don’t publish themselves. (Disclaimer: This post is not about self-publishing.) Many publishing houses don’t accept unagented manuscripts. A busy author may not have time to keep up with promotions, correspondence, and social media. But if you catch yourself feeling helpless, as if everything is out of your control, ask yourself: “Am I giving my power away? To whom?”

It might not even be a person. A few non-human recipients of my power have included

  • The day job that left me resentful and angry because it took time away from my writing.
  • The beliefs that made me absolutely sure I could only write at certain times of day and under certain conditions.
  • The market, that summer at National when I was sure I could never get published if I didn’t write about shapeshifters.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to take your power back. Here are three ways to do it:

1)   Write. I’ve noticed a pattern: When I write, I feel powerful. When I write, I feel like I am moving forward. When I write, I feel like my destiny is in my hands. The act of writing improves your craft, gets the ideas flowing, and gives you some mud to fling against the wall. You have control over when, if, and how much you write. No agent, editor, or one-star critic on earth can stop you.

2)   Ask the Tough Questions. Are there things you could be doing to be a better writer that you’re not doing? Yes, there are. What are they? Ask the hard questions: “If I’m totally honest, what part of my craft do I know I need to work on?” Work on that thing. “If I’m totally honest, what do I know this story needs but I haven’t wanted to tackle?” Tackle it and change the story. I’ve found that being honest with myself about areas for improvement and taking responsibility for becoming a better writer helps me feel like I’m back in the driver’s seat.

3)   Take an Action—Any Action. As a writer, there is always something to do. Make a list of agents to query. Actually send the queries. Enter a contest. Study a book about craft. Put a new technique into practice. Jot down a new story idea. Set a goal for this week, this month, this year—or even just for today. Make a small change to your writing schedule. Try a new motivational technique and see if it works. Committing to an action and following through always gives me a sense of forward momentum—probably because when I take action, I am moving forward.

What about you? Have you ever given your power away as a writer, and if so, what steps made you feel back in control? Any big epiphanies?

Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Jan Nash

Today, as a part of our ongoing series introducing 2012 Golden Heart nominees, I’m excited to present to you Jan Nash, nominated in the Inspirational category. Jan is an amazing lady with an unwavering optimistic personality. I couldn’t be more honored to interview her.

Without further ado, meet Jan Nash.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

A. Let’s see…I’m a fifty-something grandma with a passion for writing. I met my muse when I was inspired with a story seven years ago. I joined everything I could to help master my new love. My chapter, Northwest Houston RWA, has been a godsend. All the workshops, conferences, and monthly meetings have taught me so much. I write Inspirational/Romance. For me, faith comes first and I try to reflect that in my writing.

Q. Pretty powerful stuff. Speaking of power, tell us about your Golden Heart final Powerless Consent.

A.  What would you do if you discovered that your cell phone was transmitting a live visual feed viewed by an evil entity?  For my heroine, Kate Ballard, it’s a life-changing event that spirals into the loss of her family and causes her to doubt her faith.

Her and her husband, an average Christian couple, are torn apart by blackmail and struggle through obstacles and lies to uncover the truth and to reunite. The villain, a wealthy communications mogul, is obsessed with Kate and has been spying on her for the past fifteen years. He blackmails her by using his acclaimed invention, Invisible Surveillance and forces her to remain with him. While captive on a luxury yacht, she relentlessly tries to outsmart her captor and return to the love of her life. But the power her captor holds over her is too great. Kate’s husband discovers that he must revisit his past. It is there, in the past, that he finds the truth. The road to retrieving his soul mate is narrow and riddled with risk. But nothing will stop him from saving his true love. Love blossoms for two secondary characters. A loner CIA Agent and the villain’s assistant embrace the broken road that leads them together.  Surely they’re destined to be soul mates.

Q. Wow. I’m breathless! Now the question we all want to know, what did you do when you got the call?

A. It was just past 8:00am. As soon as I saw the out-of-state area code, my heart rate soared. A lovely sounding woman asked if I was Jan Nash. Truth is, it took a few seconds to say yes, but I did. She immediately stated that she was calling on behalf of RWA’s Golden Heart and was excited to inform me that Powerless Consent had finaled. I’m embarrassed to say that throughout the rest of the conversation I answered with one-word responses in the most pitiful ugly-cry-voice you can imagine. She giggled and told me how much she loved making the call. After flaring up a quick prayer of thanks and hugging my husband, I called my critique partner, Jaye.

Q. I bet your critique partner was just as thrilled for you. She may end up saying ‘I helped Jan become the mega-watt star she is today’.

Okay, back to the questions. Besides going to Disneyland <g>, what will you do if you win the Golden Heart?

A. Oh my. Probably smile, cry, and have a margarita. In that order.

Q. I’ll buy you that margarita! Win or lose, after the conference you planned to take a special trip. Please give us the details about that trip.

A. I’m almost as excited about the trip as I am the awards banquet. My book is set in Carmel, California and several scenes take place in a hotel room at Carmel by the Sea. That’s where hubby and I are going! My heroine is held captive on a yacht, so we’ve got a boat ride planned. Even though it’s kind of backwards to do the hands-on research after the book is complete, I can hardly wait!  What a blessing!

Q. Sounds fabulous! Nothing like living the part of your story. What is your writing day like?

A. Well, my day job takes up about seven hours, Monday-Thursday and I run a youth activity program on Friday nights. Maximum daily writing time is two-three hours. Some days, all the words stay stuck in my head because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. On the weekends, I write every moment I can.

Q. What is you favorite part of the writing process?

A. I LOVE editing. For me, it’s like polishing a diamond. Each pass, the scenes get brighter and brighter and miraculously reflect the story I envisioned. A close second, is spending time with my critique partners and chapter mates.

Q. Oh…I love how you explain it. And I couldn’t agree more. I, too, enjoy the editing process. So, where do you get your story ideas from?

A. Too many places to count. Dreams, people, books, nature, and the ‘are you kidding me’ moments in life, to name a few.

Q. Now for a couple of customary questions. What inspires you?

A. Wow. Again, too many things to count. I love life and…I believe. Yep, just believe. That’s sweet inspiration to me.

Q. Who is your favorite author?

A. Honestly, I have more favorite books than a favorite author per say.  But if I had to pick, number one would be John Grisham. Lately, I’m into Anna Quindlen.

Q. If Powerless Consent was optioned for a movie, what actor/actress would you see playing your hero/heroine?

A. Dennis Quaid and Michelle Pfeiffer. But, I’d be thrilled and honored if my local high school put on the play!

Q. LOL! Great answer! What’s next for you?

A. I’m working on the sequel to Powerless Consent. Two secondary characters that fall in love in Powerless Consent take center stage in Sweet Surrender. As far as my brand, I’ve got my website up and running and continue to take steps toward publication. Life is good!

Thanks Jan!

You can visit Jan at

Meet 2012 Golden Heart finalist Kristen Ethridge

 Today we’ve got another in our series introducing members of the Golden Heart Finalist Class of 2012: I’ll be interviewing Kristen Ethridge, finalist in Inspirational Romance.

 Once she got the hang of using a pencil, Kristen Ethridge was bitten by the writing bug. She wrote her first poem on the back of scrap paper in first grade, had her first publishing credit in a local newspaper in third grade, and wrote her first book—a sweeping, Civil War epic of ten pages in fourth grade. Her most recent manuscript, LANGUAGE OF LOVE, is a 2012 Golden Heart finalist.

 When she’s not writing, Kristen, a proud Baylor Bear, works in Corporate Communications for one of the world’s largest companies and loves attending as many Baylor sporting events as she can. She lives in North Texas with her husband, daughter (and Ethridge 2.0 on the way this fall), and two self-important poodles.

 You can find Kristen online at and on Twitter at @kristenethridge. She took a break about a year ago when she realized she was spending more time online trying to be a writer than actually writing…but she promises to do better with her blogging. Pinky swear.


Tell us a little about your Golden Heart finaling book:

LANGUAGE OF LOVE finaled in the Inspirational category and is targeted at Love Inspired. Here’s what I envision how the back cover would read.

Who wins when an immigrant’s dream collides with a prodigal son’s return?

Graciela Garcia de Piedra’s family emigrated from Mexico to Port Provident, Texas, in search of a better life. Now she wants others to have the same opportunity to live out the American dream through her school, where she teaches English as a Second Language.

Jake Peoples returns to his hometown to prove he’s more than his past mistakes and to claim his place as president of the development company owned by his family, one of the Island’s oldest and most powerful. The only piece of property standing in the way of the new condo project that will secure his future is Gracie Garcia’s school.

Although they both talk in English, Gracie and Jake don’t speak the same language. Where he sees profit and loss, she sees people and love. Can this teacher help a reluctant prodigal learn that God’s dreams are always bigger than our own?

What was it like when you got the phone call telling you you were a finalist?

The Latest Comments

  • Autumn Jordon: Also proof to IRS that this is you’re serious about being a businessand not just a hobby.
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Oh ugh! Editing is NOT my cake. It’s TORTURE. I love the shiny new words when I can...
  • Heather McCollum: Wonderful tips, Kim! I try to get in 2000 words a day if possible (definitely not when life throws...
  • Rhonda Clark: I love editing, so I guess for writing my tips would be: planning a plot twist, exploring different...
  • Kim Law: lol. Tell us how you really feel about interruptions, LOLOLOLOL! But yes…death glare! I don’t...