Posts tagged with: 2018 Golden Heart Finalists

Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Anna Murray!

Today we’re welcoming our final Persister guest (before we get to meet most of them in person at Nationals next week!!), 2018 Golden Heart Finalist Anna Murray, whose manuscript BIRDS OF A FEATHER is nominated for Best Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance.

Anna Murray’s creative essays have appeared in Vox, The Reject Pile, Role Reboot, The Satirist, Daily Mail, Soundings Review, Adanna Literary Journal, Piker Press, and the Guardian Witness. Her recently completed novel is represented by David Black Agency. The Complete Software Project Manager (John Wiley & Sons, 2016), her business title, is a top seller in the Amazon business category and has enjoyed great reviews: “This is a technical book that reads like a novel.”

Anna is also CEO of emedia, llc., a technology consulting company, and holds B.A. in English from Yale and a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia. 

Here’s a blurb for BIRDS OF A FEATHER:

Delia McDonnell has one goal, and it’s money.

Once an heiress living on Fifth Avenue, Delia lost her fortune twenty years ago in the Great Family Financial Disaster of 1986. The betrayal and abandonment surrounding that event soured her on trust, relationships, and love. Now, in 2006, the object of her affection is money, a concrete and reliable companion, one with an exchange rate.

Every bit as brainy as she’s beautiful, Delia assumed a PhD in computers and math would be her ticket to ride. But so far, her best offer is programming software for an automated call center.

Suddenly, Delia finds herself courted by two rival hedge-funds, each owned by a young billionaire. The reason: Her obscure PhD thesis reveals a way to make billions in a coming market crash. 

Delia accepts one of the job offers and begins her life as a “quant.” This includes eighty-hour weeks, six-figure show horses and handbags with price tags like cars. Her multi-million-dollar apartment couldn’t be better. It looks out over her former mansion, today an embassy. 

Delia’s new hedge-fund boss has ties to her past. Big city. Small world.

There’s one thing jeopardizing Delia’s goal. Something may matter to her as much as money—and that’s solving the unexplained death her of beloved aunt and surrogate mother.

Pursuing this decades-old mystery could risk her fortune. Worse: She could spark the ire of her boss. Who knows the lengths to which he might go—or has gone in the past—to deal with those who stand in his way?

In Delia’s quest to reclaim her fortune, she will brave the winning and losing of millions; face the estranged mother she has not seen in years; save a horse; protect an improbable parakeet residing in her window box; grapple with the affections of two hedge-fund titans; and challenge her own conviction of the value of money over love.

That sounds like a terrific read! I’m so delighted the “Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance” is back in the Golden Heart (under its new name). So many interesting stories in that category, and this is no exception!

Folks, Anna’s here today to share a story from her own writing journey, and it involves…well, just read the title and you’ll know you’re in for a wild ride.

Take it away, Anna!


The Paris Review, CIA Buddhists, Critique Groups, Kristan Higgins, and Finding Your Tribe

Puffed up with confidence, I ascended a spiral staircase to an oak-carved room at the top of a campus tower. I had qualified for Advanced Fiction, which, that spring, was being taught by a world-renowned Illustrious Author.

Huffing from the climb, I glanced around at my seminar-mates, the 10 applicants with writing samples deemed worthy by the Illustrious Author. The first thing I realized was I was the only one wearing an actual color. The rest of the students’ camouflage green, gray, and black garb seemed to have all been procured at an army-navy surplus store. There was also a very high ratio of Doc Martens to feet.

Worse: The color I happened to be wearing that day was pink.

Meet 2018 Golden Heart Finalists Eileen Emerson and D. Murphy Ryan!

What a treat here for our second-to-last interview with the Golden Heart class of 2018: today we’re welcoming TWO Persisters, D. Murphy Ryan and Eileen Emerson!

D. Murphy Ryan, also known as Dawn, is a finalist in Contemporary Romance Short with OUT OF THE SHADOWS, and Eileen is a finalist in Historical Romance with AN UNLOVED EARL.

D. Murphy Ryan has lived a life in chapters: as a waitress, a nanny, a photographer’s assistant, a singer and performer, and as a healthcare professional.  But author is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.  Writing since she was eight, she has a vast array of stories she’s eager to share as she moves onto the next chapter of her storied life.




Eileen Emerson spent years getting a Master’s degree in costume design for the theatre, and then chucked it all to make her way in the world of Corporate America. She eventually turned her creative focus to writing and began submitting her work to the contest circuit, with excellent results. She is now a three-time Golden Heart finalist and is zeroing in on publication.


We’re sitting down to chat in the Writing Room of Eileen’s newly renovated Victorian house, which she’s named Valhalla. Dawn and Eileen will be telling you about their books in the course of our conversation, so let’s jump right in!

FYI, Dawn and Eileen met last year when Dawn joined Valley Forge Romance Writers, of which Eileen is President.

And fair warning: Eileen is also Elisa’s real life sister, so the conversation gets a wee bit personal as we go along. Also, there was waaaaay more giggling and raunchy humor than the final transcript implies. (We talked for 45 minutes!! I had to cut something!!!!)

And one more thing: at one point we got so caught up talking about the possible elimination of the Golden Heart Contest, I decided halfway through the conversation to split that part of the interview off into a separate blog that will post tomorrow. IF YOU’VE GOT STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THE VALUE OF THE GOLDEN HEART, PLEASE JOIN US AGAIN TOMORROW, AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!

Elisa’s questions are in maroon, and Eileen’s answers are in black, and Dawn’s are in blue. 

Off we go…

Welcome 2018 Golden Heart and RITA Finalists!!


We know you must still be floating in the clouds!!! And you deserve every moment of happiness! RWA judges are tough, and nobody gets where you are without having written a FABULOUS book!!

(See the full slate of 2018 nominees here).

We have a tradition here at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of asking  finalists to share their stories about getting that life-changing, thrilling call. So SPILL THE DETAILS in the comments below, and we’ll set off a whole new round of squealing and cheering for you.

New Golden Heart finalists: we hope you’ve got your seatbelts fastened, because you’re being launched onto a serious thrill ride. And you’ll need good friends to make it through the experience in one piece. So, if you haven’t done so yet, your first order of business is to join the email/Facebook loops for the class of 2018 so you can meet all your new sisters. Your 2018 Sisters will be an unbelievable support in every way, and if past experience holds true–as it certainly does for the Rubies–they’ll become some of your dearest friends for life!  (If a commenter can share the info on how to contact the Facebook group organizer, we’ll post it up here!)


Today, the 2009 Golden Heart finalists, the Ruby-Slippered Sisters, will be stop in with congratulations, advice, and tales from their own Golden Heart adventures. And we invite all our friends and readers to add cheers and whoops of their own.

We’ll also be issuing an invitation (via a member of your email or Facebook loop) for as many of you as we can possibly fit into the schedule to guest blog with the Rubies or be interviewed on the blog sometime between now and Nationals. We love getting to know the new Golden Heart cohort each year and helping you make yourself better known to the Romance writing world. Be on the lookout for the details!!

Tomorrow, for everyone who didn’t get that coveted call, we’ll be back with our annual Consolation Day party, with heaps of support (you can bawl your eyes out if you need to, and we’ll be here with the hugs and the virtual tissues and calorie-free brownies), plus prize giveaways to help pick you right back up: lots of chocolate and sweet gift cards!!

Of course, after we celebrate, every single one of us—whether finalist, non-finalist, whether newbie or multi-published author—has the very same task to do: sit down at that keyboard and KEEP WRITING!

But for now: It’s your day, Finalists!! Congratulations!!!! We can’t wait to hear from you!!

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