Posts tagged with: consolation

Consolation Day 2015

Silent PhoneA few days ago (March 26th, to be exact), calls went out to several dozen very talented writers and authors in the romance community. I’m pretty sure this is not news to you.

That same day, hundreds of folks who had entered did not receive a call. I admit, I was one of those. Woe is me. If you’re stopping by here today, I’m guessing you may have been one of those waiting by the phone, disappointed when it didn’t ring (or it rang, but it was a telemarketer or family member or someone else equally unaware of how the ringing of the phone on that particular day can make your blood pressure skyrocket).

But after the phone call never came, and I commiserated with my friends, and I had a lovely cocktail (or two) with my husband that night, I picked myself up and wrote this post—because I know the healing power of venting (in a civilized, non-attacking way). I love this annual Ruby tradition because it reminds me that I’m not alone. There are so many of us striving for the brass ring, trying to get ahead and have our talents recognized.

Oh, and I love this tradition because I get to give away PRIZES! Fabulous, healing, nurturing, monetary or delicious prizes!

So Your Phone Didn’t Ring

oldphoneYou kept your phone glued to your palm for the entire Golden Heart announcement day and it didn’t ring once. Or if it did, it turned out to be a telemarketer trying to sell you oceanfront property in Arizona (if you’re geographically challenged, I’ll give you a tip. There is no oceanfront property in Arizona 😉 ). While some of your friends were celebrating the ringing of their own phone, and all around the internet, romance writers were posting their amazing ‘call’ stories, your heart was sinking further and further into the depths of despair.

Announcement day is a tough day. You’ve put countless hours into a manuscript that meant the world to you then sent it off to RWA, pinning all your hope and validation on five random judges whose score could make or break your book. For a short moment in time, these judges held your book’s fate in their hands.

Or did they?

Because while it’s true that the judges had the ultimate power to either bestow your book with a near perfect score, sink it with an East German insult, or give it the dreaded middle of the road ‘meh’, their power ends WITH THIS CONTEST. There’s no question that finaling is an exciting, well-earned ride that deserves to be celebrated in a big way, but just because you didn’t final doesn’t mean your book isn’t any good. Many books have sold without ever finaling in a contest.

Let me repeat that: Many books have tanked in contests only to go on and land agents and/or book deals and/or New York Times Bestseller status.

The Golden Heart can be an amazing path to success. But I have my own vision of the publishing world called Oz, and instead of one collective yellow brick road to the Emerald City, I see hundreds. When we stop letting the flying monkeys convince us that a silent phone means we’re not good enough, or refuse to allow the Wicked Witch to batter us with her broom of doom and gloom, we’ll start to realize that the only way to fail is to let negativity and disappointments (like not getting a call on GH day, or racking up yet another rejection in our inbox), keep us from what we love.

So how do we go on after this? Well, first, we give ourselves a chance to wallow. Wallowing always makes things better. But only if you set a time limit on it. A day. Maybe two. Just enough time to take the sting out of the hurt–because, yes, it’s still okay to feel hurt. And then, we step back and re-evaluate. We keep learning. We keep growing. We keep dreaming and listening to those voices in our head. And above all, we keep writing.

Don’t stop writing. The only way to fail is to quit. But if you don’t quit, sooner or later, a path will appear before you–one that’s shiny and all yours–and it will lead you to your destination.

Okay, now that the pep talk is over (complete with a really bad Wizard of Oz metaphor), the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood is here to help you take the first wallowing step with a few heart-felt pick me up prizes. Just leave us a comment to be eligible to win!

  • A one-pound box of See’s Candies (donated by Elisa Beatty)
  • A Chocolate basket from A Southern Season (donated by Elizabeth Langston)
  • Godiva Goodies (donated by Addison Fox)
  • A First Chapter Critique (donated by Liz Talley)
  • A Critique of Golden Heart Submission (donated by Hope Ramsay)
  • A Gift Certificate to Bath and Body Works (donated by June Love)
  • A $10 Amazon Gift Certificate (donated by Kim Law)
  • A First Chapter and Synopsis Critique (donated by Cynthia Justlin)
  • A First Chapter Critique (donated by Amanda Brice)





We’ll Get ‘Em Next Year, a Day for Consolation (and Prizes!)

Nooooooooooooo!!!! How did this happen? How did the universe get things so WRONNNNG???!!

Your manuscript is a marvel: everyone who reads it laughs and weeps and begs for the sequel, your psychic aunt’s been dreaming of the title atop the NYT Bestseller List, and even your literary-snob best friend read it in one big gulp and says it’s the best thing she’s read in years. It had Golden Heart finalist written all freakin’ OVER it.

But the phone didn’t ring on March 26.


Well. we’re here for you today with shoulders to cry on and free rein to rant and rave and cry and scream and curse and do whatever else you have to do to let it allllll out, baby!

(If a little Chumbawumba would help, click here.)

We’ve also got chocolate and other awesome prizes because we know how bummed out you are, and we love you.

We’re also here to remind you of what a crapshoot the Golden Heart is.

Out of more than a thousand manuscripts entered, only 10% can final. If you’ve been hanging with the Rubies for awhile, you’ve heard us talk repeatedly , about how many manuscripts get stuck in the bottom quarter of GH scoring one year, then go on to final the next year—and even win. And also plenty of manuscripts final one year, then don’t get out of the bottom quarter the next.

It’s called subjectivity, and there’s no avoiding it. (Check out two-time Golden Heart winner Laurie Kellogg‘s words of wisdom on this subject here).

Remember, four of your five judges could LOVE your story, but one says “meh,” and you’re out of the finals. This is hardly a failure: in real life, having four of five readers loving your book would have you outselling Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and the Twilight books combined.

And MOST published romance writers with brilliant, best-selling careers NEVER, EVER finaled in the Golden Heart at all. (Some, like Allison Brennan, even admit they tried—and failed. Yeah, that really hurt our Allison. I’m sure she still weeps over it every day.)

The Golden Heart is a great launch pad—but it’s not the only one.

Hey, just look at the list of 2012 Rita nominations. Lots of great books on there. But did you see Julia Quinn? Did you see Kristan Higgins? Victoria Dahl? Lisa Kleypas? Meredith Duran? Jill Shalvis? Gena Showalter? Julie James? Marjorie Liu? NORA freakin’ ROBERTS?

Does that mean their books this year sucked, and they should give up trying to be authors and toss their laptops out the window and take up a career in dry cleaning instead? Um, no. Of course not. Those writers and their books from last year are truly awesome. (Have you read Kristan Higgins’ Until There Was You?? Sooooo good. Soooooooooo good.) It’s just the way the voting goes sometimes.

Sing along with Gloria Gaynor: “I WILL SURVIVE!”

More than anything today, we’re here to kick your butt and say SUCK IT UP NOW, SWEETHEART, because there’s one way and one way only to get yourself published. And it’s NOT the Golden Heart, or any other prize or commendation you may win. It’s BICHOK: butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

Get writing. Keep submitting to publishers. No excuses.

Do that, and your day will come. We’re the Rubies, and we know what we’re talking about!

Leave a comment below (as mopey or furious or self-pitying as you like, as long as you swear to commit to a concrete writing goal for afterwards) and be in the running for one of these spirit-lifting prizes, which we’ll be awarding to random commenters throughout the day:

-A copy of The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor (donated by Amanda Brice, author of Codename: Dancer and Pointe of No Return).

-a $10 Barnes and Noble e-gift card (donated by Ruby Sister Kate Parker)

-a copy of Kelly Fitzpatrick‘s Dodging Cupid

-a query letter critique from Ruby Sister Rita Henuber, author of Under Fire

-a critique by Cynthia Justlin (author of  Her Own Best Enemy and Intrusion) of the 1st 25 pages of a manuscript (any genre but erotica)

-winner’s choice of any of Vivi Andrews’ books (check ’em out at

-a box of chocolates and a critique of 1st three chapters and synopsis (RS or Historical) by Diana Layne, author of The Good Daughter.

-critique of the 1st 25 pages of any genre by Laurie Kellogg, author of The Memory of You (which hit #383 on the Paid list in the Kindle Store today!!!).

-a $15 Starbucks gift card and winner’s choice of one of Liz Talley‘s books.

-a 50-page critique by Jamie Michele, plus an e-copy of Alexandra Solokoff’s Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Writers II.

-choice of any of the following books by Lindsey Brookes: Hero of Her Heart, Capturing the Cowboy’s Heart, or A Little Bit of Sugar (PDF download).

-choice of any erotic romance listed on Amazon by McKenna Chase (PDF download).

-Box of chocolates from See’s Candies (donated by Elisa Beatty).

Pretty sweet, eh? Remember, we love you! Keep working, and you’re going to make it!!! We’re always here to help!

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