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Posts tagged with: the Omegas

Meet 2019 Golden Heart Finalist Elly Kate!!

Today we’re welcoming another Omega, Elly Kate, a 2019 Golden Heart finalist in the Contemporary Romance category with her manuscript THE CINDERELLA FACTOR.

Elly Kate began reading romance novels early, pilfering from her mother’s collection kept piled in a basket in the kitchen. Writing romance came much later – in fact, not until just a couple of years ago. After years of penning poetry and non-fiction, dreaming up romantic stories has stolen her heart and she can’t seem to stop.

Born and raised in the Boston area, she has lived for the past twenty years in and around the city of her soul: Philadelphia. When she’s not writing or working at her day job as a librarian and archivist, she spends her time being a mom, wrangling two cats and a dog, fixing up an old house, reading, playing the banjo, knitting, cooking, gardening, and generally making all kinds of stuff.

Here’s a blurb for THE CINDERELLA FACTOR:

What happens when a precariously-employed academic with anxiety meets a book-loving, stress-cooking British movie star?

 After losing her job as an adjunct professor of Medieval Literature, Julia Harrow takes a chance on appearing on a morning television segment about courtly love in an attempt to raise her profile—despite her fear of cameras and public attention. Happily, her job search yields a dream opportunity in London: two years at a renowned college with the possibility of permanent appointment.

 Jake Flynn is the movie star heartthrob every woman wants. With his boy-next-door good looks and the leading role in a successful action series, he seems to have everything. But what he knows he can’t have is the brilliant, fascinating woman on the television morning show. Approaching a “regular” woman never ends well.

 Lightning strikes twice as Julia and Jake meet first in Miami Beach, then in London. But with Julia’s fear of public attention and cameras, Jake’s life in the spotlight is her worst nightmare. And it doesn’t help that her new boss is after her to stay out of the tabloids. Can love last when the reality of the fairy tale is everything she never wanted?

What a fabulous scenario!! You had me at a book-loving, stress-cooking British movie star!! (Weirdly, I also am a former academic who had a brief pop-culture moment being interviewed by HuffPost about medieval love poetry and Tumblr…but I digress. And I’m still waiting on my hot Brit actor boyfriend….)

Sounds like there’s plenty to drive Jake and Julia apart, and also a universe that very much wants them to be together!! Splendid!!

Okay, it’s time to gather round, folks. Since the story’s got a Miami Beach connection, I’m setting out some chaise lounges on a posh hotel balcony overlooking the ocean. Pour yourself a frozen tropical cocktail (with a flamingo stirrer, naturally), while we learn more about Elly Kate.

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Meet 2019 Golden Heart Finalist Lisa Heartman!!

Today we’re welcoming Lisa Heartman, one of the Omegas, the 2019 Golden Heart Finalists. Lisa is a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category with her book HIGH HEELS AND HANDGUNS.

Lisa Heartman is a coffee-swilling, sass-spewing, romance writer who believes love is messy and magnificent. She writes things she wishes she had said, and some she wishes she hadn’t, delighting readers with exhilarating stories and swoon-worthy characters in a world where danger and desire collide.

In addition to writing, Lisa enjoys movies, music, reading, baking, traveling, anything dark chocolate or coffee related, and hobbies like jewelry making and sewing. Growing up in New Jersey in a large Italian family full of strong role models gave Lisa the confidence to chase her dreams all the way to Arizona where she still lives with her husband and cat.

Here’s a blurb for HIGH HEELS AND HANDGUNS:

For Kate Howard, former Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, life as a one-woman personal protection detail comes with challenges. Wearing civilian camouflage while guarding high-profile clients is a dangerous game of rock, paper, hollow point. After an explosive and deadly end to her client’s re-election fundraiser, which left his young son in critical condition, Kate must accept help from an unwanted source: the soldier she loved and left in Afghanistan, bloody, broken, and barely alive.

Special Forces Officer Paxton Banks, Kate’s former captain-turned-FBI agent, is brought in to investigate the attempt on her client’s life. After twelve years, old emotions and new threats whip Kate’s world into complicated chaos. But when other elected officials are threatened, Kate and Paxton must tamp down their fiery feelings to catch a madman hell-bent on revenge.

That sounds deliciously intense! “Old emotions and new threats,” indeed!! I’m just imagining the dialogue….

So glad to have you with us here today, Lisa!! I’m having a blast getting to know the Omegas!

Since Lisa’s a Romantic Suspense finalist, I’m going to invite everybody into my virtual bulletproof bunker today. Don’t worry—I’ve got comfy couches inside, and there’s a fresh pot of coffee brewed up by one of the hunky FBI agents who always seem to be hanging out. Grab a seat!!

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Welcome, Lisa! Congrats on your Golden Heart Final, and thanks for being with us today! So, tell me a little about your background as a writer. Did you always know you wanted to write?

Guest Blog: 2019 Golden Heart Finalist Susan Lee – This One’s For the Dreamers

Today we’re welcoming another member of the Omegas, the 2019 Golden Heart Finalists: Susan Lee, whose manuscript DRAGGED has finaled in the Young Adult category.

Susan Lee has built a career as a Human Resources executive at successful startups such as Spotify, Warby Parker, and SeatGeek. Her biggest job takeaway: we are all, for the most part, ridiculous. 🙂 And she channels this into her writing of light-hearted, quirky novels about the oftentimes hilarious human condition. You can find Susan around New York City enjoying bottomless brunch, catching any show with her favorite local drag queen, Marti Gould Cummings, or trying to snag cheap tickets for Broadway previews. Susan is a 2018 PitchWars alum, a 2019 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist, and a lifetime Shangela stan.

Here’s a blurb for DRAGGED:

Goody two-shoes Grace Lee has a surefire plan for success: work her butt off to become a doctor and then be rich enough to buy herself a new butt. She’s one-hundred-percent focused on graduating first in her class and accomplishing all her goals. Nothing can stop her…except her smug arch-nemesis, Henry Liao. Henry is fast on Grace’s heels in their race to the top. He’s also the villainous traitor who convinced Grace to participate in a senior prank gone terribly wrong. Left shouldering the blame, Grace faces an enormous repair bill and—even worse—disappointed parents (eek!). To redeem herself and get back on track, Grace must win the school’s Most Outstanding Student Award, along with its hefty scholarship. Problem is, “outstanding” requires not just good grades, but song, dance, and jazz hands, too. 

 Enter stage right: Azia J’Adore, New York City’s hottest teen drag queen. With her huge wigs and an enormous heart to match, Azia’s the fairy dragmother Grace needs to land a role in the school musical, catapulting herself past Henry and straight into the winner’s circle. But working with Azia stirs up unexpected feelings in Grace. And when she finds out Azia’s true identity, Grace is knocked for a loop. With opening night fast approaching, it’s time to face the music: win the scholarship at any cost and screw up the one relationship she never knew she wanted, or toss aside her best-laid plans for the chance at a future unlike anything she ever imagined.

Oh, my!! What a fascinating and fresh storyline!! I’m dying to know exactly who Azia really is! Just from this blurb, Susan, I can see the humor and warmth in your writing voice, and can’t wait to see this book out in the world!

Today, readers, Susan has a wonderful guest blog post for us, one that’s especially poignant just after Father’s Day.

Thanks so much for being with us, Susan! Take it away!!

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This One’s For the Dreamers:

It is such an honor to be a finalist for the 2019 Golden Heart award. Some of my favorite authors started their careers as GH finalists and to share this achievement is mind-blowing for me. I’m a baby writer – I’ve only been putting words to page for a few years now, and this is my second completed manuscript. But, I think I’ve been a storyteller my entire life. And I know I’ve been a dreamer from the very beginning.

My father passed away a few weeks ago. It was a difficult loss for my family. But as I’ve been scrolling through memories of him in my mind, there has been a common thread: my dad was a dreamer. He was hard-working, uber-practical, stubborn, demanding…but he was a dreamer nonetheless. From early on, he dreamt of a better life and greater opportunities, success for his family, and a legacy to leave behind. And he made those dreams come true for us.

When I was growing up, he moved us to a new neighborhood in the suburbs of San Diego. We were one of the very few families who looked different than the rest. In school, others would actually tell me that they’d never even seen a kid who looked like me. But at home, my dad made it a practice to speak life into me. He showered me with words of confidence and acceptance. When I walked down the stairs of our home, he would announce “Here comes Miss Korea!” And I would wave and smile and stand taller with pride. I was unfazed by looking different than other kids because in my heart I knew I was beautiful. My daddy told me so.

We attended a Korean church every Sunday. It was one of the only places I had access to other Korean kids, kids who looked like me. But most of these kids were born in Korea, where I was born in Chicago. It’s funny what kids decide is weird to them. For these kids, it was weird that I was “not Korean”.. But at home, my dad made it a practice to speak life into me. He showered me with words of confidence and acceptance. When we watched the news at the kitchen table, he would proudly say, “Susan, you’re the only person in our family who can be President of the United States.” And I would nod and let those words sink in and accept all the opportunity ahead of me with pride. I was unfazed by kids telling me I wasn’t Korean. I knew I was Korean-American and that meant something big. My daddy told me so.

The dreamer in me wants to tell stories that are life-affirming, confidence-building, and honestly, belly-achingly funny (my dad was that too, by the way). I write young adult romance because I want the teens who might worry there isn’t a place for them, to be assured that there is. There are stories for them. There is love and happily ever afters for them. I don’t want to tell kids to forget who they are, but to explore all the possibilities that lay ahead of them because of EXACTLY who they are.

I was raised by a dreamer.

I am a dreamer.

I write stories for the dreamers.

What about you, readers? Who inspires you the most in your life? 

 

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Connect with Susan Lee on social media:

Twitter: @susanleewrites

Instagram: @syleegurl

 

 

Meet 2019 Golden Heart Finalist Sammi Spizziri

Today we’re delighted to welcome another Omega, Sammi Spizziri, whose manuscript AFTER I BID YOU ADIEU is a 2019 Golden Heart finalist in the Young Adult Category

Sammi Spizziri lives in a small town in Illinois with her husband and baby girl. When she’s not lost in writing (or reading) a new book, she’s a stay-at-home mom who dabbles in accounting on the side. Boy bands, rec league volleyball, and chai tea lattes are a few of her favorite things.

Here’s a blurb for AFTER I BID YOU ADIEU:

Eighteen-year-old Evie wants to change the world through podcasts and not repeat her deceased mom’s mistake of settling for a hometown boy over her career. In an early college program at NYU, she’s on the perfect path to success. The only thing missing is her best friend and sort-of love interest from back home, Kace. But since he decided to skip college in favor of staying in Ridgeview for his mom, Evie’s done her best to forget about him. So when her dad’s heart attack requires her to return home for the summer, she’s not sure how to handle being face-to-face with Kace again—or her grief.

To make matters worse, her scholarship is threatened and she needs Kace’s help on a podcast to save it. She knows it’s not safe to get too close again or she’ll be tempted to stay, especially since he admitted his feelings for her before she left the first time. But as they spend time together, she soon finds herself admiring his small acts of kindness around town and appreciation for who she is over what she does, making her doubt why she’s leaving. Will Evie chase her dreams no matter the cost or learn how extraordinary ordinary can be?

Ooh! You’ve got podcasts and the lure of New York and anxiety about the future and family responsibility and best friends who might fall in love…very real stuff for teen readers!! And I love the idea that the boy is the one representing kind-heartedness and small-town-values! Very interesting dynamics going on!

Well, readers, it’s a lovely summer day outside, and my cottage hollyhocks are in bloom, so let’s all pull up some comfy-cushioned wicker chairs, pour tall glasses of iced tea, and let the local finches serenade us while I lob some questions Sammi’s way.

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Welcome, Sammi! Wonderful to have you with us! You’re our first Young Adult Finalist of the year. (It’s a favorite genre for me, since I teach high school and am always looking for good books to recommend!) Tell us a little about your Golden Heart book and the process of writing it.

The Latest Comments

  • Fenley Grant: Hi, Elly! I loved hearing more about you, my fellow Omega, and can’t wait to meet you in NYC! To...
  • Elly Kate: I’m doing my best to get it published, but you know how it is… 🙂 Some day, I hope. I...
  • Elly Kate: Oooo I watch basically zero movies, but I DO want to see that one! I’ve heard only good things about...
  • Elly Kate: Can’t wait to see you there!
  • Elly Kate: Oh, yes – as someone with some chronic health conditions… And I’ll be real here,...

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