Posts tagged with: Tracy Brody

Meet 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Tracy Brody!

Today we’re welcoming the second-to-last of our Rebelle guests, 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Tracy Brody, whose manuscript SHOT DOWN is nominated for Best Romantic Suspense!!

Tracy Brody lives in North Carolina where she and her husband are about to be semi-empty nesters. She has a daughter heading to college and a son who’s graduated and is living his dream as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.

She has a background in banking, retired to become a domestic engineer, and aims to supplement her husband retirement using her overactive imagination. Tracy began her writing career with spec movie and TV scripts, however, when two friends gave her the same feedback on a script, saying that they’d love to see it as a book, she didn’t need to be hit over the head with a literal 2×4 to get the message. She joined RWA and Carolina Romance Writers in 2010. When not on a writing retreat with friends, she enjoys walking in her neighborhood, the park or especially at the beach talking to herself as she plots books and scenes.

She is represented by Helen Brietweiser of Cornerstone Literary.

Tracy is most active on Facebook and would appreciate a like, has a Twitter account that she occasionally remembers to use and a website that is under construction.

Tracy’s not only a repeat Golden Heart Finalist, she’s a TWO-TIME winner! Her Bad Karma Special Ops series features a team whose love lives are as dangerous as her missions, and two books in the series, A SHOT WORTH TAKING and IN THE WRONG SIGHTS, won the Golden Heart for romantic suspense in 2015 and 2016. Her 2016 Golden Heart manuscript in the Contemporary category has been replotted, rewritten (45k old words out, 40k in changes in), and renamed and is back aiming for more Golden Heart love.

Here’s a blurb for SHOT DOWN:

Sergeant First Class Mack Hanlon thought he could beat the odds, despite knowing that a Special Ops career and a stable, successful marriage don’t go together as smoothly as peanut butter and jelly, or even guns and ammo. His wife left him and the Army life behind, but he’s not giving up on his mission to be a good father and stay in his daughters’ lives. Nor is he letting it implode his hopes of finding a woman who can support him and his career choice. When a stalker threatens new neighbor, Black Hawk pilot Kristie Donovan, Mack takes on the mission to protect her. Their time together leads him to set his sights on more than friendship. However, the stalker is the least of his problems when it comes to the challenges of regulations prohibiting romantic relationships between the ranks and the loss that left Kristie cautious to love again.

Flying is all Kristie has left after her husband was killed in action. While she’s attracted to Mack’s heroism and confident demeanor, she can’t jeopardize her career for a relationship that violates Army regulations—especially with another man in Special Ops. She’s lost one man she loved and isn’t risking another heartache. However, Mack’s insistence on protecting her and seeing him in his role as a father gives her a frontline view of the family she still longs for. In spite of the danger, they begin a covert romance that leads to love.

Only before they can find a way to be together and keep their jobs, the police report over the stalker incident gives Mack’s ex-wife, Rochelle, leverage in a custody battle. Unless Mack allows her to move out of state with their daughters, Rochelle threatens to expose his forbidden relationship with Kristie. Afraid of losing the career she loves and unwilling to be the reason Mack could end up separated from his girls, Kristie counters Rochelle’s attack by ending the romance. With Kristie deploying and him shortly thereafter, Mack has no time to come up with a new battle plan. But, after insurgents bring down Kristie’s aircraft and take the crew hostage, it’s Mack’s team who rushes to rescue Kristie and her crew. If he can save her, he still has to find a way to give them both a second shot at love.

Tracy’s here today to talk about the twists and turns of her journey since her initial Golden Heart nomination–and she’s got a lot of wisdom to share.

Tracy is also giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card to one commenter on today’s blog post.

Take it away, Tracy!!


My Prince Came and Someday my Publisher Will Too

Welcome! Great to be back – even though I hoped not to be eligible for the GH again. 😉 Since I’ve been here the last two years and folks have read a bit about me, my getting the GH calls, my hot muses and my Bad Karma Series, (you can go back and read my old posts from 2015 & 2016 if you really want) I decided to do something different this year and address the proverbial elephant in the room. “Tracy, you’re a two-time Golden Heart winner, and a finalist again, why haven’t you sold?”

Short answer – I haven’t accepted a contract. Now, we’ll delve into the long answer—and remember I write single title, not novellas.

First, I admit I thought surely I’d have a multi-book deal by now. In July 2015, A SHOT WORTH TAKING won the Golden Heart in Romantic Suspense, and I had an offer for that book from a reputable mid-sized publisher—one that I had a convoluted past with—and interest from another small press for the series. I signed with a top agent, and she wanted and felt we could get a print deal with a big NY publisher. I was totally on board with that. I could just about touch my dream. We went out on submission–in August—when most of NYC publishers go on extended vacations. The contract from the publisher who’d offered arrived. We waited to hear from the big dogs. Late in the month, we got the first pass (I try not to use the R word.) The others trickled in. They were nice, oh-so-close passes. The mid-sized pub pressed for me to sign the contract—only things were off. To keep this post from becoming a novella, let’s just go with the passive telling version of “for a number of reasons I won’t share publicly, I didn’t sign that contract.”

Book #3 in my series, IN THE WRONG SIGHTS, was doing well in contests and getting requests. Maybe it’d be the one to sell. So, I kept writing and waiting and hoping. I double finaled for the Golden Heart in 2016 with the first and third in my Bad Karma Spec Ops series. Won a second Golden Heart with the third book and it went on submission. I thought for sure it would get an offer quickly (okay, I was hoping for a bidding war.) Different book, same nice kind of passes and that impostor syndrome trying to give me doubts. People are asking where or when they can buy my books. (aka “Haven’t you been at this a long time?” “Can’t you self-publish?” “You’re a big contest winner, shouldn’t all the publishers want you?” I wish.)

Do I wish I’d taken that original offer? Yes, some days. Other days, most days, no. Is it a matter of pride? Have I become a snob thinking I can do better than a small press most of the public hasn’t heard of? Or, after investing so much time and having such big dreams of NY publishers going to auction or making a preemptive offer to sign me (like I’m the next Darynda Jones 😉) do I fear looking like I wasn’t good enough for the big dogs? Do I blame the glut of self-published competition and the tough market?

I compare publishing to dating and marriage. There are a lot of publishers/guys out there, but how many do you want to spend the rest of your life with? Do you want to go to the dance with the guy who asked another girl to go with him, but she turned him down, so he asks if you want to go together—as friends? Or do you hold out hoping the guy you really like, can see a future with, asks you to go with him? Nobody wants to feel second rate, but I have to decide—do I want to go to the dance—be able to say “I’m published!!” and hang out with my friends at that dance and be part of that “in” crowd. Or, do I not settle and continue to wait at home alone (writing of course) and hope and wait some more?

We all know that friend who wanted to be married and “settled.” Settled into a marriage or relationship that wasn’t with the one who made their heart flutter or willing to skip their favorite TV show because they wanted to be doing ____. (You’re romance writers and readers, so use your imagination and fill in the blank. 😉 )

I wish there were easy answers. The thing is, we all have different dreams and different goals. Just like you probably like many of your friends’ spouses, most probably weren’t the right match for you. You had to search for YOUR Prince Charming. Me, I didn’t date much in high school or college. I was picky. Okay, the first semi-serious boyfriend was a set-up by my BFF and I was at the point that it felt good to have someone who wanted to date me. But, I knew he wasn’t “The One.” It wasn’t fair to lead him on and I didn’t want to settle. When I met the man I did marry, he made me feel special. On an early date, I wasn’t my usual perky self because I had a killer migraine. When he asked if he’d done anything wrong, I confessed to the migraine, but I hadn’t wanted to ditch out on him or our date with friends. He was relieved and said he’d never want to do anything to upset or hurt me. That’s when I knew he was marriage material. He may not remember saying that, and yeah, it’s real life so we’ve managed to be mad at each other and even intentionally provoke each other like normal couples do over time (except in fairy tales) Maybe I didn’t marry the Hollywood Heartthrob I might have ditched my hubby for, but I’m glad I waited for the right match that’s lasted three decades.

When it comes to publishing, I want the affirmation of a traditional publisher. And, I’m not in a rush. I’ve written three awarding winning books. My beta readers have loved the story and characters. I know my Bad Karma Spec Ops books will be published someday. Some way. Belle passed on Gaston’s overtures and held out for true love. I’m not Mrs. Jensen Ackles or Mrs. Joe Manganiello, but I’m happy. And I didn’t settle for that first boyfriend—or the next or the next.

I’m hoping that the third time for me is the charm and I won’t get SHOT DOWN, but get my happily-ever-after publishing offer, just like my heroes and heroines overcame all the obstacles I threw at them to get love. We may have to lower expectations. Maybe I’ll write some of my story ideas in other genres that might not be “glutted” markets. The nice thing is there are options. I can choose my own path—what’s right for me. And you can choose the path and timeframe that suits you. There’s no one right answer for this million-dollar prize. (*cough) We can all go to the dance, do the Electric Slide, a Tango, or the Funky Chicken and have a gay old time.

Here’s my question for everyone today:

Since we’ll be at Disney World and Disney is known for its princesses and princes and our 2017 GH Class Rebelles name came out of Belle and the French name for the movie Brave, I want to know who is your favorite Disney prince or princess and why?



Connect with Tracy Brody online:



Meet 2016 Golden Heart Finalist Tracy Brody!

Today we’re welcoming another Mermaid, Tracy Brody, already a Golden Heart winner last year, who’s a DOUBLE finalist this year, in two different categories!!

2015-10-17 CRW Glam Party -cropTracy Brody lives in North Carolina with her husband and teenage daughter and has a son that shows up for a few weeks between college semesters and internships to let her feed him and do his laundry.

Though she followed her father’s advice and studied business, she continued to indulge her creative side with various crafts and scrapbooking until her overactive imagination dreamed up a story line that she wrote as a spec movie script. Being a housewife in NC with no ties to Hollywood, she eventually took friends’ suggestion to turn her script into a book and began writing romances. She joined RWA and Carolina Romance Writers in 2010. She loves walking in her neighborhood or, even better, being at the beach talking to herself as she plots books and scenes. She’s represented by Helen Brietweiser of Cornerstone Literary.

Her 2015 Golden Heart winner, A SHOT WORTH TAKING, is actually the second book in her series of single title romances featuring the Bad Karma Special Ops team whose love lives are as dangerous as their missions. This year, both the first and third books in the series are finalists—which means all three of her completed manuscripts have finaled in the Golden Heart!!

Here’s the blurb for THE SNIPER’S SECOND SHOT – Contemporary Romance:

Sergeant Mack Hanlon thought he could beat the odds, despite knowing that a Special Ops career and a stable, successful marriage don’t go together as smoothly as peanut butter and jelly or even guns and ammunition. His wife left him and the Army life, but when Mack meets Black Hawk pilot Kristie Donovan, he believes he’s found a woman who can support him and his career choice. However, he soon finds he’s battling more than regulations prohibiting romantic relationship between the ranks.

After losing one husband in combat, Kristie’s sworn she’ll never fall for another man in his dangerous profession. Mack’s persistence and charm in pursuing her are accomplishing his mission to win Kristie’s heart until his ex-wife threatens to expose their relationship if Mack won’t let her move out of state with their girls. Kristie ends their forbidden romance to protect their careers and keep Mack from losing contact with his daughters. But, after insurgents bring down Kristie’s aircraft and take the crew hostage, Mack’s team rushes to rescue Kristie and her crew. If he can save her, he still has to find a way to give them both a second shot at love.

And here’s the blurb for IN THE WRONG SIGHTS – Romantic Suspense.

A patient’s deathbed confession landed nurse Cassidy O’Shea in witness protection. However, her unauthorized trip to Fort Bragg for her ex-stepfather’s funeral necessitates putting her under temporary protective custody after learning he’s been murdered. The Marshal Service turns to her late stepfather’s friends, the Army Bad Karma team, to keep her safe.

A dedicated soldier, AJ Rozanski is supposed to be protecting Cassidy, not falling for his former mentor’s stepdaughter. But her acceptance of his career choice is a refreshing change from his parent’s disapproval of his military service and his ex-fiancée’s inability to handle his erratic deployments.

Cassidy going back into Witness Protection puts an end to their hopes for something beyond a few days and romantic nights together—until an assassin locates her and she flees to AJ and the Bad Karma team. Can they give her back her life—and a future with AJ?

Awesome stuff!!! And both very suspenseful! I’m sure these will be out in readers’ hands before very long!!

Okay, everybody–time to gather around in our super-secret Ruby bunker for a chat with Tracy Brody. (No bad guys allowed!!….um, unless they look like Tom Hiddleston and are eminently redeemable!! In which case, join us!!)


Welcome, Tracy!! Lovely to have you back here with the Rubies!

Okay, so ALL THREE of your completed books so far have finaled in the Golden Heart, and the one that finaled last year actually WON. That’s incredibly impressive!! Did this come out of nowhere, or did you have experiences with contests before that? (Inquiring minds want to know.)

I’m a bit of a contest veteran, actually. I’d entered a few contests early on with RWA – when I didn’t know how much I didn’t know.  🙂 Some of the early feedback pinpointed areas I needed to improve in. Things like point of view, eliminating passive writing, establishing character’s goals, motivation and conflict, showing instead of telling, comma usage, et cetera and etc. I took classes and later entered a new WIP in the Golden Pen to see if my writing had improved. I was happily shocked when I finaled and kept working on learning craft.

I missed the Golden Heart finals in 2014 by one point. As most of the ladies in my critique group were not writing a lot, I felt bad asking them to keep critiquing for me. So in 2014, I entered a number of chapter contests for fresh feedback to see what I still needed to master. I developed a reputation as a contest queen (or whore depending on who you asked.) That year I think I entered eight different contests, entering both manuscripts in two of them. I had four misses but placed first in six contests.

Even after the wins in 2014, I almost didn’t enter the Golden Heart for 2015. I was very methodical in picking which contests to enter based on the submission size, the score sheet for judging, number of judges, whether they dropped a score, who the final round judges were. The Golden Heart didn’t tick the right boxes for getting feedback and in front of agent and editor judges I wanted. But, I decided to give it one more shot.

Clearly, a shot worth taking!! (Sorry, sorry…couldn’t resist the title pun.) You must have been excited that it finaled.

I’m thrilled it did! The Golden Heart is unlike any other contest I’d entered. With its reputation, it’s great affirmation to final and brings the perks of priority registrations for pitch appointments at convention – not just the year you’re a finalist. It’s a great credential to list when you query (and I got very quick requests.) Then there’s the networking opportunities, getting to shop for fancy dresses, and feeling a little like a celebrity. But the biggest difference was the sisterhood that developed among the finalists. Just being a finalist was a win and we worked to help and encourage each other. While I’d really hoped not to be eligible for the Golden Heart this year, since I hadn’t accepted an offer yet, I decided to enter again because of the friendships I formed with other finalists.

With your track record, I’m betting you won’t be eligible to enter Golden Heart again as of this time next year—but you may just have a second (or third!!) shiny heart pendant to add to your collection. So, I’m curious: your two finalists this year are part of the same series, but are nominated in two different categories, Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. What’s the story behind that?

Several of the 2015 finalists had entered several manuscripts that year, and a few said it was the one they didn’t expect to final that did. While I tend to be a last minute kinda gal, I got IN THE WRONG SIGHTS (third in my series) submitted for the Golden Heart with a few days to spare. I kept thinking about the first in my series, which I’d entered in the GH back in 2011. It hadn’t finaled (hadn’t even come close then), but I’d revised it, and thought why not give it a shot. But it’s not as suspenseful, especially in the opening. (I was still learning how my series needed to be consistent in genre.) So the Friday before the GH deadline, I emailed my agent to say I was going to enter it and asked which category she thought I should put it in. I started doing an editing pass over the weekend. I only beat the deadline thanks to one of my awesome ’15 GH Dragonfly sisters saying, “Tracy, you know the deadline is 5 PM—not midnight?” Yeeps! I uploaded THE SNIPER’S SECOND SHOT with 10 minutes to spare and went with my gut to enter it in the contemporary category. My agent emailed a few hours later saying to enter it in romantic suspense. Ooops. My bad – I’m still learning, but it worked out despite the strong competition in that category. And having the first book of my series, that has undergone so many rewrites, changes, and edits, final is really special.

I love that you’re so open about having to learn to become the writer you are! I’m a teacher in my other life, and I always tell my students that screwing up and trying again is essential to growth…whether you’re a writer or Steph Curry. (And I’ll confess, my very first writing contest entry was a 35-page opening chapter. The judges very lovingly smacked some sense into me, and I quickly got to work on the dynamics of pacing.) But, in the short term, criticism can sting, can’t it?

While I’ve had friends who made the finals, even won, the first time they entered a writing contest, that’s not my story. We’ve probably all heard stories of mean judges and crazy comments and widely ranging scores. You learn to accept how subjective judging can be. Feedback can make you reach for a bottle of wine or make you dance.

Well, I’m sure you’re doing a lot of dancing these days!! Speaking of good times, are you going to Nationals?

Heck yes!! I get to see many of my wonderful friends from the 2015 GH class (am even rooming with two of them!) and meet new finalists. And I get to buy fancy dresses. Yes, plural. Last year I bought six dresses, returned four, and rebought one on sale – all for under $150 total. I’m about on that same track now. Still trying to decide between three, including one I didn’t wear from last year.

LOL! I’ll be looking forward to the fashion show!! (And everybody’s fabulous shoes!!) Before we go, do you have a question for our readers to get the conversation rolling today?

I’d love to hear your best or worst contest story. The good. The bad. The laughable comments from a judge. Feedback that made you cry or gave you that “ah, ha!” moment. Here’s your opportunity to let us commiserate or celebrate with you.

As a thank you for reading and responding, I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift card and a pair of patriotic handmade red, white (okay, really they’re crystal) and blue earrings to two commenters. Thanks for stopping by and your support! Hope you all have the opportunity to fall in love with my Bad Karma heroes and their loves.

Bravo TeamAnd as a little reward for all, here’s a scrapbook collage of my Bad Karma Team for your viewing enjoyment.


Connect with Tracy Brody online:

Twitter: @BadKarmaWriter








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